Once in a Blue Moon - Vicki Crum, Author

12:04 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Garlic Knot Pizza Bake
(The Author's own special dish)

Garlic Crust

2 tubes pre-made biscuit dough
3 tbsp. butter, melted
1 ½ tsp. garlic powder, divided
¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese

Pizza Filling

1 lb. ground beef
1 jar marinara sauce
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
12 slices pepperoni

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the garlic-knot crust: Cut each biscuit round in half (or quarter it, if the package makes extra-large biscuits), so they’re about the size of a half-dollar.Dip the biscuit pieces in melted butter, then place them in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag and top with 1 tsp garlic powder and parmesan cheese. Shake to coat.Pour coated dough balls into a large casserole dish, spreading them out in an even layer. Set aside.For the rest of the pizza: Place ground beef and ½ tsp garlic powder in a sauté pan over medium heat. Cook beef, breaking it up into crumbles with the back of a spatula until it’s fully browned. Drain and mix with marinara sauce.


Once in a Blue Moon - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Casey's gaze latched onto the bike and the broad, leather-jacketed back of the guy who guided it deftly through traffic as though he and the bike were one.  She ached with the need to see him better, to learn something about him...where he'd come from and where he was headed.  To climb up behind him and hang on tight, feel the warm wind caressing her face and whipping through her hair.

Casey Montgomery had this attraction for what she called the alpha-male type.  Those classified as the 'bad boys', 'mavericks', 'renegades.'  Those men whose inbred machismo blinded them to any other needs but their own.  This attraction has brought her nothing but trouble and pain in the form of heartaches.  She had promised herself to swear off this type of man, yet here she is actually running down a total stranger that fits that bill.  And run him down she does until they both are caught at a red light. Looks like she has done it again.

I don't normally read romance novels.  Most follow the same story line - boy meets girl; girl falls for boy; both try to fight their attraction;  both find they can't;  boy and girl end up as a couple.  Well... this book was going to be the same, so I thought.  Wrong!  Author Vicki Crum threw a curve that was a total surprise to me.  It turns out that Casey has a secret and doesn't even know it.  I kept turning page after page to see when and how this secret will be brought to light and how it will affect Casey's life and mainly her love life.

Better Off Without Her - Rita Hestand, Author

6:13 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves





Sourdough Flapjacks
(A good on the trail recipe)

1 cup of flour 
1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
dash of salt
1 egg
1 tablespoon of honey
3/4 cup of sour milk or sweet milk with one tablespoons of vinegar. Let the milk sour for at least fifteen minutes.

After the milk has soured, you'll see lumps in it, if you don't see any lumps it needs more vinegar. Now then stir all ingredients together. Then get your griddle hot, you can use a griddle or an iron skillet either one. I use an Iron skillet. Now add a half of tablespoon of butter, spread it around the pan don't let the butter burn though, once it melts turn the heat down a notch, to test this, sprinkle a drop of water on the pan, if it sizzles, it's hot. Now add a scoop of batter, grill until golden on one side then turn and brown on other side
Put lots of butter on it when it's done and syrup to taste. Best pancakes you ever ate. Remember, the flapjacks are flatter than pancakes.


These are the kind of flapjacks the drovers on the cattle drives ate, sometimes they didn't have the honey, nor syrup and they'd just wrap a piece of fat back around it and eat it, like we eat sandwiches. It kept them going until the next meal.

Better Off Without Her - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

"now you stay there boy," Victor said turning back to Hattie.  "You will pay for punishing hem.  You'll all pay.  I'll see to it myself.  He didn't do anything wrong."  He threw her up against the wall, her body made a thudding sound, and she groaned aloud, trying desperately to move.  He picked her u again, lifted her high into the air, and this time his fingers closed around her throat until they met.  Her feet jerk, her head sagged against his arm, and her breath finally sighed from her body as he let her fall to the floor.  The thrill it gave him to kill subsided quickly.  He shook his head and he stared at her limp body.  He ought to feel something aside this crazy surge in his head, but he didn't.  He couldn't.  "Ain't right to punish a kid...Why does all you folks got to punish 'em?'  John T. tried to tackle him, tears streaming down his face, his voice at high-pitched scream, but Victor didn't budge.  He took his knife from his boot and proceeded to cut off her wedding finger, while the boy continued to batter him with his small fists.  The solid gold ring on her finger bounced and rolled on the floor, making a strange music in the air... Victor stuck the finger in his pocket, the blood still dripping from it.

I've read books by Author Rita Hestand before and found her books very enjoyable.  But, Better Off Without Her was a total surprise to me.  It is far from the romance novels I've read by this author in the past.  This is a story that would fit perfectly into the series 'Criminal Minds' if they were could take their stories back a century.  This is the story of a serial killer who believes he is rescuing the children that are being punished by their mothers for doing something they shouldn't have done.  It's the story of one of those children growing up and his search for revenge.  But its also the story of what made this madman feel he had to defend the children.

As I read Better Off Without Her I felt sorrow for the victims and their families.  I also felt sorrow for the killer who was a victim himself.  This book is one that took me on a curvy ride with every chapter, event and of course, the outcome.

The Angel Solution - John Stipa, Author

11:47 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves




San Francisco Scramble
(A John Stipa Specialty)

4 eggs
1 cup leafy spinach
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheese
2 sausage patties, cut into pieces 

Sauté mushrooms in olive oil, add in sausage until brown. Add spinach.
Crack eggs in bowl, add a splash of milk and pinch of onion salt (or seasoning of your choice) - stir.
Add egg mix to skillet. Sprinkle cheese all over and serve.


The Angel Solution - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

"What's wrong?" Tammy said.
"I'm not sure."
"Yes, you are, you just won't admit it.  Just like you won't admit these people aren't who we thought.  They're here under false pretenses." 

Trek stared back, silent, until the mask of guilt slid over his face.
"You have to make this right," Tammy said.  "If you won't, I will."
"I don't know how."
"I'll help you.  For one, stop referring to them as subjects.  Dianna, Marcus and Hayden are people, flesh and bone, not test tubes and chemicals.  They need our help.  And another, they're not 'exhibiting interesting behavioral patterns'.  They're reacting best they can to what we did to them, so take some responsibility for that."
"It's too late."

Tammy braced him by the shoulder.  "It's never too late to do what's right."

So, who are Dianna, Marcus and Hayden?  All three are offspring from three very bright men.  Three scientists who believed they could help people make the right decisions in life as well as cure the health problems invading the people of the world.  They believed in themselves so much, that is until a mysterious accident destroyed everything they worked so hard to achieve.

Tek and Tammy, with the funding from a wealthy industrialist, have picked up where the 3 scientists left off.  The subjects are under Tek and Tammy’s total control, both physically and mentally, with memories and situations being implanted into their brains - for a while that is. Then things start to change.  Dianna begins to suspect her surrounds and some of her own memories come to life with the unknowing help of her friend from the past, Renee. This ignites a harrowing series of events which has Tek and Tammy suspecting that they themselves are being played. 

This book has more twists and turns than any I think I've ever read.  As soon as I think I've figured out what is going on and who is behind it, the author throws a wrench into my theory.  And that means I can't go to bed until I see what will happen next.  Yes, I spent several nights of reading up into the wee hours - and it was worth it.  I really enjoyed this book.

Terror on Telderan, Prequel to Escape 2 Earth - Lawrence Johnson, Sr., Author

11:59 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Sausage and Beans with Tomatoes
One pot meal

Ingredients

1 pound breakfast sausage
30 oz's Great Northern or Cannellini beans (drained)
30 oz’s Tomato sauce
1 Onion (medium) Diced
1 pound Tomatoes

Cook onions over medium heat till translucent. Add sausage, cook until done. Stir in tomato sauce and tomato. If using larger whole tomatoes dice before adding. Add beans, make sure you drain before adding. Place top on pan and simmer ten minutes. For a thicker sauce remove top and simmer for an additional five minutes.

Note

Breakfast sausage is used to add seasonings.  Additional seasoning such as garlic and pepper be added if you feel it is necessary. 

Terror On Telderan - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat, Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Rayna took a deep breath and lifted her head slowly.  "earlier I told you that as High Ruler I only have access to an astral-numerologist however, the Grand Apex has been told by the Oracle that Rotart's attempt to terra form Telderan will have catastrophic results.  The planet will spiral out of control then ultimately out of this galaxy and...onward...toward the Milky Way Galaxy.  It will eventually rip through space and smash directly into your beloved planet Earth."

J'lore is stunned by this news.  He and the other Earth Guardians must find a way to prevent what has been predicted by the Guardians of old... the destruction of earth.  They warned of this event through the Henge Stones as well as the many crop circles.  Now their time is running out.

I've read Escape 2 Earth Books 1 and 2 and this short story takes you right up to the events that take place as earth goes into destruction and the plight its people take to survive on another planet.  Both books kept me spell bound and I'm now waiting on Book 3.

Sasha - Brian L. Porter, Author

1:00 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves




Old Time Beef Stew
(one of Sasha's favorite dishes)

2 pounds stew beef

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Dash ground allspice or ground cloves
3 large carrots, sliced
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Brown meat in hot oil. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and allspice. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Add carrots and celery. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer. To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid. Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir and cook until bubbly.



Sasha - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of : Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

While at the dog pound where we've adopted a number of dogs in the past, the girls took us into the rear office where, in a small dog crate, we saw a tiny, white puppy, with black markings, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier no bigger than a small rabbit.  As soon as she saw us, the puppy went straight into 'take me home' mode, her tiny tail wagging at about a hundred miles per hour and her little tongue hanging out in an anticipation of some treat or affection.  We were instantly smitten, even more so when the lady at the pound took the puppy out of the crate and placed her in my wife's arms.  The puppy had been found in the gutter on a lonely street, shivering and almost dead from hypothermia, by a passing dog warden who did in fact think it was a dead rabbit.  The warden estimated the pup as being no more than six weeks old.  She would soon be on her way to her new, loving home.

I love animals, especially dogs, so when I find a book written by someone who loves them as much and more than I do, I can't help snatch it up and start reading.  The dogs I've rescued in the past have all turned out fairly healthy but most seem to have a fear of detachment and become my shadow.  In the case of Sasha, this is true except for the health part.  It turns out that her problems are very extensive - she has seizures.  Many people I know would have had their animal put down after their first bout.  Not Brian Porter.  He sees her through many and I'm sure more to come.  And on top of Sasha, he has 9 other rescue dogs, some with health problems of their own. There are some great photographs in the book took showing Sasha from her puppy days to the present.

This book takes 'knighthood' into a brand new category and one that should be recognized making sure Mr. Porter becomes the 1st.  If you're an animal lover, especially dogs, you must read this book.  It will make you appreciate people like Mr. Porter even more while bringing a tear to your eye as well as a laugh here and there.


Leave A Message - Faydra D. Fields, Author

10:00 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Rice and Kielbasa Quick Meal
by Faydra D. Fields

Ingredients
 1-10oz bag Birds Eye Steamfresh Long Grain White Rice with Mixed Vegetables 
 ½ Hillshire Farm Polska Kielbasa (or any other of your choosing)
 Grated Parmesan
 Garlic Salt seasoning

Directions
 Microwave Birds Eye Steamfresh Long Grain White Rice with Mixed Vegetables.
 Microwave kielbasa
 Cut kielbasa into smaller pieces
 Mix rice and kielbasa
 Add grated parmesan and garlic salt to taste.


Serves 2-3 adults.

Leave A Message - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

When I received a copy of this short story I had no idea what to expect.  I'm not going to tell you much about the story other than it's about a girl who met a gorgeous man and had high hopes for the evening.  She just didn't expect to experience what he had in mind for her.

It is short, just a few pages long, but it grabs you from the very beginning.  The tension and suspense in those few pages tell me this author needs to write a full book.  She really knows how to get the reader's attention from page 1.  This would make a great story for Criminal Minds.  I hope to hear more from her.  She has great potential.

South City Mosaic - Life on Alaska - Glenn Sartori

10:14 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Cinnamon Nut Cookies
(A favorite of Glen Sartoi's)

Ingredients:

1 cup shortening, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 beaten egg yolk
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg white
½ cup chopped pecans

Cream the shortening with brown sugar.  Add vanilla and egg yolk.  Sift and measure flour with salt and cinnamon.  Place half of flour mixture in a heap on board.  Place butter-sugar mixture on top, cover with rest of flour.  Work together lightly until it sticks together.  Pat out the mixture ¼ inch thick in buttered jellyroll pan. 
Score into squares with a knife.  Spread top with slightly beaten egg white.  Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Bake at 275 degrees for 30 minutes.

Cool and break into squares and start sneaking a few when no one is looking.

South City Mosaic - Life on Alaska - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

I was born in 1949 making me just a little younger than this author so when I saw that his book contains memories of his childhood, I had to read it.  Through these memories he has not only restored my own memories but has also given me a few laughs along the way.  If you're anywhere within this age group, see how many of these items you too remember.  If you're not in this age group, read the book to see what they were and how much fun they gave us all.

Do you remember:
A 4 bladed push mower - no motor!
Two 2 x 2 wooden posts cemented in the ground (if you're lucky) with a wire strung between them - yep, the clothes line!
Black pieces of coal - no not charcoal like used for BBQ.  These went into the furnace, with a fire, and heated your home!
The cards that you sometimes clipped to your bike wheels to make noise - You got it, Baseball Cards that you would give your eye teeth to have now!
Penny candy - sometimes you could even get 2 pieces for a penny - those days are gone forever!

These are just a few of those memories many of us still cherish.  There are many more that I had buried and were brought back to me by this author.  Just a few are - the scouts, dinner at the table as a family, mom's home remedies, and a real oldie - the 1st kiss.

As I said, if you aren't a baby boomer that grew up in these times, you'll still get a kick out of what your parents and grandparents did when they were kids.  To the author I say "Thanks for the Memories."