All Because of the Tip of a Needle - Philip Nork, Author

11:22 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Reuben Dip
(A Philip Nork favorite)

4 packages of Bunning Corned Beef shredded
8 ounces of shredded Swiss cheese
8 ounces of shredded Cheddar cheese
1 16 ounce can of sauerkraut
1/2 cup of mayonnaise


Mix all together and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until cheese is melted. Try to serve on a hot plate along side rye bread slices or your favorite cracker.

All Because of the Tip of a Needle - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

An excerpt from the book- This last six years was a mentally draining one for me. I had everything I lived for - horse racing, my family, and my wife and kids - taken away from me.  All I could do was wait and wait and wait.  The lawyer told me not to talk to anyone, including my family, about what had happened.  He said it would hamper our case.

Sam Newman, twenty-one years of age, became known as 'Sam-the-man' at the track because he won with regularity.  He was disliked by some, and apparently, hated by more. His young life was going just as he dreamed it would. Using the advice his grandfather had taught him he found the best ways to work with horses and also to make them work for you. He had learned well and it was paying off in more ways than one.  Thanks to his success he was able to marry the girl of his dreams, have kids, and most importantly to him, he was winning at the tracks of his hometown, Chicago, Illinois.  His special 'way' with horses allowed him to spot a rundown horse and turn him back into a winner.  How did he do this?  He just had a way with the equine, but if you talked to the other owners and drivers of Chicago they would tell you it was because of a needle and a drug known as Etorphine, an elephant tranquilizer also known as M-99.  This drug was rumored to make the horses run, fast and straight, to the finish line.

Sam's longtime vet, known as Doc Brown, turned against him when Sam replaced him with another vet.  After losing his temper, he made a promise to Sam's brother, Dave.  His threat was "Payback is a bitch..." and apparently this threat was carried out.  It wasn't long after the threat was made that officers from the Illinois Bureau of Investigations searched Sam’s barn area and discovered a hypodermic needle in his car.  After supposedly testing it, it was confirmed that the needle had contained the M-99 drug.

This book is written as fiction but it based on the 'scandal' back from the 1980's between Scott Nance, the Illinois racing board, and the owners of the harness tracks in the Chicago area. From what I've read, it leads me to believe this young man was 'thrown under the train' due to revenge and greed of others. I'm a horse lover and from this man's story I feel he had a special gift in dealing with them. I find it hard to believe that with the constant testing of the horses, anyone can train and/or drive in over 2,000 races in eight states and two countries, have 300 winners with many seconds and thirds, and still be accused of drugging his horses.


A recommended read for harness fans, conspiracy fans, and just the everyday reader.

The Case of the Death Dealer - Lawrence Johnson, Sr., Author

1:22 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Salmon Loaf
(An Alex Special)

1 Can Alaskan Sockeye Salmon (Red) 14.75oz
2 Cups Bread Crumbs
2 Heaping tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 One tablespoon of dry Mustard (you may use wet mustard as a substitute)

½ Onion (diced) or tablespoon of onion powder

½ teaspoon Black Pepper

1 Egg (beaten)

2 Cups Chicken stock (you may use beef stock or water as a substitute.)


Place salmon (including liquid) in a large mixing bowl, discard bone.  Use the back of a fork to break salmon into small pieces.  Add breadcrumbs and mix with salmon.  Add mayonnaise, mustard onion and egg then mix ingredients together thoroughly.  Add chicken stock and pepper,  mix well.  Note:  If you substitute water for chicken stock you may add a level teaspoon of salt.  Form into a loaf then place into loaf or baking pan.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes depending on oven.   Serves 6.  Leftover taste great when sliced and fried with oil or butter.  Original recipe from the Budget Gourmet 


The Case of the Death Dealer - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Alex Steele is at it again in this short story involving Fat Daddy and Dr. Death.   It seems that both deal in drugs and were actually associates, that is until Fat Daddy had Dr. D's sister killed.  Now the good doctor is out for revenge and his revenge will be targeted at Fat Daddy's customers.  His plan... he has taunted Fat Daddy's next cocaine shipment with an odorless poison that has been sprayed on the drugs.


Alex, hired by an old schoolmate, which he really has no use for, takes the case to hopefully prevent this mass murder of some of the local junkies.  Will he find the drugs in time?  Let's sure hope so.



As with all of the Alex Steele books, this one is filled with action, suspense and the reader holding on to the edge of the seat.  I'm crossing my fingers that we'll see even more of this character in the very near future.

Dark Mind - Jennifer Chase, Author

6:11 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Easiest Cheesecake Ever! 
No baking required.
You will need - (1) 6 inch spring form pan or (2) 3 inch mini spring form pans

Ingredients:
¼ cup graham cracker crumb
¼ cup pecans, crushed or ground in food processor
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 – 8 oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
½ cup heavy cream, whipped

Directions:
1.      Mix the graham cracker crumbs, ground pecans and maple syrup.
2.      Press the mixture into the bottom of your spring form pan.
3.      Mix cream cheese, lemon juice and sugar.
4.      Fold the cream cheese into the whipped cream.
5.      Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the crust.
6.      Chill in the fridge.



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

She felt a sting at the back of her left arm and pressure against her back.  Her first thought was a bee had stung her, but her vision melted into long vertical strips of disjointed puzzle pieces.  Blinking hard, she tried to regain her perspective.  Dizzying vertigo took hold of her balance, she fought the urge to vomit, swallowing hard as her body thrust into a tailspin.  Staggering to stay in a vertical poise, she fought in her mind.  Strong hands tucked under her arms and clasped across her chest, without anywhere else to go she fell into the arms of an unknown stranger.

Her name is Carolyn Sax and she is soon to become the first in a string of problems to intrude the quiet island of Kauai.  Sergeant Lani Candena would be working the murders that are soon to take place, but due to an earlier event, he had the 'pleasure' of meeting Emily Stone and Rick Lopez as they rescued a kidnapped child.

Yes, Emily and Rick are back at it in full force, along with Jordan who comes after Emily's request to help them solve the murders being committed on the island.  Each victim is brutally murdered and due to the evidence left, they appear to be used as sacrifices to some island legend.

This is my 3rd book to read in this series.  The first Compulsion introduced me to Emily Stone.  Dead Game became a permanent connection between Emily and Rick as well as an introducing the readers to Jordan.  No, I can't get enough of either of the characters and the stories that involve them.  These books have kept me on the edge through every turn of the page.  I can't wait to read the next book in the series Dead Burn.

So if you're looking for a book that's hard to put down, pick up Dark Mind, but even though the books in this series can be read out of order, I suggest you start with the first.  I could easily see these books being made into a TV series.

Jilted by Death - Lynette Hall Hampton, Author

5:01 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Barbecue Cups
(My grandchildren love this recipe and
I thought maybe my readers would, too -
Lynette)

l lb. ground beef - browned and drained
1/2 cup barbecue sauce - whatever you like. I use Sweet Baby Ray's
2 Tbsp. onion - chopped fine
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 can of biscuits
3/4 cup. Shredded cheese - I use cheddar

After draining beef, add barbecue sauce, onion and brown sugar.
Place each biscuit in a greased muffin tin. Press dough up sides, to the top of tin to form a cup.
Spoon mixture into cups and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until dough is brown.


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

"This is Willa," I said into the receiver.  "And I can be your worst nightmare," a deep muffled voice said.  "Stay away from Reba Wilkinson.  No more lunches with her, if you know what's good for you, Preacher Lady."  The receiver slammed in my ear and I slowly hung up.  I was stunned, confused, and a little afraid.  I looked around my office and shivered.  Whoever this person was, he knew that I had spent my lunchtime with Reba, and he didn't like it.  But why would anyone care?  The visit had been fruitless.

Willa Hinshaw has only been the associated minister at the First United Methodist Church for about three weeks when everything seems to start turning upside down.  First came the canceling of a wedding for the daughter of one of the town's leaders to an up-and-coming attorney.  The daughter seemed to have run off with her childhood sweetheart causing much grief for her family, not to mention the loss of money it had cost her father to put this event together.  Then came the call to Willa from the daughter telling her she had made a mistake and was afraid for her safety.  She begged Willa to come and get her at a motel several miles away from Liverpool.  And when she read the note left with the motel clerk saying it was all a mistake and that she was ok, Willa wasn't convinced.  Thus starts her search for the real truth, as well as the threats made to her if she continued to keep digging into matters that don't concern her.

Then comes the ransom note.  Someone is determined to destroy the Poole family through their daughter Lee Ann and the Swanson family through their son Justin.  But why was a question no one seemed to have the answer to.

Lynette Hall Hampton has become one of my favorite authors.  Her stories are simply beautiful as well as mysterious.  Her style of writing is one that keeps me in the dark through many pages.  In Jilted by Death, I thought I knew the killer about 3/4 of the way through but the more I thought about it the more I felt I was wrong.  So, when the killer was finally revealed I was surprised but also not surprised.  I can't wait to read more works of art from this author.

Lest We Forget - Brian L. Porter, Author

1:13 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Spamghetti Carbonara
(During the war meat was hard to come by making
  the cook appeal to their creative side)

1 1/2 lbs spaghetti
4 eggs, slightly beaten (fresh or dried)
12-oz can SPAM, cubed 1/4″
1/2 cups grated cheese
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp oil
ground pepper
3 tbsp margarine

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in skillet cook SPAM® and onion in oil and butter over medium heat until lightly browned. Set aside. When spaghetti is cooked, drain; return to pot. Add egs; toss to combine. Add SPAM mixture, cheese and parsley; toss to combine. Season to taste with pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 6.


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

Remembrance

Remember the fallen, the honoured dead,
In silent prayer, with lowered head.
They gave of their all, they gave up their lives,
And remember as well all the war-widowed wives.

Fathers of children, all some mothers sons,
Taken from life by the bombs, and the guns.
No joyous salute, nor heroes return,
Just an empty chair somewhere, a story to learn.

Of young men who proudly went off to the wars,
Leaving families, friends, leaving England's shores.
Many dying with glory, though seeking no fame,
Now lying at rest, in a grave with no name.

This is just the beginning of one of the Anthology of Remembrance included within this book.  All hit my heart but this one seemed to hit the most.  With the world in the past, present and future, we will always have wars and there will always be lost lives, but how do we put the feelings created by these losses into words?  Most of us can't, but Author Brian L. Porter can and has.  Through his Bomber we find ourselves waiting, just like those do when waiting for the call to climb aboard the planes that will take them into battle with just prayers that they will return.  No Headstone on a Sailor's Grave has us waiting for a rescue boat that never comes.

As I read each segment within this book it made me stop and really think about my own father who served in not one but three branches of the military and what he must have gone through and the fear that he must have felt.  I think about my friends who fought in the Viet Nam war and how scared they had to have been.  I think about those that are serving today with their fears.  And then I think of my grandson who will serve in the near future, taking him miles away from home for the first time.

This book has made me not only stop and think but it has surfaced my appreciation of these men and women both young and old.  For without them, we would have no real world and certainly no freedom.  That is what this book has done for me.

Ghost Hunting Diary Volume IV - T. M. Simmons, Author

12:56 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves




Simple Fried Green Tomatoes
(A T. M. Simmons Special)

In the south, we love our fried green tomatoes. There are several ways to enjoy this delicious dish. In fact, my husband and I each cook them differently. I like them prepared both ways, but here is mine:

1 egg
½ cup milk
Beat together by hand, then beat in:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
This should make a batter that looks similar to pancake batter.

Select 3 firm green tomatoes, wash and core them, then slice into 1/3" slices. Put salt and pepper on them, to taste.

Heat ½ inch of canola oil to about 350 degrees in either an iron or electric skillet. Dip tomatoes into batter and fry until golden brown on each side. Serve while hot. Yum!

You can also cheat and get the Whistle Stop Fried Green Tomato Batter Mix to use for your coating. It's also delicious!

My husband eats his fried green tomatoes on bread, but I love mine with just a fork.




Ghost Hunting Diary Volume IV - Review by Martha A Cheves, Author Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

St. James Jeepers Creepers - There are times during ghost hunts when I even scare myself silly...er...sillier.  In May, 1998, an occurrence at the captivating historical St. James Hotel, in Cimarron, New Mexico - a place with an extremely haunted reputation - turned into one of those incidents. Twenty-six deaths occurred in the St. James so when I saw a man that stood about 6 feet, with black hair and dressed in an 1800's style suit jacket the evening we checked into the hotel, I wasn't surprised.  I got the impression he was a gambler and I gaped when he winked at me.  This told me he was an intelligent haunting, one in which the entity can interact with our living dimension.  In other words, the recognition worked both ways.  Turns out he was one of the nice ones.  TJ is a different story.

Barney the Believer - Barney is my husband who doesn't believe in ghosts.  One day he came to my office, white as a ghost himself.  He wanted to know if we had a little girl ghost in our house.  We do so I ask how he knew.  His comment to me was "Because I've been watching TV and she just got up from the chair on the other side of the fireplace."  That was just the beginning of him becoming a believer.

These are just 2 of the stories in the author's diary and this is the 4th diary this author has published that I've had the pleasure of reading.  I've heard about ghosts and spirits my whole life.  I 'dreamed' one morning that my grandmother was standing at the foot of my bed telling me everything would be alright.  Apparently I was asleep with my eyes open because I could see her and the room I was in full color.  I once bought a house where I would get a glimmer of someone out of the corner of my eye and freeze when I sat in a certain area in my living room.  Turns out the previous owner, a woman who loved to cook, had passed in that special spot in the living room.  If we admit it, we've all probably had some kind of unexplained 'happenings' at some point in our lives and through reading T. M. Simmons' books, I truly believe that I've experienced a few ghosts of my own.

Oh yeah.  If you have a ghost/spirit in your home, this book will tell you what would be the best way to handle your type of ghost/spirit.  Yes there is more than one type and each is handled differently.  At this time, I have no ghosts/spirits in my home.  I have a friend who died in his home and the woman living there now has told me he comes back now and then to check on the items he left in the attic.  She has never removed anything from there so he seems ok, but she does hear him now and then rummaging around and many times he will forget to turn out the light.

This, like the others before it are extremely interesting.  I'm enjoying learning about the experiences the author and her Aunt Belle have gone through and can't wait to learn even more when I read Ghost Hunting Diary Volume V.

Louisiana Sunset - B. J. Robinson, Author

11:06 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Venison Roast
 (I used to cook one this way every New Year’s Day
    - B.J. Robinson)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash deer meat and cut deep slits to place the onion, garlic, and green onion.

1 deer roast
1 onion
1 pod garlic
½ bunch green onions
Chop small and place in cut slits of the roast.

You may use a baking bag or put the roast in a small amount of water in a deep pan and baste it. Cover pan with aluminum foil. In the water, place 1 tbs. soy sauce, 1tbs. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbs. garlic salt or powder, black pepper and salt to taste, three beef bouillon cubes, and 1 tbs. Kitchen Bouquet.

You might also use a crockpot and slow cook it all day. If you use the oven, the roast should be done in appropriately two to three hours.  Brown a tbs. of flour in an iron skillet in a small amount of oil and use the water from the roast to make a brown gravy. If you do not wish to make your own brown gravy, you can use three or four gravy packets instead.

This was one part of our annual New Year’s dinner as described in the book. We also had cabbage cooked with pork chops, green beans and potatoes, potato salad, and rice for the gravy.


You may leave out ingredients per taste or add others. This is how my mother-in-law taught me to cook venison roast when my husband brought home the deer. He cleaned it, and I cooked it. 

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

Lilly Mae's life is making a complete circle.  She left Louisiana to get away from her abusive boyfriend, but after losing her job in the city she has decided to return and live in the river cabin her grandfather left her.  And of course the circle wouldn't be complete without agreeing to meet her long lost love Timber.

How could she even think of meeting him at the river again?  That time was gone and for the best.  She'd moved on, had her life together until she'd lost the job that meant the most to her, and she didn't need to let Timber rip her world apart again.  She signed.  What was she thinking?  Every ounce of her very being screamed.  Leave before he shows.  Forget him.  He's bad news.  Yet, she stood rooted to the spot.  Would he appear?  She had to know.  Had to see him one last time and put it and him behind her for good.  She was strong.  She could do this.

Even so, Lilly Mae had agreed to meet him and the old feelings resurfaced... for both of them.  Timber vowed that he had changed.  He would never hurt her again.  His temper was under control.  Lilly Mae refused to believe him.  But he refuses to give up.  He pops up everywhere, even at her home.  Then she meets Levi... the perfect man.  Levi was the total opposite of Timber.  He believed in God and went to church.  Timber actually only wanted to go if the preacher was funny.  He respected her.  Timber didn't even respect himself.  Levi thought of the other person first.  Timber only thought of himself - first and last.  But Timber still won't give up.

Levi does keep Timber in line for a while, that is until war broke out and with him being a pilot he is one of the first to head for what would be called Desert Storm.  Timber continues to keep up with his stalking.

So, will Timber separate Lilly Mae and Levi while he's thousands of miles away?  Will Lilly Mae be able to stay true to Levi, the man she loves and plans to marry or will she give in to her old love Timber?

This is one of the most beautiful stories I've read in a long time.  I found myself laughing at times, feeling sorry at times and even wanting to cry at times.  This book is a true love story that has a few twists.  And now that I've finished it, I'm looking forward to see what happens in the story that follows Louisiana Sundown - book 2 in the series.