Terror in a Teapot - Morgan St. James & Phyllice Bradner, Authors

1:50 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Flossie's Fabulous Noodle Kugel

8 oz. pkg. of Wide Egg Noodles
1/4 lb. Butter (melted) (margarine substitute optional)
1 cup Golden Raisins
3 Eggs (beaten) (4 eggs optional)
4 heaping Tbsp. Sour Cream
4 oz. Cream Cheese (softened and rolled into tiny balls)
1/2 cup Sugar (to taste) mix with a small amount of cinnamon for taste and color
1 cup Milk (a little more if you like it more moist)
Package Cornflake Crumbs (optional)

Mix all ingredients with cooked noodles that have been rinsed in cool water.  Put in 8 x 10 (or similar size) Pyrex pan that has been greased with a little butter or margarine.  Top with packaged cornflake crumbs (optional) and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about an hour.  Cool and cut into squares for serving.  (You can double the recipe and freeze some, too.)
(Based on a recipe from the authors' mother, Rosetta.)


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

Goldie Silver
- Owns an antique shop in Juneau, Alaska
Godiva Olivia DuBois - Author of the famous relationship column Ask G.O.D.
Caesar - Famous TV chef - or is he?
Flossie Silver - Female magician.
Sterling Silver - Male magician.
Two Ladies from the Russian Orthodox Church - church ladies.
Father Innocent - Retiring Priest.
Rimsky - Father Innocent's helper.
Father Augustine - Priest that will take over for Father Innocent.
Two very ugly ladies - Very possibly not 'ladies.'
Boris & Igor Dumkovsky - two very mean Russians.

Now, just what can all of these people have in common?  Well, Goldie and Godiva are twin sisters.  Caesar is Godiva's boyfriend, Flossie is the mother of the twins and Sterling is their father's brother, known to them by the affectionate name of 'Unk.'  

But where is the connection between the 'family' members and the other characters?  It all has to do with The Seven Deadly Samovars, or Tea Pots if you live in America.  It seems the Tea Pots were shipped from Russia to Goldie's shop but were lost in transit.  The Church Ladies had ordered one through Goldie as a retirement gift for Father Innocent.  When they are finally discovered they seem to live up to their name 'Deadly.'  People start dying, Tea Pots start missing and the mystery starts spinning as the twins do a little detective work to track down the missing pots and find the killer or should I say killers.

This book, as all Morgan St. James and Phyllice Bradner books, gives you suspense, humor and a special surprising twist at the end.  I can't get enough of their writings and hope they come out with yet another Silver Sisters Mystery very soon.

The Belle and the Officer - B. J. Robinson, Author

3:23 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Recipe for a Southern Barbeque
(B.J. Robinson's Special Recipe)


I’m from the South and my husband is from the North, so I was used to Southern barbeques. What he called barbeque was simply plain grilled to me, so we had to mess our differences. He grills his with no sauce, and I use Kraft honey barbeque sauce on mine. He enjoys steaks and burgers. I enjoy those, but I also enjoy hot dogs and chicken legs as well as boneless lemon-pepper chicken breasts, which he doesn’t like. I like to make homemade potato salad, but he doesn’t eat it. He opts for a baked potato. That’s okay. I have leftover potato salad, and the flavor goes through it, and it’s even better the next day.

In the South, we use barbeque sauce. I thought since this book was a book about the North and South, and the characters enjoyed barbecues and fish, I provide a southern barbeque. The northern one is easy. Just put it on the grill plain, at least my husband’s version.

Step 1: Grill the meat until lightly browned and sauce. Some put sauce on it while it is raw. I do. He waits. It works either way. I like mine not burnt, but dark and a little black won’t hurt me.

You can also barbeque fish or shrimp. Love them both.

Step 2: The Potato Salad:

Peel, wash, and clean about three pounds of potatoes or use a five-pound bag if you have someone else to help you eat the salad. Boil potatoes and three eggs. Peel eggs and chop. Dice pickles, olives, green onions, and use about one teaspoon mustard, if you like it. Leave out the onions if you don’t care for them. Some people do not use the mustard in the potato salad and use only mayo. I like both. If you like, you can use spicy mustard. I usually use the yellow.

Mix and include the mayo to taste. Season with salt, pepper, or seasonings you enjoy. Tip: If you refrigerate the potato salad and let it get cold, and you have used the green onions, you will find the flavor goes through it more. You will need to refrigerate it regardless to keep it from spoiling, but some people like to eat it while it’s fresh and hot. I enjoy mine cold.

To me, a barbeque is not one without potato salad. I have discovered I also enjoy the Amish potato salad and if I don’t have time to make my own, I will buy a container of it from Publix, but I still like my homemade the best.


The neat thing is you can make the potato salad to suit your tastes by putting in or leaving out what you please. If you’ve never tried a southern barbeque, you might find you like it. However, my husband still doesn’t eat potato salad and will put no sauce on his meat. He wants it just plain grilled. We used to enjoy this potato-salad recipe for family gatherings of any type. It goes well with many dishes besides barbecue. Fried chicken and potato salad is a given. It goes well with beef stew. For the Fourth of July, we always had barbeque and potato salad. Enjoy. 


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

Alice held the cold metal key in her palm.  She'd keep it on her until her beloved returned.  He didn't have to tell her to visit and remember him.  Memories fought each other in her mind.  Visions of them on picnics, at family barbecues, fishing in the great Mississippi River that ran behind their homes.  He didn't have to tell her to remember.  How could she ever forget?

Lonnie was the love of Alice's life but there was a war going on and he had decided to defend the South.  He promised her that it would be a short war and over in no time, then they could announce their engagement, be married and love forever in the home he had built for her.  'Oh please let that be true, she prayed.'

To pass the time and be of help Alice worked in the hospital that housed the southern boys who were wounded.  She became the light in the eyes of some of the patients giving them hope and encouraging them to hang on and get well so they can go home to their own families.  Then came a Union Colonel named Bert Russell with his own wounded and needing a place for them to be care for.

As Alice got to know Colonel Russell, she couldn't help but feel a slight tingle in her heart but how could that be when she loved Lonnie.  So when Lonnie shows up in the hospital in a Union uniform instead of a Rebel, Alice found her whole life about to change.

This is a beautiful love story as well as a story in history.  The feelings Lonnie had for Alice as well as the feelings Bert developed for her had me cheering both on and wanting more.  The outcome will leave you wanting more too.


The Vanishing Mind of Ruth Swerdloff - Fran Lewis, Author

1:02 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Baked Parmesan Chicken
(Mom's Favorite)

2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 8 ounces each)
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup panko or dried coarse baguette breadcrumbs
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Mix the mustard, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cayenne in a medium bowl. Add the chicken breasts and turn to coat completely; set aside.
In a medium shallow bowl, combine the parmesan and panko. Dredge the chicken pieces in the panko mixture, coating evenly and heavily, and pressing the coating into the meat.

Put the chicken on a rack set over a baking sheet, spray with a quick burst of cooking spray and put the sheet in the middle of the oven. Bake until the chicken is golden and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting or serving.

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

How do you say goodbye when you are still here?  How do you say goodbye before your thoughts, desires, and wishes disappear from your mind?  What happens when all that's left of you is a human shell?  Everyone invites guests to their homes for dinner, or just to talk.  But, some guests overstay their welcome and others are just plain annoying.  Uninvited guests can be escorted out and asked to leave, hopefully never to return.  One uninvited guest mad its way into my mother's mind and refused to leave.

I've known people who have family members that have literally lost their minds.  Or better yet, lost everything stored within their minds.  They forget where they are, where they are going, who they are and who the strangers that keep showing up might be.  They forget to eat or can't remember if they did eat.  They forget the names of their favorite food and even their own children.  As the days go by they lose more and more of what took years to fill their minds.  Eventually that full mind is empty and hollow.  What causes this?  You've probably already answered that question with that terrible disease called Alzheimer.

I've personally never been exposed to Alzheimer but after reading The Vanishing Mind I feel that has changed.  The way the Author combined the experience as a caregivers/family member and the journals written by her mother when her mind was still there enough to write, you can't help but feel as if you're a part of the family or at least a close friend.  The insight I found through this book has me watching my own loved ones more closely with the possible chance that they may show some of these signs.  I'm also watching myself too.

Author Fran Lewis goes one step further in helping those who are faced with this dreadful disease.  She has included tips for the caregivers stressing on how to speak in a way that may be a little easier for them to understand; how to help them with simple things like eating, dressing and bathing;  how to find activities that they may understand and enjoy;  and she even gives you a list of agencies that can be beneficial in helping you with their care, understanding their problems and most important - how to deal with your own feelings.

This is a book that I recommend to everyone - young and old.  It might just be the book that will help you better cope with those you love who just might experience this heart breaking disease called Alzheimer.

Girl With Pencil, Drawing - Linda Maria Frank, Author

1:45 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Irma’s Apple Cake
(An Annie Favorite)

4 to 5 apples, peeled and sliced
5 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
Combine and set aside.

In another bowl, hand mix the following:
3 Cups unsifted flour
2 1/3 Cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 Cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 Cup Orange Juice
8 oz. can walnuts
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda


Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a Bundt Pan.  Alternate batter and apples in pan, starting with batter.
Bake 1 1/2 hrs.


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

He busied himself rummaging through the kitchen drawers, two sets of panic-stricken eyes following his every move.  He found some emergency candles and went into the small dinette adjoining the kitchen.  He lit them, let the was drip onto some paper plates from the counter and affixed the candles to the plates.  There were six candles in all.  Was he into satanic rituals?  He came back into the kitchen and turned on all the gas jets at the range and the oven, leaving its door ajar.  He blow out the flames, letting the gas escape freely.  "Bye, bye, ladies."  He hurried out the back door locking it behind him.

When I was a young girl I loved reading the Nancy Drew mysteries and to this day I still enjoy the style and mysteries of the young 'detective' but you can only read them so many times before you know them by heart.  Well... Author Linda Maria Frank has brought my young memories back.  Annie Tillery is today's Nancy Drew!  In fact, she is great at getting herself into trouble but working it out in a fashion that would make Nancy proud.  In Girl With Pencil, Drawing Annie goes to art school and finds that her instructor/teacher is mixed up in a murder that Annie doesn't believe she committed.  Can she prove her innocence without getting both of them killed?  What do you think?

This the second book in the Annie Tillery Mystery Series.  I've read the first, loved it and couldn't see how it could get any better.   Well it does.  I'm now looking forward to reading the third book to see what Nancy, oh excuse me, Annie gets into and how she gets through it.

Dead Burn - Emily Stone Series - Jennifer Chase, Author

12:47 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Anytime Protein Blast Smoothie
(Emily's Favorite Energy Drink)

Ingredients:
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup milk (or almond or soy milk)
¾ cup strawberries (or any preferred berry)
½ banana
2 handfuls spinach (or kale leaves)
1 Tbsp. peanut butter (or almond butter)
1 tsp. honey
 
Prep:
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more milk for a thinner smoothie, or less for a thicker smoothie. (Makes 1 serving)
 
Note: This is a great morning boost or a replacement meal. Use organic whenever possible.


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

The man pushed his hands deep into his coat pockets, nervously pressing the thumbs against the forefingers, each time with more force, staying in the moment, wanting to experience life dwindling from another person, but not just any person - a sinner.  The screaming had stopped... The burning building captured the man's soul and deep seeded emotions with the hypnotizing and inviting spirits.  It amazed him each time with a wondrous performance.  A sin repaid.  The arsonist patiently waited for a hidden message to exit from the fire to commend him on his sacrifices of righteousness, but it never did... The deeds piled up, and once he reached the appointed number, the words would push him to the next level...

Emily Stone has finished a energy straining rescue she knows there is no time for rest.  Apparently there is a serial killer that is targeting those who have escaped justice and those who helped them.  And his mode of revenge is death by fire.

With each death, the clues evade the police as well as Emily.  With each fire there is only one specific victim in the carefully executed fires.  Could this be a different kind of serial killer?  As the bodies increase the case gets colder and colder leading Emily and her team in directions that fail to find a connection.

This is my 4th Emily Stone Series book and I have to say that as one ends I tell myself that the next one simply couldn't be better, but I'm wrong - it is.  This series has me turning pages, biting my nails and sitting on the edge of my chair.  Author Jennifer Chase just gets better with every book.  I would love to see these books made into a series of movies!

Phantasms in the Infirmary - Ram and Julie Gulrajani, Authors

5:16 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Spinach Pie

Wash the spinach after removing the thick white stalks.  Roll up the leaves and cut very fine, place in a bowl and add salt.  Pour sufficient boiling water to cover and then squeeze out the water.  Now take 3 bunches of spinach, 3 beaten eggs, two Tbsp. of grated cheese, salt, pepper, a little garlic and a little oil.  Line a deep Pyrex dish with a pie crust and fill with the spinach mixed with all the other ingredients.  Make two wells and drop 2 eggs very carefully.  Cover with more crust, brush over with milk and bake for 2 hrs.



Phantasms in the Infirmary - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Not so long ago I took a friend to the hospital for an endoscopy.  In the past this was done at one of the smaller facilities but my friend had changed doctors and he only did the procedure at the hospital.  As we boarded the elevator I noticed that the nurse pushed the button for us to go down, not up.  OK, there are a lot of floors that I've never been on in this hospital and with all the new construction we are probably just going to another above ground floor in the back.  As we stepped off the elevator and started walking down the hall I started feeling closed in.  I felt like I was walking into air that was really thick with something but I had no idea what.  I sat by my friend's bed as they prepared him for the procedure and since there was only a curtain between us and the next patient I could hear his conversation with one of the nurses.  He was telling her that he was born in this hospital 80 years ago.  She proceeded to tell him that we were in the oldest part of the hospital in the basement which at one time was actually the morgue.  I still didn't make the connection between my feelings and the location until I started reading Phantasms in the Infirmary.

Even though Authors Ram and Julie Gulrajani created a single hospital for the events to take place, they are still stories from several hospitals that have been passed on by hospital workers over the years.  Both Authors work in the medical field which brings them in contact with those who have experienced the events as well as those who have heard the stories.  Many of the hospitals have long histories of being everything from asylums, orphanages, workhouses, convents and monasteries in their past.  They also all have one thing in common - death.  Some even carried the ghosts of these deaths into the halls of the modern hospitals.

Is this what I was feeling while in the basement/old morgue of the hospital I was in?  After reading this book of ghosts from the past I'm pretty sure that was exactly what I felt.  Read Phantasms in the Infirmary for yourself and see if you agree.

Mixed Messages (A Malone Mystery Book 1) -

10:52 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves


"Dottie's Barbecue"

1 lb. ground beef
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tblsp. sugar
1 tblsp. dried mustard
1 tblsp. vinegar
1 tsp. salt
8 oz. ketchup
Brown meat, add onion and pepper. Combine all remaining ingredients. Add to meat. Cover and simmer for 1 hour

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

She went directly to her grandmother's grave and stooped down to clear away the debris that covered the inscription on the tombstone.  She heard a noise behind her that sounded like light footsteps making their way through the dried leaves and twigs... But there was no one there.  It's probably your imagination, she said out loud but, when the sun went behind a cloud, she shivered.  Then, she heard the noise again... All of a sudden, a black cat sprang from the woods... As she turned back toward her grandmother's grave, she noticed a mound of freshly dug earth a few feet away.  Curious, she went over and looked down.  Her eyes opened wide and her hands flew to her mouth to stifle a scream.  There, printed in bold black paint on a large rock were the words, "FUTURE HOME OF ANN KERN."

Ann is a wife and mother of two beautiful children.  Most of her married life has been spent being a stay at home mother but now her husband David has decided that she should get a job.  He said he was tired of trying to support the family by himself.  The stress was getting to him and he was staying out late and drinking heavily.  His mother Louise takes her only living son's side and blames everything that he is going through, including the drinking, on Ann.  She agrees that Ann needs to earn her part of the income and even puts in a good word with Father Andrew from their church who is looking for a part-time assistant.

Father Andrew finds Ann very suitable for the position but also finds out who she really is.  He actually has a past with her family.  A bad past and this just might be his chance to get the revenge from years past.

You can't help but feel the love yet anger, sorrow, and pain that goes through Ann as she tries to be a good wife and mother.  But it seems that the harder she tries she can't help but watch everything slip away from her.  This story is so well written and so real that I found myself comparing it to people I knew in my own life.  I'm now looking forward to reading the next book in this series titled Unfinished Business.