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.

Dead Game - Jennifer Chase, Author

2:02 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



California Style Mango Guacamole

3 medium ripe avocados
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
2 limes, juiced
2 tbsp. minced red onion
¼ cup red bell pepper, diced
½ small habanero pepper (with or without spicy seeds), minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
 
Cut and scoop avocado flesh into a bowl. Mash the avocados with salt, pepper, and lime juice. Stir in cilantro, onions, garlic, habanero, mango, and red bell pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning to taste.
 
Serve as a dip with chips, crackers, or French bread. It’s a fantastic accompaniment for chicken or fish.
 
Note: You can adjust the heat of the habanero by taking out the seeds, or omit habanero all together.



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

Five flat screen computers sat on a table in a semicircle configuration, each with a video playing.  Upon closer inspection, all computers had the same video performing only at different moments in the action sequence.  They kept playing through on an endless loop.  The sound was muted, but the violence was clearly evident.  It was a man being methodically strangled to death earlier in the evening.  Every detail of his extreme anguish, facial muscle twitches, and lack of oxygen was forever imprinted on the video to relive over and over again.  The intense satisfaction of watching the five videos made every nerve tingle with delicious gratification for the man that watched.  He was captivated by his clever use of direction as he savored every moment of the performance.  He was the most ingenious movie director of all time.  No one could compare to him.... It was death.  It was death by his direction.  He was the future.

There is a serial killer stalking the Santa Clare area with no indication of it stopping anytime soon.  The police haven't a clue.  Each victim is found with a device that slowly tightens around their neck ending in a painful death by strangulation.  Santa Clair Detective Duncan is heading up the investigation with very little to go on.  That is until the death of a retired policeman is classified as an accident.  After a bit of investigating on his part he finds a connection between the victims.  They all subscribe to a computer spy game called EagleEye which the dead officer has connections to.

Emily and Rick are still on the hunt for those who prey on children.  After their last rescue Rick talked Emily into taking a break to give her body and mind to mend.  Then the nephew of a friend came to him announcing the death of his uncle who was also Rick's friend.  Rick and Emily both agreed to jump right into the case and find the killer.  They didn't know the dangers they were stepping into.  They would soon find themselves right in the middle of the Dead Game Serial Killer.

I allowed myself a week to read this book.  Didn't take half that time.  I simply couldn't put it down.  The tension of the chase, the pain felt by the victims, the fear of loss that went between Emily and Rick kept me on the edge throughout the whole book.  This book could easily go to Criminal Minds for a show or become a movie of its own.

The Deepest Dark - Joan Hall Hovey, Author

6:08 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Joan Hall Hovey's Dark and Stormy
  Date Squares

1 pkg. pitted dates
1 1/2 cups of orange juice
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups of rolled oats
1/3 cup water

In a pan, cook dates together with orange juice, 1/3 cup brown sugar and water.  Set aside.
Cream butter with remaining 2/3 cup of brown sugar.  Stir in flour, and add oats.  Mix until crumbly.  (It's easiest if you use your fingers.)  Press half of the mixture into the bottom of a lightly buttered 9" glass dish.  Spread date filling over crust.  Lightly press remaining mixture on top.  Bake in a 350 degree oven 25-30 minutes ( until light brown).  Makes 64 1" squares.



The Deepest Dark - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish - (I couldn't put this book down!)

She had started for the kitchen when she stopped in the doorway between the living room and kitchen, thinking she'd heard a noise outside.  She listened.  Heard it again.  A squeaking of the porch swing chain?...Hearing nothing further, but still wearing the same uneasy frown on her face, she continued on to the kitchen.  She was reaching into the drawer for a knife to cut the pie with when she heard the noise again.  She looked in the direction of the sound and that's when she saw the grinning face in the window.  Her heart lurched painfully but before she could cry out, something crashed against the back door.  It burst open and three men strode into her kitchen, big as life.  Three men she had never seen before.

Ethel and Hartley have raised their daughter and still lived in their country home where neighbors were not a walk away but a drive away.  In their 80's they had grown use to their solitude so when their uninvited visitors bust through their door they are at a total loss.

Abby used the facilities, washed her hands and splashed warm water on her face, patting it dry with rough brown paper.  When she came back out of the washroom, the woman was behind the counter. "Help yourself to the coffee, dear," she said.  "Freshly made."... "Thanks.  I needed that."  "You're welcome.  Don't know about you, but this rain is getting me down.  Awful about those three escapees, isn't it?"

Abby is on her way to the lake cabin her husband had bought for their secret get-away.  After the disasters she had faced just a few months earlier she wasn't sure of her real reason for going there.  She needed time away from everyone but with the bottle of pills in her purse, along with her depression, she just might make this her final resting place.

This book is one for the movies.  As the author brings the Ethel and Hartley, Abby, and the three men together it becomes a book that I had hard time putting down.  I actually read it in just three nights.  I hurt for Abby and her previous problems.  I felt for Ethel and Hartley as they are subdued by the three men.  I feared the three men as they prompted fear on everyone that came into contact with them.  But I learn something from reading this book.  There have been times that I go to the mountains alone just for the quiet.  As with Abby's lake cabin, my favorite place had no telephones and no TV... just peace and quiet.  Never again will I visit my favorite cabin without a phone!

So, if you want a real page turning, grip the edge of the chair and leave the lights burning read, you will surely have it with The Deepest Dark.




After Armageddon - Brian L. Porter, Author

11:39 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Conglomerate Salad
(Due to the mixture of stories this salad is perfect for this book)

1 bag boil in the bag brown rice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup light Caesar salad dressing
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup chicken, cooked and diced
1 can (11 oz.) Mexican-style corn, drained
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Spinach leaves (optional)

Prepare rice according to package.  In a large bowl, combine Dijon mustard and Caesar salad dressing.  Toss in rice, beans, chicken, corn and green onions.  Chill or serve at room temperature.  Garnish with spinach leaves, if desired. 


Suggestion - Serve in large tomato with pulp and seeds removed.

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

Imagine a world devastated by the unthinkable, a global war enveloping almost every nation on Earth.  Imagine the death, the disease and the wholesale slaughter of million upon million of our fellow beings.  This, then, is the post-apocalyptic setting for After Armageddon, as one solitary scribe attempts to set out in words, for posterity, the results of the terrible religious wars which rose from the intolerance and ignorance of fanatics from all sides of the religious spectrum, at some time in a future we have yet to meet.  Is this a portent of what may be yet to come, or a timely warning for mankind?

After Armageddon is just one of the short stories included in this book but I must say that due to the world as it is today it was one that hit home most.  It scared the heck out of me because it is so possibly true.  So if you don't read any of the other stories within this book's pages, make sure you read the 2nd story in the book titled After Armageddon.

The other stories within this book are at times dark as well as entertaining.  I found that I had to read at least one each night and when time permitted two.  The story 'The Devil You Know' takes place in Mexico after the death of a priest.  It will take you into the depths of crime as well as archaeological events in history.  You will follow a young lady as she is kidnapped  where the kidnapper finds out he made a really big mistake.  And then there is the story of a woman and her husband as they attend the 'festival'.  Will they enjoy it or will they find themselves lost forever?  You'll also go back in time to the year 1816 where you'll meet James who loves dead things.

So, if you enjoy a good scary story, this book is for you but be careful when you read them at night or you might be like me... hearing noises that I know aren't there.