Dead Man Ohio - T. M. Simmons, Author

2:28 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves

Granny's Bread Pudding with
Jack Daniel's Whiskey Sauce

Ingredients for Bread Pudding:

2-1/2 cups stale French bread, cut in cubes
1-1/2 cups whole milk
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup raisins
1 cup coconut
1 cup pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8X12 glass baking dish with olive oil cooking spray and set aside.

Place bread cubes and milk in a bowl. Squeeze the milk into the bread very well and let set for at least 10 minutes.

Using an electric mixer on high, beat eggs with sugar in another bowl until thick. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, raisins, coconut and pecan pieces. Add to the soaked bread crumbs and stir.

Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until firm. Check with a knife inserted in the middle. If it comes out clean, the pudding is done. Let cool in the dish.

Jack Daniel's Whiskey Sauce:

½ cup brown sugar
½ cup Half and Half
1 stick butter (real butter, not margarine)
½ cup Jack Daniel's Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey
Combine the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Stir constantly over low heat until mixture reaches a low rolling boil. Pour a generous amount over the individual servings of bread pudding. Serve hot.



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

The thing in front of us drew himself up and glared at me.  I could tell it was male - or at least projected a male appearance.  Bare skin gleamed in the overhead light as though he'd smeared himself with bear grease, and there were no breasts other than the small brown nipples on his muscular chest.  The rest of his body rivaled pictures I'd seen of men with toned but not over-blown bodies.  He exuded maleness, even beneath his outlandish facade.  Still, no amount of projected masculinity could overcome my senses.  Mr. Muscles had been dead for a long while.

Yet, the image was a ghost, spirit or whatever you want to call him.  And as it turned out, he wasn't the only one lingering around Alice's Aunt Twila's home and that of her neighbors.  Turns out that this spirit was called Free Eagle and he had been dead for centuries.

Alice had been called by her ex-husband to 'please' come to Ohio to see if she could help out her Aunt Twila.  Apparently there was a spirit that had been causing her trouble and she didn't seem to be able to gain control over it.  That was all it took for Alice and her neighbor and friend Granny to jump into the car and make the trip from Texas to Ohio.  And it didn't take long for Alice to discover that there was more than one ghost to be dealt with.

Then there are the Ohio Grassmen.  Story goes that they live in the area, are covered with grass and stand 8 - 10 feet tall.  They are big!  Just like the 'thing' that was seen depositing a body on Twila's property the night Alice and Granny showed up.  Turns out that he had been murdered and he refused to leave until he found the person who killed him.

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that Alice and Aunt Twila are 'ghost hunters.'

I think I've read everything paranormal this author has written and I can't get enough.  Be it her series with Alice and Twila or her true Ghost Hunting Diaries, I have a hard time putting them down.  This author is addictive and I hope I'll have another fix coming my way from her soon.

Avenue of the Dead - Brian L. Porter, Author

2:51 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



White Chicken Chili
(A Brian Special)


3 15 ounce cans Great Northern, pinto, or cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 1/2  cups chopped red, green, and/or yellow sweet peppers (2 medium)
1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
2 fresh jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
3 1/2 cups chicken broth 
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
Broken tortilla chips (optional)



1.  In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker combine drained beans, chicken, sweet peppers, onion, jalapeno peppers, cumin, garlic, salt, and oregano. Pour broth over mixture in cooker.
2.  Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
3.  If desired, top each serving with cheese and/or tortilla chips.

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

The remaining hours of that first day of the investigation proved as frustrating as they did fruitless for the two detectives.  Little progress was made by any of those involved in the investigation.  A painstaking search of the area surrounding the site of the discovery of the body had revealed no physical or trace evidence whatsoever.  They were nowhere nearer to identifying the unfortunate victim, and Doctor Hernandez had telephoned Tamayo to inform him that the autopsy results wouldn't be available until the following day.

Mexican Police Captain Juan Morales decided to take a vacation after the death of his brother Father Rodrigo who had spent his last years in the sanctuary of the seminary.  Rodrigo had been a Priest who fell from the bell tower and never recovered mentally nor physically.  Juan's vacation came to a halt when his old time buddy Tamayo received a call informing him that a body had been found at the ancient ruins of the city of Teotihuacan.  With Juan tagging along, Tamayo finds himself standing on the Avenue of the Dead looking at the horrific sight of a corpse whose chest cavity shows evidence that the man's heart is missing.  Now the search is on to find the identity of the man as well as his killer before he kills again.  As Morales finds himself being drawn ever closer to the beautiful archaeologist Sophia, developments in the case lead the two of them into grave danger as the killer senses an opportunity for another outlet for his (or her) escalating bloodlust."

As I read the story about the Priest Rodrigo whose mind kept seeing the devil I couldn't but feel that even after his death, there had to be a connection to the body with the missing heart.  Then another body turned up making me truly believe there was a connection.  Could this be the Priest coming back?  Could it be that the devil has decided to visit yet another human?  Or is this the doings of a truly sick person on their own?  I will tell you this, I stayed on the edge of my bed the whole time I read this book.  It really grabs at your heart!

Christmas in the Smokies - B. J. Robinson, Author

11:32 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Alli's Famous Louisiana Cornbread Dressing
(the author's mother-in-law's recipe)


5 leg quarters of chicken
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 yellow onion
1 bunch of green onions
2 bell peppers
1 stick of celery
Cornbread mix or homemade cornbread (not the sweet kind)
Garlic powder, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, sage (all to taste)

Boil the chicken, debone.  Cook down seasonings together until tender.  You can smother or boil.  Mix seasonings with soups.  Bake cornbread in oven until done.  Crumble cornbread.  Mix all ingredients together.  Bake 30 minutes uncovered in a 400 degree oven.


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


Christmas music softly played as Sierra Faith Lawson peered out the window of the Smokey Mountain, Tennessee cabin.  Tears cascaded down her cheeks like a waterfall.  The sad Christmas songs pierced her heart and broke it anew with each thought of her lost love and the trail of tears that'd caused her to flee to the mountains seeking the very serenity that now make her heart ache because she knew she'd spend this holiday season single with no love in sight. 


After her fiance postponed their June wedding, Sierra returned his ring and left New Orleans where she had been raised after the death of her parents.  All of her dreams had been crushed with no happiness in view. 


After moving into her family cabin deep in the Smokie Mountains, Sierra had taken a job as a waitress.  Her quiet, lonely life was interrupted with the meeting of a park ranger named Landon Jordan.  Could God be giving her a second chance at happiness?  It appears so until her old fiance Gillman finds his way back into her life.



This is such a beautiful story of love lost and love found with a beautiful Christmas story woven in.  It's a novella that comes with the warmth and beauty of love that this author is known for putting on paper.  

A Millionaire's Christmas - Brian L. Porter, Author

11:19 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Strawberry Twinkie Cake
(Perfect for the holidays)

1 box Twinkies (or any cream filled snack cakes)
1 box vanilla instant pudding mix
2 (10 oz. each) boxes sweetened strawberries
8 oz. Cool Whip

Layer in a casserole dish in the following manner.  Twinkies (cut in half lengthwise) on bottom, pudding (follow package directions to make), strawberries and cool whip.  This is a pretty dish and oh so delicious!




A Millionaire's Christmas - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Never the most gregarious of men, the shipping magnate Aristedes Miklos found himself further removed from everyday life as his empire grew.  He had few friends and no other family to divert his attention from work, and Aristedes became something of a recluse.  By the time his illness struck him, Bob Garrett had been the only real friend he'd made in the previous twenty years.  He had worked tirelessly at building his fleet and his bank balance, and though his employees respected and revered him as a good man to work for, he would never have considered any of them as anything more than what they were.

Aristedes has found himself in a hospital room all alone.  He has a brain tumor that is aggressive and inoperable.  He is dying.  As his memory begins to fade he becomes aware of his past life.  With his life holding no future, what will happen to his fortune that he spent his life to develop?  He simply has no one!

Then he meets Dr. Elijah.  Elijah knows Aristedes is dying and introduces him to a young boy named Christos Karamanlis who is also dying of cancer.  But, with just a little help from Aristedes, Christos' family could pay for the treatments needed to keep him alive.  Elijah also has the idea that more money could be given to help other children who need medical help.  Well, Aristedes didn't create his fortune by falling for cons and decided to do a little checking on Dr. Elijah before handing over any money.  But first he needed some sleep.

So, is it a con by Elijah or is he and the boy for real.  That my friend you'll have to find out by reading this Christmas story that has a real twist.  You won't regret it.


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.