Hale Mary - C. M. Albrecht, Author

11:08 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves

Curried Egg Appetizer
(ala Dorothy Sale)

Gently boil one dozen large eggs for 14 minutes.

Immediately place in cold water, the colder the better. Gently begin tapping each egg all around until the shell begins to come apart and gently peel, placing the peeled eggs back in cold water.
After eggs are completely cool, carefully cut in half lengthwise and remove the yolk to a bowl.

When all the yolks have been placed into the bowl, add a bit of mustard (I prefer dry, but that's just an opinion), a bit of salt and pepper to taste and a goodly portion of curry powder. Mix well with a fork and then, either with a small pastry bag or spoon, place a nice portion of curried yolk on each egg half. If you have empty halves left over, enjoy them before someone else gets them.

Arrange the prepared curried eggs on an egg server, or lacking that, take a plate of suitable size and arrange them on a bed of lettuce.

Your guests will love them. Bon appétit.

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

Inside the guest bedroom, Mary and Gracie lay back on the twin beds, watching a little TV as they passed a fat joint back and forth between them, slowly filling the room with smoke.  Gracie got up and opened the window all the way.  "Have to keep this on the down low," she said, giggling.  "We don't want your son to be shutting us down."  "No way," Mary agreed.  She got up off the bed and fumbled in the pockets of a heavy bathrobe, bringing out half a pint of whiskey.  "We can always depend on Maudie."  She held up the bottle in a sot of pre-toast.  "Here,"  she said with a wide smile.  "let's drink to better days ahead."

Meet the characters:
"Hail" Mary Drummond married to Police Detective "Bulldog" Drummond, recently deceased.
Cray "Crayfish" Drummond - Son of Mary and Bulldog - recently fired from his job and looking for work.
Estelle - Daughter of Mary and Bulldog - following her father's footsteps she has become a Police Officer.
Grace "Gracie" Prevost - one of two best friends of Mary since childhood, widowed, living in Arizona.
Maude "Maudie" Greene  - Mary's other best friend since childhood, babysits for income but the majority of her money comes from selling pot.
Celie Drummond - Cray's wife; Brooke Drummond - his daughter; and Harry Drummond  his son.
And then there is Rowlf - a hundred forty-eight pound yellow/tan, huge hound dog that spends his days and night laying in front of the door sleeping - and he doesn't move when the door needs to be opened.

Did I mention that the ladies Mary, Gracie, and Maudie are senior citizens?  Well, they are and the antics they get into has kept me laughing throughout the whole book.  They're whiskey drinking, pot smoking women who are out to bring back their good old days and I think they succeeded and I enjoyed riding along with them.  You gotta read this book if you want a fun filled laugh.

A Ton of Gold

10:23 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves

A Special Pumpkin Dessert
(A James R. Callan Specialty)

Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with wax paper. then coat the wax paper with a thin coat of Pam.

In your mixer, combine
2  15 ounce cans of pumpkin
12 ounces of evaporated milk
1 cup of sugar

Beat in
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Pour this into the baking pan.  Sprinkle an

18 ounce yellow cake mix over the top of the pumpkin mix in the baking pan.  
1 cup of melted butter over the cake mix.
Top this off with
1  ⅟₂  cups of chopped pecans.

Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack.  After cool, invert onto a serving platter, and carefully remove the wax paper.

In a mixing bowl, beat -
a softened  8 ounce package of cream cheese
1 ⅟₂  cups of confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
until smooth.  Fold in
12 ounces of frozen whipped topping (thaw first).  
Carefully frost the dessert.
Store in the refrigerator.

This serves  about 16 people.  

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

The men were struggling with the wagon, its large wheels barely moving.  "Come on, Cookie.  Let's give 'em a hand."  The cook, well over two hundred fifty pounds, and Rip added their muscle to the task.  Now, with all eight men straining, the wagon wheels turned a bit faster.  It reached the point where the ground began to slope toward the cliff and the wagon began to move on its own, slowly picking up speed.  The men gave a last push, then straightened up to watch the wagon tumble off the cliff.  It splashed into the water sending a ripple all the way across the narrow lake.  In only seconds, the wagon and its heavy cargo (a ton of gold) sank out of sight.  

This took place in 1834.  Was it the truth or just a folklore?

Crystal Moore works for IRS - Intelligent Retrieval Systems.  The program she designed will allow the state police to enter descriptions of vehicles, partial plate numbers and even makes and colors to narrow down the possible identification of a vehicle they may be searching for.  Her seventy-six year old grandmother lives in Wooden Nickle, Texas in a house she and Crystal's grandfather built in the middle of 50 acres.  So, when she gets a call telling her that her 'Nana' had been in an accident she left Dallas and went straight to her aid.  Her Nana wasn't hurt badly but told Crystal that this was the 2nd attempt on her life.  Of course Crystal had doubts, that is until the 3rd attempt occurred and a body was found.  Why would anyone want to harm a little old lady that never hurt anyone?

The Author, James R. Callan, has written a book that I simply loved!  I actually read the full book in 3 nights, staying up a bit late just to read 'a little more.'  He ties the events from 1834, the attempts on Nana's life, the retrieval program and some of its employees into a story that had me wanting more.  A Ton of Gold - Crystal Moore Suspense is book one.  I'm now looking forward to book two which is now out and titled A Silver Medallion.  Can't wait!  If you like a good light-heart mystery with a touch of humor, don't miss this series.  I'm glad I didn't.

The Tourist Killer - F. C. (Chip) Etier, Author

12:43 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves

Home Made Ice Cream
(My recipe is for home made ice cream and includes my mother's "secret" ingredient, whipped cream. 'Chip')

Ingredients (makes 2 quarts)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash nutmeg
2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

Combine ingredients (except for the whipping cream) into a boiler and warm on stove top.
Pour into 2-quart churn container.
Whip 2 cups heavy cream (DO NOT use non-dairy whipped topping). 
Fold in whipped cream. 
Add paddles and start cranking!

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

Only the best.  How many times had the assigner used that term in their numerous but brief conversations? She worked hard not to stand out in a crowd.  Hell, I'm a grandmother who could make a longshoreman blush, she would say of herself. Her efforts to blend in were assisted by her genes.  At five-five, medium build, light brown hair, brown eyes and a preference for conservative attire, she could disappear in a crowd in the blink of an eye. After thirty years and all of her previous assignments, it was hard to surprise her, yet her next mark was a true surprise.

Claudia Barry is a hired hit 'woman.'  It's something she has been doing for most of her life, starting with the person who was responsible for the death of her father.  Do these 'kills' bother her?  Not really.  After researching each kill, she has always found that the target actually deserves to be taken out of society.  She sees herself as a Paladin or possibly even a modern day Joan of Arc.

The Tourist Killer took me by surprise.  The more I read the more I actually understood what is really going on in the world today, especially in the area of politics.  With every group of people introduced I couldn't help but think 'super pac.'  They are the people that truly dictate what goes on in all fields of our lives.  They control everything from the people we elect, to the medical research fields, the insurance and banking industries, and even the sports we watch. This book The Tourist Killer put this into a prospective I've never considered.  It was an eye opener.  But that wasn't all.  It was also a page turner full of suspense as Claudia prepares for her next hit and you can bet I’ll be waiting to read the book that follows – The Presidents Club.  So, if you too enjoy a book full of surprises and suspense, you don’t miss this one.

Death on the Delaware - Lawrence Johnson, Sr., Author

1:11 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves

Bison Burgers
(One of Alex's Favorite Dishes)

1 lb      Bison meat (ground)
¼ lb     Beef (ground)
1          Egg (med to large)
1 tbsp   Garlic powder
1 tbsp  Onion powder
1 tsp    Pepper
1 cups  Vegetable or Canola oil

Combine all ingredients except oil in a large bowl.  Mix thoroughly. Form into burgers.  Preheat oil in medium to large frying pan.  Cook Bison burgers over medium heat until brown about 6 -8 minutes per side.

Tip #1
Covering pan during last few minutes will trap heat and steam that will help cook the center of the burgers.

Tip #2
Do not poke or jab burgers with shape objects.  This will cause the juices to run and dry out your meat.

Tip #3
Using Canola oil in place of vegetable oil will help lower your cholesterol.

Add salt if desired. 

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

At 6:00 a.m. she downed her gray knitted cap and headed outdoors to take her poodle Gladys for her daily walk alongside the Delaware River.  The gray-haired retiree had no idea that she would soon feel another chill, one that she would never forget.  As she walked along the frozen dirt path, Gladys began to bark.  Mrs. Ferguson looked in the same direction as the little black dog.  Dawn was breaking.  It was difficult to see.  She squinted as she peered toward the water.  Gladys tugged on her leash causing her master to leave the path and tread closer to the river.

Mrs. Ferguson caught a glimpse of something floating in the murky water.  An old rotten log she thought.  The elderly woman's curiosity had gotten the better of her.  She inched closer to get a better look.  Seconds later Mrs. Ferguson screamed so loud she could have woke up the dead.  Well, almost.

The body Mrs. Ferguson found turned out to be a a congressman.  A womanizing congressman.  So with this being said, the list of possible murderers was rather long.  As Alex Steele begins his list of suspects, he finds that he must include his girlfriend's sister Naomi.

Normally when I read a book I bookmark many pages in search of one that will serve as my opening as well as help me remember the characters and plot.  I had a hard time doing that with Death on the Delaware.  I found myself forgetting to bookmark because I was too busy turning to the next page.  I simply didn't have time for notes.  I just wanted to keep reading.

This is a short story book and I have a feeling you too will start at the beginning and not put it down until you reach the end.  A very enjoyable read.

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.