Dead Man Haunts - T. M.Simmons, Author

1:48 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Recipe Dead Man Haunt 
Aunt 'Cille's Deviled Eggs
 
We do a lot of barbequing in Texas, and one of our family's (and Alice's) favorite side dishes is deviled eggs. My Aunt Lucille showed me how to make scrumptious deviled eggs once when I visited. 

1 dozen eggs
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sweet relish
2 tablespoons Miracle Whip Salad Dressing (Fat Free)
Parsley

Cover eggs with water and bring to a boil.
Boil for ten minutes.
Cool, shell and halve the eggs.

(Hint: Fresh eggs are harder to peel; eggs a little older peel easier. Also, I drain the hot water off and then dump some ice cubes on the eggs to help cool them quicker. Seems they peel lots better. I also put the drain in the sink and crack them, then peel them under a small stream of cold water.)

Scoop out the yellows.
Place the whites on  your egg plate.
Add in order and mix in each time:
Salt
Pepper
Vinegar
Relish
Miracle Whip

Spoon back into the whites.
Garnish with a few shakes of parsley.
Stick in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Yum! Especially on a hot Texas day.


Dead Man Haunt – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
 
Twila and I see ghosts.  We talk to ghosts.  We actually hunt ghosts and enjoy the heck out of our quests.  We love to prowl old buildings and graveyards, day and night, study the history of them, and occasionally chat with the long-passed occupants of both the buildings and graves.  Yet out of the dozens of gone-by souls we chat with, very few ever keep our attention past that one and only conversation.  Patrick, however, a ghost I met recently, had intrigued us into this upcoming adventure, the adventure Jack was so adamantly opposed to.  I’d met Patrick when I joined a few local ghost hunters to investigate the historic, scheduled-for-demolition Springs Hotel in the tiny West Texas town of Mineral Springs.  He stepped out of the shower in the men’s dressing room, six foot of blond nakedness, dribbles of water crawling down his tanned muscles, a white towel draped around his neck.  No doubt in my mind he was a ghost, yet what a gorgeous ghost.  Patrick winked at me – he could see me every bit as well as I could him.  Then he disappointed me greatly when he faded back into his own dimension.  I didn’t even get a chance to see if he’d show up in a photograph, because I was too rapt to remember the digital camera hanging around my neck.

 

Alice is a writer by occupation and resides in a lakeside cabin in Six Gun, Texas along with several cats and a dog and a mixture of ghosts who would rather stay as they are than to go into the light to the other side.  Her closest neighbor Granny and her aunt Twila both indulge in Alice’s taste for the spirit side of life, or should I say death.  Oh yeah, I can’t leave out the 4 legged ghost hunters, Trucker the dog and Miss Molly the cat who accompany the 3 on all of their ghost hunting trips.  And I almost forgot Jack, Alice’s ex-husband who is a New Orleans detective who seems to be drug into all of Alice, Twila and Granny’s tangles with the ghosts as well as the non-ghosts.  Jack just happens to be a non-believer but he can see the ghosts.  Go figure.

 

I can’t get enough of this author.  In Dead Man Haunt I enjoyed a real laugh when Alice and team are accosted by a skunk and end up taking a tomato juice bath.  I laughed when Patrick would appear at the most inopportune times, sporting nothing but his birthday suit, which seemed to be his preferred mode of dress, or should I say undress.  I laughed when the ghost Mary Ann, who had been cut in half, appeared scaring the pants off Delroy the ‘commando.’  But laughter isn’t all T. M. Simmons puts into the Dead Man series.  I stayed in total suspense until the end trying to guess who killed Mary Ann and why.  I strained my mind trying to come up with the reason for Patrick, as well as several other ghosts, still being on this side and not the other where they can find peace.   And then the characters started coming together making the puzzle into a picture.  But the ending still ended up being nothing that I had suspected. 

 

I seem to be reading this series backwards starting with Dead Man Hand, book #1, which was just as good as Dead Man Haunt, book #2, I can’t wait to read book #1 Dead Man Talking.  I’ve also read T. M. Simmons Paranormal Suspense Winter Prey, enjoying it immensely.  As I said, I can’t get enough of this author.  And did I tell you that T. M. Simmons actually lives in a haunted house in East Texas which she shares with hubby, a variety of pets and of course her paranormal residents. 

Looking for Pork Chop McQuade -

1:18 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves

 
Tropical Grilled Pork Chops
(Recipes from Darlene)
(This is my favorite way to cook Pork Chops.  I love food with a
'tropical' flavor. Darlene)
 
Ingredients:
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped jalapenos
1 teaspoon minced gingerroot
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon all spice
1 pound of pork chops, trimmed
Combine lime juice, jalapenos, gingerroot, salt and all spice in a heavy duty [large] ziplock bag. Add pork chops, seal bag and marinate in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Place pork on grill rack sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cook over medium-hot coals for about 30 minutes or until meat thermometer shows 160 degrees. Baste occasionally.  Serve with rice, steamed vegetables and Hawaiian style bread for a tropical treat.
 
Here’s my favorite way to eat hamburgers.
Ingredients:
Lean ground beef, buffalo or venison
Pepper Jack Cheese
Pineapple slices [from a can will do nicely]
Sliced ripe, red tomato
Lettuce
Sesame seed buns
 
Pat out about 1/8 to 1//4 patties of ground beef, with less fat is best or use buffalo meat for best results.
Cook burgers on grill over medium coals for about thirty minutes or cook on indoor grill five minutes on each side at 350 degrees.
Top with pepper Jack cheese while burgers are still hot. Add a slice of pineapple, a piece of lettuce and a thin tomato slice to each burger. Serve on a sesame seed bun.
 
Looking for Pork Chop McQuade – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
 
‘My illicit love affair began with a jar of homemade pickles. The whole thing started the same day Uncle Faucett got arrested for indecent exposure. I’d gotten up before daylight to fix breakfast for Bob. Then like he did every day, Uncle Faucett pecked on my front door and, like I did every day, I opened it. “Damn fool chickens ain’t layin,” he muttered. “Where’s the damn fool chickens?” He leaned on two canes. His black-rimmed spectacles, like two magnifying glasses, made his gray eyes look too big for his body. “We sold them last Thursday,” I said. “Remember? Daddy took them off.” “Oh, I forgot,” he mumbled and shuffled away. I knew he would go stand on the edge of our lane and catch a ride into town with some local farmer. He had done that each morning since he had lost his license, the unfortunate results of an accident involving a cattle trailer. Every morning he asked about the chickens and every morning I told him Daddy had sold them on Thursday, because even though it had happened when I was a girl and Daddy was now long gone, I remembered clearly that my father had sold the last of our chickens on a Thursday.’

 
This was the day that Raspberry Cupcake McQuade and her twin sister Cookie Thompson found themselves visiting the local police station and coming face to face with Sheriff Daniel Ransom. Apparently Uncle Faucett had run across a box, took his clothes off and was walking around town wearing just the box. This also became the beginning of changes to come in the lives of Cupcake, Cookie and Sheriff Ransom.
 
Cupcake and Cookie both have their own problems. Cupcake is married to Bob ‘Pork Chop’ McQuade who has papered their trailer with tin foil in the attempt to keep the government and aliens from being able to penetrate their home with their spy technology. He is so paranoid that the government is abducting their own people that he has joined a militia and is storing arms to defend himself. So, when he comes up missing, was he abducted by aliens or his own government? Cookie is the total opposite of her sister Cupcake. She is pushing 500 lbs. and becomes depressed when any form of bad news comes her way. Then we have Sheriff Ranson who became sheriff after his wife was hit by a drunk driver.  He wanted to do his part to prevent this from happening to anyone else.  And of course there is Uncle Faucett who is approaching 94 and seems to be losing his memory as well as some of his facilities.
 
After reading the first page of this book I knew it was going to be good. What I didn’t know was that it was going to be more than good, it was going to be great! With names like Cupcake and Cookie, I found humor, but that wasn’t all. This book is filled with love, compassion, heartaches, and sorrow. I don’t believe I’ve ever read a book that makes me feel so many emotions at the same time. And when you put all of these together you have Looking for Pork Chop McQuade in the form of a book that I didn’t want to put down.

Yesterday'​s Daughter - Sallie Lundy-From​mer, Author

3:59 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves

 
Sweet Potato Pie
(A special recipe from Sallie)

1 Unbaked pie crust
4 medium sweet potatoes
Boil sweet potatoes whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.

Mash apart the sweet potatoes in a bowl. Add butter, sugars, milk, salt, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice, ginger, nutmeg, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract.......then mix well. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.

Mix 1/2 stick of butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
pinch of salt
1//2 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/8 tablespoon of all spice
1/8 teaspoon of ginger
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of Vanilla extract
3/4 cup evaporated milk
 
Bake at 350 degrees 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
 
 
Yesterday’s Daughter – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
 
Grace stared at the large stranger who filled her small apartment with his mammoth presence and suddenly felt very warm. She shook her head from side to side trying to dislodge the chaos that his words brought about. She couldn’t have heard him correctly. Had he said that he knew her parents? She didn’t have any parents. She was an orphan; that was the only thing she knew about her past. He had to be wrong! This was some kind of bad joke, wasn’t it? She started to interrupt Malachi, but he put up a hand and said, “I pled with you to listen. I know I have not handled this matter well,” he signed in frustration. “In truth, I thought I was better prepared, but I too find the situation to be most extraordinary and find myself at a loss for words.” Grace noticed how he spoke, the way he formed sentences. He spoke as if he were from a different time. Again, she started to interrupt him, but he said, “Listen please! I know your thoughts, what you must be thinking, that you grew up in foster care and that your biological parents were never found.” As he spoke, a look of great shock and bewilderment blanketed her face. No one knew that because no one knew who she really was. Who is he? How could he know so much? I ran away from my foster parents years ago. Is he a blackmailer? This is crazy, she thought. “Grace…Grace,” he said as his voice gentled even more to a smooth calming chant. “I know you are frightened and overwhelmed. But it is also true that I knew your birth parents, your real parents.”
 
Grace Stone’s memory goes back to foster parents and years of abuse, which she was finally able to escape by running away. Even as she lived in hiding she was still able to continue her education and had eventually acquired a job working in the morgue. She had always sensed that she was different from others. She couldn’t allow herself to be exposed to the sun. It seemed that her skin had no protection from the sun’s rays and exposure would cause severe burning of the skin. Therefore she worked nights only. Even though she was declared to be a beauty by everyone who met her, she refused to associate or become close to anyone. The strangest thing she noticed about herself was her lack of taste for normal food and her taste for blood which was easily acquired with her working within the hospital. So when she came home after a night’s work and found a total stranger in her apartment, she was more than shocked. Especially when that stranger admitted to knowing her real parents.
 
Malachi has been searching for his ‘life mate’ for decades. As a child she had been placed in an underground chamber to age to maturity before they were to be bonded. Due to a cave-in within the chamber, she was assumed dead even though there was never a body recovered. Malachi refused to believe that his mate had been sent to the ‘void’ so his search started and had never ended until he finally found Grace Stone. This he knew was his mate, alive and well.
 
Now that Malachi has found who he believes to be his ‘life mate’ he plans to take her home where she belongs. What he doesn’t know is that one of the Doctors she works with is a ‘harvester’ and wants her just as bad as Malachi does but for different reasons. Where Malachi wants her love, the good doctor wants her blood.
 
Yesterday’s Daughter is filled with: deception – there is a traitor among the clan; love – between two that were always supposed to be; mystery – who is the traitor?; and suspense that took me all the way to the end of the book. I thought for a while that I knew who the traitor might be but wasn’t sure until I made it to within the last few pages of the book. Was I right or wrong? You’ll have to read Yesterday’s Daughter to find out for yourself. This was an enjoyable book from beginning to end.

The Devil's Garden - Brady Christianson, Author

4:31 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves

 
 
Bourbon Steak
(A Brandon Specialty)
 
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Bourbon
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 cup water
1 steak (1/2" thick)

Directions

1: Combine everything in a shallow dish.
2: Marinate the steaks for at least two hours.
3: Grill over a charcoal fire.
 
 
The Devil’s Garden – Reviewed by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and a Dish
 
The conference room was full of police officers, social workers, and attorneys from the district attorney’s office. The staff psychologist, Dr. Coffee, was in attendance as well. Everyone was trying to piece together the night’s events. Officer Shelley was in a corner of the room on the phone with the investigative team in the field. “Alright, let’s go over what we’ve learned so far,” Detective Collier told his team as he tried to get everyone’s attention and get them to focus. “We have four dead men at the Colsons’ residence and two more dead mean in a plane that crashed into Calusa Harbor. All of which happened by Mr. Colson’s hand and by his own admission.”
 
Brandon Colson’s training had been extensive. He had served as a Recon Marine with extensive training in guerrilla warfare, jungle survival, desert survival, underwater demo, just to name a few, so when a group of Muslims attacked his family he took matters into his own hands and defended them the way he had been trained. Four never made it out of Brandon’s home, two made it to the plane but were shot down, two more did escape with one injured. Those two will forever wish they had died with their friends for Brandon would not give up until he found them.
 
Police Detective Samuel Collier has the duty of trying to make Brandon talk. Who were these men? Where did they come from? Why were they at Brandon’s home? Why did they want to kill him? Brandon’s answer is plain and simple… I killed them. Before charges can be brought against Brandon, Homeland Security steps in and Brandon is released. Sam is assigned by his superior to stick to him like glue, not knowing what this assignment is going to get him into. His first taste of the dangers come when Brandon and Sam embark on a mosque that Brandon feels will lead him to the two that escaped him as well as their reason for the attack.
 
The Devil’s Garden is truly a man’s book but I have to admit that I didn’t want to put it down. I can’t say it is an enjoyable book due to the graphics but I can say that it was an extremely interesting book. Brandon is a strong minded, God fearing man. He trusts in God to see him through all dangers while serving as a Marine as well as living as a civilian. He also trusts in God to help him do whatever needs to be done to protect the innocent and to not allow him to shed the blood of anyone innocent that he may come across. The Devil’s Garden is a very intense book written by an author that served as a Recon Marine and has written about something that he apparently knows a lot about with a lot of it probably being through experience. I can just see this being made into a movie with a strong actor like Mel Gibson being Brandon.

Legends of the Lake - Philip Nork, Author

11:37 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves

 
Nana's Rice Pudding
(One of the Phil's favorite)
 
3/4 cup of cooked white rice
1 egg
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of sugar

Mix the egg and the milk together, slowly beat in the sugar. Add raisins to the mixture if desired.
Put the mixture in a shallow pan and bake for 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour at 325.
When finished put the pan in the refrigerator until ready to serve.Scoop out desired amount and sprinkle cinnamon on top.
 
 
Legends of the Lake – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
 
While driving you’d pass many cow pastures, large corn fields, and farms to the left and the right of you, as you drove slowly to avoid the most worn down areas of the road. The further you progress, the more trees and beautiful wild flowers take over the landscape… Looking left you see a sliver of the lake, a big blue lake. There are campgrounds and a small bait and tackle shop situated right next to it… Continue on your slow drive down the hill and through all the curves, you pass children of the generation walking on the side of the road… The young boys are shirtless and some are white as white can be, while others have what were called “farmer’s tans.” This is where their arms and faces are tanned, but their chests and backs aren’t as they always wore t-shirts during the day… The aroma of fresh cut green grass and giant pine trees lingers in the background, while the special odor of the seaweed which gets pushed up on the shore makes me smile… This is when you see it off to the right… you can’t miss the boulders which line the front of it which proudly proclaims to everyone that “The Krons” reside here.
 
Philip had the kind of grandparent/grandchild relationship that every kid would love to be able to brag about. Actually his Gramps and Nana (Kron) were his mother’s grandparents making them his ‘great’ grandparents. No matter, he love spending as much time as possible at their lake house in Wisconsin. Gramps bought the lake property before he and Nana had their first child. They envisioned it as a place to bring the family throughout the generations and that’s exactly what they did. This two bedroom cottage housed parents, children and grand children for many years and the one thing it did, or should I say those in residence did, was create memories.
 
Over the years memories were passed on from one generation to another and by the time they reached Phil’s young ears they may have grown and may not be quite true but who was to say they were or weren’t. For instance, one of the cottage owners went by the initials of AC instead of his name. He was from Chicago and in the ‘produce’ business. When probation came he was there to help out by opening what was known as a ‘speakeasy’ with a bar and gambling in the back. It wasn’t too long afterwards that AC disappeared back to Chicago, never to return. That was around the same time Al Capone was locked away. Was AC the famous Al Copone? If not, how did a ‘produce’ man acquire alcohol, gambling equipment and some pretty mean looking guards for the ‘speakeasy?’ Then there was the story about Nana needing some type of container to carry her food to and from the pier. One of the residences, a Mr. Tupper, came up with the perfect container including a fitting top. Or how about the time one of the kids was hit by a baseball, which hurt like heck. A man from a nearby cottage brought out a ball, threw it as hard as he could and hit the kid square in the chest. Billy, expecting it to hurt was shocked when it didn’t. He picked it up and found it to be soft and light. When asked what it was called the man explained it didn’t have a name just yet. Billy suggested the name ‘Non-Expanding Recreational Foam’ ball or NERF for short.
 
Are these truths or fictions? Who cares. They are the stories that made a young boy’s life better. These stories, along with those telling them, helped to shape not just Phil but all of the family into what they were and are today. Reading Legends of the Lake kept me in a frame of a ‘wishing world.’ I wish I could have lived and experienced the history of some of these family members and also wish I could be one to help carry beautiful memories on into the next generation. I loved the feelings of love, peace, family, togetherness, and true life that Phil experienced while growing up. Don’t get me wrong, there were bad times too but the teachings of Gramps and Nana made those times a lot easier to live through. You have to read this one or you’re missing out on some wonderful emotional feelings.

Psychs - A. H. Amin, Author

3:48 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



QUINOA PILAF
(a Hassan special)

1/2 cup carrot, diced
6 cups quinoa, cooked (according to package)
1/2 cup green onion,
diced 1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup green pepper, diced
1 cup almonds, sliced
1/4 cup sweet red pepper, diced
1/4 tsp oregano
salt to taste

Sauté chopped vegetables in olive oil until clear, yet crisp: stir in oregano. Add sautéed vegetables to cooked, hot quinoa, mixing well. Add salt to taste. Dry-roast almonds in heavy skillet until lightly golden. Add almonds and mix. Serves 6-8. Quinoa pilaf served as a side dish with fish or chicken is delicious. Vary the pilaf using your favorite vegetables, or by cooking the quinoa in chicken, fish or vegetable stock instead of water.

Psychs – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
 
My parents are leaving in an hour for a visit and my little sister always sleeps late during vacations, I couldn’t wait anymore for them to leave. I looked at the spirits surrounding me and said. ‘Let’s talk’ I said, then closed my room’s door. My name is Hassan what’s yours?’ They replied in turns. ‘Mine is Joseph.’ ‘Rodriquez, call me Rod’ Rod gave a wink. ‘Steven Chow.’ ‘Markus Reed, at your service.’ Mark took a bow and pointed at the female ghost to follow. ‘Nice to meet you Hassan, my name is Emma’, she smiled and waved. ‘Sorry for scaring you’ Emma said. ‘It’s ok’ I replied, then my eyes went to the one next in line. ‘Jack.’ ‘Mason.’ The last one to be introduced was a woman I had first seen behind the glass window, the one who had watched me sleeping when I was admitted. She looked different, they all looked military, and she was the only one who didn’t fit in the picture. And for some reason, she looked very familiar to me. ‘Sara.’ My eyes started to widen. ‘I am your mother dear.’
 
All through his life Hassan has felt there was always someone watching him. Now and then he would even see a quick movement out of the corner of his eye. It wasn’t until he came to the rescue of a woman and child being beaten by husband only to have the husband bring him near death that he realized his images were real. At least as real as ghosts can be. They had always looked after him but couldn’t communicate, until Hassan came up with an idea. Sign language. That would give he and the ghosts a way of communicating without actually speaking. But Hassan’s ghosts were not only his guardian angels, they became his teachers. Through them he was able to lead a 2nd life that would prove most valuable in years to come.
 
Adam, also known as Shark, was a Navy Seal that had been held prisoner for years. His capturers were of the worse type. Torture was used more as an entertainment than to acquire information they might need and since Adam’s strong hold was his hands, their first form of torture was to remove his arms leaving him with no method of self-defense. They may have destroyed his body but they never destroyed his mind, soul and determination to live. So, after 13 years of torture, Shark meets Hassan and the battle begins.

 
Psychs is a book that brings out the strength of mind over body in its desire to live, both through Hassan and Shark. The stories of both that lead up to their story together is one that may sound impossible but with the author’s ability to write, you can see, feel and picture each line as it happens. This is a very well written book and an extremely interesting story. I can actually see this one being made into a movie with someone like Bruce Willis being Hassan. Now I’m impatiently waiting on the next book in the series ‘The Remnant.’

Can We Come In & Laugh, Too? - Rosetta Schwartz, Author

8:24 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves


SLOW-COOKER CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE SOUP
(A dish created for Rosetta's daughter Morgan by Morgan's husband)
 
An excellent way to use up leftover roast or grilled chicken. Remove the skin and bones and chop chicken finely with a large knife, or use cooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts.
 
2 (14 oz.) cans of chopped tomatoes, including the juice
2 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup frozen sweet corn
2 stalks celery
½ cup short-grain rice (not instant)
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups cooked lean chicken shredded
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
 
Combine all of the ingredients except the chicken in a slow cooker. Stir well and cook on low until the rice and vegetables are tender – about 6-8 hours. One hour before the cooking time is complete, stir in the chicken. Sprinkle with the basil just before service. Serves 6-8.
 


Can We Come In and Laugh, Too? – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds, A Book and A Dish
 
‘When I was very young the only transportation was street cars. There were o buses, elevated systems, or cars. Henry Ford was still working on his Model T. As for airplanes, I believe the Wright Brothers invented their first model in 1914. Also the only form of home entertainment was the Victrola. I remember that after my parents saved enough to buy a Victrola, every couple of weeks my brothers purchased new recordings and played them while dancing around the living room. As for radios, it was many years later when the first crystal set was invented. It wasn’t until around 1946 when my daughter Morgan was seven, and Phyllice was around two, that radios became very popular. We bought a very good radio set, encased in a lovely big mahogany cabinet, and after that we listened to many good programs. Don’t ask me why everyone clustered around that radio cabinet staring at it as thought there was something to see, but that’s what everyone did back then.’
 
Rose Schwartz was born November 18, 1909. She was the youngest of ten children born to her fun-loving Latvian immigrant family. She later became Rosetta after one of her sisters decided Rose just wasn’t classy enough so when she registered her for school she told them her name was Rosetta and that’s what she was known as from then on. Rosetta married All Shifrin in the 1930s and later Max Lachman. She passed on in 2006 just a few months short of her 97th birthday. In 1988 her daughter Morgan was able to convince her to write her memoirs so the rest of the world could share a laugh from the life of this beautifully, happy woman.

 
Rosetta lived through both WWI and WWI and gives us a few stories about the hard times created by war. She tells of the time she sold Al’s extra shoes only to find out that shoes were being rationed just a few weeks later. There were the blackouts that were mandatory in hopes that if the enemy flew over they wouldn’t be able to see Chicago in the dark. She tells us about her move to Florida and later to California where many of her brothers and sisters also ended up moving to. Her stories are all warm hearted yet cheerful. Whenever there was a problem, she looked at the bright side not the dark and always found humor in even the worse circumstances. She was truly a woman that anyone would love to know and call their friend.

 
At the end of Rosetta’s writings her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews all expressed their own feelings about this lovely lady. They added to the warmth by giving their memories of the woman that was never negative, always loving and always forgave whatever one might have done wrong. This is a very uplifting story about a very special woman. I personally wish I could have asked the question ‘Can We Come In and Laugh, Too?’

Passport to Nowhere - Samuel Blessing, Author

2:15 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves

 
Ingredients
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped, divided
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 habanero peppers, seeded and minced
2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
3 (15 ounce) cans chili beans
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 ounce) bottle lager-style beer
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 cup water
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Directions
Cook ground beef and pork in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the meat is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink. Drain and discard any excess grease. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in 3/4 of the onion and all of the green pepper, habanero pepper, jalapeno pepper, and garlic. Cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir the drained meat into the onion mixture along with the green onion, chili beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, beer, and water. Sprinkle with the cornmeal, then season with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate overnight. Reheat the chili over medium heat until it begins to simmer again. Top individual servings of chili with cheese and remaining chopped onion.
 
 
Passport to Nowhere – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
 
Because he wielded so much clout, the teachers in Gilmore’s department loved him. Even the new people, who were at the bottom of the totem pole, looked up to him. Mac even respected him until one day in his second year when one of Mac’s football players, Miko Magala, kept wandering by Mac’s room two or three days a week during fourth period.
 
“Hey Miko,” Mac finally asked him one day, “Where the hell are you supposed to be?” “Ah, coach, do I have to tell you? Can’t I just hang out here and learn some extra science from you?” Mad knew the kid was not Phi Beta Kappa, but he was a hard worker on the football field and was earning a C grade from Mac in his second period biology class. Miko could also be a smart-ass but Mac nipped that in the bud the first time they met. “Miko, you must have a fourth period class. Where is it?” “Ah, I don’t want to get into trouble, coach.” “Look, if an assistant principal sees you wondering around you will get into trouble, and I don’t want to see you get kicked off the team or worse, get kicked out of school. Where are you supposed to be?” “English, with Mr. Gavore.”

 
Seems that the beloved Mr. Gavore had a plan that would keep his classes up on the scales and rid himself of some of the problem students at the same time. In the case of Miko, Mr. Gavore would have him check in with him every day, he would then mark him present and have him go to the library or wherever as long it wasn’t in his class making a disturbance. Mac, who hadn’t been at Knoward long enough to accept this as the truth found it too bizarre so he took this information to his fellow teacher Frank Bottoms who confirmed it to be the truth.
 
Knoward High School, or ‘Nowhere High School’ as most of the teachers came to calling it, was one of those schools that seemed to attract most of the problem kids as well as the problem teachers. If you couldn’t make it in other schools you were sent to ‘Nowhere’ and if you were a teacher that simply couldn’t make it in the normal schools, you too were sent to ‘Nowhere.’ The teachers were just as bad as the students and in some cases worse and two of the worse teachers just happened to be Lizbeth and Sandy. Actually Lizbeth was probably the worse because she was able to lead Sandy around to do all of her ‘evil’ work. If she found a teacher she didn’t like, heaven help them. She would find a way to get rid of them before their 2 year tenure and her best tool was having Sandy spread rumors that the teachers had no defense against. Also, Lizbeth was known for providing ‘extra-curricular activities’ that would assure her control over the students.

 
Mac stepped into Lizbeth’s trap but was able to pull himself out before the door sprung causing her to hate him more than anyone else. It all boiled down to the fact that she couldn’t control him. But that didn’t stop her from going after a new teacher Mac had befriended and done his best to protect. And with Lizbeth, if downright meanness didn’t work a little kindness with meanness to follow did. So these were her means to remove Quentin from ‘Nowhere’ High.

 
As I read Passport to Nowhere I could see the beginning of a reality show for TV. Now it would have to be on the HBO channel due to language and some of the descriptive wording but still one that would be quite interesting. The Author Samuel Blessing is a retired school teacher and I really hope that these stories are all coming from his imagination and not real life experiences. Although, with the lack of discipline within the school systems today, I can see each event unfolding just as he has described it and it scares the heck out of me as a reader, parent and grandparent. So just to be on the safe side of education, I suggest you read Passport to Nowhere and draw your own opinion as to whether this book is fact or fiction. I’m calling it ‘fiction’… I think.

The Exiled Element - John L. Betcher, Author

2:15 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves

 
Beth Becker's Hummus Bi TahiniINGREDIENTS:

4 cups ( 2 ½ cans ) garbanzo beans, drained
½ cup tahini ( sesame paste )
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup best-quality olive oil
Juice of 2 or 3 lemons

Blend, then add:

4 or more garlic cloves
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cumin seed
Freshly-ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process or bled until smooth.Note: Can store in refrigerator for 4 weeks.

The Exiled Element – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; A Book and A Dish; Think With Your Taste Buds
 
Inside a classified underground laboratory twenty-five miles northeast of Cairo, three white-coated Egyptian scientists labored over a small pile of aluminum casting on the table before them. They were building a model airplane. But it wasn’t just any airplane…it was Aurora. They had manufactured the parts in 1/30th scale with the highest possible precision based on digitized plans provided to the engineers by the United States of America. Well…the plans were definitely of U.S. origin, but perhaps the word ‘provided’ wasn’t entirely accurate. An operative of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate (GIS) – Egypt’s version of the CIA – had procured the plans from the Americans. A certain U. S. Senator with an immense assortment of scandalous baggage had facilitated the delivery. After acquiring the Top Secret information, GIS had sought out these three scientists – considered Egypt’s finest minds in aeronautical engineering. What was their opinion? Could they turn these technical drawings and specifications into a tangible product – into the fastest air-breathing plane on the planet?
 
Beth Becker is retired from the CIA but still works part-time doing CIA decryption work from her home in Red Wing, Minnesota. When she is summoned to their McLean, Virginia headquarters she is assuming it’s another decryption project. That turns out to be not quite the case. She will soon be on her way to the U. S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt to make contact with a woman she knew from past years while serving at the embassy. Apparently the woman known as Rasha is now in a computer programming position with her own government and has run across information regarding an assassination that will be taking place in the U.S., target unknown.
 
Beth’s husband ‘Beck’ has been asked by the Red Wing Deputy Sheriff Gunner to help out in a security job protecting an unknown Senator that will be coming into town. Seems that there have been other attempts on the Senator in the past so security has been beefed up and Gunner would like Beck’s ex military help. The security goes well in the beginning but becomes a failed assignment when the Senator is assassinated while leaving the Red Wing Hotel where he had just given a speech. To find his killer, Beck engages the help of his long time friend Mr. Red Feather, AKA Bull.

 
Unknown to Beth and Beck, their assignments are about to collide and become one. The key to their jobs are non-other than the U.S.’s Top Secret plane Aurora. And when Beth comes up missing, Beck sees the Embassy as doing very little to find her, making it his and Bull’s job to take on the task themselves.

 
I can’t get enough of the “Beck” Suspense/Thriller Series! The Exiled Element is the 4th in the series and I’ve read them all. They just keep getting better and better with the stories of espionage, the CIA and a couple, along with their friends, who refuse to let the U.S. down. John L. Betcher has truly become one of my favorite authors.

Gabriel's Chalice - Frank A. Ruffolo, Author

4:25 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves

 
Oven Potatoes with Fennel
(One of Frank's Favorites)

20 ounces Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut in 1/2" cubes
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and cut in 1" slices
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced finely
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste


Preheat oven 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, fennel, onion, parsley, oil, salt and pepper. Arrange mixture in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake, turn occasionally, until potatoes are crisp on all sides, 30 35 minutes. Then Serve.

 
Basil Butter
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup (or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
 
Stir basil leaves and lemon juice into butter in a small bowl. Spoon into serving container. Store, tightly covered, in refrigerator.
Spread on bread or place a pat on grilled steak, grilled chicken or hot vegetables.
 
 
Gabriel’s Chalice – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
 
“This is CNN…good morning. We have an abundance of international news to cover today. We will start with Fred Wallace, just outside of Yellowstone National Park. Fred?” “Good morning. As you may remember, Yellowstone Park Rangers closed the park to the public last week. Increased seismic activity, the silencing of Old Faithful, and the sudden draining of Yellowstone Lake have volcanologists very worried. They are monitoring the buildup of underground pressure at the Old Faithful site and also at the now empty lakebed. They fear that an eruption is imminent. They have moved all reporters fifteen miles away from the park.” “Across the globe, things are far from quiet. In Iceland, Eyjafjallojokull is still erupting, and Mount Pinatubo and Mount Fuji in the western Pacific also continue to be active. The Illyinsky Volcano in Kamchatka, Russia, is now spewing ash, and just this morning, Mount Erebus in Antarctica came alive, sending yet another large pillar of ash into the upper atmosphere. With Vesuvius threatening to erupt in Italy and the increasing seismic activity in South American and Africa, we may be in for a very long winter due to all the ash in the sky.”
 
The year is 2028 and these are just a few of the problems earth seems to be experiencing. The CDC has been dispensed to Russia where a fungus that started by infecting the potatoes has not gone airborne and is now infecting humans. The CDC estimated that over 50,000 people had contracted the disease with a death rate of 40% of those who are affected. This figure will eventually rise into the millions. Then start the miracles. At the space moon lab, Dr. Raphael (Matt) Matteo who holds of a double doctorate in geology and volcanology with NASA, along with fellow crew members from the Moon Base Challenger find themselves involved in the discovery of a cave with an alter that has a chalice sitting on it. As the Angel Gabriel appears to them, they know that the chalice must be taken to earth in hopes of bringing its people together before it’s too late.
 
 
I received this book several months ago but when my computer was hacked I thought it was lost. Last week I finished a great accomplishment that took me 2 ½ years to complete. I had promised God and myself that I would read the Bible from beginning to end and Wednesday I finished. On Wednesday morning before I finished reading the Bible I found Gabriel’s Chalice. I picked it up and read the 1st page. It was Revelation 21:10-11 “In the spirit, he carried me to the top of a very high mountain, and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down out of heaven from God. It had all the glory of God and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond.” The 21st chapter was the chapter I read on Tuesday night before picking. As I read page after page of Gabriel’s Chalice I remembered more and more of what I had read in the Book of Revelations. It was almost as if this book was explaining what I had read and it was meant to be read after my Bible reading.
 
 
I would like to make a suggestion to everyone. Read Revelations and then read Gabriel’s Chalice. I truly feel that both books will give you a message that you just might need to complete your own life.

The Greatest Book Ever Written

12:34 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves


About 2 1/2 years ago I was doing a book signing at one of our local Christian book stores.  When the signing was over I decided to just look around the store before leaving.  I ended up finding a book I couldn't leave without.

My Dad was always a religous person at heart and before he passed he became even more so.  He told me once that he had read the Bible 3 times and that he found and learned something new with each read.  I had never read the Bible from beginning to end so I decided that if Dad could do it 3 times I could do it at least once and I did. 

I made God and myself a promise that I would read a chapter each night no matter what.  In the 2 1/2 years it took me to keep this promise I missed 1 night and to this day I can't remember why.  I took my Bible with me no matter where I went.  When I went to Utah to promote my book my Bible went with me.  When I went to Florida for the release of one of my books, my Bible went too.  No matter what time I came in at night I made sure I read my chapter before going to bed.  I completed my promise on September 19, 2012 and feel very proud of myself.  This is an accomplishment that not everyone can claim and I'm glad to be able to include myself in that group.

I grew up going to church and believing but most of my knowledge came from Bible stories that were told and movies that were made about these stories.  Through my reading I've learned there is so much more.  And that added knowledge has made me want to search deeper.  I'm now reading a book titled The Life of Jesus which with it's history of Jeresuleum as well as Christ is becoming a very enjoyable book that is answering my desire to search deeper.

My challange to you is this.  Pick up your Bible and start on page 1.  Make a promise to read a chapter a night and in 2 1/2 years, write your own review for the Greatest Book Every Written - the Bible.

Bad Choices - Fran Lewis, Author

2:31 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves

 
Devil's Food Cookies
(A Fran Lewis Favorite)
 
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) devil's food cake mix
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
 
In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, butter and water (batter will be thick). Fold in chocolate chips.  Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10-13 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks. Yield: 28 cookies.
 
Bad Choices – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
 
Enter the peer – that person who is somehow inexplicably like them; a person who makes them feel comfortable; one who makes them feel like they fit, like they belong; someone – and get this – who when they look at they seem able to see themselves and most importantly what they consider to be their true selves. Therefore, a peer serves as a defining mirror; a living mirror, a person who describes them – defines who they are by being it, living it, in front of them. It must be who they are (they rationalize) because it is they (the Peer Group) with whom they fit best…people with whom they feel most comfortable…a group of people and especially one friend in particular (a BFF) with whom they can relax and act naturally around. They watch these living mirrors and learn all about themselves. If the mirrors change then so do they. If it (the Peer Group) accepts them then they accept themse.ves If, however, it rejects them then they first begin to try harder to please the mirror, mirror on the wall, mimicking its instructive reflection. Or, perhaps, they may come to find that there are other mirrors – other Peer Groups -, which are better suited to help them discover the mystery of “who am I?”
 
Through Author Fran Lewis’ Bertha books I’ve found that this woman has such a strong care for young people, how they feel about themselves and what becomes of them. In her book Bad Choices she walks us through, of all places, a cemetery as some of the faces behind the stones tell us about the Bad Choices they made that put them where they will be forever. Each case gives the teenager’s point of view about life, what helped develop this view and what they did that brought a true end to your view.
 
In each case, you the reader can make up your mind as to who is really responsible for the deaths of these young people who never reached the joys of adulthood. Is it the parent’s fault? The pressure applied by their peers? Or could it just be a kid that’s mixed up and really needs medical attention? How as a parent can this be prevented? How do you recognize when there’s a problem? Through Bad Choices you’re given the clues to the puzzle as well as ways to help prevent the puzzle from coming apart. And this all starts from conception! Yes, the very beginning of life! My own kids are grown but I see some of these problems already hitting my own grandchildren. I think this is a book I’ll be sending on to their parents to see if it might help before it’s too late.

Ellen's Gold - James Walker, Author

2:17 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves

 
 
Shrewsbury Lamb Cutlets

8 lamb cutlets
1 tbs of olive oil
1/4 ib of (button preferably) mushrooms
4 tbs of redcurrant jelly
1 tbs of worcester sauce (do you have that in USA? Its vinegar/malt vinegar based, so I suggest malt vinegar would be an okay substitute)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbs of plain flour
1/4 to 1/2 pint of stock
seasoning - pepper/salt to taste
dash of nutmeg
parsley

Brown cutlets in oil. Slice mushrooms. Place cutlets and mushrooms in casserole. Place jelly, worcester sauce(or equivalent) and lemon juice in a pan and
stir over a low heat for 2 minutes or so and then add the flour and the stock and bring steadily to the boil in order to make a gravy. This can be thickened to
taste by adding a little more flour. Add seasoning, nutmeg and parsley and then pour over cutlets and mushrooms.

Cook @ 325 degrees for 90 minutes.
 
Ellen’s Gold – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; A Book and A Dish; Think With Your Taste Buds
 
From its frontispiece it was apparent that the book had been published in Augsburg in 1784. It was so dusty that he wondered if it had gone unread and forgotten for nearly as long. What intrigued him about it though were the words written in English across the cover “two times eight,” not once but three times. It seemed very strange, and when he began to thumb through the book he also discovered the words, again in English, “10 times 10” had been written on a couple of pages. It also looked as if these pages had been glued together and then pulled apart. Further on still he discovered that two pages had been cut out of the book. Then, most surprisingly, he came across a drawing on a blank page. It was clearly a crude map of a locality, which meant nothing to him except that it included a road marked as leading to Erfurt. The book had effectively been defaced, but clearly with some deliberate purpose rather than through mindless vandalism. Suddenly, he felt something lying under the flap at the back of it. To his surprise it was a letter, or part of a letter, for there was no signature, dated 13th December 1813, and written in English.
 
Max Kelber owned a book shop and when Frau Paulsen offered her large collection of books, he made the trip to her home to take is pick. Among the books he found the mystery book with its puzzling code, map and then a letter addressed to just the name Ellen. The letter, also written in English, gave what appeared to be coded directions to the treasure that was hidden near the town of Erfurt. But who is Ellen and where exactly is the treasure?
 
Ellen Charpentier lives is from and lives in Paris. Colonel Michael Korsowski is from Poland and is serving under Napoleon in his battle against Russia to recover land that once belonged to Poland. With Ellen and Michael, it was love at first sight and the more they saw of each other, the more they knew they were meant for each other no matter what. Ellen, a widow, was free give her heart to Michael but he was married to a woman who refused to grant him a divorce so Michael became a career soldier as his only means of being out of a marriage that had no love. As the war takes Michael and his troops into Russia, they are able to capture the city of Moscow. Along with the capture they discover riches beyond anyone’s dreams. This, he believes, will be his ticket to a happier life. Even if he can’t marry Ellen, they can take their share of the treasure and go to America to start a new life together. But what Michael nor anyone within his commend counted on was the severity of the Russian winters. As they lost men and horses they were also faced with having to do something with the treasure. This eventually left them with no choice but to bury it with hopes of coming back after the war ended.
 
Reading Ellen’s Gold was like reading a history book but an enjoyable history book. The battles were clear enough that I felt like I was actually ‘reading’ a movie. I could picture each event in my mind as I read along. I could see the frozen Russian winters, the struggles that Napoleon’s armies had as they tried to survive the cold without food for themselves nor their horses. I could also feel the desire each man had to keep the treasure safe so that when the war was over and he received his share he could start a new life of ease and comfort.
 
But, if the letter was found years later within a book, was the treasure ever found? Will Kebler search for this treasure for himself? Will any of the men who carried it so far out of Russia live to collect their share? The answers to those questions and more are found within the book which I feel you will enjoy searching for as you read Ellen’s Gold which is really two stories in one; the 1st being the survival of not only the treasure but also Michael and his men. The second story is more of a gothic novel with kidnapping and murder. All-in-all Ellen's Gold is a really top grade book!

Of Time and Place - B. R. Freemont, Author

3:12 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Tater Tot Hot Dish!  A Midwestern staple

                    1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
                    1 onion, chopped
                    3/4 teaspoon salt
                    1 pinch ground black pepper
                    1 (32 ounce) package tater tots, thawed
                    1 (10.75 ounce) can  condensed cream of mushroom soup
                    1 (10.75 ounce) can  condensed cream of celery soup
                    1 (6 ounce) can French-fried onion rings

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes

Of Time and Place – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds, A Book and A Dish

‘It should be pointed out that after World War Two ended, the country experienced and unprecedented increase in the birth rate.  This was called the ‘Baby Boom.’  It started right after the end of the war and reached its peak in nineteen fifty-seven.  These ‘Baby Boomers,’ as they were known, reached prime retirement age in the teens and twenties of this century.  They were owed Social Security benefits and Medicare, the old age health benefit then in effect.  Both of these programs, especially Medicare, were grossly underfunded.  A few rather futile attempts at reform were attempted.  But, by and large, politicians were not prepared to tackle a controversial issue and waited for the avalanche of retirees to come.  They came, and the government went further into debt to fund these benefits.  By twenty thirty, eighty-five percent of Federal expenditures were to pay debt service and entitlement programs.  That left very little for the military, education, and all the other services people expected.  The rate of inflation increased throughout the decade of the twenties, topping at twenty-five percent, in twenty twenty-eight.  That was a presidential election year.  Americans were shell-shocked and apathetic.  Neither political party seemed to be able to tackle their problems.”

The above is from a class taught by James Lendeman in the year 2062.  I have to say it sounds just about right.  Of Time and Place is written with about a 10 year gap taking you back and forth between the 2050s and the 2060s.  It’s much more than a story of love and deceit but a story of what the world will most like be just a few decades from now.  Cars will become a thing of the past with trains and trams providing the majority of our transportation needs.  Subdivisions will become obsolete due to the lack of vehicles to transport people into the cities.  The search will be on to find ways to bring more fuel resources into not just America but other countries as well from those that still have them.  And jobs will become even harder to find due to the lack of being needed.

Of Time and Place also takes you on a journey from New York, DC, Savannah, Ga and on to Florence and Paris.  You’ll visit places that most of us only dream of and through a description that will make you feel as if you’ve been there. 

The life story of James Lenderman is one that has the common ups and downs.  Love that goes wrong, love found and the undying love of true friendship.  As I read Of Time and Place, I couldn’t help but compare Author B. R. Freemont to another favorite author of mine… Nicholas Sparks.  Their style is similar so if you like one, you’ll like both.  This is truly a touching yet eye opening book.

Dead Man Hand - T. M. Simmons, Author

3:34 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Granny's Gumbo

A lot of Cajun dishes start with a good roux. True Southern women make their own roux, from cooking equal parts shortening and flour in a large, deep cast-iron skillet for half-an-hour, stirring constantly, until it's a nice dark brown. Men do this, also, since my husband always makes his own roux. However, there is roux mix for sale in lots of stores; some powdered, some in pint jars already cooked (which I like the best). So take your pick, but you'll need about a pint of roux.

Ingredients:

Roux:
½ cup shortening
½ cup water
Stir together and cook in large cast-iron skillet for half-an-hour, stirring constantly

Other Ingredients: 
1 whole chicken
1 lb. smoked sausage
1 lb. crawfish tails (found in the frozen seafood section, if you don't have your own leftovers from a crawfish boil, as we do)
1 lb. medium shrimp (if desired; if no crawfish available, use at least 2 lbs. of shrimp)
1 stick butter or margarine
2 bunches green onions (chopped)
2 large green bell peppers (seeds removed; chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
Zatarain's Creole Seasoning (to taste, but taste often, can be salty if overused)
Louisiana Hot Sauce (to taste)
Gumbo filè
White rice

Cover the chicken with water and boil, adding more water as needed. Cool. Skin and de-bone, keeping the broth for the gumbo. Tear the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Melt the butter/margarine in a large skillet. Sauté the onions and bell peppers for about five minutes.
Cut the smoked sausage links on an angle into 1/8 inch thick slices.
Bring the chicken water back to a boil.
Add onions, bell peppers (along with the butter/margarine from the skillet).
Add the de-boned chicken, smoked sausage, crawfish tails, and/or shrimp.
Add the roux mix according to directions. If you use the powdered mix, mix it with the chicken broth, not water. Add more water if necessary. The mixture should be medium thick and a nice, dark brown.
Add salt, pepper, spices, hot sauce (to taste and taste after each add).
Simmer low for at least an hour.
Cook enough rice for six people.
Serve gumbo over rice, along with filè for more seasoning

This makes a scrumptious meal with cornbread



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

“I left it open,” he said in a frantic voice. “Who shut it? We have to get back in there!” I glanced overhead. The transom was closed. The thud of Danny’s shoulder drew my attention, and the door shattered off its hinges. He dragged me after him – straight over under the poor woman’s hanging body – and ordered, “Wrap your arms around her and try to hold her up some.” Stifling my distaste, I did as Danny said. He climbed onto a chair he’d already pulled over beside the woman. Thank the Universe I still had on my coat, so it absorbed any still wet blood… except where my hands touched her bare legs. I also tried to ignore something else I’d only read about in research, never experienced. The poor woman’s bowels had evacuated. Somehow Danny managed to get the rope loose from her neck. Her weight staggered me, but Danny quickly took the burden off me when he climbed off the chair. For an instant, he stared down at the body lolling in his arms, then appeared to control himself and carried her over to the bed, where he laid her down.

Alice is a writer. She is also the proud owner of a home full of paranormal residents. She and her Aunt Twila and friend ‘Granny’ have become quite well known for their ability to talk to ghosts and make them understand that if they won’t go through the light then they will behave or be banned to places where they can’t bother humans. For her own residents she has come up with what she calls ‘The Howard and Alice Ghost Agreement.’ Howard, being her Head Ghost has been put in charge of the other paranormal cohorts within her domain.

Alice received a call from Twila telling her they were to travel to Red Dollar, New Mexico, stay at the Red Dollar Hotel and bring the ghosts there under control so the hotel could sell. It appears the ghostly residents have been causing trouble whenever the real estate agent brings potential buyers by. Furniture has been thrown around, doors slammed, the signs destroyed, all scaring anyone off from wanting to buy. Their job is to create an agreement for the hotel ghosts. So off take Alice, her dog Trucker, her cat Miss Molly and Granny to spend a few days in the beautiful Red Dollar Hotel.

For the travelers, trouble starts in the beginning. There is a storm that has set in delaying Twila’s flight. They get to the hotel only to find a woman hanging in one of the rooms leading Alice to the conclusion she had been murdered since her hands had been removed. A ghost that had appealed to Alice before leaving home suddenly appears again at the hotel. She encounters a ghost that is not only smelly and dirty but also has a mean streak, especially when it comes to cats. Alice’s police ex-husband shows up for what she feels is no reason. And then there is True who was shot in the back of the head after winning the hotel in a poker game over 100 years before. True refuses to pass over and ends up reliving his shooting every night. All of this plus the discovery of a possible black conven working the area have the little group a real fix.

Dead Man Hand is a book I couldn’t put down. The more I read and the closer I got to the end, the more I wanted it to just keep going. I didn’t want it to end. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I must go back and read Dead Man Talking and Dead Man Haunt, the first and second books within this set. Author T. M. Simmons keeps you going with her style of writing.