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.

Jilted by Death - Lynette Hall Hampton, Author

5:01 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Barbecue Cups
(My grandchildren love this recipe and
I thought maybe my readers would, too -
Lynette)

l lb. ground beef - browned and drained
1/2 cup barbecue sauce - whatever you like. I use Sweet Baby Ray's
2 Tbsp. onion - chopped fine
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 can of biscuits
3/4 cup. Shredded cheese - I use cheddar

After draining beef, add barbecue sauce, onion and brown sugar.
Place each biscuit in a greased muffin tin. Press dough up sides, to the top of tin to form a cup.
Spoon mixture into cups and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until dough is brown.


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

"This is Willa," I said into the receiver.  "And I can be your worst nightmare," a deep muffled voice said.  "Stay away from Reba Wilkinson.  No more lunches with her, if you know what's good for you, Preacher Lady."  The receiver slammed in my ear and I slowly hung up.  I was stunned, confused, and a little afraid.  I looked around my office and shivered.  Whoever this person was, he knew that I had spent my lunchtime with Reba, and he didn't like it.  But why would anyone care?  The visit had been fruitless.

Willa Hinshaw has only been the associated minister at the First United Methodist Church for about three weeks when everything seems to start turning upside down.  First came the canceling of a wedding for the daughter of one of the town's leaders to an up-and-coming attorney.  The daughter seemed to have run off with her childhood sweetheart causing much grief for her family, not to mention the loss of money it had cost her father to put this event together.  Then came the call to Willa from the daughter telling her she had made a mistake and was afraid for her safety.  She begged Willa to come and get her at a motel several miles away from Liverpool.  And when she read the note left with the motel clerk saying it was all a mistake and that she was ok, Willa wasn't convinced.  Thus starts her search for the real truth, as well as the threats made to her if she continued to keep digging into matters that don't concern her.

Then comes the ransom note.  Someone is determined to destroy the Poole family through their daughter Lee Ann and the Swanson family through their son Justin.  But why was a question no one seemed to have the answer to.

Lynette Hall Hampton has become one of my favorite authors.  Her stories are simply beautiful as well as mysterious.  Her style of writing is one that keeps me in the dark through many pages.  In Jilted by Death, I thought I knew the killer about 3/4 of the way through but the more I thought about it the more I felt I was wrong.  So, when the killer was finally revealed I was surprised but also not surprised.  I can't wait to read more works of art from this author.

Lest We Forget - Brian L. Porter, Author

1:13 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Spamghetti Carbonara
(During the war meat was hard to come by making
  the cook appeal to their creative side)

1 1/2 lbs spaghetti
4 eggs, slightly beaten (fresh or dried)
12-oz can SPAM, cubed 1/4″
1/2 cups grated cheese
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp oil
ground pepper
3 tbsp margarine

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in skillet cook SPAM® and onion in oil and butter over medium heat until lightly browned. Set aside. When spaghetti is cooked, drain; return to pot. Add egs; toss to combine. Add SPAM mixture, cheese and parsley; toss to combine. Season to taste with pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 6.


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

Remembrance

Remember the fallen, the honoured dead,
In silent prayer, with lowered head.
They gave of their all, they gave up their lives,
And remember as well all the war-widowed wives.

Fathers of children, all some mothers sons,
Taken from life by the bombs, and the guns.
No joyous salute, nor heroes return,
Just an empty chair somewhere, a story to learn.

Of young men who proudly went off to the wars,
Leaving families, friends, leaving England's shores.
Many dying with glory, though seeking no fame,
Now lying at rest, in a grave with no name.

This is just the beginning of one of the Anthology of Remembrance included within this book.  All hit my heart but this one seemed to hit the most.  With the world in the past, present and future, we will always have wars and there will always be lost lives, but how do we put the feelings created by these losses into words?  Most of us can't, but Author Brian L. Porter can and has.  Through his Bomber we find ourselves waiting, just like those do when waiting for the call to climb aboard the planes that will take them into battle with just prayers that they will return.  No Headstone on a Sailor's Grave has us waiting for a rescue boat that never comes.

As I read each segment within this book it made me stop and really think about my own father who served in not one but three branches of the military and what he must have gone through and the fear that he must have felt.  I think about my friends who fought in the Viet Nam war and how scared they had to have been.  I think about those that are serving today with their fears.  And then I think of my grandson who will serve in the near future, taking him miles away from home for the first time.

This book has made me not only stop and think but it has surfaced my appreciation of these men and women both young and old.  For without them, we would have no real world and certainly no freedom.  That is what this book has done for me.

Ghost Hunting Diary Volume IV - T. M. Simmons, Author

12:56 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves




Simple Fried Green Tomatoes
(A T. M. Simmons Special)

In the south, we love our fried green tomatoes. There are several ways to enjoy this delicious dish. In fact, my husband and I each cook them differently. I like them prepared both ways, but here is mine:

1 egg
½ cup milk
Beat together by hand, then beat in:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
This should make a batter that looks similar to pancake batter.

Select 3 firm green tomatoes, wash and core them, then slice into 1/3" slices. Put salt and pepper on them, to taste.

Heat ½ inch of canola oil to about 350 degrees in either an iron or electric skillet. Dip tomatoes into batter and fry until golden brown on each side. Serve while hot. Yum!

You can also cheat and get the Whistle Stop Fried Green Tomato Batter Mix to use for your coating. It's also delicious!

My husband eats his fried green tomatoes on bread, but I love mine with just a fork.




Ghost Hunting Diary Volume IV - Review by Martha A Cheves, Author Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

St. James Jeepers Creepers - There are times during ghost hunts when I even scare myself silly...er...sillier.  In May, 1998, an occurrence at the captivating historical St. James Hotel, in Cimarron, New Mexico - a place with an extremely haunted reputation - turned into one of those incidents. Twenty-six deaths occurred in the St. James so when I saw a man that stood about 6 feet, with black hair and dressed in an 1800's style suit jacket the evening we checked into the hotel, I wasn't surprised.  I got the impression he was a gambler and I gaped when he winked at me.  This told me he was an intelligent haunting, one in which the entity can interact with our living dimension.  In other words, the recognition worked both ways.  Turns out he was one of the nice ones.  TJ is a different story.

Barney the Believer - Barney is my husband who doesn't believe in ghosts.  One day he came to my office, white as a ghost himself.  He wanted to know if we had a little girl ghost in our house.  We do so I ask how he knew.  His comment to me was "Because I've been watching TV and she just got up from the chair on the other side of the fireplace."  That was just the beginning of him becoming a believer.

These are just 2 of the stories in the author's diary and this is the 4th diary this author has published that I've had the pleasure of reading.  I've heard about ghosts and spirits my whole life.  I 'dreamed' one morning that my grandmother was standing at the foot of my bed telling me everything would be alright.  Apparently I was asleep with my eyes open because I could see her and the room I was in full color.  I once bought a house where I would get a glimmer of someone out of the corner of my eye and freeze when I sat in a certain area in my living room.  Turns out the previous owner, a woman who loved to cook, had passed in that special spot in the living room.  If we admit it, we've all probably had some kind of unexplained 'happenings' at some point in our lives and through reading T. M. Simmons' books, I truly believe that I've experienced a few ghosts of my own.

Oh yeah.  If you have a ghost/spirit in your home, this book will tell you what would be the best way to handle your type of ghost/spirit.  Yes there is more than one type and each is handled differently.  At this time, I have no ghosts/spirits in my home.  I have a friend who died in his home and the woman living there now has told me he comes back now and then to check on the items he left in the attic.  She has never removed anything from there so he seems ok, but she does hear him now and then rummaging around and many times he will forget to turn out the light.

This, like the others before it are extremely interesting.  I'm enjoying learning about the experiences the author and her Aunt Belle have gone through and can't wait to learn even more when I read Ghost Hunting Diary Volume V.

Louisiana Sunset - B. J. Robinson, Author

11:06 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Venison Roast
 (I used to cook one this way every New Year’s Day
    - B.J. Robinson)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash deer meat and cut deep slits to place the onion, garlic, and green onion.

1 deer roast
1 onion
1 pod garlic
½ bunch green onions
Chop small and place in cut slits of the roast.

You may use a baking bag or put the roast in a small amount of water in a deep pan and baste it. Cover pan with aluminum foil. In the water, place 1 tbs. soy sauce, 1tbs. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbs. garlic salt or powder, black pepper and salt to taste, three beef bouillon cubes, and 1 tbs. Kitchen Bouquet.

You might also use a crockpot and slow cook it all day. If you use the oven, the roast should be done in appropriately two to three hours.  Brown a tbs. of flour in an iron skillet in a small amount of oil and use the water from the roast to make a brown gravy. If you do not wish to make your own brown gravy, you can use three or four gravy packets instead.

This was one part of our annual New Year’s dinner as described in the book. We also had cabbage cooked with pork chops, green beans and potatoes, potato salad, and rice for the gravy.


You may leave out ingredients per taste or add others. This is how my mother-in-law taught me to cook venison roast when my husband brought home the deer. He cleaned it, and I cooked it. 

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

Lilly Mae's life is making a complete circle.  She left Louisiana to get away from her abusive boyfriend, but after losing her job in the city she has decided to return and live in the river cabin her grandfather left her.  And of course the circle wouldn't be complete without agreeing to meet her long lost love Timber.

How could she even think of meeting him at the river again?  That time was gone and for the best.  She'd moved on, had her life together until she'd lost the job that meant the most to her, and she didn't need to let Timber rip her world apart again.  She signed.  What was she thinking?  Every ounce of her very being screamed.  Leave before he shows.  Forget him.  He's bad news.  Yet, she stood rooted to the spot.  Would he appear?  She had to know.  Had to see him one last time and put it and him behind her for good.  She was strong.  She could do this.

Even so, Lilly Mae had agreed to meet him and the old feelings resurfaced... for both of them.  Timber vowed that he had changed.  He would never hurt her again.  His temper was under control.  Lilly Mae refused to believe him.  But he refuses to give up.  He pops up everywhere, even at her home.  Then she meets Levi... the perfect man.  Levi was the total opposite of Timber.  He believed in God and went to church.  Timber actually only wanted to go if the preacher was funny.  He respected her.  Timber didn't even respect himself.  Levi thought of the other person first.  Timber only thought of himself - first and last.  But Timber still won't give up.

Levi does keep Timber in line for a while, that is until war broke out and with him being a pilot he is one of the first to head for what would be called Desert Storm.  Timber continues to keep up with his stalking.

So, will Timber separate Lilly Mae and Levi while he's thousands of miles away?  Will Lilly Mae be able to stay true to Levi, the man she loves and plans to marry or will she give in to her old love Timber?

This is one of the most beautiful stories I've read in a long time.  I found myself laughing at times, feeling sorry at times and even wanting to cry at times.  This book is a true love story that has a few twists.  And now that I've finished it, I'm looking forward to see what happens in the story that follows Louisiana Sundown - book 2 in the series.

Dead Game - Jennifer Chase, Author

2:02 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



California Style Mango Guacamole

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



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

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

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

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

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

The Deepest Dark - Joan Hall Hovey, Author

6:08 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Joan Hall Hovey's Dark and Stormy
  Date Squares

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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




After Armageddon - Brian L. Porter, Author

11:39 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

And Don't Bring Jeremy - Marilyn Levinson

6:08 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Cauliflower Casserole
(A Marilyn Levinson Special)

1 medium head of cauliflower
1 red pepper
1/2 large onion
4 mushrooms
4 eggs
1/4 cup of milk or yogurt
2/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons of slivered almonds
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
to taste:
salt
pepper
fresh cilantro, cut up
fresh parsley cut up
red pepper flakes
nutmeg
cinnamon
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

Cut the cauliflower into small pieces. Discard core. Cook in microwave until still firm. (Shall we say al dente?) If done the day before, refrigerate cauliflower.  Spray a deep casserole with oil. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut up and sauté the red pepper, onion, and mushrooms in olive oil, and set aside.  Beat eggs In mixing bowl. Add milk or yogurt, the cheese, breadcrumbs.   Mix together, then add the sautéed veggies and cauliflower.   Mix together, then add slivered almonds, fresh herbs, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes.   Mix and cover with Parm. cheese, a 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and cinnamon.   Bake covered 40-50 minutes.


Be creative! Use broccoli instead of cauliflower, basil instead of cilantro, or a different kind of cheese. 


And Don't Bring Jeremy - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

"Adam?”  
I turned around to see what Eddie wanted.  
“We— Mark and Danny and me—well, we were thinking of going out for pizza before the game tomorrow.  At Gino's.  Want to come?”  
"Sure, why not?  I'll check with my mom and let you know."  I shrugged my shoulders, trying to shake the uneasy feeling that just took hold of me.  What was wrong?  
"Great.  Meet us there at twelve.  Bring your bicycle. Then we'll ride over to the field early and practice before the rest of the team comes”  
I suddenly knew.  “All right."  In spite of myself, Mom's drilling me to try to include Jeremy whenever I could won out.  "But is it alright if I— “ 
"And Adam—“
“Hmm?”  
His voice cut across my question. "And don't bring Jeremy. Okay?"

Sixth grader Adam and his older brother Jeremy are new to the neighborhood, and Adam is finding it hard to make friends. When Adam joins a Little League baseball team, his mother sees to it that Jeremy, who has disabilities and no interest in baseball, is placed on the same team. Because Jeremy is awkward and always doing something to embarrass Adam, Adam is ashamed to have people know that Jeremy is his brother. When Eddie Gordon, the coach’s son, befriends Adam, he makes it very clear that he wants no part of Jeremy. 

Adam and Eddie spend more time together, and Adam finds himself saying nothing when Eddie calls Jeremy names and picks on him. Jeremy tells Adam that Eddie has done some bad things, but Adam defends Eddie. And then Eddie accuses Jeremy of ruining the sets for the sixth grade’s play. Adam learns a few home truths about Eddie Gordon and just how strong the bond between brothers can be.

When I started reading this book I felt the pain that Adam and Jeremy both felt. This book brings to light the emotions and difficulties children who have siblings like Jeremy must face.  Even though this is a book written for children/young adults, to me it is one that needs to be read by all young people who have a slower sibling. It needs to be read by all parents that have a child with any kind of handicap. It needs to be read by every teacher.  Actually... this book needs to be a #1 seller and read by everyone, young and old, whether you do or don't have dealings with a disabled or challenged child OR adult. I really feel it will help you to see that person in a totally different light. This isn't a hard book to read. I read it in 2 nights but learned a life's worth of knowledge.



Nightmares Can Be Murder - Mary Kennedy, Author

10:27 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves

(Pre-order now for this September 2 release!)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread
(One of Ali's favorite)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups strawberries, rinse, dried and chopped


1. Grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan. I use "Pam for Baking."
2. Use an electric mixer to cream butter, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.
3. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
4. Blend flour mixture with butter mixture just until blended. Add buttermilk and only stir until just combined; do not over mix.
5 Carefully fold in strawberries. Dough mixture will be thick.
6. Bake in a 350°F oven for 50 to 60 minutes

Nightmares Can Be Murder - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

I felt a little chill go through me, but I tried to keep my tone neutral and plastered a bland expression on my face.  "Bad dreams happen for a reason, Taylor," she said carefully.  Her voice was now barely a whisper, her eyes were full of shadows.  "They have something to tell us, and the message becomes apparent soon enough.  You know what they say, the truth always comes out in the end."  She paused.  "Oh, and tell Barney he can find that little catnip mouse - the blue one with the orange tail - under the refrigerator.  He lost it a week ago, and I finally had a dream about it last night."

When Taylor Blake left Chicago to help her sister Ali get her candy store business in Savannah, GA up and running, she finds herself involved in more than chocolate.  It doesn't take long to learn that Ali not only has a slow running vintage candy business but also a Dream Club that meets at the store.  It also doesn't take her long to realize that these people are actually serious about their dreams as well as their meanings.  So when one of the members tells of a dream she had where a man is murdered while Latino music is playing in the background, she suddenly becomes a bit skeptical when the dream comes true.  Could the dreamer be the one who actually killed him?  No matter what, Taylor will find out!

I thought I had this book pegged within the first 50 pages.  Then I decided I was wrong but after about 100 pages I knew who committed the murder.  Wrong again.  At about 150 pages I simply couldn't be wrong and knew who it was and why.  Finally I'm at page 260 and know who the killer is but not the why.  That I didn't learn until the last 10 pages.  This book turns with every page!  I loved it!

The Orange Moon Affair - Afn Clarke, Author

10:58 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Veal Marsala with Asparagus Tips
 An AFN Clarke Recipe

This recipe is based on a meal that my character Thomas Gunn has at London's Royal Overseas League in Chapter Six of The Orange Moon Affair.

Both my father, my mother and I were members of the Royal Overseas League and it was there as a family that we celebrated my father's award of the MBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace for his services to the British Community in Libya during the 1969 revolution. He enjoyed veal marsala very much and this recipe is dedicated to him. We lived in Libya for many years and travelled back to UK by car (ferry from Tripoli to Siracusa) through Sicily and Italy enjoying the food. Libya was once an Italian colony and one of my fondest memories as a teenager was enjoying Spaghetti Bolognese served in big white bowls in an Italian restaurant in one of the Italian style piazzas of what was then Istaklal Street in Tripoli on a balmy summer evening..


Ingredients
4 Veal cutlets about 4oz each and 1/2" thick
3 Eschallots
Butter
Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon Fennel seeds ground
1 Brown mushroom
1 Porcini mushroom
1 Shitake mushroom
2 white mushrooms
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup Marco de Bartoli Vignas la Miccia Marsala Superiore Oro DOC
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
16 fresh Asparagus
4 medium roasting potatoes
1 Rosemary sprig
3 Green onions
8 small salad tomatoes de-seeded
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Italian dressing
2 bottles of Pienantroj Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2007
Serves 4

Method
Preparation is the key word here. If you don't get everything in order then you're going to be behind all the way.

So let's start with the potatoes. Heat the oven to 180°C or 160°C for a fan oven. I use the Heston Blumenthal method, which delivers every time. Peel so they have sharp edges, cut into quarters and boil in well-salted water until they start to crack and are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Take them out gently, you don't want them falling apart, and cool in a colander.

While the potatoes are boiling grind the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar until you have a medium fine powder, mix with salt and ground black pepper, then rub well onto the veal cutlets. Do not use too much fennel, you want a delicate taste not an overpowering one. Cover and set aside for a few minutes so the seasoning settles with the meat. Cut the asparagus stalks at the point where a sharp knife goes through easily. Slice tomatoes and deseed, then slice again into thin strips. Dice green onions. Cut mushrooms into 1/2 centimetre slices. Take the rosemary sprigs and strip off the leaves into a bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix with a little salt and ground black pepper. Not too much.

Once the potatoes are cooled, toss them in the rosemary olive oil, lay on an roasting tray and put them in the oven. Cook for 1 to 11/4 hrs. turning every twenty minutes until golden and crispy.

Heat oil and butter in a frying pan and sear the veal cutlets on all sides. Do not overcook, the idea is to seal the outside and leave the inside still pink. It will cook to temperature in the sauce. Take out and leave to one side while the sauce is prepared. In the same pan sauté eschallots and mushrooms until they soften, cook a further two minutes to remove a little water from the mushrooms.

There are many ways to thicken sauce, but I always make a roux and then add the sauce ingredients to it. It's more time consuming but the texture is so much better and I don't like the flour on the meat. So take your vegetable stock that you so loving made yesterday and heat it to boiling, turn it down then melt the butter in a saucepan. Add flour stirring until the roux thickens to a soft glistening paste. Cook for two to three minutes stirring all the time to make sure the flour is cooked through so you don't get the taste of flour, then remove from the heat, stir in your vegetable stock and marsala a little at a time making sure there are no lumps. Add more stock and marsala until the sauce is the consistency you want.

Add the mushrooms and eschallots to the sauce and cook gently for about ten minutes. Taste the sauce and season accordingly. Bring back to boil and add the veal and cook for about five to seven minutes until the interior of the meat is to temperature.

Now for the asparagus. I like to saute them with the tomato strips, garlic and green onions and enough olive oil to coat but not drench. Use a high heat and cook until the outside of the vegetables are browned a little.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and plate up, drizzling Italian dressing on the potatoes. Garnish veal marsala with the parsley and pour generous glasses of Pietantonj Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2007 and enjoy.


Before & After
For an appetizer, a really fresh bruschetta works well.  Here's an easy recipe:

Fresh basil leaves torn and mixed with olive oil, finely diced garlic, diced plum tomatoes and diced red onion on slices of garlic and rosemary foccacia bread that has been drizzled with olive oil and toasted in the oven.

And to finish the meal, a cheese platter with grapes and black pepper crackers. Cambozola cheese is creamy with a hint of blue vein and goes very well with the rest of the bottle of Marsala. Add whatever other cheeses and grapes take your fancy. While not strictly Italian, Cambozola is a mix of French Brie and Italian Gorgonzola with just the right tang to set off the meal.

Serves 4


The Orange Moon Affair - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

 "I saw the FIM-92 Stinger ground-to-air missile spearing up toward us from the far ridge.  My reactions were slow and for a fatal moment I watched the white smoky trail from the rocket motor arc its way through the sky.  I pulled on the collective and kicked the anti-torque pedals to port, almost escaping the oncoming death, but the rocket slammed into the tail boom.  The earth spun in a lazy arc as the helicopter arched over backwards at fifty feet above the rocky desert as I lost control, spiralling to the ground, pieces flying in all directions, the only section remaining relatively intact being the forward cockpit, saved because the main rotor head deflected the impact.  There was no pain, just a smashing, grinding, splintering sound.  I felt a violent lurch as my head slammed into the side door, then silence."  

When Thomas Gunn's father Sir Ivan Gunn talked to him about taking over the family business, Gunn Group Industries, Thomas had declined.  He decided instead to join the military.  After eight years as an officer in the Special Forces Support Group, Thomas was injured and now spends his life on board his fifty-seven foot Fountaine Pajot with the love of his life, Julie.  But when his father was kidnapped and then murdered, Thomas was forced to take over the company.  It didn't take long for him to understand that someone had been transferring money into a project that only his father knew about, or so he was told.  And when Julie's father started tracking the project, its people and those running it, there was nothing to be found.  With billions of dollars being transferred to the project, someone was getting rich but who.


This book has more ups and downs than the biggest roller coaster.  There are government conspiracies that take in some of the top names all around the world.  Thomas and the few he feels he might be able to trust, find themselves running all around the world tracking those involved as well as the money.  Try as I may, I did not guess what was actually going on until it was exposed to me by the Author near the end.  This book was one I didn't want to put down.  It was one that irritated me (in a good way) because I couldn't guess the ending.  And it's one that I recommend, especially to the male readers who love a good espionage, action book as well as those female readers who want a book that will really grab them too.  I loved this and am looking forward to reading the next book in this series The Jonas Trust Deception.


Compulsion - Jennifer Chase, Author

10:19 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves


3-Way Spinach Artichoke Dip
(Emily's favorite)

1 small can (8 ½ ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
½ package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
Combine artichoke hearts, spinach, cheeses, mayonnaise and garlic in a medium bowl; mix well.
Enjoy as an appetizer, light lunch or party dip.

1.   Enjoy with your favorite chips or crackers as a dip.
2.  Spread on sliced bread or baguette and heat in oven.

3.  My favorite - use mixture inside a wonton wrapper. Follow cooking instructions with wonton wrappers.

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

Detective Rivas wastes no more time and clicks on the first email.  It quickly loads several photos and a video showing a man clearly digging in a deserted rural area.  The detective's blood turns cold and he feels sweat trickle down his neck.  He watches the man in the cheap neon Hawaiian shirt talking to himself explaining how sometimes dying is the right thing to do and how brave the little boy was to die for him... clicking on the other emails, Detective Rivas obtains detailed metro-scan maps fro the Yuma county assessor's office and clear photographs of the suspect with a complete background of criminal and personal history.  An entire detailed investigation unfolds in less than five minutes in front of him from a phantom super sleuth.  He is just one of many who has been blessed with the help of this serial killer hunter.

Detective Rick Lopez of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office has his own serial killer to deal with.  Women are turning up dead after being tortured.  He is convinced that this is not the work of just one serial killer but a team of two, which is extremely rare.  Apparently the killer will remove an arm from his victim and replace it with the arm of the victim before her.  This in itself is a puzzle but Lopez knows that the killing will go on until the killer is found and destroyed.

Emily Stone is a loner.  Her parents were murdered when she was only twelve and she sent from her home in Indiana to live with her uncle in California.  Over the years she has seen her share of crime.  Stone crazy men abducting and molesting children and now her attention is being turned to women being abducted in her own town by a deranged killer.  Something has to be done and soon but apparently the police haven't a clue as to the person's identity.

Someone is sending high-tech emails and evidence to the police departments that lead them to the arrest of serial killers.  Who, no one knows.  Could it be a policemen?  Could it be Emily Stone?  Or is it someone you would least expect?  As I read this story I had my killer nailed about half way through the book.  Well, I was wrong.  The first killer was eventually revealed but not the second.  I was firm in my decision as to who the second was.  Again I was wrong.  See if you can figure this one out before the end of the book.

This is the first in the series and I can't wait to read the next titled Dead Game so I've already bought it and have it in line to read.  If it is anywhere as twisting and full of surprises as Compulsion I will find myself up late reading again.

Echoes of Mercy - Lynette Hall Hampton, Author

11:18 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Barbecue Cups
(One of Willa's favorite)

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
1 Tbsp. minced onion
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 can biscuits
3/4 shredded cheese

Brown beef - drain.  Add barbecue sauce, onion, sugar and mix well. Place each biscuit in a greased muffin tin. Press dough up the sides of muffin cup. Spoon mixture into cups and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 375 - 400 for 10 to 12 minutes or until dough is brown.



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

"As I said, I noticed you bring the flowers for your husband's grave,"  I was grappling for words to explain the situation.  She nodded and I went on.  "Shortly after you left, there was a disturbance in the graveyard.  Something exploded and I'm afraid Mr. Kingsfield's tombstone was destroyed in the mayhem."  "Oh my goodness."  She put a dainty hand at her throat, "What caused the explosion?"  "We're not sure."  I looked at her expecting more of an outburst.  When it didn't come, I went on.  "We felt sure you'd want to know about it."  "Of course I do, and it was kind of you to come tell me."  "The grave is fine.  There will have to be some soil added and grass planted but other than that, it will be ok."  "That's good.  I wouldn't want to think that Leo's body was disturbed."  She picked up the teapot.  "Would you like more, Willa?"  I shook my head and sipped the tea already in my cup.  I was trying to understand what was going on in Elva Kingfield's mind.  She was taking the news awfully well.

Reverend Willa Hinshaw had the duty of informing Elva Kingsfield that there was a bomb in the flower basket that she had placed on her deceased husband's grave.  From the way this aging lady was acting, could she possibly have been the one to place the bomb in the basket or is someone else simply trying to do away with this little lady with hopes of inheriting her rather large estate?   After getting to know Elva, Willa is sure she had nothing to do with the bombing.  But when Elva starts insisting that her deceased husband is paying visits and her niece Penny tries to solicit her help to have Elva committed, Willa knows that there is someone sinister behind the scenes.  And this all proves true when Willa starts receiving warnings to stay away from the family or face death herself.  Now she has the responsibility of helping save this lovely woman from her own family.

This is my first reading of this author's work and I must tell you that I'm hooked.  The reading is easy, not too many characters to get them confused, and the mystery keeps you guessing.  I loved every word of it and can't wait to get my hands on another of her books.