Mixed Messages (A Malone Mystery Book 1) -

10:52 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves


"Dottie's Barbecue"

1 lb. ground beef
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tblsp. sugar
1 tblsp. dried mustard
1 tblsp. vinegar
1 tsp. salt
8 oz. ketchup
Brown meat, add onion and pepper. Combine all remaining ingredients. Add to meat. Cover and simmer for 1 hour

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

She went directly to her grandmother's grave and stooped down to clear away the debris that covered the inscription on the tombstone.  She heard a noise behind her that sounded like light footsteps making their way through the dried leaves and twigs... But there was no one there.  It's probably your imagination, she said out loud but, when the sun went behind a cloud, she shivered.  Then, she heard the noise again... All of a sudden, a black cat sprang from the woods... As she turned back toward her grandmother's grave, she noticed a mound of freshly dug earth a few feet away.  Curious, she went over and looked down.  Her eyes opened wide and her hands flew to her mouth to stifle a scream.  There, printed in bold black paint on a large rock were the words, "FUTURE HOME OF ANN KERN."

Ann is a wife and mother of two beautiful children.  Most of her married life has been spent being a stay at home mother but now her husband David has decided that she should get a job.  He said he was tired of trying to support the family by himself.  The stress was getting to him and he was staying out late and drinking heavily.  His mother Louise takes her only living son's side and blames everything that he is going through, including the drinking, on Ann.  She agrees that Ann needs to earn her part of the income and even puts in a good word with Father Andrew from their church who is looking for a part-time assistant.

Father Andrew finds Ann very suitable for the position but also finds out who she really is.  He actually has a past with her family.  A bad past and this just might be his chance to get the revenge from years past.

You can't help but feel the love yet anger, sorrow, and pain that goes through Ann as she tries to be a good wife and mother.  But it seems that the harder she tries she can't help but watch everything slip away from her.  This story is so well written and so real that I found myself comparing it to people I knew in my own life.  I'm now looking forward to reading the next book in this series titled Unfinished Business.

The Madonna Ghost - Linda Maria Frank, Author

2:25 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



FAMOUS APPLE BREAD
 

3/4 cup of oil
2 eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. NACL
1 cup chopped apples
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a loaf pan.  Combine dry ingredients.  Beat together eggs, sugar and oil.  Stir in dry ingredients.  Stir in apples and nuts.  Bake 1 1/2 hrs.
 

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

"The story goes that the women lashed their small child to themselves with their shawls before they jumped overboard to swim ashore.  This action proved to be fatal for some of the children.  They couldn't struggle to the surface to breathe, and most of the mothers were not swimmers anyway.  They were at the mercy of the waves."... "Some could be revived, and this drove one woman in particular to wander up and down the beach, trying to find someone who could revive her baby.  When they saw that her child was dead, the good people from Bay Shore tried to comfort her.... She wandered the beach, her baby clutched to her, until she collapsed and died herself.  Her grave is in the old cemetery in Bay Shore... Even today, the Madonna Ghost, as she is called, is sighted by people on occasion."

Annie and her Aunt Jill are vacationing on a small island out from New York called Fire Island.  The island is small and Annie is really hoping that there will be at least a couple of people her own age.  She was in luck.  They were staying at the summer home of a friend of Jill's who just happened to have his nephew Ty staying with him.  Now the vacation was looking up and even more so when she learned there was a ghost on the island.  Maybe she would be able to see the Madonna Ghost for herself, making it a first for her.  And of course with Ty by her side, it would be fun.

What Annie and Ty soon learn is that there is more than a ghost on the island.  The men staying in the cottage next door seem a little strange.  And when Jill comes up missing, they are both sure the neighbors have something to do with it.

The suspense and mystery in this book had me rapidly turning the pages.  I read a lot of books and usually have them pegged at least halfway through.  Not this one.  It kept me guessing all the way to the end.  So much so that I've ordered the next two books by this author... Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys and Girl with Pencil , Drawings

First Priority - B. J. Robinson

1:48 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves





BJ's Strawberry Shortcake
(First direction:  Be sure you don't let
 some man knock it 
out of your
 hands while your delivering it)

1/2 cup light butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
1 cup milk
2-3 eggs
1-2 pints strawberries for mixture
strawberries for toppping
Whipped cream of your choice (I use light Cool Whip)



Stir margarine to soften and gradually add sugar. Cream together and add the vanilla. Beat eggs. Add ingredients and mix. Fold strawberries (washed, drained, sliced or mashed) into batter. Grease two round cake pans or use spray. Bake at 375 degrees until done. When it’s lightly brown and you can pull out a toothpick clean, it’s done. Let cool and remove from pans. 

Note: Some people may opt to leave the berries out of the batter and just use them as topping, but I like them in the cake for true homemade shortcake. Also, some may like a white icing, but I only use the whipped cream topping.

Eat and enjoy.

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

The house stood battered and forlorn, surrounded by five live oaks that formed a horseshoe turnaround.  To the right, lay Myrtle's small strawberry patch.  The berry bushes hung with the red-ripened fruit ready for tomorrow's picking.  Berries were rotting on the bushes from all the rain.  To the left, lay her bell pepper patch.  Strawberries and bell peppers were the only living Myrtle knew.

June was Myrtle's only child.  In Myrtle's opinion, she should have been born a boy, then she would have someone to help her out around the farm.  But no, the same God that took her husband had only seen fit to give her a daughter.

June is determined to prove to her mother that she can do everything that a son could have done.  This has become her obsession with the hopes that her mother will finally accept her.

This short story brings warmth to the heart.  I felt for Myrtle as well as June, understanding them both.

Wolf - Brian L. Porter, Author

3:13 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Lamb Tagine
(A Porter Special)


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
Two 2 1/2-inch strips of lemon zest
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
Kosher salt
3 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups water
6 large carrots, thinly sliced
1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 cups pitted green Picholine olives, rinsed
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, ginger, paprika, coriander, cumin, black pepper, cayenne, cloves, saffron, cinnamon stick and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Add the lamb and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.

Scrape the lamb and spices into a tagine or a medium enameled cast-iron casserole; discard the lemon zest. Add the water, carrots and onion and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the lamb is very tender, about 2 hours.

Spoon off any fat from the broth. Stir in the olives, season with salt and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley, cilantro and lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and serve

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

"Hell, Warren!  You've got to do something." shouted Emma at her husband.  "That's six chickens gone in a week, it's got to be a wolf, just look at those tracks."

"Yeah, I've been looking, Em," Warren replied, "and there's something strange about them, I just can't quite put my finger on it."

"They're wolf tracks alright Warren, just you mark my words.  They are, and you'd better be doing something about that killer, and fast."

Warren and his wife Emma had given up their careers in an attempt to 'get back to nature' and in the process they acquired a few chickens, horses and Billy the goat.  Now something was running off with the chickens.  Warren's concern is that 'if' this is a wolf, why didn't it go after one of the horses or the goat.  Well, nothing else to do but track this killer and put an end to the thefts.

I've read many of this author's books.  Most of them, such as A Study in Red and Glastonbury, have scared the heck out of me by bringing to light that there really are some crazy, dangerous people living in our world.  I've also seen the softer side of this author with his books like Tilly's Tale which is the story of an abused dog that was lucky enough to be rescued.  But I've never read a story like Wolf.  I have to tell the truth and say that I actually cried while reading this beautiful story.  And the ending, you won't believe.

Author Brian L. Porter is one of the most versatile authors I've ever had the pleasure of reading.  He can go from the worse events in the world to the best and most loving.

Wolf also contains a superb educational section full of facts about the wolf as an endangered species, highlighting the surprising number of wolf species that are already extinct in our world. Perhaps books like this will help today's youth to take steps to help redress the balance in favor of this magnificent creature.