The Edge of the Cemetery - Margaret Millmore, Author

10:45 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



The best salmon:

Serves 4 (large salmon steak or 4 - 6 ounce steaks)
450 temp for 15 minutes, allow 5 minutes to rest after removal from oven
2 tblsp. olive oil
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp lemon juice

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

"The true prophecy states 'that the cambion, shall merge forever with his father and become one, upon which my ever faithful servant shall live once again'.  There is only one way to interpret this part of the prophecy... The demon will converge with the body and discard the body's mind and soul for the devil to deal with at his leisure."

On a typical day of ghost and demon eradication, George Sinclair worked with Billy Wilkinson.  The two made a perfect team due to the strength of their powers, which were virtually equal and stronger than most Ghost Killers.  This combined strength is going to come in handy as they deal with a demon from the past and his human as they work together to fulfill the prophecy of him converging into the boy's body and opening the sealed vault that contains demons that were imprisoned within its walls releasing them to do the work of the devil.

The Edge of the Cemetery is Book 2 of the Ghost Killer series.  Author Margaret Millmore has a way of writing that not only keeps the pages turning but also feeds me surprises around every corner.  About half way through the book I KNEW what was going to happen near the end.  Wrong.  The events that took place had never entered my mind!  This is the art of a truly good writer.

If you want a good ghostly mystery, don't miss this book, but I'll give you a little advice before reading.  Go back and read Book 1 What Haunts Me.  Both books stand alone but they also connect and will allow you to personally know the characters a bit better.  I've now read both and I highly recommend them.

Diamonds in the Dumpster - Morgan St. James & Phyllice Bradner, Authors

11:26 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Baked Alaska
(
exercise your culinary skills)

Total Time: 6 hr 29 min
Prep: 45 min
Inactive: 5 hr 40 min
Cook: 4 min
Yield:12 servings

Ingredients
For the Ice Cream Cake:
Vegetable oil, for brushing
1 pint raspberry, passion fruit or other sorbet, softened
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
1 quart chocolate ice cream, softened
1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs (about 17 crushed wafers)
1 loaf pound cake
For the Meringue:
1 cup egg whites (about 6 large), at room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 cup sugar


Directions
Make the ice cream cake: Brush a 3-quart metal bowl with vegetable oil; line with plastic wrap.
Fill the bowl with scoops of the sorbet, vanilla ice cream and half of the chocolate ice cream, alternating small and large scoops to create a mosaic of colors and shapes.
Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the ice cream; press down to close the gaps between scoops and even out the surface.
Remove the plastic wrap, sprinkle the ice cream with the wafer crumbs and re-cover with the plastic wrap, pressing gently. Freeze until set, about 30 minutes.
Remove the wrap and spread the remaining chocolate ice cream in an even layer on top of the crumbs.
Cut the pound cake into 1/2-inch-thick slices; completely cover the ice cream with the slices, trimming as needed (you'll use about two-thirds of the cake). Cover with fresh plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Make the meringue: Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until foamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar on high speed until the whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks.
Remove the top layer of plastic wrap, then invert the cake onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. (If necessary, let the cake stand overturned until it slips out.) Remove the rest of the plastic wrap and cover the ice cream completely with the meringue, making the dome-shaped top slightly thicker than the sides.
Form swirly peaks in the meringue using the back of a spoon. Freeze for at least 3 more hours.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Bake the cake until the meringue peaks are golden, about 4 minutes, or brown the meringue with a blowtorch.
Let the cake soften at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
Freeze any leftovers.



Diamonds in the Dumpster - Review by Martha A Cheves: Stir Laugh Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

Like two undercover agents, the duo began to inch around the corner keeping Waldo behind them.  Just before the full turn, Flossie signaled Sterling to stop.  He looked at her with a quizzical expression and raised his eyebrows as if to say "What's going on?"  She pushed him back so they were both out of sight, then whispered.  "It was him - the angry man.  He was backing out of Jade's cabin like a thief, looking to both sides to see if anyone was watching.  He's up to no good, Sterling.  I can feel it in my bones."

The 'oldsters' Flossie and Sterling Silver have been treated with a cruise by Flossie's son-in-law who just happens to be the ship's captain.  The cruise will, in part, be made up of old and new magicians which fits them perfectly since they too are magicians - on the old side.  Sterling has his eye on a turban that is being worn by one of the performers, and believe it or not, ends up with it, in a shady way.  What follows is far from what he nor Flossie ever expected.

Goldie and Godiva are twins.  Goldie is married to Red Pepper, the cruise captain.  She owns Silver Spoon Antique Shoppe in Juneau.  Godiva married a VERY wealthy man who was a real obnoxious person.  Fortunately for her he passed away leaving her VERY wealthy.  She has an advice column called Godiva's Ask G.O.D.  Both women are like night and day.  One homey and one who enjoys her money and the men that can come with it.  But put these two together, add Flossie and Sterling and you have pure excitement with humor added in, especially when a little murder is thrown into the pot, and money, and jewels, and magic, and humor, must I go on.

I've read all of this series and can't get enough.  This is a series that I hope lives and continues as long as I'm able to read.  The authors are creative and the names they give their characters are the best!

Finding Billy Battles - Ronald E. Yates, Author

11:33 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Kaw River Kitchen Mystery
(Make sure you read the story behind this dish which will be at the end of book review)

(A premium chili recipe created along the banks of the Kansas River by a Jayhawker. You may use ground beef, cubes of beef or pork, or ground meatless soy/vegetable crumbles. In each case, the amounts listed for each ingredient in the list below remains the same. I usually double or triple the ingredients so I have enough to enjoy for several days.)


INGREDIENTS

Main Ingredients

2 lbs. coarsely ground beef  (or soy/vegetable crumbles)
2 lbs. (or a 40 oz. can) of kidney or pinto beans
2 medium onions, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
2, 14 oz. cans of chopped tomatoes (note: some are “chili ready”)
1 garlic clove, minced (in lieu of garlic glove, use 1 tsp. garlic powder)
3 Tblsp. Canola or Olive oil (or other vegetable oil)

Herbs & Spices

2 Tsp. salt
3-1/2 Tsp. chili powder
½ Tsp. black pepper
½ Tsp. crushed red pepper
½ Tsp. paprika
½ Tsp. oregano
2 Tsp. cumin seed, ground
1 Tblsp. brown sugar
½ Tblsp. dry mustard
1 Tsp. celery salt
1 bay leaf
1 dash Tabasco sauce
1 Tblsp. white vinegar

1 cup water

Optional: I cup of red wine (or you may substitute another cup of water, if a thinner chili is desired). Add the wine about ½ hour before serving.

Directions

It is best to use a large professional-quality heavy steel or aluminum pot, though a Teflon-coated pot is fine. It should be at least 6 quarts and preferably 8 quarts or more in size.

Prepare all ingredients BEFORE beginning to cook!

Add onions and oil to pot and sauté for a few minutes. Add meat (or veggie-crumbles) and stir. Add beans. Add remaining ingredients to meat, beans and onions. Simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Cook longer for better flavor—6-8 hours. (For even better flavor, after cooking, put chili in refrigerator overnight and when ready to eat, heat up for about 1 hour). Add wine about ½ hour before serving. Serves 10.


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

"I made it a point during my life to keep a record of my comings and goings, events that I experienced, people I met - both good and bad - and places I traveled to," he continued.  "I have written something like twelve journals.  About a dozen years back, I began writing my memoirs based on those journals.  Never finished it.  I don't expect you to understand what I am about to tell you right now.  You are still a boy.  But later, when you are grown and you have finished your education, you will better understand things.  It is just as well, because I prefer that a lot of what I am writing not be available to others until after your grandmother and I are gone."  "Ted, I want you to take my journals, my memoirs, all my belongings, and someday, perhaps twenty years from now, you can help me set the record straight about some things I did, people I met, and some events I witnessed."

These were the instructions Ted Sayles' great-grandfather Billy Battles gave him at the young age of 12.  Forty years later, Ted received some old chests filled with a historian's treasure - firsthand accounts of some of the most significant events and people in nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century history.  The journals within brought to life places such as Tombstone, the Crystal Palace Saloon, and the OK Corral, as well as people such as Wyatt and Virgil Earp, Doc Holliday and even Bat Masterson.

As you read Finding Billy Battles, you'll travel with him as he works as a scribbler for several newspapers that had sprung up in the west.  You'll also feel his fears as he faces some truly dangerous men of the time.

I don't normally enjoy books of this time but following Billy became a truly exciting journey for me.  It became a book I didn't want to stop reading.  It's educational as well as enjoyable and one I would recommend for everyone.  I do believe you will enjoy it as I did.  Now I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series titles The Improbable Journals of Billy Battles.  I expect it will be just as good.


THE STORY OF KAW RIVER KITCHEN MYSTERY
(This goes with the recipe above)

  The Kaw River, also known as the Kansas River, cuts through the heart of the rolling Kansas plains, fed by the Big Blue and Black Vermillion rivers that flow from the north. It is neither an especially impressive nor noteworthy stream. For example, it doesn't compare with more majestic tributaries like the Mississippi or the Missouri Rivers, which are known for their breadths and lengths and histories as rivers of commerce.

  Instead, the Kaw was known by the Cheyenne, Comanche, Oglala Sioux, Kiowa and Kickapoo Indians who lived for centuries along its banks as the "water of the tall grass." The Kaw was a good place to water horses and livestock and to hunt the millions of buffalo and antelope which once ruled the Kansas plains.

  Both the Oregon and Santa Fe trails followed the Kaw's banks before the two famous routes leading west from Westport, Mo. (now Kansas City) separated with one leading off into the vast northwestern prairies and the other into the arid badlands of the southwest. The wagon ruts left by thousands of covered wagons and buckboards can still be seen along the Kaw's banks. 

  Not far from its western source, is Ft. Riley, home of the 7th Cavalry. And this is where the story of the chili you are about to consume begins.

  Most people will remember the 7th Cavalry for its disastrous encounter with the Sioux and Cheyenne Nations at The Little Big Horn River in what is now Montana. Among those with Gen. George Armstrong Custer on that fateful day on June 25, 1876 was Capt. George W. Yates, an officer attached to the 7th Cavalry since 1874 and a veteran of countless battles and skirmishes with the plains Indians.

  Prior to his posting at Ft. Riley and his untimely demise at the crest of a hill overlooking the Little Big Horn, Capt. Yates had served in the Southwest Territories. There he met and married Estella del Carmen Huerta, a woman whose ancestors were Spanish landowners in New Mexico. It was the Huerta family cook who first introduced Capt. Yates to Southwestern chili--a piquant and biting concoction made with suet, pork and beef shoulder and spiced with coriander and ancho, pastilla and casbel peppers.

  When he and Estella moved to Kansas, Capt. Yates had to adapt his chili recipe accordingly. There was no coriander or ancho, nor did pastilla and casbel peppers grow along the Kaw River. 

  The result is what has come to be known in the Yates clan as Kaw River Kitchen Mystery. 

  Why mystery? 

  Because when asked what he put into his chili, Capt. Yates would only say: 

  "I go out along the Kaw and whatever I find growing wild that hasn't been buried under buffalo chips or defiled by cattle and horses I put into my saddle bag. Then I just add meat and beans. And I'll be damned if it isn't a mystery to me why the outcome is edible."

  Capt. Yates's creation has undergone a few subtle "adjustments" in the intervening years. For example, you won't find many of the exotic flora (or fauna) indigenous to the Kaw River in the current version. 

  But by and large the Kaw River Kitchen Mystery of today is pretty close to the original version--except for the occasional buffalo chip flake or two that old-timers swore gave Capt. Yates's concoction just the right touch of "mystery."  

Enjoy!


Ron Yates,

Just Add Salt - Jinx Schwartz, Author

8:39 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Since Hetta is always boating in places without stores now, I thought I'd share her:
Emergen-Sea Ice Cream Recipe

1 Gallon sized Ziploc
1 Qt. sized Ziploc
Salt

Cream or canned milk to fill Qt zip to 3/4 full
OR if feeling ambitious, make french custard mix

ADD: Vanilla to taste

           Sugar to taste
           Flavoring: Chocolate syrup is great!
Seal qt. bag and place inside gallon bag.
JUST ADD SALT and Ice
Seal gallon bag.

Shake, shake, shake your booty until frozen.
This also acts as an on-board aerobic activity.
Eat.

Repeat.


Can also serve a slushy Margarita maker with lime juice, salt, sugar, and tequila. Not recommended when underway.


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

Nothing like a new project or romantic rejection to get my lazy self motivated.  So, fired by an emotionally charged combination of excitement and choler, I compiled an extortionate list of demands for my new client... The Trob had given me the basic of the project, so I still was a little scarce on details... Tanuki wanted me to do some major snoopery before they spent too much time and money on this project.  Or so they said.  My experience was that Japan Incorporated rarely takes the environment too seriouskly, especially the ecosystems of others.

Hetta Coffey along with her friend Jan and their boyfriends Jenks and Lars, had been planning a trip to Mexico on Hetta's boat for some time, so when she finds out that Jenks and Lars are both on a job in Kuwait that will keep them there for some time she decides to take the job offered by Tanuki and go to Mexico without them.  She and Jan combined can manage her boat, which is also her full-time home, but Jan insists they hire a captain and so starts the search for a captain that isn't afraid to tread into those waters during hurricane season.

This book is full of adventure as well as humor.  I couldn't help but laugh out loud when Lonesome the male whale started 'courting' the boat.  Author Jinx Schwartz has given the characters of Hetta and Jan a real sense of humor as well as adventure that keeps you reading to see what they will get into next and how they will get out of it.  Can't wait to read Book 3 in this series.

Alter Ego - Tory Allyn, Author

1:13 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



CREAM CHEESE SWIRL BROWNIES
(A Tory Allyn Speciality)

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 25 min.
MAKES: 12 servings

Ingredients
3 large eggs, divided use
6 tablespoons reduced-fat butter, softened
1 cup sugar, divided
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. Separate two eggs, putting each white in a separate bowl (discard yolks or save for another use); set aside. In a small bowl, beat butter and 3/4 cup sugar until crumbly. Beat in the whole egg, one egg white and vanilla until well combined. Combine flour and cocoa; gradually add to egg mixture until blended. Pour into a 9-in. square baking pan coated with cooking spray; set aside.
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth. Beat in the second egg white. Drop by rounded tablespoons over the batter; cut through batter with a knife to swirl.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until set and edges pull away from sides of pan. Cool on a wire rack.



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

"In layman's terms, I said that the three victims were injected in the carotid artery.  I showed it to you in the morgue.  It caused a chemokinesis, which is the accelerated locomotion of cells due to the response of chemical stimuli.  Basically, the cells in the body went berserk.  They reacted against the foreign agent in a dramatic way, thus causing a cytomorphosis.  It's an extreme metamorphosing of the body."

"So what you're saying is that the chemical compounds caused our guys to turn into she-males?"

"What I'm saying is once the chemical compounds were introduced into their bodies they initiated a metamorphosing affect, causing a male to female alteration, thus the appearance of both characteristics.  Somewhere, in the process of morphing they died, not systematically bearing the exchange."

After being sent to Rockfort, Virginia, FBI Agent Jack Stanwick finds himself having to deal with the third victim that had been found dead under some truly strange circumstances.  It seems that all three men were in the process of changing into women prior to their deaths.  Things get worse when reporter Simone Wellington publishes an article that the Governor of Virginia's son is missing and there may be a connection.  Someone is feeding her information that must be stopped.

This has to be one of the most unusual books I've ever read... yes that's good.  I've read MANY books but Author Tory Allyn writes in a fashion that I've never had the pleasure of enjoying before.  The book was very interesting and took me on a ride but what Allyn does that is so different are the 'conversations' that are carried on with the different characters.  Normally you will find the characters stating what they want to say and the writer goes on to the next scene.  Not Allyn.  His conversations are exactly that.  They talk to each other just as you and I would.  It gives each character a true personality and a little history as to why they are the way they are.  I loved it!!!  And the story too.  I also loved that it closed with another story in the works which I'm looking forward to reading.

Murder by Proxy - Betty Gordon, Author

10:45 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Fudge Brownie Pie
(One of Vicki's favorite pies)
2 eggs
 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or marg.,  melted
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup Cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
1/2 cup walnuts
1 uncooked pie pastry (favorite recipe or Pillsbury at store)
Spray pie pan with cooking spray. Spread uncooked pastry shell in pan.
In small bowl, beat eggs, blend in sugar and butter, combine flour, cocoa and salt, add to butter mixture, stir in vanilla and nuts. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake about 30 minutes until set. Serve warm with ice cream or  whipped cream.

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

How entertaining!  The investigator and cab driver are humorous.  They don't have an inkling how to find me.  They look like kids scrambling around for a huge game of hide 'n seek.  Everything is going according to plan.  All I have to do is exercise patience until the two women leave Cairo and the cab driver gets back to whatever he does.  I'm sure the Cairo police aren't any further along with their investigation.  They'll probably drop it after the Americans are gone.

Sandy Olsen and her best friend are in Cairo for the trip of their dreams with the highlight being the King Tut tomb and artifacts.  Things are going great until Sandy's friend Desiree doesn't make it back to the hotel after an evening out.  And when her body is found at the Opet's Chapel, Sandy had no choice but to ask for help in finding her killer.  That is when Vicki Sanders comes to her aid.  Vicki and her partner Paul run an agency in Houston and are known for their ability to solve some of the harder cases.  This being their first out of the country job will lead them, especially Vicki, into more problems than she ever expected.

Normally, about half way through a book, I have my ideas as to who the killer/murderer might be.  Sometimes I'm right and sometimes I'm wrong.  This book was different.  I had no idea who the murderer would be nor why he committed the crime, until the end.  Author Betty Gordon had me going from page to page in hopes of solving this case before the end.  She gave me several suspects but none that I could see would have a reason to kill Desiree.  It was truly an enjoyable book and showed me that I'm not as good 'book detective' as I thought I was.


The Angler and the Owl - Viv Drewa

11:53 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves




Pecan Pie Bars(One of Viv's Special Dishes)
Yields 4 dozen
Ingredients
Crust:
•       2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
•       1/2 cup brown sugar
•       2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cubed
•       1/4 teaspoon salt
Filling:
•       3 eggs
•       2 1/4 cups pecans, chopped
•       1 2/3 cups corn syrup
•       1 cup brown sugar
•       1/3 cup honey
•       6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
•       1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
1.      Preheat oven to 350º F and line a 9x13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
2.      In a food processor or a large bowl, pulse together flour, sugar and salt (of crust ingredients) until combined.
3.      Slowly add in cold butter and pulse until mixture is coarse and crumbly.
4.      Turn dough out into lined baking dish and press it evenly into the bottom and around the edges.
5.      Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
6.      In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, honey, butter and vanilla extract.
7.      Fold in pecans and mix so they’re thoroughly coated. Then pour over hot crust.
8.      Return to oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until filling has set.
9.      Remove and let cool completely before extracting aluminum foil from baking dish, cutting into bars and serving.



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

France Hunter was excited about her first trip to the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee.  Her family planned camping trips here in the past and she just loved it.  Now that she graduated from the University of Michigan, with a degree in ornithology, she was more than ready to study her favorite bird:  owls.  That is until the black bear decided to show up making her trip short in the wilderness and a bit longer in the hospital.

27 years later she finds herself in the Amazon where she is in search of her first new species of owl - the blue-ringed owl.  What she didn't expect were the feelings she soon started to feel after meeting John Sinclair who was the host of  the television show 'Sinclair's Adventures'.  Rounding out the group was Cathy Birch who was gathering information for her latest magazine article.

Author Viv Drewa brings the search for the blue-ringed owl, the dangers of the Amazon and two people who have just met and their feelings for each other.  This was a page turner which I actually finished in 2 nights.  Very enjoyable.

Hale Mary - C. M. Albrecht, Author

11:08 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Curried Egg Appetizer
(ala Dorothy Sale)

Gently boil one dozen large eggs for 14 minutes.

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

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

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

Your guests will love them. Bon appétit.



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

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

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

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

A Ton of Gold

10:23 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves

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

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

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

Beat in
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Pour this into the baking pan.  Sprinkle an

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

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

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

This serves  about 16 people.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

12:43 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

1:11 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Bison Burgers
(One of Alex's Favorite Dishes)

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


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


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

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

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

Add salt if desired. 



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

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

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

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

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

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

Once in a Blue Moon - Vicki Crum, Author

12:04 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Garlic Knot Pizza Bake
(The Author's own special dish)

Garlic Crust

2 tubes pre-made biscuit dough
3 tbsp. butter, melted
1 ½ tsp. garlic powder, divided
¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese

Pizza Filling

1 lb. ground beef
1 jar marinara sauce
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
12 slices pepperoni

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the garlic-knot crust: Cut each biscuit round in half (or quarter it, if the package makes extra-large biscuits), so they’re about the size of a half-dollar.Dip the biscuit pieces in melted butter, then place them in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag and top with 1 tsp garlic powder and parmesan cheese. Shake to coat.Pour coated dough balls into a large casserole dish, spreading them out in an even layer. Set aside.For the rest of the pizza: Place ground beef and ½ tsp garlic powder in a sauté pan over medium heat. Cook beef, breaking it up into crumbles with the back of a spatula until it’s fully browned. Drain and mix with marinara sauce.


Once in a Blue Moon - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Casey's gaze latched onto the bike and the broad, leather-jacketed back of the guy who guided it deftly through traffic as though he and the bike were one.  She ached with the need to see him better, to learn something about him...where he'd come from and where he was headed.  To climb up behind him and hang on tight, feel the warm wind caressing her face and whipping through her hair.

Casey Montgomery had this attraction for what she called the alpha-male type.  Those classified as the 'bad boys', 'mavericks', 'renegades.'  Those men whose inbred machismo blinded them to any other needs but their own.  This attraction has brought her nothing but trouble and pain in the form of heartaches.  She had promised herself to swear off this type of man, yet here she is actually running down a total stranger that fits that bill.  And run him down she does until they both are caught at a red light. Looks like she has done it again.

I don't normally read romance novels.  Most follow the same story line - boy meets girl; girl falls for boy; both try to fight their attraction;  both find they can't;  boy and girl end up as a couple.  Well... this book was going to be the same, so I thought.  Wrong!  Author Vicki Crum threw a curve that was a total surprise to me.  It turns out that Casey has a secret and doesn't even know it.  I kept turning page after page to see when and how this secret will be brought to light and how it will affect Casey's life and mainly her love life.

Better Off Without Her - Rita Hestand, Author

6:13 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves





Sourdough Flapjacks
(A good on the trail recipe)

1 cup of flour 
1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
dash of salt
1 egg
1 tablespoon of honey
3/4 cup of sour milk or sweet milk with one tablespoons of vinegar. Let the milk sour for at least fifteen minutes.

After the milk has soured, you'll see lumps in it, if you don't see any lumps it needs more vinegar. Now then stir all ingredients together. Then get your griddle hot, you can use a griddle or an iron skillet either one. I use an Iron skillet. Now add a half of tablespoon of butter, spread it around the pan don't let the butter burn though, once it melts turn the heat down a notch, to test this, sprinkle a drop of water on the pan, if it sizzles, it's hot. Now add a scoop of batter, grill until golden on one side then turn and brown on other side
Put lots of butter on it when it's done and syrup to taste. Best pancakes you ever ate. Remember, the flapjacks are flatter than pancakes.


These are the kind of flapjacks the drovers on the cattle drives ate, sometimes they didn't have the honey, nor syrup and they'd just wrap a piece of fat back around it and eat it, like we eat sandwiches. It kept them going until the next meal.

Better Off Without Her - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

"now you stay there boy," Victor said turning back to Hattie.  "You will pay for punishing hem.  You'll all pay.  I'll see to it myself.  He didn't do anything wrong."  He threw her up against the wall, her body made a thudding sound, and she groaned aloud, trying desperately to move.  He picked her u again, lifted her high into the air, and this time his fingers closed around her throat until they met.  Her feet jerk, her head sagged against his arm, and her breath finally sighed from her body as he let her fall to the floor.  The thrill it gave him to kill subsided quickly.  He shook his head and he stared at her limp body.  He ought to feel something aside this crazy surge in his head, but he didn't.  He couldn't.  "Ain't right to punish a kid...Why does all you folks got to punish 'em?'  John T. tried to tackle him, tears streaming down his face, his voice at high-pitched scream, but Victor didn't budge.  He took his knife from his boot and proceeded to cut off her wedding finger, while the boy continued to batter him with his small fists.  The solid gold ring on her finger bounced and rolled on the floor, making a strange music in the air... Victor stuck the finger in his pocket, the blood still dripping from it.

I've read books by Author Rita Hestand before and found her books very enjoyable.  But, Better Off Without Her was a total surprise to me.  It is far from the romance novels I've read by this author in the past.  This is a story that would fit perfectly into the series 'Criminal Minds' if they were could take their stories back a century.  This is the story of a serial killer who believes he is rescuing the children that are being punished by their mothers for doing something they shouldn't have done.  It's the story of one of those children growing up and his search for revenge.  But its also the story of what made this madman feel he had to defend the children.

As I read Better Off Without Her I felt sorrow for the victims and their families.  I also felt sorrow for the killer who was a victim himself.  This book is one that took me on a curvy ride with every chapter, event and of course, the outcome.

The Angel Solution - John Stipa, Author

11:47 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves




San Francisco Scramble
(A John Stipa Specialty)

4 eggs
1 cup leafy spinach
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheese
2 sausage patties, cut into pieces 

Sauté mushrooms in olive oil, add in sausage until brown. Add spinach.
Crack eggs in bowl, add a splash of milk and pinch of onion salt (or seasoning of your choice) - stir.
Add egg mix to skillet. Sprinkle cheese all over and serve.


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

"What's wrong?" Tammy said.
"I'm not sure."
"Yes, you are, you just won't admit it.  Just like you won't admit these people aren't who we thought.  They're here under false pretenses." 

Trek stared back, silent, until the mask of guilt slid over his face.
"You have to make this right," Tammy said.  "If you won't, I will."
"I don't know how."
"I'll help you.  For one, stop referring to them as subjects.  Dianna, Marcus and Hayden are people, flesh and bone, not test tubes and chemicals.  They need our help.  And another, they're not 'exhibiting interesting behavioral patterns'.  They're reacting best they can to what we did to them, so take some responsibility for that."
"It's too late."

Tammy braced him by the shoulder.  "It's never too late to do what's right."

So, who are Dianna, Marcus and Hayden?  All three are offspring from three very bright men.  Three scientists who believed they could help people make the right decisions in life as well as cure the health problems invading the people of the world.  They believed in themselves so much, that is until a mysterious accident destroyed everything they worked so hard to achieve.

Tek and Tammy, with the funding from a wealthy industrialist, have picked up where the 3 scientists left off.  The subjects are under Tek and Tammy’s total control, both physically and mentally, with memories and situations being implanted into their brains - for a while that is. Then things start to change.  Dianna begins to suspect her surrounds and some of her own memories come to life with the unknowing help of her friend from the past, Renee. This ignites a harrowing series of events which has Tek and Tammy suspecting that they themselves are being played. 

This book has more twists and turns than any I think I've ever read.  As soon as I think I've figured out what is going on and who is behind it, the author throws a wrench into my theory.  And that means I can't go to bed until I see what will happen next.  Yes, I spent several nights of reading up into the wee hours - and it was worth it.  I really enjoyed this book.

Terror on Telderan, Prequel to Escape 2 Earth - Lawrence Johnson, Sr., Author

11:59 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Sausage and Beans with Tomatoes
One pot meal

Ingredients

1 pound breakfast sausage
30 oz's Great Northern or Cannellini beans (drained)
30 oz’s Tomato sauce
1 Onion (medium) Diced
1 pound Tomatoes

Cook onions over medium heat till translucent. Add sausage, cook until done. Stir in tomato sauce and tomato. If using larger whole tomatoes dice before adding. Add beans, make sure you drain before adding. Place top on pan and simmer ten minutes. For a thicker sauce remove top and simmer for an additional five minutes.

Note

Breakfast sausage is used to add seasonings.  Additional seasoning such as garlic and pepper be added if you feel it is necessary. 

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

Rayna took a deep breath and lifted her head slowly.  "earlier I told you that as High Ruler I only have access to an astral-numerologist however, the Grand Apex has been told by the Oracle that Rotart's attempt to terra form Telderan will have catastrophic results.  The planet will spiral out of control then ultimately out of this galaxy and...onward...toward the Milky Way Galaxy.  It will eventually rip through space and smash directly into your beloved planet Earth."

J'lore is stunned by this news.  He and the other Earth Guardians must find a way to prevent what has been predicted by the Guardians of old... the destruction of earth.  They warned of this event through the Henge Stones as well as the many crop circles.  Now their time is running out.

I've read Escape 2 Earth Books 1 and 2 and this short story takes you right up to the events that take place as earth goes into destruction and the plight its people take to survive on another planet.  Both books kept me spell bound and I'm now waiting on Book 3.