Showing posts with label cookbooks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cookbooks. Show all posts

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Salads Omelets & Quiches - Arlene Lee, Author

Coconut Carrot Salad

1 cup flaked coconut
1 1/2 cup shredded raw carrots
1/4 cup seedless raisins
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 cup mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Chill.  Serve on top of crisp lettuce with additional mayonnaise, if desired.  Garnish with drained canned mandarin oranges.

Salads Omelets & Quiches - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of:  Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

This is a truly unique cookbook.  It not only contains delicious, simple recipes but also word search puzzles using the ingredients and pages for coloring.

I've tried several of the recipes, including the one above for Coconut Carrot Salad.  I've made it with and without the ginger, testing it on some of my own food testers.  Some liked it with the ginger, some without but either way, the addition of coconut is wonderful!

There is a recipe for Broccoli Salad which is out of this world!  The biggest problem I had with it was sharing.  I actually wanted to keep all of it just for me.

The third recipe I tried was for a Spinach and Bacon Quiche.  It too was a hit with my food testers as well as myself.  Yes, I made a change.  I eliminated the crust and baked it in a casserole dish.  So delicious!

So, if you want some really simple recipes that are simply tasty, you might want to check out Salads Omelets & Quiches.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Around the World in 80 Meals - Diana Rubino, Author

Potatoes Croquettes

2 1/2 lb. russet potatoes
1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp. onion salt
1/2 Tsp. pepper
3 large eggs
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 1/2 cups olive oil

Peel and quarter potatoes.  Simmer 15 minutes in a large pot of salted water.  Drain potatoes when tender.  Let cool 45 minutes.  Chop mozzarella into small pieces.  Mash potatoes well.  Stir in cheeses, onion salt, parsley, pepper, and salt to taste.  Stir in 1 egg.  Shape 1/4 cup of mixture into a croquette.  Repeat until all the mixture is made into croquettes.  Lightly beat last 2 eggs in a shallow bowl.  Sprinkle breadcrumbs in a second bowl.  One at a time, dip croquettes into beaten eggs and roll in breadcrumbs until coated.  Heat oil in skillet on medium-high heat until oil shimmers.  Fry croquettes 5 minutes, turning occasionally.  When golden brown, place on paper towel to drain.  Serve hot.  Makes 6.

Around the World in 80 Meals - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Your 'virtual fantasy cruise' begins on the world famous Queen Mary 2.  You leave London's Waterloo station and enjoy a scenic train ride through the lush English countryside.  Transferring at Southampton you can only gap in astonishment at your first glimpse of this magnificent vessel.  You haven't felt this awestruck since your first breathtaking view of Egypt's pyramids.  Formalities over, you settle into your sumptuous stateroom, catch your breath and then eagerly explore form prow to stern.  As you reach the top deck you feel the faintest thrumming of high-powered engines beneath your feet and the ship begins to move.  You peer down at the distance passersby as they wave and cheer you off.  

After leaving its home port of Southampton Queen Mary 2 steams majestically through the Solent, past the Isle of Wight, and into the English Channel heading for the Atlantic Ocean.  That evening finds you sitting in the Britannia restaurant.  A white gloved waiter hands you a glorious full color menu that you'll treasure as a collector's item for years to come.

Welcome to the Britannia Restaurant:
Canyon Ranch Spa Club Selection:

Spinach and Pear Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette
Stuffed Eggplant with Olive Vinaigrette, Roasted Artichokes, Cherry Tomoatoes & Pine Nuts
Berries with Lemon Curd

Appetizers and Soups:

Serving Caviar with Classical Garnish
Chilled Cantaloupe Melon Tartar, Citrus & Mint Marmalade, Basil Jelly
Steamed Black Mussels, Saffron Veloute
Shrimp Bisque with Corn Custard, Baby Shrimp
Chicken Consumme & Matzo Balls

And those are just 2 of the 5 courses you are able to chose from for your 1st day's meal.  You will feel like royalty before your trip is over.

I had the pleasure of taking a 4 night cruise once and I can tell you the menu was wonderful.  At each meal you have the pleasure of choosing from a list of items available for each course.  There were so many new dishes that I tried for the 1st time and would have given just about anything to have been able to get their recipes, but that wouldn't have been practical because they cook for so many and I doubt I could have scaled the recipes down to serving just 2.  But... Around the World in 80 Meals gives you some of those delicious recipes with smaller servings.  The one above - Potatoes Croquettes, is one of my favorite.  They are simple to make and so delicious.  They are a must try.

You'll also find recipes like North Atlantic Crab Soup, Prime Rib of Beef au Jus and Creamed Horseradish to serve with it, Chocolate Mousse, and one I can't wait to try - Fruit with a Rum and Coconut Sauce.

So take your own virtual cruise and enjoy some of those delicious dishes in your own kitchen.  Live like a Queen or King without leaving your house.  This is a very 'delicious' book to have.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This House is a Home - Philip Nork, Author

Great-Great-Grandma Elga’s Squirrel Stew

2 or 3 squirrels cut into serving sized pieces
2 green peppers, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 rhubarb ribs, chopped
3 or 4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 large potatoes, chopped
3 quarts of water
Corn or a bean of your choice
Salt and pepper
3 quarts of water
4 large tomatoes, whole

Add the water and seasonings to a large pot and turn on the heat to simmer. Add in the squirrel meat and all the vegetables. Let simmer for 2 or 3 hours and then add in the whole tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Let simmer until ready to eat.
For an added treat make some homemade sourdough or wheat bread with whipped butter and you have a feast made for a coal miner after a hard day in the mines.

This House is a Home - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds, A Book and A Dish

"Just go in and do your business,” Uncle Rich said as we approached the wooden shack.  “This is old school all the way.  Do me a favor though. See if you can find any toilet paper in there."  

I was stunned.  What did he mean by that?  I slowly walked into this small shack that looked like it was falling down and searched for the light switch.  Not finding one I left the door ajar to allow the sunshine to stream in. Once fully inside I saw a long piece of wood along one side of it that looked like a couch without any cushions. There was a hole in the middle of it with a toilet seat attached to it. I assumed this was where I had to go.  I closed the wooden door behind me that had a half moon cut out near the top if it and slowly lifted the seat.  A tremendously bad odor arose very quickly... I squeezed my nose shut with two fingers while I did my thing... Even though I didn't need it, I looked around like Uncle Rich suggested and found no toilet paper. I did find a Sears catalog and wondered why it was there but there was nothing to wipe your butt with... Uncle Rich was waiting for me when I finished.... "What's the catalog for?" I asked. "That's old-time toilet paper,” he answered with a smile. “You can read while doing your business and then just rip a page out and use it."

In the 1970's teenager Peter was assigned to do a summer report on his family history.  Being from a family of divorce he didn't know his dad's family all that well and knew very little about his mom's side either. He did know his grandfather but when Peter tried to talk to him about the ‘good old’ days, his grandfather, Vern, would joke around, take a draw off his cigar and another swig of his always present bottle of whiskey.  Peter's mom and uncle decided the best way for him to find out about his family was to go back to the coal mines of Southern Illinois. Boy was he in for a surprise, as well as an education.

Once in a while I pick up a book that takes me back in time.  This was one of those books.  As I read about the 'outhouse' I couldn't help but go back to my own life in the 1970's when we would visit my dad's distant relatives in the North Georgia mountains. They too had the outhouses, the cow and chickens, the pot belly stove for heating and cooking, and the way of talking that only comes from the mountains.  My first visit was much like what Peter first experienced. I couldn't believe people actually lived like this.  Where was the AC?  Where was the TV?  What was that thing my 4th cousin was pushing up and down after pouring milk into it?  And best of all, what did I just eat?  

Whether you grew up in the 1970's or not, this book will not only transport you to the way life used to be, and I'm sure still is in some places, but it will also teach you the same lesson that Peter learned from his great-aunt Maddy, "A house is just a building, what makes it a home are the people in it. It doesn't matter where you live or what you do as long as you have family you're taken care of."  

I love this book!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ghost Writer - Lorna Collins, Author


1 medium onion, chopped
¼ cup butter or margarine
1 medium carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 bell pepper (green, red, or yellow), seeded and diced
1 medium apple (I like Granny Smith or Fuji), pared, cored, and diced
1 cup diced or shredded chicken or turkey (I love using left-over Thanksgiving turkey, just like Helen)
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon mace
2 whole cloves
1 sprig parsley, minced
2 cups stock (chicken or turkey)
1 cup cooked tomatoes (I use canned diced ones)
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the onion in the ¼ cup butter or margarine. Add the carrot celery, bell pepper, apple, and chicken or turkey. Gradually stir in the flour, curry powder, mace, cloves, parsley, chicken or turkey stock, tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Simmer for half an hour or longer. Serve hot.

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

 "I don't believe in ghosts," I used to tell anyone who'd ask.  I'm a 'techie,' a computer programmer.  I deal with data and facts, not fiction and fantasy.  So how did I get mixed up with a temperamental, egotistical, rude, smart, funny, aggravating, self-centered, loveable... uh... spirit?  Okay, if you insist, ghost. 

Nanette (or Nan as most called her) Burton found herself caught up in the downfall of the mortgage industry only five years after graduating from college.  But that was just the beginning of her problems.  The building she lived in went into foreclosure, so she was also out of a place to live. Then her live-in boyfriend decided to bail out when she received an eviction notice.  Well, his leaving was actually a blessing because he didn't work, wasn't looking for work, and simply lived off Nan. So when her paycheck left, he found himself another victim to mooch from.  Final step, move back home with Mom and Dad until she could find a job and buy a car.  Oh yeah, her car died, too.

Living with Mom and Dad wouldn't have been so bad except they had turned her bedroom into Dad's study so she had to sleep on the sofa.  The Victorian sofa with all its wood and firm springs.

Then Nan's great-great-aunt Nanette Burton, whom she had been named after, passed away at the age of 104.  When Nan and her dad were called to the lawyer's office for the reading of the will, there seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel.  Nan would soon be living at her rich great-great-aunt's beach cottage.  Finally a place to live and a bed to sleep on.  But her living at the cottage came with a few things Nan didn't expect.  One being her aunt's dog, Mitzi, and the other being her aunt's famous author friend Maximilian Alexander Murdoch.  Max actually wrote women's fiction under the name of Maxine du Bois and had done extremely well.  But when Nan moved into the beach cottage, Max didn't take it too well.  This was his house and had been for years... before and after his death.  Yes, Max is a ghost, who ends up allowing Nan to live in 'his' house if she will help him finish his last book.

I can never get enough of this writer's light reading.  She always grabs me right in the beginning and continues until the very last page.  She makes me laugh and she makes me feel sad now and then but she always delivers with a great book.  You can't help but love this book.

Loran's Bio:

Lorna Collins and her husband, Larry, helped build theUniversal Studios Japan theme park. Their memoir, 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park, was published in 2005. They have also written two mysteries: Murder… They Wrote and Murder in Paradise, and are currently working on more. They just completed The Memory Keeper, set in San Juan Capistrano.
Lorna co-wrote Snowflake Secrets, Seasons of Love, An Aspen Grove Christmas, The Art of Love, and Directions of Love, 2011 EPIC eBook Award winner. Her fantasy/mystery/romance, Ghost Writer, was published in 2012.

In addition, Lorna is a professional editor.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Demeter Code - Russell Brooks, Author

Sugar Cakes
(A specialty from the Author)

1/2 lb. grated coconut
1/4 pt. water
3/4 lb. sugar

Place the sugar in a saucepan and add water.  simmer until the sugar melts.  Then add the coconut.  Let boil slowly, stirring constantly to avoid burning.  Allow to cook until it thickens and takes on a greasy look.  Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls onto a shallow plate or cookie sheet that has been moistened with water.  Leave to set.

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

The grounds surrounding the cottage had every kind of electronic surveillance and anti-trespassing device imaginable, including a German shepherd named Roosevelt.  If anyone were to be able to get within thirty years of the house without being detected, there was a chance that the CIA would recruit them.  Even if anyone managed to beat the surveillance and thought of shooting through the windows with a sniper rifle, the one-and-a quarter-inch polycarbonate bullet-resistant windows would present a challenge.  And if the sniper were to think of attacking at night, they'd also have to content with the blinds being closed.  In addition, the house had live-in operatives who anyone would've assumed were just the average elderly couple spending their retirement years living in the country.  Although they may not appear to present a danger to anyone, the so-called retired couple that a few people knew as Dennis and Glenda, were well versed in handling any kind of firearms.  They both came form the previous generation of spies who first cut their teeth in the business when they worked at the Moscow Station during the 1980s.... Now that is a safehouse!  And that is just the place Ridley Fox feels safe depositing his "asset" to keep her safe until all is clear for her to come back out into the public.

Ridley Fox, a former Joint Task Force 2 Warrant Officer, has joined back up with Dr. Nita Parris on a mission far more bizarre than in Pandora's Succession. As I read The Demeter Code, I came up with many guesses as to what the Code was, what it represented and who was behind it.  Turns out that I was wrong in all of my guesses.  This book scared me, it gave me cause to stop and take a good look at the world today, realizing that this could actually happen and it made me thankful that we do have security in line to prevent these events from happening, I hope.  This book may be filled with action, murder, suspense, espionage, and all those things that most men seem to  love in a book but it's so well written that I recommend it to all readers.  As with the book before this, Pandora's Secret, I couldn't put this book down.  This is one writer that I plan on following through his books.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Stranded In Time - Kelli Sue Landon, Author

Banana Pudding
(Served at Thanksgiving in the 70's)

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 pkg. (5 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups cold milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 container (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed
4 bananas, sliced
1/2 of a 12 oz. box of vanilla wafers

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Beat in condensed milk, pudding mix, cold milk and vanilla until smooth.  Fold in 1/2 of the whipped topping.  Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2 dish with vanilla wafers.  Arrange sliced bananas evenly over wafers.  Spread with pudding mixture.  Top with remaining whipped topping.  Chill.

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

"You know how it started?  There was a crack in that wall.  I didn't discover it until I worked there for about six months.  I subbed for the teacher, and I just had to use the bathroom.  Normally I used the one we had in the teachers' lounge, but we had a fire drill that day.  We had to stand outside longer than I thought, after getting all those kids out of the building.  On our way back in, I excused myself form the class to use the bathroom.  I had one of the more responsible girls watch the others, which made it fun for her.  She loved playing teacher, you know.  I knew it wouldn't take me long to pop in and out.  And there it was.  I could hear cheers..  I could eve hear a coach training them.  I tried to look through the crack, but all I saw was light coming form the gymnasium floor... I kept going back to that room.  I'd sneak in after school was out.  Sometimes I heard nothing.  Other times, there were kids shooting hoops before a practice and setting up for school plays.  I was becoming obsessed.  I would watch through the crack, and the only time I saw any kids was when someone was on the stage.... I made sure the place was empty before I started knocking down the wall with my hammer."

Samantha (Sam) has a paper to write for school.  Her professor told the class it could be anything as long as it wasn't something that had been covered in the news.  Sam decided to write her paper on her mother's family, which she actually knew very little about.  She knew her mother had gone to Lotus School for just a few years and then she and her mother had moved away.  Her mother had never been married to her father who had been just a one night stand.  After her mother's death due to a wreck, Sam had met and gone to live with her father.  She now wanted to know more about her mother and the relatives she never knew.

Sam's adventure starts when she goes to Lotus School, which is no longer in use, just to be closer to where her mother grew up.  It was at the school that she discovered a little girl playing on the stage behind the wall that had a hole in it.  As she stepped through the hole, she found herself in another time.  Sam had just stepped back into the 1970's.  Her great-grandmother was still alive, as was her grandmother and her own mother was just a child.  Then she meets Suzanne.

Sam came into this past world with knowledge of what the future holds.  She, along with Suzanne, can make changes and correct some of the events to happen... but will they?... should they?  There is a child that will die, unless Sam and Suzanne can prevent it from happening but if they do what will it change in the future?  What will any events that take place in the 1970's change in the future if they try to make changes?

This book took me just a few pages to become involved in the story but when I did, I didn't want to stop reading.  As each event is to take place, I find myself wondering how this is going to affect Sam's life if she ever makes it back to her own time.  And if she doesn't, what will happen when her mother grows up and gives birth to her?  Will there be 2 Sams in the world or will she not be born at all?  This book was a very entertaining read that I really enjoyed.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Chick and the Homestead Chickens of Grymme Creek Hollow - David Boyette, Author

Tater Jack
(A Chick Special)

Tater Jack is similar to Latkes a Yiddish potato patty but with a slight difference.  In Tater Jack you don't use any flour or corn starch

1.  Take 2 medium sized unpeeled potatoes and boil them in a pan of water until done.  You can nuke them in the microwave or bake them in the oven but boiling is better.
2.  Mash the potatoes in a bowl, skins and all.
3.  Add just enough buttermilk and mix until everything is the consistency of paste.
4.  Preheat a skillet with oil for about 10 minutes on medium heat.  Bacon drippings also work really well.
5.  When the pan is hot, spoon out the desired size patty in the skillet and let them cook for about 10-12 minutes, flip them over and cook another 10-12 minutes.  If you add cheese or onion, allow 3 minutes more for cooking.  When done the Tater Jacks should have a golden brown crust.  Serve up with the toppings or condiments of your choice - sour cream works great.

Chick and the Homestead Chickens of Grymme Creek Hollow - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Many years ago a young man from the city decided to be a pioneer so he loaded up his belongings and started a homestead in Grymme Creek Hollow which, by the way, was in the Ouachita Mountains.  It didin't take long for the young man to decide this wasn't for him so he packed up his personal belongings and moved back to the city.  Legend has it that the chickens he left behind decided to make their own homestead out of what was left behind.  These chickens became the Homestead Chickens of Grymme Creek Hollow.

The homestead chickens were divided up into family groups known as broods.  In each brook there was a Mother Hen who was in charge.  The roosters in the brood were not in charge.... Among some of the more influential broods of the homestead were Midhens which were a combination of killer security guards and nannies.  The leader was the Superior Mother Hen - Hypatia Rosecomb.  She is advised by a group of Mother Hens which make up the Council of Aunties.  There were also different classes of chickens which determined their pecking order.  Like most, there were the upper class chickens and there were the lowerclass which were called coopies or coop chickens.

The Pinfeathers family was the smallest and poorest chickens of the coop.  They were June Pinefeather, the Mother Hen; Walter Pinfeather, her rooster; and of course their chick which they named Chick.  Chick was a born explorer.  Nothing amused him more than running around investigating everything that made up the homestead, even if it took him to the outskirts of the upperclass.  But his real trouble came when he spotted a chick younger than him being bullied by another chick.  His defense of this chick, named Peq, brought the anger of the bully's mother who just happened to be Aunty Hysidia, the 2nd most powerful Aunty in the Council.  Second only to the Superior Mother Hen.  Her anger has her pressing charges against Chick's father Walter for what boils down to theft and treason.

I read a lot of books but this book is one that I can't say enough about.  We spend our lives hearing about bullying, discrimination, politics, and everyday life in general, but after a while it just becomes words that we hear but don't listen to.  As I read Chick and the Homestead Chickens I would be reminded of things happening around me.  As Peq is bullied I pictured the kids on the news that attempted to kill their friend.  As I read about the order of the broods, I pictured the different housing districts we have within every city.  As I read about the Aunty Council, I pictured the court systems we have in effect.  And as I read about the Superior Mother Hen, I pictured our presidents and their cabinets.  This book, which made me laugh also made me pay attention to my own surroundings.  This is a book that can be read by those of all ages and they will all learn something from it.  OH YEAH!  You do realize I learned this from a Chicken!  Great Book!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Deputy - C. M. Albrecht, Author

Chef Merle Blanc's Secret Potato Salad Recipe

2 med. potatoes
1 hard-boiled egg, cut into cubes
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup celery, chopped
1/3 cup sweet relish
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. mustard
Seasoning salt to taste

Boil potatoes until tender.  Cool, peel and cut into 1" cubes.  Makes about 2 cups.  Blanch onion and celery in boiling salted water for one minute.  Drain.  Fold all ingredients together and refrigerate in a covered bowl.  Serves 4

You should keep these salads refrigerated and preferably consumed the same day.  If the Macaroni Salad becomes dry and/or sticky, a few drops of milk blended in may help.
For boiling your egg, place egg in salted gently boiling water for 14 minutes.  Cool quickly in cold water and roll around to gently crack the shell all over and peel.  Cooking too long results in dark green edges around the yolk.

But wait!  There's more!  This recipe works equally well to make a Macaroni Salad.  Just substitute two cups of cooked salad macaroni.  (One cup of uncooked macaroni should give you 2 cups cooked.)  If you prefer your salad a bit more tart, substitute Dill Relish or minced Dill Pickles for the Sweet Relish.
To add that special gourmet touch to either of the above, you may add your choice of chopped Parsley, Olives, Capers or chopped and blanched Red and/or Green pepper.  Some like minced cooked bacon.

The Potato Salad recipe is just one of the famous Chef Merle Blanc's dishes.  It's your creation now.  Make it the way you like!  You can read more about Chef Merle Blanc in "Deadly Reception" by C. M. Albrecht.  Bon appétit!

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

Just half a block from the sub-station, crossing the railroad track, Wayne's eyes caught sight of a wiry bandy-legged little guy walking along by the track.  The man limped slightly, and from the look of his oversize coat and unshaven face, he was obviously down and out.  As he neared the man, he stopped and leaned out of his side window, said, "Howdy."  The little man stopped abruptly, looked over at Wayne sitting in his cruiser and hesitated.  he looked as if he was debating whether to stay or run.  "Hi," the stranger said.  "You're new around here," Wayne said swerving his vehicle to a stop in front of the man.  "Just passing through," he said.  "I been looking for work."  "What kind of work do you do?" inquired Wayne.  "Oh...most anything.  "My name's Deputy Terwilliger, but most folks call me Wayne.   "I'm Ray Stark from Montana," the man said.  "Well, what I was thinking, Ray, is that I'm tied up here in town so much of the time.  You know, a sheriff's always on duty, and my wife, Janie, she's alone out there at the farm all day with all those chores to take care of.  I was just thinking, I can't offer much in the way of money, but we do have a spare room.  I've been using it for storage, but we could clear it out and make up a little room for you there and my Janie's a good cook." Wayne said to him.  "As to wages, I just need maybe enough to keep me in a few things."  replied Ray.  The two men shook hands as Wayne said, "Come on.  We'll get in the cruiser and I'll take you out there.  It isn't far." 

This was the hiring of Ray by Deputy Terwilliger to help his wife Janie with the chores around their farm.
Ray couldn't believe his luck in finding a job and by a Deputy to boot.  This was going to make his life so much easier... so he thought.  What he was unaware of was that the Deputy had other 'chores' in mind for Ray and they weren't exactly up to Ray's liking.

What the Deputy lacked in morals he made up for in his bravery.  When the bank in Franklin was robbed, he showed no fear in going after the robbers.  He had a loving wife at home, Sandy in town, a job that made him proud and the 'respect' of those around him.  So when he read about a bus load of convicts escaping after killing the driver, he came up with a plan and Ray fit in perfectly.  A plan that would give him the freedom to do and have everything he wanted, and deserved.

This book kept me on the edge.  I was able to come up with Ray's fit into the story but I had no idea as to how he would handle what had been planned for him to do for Wayne.  The ending was a bit of a surprise for me.  Loved this book as much as I've loved all books I've read by this Author.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Dark Before Dawn - Laurie Stevens, Author

Chocolaty Caramel Pecan Bars
(In honor of the book series, which is dark and
   deals with mental issues!)

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 Tbsp. whipping cream
1 cup all purpose or unbleached flour

24 vanilla caramels (unwrapped)
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 cups pecan halves (or pieces)

1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips or semi-sweet
2 Tbsp. whipping cream

Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Line an 8 or 9 inch square pan with parchment paper.  If you don't have parchment paper, grease the pan.  In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter and 1 Tbsp. whipping cream until well blended.  Add flour and mix until crumbly.  With floured hands, press evenly into pan.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine caramels and 1/3 cup whipping cream.  Cook over low heat until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Add pecans and stir well to coat.  Immediately spoon over baked crust, spreading carefully to cover but not rip the crust.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt 1 Tbsp. butter and chocolate chips, stirring constantly until melted.  Stir in 2 Tbsp. whipping cream.  Drizzle over filling.  Refrigerate 1 hr. or until the filling is firm.  Cut into bars.  (You can also toss the topping ingredients in a microwavable cup, heat and stir until it's smooth enough to drizzle.)

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

Dr. B sniffed and repositioned his glasses atop his nose.  "This last case you were on - you assaulted a grandmother."...  "Grandma had a twelve-gauge shotgun lying on a table in plain view from the front door.  Her drug-pushing grandson lives with the old lady and was a known gang-banger.  Grandma was very agitated with me.  Now, what am I supposed to think?" ... Dr. B chose his words carefully.  "But did you think first, Gabe?  When you pushed her, she fell and broke her hip.  She's an eighty-year old"...  "In a separate case two weeks ago," Dr. B said, "you nearly throttled a fifteen-year-old boy."...  "Then let's talk about the young man who was shot at that Halloween party you responded to when you were in uniform."

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Detective Gabriel McRay has seen and even created his share of problems.  Enough so that he has been sent to the department's psychiatrist Dr. Berkowitz, better known as Dr. B.  Gabe's problems are showing through his temper but Dr. B feels it goes a lot deeper than that.  He feels Gabe's problems stem from a deeply suppressed past.  Gabe is not only suffering from his temper but also blackouts which leave him not knowing where he has been nor what he has done.  And to top it all off, someone has gone on a murdering spree that always ends with a message being left for Gabe with the 1st one reading "We are one."

As Gabe's memory starts to surface he finds himself wondering if he could possibly be the killer.  Is this what he does when he blacks out?  Turns out that Gabe isn't the only one with these same thoughts.  Some of his fellow officers are having the same thought.  As the murders and notes continue with each becoming more and more morbid the suspicion reaches the point that the department has decided put a watch on him.

This book isn't for the weak.  It's graphic and nothing is held back but it's also one of the best books I've read in some time.  I had a very hard time putting it down after reading the Prologue.  I could see it being a great story for Criminal Minds.  Now I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series Deep into Dusk.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Murder in Paradise - Larry K. and Lorna Collins, Authors

Larry's Hawaiian Pineapple Boats
(The big trick is to cut the pineapple as shown in the photo)

Cut off most of the top, leaving only a few inches of green.  Quarter the entire pineapple lengthwise.  Cut under the core in a straight line, and then along the outer edge of the fruit. (Larry usually has to do one side at a time.)  Cut the fruit crosswise in about 1" sections, leaving the pieces intact in the shell.  Push alternate sections to each side as shown.

Now for the fun part!  Garnish each section with either a maraschino cherry or a mandarin orange slice (or both) on a toothpick.  When all slices have been garnished, insert toothpick and sprinkle coconut over the whole thing.

This is a finger food and perfect for an appetizer or dessert.  (Warning:  if the pineapple is especially juicy, it can become stick - but SO good!)

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

"But you're retired," she objected several times during the discussion.  "You're not getting into any dangerous work, are you?"  "No," I insisted.  "I'm just helping Detective Duke with investigative procedures, evidence gathering protocol, that kind of thing.  Police in Hawaii don't get many high-profile cases, and Duke wants me to train their people in some of the NYPD procedures."  I didn't tell her I would be the special investigator... There are two kinds of police officers' wives: one wants to know everything, usually keeping a radio scanner on all day; the other doesn't want to know anything.  Gerry was the second.

Agape Jones retired from the NYPD after taking a bullet in the thigh.  Looking for a quieter life, he and his wife Gerry moved to Hawaii but that quiet was disrupted when he and the other members of an outrigger canoe racing team found a body floating about a mile from the shore.  The body turned out to be the son of State Senator Thomas Fowler. 

Due to his knowledge of police work, Detective Duke recommended Agape to the Senator as the person to hire to investigate his son's death.  His biggest problem was convincing Gerry that this was nothing more than an advisory position and he would be in no danger at all.

Murder in Paradise has taken me back to Hawaii in my reads.  The Authors have made me not only feel a part of the scenery but also an investigator.  I tossed around the suspects trying to decide who would benefit and how.  I suspected the girl friend, brother and even the Senator himself.  Then there was the mystery blond.  Could she have committed this murder and if so why?  And what about the surf board makers?  Could they be involved and if so why?  The list kept going on and in the end... I have to admit I was a bit surprised.  This is yet another light read mystery that takes you on a trip across the ocean.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Romance Under the Oaks - B. J. Robinson, Author

Louisiana Seafood or Shrimp & Sausage Gumbo
(A B.J. Favorite)

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1 pkg. beef smoked sausage
Add crabs or oysters if you like.

One large onion
One large bell pepper
Several cloves of garlic
A Couple stalks of celery
A half bunch of green onions

Wash and chop onions, garlic, bell peppers, celery, green onions (leave out or add other seasonings according to taste).

A large tablespoon of flour
A large tablespoon of butter or cooking oil

Make a roux using flour and oil.  (This makes enough for a small family, but increase if you want a larger serving.)  Brown flour and slowly add the chopped veggies and saute. 

You can add chicken broth or use water and season with butter, Worcestershire sauce, kitchen bouquet, and Tony Chachere's to taste.  I use about a tsp. of the sauces and a couple dabs of butter.  Drop in two bay leaves, if you like them.  You may also add ground cayenne pepper if you like your food hot New Orleans Cajun style.  Salt and pepper to taste.  2 Tsp. ground gumbo file  may be included toward the end of cooking.  Bring to a boil.  You may cook as is or add vegetable such as corn and peas or a frozen vegetable package if you like gumbo with veggies, or you can leave this part out and have just the shrimp and sausage.  Let simmer until meat and veggies are done.  You can also slow cook it in a crock pot.  I like to include veggies, but this is up to you.  Cook a pot of rice and serve over rice.  Have crackers on hand.  If you don't know how to make a roux with oil and flour, you can cheat and buy packaged gravy, but homemade is better.  I have cooked it with just shrimp and smoke sausage as well as with veggies.  It's good both ways, depending on your family's taste.  This is a brown gravy recipe, but you can add tomatoes or tomato paste if you like red gravy.  Enjoy.  Freeze leftovers for later. Experiment with different veggies and seafood and make your own style to please your family.

My mother-in-law taught me to cook this recipe when I was a young bride.  I've experimented with her basic shrimp and smoke sausage one over the years and found you can use it with or without veggies.
You can make the recipe to include various seafood such as shrimp, crab, crawfish, and oysters, or use only shrimp and smoked sausage, according to taste.

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

Jacques Roman had the place picked out for a home as well as his woman, but the problem was getting the love of his life to see his dreams.  She was a socialite, used to being seen in the high-society, ritz, and glamour of old New Orleans.  She adored grand balls and was often the belle of them.  It'd be only fitting that she should have the belle of the ball when it came to plantation homes.  He'd give her the grand dame of them all.

Celina Pilie didn't want to talk about bayou swamp land.  It had to be infested with mosquitoes.  Weren't they bad enough in the city?  Hope dashed with each word Jacques uttered.  If he did get around to asking her to marry him, Jacques expected her to live fifty miles from the New Orleans she loved.  Didn't he realize she was born for the city?

Finally.  Jacques stood, got down on his knees, pulled a black velvet box from his coat pocket, opened it, and asked, "Celina, will you marry me?"  She clapped her hands together like an excited child.  "Oh yes, Jacques, yes, yes, yes.  I can't wait."

Well, she did have to wait.  She waited two long years while Jacques built her a home that would take away her breath.  but... she is a city girl and sees no way she can be happy living so far away from her family, the balls and the many stores she loved to shop.   Even though her father had given her Zelie, a slave she had known her whole life and loved dearly, she was lonely for other female friendship.  Her life seemed to evolve around reading the many books that filled the library.  And through her reading she ran across a book titled "Uncle Tom's Cabin" which stems an idea that will keep her busy as she actually helps people.  But what she does must be kept a secret.  With the Civil War coming she could lose everything if anyone found out her secret actions.

This is such a beautiful story.  I've always loved reading Civil War history and when an author gives us this history in the form of a family's involvement, it makes it even more interesting.  Through this book Celina, Jacques, Zelie and many of the other slaves become people that you end up feeling that you know personally.  You hurt for them as they struggle to make adjustments as their lives change.  But you also feel happiness as their struggle through the war brings them out with families of their own.  And you cry with them as they lose those that you too have come to love.  This is truly a story that will bring out all of your emotions.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Wrong Side of Memphis - Claire Applewhite, Author

(A Claire Applewhite Speciality)

1 12 ounce package fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
1 lb. seedless red grapes, halved
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup whipping cream, whipped

Position knife blade in food processor bowl and add cranberries. Cover with top and process 20 seconds or until cranberries are coarsely chopped. Combine cranberries and sugar in a glass bowl, and cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.

Drain cranberries for two hours. Discard liquid. Combine cranberries, grapes and chopped pecans, and fold in whipped cream. Yield: 8 servings.

The first time I ate this fruit salad, it was so good, I asked the hostess for the recipe. She pointed to an energetic little blonde lady in the kitchen. "Mom made it, better ask her," she said. "I don't cook." Well, "Mom" told me that she just "threw it together." Hmm. The following year, I found this recipe in a cookbook published by Southern Living. It tasted just like "Mom's." So, every year, by popular request, I "throw it together." Now, you can too!...  Claire

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

 After ELVIN'S wife CHERIE left him and their home in Memphis, he decides to take a break and visit his longtime friend, DIMOND, "DI", in St. Louis. What he walked into wasn't really what he had expected.  There had been a murder in the Jewel Arms Apartments where Di lived, with more murders to come. When the bodies start stacking up, Elvin decides to stay, for Di's sake. When he becomes a "person of interest" in the murder of his ex-wife, he decides to find the killer. Alibis, lies and suspects lurk in every corner.

DI hung up the receiver (from talking to CHERIE) and glanced at the clock - 8:30 a.m.  She pulled out the nightstand drawer and fumbled for some note paper and a pen, but none was to be found.  Oh well, she thought. She'd remember to tell ELVIN that his ex-wife called. Sure, she would.  She laid her throbbing head on the mattress, and sheltered it with a pillow. The sound of buzzers and bells blared from the television next door, while EDITH MARS savored the morning game show.  Despite the noise, Di slipped into a drugged, foggy sleep, oblivious to the activity surrounding her. 

Upstairs, ROSE was busy with the endless routine of caregiving, while ANNIE SILVER nursed another hangover.  Once again, she was unable to report to work, a fact that she successfully concealed from her husband (BEN), who had spent the night on call at the hospital.  Alone, DENT scoured the personal ads, hoping and searching for the ideal companion.  MYLES LaMOUR was finally meeting with TASHA WEEKS at his office, though he had to admit, PARRY's case did not look promising.  It was to be a very short meeting.  Around 10:00 a.m., VALERIE Gains awoke to face a new day. She was dying for a cigarette.  She had just lit up, when she was startled by men's voices in the apartment next door. 

This book took so many twists that I had no idea who was doing the killings.  Good people ended up dying as well as some of the bad. I actually found myself wrong all the way to the last few pages.  This one kept me turning the pages. See if you can guess which of the above will survive and which will die.

Claire Applewhite is a St. Louis author and songwriter. Her novel, TENNESSEE PLATES ('Nam Noir series) was released in December 2012, and  her CD, "NIGHT RAIN" was released in November, 2013.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Power of Food - Bonnie Raffel, Author

Crunchy Cookies

1/2 cup margarine, softened (trans fat-free)
1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups high fiber cereal, slightly crushed
1/2 cup dried cranberries, currants or raisins
1/2 cup coconut, shredded (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Mix on medium-high the margarine and sugars, until well combined.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Lower the speed and add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Continue to mix until combined.  Stir in the cereal, coconut, and dried fruit with a wooden spoon.  Use a cookie scoop (I just used 2 spoons, 1 to scoop and one to scoop it off) place dough on cookie sheet.  Bake at for 10 - 15 minutes, or until starting to brown on edges.

Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies with 1 cookie per serving. 

Nutritional Facts per serving:  138 calories, 29 calories from fat, 3.4g total fat, 11.1 mg cholesterol, 149.9 mg sodium, 95.9 mg potassium, 27.1g carbohydrates, 3.2g fiber, 8.6g sugar, 1.8g protein.

Recipe Tips:  Diabetic Exchange 1 starch & 1 fat.  Cranberries are rich in antioxidants, and provide vitamins C, K, manganese, and fiber.  Whole wheat flour and high fiber cereal, provide B-vitamins and fiber.  Eggs provide protein and choline, which strengthens the nervous system and decreases inflammation.

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

Author Bonnie Raffel is a Registered Dietitian who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  After being put on a series of costly medications she decided to learn everything she could regarding her condition and how it can be controlled without all the medicines. 

What she found is now in her book The Power of Food.  What I've found is not only a great cookbook  but I've also gained an education. I've learned how different foods help my body fight inflammation as well as what foods to avoid and how they can be harmful to my body.  And this works whether you are fighting MS or not.

The recipes, such as the one above, is just one of over 275 that can be found in her book.  I've tried the Crunchy Cookies and I as well as 4 of my food testers loved them.  They taste great and are healthy!   I've tried her Spicy Shrimp and her Crunchy Chicken Bake.  Both are great tasting and healthy.  You don't usually find taste good and healthy too in very many recipes. 

Something else that impressed me was her "Recipe Tips" where she breaks down the ingredients telling you how each benefits your health.  That's something I've never seen in other cookbooks.  I don't have MS but I do have pains from other conditions.  If I can eat as well as I have using this book you can bet I'll continue, especially if it will help my aches and pains.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Murder a la Christie - Marilyn Levinson, Author

Honeyed Walnuts
(A favorite of Lexie)

1 cup finely chopped walnuts
3 Tbsp. honey
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine walnuts, honey and salt in a bowl.  Toss to coat, and spread in a single layer onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake, tossing occasionally, until toasted, about 15 minutes.  Let cool.

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

"Write that book if you dare, but you won't live to see it in print!"  I stared at the two older women - the usually subdued Gerda Stein, her face flushed with anger, and my dear friend Sylvia - but neither seemed aware that I'd entered the kitchen.  Sylvia shook her head in dismay.  "I've no wish to upset you, but your father's story is the keystone of my book.  He was a Nazi, Gerda, and responsible for killing thousands of innocent people."  "I know what my father was!"  Fury made Gerda's German accent more pronounced.  "But I told you about him in confidence.  Not so you'd write about it and expose him to the world!"

Sylvia and Gerda are members of the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club led by Professor Lexie Driscoll.  The group will be discussing the works of authors such as Agatha Christie.  Lexie's walks in on Sylvia and Gerda's heated discussion just before the club's first meeting.  Hopefully the two will tone down their anger enough to get through the discussion and even contribute a bit.  This isn't to be.  When Sylvia starts to complain of stomach pain, the meeting is brought to a halt.  Sylvia dies, and Lexie suspects she's been poisoned.  She finds herself following Christie's methods of solving the murder of not one but several of the club's members.  Could someone be living out Christie's book And Then There Were None?

I loved this Author's style of writing.  It was like reading an Agatha Christie book in the way it kept me guessing.  I would come up with a suspect that actually had a motive only to change my mind when I found one that had an even greater motive.  I kept remembering the Christie books I'd  read in the past, and the murderer seemed to always be the one person I didn't suspect.  This made it hard for me to put this book down until I found the guilty person.  This was truly a fun read.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fairy Tale Fusion - A. F. Stewart, Author

Fairy Tale Biscotti

6 Tbsp unsalted, room temperature butter
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp honey
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
2 ¼ cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped nuts or dried fruit, or a fruit/nut mixture

You can use salted butter instead of unsalted, but this makes the recipe’s saltiness hard to control. If you do use salted butter, you may wish to reduce the amount of additional salt slightly.
As the nut/fruit additive, I like to use either almonds, macadamia nuts, or dried cranberries. Chop the nuts very fine; it helps with the final cookie.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In large bowl, beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until pale and creamy.
Beat in eggs, honey, vanilla and lemon rind.
Add flour, baking powder and salt (best sifted together first). Blend to combine and stir in nuts/fruit.  Halve dough, and with slightly oiled hands, roll halves into two logs, roughly 2 inches by 12 inches. Place logs on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

Remove from oven and place on rack to cool.  When cool, transfer to a cutting board and slice, at a 45 degree angle with a serrated knife, into ¾ inch segments. Use firm strokes to reduce crumbling. Put cookie slices back in oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, turning once. Cool and store in an airtight container.

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

Have you ever wondered about what happened to all of our nursery rhyme characters?  All of the stories ended with "They lived happily ever after" but is that true.  Well, according to A. F. Stewart and the story land reporters, along with the story land police, that wasn't really the case.

Do you remember Alice who went to Wonderland?  Well, there was a grand wedding of the Mad Hatter and Alice last Sunday.  It was a stunning affair, utilizing a red and white wedding theme with a playing card motif.  The bride looked dazzling in a crystal encrusted white dress with cap sleeves, offset with a red embroidered sash.  Bridesmaids included the bride's sister, the Duchess, and the Cheshire Cat.  The best man was the White Rabbit.

Have you ever wondered what ever happened to The Three Little Pigs?  Well, according to reporters Spider Bramble and Aurora Gossamer with the Fairyland news, there appears to be a manhunt for the First Little Pig, in connection with a tragic domestic incident that left the other two Pig brothers butchered.  A late night dispute, over what seemed to have been long simmering family grievances, went terribly wrong, resulting in the stabbing death of two of the brother Pig.

And what ever happened to the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe?  She went missing fourteen days ago, after apparently suffering a nervous breakdown.  This is the latest in a string of mishaps, including her arrest on drug charges and the removal of her children into foster care by Child Services.  The Fairyland Police tracked her down and evidently found her trying to make a size 12 Oxford loafer her new home.  She is now undergoing psychiatric observation and rehab.

To my surprise, and I'm sure yours too, there apparently wasn't a Happily Ever After for these beloved childhood characters.  Fairy Tale Fusion will take you back in memories as you find out what really happened to Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Tom Piper, Sleeping Beauty  and even Beauty and the Beast. 

I've read other books written by A. F. Stewart and enjoyed them and this book was just as enjoyable.  Her version of these bedtime stories are not exactly great for children but they sure did give me a chuckle and I think it will you too.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Murder on the Eros Star - Lawrence Johnson, Sr., Author

Blueberry Muffins
(a Jada favorite)

1 Egg
1/2 cup Almond Milk
1/4 cup Canola oil or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup Truvia baking blend
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 cup Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine and stir wet ingredients.  Combine and stir dry ingredients except blueberries and brown sugar.  Mix all ingredients in a large bowl before adding blueberries.  Fill muffin pan 3/4 to the top.  Sprinkle brown sugar on top.  Bake 20-25 minutes.

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

The Eros Star is an entertainment and pleasure ship that travels throughout the galaxy.  Jada was working a case on the Eros Star.  When she got close to solving it someone pumped poisonous gas into her quarters.  She was alive but sedated.  The doctor feels that she will be ok but he is not 100% certain and the assailant is still on the loose.

Intergalactic detective Da'Quan was on his way to the yearly Festival of Life on the Planet of Lazon when he received word that his assistant Jada had undergone an attempt on her life.  With his plans now changed, Da'Quan   speeds to the Eros Star to not only find the perpetrator before he tried again and succeeded. 

Jada had been working on a case involving a time machine.  Apparently someone had the main components that were up for sale to the highest bidder.  In the wrong hands, this could change the complete outcome of the world as they knew it and from what Da'Quan would soon find out, the wrong hands were attached to an old enemy of his.  Now he just had to make sure he stopped him before it was too late.

This short story is, I hope, the lead-in for Author Lawrence Johnson's next book and I can't wait!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sticking Point - a Logan Hunter Mystery - Susan Whitfield, Author

Seafood Casserole
(A Susan Whitfield Family Favorite)

2 cups water
1 cup uncooked white rice
1 lb. crab meat
2 pkg. (12 oz. each) frozen shrimp, thawed
2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups milk
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
½ cup sliced almonds
10 buttery round crackers, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C).  Lightly grease a 3 quart casserole dish.  In a saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add rice and stir.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Combine crab meat, shrimp, rice, mayonnaise, onion, milk, hot sauce, and almonds in casserole dish.  Mix well.  Cover top of casserole with crumbled crackers.  Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until casserole is bubbling.

Sticking Point – A Logan Hunter Mystery – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

I opened squeaking French doors and stepped into the big yard now in dire need of attention.  I glanced at the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain range, wanting it to fill me with peace and calmness.  It didn’t happen.  Instead I sat down on the terrace steps and buried my face in my hands.  A warm nose nudged me and I looked into the forlorn eyes of my blood hound, Homer.  He turned his head back and forth a few times, studying me, and then barreled around the corner of the house, reappearing with a nearly deflated football dangling from his huge mouth.  When I made no move to play with him, he put the ball down and pushed it toward me with his sizable snout.  He needed attention too.

Logan Hunter has lost her husband Chase as well as their baby she was carrying.  As she sits in the Asheville home that she inherited after Chase’s death, all memories of the past continue to flood her mind.  Then the phone rings. 

Logan is a North Carolina SBI agent and after months of trying to pull herself back together, her agent supervisor has decided it’s time for her to get back into the game of life.  Her assignment is to travel to Beaufort to investigate the death of a 14 year old boy who was known, by the whole town, as being the “ruling bully.”  Kids, parents, teachers, store keepers, all alike were no exception.  He would bully anyone to get his way.  This being said, the number of suspects that would be on Logan’s list to talk to included pretty much the whole town.    But this wasn’t all that Logan was hit with.  She was being assigned to work with Farris “Crack” McCracken.  She had been teamed with McCracken before and the two are like mixing oil and water.  She blamed him partially for not backing her up when she needed him the most which prevented her from getting help for Chase, resulting in his death.  He blamed himself for the death of his own wife and for letting Logan down in her time of need.  This assignment is something she simply does not want to do but has no choice in the matter.

I’ve read all of the Logan Hunter series and loved them all.  I’ve followed her through happy times as well as sad.  I’ve laughed with her when she went to the Mountain Testicle Fest and hurt with her when she lost her husband.   And I’ve cheered her on each time she picks up the pieces and puts herself back into action.  Each of the books gives the reader everything a good book should… mystery, love, hate, happiness, sadness, laughter, tears, and just a tiny bit of sex.

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