Showing posts with label ghosts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ghosts. Show all posts

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A Walk on the Haunted Side - Rose Pressey, Author


Devil’s Moon Pies
Makes approximately 12

COOKIE DOUGH
6 oz. unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup Steen's cane syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, ground fine
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. whole milk

MARSHMALLOW
4 tsp. powdered gelatin
1/2 cup water, ice cold, plus 1/4 cup at room temperature
4 tbsp. light corn syrup
3 tbsp. honey (clover or wildflower)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large grade-A egg whites

CHOCOLATE COATING
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate (61%–70% cacao)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil or canola oil

PREPARATION
For the cookie dough:

Cream butter, brown sugar, syrup, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, for 1 minute.
In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix with a fork. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix on low speed; slowly stream in milk. Continue mixing until the dough comes together. Press dough flat, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Turn out chilled dough onto a flour-dusted surface, then roll it until it is ¼ inch thick. Stamp out cookies using a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes. Remove sheet from oven, and while the cookies are cooling, start your marshmallow.

For the marshmallow:

Sprinkle gelatin over ½ cup ice-cold water, and set aside.
Combine ¼ cup room-temperature water, corn syrup, honey, and sugar in a small pot, insert candy thermometer, and simmer until mixture reaches 240 degrees. When the thermometer reaches 200 degrees—but not before—place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and whip on high.
Once the sugar mixture hits 240, remove it from heat, and stir in the bloomed gelatin. Then, while egg whites are whipping, slowly drizzle the hot sugar mixture down the inside of the bowl to avoid spattering the hot syrup. Continue whipping for an additional 8 minutes, until the mixture stiffens. The pan will still feel warm to the touch but no longer hot.
Flip over half of the cooled cookies. Lightly coat a spoon with nonstick cooking spray, and spoon approximately a quarter cup of marshmallow onto each flipped cookie. Use the remaining cookies as tops; gently push down until you can see the marshmallow come just to the edge. While making the chocolate coating (see below), allow cookies to chill in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

For the chocolate coating:

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate has melted, then remove bowl from heat and let it cool slightly. Once the chocolate is no longer hot, but warm, slowly whisk in oil in a steady stream. Allow chocolate to cool at room temperature for about 5 minutes before proceeding with assembly.

Assembly:

Submerge chilled cookies in the chocolate, using 2 forks to gently lift the sandwiches out of the bowl. Let stand until shell hardens.



A Walk on the Haunted Side - Review by Martha A. Cheves

The old house stood on a small hill surrounded by oak, pine, and magnolia trees and overgrowth.  The Italianate-style structure had red brick with black shutters.  Of course most of the shutters were falling off or missing.  As far as I knew, no one had lived there since the 1970's.  I'd heard a lot of rumors about the place, but so far I didn't know fact from fiction.  There was something mysterious about the house.  Poking around by myself had seemed like a good idea earlier in the day.  Now that it was closing in or darkness, I was having second thoughts.  Even if there was a ghost, I was used to dealing with them.  I inched up the staircase, reminding myself to breath.  It was as if I was disturbing a presence that was in the house.  Not only that, but it felt like there were eyes on me with every step I took.  I stopped in my tracks.  A female ghost stood in front of me.  She was so close that I could almost tough her.  I'd seen ghosts before, but this one was by far the creepiest that I'd ever seen.  She had blood dripping from her head, claws for hands, and her eyes glowed green as she stared right at me.

Ripley Van Raden has returned to her hometown of Devil's Moon.  By day she works as the town's librarian.  By night she gives ghost tours.  Yes, she can see the ghosts when they want her to, but most of the time she gets an image of a dark figure or feels the 'chill' when a ghost is in her presence.  She even has one that has befriended her.  Her name is Annie and she was one of the original librarians in Devil's Moon.  She has passed on now but has learned to communicate with Ripley using text messages.  Local police officer Brannon Landon also has the ability to see ghosts, when they want him to see them.  This has given Ripley something in common with the officer.  But they soon find out that they have a bit more in common when Ripley finds a body at the cemetery one night while giving one of her ghost tours.

This is the second book in the Ghost Hunter Cozy Mysteries.  I read the 1st book titled These Haunts are Made for Walking and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Author Rose Pressey provides you with mystery, suspense, murder, humor and ghosts all in one book making the stories appealing to all.  And yes, it did have a surprising ending.  I'm now looking forward to reading book #3 Haunt the Haunt, Walk the Walk.

Monday, March 18, 2019

These Haunts are Made for Walking - Rose Presley, Author



Potato Soup

3 lbs. new red potatoes, washed and cut into chunks
2 qts. water
4-6 strips of uncooked, lean bacon
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
Salt & Pepper to taste

Remove as much fat from the bacon as possible and cut into small pieces.  Place potatoes, water and bacon in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Lower heat and cook until potatoes are tender.  Mash the potatoes leaving a few small chunks here and there.  Mix milk and 1 Tbsp. flour until smooth and pour into potato mix.  Bring to a boil to thicken.  Add another 1/2 Tbsp. of flour if needed.  Stir in cheese, sour cream and salt and pepper to taste. 

Comment:  The whole secret to this dish is boiling the bacon with the potatoes.  It cooks the flavor throughout the potatoes giving the dish a delicious smoky taste.

These Haunts Are Made For Walking - Review by Martha A. Cheves

The next morning was my first day as head librarian in Devil's Moon.  I'd been back in town for a couple weeks before I'd had to start work at the library.  That had given me time to start the haunted tour.  As soon as I'd moved back to town I'd decided to fulfill a lifelong dream - start a haunted tour.  This town was crawling with ghosts.  Well, not literally crawling, but you know what I mean.  So by day I was the mind-mannered librarian and by night I was the queen of spooky.  At least that was what Tammy told everyone.  I was ok with that description.

Ripley Van Raden has moved back to her hometown after a breakup with her ex-husband-to-be.  She has always loved the feel she got when surrounded by books, so what better job than being head of the library.  She would also be working with her best friend Tammy and a woman named Leslie.  Tammy would be enjoyable but after meeting Leslie Ripley knew things just weren't going to be that great.  She isn't sure but thinks it may be because Leslie possibly wanted the job as head librarian herself.

All goes well until the evening of her first day on the job.  The "Bookworms" book club came for their monthly meeting to discuss the book they are reading.  The outcome of the meeting put a true damper the day that started out so smoothly.

Oh yeah, there is also a 'library' ghost that not only can Ripley see but one who also sends her text messages.  This combined with the ghost tour ghosts, give Ripley a very interesting life.

This is a fun book to read full spirits, murder and a touch of humor.  Now I'm ready for Book 2 - A Walk on the Haunted Side.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Haunted Heist (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries) - Angie Fox, Author



Sugarland Peach Cocktail Syrup

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 ripe peach
Pinch of salt

You only need one peach for this syrup so pick a good one. It should give a little to pressure, but not be soggy at all. Rinse it off slice it into big wedges.  Add the wedges to a medium pot with the water and sugar. Put this over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved. No need to bring it to a boil or anything. By the time it’s hot, the sugar should be dissolved.  Once the mixture is hot, you should be able to just pick out the peach skins which you definitely don’t want in the syrup. They should come right off!  The key to making this syrup really nice is to pulse it well in a blender. This emulsifies the peaches and makes a really smooth syrup.  Be sure to let the syrup cool off a bit before blending it!  Once the mixture is blended and cool, you can store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. It might separate a bit in the fridge, but just give it a shake before pouring it and it’ll be great. 

Drink Options
You can use this easy peach cocktail syrup in SO many drinks.
For starters:
2-3 oz. bourbon + 1 oz. peach syrup + dash of orange bitters + club soda
2-3 oz. gin + 1 oz. peach syrup + tonic
2 oz. tequila + 1 oz. peach syrup + 1/2 lime + 2 oz. lemonade + salted rim
2 oz. peach syrup + 8 oz. club soda or sparkling water

You get the idea. It’s incredibly versatile!

The Haunted Heist - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Frankie had the power to show me the supernatural world.  With his help, I'd been able to see and interact with some of the ghosts here in town.  We'd saved my house; we'd solved a murder.  Two of them, actually.  We'd made some positive changes in Sugarland, not that he cared about helping anyone but himself.  And I had been trying to free him.  It was just that nothing had worked yet.

So who is this Frankie that has the power to take Verity Long into the supernatural?  Why is she trying to free him and from what?  These are just some of the fun questions that you can find the answers to by reading the Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries Series.  I will tell you that Frankie lives in a trash can and Verity lives in a house she inherited from her grandmother.  But the fun part was learning how Frankie ended up in the trash can and why Verity is living in a house with no furnishings.

From the very first two books in this series - Southern Spirits and The Skeleton in the Closet, I found myself caught up in the suspense of a murder with a touch of humor.  I've laughed at the very odd pet that lives with Verity and how Frankie tends to get her into trouble in a world that most would never dream of visiting.  I feel for her as she struggles to make ends meet after her almost mother-in-law took everything away from her.  I feel joy for her as her feelings for Ellis grow.  And I hold my breath as she risks her own life to bring justice to those who need it.  This is a series that I hope will never end and I'm really looking forward to reading Book 4 in the series - Deader Homes & Gardens.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Death Overdue - Allison Brook, Author - Pre-Order Now!



Eggplant Salad


My mother used to make this when I was growing up. Since then I’ve added touches of my own ~~Marilyn Levinson


1 eggplant
2 T olive oil
2 t vinegar
¼ onion
½ red pepper
clove of garlic
2-3 T of sundried tomatoes or a small tomato cut up
fresh or dried basil
fresh or dried parsley
salt & pepper to taste


This is a mid-eastern dish. While many like to roast the eggplant over a flame, I prefer to bake it in the oven at 350 degrees after washing it and stabbing it a few times with a knife. Turn the eggplant over after 12-15 minutes  and continue to bake to complete the process. When the eggplant is soft to the touch, remove it and let it cool before preparing the salad. I usually put it in the refrigerator after it’s cooled and complete the process the following day.


Dice red pepper, sundried tomatoes, garlic and onion in a food processor with the oil and vinegar. Slice the eggplant down the middle, scoop out the flesh and add to food processor. Discard seeds and skin. Add basil and/or parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Don’t over-process. Some people like a smooth salad while others prefer a chunkier texture.

Serve as a vegetable or an appetizer with crackers. You can add whatever herb you like. Enjoy!

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


Carrie Singleton is back in Clover Ridge, Connecticut, spiked purple hair and all.  She’s staying with Great Uncle Bosco and Aunt Harriet, who offered her a home when her own mother wouldn't. As for her father—for all Carrie knows, he might be back in jail. But it’s time to move on. The job Uncle Bosco has wrangled for her in the Clover Ridge Library is boring and makes no use of her library science degree. Besides, much as she’s grown to love her aunt and uncle, she simply can’t stay in one place very long. She’ll soon turn thirty, and she’s held five jobs in as many states. it’s time to go.


The library director’s offer to be Head of Programs and Events comes as a shock. It would mean drastic changes in Carrie’s lifestyle. No more purple hair. No more black Goth outfits. No more running carefree.  She would have responsibilities. Others would be depending on her. She would have to grow up and fast.
The ghost of Evelyn Havers appears and urges Carrie to take the job. Evelyn worked in the library until her death a few years ago. At Carrie's first scheduled event, a retired homicide detective is murdered while talking about a cold case he claims to have solved. Carrie believes the two murders are linked. With Evelyn’s help she sets out to find the murderer.


Allison Brook is one author that I can't get enough of.  I've read everything she has written, I think, and have enjoyed them all.  When I started Death Overdue, I decided I knew who the murderer was after about 60 pages.  Yep, I was wrong.  I wasn't surprised when the truth finally came out, but by then I had about 6 suspects.  Finishing this book has left room for many more books to come. I can't wait to read them.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Skeleton in the Closet (Southern Ghost Hunter Series Book 2) - Angie Fox, Author



Mississippi Mud Brownies

Brownies:
1 cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
½ cup chopped pecans
1 (10.5 ounce) package mini marshmallows

Frosting:
½ cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 cup of butter. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa until smooth. Mix in the white sugar, eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in the flour, then fold in pecans and marshmallows. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the brownies cool in the pan. Try not to eat them (yet).

To make the frosting: In a medium saucepan, melt together 1/2 cup of butter and 1/3 cup of cocoa. Mix in confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in the milk, a tablespoon at a time until icing is a nice spreading consistency.

Spread icing on top of brownies. Devour.


The Skeleton in the Closet (Southern Ghost Hunter Series Book 2)- Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

Ellis leaned an arm over the back of the couch.  "I need your help, Verity."  Oh my.  "This isn't a habit I want to encourage," I said even if I could talk Frankie into helping me.  It took a lot of his strength to show me the other side.  "I'm not a professional ghost hunter."  "You're good at it," he pressed.  "I almost got us killed last time."  He'd hired me to clear out some ghosts in a property he was renovating.  It hadn't exactly gone smoothly.  "I've never talked to such a new ghost."  I didn't even know if she could be found.  "And aren't you the one who agreed I shouldn't be doing this?"  He shook his head.  "You're right," he conceded.  "At some point, this has to stop.  But not tonight.  We need to know what happened in that library.  You don't have to talk to her.  I'll take any witness you can find.  The building has got to be haunted,:" he said.  "I've heard stories since I was a kid."

There has been a death at Sugarland and Ellis Wydell, who just happens to be a policeman, the older brother of Verity's ex-fiance and her new love, needs her help again in solving the murder.  Verity, along with the help of Frankie, has helped Ellis in the past and is apparently in need of her abilities to see ghosts and her ghostly contacts again.  Oh yeah, Frankie "The German" is the spirit of a 1920s gangster that was tied to Verity's land after she emptied his funeral urn out onto her rose bushes and soaked them down with water.

Sugarland is noted for it's Civil War battle where a cannon ball was fired into the wall of the library but never exploded.  Each year the 'Jacksons and the Wydells put on displays and reenactments of the battle.  This year Ellis' mother decided to have the events filmed by an historical productions company so the world would know the city's true history.  But what is the truth?  Who were the victors - the Jacksons or the Wydells?  Getting to the truth will put Verity and Ellis' lives in danger and make Verity's almost-mother-in-law hate her even more, if that's possible.

I recommend that you read Southern Spirits - Book 1 of this series first.  I did and am glad I did.  Not only was it a unique book and story but it also gave me insight as to what happens in book 2.

I read a lot of books and once in a while I run across an author like Angie Fox who writes a story that you not only read but you also hear and see everything that happens.  I felt like I was 'reading a movie.'  I could actually see the events at they took place.  I could see the characters and feel their feelings.  This is the work of a very well written story that has murder, mystery, suspense, ghosts, and yes, a bit of humor.

Monday, July 3, 2017

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



Ghost Hunting Diary Volume VI Recipe

Aunt Belle and I stopped at a little café beneath a river bridge one day. We ordered the catfish basket and it came with really delicious cole slaw. The slaw dressing had sweet relish in it, the first time we had ever tasted anything like this. Since then, we always add sweet relish to our slaw dressing.

Easy Cole Slaw

I package cole slaw mix from deli
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sweet relish

Add salt and pepper to sugar, stir to blend
Blend salt/pepper/sugar mixture into mayonnaise
Stir in sweet relish

Pour over cabbage slaw mix and chill for an hour or so

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

Nearly every call I get pleading for help from a person distressed over a haunting begins with them insisting they have a demon in their home.  In thirty years of investigating the paranormal, I've only encountered what I believe were three actual demons.  Unfortunately for me, one of those infiltrated my own home and tried to abolish what I hold dear.  Have no doubt - demons are real, and they're the nastiest, most malicious entities on the face of the earth.  They have no conscious, and while they do know right from wrong, wrong and destruction of your life (both physically and emotionally) are what they wish on their human prey.  They have patience far beyond anything within our human ability and begin their destructive infiltration slowly, in a barely perceptive manner.  If not exposed early on and banished, they will weak havoc on your entire life.

I believe I've read everything written by Author T. M. Simmons and am never disappointed.  In Book VI we go through crossing overs, of those that didn't take advantage of the crossing when they died.  You'll learn about one of her favorite cemeteries 'Cottonwood Cemetery' as well as an old nursing home 'Calvert' where many have died and many are still hanging around.  But for the first time since I've been reading this Author's work, I've never heard her write about demons and after reading her experience with one that invaded her home, I'm glad to hear that they are seldom encountered.

You may not believe in ghosts, spirits, demons, nor other super-natural beings but I can assure you that if that is the case, after reading this book you'll at least start questioning your belief.  I personally feel that I've run into maybe 2 spirits in my life.  One was standing on the side of the road in front of a cemetery.  It was raining and when lightning flashed I saw him with a child standing there in the pouring rain.  After the flash, it was gone.  No there was no place for them to hide.  The area was open and even if they ran they wouldn't have been able to hide.  This little experience was what made me want to learn more about spirits.  Yes I said learn about the, not see any more of them.  The more I read and learn the more I want to stay 'unseeing.'

So, if you are in the least bit curious, this book, along with the whole series of Ghost Hunting Diary, are a must read.  I've surely enjoyed them.  This author also writes some really good mysteries involving some of her ghosts.  Check out Silent Prey and Northwood Prey for some enjoyable reading.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Southern Spirits (The Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries Book 1) - Angie Fox, Author



Coca Cola Cake
(It’s a staple in the South—and in Sugarland, Tennessee. This Coke cake recipe was contributed by Lee Avery Catts to "Atlanta Cooknotes" and was published by The Junior League of Atlanta.)

2 Cups sugar
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Cup Coca-Cola
1 ½ Cup small marshmallows
½ Cup butter or margarine
½ Cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons cocoa
1 Teaspoon baking soda
½ Cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
½ Cup butter
3 Tablespoons cocoa
6 Tablespoons Coca-Cola
1 box (16-ounces) confectioners' sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Cup chopped pecans

Preparation
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 15 min
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, sift the sugar and flour. Add marshmallows. In a saucepan, mix the butter, oil, cocoa and Coca-Cola. Bring to a boil and pour over dry ingredients; blend well. Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk just before adding to batter along with eggs and vanilla extract, mixing well. Pour into a well-greased 9- by-13-inch pan and bake 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and frost immediately.

Coca-Cola Cake Frosting
To make frosting, combine the 1/2 cup butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa and 6 tablespoons of Coca-Cola in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and pour over confectioners' sugar, blending well. Add vanilla extract and pecans. Spread over hot cake. When cool, cut into squares and serve.


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


"You want to help?" I asked, making sure I reached clear of Lucy as I dumped the contents of the vase over Grandma's rosebushes.  She gave the little pile a sniff and sneezed.  "You said it."  The dirt was loose and dry, which I was glad to see. I'd heard that sort of things was good for the roots.  It certainly couldn't hurt.  When the last of the fine dust had settled out of the air, I hosed out the vase and poured the water on the roses.  

After clipping a rose from the bush, putting it in the vase and adding water, Verity returned to the home she had inherited from her grandmother.  What happened next takes her on a journey that could only traveled by a strong minded southern girl, which she was.

Verity had been engaged to one of the most eligible, prominent members of her hometown Sugarland, Tennessee.  The wedding was planned and she was ready to go through it living happily ever after.  What she learned the day before the actual wedding put a stop on the event and ended up costing her everything she owned.  She had already sold off everything within her grandmother's house, except the dented vase that no one seemed to want.  Unless she found a way to come up with another $20,000 she would also be selling the house which was breaking her heart.

This book is so full of humor!  I'll give you just one hint of what you're in store for when reading Southern Spirits - Lucy is a skunk!  She's had her glands removed so she's safe but so cute you would think her to be a dog or cat.  The problems and events that take place after Verity poured the dirt on the roses leads to even more humor.  Yes, there are ghosts, murder and attempted murder, bringing it all together to make this one of my favorite books.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Edge of the Cemetery - Margaret Millmore, Author



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.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What Haunts Me - Margaret Millmore, Author




Spinach and Artichoke Dip
(Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse but George likes it too)

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
--
Cook Time:
30 min
Level:
Easy
Serves:
6 to 8 servings
Ingredients
2 (10-ounce) packages fresh spinach, well rinsed and stems trimmed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup 1/2-inch cubes rindless Brie
1 cup grated Monterey Jack
1 (6 1/2-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
4 strips bacon, fried crisp, drained and chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Assorted chips for dipping (pita chips, tortilla chips, bagel chips)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round chafing dish and set aside.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach in batches and cook until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and refresh under cold running water. Squeeze to remove all excess water and chop. Set aside. In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and cream in a steady stream, and cook, stirring constantly, until thick and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cooked spinach and lemon juice, and stir to incorporate. Add the cubed and grated cheeses, artichoke hearts, and bacon, and stir well. Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared dish. Top with the Parmesan and bake until bubbly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot with chips. 


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

“I noticed a woman of about thirty standing just off the sidewalk on the grass.  Her appearance was right out of the 1940's; her dress hung below her knees with padded shoulders and semi-tailored waste line, Mary Jane shoes, hair neatly done up in side rolls.  Yet, it wasn't the vintage apparel that stood out so much; it was that she was untouched by the light rain that was coating everything and everyone around her.  Of course, it was also the Harry Potter glasses that she wore, and the fact that she seemed to be intently focused on John.

For no other reason but instinct, I raised the umbrella and gently jabbed it at her as we walked past.  A look of horror filled her face, and then she swirled away into a grey mist, just like the ghost, or whatever he was, had done when I was a kid at Bobby's house.  Now that I remembered it all, it occurred to me that John didn't have a lisp...anymore.”

George is a normal young man in his 30's.  His mother had died when he was young, he was raised by his father, went to school, ended up becoming very successful in the real estate field and even bought himself a nice home on the top floor of a building that housed only one other person who was an elderly lady named Justine Wilkinson.

After getting over a bout of the flu George found his life changing before his eyes.  He was seeing 'ghosts' that were haunting people and making them ill.  He also discovered that he could poke them with a pencil and they would, for the lack of a better word 'die.'  Then came the memories of his childhood.  Apparently he was able to do this as a child but for some reason didn't remember it until now.  These memories and the events now taking place in his life are wreaking havoc on his life and he doesn't know how to make it stop.


George is a GK or ghost killer.  They come in all power stages and ranks with him being one of the best.  But he ends up with a mission that has to be handled before the bad ghosts take over.  This book is the perfect beginning for a TV series.  If you like the Walking Dead you'll really love What Haunts Me.  I'd love to see this picked up by a producer, yes it's that good.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Dead Medium - Peter John, Author


Margaret's Bakewells
(Her favorite!)

Pastry
300g plain flour
125g unsalted butter
30g sugar
1 egg

Filling
225g butter
225g sugar
225g ground almonds
3 eggs
The grated zest of 1 lemon
50g plain flour
jar cherry jam

Topping
200g Icing Sugar

Method
As my mother always told me, there's no need to flounce around the kitchen when it comes to making shortcrust pastry. Throw the flour, butter, sugar and egg into bowl and mix well. I use the big Kenwood mixer Alf brought me for my birthday last year but a bit of elbow grease will do the job just fine. If the mixture feels a little loose just add a smidgen of flour. If it's too tight, a dribble of water or milk will help. Once you're happy with your short crust, dust your counter with flour and tip the pastry on to it. Find a rolling pin, mine is usually in the top drawer next to the sink, and roll out the pastry to fit whatever tin you have to hand. I use a round tart tin. It's just a bit smaller that those old vinyl albums they used to sell down the high street years ago. I've still got a few. Everything's on those compact thin gummies now. People say they sound better but I prefer my Pat Boone with a little crackle. Anyhow, once your pastry is in the tin perforate the base with a fork as many times as you can fit and stick it in the oven, 20 minutes should do it. I usually preheat mine at 200c (Gas mark 6).

While that's baking you had best get on with the filling. Grab a bowl and beat the butter and sugar together until it's all fluffy. Throw in the ground almonds, then the eggs. I find it's best to do them one at a time, beating as I go. If the mixture begins to split, Don't panic, just add a smidgen of flour. This next bit is important, I got this wrong once and it was an awful mess. Stop with the beating and gently fold in the flour and lemon zest.

You should have taken your pastry out of the oven by now, let it cool before spreading cherry jam across the base. leave 2 cm gap around the edge. Grab your filling and spread it over the jam. Bung the tin back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until set and golden-brown, I turn mine down to 180 c for this bit. Once baked make sure it's completely cooled before doing the next bit.
For the icing tip the icing sugar into a bowl. Add a little water and keep stirring until you get a think fondant, adding water as needed. Pour the fondant over the cake and wait for it to set. If I'm feeling adventurous I pipe melted chocolate across the fondant while it's still loose and then drag a knife across it to form a marble pattern which looks rather effective but is not essential; it tastes just fine without it.



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

George's hand on her shoulder silently comforted her.  She would have usually pulled away from him and given him the sharp end of her tongue but at that moment she didn't.  It wasn't fear that held her temper.  Even though she hated to admit it, his presence reassured her.  His touch anchored her, preventing her form drifting into the darkness above.  Had she been alone she might have reacted to the bewildering feeling that was overwhelming her.  The fear made her shy away from the darkness but also drew her toward it.  The temptation to let go felt familiar, it almost felt like a sense of belonging.  It was as if the darkness marked a path she was meant to travel, a passage home.  

May Elizabeth Trump spent her young years in a orphanage, her adult life being a recluse that saved every penny earned, and now she can speak to those who have passed as well as those who are still living.

Penny Saunders lives in the same town as May but has passed leaving her only child Chloe in a bad financial position.  Chloe must now pay for her college education as well as the upkeep on the family home that Penny has spent her life trying to hold on to.

Then comes the idea that will involve Margaret, May's only 'friend', and her Thursday Night Club, which is a group of 4 ladies who dabble in the 'psychic business.'  With May as the medium they can line up clients of ghosts who want to talk with those left behind and charge the living, allowing Chloe an income so she can continue with her education as well as keep the house.

One important piece of information that I haven't told you.  May is dead therefore being the Dead Medium.

This book is full of humor, ghosts, and some uncertain beings that are called the Soul Stalkers who May has been warned about by a ghost named George.  But... even though she never cared for a living soul when alive, for some reason May is drawn to Chloe and feels the need to help her in any way possible.  This story kept my finger busy as it turned page after page.  I couldn't wait to see what the next page and even sentence had to add.  And the ending - that was a total surprise.  It also left a very large opening for another chapter in the Dead Medium which I hope Author Peter John brings forth very soon.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Phantasms in the Infirmary - Ram and Julie Gulrajani, Authors


Spinach Pie

Wash the spinach after removing the thick white stalks.  Roll up the leaves and cut very fine, place in a bowl and add salt.  Pour sufficient boiling water to cover and then squeeze out the water.  Now take 3 bunches of spinach, 3 beaten eggs, two Tbsp. of grated cheese, salt, pepper, a little garlic and a little oil.  Line a deep Pyrex dish with a pie crust and fill with the spinach mixed with all the other ingredients.  Make two wells and drop 2 eggs very carefully.  Cover with more crust, brush over with milk and bake for 2 hrs.



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

Not so long ago I took a friend to the hospital for an endoscopy.  In the past this was done at one of the smaller facilities but my friend had changed doctors and he only did the procedure at the hospital.  As we boarded the elevator I noticed that the nurse pushed the button for us to go down, not up.  OK, there are a lot of floors that I've never been on in this hospital and with all the new construction we are probably just going to another above ground floor in the back.  As we stepped off the elevator and started walking down the hall I started feeling closed in.  I felt like I was walking into air that was really thick with something but I had no idea what.  I sat by my friend's bed as they prepared him for the procedure and since there was only a curtain between us and the next patient I could hear his conversation with one of the nurses.  He was telling her that he was born in this hospital 80 years ago.  She proceeded to tell him that we were in the oldest part of the hospital in the basement which at one time was actually the morgue.  I still didn't make the connection between my feelings and the location until I started reading Phantasms in the Infirmary.

Even though Authors Ram and Julie Gulrajani created a single hospital for the events to take place, they are still stories from several hospitals that have been passed on by hospital workers over the years.  Both Authors work in the medical field which brings them in contact with those who have experienced the events as well as those who have heard the stories.  Many of the hospitals have long histories of being everything from asylums, orphanages, workhouses, convents and monasteries in their past.  They also all have one thing in common - death.  Some even carried the ghosts of these deaths into the halls of the modern hospitals.

Is this what I was feeling while in the basement/old morgue of the hospital I was in?  After reading this book of ghosts from the past I'm pretty sure that was exactly what I felt.  Read Phantasms in the Infirmary for yourself and see if you agree.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Madonna Ghost - Linda Maria Frank, Author



FAMOUS APPLE BREAD
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 19, 2014

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

 
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