Monday, May 23, 2011

A Pirate's Daughter - Theresa M. Moore, Author

Soup a la Louisienne (serves 8-10)
  A Theresa M. Moore Favorite

1/4 cup peanut or canola/vegetable oil
1 chopped onion
6 cloves minced garlic
1 large green pepper, diced
1 celery stalk to taste, diced (I don't like celery but some people do)
1 cup bottled clam juice
2 scallions, chopped
1 small bunch cilantro,
3 dashes of dill weed.
2 bay leaves
1/8 teaspoon saffron
1/8 tablespoon cayenne red pepper
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
1 cup white wine (I recommend Chardonnay)
2 large cans whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teasoon tarragon
1/2 lb lobster tail, chopped
24 raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
12-14 crayfish, unshelled
2 lb cod or herring, or if preferred, octopus or squid

In a large pot heat the oil, mix in the spices, garlic, onion and condiments and saute' until they are soft and the juices rendered. Add the clam broth, scallions, parsley and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the wine and tomatoes, mix thoroughly and simmer another 5 minutes, then add the seafood and fish. Cook for about 15 minutes to make sure the seafood is well done. Add more sea salt to taste if necessary, but I think the cayenne will add the right amount of spicy taste. Serve in soup plates, sprinkle with parsley to garnish and accompany with buttered French bread.

I haven't tried this yet but I think a layer of grated cheddar or parmeson on top might add a small boost to the dish.

A Pirate’s Daughter – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘There came a cracking sound, then the sound of whistling.  Something crashed violently into the ship, making it shudder from stem to stern. Then another.  Charity scrambled up the ladder and threw the hatch open, climbed out onto the main deck and saw Queen Anne’s Revenge firing cannonballs into the Mary Catherine.  She looked around and saw bodies of strangers and shipmates alike strewn about on the deck in attitudes of death.  They must have fought each other hand to hand and the merchant crew had lost.  She had never seen so much blood before, and the smell of it and the stench of urine came up from the deck and assaulted her nose.  She covered her face with a coat sleeve to blot it out as she searched frantically for her father and Jonathan but did not see them among the dead.’
The Mary Catherine, captained by Joshua Makepeace Rakham, ran the waters along the Gulf Coast, picking up cotton in Louisiana and receiving rum for the return voyage to the Caribbean Sea.  Rakham’s daughter Charity had lived aboard ship since the death of her mother and due to her being the Captain’s daughter she was treated with respect by the crew.  But as time went on and Charity grew into a lovely young lady, there were crew members who began seeing her as more than a child.  This soon lead to the cry of mutiny by two such crew members.   However, this was soon put to rest when word reached Rakham and the two were handled in the ways of the sea…they were stripped and whipped.
This became just the beginning of the problems Charity finds herself facing.  Her survival while in the possession of a man known by the name of Franz Joseph Rosenthorne becomes impossible to deal with and the only way out is through escape.  But with no money nor means of acquiring money, escape seems impossible.
A Pirate’s Daughter is yet another book in the Children of the Dragon series and my 5th to read.  And I have to say that I’ve yet to read one that I haven’t enjoyed.  Each has kept me spellbound with the mystery and events as they unfold with both good and bad creatures of the night.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Fasion Police - Sibel Hodge, Author

  • From The Fashion Police
  • Amber's Mum's recipe for
  • Marinara Pasta
  • (by author Sibel Hodge)
  • 2 tbs olive oil, plus extra to toss
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup (250ml) dry white wine
  • 3 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 x 410g cans crushed tomatoes
  • 500g spaghetti
  • 500g mixed seafood (squid, prawns, scallops)
  • 300g black mussels, washed, de-bearded
  • 2 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened.
  2. Add garlic and wine, and simmer 2 minutes. Add paste and crushed tomatoes, and simmer 15-20 minutes further, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened. Season well.
  3. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain and toss in a little olive oil.
  4. Add marinara mix and mussels to tomato sauce, cover with lid and cook 3-4 minutes over medium-high heat, discarding any mussels that do not open.
  5. Stir in parsley, then toss the sauce through the pasta and serve 

The Fashion Police – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘This was going to be a piece of cake.  I would just sneak around, posing as an inconspicuous shopper, and snap a few pictures of Clark stacking shelves.  Why had I been so worried about this job?  It was ridiculously easy.  I heaved through the horde of shoppers, scanned the crowd for signs of any shelf-stocking activity.  There was nothing going on in the fruit and veggies aisle, so I picked up a bag of bananas and wandered off in search of Clark.  The bakery section was quiet and boring, except for the yummy smell of freshly baked bread.  Ditto for the condiments aisle, the dairy isle, and the cereal aisle.  Maybe there was a special time of day when all the shelf-stockers were let out in a frenzy, and I’d missed it.  I stood in front of the toiletries with the idea that if I stood there long enough, Clark would come to me.  I could wait until closing time if need be, no problem.  As it turned out, I lasted about ten minutes.  I was reading the directions on a box of teeth-whitening strips when I heard a rustling sound coming from my bag of bananas.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the bananas begin to move.  Wait a sec, bananas don’t move.  I stared at the bag as my hands shook.  Nope, the bananas weren’t moving at all.  It was a ginormous tarantula inside the bag that was moving, tapping on the plastic with its hairy foot.  I froze, hardly daring to breath.  Omigod!  Spider!  In my mental world, I was screaming my head off, but in the real world, I think my mouth was just wide open with no sound coming out.  I threw the bag on the floor and rocketed out to the parking lot faster than the speed of light, probably warp factor ten at least…Paul Clark and Brad would just have to wait.

Amber Fox is a former Detective Sergeant who was given the choice by Detective Chief Inspector Janice Skipper to either resign or be “resigned.”  This all took place after Amber accidently shot Janice in the rear while both were on the firing range one day.  Janice said it was intentional, Amber said it was an accident.  Either way, Amber resigned and went to work for her former fiancĂ© Brad who was owner of Hi-Tec Insurance.  Brad hired Amber to do check out some of the insurance claims he had received by a few clients that weren’t exactly reputable.  One claim was by Paul Clark who insisted that he had hurt his back and could no longer work.  That’s when Amber discovered him working as a stocker at the local grocery store.  Through her surveillance she also discovered that she probably wouldn’t be buying bananas from this store in the future.  Added to her work load was the job of planting “bugs” hidden in pens throughout the offices of fashion designer Umberto Fandango.  This job turned out to be a bummer too when it was discovered that the pens weren’t working correctly.  And Amber’s decision to go back to the offices to replace the pens, she discovers that Fandango is missing and due to the amount of blood at the scene, he just might possibly be dead.

The Fashion Police is one of the funniest murder mysteries I’ve ever read.  Amber isn’t a klutz but she sure finds herself in some really dangerous but funny situations.  Amber finds her dad, recently retired from the police force, dressed in women’s clothes.  His former drug sniffing police dog has some really strange commands.  And when she runs into a couple of goons named Sally and Tracy, she inflicts problems on them that will have your laughing out loud.   But I didn’t tell you the best part.   Her former ex Brad and her policeman boyfriend Romeo are both in love with her and want her for themselves.  Amber has decided that she actually loves both and just in case one doesn’t work out she might better hang onto both.  Oh yeah, Janice has made it known that she will stop at nothing to wreak havoc on Amber’s life and see that she loses everything, especially Romeo in the process.

So, if you like a good laugh along with your murder, The Fashion Police is a book you don’t want to miss out on.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Strangers Outside - Vanessa Morgan, Author

Belgian Cinnamon Waffles
  A Vanessas  Morgan Favorite
I’m originally from Belgium, the land of the Belgian waffles. Here’s one of my favorite waffle recipes. I prepare them with cinnamon and spelt because it makes the waffles taste so much better.
·        300 gr. spelt flour
·        200 gr. unrefined sugar
·        200 gr. butter
·        2 eggs
·        ½ teaspoon baking soda
·        Ground cinnamon to taste
·        Preheat your waffle iron
·        Whisk together the egg yolk with half of the sugar
·        Beat in spelt flour, sugar, melted butter and cinnamon
·        Whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff and fold into the batter
Put the batter into the waffle iron in batches and cook until the steam subsides

The Strangers Outside – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘After walking quickly along a winding sidewalk toward the outermost building on the left of the complex, the sisters arrived at their holiday cottage.  Louise already had her key in hand and quickly unlocked the door, gesturing for Jennifer to go inside first.  Before closing the front door behind her, Louise cast another look at the strangers standing outside on the far side of the parking lot.  They stood in the same spot, staring in her direction.  A shiver ran down her spine and she quickly closed the door, locking it behind her.’
Louise believes that no matter what happens, you learn from it and it will always be better the next time.  Her younger sister Jennifer believes that nothing will ever work out no matter how many times you try.  Their discussions on this matter never changed even though Louise always tried to encourage Jennifer to believe in the positive.  So, when their vacation was interrupted by strangers surrounding their cottage, Jennifer knew what the outcome would be.  Was she right?
Again Vanessa Morgan has gotten to my sense of security after dark.  Her short story The Strangers Outside has one problem…it’s too short.  I would love to see this made into a full length book.

Becoming Mommy...Becoming Me - Alisha Williams, Author

    • Avocado Salad w/ Tomatoes
    •   An Alisha Williams Special
    • 4 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks, or 20 cherry tomato's, halved
    • 2 ripe large Haas avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
    • Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette, recipe follows
    • 2 cups arugula leaves
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
    Gently mix the tomatoes, avocados, onions, arugula, and half of the vvinaigrette in a large bowl. Check for seasoning and add more vinaigrette, if needed. Sprinkle the cumin and cilantro over the top and serve immediately.
    • Vinaigrette:
    • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup canola oil
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    Whisk together the lime juice, vinegar, honey, cumin, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oils until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Do not use a blender to make this vinaigrette
Alisha Williams

Becoming Mommy…Becoming Me – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘During the ultrasound the technician was happy showing me the heartbeat and telling me that the baby looked normal size for about a 9 week pregnancy.  I have to admit it was a little exciting seeing the baby on the screen.  After the technician wiped all the jelly off my stomach I went to use the bathroom because my bladder was about to explode.  When I came back in the room the whole atmosphere in the room had changed.  Now the technician was telling me that the baby wasn’t really a baby yet, it was only a bunch of cells at the moment.  I could feel the irritation in me building, because 5 minutes before this guy was showing me the heartbeat and explaining all the other features the “clump of cells” had.  I looked at Luke and I knew that he was having this guy feed me a bunch of bologna so that I would feel better about having an abortion.  After that my trust in Luke was broken.  I knew that the security that I felt before no longer existed.  I was still completely in love with him, but I knew that in order to make my own decision I would have to get away from him.’
In Becoming Mommy…Becoming Me, Alisha Williams tells her own story of becoming pregnant by someone she loved and thought loved her.  She exposes the pressure often inflicted by the father to have an abortion.  She also brings to light how naive young girls are when they find themselves in the position of being unmarried and pregnant.
But Alisha Williams doesn’t stop with just her own story.  Through the help of others who aren’t afraid to voice their own stories she tells us about Victoria who is only 14 years old and puts her baby up for adoption.  We hear from Madison who ends up with 2 children while with an abusive man.  Laurel who’s best friend actually talks her out of having an abortion.  And my favorite…Peanut who has 11 children ranging from age 2 to 18.  Six of which are adopted. 
There are many other stories about young girls/women who have become pregnant while unmarried, as well as married.  Their situations that led up to this unexpected news and their situation during and afterwards.  Each girl has their own unique story and each has their on ending.
When I was a teenager, if a girl became pregnant while unmarried, she was tagged as being a really bad influence.  As for the boys/fathers of these babies, they weren’t given a second thought.  It was always the girl’s fault and the boys were innocent.  Back then, having an abortion was simply out of the question leaving keeping the child or placing it up for adoption as the only other answer.  Plus, the pregnancy was kept as quiet as possible to protect, not necessarily the girl, but the girl’s family from the embarrassment.   The girl was not judged by everyone, no matter what the circumstances might be.
Reading Becoming Mommy…Becoming Me has opened my eyes and helped teach me not to judge.  No matter how right or wrong we feel keeping a child, giving it up for adoption or even having an abortion might be, before we bring our own judgment upon others, we need to know and feel their individual situations first.  And even then, we may still never understand the decisions they made.  Becoming Mommy…Becoming Me is a very enlighten book that needs to be read by anyone with children or anyone who might be planning, or not, on having children. 
124 pages
ISBN# 978-1-4489-9979-8

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stir, Laugh, Repeat - comment

Jess Michael Orenduff

My wife, who rarely cooks, did one of your recipes because I was away at a signing, and she reports it was great. Unfortunately, it was all gone when I got back. :-(

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Stir, Laugh, Repeat - Review by Donna Bramblett, TX

BUTTER PECAN COOKIES - Donna's Favorite Cookie Recipe

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup white sugar
1 cup margarine
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Cream sugars & margarine. Add eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Drop by small teaspoons on cookie
sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. When cool, fill
with frosting (recipe below).

Cookies are better when not real large and are soft. In my oven, I only cook them seven you may need to experiment a bit. When I take them off of the cookie sheet and remove them to a wire rack to cool, I "scrunch" them a little so they are crinkled.


1 8 ounce package cream cheese
1 box confectioners powdered sugar
1 tsp. margarine
1 cup chopped pecans

Let cream cheese soften to room temperature and mix well with sugar and margarine. Stir in pecans and put filling on one cookie and top with another (sandwich style).

These look pretty in a big crystal bowl and I have served them from a baby shower to a family reunion. My cousin gave me this recipe years ago and she said she has made the frosting adding melted chocolate and put it between peanut butter cookies. I haven't tried it, but if you like peanut butter (oh, but you don't like chocolate) it might be good.

Stir, Laugh, Repeat - Review by Donna Bramblett, TX

I recently ordered your cookbook “Stir, Laugh, Repeat” and it came in the mail yesterday. I sat down last night to glance at it and couldn’t put it down….I read it from cover to cover!

I loved the format and all of the stories you added on each page just put a special touch to the book. After reading it, I feel like I really know you and your family. I know your sons-in-law are Yankees, you are a lover of cheese, but you dislike chocolate…well not all have a weakness for white chocolate and I would venture to guess that you never take yourself too seriously. I also loved the fact that you use every day ingredients and don’t mind admitting that you and cakes do not have a love affair. It was such an easy and enjoyable read. I will be waiting for the second book which I understand is now in the works.

I have some pages marked for things that will be first on my list to try. One of them is the Bacon, Egg & Cheese Mini Pies on Page 144. This will be a great addition to a brunch and it is so simple. It made me wonder…”now why hadn’t I thought about that?” Another recipe I definitely have to try is the Cracker Bars on Page73 and I may do a “Martha trick” and use regular chocolate instead of white chocolate. I could mention several others, but I think you have the idea that I really am enjoying Stir, Laugh, Repeat.
Donna, TX

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stir, Laugh, Repeat - Review by Debra Purdy Kong

Debra Purdy Kong's Favorite Recipe
Scalloped Potatoes:

4 medium potatoes very thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped.
1 cup of shredded old cheddar cheese
1 can of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup of milk
1 clove of garlic

In a greased casserole dish, arrange half of the potatoes and half of the onion. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat layers. In a small bowl, combine soup, milk and garlic. Spoon over potato mixture. Cover, bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Unocver and bake 10 more minutes or until potatoes are tender. Makes 6 side-dish servings.

Stir, Laugh, Repeat - Review by Debra Purdy Kong

Easy Recipes and a Personal Touch, May 27, 2009
By Debra Purdy Kong "mystery writer" (Port Moody, BC) - See all my reviews

When it comes to creating recipes, I have little imagination so I turn to cookbooks for ideas. My problem with many of them, though, is that the recipes are either too complicated or the ingredients too hard to find. So it was with great pleasure that I discovered Stir, Laugh, Repeat by Martha A. Cheves. Her straightforward recipes reflect her southern U.S. background and use simple, affordable ingredients. Cheves provides a number of money-saving tips which is greatly appreciated.

If you love cheese and white chocolate (not together) you'll love this book because the author's a fan of both and features these items in several recipes. As a bonus, Cheves also offers personal stories and a practical tip with each recipe, which gives the book a personal touch.

My only quibble is that it'll be hard to keep the book open when I try some of the recipes, which is why I usually prefer coil bound cookbooks. Also, there are a couple of ingredients such as Parker House rolls that aren't available here in Canada so I'll have to find a substitute. Meanwhile, I really need to start on that banana pudding recipe!

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