Saturday, November 9, 2019

Haunt the Haunt, Walk the Walk - Rose Pressey, Author


Marshmallow Ghosts

4 cups mini marshmallows (1 bag)
14 oz white chocolate chips or candy melts
1-2 tbs shortening
1 tube black gel frosting

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt white chocolate chips and 1 tbs shortening on high for 30 seconds. Carefully remove from microwave and stir. Continue in microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring in between each burst, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Add a little more shortening as needed to thin chocolate for easy use.
Let chocolate cool for a couple minutes, but not completely. Lay out sheets of waxed paper on counter top. Add marshmallows to cooling chocolate and mix well to evenly coat marshmallows.
Drop chocolate covered marshmallows onto wax paper and gently shape into ghosts. Let cool completely.
Use black gel frosting to add eyes and mouths to ghosts.



Haunt the Haunt, Walk the Walk - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Devil's Moon was one of the most haunted places I'd ever known.  It had more than its share of ghosts.  There were plenty of scary stories to keep everyone intrigued and an abundance of ghosts to be spotted everywhere in town.  I'd quickly figured that out when they kept popping up all around me.  Sometimes the spirits even followed me during the tours.  Of course that freaked a lot of people out, and I was a little scared of them myself.  Especially since I didn't know what they wanted or why they were following me.  There was also a new development in my paranormal adventures - ghosts were now sending me text messages.  I know that sounds crazy, but it's true.

Oh yeah.  I'm Ripley Van Raden or Rip to my friends.  I moved back to my hometown to take the position of head librarian, but also used the opportunity to start my tour around town.  My tours always start in the cemetery where the ghosts are plentiful.

Not long after moving to Devil's Moon we had a murder in town.  That's when I met the hunk of a policeman, Brannon.  We hit it off from the beginning.  You see, he is into the paranormal too.  I also met the library ghost Annie who was the librarian many years before me.  She is the one who first started texting me.  But lately, I've started receiving text messages from someone else.  I've also being followed by someone that I've never seen before.  Could they be one and the same?

Oh yeah again.  I forgot to tell you that there was another murder in town and this one really has me scared for my own life.

Haunt the Haunt, Walk the Walk is Book 3 in the Haunted Tour Guide Mystery.  I've read all of the books in this series so far and can tell you that Rose Pressey has me wanting more.  She keeps you guessing as to who the murderer really is but keeps the story 'light' along the way.  I personally can't wait to read Book #4 - Walk this Way, Haunt this Way.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Bumping Off Fat Vinny - Dennis N. Griffin & Morgan St. James, Authors



Cherry Delight Recipe

2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs about 16 full graham crackers finely crushed
1 stick Butter melted
1 tablespoon Sugar
8 ounces Cream Cheese softened
1 20- ounce can Crushed Pineapple in juice drained
2 cups non-dairy topping thawed
2 21- ounce cans Cherry Pie Filling

Instructions
Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Pat into the bottom of 9 X 13 cake pan. Bake in 375 degree F oven for 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.
Let cool.
Mix cream cheese until smooth, add powdered sugar. Mix in pineapple. Fold in the non-dairy topping. Spread over graham cracker crust.
Gently pour and spread cherry pie filling over the top. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Baking the graham cracker crust is optional but gives the crust a toastier flavor.
Vanilla wafers or shortbread cookie crumbs can be used instead of graham cracker crumbs.
Can be made in 2 8-inch X 8-inch pans, or two premade graham cracker or shortbread pie crusts.
2 cups of Dream Whip or homemade whipped cream can be used in place of whipped
topping.
Other pie fillings may be used as a substitute for cherry.  Try Blueberry for a blueberry delight.



Bumping Off Fat Vinny - Revenge is Sweet - Review by Martha A. Cheves

CEO of Vitali Publishing, Vincent Vitali tips the scales at just over four hundred pounds, distributed evenly over his five-foot-seven frame, earning him the nickname of Fat Vinny.  As he sat in his office glaring at the man and woman seated across from him, he drew on a cigar and blew smoke in their direction.  "You call this piece of crap finished?  It's not the book I thought it was going to be."  Danny Garrett, a former FBI agent with a string of successful books behind him tensed as he said "Well, you thought wrong.  This is the book we signed a contract to write.  We're willing to do some minor touch ups, but you're the one who gave us the assignment.  Danny's co-author Margaret Stanton added, "Look, Vinny, you wanted the memoir of a Mob wife; you got the memoir of a Mob wife.  "My problem is -" Vinny paused, 'There are no investigative interviews.  Did you contact Tony "The Nose's" brother.What about the Mob bosses his widow rags about in this piece of garbage?  It's her word against theirs."

Much to the disapproval of Danny and Margaret's agent, have signed a contract, not with Vitali Publishing but with Fat Vinny himself.  They have completed their part by giving him the memoirs of the wife of mobster "The Nose" who was murdered a few years earlier... but, Fat Vinny isn't a man to be reasoned with.  With an iron clad contract he can change his mind about what he wants and will get what he wants or hold the manuscript until he does.  So, what can Danny and Margaret do to make him change his mind and let them have their manuscript back?  Ahhhh, that becomes the fun part of this book!

This book is full of humor with a little suspense mixed in here and there.  That is until you get to the end and discover that there was more suspense than you realized.  Yes, what I'm trying to say is that there is a very big surprise at the end.  This is another fun book from Authors Dennis N. Griffin & Morgan St. James.  Don't let this one slip away before reading.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Remembering Dexter - Brian L. Porter


Beef and ale cobbler

465g diced casserole beef
2 tbsp oil
1 chopped onion
1 large diced carrot
150g halved button mushrooms
560g Asda Chosen by You Beef and Ale Pour Over Sauce
225g self raising flour
50g chilled (cubed butter)
150ml milk
½ tbsp chopped thyme
½ tbsp chopped parsley

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/ Gas 4. Brown the beef in batches in 2 tbsp of oil.
Lift out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a casserole dish with the onion, carrots and mushrooms.
Pour in the Beef and Ale Pour Over Sauce and mix well. Put the lid on the casserole dish and cook in the oven for 2 hours
Prepare the cobbler 15 minutes before the 2 hours are up. Put 225g self raising flour into the bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add 1 tbsp each of the thyme and parsley. Make a well in the centre and add the milk (reserving 1-2 tbsp for glazing). Combine until it forms a soft dough.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface until 5ml thick. Cut out rounds 3-4 cm in diameter.
Carefully remove the dish after 2 hours and increase the heat to 200C/180C Fan/ Gas 6. Top the casserole with the rounds and brush with the reserved milk. Return to the oven for a further 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top.



Remembering Dexter - Review by Martha A. Cheves


"It's a sad tale really.  Someone was driving along the motorway one day, quite recently, and suddenly saw a car up ahead open one of its doors, and a dog was literally thrown from the car onto the motorway.  As it was travelling at about 60 mph, the poor dog hit the tarmac with some force and rolled over and over until it came to a halt on the hard shoulder.  Luckily, there was no other traffic following the car, or he could have been hit and killed.  The person who witnessed it, quickly applied the breaks and pulled onto the hard shoulder.  They were too far behind to get the number of the car that threw him out, which quickly accelerated away, and was lost to sight in no time.  They checked the poor dog, as best as they could, then gently loaded him into their car and dove him to the next town, luckily only a few miles down the road.  They found a vet, told him what had happened, and left the dog in his care."  The dog in this story is Dexter.

After hearing this story told to Brian and his wife Juliet, by one of the Dog Pound employee, being both mad and hurting regarding the treatment this beautiful Labrador/Staffy Crossbreed received, they decided to take him for a walk with one of the pack members they had brought along to see how he would fit in.  It didn't take long for everyone to decide this beauty had just found himself a new, loving home.

As I read Dexter's story I also became mad at the way some people treat these loving beings.  A dog, in many ways, is more caring than people.  My dog Jesse is a rescue too and our first day together bonded us to the point that he doesn't want me out of his sight and I actually don't want him out of mine.  As I sit at my computer, he lays under my feet.  If I get up, so does he.  When I go to another room or up the stairs, he follows.  And at night he sleeps curled up against my back.  Yes he sleeps with me.  He wakes me every morning around 7:00 a.m. with kisses.  Now, what human has ever shown that much love?  I've never known one that is that caring.  Jesse is my best friend and my soulmate.   Like Dexter, my Jesse is getting up in age.  I know his time is near and like Brian and Juliet, it will be a time that will give me pain for a long time.

I can't help but admire this Brian and Juliet.  Their love for our four legged friends is so great.  I can only wish I was in a position to take care of the 10 to 12 that they have at all times.  They are both very special people.  So, if you're a dog lover you must read Remembering Dexter.  If you aren't a dog lover, read it anyway and you might just become one.  After all what does DOG spell backwards?!  Do you think God made Dogs and named them after himself and that is why they are so special?

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Pumpkin Spice and a Body on Ice - Willow Monroe, Author


Starla's Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

1 cup self rising flour
3/4 cup of rolled oats
1 and 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spices
1 Tbsp. powdered orange drink (Tang)
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 cup walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners or spray with nonstick spray.  This recipe makes 14 cupcakes, so you will have a couple of cupcakes to bake in a 2nd batch.  In a large bowl, toss the flour, oats and spices together until combined.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar and eggs together until combined.  Whisk in the pumpkin, oil, applesauce, milk, vanilla and honey until combined.  Do NOT over mix the batter.  Gently fold in walnut pieces.  Spoon the batter evenly into 14 cups; fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping.  Bake for 17-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before frosting. 

Pumpkin Spice and a Body on Ice - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Police Chief Roby Whitt entered the diner, somehow managing to walk through the door without rattling the jingle bells on the handle.  The men in the room stood or sat up a bit straighter while the women just collectively seemed to...well, there's o other word for it; swoon.  Gladys was seventy-five years old and still pretty attractive when she remembers to put her teeth in.  A few weeks earlier Gladys accidently caught her apron on fire while trying to ogle Chief Whitt and make an omelet at the same time.  This had earned the diner a visit from the entire Sugar Hill Volunteer Fire Department, who were actually having a slow week and also hoping for free coffee and cupcakes. 

Welcome to the Dixie Cupp Dinner owned by myself Starla Cupp and my partner Poppy Wendell.  We are not only noted for our very tasty food but also for my cupcakes.  My blue velvet cupcakes are light, sweet and melt in your mouth.  They have won me the blue ribbon in the cupcake competition at the annual Sugar Hill Dessert Festival five years in a row.  But this year may be a different story.  It appears that our new police chief Roby Whitt will be judging the cupcakes and believe it or not but he is a health nut.  My cupcakes are far from being healthy!  So, maybe I should just back out this year.  Or should I.

When I first started reading Pumpkin Spice and a Body on Ice I knew it was going to be good.  It's light hearted, contains humor and even a murder to bring it all together.  It's Book 1 in the Dixie Cupp Diner Mysteries and you can bet I'll be reading Book 2.  If you want a book that is actually fun to read, check this one out.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Hawk's Nest -

Campfire Spam Hash

Ingredients
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 2 pounds)
1 spam cut into chunks
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles
1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained

Directions
In a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat, cook and stir onion in oil under tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add potatoes. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add spam cook and stir until meat and potatoes are tender and browned, 10-15 minutes. Stir in chiles and corn; heat through.



The Hawk's Nest - Review by Martha A. Cheves

The first thing you saw when you walked into the Hawk's Nest was our outdoor living room.  There was a table and a couch near the fire pit, and more chairs scattered for people to sit and visit.  Our tents were set up in a row on either side of our shared space.  The freeway above was our shelter from the weather.

When I started to write this review it came to me that I knew nothing, nor have bothered to learn anything about the homeless.  I see them on the streets asking for money, selling their bodies and now and then asking for food.  I've never bothered to even think about where they came from, who they are, what they may have done in another life, nor even why they are homeless.  I just saw them as people who lived on the streets.

After reading Hawk's Nest I stopped and realized these are 'real' people.  They have their hard times just like we do but in their case worse.  Yes, they may steal to stay alive and do drugs to forget.  But they are human and this book helped me realize that.  I'll admit that the language is rough but the story is even rougher and a true eye opener.  So my question is, could we put ourselves in their position and live their lives?  I hope I never have to find out.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Dinner Party - Richard Jay Parker, Author


Parmesan Eggplant Appetiser

This is a very easy but delicious appetiser to throw together for a dinner party. Vegetarians skip the bresaola!

1 Eggplant
Parmessan Shavings
Chilli Flakes
Couple Slices Of Bresaola
1 Fresh Mozzarella
Pack Of Arugula
Pesto
Olive Oil

Cut the egg plant into lengthways strips about quarter of an inch thick and griddle them in a little oil for five minutes. Make sure you get some bar marks on the flesh and that it softens up sufficiently.

Next spread a little pesto on each slice, sprinkle with chilli flakes and some parmesan shavings. Add a slice of bresaola and a then a slice of mozzarella at one end. Season and then roll the eggplant slice around the mozzarella.

Put into a baking tray and allow two rolls for each guest.

Bake for fifteen minutes on a medium heat or until the mozzarella had melted.


Drizzle with olive oil and serve with arugula and basil leaves.    


The Dinner Party - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Have you ever heard of a 'trust game?"  I never had until I read this book.  Here is the way it works:

It's especially for couples who have been married longer than seven years.  To any couple who feel they've amassed too much baggage, the game is designed to expunge guilt and wipe the slate clean for the sake of their futures.  Each person in a couple has to write down their deepest, darkest secret on a piece of paper, something that has happened since they took their vows - something they've never told their partner about.  Then they fold the piece of paper, put it into a n envelope and give it to their partner.  It can be anything, minor or major.  Then their partner, without opening the envelope, tells them that they forgive them and set fire to it.  It's symbolic and it means they can move on.  Whatever secret they had has been forgiven and destroyed by their partner.

So, when this game is put into play at a dinner party given by Juliette and Ted, the feelings vary between the 8 people present.  But, what could it hurt.  They would play, get it over with and continue with the party.  What could go wrong.  Turns out a lot went wrong and if you're like me, you will never figure it out until the end.  This book kept me in suspense from beginning to end.  I never saw it coming.  So, if you want a truly suspenseful book, this book is for you.  So mark your calendar for October 18, 2019 to make sure you don't miss out on this one!


Friday, September 13, 2019

Glastonbury - Brian L. Porter, Author


Somerset chicken

6 boneless chicken breasts, skin on
salt and freshly ground black pepper 
75g/2½oz butter, plus extra to serve
3 tbsp olive oil 
2 onions, peeled, sliced
4 tbsp plain flour 
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 dessert apples, peeled, cores removed, sliced into batons
110g/4oz button mushrooms,  sliced
250ml/9fl oz chicken stock 
300ml/10½fl oz cider 
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage 
250ml/9fl oz double cream 
300g/10½oz cheddar cheese, grated
6 baked potatoes, to serve
butter, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Season the chicken breasts with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat a large frying pan until smoking, then add half of the butter and oil. Fry the chicken breasts in batches, skin-side down first, for 1-2 minutes on both sides, or until golden-brown all over.
Transfer the chicken breast to a deep-sided roasting tray and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (NB: the chicken is cooked through when the juices run clear when the thickest part is pierced with a skewer.) Keep warm.
Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining butter and oil. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. Stir in the flour and the mustard and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Add the apples and mushrooms and cook for a further minute, then pour over the chicken stock.
Bring to the boil, then add the cider and return to the boil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then lower the heat, add the sage and stir in the cream. Simmer for a further 5-6 minutes, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour the sauce over the chicken so that it is completely covered.
Preheat the grill to high.
Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the chicken and place under the grill for 4-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, golden-brown and bubbling.
To serve, place a baked potato topped with a knob of butter on each serving plate. Spoon the chicken alongside and serve.



Glastonbury - Review by Martha A. Cheves

The same sun that brought light to the day in Stratford-on-Avon broke through the curtains that had held back the night in Joe's room, some eighty-three miles, or 134 kilometres distance from Capshaw's mansion.  The room felt warmer than it had for the last few days, and Joe himself felt a cheerfulness that came from a good night's sleep.  The previous evening's conversation and the brandy had helped, but somehow Joe knew the presence of Lucius Doberman had made a difference to his overall mood.  He wasn't sure exactly how the learned professor was going to make a difference to their quest in solving the riddle posed by Capshaw and Graves; he just instinctively knew that he would.

Joe Cutler is the owner of Strata Survey Company.  He and his employees Winston Fortune and Sally Corbett have been hired by millionaire Malcolm Capshaw to find non other than the sword which was fabled to be owned by King Author.  In other words, the Excalibur.  Capshaw has provided them with a map that is 'supposed' to show the general area of where the sword was buried.  He has also supplied them with a noted historian professor who goes by the name of Walter Graves.

So, does King Author and his sword Excalibur really exist or is this just a wild goose chase?  Or - is it truly just a myth?

Except for a clue and hint here and there, this author kept me in the dark until the end.  It has more twists and turns than a roller coaster.  And if I read the end of the book correctly, there will be a second book coming out with some of the main characters and of course a story full of suspense.

Glastonbury Order Link 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Scammed (Revenge is Fun #5) -


Easy Mexican Casserole

One 16 ounce can of refried beans
Three-quarters of a medium onion, diced
Five 10 inch flour tortillas
One cup of salsa - mild, medium or hot to taste
Two cups of shredded Cheddar cheese
You can also add corn kernels and if you want this to be a meat dish, sautéed ground beef to cover the second bean layer.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spray a 9-inch pie pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a saucepan, cook refried beans and onions (to soften them) on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.
Place one tortilla in the bottom of the greased pan. Spread about 1/3 cup of the bean mixture over it. Layer a few tablespoons of salsa over this. Then, place another tortilla over the salsa, and add more of the bean mixture. Follow the beans with a big handful of cheese, spreading evenly. repeat layers, spreading the ingredients evenly over the tortillas. On the top layer, make sure to use lots of salsa and cheese!
Bake until the cheese is melted, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Garnish with chopped scallions and slices of avocado

Scammed (Revenge is Fun #5) - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Struggling to keep her voice level she said, Don't worry.  I'm fine.  Just a little exhausted.  You know we had the HOA Board meeting last night.  Well, Al Shady didn't show up and his wife was concerned so she left early to check on him.  When the meeting was over, we still hadn't heard anything from either of them.  The Colonel brought one of our neighbors to the meeting and we all walked home together.  He's a former FBI guy turned author.  We passed the Shady house and decided to check on them to make sure everything was okay.  It wasn't.  The front door was ajar and the place looked like it was ransacked.  Both of the Shadys are missing and the cops are on it.  

Cameron's boyfriend Milton has concerns for her safety.  It seems that crime seems to follow her and her friends Kate and Kim, constantly putting them in harm's way.  So, when the HOA vice president Al and his wife Barbara turn up missing, there is no doubt that the trio will find themselves trying to solve yet another mystery.  But, this one hits home not only with Cameron but also with a few other members from the HOA.  It turns out that Barbara was the treasurer and due to a settlement the HOA had recently received, they are afraid the money has something to do with the missing couple.

As always, Scammed kept me turning the pages.  With each book in this series that I've read, I can't help but wish someone would pick them up for a TV series.  They are an update and upgrade for the Murder She Wrote series.  I love them and can't wait for more.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Payback (Revenge is Fun Book 3) - Morgan St. James, Author

Chocolate Decadence
(Just one of the girl's favorite dishes)

For the raspberry sauce:
2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries or thawed frozen unsweetened raspberries
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup framboise or other raspberry-flavored liqueur (optional)

For the cake:
1 lb. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
10 Tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream, whipped


To make the raspberry sauce, place the raspberries, sugar and framboise, if using, in a blender or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Puree until smooth. If you prefer a seedless sauce, pass the puree through a sieve.

To make the cake, position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 425ºF. Butter an 8 or 9-inch springform pan or a layer cake pan. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper or waxed paper cut to fit precisely. Butter the paper and dust with flour; tap out any excess.

Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl or the top pan of a double boiler. Set over a pan of gently simmering water but not touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted and combined completely. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl. Using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat until light, fluffy and tripled in volume, 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour. Using a rubber spatula, fold one-third of the egg mixture into the chocolate to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg mixture, taking care not to deflate the batter. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for exactly 15 minutes. Let cool completely to room temperature. Do not refrigerate or the cake will stick to the pan. Invert the cake onto a flat serving plate and peel off the paper.

Cut into small wedges and serve each wedge atop some of the raspberry sauce. Top with whipped cream.



Payback (Revenge is Fun Book 3) - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"I was pretty far away, but it looked like she was going toward her car when - and I swear this is what I saw - that idiot just speeded up and smacked right into her.  Saw the body fly up in the air even though I was a ways away.  Whoever it was kept driving like the wind.  Outta sight in a flash."... Kate was standing beside us.  She whispered, "I'm afraid that's the woman I was supposed to meet.  She left before I got there.  She called me.  I'll tell you what happened, but I think we still have to cover ourselves.  Follow my lead in case anyone is watching us."

Meet Cameron Harsen, Kimberly Martin and Kate Steele.  They were all part of a marketing arm of the Federal Association of Corrections Reform (FACR).  All three made a fortune when they uncovered a massive embezzlement ripoff.  Kim stayed with FACR and became the Director of Marketing and married the US Attorney General.  Cameron started her own advertising company.  And Kate formed a website she called FraudBusters, plus she has a movie in the works that will show the world how these three made it to where they are today.

This book is full of mystery, suspense, plus as always with this author, humor.  These three women seem to just fall into trouble, even without looking for it.  But when someone Cameron used to work with is murdered and the US Government has an informant within their wiretapping headquarters, the girls take action and bring the bad guys, and gals, to justice.  I loved the story, as much as the way it's written.  This book is a stand alone but for the fun of it, go back and read the first two books in the series, Getting Even and Ripoff, to bring these characters into their true lights.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Vengeance on Tyneside - Eileen Thornton, Author



Hungarian Goulash
(A special dish from Agnes)

Serves 4
Pre-heat oven to 275F (140C)

1lb braising steak cut into cubes
1 large onion, chopped
Slight dash of garlic granules or 1 garlic clove crushed.
Tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon Paprika - or a little more to taste
14oz tin tomatoes
Salt & Pepper

Heat oil in flameproof casserole then add the cubes of meat, turning frequently to brown on all sides.
Lower the heat and add the chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes - Stirring occasionally
Add the garlic, the flour and the paprika and stir to soak up the juices.
Then add the tin of tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and bring everything up to simmering point.
Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven (Middle shelf) and cook for about two and a half hours.

Serve with boiled rice.


Vengeance on Tyneside - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Perhaps she was allowing her over-active mind to take control.  She had done that twice before in recent months and both times it had almost taken her to the point of being murdered.  Maybe this time she should walk away.  But when she heard the cry again, she knew she couldn't do that.  Someone needed help.  Looking around, she realized the sound was coming from the row of rubbish bins lined up by a wall, not too far from where she was standing... having reached the rubbish bins, she took a deep breath before peering behind them.  For a moment, despite having prepared herself for the worst, Agnes was stunned at the sight of a young woman lying there.  Her hands were clutched to her chest, desperately trying to stem the flow of blood streaming from her body and pooling on the concrete ground beneath her.

Agnes Lockwood has just returned from a trip to the coast.  Her plans are to meet with DCI Alan Johnson for a nice quiet evening.  Well, she soon finds out that the nice quiet evening won't be so quiet after all.  She ends up finding herself in the middle of not one murder but 3 plus an attempt.  What do these people have in common?  Can she and the DCI find out and stop them before more occur?

This book had me fooled from the beginning.  I had four suspects.  The person I had as my major suspect turned out to be innocent.  That narrowed it down to three.  I was close but still didn't come up with the real killer.  And Author Eileen Thornton didn't disclose the killer until the last few pages.  If you like a good suspense, this is one you don't want to miss. 

This book also left with an opening for the next book, which I hope makes it my way very soon.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Penny The Railway Pup (Family of Rescue Dogs Book 4)



Fish and Chips 

Ingredients

900 g potatoes
sunflower oil , for deep-frying
225 g white fish fillets , skin off, pin-boned, from sustainable sources
225 g plain flour , plus extra for dusting
285 ml cold beer
3 heaped teaspoons baking powder
MUSHY PEAS
a few sprigs of fresh mint
1 knob of unsalted butter
4 handfuls of podded peas
½ a lemonFACEBOOKTWITTEREMAILPINTEREST
TAP FOR INGREDIENTS
Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
Peel and slice the potatoes into chips.
To make the mushy peas, pick and finely chop the mint leaves. Place the butter in a pan over a medium-low heat, add the peas and mint, pop the lid on and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper – you can either mush the peas up in a food processor, or mash them by hand until stodgy, thick and perfect for dipping your fish into. Keep them warm until needed.
Pour the sunflower oil into a deep fat fryer or a large sturdy pan and heat it to 190°C/375°F.
Mix ½ a teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper together, then use it to season the fish fillets on both sides – this will help to remove any excess water, making the fish really meaty.
Whisk the flour, beer and baking powder together until nice and shiny – the texture should be like semi-whipped double cream (i.e. it should stick to whatever you're coating).
Dust each fish fillet in a little of the extra flour, then dip into the batter and allow any excess to drip off. Holding one end, gently lower the fish into the oil one by one, working carefully so you don't get splashed – it will depend on the size of your fryer or pan how many fish you can cook at once.
Cook for 4 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and the batter is golden and crisp, then remove to kitchen paper to drain.
Meanwhile, parboil the chips in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened but still retaining their shape, then drain and steam dry.
When the chips are nice and dry, fry in the oil that the fish were cooked in at 180°C/350°F until golden and crisp.
While the chips are frying, transfer the fish from the kitchen paper to a baking tray. Place in the oven for a few minutes to finish cooking – this way they will stay crisp while you finish off the chips.

When the chips are done, drain them on kitchen paper, season with salt, and serve with the fish and mushy peas. Other things to have on the table are some crunchy sweet pickled gherkins, some pickled onions (if your other half isn't around!) – and pickled chillies are good, too. Then you want to douse it all with some cheap malt vinegar and nothing other than Heinz tomato ketchup.


Penny The Railway Pup - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"Until recently there was a gypsy encampment on the waste ground near the railway station.  There was a knock on my door and two little girls were standing there, maybe eight to ten years old, with the older of the two holding a puppy in her arms.  You could tell they were sisters just by looking at them.   They told me they'd been out playing and saw that the gypsies had gone so they went to take a look in the field near the station where they'd camped, in case they'd left anything behind.  From the scruffy state of their clothes, their white socks covered in mud and muck, and their dirty faces, I could tell they'd had a really good time exploring the old gypsy site.  They walked towards the railway station, and on the other side of the fence, they saw something moving a few yards along the tracks.  They soon realized it was a little dog.  They followed the fence and realized that the puppy had a rope round its neck and that the rope was caught up on the track.  They knew that if a train came along the poor little puppy would probably be hit and killed by the engine.  They climbed the fence and ran to the puppy.  It took a few minutes to free it from the track and the elder girl picked her up and reassured her."  This was the rescue of the little puppy that became Penny the Railway Pup.

"The whole meaning of the word 'pet' when applied to a dog, speaks to me of a member of the family, one who shares the home and the life of their owner, not a 'thing' to be kept outdoors in all weathers and left to suffer in a freezing kennel or worse during the rages of winter.  Even working dogs, kept as guard dogs for example, need warmth and comfort in the depths of winter, otherwise how can they be expected to fulfill their role of protecting their owner's property?" - Brian L. Porter

I have read all four of the Rescue Dog books and can't help but admire Author Brian L. Porter and his family.  The love, affection and care that they provide for those that probably wouldn't make it otherwise shows me how much we forget about what we call 'our animals.'  He is totally correct in reminding us that they aren't just pets, they are members of our own family and should be treated as so.  If you're a dog lover, this is a must read book.  If you aren't a dog lover, read it anyway and maybe you'll become one.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Silent Voices - Fran Lewis, Author


Chocolate Mousse Cup Graveyards

Each cup of chocolate mousse is decorated with some chocolate sprinkles, one of the candy zombie hands and a cookies and cream tombstone.
Items you’ll need to make the chocolate mousse graveyards:
water
sugar
egg yolks
heavy whipping cream
chocolate jimmies (sprinkles)
If you buy the zombie hands they come with the chocolate sprinkles.
12-20 Cookies and Cream Tombstones
OREO Cookie Crumbs
white chocolate or white confectionery coating



Silent Voices - Review by Martha A. Cheves

All my life I had to struggle and work hard for everything that I ever needed. So, why not take advantage of a situation?  My grandmother, Gertie, was frail and much older, needing constant care at home. Her mind was sharp, but her legs were weak. She could no longer shop for herself  and going to the bank to deposit her disability checks had become a real chore. Each one of us had a different father, and not one of us had all of the conveniences that life should have given us. So, we joined forces to get what we deserved from our grandmother. My sisters and I had decided to take on the responsibility of her daily care. Of course, I felt, as they did, that we deserved something for our efforts. Moving into her huge house was not a problem, as she had six bedrooms, three baths, and enough closet space for everyone. The house was amazing, and the kitchen was state of the art. Taking some of what she had was not a problem until she began to realize that something was wrong.

The four granddaughters pool their ideas and resources to take over what their grandmother has worked her whole life to have.  BUT… the situation takes a turn when Gertie turns the tables on them.

Each of the stories within this book are voices beneath the tombstones.  How they got there and why.  These voices make you wonder just how many other voices are out there, never to be heard and never to be avenged for their demise.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Adventures of Bang-Bang Man - Philip Nork, Author



Bang-Bang Man's Famous Vegetarian Chili
(After Candy realized what Matt could and could not eat,
this became his favorite dinner.)

INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 (15.5-oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (28-oz.) can fire roasted tomatoes
3 c. vegetable broth
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. oregano
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Shredded cheddar, for serving
Sour cream, for serving
Cilantro, for serving
1.      In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil then add onion, bell pepper, and carrots. Sauté until soft about 5 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeño and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
2.      Add tomato paste and stir to coat vegetables. Add tomatoes, beans, broth, and seasonings. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3.      Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer, 30 minutes.

4.      Serve with cheese, sour cream, and cilantro.

The Adventures of Bang-Bang Man - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"It was about twenty-five years ago, a month after I sold my business and turned to gambling full-tine.  There were some good times and bad times associated with those animals... who knew that my life would become so controlled by them?"

Dr. Darla started to write things down.  As she did she asked even more questions about my past.  "So, are you saying that you gained all this weight you carry after that statement?"  


She was referring to the size I had become.  I weighed about six hundred pounds and that is why I had this damn heart attack in the first place.  The stress of my life had taken over my better judgement and I had ballooned up to my current weight.  Now the psychologist I am seeing wants me to think more about my past and try to find out why.  I was told that if I didn't lose some weight and get a better frame of mind I could not have the weight loss surgery I so desperately needed.  That was the only reason I began to let on more of my past to her.

Matthew Davis has found himself in a bit of a situation.  He loved to eat and gamble on the horses.  That was about all he loved anymore and it cost him dearly.  He lost his wife as well as his children due to his problem.  Now he is faced with a situation that his doctor feels all stems from his past.

This book reminded me of a woman I knew in the 80's.  She too was overweight.  She didn't weigh 600 lbs. but she was heavy.  When she was with you one on one she was nice and easy to get along with, but let there be someone even in hearing distance and she would crawl your rump for reasons only she seemed to have.  I never understood why she was so mean.  As I thought about other people in my life, then and now, I find myself remembering more and more who were the same as this woman from my past.  Even now there is a man who is very friendly when we speak one on one either on the phone or even through emails but when we are together around others he too is down right mean to me.  Reading The Adventures of Bang-Bang Man brought these people to mind but it also helped me to understand just why they are the way they are.  This book has actually helped me in the way I look at those people and how I handle myself around them.

So, read The Adventures of Bang-Bang Man and I have a feeling you too will have people come to mind.  I just hope you read into it as I did and it will help you cope with them.

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.

 
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