Monday, February 17, 2020

Soul Food Spirits (Southern Ghost Wranglers Book 1) - Amy Boyles, Author


Quick Yeast Bread

2 tablespoons yeast (or 2 x 7g pkts)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups warm-hot water
14cup cooking oil

Put 4 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar and salt into large bowl.
Pour in hot water and oil and mix until combined- it will be sticky.
Add the remaining flour in increments until dough is no longer sticky.
Knead for about 5 minutes until dough is elastic and smooth.
Place dough back into bowl and cover with a damp teatowel and let it rise until double its size- about 1/2 hour.
Punch it down and divide dough into two pieces.
Roll pieces long enough to fill two well oiled loaf pans and leave to rise until dough has reached the rim of the pan.
Bake at 400F for 40 minutes.

Rub hot breads with water and wrap in a teatowel to'sweat' to soften the crust.

Soul Food Spirits (Southern Ghost Wranglers Book 1) - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"Blissful, you're suspended."
My heart popped out of my chest and hit the floor with a thud.  "I'm sorry, what did you say?"
Then Anita, the woman who had bested me for my dad's job by sleeping with his superior, who spoke to me like I was three years old, who had the audacity to put a picture of her with my father on her desk, slowly opened her mouth and enunciated every single syllable.
"Blissful.  You.  Are.  Suspended."  Her eyelids popped open.  "I've got the paperwork already filled out.  You are now officially not a member of the Ghost Team.  You have been suspended."


My dad's death a few months ago left an oozing wound in the establishment he helped create - The Ghost Team.  With the help of secret funding from the government, my dad, Vince Breneaux, created a crew of highly capable, clairvoyant agents whose single mission was to seek out rouge spirits, those hellbent on attacking and plaguing the living, and sent them on to the other side - the light, as we call it.  Naturally, since my father had been director of said team, when it came to promotion time, I was a shoo-in.  But, as I said, Anita got the job instead of me and she has had it out for me from day one.  Now she has decided to suspend me.  And the only way I can hopefully prove my worth is to the beautiful town of Haunted Hollow and bring in one of the most feared spirits ever - Lucky Strike.  Even my father couldn't bring him in and send him to the light.

Blissful's first day there turns out to be a disaster when she decides to have lunch at the Soul Food.  It seems that one of the spirits in the establishment takes a liking to her and starts up a conversation.  Since Bliss can see her but the other customers can't she decides to carry on a very 'light' conversation with her. But as it turns out, the more they talk the more visible the spirit becomes.  This causes everyone in the restaurant to see her with most of them taking pictures of both Bliss and the spirit with many being posted to the internet.  So much for trying to stay in town without being noticed.

This book was a joy to read.  It's filled with humor as well as tons of ghosts - both good and bad, or so they appear.  And the same can be said for some of the living residents too.  I enjoyed Book 1 so much that I can't wait to read book 2.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Fatal Lies (Lies Mystery Thriller Series Book 2) - Andrew Cunningham, Author


ANDREW'S FAMOUS CARROT CAKE
His only claim to fame!
(and he stole it from his mother, who stole it from a neighbor…)

1 1/4 CUPS OIL
1 1/2 CUPS SUGAR
2 CUPS FLOUR
3 EGGS
2 tsp CINNAMON
2 tsp BAKING SODA
2 tsp VANILLA
1 tsp SALT
1 BAG COCONUT (7 oz)
2 CUPS GRATED CARROTS
20 OZ. CAN CRUSHED PINEAPPLE (INCLUDE JUICE)

MIX ALL TOGETHER AND BAKE AT 350 FOR 1 HOUR IN GREASED 9X12 PAN


FROSTING:

6-8 OZ PACKAGE OF CREAM CHEESE
CONFECTIONERS SUGAR
1 STICK MARGARINE/BUTTER
VANILLA

BLEND CREAM CHEESE AND BUTTER/MARGARINE, THEN ADD CONFECTIONERS SUGAR UNTIL IT'S SO SWEET YOUR TEETH DROP OUT (ABOUT 1/2 A BAG OF SUGAR).  ADD VANILLA TO TASTE.

**Walnuts can also be added to recipe, but since they make my ears tickle, I don't use them.

Fatal Lies (Lies Mystery Thriller Series Book 2) - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Sabrina, if you are reading this, I am dead, and it means they killed me.  I've spent my life having nothing to do with them, but if they finally put an end to this miserable existence they caused, then I want them to pay.  Maybe my last act in life will help provide Veronica with the life I was never able to have.  The key is for a safe deposit box in your name and mine.  The address of the bank is on the pouch the key is in.  The contents of the box will explain everything.  I'm sorry this is so cryptic.  I just want it far away from Veronica and her children.

Sabrina Spencer spent six years of her life in prison for killing her abusive husband.  After being released, she, with help from the love of her life Del, has become one of the nation's hottest mystery writers.  Her life in prison is the past and a life she no longer wants to relive nor deal with, but when the daughter of a woman from her prison days contacts her with a message that was to be delivered should she die, a whole world of deception and mistrust opens up for Sabrina and Del.

I have to admit that I read this book several years ago and loved it so much that I've just finished reading it again.  It keeps you on the edge of your seat as you try to determine who is out to kill Sabrina and Del only to find the plot twist like a winding road.  I loved it and am looking forward to reading Book 3 in this series Vegas Lies.  Author Andrew Cunningham has become one of my favorite authors!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Murder on the Menu - Silver Sisters Mystery - Morgan St. James & Phyllice Bradner, Authors


Vegan Tahini Brownies

2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flaxseed )
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dairy free chocolate chips

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a loaf pan* with cooking spray. You can also use a larger pan, such as an 8x6 or even an 8x8 if you double the recipe.
In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flaxseed and water to create two flax eggs. Set aside to thicken.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the tahini, coconut sugar, maple syrup and thickened flax eggs until smooth.
Add in the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and stir until combine.
Lastly, stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter evenly into your prepared loaf pan and bake the brownies for about 18-25 minutes.

(Feel free to use whatever pan you have on hand or double the recipe for larger baking pans. Just be sure to adjust the baking time depending on the size pan you chose and whether you like your brownies more gooey or chewy!)

Murder on the Menu - Review by Martha A. Cheves

She spent the previous few days preparing for her move and getting psyched-up for her new career.  In between filming her last Flirting With Food episodes, hours were spend researching vegan and vegetarian recipes that she could tweak and propose to Chef Jambon.  Little by little Godiva and the oldsters had come around as her departure time drew near.  Everyone, including Caesar, wished her the best of luck in her Oregon adventure.

Chili Pepper has been offered a chance to apply for the job of her dreams.  Seems a childhood friend from Juneau, Roscoe Bean, has moved to Portland and become friends Chef Jordan Jambon who has just made Bon Appetite's list of the Top 20 Chefs in the country,  and he wants to interview her for his soon to open restaurant Herbivore.  And that's isn't all.  Chef Jambon has rented a beautiful, old house that has the kitchen of every chef's dreams.  The house also has 4 extra bedrooms which he rents out and one of them could be hers.  Chili's knew that Roscoe was one of the renters but was surprised to find that another old friend from Juneau - Ozzie was also a renter.  So, when she passes the interview and is offered the job, all she has to do now is go back to California and break the news to her Aunt, Grandmother, Uncle and her boss Caesar.

Ah, the good life, so Chili thought.  That was until one of the roommates was murdered, which brought the Silver Sisters to the rescue.  And as it turns out, there wasn't just one murder but several.

I've read all of the Silver Sister Mysteries and have loved every one.  I know murder isn't supposed to be 'light hearted' but with the characters in this series, you can't help but feel a touch of humor in the writings of Morgan and Phyllice.  Their character names are priceless.  You've just met Chili Pepper but you'll also meet her mother and aunt - Goldie and Godiva, as well as her grandmother Flossie Silver and her uncle Sterling Silver.  And then there's Chili's TV boss Caesar Romano.  So, like I said, this is a light hearted mystery that will keep you lightly on the edge of your seat while you try to help the sisters solve the murders.  I myself found the ending to be a surprise.

 
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