Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Alien Embrace - Donna Steele



Italian Cream Cake
(One of Lori's favorites)

2 cups cake flour
1 stick margarine
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 eggs (separated - whites beaten stiffly)
1 tsp soda
1 cup buttermilk or 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans)
1 cup coconut

Cream margarine and sortening. Add sugar and beat until smooth. Add yolks and beat well.  Shift flour and soda and add to mixture with buttermilk alternately (start and end with dry). Stir in vanilla, coconut and nuts.  Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.

Cook in 3 greased and floured 9" pans at 325 for 45 minutes (or until toothpick ready)

Cream cheese frosting -
8 oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1 box powered sugar
1/2 stick margarine.

Beat margarine and cream cheese until smooth, then add vanilla and sugar.

Hope you enjoy!!  It's a family recipe from my Aunt Charlotte who lived in Hickory.



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

Everyone he had known must have cried out at once.  There had been nowhere to run.  He had no idea what had exploded or what could have caused the destruction.  That didn't matter now.  The flames had raced through the narrow corridors, killing everyone inits path by smoke if not flames.  How could everything have gone so wrong?  They'd had such high technology.  He knew the answers, the out-of-control population.  He had only known shortages until he came here.  There was still guilt at every meal he ate.  Now his home was a burnt-out shell.  The structure remained, damaged, probably collapsed in places, but uninhabitable.  And all done to themselves.

As Lori comes out of a coma she finds that she has no memory of her life.  The purse that had been found with her contained only a comb, wallet and cell phone.  Her address meant nothing to her and she couldn't visualize her home at all.  Then she met Dr. Marcus Greene, the doctor called in to consult due to her amnesia.  She knew she had never met hem but there was something familiar about this handsome man standing before her.  Mark was in a long relationship with Cynthia but after meeting Lori he couldn't get her out of his mind.  This is a woman that has stolen his complete being - mind, soul, and body.  But getting to know her, where she really came from and why she is here may change those feelings completely, or could it bring them closer?  You see, Lori isn't from here and Mark will have to accept that fact or walk away from her.  What will he do and is she the only one like her out there?  Maybe not.  Does he even believe in Aliens?  Maybe he better start believing.

I fell in love with this book from page one.  Author Donna Steele writes in a way that allows you to 'feel' each character.  You feel their pain, their joy, their love and you can't get enough of them.  I'm really hoping this is the beginning of many more books in what would make a great series.  When I read this book I couldn't help but remember the series of books written by John Jakes.  This book has so many stem offs as well as connections that would make it a great set of books to read and who knows, maybe into a TV series.

If you like a bit of the known and a lot of love, you can't help but love this book.  On a scale of 1-5 stars I would give this one 7 stars!



Sunday, May 1, 2016

Shattered Lies - S. J. Francis, Author



Crab Salad
(One of Miss Kate's Favorite)


1 pound crabmeat, fresh or canned, drained, cartilage and shell picked out
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallot (bulb part only)
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped celery
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped dill pickle or relish
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon yellow mustard
Salt and black pepper to taste
Heavy sprinkling of paprika, to garnish

In a large bowl, combine crabmeat, egg, onion, shallot, celery and pickle. Mix together the mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl. Add the mayo mixture to the crab and toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste and garnish with paprika.
Serves 6.
Serve the salad on lettuce or on toasted bread as a sandwich.
Healthy and low in carbs. Meal ready in 15 minutes or less.

Prep time: 10mins for boiling egg. 

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

"Miss Kate went up there.  I went to check on her..."  "What do you mean?  You let her up there?  Why?"  he asked.  "I didn't let her up there," Elsa said.  "And why not?  It's her house, too."  "I Told you no one is allowed up there.  No one."  "Relax, Sam. I'm sure Miss Katherine didn't mean Kate,"  Elsa said.

"Damn it, woman!  I told you when we first came here that Miss Katherine has rules..."  "Why did you let her go up there?" Sam asked.  I didn't allow her to do anything,"  Elsa said.  "You still haven't told me what the big deal is."  "It doesn't matter now."  He moved to leave but she caught his wrist.  "It matters to you and if it matters to you, it matters to me."....  Sam knew if Miss Katherine found out, there'd be hell to pay, but he couldn't physically make Kate leave.  That left him without any other options.

Kate lived on the family plantation that her namesake grandmother Katherine owned.  Kate was a veterinarian and took care of the animals as well as the farm itself.  Her grandmother had raised her after the death of her parents and even after college and the death of her own husband, she still called the old place her home.  She wanted to be no place else.  So why was the attic off limits to her?

Kate knew something wasn't right.  There were too many unanswered questions about her parents and the answer was in that attic.  So after slipping the keys from her grandmother's room she went on a search through the attic.  There hidden under some old boxes she found a small, blue journal that appeared to belong to her mother.  She took it back to her room, read it and then went in search of her grandmother for the truth.

When Kate started asking questions I had no idea what she was going to turn up.  I was truly surprised when I learned the answers to my own questions.  I never dreamed her family secrets would turn out to be what they were.  And I don't believe she had any idea as to the size of the can of worms she was about to open.

This book will make you stop and think.  It will make you really understand that people do make mistakes but blood is normally thicker than those mistakes.  And forgiveness is even thicker.  A beautiful story of love and hate.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This House is a Home - Philip Nork, Author



Great-Great-Grandma Elga’s Squirrel Stew

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

I love this book!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Legacy of the Tropics - Mary Deal, Author





GOAT FRICASSEE
Puerto Rican Style
(A Mary Deal Special)


SOFRITO (Sauce):

In a BLENDER:

10-15 Garlic cloves
A bunch of Cilantro
4-5 sweet Pimientos (also known as
Hungarian or Cuban peppers. They
are sweet peppers.) If pimentos
aren’t available, use Green Bell
Peppers
20-30 Small sweet peppers

Liquefy all the ABOVE ingredients.

Capers
Salad Olives
1 14 oz. Can Tomato Sauce
Salt
Potatoes, quartered

For 2 Pounds of Meat:

(Goat meat should be washed with or soaked in lime juice before cooking to remove the wild odor.)

In a thick bottom pot, pour olive oil to cover the bottom. Heat and add 4-5 tablespoons of the Sofrito. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Add capers and salad olives in quantities you desire. Add 1 can of tomato sauce. Salt to taste.

Add the meat. Cook until half tender. Add potatoes. Cook until the stew starts to thicken and potatoes and meat are well done. Serve with rice.

If four pounds of meat are cooked, double the recipe.

Refrigerate or freeze any remaining SOFRITO for future use.


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

Promises:
“Why don't you sleep in our house, Mama,” Pablo asked. “So we can be a family, like my friend Jose next door. His mama and papi live together. A renter lives in their cottage.”

Pablo, son of Rico Rey and soon to be step-son of Ciara Malloy, doesn't quite understand why the two people he loves most in the whole world aren't married and living together. Neither Pablo nor Ciara knows the secret that Rico holds that keeps them apart. Rico has promised that soon, they will be a complete family but first he has promised to take them on a vacation that will have them sailing the seas near their home east of Puerto Rico. All goes well, until a sudden freak storm blows in, sinking their ketch and leaving them struggling for their lives.

Adrift:
“People die at Ke'e Beach, Lillian,” he said. “Why do you keep going back there?” She forced herself to remain quiet a moment longer than usual to quell an urge to put Glen in his place. “Careless people,” she said, enunciating each word, “die at all beaches.”

Lillian Avery is an underwater photographer who has made her home on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. She has her goal set to take pictures of every fish living in the beautiful waters around her island but became distracted by the docile green sea turtles that seemed to take a liking to her, nipping at her bathing suit. Her friend Glen tags along with her and all goes well until a vicious rip current pulls them both well out to sea till losing sight of land. Will Glen’s neuroses and actual fear of water cause their drowning deaths as he loses control of his emotions?

Reunion:
“Hurricane season's almost over,” Ciara said. Rain pelted down outside the window. “Most likely that storm south of us will die out, don't you think?”
“All the others have this year,” Lilly said. “But every storm is different.”
This tropical storm had more to offer than either could foresee.

Ciara and Lillian had lived next door to each other years earlier in Puerto Rico but had never met. Ciara had always wanted to meet the lady next door who took much sought-after underwater pictures. Lilly had always wanted to meet the lady next door who wrote darling children books. It never came to be until some years later when Ciara moved to Hawaii with her grandson and bought the house next door to Lilly. Even though the two ladies had never met, they found they had a lot of history to share as they caught each other up on their lives.

Life in the tropics seems to be going great until the hurricane hits their island. Will these two ladies, who have lived through so much already, be able to ride out yet another storm in their lives? Or will this be the end of a friendship or even their lives which seem to have come full cycle? Will Lilly finally learn Rico’s secret that even Ciara has kept hidden all these years?


This book has taken me to Puerto Rico and Hawaii, two places I've never been but now feel like I've been there many times. It has taken me under the waters watching not only the fish but the beautiful sea turtles. It has taken me through two storms that I hope and pray I'll never have to live through in real life. Even though I've experienced all of these through reading, it still feels like it has all been real. A great book that gives you three stories, or novellas, that combine to make one incredible adventure for these ladies, a true Legacy of the Tropics.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

One Rainy Summer - B. J. Robinson, Author

 

Squirrel, Rabbit, Shrimp, Sausage, Chicken Jambalaya
From the Kitchen of B. J. Robinson.
One rabbit or four to six squirrels
Two cups long-grain white rice
One onion
Two bay leaves
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt to taste or salt substitute
½ tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
½ tsp. Kitchen Bouquet
Tony Chachere's to taste
1 clove garlic
1 bell pepper
One large pot
Brown or sauté meat in a small amount of oil. Wash rice and add two cups with four cups of water. Dice onion and garlic and add. Add other seasonings to taste. Add others or delete ones you may not like. This is a catch-all recipe for a one-pot meal and types of meat may be substituted. You can combine smoked sausage and chicken or use only smoke sausage or only chicken. Sausage and shrimp or shrimp only is delicious. I think you could use this recipe with most any meat and be happy with the outcome. The recipe is flexible and adds variety to meals with meat of choice. You may also add a small amount of barbecue sauce or tomato sauce if you like it. Basically any seasoning you like may be used for seasoning to taste.
When my four children were young, I cooked many huge pots of jambalaya. It's so easy cooking everything in one pot. Cover with a lid and let simmer until all the water cooks out of the rice. I usually cook it on medium for a few minutes and when most of the water has cooked out, I turn the burner to two and finally to off and let the last small amount of water cook out while the burner is turned off. I have to be honest. I am a cook who doesn't really measure when I cook jambalaya. I use a sprinkle of that and a pinch of this, but I tried to estimate for your benefit. You can use boneless skinless chicken, but I used a whole fryer when I cooked it with chicken. Have fun. Be creative. Make it your own recipe. Surprise your famly with a new one-pot meal that is quick and easy to prepare. I cooked it on the stovetop, but you could probably use a crock pot or an oven casserole with some experimenting. I use long-grain white rice, but you could substitute brown rice. Now, I'm hungry for some good ole Louisiana jambalaya.
 
One Rainy Summer – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Quietly, I dragged a chair over the soft beige carpet, took my seat, and pulled aside the curtain. Granny stood at the bottom of the ladder with a man a full head taller, and the two of them headed for the woods on the side of the house. He held her hand, pulled her along after him, and focused a flashlight on the wooded trail that led to the canal. Granny, don’t you know you’re too old to be sneaking out windows and climbing ladders? What in the world’s going on? Granny was a grown woman. Why was she sneaking around with this mystery man? What was going on? Why was my honest, respectful, Bible-reading granny slipping out her bedroom window in the middle of the night like some teenager breaking curfew? I was determined to find out, so I jumped back into my bed and grabbed the heavy volume of Walden. No time to waste. Something was going on, and I knew this book and Granny’s journals held the answer. I made up my mind that this was one puzzle I’d stick with and solve.

After her father's death, Hope and her mother went to live with her Granny in the beautiful Sunshine State of Florida. She loved it. Her best friend Matthew lived next door and the two of them spent hours in the woods, swamp and along the canals and lake. So when she spotted Granny sneaking out one night she knew it would be her job, with Matthew’s help, to find out the secrets that Granny had been keeping. Her first clue was found inside her Granny’s volume of Walden where she had hidden a picture of herself and a handsome man from earlier years and written notations within the margins of the pages. Her biggest clue came when she and Matthew were out searching for the man Granny had slipped out with. After finding him she discovered him to be the same man in the picture hidden in the book. So, who is he and why must they slip around to see each other. Who are they hiding from?

Hope ends up opening up more doors than she ever expected when she learns the true identity of Granny’s special friend Sandy. She also finds that the person Granny is apparently hiding Sandy from is Hope’s own mother. Now she has to find out why.

One Rainy Summer is a book of true love and God’s way of making everything turn out just the way it was supposed to. If you don’t believe in ‘things happening for a reason’ this book just might make you believe. The trust in God that Hope, Matthew, Granny and Sandy have for bringing happiness and love to everyone is written in a beautiful way. And as the story unfolded I couldn’t help but feel the love of the characters as well as the love God bestowed on each of them. A truly beautiful book.
B. J. Robinson makes her home in the Sunshine State, Florida, where she lives with her husband and pets. She's blessed with children and grandchildren, and Jesus is her best friend. Visit BJ Robinson at http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com and check out her available books through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, and Christianbooks.com.
 
 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Legends of the Lake - Philip Nork, Author

 
Nana's Rice Pudding
(One of the Phil's favorite)
 
3/4 cup of cooked white rice
1 egg
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of sugar

Mix the egg and the milk together, slowly beat in the sugar. Add raisins to the mixture if desired.
Put the mixture in a shallow pan and bake for 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour at 325.
When finished put the pan in the refrigerator until ready to serve.Scoop out desired amount and sprinkle cinnamon on top.
 
 
Legends of the Lake – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
 
While driving you’d pass many cow pastures, large corn fields, and farms to the left and the right of you, as you drove slowly to avoid the most worn down areas of the road. The further you progress, the more trees and beautiful wild flowers take over the landscape… Looking left you see a sliver of the lake, a big blue lake. There are campgrounds and a small bait and tackle shop situated right next to it… Continue on your slow drive down the hill and through all the curves, you pass children of the generation walking on the side of the road… The young boys are shirtless and some are white as white can be, while others have what were called “farmer’s tans.” This is where their arms and faces are tanned, but their chests and backs aren’t as they always wore t-shirts during the day… The aroma of fresh cut green grass and giant pine trees lingers in the background, while the special odor of the seaweed which gets pushed up on the shore makes me smile… This is when you see it off to the right… you can’t miss the boulders which line the front of it which proudly proclaims to everyone that “The Krons” reside here.
 
Philip had the kind of grandparent/grandchild relationship that every kid would love to be able to brag about. Actually his Gramps and Nana (Kron) were his mother’s grandparents making them his ‘great’ grandparents. No matter, he love spending as much time as possible at their lake house in Wisconsin. Gramps bought the lake property before he and Nana had their first child. They envisioned it as a place to bring the family throughout the generations and that’s exactly what they did. This two bedroom cottage housed parents, children and grand children for many years and the one thing it did, or should I say those in residence did, was create memories.
 
Over the years memories were passed on from one generation to another and by the time they reached Phil’s young ears they may have grown and may not be quite true but who was to say they were or weren’t. For instance, one of the cottage owners went by the initials of AC instead of his name. He was from Chicago and in the ‘produce’ business. When probation came he was there to help out by opening what was known as a ‘speakeasy’ with a bar and gambling in the back. It wasn’t too long afterwards that AC disappeared back to Chicago, never to return. That was around the same time Al Capone was locked away. Was AC the famous Al Copone? If not, how did a ‘produce’ man acquire alcohol, gambling equipment and some pretty mean looking guards for the ‘speakeasy?’ Then there was the story about Nana needing some type of container to carry her food to and from the pier. One of the residences, a Mr. Tupper, came up with the perfect container including a fitting top. Or how about the time one of the kids was hit by a baseball, which hurt like heck. A man from a nearby cottage brought out a ball, threw it as hard as he could and hit the kid square in the chest. Billy, expecting it to hurt was shocked when it didn’t. He picked it up and found it to be soft and light. When asked what it was called the man explained it didn’t have a name just yet. Billy suggested the name ‘Non-Expanding Recreational Foam’ ball or NERF for short.
 
Are these truths or fictions? Who cares. They are the stories that made a young boy’s life better. These stories, along with those telling them, helped to shape not just Phil but all of the family into what they were and are today. Reading Legends of the Lake kept me in a frame of a ‘wishing world.’ I wish I could have lived and experienced the history of some of these family members and also wish I could be one to help carry beautiful memories on into the next generation. I loved the feelings of love, peace, family, togetherness, and true life that Phil experienced while growing up. Don’t get me wrong, there were bad times too but the teachings of Gramps and Nana made those times a lot easier to live through. You have to read this one or you’re missing out on some wonderful emotional feelings.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Until Today: Stories and Poems on Life as I Know It - Jerry M. White, Author


Corn Bread Pie
(One of Jerry's Favorite Dishes)

1 lb. ground beef
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 t salt
1 T chili powder
1/2 chopped green pepper
1 lg. onion, chopped
11/2 c water
3/4 t black pepper
1 can whole kernel corn (12 oz.), drained

Brown beef & onion well. Combine ingredients in skillet. Mix well and let simmer 15 minutes. Turn into greased sasserole. Top with corn bread. Bake in moderate oven 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Corn Bread Topping

3/4 c cornmeal
1 T flour
1 egg
1 T bacon
1 T sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 c milk

Mix all well and pour onto top of beef mixture. It will sink into mixture but will rise as it bakes and cook crispy.

This is a treat to try.

Until Today: Stories and Poems on Life as I Know It – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

My Honor to be His

The more I see in this life of mine
The more I see that nothing is mine
The more I see in this life I live
The more I see how much I can give

My life is honored by who owns the glory
My life is owned by who writes the story
I go where I’m sent; I go where I’m led
I want only to say what He wants said

I really try to do everything I should
It hurts me inside to not even do the things I could
My life feels, and is, sometimes out of control
It is so very hard to always be so very bold

What honor I give Him through my life every day
It is an honor to give it every way
He honors me with love and His forgiveness is mine
But the honor and the privilege to serve Him is all mine

It is through this service that my life has meaning
It is on this honor my salvation is leaning
My price has been paid by His life laid down
I will do the things I should without a single frown

Jerry M. White wrote this poem in 2004 and it has to be one of my favorites.  In so few words he really says it all. 

Until Today isn’t your typical book of poems.  Jerry White starts each poem(s) off with a little story explaining not only what they are about but what prompted him to write them.  He takes us through his spiritual world with poems like the one above.  We go through his family world with poems such as Audacity.  This is the story of his grandmother being rescued from a mental hospital.  His poem What Have We Done (another one of my favorites) brings to light what has been lost with the changes of time.  He walks us through the loss of his grandchildren to cancer and the true meaning of family through Grandma’s Apron.  He takes us on through life in the world of work with poems such as Light the Fuse and then through memories with The Last Day of School.  And to tie it all up he gives us the world of the Living and the Dead as he points out the problems in Nameless Numbers and concludes with Pillaged which leaves no doubt that our government is breaking.

I’ve read and written reviews for Author Jerry M. White before and have to say that with each he gets better and better. Seldom do I read one that doesn’t hit a cord from my own life and own feelings.  I thoroughly enjoy his works of art.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Confessions of a Crazy Fox - Anna Maria Kolojaco Mullins, Author




Suzanne’s Pudding Pie
(Anna's daughter-in-law's recipe)

1 stick butter
1 cup sifted flour
1 cup chopped pecans
9½ oz Cool Whip
8 oz cream cheese
1 sm. box instant vanilla pudding
1 sm. box instant chocolate pudding
2 ¾ cups cold milk
1 Hershey bar

Combine butter, flour, and nuts. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 13X9 inch glass baking dish. Bake in oven for 20 minutes at 350°. Blend one cup Cool Whip with creamed cheese and spread over cooked crust. Combine both puddings with the milk (23/4 cups) following the directions on the package. Put this over the cream cheese mixture. Follow with the rest of the Cool Whip. Top with grated Hershey bar.

(My daughter-in-law, Suzanne Mullins, first brought this treat to a family gathering many years ago and the family has requested it for every gathering since and gave it that name. I’m not sure if it was originally a Cool Whip recipe or not but I often substitute whipped cream and make it outrageously decadent.)


Confessions of a Crazy Fox – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; A Book and A Dish and Think With Your Taste Buds

‘I stewed about it until New Year’s Day, 2010, and then I wrote Jimmy a long letter pointing out a lot of the things he and Jeannette had done to hurt me the last decade and if he didn’t put a stop to it, I was going to go ahead and release my story.  I had decided not to take the last offer I had, after Jim was diagnosed with cancer, but my sister inspired me to try again.  I knew I wouldn’t hear from my brother and posted on Facebook that New Year’s Day that my resolution was to publish my family memoir.  It did shock a few family members who couldn’t imagine what I had to write about or why.  I figured if Jeannette’s story was the one our extended family had been hearing all these years, perhaps it was finally time to broadcast mine.  That shouldn’t really surprise any of them.  They all know I write when I’m pissed and believe me, Jeannette pushed me way past that point this last time.’

I never research nor read other reviews before starting a new book and when I was sent a copy of Anna Mullis’ book Confessions of a Crazy Fox, I actually expected it to be a mystery, murder, suspense.  What I never expected it to be was the story of her life.  My first thoughts were borrrring!   And since I will decline a book before I’ll write a bad review, I almost turned this book down.  But I always give a book, any book, a chance and at least try to read the first 25-50 pages hoping it will appeal to me and that’s exactly what I did with Confessions of a Crazy Fox.

I read the first couple of chapters as Anna talked about her childhood, she sure had a streak of defiance!  I continued reading as she introduced her ‘guardian angel’ that saved her from being bitten by a snake.  When I read about her cousin Bobo I actually started feeling that I knew him.  Her parents turned out to be the kind we all wish for.  Their love for their family, friends and neighbors was something many only dream about.  Then tragedy hits, first with the death of her Dad and later her Mother and with each also comes the separation of family.  I’ve always said that the 2 things that bring out the worse in a family are weddings and funerals.  I’ve decided to add another to that list - money. 

Reading about the greed between the siblings actually reminded me of a few incidents within my own life after the death of my own parents.  I’m sure we can all relate to this greed at some level, either through our own experiences or through the pains we’ve watched others experience.  I personally feel that greed is the #1 cause of family problems throughout the world.  And greed isn’t just about money.  While reading Confessions of A Crazy Fox I finally realized that greed is nothing but jealousy.  Someone gets just a bit more, got a bit more or will get a bit more, bringing on a jealousy called greed.

I’m sure that by now you have realized I read the whole book.  Actually I had trouble putting it down.  It firmly points out that if you make someone mad enough your sorrow might just come back to haunt you by way of a book telling the whole world just how greedy you really are.  In Confessions of a Crazy Fox, Anna Mullins doesn’t just blow the top on her siblings she also includes her own sins throughout her life, and her honesty in admitting her own faults is one of the things that made this book so interesting.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

In the St. Nick of Time - K. M. Daughters, Author


 K's Pumpkin Bread
(Heroine Kay Sullivan Lynch's recipe)

1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp each nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts

GREASE pan [recipe makes enough for a Giant loaf pan 11 3/4 x 5 1/2 x 3 1/4]
MIX all ingredients together with a whisk
BAKE at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hour
LET STAND 15 minutes before removing from pan


In the St. Nick of Time – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds

“Two sidewalk Santas died on the street recently from heart failure, according to the death certificates.  Both were St. Nicholas Society to End Hunger volunteers who annually played Santa at outdoor locations around the city.  They collected money during the organization’s Christmas fund drive.”  He consulted a paper he had placed on the lectern.  “Both were active, healthy men in their seventies with no prior history of heart disease, according to one of the deceased’s wives.  I fielded a call yesterday from one wife, Mrs. Heller.  She believes her husband was murdered and insisted that we open a criminal investigation.  She stated that Mr. Heller passed a full-body physical two weeks ago, purportedly in perfect health.  I’m not sure where this will lead, but I could use a volunteer to do some of the legwork for me.”

Hand raised, Kay Lynch holds her breath in hopes that Flynn Dowd will choose her to partner on this case.  The case has caught her interest.  So far there have been three incidences of sudden cardiac arrest.  Each victim is an elderly man posing as a Santa but each has apparently had no heart problems in the past.  It may have been passed off as a coincidence until Santa number 4 passes in the same way.  So, Kay wants this case to help prove herself but she also wants it for another reason.  For the first time since losing her husband 2 years earlier, Kay has found someone she really wants to be around and with.

Kay Sullivan Lynch, along with her brothers, were all police officers.  When she married Mike Lynch, she hung up her badge and became a mother of 4.  After Mike’s death Kay decided it was time to go back to the living world.  She requalified for her position with the department and was assigned to her brother Pat’s precedent.  Her oldest daughter Mary and the twin girls took her new life without problems.  Her son Mike was a different story.  He felt she should have continued life as it had been before his dad died.  So, when she hooked up with Flynn, Mike made it known how he really felt about the situation.

In the St. Nick of Time has it all.  It’s has love but I wouldn’t really call it a love story.  It has murder and suspense but I wouldn’t call it a mystery.  It has family affairs and problems but it’s not actually a self help book.  And there humor but it’s not a comedy.  What is it?  It’s all of these rolled into one and I simply loved it.  The trials Kay goes through as she juggles her life on the force, at home and her personal life, and her solutions and decisions for handling life, are so real.  As for the Santa Slayer, I could see the possibility of that happening in real life too.  This was a very enjoyable book.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

An Uncommon Family - Christa Polkinhorn, Author


Tiramisu √† l‘orange
(A Christa favorite)

Ingredients:

1 package of lady fingers
juice of 4 to 5 oranges (4 is usually enough)
a shot of Grand Marnier or Cointreau (optional)
250 grams mascarpone
500 grams sour cream
grated skin of two oranges
120 grams of sugar
1 package of vanilla sugar or a shot of vanilla extract

Cover the bottom of a bowl with a layer of lady fingers.
Pour the orange juice and the Grand Marnier or Cointreau over the lady fingers, so that the lady fingers are just covered.
Mix the mascarpone, sour cream, sugar, vanilla sugar, grated orange skin and pour the mixture over the lady fingers.

Keep in the refrigerator for a few hours, preferably overnight.
Dust with chocolate powder (optional).
 

An Uncommon Family – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

“Mama?” she whispered.  She saw the woman only from behind, but the bounce in her step, the long, reddish-blond hair flowing down her back, swaying left and right, the tall, slender figure – it must be her mother.  She tossed the rest of the ice cream into the trash can, got up, and ran after the woman.  “Mama!” she called as the woman got ready to cross the street.  The light turned from blinking red to solid red, just as the woman reached the other side.  Karla rushed after her, barely aware of the honking around her or of the shrill warning bell of the blue-and-white streetcar.  She heard someone yell at her but by then she had arrived at the other side.  The woman was walking along the river toward the Lake of Zurich.  “Mama, wait!” Karla bumped into someone.  “Watch it, kiddo.” A man stepped aside.  “Mama…”  The woman finally turned around and looked back, scanning the people behind her, then walked on.  Karla stopped dumbfounded.  It as the face of a stranger.

Six year old Karla is devastated when she realizes the woman she followed wasn’t her mother.  The disappointment she felt when finding out she had been mistaken brought her to her tears causing her to fall and skin her knees.  Jonas Bergman was walking by at that time and helped the little girl up and tried to ease her pain until her Aunt Anna made it to her side.  When Karla explained that she thought the lady was her mother, Anna had to explain to not just her but Jonas as well that her mother wouldn’t be coming back.  Karla’s mother and grandmother had both been killed in a car accident.  This was something that Karla knew but wasn’t ready to accept.

After her sister and mother were killed, Anna took custody of Anna.  She was a single woman with memories of a happier, yet devastating time when she was younger.  Twenty years ago she was married to a wonderful man and living in New York.  Live couldn’t be better.  But it could be worse and that’s exactly what it became. 

Jonas was a widower.  The love of his life had died of cancer leaving him with an emptiness that no one would ever fill again.  His life now consisted of his art work and teaching.  And after seeing some of Karla’s work, he knew she would be a master student. 

Now, can you take 3 very lonely people and make them into one happy family?  Can you take the lack of trust from a woman that has been hurt so badly that she swore to never trust another man and turn her into a loving companion?  Can you take a man who spends his free time talking to his deceased wife as if she is there and convenience him to take a step toward healing and happiness?  This is what Karla and her best friend Maja plan to do.

An Uncommon Family was an extremely heart touching book.  When I read a book to review I normally make notes or post stickies on pages marking events I want to remember.  I didn’t do that with this book.  I didn’t have time.  I became so engrossed that I turned page after page and forgot the notes.  This is a truly beautiful story about love and the loss of love.
 

 
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