Archive for the 'Cooking' Category

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

January 19, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Sharon Ledwith

This is a fantastic soup to serve to your crew and freezes well. Salad, hard rolls, and wine (red or white) complete this meal! You can make it 24 hours ahead of time without the noodles and wait to add noodles when you reheat the soup to serve.

SAVORY SAUSAGE SOUP

1½ pounds sweet Italian sausage*
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small onions, chopped
2 (16 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
1¼ cup dry red wine
5 cups beef broth
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried oregano
2 zucchinis, sliced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 (16 ounce) package spinach fettuccine pasta (or plain, whatever your heart desires)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, cook sausage over medium heat until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Drain fat from pan, reserving 3 tablespoons. If desired, instead of ground sausage, cut sausages in thin slices.

Sauté garlic and onion in reserved fat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, wine, broth, basil, and oregano. Transfer to a slow cooker, and stir in sausage, zucchini, bell pepper, and parsley.

Cover, and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Break pasta into smaller pieces and drop into boiling water. Cook until al dente, about 7 minutes after the water returns to the boil. Drain water and add pasta to slow cooker. Simmer for a few minutes, and season with salt and pepper before serving.

Serve topped with grated parmesan.

* Use ground sausage or links you’ve broken into bits or sliced thin.

This recipe can also be made on your stovetop. Follow the directions, but instead of the slow cooker, combine all your ingredients in your original pot. Simmer partially covered for 1 hour.

Give yourself a well-deserved break while your soup simmers. Sit back, prop up your feet, and open a book you’ve been meaning to read. Why not pick up one of The Last Timekeepers adventures, and peruse the latest mission with Treena and her time traveling cohorts?

Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.

Fourteen-year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.

With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.

EXCERPT
“I wonder what else is down here.” Drake beamed his cell phone across the basement, hitting jars of jams, pickles, and relishes. His stomach growled.

Jordan pulled the cheese from his pocket and handed it to Drake. “Trade you for your phone.”

“Best. Trade. Ever.” Drake passed his phone to Jordan.

Jordan walked over and grabbed a jar of pickles off the dusty shelf. At least they wouldn’t arrive at the baron’s place hungry. He hoped his uncle had managed to stop Amanda’s bleeding. His hand tightened over the jar, the ridges of the lid cutting into his palm. A scrape from behind the shelves made Jordan jump.

“Hello?” he asked, pushing jars aside. He flashed the cell phone into the small, dark area.

“Who ya talking to, Jordan?” Drake asked with his mouth full of cheese.

“Shhh, Drake.” Jordan listened. Hearing nothing, he shrugged and turned back around.

“I thought I heard—” Jordan stopped and pointed the phone at Ravi. His jaw dropped. “A-Are you serious, Sharma?”

Drake spat out his cheese, snorting with laughter.

“Is there a problem?” Ravi asked, tying the bowtie of his tuxedo.

“You look like a penguin with attitude!” Drake slapped his knee.

“Say what you want, but I’m glad we didn’t hit the cleaners on the way to school now,” Ravi replied, pulling down his sleeves, “or else I wouldn’t have these dry clothes.”

Jordan chuckled. Suddenly, he heard a door creak open, followed by heavy footsteps squeaking down the stairs. Panicking, Jordan stuffed Drake’s phone in his track suit jacket’s pocket and waved Drake over by the shelves. Drake slipped behind Jordan just in time, before the small light bulb above the bottom of the stairs clicked on. Jordan swallowed hard. There, staring directly at Ravi was a portly man in a blood-stained apron. Tufts of blond hair sprouted from the sides of his balding head. His brown trousers were pulled up past his waist, making him resemble an evil garden gnome. In one of his hands, he held a huge butcher knife, its blade flecked with blood.

Wielding the knife, the man pointed at Ravi. “Who are you?”

Ravi licked his thick lips nervously. “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

BUY LINKS
Mirror World Publishing: PaperbackeBook
AmazonAmazon.caKOBOBarnes & Noble

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Mirror World Publishing, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. 

 

Add A Comment

Life Biting at You?

January 12, 2022 | Cooking

There comes a time when everyone needs a little comfort food. Lovely hot soup with fresh bread and a glass of wine always does it for me. Maybe this recipe will do it for you, too.

Asparagus Soup

Photo Courtesy of Monovareni Pixabay

Cream of Asparagus Soup

2 lbs. fresh asparagus
6 cups chicken stock
7 tbsp. butter
½ cup flour
3 tbsp. shallots or scallions, chopped fine
¼ cup dry sherry
2 egg yolks
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter, softened
White pepper to taste*

Slice off the asparagus tips and set aside. Trim off ¼ inch or so from the bottom ends of the stalks and discard. Chop the rest of the spears into ½ inch lengths.

Use a medium-sized saucepan to bring the chicken stock to a boil. Drop in the tips and lower temp to medium-low or soft boil. Cook tips until just tender, 5 – 8 minutes. Drain the stock into a bowl and spoon the tips into another one.

Melt 5 tablespoons of butter in a 4 -5-quart saucepan over moderate heat. Stir in the flour. Lower heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Be careful not to let this roux brown or the soup will be bitter.

Remove pan from heat, let cool 30 seconds or so. Pour in stock. Stir constantly with a whisk to thoroughly blend the stock and roux. Return pan to moderate heat and stir until this soup base comes to a boil, thickens, and is smooth. Lower the temperature and simmer gently.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. When the foam subsides, stir in the stalks and shallots. Toss them in the butter over low heat for 4 minutes or so. You only want to soften them so don’t allow them to brown. Stir this mixture into the soup base, add sherry, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until asparagus is tender.

Purée soup in a blender or food processor. Pour into a strainer set over the pot. Stir with a spoon or spatula to extract soup from the pulp. Discard pulp.

Whisk the egg yolks into the cream. Stir in 5 tablespoons of hot soup at a time until you’ve added about ¾ cup. Reverse the process and slowly whisk the now-warm mixture into the soup.**

Bring soup to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the softened butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste and season with pepper if necessary. Add the asparagus tips.

Serve from a tureen or in individual bowls.

This recipe makes 6 bowls.

*No need to buy white pepper if you don’t have it. Use black pepper only a little more as it is not as strong as white pepper.
**This may seem like extra work, but if you don’t do it the yolks and cream will curdle.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

Sloane

 

Add A Comment

SOUP’S ON!

January 5, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

by Helen Carpenter

Now that winter has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, the human residents of Carpenter Country have started thinking about soup. And quackers too of course. My husband and I are duck fans and ducks generally show up in our neighborhood this time of year. However, much as we like both, we restrain ourselves from combining soup and quackers.

Speaking of combining things, did you know January is National Soup Month in the US? What we don’t understand is why April is national grilled cheese sandwich month. Those two celebrations belong together. Someone should right this wrong.

We think we’ll have soup while we work up a petition.

Won’t you join us in a bowl? It’s big enough for all.

Easy Potato Soup

1 tbsp. butter
4-5 potatoes, peeled and diced
Chopped or diced onion to taste
1 tbsp. cornstarch or flour
¼ cup water
2 cups water
1 cup milk (whole, evaporated, or 2%)
1 tsp. salt
1 packet chicken bouillon
Shredded cheese optional

Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan.

Add onions and potatoes and cook until soft (5-10 minutes).

Mix 1 tbsp cornstarch with ¼ cup water (pre-mixing prevents annoying lumps). Add cornstarch mixture, water, milk, salt, and bouillon to softened potatoes and onions in saucepan.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes.

Serve with a topping of shredded cheese and a chunk of fresh bread.

Bonus goodness:
Crave added richness? Substitute ½ cup whipping cream for half of the milk.

Are you a vegetable fan? Toss in the veggie of your choice, either frozen or fresh, when you add the milk and water. We like frozen carrots and corn. They add color and they cook right along with the potatoes.

Like things meatier? Put in leftover ham or chicken.

Bland potatoes? Mix in sweet pickle juice. Six teaspoons give the soup a little zing.

Want some zest? A ½ teaspoon dry mustard provides zip.

Need more soup? Add more stuff. The converse works too.

Fighting off vampires? Switch out the regular salt for a teaspoon of garlic salt. If you have a bad infestation, add ½ teaspoon crushed garlic to the soup and serve with a wood spoon.

Once upon a time there was a mother/daughter author duo named Helen and Lorri, who wrote as HL Carpenter. The Carpenters worked from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, was unreal but not untrue. Then one day Lorri left her studio to explore the land of What-if, and like others who have lost a loved one the magical place lost much of its magic. But thanks to family, plus an amazing group of wordsmiths named Authors Moving Forward (AMF), the magic is slowly returning.

Helen Carpenter loves liking and sharing blog posts from other authors. She lives in Florida with her husband of many years  and appreciates everyday, especially those without hurricanes.

Stay connected on her blog and  Facebook .

Add A Comment

DESSERT SPECIAL

December 29, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Catherine Castle

Two years ago in late December, I discovered almond paste and went down a cake rabbit hole. My family celebrates Christmas on New Year’s Day most years, but that year we were celebrating after January 6, which is Epiphany. Epiphany is the traditional date the Wise Men visited the Christ Child, and to celebrate the event a special cake, with a plastic baby or bean hidden in the cake, is served. The Epiphany cake, often referred to as a King cake or the Three Kings cake, has many forms, flavors, and even many trinkets hidden in it. It is also a tradition in many countries, especially those with a Catholic background.

I’d never heard of a King cake, except in reference to Louisiana Mardi Gras celebrations. After some research, I decided to come up with my own version of an Epiphany King cake using almond paste. It took several tries to create something that showed off the frangipane I’d made with almond paste. On my first attempt, using a yellow cake recipe, the frangipane melted into the cake batter and didn’t give me the definition I wanted.

So I began experimenting. I decided I’d make a chocolate spice cake with a frangipane layer. That worked. I’m calling it Epiphany Frangipane Chocolate Spice Cake. If you don’t want to make it an Epiphany cake, complete with trinkets, just call it Frangipane Chocolate Spice Cake. Here’s a tip I learned the hard way – be sure to make the frangipane first!

Also, you may want to consider adding the following:

  • 1 bean, or 1 plastic small baby figurine, or several small trinkets. Be sure to tell your guests these items are hidden in the cake!
  • Chopped maraschino cherries or chopped candied fruit for decorating the cake. You can add the chopped candied fruits to the baking pan before you add the batter, scattering them evenly around the pan, or you can reserve them and scatter them over the top of the baked cake adhering them to the cake with a bit of confectioner sugar glaze.

Frangipane Chocolate Spice Cake

Cake

2½ cups sifted cake flour

2 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. ground cloves

3 tbsp. cocoa

1 cup shortening

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk, divided

4 eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine flour with spices and cocoa in a large bowl.

In another bowl, cream shortening until fluffy. Add 1 cup sugar and mix again, then add 1 cup flour and spices. Mix and beat until combined, adding vanilla and ¾ cup buttermilk, ¼ cup at a time, as needed to make batter mixable.

Add remaining flour, sugar, and buttermilk until combined. Beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Keep batter scraped down from sides and bottom on bowl while beating.

Add eggs and remaining buttermilk. Beat 2 more minutes on medium.

In a lightly buttered, easy-release Bundt pan, gently pour 2 cups of batter into cake pan, smoothing out until batter is level if necessary.

Almond Cream Frangipane

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

½ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

¾ cup almond flour

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. almond extract

Add all ingredients for the frangipane into a mixing bowl. Combine ingredients on medium, then on high until fully combined. Refrigerate frangipane until cake batter is ready.

Drop frangipane by teaspoonfuls onto batter, taking care to center in in batter. Or alternately you could pipe frangipane onto batter.

Gently cover frangipane with 1½ cups batter, leveling out if necessary.

Add another layer of frangipane in same manner as before.

Cover with 1½ cups cake batter.

Put upper rack in the lower third of oven. Bake cake for 60-65 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted in cake comes out clean. You need a long skewer, not just a toothpick to test for doneness.

Cool pan upright for 5-10 minutes. Invert onto a wire cooling rack, Cool cake completely on wire rack.

Note: You will have extra batter and frangipane with this recipe. To use remaining mixes, make cupcakes.

Spoon ⅛ cup batter into a cupcake line. Top with 1 teaspoon frangipane, centering it in batter.

Cover frangipane with another scant ⅛ cup batter. Bake at 375° F for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out clean.

I hope you’ll enjoy my cake. While it’s baking check out my romantic comedy with a touch of drama, A Groom for Mama. There’s cake in this book, too. Wedding cake.

While you’re waiting for the popcorn balls to cool, check out Catherine’s romantic comedy with a touch of drama. There’s no popcorn in the book, but there are plenty of laughs.

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes, she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom for Mama.

Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Multi-award winning author Catherine Castle loves writing. Before beginning her career as a romance writer, she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems.

In addition to writing, she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting, and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Follow her on Twitter, FB, or her blog.

Add A Comment

A DEVILISH APPETIZER

December 22, 2021 | Author Friend New Releases, Cooking

by Helen Carpenter

Holiday potluck parties are lots of fun; a day to eat hearty and share good times. Bedeviled by what to bring? Try this easy spicy recipe for deviled eggs. (Do you know why they’re called deviled eggs? You get to eat two if you know the answer.*)

Deviled Eggs with Curry

Eggs (week-old or just-ready-to-expire eggs peel more easily)
1 tsp. salad dressing for each egg
Dash of curry powder
Dash of paprika

Hard-boil eggs using an egg cooker or a pot of cold water (cover eggs with water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and let stand 10-12 minutes). Drain; then place eggs in ice water until cool. Peel cooled eggs and cut in half lengthwise.

Slide egg yolks onto a plate and mash with a fork.

Stir in salad dressing until mixture is smooth and creamy.

Spoon yolk mixture back into egg whites, or use a disposable plastic baggie and an icing tip if you want ooh-la-la fancy deviled eggs.

Sprinkle with curry powder to taste. Dust with paprika for more color.

Arrange on a festive platter and serve warm or cold.

If you’re traveling to the potluck, carry this dish in an insulated cooler with ice.

*According to the Oxford Companion to Food, by Alan Davidson (1999), pp. 247-248, “devil” is a culinary term which first appeared as a noun in the 18th century, and then in the early 19th century as a verb meaning to cook something with fiery hot spices or condiments. The term was presumably adopted because of the connection between the devil and the excessive heat where the devil dwells.

Once upon a time there was a mother/daughter author duo named Helen and Lorri, who wrote as HL Carpenter. The Carpenters worked from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, was unreal but not untrue. Then one day Lorri left her studio to explore the land of What-if, and like others who have lost a loved one the magical place lost much of its magic. But thanks to family, plus an amazing group of wordsmiths named Authors Moving Forward (AMF), the magic is slowly returning.

Helen Carpenter loves liking and sharing blog posts from other authors. She lives in Florida with her husband of many years and appreciates everyday, especially those without hurricanes.

Stay connected on her blog and Facebook .

Add A Comment

SPECIAL HOLIDAY SALAD

December 15, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Stella May

This is a traditional New Year’s dish for any person who was born or grew up in former USSR. To this day, not a single celebration goes without it.

The name of this salad in Russia is Сajiat ОЛИВЬЕ. For all the former republics that once upon a time were part of the USSR, this salad became a synonym for a New Year. It brings many of us a lot of bitter-sweet memories.

There are many variations to Olivier Salad. The recipe below is how my family made it, and how I still make it every year on December 31st.

OLIVIER SALAD
5 large eggs

2 large Russet potatoes

2 carrots

1 can green peas

2-3 pickled cucumbers, traditional Vlasic is best

1 fresh English cucumber

½ cup fresh dill, chopped fine

½ cup green onion, chopped or 1 small sweet onion

½ cup mayo, maybe a little less

½ cup sour cream, maybe a little less

1 cup cubed chicken breast or boiled meat, optional

2 pinches salt

Pepper to taste

Boil eggs, potatoes, and carrots in the same pan. Drain and then set aside pan to cool.

Cube all ingredients, combine them in the large bowl, mix gently. Add combination of mayo and sour cream. Some people use only mayo, others only sour cream. You decide which works best for you. You may want to use more or less mayo/sour cream mixture, depending on your taste.

Stir in salt and pepper and fresh dill. Cover with plastic wrap and then chill until you’re ready to serve.

Happy New Year! 

Stella

Here is a peek at Stella’s time travel romance for your reading pleasure. It also makes a wonderful holiday gift.

One key unlocks the love of a lifetime…but could also break her heart.

Nika Morris’s sixth sense has helped build a successful business, lovingly restoring and reselling historic homes on Florida’s Amelia Island. But there’s one forlorn, neglected relic that’s pulled at her from the moment she saw it. The century-old Coleman house.

Quite unexpectedly, the house is handed to her on a silver platter—along with a mysterious letter, postmarked 1909, yet addressed personally to Nika. Its cryptic message: Find the key. You know where it is. Hurry, for goodness sake!

The message triggers an irresistible drive to find that key. When she does, one twist in an old grandfather clock throws her back in time, straight into the arms of deliciously, devilishly handsome Elijah Coleman.

Swept up in a journey of a lifetime, Nika finds herself falling in love with Eli—and with the family and friends that inhabit a time not even her vivid imagination could have conjured. But in one desperate moment of homesickness, she makes a decision that will not only alter the course of more than one life, but break her heart.

’Til Time Do Us Part is available in Kindle and Paperback at AMAZON.

Stella May is the penname for Marina Sardarova who has a fascinating history you should read on her website.

Stella writes fantasy romance as well as time travel romance. She is the author of ‘Till Time Do Us Part, Book 1 in her Upon a Time series, and the stand-alone book Rhapsody in Dreams. Love and family are two cornerstones of her stories and life. Stella’s books are available in e-book and paperback through all major vendors.

When not writing, Stella enjoys classical music, reading, and long walks along the ocean with her husband. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband Leo of 25 years and their son George. They are her two best friends and are all partners in their family business.

Follow Stella on her website and blog. Stay connected on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

Add A Comment

GUMBO NEW ORLEANS STYLE

December 8, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Sharon Ledwith

In my latest time travel adventure, The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, a character named Delilah is owned by the Taylor Plantation, and takes care of all the cooking at the big house. In one scene, my protagonist Drake Bailey helps Delilah prepare her coveted Orleans Gumbo soup for the Taylor family and their special guests (a.k.a. the Timekeepers).

Since this Timekeeper mission takes place in antebellum Georgia during 1855, not all these ingredients would have been available for Delilah, so I’m sure she did her best to improvise with the foods and herbs available during that time period. I thought it would be fun to share a gumbo dish, and looked up several recipes to get the right concoction to re-create Delilah’s tasty brew. Though, as you can imagine, I didn’t include a certain ingredient that Delilah added for fear of being hexed or turned into a zombie.

Delilah’s Orleans Gumbo

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup uncooked converted rice

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch cubes

½ pound smoked kielbasa or Polish sausage, cut into ½ inch slices

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon pepper

2 bay leaves

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¼ cup cold water

1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 large green pepper, chopped

¼ cup minced fresh parsley

In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Stir in the rice, celery, onion, and garlic. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, combine the tomatoes, chicken, kielbasa, thyme, pepper, bay leaves, and cayenne. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Combine flour and water until smooth. Gradually stir into chicken mixture. Stir in shrimp and green pepper. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 4-6 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and gumbo is thickened. Discard leaves.

Remove rice mixture from heat and let stand for 5 minutes; stir in parsley. Serve with gumbo.

With a prep time of 25 minutes, and cook time of 20 minutes, this spicy dish serves 8 of your closest, and bravest, family and friends. Remember to have plenty of water, wine, or beer at the table to cool your palate between bites.

Bon Appetit!

Here’s a taste of what to expect in the third installment of The Last Timekeepers available Amazon and all
online bookstores.

True freedom happens only when you choose to be free.

Eleven-year-old Drake Bailey is an
analytical thinker and the genius of the Timekeeper crew. However, no logic or mathematical acumen can change the color of his skin, or prepare him for this third Timekeeper mission in antebellum Georgia. To survive, Drake must learn to play the role of a plantation slave and when confronted with the brutality, hatred, and racism of the deep south, he’ll have to strategically keep one move ahead of his sadistic captors to ensure his lineage continues.

In a dark world of Voodoo, zombies, and ritualistic sacrifice, the Timekeepers must ensure a royal bloodline survives. Can Drake remove both literal and figurative chains to save both himself and a devout slave girl from a terrible fate? If he can’t summon the necessary courage, humanity could stand to lose one of its greatest leaders.

 Amazon Buy Link

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

Add A Comment

LET THEM EAT CAKE!

November 24, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist

Jill: “How are workers expected to survive on minimum wage when every dollar goes toward their rent?”

Jack: “What do I care? Let them eat cake.”

Jack: “Our budget shows that every one of our managers will get an end-of-year bonus.” Jill: “What about the rest of the employees?”

Jack: “Such is life. Let them eat cake.”

Marie Antoinette, queen of France in the years before and during the French Revolution, to whom the idiom is famously attributed, never said, “Let them eat cake” in response to being informed that her starving peasant subjects had no bread to eat. It got stuck to her through time because she was the epitome of indifference and insensitivity among the ruling and upper classes toward the realities of life of ordinary people. This type of obliviousness of their own advantages and numbness to the misfortunes of working-class people on the part of the privileged is a feature of all of human history, unfortunately.

While Antoinette’s head was being lopped off by the guillotine at the Place de la Concorde, a major public square in Paris, plantation slaves in the Caribbean were fermenting molasses, a by-product of the sugar refining process, into alcohol. Distillation of the by-products concentrated the alcohol and removed some impurities, which produced the first modern rums. It didn’t take long for rum to find its way to delectable French pastry and voilà—the soggy, boozy, classic French dessert, Baba au Rhum cake was born in Paris—too late for Antoinette, who would have relished it, no doubt, but just in time for us to delight our guests with it at any special get-together.

The cake recipe was created by David Tanis and yields a dozen babas.  The frosting is from a cookbook by Shelia Del Guercio that is now out of print. The beauty for busy cooks is that a small, unsoaked portion, or all of them, can be stored away in the freezer for up to two months. A day before their debut on your table, defrost and then keep them in an airtight container. If yours is a big and/or a really hungry crowd, bake up several batches ahead of time and freeze them. For best results, you need a tender and sticky dough, so be sparing in the amount of flour you incorporate into the mixture. Or, place the dough in the refrigerator for a while, because cold dough is easier to handle.

BABA AU RHUM

2 tbsp. active dry yeast

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

¼ cup lukewarm water

4 large beaten eggs

1 pinch sea salt

½ cup (113 grams/1 stick) softened unsalted butter

2 cups (256 grams) all-purpose flour

½ cup (80 grams) golden raisins

½ cup water

Butter for baking tins

Flour for dusting

Place yeast and sugar in a medium-size bowl. Add water and then stir until dry ingredients are dissolved. Set aside for 10 minutes or until mixture is bubbly. Whisk eggs and sea salt into yeast mixture.

Soak raisins in water while you prepare complete the next step. In a separate medium-size bowl, work together butter and flour until the mixture resembles wet sand.

Drain raisins then add to egg-yeast mixture. Whip with a wooden spoon to a soft, sticky dough, or prepare dough in a standing mixer. Cover bowl and set in a warm place about 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.

Butter 2 mini-muffin tins or 12 mini-ramekins. Uncover dough, dust with flour, and turn it out to a clean work surface. Add flour as necessary to make dough manageable and knead lightly to a large, slightly sticky ball. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces (about 2 ounces/55 grams). Dust the pieces with flour, roll into separate balls, and place in the muffin tins or ramekins. Cover loosely and set in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until the balls double in size.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Bake babas 15 to 20 minutes until lightly brown on top. Turn babas out of their molds and onto a baking sheet. Return to oven for 5 minutes to brown all over. Remove from oven and cover the babas with a clean towel to keep them soft. Store cooled babas in an airtight container at room temperature if making in advance of imminent serving.

TOPPING

2 pints strawberries, setting aside 12 strawberries

3 tbsp. Cointreau, 3 tbsp. Cognac, 1 tbsp. Grand Marnier

2 cups whipped cream

1 pint coffee ice cream

Meanwhile, clean and hull the strawberries, setting aside 12 of them. Place the rest of the strawberries in a bowl and pour over them all of the designated liqueurs. Stir gently and let sit for 1 hour. Then fold into the mixture with a rubber spatula the whipped cream and ice cream. For each guest, cut 1 baba in half horizontally and place on a dessert plate. Top with an additional scoop of coffee ice cream, the strawberry/liquor mixture, and crown with a whole strawberry.

Or substitute the ice cream with a dollop of whipped cream and a strawberry on top.

Readers were introduced to American Nicholas Plato in multi-award-winning author Linda Lee Greene’s A Chance at the Moon, which was published in 2019 and is available on Amazon.

Greene takes readers on yet another adventure of Nicholas’ whirlwind life in her Garden of the Spirits of the Pots, A Spiritual Odyssey. In this sequel, Nicholas shows up in Sydney, Australia. The principle plotline unfolds as on one Saturday of sightseeing he gets lost in Australia’s forbidding yet alluring outback, and there he happens upon a pintsized hut on a lonely plot littered with hundreds of clay pots of every size and description. Driven by a deathly thirst, he stops. A strange little brown man materializes out of nowhere and introduces himself merely as ‘Potter’ and welcomes Nicholas to his ‘Garden of the Spirits of the Pots.’ Although Nicholas has never laid eyes on Potter, the man seems to have expected Nicholas at his bizarre habitation and displays knowledge about him that nobody has any right to possess. Just who is this mysterious Aboriginal potter?

Although they are as mismatched as two persons can be, a strangely inevitable friendship takes hold between them. It is a relationship that can only be directed by an unseen hand bent on setting Nicholas on a mystifying voyage of self-discovery and Potter on revelations of universal certainties.

A blend of visionary and inspirational fiction with a touch of romance, this is a tale of Nicholas’ journey into parts unknown, both within his adopted home and himself, a quest that in the end leads him to his true purpose for living.

Garden of the Spirits of the Pots is available in eBook and/or paperback on Amazon.

AMAZON BUY LINK 

Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook.

Add A Comment

Best Cheesecake EVER!

November 10, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Sharon Ledwith

Talk about a dessert that delivers, this divine cheesecake takes…well, takes the cake! Whether you’re hosting the party or on board to bring something tasty, this dressed up treat will make heads turn, and mouths water. Perfect for holiday gatherings or celebrations, with a total prep and bake time of 5 hours and 30 minutes (includes refrigeration), this cheesecake easily serves a crowd of sixteen of your closest cohorts.

Toblerone Caramel Cheesecake
1¼ cups Oreo Baking Crumbs
¼ cup butter, melted
3 packages (250 g/8.82 ounces each) brick cream cheese, softened
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 eggs
⅓ cup caramel ice cream topping
1 bar (100 g/3.52 ounces) Toblerone Swiss Milk Chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Mix crumbs and butter in a small bowl. Press mixture onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake. Cool cake before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.

Spread caramel topping over cheesecake just before serving. Garnish with chopped chocolate. Enjoy!

While you’re waiting for the cheesecake to set in the fridge, take some well-deserved ‘me time’ along with a peek at my latest time travel release.

True freedom happens only when you choose to be free.

Eleven-year-old Drake Bailey is an analytical thinker and the genius of the Timekeeper crew. However, no logic or mathematical acumen can change the color of his skin, or prepare him for this third Timekeeper mission in antebellum Georgia. To survive, Drake must learn to play the role of a plantation slave and when confronted with the brutality, hatred, and racism of the deep south, he’ll have to strategically keep one move ahead of his sadistic captors to ensure his lineage continues.

In a dark world of Voodoo, zombies, and ritualistic sacrifice, the Timekeepers must ensure a royal bloodline survives. Can Drake remove both literal and figurative chains to save both himself and a devout slave girl from a terrible fate? If he can’t summon the necessary courage, humanity could stand to lose one of its greatest leaders.

 Amazon Buy Link

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

Add A Comment

No-tomato Crockpot Chili

November 3, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Catherine Castle

Recently tomatoes have been cut from our diet. I love tomatoes and many of the recipes I cook are tomato based. Here’s the issue: tomatoes are part of the nightshade family, along with a few more of my favorite foods such as peppers and eggplants. In some people the nightshade plants make arthritis worse and eliminating nightshade foods can help keep arthritis at bay.  The problem comes when one family member loves tomatoes and the other one now has to avoid them.

There are very few, if any substitutes for tomatoes, so I’ve been on the hunt for ways to make my favorite dishes without tomatoes for the non-tomato eating half of our family, yet please the tomato-loving member. It’s been tough, especially with chili season upon us.

So, I set out to conquer the problem. Here’s one of the recipe I came up with: No-tomato Crockpot Chili. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

No-tomato Crockpot Chili

1 pound ground beef

½ large onion, diced

One garlic clove, diced – optional

2 cans of beans*

1 small can diced chilies, if the non-tomato eater can eat them without issues

1 can beefy mushroom soup (I used Campbell’s soup)

¼ cup water, or less if you want a thicker chili

Chili powder to taste

Spaghetti – optional

Salsa, your heat preference for the tomato-eating family members

Cheese for topping – optional

Break up ground beef in a large skillet and brown along with the diced onion and garlic.

Add beans and bean liquid, diced green chilies, soup, water, and chili powder to crock pot. Stir to mix well.

Drain beef mixture of fat and place in a crock pot. Stir to mix.

Cook on high for 2 hours or until hot, or on low 4-6 hours or until hot.

At serving time, place spaghetti in bottom of bowl and add beef chili.

For those who can eat green chilies and tomatoes, top their bowls with ¼ to ½ cup of salsa and 1 teaspoon of green chilies to each cup of the beef-soup-based chili.  Stir lightly to combine.

*The bean liquids help make up for the loss of the volume of the tomatoes. You can use seasoned or unseasoned chili beans, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, or lentils. Your choice and you can mix and match beans types.

While your chili is cooking settle into a comfy chair and check out Catherine’s multi-award-winning, inspirational romantic suspense book, The Nun and the Narc. It’s not your usual inspirational romantic suspense. Here’s what one reviewer said:

“You know that you aren’t supposed to laugh during a romantic suspense book, right?  And it’s a different kind of Inspirational Romance, too.  There were times in this book that I was rolling with laughter.  We needed the laughter considering that Maggie and Jed were dealing the Mexican drug cartel, trying not to get killed in the process and coming to terms with their faith and each other.  Oh and falling in love…

… Ms. Castle wrote some the most dramatic scenes that I’ve read in a while.  She could write an action/thriller movie with no problem.  I really felt like I was the fly on the wall and actually cringed, ducked and held my breath.  I will also say the James Bond references were spot on.  Jed Bond!  LOL!  Priceless and needed when you are dealing with the cartel.  Also, the humor that she writes helps with the tension and action sequences, too.

Don’t worry about the book being “preachy” or heavy handed.  Ms. Castle wrote a book that everyone can relate to in one way or another…” From Harlies Books.

Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicably attracted to him, he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them by making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion, and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.

Amazon Buy Link

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. A former freelance writer, she has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit (under her real name) in the Christian and secular market. Now she writes sweet and inspirational romance. Her debut inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing, has garnered multiple contests finals and wins.

Catherine loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, watching movies, and the theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Learn more about Catherine Castle on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out Catherine’s Amazon author page and her Goodreads page. You can also find Catherine on Stitches Thru Time and the SMP authors blog site.

Add A Comment