Archive for the 'Cooking' Category

A Recipe for Seduction

January 23, 2019

from Gina Briganti

Artichokes were a favored aphrodisiac of Catherine de Medici and Henry VIII. They were considered so powerful that they were allowed for men only, which de Medici defied. It was scandalous for a woman to eat artichokes in the 16th century.

Pine nuts have been used in love potions for centuries because they are high in zinc and are valued as an aphrodisiac because of that mineral.

Chile Peppers raise your heart rate, bringing a flush to your skin, lips, and libido. Hubba hubba.

This is a recipe for seduction.

So smooth you can tip a warm bowl of this aphrodisiac-filled soup to your lover’s lips on a cold night and light your fires.

LOVERS SOUP

2 cups cooked artichoke hearts or quarters
2 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 cup pine nuts
1 tsp. hot sauce (more, if you want it hotter)
1 tsp. lemon juice

Combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan. Stir until mixed. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until artichokes are soft.

Transfer soup to a high-speed blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Strain the soup with a fine sieve.

Serve with warm, crispy, buttered bread.

Lovers Soup was inspired by this scene with Carter and Brittany from my latest paranormal romance.

Natural Gifts…where fate gets a good name.

Brittany has shy down to an art. Maybe she needs a push. It’s been years already!
Jack is stubborn personified. Push, push, push.
Jason is having the time of his life in college. All those beautiful women. Ha ha. Not the plan.
Rowan is convinced that his soulmate didn’t incarnate with him in this lifetime. Surprise!

Forget slow and steady, fate has plans for these four couples!

There’s no looking back now.

There are No Yesterdays.

“Don’t remind me.” He put his hand over his eyes. “I had no idea you were staying away from me because you were sick. How’d you like that spinach soup I made for you?”

“No one knew, Carter. I like the soup. I eat it all the time. I even made a batch, and you know what? It’s better than yours.” She pinched his calf.

“You got your spunk back. Maybe more than I ever knew was missing.” He cocked an eyebrow, waiting for her to say whether or not the whole time they’d been together she wasn’t entirely herself.

When she didn’t answer he went on. “Now, about this vacation. I’m allowed to treat you to a few days in a place you’ve never been, right? Let’s pick somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and just go. You have two weeks off. I can take time off. Dana said she’d cover me.”

“A cabin in the woods, no, let’s go to Vegas, or, hmmm, we could go to New York. I’ve always wanted to see it.” She flopped down on the bed next to him, then sprang back up. “Carter, I love you so much! A vacation, a real, honest, vacation.”

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Gina Briganti writes paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance in north Texas. Her constant companion is a special soul who masquerades as a dog.

Visit her website and blog for book trailers, newsletter sign up, and whatever else she thinks up.

Stay connected on Facebook, Gina’s Amazon Author Page, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Sloane said @ 12:09 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments

WARM and WONDEREFUL

January 15, 2019

from Vonnie Hughes

This soup tastes great and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

MINESTRONE SOUP

1 tbsp. butter
4 slices bacon, chopped or ½ lb. gravy beef, minced/ground
1 onion, chopped
½ lb. fresh tomatoes or 1 jar/can, chopped
1 carrot, scraped and chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery or other seasonal vegetable, chopped
½ cup haricot beans that have been soaked overnight
3 tbsp. macaroni
3 tbsp. rice
3 tbsp. spaghetti
½ tsp. salt
Pepper to taste

Melt butter in a frying pan. Add bacon or meat and fry until crisp. Stir in onion and tomatoes.

Carefully pour mixture into a slow cooker or pressure cooker. Fill pot halfway with water. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Cook 2 hours in slow cooker or 15 minutes in pressure cooker.

Here’s a little from my latest romantic suspense. I hope you enjoy it.

Who can you trust if you can’t trust your own mother? Through the clammy fog, Celie Francis hears the chilling message. “I know who you are, Celie. I know where you live.” And in the terrifying aftermath she reconnects with her dysfunctional family in ways she had never imagined.

BLURB:
Abused and abandoned as a child, Célie Francis knows better than to trust anyone. But after she witnesses a murder, she’s placed in the Unit “New Zealand’s witness protection program” where she’s expected to trust strangers with her life.

It’s psychologist Brand Turner’s job to ease witnesses into their new identities, not to protect them, but Célie stirs feelings in him that are far from professional. When it appears someone is leaking critical information that could endanger Célie, Brand will do anything to protect her. But first he has to convince her to trust him.

Adrift in a frightening world, Célie would like to believe the handsome psychologist is everything he seems, but as witnesses are murdered and danger swirls around them, Célie must decide “can she trust Brand with her life? 

BUY LINKS
AMAZON
The Wild Rose Press e-bookThe Wild Rose Press Paperback
Walmart

Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.

Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.

All of Vonnie’s books are available on The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

Sloane said @ 12:26 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments

COOK UP SOMETHING SPECIAL

January 9, 2019

with Janis and Emma Lane. No, they’re not sisters or even cousins. Today’s guest blogger is an author with a split personality and man can she cook!

Hi everyone, this recipe is only a guideline for making a delicious lunch or main dish with fresh vegetables. The list of veggies is easily amendable to whatever your grocer has in stock. No beets, please! Be sure to add nurturing bread like corn bread or crackers for a more substantial meal. Okay, I used corn Chex Mix one time, but that was an emergency. A green salad is always a welcome addition.

FRESH VEGETABLE SOUP

1 onion, diced
½ green pepper, cleaned and diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 fat carrot, peeled and chopped
1 – 2 ears fresh corn kernels, scraped from cob
1 can diced tomato or 1 lg. fresh, chopped
1½ cups fresh green beans, strings removed and chopped
3 cups beef or chicken stock
½ pound ground chuck
1 med. potato, diced
Sprig fresh thyme or ¼ tsp. dried
Sprig of oregano or ¼ tsp. dried
Small sprig of basil or ½ tsp. dried
Sprig of parsley, flat not curly

Sauté meat and set aside.

Pour stock into a large pot. Add onions and celery. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Add carrots, corn, tomatoes, potato, and herbs. Return soup to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add meat. Simmer 10 minutes more.

Veggies will be somewhat crisp. Cook longer if desired. As it sits the flavor will increase. But cool and refrigerate if it’s going to be longer than a few hours before serving.
Optional Veggies: okra, green peas, yellow squash, small can chick peas
Optional herbs/spices: pinch of chili pepper, tiny clove of garlic, sprig of cilantro.

Tip: if you use fresh herbs tie together with kitchen string and remove before serving.

Here’s a peek at my Cozy Mystery, Murder in the Neighborhood, a novel which introduces you to Detective Kevin Fowler and the intriguing murders which infect this small town Americana. The series follows the detective, colleagues, friends, and lovers through a whirlwind of events, good and bad, over the next three novels.

A killer is attacking respectable citizens in picturesque Hubbard, NY, and leaving corpses on their front steps in the middle of the day. Detective Fowler isn’t certain who causes him to lose the most sleep, a certain sexy reporter with bouncing curls and sparkling black eyes, or the elusive psychopath creating panic in his small-town community. Together, the detective and the reporter race to find the monster in their midst and return the town to the desirable place where people come to raise their families in peace and contentment. Can they sort through their differences to find romance even as they search for a determined stalker with murder on his mind? The clock ticks down on a man in a rage with a deadly mission.

Amazon Buy Links KindlePaperback

Read more of the cozy mysteries by Janis Lane on Amazon

Janis Lane is the pen-name for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

Sloane said @ 12:46 am | Cooking | Comments

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

January 3, 2019

by Chris Pavesic

This soup creates a warm and cozy meal on a cold winter day. As it simmers the house fills with enticing aromas that will have your family clamoring for dinner!

Meaty Barley Soup

2⅓ cups water
1 cup pearl barley
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 carrots, scraped and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
½ tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
Pinch of salt and pepper
1½ lbs. stew beef cut into bitesize
1 bay leaf
64 oz. beef stock, low sodium works too
1 large can (about 28 oz.) diced tomatoes

Rinse barley in a bowl of water and drain with a sieve while you look for little pebbles or debris.

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add rinsed barley to the saucepan and return to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook on low heat about 45 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Set pan aside.

In a Dutch oven heat oil on medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Cook veggies until tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Mix paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Pat meat dry with a paper towel and rub spices on both sides. Move veggies to the sides of the Dutch oven or remove if more room is needed. Brown meat, stirring so all sides of the meat are browned.

Pour broth into pot along with bay leaf. Bring to a slow boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook until meat is tender, about 30 minutes.

Stir in barley and tomatoes. Cook another 15 minutes or until heated through.

While you enjoy your soup, why not listen to a good book? Starter Zone, the first book of my new YA/LitRPG series, The Revelation Chronicles, is now available on Audible!

Audible Version Available

When hydrologists inscribe the consciousness of a human mind onto a single drop of water, a Revelation sweeps the land. The wealthy race to upload their minds into self-contained virtual realities nicknamed Aquariums. In these containers people achieve every hope, dream, and desire. But governments wage war for control of the technology. Terrorist attacks cause massive destruction. The Aquariums fail. Inscribed human minds leech into the water cycle, wreaking havoc.

Street gangs rule the cities in the three years since the fall of civilization. Sixteen-year-old Cami and her younger sister Alby struggle to survive. Every drop of untreated water puts their lives in peril. Caught and imprisoned by soldiers who plan to sell them into slavery, Cami will do anything to escape and rescue her sister. Even if it means leaving the real word for a life in the realms, a new game-like reality created by the hydrologists for the chosen few.

But life in the realms isn’t as simple as it seems. Magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as the sisters navigate their new surroundings. And they encounter more dangerous enemies than any they faced in the real world.

Time to play the game.

Available Now At:
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Want to learn more about The Revelation Chronicles? Click HERE for updates on this and the other series by Chris. Watch the video on YouTube.

4eee6-chris2bpavesic2bauthor2bphotoChris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

Sloane said @ 12:44 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments

SOUPING UP THE CHICKEN

January 2, 2019

by HL Carpenter

We’re good eggs here in Carpenter Country, and we subscribe to the waste-not philosophy of life. In our kitchen, one cooked chicken results in multiple meals, including delicious homemade chicken soup.

For this soup recipe, we began with a chicken slow-cooked in the crockpot. Once the chicken was cooked and the initial chicken-and-vegetable-and-potato meal eaten, we separated the remaining meat from the bones. We used the darker chicken meat in the soup, and the white-meat portions in chicken salad, chicken potpie, and chicken sandwiches.

The we gout out our soup pot and put together this stovetop soup. For extra flavor, when we filled the pot with water, we added a few spoonsful of the drippings collected in the crockpot as the chicken cooked.

Note that this recipe works exactly the same if you prefer to roast your chicken in the oven.

Here’s our souped-up video. The full recipe follows below.

CHICKEN SOUP CARPENTER STYLE
Chicken trimmings (bones and skin) from fully cooked chicken
Water (enough to cover the trimmings and fill the pot)
2-4 tbsp. pan drippings, depending on the size of your pot
2-4 cups fresh or frozen vegetables of your choice (we used frozen mixed)
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. garlic salt (or regular salt if you prefer)
2 tsp. minced garlic
Dash black pepper
2 cups shredded chicken meat

Add chicken trimmings to pot.

Add enough water to cover the trimmings and fill the pot.

Add pan drippings.

Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.

Remove chicken trimmings from pot with strainer or slotted spoon and skim off any foam from the broth.

Add vegetables, seasonings, and shredded chicken to pot. Add additional water if necessary.

Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.

Serve hot with bread or crackers.

TIPS and TRICKS
Add a packet of chicken bouillon with the drippings to punch up the flavor.

For a thinner broth, leave out the vegetables (or cook them until they are very soft) and reduce the amount of shredded chicken. Use the broth in other recipes or serve in mugs.

To make chicken noodle soup, add noodles or pasta of your choice along with the vegetables.

Be creative with the spices. For instance, a dash of curry powder adds a unique flavor.

While you’re savoring your soup, we invite you to enjoy an excerpt from our mystery, Murder by the Books.

A letter from beyond the grave brings accountant Fae Childers face to face with murder, embezzlement, romance, and a hidden family legacy.

Certified public accountant Fae Childers is not an embezzler, despite the belief of the accounting firm that fires her for stealing. But proving her innocence is harder than convincing an IRS agent to allow a deduction. She’s lost her mother, her job, her fiancé, and her self-respect. She’s running out of money and the lease is about to expire on her apartment.

Then the fortune-telling grandmother Fae never knew existed, whose name and psychic abilities she now learns are also hers, issues a challenge from beyond the grave—a challenge that brings Fae face to face with murder, embezzlement, romance, and a hidden family legacy.

When the mystery of Fae’s past collides with the troubles of her present, the situation veers out of control. Her very life is threatened. Who can she trust? The man she’s falling in love with? The former fiancé who has already betrayed her once? Or only herself?

With justice, romance, and her future at stake, Fae must overcome personal and professional obstacles to save herself and those she loves. And she’s going to have to do it fast, before someone else dies.

EXCERPT
The letter arrived on the last Thursday in April, two weeks to the day after I got fired from the accounting firm where I worked for the past decade. August Palmer, my landlord, hand-delivered the letter in person, saying, “The mail carrier stuck this in my box by mistake, Fae.”

I took the envelope without bothering to look at it and glanced past Gus, at the patch of brilliant cloudless blue sky framing his shoulders.

Tampa, Florida on the cusp of summer, full of birdsong and the scent of warming pavement.

“Beautiful morning,” I said, as if I cared.

“Afternoon,” Gus said, his voice a low rumbly growl, the product of too many cigarettes and whiskeys in his happily misspent youth. He stood outside the tiny apartment my mother and I rented from him for the past two years and eyed me. “Still mopin’, girl?”

He had shown up on my doorstep every day since the firing with the same question.

Adhering to our new routine, I answered the same way I always did, except this time I didn’t bother pasting on a fake smile to accompany the words.

“Nope. Not my style.”

“‘Scuse me.” His tone was as dry as the month he was named for. “Forgot you’ve been hidin’ in the apartment, tap dancing with glee.”

I met his gaze. “For hours at a time. Any complaints about the noise?”

He clicked a nicotine pellet against tobacco stained teeth and kept his silence. I regretted my sarcasm. In my forbidden childhood game of describing people in colors, I would have painted Gus early-morning-yellow, the shade of the summer sun before the friendly sheltering coolness of night gave way to the brutal heat of day.

The description would have horrified him.

“How are the treatments going?”

He grunted. “They tell me I ain’t gonna croak this week.”

“Glad to hear it. You might want to keep your distance from me, though. I’m jinxed.”

Gus shook his head. “You gotta get over them fools, girl.”

“That’s no way to talk about my former bosses.” Especially since I looked at the real fool in the mirror each morning. I had believed dedication, loyalty, and hard work were appreciated by the partners of Slezia + Fyne, CPA, PA.

Ha, ha.

“Anyway, I am over them. Way over.”

“Yeah?” He was not convinced. “You over the suit, too?”

“Sure am.” Once again, I stuck with our new routine and gave him the same answer I always did. “I have moved on.”

Once again, the lie carried the bitter taste of betrayal. The suit was Scott Piper, former co-worker, fiancé, and man of my dreams. The suit dumped me the day of the firing.

Gus snorted. “Funny how much movin’ on resembles standing around feeling sorry for yourself.”

In my opinion, wallowing in self-pity was marginally more mature than throwing a temper tantrum. Even if it hadn’t been, I didn’t have the energy for a tantrum. I barely had the energy to maintain my half of the daily conversation with Gus.

“Have you been watching that big bald guy on television again?”

He stuck out his chin. “Don’t get smart. You know I’m right. You’re mopin’.”

“Only because I can’t tap dance.”

He was right. In the eight months since my mother’s death, I had slogged through an ever-darkening morass of the malady Gus called moping, and what his favorite celebrity psychologist might consider the early stages of depression. The firing and the accompanying fallout shoved me even closer to the edge of a black abyss.

My moping was self-absorbed, given the burdens others faced, but what could I say? One woman’s detour was another’s stop sign.

“You ought to call your girl pal, that one you worked with. What’s her name? Sarah? Have you heard from her?”

No. And I didn’t want to hear from her, much less call her.

I shook my head.

“Your ma would have been annoyed with you.”

A lump in my throat closed off my voice and I could only nod. He was right about that too. My irrepressible mother believed in taking the positive approach to life. To her, saying negative words or thinking negative thoughts was the same as asking them to come true. She had little patience for pity parties.

Focus on your strengths, Fae, and always keep moving.

My ability to follow her advice vanished with her death. I was slowly turning into the type of recluse the Japanese call hikikomori. Even the simple task of cleaning out Mom’s bedroom was beyond me.

“So? You gonna open the letter?” Gus asked.

I turned over the envelope in my hand.

Heavy, officious, dirty white, and mildly threatening, the envelope shrieked of the intimidation perfected by lawyers and the Internal Revenue Service and jolted me right out of my apathy. My breath hitched in my throat.

Had Gary Slezia and Richard Fyne gone back on their word? Had they decided to forego their distaste for publicity and press charges against me?

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Mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit their website to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happeni
ng in Carpenter Country.

Stay connected on Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, GoodReads,
and their Amazon Author Page.

Sloane said @ 12:42 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments

SCONES, When You Need Something Special

December 26, 2018

from Chris Pavesic

These vanilla scones feature chocolate chips, which melt slightly into the dough around them as they bake, making for an especially enticing presentation. Top with sparkling course sugar or my family’s favorite–salted caramel chocolate truffle spread.

SCONES

Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
6 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. Key Lime juice
Milk a few tbsp.
2 tbsp. course sparkling sugar to sprinkle on top, optional
Salted caramel chocolate truffle spread, optional

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Lightly grease the scone pan.

Add the dry ingredients to a bowl. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly using an electric mixer or spoon. Gently mix the chocolate chips with the dry ingredients.

Stir together the eggs, yogurt, vanilla extract, and Key Lime Juice. Add to the dry ingredients and stir very gently, just until combined. The dough will be resemble cookie dough.

Scoop the dough into the scone pan. Sprinkle the top of each scone with milk and (optional) sprinkle with coarse sparkling sugar.

Bake the scones for 20 to 24 minutes, or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into a scone comes out dry. Remove from the oven, and serve warm.

Optional: Top with salted caramel chocolate truffle spread and let it melt slightly before eating.

Scones can be stored at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

Enjoy a brief glimpse into my latest novel Travelers Zone , book two in The Revelation Chronicles series, while you delight in your scones.

Above the tree line floats an airship close to three hundred feet long with a slightly rounded wooden hull. Ropes attach the lower portion of the ship to an inflated balloon-like aspect, bright white in color with an identification symbol, a red bird with white-tipped feathers extended in flight, inside a round yellow circle in the center of the canvas. The deck is manned with archers and swordsmen. There are two sets of fore and aft catapults.

What I don’t see are cannons or any other type of a gun large enough to account for the sound of the explosion.

The ship pivots in the air, coming around to point directly at what looks like an oncoming flock of five large birds. Or creatures. They are too big and too strange looking to be birds. They drift closer, flapping their wings.

A moment passes before I realize that they are not creatures either. They are some sort of gliders. A person hangs below each set of the feathered wings, which flap and move with mechanical precision in a sky washed out by the morning sun.

The archers nock their arrows and aim at the flock.

The gliders draw in their wings and dive toward the deck, covering the distance in a few heartbeats. Most of the arrows fly uselessly past the attack force and fall like black rain from the sky. The archers aimed and released the volley too late.

The forward catapult releases a torrent of small rocks at the lead glider. It is a scatter-shot approach that proves effective. There are so many missiles that it is impossible to dodge them all.

But at the moment the stones strike, the other four let loose with fireballs. Spheres of crackling flame spring from their hands, glowing faintly at first and then with increasing brightness. The balls of fire shoot from their hands like bullets from a gun and fly toward the ship, exploding. Pieces bounce off the hull and fall to the ground, throwing hissing, burning globs of magic-fueled fire in all directions, setting everything they touch aflame.

AMAZON BUY LINK
SMASHWORDS BUY LINK

Want to learn more about The Revelation Chronicles? Click HERE for updates on this and the other series by Chris. Watch the video on YouTube.

4eee6-chris2bpavesic2bauthor2bphotoChris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

Sloane said @ 1:01 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments

The Sweet Life

December 19, 2018

from Emma Lane

I love this recipe for its ease of variations on a theme. I think you will, too.

Fast and Easy Fruit Pudding

1 qt. fresh or canned fruit, drained
2½ tbsp. sugar or sweeten to taste
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup milk
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Place fruit in glass baking dish. Sweeten if preferred.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Stir together egg, milk, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add to flour mixture. Stir to mix only, do not beat.

Pour mixture over fruit. Bake 30 minutes.

Use your imagination and have fun to vary this Fruit Pudding such as:
Country Peach – add a ½ tsp. nutmeg to liquid mixture.
Spicy Apple – use 1 tsp. cinnamon or premixed apple spice mix.
Hawaiian Delight – combine pineapple, apricot, and banana to make one qt. fruit. Sprinkle lightly with coconut after baking. Top each serving with a maraschino cherry.

My latest Cozy Mystery is a novel that introduces you to Detective Kevin Fowler and the intriguing murders which infect this small town Americana. The series follows the detective, colleagues, friends, and lovers through a whirlwind of events, good and bad, over the next three novels. I hope you enjoy this peek.

A killer is attacking respectable citizens in picturesque Hubbard, NY, and leaving corpses on their front steps in the middle of the day. Detective Fowler isn’t certain who causes him to lose the most sleep, a certain sexy reporter with bouncing curls and sparkling black eyes, or the elusive psychopath creating panic in his small-town community. Together, the detective and the reporter race to find the monster in their midst and return the town to the desirable place where people come to raise their families in peace and contentment. Can they sort through their differences to find romance even as they search for a determined stalker with murder on his mind? The clock ticks down on a man in a rage with a deadly mission.

Amazon Buy Links KindlePaperback
Read more of the cozy mysteries by Janis Lane on Amazon

Janis Lane is the pen-name for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.
She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

Sloane said @ 12:35 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments are off

FRESH FROM THE OVEN

December 18, 2018

Sally Baker, the lovely wife of Action-Adventure author Elliott Baker, is here with her latest cookie creation. These cookie bars include the Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate Brownie recipe found on the inside of the packaging and are absolutely delicious.

Sally Baker’s Muddy Boots

1 family sized tube of Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
½ family sized tube of Pillsbury Peanut Butter Cookie Dough
Bag of M&M caramels
Baker’s Brownie Mix prepared with the following ingredients:
4 oz. Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate
¾ cup butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour

Preheat oven 350° F.

Cut parchment paper to fit a 9 x 13-inch pan. Insert the paper and then grease it.

Break up the chocolate chip dough into chunks and fill the pan.

Break up the peanut butter dough and scatter across the chocolate chip dough.

Make the brownie mix. Stir in half of the M&M caramels.

Pour the brownie mix over the cookie dough.

Sprinkle remaining M&M caramels over the top.

Bake at least 35 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool and then cut into squares.

How about a glimpse at Sally’s husband Elliott and his books while you’re munching these awesome cookie bars?

For three thousand years a hatred burns. In seventeenth century France two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, determined to continue an incarnation begun long ago.

In ancient Egypt, there were two brothers, disciples of the pharaoh, Akhenaten. When the pharaoh died, the physician took the knowledge given and went to Greece to begin the mystery school. The general made a deal with the priests and became pharaoh. One remembers, one does not.

The year is 1671. René Gilbert’s destiny glints from the blade of a slashing rapier. The only way he can protect those he loves is to regain the power and knowledge of an ancient lifetime. From Bordeaux to Spain to Morocco, René is tested and with each turn of fate he gathers enemies and allies, slowly reclaiming the knowledge and power earned centuries ago. For three thousand years a secret sect has waited in Morocco.

After ages in darkness, Horemheb screams, “I am.” Using every dark art, he manages to maintain the life of the body he has bartered for. Only one life force in the world is powerful enough to allow him to remain within embodiment, perhaps forever. Determined to continue a reign of terror that once made the Nile run red, he grows stronger with each life taken.

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Award winning, international playwright Elliott B. Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play published and done throughout the United States, New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to offer his first novel, Return, book one of The Sun God’s Heir trilogy.

A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his beautiful wife Sally Ann.

Learn more about Elliot Baker on his website. Stay connected on Twitter and Facebook. Like Elliott’s Author Page on Facebook to learn all his latest news.

Sloane said @ 11:02 pm | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments are off

A Treat from Down Under

from Vonnie Hughes

Deserts do not have to be difficult to prepare. This one is delicious and simple and that’s why it’s a favorite of mine.

EASY-PEASY PUDDING

4 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. vanilla essence, vanilla extract
½ cup butter
½ cup plain flour
1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 180c 250° F.

Butter a pie dish. You can also line with baking paper to make sure the pudding comes out intact.

Combine all ingredients into a blender. Mix well.

Pour mixture into prepared dish Bake about one hour until the center is firm.

Whipped cream and fresh or stewed fruits are wonderful accompaniments.

Now sit back and enjoy your pudding while you scan my latest romantic suspense.

Who can you trust if you can’t trust your own mother? Through the clammy fog, Celie Francis hears the chilling message. “I know who you are, Celie. I know where you live.” And in the terrifying aftermath she reconnects with her dysfunctional family in ways she had never imagined.

BLURB:
Abused and abandoned as a child, Célie Francis knows better than to trust anyone. But after she witnesses a murder, she’s placed in the Unit “New Zealand’s witness protection program” where she’s expected to trust strangers with her life.

It’s psychologist Brand Turner’s job to ease witnesses into their new identities, not to protect them, but Célie stirs feelings in him that are far from professional. When it appears someone is leaking critical information that could endanger Célie, Brand will do anything to protect her. But first he has to convince her to trust him.

Adrift in a frightening world, Célie would like to believe the handsome psychologist is everything he seems, but as witnesses are murdered and danger swirls around them, Célie must decide “can she trust Brand with her life? 

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Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.

Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.

All of Vonnie’s books are available on The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

Sloane said @ 12:58 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments are off

Chocolate – the Elixir of Life

December 12, 2018

from Alicia Joseph

This is a favorite holiday cookie for my family. Mom whipped them up and us kids fought to lick the spoons. Now as adults, we try to have a little more decorum as we wait for these delicious chocolate balls to come out of the oven. Although I must admit, I do swipe my index finger in the bowl when no one is looking.

CHOCOLATE BALLS

1 stick butter
1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup cocoa
4 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. vanilla
1 cup coffee at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350° F.

COOKIE DOUGH
Mix butter, sugar, and cocoa together in a medium-sized bowl. Add the other ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well. Blend in the butter mixture.

Form the dough into little balls.

Bake 10 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE. The balls will get hard.

FROSTING
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. milk
½ tsp. vanilla

Add milk slowly to the sugar to make right consistency. Stir in vanilla. Mix well. If too thin, add more sugar. If too thick, add a few more drops of milk until you get a spreadable consistency.

Grab a few chocolate balls and then pour yourself a glass of milk. Get comfy and enjoy a little from my latest release.

“When a train runs over a penny, the penny changes form, but it can still be a penny if I want it to be. Or, I can make it be something else.”

Lyssa and her best friend Abbey discover a hideout near the train tracks and spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. Their childhood innocence shatters when the hideout becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As they’re about to graduate from high school, Abbey’s family life spirals out of control while Lyssa is feeling guilty for deceiving Abbey about her sexuality. After another tragic loss, Lyssa finds out that a penny on the track is sometimes a huge price to pay for the truth.

Prologue
1993

I was jerked from my sleep while the phone was still buzzing its first high-piercing ring. I glanced at the clock on the nightstand beside my bed. It read 4:17 a.m. I knew something was wrong.

The second ring was abruptly broken up and my mother’s muffled voice carried into my room. I was already sitting upright in my bed when my bedroom door squeaked open. My mother’s slight figure appeared as a shadow near my door.

“Lyssa? You up?” she asked.

“What’s wrong?” My voice was no louder than a whisper.

I watched my mother slowly make her way into the dark room. I couldn’t make out the expression on her face, but the stiff movement of the outline of her body was hesitant.

She turned on the lamp and sat down beside me. Her face was pale. She let out short, shallow breaths. It seemed difficult for her to look me in the eyes.

“What is it?” I asked. “What’s happened?”

Finally, my mother looked at me with pain in her eyes. “Lyssa . . .” She smoothed her hand gently across my arm. “Abbey’s dead.”

I took in her words without an ounce of denial. The reality of what my mother had told me was instant.

My best friend was dead.

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Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. Her first novella, Her Name, was published by Musa Publishing in 2014. Her Name is a sweet, romantic story about a woman who believes the beautiful woman she dreams about is the real love of her life.

Loving Again is her second published novella. Alicia is currently working on a new novel called A Penny on the Tracks, a coming of age story about love and friendship. Alicia has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon.

When she is not writing, Alicia enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Sloane said @ 12:11 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments are off