Archive for the 'Cooking' Category

A THANKSGIVING FEAST TO BEHOLD

November 18, 2020 | Cooking, Holidays

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. Every year Mike and I had at least twenty people for a sit-down dinner. We cooked the meal and the guests supply the appetizers, deserts, and wine. It was a wonderful time to reminisce, over-indulge, and have fun. There comes a time when life must change. Two years ago I passed the turkey baster on to my daughter Dru. She’s a wonderful cook and it’s great fun to be her guest. 

 MENU 
Roasted Turkey 
Stuffing 
Mashed Potatoes 
Candied Sweet Potatoes 
Broccoli 
Stir-fry 
Canned Corn 
Cranberry Sauce 
Gravy 
White wine – Chardonnay 
Roasted Turkey 
Turkey 
8 tbsp. (114g) butter
2 leeks including some green, chopped 
2 large onion, chopped 
15 baby carrots, chopped 
4 tomatoes, chopped 
1 tbsp. (15ml) dried thyme 
1 tbsp. (15ml) dried marjoram 
1 large bay leaf 
Bacon strips to cover breast 
Chicken stock 
Disposable pan 
Cooking rack 
Cookie sheet – for stability 

 Place unopened turkey on a cloth lined cookie sheet and thaw in refrigerator 7 hours per pound or one day for every four pounds of frozen turkey. So, if you have a 20 pound (9K) turkey it will take 140 hours or a least 5 days to thaw in the fridge. 

Thanksgiving Morning
If the turkey isn’t completely thawed, set in a large pot of cold water to complete. Dispose of packet inserted in cavity. Rinse well, then pat dry with paper towels. 

Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). 

Cooking Times
10 – 18 lbs. (4.5 – 8kg) 2 – 2½ hrs. 
18 – 22 lbs. (8 – 10kg ) 2½ – 3 hrs. 
22 – 24 lbs. (10 – 11kg) 3 – 3½ hrs. 

Melt butter in a large frying pan. When the foam subsides, lay turkey, breast down, and brown first one side then the other until skin is golden. Be careful moving the turkey around, it’s heavy and awkward.

Set disposable pan on cookie sheet. Scatter chopped vegetables onto pan bottom. Insert cooking rack. Place turkey on rack breast up. Lay bacon slices over breast to cover well. Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the pan bottom by 1 inch (2.54cm). Cover turkey and pan edges with aluminum foil, crimping sides well. 

Remove from oven at the predetermined time. To test if the bird is done, use a paper towel or pot holder and shake hands with its leg. The leg should move freely. Tent with foil and allow to rest 30 – 45 minutes before carving. 

Remember – turkey, like all other meat, continues to cook long after it is removed from the oven.

Stuffing 
Stuffing is a winter food for us. I make a huge batch and freeze the unbaked extra in serving-size containers. Throughout the winter I’ll serve it with pork or chicken. 
 
1 package bread stuffing cubes, plain or seasoned 
½ lb. (250g) breakfast sausage in a tube or bulk 
8 tbsp. (1 stick) (114g) butter, melted 
1 rib celery, chopped 
½ medium onion, chopped 
1 egg, lightly beaten 
1½ tsp. (7.5ml) dried sage 
1½ tsp. (7.5ml) dried thyme 
2 cups (450ml) chicken stock, maybe a little more 

Empty bread cubes into a large bowl. 

 Fry sausage in a medium-sized skillet, breaking meat into small chunks, until no longer pink. Add sausage and its juice to bread cubes. 

Melt butter in same skillet. Add celery and onion when the foam subsides. Sauté 3 – 4 minutes until translucent, be careful not to let it brown. Add vegetables with all their juices to bread cubes. Mix well.

Pour egg onto stuffing. Sprinkle sage and thyme across the top. Mix well. 


 Stir in chicken stock until mixture is very moist, but not soupy. 

To Bake as a Side Dish 
Spoon mixture into an ungreased baking dish. Do not pack it in. Cover tightly with foil. Refrigerate stuffing until you are ready to bake it, but no longer than two days. 

To Freeze 
Spoon mixture into freezer bags, label, and pop in freezer no longer than 3 months. I use several small bags that serve 2 at a single setting.

No matter which route you take, remove stuffing from the refrigerator/freezer early in the day to allow it to come to room temperature. 


Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until the top is brown. 

Mashed Potatoes 
1 small russet potato per person 
Chicken stock 
Butter 
Sour cream 
 Milk 
Pepper 

The Day Before 
Pour 1-inch (2.54cm) chicken stock into saucepan. Peel and quarter the potatoes, then place in saucepan. Add tap water to cover by 1-inch (2.54cm). Put a lid on pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower temperature to a strong simmer. Cook approximately 25 minutes. Test for doneness by poking a fork into a potato. It should insert easily. 

Drain potatoes. Mash well without adding other ingredients. Cool completely in a glass or ceramic bowl. Cover and refrigerate. 

Thanksgiving Day 
Remove potatoes from the refrigerator early in the day to allow them to come to room temperature. When you are ready to serve, microwave potatoes until hot. Stir in butter, sour cream, milk, and pepper to the consistency you prefer. 

Candied Sweet Potatoes 
32 oz. (1kg) can of sweet potatoes
½ cup (50g) brown sugar firmly packed 
8 tbsp. (114g) butter 
 2 handfuls mini marshmallows 

Preheat oven to 375° F (190°C). 

Drain potatoes in a colander. Cut large pieces in half. Lay potatoes into a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 22cm) glass baking dish. 

Sprinkle brown sugar across the top, then dot with butter. 

Bake 20 minutes. 

Scatter marshmallows over the yams and bake for 15 minutes or until marshmallows are brown. 

Broccoli Stir-fry 
4 mini carrots sliced on an angle 
½ cup (50g) olive oil – possibly more 
½ medium onion, sliced 
1 in. (2.54) piece gingerroot peeled and cut into strips 
1 head broccoli trimmed and cut into florets 
½ small sweet red pepper cored, seeded and cut into strips 
½ small yellow pepper cored, seeded and cut into strips 
2 large garlic cloves pressed 
½ tsp. (2.5ml) red pepper flakes 
2 green onions sliced on an angle, include green 
5 mini Bello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into thirds 
1 tbsp. (15ml) lime or lemon juice 

Have all ingredients prepped and, on the counter, before you begin cooking. 

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add onion, carrot and gingerroot. Sauté until carrot is almost soft. Test by inserting a toothpick into the carrot. Remove as many gingerroot pieces as you can find. Don’t worry if some are left in the pan. 

Add broccoli, red and yellow peppers, and garlic. Sprinkle on red pepper flakes. Stir constantly to ensure broccoli is well coated with oil. Add more oil if necessary. Squeeze on lime or lemon juice. Sauté 2 – 4 minutes, but be sure broccoli and peppers still have crunch to them. 

Blend in green onions and mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms are heated through. Serve quickly. 

Serves 4 – 6 so adjust accordingly. 

From the corn through the gravy you’ll see just how lazy I was on holidays. And I’m not ashamed. 


Canned Corn 
1 can of corn per 4 people 
butter 

Drain corn, then pour into micro wave safe bowl. Lay 2 or 3 pats of butter across the top. Micro wave for 3 minutes, stir and serve. 

Cranberry Sauce 
1 can of sauce per 6 people 

Lay sauce into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator until ready to serve. 

Gravy 
1 jar of gravy for 4 people 
Juices from the turkey pan 

Pour the gravy into a saucepan. Stir in ¼ – ½ cup (58 – 57g) of juice from the roasted turkey pan. Go easy so you don’t thin the gravy too much. Heat through and serve.

Have a happy and safe holiday!
Sloane
Add A Comment

Add a Little Spice to November

November 9, 2020 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Tina Griffith

Halloween and November are my things. I love every spooky, creepy, and wonderful thing about October and all the good food of November. One of my favorite treats is the cake I’m sharing with you today. I used to make it with my kids. Now my grandbabies join me in the kitchen. Use any pan you like. I’ve baked this cake in a Bundt pan, a 13 x 9-inch pan, cupcake tins, and in three separates shape/sizes for freezing. It’s so easy to prepare and will fill your home with a wonderful aroma.

Pumpkin Spice Cake
1 spice cake mix box
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin spice
Raising, walnuts, or blueberry jam, optional

Follow package instructions for egg, oil, and water amounts along with baking temps and time.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup butter, room temperature
3 cups icing sugar – Confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
⅛ tsp. salt

Cool cake completely before frosting. This helps stop crumbs from mysteriously appearing all over your frosting.

The chill is in the air and all things that go bump in the night are about to happen. Time to curl up with a good romantic thriller while you enjoy a piece of your yummy treat.

On Hallow’s Eve, as the veil between the two worlds was thinning, the face of the full moon was lit up like a Christmas tree. The dead would soon come alive, the alive would dress up as the dead, and witchcraft had a way of piggybacking off other spells. This was the ideal night to be a witch, for the effectiveness of all incantations, divinations, and other avenues of magic, was perfect.

Jayla is a clever witch, who had been cursed in her teens by her friend, Ophelia. Since then, she has had to retrieve dark souls from shrewd men in order to survive. While she has taken hundreds of souls in her lifetime, this story is about her trying to take the one which belongs to Roger Casem – the man she accidentally fell in love with.

Could she kill him, as she had done with the others? If she wanted to continue living, she must. But today, when his eyes skimmed her body with unbelievable passion, she began to recognize her own needs. As she blushed and turned her face away from him, Jayla did the only thing she could.

AMAZON


Tina Griffith, who also wrote twenty-seven children’s books as Tina Ruiz, was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school.

After her husband of 25 years passed away, she wrote romance novels to keep the love inside her heart. Tina now has eleven romance novels on Amazon, and while all of them have undertones of a love story, they are different genres; murder, mystery, whimsical, witches, ghosts, suspense, adventure, and her sister’s scary biography.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her second husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina (Griffith) Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

Add A Comment

Easy Pasta Dinner

October 28, 2020 | Cooking

from Sloane Taylor

This quick recipe is ideal for those days you are too busy to fuss. Add a salad and a loaf of crusty bread to round out dinner. After
you assemble all the ingredients on your counter pop open a bottle of Soave white wine from the Veneto region in Italy to enjoy while you cook. It’s perfect for this meal.

Photo by Jakub Kapusnak on Unsplash

Linguine with Artichokes and Leeks
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned
2 12-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts in oil, drained
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
3 tsp, kosher salt less will not disturb the flavors
1 tsp, freshly ground black pepper
1 pound linguine
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

Halve the leeks lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces. Wash well to remove any sand grains.

Cut the artichokes lengthwise if large.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat, add the leeks, and cook until soft but not browned, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove the leeks from skillet and set aside.

Increase heat to medium and add the artichokes. Cook about 3 minutes stirring often.

Return the leeks to skillet and toss to mix. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Cook the linguine according to the package directions, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.

Transfer pasta to a large bowl. Add vegetables and toss with half the Parmesan cheese. Add a little pasta water to moisten if necessary. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

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

Halloween Goodies Fresh from the Oven

October 21, 2020 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Tina Ruiz 

My mom is 82-years old and doesn’t cook or bake at all anymore, but she is thrilled that I’ve kept her recipes and shared them with my children and grandchildren. Here is one of our favorites especially at Halloween time.

Grama Tina’s Sweet Biscuits

4 cups white flour
2 tbsp. baking powder – double acting is better
1 pinch salt
½ tsp. nutmeg and/or cinnamon
1 cup frozen or very cold butter
1½ cups milk at room temperature
1 egg
Flour
½ – ¾ cups of blueberries, raisins, or chopped apples, optional

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Mix first 5 dry ingredients together in a large bowl. 

In another bowl, shred butter. Shredding instead of adding melted butter is better because when the butter flakes into the dough, you’ll get wonderful flavor in every single mouthful. *HINT* spray PAM on the shredder before using for a quicker clean-up.

Pour milk into a separate bowl.  Stir in egg.  Now add wet mixture to dry, and knead it until it forms a ball.

Sprinkle flour onto your counter or work area, and spread your dough out how you want it – a flat circle or a square.

Brush the top with butter and then sprinkle with white or brown sugar.  

Cut dough into shapes you prefer. Place them on a greased cookie sheet or onto parchment paper.  

Bake 12 – 15 minutes.

Once cooled, spread each biscuit apart and place any kind of fruit or jam on the inside.  Add whipped cream or ice cream on top, then place the cap on and serve.

How about sharing one or both of my children’s Halloween books with your favorite tricksters while you enjoy dessert?

The story is about Peppa Roni and her twin brother, Reece A. Roni, who are having their 9th birthday party in the neighborhood restaurant. What makes this story different from any other children’s book, are the names which the author has given to her characters. Example: Tess Ding, Chris P. Bacon, Mr. Noah Lott, Harry Pitts, Miss Turi, Walter Melon, Judge Mental and his wife, Judy, etc…

The storyline is quite charming, and because you will try to figure out the double meaning of the fun names while you read, this is bound to become your child’s favorite book.

AMAZON BUY LINK

 

The pictures are bright and the story is fun. It was written not only to entertain kids, but also to challenge their minds.

Every character has a name with a double meaning. Such as: Mr. Noah Lott, Mrs. Faye Ding, Mrs. Frieda Livery, Upton O’Goode, Adam Zapel, and Ella Vader, to name but a few.

Here’s a hint to help you solve the puzzle, Ed Zortails is his name really heads or is it tails? You’ll have to buy the book to find out.

Solving the double meaning of the words will be delightful for children and adults alike. On the off chance someone can’t unravel a name, Tina supplied a cheat sheet at the back of the book.

As with all of her children’s stories, there’s a moral at the end.

AMAZON BUY LINK

 

 

Tina Ruiz was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school. She began writing children’s stories when her own were little. Through the years Ruiz has now written wrote thirty books. Most of those stories went into readers for the Canada Board of Education. Two did not. Mayor Shadoe Markley is a story about a ten-year-old girl who becomes Mayor for a Day through a contest at school.

Little did Ruiz know that story would “change the world.” The book came out at early January 1988. By the end of that same month, everyone was calling the mayor’s office at City Hall, trying to get the forms to fill out so their children could participate in the contest. Thirty years later that same contest is still runs at full speed. And not only in Calgary, but all across Canada. The Mayor’s Youth Council is now in charge of the celebrated contest and invites Ruiz to attend and meet the lucky winner. It’s usually followed by a hand-written thank you card from the mayor himself. Recently Ruiz was invited to be part of the Grand Opening of Calgary’s New Library where the mayor shook her hand and introduced her to the attendees.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

Add A Comment

THAT’S ITALIAN!

October 12, 2020 | Cooking

Until the world went crazy, Columbus Day was a national holiday that commemorated the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. It was celebrated every second Monday of October and became a federal holiday in 1937. Okay, so we all know now that he never made it to the Good Old US of A, but he sure had a lot of 1492 type fun in the Caribbean. Since I always got that day off school, I’m good with giving Chris a meal to celebrate his day.

MENU 

Pizza Casserole
Orange Granite
Dry Red Wine – Chianti
Photo by Anna Guerrero from Pexels

Pizza Casserole
1 lb. (500g) bulk Italian sausage
Cooking spray
1 tube refrigerated pizza dough
1 6 oz. (170g) can tomato paste
6 oz. (200ml) water
1 tbsp. (15ml) garlic powder
2 tbsp. (30ml) oregano, divided
1 tbsp. (15ml) basil
1 tsp. (5ml) sugar
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1½ cups (170g) mozzarella cheese, grated
Parmesan cheese, grated, to taste

Preheat oven to 425° F (220°C).

Break sausage into chunks. Sauté over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink, about 15 minutes.

Lightly coat a 9 x 13-inch (22 x 33cm) pan with cooking spray. Spread pizza dough into pan.

Combine tomato paste, water, garlic powder, oregano, basil, sugar, and pepper in a small bowl. Stir well. Pour onto dough, spread to pan edges.

Lay sausage on sauce. Bake 12 minutes.

Remove pan from oven. Scatter mozzarella cheese over casserole, and then sprinkle with remaining oregano. Cast Parmesan across the top. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Cut into squares to serve.

Orange Granite – Flavored Ice
2 cups (450ml) water
¾ cup (90g) sugar
1 cup (225) orange juice
3 tbsp. (45ml) lemon juice

In a medium-sized saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Stir only until sugar dissolves. Timing from the moment the sugar water begins to boil, cook mixture for exactly 5 minutes. With this method you have created a simple syrup. Remove pan from heat and allow syrup to cool to room temperature.

Once cooled, stir orange and lemon juices into syrup. Pour mix-ture into a shallow metal pan.

Freeze granite for 3 to 4 hours. Every 30 minutes, stir and scrape in the ice particles that form on the sides and bottom of pan. The granite should be a fine, snowy texture. For a coarser texture, which I prefer, freeze flavored syrup in ice cube trays until solid, then drop cubes into a plastic bag and smash with a heavy spoon or mallet.

Add A Comment

Autumn is Here!

October 7, 2020 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

by Chris Pavesic

This recipe is hearty, delicious, and healthy. Hard to beat a trio like that. Add a crusty roll, salad, and your favorite beverage to create a superb lunch or dinner.

Kale and Butternut Squash Minestrone
1 tbsp. olive oil
¾ cup diced onion
½ cup thinly sliced celery
2 cups butternut squash, peeled (reserve rest of squash for another time) and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
3 cups water
¾ tsp. dried rosemary
¼ tsp. salt or to taste
⅛ tsp. black pepper or to taste
2 cups coarsely chopped kale leaves (lightly packed) stems removed
4 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in soup pot/Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery; cook and stir 5 minutes or until onion is softened.

Stir in butternut squash, beans, tomatoes, water, rosemary, salt, and pepper in Dutch oven. Cover and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.

Add kale. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until tender.

Ladle soup into bowls and then sprinkle with cheese.

Why not read a good book while you enjoy your soup? May I suggest one of the books from my LitRPG series The Revelation Chronicles? ?

In Starter Zone Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure.

In the Traveler’s Zone magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world.

Time to play the game.

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.

Chris 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.

Add A Comment

September 30, 2020 | Cooking

Every cook in this busy world needs a fast yet tasty dinner ready in minutes, not hours. Here is just the recipe you are looking for. You may want to increase the proportions for this mouthwatering dish since it freezes well.

Photo by Vitchakorn Koonyosying on Unsplash

Easy Baked Chicken Breasts
Non-stick cooking spray
3 boneless chicken breasts
½ cup mayonnaise
5 tsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Spray a light coating of cooking spray into an ovenproof dish that will hold the chicken comfortably.

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Set on a plate.

Mix mayo and bread crumbs together in a small bowl. Spread onto both sides of chicken.

Lay chicken in prepared dish. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top of coated chicken.

Bake 20 minutes or until the juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a sharp knife.

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

LUNCH or SIDE DISH? YOU DECIDE

September 23, 2020 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Chris Pavesic

I love to write fantasies, the stranger the better. Bring on the elves and never before seen or heard of creatures and I’m in fiction heaven. But my secret passion in life is cooking. Creating a new recipe invigorates me. And when my family asks for seconds I can’t stop smiling. This is one of the recipes I use as a side dish or fast lunch. I think you and yours will like it, too.

Mushroom and Wild Rice Blend
1 can (3½ oz.) mushrooms, stems and pieces
1 can (10 oz.) beef broth
Water
1 onion, chopped
½ cup wild rice, rinsed
1 cup long grain rice
2 tbsp. butter

Drain mushrooms, retaining liquid, then set mushrooms aside.

Mix broth, water, and reserved mushroom liquid to make 2 cups.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, pour in broth mixture then add onions and bring to a boil. Add wild rice, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add long grain rice. Boil again, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add mushrooms and butter. Serve.

Why not read a good book while the mushrooms and rice simmer? May I suggest one of the books from my LitRPG series The Revelation Chronicles? ?

In Starter Zone Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure.

In the Traveler’s Zone magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world.

Time to play the game.

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.

Chris 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.

Add A Comment

Good Eating – Southern Style

September 16, 2020 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Leigh Goff

My latest novel, Koush Hollow, is a Southern Gothic tale that deserves to be paired with Southern cuisine. This is one of those comfort dishes I seek out when I head farther south. It makes for a mouth-watering breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This recipe comes from the late chef Bill Neal who has influenced cooking across the South. This particular recipe was borrowed from Cook’s Corner on My Recipes.

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Shrimp & Grits
2 cups water
1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth
¾ cup half-and-half
¾ tsp. salt
1 cup regular grits
¾ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. hot sauce
¼ tsp. white pepper
3 bacon slices
1-pound medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ tsp. black pepper
⅛ tsp. salt
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
½ cup green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. hot sauce
Lemon wedges

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until thickened. Add Cheddar cheese and next 4 ingredients. Keep warm.

Fry bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside.

Sprinkle shrimp with pepper and salt; dredge in flour.

Sauté mushrooms in hot drippings in skillet 5 minutes or until tender. Add green onions, and sauté 2 minutes. Add shrimp and garlic, and sauté 2 minutes or until shrimp are lightly brown. Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice, and hot sauce, and cook 2 more minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet.

Serve shrimp mixture over hot cheese grits. Top with crumbled bacon; serve with lemon wedges.

How about a little more Southern charm while you enjoy your delicious meal?

Koush Hollow:
Where bayou magic abounds and all that glitters…is deadly.

After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.

 How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

EXCERPT
This excerpt is from Chapter 1 of Koush Hollow. The sixteen-year-old main character, Jenna, seems to have a waking nightmare where an interesting creature appears, but only to her. Is it real or is it a dream?

Tap, tap.

My eyes flashed wide. A curvy, gray-haired lady tapped on my passenger side window. Jenna, snap out of it, I thought to myself. I breathed and remembered how to roll the window down.

“You okay, hon’?” She stared at my hands. “You’re shaking like you drank ten café lattes.”

“I’m j-just a little on edge. I mean, I thought I hit that…that woman.”

She jolted upright and looked around. “What are you talking about?”

My gaze flitted all around her. “She w-was r-right there—the painted woman,” I stuttered and pointed. “Where did she go?” My knees finally stopped knocking, allowing me to slide out of the car.

“You didn’t hit anyone. Are you on something?”

I stumbled to the front and bent over searching underneath the car. Nothing. No one. I stood up and scanned the sidewalks, but I didn’t see the mysterious woman anywhere.

“Maybe you shouldn’t be driving, hon’.”
Maybe I shouldn’t be.

“Is there someone I can call?” she asked.

I wiped my sopping wet forehead with the back of my hand. It had to be stress affecting me. It had been a tough few months and maybe it was catching up with me. I turned to the kind woman. “I’m only a few minutes from my mother’s house.” I’d get the Diet Cokes and vitamins later. “I’ll be fine. Thank you.”

We both returned to our cars. She waited for me to move. With trembling fingers, I managed to shift into drive. I pumped the brakes to see if they worked. They worked fine. The rattling sound in the engine was gone, too. I could hardly think straight. Was that Voodoo woman real or a figment of my imagination? I shoved aside the bad feeling, inhaled a calming breath, and decided to apply logic, which suggested the whole thing was a brain-glitch from stress. However, no matter how logical I tried to be, the uneasy feeling remained.

BUY LINKS AmazonThe Parliament House

Leigh Goff writes young adult fiction. She is a graduate from the University of Maryland and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area’s great history and culture.

Her third young adult novel, Koush Hollow, a Southern gothic set in New Orleans, will release on September 1, 2020 from The Parliament House.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

3 Comments

Scrumptious Shepherd’s Pie

September 9, 2020 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Sharon Ledwith

Weekends at our house are reserved for old stand-by meals that are perfect for any family members who happen to ‘drop in’ unexpectedly. You know who I mean. Those adult kiddos who were in the neighborhood checking out garage sales or friends who pop by just to see what project you’ve been working on lately. Yeah, them. One dish that everyone seems to magically appear for is our scrumptious shepherd’s pie. Easy to prepare, and makes 6 servings, I guarantee your guests won’t go home hungry. Add a tossed green salad on the side, and a chilled bottle of beer or glass of wine, and they just may overstay their welcome.

Scrumptious Shepherd’s Pie
1 lb. (454 g) ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1¼ cup frozen peas and carrots, cooked and drained
1 package brown gravy mix (0.88 ounces/25 g)
1 cup water
1 egg, beaten
3 cups, mashed potatoes
Paprika

Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C).

Fry ground beef and onion over medium-high heat until beef is browned. Drain fat. Add seasoned salt, peas and carrots. Mix well.

Prepare gravy mix with water according to package directions. Add some gravy to beaten egg. Gradually add egg-gravy mixture to gravy, stirring constantly. Combine gravy with meat.

Pour meat mixture into a shallow, ovenproof dish. Spoon potatoes in mounds over meat then use the back of a large spoon to blend the mounds. Sprinkle top with paprika.

Bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until heated.

While you’re waiting for your slice of mouth-watering, meaty shepherd’s pie to digest why not put your feet up and relax on the couch with a good book? May I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Whichever you choose, I assure you that either series will take you on a journey far away from weekend chores and dirty laundry.

Here’s a glimpse into one of the books from Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, my teen psychic mystery series.

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.

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, Google+, Goodreads, 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