What's Cooking


One thing I do and do well is cook. Check out Studly’s waistline if you don’t believe me. Yet it has always frustrated me to read a delicious-sounding recipe and then have to figure out what to serve with it. Beans or peas? Fried or boiled potatoes? To salad or not. You get the idea. We’re not talking rocket science, but a clue or two from those big-buck chefs, whose books I constantly buy, would sure help.

So today don your aprons and grab those skillets because we’re taking a giant step to ease the burden of the overworked woman.

Every month a new menu will be posted. Please feel free to email me your thoughts, suggestions, or your favorite recipes. We’re all in this cooking thing together and might as well help out each other.

February’s Choice

My niece JJ is an excellent and creative cook. This past Christmas she gave me a roll of garlic herb butter that is to die for. Not only is great on cooked steak and veggies, it’s delicious spread on crackers and fresh bread. Of course, I had to make another batch right after the holidays because we devoured her amazing gift in a flash. I am confident you and yours will like this recipe, too.

Herb Butter

Garlic Herb Butter

½ cup butter at room temperature
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp fresh rosemary or ½ tsp. dried, chopped fine
1 tsp. fresh thyme or ½ tsp. dried, chopped fine
2 tbsp. fresh parsley or 1 tbsp. dried, chopped fine

Cream butter in a medium-sized bowl with a spoon. A handheld mixer works too.

Stir in garlic and herbs until just blended.

Tear off 6 – 7 inches of wax paper. Lay butter about 1½ inches from the edge. Use your fingers to shape into a log about 1 inch thick. Cover log with that bit of extra paper and roll, shaping the log as you go. After butter is wrapped, twist the ends tightly.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Herb butter lasts 2 weeks in the fridge and up to 6 months in the freezer.

Oregano and basil are excellent replacements for rosemary and thyme.

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


January’s Choice

from Chris Pavesic

January is National Soup Month. Since I live in the Midwest, I have created a vast collection of recipes to ward off those northerly winds that attack us from Canada. This one 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

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) 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 a 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 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.

Traveler's Zone

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.

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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.

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.