Archive for the 'Cooking' Category

Word Witches & Magic Snacks

May 20, 2024 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Leigh Goff

Writing can be a deliciously creative endeavor. We all know that food fuels the mind, so why not indulge in a few tasty treats to keep your energy levels high and your inspiration flowing? Whether you’re tackling a daunting deadline or embarking on a brainstorming session, here are a few fun snacks that are sure to satisfy your cravings and fuel your writing process.

Let’s start with the magical combo of chocolate and coffee. The velvety goodness of dark chocolate pairs perfectly with a steaming cup of coffee, creating a harmonious blend of flavors that can give you that extra boost of creativity. The caffeine provides a jolt of energy, while the sweetness of chocolate adds a touch of decadence to your writing ritual. Take a break from your keyboard, savor a moment of bliss with this duo, and let your imagination run wild.

If you’re looking for something a little more spellbinding, tap into your inner child with a plate of colorful, bite-sized snacks. Think mini sandwiches, fruit skewers, or a bowl of mixed nuts and popcorn (see fun recipe below!). Not only are these treats fun to eat, but they also offer a variety of flavors and textures to keep your taste buds entertained.

By incorporating fun snacks into your writing routine, you can indulge your taste buds and invigorate your mind. Whether you opt for the enchanting chocolate and coffee combo or explore a whimsical array of bite-sized treats, these snacks will add an extra sprinkle of enjoyment to your writing sessions. So, grab a snack, sit back, and let the magic happen as you embark on your next writing adventure.

Sweet & Salty Marshmallow Popcorn
8 cups popped popcorn, we use air popped popcorn
1½ cups pretzels
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
12 big marshmallows
½ tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. sea salt
1 cup M&M’s

Lay popcorn and pretzels on a large baking sheet that has been lined with a Silpat baking mat. Parchment paper will work, too. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and corn syrup. Cook until melted and combined. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.

Evenly pour the marshmallow caramel mixture over the popcorn and pretzels. Gently stir until the popcorn and pretzels are well coated. It will be sticky! Stir in the M&M’s. Taste and season with additional salt, if desired. Store in an airtight container for up to one week. The popcorn will stay sticky and soft!

Note – if you need the recipe to be gluten-free, make sure you use gluten-free pretzels. You can also use peanut M&M’s or stir in peanuts!

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 and her husband enjoy the area’s great history and culture.

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

Photo and recipe from Two Pease & Their Pod Marshmallow Popcorn Recipe

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FROM MY KITCHEN TO YOURS

May 6, 2024 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Stella May

Beef Stroganoff was invented in Russia in the early 1800’s. Count Stroganoff was a dignitary in the court of Alexander III. Count Stroganoff’s chef, who was likely French, created the dish and named it after Stroganoff. The earliest known recorded recipe was in Elena Molokhovets’s A Gift to Young Housewives, published in 1871. There have been many versions of the recipe over the centuries, but this is the closest to the original one. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do.

BEEF STROGANOFF

1 lb. top sirloin steak cut into thin strips

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 small onion, chopped fine

½ lb. shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 cup beef broth

¾ cup heavy whipping cream

¼ cup sour cream

½ tsp of Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

4 green onions, chopped include a good portion of green

Place a large deep pan over medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons oil. Once oil is very hot, add beef strips in a single layer. Cook until just browned and no longer red. Sear beef in two batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Remove beef to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add butter, onion, and mushrooms. Sauté 6 – 8 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and veggies are soft and lightly browned.

Add 1 minced garlic clove and sauté 1 minute until fragrant. Add flour and sauté another minute, stirring constantly.

Carefully stir in beef broth, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk in whipping cream and simmer another 1 – 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Blend two or three tablespoons of the sauce into the sour cream to warm it so it doesn’t curdle.   add it to the pan while stirring constantly.

Stir in Dijon mustard, season with salt and pepper. Continue simmering until sauce is creamy.

Add beef along with any accumulated juices back into the pan. Bring just to a simmer and cook until beef is heated through.

Garnish with green onions and serve over any noodles.

Bon appetite!

Here is a peek at my new series, the Rostoff Family Saga. New Dawn is book one soon to be followed by New Hope, New Life, and New Horizon.

Love wasn’t part of their agreement. Neither was being caught in a brutal web of lies.

International playboy and owner of a jewelry empire that spreads across three continents, Dmitry Rostoff holds a memory close to this heart that not even his best friend Vlad Albrecht knows. When Dmitry learns the Russian ballerina, he had a passionate affair with died in childbirth, bitterness and hate overrule all other emotions.

Taking the baby out of Russia is an impossible snarl of red tape, but Dmitry gets his way, even if he leaves a trail of chaos in his wake.

Natasha Sokolova planned to turn over the baby to Dmitry then walk away. Instead, she is on a plane to San Francisco with the baby and a cold, emotionless man who makes her heart pound with scorching attraction.

The family matriarch and evil to her core Elizabeth Rostoff plots to gain control of the baby, no matter what it costs or who it hurts, and will do anything to make that happen. She blackmails Marie Dubois, the manager of their elite Paris store, to seduce Dmitry. But Marie reneges on the deal when former Special Forces officer Vlad Albrecht storms into her life.

Once in America, Natasha finds herself entangled in a sticky web of lies created by the brutally calculating family matriarch. A web that forces Natasha to make a heartbreaking deal with the devil to protect the children—and man—she’s come to love.

AMAZON BUY LINK and OTHER SUPPLIERS

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 Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

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PIZZERIA PERFECT

April 8, 2024 | Cooking

from Sloane Taylor

This easy recipe is perfect for busy weekends when all you want is a tasty meal and a cold beverage. I use sausage, but don’t let that stop you. Add on whatever toppings suit you right after the meat. The cooking time remains the same. The secret to making this pizza extra good is the grated Parmesan cheese. Our grandson, Dakota, works at an Italian restaurant and offered this suggestion. GREAT addition.

MENU

Quick & Easy Pizza

Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing

Dry White Wine – Pinto Grigio or Cold Peroni Beer

 

Quick & Easy Pizza
1 lb. Italian sausage, preferably bulk type

1 tube refrigerated pizza dough

2 oz. tomato paste, freeze remainder to use in other recipes

Chicken stock, not broth

1 tbsp. garlic powder, not salt

1 tbsp. oregano1 tbsp. basil

1 tsp. sugar

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese, grated

Olive oil to drizzle

1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 425°.

Place sausage in cold frying pan set over medium heat. Break into small chunks as you sauté it until no longer pink, about 15 minutes. Adjust heat so as not to burn sausage. If you use link sausage then squeeze it from the casing before frying.

Scoop tomato paste into a measuring cup. Stir in enough chicken stock to bring the blend to just under two-thirds cup. Mix in garlic, oregano, basil, sugar, and pepper until well blended. You may need a little more stock to make the mixture more sauce like. Don’t add too much or your crust will soggy.

If you use a pizza pan then sprinkle just a little cornmeal or flour on. This helps absorb the moisture while baking to maintain a crisp crust. It isn’t necessary with a pizza stone.

Spread out the dough on the pan/stone. Smear sauce on top and spread to the edges. Grate a healthy amount of Parmesan over the dough.

Cascade sausage and your other toppings onto the pie. Drizzle with oil. Bake 12 minutes.

Remove pan/stone from oven. Scatter mozzarella across the top. Turn off the oven then set the pizza inside. Allow pizza to remain until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Cut into squares and enjoy!

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

Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

To learn more about Taylor go to her website. Stay in touch on Blogger, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Taylor’s cookbooks, Hot Men Wear Aprons, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available on Amazon.

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Dinner the St. Patrick’s Day Way

March 11, 2024 | Cooking

from Sloane Taylor

Presenting the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal most North Americans will enjoy with a cold Harp Lager, Guinness Stout, Killian’s Irish Red Lager, or Smithwicks Ale. But here’s a newsflash, Boyo, except for the beer you’ll never find corned beef served anyway on the Old Sod. That’s right. Our Irish brethren look at us in amazement, but that’s never stopped us Yanks from creating traditions. So pour another wee dram and let’s get cooking.

Corned Beef
Cabbage
Carrots
Potatoes
Bakery Rye Bread
Horseradish Sauce
Mustard
Irish Beer and plenty of it

Corned Beef

1 5lb. corned beef brisket*
2 med. onions, peeled and quartered
4 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
3 bottles of beer
water to cover

Preheat oven to 300 F°.

Place beef in a Dutch oven. Add remaining ingredients, including spice packet that comes with the beef.

Bring to a boil on stovetop. Place in oven and roast for 3 hours or until meat is fork tender.

*Don’t stint on the beef. It cooks down to approximately half. I learned this lesson the hard way.

Here’s a tip from my butcher Raoul. Always buy corned beef flat cut. It has less fat than the point. Therefore you get more meat for your money.

Vegetables
6 med. red potatoes, peeled and quartered
6 carrots, scraped and cut into 2″ pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 2″ pieces
1 med. green cabbage, cut into 8 wedges
1 cup corned beef cooking liquid
water

You can prep all the veggies and store in a large container covered by cold water until you’re ready to cook them. Refrigerate so vegetables remain crisp.

Place veggies in a large pot. Stir in corned beef cooking liquid. Add water to cover vegetables by 2 inches. Cover pot. Set cooking temp at medium. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat so the pot doesn’t cook over, but maintain a soft boil. Cook about 30 minutes or until veggies are fork tender.

Horseradish Sauce

1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
1 tsp. fresh chives, snipped short

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir well.

Transfer to a serving dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Dea Ithe!

Sloane

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Bite into Something Delicious

February 26, 2024 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Sharon Ledwith

Cookies are high up on my family’s snack list. Heck, some would consider them a breakfast. These oatmeal cookies can be served as both. They are so easy to make, and you can use only chocolate chips, raisins, or leave out both if you prefer. Make the combo your own.

Did I mention these tasty morsels possess soft centers, crispy edges, and a mind-boggling chewy texture? Well, I just did. Wink. Face it. These cookies are a family favorite for a reason, and now they can be your family’s favorite, if you dare to wander into the uncharted territory of baking from scratch.

With a prep time of 15 minutes, chill time of 1 hour, and cook time of 10 minutes, they’re the perfect cookies for impromptu bake sales for your kids. Eat them either warm and fresh or prepare these treats in advance for family gatherings or a much-needed dessert when someone pops by unexpectedly. You’ll be glad you did.

Thumbs up Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour, leveled

½ tsp baking soda

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1½ tsp vanilla extract

1¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup raisins

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.

Add egg and vanilla. Mix until creamy and well combined, about 1 minute.

Blend in flour mixture and mix on low speed just until incorporated, about 30-60 seconds. Stir in the oats until combined.

Then add the chocolate chips and raisins and mix until well distributed. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Scoop 16 equal-sized balls (about 2 tablespoons/45g) of cookie dough, roll into even balls, and place 6-8 cookies, about 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart, on each prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with your fingers. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes or until edges of the cookies are set and lightly browned, and the centers look under-baked, pale, puffy, and dry.

Remove baking sheet from the oven and let cookies cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes, or until firm enough to move. Transfer them to a wire rack and let cool completely. The cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

While you’re waiting for the cookie dough to chill, pop on the kettle or turn on the coffee pot and settle into your favorite chair with one of my books. May I suggest a nostalgic visit to mysterious Fairy Falls or perhaps go back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Just remember to keep some cookies for yourself. After all, you deserve a break from the craziness of the world.

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, reading, researching, or revising, she enjoys anything arcane, ancient mysteries, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

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Piping Hot and Satisfying

January 24, 2024 | Author Friend New Releases, Cooking

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.

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Home-Style Dinner in a Bowl

January 12, 2024 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Sharon Ledwith

This one-pot Ham and Split Pea Soup is tremendously heart-warming and comforting, and absolutely ideal to make with that leftover holiday ham. Healthy and delicious this hearty soup is loaded with tender split peas, tasty ham, and lots of veggies for lunch or dinner! Soak the split peas the night before for a total of 10 hours before you begin. With a prep time of 15 minutes and a cook time of 2 hours, 5 minutes, this mouth-watering ‘meal in a bowl’ serves 6 of your closest pod members and freezes easily. Perfect for those looking to shed those pounds and want to eat healthier. I’d say that’s a win-win, wouldn’t you?

Home-Style Ham and Split Pea Soup 
2 cups dried split peas, green or yellow
2 tsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth, low sodium or no sodium added
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste1
½ pounds meaty ham bone or ham shanks

Soak the split peas. Add the split peas to a pot and cover with 2 quarts of cold water. Soak overnight.

Sauté vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until the vegetables soften and the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds or until aromatic.

Add remaining ingredients. Pour in the chicken broth, water, and stir. Add the split peas, bay leaf, dried thyme, and ham bone. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 1 ½ hours.

Finish the soup. Carefully remove the bone from the soup, cut off the meat, and dice it. Return the meat back to the soup. Cook on low for another 30 minutes or until soup has thickened. Discard bay leaf and serve.

NOTES:

Always rinse your peas thoroughly before soaking or cooking to remove any dirt particles.

If it looks like your soup is too watery, remember the longer it cooks, the thicker it gets.

Add a little smoked paprika to the soup to enhance the smokiness of the ham.

If you don’t have enough ham, add some cooked bacon to amp up the flavor.

This soup can be kept refrigerated for about a week, or frozen for up to 3 months.

While you’re waiting on your soup to cook, how about taking a break by delving into one of my books? 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, either series will entertain and engage, pulling you into another time and a different place.

Here’s a glimpse of the premises of both my young adult series:

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventures…

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial—five classmates are sent into the past to restore balance, and bring order back into the world, one mission at a time.

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries…

Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with its freakish power. There’s no hope for a normal life, and no one who understands. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go…until mysterious things start to happen.

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, Book #3

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

 

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

 

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, reading, researching, or revising, she enjoys anything arcane, ancient mysteries, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

 

 

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MOUTHWATERING GOODNESS IN A BOWL

January 10, 2024 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Sharon Ledwith

Life is unpredictable, right? So, why not take an ordinary minestrone soup full of fresh, wholesome vegetables, and make it a classic, by adding an additional layer of flavor with tender, juicy chicken? I’ve enjoyed a few variations of minestrone soup throughout the years, but this version takes your taste buds to a whole new level! With a prep time of 20 minutes and cook time of 35 minutes for a total of 55 minutes, you can create a tasty new meal to feed your family or friends in under an hour. Add a fresh side salad, bread to dip, and wine to sip, and you’ve got the makings of a traditional Italian supper without living your country or home. Cin cin!

Classic Chicken Minestrone Soup
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
½ lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup sliced carrot
½ cup chopped celery
5 cups chicken stock (or beef stock if you prefer)
1 (14.5 oz.) can of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
1(15.5 oz.) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5 oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into ½ inch slices
½ cup frozen cut green beans
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
½ cup ditalini pasta
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, or more to taste (optional)
2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chicken to pot, and sauté just until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Remove chicken from pot; set aside.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in the pot; add onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add carrots and celery; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in chicken stock, diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, kidney beans, tomato paste, zucchini, green beans, Italian seasoning. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Stir in chicken and ditalini pasta and cook until pasta is tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. If soup is too thick, add a little water or stock. Garnish each bowl with Parmesan and parsley.

There you have it! A new twist on an old-world classic. Once the dishes are done and family has dispersed from the kitchen, take a little me-time for yourself. Top up your wine glass, then head to the closest couch, and crack open one of my books. May I suggest a visit to mysterious Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Whichever you choose, I guarantee either series will take you on a journey far away from the unpredictability of life. Salute!

Here’s a glimpse of both premises for my two young adult series.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventures

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial—five classmates are sent into the past to restore balance, and bring order back into the world, one mission at a time.

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries

Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with its freakish power. There’s no hope for a normal life, and no one who understands. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go. Until mysterious things start to happen.

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, Book #3

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, reading, researching, or revising, she enjoys anything arcane, ancient mysteries, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

 

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LET THEM EAT SOUP!

January 3, 2024 | Cooking

Okay, so it’s not the best takeoff on Marie Antoinette’s infamous saying, but that was my little way of announcing that January is National Soup Month. It’s true. You can check it out on Wikipedia. In honor of this auspicious event, my January posts will be dedicated to soup, well, at least the Wednesday posts. So tie on your aprons and let’s get cooking!

Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 lb. fresh mushrooms – use 2 or 3 different types
8 tbsp. butter
2 small shallots or scallions, finely chopped
6 tbsp. flour
1 qt. chicken stock *
¼ cup dry sherry
2 egg yolks
½ cup heavy cream
White pepper**

Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Pull the stems and caps apart. Put pieces in a food processor. Run until chopped. The mix will almost look like a paste. Or fine dice the mushrooms by hand.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a 10-12 inch skillet. Add mushrooms and shallots and sauté for 3 minutes. Set the skillet aside.

In a heavy 6-quart saucepan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the flour. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Do NOT let this brown too much or it will be bitter. The roux should be no darker than a caramel/tan.

Remove the pan from the heat. Allow to cool 10-15 seconds, then pour in the stock while whisking constantly. Return the pan to a medium-high heat and stir until the soup base thickens and is smooth, approximately 12-15 minutes.

Stir in the mushrooms and sherry. Simmer for 15 minutes, but be sure to stir occasionally.

Blend the egg yolks into the cream with a whisk. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of hot soup at a time until you’ve added 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. Taste and season with pepper.

Serve from a tureen or in individual bowls.

This recipe makes 6 bowls

*You can substitute up to half the amount with dry white wine
**In this recipe white pepper is used for its slightly sharper taste. There is no need to make a special trip to buy white pepper. Black pepper will work fine, just use a little more.
***This may seem like extra work, but if you don’t do it the yolks and cream will curdle.

I’ll be back Monday. Until then…

Happy slurping!

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

To learn more about Taylor go to her website. Stay in touch on Blogger, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Taylor’s cookbooks, Hot Men Wear Aprons, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available on Amazon.

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EASY HOLIDAY BRUNCH

December 6, 2023 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Sharon Ledwith 

Want a fun twist the next time you’re serving up brunch at home or at your holiday getaway? Then dig into this Lip-Smacking Holiday Brunch Served with a Side of Supernatural Adventure. This easy recipe serves eight and takes a total time of thirty minutes to prepare and cook. Not a bad investment to put together a meal worthy of a five-star restaurant.
Lip-Smacking Grilled Red Pepper Egg Cups

4 large red peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded, deveined
2 tbsp. (30 mL) olive oil
⅓ cup (30 mL) smokey-style barbecue sauce (Experiment with different flavors)
8 slices Edam cheese (We use Havarti herb and garlic)
8 eggs
¼ tsp. (1 mL) salt
¼ tsp. (1 mL) black pepper
2 tbsp. (30 mL) cilantro, chopped fine (optional)

PREHEAT outdoor grill to medium-high.

TOSS peppers with oil in a medium-sized bowl. Brush insides of peppers with barbecue sauce. Place cut sides down on grill. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly charred and slightly softened. Remove from grill.

PLACE a cheese slice inside each pepper half, pressing cheese against sides.

CRACK an egg into each pepper cup. Season with salt and pepper.

REDUCE heat to medium. Place peppers on grill over indirect heat. Close lid.

COOK 15 to 20 minutes, or until whites are just set and yolks are still soft, or to desired doneness.

SPRINKLE with cilantro and serve.

Fried Potatoes
1 small Idaho potato per person, baked
1 tbsp. butter per potato
1 small onion, chopped fine
Salt and pepper to taste

PEEL and slice potatoes when cool enough to handle. Set aside in a small bowl.

MELT butter in medium-sized frying pan over medium heat. Add onions. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Adjust heat so onions don’t burn.

GENTLY stir in potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook about 20 minutes or until browned.

Once the dishes are washed and put away, I’m sure you’ll be ready to escape to your favorite spot for some quiet time. Why not relax with one of my books? May I suggest a nostalgic visit to Fairy Falls? Just remember to breathe in the sights, smells, tastes, and sounds of the settings. Experience life along with my characters in their world.

Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking…

The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.

Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.

BUY LINKS
Amazon KindleAmazon PaperbackBarnes & Noble 
Mirror World Publishing ebook
Mirror World Publishing Paperback

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure
series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery
series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, reading,
researching, or revising, she enjoys anything arcane, ancient mysteries, and
single malt scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist
region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON
AUTHOR 
page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

 Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, reading, researching, or revising, she enjoys anything arcane, ancient mysteries, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

 

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