Category Archives: Recipes

Devilishly Delicious

Hey, all, Suze here. Here’s a quick and easy recipe for you in case you need to bring something to a holiday potluck–Deviled Eggs. They might seem a little bit old-fashioned, but people love them. Bonus? They’re very inexpensive to make. (Let somebody else bring the shrimp, LOL!) This recipe can be easily halved if you don’t have a big crowd. Sorry there’s no picture, but here’s how I do it:

Suze’s Deviled Eggs

  • 1 dozen medium or large eggs (tip: buy your eggs at least a week in advance and of course keep in the fridge–super-fresh eggs are difficult to peel)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard (whatever you have on hand–but I like a spicy brown mustard like Gulden’s)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I like the kind that’s made with olive oil, such as Hellman’s)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish (dill pickle relish is also delicious, for a different taste)
  • Pinch each of salt and pepper

First, boil the eggs. Here’s how to do it to get a perfectly yellow yolk, with no ugly green ring (that comes from overcooking). Place your eggs in a large saucepan (I use a Dutch oven) and cover with cold water. Turn on the heat, cover the pot, and bring the water up to a boil. Now set a kitchen timer and allow the eggs to boil for 4 minutes (medium eggs) or 6 minutes (large eggs). Remove the pot from the burner, keep the lid on, and leave the eggs sitting in the hot water for 7 minutes (medium eggs) or 9 minutes (large eggs). Do not walk away and forget them! Immediately plunge the eggs into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. At this point you can let them cool in the fridge until you are ready to assemble them.

Peel the eggs. To do this, hopefully without damaging the whites, give the egg a firm but gentle tap on the counter to crack the shell. Roll it around in your hand to further break and loosen the shell, then begin to carefully peel the egg. Give the denuded egg a rinse to remove any stray bits of shell, and set it on a paper towel to drain/dry. Repeat till all the eggs are finished.

Slice the eggs. Using a sharp knife, slice the eggs in half lengthwise, popping the yolk out into a separate bowl. Wipe the knife with a paper towel in between to keep your whites looking nice.

Mix the filling. Using a fork, mash up the yolks into a fine crumble. Add the mustard, pickle relish, salt, pepper. Add the mayonnaise, starting with the smallest amount and adding more as needed–you can always add more, but you can’t take it out! Don’t make the mixture too runny, otherwise it won’t stay in the egg. Mix up and taste for seasoning.

Stuff it! Now comes the fun part. Using a decorator doohickey (I have one from Pampered Chef) or a teaspoon and a knife (same way you would make a drop cookie), fill each egg. Not too full, or you may run out of filling before you get to all the eggs. You can always go back and add more at the end.

Decorate. If you want to get extra fancy, you can add a tiny decoration to each egg. Some suggestions are: little sweet gherkin pickles sliced into rounds; sliced pimiento-stuffed olives; a wee sprig of fresh dill; a few (well-drained) capers; an itty-bitty slice of roasted red pepper. Some people like to sprinkle paprika over the eggs for color, but I don’t really care for the raw paprika taste so I don’t do this.

That’s it! What appetizers always make an appearance on your holiday table?

A Great Whodunit, Sandra Orchard Style

“Step into my parlor for a cuppa tea,” said the spider to the fly.Deadly_Devotion_Sm

I am a huge tea drinker, but Sandra Orchard’s latest suspense series, the Port Aster Secrets, now has me questioning every ingredient that fills my teabags. The titles of the teas on my canisters all sound delightful, but after reading the first book in Sandra’s series, Deadly Devotion, I have to question what exactly goes into my African Autumn Surprise teabags…eeeek!

Deadly Devotion is the first book in a three-book mystery series in which a romance arcs the series, along with an underlying suspense plot. The heroine of the series, Kate Adams, is a research scientist who knows her herbs. She knows which ones are deadly and which ones could go undetected in an blind trustautopsy. But knowing this doesn’t mean she’s safe from their poison–especially when she starts sniffing more than tea leaves. She’s putting her nose where it doesn’t belong, and her amateur sleuthing is going to get her into trouble. Will the handsome FBI agent-turned cop, Tom Parker, be able to help her out? All I will say is they make a great team, and I am looking forward to Book Two, Blind Trust, releasing in January.

If you haven’t read the Port Aster series, you can get started with Deadly Devotion now, then preorder Blind Trust for January. Or see below for a chance to win them!

Deadly Devotion

Research scientist Kate Adams and her colleague Daisy are on the brink of a breakthrough for treating depression with herbal medicine when Daisy suddenly dies. Kate knows that if it hadn’t been for Daisy’s mentorship, she wouldn’t have the job she loves or the faith she clings to. So when police rule Daisy’s death a suicide, Kate is determined to unearth the truth.

Former FBI agent Tom Parker finds it hard to adjust to life back in his hometown of Port Aster. Though an old buddy gives him a job as a detective on the local police force, not everyone approves. Tom’s just trying to keep a low profile, so when Kate Adams demands he reopen the investigation of her friend’s death, he knows his job is at stake. In fact, despite his attraction to her, Tom thinks Kate looks a bit suspicious herself.

As evidence mounts, a web of intrigue is woven around the sleepy town of Port Aster. Can Kate uncover the truth? Or will Tom stand in her way?

Blind Trust

Kate Adams had no idea she was carrying counterfeit money, and she can’t believe that it came from her sweet neighbor. Or that it lands her in the middle of another one of Detective Tom Parker’s investigations. Determined to prove her neighbor’s innocence, Kate stumbles into a pit of intrigue that is far deeper than a two-bit counterfeit operation–and strikes too close to home for comfort. As family secrets come to light, her world–and her budding romance with Tom–begin to crumble. To Kate, it’s clear that she won’t be safe until she uncovers all of Port Aster’s secrets. But is it too late for her and Tom?

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Sandra Orchard is a multi award-winning author of inspirational romantic suspense with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense imprint, and Revell Publishing. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America and The Word Guild (Canada). A mother of three grown children, she lives in Niagara, Canada with her real-life-hero husband and now writes full time…when not doting on her young grandchildren.  You can learn more about Sandra’s books and bonus features at www.SandraOrchard.com or connect at www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard

At her website, Sandra loves to offer readers extra bonus features for each of her books such as deleted scenes, character interviews, location pics and even related recipes. And…

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…as a special Christmas gift for her newsletter subscribers, she sends them a Christmas short story (this year’s is more like a mini-novella) that springboards from one of her novels.

If you’d like to receive it, click here to subscribe. You will receive a link to her 2011 Christmas story within the next day or two, so if you don’t see it in your inbox, be sure to check your spam folder. Your 2013 story will arrive in your inbox in December.

In the meantime, you can check out the rest of Sandra’s bonus features here:

http://sandraorchard.com/extras/bonus-book-features/

She also has a giveaway going on now until November 26th.

If you’d like an opportunity win a copy of Deadly Devotion (or an advanced copy of the second book in the series, Blind Trust) for yourself or as a gift for a friend, please check out the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday Favorites – There’s Beer in my Bread!

Welcome friends! Casey here!

I never thought I’d be typing these words – the first draft of Mystic Hero is finished! It’s not IMG_1187pretty, but it’s done and will be heading to my beta readers shortly. Whew! Just in time for NaNo (which I usually unofficially participate in), so I can finish my other manuscript - Lachlan’s Curse.

To celebrate, I’m sharing a recipe I recently re-discovered. When I was a teen, my mother used to whip up a loaf of beer bread and, man, was it delicious. And super simple to make. After my sons were born, I made it a time or two (using non-alcoholic beer) then I kind of forgot about it.

I’m not sure what triggered the desire for beer bread. Maybe it was the stew I was making at the time. After a quick search of the internet, I managed to find one that replicated my mother’s recipe at Food.Com. If this one doesn’t tickle your fancy, there are dozens of variations out there in cyberspace.

A note about flour. This recipe uses either all-purpose flour or self-rising. If you use self-rising, omit the baking powder and salt.

Also, I don’t actually sift my flour (you can if you want to). Instead, I stir it first (in the bag), then scoop it into the measuring cup and gently level it off. This is the proper way to measure flour.  Never tap the measuring cup against the counter or scoop flour directly from the bag using the measuring cup. If you do this, your baked goods will resemble a dense brick. Don’t say I didn’t warn you first!

Enjoy!

Classic Beer Bread:

Ingredients:

3 cups flour (see note above about proper scooping) OR self-rising flour

3 tsp baking powder (skip it if you use self-rising flour)

1 tsp salt  (skip it if you use self-rising flour)

1/4 cup of sugar

1 – 12 oz of beer (I used Sam Adams because that is what hubby had stashed in the cellar. If you don’t want a strong beer taste try something paler)

1/4 to a few tablespoons melted butter (Mom never used butter so you can skip it. But try it. You might like it).

Oven temp: 375 degrees

Grease the bottom of a 9″ loaf pan.

1. Combine all the dry ingredients with the beer.

2. Put in the loaf pan. (I’ve heard of people mixing ingredients right in the pan, but I don’t see how without making a big mess).

3. If using melted butter, pour over the top (this will make the crust crispy).

4. Bake 1 hour. Remove from pan and cool about 10-15 minutes. Try not to skip the cooling step. Otherwise the bread will fall apart when cutting (Not that it stops my husband or older son!)

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Anyone else love beer bread? Have any variations to share or other simple bread recipes?

Yum, Yum. Plum, Plum!

Happy Friday. Casey here with a delicious plum torte recipe that I’m shamelessly IMG_3600borrowing from my friend and passing it along to all of you.

If you don’t like plums, no worries. The recipe works just as well with other fruit like cherries, peaches, pears or apples.  And it freezes too.

Enjoy!

The notes in ( ) are mine.

B-girl’s Plum Torte

You’ll need:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter (and do use unsalted butter. It’s not as good with salted butter)
1 cup unbleached flour (I used regular all purpose flour and it came out fine)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
24 halves pitted purple or prune plums (see note above – other fruit works too)
Topping: sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon
9 inch springform pan

Cook Time: 1 Hour
350 Degree Oven
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients Assemble!

1. Cream the sugar and butter. Add flour, baking powder, salt and eggs. Beat well.

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2. Spoon the batter into the springform pan (I have used cooking spray or Cricso on the bottom to keep it from sticking).

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3. Place the plums skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle lightly with with sugar and lemon juice. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of cinnamon or however much you like.

We interrupt this recipe for cat cuteness!
We interrupt this recipe for cat cuteness!

5. To serve frozen torte, defrost and reheat briefly at 300 degrees.

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And there you have it! Who else enjoys fall baking?

Fun With Ground Beef

TGIF!! Casey here.

IMG_3320Today, I’m poking my head out of the writer’s cave to share a quick, easy recipe that I call Casey’s Taco Beef Melt. This is one of those recipes that I just threw together using things I had already had on hand and, added bonus, it cooks quickly without heating up the house too much.

Feel free to substitute chicken (or other meat) for the ground beef or use only beans, or use tortilla chips instead of Doritos. Also, this can be used as topping on a salad or rolled into a soft tortilla.

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 2 lbs ground beef (I used two because I have hungry men to feed)
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 – 2 packages low sodium taco seasoning (if you use 1 pound of beef, use 1 package)
  • Water – according to seasoning packages.
  • Doritos (about 1/3 of an 11 ounce bag)
  • 1- 2 cups shredded  cheddar cheese of your choice

1. In a skillet, brown beef (or meat of your choice). Drain excess fat once browned.

2. Add beans, then taco seasoning and water.

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3. Once the seasoning is thickened, crush up chips and place over top until covered.

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4. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the tops of the chips. Cover with lid until chees melts.

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Enjoy!IMG_3325

Please share your favorite “go to” summer foods!

Launch Party Time!

Welcome friends, guests, and party crashers! I’m so happy to have you all here to celebrate my latest release, WESTERN DESERT, Book Two in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy. I’ll get the business end of this gig over and done with so we can relax and have a few refreshments.

Drum roll…Curtain draws back…MC (preferably George Clooney) takes the stage, smiles and says: Without further ado…INTRODUCING PJ Sharon’s latest release!!

Thanks, George! I’ll take it from here…

Available NOW!
Available NOW!

WESTERN DESERT, Book Two in The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy, takes off where WANING MOON ends. Genetically enhanced sixteen-year-old Lily Carmichael, and seventeen-year-old Will Callahan embark on a journey across a sun-ravaged and decimated U.S. in the year 2057, bound for the Western Desert on a dangerous rescue mission. The survivors they meet along the way put Lily’s healing abilities to the test and challenge Will’s resolve to find his missing father—no matter the cost. But even with the burden of life and death on their shoulders, and the Industry hot on their trail, the greatest challenge they face is trusting their hearts to each other.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

BN

Smashwords

Print copies available directly from CREATE SPACE or on AMAZON

If you haven’t read Book One in the trilogy, WANING MOON, it’s available for FREE this week (June 24-28) for Kindle owners!

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Also available for FREE is SOUL REDEMPTION, the short story prequel to WANING MOON. You can download it for your e-reader from Smashwords, or read it directly on Wattpad. You won’t want to miss this dark and twisty journey into the mind of a teenager with the power of life and death in his touch. It definitely makes you wonder…what would I do?

Creepy, I know!

Let’s move on to the fun part…

Feel free to pop over to Suze’s page of treats later where you’ll find some awesome recipes for drinks (non-alcoholic ones for our YA friends), and some tasty hors d’oeuvres! But don’t forget to come back, because I have some prizes to give away.

Three of you will be chosen randomly to receive signed copies of one of my first three books. You can choose between HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES, ON THIN ICE, or SAVAGE CINDERELLA. You can find out more about these books by visiting my website’s Contemporary YA Books page. I’ll be happy to mail you your signed copy, providing you leave a valid email address in the comments below so I can contact you privately for your mailing address. Enter ie: maryjanedoe(at)emailaddress(dot)com.

You can also win a nifty swag bag with some cool Lily Carmichael items, including a wooden whistle, a lanyard, bookmarks, and a signed copy of both WANING MOON and WESTERN DESERT.

My grand prize giveaway is a NOOK Simple Touch!

It’s easy to enter. Simply leave a comment below with a valid email address if you want a single entry. For more chances to win, just let me know what you’ve done to help spread the word about my new release. Share this post to FB, twitter (or retweet any tweets with the hashtag #WesternDesert), or you can follow me on any of my social media platforms listed below. You could also sign up for my newsletter (for occasional updates). For each effort you tell me about, I’ll enter your name for another chance to win! Contest ends at midnight on June 30, and winners will be announced next Tuesday right here on the Scribes.

Hang out with me at the following places online:

Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google+

So now that you have the low down on where to find my new book, connected with me at my various online hangouts, and you’ve downloaded some FREE books, pull up a chair and let’s chat. Don’t forget to grab a beverage and a snack and leave your comments, an email address, and what you’ve done to enter for the prizes. I’ll be posting some excerpts today in the comments section below, and look forward to you sharing your questions, responses, and thoughts.

I love a simple bouquet of flowers for a center piece, don’t you? As a conversation starter, tell me what books have you most been looking forward to reading this summer? Any new releases coming out soon that you are dying to get your hands on? Come on, people, dishing about books is what we do around here. Let’s get this party started!

Topped Chef–Interview with Author Lucy Burdette

 

topped-chef-185x300Hey, everyone, Suze here. This week I’m thrilled that mystery author Lucy Burdette is back to chat with us. I’m even more that she has a new book coming out in just a few days. Topped Chef, Book 3 in the wonderful Key West Food Critic series, releases on May 7. Here’s what Lucy has to say:

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a clinical psychologist and the author of eleven mysteries (eight of them written as Roberta Isleib.) I love to eat, talk, and write food, and I spend part of the year in Key West. Throw in a couple of cats, and all that combines very nicely in the Key West food critic mystery series.

Tell us about your latest book, Topped Chef.

Topped Chef is the third book in the Key West series–which I am having an absolute ball writing! In this installment, Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow is tapped as a judge on a reality TV  cooking show. But when another judge turns up murdered, she must figure  out who’s taking the contest too seriously before she becomes the next  victim.

If you were casting a movie, who would play the characters in your Key West Food Critic series?

I am dreadful at casting movies and if this dream of one of my books becoming a film ever comes true, I will leave the details to the professionals. That said, I would love to cast Amy Adams as Hayley, and Meryl Streep as her mother! There is a drag queen character in this book too–for that I would suggest using the actual person, Randy Thompson. He’s a fabulous performer!

How do you market your books? Do you have any marketing advice for our readers?

Oh sigh, this is so hard because you can get sucked into the vortex of marketing and forget to write. I use Facebook (www.facebook.com/lucyburdette), Twitter in a half-hearted way (www.twitter.com/lucyburdette), Pinterest for generating book ideas and collecting food photos (www.pinterest.com/robertaisleib), and I blog with two wonderful groups of writers, Mystery Lovers Kitchen (www.mysteryloverskitchen.com) and Jungle Red Writers (www.jungleredwriters.com). When I’m approaching a book launch, I do as many guest posts as I can to spread the word. I try pitching magazines and radio shows. And since there is nothing better than talking with real readers in person, I schedule appearances at book stores, libraries, and conferences. And I also have a website: www.lucyburdette.com

Do you see what I mean about that vortex??

My advice is to pick a few of the many promotional options–the ones that suit your personality–and ignore the rest. And start early. And have fun at it! And try to give something to the readers–they won’t come back if your posts and updates are all about you and your newest release.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a little of both. I have to turn in a synopsis to my editor at NAL as part of my contract. But it usually turns out that when I begin writing, the book takes all kinds of U-turns in unexpected directions–which can be exhilarating, but also scary. In the book I’m writing now (or should be), the plot is kicking my butt.

How long does it take you to turn out a draft of a book? Is it an easy–or agonizing–process?

For this series, I have about nine months in between books. The first draft is always agonizing. While rewrites to me are fun!

What made you want to write cozy mysteries? Who are some of your favorite authors?

I’ve always read mysteries and I don’t like gore and violence so this genre is a natural for me. My first culinary mystery idol was Diane Mott Davidson. You might be able to imagine how thrilled I was to land a blurb from her about AN APPETITE FOR MURDER: “What fun! Lucy Burdette writes evocatively about Key West and food–a winning combination. I can’t wait for the next entry in this charming series.” DMD  Wow!

When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to spend your time?

I’m a huge reader, of women’s fiction as well as mysteries. I enjoy cooking, my pets, spending time with my family, and enough exercise to overcome the effects of all that good food.

How do you battle the Doubt Monster? We define the Doubt Monster as: the nagging feeling that your prose is terrible, your plot is silly, your characters are insipid, and no one in her right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.

My best advice on that came from my writing pal Hallie Ephron: Hold your nose and write. You can’t fix something that isn’t written! And I love my writer friends who understand how hard this work is–they are always available with a crying towel if needed…

What’s next for you? What are you working on now?

I’m in the middle of MURDER WITH GANACHE, the fourth Key West food critic mystery, which will be out in February 2014. The deadline is barreling down upon me! thanks so much for inviting me to visit! And best of luck with your writing Suze :)!

Thanks, Lucy! Lucy’s on her way to Malice Domestic today, but she’ll pop in from time to time and answer your questions.