Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Time for an Old Favorite

Hi Everyone,

The following menu is what I normally prepare each Thanksgiving. But not this year. This year Mr. & Mrs. Studs will be enjoying Southern hospitality as we travel through Memphis (that you Jean Paquin for all your terrific suggestions) New Orleans, and Nashville on our two week honeymoon. Yep, Studs and I are getting married this Saturday and celebrating with family and close friends.

But your family and friends can enjoy all this delicious food. So turn on the football game, grab your aprons, and let’s start cooking!

Roast Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Sautéed Broccoli
Cranberry Sauce
White Wine – Riesling

Roast Turkey
2 leeks including some green - chopped
2 large onion - chopped
15 baby carrots - chopped
4 tomatoes – chopped
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. 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.

Thanksgiving Morning:
If turkey’s not 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.
Cooking times:
10 – 18 lbs. 2 - 2½ hrs.
18 – 22 lbs. 2½ - 3 hrs.
22 – 24 lbs. 3 - 3½ hrs.

Melt 1 stick of butter in a large frying pan. When the foam subsides, lay the turkey on its side breast down. Brown the breast until golden, first one side then the other. Be careful moving the turkey around, it’s heavy and awkward.

Set disposable pan on cookie sheet. Insert cooking rack. Add chopped vegetables. 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. Cover the turkey and pan edges with aluminum foil, crimping the 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. If you use a meat thermometer it should read 185° when inserted in the thigh. For an accurate reading, be sure not to touch bone. Tent with foil and allow to rest 30 - 45 minutes before carving.

1 package bread stuffing cubes plain or seasoned
½ pound Jimmy Dean Original Sausage in the tube
1 rib celery chopped
½ medium onion chopped
1 stick butter
Chicken stock about 2 cups maybe a little more
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 egg

The stuffing may be prepared a day or two in advance up to the baking point.

Fry sausage, breaking into small chunks until lightly brown.

Melt butter in a medium size skillet. When the foam subsides add the celery and onion. Sauté 3-4 minutes, be careful not to let it brown.

Empty bread cubes into a large bowl. Add sausage and vegetables with all their juices. Mix well.

Beat egg in a small bowl. Pour onto stuffing. Sprinkle sage and thyme across the top. Mix well.

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

Spoon into baking dish, do not pack in, and cover tightly with foil. (This is your stopping point if you make this before Thanksgiving. Refrigerate the stuffing until you are ready to bake it.)

Thanksgiving Day:
Remove stuffing from the refrigerator early in the day to allow it to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the stuffing for a half hour. Remove foil and continue to bake until the top has browned.

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

The Day Before:
Pour one inch chicken stock into saucepan. Peel and quarter the potatoes, then place in saucepan. Add tap water to cover by one inch. Put a lid on the 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
32oz. can of sweet potatoes - my favorite is Royal Prince Candied Sweet Potatoes
½ cup brown sugar firmly packed
1 stick of butter
1 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Drain the potatoes in a colander. Cut large pieces in half. Lay potatoes into a 13x9 inch glass baking dish.

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

Bake for 20 minutes.

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

Services 8.

Broccoli Stir-fry
4 mini carrots sliced on an angle
½ cup olive oil – possibly more
½ medium onion sliced
1 inch 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. red pepper flakes
2 green onions sliced on an angle
5 mini Bello mushrooms cleaned and sliced into thirds
1 tbsp. lime or lemon juice

Have all the 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 insure broccoli is well coated with the oil. Add more oil if necessary. Squeeze on the lime or lemon juice. Sauté 2 - 4 minutes, but be sure the 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 learn just how lazy I can be on holidays.:) 
1 can of corn per 4 people – my favorite is Green Giant Niblets

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.

Frozen corn:
Follow package instructions

Cranberry Sauce
1 can of sauce per 6 people – my favorite is Ocean Spray Jellied

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

1 jar of gravy for 4 people - my favorite is Heinz Home Style Gravy Roasted Turkey

Pour the gravy into a saucepan. Stir in a few tablespoons of the juice from the roasted turkey pan. Heat through and serve.

I'll be back Monday. Until then...

Have a wonderful holiday!

Sloane Taylor
Amazon Author Page

Monday, November 14, 2016


Carol Browne is a talented author who accepted the challenge to step out of her comfort zone and write a biography of a Holocaust victim and all the horrors the young Polish girl was forced to endure. Being Krystyna: A story of survival in WWII is a gut-wrenching short story that will tug at you and won't let go.

In 2012 when young Polish immigrant Agnieszka visits fellow countrywoman Krystyna in a Peterborough care home for the first time, she thinks it a simple act of kindness. However, the meeting proves to be the beginning of a life-changing experience.

Krystyna’s stories about the past are not memories of the good old days but recollections of war-ravaged Europe: The Warsaw Ghetto, Pawiak Prison, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, and a death march to freedom.

The losses and ordeals Krystyna suffered and what she had to do to survive are horrors Agnieszka must confront when she volunteers to be Krystyna’s biographer.

Will Agnieszka be able to keep her promise to tell her story, and, in this harrowing memoir of survival, what is the message for us today?

Buy Links
Dilliebooks - Amazon UK - Amazon US

Carol Browne regards Crewe, Cheshire, as her home town and graduated from Nottingham University in 1976 with an honors degree in English Language and Literature. Carol writes speculative fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is also a ghost blog writer, proofreader, copy editor, and copywriter. Along with a passion for gardening, Carol is an avid animal lover.

Carol lives in the Cambridgeshire countryside with her dog, Harry, and cockatiel, Sparky.Pagan and vegan, Carol believes it is time for a paradigm shift in our attitude to Mother Nature and hopes the days of speciesism are numbered.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Pork-Fried Rice - A Real Crowd Pleaser

The comedian of The Last Timekeepers is undisputedly Treena Mui. Out of all the characters in my YA time travel series, she’s the one who cracks me up and makes me smile the most. But did you know ‘drama queen’ Treena has another talent besides acting her way out of a tough situation during a Timekeeper mission? She loves to cook. Surprised? You shouldn’t be, since cooking is in Treena’s blood. Her parents own the Lucky Goldfish, the only Chinese Restaurant in White Pines, so they have entrusted her with a few secret family recipes. One such dish is their Famous (and Quick) Pork-Fried Rice.

Simple and easy to make, the Lucky Goldfish’s Famous (and Quick) Pork-Fried Rice is a crowd pleaser at the Mui’s restaurant, as well as at their dinner table. The secret is truly in the sauce they use, and in the way the Mui family lovingly prepare all their meals for their guests and patrons. With a prep time of only 25 minutes, the below recipe only serves enough for two, so I suggest that you double (or triple) the ingredients just in case you have any surprise stragglers bellying up to your table for supper.

The Lucky Goldfish’s Famous (and Quick) Pork-Fried Rice
1 egg
1 tsp. water
2 tbsp. Asian Sesame Dressing (yup, that’s the secret sauce, and the Mui’s like to use the Kraft® brand dressing)
1 cup chopped cooked pork tenderloin
1⅓ cups hot cooked long-grain rice, cooled slightly
1 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 carrot, coarsely shredded
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. chopped dry roasted peanuts (optional)

Beat egg and water with fork until well blended. Add to large nonstick skillet; cook on medium heat 1 to 2 minutes or until set, stirring occasionally. Transfer to bowl; cut into small pieces. Wipe skillet with paper towel.

Add dressing and pork to hot skillet. Stir-fry on medium-high heat 2 minutes. Add rice and soy sauce; stir-fry 3 minutes. Add carrots and onions; stir-fry 1 minute or until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in egg.

Top with nuts (if desired).

NOTE from the Lucky Goldfish Restaurant: This is a great way to use leftover cooked rice. Just warm it in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes before using.

Once you’ve filled your tummy with this Asian feast, you may want to sit down and digest your dinner. While you’ve got your feet propped up, why not pick up my new The Last Timekeepers book and peruse the latest mission with Treena and her time traveling cohorts?

Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.

Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.

With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.

“I wonder what else is down here.” Drake beamed his cell phone across the basement, hitting jars of jams, pickles, and relishes. His stomach growled.

Jordan pulled the cheese from his pocket and handed it to Drake. “Trade you for your phone.”

“Best. Trade. Ever.” Drake passed his phone to Jordan.

Jordan walked over and grabbed a jar of pickles off the dusty shelf. At least they wouldn’t arrive at the baron’s place hungry. He hoped his uncle had managed to stop Amanda’s bleeding. His hand tightened over the jar, the ridges of the lid cutting into his palm. A scrape from behind the shelves made Jordan jump.

“Hello?” he asked, pushing jars aside. He flashed the cell phone into the small, dark area.

“Who ya talking to, Jordan?” Drake asked with his mouth full of cheese.

“Shhh, Drake.” Jordan listened. Hearing nothing, he shrugged and turned back around.

“I thought I heard—” Jordan stopped and pointed the phone at Ravi. His jaw dropped. “A-Are you serious, Sharma?”

Drake spat out his cheese, snorting with laughter.

“Is there a problem?” Ravi asked, tying the bowtie of his tuxedo.

“You look like a penguin with attitude!” Drake slapped his knee.

“Say what you want, but I’m glad we didn’t hit the cleaners on the way to school now,” Ravi replied, pulling down his sleeves, “or else I wouldn’t have these dry clothes.”

Jordan chuckled. Suddenly, he heard a door creak open, followed by heavy footsteps squeaking down the stairs. Panicking, Jordan stuffed Drake’s phone in his track suit jacket’s pocket and waved Drake over by the shelves. Drake slipped behind Jordan just in time, before the small light bulb above the bottom of the stairs clicked on. Jordan swallowed hard. There, staring directly at Ravi was a portly man in a blood-stained apron. Tufts of blond hair sprouted from the sides of his balding head. His brown trousers were pulled up past his waist, making him resemble an evil garden gnome. In one of his hands, he held a huge butcher knife, its blade flecked with blood.

Wielding the knife, the man pointed at Ravi. “Who are you?”

Ravi licked his thick lips nervously. “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

Mirror World Publishing: Paperback - eBook

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Mirror World Publishing, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic 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.

Monday, November 07, 2016

NEW RELEASE for Sexy Sara Daniel

The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow are BACK. That means an all new irresistible bad boy, loads of steamy romance, and a dash of small town shenanigans are coming your way. All books are standalone and can be read in any order. If you’re new to the series, you can dive into the first one, The Bad Boy’s Gift, for free at your favorite e-retailer. And for the month of October, book 2, The Bad Boy’s Guilt, is on sale for only $.99!

He’s supposed to be the town hero. He’s not!

Haunted by comrades he was unable to save, Drake Miller walks away from his military career for the relaxed, quiet life of running his father’s bar in Regret Hollow. Too bad no one tipped him off that his father sold the bar.

While the townspeople treat him to a hero’s welcome that he doesn’t want and doesn’t deserve, he finds one person who doesn’t fall at his feet, calls him out for bad behavior, and kisses like a fantasy. Unfortunately, she also owns the bar that was supposed to be his.

As a single mom and small business owner, Mallory Marquette takes her commitments and responsibilities seriously. She can’t give away her livelihood just because Drake thinks he’s entitled to it—even if he is the town hero and the first man in a decade who gets her blood flowing. Besides, she needs a reliable bartender much more than she needs a lover.

Can this hero turned bad boy step up to a lifetime commitment, or will the freedom he sacrificed so much for cost him everything?


“Wait a second.” He held up a hand. “I know you. You’re the stuck-up high school princess who was too good to give me the time of day. Mallory Yates.” His lips curled into a sneer.

In what universe did a pizzeria waitress have anything in common with a princess? Whatever. She couldn’t reason with guys like him. She didn’t bother to correct him on her name, either. If not for Ryan, she’d have returned to the Yates surname after her divorce. “I don’t know what you’re talking about and neither do you, but thanks for showing me you’re still the same insensitive jerk you’ve always been.”

He laughed. “You’re ever so welcome, princess. Now are you going to spray me with that pepper spray or just intimidate me by waving it around?”

She glanced down at the tiny bottle in her fist. If the rumors about his capabilities were true, he could disarm her in the blink of an eye. Regardless, he sure wasn’t the least bit intimidated.

“Neither.” She shoved the canister in her back pocket and advanced on him. “I want you to think next time before you do something stupid.” She shoved his chest, which proved as solid and unmoving as a brick wall.

He grasped her hands before she could withdraw them, trapping them against his heat. His eyes glittered in the growing darkness.

“Sometimes thinking is overrated. I like to do and deal with the consequences later.” He lowered his head toward her.

No way. He wouldn’t. He had as much disdain for her as she had for him. She glared at him, refusing to call his bluff and pull away.

His lips pressed against hers, hard and demanding. He plunged his tongue into her mouth. She gasped as fire raced through her veins. Clenching her fingers around the fabric of his T-shirt, she met the demands of his mouth.

She refused to be intimidated just because he was sexier than sin and could kiss a hell of a lot better than anyone in recent memory or, um, in ever. Oh God, she couldn’t remember anyone else. She couldn’t even remember her own name.

A moan tore from her throat. She bit down on his lip then thrust her tongue, tangling it with his.

He bracketed her ribs, sliding beneath her jacket and the hem of her shirt then over her waist and up, cupping her breast.

Holy hell. Who knew being groped could feel so good? With one touch, she nearly believed she could leave behind stress and responsibility and reclaim her femininity. “Fondle me, you bastard, and make it good.”

Buy links:
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble
Google Play

Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction, was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels, and loses her car keys several times a day.

Learn more about Sara on her website and blog. Subscribe to Sara’s newsletter.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Chicken with an Italian Twist

Here’s a quick dinner that looks and tastes like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen. Add a salad and your meal is complete.

4 medium chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
¼ tsp. thyme
8 ozs. baby Porto Bella mushrooms, halved if large
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 tbsp. butter
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup Marsala wine
½ cup heavy cream at room temperature
Rice or pasta

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Sprinkle thyme evenly over breasts.

Melt half the oil and butter in a 12-inch skillet set on medium heat. When the foam subsides add mushrooms and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes. Spoon vegetables into a bowl and set aside.

Use the same skillet and melt remaining oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Sauté 10-15 minutes, until no pink remains. The time depends on meat thickness. Remove chicken to a plate. Tent with foil to keep warm or place in a 200° oven

Add Marsala and stock to the same skillet. Bring to a boil while scraping in any bits that cling to the bottom and sides of the pan. Boil for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by almost half.

Reduce heat to medium. Slowly stir in cream. Heat through but do not bring to a boil.

Return chicken and mushrooms to the pan. Heat through for 2-3 minutes.

Move chicken to the center of a serving dish. Surround with rice or pasta. Spoon mushrooms and broth over the platter. Sprinkle parsley across the top to decorate. Serve immediately.

May you enjoy all the days of your life around a well laden table!

Sloane Taylor
Amazon Author Page