Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Little Piece of Italy

Studs and I have served this meal many times to family and friends and they’re always surprised to learn it's actually Italian. This is also a perfect meal to dine al fresco on a summer evening.

Mustard Chicken
Curly Pasta
Parmesan Cheese
Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing
Fresh Italian Bread
Dry White Wine – Soave Bolla

Mustard Chicken
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
8 tbsp. butter, melted
¼ cup Dijon mustard
4 tbsp. lemon or lime juice
2 rounded tbsp. brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tsp. paprika
3 tbsp. poppy seeds, optional

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Lay chicken into an ovenproof dish.

Combine all ingredients, except poppy seeds and pasta, in a small bowl. Coat the chicken evenly with half the mixture. Bake 15 minutes.

Remove dish from the oven and carefully turn over the chicken. Cost the chicken with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle on the poppy seeds. Return to the oven and bake 15 minutes.

Serves 4

1 lb. campanelle pasta, shells, or other curly pasta

Cook per package directions. Be sure to cook al dente, no more.

Arrange the Dish
Ladle drained pasta into a serving dish. Add some of the juice from the cooked chicken and stir. Lay the chicken across the pasta. Pour the remaining sauce over the top.

Add a bowl of freshly grated parmesan cheese to the table for your guests to sprinkle on the chicken and pasta.

Red leaf lettuce
Romaine lettuce
Head lettuce
Tomato chunks

Use two leaves of each type lettuce and half a tomato per person. Combine in a bowl. Cover with a damp paper and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Creamy Garlic Dressing
1 ½ cups mayonnaise – it must be real mayo, not Miracle Whip
Scant ½ cup vegetable oil
Scant ¼ cup white vinegar
3 tbsp. chopped onion
¾ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
4 big gloves garlic pressed

Combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Mix on high until smooth.

Keeps two week in refrigerator. Store on bottom shelf.

To serve either toss with your salad or arrange the salad on individual chilled plates and ladle a dollop on top.

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

Mangiare Bene!

Sloane Taylor
Amazon Author Page

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Memorial Day Request

Please take a moment today to remember
the men and women who served.

They gave more than any of us can ever imagine.

Thank you,


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Get Toastie with Lizzie T. Leaf

I received the instructions for this sandwich several years ago on a trip to Borough Market in London. The lady on the grill at the Kappacasein stand talked with me as she grilled up morsels of yum and told me how to make the gooey delights. When we returned home and I attempted to duplicate the sandwich that has us all drooling, including the two granddarlings who were with us on the trip, the first efforts weren’t so great. But time and patience has worked. The secret is slow and easy cooking. You want the cheese to melt and ooze out and the bread to become brown and crispy before you’re ready to indulge. It’s probably a good thing I don’t live in London because I could see this becoming a weekly addiction for me.

As for the making of the sandwich, it’s about the bread and the cheddar. Start with sourdough bread cut into sandwich slices. They used shredded Montgomery cheddar and say the complexities are one of the reasons the sandwiches are so good. Montgomery is hard to come by here (and expensive). Check your grocery store for an aged farmhouse cheddar cheese that has a nutty taste and is sold by the block or wedge.

They also had a container of finely chopped white onion, red onion, leeks, and crushed garlic at the ready.

To make the American version of the Borough Market Cheese Toastie do the following:

Place a thick layer of shredded cheddar on a slice of sourdough bread. Add a teaspoon or two of the chopped mixture per sandwich, then slap on the top slice of sourdough. Grill according to the directions below.

Electric Grill: Lightly oil and heat. Place sandwich on the grill and cover. Cook for about three minutes or so. You want the cheese melted and gooey, the bread nice and toasted.

Panini Pan: Same as above. The best is the best method to make this delicious sandwich.

Grill Pan: Same as above but place a frying pan with several cans in it (for added weight) on top of the sandwich.

Remove and enjoy!!!

Hi folks, just a little blog owner intrusion here.

The closest cheeses I was able to find to make these delicious sandwiches were:

Wexford Creamery Mature Irish Cheddar
Alpenhaus Le Gruyère®
Sargento Tastings New Zealander

Studs and I fell in love with this combination and have enjoyed the meal several times now. I believe you will, too.

Here are the original directions for this dynamite sandwich:

Borough Market Cheese Toastie
80g montgomery's cheddar, grated
10g comté cheese, grated
10g ogleshield cheese, grated
2 slices of Poilâne sourdough bread
2 tsp mixed chopped white and red onions, leek, and crushed garlic

Assemble the sandwich and place it in a hot, lightly greased griddle pan (assuming you don't have a Panini toaster. Place a frying pan on top of the sandwich and weigh it down with a couple of cans.

Cook it for about 3 minutes until the crust starts to brown and the cheese melts through the pores of the bread. Flip it a couple of times so it cooks evenly, but make sure you don't overcook it, or you won't be able to taste all the flavours.

Kappacasein’s owner Bill Oglethorpe developed Ogleshield cheese in collaboration with Somerset dairy farmer Jamie Montgomery, whose 150 Jersey cows produce the rich, unpasteurised, full-fat milk that gives the mature cheese its distinctive flavour.

The result is one the finest aromas your nostrils could ever hope to savour, emanating from Kappacasein’s Swiss raclette - a generous helping of melted Ogleshield on a pile of new potatoes, baby gherkins and pickled onions - and its toasted cheese sandwiches, made with Montgomery cheddar, onions, leeks and garlic on Poilâne sourdough.

Now that you're done cooking, sit back with your favorite beverage and sandwich and check out a lively read from my Magic series.

Following the Powers directive to unite soul mates, a Scottish Cailleach's magic will have repercussions in several realms.

Mixed-blood author Ian McCabe, grandson of Fae and gods, tries to deny his powers while hiding his true origins from the human world. When he discovers mortal woman unconscious on his front door steps, his world starts to change.

Tour director Emma Grant signed on to lead a group of senior ladies through Scotland. The breakdown of their bus on a rural Scottish back road has her sloshing through the rain and mud on foot. Her efforts to seek help results in a fall that knocks her unconscious. She awakens to find the man of her dreams staring into her eyes.

Both feel an instant attraction but will a trouble making faerie, his secrets and her distrust of men keep them apart.

Available on Amazon.

Lizzie T. Leaf loved books since she opened her first one. Her dream was to write them herself. Lost in the hectic day to day world of family, job, laundry and housework, writing became a distant memory. When the twinkling ember did spark, it was usually doused by someone demanding their share of her time.Lizzie's life went full circle. The desire to put the stories that continued to play in her head on paper emerged stronger than ever, and at a time when there was someone who encouraged. Now she lives her dream.

Learn more about Lizzie T. Leaf on her website and blog. Connect with Lizzie on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

See all of Lizzie's book on Amazon.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Does Sam Cheever Have a Monkey on Her Back?

Multi-published author Sam Cheever is here today to discuss her addiction and how she handles it. Thanks for coming, Sam, floor is all yours.

You're welcome, Sloane, I'm glad to be here.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s something I haven’t really shared with anybody before, but anyone who really knows me probably won’t be surprised. I’m a food addict. Yup, it’s true. I LOVE food with a passion. I come by it honestly. All of our family events evolve around food. We love to eat it, we love to share new recipes, and we wouldn’t consider getting together without planning a massive eating event. Are we all grossly overweight? Not at all. Some of us are slightly more rounded than we’d like to be (me!) but we have to make sure we get enough exercise and eat more carefully in between our gastronomic events.

I tell you this because I’ve always battled that extra 10 to 20 pounds. Even as a teen I was rounder than I wanted to be. Along with this battle came self-love issues. Obviously, it’s all tied together in a society that values thin bodies above all things. I consider my near obsessive love of food an addiction. The problem with a food addiction is you can’t remove the temptation completely from your life. You need to eat. You need to have food around all the time. Which means you have to have a tremendous strength of will to avoid overeating. About the best you can do is eat stuff that tastes like butt. I mean, isn’t that pretty much what a diet is? Eating stuff you probably wouldn’t touch with a ten inch spatula if you weren’t trying to carve a few inches of jiggly stuff off your hips? But if you truly love food. If you have a passion for it like I do…it’s incredibly sad to force tasteless, rubbery food down your gullet when there’s so much yummy stuff around you could be enjoying.

My solution? I wish I had one. I generally try to avoid the worst offenders such as things that are fried or laden with butter and cream. I eat smaller quantities and try to work out regularly. I’m not perfect, as evidenced by my still curvy form, but I don’t want to live my life hating and depriving myself.

If, like me, you’ve fought against weight gain for a while and are tired of fighting the battle, you’ll enjoy The Biggest Poser. This book is based loosely on the reality show of almost the same name #:0) and deals with the battle of the bulge in a fun story filled with characters you’ll love, characters you’ll hate, and, as an added bonus, gives you a mystery to solve and a romance to enjoy along the way.

May the biggest liar win. Or die trying!

Personal trainer for the ever popular, Lose it! reality show, Jillie Maxwell is up for the most important award of her career. And she’s competing against the biggest b-eye-itch she’s ever met. Fortunately for her, she has the sexiest man alive in her corner. Problem is, each and every one of them has a dirty little secret that could tank a career.

For the contestants, the race is on to lose the most weight and win everything. For the staff of the popular weight loss show, the clock is ticking to the culmination of their lies and the possibility of losing it all.
Will the Biggest Poser win? Or will the lies just grow and grow until they sink the whole show? Only one thing is certain. Whatever happens, it’s gonna be an entertaining ride!

She found him in the gym, working his pecs with a couple of twenty-pound weights. She stood just inside the door and watched him for a few minutes, enjoying the way his muscles flexed against the thin T-shirt and shorts he wore. Sweat gave his skin a fine sheen and darkened the material of his shirt around the neckline and across his broad back.
Jillie’s thighs tightened at the sight. She chewed on her bottom lip, losing all desire to confront him with the letter. She shoved the letter deeper inside her hoodie pocket and started to turn around.


She stopped and, taking a deep breath, turned to face him, forcing a smile.

He stood next to the weight bench, a towel around his neck. He was grinning. “Did you come to work out?”
She hesitated only a moment and then lied through her teeth. “Yeah. I did. I didn’t expect to find you here.”
He mopped at his face with the towel. “I was just thinking about you.”

Pleasure spiked and her smile softened. “You were? What were you thinking?” She headed across the room.

“I was going over a recipe in my mind. I thought of you because I know you’d like it.”

“Ooh, now you’re talking my language.” She headed for a treadmill and climbed on, setting it for a five percent incline and five miles per hour to warm up. Brandt took the treadmill next to her. “It’s a mocha fudge cake, with mousse frosting.”

“Oh. My. God! That can’t possibly be low calorie.”

“I think it will be. I have some things to work out. But I have a high level of confidence I can make it happen.”
Jillie shook her head. “If I hung out with you I’d weigh a thousand pounds.” She upped the miles per hour and broke into a run. The sound of the treadmill Brandt was on changed, telling her he’d upped his speed too. When she looked over, he was staring at her.

“No. You wouldn’t. First of all, my recipes only taste fattening. They aren’t really fattening. Secondly, you’d work off every calorie.”

The look he gave her made her miss a step and almost fall off the treadmill. She gasped and grabbed the handle bar, barely keeping herself upright. When she looked at him again he’d notched a single eyebrow upward, his eyes sparking with humor.

Jillie wasn’t brave enough to ask him how she’d work off those calories. She upped her speed another mile per hour and he followed. She turned to him and found him grinning. “Is this a challenge?”

“What do you think?”

She snorted. “I think you’ll lose, cook.”

The other eyebrow notched up to match its twin. “Oh, so that’s how it’s gonna be?”

Jillie bit her bottom lip to keep from smiling and nodded. “Yeah. That’s how it’s gonna be.”

“All right then. Bring it, trainer.”

“Five percent incline, cook.”

He increased his incline.

Jillie reached up and increased the speed two more notches. She was running full out on a five percent incline. “Nine miles per hour.”

He frowned. “Oh please, I can do that in my sleep.”

She snorted. “Ten it is then. I was trying to take it easy on you.”

Brandt laughed outright. “We’ll see who’s left standing in twenty minutes.”


“Thirty-five is my final offer.”

Done. “Forty minutes.”


Sam Cheever's published work includes 50+ books of romantic suspense and fantasy/paranormal. Her books have won the Dream Realm Award for fantasy and The Swirl (interracial romance) Award. They've been nominated for and/or won several CAPAs, have been nominated multiple years for “Best of” with LRC and The Romance Reviews, and have won eCataromance’s Reviewer’s Choice award. Sam is published with Musa Publishing, Changeling Press; and Ellora’s Cave. She also publishes as Declan Sands, writing m/m fiction, and under her own imprint, Electric Prose Publications.

In real life, Sam lives in a cabin in the woods with 13 dogs and one husband. A self-proclaimed dog-aholic, Sam insists she's holding at 13...maybe...

Learn more about Sam Cheever on her website and blog Eclectic Insights. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. You can also find Sam on Goodreads, her Amazon Author Page, and About. Me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How About a Quick Trip to Austria?

Where we'll get the recipe for a delicious dish that is uber easy to prepare.

Pork Schnitzel
2 boneless pork loin chops
½ cup all-purpose flour
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 large egg
¼ cup milk
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 sprigs fresh thyme or ¼ tsp. dried
Lemon wedges – optional

Place each chop between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. Use a mallet or the side of a meat tenderizer to gently pound them until they are an even ¼ inch thick.

Combine flour and pepper in a shallow dish, plate, or paper bag. Whisk egg and milk in another dish. Pour Panko into a third dish.

Dredge the chops in flour, then egg mixture, and finally Panko. Press the breadcrumbs onto the pork so there is an even coating.

Lay the breaded pork on a plate lined with parchment or waxed paper. Set in the refrigerator uncovered for a half hour. This dries the coating and allows it to adhere during cooking.

Add oil and butter to a 10” skillet over medium-high heat.

If using fresh thyme, add the sprigs and fry for 1 minute to infuse the oil. Remove thyme and discard.

If you use dried thyme, sprinkle it on the pork before adding to the pan.

Lay the meat into the pan and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Adjust heat as needed so as not to burn the coating.

Set the cooked meat on a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil.

Garnish with lemon slices if desired.

Applesauce and boiled potatoes are wonderful accompaniments to this tasty meal.

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

Gut Essen!

Sloane Taylor
Amazon Author Page

Monday, May 12, 2014

Celebrating with Vonnie Hughes

I'm really excited to bring you multi-published Vonnie Hughes and her new Aurora Regency romance Sisters in Jeopardy. This is Book 3 of the Sisters series, and the prize for two winners in my Members Only newsletter contest.

A kidnapper makes a grave mistake and faces a revenge he never expected.

Annis's new husband investigates crimes, and Caroline's new husband is a capable ex-Army officer. When their ladies are kidnapped in an effort to suppress the evidence of pilfering and murder, Giles and Fort fight their way through all the lies and subterfuge to not only rescue them, but also to avenge them.

Fort approached the person on the seat. “Mr. Young, we’ve been looking for you.”

If that was Mr. Young, why was he listing to one side like a ship at sea?

“Is he injured? Has John hurt him?” She hurried towards them.


Fort’s peremptory order stopped her in her tracks. She watched as Fort examined Mr. Young’s head and neck. He lifted Mr. Young’s hand. It dropped laxly.

“He’s dead,” Fort said, turning towards Caroline. “Sweetheart, do you know your way out of the maze? I must stay here with the body. There’s been enough moving of evidence already.”


Fort gesticulated with a finger across his throat.

“Oh! I’ll fetch Giles. Sir William Harding will have to be notified too.” Caroline cast her husband an anxious look. “Please be careful, Giles, in case John comes back.”

“You be careful too, my love. Walk slowly and listen for footsteps on the other side of the hedge. And if you meet anyone—anyone at all, man or woman—scream. Scream loudly.”

Caroline nodded and plunged back along the gravel paths surrounded by greenery. To her great relief she met nobody, although she was so rattled by events that she took a wrong turning and had to retrace her steps. “Hurry,” she told herself. “Fort is alone there and John is on the loose.”


All of Vonnie’s books are available on Musa Publishing and Amazon.

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.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

I'll be back Wednesday with a new recipe. Until then...

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, May 07, 2014


Celebrate Mom with Musa Publishing

Grand Prize
$10.00 Musa Gift Certificate
6 Paperback Books
Beyond the Third Garden by I.J. Sarfeh
Outlaws by William Wendy
Seducing Kate by Emilia Mancini
Send Off For A Snitch by KM Rockwood
Typical Day by Gary K. Wolf
Unforgettable You by Marci Boudreaux

1st Place Winner
$5.00 Musa Gift Certificate
6 Paperback Books
The Andersen Ancestry by Addie J. King
For His Love by Nya Rayne
Outlaws by William Wendy
Seducing Kate by Emilia Mancini
Send Off For A Snitch by KM Rockwood
Typical Day by Gary K. Wolf

2nd Place Winner
5 Paperback Books
Outlaws by William Wendy
Seducing Kate by Emilia Mancini
Send Off For A Snitch by KM Rockwood
Typical Day by Gary K. Wolf
Wilder Mage by CD Coffelt

Each day we draw 2 new winners who will each receive 3 books

All participants receive a download of Cooking with Musa.
All entrants are eligible for Grand Prize Drawing May 10, 2014

Winners announced May 11, 2014

Enter daily to win!

No particular order to the daily drawings for the books below

Baiting the Hook by Mary S. Palmer and David Wilton
3.99 by Richard Satterlie
Amanda's Return by June Kramin
Buried Biker by KM Rockwood
Enter to Win by Kirsten Janey

ICE blue by Susan Rae
Lies in Wait by Donna Del Oro

Love Lies Bleeding by Lainie Giles
More Tomasewski by Del Staecker
Random Survival by Ray Wenck
Runt Wade by Robert G. Rogers

Steeled for Murder by KM Rockwood
Tales of Tomasewski by Del Staecker
Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem by Vera Jane Cook
2012: The Rising by Joanne Hirase
Crazy Greta by David Hardy
The Dominus Runes by Peter Lukes
The Grimm Legacy by Addie J. King
Reunion by Joanna Fay

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winners who reside outside the Continental United States will receive their prize in e-book format.

All must be claimed by May 15, 2014 or they are forfeited. Prizes will be shipped May 17, 2014.

Giveaway begins May 1, 2014 and ends midnight CST May 10, 2014

Monday, May 05, 2014

Vastine Bondurant + Glory Lands + Great Giveaways = Perfect

Please welcome Vastine Bondurant and her new release Glory Lands. This soul-searching novel is A Texas Piney Woods Story. Be sure to enter Vastine's terrific contest at the bottom of the post.

Rural East Texas, 1931. Preacher’s son Emory Joe Logan and a fiddler from Shreveport, Glory Lands, meet and form a tender bond. When they are caught and arrested for homosexual acts by Sheriff Elihu Bishop, the lawman’s sanctimonious bigotry threatens to rip the young men from their families.

Emory Joe’s father, Pastor Charles Logan, is brought to his knees in terror, confusion, and anger. He still regrets not standing up against Bishop when the lawman murdered a youth in cold blood nine years ago.

Now there’s no longer a choice for the preacher to stand up to the lawman. Cold-blooded justice, bigotry-disguised-as-religion, and hatred take on a whole new meaning when they’re standing on his doorstep, ready to take the son he loves.

I’D been scared lots of times in my nineteen years, but never as scared as I was as I sat with Daddy in the church.

He’d begged me to go home, to pack, and to head for the bus station while he met with the sheriff alone—how simple he made it sound, as though inviting Bishop to tea and cake.

No, I told him. I wasn’t leaving without some last words to Bishop. So if I insisted on facing the sheriff, Daddy begged me to wait it out with him at the church. He assured me Bishop would show up, as sure as night and day, and somehow he felt safer there in the sanctuary.

Tears threatened to make their way from the well in my belly to my eyes to see Daddy sitting—just sitting, still and silent, with his Bible in his lap—in his usual seat at the side of the pulpit.

He’d never in a million years have showed up at God’s house dressed in trousers, a sleeveless undershirt, and suspenders. Sweaty. Unshaven. I wondered if he even realized how much like a hobo he looked.

Who was to know how this day would end? It didn’t matter any longer.

All I did know was I’d never realized how much I loved my father until sharing that awful but somehow beautiful silence in that empty church while we waited for whatever was going to happen.

Did he know how proud Mama would have been of him? I hoped his heart knew that Mama was right beside him in that seat, holding his hand.

Looking back, I reckon my mother had always seen my true self. She’d always seemed to know there’d been something different about me. Although I knew without a doubt she would have been standing beside us right then, I was glad that she didn’t have to be.

“Daddy.” My own voice startled me when it broke the oddly peaceful tension inside the sanctuary.

Daddy, as though he’d been in a deep trance, glanced to me from whatever world he’d been lost in. “Son?”

“You know why I’m doing this?”

He crossed his legs, shifted in the seat, and shrugged. “I think so, Emory Joe.”

“If it had been just me, I’d have hightailed it out of here, not made a peep, so as to not embarrass you anymore.”

He just nodded.

I continued, “But you know I can’t, after what they’ve done to Glory.”

“I understand.”

“And, Daddy….”


“I’m not really afraid, if you’re worried about that.”

“I know, son.”



“I love you.”

With his brow furrowed, he stared at me with some words perched on his lips. He said nothing, though, just smiled and nodded. But his smile had hugged me and held me hard, and I felt his I love you stronger than any spoken words. The affection piercing me through his unsaid sentiment was the sort a fellow would give his life to have.

The purr of a car’s engine and the crunch of tires on gravel outside the open doors of the church shouldn’t have surprised me, but my body jolted anyway. And I didn’t even have to look to see who’d driven up. I knew.

Daddy drew a shaky breath, closed his eyes, and softly chanted a Psalm. “They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me….”

Icy water pulsed through my veins with my spiked heartbeat.

Car doors opened and, after a pause, closed.

This was it.

Dreamspinner Press
All Romance

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vastine Bondurant is Texas born and raised, an old fashioned, bling-loving girly girl who loves to read and write stories of men and women and the sizzling chemistry that draws them together. Her heart is bound to romance of a time long gone—gritty, sexy stories of men in fedoras and overcoats. Clandestine whispers on Bakelite telephones from the shadows of cheesy restaurant phone booths. Stories of a time when sex was all the more sexy because it wasn’t plastered on every billboard—no naked Joes and dames in every ad in every magazine. Lovemaking—hot, sweet-and-naughty, a secret between lovers. Her stories are sex and danger, wrapped up in a deceptive package—gals with soft skin, pretty lace slips, seamed stockings, satin peignoirs, and Chanel No. 5. The tough guys wear dress shirts and suspenders and they lust to get their hands on the garters that tease just beneath those kick pleats. Vastine is a goner for the dynamics of testosterone meets sugar and spice.

Learn more about Vastine Bondurant on her blog, Amazon Author Page, and her Goodreads Author Page. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pintrest.