Monday, November 27, 2023

Your Fridge: What does it say about you?

from Anne Montgomery

What’s in your fridge? I discovered my “staples” have one thing in common. 
What that says about me is debatable.

Eighty-two percent of Americans form an opinion about someone after viewing the contents of their refrigerator. I guess that means folks are routinely sneaking a peek in the fridge, which, in and of itself, is a little creepy.

Still, when I read the statistic, I just couldn’t help myself. I bounded – in my mind I bound – off to the kitchen and opened the door to see what the stuff in my refrigerator might have to say about me.

There’s an awful lot jammed on those shelves – some things, quite frankly, I’m not sure I want to look at too closely – so I decided to list the foods that jumped out at me, figuratively speaking, of course.

Fifteen containers of mustard, all used at some point and lining a door rack, stood out. Now I’m not a complete wack job. They are different kinds of mustard: honey, spicy brown, sweet hot pepper, Coney Island hotdog, roasted garlic, and Jack Daniels horseradish, to name a few.

I did a little research and found an article titled “What your favorite condiment reveals about your personality.” (In case you think I made this up, here’s the link: https://www.dressings-sauces.org/what-your-favorite-condiment-reveals-about-your-personality.)

“Mustard usage is strongest among consumers age 35 to 64 and is also favored by those who consider themselves ambitious, self-disciplined and family-oriented,” the article said. “Mustard lovers also rate themselves as more shy than any other condiment-favoring group.”

All of that worked for me, accept the bashful part. Shyness is simply not incorporated into my DNA.

Also in my refrigerator, just above the mustard, were fourteen bottles of hot sauce. (Perhaps I’m a horder. I’ll have to revisit this possibility.) Again, all containers had been previously opened. They included Chipotle Tabasco, West Indian Hot Sauce, Brimstone Caribbean Red, Orange Pulp Habanero, and Big Black Dick’s Hot Cayman Islands Rum Sauce. (It’s a real thing, so stop snickering.)

Who craves hot sauce?

“If you are a man aged 18-34 living in the south or west, you probably prefer hot sauce to all other condiment sauces,” the above-mentioned article said. “You likely. . . are a competitive risk-taker. . .(and are) more happy, ambitious, spontaneous and risk-loving than other condiment users.”

While I’m a woman and the age bracket is wrong – I’m 62, but I’m pretty sure I look much younger – the rest is spot on.

Elsewhere in the fridge there are two crisper drawers, ostensibly for fruits and vegetables. And one does, in fact, house a large array of colorful healthy foods. However, the other drawer is filled with . . . chocolate: dark and milk, chips and cookies and my favorite toffee and caramel and nut confections. Wee Snickers bars peek from the clear plastic edges of the drawer. Multiple varieties of those chocolate slabs Trader Joe’s elves place by the checkout counter rest, half eaten, in a pile. That drawer is stuffed to the brim with sweet things, as if, perhaps, my unconscious mind is prepping for the zombie apocalypse.


“A sweet tooth has been shown to be linked to a willingness to help people out, but chocolate lovers are also emotionally vulnerable,” said another online article. “They’re charming, flirtatious and may even have a penchant for drama.”

While the rest of the fridge was filled with the usual stuff – eggs and bacon and milk, myriad cheeses – I love cheese! – yogurt and containers of things that should have been pitched long ago – it was the wine I focused on. There are always a few bottles chilling, as well as others in racks around the house. (Think the aforementioned zombie apocalypse here. One must be prepared.) 

So, what does all this say about me? I haven’t a clue. Unfortunately, the statistic did not come with an answer key, which might have proved useful. So, I considered what mustard, hot sauce, chocolate, and wine all have in common. What did I come up with? They’re all pretty much indestructible. Really. Have you ever seen mold on mustard, hot sauce, chocolate, or wine? No! of course not. They have the half-life of plutonium. Proof: I visited the Cayman Islands nine years ago, which is when I acquired my Big Black Dick hot sauce. And it’s still perfectly fine.

What this all says about me remains elusive. Perhaps you’ll have to come over, sneak a peek in the fridge, and tell me what you think.

Please allow me to give you a brief intro to my latest women's fiction novel for your reading pleasure.


The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

Amazon Buy Link


Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

 


Monday, November 20, 2023

THE COMING HOLIDAY


 from C.D. Hersh 

In honor of the coming day, we would like to share a quote we came across: George Washington, October 3, 1789  

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor . . . I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being . . . That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks . . . And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions.”

Here is a little about out shapeshifter series that will be five books with four already out on Amazon.

TITLE: The Turning Stone Chronicles

GENRE: Urban fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

HEAT LEVEL: Sensual

Three ancient Celtic families. A magical Bloodstone that enables the wearers to shape shift. A charge to use the stone’s power to benefit mankind, and a battle, that is going on even today, to control the world. Can the Secret Society of shape shifters called the Turning Stone Society heal itself and bring peace to our world?

Find out in The Series The Turning Stone Chronicles

Book one of the chronicles titled “The Promised One” available on Amazon
In the wrong hands, the Turning Stone ring is a powerful weapon for evil. So, when homicide detective Alexi Jordan discovers her secret society mentor has been murdered and his magic ring stolen, she is forced to use her shape-shifting powers to catch the killer. By doing so, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

Rhys Temple always knew his fiery cop partner and would-be-girlfriend, Alexi Jordan, had a few secrets. He considers that part of her charm. But when she changes into a man, he doesn’t find that as charming. He’ll keep her secret to keep her safe, but he’s not certain he can keep up a relationship—professional or personal.

Danny Shaw needs cash for the elaborate wedding his fiancée has planned, so he goes on a mugging spree. But when he kills a member of the secret society of Turning Stones and steals a magic ring that gives him the power to shape shift, Shaw gets more than he bargained for.

Book two of The Turning Stone Chronicles titled “Blood Brothers” available on Amazon.
When Delaney Ramsey is enlisted to help train two of the most powerful shape shifters the Turning Stone Society has seen in thousands of years, she suspects one of them is responsible for the disappearance of her daughter. To complicate matters, the man has a secret that could destroy them all. Bound by honor to protect the suspect, Delaney must prove his guilt without losing her life to his terrible powers or revealing to the police captain she’s falling for that she’s a shape shifter with more than one agenda.

The minute Captain Williams lays eyes on Delaney Ramsey, he knows she’s trouble. Uncooperative, secretive, and sexy, he can’t get her out of his mind. When he discovers she has a personal agenda for sifting through all the criminal records in his precinct, and secretly investigating his best detective, he can’t let her out of his sight. He must find out what she’s looking for before she does something illegal. If she steps over the line, he’s not certain he can look the other way for the sake of love.

Book three of The Turning Stone Chronicles titled “Son of the Moonless Night” currently available on Amazon.
Owen Todd Jordan Riley has a secret. He’s a shape shifter who has been hunting and killing his own kind. To him the only good shifter is a dead shifter. Revenge for the death of a friend motivates him, and nothing stands in his way . . . except Katrina Romanovski, the woman he is falling in love with.

Deputy coroner Katrina Romanovski has a secret, too. She hunts and kills paranormal beings like Owen. At least she did. When she rescues Owen from an attack by a werebear she is thrust back into the world she thought she’d left. Determined to find out what Owen knows about the bear, she begins a relationship meant to collect information. What she gets is something quite different love with a man she suspects of murder. Can she reconcile his deception and murderous revenge spree and find a way to redeem him? Or will she condemn him for the same things she has done and walk away from love?

Book four of The Turning Stone Chronicles titled “The Mercenary & the Shifters” available on Amazon.
A desperate call from an ex-military buddy lands a mercenary soldier in the middle of a double kidnapping, caught in an ancient shape shifter war, and ensnared between two female shape shifters after the same thing ... him.

The first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles Series page are available on Amazon. Their standalone novella, Can’t Stop The Music, is in the Soul Mate Tree collection with twelve other authors from various genres.

Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to the husband and wife co-authors whose pen name is C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s while co-authoring a number of dramas, six which have been produced in Ohio, where they live. Their interactive Christmas production had five seasonal runs in their hometown and has been sold in Virginia, California, and Ohio. As high school sweethearts, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after. Which is why they write it!

When they aren’t collaborating on a book, they enjoy reading; singing; theatre and drama; traveling; remodeling houses (Donald has remodeled something in every home they’ve owned); and antiquing. Catherine, who loves gardening, has recently drawn Donald into her world as a day laborer. Catherine is an award-winning gardener — you can see some of her garden on their website.

They are looking forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

You can see excerpts of their books, connect with, and follow C.D. Hersh at:

Website

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

Twitter

Monday, November 13, 2023

Tis the Season to Go Dutch

From Sharon Ledwith
 
You sure work up an appetite fighting fascism, saving the world, and helping out the Dutch Resistance. In my newest time travel adventure, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, my characters got to taste some of basic Dutch food such as cheese, bread, and fish (herring) stew. Yum. It’s too bad the time travelers didn’t get to check out some of the must-try Dutch treats while they were in Amsterdam during 1942, but they had bigger fish to fry, and a Timekeeper mission to complete. So, I thought I’d compile a list of some Dutch goodies in case you ever get a chance to visit the Netherlands.

Stamppot: One of the best-known Dutch dishes is stamppot, an old-style Dutch dish. It is made of mashed potatoes mixed with one or more vegetables like kale, carrots, endive or sauerkraut. Stamppot is traditionally served during the winter and enjoyed best with rookworst (smoked sausage).


Broodje kroket: The ‘kroket’ is a deep-fried roll with meat ragout inside, covered in breadcrumbs. The original Dutch ‘kroket’ is made from beef or veal, but there are many different flavors like chicken satay, shrimps, goulash or even a vegetarian ‘kroket’. You can eat a ‘kroket’ as a snack, but most of the time they are served on sliced white bread or hamburger buns with mustard on the side—even fancy restaurants serve them. Caution: the ‘kroket’ can be extremely hot inside.

Bitterballen: Translated as bitter balls When you go for drinks or visit a birthday party it is most likely that these little, round, often dangerously hot snacks are served.  They are battered in a crunchy breadcrumb coating and filled with a gooey mixture of chopped beef, beef broth, flour, butter, herbs and spices. They are typically served with mustard for dipping. The red-white-and-blue flag is also nearly mandatory while serving them!

Stroopwafel: This delicious chewy cookie the stroopwafel—translated as a syrup waffle—was first made in the town of Gouda in the Netherlands during the 18th century. In fact, until 1870 stroopwafels were made only in Gouda and there were about 100 bakeries selling these treats in that city alone. This sweet waffle made from two thin layers of batter with a sticky syrup filling in the middle. They can be purchased in packages at nearly every grocery store and bakery in the Netherlands, as well as freshly made at street stands at markets and festivals.

And this food choice somehow made me cringe…

Fries (Patatje Oorlog): While fries are popular in nearly every corner of the world, in the Netherlands they eat them with everything on it. And with everything they mean Patatje Oorlog (Fries like War). Fries with peanut butter, sauce, ketchup, mayo, onions and if you wish, you can put curry on it too! Um…I think I’ll stick to gravy or ketchup.

These treats are just a sampling of what the Dutch have to offer. So why not try something a little different and go Dutch for the upcoming holiday season? Do any of these foods whet your appetite? If so, which ones? What other ethnic foods do you savor for the holidays? I would love to know, so please share in the comments below! Cheers and happy holidays!

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 ׀


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 two shiny red e-bikes.

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

 

Monday, November 06, 2023

PERFECT YOUR ART

from Anne Montgomery

Writers Need to Perfect the Art in their posts if they want to sell books. Authors tend to think in black and white. We are words-on-paper people who weave our worlds for readers in print. However, when sharing book posts on the Internet, we need to do better in regard to the art we use, me included.

Think of how much time and effort you spend choosing cover art for your books, an often-laborious task that has us second-guessing our choices, even the moment after we hit the send button giving the final go ahead.

In the Huffington Post story, “Yes, We Really Do Judge Books by Their Cover,” Smashwords founder Mark Coker said, “A book’s cover is the first thing a potential reader sees, and it can make a lasting impression. Our brains are wired to process images faster than words. When we see an image, it makes us feel something. A great cover (can) helps the reader instantly recognize that this book is for them.”

The same idea holds true for blog posts. The picture you share is what catches the reader’s eye, not your clever verbiage. So, if you post a fuzzy photo or one that looks amateurish, the chances of readers getting to the meat of your post lessen dramatically.

Authors should want to be perceived as professionals, even if they’re writing that novel in the wee hours after the kids are put to bed and before that ear-splitting alarm signals it’s time to head off to their day job. Shoddy artwork instantly symbolizes the blogger is an amateur.

“But I’m not a photographer,” I can hear you mumble.

No worries, because we live in the world of Google images. However, it’s extremely important that when you scan those images, looking for just the right fit for your post, you do a safe search. It’s simple. Just enter in the type of picture you’re looking for, then click on images. On the tool bar, you’ll see Settings. Click and scroll down to Advanced Search. At the bottom of the page you’ll see Usage Rights. Because you’re an author selling books, you’ll need to choose Free to Use or Share, Even Commercially. Then go back to your images. While the choices are significantly pared down, the images remaining are free to use, without the risk of running afoul of the art’s owner, an adventure that might include lawyers and lawsuits and a big hit to your wallet.



When searching for images online, it’s imperative that you only use pictures that are marked Free to Use or Share.

You must then size your art. Often, authors post art that’s too small, leading to those blurred pictures. And remember, different social media platforms require different sizes of art. What looks great on Twitter might be blurred Facebook. For an in-depth look at sizing for various social media platforms, check out https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-image-sizes/.

Before taking your own pictures to post, locate images you’d like to emulate online. Then read David Peterson’s “ Six Classic Design Elements for Outstanding Photographs”: http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/tip/2679/six-classic-design-elements-for-outstanding-photographs/.

Note that it’s the little things that can ruin a picture. Take food photos, which are notoriously tough to shoot. Is the tablecloth the food rests on wrinkled? Is there an errant dab of catsup on the plate? Are there shadows covering those scrumptious cookies? “The Serious Eats Guide to Food Photography” might help: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/03/beginners-guide-to-food-photography.html.

 


 

 








For those of you who are, like me, a bit older, try not to be scared off by the technology. Over the course of your lives, you learned new things. You got better at them with practice. The same applies here.

If you peruse the websites of well-known, successful authors, you’ll see the art is first rate. You’ve labored vigorously to perfect your writing. It makes sense than, if you want people to find your books, you’ll do the same with those images you’re using to market your work.

Please allow me to give you a brief intro to my latest women's fiction novel for your reading pleasure.


The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

Amazon Buy Link


Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

 


Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Let the Holidays Begin!

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. Every year Mike and I had at least twenty people for a sit-down dinner. We cooked the meal, and the guests supplied appetizers, deserts, and wine. It was a wonderful time to reminisce, over-indulge, and have fun. There comes a time when life must change. Several years ago, I passed the turkey baster on to my daughter Dru. She's a wonderful cook and it’s great fun to be her guest. 
 MENU 
Roasted Turkey 
Stuffing 
Mashed Potatoes 
Candied Sweet Potatoes 
Broccoli 
Stir-fry 
Canned Corn 
Cranberry Sauce 
Gravy 
White wine – Chardonnay 


Roasted Turkey 
Turkey 
8 tbsp. (114g) butter
2 leeks including some green, chopped 
2 large onion, chopped 
15 baby carrots, chopped 
4 tomatoes, chopped 
1 tbsp. (15ml) dried thyme 
1 tbsp. (15ml) 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. So, if you have a 20-pound (9K) turkey it will take 140 hours or a least 5 days to thaw in the fridge. 

Thanksgiving Morning
If the turkey isn’t 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 (160°C). 

Cooking Times
10 – 18 lbs. (4.5 – 8kg) 2 - 2½ hrs. 
18 – 22 lbs. (8 – 10kg ) 2½ - 3 hrs. 
22 – 24 lbs. (10 – 11kg) 3 - 3½ hrs. 

Melt butter in a large frying pan. When the foam subsides, lay turkey, breast down, and brown first one side then the other until skin is golden. Be careful moving the turkey around, it’s heavy and awkward.

Set disposable pan on cookie sheet. Scatter chopped vegetables onto pan bottom. Insert cooking rack. 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 (2.54cm). Cover turkey and pan edges with aluminum foil, crimping 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. Tent with foil and allow to rest 30 - 45 minutes before carving. 

Remember – turkey, like all other meat, continues to cook long after it is removed from the oven.

Stuffing 
Stuffing is a winter food for us. I make a huge batch and freeze the unbaked extra in serving-size containers. Throughout the winter I’ll serve it with pork or chicken. 
 

1 package bread stuffing cubes, plain or seasoned 
½ lb. (250g) breakfast sausage in a tube or bulk 
8 tbsp. (1 stick) (114g) butter, melted 
1 rib celery, chopped 
½ medium onion, chopped 
1 egg, lightly beaten 
1½ tsp. (7.5ml) dried sage 
1½ tsp. (7.5ml) dried thyme 
2 cups (450ml) chicken stock, maybe a little more 

Empty bread cubes into a large bowl. 

 Fry sausage in a medium-sized skillet, breaking meat into small chunks, until no longer pink. Add sausage and its juice to bread cubes. 

Melt butter in same skillet. Add celery and onion when the foam subsides. Sauté 3 – 4 minutes until translucent, be careful not to let it brown. Add vegetables with all their juices to bread cubes. Mix well. Pour egg onto stuffing. Sprinkle sage and thyme across the top. Mix well. 

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

To Bake as a Side Dish 
Spoon mixture into an ungreased baking dish. Do not pack it in. Cover tightly with foil. Refrigerate stuffing until you are ready to bake it, but no longer than two days. 

To Freeze 
Spoon mixture into freezer bags, label, and pop in freezer no longer than 3 months. I use several small bags that serve 2 at a single setting. No matter which route you take, remove stuffing from the refrigerator/freezer early in the day to allow it to come to room temperature. 

Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until the top is brown. 

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

The Day Before 
Pour 1-inch (2.54cm) chicken stock into saucepan. Peel and quarter the potatoes, then place in saucepan. Add tap water to cover by 1-inch (2.54cm). Put a lid on 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 
32 oz. (1kg) can of sweet potatoes
½ cup (50g) brown sugar firmly packed 
8 tbsp. (114g) butter 
 2 handfuls mini marshmallows 

Preheat oven to 375° F (190°C). 

Drain potatoes in a colander. Cut large pieces in half. Lay potatoes into a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 22cm) glass baking dish. 

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

Bake 20 minutes. 

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

Broccoli Stir-fry 
4 mini carrots sliced on an angle 
½ cup (50g) olive oil – possibly more 
½ medium onion, sliced 
1 in. (2.54) 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. (2.5ml) red pepper flakes 
2 green onions sliced on an angle, include green 
5 mini Bello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into thirds 
1 tbsp. (15ml) lime or lemon juice 

Have all 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 ensure broccoli is well coated with oil. Add more oil if necessary. Squeeze on lime or lemon juice. Sauté 2 - 4 minutes, but be sure 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 see just how lazy I was on holidays. And I’m not ashamed. 

Canned Corn 
1 can of corn per 4 people 
butter 

Drain corn, then pour into microwave safe bowl. Lay 2 or 3 pats of butter across the top. Microwave for 3 minutes, stir and serve. 

Cranberry Sauce 
1 can of sauce per 6 people 

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

Gravy 
1 jar of gravy for 4 people 
Juices from the turkey pan 

Pour the gravy into a saucepan. Stir in ¼ - ½ cup (58 – 57g) of juice from the roasted turkey pan. Go easy so you don’t thin the gravy too much. Heat through and serve.

Have a happy and safe holiday!
Sloane

Monday, October 30, 2023

BOO!

 

May your tricks be creative, and your treats plentiful. 


Wishing you all a safe and fun Halloween! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

PRETZEL BLISS

from Sharon Ledwith

Looking for a great family snack that’s easy to make and soooo addictively wicked, you’ll need to lock those ranch-dressed, salty bites under lock and key if you want to make them last until your next movie night? Then look no more. Seriously. You’ll be hooked with your first nibble.

And guess what? No baking is required. Even your kids can help with this recipe.


PRETZEL CRACK

32 ounce bag of pretzels
16 ounce bottle of Orville Redenbacher’s Buttery Flavor popcorn oil
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (dry)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoon dill weed
1 deep foil tray (from dollar store)

Mix all dry ingredients in a medium size bowl.
Stir in popcorn oil.
Add pretzels and coat evenly, then spoon into a deep foil pan.
Air dry pretzels in foil tray, stirring every 15 minutes or so until dry. This can take anywhere from 2 - 24 hours.

Store your freshly made pretzel crack in freezer bags. Voila. Done. Ready for consumption.

Warning: If you find that you or a family member eats a whole bag in one sitting, it’s time for an intervention. Do what you must. Be firm. Then, since the bag is empty, go ahead and make some more. You know you want it.

While waiting for the pretzel crack to dry, might I suggest you enjoy a trip into the past with The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis?

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

When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.

BUY LINKS
Amazon - Kobo


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.

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