Tuesday, October 20, 2009

No Bake Chocolate Cookies, courtesy of author Sheila Roberts

Angel Lane

Sheila Roberts lives in the Pacific Northwest. She's happily married and has three children. Writing since 1989, she has had 24 books published, both in fiction and nonfiction under different names and in different languages. However before she settled into her writing career, she did lots of other things, including owning a singing telegram company and playing in a band. But writing and helping others to find ways to make their lives better are her greatest passions.

Her down-to-earth wisdom and quirky upbeat sense of humor make Sheila a popular speaker to groups large and small. Her books are becoming perennial hot sellers. Her book Bikini Season was a Bookscan top 50, a Target Breakout Novel pick and an Amazon Beach Read pick. On Strike for Christmas will be released this year for the third year in the row and has been optioned for film. Her new release Love in Bloom has been chosen as a Reader’s Digest Condensed Book. Now… if she could just get on “Dancing with the Stars”!

You can visit her website at www.sheilasplace.com to find out about her latest women's fiction novel, Angel Lane.


I love chocolate and I’ve been known to hit the kitchen like a ravening beast in search of . . . something, anything chocolate. One of the reasons I love this particular recipe is because it’s quick and easy to make and actually has some good ingredients like oatmeal and peanut butter in it, so it makes a great snack for kids. (Mine always liked it, anyway!) I’ve had this recipe for so many years I don’t even remember where I got it. But I do remember it tastes really good. In fact, I just made some. Aaaah. Chocolate.

No Bake Chocolate Cookies

2 cups sugar
½ cup milk
½ cup cocoa
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup margarine
3 cups oats
1 tsp. vanilla

Directions: Combine in a medium saucepan: sugar, cocoa, milk, and margarine. Boil for one minute. Remove from stove and add oats, peanut butter, and vanilla and stir until mixed. After mixture cools a little drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper.

Makes 2 dozen. (Use a smaller spoon and you’ll get more)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Deputy Tempe Crabtree's Recipes, Courtesy of Author Marily Meredith

Deputy Tempe Crabtree’s Recipes

Tempe isn’t much of a cook, her minister husband comes up with better recipes that she does. However, here are a couple of her favorites because they are quick and tasty:

Beef Stroganoff with Hamburger

1 pound lean hamburger
1 onion, chopped
2 T. Worchestershire sauce
1 can tomato soup
½ soup can water
Sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small container sour cream

Brown hamburger and onions in a large skillet. Add Worchestershire sauce, soup and water. Stir and cook until hot. Stir in mushrooms. Add sour cream. Mix well. Serve over cooked noodles or rice.

Mini Pizzas

1 package of English muffins
1 can of pizza sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Toppings of choice: Pepperoni, canned mushrooms are Tempe’s favorites.

Open muffins and put each half on a baking pan. Put a spoonful of pizza sauce, sprinkle cheese on each one, and arrange toppings. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until the cheese melts. Depending upon how many people you are feeding, increase the amount of ingredients.


Marilyn Meredith is the author of over twenty-five published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest, Dispel the Mist from Mundania Press. Under the name of F. M. Meredith she writes the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series. No Sanctuary is the newest from Oak Tree Press.

She is a member of EPIC, four chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, WOK, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She was an instructor for Writer’s Digest School for ten years, served as an instructor at the Maui Writer’s Retreat and many other writer’s conferences. She makes her home in Springville CA, much like Bear Creek where Deputy Tempe Crabtree lives. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com/.


A Tulare County Supervisor, with both Native American and Mexican roots, dies under suspicious circumstances. Because of Deputy Tempe Crabtree’s own ties to the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, she’s asked to help with the investigation. To complicate matters, besides the supervisor’s husband, several others had reason to want the woman dead.

Tempe has unsettling dreams, dreams that may predict the future and bring back memories of her grandmother’s stories about the legend of the Hairy Man. Once again, Tempe’s life is threatened and this time, she fears no one will come to her rescue in time.


“…Calling the Dead, Judgment Fire and now Kindred Spirits are books not to be missed. The mystery as well as the way Hutch and Tempe work out their differences makes for interesting reading.”Patricia Reid, Best Sellers World

“…Marilyn Meredith has her own unique writing style which brings her readers in and allows them to put the pieces together like a puzzle, and to help solve the mystery as they are engaged in the reading of her work…”Terry South, Quality Book Reviews

“…You cannot go wrong with Tempe Crabtree.”Sarah Brewley, WP Book Reviews

“Marilyn’s stories flow and you don’t want to put the book down. I can’t wait for the next one to go on sale.”Keith Bettinger, Author of: Fighting Crime With “Some” Day and Lenny, or What Happens When Car 54 Where Are You Meets Dragnet


Her first dream was about her grandmother. Once again, Tempe was a child, cuddling against the soft warm body. Grandma’s nut brown wrinkled face, always expressive when she told Tempe the Indian stories. Love for her granddaughter apparent in her dark eyes. Tempe smelled the lavender that grandma always sprinkled into her dresser drawers. In the dream, she told a story Tempe had never heard before.

In the old days, women learned never to leave their acorn meal unattended. All day long they made ground acorns on the big rocks near the river. Then they took the meal down to the water to wash out the poison. They left it in the sun to dry, but when they came back it was gone.

Grandma paused dramatically and Tempe gasped. Who could have taken the acorn meal?

None of the women took it. None of the children took it. When they looked around they found big footprints in the sand where they left the meal, so they knew the Hairy Man had eaten it. He liked Indian food too and was smart enough to know he needed to wait until the acorn meal was leached of its bitterness before he took it. After that, they always set aside a portion of the leached meal for the Hairy Man. The women always wondered if the sound of them pounding the acorns let him know when it was time to come for his share of the food.

Tempe wanted to ask her grandmother questions about the Hairy Man, like did he still come for the acorn meal, but she faded away.

The only reason Tempe remembered this dream was because she had an urgent need to go to the bathroom. On her way back to bed, she noticed Hutch hadn’t joined her, so it must still be evening. Still sleepy, she thought briefly about the dream deciding it had absolutely no relationship to Supervisor Quintera’s death and promptly returned to her slumber.

Her next dream was a nightmare. Tempe knew she was on the reservation, but it was different looking as familiar places often are in dreams. The buildings all seemed dilapidated and badly in need of repair though she couldn’t see them clearly because of a grayish-yellow swirling mist surrounding everything. Jagged black mountain peaks poked through the clouds. Though she was alone, a feeling of menace was so prevalent, she could almost smell it.

In fact, she did smell a sour aroma mixed with smoke, like someone was burning trash with something toxic in it. Not knowing exactly what to do or where to go, she walked down the road which instead of being paved was dirt, and filled with rocks. No vehicles were around, either moving or parked.

Without warning, a large man who resembled Cruz Murphy stepped out of the fog. He held up a hand, palm out. “Stop. Danger ahead.”

“Maybe I can help,” Tempe said, moving closer to him, but as she did, he faded into the mist.

“Chief Murphy. Cruz, wait. Tell me what’s going on. I need to know.”

He didn’t answer, but another figure appeared from the gloom, Daniel Burcena dressed all in black. His features sharp and menacing. “You should heed warnings that are given to you. You may have native blood flowing through your veins, but your heart isn’t on the reservation. Everyone who lives here can see that. Go back where you came from.”

“I loved my grandmother,” Tempe said. “I’m sorry I wasn’t proud of my Indian heritage. Let me make it up to her.”

“It’s too late. Way too late.”

A warning siren blew. People ran from the buildings, spilling out onto the road and crowding around Tempe. What was going on? The siren stopped for a moment. It sounded again. More shrill this time. It stopped and then shrieked again.

It was the phone. Tempe shook the nightmare from her mind and picked up the receiver. “Deputy Crabtree.”

A strange voice, one that sounded like it was electronically altered growled, “Stay away from Painted Rock.”

Marilyn Meredith’s DISPEL THE MIST VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ‘09 will officially begin on Oct. 5 and end on Oct. 30. You can visit Marilyn’s blog stops at http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ during the month of October to find out more about this great book and talented author!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Saka-Saka courtesy of author Balthazar Rodrigue Nzomono-Balenda

Saka-Saka (Cassava Leaves)

Saka-Saka (Saca-Saca, Sakasaka, and also known as Mpondou, Mpondu, or Pondu) is the Congolese word for cassava leaves, and the name of a dish made from them. Could “saka” be a Congolese pronunciation of “cassava”, doubled for an emphasis on quantity to name a dish wherein cassava leaves are the main ingredient?

Central African people seem to be unique in their consumption of cassava leaves, which are cooked as greens. Elsewhere in the world, the cassava (or manioc, yuca, or yucca) plant is cultivated only for its tubers.

Cassava leaves are found only in the tropics. If you can pick your own fresh cassava leaves, select the smaller, newer leaves; the larger, older ones are tough. If cassava leaves are not available, substitute collards, kale, turnip greens, or similar. As a writer, I always do my best to take my health seriously by eating traditional food. When I have this dish, I feel like I have a desire for more and more. I am a big eater, believe me.


Lots of cassava greens stems removed, cleaned, and cut or torn into pieces
A few spoonfuls of palm oil, Moambé Sauce, or any oil
One onion, chopped
One clove garlic, minced
Sweet green pepper and/or sweet red pepper, chopped (optional)
Eggplant (peeled, cubed, rinsed, and salted) or okra, chopped (optional)
Salt, or baking soda, to taste
One piece of dried, salted, or smoked fish; or one can of pilchards; or one can of sardines

Throughly crush, mash, or grind the greens in a mortar and pestle or with whatever you can improvise. (roll them with a rolling pin, crush them in a heavy bowl with the bottom of a sturdy bottle, etc.)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add greens and cook for thirty minutes or more (much more if using cassava leaves).

Add all the remaining ingredients to the greens and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer. Do not stir. Simmer until the water is mostly gone and the greens are cooked to a pulp.

Serve aside with a fried chicken, meat, very hot chili. With rice, fufu or batton de manioc ( cassava tubes)

Balthazar Rodrigue Nzomono-Balenda is not only an author and a poet, but also a student, multimedia designer and translator. His previous books include The Depth of My Soul and The Struggle for Power and the Fight for Survival. Balthazar became interested in poetry by accident in 2003 when he wasn’t satisfied with the way things were going in his early studies and in the Danish society. His latest book is Freedom of Press: The Sitting Duck. You can visit Balthazar on the web at http://www.redroom.com/author/balthazar-rodrigue-nzomono-balenda.

Balthazar uses poetry as a tool in his book, Freedom of press the sitting duck to express himself about circumstances journalists can face, when they do their reporting in their countries or overseas. He was inspired by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour’s message on Youtube about journalists getting, kidnapped, tortured or even killed for their works. He learned that most of the time, journalists are silenced by killers who are hired by those who cannot stand the idea of an independent press. In more than 85% of cases, no one was ever arrested or convicted for a crime. Balthazar agrees with Christiane Amanpour about CPJ’s advocacy making a difference because he believes that in a healthy society, freedom of press is part of reporter’s rights to express themselves freely. Even if Balthazar is not a journalists nor he’s interested in journalism, but his objectives with this book, Freedom of press the sitting duck is also to relate situations journalists face, while doing their work and others who may have different occupations, but dealing with similar situations: Human Rights activists, Greenpeace activists, authors, freedom fighters, bloggers, aid workers, NGOs etc. Balthazar’s approach is that journalists are also people who have a right to their profession and the message, which he has to his readers, is that in our Western societies, we must not take freedom of press for granted and he believes that CPJ must keep fighting for justice against murders who have walked away from their wordings with impunity. Peace without justice is like setting yourself unrealistic goals.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sonoma Chicken Salad Courtesy of Author Kathy Balland

Kathy Balland is the author of the award-winning book: Lose the Diet – Transform your body by connection with your soul. For a FREE half hour guided meditation audio to help you relax and reconnect, sign up at: www.LoseTheDiet.com. The book trailer is at: www.DietFreeMovie.com. Follow Kathy on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/LosetheDiet.

This is one of my favorite summer recipes. Besides the dressing, there are only four ingredients! It’s simple, cool and delicious. The nutty flavor from the toasted pecans, the texture of the crunchy celery and the sweet flavor from the grapes make a great combination. The simple dressing mixed in with the chicken tops it all off. You can even buy already cooked chicken, including cooked sliced chicken, which makes it even easier.

As I say in my book Lose the Diet the only other thing you need to add is intention. Simply add a dash of love to your food. After all: If you love your food, your food will love you!
Sonoma Chicken Salad (from Whole Foods)


1 cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
5 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or cooked chicken)
3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted
2 cups red seedless grapes
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad. This can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.

Toast the pecans by putting them in a pan on medium heat, and stirring for a few minutes until they become toasted, but not burned. Place the pecans in the refrigerator to cool.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the chicken breasts in one layer in a baking dish with 1/2 cup water. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes until completely cooked through. Remove cooked chicken breasts from pan, cool at room temperature for 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate. When the chicken is cold, dice into bite-size chunks and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in pecans, grapes, celery and dressing. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Breakfast Sausage Pizza


12 ozs. pork sausage links
10 ozs. can refrigerated pizza crust dough
2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes with onions and peppers, partially thawed
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Heat oven to 425 degrees. Cook sausage according to package directions; drain. Press crust into lightly greased 14-inch pizza pan, forming a 1/2 inch rim. Bake 5 minutes. Arrange potatoes, sausage, and green pepper over crust. Whisk together eggs, milk, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Pour over pizza.

Sprinkle top with cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown and eggs are set.

Makes 6 servings

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Noodles Romanoff


8 ozs. extra wide egg noodles, uncooked
1 1/2 cups creamed cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
dash Tabasco sauce


Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Combine cottage cheese, sour cream, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and tabasco sauce. Gently combine noodles with the cottage cheese mixture. Pour into 2 1/2 quart casserole. Top with grated cheese. Bake, uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes.

4-6 servings

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Win a Copy of "Just Food" by James McWilliams

I am giving away 5 copies of this book on my book review blog - Review From Here. Head over there to check out what you need to do to win and good luck!