Rainy Day Reading

how-to-expand-your-mind

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna to get.”

I would like to apply this to anthologies, even if an anthology has a defined theam the stories with it can be as mixed as a deluxe box of chocolates. There are ones we all enjoy like a truffles, but there may be a few off putting pieces like coconut cream.

These are the anthologies I have read and recommend checking out:

Dark Places, Evil Faces Vol. II

Edited by Marc Lumby

My Review:

Probably not the best thing to be reading late at night with the world as crazy as it is at the moment. The short stories in this anthology are thought provoking, cringey and horrific, as they should be. I highly recommend because the dark places are indeed full of evil faces.

 

Ten-Word Tragedies

Edited by Tim Lebbon and Christopher Golden

My Review:

A gut punch of stories…
I enjoyed the concept of this anthology. There are some strong detail rich worlds to fall into. There is also a few ‘not my cup of tea’ stories. Overall an entertaining read for a rainy Sunday afternoon.

 

The Stories We Hide: Enigma Front 5

Edited by Chris Carolan

My Review:

Another outstanding collection of short stories from Enigma Front. Shout out to Marc Watson and Chis Patrick Carolan, if you don’t know them as authors check them out. I also enjoyed reading new authors to me and look forward to tracking down more of their works.

 

At Home in the Dark

Edited by Lawrence Block

My Thoughts So Far:

I haven’t finished this one yet, of the stories that I have read so far, they will haunt your dreams.

 

The Book of Extraordinary Impossible Crimes and Puzzling Deaths

Edited by Maxim Jakubowski

My Thoughts So Far:

This is one of my favorite anthologies thus far. Being an enthusiast of Agatha Christie and mysteries in general. This one has been fun to read especially Bev Vincent’s contribution.

 

Now Speaking of Bev Vincent:

Flight or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales

Edited by Bev Vincent with an introduction by Stephen King

My Review:

A perfect balanced collection of bizarre, terrifying, and creepy. Fasten you seat-belts Flight or Fright is one turbulent ride of short stories.

 

A Land Without Mirrors: A Collection of Fantasy and Surrealism

Edited by Fluky Fiction

My Review:

Yes one of my short stories is included in this anthology, along side some outstanding fantasy and surrealism writers. The talented authors in this collection will pull you into their worlds of words.

 

There we go some Orange Creams along with some Turtles, I may have lost the box of chocolates analogy. With in an anthology you may just find that perfect chocolate.

 

https://cch217.wordpress.com/2020/05/17/on-my-shelf/

 

 

 

Summer Reads

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A light breeze on bare skin as the sun beats down. Summer heat is upon us. Don’t get me wrong it was a long, snowy, cold winter and almost overnight it is now in the eighty degree range, sunny with the occasional afternoon thunderstorm. Seems like a good time to check in with some authors to see what they have on the horizon. Here are some of my Summer Reads suggestions for the long hot days ahead.

 

Richard Chizmar

https://richardchizmar.com 

The Long Walk Home

The Girl On The Porch

I picked up copies of The Long Walk Home and The Girl On The Porch  

My review of The Long Walk Home on Goodreads:

Now I’m a very picky reader, not a whole lot holds my attention. That being said I have yet to read anything by Richard Chizmar that not only holds my attention but leaves me with an icy cold chill down my spine. The quick wit dialogue and depth of characters sucks you straight into these short stories. Even if you know that the other shoe is about to drop on these characters you keep reading. Which tends to lead to a WTF usually out loud at the end. I highly recommend reading anything by Richard Chizmar he has an art to delivering the unexpected.

I am currently reading The Girl On The Porch taking it slowly as to enjoy each twist. All of Richard’s works are worth getting into.

 

Cori Lynn Arnold

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5807555.Cori_Lynn_Arnold 

Northern Deceit

Scalding Deceit

I know Cori Lynn Arnold from college, I know her in passing, one of those friend of a friend acquaintances. It took me awhile to get around to reading her work. But when I finally did I was not disappointed, I started with Northern Deceit and it sucked me in, the environment, characters and the fact that she wrote about where we had grown up was strangely nostalgic for me. I then read Scalding Deceit which was also entertaining and gave more backstory for the characters. Cori has a way of making you feel comfortable like you are with the characters also having a coffee.

My review of Northern Deceit on Goodreads:

I may be a little bias, only because I grew up in Alaska and I know what cold feels like. In reading this book I was taken right back to it, the numb fingers, the frigid cold that chills your bones. This story pulls you in and takes you for a ride. 

I’m not sure if Cori has anything in the works at the moment but I’m looking forward to anything she is working on.           

 

Ken Bruen

https://www.goodreads.com/series/50920-jack-taylor

Jack Taylor Series 

Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor Series is also something that I stumbled upon while hanging out at libraries and thumbing through the mystery/thriller section. There are now fifteen Jack Taylor books, the last one released in November of 2019. I have read eight of them, so far, enjoyable, immersive stories that you can get lost in. I will admit that I need to catch back up with Jack Taylor.   

 

Flight or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales 

Edited by Bev Vincent

http://www.bevvincent.com/ 

This was an outstanding collection of short stories all with the running theme of  ‘while on a plane’ I enjoyed all seventeen stories. I highly recommend this collection, just may not want to read it while flying. Also Bev has some insightful posts on his blog page, worth giving a read. 

My review of Flight or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales on Goodreads:

A perfect balanced collection of bizarre, terrifying, and creepy. Fasten you seat-belts Flight or Fright is one turbulent ride of short stories. 

 

Marc Watson

https://twitter.com/writewatson  

Death Dresses Poorly

Catching Hell 

A Land Without Mirrors: A Collection of Fantasy and Surrealism by Fluky Fiction

The Stories We Hide 

Marc has a way of taking you on a trip that you never knew you needed to go on. Marc also has something new ‘Coming Soon’ just not soon enough.  

My review of Death Dresses Poorly:

An outstanding job on mixing everyday life with the unknown. An enjoyable read filled with humor and emotion. You will surely enjoy the trip.

My review of The Stories We Hide:

Another outstanding collection of short stories from Enigma Front. Shout out to Marc Watson and Chis Patrick Carolan, if you don’t know them as authors check them out. I also enjoyed reading new authors to me and look forward to tracking down more of their works.

 

J.M. Sullivan

https://twitter.com/jmsullivanbooks 

Alice (The Wanderland Chronicles #1)

Broken Glass (The Wanderland Chronicles #2)

Second Star (Neverland Transmissions #1)

Lost Boy (Neverland Transmissions #2)

Blood From A Stone Twisted Villains Anthology 

J.M. Sullivan keeps rolling out the stories. I love her energy and passion that drives her storytelling.

My review of Second Star (Neverland Transmissions #1):

It’s time to embark on a scifi adventure with Peter and Wendy, in this fantastic retelling of a beloved classic. Full of adventure and fun characters, Second Star is a ride to a new Neverland that you soon will not forget.

 

Jessica Julien

https://twitter.com/jjulienauthor

Becoming The Wolf: A Twisted Retelling 

Rise of the Ringmaster

A Spectacle of Souls

Blood From A Stone Twisted Villains Anthology

Jessica Julien is a new up and coming author that knows how to turn a phrase. I had the pleasure of reading her short story Becoming The Wolf, an excellent eerie retelling of the boy who cried wolf.  

“…He was like a whisper trailing the wind as it blew through the flock we protected and in an instant she was gone. I heard the scream, the crack of bone, the dragging of the body through the brush. I wasn’t fast enough…’  

 

Paige Lavoie

https://twitter.com/MrsPaigeLavoie 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCehSv55CVqPnrGx-_0Dl6yQ/videos

A Girl Called Monster

Confidence: The Diary of an Invisible Girl

Paige Lavoie has been one of the most entertaining down to earth authors I have had the pleasure of coming across. She is an outstanding storyteller, full of advice on writing, fashion and life. She is always writing, when she’s not doing Motivational Minute Videos for Writer’s Atelier. I’m looking forward to her next book. Something about a 50’s diner in space.  

 

Mark Lumby

https://twitter.com/marklumby1 

Dark Places, Evil Places Vol. II

Sword and Snakes

I enjoy Mark’s writing style, even when it gets gory and uncomfortable. Being pushed out of our comfort zone is good…sometimes. 

My review of Dark Places, Evil Places Vol. II:

Probably not the best thing to be reading late at night with the world as crazy as it is at the moment. The short stories in this anthology are thought provoking, cringey and horrific, as they should be. I highly recommend because the dark places are indeed full of evil faces.

 

Neil Christiansen

https://twitter.com/WriteGavinGayle 

Dark White

Neil Christiansen has a way with words and imagery that pulls you into the gritty underworld of Chicago, in his modern noir thriller Dark White

“…The rain fell in sheets, straight as pinstripes through the narrow canyons of glass and steel. It battered the pavement making blisters on the cracked asphalt, turning it dark and heavy…” 

 

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Other Books that I would like to recommend for your Summer Reading:

Ten-Words Tragedies 

Inspired by Frank Turner and his songs—especially that evocative verse from Mittens—the editors were delighted to learn that he really did find that box of postcards in a New York thrift store. Frank was kind enough to send us the box, and from it we chose a series of postcards and forwarded them to the writers in this book. Gaining inspiration from the postcards and their ‘ten word tragedies’, the contributors wrote an amazingly eclectic selection of tales—moving, funny, horrific, bizarre, and delightful, these are the lives these strangers lead.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51825796-ten-word-tragedies

 

Custodian (Monsters of Earth #1)

By Patrick F. Johnson 

Frank is torn between working himself to death and drinking himself to death. His slow suicide is interrupted when he is abducted, along with dozens of others, and subjected to the test.

An alien invasion is imminent, and an ancient being is desperate to find and appoint her Custodian to safeguard humanity.

The reclusive construction worker begins his journey from relative obscurity to galactic infamy, making plenty of friends and enemies along the way.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38088826-custodian

 

The Painted Darkness

By Brian James Freeman 

When Henry was a child, something terrible happened in the woods behind his home, something so shocking he could only express his grief by drawing pictures of what he had witnessed. Eventually Henry’s mind blocked out the bad memories, but he continued to draw, often at night by the light of the moon.

Twenty years later, Henry makes his living by painting his disturbing works of art. He loves his wife and his son and life couldn’t be better… except there’s something not quite right about the old stone farmhouse his family now calls home. There’s something strange living in the cramped cellar, in the maze of pipes that feed the ancient steam boiler.

A winter storm is brewing and soon Henry will learn the true nature of the monster waiting for him down in the darkness. He will battle this demon and, in the process, he may discover what really happened when he was a child and why, in times of trouble, he thinks: I paint against the darkness.

But will Henry learn the truth in time to avoid the terrible fate awaiting him… or will the thing in the cellar get him and his family first?

Written as both a meditation on the art of creation and as an examination of the secret fears we all share, The Painted Darkness is a terrifying look at the true cost we pay when we run from our grief–and what happens when we’re finally forced to confront the monsters we know all too well. 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7849115-the-painted-darkness

 

At Home in the Dark

By Lawrence Block 

The crime fiction canopy’s a broad one, with room to give shelter to writing of all sorts, as editor Lawrence Block shows with At Home in the Dark: “Some of these stories have one or both feet planted in another genre. James Reasoner’s story is a period western, Joe Lansdale’s is bleakly dystopian, and Joe Hill’s novelette slithers through a little doorway into another world. 

https://www.amazon.com/At-Home-Dark-Lawrence-Block-ebook/dp/B07N96FTBH/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

And of course:

https://cch217.wordpress.com/2020/02/22/forgotten/

https://cch217.wordpress.com/2019/12/30/haunted-hydrangeas-an-experiment-in-flash-fiction/

 

 

Summer Fun From Edna’s Kitchen

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Drinks

Sparkling Strawberry-Lemonade Slush

Red and Blue Lemonade Cocktail

Sparkling Summer Limeade

Non-Alcoholic White Grape Spritzer

Pineapple Ginger Sparkler

 
Salads

Easy Chickpea Salad

Grilled Stone Fruit Salad

Grilled Mexican Quinoa Salad

Cucumber Caprese Salad

Tomato and Herb Salad

 
Main Dishes

Sheet-Pan Sesame Beef and Broccoli

Spicy Skillet Chicken

BLT Pasta

Easy Pork Stir-Fry

Impossibly Easy Zucchini Pie

 
Desserts

Berry Lush

Strawberry Kiwi Fruit Pizza

Sangria Poke Cake

Summer Fruit-Topped Sorbet Sundae

 

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Drinks

Sparkling Strawberry-Lemonade Slush
Ingredients:
1 can (12 oz) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 bag (10 oz) frozen strawberries, thawed
1 cup water
5 cups ginger ale, club soda or lemon-lime carbonated beverage

Steps:
In a blender, place lemonade concentrate and strawberries; blend on high speed until smooth. Pour into a nonmetal freezer container. Stir in water. Cover; freeze at least 4 hours.
If the mixture is frozen solid, let it stand at room temperature for about 15 min. For each serving, measure ½ cup slush mixture into 8-oz glass; stir in ½ cup ginger ale. Serve immediately.

Red and Blue Lemonade Cocktail
Ingredients:
2 cans (12 oz each) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
12 cups sparkling water
2 medium lemons, cut into slices
1 pint (2 cups) blueberries
1 pint (2 cups) raspberries
1 lb strawberries, stemmed and halved
1 cup mint leaves
12 oz limoncello, optional

Steps:
Fill a bowl with water, add 1 sliced lemon. Freeze completely, about 4 hours.
In a large pitcher or glass drink dispenser, add lemonade concentrate. Pour in sparkling water. Mix well.
Remove bowl from freezer. Dip the bowl into warm water, and turn the ice out. Put ice in a pitcher of lemonade mixture. Add other sliced lemon, berries and mint leaves.
Pour into glasses, and add 1 oz limoncello to each.

Sparkling Summer Limeade
Ingredients:
1 cup blackberries or blueberries
1 cup kiwi fruit, peeled and diced
1 cup fresh diced pineapple
1 cup fresh diced mango
1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced
¾ cup limeade concentrate, thawed
1 liter (4 cups) lemon-lime soda or ginger ale, chilled

Steps:
Layer blackberries, kiwi fruit, pineapple, mango and strawberries in a 64 oz pitcher. Drizzle with limeade concentrate, top with soda.
Tips: Dice fruit up to 24 hours in advance and store in the refrigerator. When it’s time to make your drink, you’ll have chilled fruit that will keep your drink cold.
To booze it up, add a cup of lime vodka to the mix.

Non-Alcoholic White Grape Spritzer
Ingredients:
½ cup green grapes, frozen
½ cup red grapes, frozen
1 orange, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
4 cups bottle ginger ale, chilled
4 cups white grape juice

Steps:
Fill a 64 oz pitcher with grapes, orange slices and lemon slices. Top with ginger ale and grape juice. Serve immediately.

Pineapple Ginger Sparkler
Ingredients:
4 cups (1 liter) ginger ale, chilled
4 cups pineapple juice, chilled
1 piece (2 inch) fresh ginger, sliced thin
1 orange, thinly sliced
½ cup fresh basil leaves, destemmed

Steps:
In a 64 ounce pitcher, combine the ginger ale and pineapple juice. Top with oranges, ginger and basil.

 

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Salads

Easy Chickpea Salad
Ingredients:
3 lemons
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 cucumber, chopped small
½ red onion, chopped small
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can (19 oz) Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or more, to taste)

Steps:
Squeeze the juice of three lemons into your serving bowl. Add olive oil and minced garlic.
Add cucumber, red onion, cherry tomatoes and chickpeas to the bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle parsley on top to garnish. Refrigerate for one hour prior to serving.

Grilled Stone Fruit Salad
Ingredients:
2 firm ripe peaches, halved, pits removed
2 firm ripe plums, halved, pits removed
2 firm ripe apricots, halved, pits removed
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 container (5 oz) baby arugula
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup chopped roasted, salted almonds

Steps:
Heat gas or charcoal grill. Brush cut sides of peaches, plums and apricots with melted butter. Place fruit cut sides down on the grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until grill marks form; turn 90°F, and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer to make perpendicular grill marks.
Transfer fruit to the cutting board; let cool 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Cut fruit into wedges.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat olive oil, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper with whisk. Reserve 1/4 cup of vinaigrette in the container; set aside. Add arugula to a large bowl of remaining vinaigrette; toss to coat. Transfer to a serving platter. Return reserved vinaigrette to a large bowl; add grilled fruit, and toss to coat.
Top arugula mixture with grilled fruit, cheese and almonds.

Grilled Mexican Quinoa Salad
Ingredients:
⅓ cup olive oil
1 ½ cups white quinoa, drained, rinsed
1 package (1 oz) original taco seasoning mix
2 ¼ cups chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
3 Tablespoons lime juice
½ teaspoon salt
1 large poblano chile, cored, seeded and cut in quarters
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut in quarters
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in quarters
½ large red onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 teaspoon honey
½ cup crumbled Cotija cheese
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Steps:
Heat gas or charcoal grill. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with foil.
In a 2-quart saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over medium heat. Add rinsed quinoa and 2 tablespoons of the taco seasoning mix. Stir 1 minute. Add broth. Heat to simmering. Cover; reduce heat to low, and cook 15 to 18 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Transfer to a medium bowl to cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix remaining taco seasoning mix, 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1 tablespoon of the lime juice and the salt in a small bowl. Place poblano chile, bell pepper, zucchini and onion in a foil-lined pan. Brush both sides of vegetables with lime mixture. Place vegetables directly on the grill over medium-high heat. Cover grill; cook 7 to 8 minutes, turning once, until grill marks appear and vegetables are crisp-tender. Cool for 10 minutes. Chop vegetables, and add to a bowl of cooled quinoa; stir to combine.
In a small bowl, beat remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice, remaining 3 tablespoons oil and the honey with whisk to make dressing. Stir dressing into quinoa-vegetable mixture, and transfer to a platter. Top with cheese; garnish with cilantro.
Tips: Quinoa is a very easy grain to prepare. Rinsing the quinoa is important to remove a natural powder coating that can have an aftertaste. This recipe uses less liquid than most package directions but yields a lighter texture.
When cutting your onion for the grill, leave the root end on. Cut each wedge through the root, and the onion will stay together better when grilling.

Cucumber Caprese Salad
Ingredients:
2 large English cucumbers
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups mini mozzarella cubes or balls
½ cup fresh chopped basil
⅓ cup olive oil
3 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:
Use a spiralizer or julienne peeler to peel cucumber into noodles. Place in a large serving bowl.
Toss with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Season to taste. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Tomato and Herb Salad
Ingredients:
Dressing
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Salad
5 tomatoes (assorted varieties, including yellow and/or heirlooms), sliced or cut into wedges
1 cup small grape tomatoes, cut in half
¼ cup thinly sliced sweet onion (such as Walla Walla or Maui)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves

Steps:
In a small bowl, beat dressing ingredients with wire whisk until well blended.
On a large platter, arrange tomatoes and onion. Drizzle dressing over tomatoes and onion. Sprinkle with basil, parsley and oregano.
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Main Dishes

Sheet-Pan Sesame Beef and Broccoli

Ingredients:
¼ cup Asian sesame dressing (from 8-oz bottle)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
4 cups fresh broccoli florets (about ½ lb)
1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ lb boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons sesame seed
Cooked white rice, if desired
Green onions, sliced on the bias, if desired

Steps:
Heat oven to 450°F. Spray 15x10x1-inch rimmed sheet pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix dressing and 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce; add broccoli, and toss to coat. Pour broccoli mixture onto pan; spread in a single layer. In the same bowl, mix brown sugar, salt and remaining 2 teaspoons soy sauce. Add beef to mixture; turn to coat. Add beef to the pan with broccoli. Roast 10 to 14 minutes or until beef is cooked to desired doneness (145°F for medium-rare) and broccoli is fork-tender. Sprinkle it with sesame seed.
Serve with rice and green onions.
Spicy Skillet Chicken

Ingredients:
1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 ¼ lb)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (11 oz) whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, undrained
⅓ cup Thick ‘n Chunky salsa
2 cups hot cooked rice

Steps:
In a small bowl, mix chili powder, salt and pepper; sprinkle evenly over both sides of chicken breasts.
In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cook for 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until the juice of chicken is clear when the center of thickest part is cut (170°F).
Stir in beans, corn and salsa. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are hot. Serve with rice.

BLT Pasta

Ingredients:
3 ½ cups chicken broth
8 oz uncooked penne pasta (2 ⅓ cups)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons butter
1 bag (5 oz) fresh baby spinach
1 ½ cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 package (12 oz) applewood smoked bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped
Shredded Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh chives or chopped fresh basil leaves, if desired

Steps:
In a 4-quart Dutch oven, heat chicken broth, pasta and black pepper to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer uncovered 11 to 14 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in butter until melted. Gradually add spinach, stirring constantly, until starting to wilt. Remove from heat; stir in tomatoes and bacon. Top with remaining ingredients.

Easy Pork Stir-Fry

Ingredients:
¾ cup chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon natural rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lb pork tenderloin, cut in ½ -inch strips
1 Tablespoon chile garlic sauce
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger root
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 cup thinly sliced bok choy
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 teaspoon roasted sesame seed
Hot white rice, lime wedges, green onions and chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for serving

Steps:
In a medium bowl, mix broth, cornstarch, soy sauce, vinegar and brown sugar. Beat with fork until smooth. Set aside.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet or work, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Swirl pan to coat sides with oil. Add pork; cook 6 to 8 minutes, turning once, until cooked through. Add chile garlic sauce and ginger root; cook 30 to 60 seconds, stirring frequently, until fragrant. Transfer to bowl; cover and keep warm.
Wipe out the skillet. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and bok choy; cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender and browned. Add red cabbage; cook 30 to 60 seconds longer or until softened.
Return pork mixture to skillet. Stir sauce; add to pork and vegetables in skillet. Heat to boiling. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Stir in sesame seeds. Serve with rice, lime wedges, green onions and cilantro.
Tips: Don’t turn the meat until it “releases.” If the oil is hot and your pork is dry, it will release (turn easily) once browned on the first side. If you try to move it too early, it will stick to the pan.
Don’t skip the step of trimming the pork tenderloin. That membrane doesn’t cook away, and it prevents flavors and seasonings from getting to the meat. To remove slippery silverskin, run a knife underneath the shiny membrane, and slice to remove the silverskin while removing as little meat as possible.

Impossibly Easy Zucchini Pie

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped tomato
½ cup chopped onion
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
⅔ cup Bisquick mix
¾ cup milk
2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Steps:
Heat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease bottom and side of pie plate, 9×1 ¼ inches.
Sprinkle zucchini, tomato, onion and cheese evenly in pie plate.
Stir together remaining ingredients with fork until blended. Pour evenly into pie plate.
Bake about 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes.

 

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Desserts

Berry Lush

Ingredients:
1 pouch (17.5 oz) Sugar Cookie Mix
Butter and egg called for on cookie mix pouch for drop cookies
⅓ cup butter, melted
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
¾ cup seedless raspberry jam
1 container (12 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 cups fresh blueberries
2 boxes (3.3 oz each) white chocolate-flavor instant pudding & pie filling mix
3 cups cold milk
1 cup fresh raspberries

Steps:
Heat oven to 375°F. Make and bake drop cookies as directed on the pouch. Cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
In the food processor, process half of the cookies to coarse crumbs. Remove to medium bowl. Continue to process the second half of cookies to coarse crumbs; add to bowl. Stir in melted butter until well blended. In an ungreased 13×9-inch pan or baking dish, press cookie crumb mixture firmly in the bottom. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and jam with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, scraping down the side of the bowl frequently. Beat in 2 cups of the whipped topping. Spread over cookie crust. Sprinkle 2 cups of the blueberries over cream cheese mixture.
In another medium bowl, beat dry pudding mix and milk with whisk about 2 minutes or until thick. Drop by spoonfuls over the berry layer; spread evenly over top. Drop remaining whipped topping by spoonfuls over the pudding layer; spread evenly. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours.
When ready to serve, sprinkle raspberries and remaining 1 cup blueberries on top. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pieces.

Strawberry Kiwi Fruit Pizza

Ingredients:
1 stick (½ cup) butter, softened
1 pouch (17.5 oz) Sugar Cookie Mix
1 large egg
1 block (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
¾ cup lemon curd
1 ½ cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
3-4 kiwi, peeled and cut into thin slices
1 pint strawberries, washed and sliced

Steps:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper. (The cooking spray will help the parchment paper stay in place.)
Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the Sugar Cookie Mix and egg and beat just until combined. Press the cookie dough into a thin layer in the prepared pan.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Beat the cream cheese and lemon curd together until light and fluffy. Add the whipped topping and beat until well combined.
Spread over the cooled cookie crust.
Cut some of the slices of kiwi in half and arrange, overlapping slightly, around the outside border of the cookie. Cut the remaining kiwi into smaller pieces and arrange them along with the strawberry slices over the lemon cheesecake filling.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Cut the bars into 15 large squares (5 cuts by 3 cuts with the knife). Then cut each square in half diagonally to create triangles.

Sangria Poke Cake

Ingredients:
1 box white cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and egg whites called for on cake mix box
1 cup water
1 box (3 oz) orange-flavored gelatin
¼ cup sweet white wine, such as Riesling
¼ cup brandy
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 cup sliced fresh peaches (about 1 medium)
1 cup fresh raspberries

Steps:
Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Make the cake as directed on the box for a 13×9-inch pan. Cool 15 minutes; use a fork or wooden skewer to poke holes all over the top of the cake, cleaning off the end with a paper towel as needed.
Meanwhile, in a 2-quart saucepan, heat 1 cup water to boiling. Remove from heat; stir in gelatin, wine and brandy until gelatin dissolves. Pour evenly over the cake. Refrigerate 3 hours.
In a large bowl, beat whipping cream with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Frost cake with whipped cream; garnish with peaches and raspberries.

Summer Fruit-Topped Sorbet Sundae

Ingredients:
1 nectarine, chopped (1 cup)
¾ cup fresh raspberries
¾ cup fresh blueberries
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons orange-flavored liqueur or orange juice
1 pint (2 cups) lemon sorbet
4 thin ginger cookies

Steps:
In a small bowl, mix nectarine, raspberries, blueberries, sugar and liqueur. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes but no longer than 4 hours.
Into each of 4 serving dishes, scoop ½ cup sorbet. Stir fruit mixture; spoon over sorbet. Garnish each serving with 1 cookie.

 

More from Edna’s Kitchen:

https://cch217.wordpress.com/2019/05/30/ednas-kitchen-presents-simply-salads/

 

 

The Weaving of Words

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I’ve started this post three times now, let’s just keep it simple and to the point. On Saturday February 29th all the ebooks that can be are FREE for one day only. 

The following titles from Edna’s Kitchen: ebook cookbooks 

Holiday Treats From Edna’s Kitchen

Holiday Treats From Edna’s Kitchen -Vol. 2

Edna’s Kitchen Presents: Sweet and Savory

Edna’s Kitchen Winter into Spring Cooking 

The ABC’s of Vegetables From Edna’s Kitchen

Recipes from Edna’s Kitchen

Edna’s Kitchen Presents: Milkshakes v.s. Smoothies

 

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Additional free ebooks available: Short Stories Fiction Erotic Mystery Thriller Noir 

Pieces Fall Together 

Always Jane

A Second Helping

Detective Stories 

As always I appreciate everyone’s support in this venture into writing rambling words, and weaving words of fiction. Quick side note Detective Stories is NOW available in paperback for those of you that like to hold things. 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084WG9STQ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Winter Reads

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It’s still freaking cold out and there is still way too much snow. Therefore it’s time to update the authors and books that you should check out. Make yourself a hot tea, coffee or cocoa and snuggle up with one or all of the following authors.

Chris Patrick Carolan’s debut novel The Nightshade Cabal is getting some very deserved attention. I had the opportunity to read it through The Parliament House publishing, and gave the following review of Chris’ work:
Chris Patrick Carolan’s debut novel The Nightshade Cabal pulls you into a dark, mysterious world of magic and lore. With Isaac Barrow leading you down into a familiar yet new world of 1880’s Halifax. Imagery that sucks you in drenched in rich detail and mystery, The Nightshade Cabal is a trip worth taking all the way to the end. I look forward to Chris Patrick Carolan’s next journey.

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http://www.parliamenthousepress.com/product-page/the-nightshade-cabal-by-chris-patrick-carolan
Neil Christiansen has a way with words and imagery that pulls you into the gritty underworld of Chicago, in his modern noir thriller Dark White.
“…The rain fell in sheets, straight as pinstripes through the narrow canyons of glass and steel. It battered the pavement making blisters on the cracked asphalt, turning it dark and heavy…”

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http://www.gavingayle.com/
Maki Morris’ Blood and Brume is another gem I had the pleasure of reading from The Parliament House publishing:
Maki Morris holds nothing back, giving her readers a shocking quick paced story from the first sentence. Ellie is off on a journey through a world made up of deep descriptive imagery. Suspense, mystery and love lurking behind each turn of the page, Blood and Brume will leave you wanting more.

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https://makimorris.com/

 

Marc Watson has a few writing projects under his belt, and more coming soon. One of the first works that I read was Death Dresses Poorly.
An outstanding job on mixing everyday life with the unknown. An enjoyable read filled with humor and emotion. You will surely enjoy the trip.

 

Paige Lavoie has been one of the most entertaining down to earth authors I have had the pleasure of coming across. She is an outstanding storyteller, full of advice on writing, fashion and life. It’s been a pleasure to watch her Motivational Minute videos through Writer’s Atelier, along with reading her A Girl Called Monster and Confidence: The Diary of an Invisible Girl. I look forward to Paige’s next story. (something in a 50’s diner…in space?)

https://www.youtube.com/user/PumpkinSpicedPaige/featured
https://www.amazon.com/Paige-Lavoie/e/B00IICPYQC
Jessica Julien is a new up and coming author that knows how to turn a phrase. I had the pleasure of reading her short story Becoming The Wolf, an excellent eerie retelling of the boy who cried wolf.
“…He was like a whisper trailing the wind as it blew through the flock we protected and in an instant she was gone. I heard the scream, the crack of bone, the dragging of the body through the brush. I wasn’t fast enough…”

 

Mark Lumby has the uncanny ability to creep you out, with the simplest of scenarios. The following from Bag of Buttons:
“…Ella had hoped that one week was enough for decomposition to take hold. She hid behind the garden shed, removed the white stone and the handful of dead daffodils, fell to her knees and began to delve her fingers into the moist soil…”

https://marklumbyblog.wordpress.com/

Early last year I had the pleasure of having one of my short stories chosen and published in Fluky Fiction’s A Land Without Mirrors: A Collection of Fantasy and Surrealism along with author Marc Watson and a handful of other outstanding authors.
Acid trips and ominous emails. Jumbled job interviews. Tiny alcoholics and teacups. Dead flowers and times of war. Befriended objects and reversed horrors. These are just a few of the surreal tales found within these pages. Collected from the most obscure authors, A Land Without Mirrors is an anthology worthy of any short story lover’s shelf.

And of course the point of this post, besides giving my fellow authors a much deserved shoutout is to give myself a mention. I decided to try out Amazon’s independently published paperback program through Kindle Direct Publishing. My overall reason for wanting to have a physical copy of Detective Stories is completely selfish. I wanted to see my characters journey in full and in print, validation that the whole writing thing of the last five-ish years hasn’t been for not. If anyone else is moved to pick up a copy, reads it and gets something from it then…that’s just icing on the cake. I created something from my twisted imagination and committed it to paper, it’s there it exists…for better or worse.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084WG9STQ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i0

 

https://cch217.wordpress.com/2019/12/31/sliding-down-the-rabbit-hole-of-self-publishing/

https://cch217549678581.wordpress.com/2019/07/23/birth-of-a-character/

 

For My Friend…

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Even now I have a vivid memory of neatly writing out Grandma Simpson’s recipes from her old handmade cookbook. I was tasked with writing them out on three by five index cards, the ones with the little yellow flowers across the top, and putting them in a wooden recipe box that was categorized with tags that read ‘Appetizers’ ‘Salads & Soups’ ‘Main Dishes’ and ‘Desserts’.

There were ones that we used every Thanksgiving the Cranberry Relish, the Cranberry Salad, and the Chocolate Zucchini Cake. Along with other ones like Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies, Simple Sugar Cookies with Powdered Sugar Icing.

Aww…the memories, I did a good amount of baking and cooking growing up, we also had a greenhouse and a good sized garden for most of my childhood. Things that at the time of doing, learning and being responsible for I didn’t appreciate, they were chores, water the garden, open the greenhouse, pick the sweet peas…and on and on.

Now that I’ve rambled…on to the point. Family, food, spending time together be it in the kitchen or out in the garden is something like time that you may take for granted but will always cherish.

My very dear friend that I experienced Junior High and High School with lost her mom not too long ago. Her dad has put together a lovely cookbook made up of his wife’s recipes and memories, to share with others. 

In honor and tribute to one Verdie Graham I present Jolly Roger’s Recipes for Disaster

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This is a kick ass book full of heirloom recipes, shenanigans and tomfoolery to honor my late wife Verdie who was a Kentucky Culinary Queen.

Our 50 years of marriage was a lifetime of meals and memories that I would like to share with all of you.

https://www.facebook.com/Jolly-Rogers-Recipes-for-Disaster-107321300831598/

 

https://createmycookbook.com/products/300754_315579_R

 

In closing I ask that you check out Jolly Roger’s Recipes for Disaster and share.

You can find most of my Grandma Simpson’s recipes in Edna’s Kitchen

-Megan Hinde

Is there really such a thing as a bad idea?

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You know when you have an idea but you’re not quite sure if it’s good or bad…Yeah that’s where I am at with this, let’s call it an opinion piece. Long introduction short, I happened upon a YouTuber, one cold, blustery day in mid October, when they dropped one of their videos into a Facebook group I happened to be following. Fast forward to the fact that this winter has dragged on with a ridiculous amount of snow and cold weather. (you know the -20 degrees with over 6 feet of snow kind) That and I have writer’s block and I haven’t found anything to read or watch that has held my attention lately. So all these little things have led me to this.

Getting on with it Jeff Terry has a YouTube channel called jeffingoff in which he unboxes books, usually limited, signed, pretty books. The first video of his that I saw was an Unboxing of The Girl On The Porch by Richard Chizmar, because he posted on a Richard Chizmar Facebook fan page. 

A short while after this first encounter, I subscribed to Jeff’s YouTube channel and thumbed through his videos. Now the point to all this rambling is that all though Jeff doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously, although he does know his stuff when it comes to books, publishers, collecting and what not. I have learned a handful about publishers and authors that just weren’t on my radar. My point is that you should watch Jeff’s unboxing videos, they are entertaining, informative and enlightening. 

Also side note to Jeff your video’s are improving with age, like a fine wine.

*and yes I’m going to tag the fuck out of this article because since I dropped the word ‘erotic’ from my writing bio…(and yes my fiction work still is)* 

Now moving on I’m going to make this two full, I put out a good amount of content over the last year so here is a run down:

There is Edna’s Kitchen which is now up to 16 titles all ebook cookbooks each only .99 cents on Amazon. *free with Kindle Unlimited* (because marketing and promotion)

https://www.amazon.com/Megan-Hinde/e/B018F9AT1C/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1533669717&sr=1-2-ent

The Anthology that Walter is published in called A Land Without Mirrors: A Collection of Fantasy and Surrealism from Fluky Fiction

My collection of flash fiction in Haunted Hydrangeas: An Experiment in Flash Fiction

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And my time spent with Detective James Andrews in Detective Stories

*Also the two YouTube video’s that I narrated*