The Where, What and Who of Writing: Holiday inspired writing prompt. This one kinda ran away with itself.

Post Thanksgiving Dinner at a Soup Kitchen

Pine Cone

Irving Rogers
Irving Rogers scraped the last of the mashed potatoes off of the paper plate, bringing the plastic spoon to his chapped lips. This is the second year Irving has partaken in the Missions free Thanksgiving meal. Irving sat up, leaning back in the metal folding chair, finishing off the apple juice from a red Solo cup, and glanced around at the few stragglers taking advantage of the warmth before venturing back out into the frigid cold air of late November.

As he finished his food, he noticed the centerpieces that sat in the middle of each folding table. There were three oversized pine cones, sitting on a white plate with a fat red candle in the middle, and a string of little silver balls interweaved between the pine cones and candle. Irving stood up from the table, and took his trash to the bin next to the kitchen. He then returned to the table, picked up his navy blue, heavy, wool overcoat off of the back of the folding chair and proceeded to put it on. Now as he was about to leave the Mission to head back out into the cold, a strange compulsion came over him, he grabbed one of the pine cones off of the centerpiece and quickly stuffed it into the pocket of his overcoat.

Irving took a deep breath as he opened the outer doors of the Mission, the cold air bit at his exposed cheeks, making the already chapped skin sting. He walked away from the Mission building and headed down an abandoned alleyway, trying to keep the frigid wind to his back. The men’s overnight shelter was on the other side of town, from the Mission. A good thirty minute walk in nice weather, the gusting winds and snow making Irving’s feet drag even slower than usual. When he came to a stack of pallets next to a dumpster Irving had to sit down. His whole body ached, his eyelids grew heavy, he fought to keep them open. But sleep, overtook Irving as he sat huddled against the dumpster.

The voice was faint, Irving was pulled from his dream as the voice repeated what it had said. “Sweety, there’s coffee.” a light female voice said from a distance. Irving was pulled further from his dream as the voice spoke again, this time closer. “Irving, we’re going to be late.” it said this time she ran her fingers through his hair. Irving opened his eyes.

Realizing that he was in a bed, in a room, looking at familiar bright green eyes. “Jessie?” He asked. “Yes, who else would it be?” She answered. He sat up taking her face into his hands and kissed her. She let out a sigh and kissed him back. “What was that for?” She asked looking into his dark, soft eyes. “Just because, I love you.” “I love you too, but we do need to get going.”

Irving laid back against the pillows, letting his surrounding sink in. This is our house, our bedroom. Jessie is here, we’re happy. I’m back to our life together…before it happened. Irving got up, showered, dressed and joined Jessie in the kitchen. “I’m ready.” He said, sliding his arms around her and holding her tight.

One More Time


Look MORE FREE ebooks on Amazon.

*Because that’s what I do*

But in all seriousness, this should be the last Amazon giveaway for the year.

Edna’s Kitchen Ebook Cookbooks Free November 17th-21st

Erotic Mystery Thriller Short Stories Ebooks Free November 17th-21st


Other quick announcements:

I am working on writing the rest of Accused, as I have left poor Detective James Andrews waiting. And there is also a new Holiday Treats From Edna’s Kitchen -Vol. 2 ebook cookbook that should show up on Amazon in the next few days.

Besides that, I thank and appreciate all of you that continue to read and support my rambling of words.

Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays, and Here’s to a prosperous New Year.


**also this is still around and yes I do earn a small percent of the royalties, being that it’s an anthology. So if you haven’t picked up a copy please do, or at least share it around. It is most appreciated.**



As 2019 comes to a close I am stepping back and looking at where I’m at and how far this writing thing has taken me. So here it goes, I just did an Amazon ebook giveaway that ran during the last week of October. I am personally impressed with the numbers especially the ebook cookbook Holiday Treats From Edna’s Kitchen, 187 copies.

For context:

Fiction Short Stories:

After the Glory

Grace’s Journey 10 

The Complete Collection 15

No Rest For The Wicked 7

Haunted Hydrangeas 22

Non-Fiction Cookbooks:

Edna’s Recipes for Summer 32

Recipes from Edna’s Kitchen 32

Holiday Treats From Edna’s Kitchen 187 

Grand Total of 312 copies picked up between October 27th & October 31st.


I also appreciate the readers that take the time to give me a rating or review on Amazon and Goodreads. I’ll take a two star over no rating any day, and I need your (the readers) feedback so that I can understand what I may have overlooked or see my piece of writing in a new light. *Which happens once in a while* 


I have put some of my works up on Tablo which is a site that I get occasional feedback on, I believe that most of their readers are in Australia.

On WordPress I get a wide audience, not a whole lot of feedback or comments but it does give me an idea of my reach around the world.

To me my biggest achievement of the past year was being included in Fluky Fiction’s Anthology, although being a small indie-publisher they don’t seem to have much reach. I would like to find more projects to be included in, however the stack of hay is extremely high and the needle is buried deep. There are so many specific anthologies, genres, writing contests and ect…that searching through it gives me a headache. And I do try to remember that I Write For Myself, as a hobby for enjoyment.

In my journey of self-publishing I am proud of Haunted Hydrangeas: An Experiment in Flash Fiction I think it came together well, and what else was I going to do with all those little writing prompts.


As far as Edna and her kitchen, I feel that I have a good assortment started and if I feel motivated to put another specific group of recipes together I probably will. Until then it’s going to be pushing marketing and exposure for what I have already self-published on Amazon.

Now as for dear Detective James Andrews I feel that I may have written him into a corner…although like any good soap opera I am sure there is a way out. I just haven’t thought of what it is yet. (If I had a little more feedback on Stella, James, Daniel and Holly I could decide which way it needs to go) Just Saying


As always I’m thankful and appreciative to all the people that read, enjoy and comment on my rambling of words, fictional and non. So here’s to the upcoming Holiday Season and New Year on the horizon. Cheers.

Happy Halloween: Free Ebooks


BOO! Happy Halloween there are free ebooks on Amazon today October 30th and tomorrow October 31st.

My treat to you all, I thank you all for reading my rambling words and for enjoying Edna’s Kitchen. Doing this whole writing thing for the last few years has been a pleasure.

Treats for All:

From Edna’s Kitchen:


From my twisted mind:


And the extras:

Thank You All, I look forward to coming up with more random words for you to enjoy in the coming year. -Megan

Music and Me


Video killed the radio star…music specifically pop culture influences in music are attached to specific events or people in my life. So here we go important people and events in my life told as a playlist. Let’s start with the most important person that introduced me to music…my dad.

Steely Dan -FM

Billy Joel -The Stranger

Eddie Rabbitt -I Love A Rainy Night

Jefferson Airplane -White Rabbit

Starship -Sara

Blondie -Heart of Glass

Jim Croce -Time In A Bottle 


From my mom I was introduced to:

The Mamas and The Papas -California Dreamin

Linda Ronstadt -When Will I Be Loved

Whitney Houston -I Wanna Dance With Somebody

Fleetwood Mac -The Chain

Heart -Alone


My introduction to pop music came from a friend that I had in fifth and sixth grade. She introduced me to: Tiffany -I Think We’re Alone Now

Debbie Gibson -Silence Speaks (A Thousand Words)


My first year in Choir I was introduced to:

The Beatles -Yesterday (aka Scrambled Eggs) 


My friend in Jr. High and the first part of High School introduced me to Boy Bands:

New Kids On The Block -Please Don’t Go Girl

And the one and only:

Madonna -Vogue


Then came the discovery of bands and artists featured in movies:

The Doors -Light My Fire

Queen -Bohemian Rhapsody

Jon Bon Jovi -Blaze Of Glory


During my trip to New York City to sing with my High School Choir at Carnegie Hall an appreciation for Broadway emerged:

The Secret Garden -Lily’s Eyes

The Phantom of the Opera -The Music Of The Night

On a side note we performed John Rutter’s Gloria and Te Deum at Carnegie Hall Easter Sunday 1992. During my time with my college choir we performed Handel’s Messiah.

From my brother I was introduced to: (via him sitting on my bed at one in the morning playing what he had taught himself) 

Guns N’ Roses -November Rain

Metallica -One

Nirvana -Come as You Are


A very talented guitarist and bass player, that played in two different bands during his HighSchool years.

Begorra and Insondae


Then came the late 90’s with:

Spice Girls -Wannabe

Alanis Morissette -You Oughta Know

Aqua -Barbie Girl

Chumbawamba -Tubthumping

No Doubt -Don’t Speak


As life goes on and you become busy with the agendas of the day, music, movies, entertainment and pop culture comes and goes. There’s a gap from late ‘99 to mid 2004, during which time I was having and raising my son. That I became disconnected with what was current pop culture entertainment. My days consisted more of Sesame Street, Mr. Rodgers, Arthur, Reading Rainbow and singing the ABC’s. 


Being older and sometimes wiser…I listen to a diverse mix of music usually based on my mood. I have discovered many independent artists from movies and t.v. shows:

The Fray -How to Save a Life

Ingrid Olava -Back to Love

Snow Patrol -Chasing Cars

Andra Day -Rise Up

Lissie -Mother

The Sweeplings -Carry Me Home

Jen Cloher -Take Something Beautiful

Low Roar -I’ll Keep Coming

Quick Announcement

As you all know or don’t know I have been doing writing prompts that consist of a place, an item, and a name/occupation. After going through these prompts from community members and friends I have taken a few and expanded on them. Some are just short 200 plus word flash fiction pieces and others grew into full blown 3000 word short stories.

I put them into a new ebook called:

Haunted Hydrangeas -An Experiment in Flash Fiction


My deepest gratitude for anyone that has participated in the Where, What, and Who of Writing. We all know I can’t be this twisted on my own. Also I am looking forward to doing more writing prompts over the up coming year, hope to have more of a monthly theme to work with.

Autumn Reads




Once again procrastinating on what I should be doing and writing this up instead. When inspired, grab it and hold on with both hands. October is a good time to put together a list of spooky, scary, eerie, gory stories. So without further adieu, here are some authors that know how to scare, freak and gross you out.

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…”


Richard Chizmar is quickly on his way to having his hand in every aspect of storytelling, movie making and keeping us readers hooked. Let’s just say Richards words have become an addiction the characters suck you into their world and as soon as you become comfortable, the twist hits you, taking your breath away.


Joe Hill has such a talent that I find it slightly difficult to read his stories in large doses. His use of imagery is the stuff of nightmares. Which is what makes it so so so good.


Owen King has a slow burn approach to his stories. That take their time sinking into your subconscious, and haunting you from then on.


Stephen King is and always will be the master of all things horror. He is still turning out masterful pieces of storytelling. Never stop, never change, you have influenced so many writers in all genres over so many years.

*My thoughts on being a Constant Reader*      


Shirley Jackson throwing in a classic, a perfect read for a chilly Autumn night. We Have Always Lived in the Castle


Of course I am going to toss this one in:

A Land Without Mirrors: A Collection of Fantasy and Surrealism

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.



Detective James Andrews -Revisited


Dark Corners

It was a warm windy day in early April, Detective James Andrews entered the downtown police precinct.

“Message for you,” the desk attendant said holding up a pink slip of paper.

“Thanks,” Detective Andrews said as he snatched the paper from the attendant and continued on to his desk.

Anonymous female caller reporting a death at the Cornerstone Estate off of Route 22. Deceased is Mrs. Emily Scott. Husband Mr. Donald Henderson. 

Detective Andrews grabbed a cup of coffee with two sugars, a splash of cream, his notepad and a new black ballpoint pen. As he headed out to his car the desk attendant said.

“No rest for the wicked,” James flipped him off as he left the precinct.

It was a long drive out to Cornerstone, James switched on the radio, soft jazz played as he rolled down the window. The warm April breeze felt good, this winter had been fridged and unforgiving. He turned onto the driveway of the Cornerstone Estate and slowly made his way up to the two story farmhouse.

“Not sure why anyone would want to live this far out from civilization,” he mumbled to himself as he parked in front of the house.

“What do we have?” Detective Andrews asked the responding officer as he walked up the to the porch.

“Good Morning Sir, female 23, 5’6” red hair, green eyes identified as Emily Scott found deceased early this morning by her husband Donald Henderson,”

“Where was she found?” Detective Andrews asked.

“In the living room, she had sprained her ankle recently while out riding and was set up with a roll-away bed,” 

They entered the living room making their way over to the roll-away bed that had been set up in the far corner next to the windows. James looked over Emily’s body, she was laying on the bed covered with a blanket. She could have been sleeping, except that her eyes were open and her lips had a slight blue color to them.

“And where is the husband now?” Detective Andrews asked as he closed Emily’s eyes. 

“In the kitchen Sir,”

“Mr. Henderson, can you tell me about your wife Emily?” Detective Andrews asked as he took a seat across from Donald at the kitchen table.

“Emily was my heart, she loved this house, and to go riding, she was riding a stallion named Foxtail about two weeks ago when she was thrown, and sprained her ankle, which is why she was sleeping in the living room,” Donald answered.

“Was Emily depressed?”

“She was getting restless being stuck in bed while her ankle healed, but I don’t think she was depressed, her friend from college had been visiting and stayed to help out while she recovered,”

“Does this friend have a name and where abouts?”

“Laura White and she’s upstairs in the guest bedroom, she was very upset by Emily’s passing,” Donald answered.

Knock, knock.

“Miss White, Laura, my name is Detective Andrews may I speak with you for a moment about Emily?” 

The door clicked.

Laura opened the door and let Detective Andrews into the guest bedroom.

“Thank you,” he said as he took a seat next to the bed.

Laura sat on the bed next to the nightstand and lit a cigarette, she took a deep drag before speaking.

“So what do you want to know?” she asked.

“How well did you know Emily?” Detective Andrews asked taking out his notepad and pen.

“Well, we were friends, we met at college, we both played for the women’s tennis team, and we shared an apartment towards the end of school,” she answered as she took another drag.

“Why did you come to visit Emily?”

“Because my ex-boyfriend is an asshole and I didn’t have anywhere else to go,” she said smashing her cigarette into the ashtray.

“How was Emily’s mood the last time you talked to her?”

“She seemed fine, maybe a little annoyed by how long it was taking her ankle to heal, I bought her breakfast that she ate, then I had to go run some errands, she was sleeping when I got back so I didn’t disturb her,”

“Thank you for your time Laura,” Detective Andrews said as he made his way towards the door.

Detective Andrews returned to the living room to look over Emily’s area. He looked through the side table that was closest to the bed, he found a red book with a gold rose embossed in the corner on the cover. 

He thumbed through the book, it was full of journal entries written by Emily.

“Curious, hey come photograph this as evidence,” he asked the crime scene worker. He slipped it into an evidence envelope and took it with him. 

James poured himself a Scotch and sat in his easychair.

“Ok, Emily lets see what you have to say,” he opened her journal and read.

September 7th

Oh my God…I have met the perfect guy. So cute and funny. He’s my TA for Economics 412 I asked him if anyone called him Don and he said no. He will be an interesting one to get to know.

James sipped on his Scotch and thumbed through a few more pages.

December 22nd

Taking Donald home for Christmas to meet mom and dad. Hope it goes well, I really, really like him. 

June 15th

Yay! Wedding Day! I can’t believe it’s finally here.

June 20th

I love my dad so much he gave me Cornerstone, to have as my very own. I hope Donald loves it as much as I do. 

July 6th

I am so happy, although Mrs. Newcome took forever to do the walk through at Cornerstone. But she’s mine and I am so ready to get to run the house and ride the horses. 

James finished off his drink and poured another. He flipped further on into Emily’s journal.

March 5th

So Laura White called out of the blue, giving me a sob story about her and Mitch. We have room and I don’t mind her staying for a little while.

March 8th

Fuck, Dr. Edwards says my ankle isn’t broken just severely sprained. Can’t believe I am stuck downstairs in the living room. At least Laura is helpful.

March 22nd

I don’t know what Donald’s problem is, I am the one that can’t do anything. He’s spending a lot of time with Laura and I am starting to feel a little left out of the loop. 

March 27th

Who the hell does she think she is, this is my house. I knew I had heard something the other night. I carefully hobbled into the downstairs bathroom and I heard her. I heard her with him through the air vent.

“Well that’s what we call motive,” James said as he finished off his second Scotch.

Detective Andrews was sitting at his desk when he was handed a large envelope.

“What’s this?”

“Your background checks on Donald Henderson, Laura White and Emily Scott, as well as the autopsy results on Mrs. Scott” 

“Thanks,” James said and opened the envelope.

He flipped through the pages, looking for anything that stood out. He read over the background checks and through the autopsy report.

“Wait a minute, St. Anthony’s orphanage for lost children, gotcha,” he gathered the papers and headed out.

Detective Andrews knocked on the door of the farmhouse on the Cornerstone estate.

“Yes?” Donald answered the door. 

“Is Laura here?” James asked as he entered the house.

“Yes, she’s in the kitchen,”

Detective Andrews made his way to the kitchen with Donald on his heels.

“What’s this all about?” Donald asked.

“First and only chance to tell the truth, Laura,”

Laura turned around from the sink.

“What?” she said looking at Donald and James.

“Have a seat Laura,”

She sat at the kitchen table.

“Would you like to tell me about St. Anthony’s?” Detective Andrews asked.

“Can I have a cigarette?”

“Sure, have a seat Mr. Henderson this concerns you,”

Laura lit up and took a drag.

“What about it?” she asked.

“Did you know Donald at the orphanage?” 


“Did he promise you something, for getting rid of Emily?”

“Now wait a minute, don’t say anything Laura,” Donald said as he stood up.

“Sit down Mr. Henderson, or officer Roberts here will help you sit down,” James motioned towards the doorway where two uniformed officers were standing. Donald took a seat.

“Laura, did Donald promise you something?” James repeated his question.

Laura’s hands shook as she tried to take another drag. She put the cigarette out and cleared her throat.

“Yes, he promised me a life with him, if I killed Emily,” 

“How did you do it?” James asked.

“I crushed up her Valium and mixed it into her oatmeal, when she was sleeping I covered her mouth and nose, she struggled then she just stopped,”

“You do understand that you will be arrested for first degree murder,” James said.

Laura nodded.   



Tuesday Dinner 

“Really, meatloaf again?” Henry said as he sat down at the table. 

Ruth smiled, poured him a glass of milk and sat down to enjoy her dinner. Henry took three bites, and tossed his fork on to his plate.

“You know what Ruth? I’m done, I’m done with your dried out meatloaf and with you,” Henry declared as he got up and retrieved a large manila envelope from his briefcase. He handed Ruth the envelope. 

“What’s this?” she asked.

“Divorce papers, I will pick up my stuff on Thursday,”

“Where are you going to stay?” she asked

“I’m moving in with my girlfriend, Trixie,” he stated as he grabbed his coat and left.

“Well fuck me,” Ruth said to the empty room as she got up, got a wine glass and the bottle of red from the fridge. She sat at the table, poured a glass, and finished her dinner.

After finishing off the bottle of red and reading the divorce papers over and over again, Ruth passed out on the couch in the living room.

Wednesday Morning

Ruth woke up with a stiff neck and a screaming headache. She didn’t drink often and polishing off the bottle of wine did her in. Stumbling into the bathroom and finding the shower Ruth stood in the water evaluating her life with Henry.

After college, Ruth started volunteering for St. Anthony’s hot lunch program, she enjoyed being a part of her community and had majored in Culinary Arts along with a minor in Social Work. When she started Brenda Pierce was the cornitator of the lunch program, she helped Ruth learn the ropes of using the budget responsibly along with the donated non-perishables to make up monthly menus. As well as how to manage the volunteers, St. Anthony’s served  hot lunch four days a week and a bagged lunch on Fridays, open to anyone in the community. Ruth enjoyed helping with and then running the program when Brenda moved on. 

It had been about six months in to Ruth’s time at St. Anthony’s when Brenda suggested that Ruth should meet her cousin Henry. He was in banking and had just taken a manager position at First City Bank and Trust. Ruth hesitated at being set up with someone at first, but Brenda’s insisting finally got her to agree to one dinner in public. The evening of the set up Ruth dressed nicely, but kept it casual, in a blue top and black slacks. She left her dirty blonde, shoulder length hair down, adorned with a single blue rose clip on one side.

Promptly at six Henry knocked on the door to her modest one bedroom apartment. He was dressed in a white button down shirt and a pair of black dress pants. They had dinner at a retro 50’s dinner downtown, it’s decor popped with a paisley blue and pink coloring accented in black stripping. After being seated Henry ordered a steak medium rare with all the fixings and Ruth had a Cobb Salad with thousand island dressing on the side and a cup of Clam Chowder. They ate and made small talk about life goals, family and the future. Although Ruth was distracted by the rareness of Henry’s steak, not sure how anyone could eat such a bloody piece of meat. She enjoyed a good steak just didn’t care for it to be oozing so much redness. 

The next morning Brenda asked for details of the ‘date’ Ruth said that it was nice, he was cute and yes maybe she would see him again. 

Ruth stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around herself, she wiped the mirror off and looked at herself. If he can move on then so can I… And what kind of a name is Trixie?

Ruth and Henry dated for the next year and shortly after her 23rd birthday she married Henry Pierce, her only stipulation was that she would keep her maiden name of Davis. Because she just didn’t like how Ruth Pierce sounded, Henry agreed and they had a small wedding of family and friends. She enjoyed married life, they got along, had friends went out every other weekend and had a nice home just outside of town. 

As Ruth got dressed to go in to work she did reflect back on the last year and how Henry may have become more distance than before. They went out less and he worked more, last time they went out to dinner was her 30th birthday which was well over four months ago. When did we even have sex last…  Considering that she couldn’t recall the last time, maybe their marriage had slipped away without her noticing.

Thursday Evening 

Henry pulled the old samsonite suitcases out of the back of the walk in closet and started to pack up his belongings. Ruth stood in the doorway of the master bedroom sipping on her third glass of wine.

“So how’s Trix?” she asked.

Henry slightly caught off guard by her tone stopped folding the clothes and looked over at her.

“She’s fine, she is young, active, fit, beautiful and makes me happy,” he answered.

“Well then, what does she do, besides make you happy?”

“She’s an exotic dancer out at The Royal Flesh, if you must know,”

“She’s a stripper?” Ruth about choked on her wine.

“I need the divorce papers signed by Monday,” he said as he finished packing up and got ready to leave. He set his house keys on the kitchen counter on his way out.

Saturday Night

Ruth entered the warm musty smelling club, not quite knowing why she wanted to get a look at this Trixie person. A petite fit looking woman with short red hair rushed by her carrying a tray of drinks.

“I’ll be with you in a moment, take a seat anywhere,”

Ruth chose a table that faced the main stage.

“Hey sweetie, my name is Jade, what can I get for you?” 

“A white wine, and is Trixie here tonight?” Ruth asked.

“She sure is, should be on stage in a bit,” 

Ruth sipped her wine while she surveyed the crowd of people. She took note of the guy with the tattoo on his forearm talking to a redhead, and a tall skinny guy in need of a haircut talking to the bartender. The announcer came on.

“Please welcome to the main stage our naughty schoolgirl, Trixie,”

Ruth watched the tall slender woman with long raven black hair, twirl herself around the pole. She was dressed in a short schoolgirl plaid skirt and an unbuttoned white blouse. She danced around the stage losing the shirt and then the skirt, leaving her in a dark blue g-string and bra.

“Can I get you anything else?” Jade asked as she passed by Ruth’s table.

“Do you have a champagne room?” 

“Actually, we do, it’s cash only one hundred dollars a bottle, who would you like to drink with?”

“Her,” Ruth pointed to the main stage where Trixie was finishing up her act. 

“I will set that up for you, give me a minute,”

Trixie dressed in her schoolgirl uniform and carrying a bottle of champagne approached Ruth’s table.

“You asked for a bottle?” she said holding the bottle up.

“Yes, I did.” 

“This way please,”

Trixie led Ruth towards the back of the main stage and turned down a hallway, she opened the door to a room lit by a red glow. 

“Have a seat,” Trixie pointed towards a couch in the corner as she closed the door behind them. Ruth took a seat while Trixie popped open the champagne and turned on some soft music.

“Here you go,” she handed Ruth a glass of champagne.

Trixie swayed back and forth in front of Ruth, running her hands through her long dark hair.

“So sweetie, what do you like,” Trixie asked.

Ruth took a sip of the champagne, setting it down on the side table.

“I like you,” she said moving forward and running her hands up the outside of Trixie’s bare legs. 

Trixie smiled at Ruth, leaned down and kissed her gently on the lips. Trixie straddled Ruth’s lap moving back and forth against her. Ruth opened Trixie’s blouse and caressed her breasts, Trixie leaned back and let out a moan.

“So how far can we take it in here?” Ruth asked kissing Trixie’s neck.

“Not nearly far enough,” she answered sliding her hand in between Ruth’s legs.

“There’s a Westside motel off of route 21, meet me there in an hour,” Ruth said.

“Sure,” Trixie agreed kissing Ruth deeply before leaving the champagne room.

As Ruth was leaving The Royal Flesh she watched Trixie having a heated discussion with the guy that was in need of a haircut at the bar. 

Monday Morning 

Henry knocked on the door of what use to be their house promptly at eight.

“Here you go,” Ruth handed him a manila envelope.

“Thanks,” Henry was slightly taken aback by her abruptness. 

“No time for a coffee?” he asked.

“Why not, for old times sake,”

They sat at the kitchen table sipping their coffees.

“So, how’s the new life going?” she asked.

“It’s fine,”

“Really, no red flags going up about anything,”

“Why are you being cryptic?”

“Do you even know her?”

“I’m getting to know her,”

“Just don’t do anything stupid,”


“Don’t marry her, you can play house with her and you can fuck her, just don’t marry her,”  

Tuesday Night

“Hey, Jade can you give this to Trixie when she comes in?” Ruth handed Jade a plain white envelope with a single blue rose embossed in the corner.

“Sure, I don’t think she’s in till after 8 though,”

“That’s fine, thanks,” Ruth left The Royal Flesh.

Ruth was waiting in room 14 at the Westside Motel, at a quarter to one there was a knock on the door. She answered it.

“Come in, come in, thanks for coming,” Ruth kissed Trixie on the cheek as she entered the room. Ruth closed the door, and wrapped her arms around Trixie kissing her deeply.

“I made cupcakes, would you like one,”


Ruth handed her one, it’s chocolate with a buttercream frosting. Trixie took a bite.

“Mmm…it’s good,” Trixie said while trying not to get crumbs all over. Ruth smiled at her.

Trixie felt a strange warmth wash over her, she tried to swallow and found that her lips and tongue were swelling up. 

“What the..” she tired to say as she became light headed and fell to the floor. 


Detective James Andrews stood in the doorway of room 14 at the Westside Motel.

“What do we have on this fine autumn day?” he asked sipping on his coffee.

“Deceased woman identified by her license as Beatrix Holiday, 25, of 452 West Ridge Dr. apartment #3 Overland, apparent cause of death was anaphylactic shock due to the peanut butter frosting on the cupcake, Sir,” the responding officer stated. 

Detective Andrews stepped into the room and looked over the body.

“Was she registered to this room?” 

“No, the room was paid for in cash by Laura Hunt,”

Detective Andrews laughed to himself.


“It’s a fictitious name from a movie,” he answered.

“Let’s dust the room and see if there is any security footage available,” 

~ ~ ~ ~

It had been a week since Beatrix Holiday’s body had been found at the Westside Motel, and Detective Andrews was no closer to an answer as to why she was there and exactly what had happened.

“Sir, forensics report on the Holiday case, ” Officer Roberts handed him the file.

“Thanks,” James thumbed through the report.

Cause of death anaphylactic shock caused by a trace amount of  peanut butter found in the butter cream icing. Four individuals prints found in room 14, Beatrix Holiday, Jade Matthews, Shane Henderson, Ruth Davis.

He looked over the security photos from Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, one car was parked in front of room 14 on Tuesday night. One car that matched up with one person’s prints, James grabbed his notepad and a ballpoint pen.

James knocked on the door of the older ranch style house that sat just outside of town.

“Mrs. Ruth Davis?” 


“Hello, I’m Detective James Andrews and I would like to ask you a few questions about last Tuesday night, do you mind if I come in?”

Ruth smiled at him and held the door open.

“Would you like some coffee?” she asked.

“Yes, that would be very nice, thank you,”

James took a seat at the kitchen table while Ruth started a fresh pot of coffee. He looked her over running his eyes up and down her hourglass figure. Her hair was pulled back into a french twist, she was wearing an a line navy blue skirt that came to her knee, dark stockings, a black pair of heels and a light blue silk blouse with the top two buttons open.

“Cream and sugar?” she asked.

“Yes, please,” 

Ruth set the cup of coffee down in front of James and took a seat across from him. He took a sip of the coffee and smiled at her.

“Mmm…it’s good, much better than the stuff at the office,”

“So detective what’s on your mind,”

James gave her a grin and pulled out his notepad and ballpoint pen. 

“You’re an intelligent, beautiful lady, Ruth, I think you know why I am here,”

“I may, James, can I call you James?”

“Sure, Ruth, you can call me James, so do you enjoy classic films?”

“As a matter of fact I do, James, have you seen Nightingale?”

“Yes, Ruth, I have, which is how I know it was you that used the name Laura Hunt at the Westside Motel last Tuesday night,”

Ruth took a sip of her coffee.

“Well aren’t you clever, James,”

“How did you know Beatrix Holiday was allergic to peanuts?”

“She had a medical ID keychain that identified her allergen, I happen to see it when we were together Saturday night,”

“Were you having an affair with Beatrix?”

“Nope, my husband was, he left me for her,”

James finished his coffee, closed his notepad and put his ballpoint pen back into his breast pocket. 

“Here’s the thing Ruth,” he took her hand in his and looked into her eyes.

“Right now this is not a murder case, it’s an accidental death,”

She smiled at him and gave his hand a light squeeze.

*to be continued*

The Light of Day


A faint light has begun off to the east, creeping its way slowly across the dark fields of wheat and corn. The light reaches the side of a single level ranch style home. There is a small tear in the screen of the kitchen window that has been left open. A lazy, fat horse fly makes his way through the tear and into the kitchen, gliding over the yellow formica countertops, and landing on one of the dark stained cupboard doors with worn brass handles. The morning sun streams through the kitchen window illuminating the clean but worn area. Upon entering the kitchen John rolls up the morning paper and smacks the lazy horsefly, it falls to the countertop and John sweeps it into the trash bin. 

He opens one of the cupboards doors, pulling out a tin of Folgers coffee and goes about filling and starting the Mr. Coffee 12 cup coffee pot that he and Ann received last year form Lucy as an anniversary present. Lucy being Ann’s much younger sister by a full sixteen years, had just received her first paycheck from her after school job, and wanted to get John and Ann something that they could use everyday. John poured himself a cup, tossed some sugar and half & half in and took a seat at the kitchen table to skim the morning paper before heading out to the Henderson’s Ranch to get started for the day. Ann entered the kitchen wearing her faded pale blue bathrobe. “Morning.” She said before coughing and clearing her throat. “How are you feeling?” John asked. “OK, just have this nagging cough that doesn’t seem to want to go away.” Ann said pouring herself a cup of coffee. “You can always give Dr. Baker a call, I’m sure he would do a house call for you.” He said rinsing out his coffee cup and grabbing his keys from the hook on the wooden plaque that says ‘KEYS’ that is hung on the wall next to the backdoor. Ann shrugged. “We’ll see how the day goes.” John kissed her on the cheek and walked out to his 67’ Chevy pickup that Clive Henderson had sold to him for a decent price. It wasn’t much to look at but it was reliable, and being out in farmland away from town that’s what mattered.

Ann made her way into the living room, with her coffee, shuffling her bare feet over the shaggy green carpet and taking a seat in the brown easy chair, with worn arms. She sat back pulling on the wooden handle to extend the foot rest. When she was comfortable she found herself a copy of Redbook and thumbed through the magazine, as she sipped her coffee. 

Ann awoke to a violent coughing fit. She managed to get herself up, out of the easy chair, making her way down the hallway leaning against the dark wood paneling, and into the bathroom. Her coughs shook her body, causing her eyes to water, and her nose to run. She spit into the bathroom sink, the phlegm was a dark yellow. Ann gagged, dropped to her knees and leaned over the toilet, she held her long dark hair back as she expelled her morning coffee. She sat on the bathroom floor taking slow deep breaths.

Dr. Baker knocked on the door at a quarter past one. Ann had showered, dressed and straightened up the house, in anticipation of his arrival. “Ann, how are we doing today?” Dr. Baker said stepping inside as Ann held the door open. “I’d be better if this cough would go away.” She said showing him into the living room. He took a seat on the faded burgundy couch, putting his doctors bag down on the oak coffee table. “Have a seat, I’ll take a listen.” Ann sat beside him, as he took out his stethoscope. Dr. Baker held the stethoscope to Ann’s chest. “Deep breath. And again.” He said. “OK, now your back.” Ann turned her back towards him. “Deep breath.” He said listening as she exhaled. “And again. And once more.” He said listening to each side of her lungs. He put the stethoscope down and took her wrist, he watched the second hand of his watch as he took her pulse. He then looked into her eyes, as he ran his fingers down the side of her neck and over her collarbone. He retrieved a small flashlight from his bag. “Say ahh.” Ann cleared her throat and said “Ahh.” Dr. Baker shined the light into her mouth. “OK, good.” 

He put his stethoscope and flashlight away and took out a small notebook and pen. “Just a few questions. How long have you had this cough?” He asked. Ann thought about it for a second. “Hum…Let’s see. It was after Easter. So maybe three months now.” She said. He made a few notes and then asked. “Do you smoke?” Ann shrugged her shoulders. “I do have one or two of John’s Winston’s, once in a while.” He nodded his head making another note. “On a scale of one to ten, how bad do you feel today? Ten being the worst.” “I would say maybe an eight for the last few days.” She said. “I think you have a case of acute bronchitis, drink plenty of water, rest and eat soups. I’ll leave you some cough syrup with a pain reliever.” Dr. Baker said gathering his things. Ann walked him to the door. “Thank you for coming out.” She said. “No, problem. Give me a call if you need anything else, and give this to John when he gets home.” He said handing her a folded note.

Ann put the note for John on the kitchen table and opened the pantry doors. She glanced over the assortment of canned goods, grabbing herself a can of Campbell’s chicken noodles. She warmed up the soup and made some toast. After eating she looked at the bottle of cough syrup, poured a spoon full and swallowed. “Eww..” Ann said twisting her face at the bitter taste.

The house was dark and quiet when John got back from the Henderson’s Ranch, he read over the note Dr. Baker had left him while sipping on a bottle of Coke. 


Ann has a bad case of bronchitis, see that she gets plenty of water, and rest. I left her some cough syrup that should help her when resting. Let me know if her condition changes. 


Dr. Baker           

John finished off his drink and went to check on Ann.

~ ~ ~ ~ 

Three Weeks Later 

John sat at the kitchen table fidgeting with the pen in his hand. Ann wasn’t getting any better, Dr. Baker had been back out to see her, he examined her, took more notes and was going to discuss it with a colleague of his in Topeka. That was ten days ago. Ann was no longer able to leave her bed for more than an hour or two, before she would become winded and over come with a deep, harsh coughing fit. 

John straightened the blank piece of notepaper in front of him. “How do I even start this letter?” He mumbled to the empty room. He got up and walked into the living room, he stood staring at the framed piece of artwork. The ‘Singing Cowboy’ by Gary Patterson, he found it strangely calming with it’s faint yellow undertone. John went out onto the porch, it was late and the moon was full. He lit a cigarette and took a long deep drag, exhaling slowly. It was just him and Ann, out here among the corn and wheat.

Dear Lucy,

I don’t even know where to begin in making this request to you.

Ann isn’t getting any better, and I fear she is not going to be with us much longer.

It pains me to have to write this to you. 

Can you please come, for Ann.



~ ~ ~ ~

Lucy stood at the front door to the single level ranch home. There was a note on the door addressed to her. Lucy let yourself in, Ann is in her bedroom. We’ll talk when I get back. John  

Lucy let herself in, taking her bag to the spare bedroom. The house was stuffy and in need of a good once over. Lucy tapped on Ann’s bedroom door before opening it. “Ann?” She said entering the room. “Lucy? Is that you?” Ann asked clearing her throat and trying to sit up. “Yes, dear.” Lucy said taking her sisters hand in hers. Ann let out a sigh, before engaging in a coughing fit. “Let’s get some light and fresh air in here.” Lucy said heading over to the window. She pulled back the heavy gold colored drapes and opened the window. “That’s better. Now I’m going to make you some food, then straighten up.” Lucy said heading towards the bedroom door. “Lucy.” Ann said in a hushed voice as not to cough. “Yes?” “Thank you for coming.” Lucy gave her a smile and headed to the kitchen.

John opened the backdoor entering into the kitchen, as he hung up his keys the best smell hit him. “Damn, that smells good.” He said taking a seat at the kitchen table. “Thanks, it’s beef stew with lots of veggies.” Lucy said pouring a ladle of stew into a bowl for him. She set the bowl down in front of him and returned to the oven, pulling out hot fresh rolls. She poured two tall glasses of ice tea, tossed the rolls into a dish and took a seat at the table.

John ate like he hadn’t eaten in days. “Thanks for this, and that.” He said nodding towards the now clean living room. “You’re welcome, and that’s what I’m here for.” She said giving John’s hand a quick squeeze.

John and Lucy spent their days attending to Ann, spending time talking with her when she was able and reading to her while she rested. Lucy would sit with her during the day while John was out working on the Henderson’s Ranch, and John would sit with her in the evening, telling her about his day out on the ranch.

During one of their evening chats, as the three of them were in Ann’s bedroom reminiscing about school days past, laughing and enjoying each others company. Ann said. “I want the two of you to promise me something.” “What would that be?” Lucy said still giggling from the previous conversations. Ann cleared her throat. “I want the two of you to take care of each other, when I’m gone.” She said. Lucy looked at her sister, it felt as if all the air had been sucked out of the room. It was the first time Ann had said anything about it being the time after. Lucy swallowed hard trying to regain her voice. John got up and leaned over Ann, kissing her on the forehead, and left the room. “Do you want to add to that?” Lucy said. “Not really, I think the two of you will need each other. You know after.” Ann said.

~ ~ ~ ~

Lucy found John out on the porch. “Would you like one?” She asked holding a bottle of Whisky. “Yeah.” He said wiping the back of his hand across his cheek. Lucy opened the bottle and took a drink. She then handed it to John, he took a long pull from the bottle. “That was…ugh…out of left field.” Lucy said taking the bottle back from John. “Yeah, I wasn’t expecting her to say that.” He said. “Have you thought about after?” She asked, taking another hit off the bottle. John looked at her and lit a cigarette. “Have you?” He asked. Lucy took the cigarette from in between John’s fingers, and took a drag. “Not really.” She answered handing back the cigarette.

Lucy went back inside. When John came back in she was standing in front of the ‘Singing Cowboy’ “What is it about this picture? It’s strangely comforting.” She said. John scoffed as he headed to bed.

The following days bleed into each other, cooking, cleaning, attending to Ann’s needs. The end was coming quickly. It was a Saturday morning in early September, the summer heat had let up and the rains had begun. Lucy went into Ann’s bedroom to open the drapes, like she had done every morning for the last three weeks. She opened the drapes and window, looking out at the steady morning downpour. “Morning Ann.” She said as she turned to face the bed. She looked at Ann laying there on the bed, tears started to run down her cheeks as the realization set in. “John!” She screamed. John came rushing into the bedroom. “What?” He looked at Ann’s bed and then at Lucy. He walked over to the bed, closing Ann’s eyes and covering her with the bed sheet. He then walked over to Lucy, pulling her into a hug and taking her out of the room.

“Drink this.” He said handing Lucy a glass of Brandy. John downed a glass, cleared his throat and picked up the phone.

~ ~ ~ ~

One Week Later

“It’s a nice headstone. Ann would have approved.” Lucy said. John nodded as they stood in the rain looking down at Ann’s resting place. Lucy placed a bouquet of white lilies next to the single red rose that John had left. “So are you staying?” John asked, not looking up. Lucy took his hand, interlacing her fingers with his. “As long as you want me to.” She answered. 

Edna’s Kitchen Presents: Sweet and Savory


*recipes featuring wings, pizzas and desserts*

Table of Contents:

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Wings with Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
Beer-Brined Buffalo Wings
Sticky Ginger Garlic Chicken Wings
Baked Chicken Wings
Hot and Spicy Chicken Wings
Slow-Cooker Mole Chicken Wings

Mexican Chicken Pizza with Cornmeal Crust
Garlic Butter Crusted Margherita Pizza
Mediterranean Pizza
Buffalo Chicken Beer Bread Pizza
The Cheesy ‘Shroom Pizza
Roasted-Vegetable Pizza

Strawberry Shortcake Poke Bundt Cake
Easy Triple Berry Cake
Layered Fruit Flag Salad
S’mores Brownies
Raspberry Lemonade Cheesecake Bars
Coffee Swirl Yogurt Cake




Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Wings with Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
3 lb chicken wingettes and drummettes
12 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise

Bourbon Sauce
½ cup ketchup
½ cup bourbon
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Heat oven to 425°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with sides with heavy-duty foil; spray with cooking spray.
Sprinkle pepper over chicken. Wrap each chicken piece with a half slice of bacon.
Place bacon-wrapped chicken pieces on cookie sheets, bacon end down. Bake uncovered 30 minutes; turn chicken; rotate cookie sheets in oven. Bake 20 to 30 minutes longer or until golden brown and juice of chicken is clear when thickest part is cut to the bone (at least 165°F).
Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, mix Bourbon Sauce ingredients; heat to simmering over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.
In large bowl, toss chicken with half of the sauce. Serve warm with remaining sauce on the side for dipping.

Beer-Brined Buffalo Wings

1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon coarse salt
1 bottle (12 oz) beer
2 lb chicken wings (12)
1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
¼ cup butter
¼ cup red pepper sauce

Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet with foil.
In large bowl, beat brown sugar, salt and beer with whisk. Add chicken wings; toss gently to coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes to brine.
In large resealable food-storage plastic bag, mix onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. Drain chicken; pat dry with paper towels. Discard brine. Add chicken to bag; toss until evenly coated. Place chicken on cookie sheet.
In 1-quart saucepan, melt butter. Stir in pepper sauce. Heat to a simmer. Pour mixture over wings.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear when thickest part is cut (165°F). If desired, shake extra pepper sauce over wings after baking. Serve with Blue Cheese or Ranch Dressing for dipping.

Sticky Ginger Garlic Chicken Wings

½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons grated ginger root
1 Tablespoon Sriracha hot chili sauce, or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Teaspoon soy sauce

3 Tablespoons red pepper sauce
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
5 lb chicken wing drummettes
1 cup all-purpose flour

In 1-quart saucepan, combine all glaze ingredients; bring to a simmer, stirring frequently over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.
In 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag mix pepper sauce, oil, salt, pepper and chicken. Seal bag; shake to coat. Add flour, seal bag and shake until chicken is coated with flour.
Heat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with heavy-duty foil; spray with cooking spray.
Place chicken on cookie sheets. Bake uncovered 30 minutes, turn chicken over and rotate pans. Bake 20 to 30 minutes longer or until golden brown and juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.
In large bowl, toss chicken with glaze.

Baked Chicken Wings

2 pounds chicken drummettes (24)
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 Tablespoon red pepper sauce
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
⅔ cup ranch dressing

Heat oven to 350°F. Line a jelly roll pan, 15 1/2×10 1/2×1 inch, with aluminum foil. Remove skin from chicken.
Mix honey, ketchup, pepper sauce and Worcestershire sauce in resealable plastic bag. Add chicken. Seal bag and refrigerate, turning occasionally, at least 15 minutes but no longer than 24 hours.
Place chicken in pan; sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until crisp and juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut. Serve with dressing.

Hot and Spicy Chicken Wings

1 cup cayenne pepper sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt
24 chicken drummettes
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup baking mix
¾ teaspoon onion salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Blue cheese dressing

Stir together hot sauce and garlic salt until blended. Pour over drummettes; cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
Heat oven to 450°F. Melt butter in jelly roll pan, 15 1/2×10 1/2×1 inch, in oven. Stir together baking mix, onion salt and peppers. Remove chicken from sauce; discard sauce. Coat chicken with baking mix, mixture. Place in single layer in pan.
Bake 25 minutes; turn and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and juice is no longer pink when centers of pieces are cut. Serve with dressing.

Slow-Cooker Mole Chicken Wings

3 lb chicken wingettes and drummettes
½ teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes, well drained
½ small onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
3 Tablespoons honey
1 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate (about 2 Tablespoons)
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 Tablespoons roasted salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 lime, cut into wedges

Set oven control to broil. Spray 3 ½ – to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Spray broiler pan rack with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place on rack in pan.
Broil 3 inches from heat 10 to 12 minutes or until browned, turning halfway through broiling time. Place chicken in slow cooker. In a medium bowl, place Glaze ingredients in bowl of food processor. Puree until smooth; about 30 seconds; pour over chicken. Stir to coat.
Cover; cook on Low heat setting 3 hours. Serve with glaze for dipping. Garnish with pepitas and lime wedges.




Mexican Chicken Pizza with Cornmeal Crust

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons regular active dry yeast
¼ teaspoon coarse (kosher or sea) salt
¾ cup warm water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
⅓ cup yellow cornmeal
Additional cornmeal
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (8 oz)
1 ½ cups shredded cooked chicken
1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes or plain diced tomatoes, drained
½ medium yellow bell pepper, chopped (½ cup)
¼ cup sliced green onions (4 medium)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oven to 450°F. In a medium bowl, mix ¾ cup of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Stir in warm water and oil. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on high speed 1 minute. Stir in ⅓ cup cornmeal and remaining ¾ cup flour to make a soft dough.
On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
Spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray; sprinkle with additional cornmeal. On cookie sheet, press dough into 14×10-inch rectangle; prick with fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges just begin to turn brown.
Sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese blend. Top with chicken, tomatoes and bell pepper. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake 6 to 8 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and edges are golden brown. Sprinkle with onions and cilantro.
Use a rotisserie chicken, shredded for easy topping.

Garlic Butter Crusted Margherita Pizza

2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
½ teaspoon chopped roasted garlic or chopped garlic
½ teaspoon salt
1 can refrigerated classic pizza crust
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 Tablespoon chopped roasted garlic or chopped garlic
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh basil strips

Heat oven to 400°F. Grease large dark or nonstick cookie sheet with shortening or cooking spray; set aside.
In 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add tomatoes, ½ teaspoon roasted garlic and salt. Reduce heat to medium; cook 10 to 15 minutes or until tomatoes are thickened, stirring frequently. Set aside; cool slightly.
Unroll dough on cookie sheet. Press out dough to 15×10-inch rectangle. In small bowl, mix butter and 1 tablespoon roasted garlic. Spread over dough. Bake 7 minutes; remove from oven.
Evenly distribute tomato mixture over partially baked crust. Top with mozzarella cheese.
Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Sprinkle basil strips over pizza before serving.

Mediterranean Pizza

2 Tablespoons cornmeal
2 ½ cups baking mix
1 package fast-acting dry yeast
½ cup plus 3 Tablespoons warm water (105°F to 115°F)
½ cup basil pesto
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained, cut into ½ -inch pieces
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
1 package (4 oz) crumbled feta cheese (1 cup)

Heat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease 15x10x1-inch pan with shortening or cooking spray. Sprinkle with cornmeal, tapping off any excess.
In large bowl, stir baking mix and yeast. Add water; stir until dough leaves side of bowl. On work surface dusted with additional baking mix, lightly knead dough 1 minute. Roll out to 15×10-inch rectangle. Place dough in pan; crimp edges, forming a rim.
Spread pesto over dough. Sprinkle tomatoes, artichokes, mozzarella cheese and feta cheese evenly over top.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.

Look for basil pesto in glass jars in the pasta aisle or in the refrigerated pasta section in plastic containers.
If you’re an olive fan, top the pizza with sliced ripe olives or Greek olives to continue the Mediterranean theme.
Garnish with chopped fresh basil after baking to add more color to this pizza.

Buffalo Chicken Beer Bread Pizza

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 package regular active dry yeast
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse (kosher or sea) salt
¾ cup lager beer, such as a Boston lager, warmed to 105°F
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Buffalo Chicken Topping
¼ cup Buffalo Wings Sauce
2 Tablespoons lager beer, such as a Boston lager
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 ½ cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
1 cup shredded provolone cheese (4 oz)
⅓ cup crumbled blue cheese
2 Tablespoons sliced green onions (2 medium)

Heat oven to 450°F. In a medium bowl, mix 1 cup of the flour, sugar, yeast, baking powder and salt. Stir in ¾ cup beer and the oil. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on High speed 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 cup flour to make a soft dough.
On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cover; let rest 30 minutes.
Spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray. On cookie sheet, press dough into 14×10-inch rectangle; prick with fork. Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges just begin to turn brown.
While crust is baking, in a medium bowl, mix wing sauce, 2 tablespoons beer and the melted butter. Add chicken, and toss to coat.
Remove crust from oven. In a small bowl, mix shredded mozzarella and provolone cheese. Sprinkle crust with 1 cup of the cheese mixture. Top with chicken mixture; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese mixture and the blue cheese. Return to oven; bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is deep golden brown. Sprinkle with green onions.

The Cheesy ‘Shroom Pizza

1 can (13.8 oz) refrigerated classic pizza crust
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ clove garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ cups shredded Gruyère cheese (6 oz)
½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 cup sliced fresh baby portabella mushrooms
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil leaves, if desired

Heat oven to 425°F. Spray 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray. Unroll dough; place in pan. Starting at center, press out dough to edge of pan.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat oil and garlic with whisk. Brush oil mixture on top of partially baked crust. Top with Gruyère cheese. Drop dollops of ricotta cheese by teaspoonfuls on top. Top with mushrooms; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and lightly golden brown. Garnish with fresh basil.

Roasted-Vegetable Pizza

1 medium bell pepper, cut lengthwise into eighths
1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into ¼ -inch slices
½ small eggplant, cut into ¼ -inch slices
1 package (8 ounces) whole fresh mushrooms, cut in half
2 Tablespoons roasted garlic-flavored or regular vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 package (10 ounces) ready-to-serve thin pizza crust
1 cup shredded provolone cheese (4 ounces)
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves

Heat oven to 425°F. Spray jelly roll pan, 15 1/2×10 1/2×1 inch, with cooking spray.
Spread bell pepper, squash, eggplant and mushrooms in single layer in pan. Brush with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes, turning vegetables once, until vegetables are tender.
Place pizza crust on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with ½ cup of the cheese. Top with vegetables. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup cheese.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with basil.

Roast the vegetables for this recipe ahead of time and refrigerate until needed.



Strawberry Shortcake Poke Bundt Cake


1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup milk
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 eggs

Strawberry Poke Mixture
1 ½ cups sliced fresh strawberries
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Cream Cheese Glaze
¾ cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 oz cream cheese, softened
1 to 2 Tablespoons milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries


Heat oven to 325°F. Generously spray 10- or 12-cup bundt cake pan with cooking spray with flour.
In large bowl, beat Cake ingredients with an electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl constantly. Increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes, and pour batter into pan.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, puree Strawberry Poke Mixture ingredients until smooth; transfer to 4-cup glass measuring cup, and set aside. While still in pan, poke holes in cake with end of wooden spoon at ½ -inch intervals going almost to bottom. Use a wet paper towel to wipe ends of spoon after each poke. Carefully pour poke mixture over holes in cake, using spoon to direct mixture into holes. If necessary, poke existing holes to make room for more mixture.
Cool 40 minutes; refrigerate in pan 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator, and run metal spatula around outer and inside edges of pan to loosen cake; turn upside down onto serving platter.
In a medium bowl, mix Cream Cheese Glaze ingredients with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. If too thick, add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency. Glaze cake as desired; garnish with strawberries.

Slice and refrigerate strawberries ahead of time, and your cake will be ready to garnish when it’s time to serve your guests.
Keep cake refrigerated until ready to serve.

Easy Triple Berry Cake


1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon salt
¾ cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
⅓ cup butter, melted
⅓ cup sour cream
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups fresh mixed berries, such as blueberries, raspberries and coarsely chopped strawberries
Sweetened whipped cream, if desired


Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. In small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In large bowl, beat ¾ cup sugar, the melted butter and sour cream with whisk until well blended. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of the berries. Spread batter in pie plate. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup berries and 1 teaspoon sugar over top.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes. Cut into wedges; serve with whipped cream.

To make 1 ½ cups whipped cream, place medium deep bowl and beaters in freezer or refrigerator to chill. Place ¾ cup heavy whipping cream and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar in bowl. Beat on low speed until mixture begins to thicken. Add ½ teaspoon vanilla; beat on high speed until soft peaks form.
To ensure success in baking, measure ingredients accurately using the right measuring equipment for the ingredient being measured. For best results, add ingredients in the order they are called for.

Layered Fruit Flag Salad


2 cans (8 oz each ) pineapple tidbits in juice
2 medium bananas, sliced
3 pints (6 cups) fresh strawberries
3 containers (6 oz each) yogurt lemon burst
1 ½ cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
4 cups cubed (½ to ¾ inch) cantaloupe, well drained
1 ½ pints (3 cups) fresh blueberries
2 cups miniature marshmallows


Drain pineapple, reserving juice in small bowl. Pat pineapple dry with paper towels to remove any excess liquid. Toss banana slices in pineapple liquid; drain well, discarding liquid. Reserve 18 to 20 strawberries for flag stripes; cut remaining strawberries into quarters.
In a medium bowl, mix yogurt, whipped topping and powdered sugar until well blended and smooth.
In ungreased 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish, layer cantaloupe and quartered strawberries. Reserve 50 blueberries for flag stars. Layer remaining blueberries over strawberries. Top with bananas, pineapple and marshmallows. With pancake turner, press fruit lightly to even out top. Spread yogurt mixture evenly over fruit. If desired, at this point, salad can be covered and refrigerated up to 4 hours.
If serving salad immediately, add toppings; if salad is refrigerated, add toppings up to 1 hour before serving. Sprinkle reserved blueberries in corner to resemble stars of flag. Cut reserved strawberries into quarters. Arrange strawberries in rows to resemble stripes of flag.

You could vary this salad to suit your taste. Why not add or substitute red or green grapes, raspberries or honeydew melon? Chopped pecans, walnuts or pitted dates are also delicious in the salad.

S’mores Brownies


1 box (16 oz) original brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on brownie mix box
2 cups miniature marshmallows
8 graham cracker squares, broken into small pieces
2 bars (1.55 oz each) milk chocolate candy, broken into 1-inch squares


Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom of 9-inch square pan with shortening or cooking spray. Make and bake brownies as directed on box. After removing the pan from oven, set oven control to broil.
Immediately sprinkle marshmallows and graham crackers over warm brownies. Broil with top 4 to 5 inches from heat 30 to 60 seconds or until marshmallows are golden brown. (Watch carefully; marshmallows and graham crackers will brown quickly.) Sprinkle with candy. Cool on a cooling rack, about 3 hours until chocolate is set. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.

Raspberry Lemonade Cheesecake Bars


1 pouch sugar cookie mix
½ cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
2 eggs
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh raspberries


Heat oven to 325°F. Spray bottom only of 13 x 9-inch pan with cooking spray.
In large bowl, mix Crust ingredients with spoon until soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom of pan. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven to cooling rack; cool 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon peel with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl frequently. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until just blended. Beat in lemon juice. Reserve ¼ cup filling; set aside. Spread remaining filling evenly over cooled crust.
In a small bowl, mash raspberries with fork. Push mixture through small strainer with back of spoon to make ¼ cup raspberry puree. Stir puree into reserved filling. Drop tablespoonfuls raspberry mixture on cream cheese layer. With knife, carefully swirl into top of cream cheese layer.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until filling is set. Cool 30 minutes on cooling rack. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until cooled completely. Cut in 6 rows by 4 rows.

Coffee Swirl Yogurt Cake


2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup butter or margarine, softened
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
¼ cup international instant coffee mix (any flavor)


Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour bottom only of loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches.
Mix flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder; set aside. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour mixture alternately with yogurt, beating until smooth after each addition.
Remove 1 cup of the batter; stir in dry coffee. Pour half of the plain batter into pan. Drop coffee batter by spoonfuls onto batter in pan. Add remaining plain batter. Swirl batters deeply with handle of wooden spoon for marbled design.
Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaf from pan; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour, before slicing.


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