If you would like to start with Installment #1, click here and away you go, into The Dreaming.
As always, thank you for reading,
If you would like to start with Installment #1, click here and away you go, into The Dreaming.
As always, thank you for reading,
I won’t keep you in suspense – this recipe is another winner! We gobbled it right up and left not one piece behind.
Watching, (okay binge-watching) cooking shows is one of my favorite hobbies so I’ve seen spatzle made many times by masters with special tools. While I’m sure those tools and practice make for more uniform pieces I doubt their recipes are better than the one I used.
I altered the recipe because I don’t tolerate wheat or dairy well, and it still came out perfect! Tantalizing. Tempting. We couldn’t wait to taste it and we wished I had made a whole lot more of it before it came out of the pan.
My modifications were easy – gluten-free flour in place of all-purpose flour and plain, unsweetened cashew milk in place of dairy milk. I know to let gluten-free dough rest for ten minutes before cooking or baking to absorb liquid, so I did that.
This was a first for me, making spatzle. I’ve eaten it a few times and liked it. I’m a sucker for noodles fried in dairy-free butter. Imagine how thrilled I was to make a delicious batch on my first try.
Date Night Dinners has clear directions which are essential for me when I’m making a new recipe. That’s why I was excited to try another new-for-me recipe from a different section of the book. I served Braised Pork Loin for Christmas dinner. It was scrumptiously successful, and I’m excited and confident about trying more.
The reasons I recommend Date Night Dinners are: the array of recipes which range from the familiar to the unique; the stories and informative introduction to each recipe which make me feel like I’m having a chat with the author; the conversion charts in the back which are worth the purchase price of the book by themselves, the cooking tips you can only learn from another experienced cook, the author’s obvious passion for food, and because the portions are perfect for my household.
There are a few versions of this book available. I have the paperback Black & White Date Night Edition. I bought the paperback because I want to hold the book in my hands as I’m cooking. I rarely buy Kindle versions of cookbooks. When I do it’s because they are discounted.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about making spatzle, if you’ve made recipes from this book, or whatever you have to say about recipes, cookbooks, and cooking.
During the editing of our latest book, commas turned into a major topic of discussion. Yes, well, we’re writers, what did you expect? We like commas and we also like to slice commas from our writing so we have a conflict of interest. For example, in the first two sentences of this paragraph (and this sentence too), we used commas. We could have used a comma in the third sentence before the “and,” though we chose not to. Either way would have been correct.
Another example is the title of this post. A comma would change the entire meaning. By omitting it, we imply (or say) the recipe below is a good (delicious) morning bread. Had we included a comma (Good morning, bread) we would be saying good morningto our bread. That would also fit, since the bread is definitely worthy of salutations.
Like bread, commas have lots of uses. You can splash them around in personal and geographic names, in numbers, before quotations that indicate speech such as “she said,” and in lists. If you’re the user of a certain word processing software, you can make your commas curly or straight and either style gets the job done.
We don’t claim to be experts on commas and we would be happy to hear your take on this very important punctuation. Let’s eat breakfast while we have the discussion. If you’re not hungry, then we’ll say, “Let’s eat, breakfast.”
Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
Soak dried fruit in bowl with warm tea. Set aside.
In separate bowl, add yeast to warm water. Set aside in a warm draft free location.
Mix coconut milk, sugar, honey, salt, and egg. Add melted butter and stir. Next, add yeast and water mixture and stir.
Mix cinnamon and flour. Add to liquid ingredients and mix well.
Drain fruit. Add fruit and nuts to dough. Use your hands to mix, adding additional flour by tablespoons if necessary.
Let dough rise 1 hour. Punch down, divide in half, and shape into two equal loaves. Put loaves in prepared pans and let rise 40 minutes.
Heat oven to 350° F. Bake loaves 30 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes and remove to rack.
Serve warm or cold with butter or topping of your choice.
While you’re enjoying your bread, we invite you to sample an excerpt from our soon-to-be-released mystery.
Certified public accountant Fae Childers is not an embezzler, despite the belief of the accounting firm that fires her for stealing. But proving her innocence is harder than convincing an IRS agent to allow a deduction. She’s lost her mother, her job, her fiancé, and her self-respect. She’s running out of money and the lease is about to expire on her apartment.
Then the fortune-telling grandmother Fae never knew existed, whose name and psychic abilities she now learns are also hers, issues a challenge from beyond the grave—a challenge that brings Fae face to face with murder, embezzlement, romance, and a hidden family legacy.
When the mystery of Fae’s past collides with the troubles of her present, the situation veers out of control. Her very life is threatened. Who can she trust? The man she’s falling in love with? The former fiancé who has already betrayed her once? Or only herself?
With justice, romance, and her future at stake, Fae must overcome personal and professional obstacles to save herself and those she loves. And she’s going to have to do it fast, before someone else dies.
The letter arrived on the last Thursday in April, two weeks to the day after I got fired from the accounting firm where I worked for the past decade. August Palmer, my landlord, hand-delivered the letter in person, saying, “The mail carrier stuck this in my box by mistake, Fae.”
I took the envelope without bothering to look at it and glanced past Gus, at the patch of brilliant cloudless blue sky framing his shoulders.
Tampa, Florida on the cusp of summer, full of birdsong and the scent of warming pavement.
“Beautiful morning,” I said, as if I cared.
“Afternoon,” Gus said, his voice a low rumbly growl, the product of too many cigarettes and whiskeys in his happily misspent youth. He stood outside the tiny apartment my mother and I rented from him for the past two years and eyed me. “Still mopin’, girl?”
He had shown up on my doorstep every day since the firing with the same question.
Adhering to our new routine, I answered the same way I always did, except this time I didn’t bother pasting on a fake smile to accompany the words.
“Nope. Not my style.”
“‘Scuse me.” His tone was as dry as the month he was named for. “Forgot you’ve been hidin’ in the apartment, tap dancing with glee.”
I met his gaze. “For hours at a time. Any complaints about the noise?”
He clicked a nicotine pellet against tobacco stained teeth and kept his silence. I regretted my sarcasm. In my forbidden childhood game of describing people in colors, I would have painted Gus early-morning-yellow, the shade of the summer sun before the friendly sheltering coolness of night gave way to the brutal heat of day.
The description would have horrified him.
“How are the treatments going?”
He grunted. “They tell me I ain’t gonna croak this week.”
“Glad to hear it. You might want to keep your distance from me, though. I’m jinxed.”
Gus shook his head. “You gotta get over them fools, girl.”
“That’s no way to talk about my former bosses.” Especially since I looked at the real fool in the mirror each morning. I had believed dedication, loyalty, and hard work were appreciated by the partners of Slezia + Fyne, CPA, PA.
“Anyway, I am over them. Way over.”
“Yeah?” He was not convinced. “You over the suit, too?”
“Sure am.” Once again, I stuck with our new routine and gave him the same answer I always did. “I have moved on.”
Once again, the lie carried the bitter taste of betrayal. The suit was Scott Piper, former co-worker, fiancé, and man of my dreams. The suit dumped me the day of the firing.
Gus snorted. “Funny how much movin’ on resembles standing around feeling sorry for yourself.”
In my opinion, wallowing in self-pity was marginally more mature than throwing a temper tantrum. Even if it hadn’t been, I didn’t have the energy for a tantrum. I barely had the energy to maintain my half of the daily conversation with Gus.
“Have you been watching that big bald guy on television again?”
He stuck out his chin. “Don’t get smart. You know I’m right. You’re mopin’.”
“Only because I can’t tap dance.”
He was right. In the eight months since my mother’s death, I had slogged through an ever-darkening morass of the malady Gus called moping, and what his favorite celebrity psychologist might consider the early stages of depression. The firing and the accompanying fallout shoved me even closer to the edge of a black abyss.
My moping was self-absorbed, given the burdens others faced, but what could I say? One woman’s detour was another’s stop sign.
“You ought to call your girl pal, that one you worked with. What’s her name? Sarah? Have you heard from her?”
No. And I didn’t want to hear from her, much less call her.
I shook my head.
“Your ma would have been annoyed with you.”
A lump in my throat closed off my voice and I could only nod. He was right about that too. My irrepressible mother believed in taking the positive approach to life. To her, saying negative words or thinking negative thoughts was the same as asking them to come true. She had little patience for pity parties.
Focus on your strengths, Fae, and always keep moving.
My ability to follow her advice vanished with her death. I was slowly turning into the type of recluse the Japanese call hikikomori. Even the simple task of cleaning out Mom’s bedroom was beyond me.
“So? You gonna open the letter?” Gus asked.
I turned over the envelope in my hand.
Heavy, officious, dirty white, and mildly threatening, the envelope shrieked of the intimidation perfected by lawyers and the Internal Revenue Service and jolted me right out of my apathy. My breath hitched in my throat.
Had Gary Slezia and Richard Fyne gone back on their word? Had they decided to forego their distaste for publicity and press charges against me?
Murder by the Books, a mystery novel, will be available at Amazon.
Mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit their website to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.
Four. That’s how many cookbooks I bought in 2018. Each one has a different appeal which (I think) is obvious from their titles: Date Night Dinners, The 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook, Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen, and Giada’s Italy.
Three. That’s how many of these books I’ve made recipes from so far.
Three is also the number of dishes I plan to make from Date Night Dinners right away though I hope to make many more of them to reach beyond my comfort zone into the seafood section of the book. I like seafood but I’m often the only one eating it in my house so I tend to make it the same way every time; with non-dairy garlic lemon butter. Date Night Dinners has a variety of fish recipes I haven’t eaten or cooked before, so, adventure!
The reason I purchased this book is because of the array of recipes which range from the familiar to the unique; the stories and informative introduction to each recipe which make me feel like I’m having a chat with the author; the conversion charts in the back which are worth the purchase price of the book by themselves, the cooking tips you can only learn from another experienced cook, the author’s obvious passion for food, and because the portions are perfect for my household of three.
There are a few versions of this book available. I have the paperback Black & White Date Night Edition. I bought the paperback because I want to hold the book in my hands as I’m cooking. I rarely buy Kindle versions of cookbooks.
Braised Pork Loin
This is my first pork loin roast. I feel like such a grown up now. My granddaughter and I looked through the book and I narrowed the choices to two meat dishes to make for Christmas dinner and then she chose the pork loin, based on the photo and on the title; she loves pork as much as I do. Neither of us eat a lot of meat, but when we do we often choose pork. It’s a flavor, texture, and versatility thing.
Because Christmas dinner is a big deal I read through the recipe several times, looking for those hidden stumbling blocks that you sometimes find with new recipes. There were none to be found so I moved on to shopping. I’m a planner so I bought one plain tenderloin and one marinated one in case the seasonings in the recipe didn’t pass muster. This was a holiday dinner, after all, and though the recipe read like it would taste good… You understand.
Taylor’s tenderloin seasonings were better than the marinade by far. Her sauce, onions, and carrots were divine. The pork was fork tender and luscious. I had leftovers that I froze and ate for three more meals; they were as good as the first time I served them.
I’ll be back to share when I’ve sampled dishes from two more sections: Sides and Veggies. Vegetables are my favorites because they are a delicious way to stay healthy. The book has nineteen vegetable recipes to choose from. Yes!
If paranormal and urban fantasy are your thing then you are sure to enjoy The Chronicles of the Red Silk Dress. Book Two in the Witches Brew series is a stand alone novel perfect for all fantasy lovers. Here’s a peek.
When love stalls, who are you going to call? Red, a mystical and magical red dress created to help women discover love and recognize their self-worth.
Delphine Richards is the founder and CEO of Plum Events, a successful party planning company in Chicago. The holidays are the busiest and Valentine’s Day is the last one of the season. Her employees work hard to create spectacular parties and stay out of Delphine’s way. She hates this day for lovers.
Kevin Poe, her fiancé, broke up with her a year ago on Valentine’s Day. Since then she’s dedicated her life to growing her business. Love won’t destroy her again.
Kevin Poe loves Delphine but her constant interference in his teaching career drove a wedge between them. When one of Kevin’s students needed him, Delphine neglected to tell him. That was the final straw. If Delphine couldn’t stop trying to change him, then they shouldn’t be together.
Enter Red, a mystical and magical red dress sent to help Delphine rediscover love and realize she can’t control everyone and everything – including herself.
Yasmine ‘Yas’ Phoenix was born and raised in Virginia but calls Chicago home. She loves tennis, professional and amateur, and plays in local leagues. Her writing block is the four major Grand Slams, Indian Wells, and other tournaments. No, she can’t tape then watch. Yas loves to read, especially murder mysteries. She is a Terry Pratchett, Discworld fan, and scans the news for potential plot ideas. Melding romance and paranormal in her stories is her goal. Yas always asks the question, “What if?” She is a sucker for old black and white movies like Casablanca on one hand, and Deadpool on the other. She believes her family is her greatest gift and support.
Thank you for reading with me!
Kindle & KU
“I didn’t come here with this in mind. I just wanted to see you, and to thank you for getting mad at me.” He sat on the toilet, mesmerized.
“I’ve been mad at you more than I’ve been anything else since the day we met.” She swirled water with her fingers, breaking up clumps of bubbles, drowning others. “What’s on your mind now, Jason?”
He shook his head, laughed. “You know what I’m thinking about.”
“Sex, Jason? Sex with me? Wet, slippery, bathtub sex?” She splashed him with enough water to wet his pants.
“Lina,” he warned.
“What? Mr. I-don’t-want-to-tie-you-down is afraid of a little no strings sex?”
“The minute you showed up in my life there were more strings than a yarn warehouse. I’ll wait for you out in the living room.”
Walking out of there was actually harder than talking to his mom about what a cheating, lying asshole his father had been, but he did it.
“Hi.” A pair of huge gray eyes in a pretty oval face was the first thing he saw when he came out of the bedroom.
“That’s Deb, she’s Tanya’s friend.” Rain pointed to each of the women as he introduced them.
“I didn’t know you were bringing a friend along for Deb.” Tanya threaded her fingers through Rain’s. “That’s so sweet.”
“Oops, misunderstanding.” Jason smoothed it with his voice. “I’m with Lina, Rain’s roommate. It’s nice to meet you both. I’m Jason Carapelli.”
The newcomers couldn’t know that he was saying his name with a whole new level of pride.
He’d been proud to be a Carapelli because his mother was one, too. When she’d married Joe and became a Jacobs, he was still proud to be a Carapelli.
It was when Carter and Brittany found their rhythm, then Rowan and Jenny jumped right into happy times, that he’d started to wonder about what effect his father had on him. It had chipped away at him until he came to the ugly, and wrong, conclusion that he couldn’t be with his own soul mate because he was his father’s son.
It had taken that special person, the woman who had just tempted him beyond reason, to help him see that he was his mother’s son as much as he was his father’s, and that she’d always had more influence on him because she’d always been there. His father had left long before he died when he and Jenny were ten.
Lina came in wearing a robe that covered everything but was way sexier than Jason considered fair.
“Hello.” Lina greeted their visitors. “I’m Lina, Rain’s roommate.” She turned to Jason. “Do you want anything to eat or drink? I was going to heat up some veggie pasta from the center.”
“Sure, thanks.” He smiled.
“We’re heading out to a movie, grab some pizza after. You want to join us?” Rain asked before Lina reached for plates.
“Jase?” Lina leaned against the counter, asking his opinion.
So his choices were to be here alone with her, or for them to go out with Rain and his company. It was time to rip the band-aid off. “I think we’ll hang out here, if that’s cool with you, Lina.”
Rain nodded, high-fived Jason. “Right on!”
Tanya and Deb were naturally confused.
“Thanks.” Jason told him, grateful for his support. “We’re sort of making up.” Jason explained for Deb and Tanya.
Tanya nodded. “That makes sense. We need to go, Rain, or we’re going to be late for the movie.”
“Cool, yeah. See you guys.”
“Does Rain ever have trouble with dates when you walk around looking like that?” Like a wanton sex goddess.
“It doesn’t happen too often. He’s only been on a few dates since the breakup. You want some juice, or water?” She glanced in the fridge. “I have carrot, or mango. I can mix them if you want.”
“This is weird, Lina. Isn’t it weird for you?” He made himself stay across the room from her.
“You turning me down in the bathtub that was the weird part. This feels pretty normal compared.” She shrugged.
“I think we should date-” He broke off. “Fuck, Lina, please go put some clothes on.”
When she reached up for the plates, the short robe rode up and showed that she wore a black G-string for panties.
“Sure.” She turned, threatened to untie the belt at her waist.
“In your room,” he groaned.
“You’ve already seen me naked,” she argued.
“What do you want from me, Lina? I’m trying to be a good guy here.” He held his hands out in supplication.
Gina Briganti writes paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance in north Texas. Her constant companion is a special soul who masquerades as a dog.
From J.F. Posthumus just in time for the necromance lover on your Holiday list!
What would you do if you had the power to destroy the world…
In her younger years, Catherine Woulfe was known as the Lady of Death…but those days are long past. Now, at over 300 years old, she is older, wiser…and painfully dull. Instead of using her necromancy skills for things like killing people and taking over governments, she now works as a private investigator, helping people find their lost treasures.
But when a charismatic stranger walks through her door, searching for one of the most powerful artifacts ever created, she is drawn into a case where she must use all of her old powers—including several forbidden ones—if she is to find the missing amulet. When the last person to see the amulet goes missing, she realizes it’s time for the Lady of Death to summon her minions and go on the warpath.
Angels and demons are searching for the amulet, as is a mysterious dark elf about whom little is known. Everyone is stalking her, waiting for her to find it so they can grab it for their own; meanwhile, her client has awoken feelings long suppressed, which is proving to be…distracting. Can Catherine find the trail of the thief and recover the amulet before the thief uses it to summon a deity that will destroy the Earth? More importantly, if she gets it, will she give it back?
A knock on the door pulled my attention away from the emails I was sorting through for the day. I lifted my brows in surprise at the visitor standing in my doorway. Dark eyes met mine, and it took every bit of willpower to keep from admiring the way his designer clothing fit his body. He wore the perfectly tailored three-piece suit with the same ease most wore jeans and a t-shirt. His face was elegant and had aristocratic features, which fit his six-foot-three-inch frame perfectly.
Thankfully, unlike most people, I wasn’t intimidated by his height, stature, or handsomeness. Or his reputation.
“The Consigliere,” I said. “To what do I owe this dubious pleasure?”
“Dubious?” The Consigliere’s honey smooth baritone carried across the room. “You wound me, Lady Catherine. I am here on good business.”
“That’s Miss Woulfe to you. Good for whom?” I said through gritted teeth I hoped looked like a smile.
“For all parties concerned, naturally.”
I drew in a breath and let it out slowly as he entered my office, allowing the door to shut with a soft whisper behind him.
The man was handsome and immaculate from his brown hair to his loafered feet.
He could have been a model for Men’s Fitness or a Chippendale’s dancer. There was sensuality in his movements, and he exuded confidence. We moved in similar circles, and his reputation preceded him wherever he went. While I was spoken about in cautious whispers, he was spoken about in awe, if not longing.
And the bleeding sod refused to take his twinkling brown eyes off me.
His gaze made me want to check my snug, professional-looking chignon to make sure no stray, black strands were flying loose. At least I didn’t have to worry about my long-lasting lipstick.
I paused a moment and glanced away as though I were pondering his unspoken request. When I met his eyes again, I replied in a flat, cold tone, “No. Whatever it is you’re trying to sell, you can take elsewhere. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
“You don’t know what my business is; nor do you know who besides you could benefit…yet you dismiss it.” He was still looking at me, smiling, while his words poured from between his yummy lips. “Is my reputation that sullied in the circles in which you walk that you won’t even listen, or is there another reason for your behavior?”
I snorted. “Not hardly, and you know it. There are few reasons you, of all people, would desire my services, and it isn’t for the appraisal of any occult item.”
“Are you as wrong in your appraisals as you are in your presumptions?” Fergus Sterling taunted before continuing, “Your reputation must have been paid for.”
He held out a photograph.
My impulse was to cursorily glance at the picture, but my eyes locked on it once I saw the item captured on the paper. Ancient workmanship surrounded a jeweled eye of blue. The amulet was legend, myth, and history.
“Ilygad Amon,” I said, realizing a moment later I had said the words under my breath instead of speaking properly.
Sterling’s voice was smug. “So, you do know some of what is reputed.”
Ignoring his attempt to rile me, I took the picture and looked closer at it.
“The captured eye of the Christian demon, Amon,” I explained, “transmogrified into a jewel by ancient fae Magick—some claim by traveling gypsy witches, others give credit to followers of Anubis—and locked into a box made of equal parts gold and lead. It’s ancient and used only in the darkest Magick.”
“Would you be willing to help track down this piece, verify its authenticity, and turn it over to parties who wish it to remain unused or, at least, contained from further use?” Sterling asked. I could hear the smile in his voice as he waited to see how I would react.
“How do you know I won’t try to keep it for myself? I am, after all, a practitioner of the Dark Arts, or to be more precise, a necromancer of considerable talents.” I offered him a placating smile. “Or is that why you came to me? You could easily authenticate this piece, unless my parents were incorrect when they said you’ve been alive since the middle ages.”
“How sweet of them to make me younger than I am,” he replied jovially. “I could do the job, but my age and reputation are considered disadvantages to the interested parties. They want someone who has less experience with such powerful objects.”
“Then they obviously aren’t aware of half the items I possess,” I replied. “Who are the ‘interested parties?’ I don’t go into anything blind.”
“You know my reputation, so you know I don’t give out my clients’ identities.” Sterling countered. “They were referred to me by Zeus and Merlyn.”
I wasn’t going to touch that one with a fifty-foot pole. Instead, I rolled my eyes and leaned back in my chair.
“Have a seat, and let us discuss fees.”
Once Sterling was seated in the plush, antique chair opposite my oak desk, I nodded. The Eye of Amon was an artifact I’d only heard about growing up. Finding it and verifying that it was more than myth would certainly add to my resume. The job would have to take precedence over any opinion I had of the arrogant, but delectable, male in my office. “My standard fee for such a task is $250,000, plus expenses.”
“A quarter million?” he retorted. “That’s all?”
It really annoyed me that I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic or incredulous.
“You have a problem with my fee?” My voice was sharp, like a whip’s crack.
“Had I known you charged bargain prices, I would have sought you out sooner, for other clients.” He smiled cattily. “Of course, I’d only do so if you deliver what’s being asked for.”
I knew I was leaning toward him, narrowing my eyes and smiling tightly. I didn’t care, though. “Of course. And, of course, you won’t have a problem signing a contract. Correct?”
Turning slightly, I opened the drawer to my left and removed one of the contracts I kept there for such occasions. I had two types of contracts: one for mundane, normal people and another for anyone of a Magickal, supernatural, or preternatural persuasion. The latter contract was binding in multiple ways.
It took less than five minutes for me to fill it out, then I slid the papers across the desk to Sterling.
“You know how this works: read, sign, and date. No blood is required for this particular contract.”
AMAZON BUY LINK
Wife and a mother of five, J.F. Posthumus is an IT Tech with over a decade of experience. When she isn’t arguing with computers and their inherent gremlins, or being mom to the four younger monsters (the eldest has flown the nest and is doing quite well on his own), she’s crafting, writing, or doing some other sort of art. An avid gamer, she loves playing Dungeons & Dragons, and a variety of other board games with her family and friends. J.F. is also a hopeless romantic, thanks to all the fairy tales she cut her eyeteeth on. They were what she learned to read before discovering the Boxcar Children Mysteries. From there, J.F. Posthumus fell into the rabbit hole that’s reading, where she discovered a love for mysteries, fantasy, and the occasional romance. Since writing was her favorite subject, J.F. naturally incorporated her love of murder, mysteries, and fantasy into her works.
When J.F. came up with the idea of a body being found at a local building, it was only natural to create a necromancer for the job. From there, Catherine’s story unfolded, complete with monsters, magic, and a little bit of romance…
Thank you for sharing this new release with me!