Midwestern Mushroom Soup – Guest Author Chris Pavesic

Chris Pavesic joins us today with a soup my family and I have been making since she posted the recipe on her blog. I have added vegetarian sausage to it for extra protein, or substituted the brown rice for chickpea-based orzo for the same reason. Vegetable broth is always used in place of chicken because my daughter is a vegetarian. No matter what I do with this recipe it comes out amazing.


Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup brown rice
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lb. fresh button mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed, sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • salt and pepper to taste

Materials:

  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cups
  • Large saucepan
  • Flat saucepan

Directions:

1.  In a large saucepan, combine onion, rice and stock.  Bring to a boil, then simmer 25 minutes.  


2.  Meanwhile, melt butter in flat saucepan.  Gently cook mushrooms about 10 minutes or until brown and most of moisture has evaporated.  Add mushrooms to stock.  Stir in sherry and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer 10 minutes.  


Makes 6 servings

While you eat your meal, why not enjoy a good book?  

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Thank you for reading,

Gina

Easy Vegan Chocolate Mousse From Guest Author Carol Browne

Psychological thriller author Carol Browne visits the blog today to share a lusciously fast recipe to slow down your holiday rush and an excerpt from her latest release for the sheer fun of it.

Thanks, Carol!

This is an exciting dessert rich with flavor and low in calories. It’s perfect for guests or just a treat for yourself. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Image by Chris Tweten from Pixabay

Chocolate Mousse
1 ripe avocado
1 large ripe banana
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tbsp. cold water

Put ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth.

Spoon mixture into 4 small dishes or glasses.

Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.

You can add your sprinkles of choice on top, e.g. coconut or chopped nuts or whatever teases your taste buds.

How about a little from my latest psychological fiction while you’re waiting for your mousse to chill?

Gillian Roth finds herself in middle age, living alone, working in a dull job, with few friends and little excitement in her life. So far, so ordinary.

But Gillian has one extraordinary problem.

Her house is full of other people… people who don’t exist. Or do they?

As her surreal home life spirals out of control, Gillian determines to find out the truth and undertakes an investigation into the nature of reality itself.

Will this provide an answer to her dilemma, or will the escalating situation push her over the edge before she has worked out what is really going on?

EXCERPT
Thursday, 26th March, 2015.

My house is filled with people who don’t exist.

They have no substance. They are neither alive nor dead. They aren’t hosts or spirits. They aren’t in any way shape or form here, but I can see them, and now I need to make a record of how they came to be under my roof.

Why now? Why today? Because we line in strange times, and today is one of the strangest days this year; this is the day that Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England, was interred in Leicester Cathedral, with all due ceremony, 530 years after he was slain at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. How surreal is that? I watched the highlights on Channel 4 earlier. A couple of my house guests sat with me and together we marveled at the event. They did Richard proud, no doubt of that.

I left them to it after a while and came up here to my bedroom to start writing a diary: this diary.

Life feels unreal today, as if time has looped back onto photo albums. The house clearly passed must itself and everything is happening now. And if I can set my thoughts down on paper, perhaps I can make sense of everything, make it all real somehow.

Where did it start, this thing that has happened to me? A couple of years ago? I can’t say when. It evolved without my conscious input. The existence of my house guests was a fact long before I began to wonder at it. I do wonder at it now and I know I must keep track of what’s happening before I lose myself in this crowd of imaginary beings.

At first there was only a few of them, and I observed their doings without much concern. I watched them snooping around the place, choosing the most comfortable chairs to sit in, leaning against the furniture, inspecting the bookcases, checking the kitchen utensils, and peering into my photo albums. The house clearly passed muster and they stayed. In time, they knew me down to the marrow. I have never known them as well as they know me. They have an air of mystery, as though they have a life outside my house they will never divulge. Even so, I felt I was safe with them and I could tell them my problems. Tell them what no-one else must ever hear. And so these shades thickened, quickened; their personalities accumulated depth and solidity, as though they were skeletons clothing themselves in flesh.

I no longer came home to a cold, empty house, but to a sanctuary where attentive friends awaited my return. I was embraced by their jovial welcome when I stepped through the door. I never knew which of them would be there, but one or two at least would always be waiting to greet me, anxious to hear about my day and make me feel wanted, and for a while I could forget the problems I have at work (even the one that bothers me the most). Since then I have felt a subtle change.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I really need this to be a faithful account of the entire situation from start to finish, so I have to try to work out how it all began, even if I’m not sure when.

If I cast my mind back, it floats like a lantern through a city cloaked in fog. I must try to isolate the shadowy figures that flit up at me out of the murk. So, let’s begin with the friend I remember first. I was cooking my evening meal. My mind wandered. I remember feeling sad. And there she stood, at my right elbow, peering into the saucepan.

“Watch you don’t burn that,” she said.

I don’t have names for my imaginary friends, just titles, so I call her Kitchen Girl. She’s dark-haired with porcelain skin, and she’s tall and voluptuous. The sort of woman I’d like to be except I’m small with red hair and a ruddy complexion, and I need chicken fillets to convince people I’m female.

I suppose Kitchen Girl is rather daunting, with those fierce blue eyes and no-nonsense approach to everything. I can stand up to her though. I use humour as my weapon of choice and she appreciates wit and banter. I’d like it if she didn’t nag so much, if I’m honest (“Use less salt… keep stirring… is that all you’re going to eat?”) but, criticism aside, I know she’ll compliment me on the finished product as it lies uneaten between us on the table. Long conversations back and forth have been played out while the meals go cold on their plates. Fried eggs congeal and go waxen. Ice cream melts into a tepid sludge. Sandwiches curl up with embarrassment to be so spurned. You know how it is when you get gossiping. Someone wants to talk to me and that’s better than food.

And sometimes, it’s curious, but it’s Kitchen Girl who cooks the food and serves it to me like a waitress. She likes to surprise me with new dishes.

I have no idea how this happens.

Nor why she never leaves the kitchen. But I wish she’d do the washing up now and then.

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Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol writes both fiction and non-fiction.


Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Great excerpt, Carol!

Thanks for reading,

Gina

Chicken Dumpling Soup – Guest Post By Author Chris Pavesic

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Cold weather, hot homemade soup, and a great read. We’re doing it Chris Pavesic style. Recipe included.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 cans (14-1/2 oz. each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper or to taste
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Dumplings:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley for parsley dumplings (optional)

Materials:

  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large nonstick skillet/Dutch oven
  • Small bowl
  • Fork
  • Tablespoon

Directions:

1.  In a large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, brown chicken.  Add the broth, water, vegetables and seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, for dumplings, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt (add dried parsley if desired) in a small bowl. With a fork cut in the margarine to resemble coarse crumbs.  Mix in the milk.  Set aside.

3.  Bring soup to a boil.  Drop dumplings by tablespoonfuls into the boiling soup.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in dumplings comes out clean (do not lift cover while simmering).

Serve immediately.

Starter Zone Image

Chris Pavesic continues the amazing story of Cami Malifux with Book 2 of the Revelation Chronicles.

Purchase at Amazon

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Escape from a world of darkness into a magical realm of limitless adventure.

In Starter Zone Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure.

In the Traveler’s Zone magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world.

Time to play the game.

Amazon Author Page

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Many thanks to Chris for stopping by to feed us and show us the Revelation Chronicles!

What’s your favorite soup?

Thanks for reading!

Gina

New Release In Romantic Suspense! Shattered Sunset Promises By Nancy Kay!

Nancy is here to share about her her new novel, Cranberry Pond, and a muffin recipe.

Thank you, Nancy!

A Cranberry Connection

Presque Isle State Park is a sandy peninsula that juts into Lake Erie near Erie, Pennsylvania. The peninsula has 21 miles of hiking trails.

Ridge Trail, a favorite, follows the edge of Cranberry Pond, one of many ponds on Presque Isle. Many years ago Cranberry Bogs thrived on Presque Isle, a little known historical tidbit. Today only the Pond bearing the red, tart fruit’s name remains.

If you ever visit Erie, Pennsylvania make it a point to visit Presque Isle. Take a walk down Sidewalk Trail and Marsh Trail, and venture onto Ridge Trail past Cranberry Pond. Once you read Shattered Sunset Promises you’ll have a very real connection to the park’s trails. I didn’t mention the cranberry history in my story, but there is a definite connection to the shady, secluded trails between the pages.

I love Presque Isle, and it was while hiking one of the many amazing trails my story, Shattered Sunset Promises, began to unfold. Of course my story is fiction, but the beautiful peninsula blessed by sunsets like none other year round is real.

Cranberry Muffins

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups flour

½ cup sugar

1 Tab. Baking Powder

¼ teas. Salt

1 cup quick cooking oatmeal

1 to 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries.

1 egg

1 cup orange juice

¼ cup Canola oil

Directions: mix all dry ingredients. Add cranberries and toss gently to coat.

Whisk egg, oil, and juice together then add to dry mixture.

Fill 12 muffin tins for baking. I sometimes sprinkle some raw sugar on each raw muffin before baking. It give a nice sweet/tart flavor with each bite.

Bake at 400 degrees for twenty minutes.


Suspense to make you shiver with Heart to make you sigh.

Her inheritance is disastrous. His murder case is stalled. Then a link between her bequest and his homicide entangles and threatens their lives.

Malory Williams faces an uncertain future. Ten years ago she lost the love of her life, and now she’s lost her job. Fate presents an appealing blank slate when she inherits Bay Bluff Cottage, and Mal doesn’t hesitate. She sells her current home and pools her assets. Life if looking up….until she discovers she’s inherited an albatross.

Two grisly homicides pose a challenge for seasoned investigator John Ryley. A single, precise slash ended both lives and the women’s savaged bodies were dumped at the exact same location. The brutal murders occurred ten years apart, though, and John’s skeptical…until clues point to a connection between the murders and Malory’s inheritance.

Neither John nor Malory are looking for involvement at this point in their lives, yet he finds the stunning widow’s perseverance sexy, and she discovers irresistible charm beneath the investigators’ tough demeanor. But when a well-kept secret is uncovered the homicide explodes, and John races against the clock to keep Malory from becoming a killer’s next victim.

Shattered Sunset Promises is available in ebook and paperback from these etailers and stores:

books2read.com/u/4AxpxK

alacarteshop.com

heartlandinnandcafe.com

romolochocolates.com

North Star Winery & Market


Nancy Kay resides near Lake Erie in Western Pennsylvania with her husband, a former member of the Marines and the Pennsylvania State Police Department who provides valuable insight for her stories. Nancy is a long time member of Romance Writers of America. Her stories are set in small towns and inland communities scattered along the shores of the Great Lakes. They focus on romance, intertwined with the love of hearth, home, and family. Yet, they are sprinkled with suspense, danger, and intrigue. Learn more about Nancy on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Scrambled Eggs With Feta and Chives Plus a Preview of a New Cookbook|Guest Post by Sloane Taylor

Some people claim breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I believe that’s true, but it doesn’t mean you have to stuff yourself with mountains of borderline healthy food. This menu is satisfying, delicious and won’t cause a coronary. For a more festive morning or brunch add Mimosas. The recipes are gauged for two people so you need to adjust the amounts if you are serving more.

Serve with Fresh Fruit Salad, Croissants or Fresh Rolls, Jam or Jelly,
Orange Juice, and Coffee, Tea, or Milk

Scrambled Eggs with Feta and Chives

4 large eggs
2 tbsp. feta cheese, crumbled
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp. butter, you may need a little more
2 tbsp. fresh chives or 1 tbsp. dried

Crack eggs into a medium-sized bowl. Scramble well with a fork.

Stir in the feta and pepper.

Add butter to a medium-sized frying pan. Melt over medium heat. Pour in egg mixture and then carefully scramble. Be sure to flip the eggs so the cheese melts.

Sprinkle on the chives. Heat through and then serve.

Fresh Fruit Salad
1 apple, cored and sliced
1 pear, sliced
1 banana, peeled and sliced
Lemon juice
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
10 seedless red grapes, cut in half
Small handful blueberries
Small handful raspberries

In a glass serving bowl, combine the apple, pear, and banana. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent the fruit from turning brown. Gently stir. Add in the remaining fruit.

Cover with plastic wrap then set in the refrigerator to chill until time to serve.

COMING SOON to a kitchen near you!

Book 2 in the Meals to Make Together series

Starry summer nights are ripe for romance and dining al fresco. Enhance the mood with Romantic Meals to dine al Fresco, candles, wine, and your favorite music. Fire up your grill and share a romantic dinner with your someone special. Then let the night take you away.

Create 45 delicious and complete meals for two that can be cooked on your grill or stove. No exotic or expensive ingredients needed. These 103 recipes use everyday products already in your kitchen cabinets. Increasing the dinners is a snap for those fun nights when friends or family join you.

Romantic Meals to dine al Fresco, Book 2 in the Meals to Make Together series, is an ideal gift for a hostess, bridal shower, anniversary, or the couple who crave a fresh flavor in their lives.

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning author with a second passion in her life. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Taylor currently has seven romance novellas released by Toque & Dagger Publishing. Her first solo venture into non-fiction is a Couples Cookbook with eighty of her favorite recipes, DATE NIGHT DINNERS, Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening.

Excerpts from her books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, Amazon Author Page.

Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with laughter and seated around a well laden table!