Thursday, April 30, 2015

Two Families--Many Dreams. A Mother's Day Gift to You.

For Mother's Day, I am offering The Dream Bucket, my newest e-book, as a free gift to you, May 8-12. If you already have this book, please write me a note as a Facebook message. I'll send you another gift. (No strings attached--I simply want you to have something new and inspiring to read.)

When the time gets closer, I'll remind you about this freebie.

The Dream Bucket is a story about a newly-widowed young woman with two children, ten-year-old Trudy and twelve-year-old Billy. Trudy doesn't think her mother has enough knowledge and intelligence to take care of the family. How can this woman in a savage frontier life survive and protect her children?

Here's a brief excerpt:

With King stationed on the porch, the little family faced the dangers of their first night in the shack.
Nothing had ever hurt Trudy the way it did that moment. “I love you, Mama.”

“I love you, Mama,” Billy echoed.

If only her mother had more sense about what they needed to do, they’d survive.

“We’re going to get through this.” Mama spoke with force. “I love both of you.”

In lantern light, they sorted through the piles. Trudy found something to lay out to wear the next day, a happy yellow dress with a big skirt. She took it to the back room and closed the door behind her so she could try it on.

“How do I look?” Trudy prissed in front of the lantern light.

“Baby girl, you look lovely. Come on, Billy J. Let’s find something for you to wear tomorrow.”

He held up some work dungarees and a khaki shirt. “I’ll try these.”

The pants fit, but the shirt, which was oversized, lacked two buttons.

Mama rummaged until she pulled out a dress that needed the hem mended, but she had no needles, thread, or time. Neither did she have any pins.

“You’ll look pretty,” Trudy said. They’d go back to MacGregor’s Mercantile in a day or two to buy essentials for sewing.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Why do you go to Subway?

We like to go to there because Subway is everywhere. Although the restaurants are not always the same, the sandwiches maintain their quality everywhere we go.  A low calorie lunch that will satisfy a hungry eater is the six-inch turkey sandwich.  At the official website it is possible to calculate the number of calories in the sandwiches.

The turkey sandwich served on nine-grain wheat bread with cucumbers, green peppers, lettuce, red onions, and tomatoes without cheese has only 280 calories. I like to add the olive oil blend, a little vinegar, and some mustard. The oil raises the calories to 340.

When we're starving, we add a bag of  harvest cheddar Sun Chips, which has 210 calories, but it isn't so bad if we share.

Sometimes when we sit down to eat a big burger with fries, we realize we could have gone to Subway and eaten more sensibly. Also we could have gone and smelled the bread. The best part of going to Subway is smelling the bread!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Beef and Lamb Stew

Beef and Lamb Stew
How many servings will this recipe yield? I’m not sure, but it will make a big pot for a covered dish meal. It has a hint of lamb, which seems to be a taste unfamiliar to many of my friends. Most people who have tasted this stew have trouble stopping with only one bowl. The ingredients in this stew are chopped fine so it can be offered in small servings that include all the ingredients.
Chop into small cubes and trim away fat:
--2 pounds high quality beef for stew, coated with garlic powder..
Lightly brown (sauté) the meat. Don’t overcook. Use:
--2 tablespoons canola and olive oil mixed.
Lightly brown and drain the excess grease:
--1 pound ground lamb
Again, don’t overcook the meat. You may wish to blot the browned lamb with day-old sliced bread or clean paper towels. Place all the meat in a large slow cooker, along with finely chopped vegetables. Measure AFTER chopping:
--2 cups mixed bell peppers (red, yellow, orange)
--2 cups onions
--2 cups baby carrots
--¾ cup celery
Place in the slow cooker:
--1 can (11 ounces) tomatoes with green chilies
--1 cup water
--1 teaspoon rosemary
--1 teaspoon thyme
--1 teaspoon summer savory
--1 teaspoon kosher salt
--1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Toss to combine ingredients and cook until the carrots are almost tender. (The vegetables will continue to cook while this dish is cooling.
While the dish cooks, rinse and boil until al dente:
--¼ cup pearled barley in 2 cups water
Chop and brown in a small amount of oil:
--1 cup fresh mushrooms (also measured after being chopped)
Add the mushrooms and barley near the end of the cooking time.
Prepare a white sauce to be added to the stew. You will need
--4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
--4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
--1 quart fat free half and half cream
Melt the butter. Stir in the flour, add the cream and heat slowly until there are no lumps and the sauce is smooth and slightly thick.
Pour the sauce over the mixture. Toss lightly.
Note about potatoes: Chances are your slow cooker cannot hold the potatoes. Also the potatoes need to be firm but not mushy.

Baked Seasoned Potatoes
You will need:
--4 pounds small red potatoes.
Wash the potatoes and trim away any black spots. Cut the potatoes in quarters.
Mix together:
--2 teaspoons paprika
--¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
--1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Coat the potatoes with the seasoning mixture. You will need to cook the potatoes in increments. Pour onto a baking pan:
--1 tablespoon oil
Add half the potatoes and toss them until they are covered with oil. Bake at 400 degrees until the potatoes are done. Do not overcook. Repeat the process. If you need to divide the potatoes into small portions to cook, decrease the oil. Don’t use more than 2-3 tablespoons oil for all the potatoes.

Note about serving the stew: The stew is to be eaten with the potatoes added. You will need to be innovative if you don’t have a pot this large. Ideally the potatoes should be added to the stew in a big pot. You may prefer to place the potatoes in a bowl beside the stew. Provide garnishes:
--Finely sliced green onions
--Fresh parsley springs

Serve this stew with small biscuits. Have the guests drop a biscuit into each bowl of stew.
(Look for the biscuit recipe soon.)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Collard Greens and Pork

Today, I cooked some collards that thrilled my beloved's heart. I want to share this easy recipe with you.

Place some sweet potatoes in a small slow cooker to cook while you're preparing the collards. Select two bunches of collards from the produce section. I found some that were tender, full bunches with small leaves.

Here are the easy steps to prepare your collard greens. Rinse them in soda or salt water. Wash the greens until there is no grit. On a cutting board, slice out the main stem of each leaf. If you get a rhythm going to preparing the leaves, the process will go quickly. Grab a handful of leaves and roll them loosely. The roll will be about the size of a cigar. Cut vertically down this roll and slice it with a sharp knife on the cutting board in ribbons. Keep going with the quick slicing.

In the mean time brown in a skillet:

1 pound ground pork.

Let the pork cool and rinse it in a colander to remove excess grease.

You need a large pot such as a soup pot with a see-through lid. Place into the pot:

2 tablespoons oil (We like mixed olive and canola oil.)
The trimmed collard greens (They'll cook down.)

Stir-fry the greens. Cover and cook them 6-10 minutes at high heat. They will make their own liquid. Add:

The meat
1 can tomatoes and green chilies
A shake of season salt
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon savory
1 cup water

Lower the heat to the lowest setting possible and simmer the collard greens until they are almost tender. Don't overcook the collard greens. You don't want them to be mushy.

Make some cornbread following the recipe on Aunt Jeremiah's cornmeal.

This is a great meal with the collards as a main dish.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Congratulations on mailing your taxes! Now you have time to read The Courtship of Miss Loretta Larson

Today, April 16, is the first of a five-day offer, in which you can obtain The Courtship of Miss Loretta Larson (Kindle) free. If you already have it, drop me a message on the Facebook message page. We'll talk about what you'd like, and I'll send you something else.

Also if you've read it and enjoyed it, tell a friend.

A review would be welcomed. Your review would help more than words can say.

The Courtship of Miss Loretta LarsonAs I write this note, The Courtship of Miss Loretta Larson is #28 in Free Christion Historical Romance Fiction

And finally, please consider reading the other books in the series if you haven't yet.

Monday, April 13, 2015

An Interesting Dining Experience

Back Yard Burgers has several delicious and rich choices--Black Jack Chicken Club, Classic Backyard Burger, Fried Pickles, Garlic Parmesan Waffle Fries, Onion Rings, Wild Turkey Burger, Pineapple Upside Down Shake, 1/3 Pound Bacon Cheddar Burger, Prime Rib Burger, Chocolate Covered Cherry Shake.

Go to to calculate the nutritional value of your meal. This site is interactive. At first I panicked, but then I realized it isn't as high calorie as I had feared. For example the Wild Turkey Burger with all I want on it has only 675 calories. That is not too bad because it is about one third of a normal adult diet for the day -- not bad for a meal.

The atmosphere of this restaurant across from University Hospital, Jackson, is intriguing. There are three or four restaurants in the same room.

2601 N. State Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39216
Store Phone #:601-362-5223

Jason's Deli -- I don't know of a better food bargain!

Jason's Deli is one of our favorite places to go for Sunday lunch. We almost always choose the salad bar, which is one of the best anywhere. I love the variety of cheeses.

Oh, and the hummus! I put some on a separate small plate, slice a boiled egg over it, and add a bit of olive oil from the bar. This goes well with the fantastic crackers or sliced, toasted bread.

We like to top off our meal with a complimentary ice cream cone. It's just salad, right? Not too many calories. (Tongue in Cheek)

Sometimes I go there on a week day, off hours, and get a salad or two to go. I take it home and combine whatever I get with whatever I have at home. I love to do this when guests are coming over. They're always impressed with the salad.

Other foods we like are the muffaletta, baked potato, and Reuben. These require a take-home box.

If I didn't like any of this food, I'd still go there. Jason's is a busy, exciting place full of interesting people. The waiters are always accommodating. Whether it's Jason's in Baton Rouge, Amarillo, or Shreveport, the service and food quality is always the same, always outstanding.

Happy Post Income Tax Day

April 16 should be a United States national holiday to celebrate the sheer relief and joy of filing our taxes. To help you celebrate, I'm giving you a present. My novel, The Courtship of Miss Loretta Larson, which can be read on your Kindle or other device, will be free for five days -- April 16 through April 20.

Thursday, remember to go get your free book.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

I am rich.

Having a few million dollars wouldn't make me rich, but I became a wealthy woman the day I looked into my daughter's intelligent beautiful face. She has always been a blessing in my life.

Publishers and editors caution writers about taking what their family members say about the authors' books. I agree that the comments of family should not be the only opinions we should seek, but I also believe we should consider what those who know us best believe. Sometimes they are the most difficult to please. (In fact, it has been my experience that strangers are kind in their reviews.)

I'm happy to share with you the beautiful review Christie Underwood, who is an individual owns her own strong opinions, wrote about Secret Promise.

Quoting from Christie's review: Inspiring Romance

Warning: This book may cause you to get completely lost in its southern story.

As I read the novel, I completely forgot that I was sitting on a tiny airplane seat for two hours. The long flight from Lubbock, Texas, to Madison, Wisconsin, seemed to fly by, and I was disappointed when we touched down because that meant reading time was over. During the day I found myself lingering in Taylorsburg, wondering what Jake and Caroline were doing. No book has affected me this way since the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

If you enjoyed reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett, you will especially enjoy reading Secret Promise as Mary Lou Cheatham draws from the experiences of her youth growing up in southern Mississippi.

The heroine of the story, Caroline, takes you to the brink of frustration just before you find relief. You gain an understanding of the love Caroline has for sweet, dear Rachel, one of her mothers, and gain insight into how many southern children during this era were actually raised. Brother George’s ministry to Jake grows into a strong bond that envelops the story.

It’s amazing how much our world has changed in just a hundred years. The wording, characters, everyday life, and technology are accurate to the time period. Southern Mississippi has gone through many changes, and this book is a snapshot into a tumultuous time period.

A must read

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Treat Yourself for Finishing Your Taxes

Here's something to help you relax after Income Tax Day. April 16-20, The Courtship of Miss Loretta Larson will cost you nothing. For five days, you can download it free! It's a Kindle book. If you don't have a Kindle, you can read it on your computer.

Loretta Larson doesn't have to worry about money. She has more than she needs. You may consider what I'm going to say a cliché. This thirty-something school marm discovers she needs something money cannot buy. You know what it is: LOVE.

The Courtship of Miss Loretta Larson is the second in a three-book series, The Covington Chronicles. Although the three books occur in the same south Mississippi town in the early 1900's, they are independent of each other. You can read this one without reading the others first.

Loretta, however, appears as a minor character in the first book, which is called Secret Promise. This first book, available as a Kindle and also a paperback book, is not eligible for the free gift program. It's about a beautiful young woman, also a school marm, who doesn't know she is beautiful and who allows people to mistreat her until you will want to scream at her. How can she ever rise above the struggles she has in her life and find LOVE? (Check out the latest review on this one.)