Book Review: The Cantaloupe Thief

Posted by Katrina Roets at 9:00 AM

Friday, July 22, 2016

Branigan Powers knows a good story when she sees one—and the ten-year-old cold case of wealthy Alberta Grambling Resnick's murder definitely makes the cut. Resnick was stabbed in her home after she let it slip that she was planning to change her will. There are plenty of suspects in the death of the matriarch of the town's founding family, but the killer has never been caught.

Now Branigan must do some serious digging to get her story. She knows the town's homeless community might have seen something; she also knows that the local cops wouldn't have thought of questioning these often-invisible people. There's a big problem, though: as Branigan starts digging, the homeless start dying. When her twin brother, a long-time addict, gets involved, the consequences of her investigation may hit a little too close to home.

Set in the fictional small town of Grambling, Georgia, The Cantaloupe Thief is the first in a new mystery series by Deb Richardson-Moore. The author is herself a former journalist and works extensively with the homeless, lending weight to the portrayal of a believable and engaging whodunit.

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What happens when your allergies wake you up in intense pain at 1:30am and it takes forever for pain medications to kick in? You pick up the closest book and you start reading...and in this case, you keep reading until the bendadryl has you nearly comatose and then the next day you pick the book right back up and finish it. That's what happened with this book.

I am incredibly impressed that this is that author's first mystery novel because the mystery is part of what kept me reading right up until the last page. I honestly had no idea who had done it. My favorite part of this book? The author uses her story to remind us all to take better care of the people around us and that nobody is invisible. We all have worth. It's easy to forget what others are going through, but we need to be aware.

What else can I say about this book? It had just the right blend of mystery, tugging on the heart strings, social consciousness, and honest to goodness good old fashioned enjoyable reading. From what I've found out, this is only the author's second book, but I certainly hope that it isn't her last. It would be a downright shame not to make this a series!


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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Crockpot Monday: Balsamic Chicken

Posted by Katrina Roets at 9:00 AM

Monday, July 18, 2016

Balsamic Chicken:

Ingredients:
4-6 boneless skinless frozen chicken thighs
1 whole head of garlic
2 zucchinis
2 yellow squash
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red onion
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper

Directions:

Salt and pepper your chicken pieces. Place the chicken into the crockpot. Wash and cut all of your vegetables and put into a mixing bowl. Peel the head of garlic, but keep the cloves intact. Toss the vegetables and garlic with balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Add the vegetables to your crockpot.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. This is delicious served over something like quinoa.

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Book Review: Like a River From Its Course

Posted by Katrina Roets at 6:30 AM

Friday, July 15, 2016

An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hopeThe city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler's blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little--known history of Ukraine's tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.

Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the "killing ditch." He survives, but not without devastating consequences.

Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.

Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Fuhrer's plans for domination are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

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It's rare that a book reaches out, grabs you by the heart and refuses to let go. This book does just that. Told from four points of view, this book shows you a side of war that they don't teach you sitting in a classroom. Don't get me wrong. Dates, locations, names of the major players are important, but this book shows what war really is. It shows the personal side, how it affected the average person and how those average people survived.

This is a book that every history student should be made to read. I laughed, cried, mourned, and celebrated with each of the characters. I was picking this book up every free moment that I had and I won't lie when I say that this book changed me and put me in touch with a time that happened before I was born. When time passes, we become disconnected. This book reconnects people with what was truly a terrible time. I cannot recommend this book enough.


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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Crockpot Monday: Apricot Barbecue Wings

Posted by Katrina Roets at 9:00 AM

Monday, July 11, 2016

Apricot Barbecue Wings:

Ingredients:
3 pounds chicken wings
1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
1 (18-ounce) jar apricot preserve
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

Directions:

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Spread the wings out on a large cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees. This browns the skin nicely.

Put the hot wings into your cooker. In a mixing bowl, combine the barbecue sauce, apricot preserve, dry mustard, and Tabasco sauce.  Pour over top of the chicken.

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through but still attached to the bone.


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Crockpot Monday: French Toast Bake

Posted by Katrina Roets at 9:42 AM

Monday, July 4, 2016

Ingredients:

1 whole loaf of bread (raisin bread is fantastic, but choose your favorite)
1 dozen eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups of milk
1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup walnuts, or other desired nuts (optional. I did not use nuts this time.)

Directions:

This is a larger recipe so you may need to use a 6 quart crockpot. If you don’t have one, you may need to scale back the recipe.

Grease the inside of your crockpot very well with butter, shortening, or cooking spray. Slice your bread into large slices (if it's already sliced, just dump it in) and place the bread into the crockpot.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla together. Pour on top of the bread.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. This is done when the bread has soaked up all of the liquid and the egg has cooked (you can tell because you'll see bits of cooked egg stuck to the bread).

If after 8 hours, everything looks done, but there is still liquid in your crockpot, take the lid off and let it cook for a bit without it.




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Crockpot Monday: Banana Bread

Posted by Katrina Roets at 9:36 AM

Monday, June 27, 2016

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

Directions:

After mixing up your batter, pour it into a prepared loaf pan. If you have a round crockpot and not an oval one, pick a round cake pan that fits snugly inside the stoneware. Prop your lid open just a tad to let some steam out. I used a chopstick (no idea how to use them, but they’re handy!)

Cook on high for 4 hours, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Carefully remove the hot pan from the stoneware and let cool.


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Book Review: The Wurst of Lucky Peach

Posted by Katrina Roets at 9:30 AM

Friday, June 24, 2016


The best in wurst from around the world, with enough sausage-themed stories and pictures stuffed between these two covers to turn anyone into a forcemeat aficionado.

Lucky Peach presents a cookbook as a scrapbook, stuffed with curious local specialties, like cevapi, a caseless sausage that’s traveled all the way from the Balkans to underneath the M tracks in Ridgewood, Queens; a look into the great sausage trails of the world, from Bavaria to Texas Hill Country and beyond; and the ins and outs of making your own sausages, including fresh chorizo.

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We all know my weakness for awesome cookbooks and summer is officially here, so I thought a book about sausages would be perfect! Well, I was right and I was wrong. This book, while advertised as a cookbook, isn't a cookbook. In fact, it only has about 40 recipes. The book is far more about the history and types of sausage. Unfortunately, it feels like it's suffering from a bit of an identity crisis.

So, while a disappointment as a full fledged cookbook, this book is still fantastic. Honestly, it's worth it just to read the rants about ketchup and mustard. If you're interested in learning about types of sausage, the geography of sausage, or even read short travelogues done by people traveling for sausage, this full of personality book might be for you. If you're looking for a cookbook, give this one a pass and keep your eyes open for a book stuffed with sausage recipes. Stuffed..get it?

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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