Monday, March 19, 2018

Crockpot Monday: Witch's Brew

10:53 AM 0 Comments
Last week, I posted a Christmas recipe and this week, I'm posting on that most people would think of for Halloween. I can't help myself, holidays make me happy and I believe that good drinks are good drinks whenever you make them. Ready for this week's yum?

2 quarts apple juice
2 quarts pineapple juice
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 box (6 ounces) lime jello powder
5-6 whole star anise
orange sherbet (to add before serving)


You will need a large crockpot.

Pour in the juices, and add the allspice. Stir in the jello powder, and float the star anise on top. Cover and cook on low for about 5 hours, or on high for about 3. Serve with a scoop of orange sherbet.

This recipe is perfect for Halloween, but don't let that stop you from trying it now!

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Book Review: The Tunnels

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"Fascinating--and it is all true!"-- FREDERICK FORSYTH, author The Day of the Jackal

Washington Post: "A fascinating and complex picture of the interplay between politics and media in the Cold War era."

Hailed by The New York Times Book Review, Alan Furst, Bill Moyers, Alex Kershaw, Kai Bird, and more.

A thrilling Cold War narrative exploring two harrowing attempts to rescue East Germans by tunneling beneath the Berlin Wall, the U.S. television networks who financed and filmed them, and the Kennedy administration's unprecedented attempt to suppress both films.

In the summer of 1962, one year after East German Communists built the Berlin Wall, a group of daring young West Germans came up with a plan. They would risk prison, Stasi torture, even death to liberate friends, lovers, and strangers in East Berlin by digging tunnels under the Wall. Among the tunnelers and escape helpers were a legendary cyclist, an American student from Stanford, and an engineer who would later help build the tunnel under the English Channel. 
Then two U.S. television networks, NBC and CBS, heard about the secret projects, and raced to be first to air a spectacular "inside tunnel" special on the human will for freedom. The networks funded two separate tunnels in return for exclusive rights to film the escapes. In response, President John F. Kennedy and Secretary of State Dean Rusk, wary of anything that might raise tensions and force a military confrontation with the Soviets, maneuvered to quash both documentaries.
Unfolding week by week, sometimes hour by hour, Greg Mitchell's riveting narrative deftly cuts back and forth from one extraordinary character to another.  There's the tunneler who had already served four years in the East German gulag; the Stasi informer who betrays the "CBS tunnel"; the young East Berliner who escapes with her baby, then marries one of the tunnelers; and broadcast legend Daniel Schorr, who battled unsuccessfully to save his film from White House interference and remained bitter about it to the end of his life. Looming over all is John F. Kennedy, who was ambivalent about--even hostile toward-- the escape operations.  Kennedy confessed to Dean Rusk:  "We don't care about East Berlin."
Based on extensive access to the Stasi archives, long-secret U.S. documents, and new interviews with tunnelers and refugees, The Tunnels provides both rich history and high suspense.  Award-winning journalist Mitchell captures the hopes and fears of everyday Berliners; the chilling reach of the Stasi secret police; U.S. networks prepared to "pay for play" yet willing to cave to official pressure; and a White House and State Department eager to suppress historic coverage. The result is "breaking history," a propulsive read whose themes reverberate even today.


Every so often I feel the need to dip my toes into the nonfiction world and that's how I ended up with this book. I'm glad that I did. It took me a while to get through this book because the subject matter could be heart wrenching at times and I just had to sit it down and walk away. That being said, some books on history are so dry that you need a glass of something to get through them. This isn't that book. It reads more like a novel than a dry history book. If you're interested in Berlin, the Cold War, or anything of that nature, I highly recommend that you pick up this book.

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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Monday, March 12, 2018

Crockpot Monday: Wassail

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According to Wikipedia, wassail is a beverage of hot mulled cider, drunk traditionally as an integral part of wassailing, a Medieval Christmastide English drinking ritual intended to ensure a good cider apple harvest the following year.

I know that it's no longer Christmas, but I think we can hope for a good apple harvest no matter what time of year! Okay, that's stretching for a reason to post this recipe. That's okay! Yummy drinks are yummy no matter when you make them.

2 quarts apple cider
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup honey
3 sticks cinnamon
2 whole cloves
1 whole orange, cut in rings
Brandy (Optional)


Use a large crockpot.

Put all of the ingredients into the crockpot, except for the brandy and orange. Wash your orange well, and cut off each end. Slice the remaining orange into rings, and float the pieces on the top of the juice.

Cook on high for 2 hours, or on low for about 4.

Ladle into mugs. If you are going to add the brandy, put a shot into each mug, then top with the hot cider.

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Crockpot Monday: Pumpkin Spice Latte

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This morning I was talking with my friend about pumpkin soup and then realized that I'm posting pumpkin! If you believe in fate, well, there you go!

A lot of folks only think of pumpkin in the Autumn, but why shouldn't you enjoy your favorite flavors whenever you want? You should! Don't let people's silliness stop you from enjoying something you love!


2 cups milk
2 Tablespoons canned pumpkin
2 Tablespoons white sugar
2 Tablespoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup brewed espresso or 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
Whipped cream (optional)


Add the coffee/espresso and milk to the crockpot. Whisk in the pumpkin, spices, sugar, and vanilla.

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours if everything is cold. Whisk again.

Ladle into mugs and garnish with whipped cream and additional cinnamon or a cinnamon stick.

This sounds like the perfect treat for a cold winter's day and imagine how yummy your house is going to smell!

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Friday, March 2, 2018

Book Review: Beneath a Prairie Moon

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Readers rabid for the sweet historical romances of Tracie Peterson and Tamara Alexander will flock to best-selling author Kim Vogel Sawyer's prairie-set heartwarmer of high society cast-off and the western town that welcomes her.

Abigail Grant grew up in affluence and knows exactly how to behave in high society. But when she is cast from the social registers due to her father's illegal dealings, she finds herself forced into a role she never imagined: tutoring rough Kansas ranchers in the subjects of manners and morals so they can "marry up" with their mail-order brides. Mack Cleveland, whose uncle was swindled by a mail-order bride, wants no part of the scheme to bring Eastern women to Spiveyville, Kansas, and he's put off by the snooty airs and fastidious behavior of the "little city gal" in their midst. But as time goes by, his heart goes out to the teacher who tries so diligently to smooth the rough edges from the down-to-earth men. How can he teach her that perfection won't bring happiness?

Okay, all. I have to start by saying that the above synopsis (taken from Goodreads) isn't correct. I actually changed a couple of the names, but I don't feel as if this gives an accurate feel for the book. Still, that's what was provided, so I've provided it for you...heh...Now, on to the review!

The Good - The characters. The author writes in such a way that before you know it, you feel as if you know each and every character as if they were your own neighbors and friends. I think that's incredibly important in a book. If you can't know a character, you can't connect and if you can't connect, you put the book down and walk away.

The Bad - Umm...I can't think of anything. The book moves at just the right pace, is easy to read, has wonderful characters and is one that I could read repeatedly.

The Summary - Kim Vogel Sawyer writes books that draw you in and don't let go until the final page. I can't recommend her books any higher than I already do. Go and pick this one up and I'm sure you won't regret it.

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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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Announcement: Sarah's Journal is Now on Amazon!

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I'm so excited! Today is the official release day for Sarah's Journal! Sarah's Journal picks up where None Good ends and continues throughout most of Except One. Now everyone can read about how Sarah is handling all of the crazy that keeps happening to her and learn more about what happens to her and to her friends.

I wrote this during NaNo 2017 while I was also doing the final work on Except One and I have to confess that I love how it came out. Sometimes you start to write something and everything just seems to connect. That's how "the journal" was for me. Then, I handed it over to Nick and he created this amazing cover. I had no idea what I wanted and somehow, he created something beyond my imagination that's just perfect for this book.

As if having a new book with a stunning cover out isn't enough, this is also my first solo piece in The Tether Saga. That's my name, all by itself, on that cover and every time I see it, I grin ear to ear.

I want to thank all of you for sharing this exciting moment with me and if you're interested in picking this up, it is an Amazon exclusive but have no fear, I have the links for you!


I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you do, please leave a review. Reviews help others know just how awesome things are. ;)

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Crockpot Monday: Peppermint Hot Chocolate

10:27 AM 0 Comments
I love, love, love hot chocolate! I've been known to sneak in a mug even during the summer months. Sadly though, my lovely Cocomotion has broken and I've been looking for new ways to make hot chocolate that doesn't involve my microwave (which also just died). Ta Da! My other favorite appliance can handle this task!

Basic peppermint hot chocolate:

3 cups nonfat dried milk
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 to 2 teaspoon peppermint extract, depending on taste.
7 cups water
marshmallows and candy canes for garnish

for a "mocha":
pour the cooked hot chocolate over a shot of espresso or a half-cup of very strong coffee

for an "adult drink":
omit the peppermint extract and pour the hot chocolate over a shot of Peppermint Schnapps


Combine the dry ingredients into your crockpot and stir with a spoon. Squeeze in a half-cup of chocolate sauce, and add the peppermint extract. Add the water, a cup at a time, and stir well.

Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or until completely hot. Serve with marshmallows and candy canes.

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