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This Book Is Making Me Hungry! + Book Review — Demise in Denim

17 Apr

0591ccdc09f18615f320696c61a955edWhen Reagan Summerside turned the first floor of her old Victorian home into a consignment shop, she never imagined she’d be harboring a fugitive in her attic. But after a dead man is found in a bathtub and local lawyer Walker Boone is accused of doing the dirty deed, she suddenly has a new houseguest.

Purchase a copy of Demise in Denim HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

10917865_733950283342411_129660116418082754_nDuffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She has two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, her license plate is Sherlok and she conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Duffy’s national bestselling Consignment Shop Mystery series is set in Savannah and the Cycle Path Mysteries are set on Mackinac Island.

My Impressions:

Demise in Denim is the 4th book in Duffy Brown’s Consignment Shop Mystery series. Set amid the historic squares of Savannah, it is all that a cozy mystery should be. Colorful and quirky characters, a curious and meddlesome amateur sleuth, a hunky love interest and a mystery full of twists and turns are all found in this novel. Told from the first person perspective of Reagan Summerside, proprietor of the Prissy Fox consignment shop, the novel can be read as a standalone.  With an interesting mystery, Demise in Denim could be used as a guide to local cuisine! Reagan and her many sidekicks fuel their investigation with meatloaf sandwiches from Parker’s, barbecue from Wall’s and late night snacks of Tabasco popcorn from Pinkie Masters Lounge. Demise in Denim is a fun and flavorful read, but be aware there is some profanity.

While many of the sites noted in Demise in Denim do exist, there were a couple of eateries that are purely ficitional. But the food really does need to be real! So in honor of Cakery Bakery’s sprinkle donuts and best friend Chantilly’s mac and cheese, here are two recipes you can make yourself.

Baked-Funfetti-Donuts-1.-These-taste-just-like-your-favorite-sprinkled-donuts-at-the-bakery.-And-theyre-so-simple-to-make-at-home-3Cakery Bakery Sprinkle Donuts (courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Ingredients:

DONUTS
1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (careful not to overmeasure)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (gives them that “bakery donut” taste)
1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) milk*
1/4 cup (60g) Greek yogurt*
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles
GLAZE
1/4 cup (60ml) milk*
2 cups (240g) confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
extra sprinkles to sprinkle on top, optional

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spray a donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.

For the donuts: whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Whisk the milk, yogurt, and egg together until smooth. Add the melted butter and vanilla, whisking until fully combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be very thick. Fold in the sprinkles gently to ensure they do not bleed their color. I use these rainbow jimmies and they do not bleed.

Spoon the batter into the donut cups—I highly recommend using a large zipped-top bag for ease, as pictured above. Cut a corner off the bottom of the bag and pipe the batter into each donut cup, filling 2 ∕ 3 –3 ∕ 4 of the way full.

Bake for 9–10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow the donuts to slightly cool before glazing. I find the glaze “sets” easier onto cooled donuts.

For the glaze: combine the glaze ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk until the glaze is smooth. Remove from heat and immediately begin dunking the donuts, one by one, into the glaze. I simply dropped each donut into the saucepan and moved it around to coat evenly. Transfer each donut to a wire rack over a baking sheet to catch the glaze drippings. Take each donut and dunk again if you have enough glaze leftover. Sprinkle with additional sprinkles.

Donuts taste best eaten the same day, though they may be covered tightly and stored at room temperature for 2 days.

Additional Notes:

*Skim milk, 1%, 2%, whole, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or rice milk is OK.

*Sour cream or nonfat, low fat, vanilla, plain, Greek, or regular yogurt is OK.

*You may make this recipe into 8-10 muffins using a muffin pan. Bake at the same temperature for 18 minutes or until lightly browned.

 

IG1009_Grown_Up_Mac_and_Cheese.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscapeChantilly’s Mac And Cheese (courtesy of The Barefoot Countessa)

Ingredients
4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven – there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.

Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

 

(Thanks to Duffy Brown for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

This Book Is Making Me Hungry + Review — Miracle at The Higher Grounds Cafe

20 Mar

There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10

000882What if you could ask God anything? What would you ask? And how would He answer?

Chelsea Chambers is on her own. After a public split from her NFL superstar husband, Chelsea takes a bold step out of the limelight and behind the counter of the Higher Grounds Café, an old-fashioned coffee shop in dire need of reinvention. But when her courage, expert planning, and out-of-this-world cupcakes fail to pay the bills, this newly single mom finds herself desperate for help. Better yet, a miracle.

Then a curious stranger lands at Chelsea’s door, and with him, an even more curious string of events. Soon, customers are flocking to the Higher Grounds Café, and not just for the cupcakes and cappuccino. They’ve come for the internet connection to the divine. Now the café has become the go-to place for people in search of answers to life’s biggest questions.

When a catastrophe strikes and her ex comes calling, Chelsea begins to wonder if the whole universe is conspiring against her quest to make it on her own. After a shocking discovery opens her eyes to the unseen world around her, Chelsea finds the courage to ask God a question of her own. Heaven answers in a most unexpected way.

 

MLucado-261More than 120 million readers have found comfort in the writings of Max Lucado. He ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy.

 

 

My Impressions:

I confess that I have never read any of Max Lucado’s non-fiction books. I am a fiction gal and find it hard to get into most non-fiction. But when I saw that he had written his first novel, I just had to read it. Miracle at The Higher Grounds Cafe captured me from the beginning. Wonderful characters and a great setting add to this inspiring tale. This book is great for any fans of Max Lucado or for anyone who needs a little encouragement and hope that God is really listening.

Chelsea Chambers and her children have moved back to her hometown of San Antonio, Texas following her separation from NFL star, Sawyer. Reopening her mother’s cafe is challenging enough with her family changes, but a whopping tax bill puts Chelsea into panic mode. With some angelic help, Chelsea finds her faith and forgiveness.

Lightly written with plenty of chuckle-inducing moments, Miracle at The Higher Grounds Cafe still packs a punch on the spiritual front. Spiritual themes of forgiveness, the personhood of God and prayer are skillfully interwoven. A clever device is used to show how God wants to have personal relationships with his creation. Lucado also emphasizes that once prayers are sent up, they linger like a heavenly aroma. The book also gives a glimpse at how things on earth must look from the spiritual realm. I especially loved the scene where the angels are rejoicing when a character accepts the gift of salvation. Fun characters, inventive plot devices and mouth-watering cupcake creations are icing on the cake (pardon the pun!). Miracle at The Higher Grounds Cafe is definitely a must-read.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: older teens and adults.

To purchase this book click HERE.

(Thanks to LitFuse and Thomas Nelson for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Chocolate-Raspberry Layer Cake

GH0507H_chocolate-raspberry-layer-cake-recipe_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscapeMain character, Chelsea Chambers bakes up scrumptious goodies in her cafe. One particularly yummy dessert plays a role in her dealings with a real estate agent. So in honor of Chelsea, here is a recipe for Chocolate-Raspberry Layer Cake  from Giada De Laurentiis (courtesy of the Food Network).

Ingredients

Puree:
One 12-ounce bag frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed

Cake:
Butter, for greasing the pans
All-purpose flour, for dusting
One 18.25-ounce box chocolate cake mix, such as Betty Crocker Super Moist Chocolate Fudge
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, such as Ghirardelli
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature

Frosting:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature

Fresh raspberries or chocolate curls for garnish

For the puree: Place the raspberries in a blender and blend until smooth (yields 1 1/4 cups of puree). Remove 1/4 cup of puree and reserve.

For the cake: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of two 8- or 9-inch round nonstick baking pans. Set aside.

Place 1 tablespoon of the cake mix and the chocolate chips in a small bowl. Toss until the chocolate chips are coated.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining cake mix, 1 cup of the raspberry puree, vegetable oil, eggs and 1/4 cup water. Using an electric hand mixer, blend on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Mix in the chocolate chips. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

Cool the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour.

For the frosting: In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, butter, cream cheese and sour cream. Using an electric hand mixer, beat on low speed until smooth. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

In a small bowl, mix together 3/4 cup of the frosting and the reserved 1/4 cup puree until smooth.

To assemble the cake: Place one cake layer, flat side-up, on a cake stand. Using a spatula, spread the raspberry-chocolate frosting over the cake layer leaving a 1/2-inch border. Place the other cake layer on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining chocolate frosting. Decorate with fresh raspberries or chocolate curls. Using a damp knife cut the cake into wedges and serve.

Cake can be made 1 day in advance. Refrigerate in an airtight plastic container. Allow the cake to stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

 

This Book Is Making Me Hungry + Review — The Cherry Cola Book Club

20 Feb

The Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee was Page Turners’ selection for February. Sad to say only one of our members liked it. The book had the feel of a cozy mystery — really quirky characters and a small town setting — but alas, no mystery was to be had. The author instead endeavored to create women’s fiction involving a book club dedicated to saving the local library. Great premise; poor execution. The characters came off as caricatures and the plot strained believability. And nothing seemed to happen. One bright spot was the inclusion of food — lots of it. The characters ate more than they discussed books! One of the recipes included in the book is for Cherry Cola Chocolate Cake. Yum! So here is the recipe and a little about the book. It is the first in a series, but sadly, we will not be reading subsequent books.

13613777Set in a small town in Mississippi, The Cherry Cola Book Club is the touching and sometimes hilarious story of a young, upbeat librarian who has been given an ultimatum to increase the library’s circulation dramatically — or risk having to close its doors.

Maura doesn’t just start a book club; she gets involved in unique and unexpected ways with her library patrons. She entertains and advises them, she has potluck dinners, and life in the town begins to imitate art. The patrons begin to relate their own lives to the work of writers like Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee. In moving and personal ways, Maura helps them deal with such subjects as long-lost love and a brush with death, offering advice on nearly everything — including romance. No topic is off limits. Along the way, Maura raises the profile of the library — but will it be enough?

10259841_510797262379055_5560824650821427051_nAshton Lee was born in historic Natchez, Mississippi, into a large, extended Southern family which gave him much fodder for his fiction later in life. His father, who wrote under the pen name of R. Keene Lee right after WWII, was an editor and writer in New York of what is now called pulp fiction. As a result, Ashton inherited a love of reading and writing early on and did all the things aspiring authors are supposed to do, including majoring in English when he attended The University of the South, affectionately known as Sewanee. While there, he studied Creative Writing under Andrew Lytle, then editor of the Sewanee Review, and a member of the Southern Agrarians in the 1920s.

Ashton lives in Oxford, MS, enjoying the amenities of a university town that many writers have called home. Readers can like Ashton Lee at: facebook.com/ashtonlee.net.

62f26471-0c6d-4218-bf20-90991cda3e64Cherry Cola Chocolate Cake (courtesy of Betty Crocker)

Ingredients

1 jar (10 oz) maraschino cherries, drained, 1/4 cup liquid reserved
1 box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ devil’s food cake mix
1 cup cherry cola carbonated beverage
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 container Betty Crocker™ Whipped vanilla frosting
1 cup marshmallow creme
24 maraschino cherries with stems, well drained, if desired

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Spray bottom only of 13×9-inch pan with baking spray with flour. Chop cherries; set aside.

In large bowl, beat cake mix, cola beverage, oil, eggs and 1/4 cup reserved cherry liquid with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in chopped cherries. Pour into pan.

Bake 34 to 42 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

In small bowl, mix frosting and marshmallow creme until smooth. Frost cake. Top each piece with 2 cherries with stems. Store loosely covered.

This Book Is Making Me Hungry! Recipe for Murder by Lisa Harris

16 Jan

Some books make me hungry for more, literally! Often books include recipes or feature characters who cook up mouth-watering creations. So once a month I plan to feature a book I have recently read with a recipe that goes along with it. Here is my first feature — Recipe for Murder and Lemon Crumb Cake, courtesy of main character Priscilla Crumb.

hsm-recipe-for-murder-cycle-1-2008Pricilla Crumb’s guest list has just turned into a suspect list . . . for murder. Pricilla never expected to be involved in a real life mystery, but that’s exactly where she finds herself when one of the guests at her son’s hunting lodge is found dead after sampling one of her salmon-filled tartlets. Determined to discover the truth, this unconventional busybody follows one lead after another, dishing up laughter and suspense along the way.

My Review HERE.

 

exps47862_THHC1757657D33CLemon Crumb Cake (courtesy of Taste of Home)

Ingredients:

2 cups buttermilk
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 can (15-3/4 ounces) lemon pie filling

Topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Reduced-fat vanilla ice cream, optional

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, beat the first five ingredients until well blended. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; gradually beat into buttermilk mixture until blended. Pour into a 13-in. x 9-in baking pan coated with cooking spray. Drop pie filling by teaspoonfuls over batter.

2. In a small bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in almonds; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

3. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm with ice cream if desired.

Yield: 20 servings.

 

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8