Daughter of the Loom

Daughter of the Loom (Bells of Lowell #1) by Tracie Peterson and Judith McCoy Miller

The year is 1828, Lowell MA has been created to be the textile capital of the united states with factories, girls from all over working them, and a promise of prosperity for all.

All except Lily Armbruster. Lily was born in the town before it was named Lowell, befpore the factories ad she hates the changes. Her brother sold their farm anf stole the money, her fiancé Matthew Cheever betraed her by working for the association, and her father died of a broken heart from losing the farmland.

Lily has decided she is going to destroy the Boston Association the mills, by being hired as a factory girk and sabotaging it from the inside out.

Sh moves into a company pwned boarding house and finds herself befriending the other workers and the boarding house keeper Miss Adelaide becoming her family.

Even though she doesn’t want to harm them, sh is determined to not be deterd from her goal. But before sh can start anything, someone is sabotaging the mills. Could this be a sign from God that she is on the right track? Or does someone have their own vendetta agaimst the mills.

Matthew keeps coming back into Lily;s life trtig to get together with her, even though she constantlu rebuffs him, but will she change her mind? Is he the man she is supposed to be with? He’s not the only bad peny to turn up as her brother Lewus alsi cides to retrum to Lowelll with nefripousreasons ehy.

Will Lily continue her vigilante justice? Or give up hwr plan? nd f Lily isn’t th e ones sabotaging the mills, eho is?

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

So  Tuesday’s post was on a mystery set in Victorian England, so we need a recipe to go with it. I’m thinking a tea time recipe…

Specifically, cucumber sandwiches borrowed from my sister blog: JaneAustenRunsMyLife.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz Cream Cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons of Mayonnaise
  • 2 Teaspoons of Chopped Fresh Dill
  • 1 Teaspoon of Chopped Fresh Chives
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 Long English Cucumber, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Loaf of Bread, Crusts Removed

Directions:

  1. Mix cream cheese and mayonnaise in a small bowl with a hand mixer, until smooth.
  2. Stir in herbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cut crusts off bread slices.
  4. Spread bread slices with cream cheese mixture.
  5. Thinly slice cucumbers, layer over half of the bread slices.
  6. Top with additional herbs, if desired.
  7. Top with remaining bread slice and cut each sandwich into three pieces.

Thoughts After Reading:

These sandwiches were absolutely delicious. I couldn’t stop eating them. These will go great with your choice of a cup of tea.

For more recipes from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Scottish Oat Scones

For more sandwich recipes, go to Hummus Egg Salad Sandwiches

For more cucumber sandwiches, go to Cucumber Hummus Sandwich

For more tea time recipes, go to Skinny Chai Tea Latte

Ruby in the Smoke

The Ruby in the Smoke (Sally Lockhart Mystery #1) by Phillip Pullman

Veronica “Sally” Lockhart’s father has just passed away. Her father had traveled to China to look into some of his accounts there as he felt something fishy was going down and wanted to speak to a Van Eeden for help. The ship went down and sixteen year old Sally finds herself at loose ends. She has to stay with a distant relative Aunt Rees, who hates her.

She then receives an anonymous note about the “seven blessings”. She heads over to her father’s former shipping agency to speak to his partner Selby, but he is out and she has to talk to Mr. Higgs. She asks him about the seven blessings and he has a heart attack dying of fright.

She mets Jim Harper, boy messenger, who was listening in. He thinks Higgs knew something and was doing something shady. He agrees to help her and keeps the real story secret along with having his eyes and ears open to anything and everything in the office.

Keeping an eye out for you

What are the Seven blessings? It must be something horrible if it can cause a heart attack.

Hmm…

Meanwhile a mean cruel hag has been blackmailing a Mr. Marchbanks, former Major in the military. She finally has what she wants, but then Mr. Marchbanks does a switch on her. He spots Sally’s name in the newspaper and knows he must contact her.

Sally returns “home” (as it is no real home) and she receives a letter from Mr. Marchbanks asking her to visit as he has information for her. She thinks it might be about the Seven Blessings and heads over there.

Hmm…

Meanwhile, a sailor, Matthew Bedlam, groggy from sealife and opium has come to London. He is searching for Sally as he has a message from her father but has to stop and stay somewhere, he cannot go any further. He stops at the hag’s boarding house, and when she overhears some of his words-imprisons him upstairs to get more info. She’s never one to pass on an opportunity.

Hmmm…?

Sally goes to Marchbanks, but gets lost and has to ask a handsome photographer for help. He points the way saying that he did the same not too long ago for an old witch.

Sally arrives at the house and Marchbanks is scared stiff. Mr. Marchbanks is freaking out as doesn’t want “her” to find Sally so he gives her a diary that is coming apart and says it rightfully belongs to her.

Mrs. Holland is angry that the ruby that was promised to her is no longer in the bank. She is harassing Machbanks, and when she finds out he is giving it away, she murders him and heads after Sally.

Sally hides out in Fredrick’s photography tent, and he helps her. He wants to ride with her on the train to potect her, but she declines taking his card instead. On the train she starts to read the diary-an account of when Major Marchbanks served in India along with her father. She starts to read the story, but falls asleep. When she wakes up, she discovers the diary has been stolen! The only thing left is a note to find “it”, but what?

Sally goes home and is berated by Aunt Rees. That night Mrs. Holland sends a man to pinch any papers from Sally. He doesn’t find what they are looking for but does steal her gun. He goes to deliver it to Mrs. Holland, but is murdered.

Sally wakes the next morning and knows her belongings have been riffled through and things are missing. Her aunt accuses her of lying and Sally decides to leave.

She has nowhere to go and ends up in Fredrick Garland’s house living with him and his sister Rose and their assistant Trembler. Sally has no “skills” useful for woman’s job, but has an affinity for numbers and business and helps the Garland photography studio start making money.

Meanwhile, Matthew has begged Adelaide, Mrs. Holland’s servant girl to contact Sally Lockhart and she heads to the shipping agency. There she runs into Jim and gives him her information.

Hmm…

Jim contacts Sally and they search for Matthew’s minister brother, Nicholas. They are twins and Nicholas has been waiting for his brother to return. He goes with Fredrick to find him and bring him home. After a tussle with Mr. Berry (Mrs. Holland’s muscle) and Mrs. Holland they bring Matthew back. After a long wait Matthew reveals that Sally’s father was murdered. There is a gang called the Seven Blessings, a part of the Triads,  and run by the terrible pirate Ah Ling. They didn’t want her father to reveal what they were doing, smuggling opium, and murdered him and the whole ship. Matthew barely escaped.

Meanwhile, when buying opium for Matthew, Sally went under and was affected by the opium. She had the nightmare, the same one she is always affected by. Something about India, Marchbanks and her father. It turns out to be a memory but what does it mean?

Hmmm…

So Sally has two adversaries and three mysteries. Where is the item Major Marchbanks wanted, the Ruby?

What happened in India when she was a child?

Hmm…

Who is this mysterious man that killed her father? Will she be able to figure it out before the killer strikes again?

Thoughts After Reading:

This was an extremely intriguing mystery with a lot of fun characters.  I enjoyed every page of it, and who Ah Ling turned out to be was a great twist!

For more historical fiction, go to Child of the Mist

For more Young Adult Fiction, go to Paper Valentine

Parmesan Roasted Carrot Fries

So I saw this on pinterest, carrot fries? You know how I feel about fries.

I love to eat them…

So I have to try it! This recipe comes from Closet Cooking. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs Carrots, Peeled and Sliced into 1/4 inch thick “fries”
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup of Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan Cheese), Grated

Directions:

  1. Gently toss the carrot fries in the oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Sprinkle on the cheese and mix to coat before spreading them in a single layer on a silicon mat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  3. Roast in a preheated 425 degrees F oven until tender (16-20 mins), mixing it halfway through.

Thoughts After Reading:

These were absolutely delicious, so good I gobbles them up before I had a chance to take a picture.

For more carrot recipes, go to Roasted Carrots

For more fries recipes, go to Baked Garlic Parmesan Fries

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Amish Friendship Soup

Pretend You Don’t See Her

Pretend You Don’t See Her by Mary Higgins Clark

Lacey Farrell is a real estate agent in New York City who is given a prime apartment to sell. It belongs to Isabelle Warring, but prior to her it belonged to her daughter Heather Landis, Broadway singer. Heather died about a year ago and Isabelle’s ex husband Jimmy Landis has been telling her she needs to sell the apartment and move on. Isabelle however is convinced that Heather’s death was not a car accident but that someone murdered her and she has been trying with all her might to get answers.

As Lacey tried to find a buyer she spends a lot of time with Isabelle. One day Isabelle calls and leaves a message saying that she has been reading through Heather’s old diary and discovers a clue, one that she will talk to Lacey about next time she sees her.

Hmmm…

The next day her bosses son, Rick Parker, gives her the name and number of a potential buyer, Curtis Caldwell. Lacey shows him the house but Isabelle is against selling it and doesn’t want to talk about what she has discovered. Lacey is discouraged but goes back to speak to Isabelle that night and walks right in on her being murdered by Caldwell, her earlier apartment appointment.

WHAT!

He runs out and with Isabelle’s dying breath she tells Lacey she discovered a clue and wants her to give the diary to he ex-husband as he will find the murderer, there is something in it he needs to read.

Lacey calls the police who are really bad investigators as they meet trying to pin the murder on her. The next day she stays late at work and makes two copies of the journal, giving one to Heather’s father and keeping the other for herself. She returns home and find her apartment burgled. She decides they must be after the diary and gives the police the original copy that she hid at work, not letting them know about her secret copy.

The next day she is fired from her job (they say “suspended” I say FIRED) and goes to have dinner with her family when someone tries to shoot her, grazing her and hurting her niece.

The murderer turns out to be no average person as the fingerprint found at Lacey’s apartment turns out to belong to a serious hitman for the mafia who was thought to have died two years ago!

The Marshals swoop in and Lacey is carted off into the witness protection program, now known as Alice Carroll.

New me!

Meanwhile, the diary disappears from the police precinct and when Jimmy turns his copy over to the police, it goes missing as well. With a mole in the police department and a hitman after her-will Lacey be able to unravel this mess or wind up the next victim?

Thoughts After Reading:

This was a good mystery, although it made no sense that the marshals didn’t give Lacey/Alice a job but expected her to figure it out and find work with no references. From what I know is that they always place you somewhere.

Lacey also made several BIG mistake when it came to investigating and staying hidden. Like serious screw ups.

No thank you.

The mystery was good though, as I had no clue who the murder was, and when I read who it turned out to be, I was stunned.

For more by Mary Higgins Clark, go to Second Time Around

For more murders disguised as car accidents, go to Snagged

For more Not in a Series Mysteries, go to A Simple Favor

Scottish Oat Scones

So on Tuesday we had a Scottish mystery, so I needed a Scottish recipe to go with it. The only problem is, I don’t like a lot of Scottish recipes. They are just not to my taste when I’m looking through the ingredients.

No thank you.

But my sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLife, has recently posted a scone recipe so I’m going to just borrow from her. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Cups of Flour
  • 2 Cups of Rolled or Steel Cut Oats
  • 1/4 Cup of Sugar
  • 4 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of salt
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/2 Cup of Unsalted Butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1/3 Cup of Milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and grease or line a baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
  4. In small bowl, beat the egg until frothy.
  5. Now add butter and milk to egg, and whisk to combine.
  6. Pour into dry ingredients and mix together until you have a soft dough.
  7. Shape and pat the dough into two 6-7 inch circles.
  8. Cut into 6-8 pie shaped wedges and bake 10-15 mins, or until golden brown.
  9. Let cool for a few minutes.
  10. Serve with butter and/or jam.

Thoughts After Reading:

These were extremely delicious! I saw that my sister blog had a trouble with it being a little dry, but I just added a little more milk and I was good to go.

For more Scone recipes, go to Irish Blueberry Scones

For more Scottish recipes, go to Scottish Oatcakes

For more recipes from my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Ginger Cardamom Meyer Lemon Crinkle Cookies

For more oat recipes, go to Amish Baked Oatmeal

Child of the Mist

Child of the Mist (These Highland Hills #1) by Kathleen Morgan

Thoughts Before Reading:

I got this book free on BookBub, which can be a hit or a big miss. Let’s see how this one goes…

Synopsis:

Scotland 1565

Scotland in the 16th century was a time when superstitions ran rampant and witches were burned.

Two families have warred for century and a new blood feud has arisen between Clan MacGregor and Clan Campbell. After a series of bloodshed between the two and the capture of the leader of the Campbells, the leader of the MacGregors has come up with a solution: unite the houses in matrimony.

Both parties are not happy about it, as Anne MacGregor is a feisty, independent woman who has been raised with the ideology that all Campbells are disgusting barbarians. Niall Campbell wants nothing to do with the MacGregors as he has been raised to hate them by birth.

However, both agree to wed as both have been trained from the womb that their people come first. It isn’t an easy marriage as both are upset they have no real say in the matter, they are from different cultures (Anne likes to do herbal remedies and roam about, the Campbells are extremely superstitious and don’t believe their women should go about on their own).

To make matters worse, Niall knows that the only way his men were lately ambushed and he was captured was that someone had betrayed him. And not just someone…it had to be his cousin or uncle or one of his closest friends. But which one?

Hmm…

Niall tries to figure out who betrayed him, while trying to protect Anne who isn’t fitting into the Campbell life.

But then Anne starts to fall in love with her husband and tries to do all she can to root out the betrayer and help her new people. Will Niall discover the betrayer in time? Or will Niall and Anne lose their lives before he can discover the truth?

Hmmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was really interesting until the jealousy and yelling of the main romantic lead really started to annoy me.

I’m so disappointed.

Plus the fact that if he and Anne just talked or if he bothered to talk to people instead of yelling, things might not have gotten so crazy. His yelling how he wasn’t a liar and her having to understand his “trust issues” just gave me flashbacks of my abusive ex-husband.

Plus it was super obvious who the betrayer was. It was like think, Niall think!!!

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to The Satapur Moonstone

For more witches, go to The View from Prince Street

Hummus Egg Salad Sandwiches

So I love egg salad sandwiches, but I don’t care for mayonnaise all that much. I have to have it very, very thin. I have always wanted to substitute, but everything I have tried hasn’t worked (never use plain Greek yogurt, it is just gross).

But one day I was looking at my fridge, and seeing all the hardboiled eggs I had I decided to make Egg and Spinach Hummus ToastBUT then I had an idea!

If hardboiled eggs go great with hummus, then could I substitute mayonnaise with hummus in an egg salad sandwich?

Hmm…

So I googled it to see if it was a bad idea, or if it had been done before, and found this recipe from Allrecipes

Ingredients:

  • 2 Slices of Bread
  • 3 Tablespoons of Hummus
  • 3 Hardboiled Eggs
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Toast the bread to your desired taste.
  2. Dice or chop the hardboiled eggs in the manner you like.
  3. Add hummus and mix together.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Place the egg-hummus mixture on the slices of bread.
  6. Eat and enjoy.

Thoughts After Eating:

I thought this was really good. It was a great alternative to the mayonnaise and I love hummus.

For more from Allrecipes.com, go to Baked Apple Slices

For more Hummus recipes, go to Egg and Spinach Hummus Toast

From more sandwiches, go to Waffle Maker Grilled Cheese

Second Time Around

The Second Time Around by Mary Higgins Clark

Marcia “Carley” DeCarlo is in on the story of the year. Nicholas Spencer, owner of Gen-Stone, creator of the supposed cancer vaccine has disappeared-plane crash in Puerto Rico.

Everyone was sad and disheartened about it, including Carley who met Nicolas Spencer once, as he is the husband of her recent stepsister, Lynn. She instantly liked Nicolas and admired his passion, especially as he expressed wanting to create things to help children such as hers, her son who was born with a hole in his heart and didn’t live long on the planet.

But then it turns out there is no vaccine, test results failed, millions are missing, the stock tanked, and investors are furious. Then Lynn’s home is burned down.

Carley starts investigating, being the only one who thinks Nicholas was not in on the theft/embezzlement. She questions everyone and a lot of people feel the same.

But then a doctor she questions is almost killed in a hit and run, the secretary who had information disappears, important records go missing, and Carley starts getting death threats.

It appears there is a lot more to this case then at first sight and Carley finds herself in the middle of the storm, hopefully she figures it out before she ends up dead.

Thoughts After Reading:

This book isn’t well written, meaning the sentence structure (she repeats herself a lot) but the story itself is a great mystery-I couldn’t wait to find out what happened.

For more from Mary Higgins Clark, go to The Cradle Will Fall

For more embezzlement mysteries, go to Psycho

There’s No Romantic Present for Wood

So with everything going on, I totally forgot to celebrate my fifth anniversary.

I know! How could I? Well we are a month late…

We’ve reviewed all kinds of books, mysteries, short stories, recipes…

The traditional gift for the fifth anniversary is wood. The gift of wood coupled with not having a celebration made me think of only one book:

I haven’t reviewed it yet, but plan to eventually. Otherwise Happy Anniversary and a very special thanks to all my readers!

Cheers!

For more anniversary posts, go to This Time There Had Been Flowers Scattered Over the Woman’s Body. Roses. Sweetheart Roses!

For more on Gone Girl, go to The Girl on the Train

For more by Gillian Flynn, go to Dark Places

Ginger Cardamom Meyer Lemon Crinkle Cookies

So a Miss Marple mystery was on Tuesday, we need something perfect for tea to go with it. Today’s recipe is borrowed from JaneAustenRunsMyLife.

Ingredients:

Cookies:

  • 2 Cups + 2 Tbsps of Flour
  • 1.5 Tsp of Ground Ginger
  • 1.5 Tsp of Cardamom
  • 2 Tsp of Baking Powder
  • 3/4 Tsp of Salt
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 4 Tbsp of Meyer Lemon’s Zest
  • 10 Tbsp of Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
  • 2 Large Eggs, Room Temperature
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tbsp of Meyer Lemon’s Juice

Topping:

  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Powdered Sugar (Confectioners Sugar)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cardamom, ginger, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl combine sugar and lemon zest. Rub the zest between your fingers until it is fully mixed in with the sugar.
  3. Cream butter and sugar-zest mixture together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 mins.
  4. Add eggs in one at a tim, mixing well.
  5. Add in vanilla extract and lemon juice, and mix again.
  6. Add flour and mix slowly until combined, do not over mix.
  7. Chill dough 3-4 hours.
  8. Preheat the oven 350 degrees F.
  9. Place the sugar in one bowl and powdered sugar in the other.
  10. Take the chilled dough and roll into 1.5 Tbsp sized balls.
  11. Roll in sugar first, then roll in powdered sugar-making sure it is completely covered.
  12. Place dough on prepared sheets about two inches apart.
  13. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges are golden.

Thoughts After Baking:

These were delicious!!! I loved them and couldn’t stop eating them.

For more Crinkle Cookies, go to Chocolate Crinkles

For more from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cake

For more cookies, go to King Arthur Fudgy Brownies

For more desserts, go to Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cake

For more lemon recipes, go to Creamy Sour Cream Lemon Pie

The Blue Geranium

So I have been reviewing short stories from The Tuesday Club Murders AKA The Thirteen Problems.

I typically review short stories on Sundays, but decided as these are the Tuesday Club Murders, I’ll be posting on Tuesday!

“The Blue Geranium” from The Tuesday Club Murder by Agatha Christie

Plot Synopsis:

So Miss Marple is an elderly woman who has lived in her village St. Mary Mead all her life. But even though she grew up in a small town, she has the observational skills of a hawk.

One night there is a gathering at Miss Marple’s home with: Miss Marple; Raymond West, Miss Marple’s nephew and a writer; Joyce Lempriére, an artist; Sir Henry Clithering, former commissioner of Scotland Yard; Dr. Pender, the elderly clergyman of the parish; and Mr. Petherick, solicitor.

They are enjoying themselves, when Raymond starts talking about unsolved mysteries.

Joyce decides they should start a club and meet every Tuesday and present a mystery, one they know they answer to and call it: The Tuesday Night Club. 

Hmm…

Our seventh mystery takes place a year after the original club meetings. Colonel Arthur Bantry is having a party, of which Sir Henry Clithering is a guest of. Colonel Bantry and his wife, Dolly, are trying to decide on a sixth person, when Sir Henry suggests Miss Marple and astounds his hosts with tales of her powers of deduction.

That night they have a party with the Bantrys, Sir Henry, Miss Marple, an actress Jane Helier, and a Dr. Lloyd.

The Bsntrys decide to set a case to Miss Marple, one that has been troubling the Colonel. He had a friend George Pritchard, who was married to a rude and cantankerous invalid wife.

She was extremely cruel to her nurses, them changing regularly until Nurse Copling came along. She out up with all amounts of horrid behavior.

Mrs. Pritchard loved fortune tellers and psychics and one day a fortune teller named Zarida came calling when George and the Nurse were out. When the two returned home, Mrs. Pritchard told them that Zarida declared the house to be evil and warned her to stay away from blue flowers.

Two days later a letter arrives from Zarida

Beware of the full moon:

  • The blue primrose means warning
  • The blue hollyhock means danger
  • The blue geranium means death

Four days later one of the pink primroses in the wallpaper pattern turned blue in the middle of the night during a full moon.

A month went by and the same thing happened during a full moon to a hollyhock.

Then another month passed and the Nurse and George were worried while Mrs. Pritchard was frantic. The morning after the full moon Mrs. Pritchard was found dead, her smelling salts were in her hand, one of the geraniums was blue, and there was the smell of gas in the air.

Hmm…

Everyone suspected foul play, but could not figure out how it happened. They tried to investigate Zarida but she had disappeared without a trace.

Thoughts After Reading:

I figured out who did it, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how it was done. I was extremely stumped by Christie.

Later I watched the production on Acrorn’s Miss Marple, and I did not like it at all. I don’t recommend it for your viewing pleasure. Answer will be at the end of the post.

For more Miss Marple mysteries, go to The Thumb Mark of St. Peter

For more from The Thirteen Problems AKA The Tuesday Club Murders, go to The Blood Stained Pavement

For more Agatha Christie, go to Motive v. Opportunity

For more short stories, go to What Strange Creatures

For more strange occurrences at the full moon, go to Fool Moon

Amish Friendship Soup

So on Tuesday we had an Amish mystery, Where Hope Dwells, so of course we need an Amish recipe.

Who else thinks of these guys when they hear “Amish”.

This recipe comes from Recipelion.comIt can be made to eat or dry ingredients layered in a jar and given to a friend with written directions on how to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Dry Split Peas, Sorted & Rinsed
  • 1/2 Cup of Dried Lentils, Sorted & Rinsed
  • 1/3 Cup of Beef Bouillon, (I used Chicken as I didn’t have Beef)
  • 1/4 Cup of Pearl Barley
  • 1/4 Cup of Diced Minced Onion
  • 2 Teaspoons of Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Cup of Small Pasta Noodles
  • 1lb of Ground Beef
  • 3 Quarts of Water
  • 1 28-oz Can of Diced Tomatoes, Undrained
  • 2 Carrots , Chopped (optional)
  • Spinach (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, brown ground beef and drain.
  2. Return cooked beef to to the pot.
  3. Add peas, lentils, bouillon, pearl barley, onion, italian seasoning, water, carrots, and tomatoes.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 mins.
  5. Add pasta and spinach and simmer for 20-25 mins, or until pasta, peas, lentils, and barley are tender.

Thoughts After Cooking:

So I thought this soup was pretty good, but not as good as some others I have made. The nice thing was that it was extremely easy to make.

For more Amish recipes, go to Amish Baked Oatmeal

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Healthy Baked Broccoli Tots

For more soup recipes, go to Lemon Tree Dwelling’s Minestrone Soup

Where Hope Dwells

Where Hope Dwells (Sugarcreek Amish Mystery #2) by Elizabeth Ludwig

It has been a while since I’ve reviewed one of these so quick recap. The Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries are part of the Christian Inspirational series, so they are clean mysteries. No murder, no swearing, no sex. Mysterious happenings and investigation.

In this series, Cheryl Cooper was ready for a change. Her boyfriend turned out to be a stuck up prig, she disliked her job as a banker in Columbus, Ohio; so when her aunt called her asking her to take over her shop in an Amish community while she goes overseas as a missionary-Cheryl jumped at the chance. She quickly falls in love with the Amish town and finds herself in the middle of a few mysteries.

Plot Summary:

After all the mysterious things that occurred in October (and the last book, Blessings in Disguise) things have calmed down and Cheryl has grown to deeply love Sugarcreek, made some friends, and hopes she gets stay here for a long time.

She also has grown to like Levi Miller, an Amish bachlor, but doesn’t want to cross lines that should never be crossed. So for now, she is just content to be his friend.

Now with it being November, Cheryl has been focusing on getting ready for the holidays. She also has been having to heavily stock her shop with baby items as it seems that everyone is having one, everyone except her.

From my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife

One morning a tourist rushes in the shop and buys a bunch of baby items, running away fast.

Cheryl thinks it is odd, but doesn’t spend a lot of time  thinking on it as Naomi Miller, her best friend and surrogate mother/aunt (also the stepmother of Levi who she is crushing on) has arrived with the blankets they will be taking to her new friend Rebecca.

Rachel was born an “Englisher” and met her Amish husband Samuel, later converting. She and Cheryl have become really close as both find it wonderful to be with someone like them.

Cheryl goes to visit Rachel and see her babies, fraternal twins boys, but while she is there one is snatched from its crib. Now Naomi and Cheryl are set on discovering who the kidnapper is.

Cheryl has three suspects:

  1. The strange woman from her shop has been seen all over town buying up baby items even though she has no child with her. Always in a hurry. Could she have kidnapped the baby and trying to get supplies for him?
  2. Rebecca and Jeremiah Zook lost their little boy recently to leukemia. First Rebecca vanishes without a word and then Jeremiah also takes off. Could one of them have stolen the child and run away with it?
  3. The parents of Rachel disowned her after she left them for the Amish lifestyle. Even after hearing of the disappearance of their grandson they refuse to see her, and are planning on taking a vacation to Europe to adopt a child. Could they have stolen their grandson and are planning on pretending to “adopt it”?

Who could it be? Or is there another person involved they haven’t realized yet?

Thoughts After Reading:

This was not as good as the first one.

I liked Cheryl, Levi, and Naomi investigating together but in this Levi was missing from the whole book which threw the whole dynamic off.

This wasn’t as well paced as the previous novel as Cheryl happens on information rather than being able to actively investigate. The comedic and heartfelt moments were more on pointe in the other book as this one felt extremely rushed. Altogether, this was just too easily summed up and just not good.

I hope the next one is better.

For more Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries, go to Blessings in Disguise

For more Amish mysteries, go to The Lesson

For more kidnapping mysteries, go to What Strange Creatures

Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cake

So we had a Pride and Prejudice themed mystery on Tuesday, we need something perfect for tea to go with it. Tuesday’s mystery I borrowed from my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife, and I am borrowing today’s recipe from her as well.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Unsalted Butter at Room Temperature
  • 1 Cup + 1 Tbsp of Sugar
  • 3 Large Eggs at Room Temperature
  • 1.5 Tbsps of Meyer Lemon Zest
  • 2 Tbsps of Meyer Lemon Juice
  • 1.5 Tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 1.5 Cups + 2 Tbsp of Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp of Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp of Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Tsp of Baking Powder
  • 1.5 Tbsp of Poppyseeds
  • 1/2 Cup of Plain Greek Yogurt at Room Temperature

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Confectioner’s Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
  • 3-4 Tbsps of Whole Milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray a 9 x 4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. Use an electric mixer to beat the sugar and butter together.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each egg.
  6. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  7. With the mixer on low add some of the flour mixture, and mix.
  8. Then add the yogurt and mix. Repeat alternating between flour mixture and yogurt.
  9. Remove from mixer and mix in poppyseeds, but just until they are incorporated. Do not over mix.
  10. Pour batter into pan and cook for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  11. Remove from oven and cool for 10 mins.
  12. While cake is cooling, whisk confectioner’s sugar and milk together.
  13. While cake is warm, spoon the glaze over the top.
  14. Sprinkle with poppyseeds if desired.

Thoughts After Baking:

This was absolutely delicious!

Perfect for tea or to eat when reading a mystery.

For more recipes from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Skinny Chai Tea Latte

For more lemon cake recipes, go to Lemon Meringue Chiffon Cake

For more cake recipes, go to Flag Cake

For more desserts, go to King Arthur Fudgy Brownies