Triple Green Protein Smoothie

I swear I have the never ending package of spinach.

Now I like spinach, but ever since I made the Spinach Pasta Salad I haven’t been able to use it fast enough. I don’t want it to go bad, but what else can I make that is different and post-worthy?

So I scoured the internet and found three spinach smoothie recipes. This is the last one.

Finally

This comes from Amy’s Healthy Baking

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Cubed Honeydew
  • 1/2 Cup of Plain NonFat Greek Yogurt
  • 1-2 Tbsp of Water
  • 1 Cup of Spinach, Loosely Packed
  • 1 Cup of Kale, Loosely Packed (If you have no kale or don’t like it, you can substitute with an additional cup of spinach)
  • 8-10 Ice Cubes
  • Sweetener (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Add the honeydew, yogurt, water, spinach, and kale to blender, pulse until smooth.
  2. Add ice cubes and sweetener, pulse until smooth.
  3. Serve.

Thoughts After Cooking:

What did I think of this smoothie?

It was so gross! I don’t know if the honeydew wasn’t sweet enough or the combination of the greens with the plain greek yogurt, but it was horrible.

I would not recommend making it or drinking it.

For more smoothie recipes, go to Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

For more drink recipes, go to Power Smoothie

For more spinach recipes, go to Spinach Pasta Salad

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Dying for a Date

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Dying for a Date (Laurel McKay Mysteries #1)

Laurel McKay is a divorced mom of two. Laurel had been with her husband since high school and after his betrayal of leaving her for another woman, Laurel has found it difficult to trust or date again.

However, her best friend Liz convinced her try her hand at a matchmaking site, The Love Club, and get out there again.

Tonight is her first date. She heads out to the restaurant and meets up with Garrett, an accountant. He seems nice, although a little boring. Afterwards, Garrett walks Laurel to her car only for her to discover she left the keys and cell phone in the car.

She asks Garrett to borrow his phone, heading to his car. After she makes her call, Garrett attacks her, and Laurel grabs the first thing she can-his cell phone-and pops him in the nose.

Laurel leaves and heads back into the restaurant to await AAA, all the while bemoaning her date and feeling as if she never wants to date again.

She stops at a McDonalds for a coffee and heads home for the night. The next day she heads to the headquarters of The Love Club to let them know about Garrett. When she talks to the secretary she discovers that Garrett was murdered the night before, from being hit in the head.

Seriously?

Laurel is positive that her wap in the nose could not have killed him, but that doesn’t stop her from becoming a suspect.

Because she was his last date, and last planned meeting, Laurel has to come down for questioning. There she meets Detective Hunter; a very attractive, single dad, who’s daughter happened to have a scuffle with her son at their last soccer game. A very embarrassing moment as Laurel fought with him during that game, and now she has to hope he believes in her innocence.

Detective Hunter has an open mind and warns Laurel that she could have been killed and might still be on the hit list. Detective Bradford, Hunter’s partner, on the other hand, thinks Laurel is a stone cold killer and is set to prove it.

Laurel never wants to date again through The Love Club, but she has paid for the service and had already requested a few more dates. She decides to have a lunch date with a doctor named Jeremy. Jeremy is sweet, a tad bland, but Laurel decides to agree to another date to give him a chance.

Barbara Bingham, Laurel’s mother, is constantly trying to set her up with different guys. This time is no different as she has an agent from her company, Peter, is who she thinks is perfect for her daughter. When Laurel goes to pick her son up from his time with grandma, she meets Peter and sees that he is kind and sweetly entertaining her son.

Hmm…

Laurel’s ex comes back into the picture unexpectedly, and upsets everything. He tries to hint that they should get back together (as if) and tells her she needs to stop dating. Weird.

Laurel goes shopping for her upcoming date and prepares for it. Jeremy takes her to one of the fanciest restaurants and orders Dom Perignon champagne. They begin talking, when Jeremy gets a call. He leaves to answer it.

Laurel sits waiting, drinking, to pass the time. Every time she takes a drink, the waiter refills.  Soon Laurel is starting to feel a little sick and heads to the restrooms, stopping outside and spotting two gentlemen, one who looks like Jeremy. She then heads to the bathroom, pulling herself together and nodding off.

When she wakes she returns to her table only to see that the room is pretty deserted and everyone is occupied by the windows overlooking the river. When she questions what has happened it appears that someone drowned in the river. Laurel tries to find Jeremy, thinking that he might be down trying to help out. As she tries to find out more information she runs into Detective Hunter.

He questions what she is doing there and she tells him about her date and how he disappeared. She tells him that she won’t be seeing his rude self anymore in the future. Detective Hunter agrees, as Jeremy is dead.

Yes Laurel has had not one date die, but two. This puts her high on the suspect list, even though there is no clear motive. With Detective Bradford set on pinning the murders on her and Detective Hunter having no other options but to look at her as number one suspect.

Laurel decides to take matters into her own hands. She recruits her mother, best friend Liz, and coworker Stan to follow, research, and track down the killer before she finds herself wearing prison stripes.

So who could the killer be? Is it someone who doesn’t want Laurel to date? Such as her husband who was heard saying that he would kill anyone who was with her? Plus he as a contractor, so he has access to the weapons that killed the men.

Could it be her boss Earl? He is interested in her as more than just an employee and hates the fact that she is dating. To add to his creepy interest, he also has a file on Jeremy.

Hmm…

Could it be Jeremy’s partner in the practice? He is harsh, rude, and has a gambling addiction; embezzling funds from the company. Did he kill Jeremy to keep him from finding out?

Then Peter asks Laurel out. Is it safe for them? Or will there be a third dead body?

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***Spoiler Alert***

Thoughts After Reading;

I thought it was it was cute and a good mystery. I had narrowed it down to two suspects, and while I guessed correctly who the real killer was there were several twists and turns which delighted me.

The only thing I didn’t like was that the author described every article of clothing that her main character wore, which I thought drew one out of the story.

I also didn’t like how the detectives focused solely on her as it seemed she had a good alibi. I mean with Garrett, there is the restaurant workers, AAA, McDonalds, etc; and with Jeremy the waiter and the women who came into the bathroom.

I really liked the conclusion. I thought the way they wrote Laurel’s mom saving the day was fun and just a great ending to the story.

For more mysteries with Serial Killers, go to Miss Polly Had a Dolly

For more mysteries with blind dates, go to Sunset Reads: William & Cristina

For more mystery reviews, go to The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower

The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower

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The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower by Robert Graysmith

Thoughts before Reading:

Today is a very special day.

Today, in 1960, Psycho was originally released in theaters.

I LOVE THE FILM AND ANYTHING Alfred Hitchcock.

I saw this book in the dollar tree and bought it because it had “Alfred Hitchcock” on the cover. This book involves his film Psycho which is one of my favorites!

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Plot Synopsis:

Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho had a lot of issues and complications in the filming. One issue was filming the shower scene.

Having a bathroom was enough of a hassle with the MPAA, but filming in the shower caused even more difficulties. Not to mention how to make it look real and scary.

Hmm…

Eventually all that was worked out and all that was needed was a body double for Janet Leigh, another difficult task as she has a body that wasn’t easily duplicated.

Hmm…

Ex-playboy bunny and redhead, Marli Renfro, was finally chosen and participated in the shoot.

Twenty-Eight years after Psycho came out, Leigh’s body double was murdered by her next-door neighbor, Kenneth Dean Hunt, in the same fashion as the film.

Over twenty years later, Robert Graysmith asked the question: What if Renfro was really alive? After all Leigh had two body doubles: one for the shower and one for lighting. What if the other double died and everyone got it wrong? He decided to search out for the truth.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like the book as I didn’t enjoy the writer’s style. I thought that it was repetitive, boring, and he just went on and on about Renfro’s body.

I really didn’t want to hear about him constantly describing her nude form. I mean he was really obsessed with it.

For more Non-Fiction, go to Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries

For more mystery reviews, go to Everbody Loved Roger Harlan

The Silver Deer

The Silver Deer by Rita Balducci and Gail Herman

I know these are supposed to go in a certain order, but the problem I have is that no site gives the same numbers associated to these books. I decided to just forget doing them in “order” and post.

Am I right?

Lady Barbie and Lady Midge are in their carriage an headed to a visit with friends, Lord Henry and Lady Eve. They are looking out the windows at the rainstorm when they spot a silver deer!

What?

Just then the rain causes the coachman to lose control and they crash with the carriage getting stuck in the mud.

A carriage comes by with the Lady Ann, daughter of the famous, wealthy, and powerful Lord Richard. They help get the carriage out and head to their castle.

Barbie and Midge try to ask Ann about the Silver deer, but then she is strangely sent into a coughing fit. She extends them an invitation to stay and sends someone to let Lord Henry and Lady Eve know about the change of plans.

After a restful nap, Lady Midge and Lady Barbie dress for dinner and greet the party assembled. Once again Barbie tries to talk about the Silver Deer, but Ann changes the subject again. 

A minstrel comes and plays a song for the feast:

I love the merry spring weather

That is coming here so soon.

The flowers grow quickly,

By the light of the sun and the moon.

The forest is so cool and dark,

Its path roam far and near.

Who knows what magic it does have,

Who knows of the silver deer?

But before he can finish, Ann changes the subject by requesting a different song.

What is this silver deer, and what does Ann know and is not telling?

For more Barbie books, go to The Secret of the Three Teardrops

For more Children’s books, go to Sam the Cat: Detective

For more historical fiction, go to The Falling Machine

Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

So why am I posting a recipe on a Tuesday instead of Friday? Well, Friday marks an anniversary that relates to the mystery I am reviewing this week. I also still have spinach left over that I’m trying to use up. I decided to try another spinach smoothie, this one from Alaska from Scratch.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 Cup of Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Ripe Banana (optional)
  • 2/3 Cup of Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Cup of Spinach Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk or choice of dairy (coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc)
  • 2 Teaspoons of Protein Powder (optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Honey (optional)

Directions:

  1. Blend all together.

Thoughts After Making:

I loved it! It was delicious and you couldn’t taste a bit of the spinach with all the blueberry.

Although, in comparing the two-I think I like the Power Smoothie a little bit better.

For more drink recipes, go to Power Smoothie

For more smoothie recipes, go to B is for Blueberry Smoothie

For more recipes, go to Spinach Pasta Salad

The Red Headed League

“The Red Headed League” from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

One day Sherlock is approached by a man with red hair who has a very unusual problem. A Mr. Jabez Wilson is the owner of a pawn shop. It used to be prospering but since then has fallen on hard times. He now only has one assistant, a bright young man named Vincent Spaulding, who is willing to work for the low wage even though he deserves much more. Spaulding loves photography and has his own developing room in the cellar.

Hmm…

Two months earlier, on April 27th, his assistant bemoans his lack of red hair and shows Wilson an advertisement he found in the newspaper.

TO THE RED HEADED LEAGUE:

On account of the bequest of the late Ezekiah Hopkins, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., there is another vacancy open which entitles a member of the League to a salary of £4 a week for purely nominal services. All red-headed men who are sound in body and mind, and above the age of twenty-one years, are eligible. Apply in person on Monday, at eleven o’clock, to Duncan Ross, at the offices of the League, 7 Pope’s Court, Fleet Street.

Wilson was not one to got out and had never heard of anything like the red headed league, but his assistant had. It was founded by a millionaire who was red headed and has created a fund to give money and assist other red heads.

Apparently the league is only confined to London, as this American first started his business there, and they only accept those with real red hair, bright and blazing not auburn or any dark shades. The work is light and it means an extra £100 a year.

Wilson decides to try out, but is disheartened at seeing all the other red-headed men. He wants to back out, but his assistant won’t let him and on he goes. He gets picked to continue and gets his hair practically ripped out as they must test that it is really red.

He is chosen and given £4 a week for just copying out the Encyclopedia Britannica.

He gets going all the way to Attica, but then it all ends.

He goes to the league and finds a notice upon the door.

THE RED HEADED LEAGUE IS DISSOLVED

Wilson tries to track down the people, but the landlord says they were just renting it until his offices were redecorated. When Wilson goes to the address provided for the offices he finds a factory and that no one had even heard of the league or the people involved.

Sherlock Holmes believes he has figured the case out. Will he catch the Red Headed League Red Handed?

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this story.

It was fantastic, thought provoking, and altogether a great story. And the conclusion,

You should defintely check it out.

Read it today!

For more by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more Sherlock Holmes, go to The Sign of the Four

For more short stories, go to The Utterly Perfect Murder

For more mysteries with private investigators, go to Secrets Can Kill

Power Smoothie

Well after last week’s recipe of Spinach Pasta Salad I had a ton of spinach left over. From there I have decided to try anything I could to use it up, including testing out a spinach smoothie from Tastes Better From Scratch.

Will the taste of blueberries be able to overpower it, or will the spinach surpass everything?

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Orange Juice (I don’t like orange so I substituted with Apple Juice)
  • 1/8 a Cup of Whole Grain Oats (I didn’t have any so I used Quick Oats)
  • 1/4 Cup of Greek Yogurt
  • A Bit of Vanilla Creamer
  • 1/2 Banana
  • 3/4 Cup of Frozen Blueberries
  • 1.5 Cups of Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup of Ice

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients in your blender and blend. If too thick, add more juice or water.

Thoughts After Cooking:

I don’t really like using bananas in my smoothies because all the smoothie tastes like is banana.

So I added some more blueberries and a little more yogurt. After that I thought it tasted wonderful!

You didn’t taste the spinach at all or the oats. In fact, I think I’ll be making this tomorrow morning as well.

For more smoothie recipes, go to B is for Blueberry Smoothie

For more spinach recipes, go to Spinach Pasta Salad

For more drink recipes, go to Nature’s Own Cocktail

For more recipes, go to Baked Potato Soup

Everbody Loved Roger Harlan

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Everybody Loved Roger Harlan (Everybody’s a Suspect #1) by Ceil Murphey

In the guise of Ten Little Indians/And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, this group of ten dinner guests of Roger Harlan (plus his wife and stepson) find themselves stranded on an island.

When Roger Harlan is murdered they have to root out his killer.

Seriously?

Meanwhile, Dr. West has faced a lot of sadness and pain in her life and has turned from the Christian faith long ago. Pastor Burton takes it upon himself use this situation as a way to preach the word to her.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was horrible.

A good premise but badly constructed book and boring. The characters were just so bland and predictable.

This book is also a Christian novel, but those parts are written extremely bad and feel thrown in last minute rather than a part of the story. I give it 0 out of 0 stars.

For more Christian mysteries, go to Spring Breakdown

For more mystery reviews, go to Run Run As Fast As You Can

Spinach Pasta Salad

So I came across this recipe on Pinterest. It originally came from the site, Barefeet in the Kitchen. I like pasta salad, I like spinach, I like tomatoes: so I thought this would be a great recipe to try.

Ingredients:

  • 1 8-oz Package of Bowtie Pasta Noodles (Farfalle)
  • 1/2 of a Small Red Onion, thinly sliced and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 Large Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 6 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup of Red Wine Vinegar (I didn’t have any so I substituted with Balsamic Vinegar)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Pepper
  • 4 Cups of Baby Spinach (About one 6-oz package)
  • 2 Cups of Grape Tomatoes, Halved
  • Grated Fresh Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Cook according to the directions on the box.
  3. When finished cooking, drain but do not rinse the noodles.
  4. While the pasta is cooking place the onions and garlic in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the olive oil and vinegar to cover the onions and garlic.
  6. When the pasta has been drained add it to the mixing bowl and toss well.
  7. Add tomatoes and spinach.
  8. Toss well.
  9. Serve with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and Parmesan Cheese.

Thoughts After Cooking:

I loved it! I didn’t want to stop!

It was that good.

Definitely, try this recipe out.

For more pasta salad recipes, go to Pasta with Prosciutto, Cherry Tomatoes, and Asiago

For more salad recipes, go to Arugula Salad with Olive Oil, Lemon, and Parmesan Cheese

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce

For more recipes, go to Baked Potato Soup

Run Run As Fast As You Can

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Run Run As Fast As You Can (Emma Frost Mystery #3) by Willow Rose

Thoughts Before Reading:

So a quick note for those who have never read Willow Rose’s work. In her Emma Frost mysteries, she likes to switch between modern day (2013) and something that occurred in the past; in the end the two winding together to resolution. To help with the confusion, I will put this:

In the post whenever we change times.

She also goes way out there. So these mysteries are not for the faint of heart.

Plot Synopsis:

Run, run, run as fast as you can.
You’ll never catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.
I ran from the baker and his wife too.
You’ll never catch me, not any of you.

So this novel begins in 2013 when Simone Beaumont, mother of nine month old baby is heading out to her mother’s group. She is about to take her baby out of the car for the event they are doing, when she is kidnapped.

Ten years earlier, Thomas lives across the street from his love, Ellen. She doesn’t know he exists as he is a stalker, but of course in his mind every look, motion, thing she does is a symbol for their growing love. He sends her notes and flowers; but one day things change. A man comes to the door and kisses Ellen.

Emma has just returned from Eastern Europe and barely recovered from her recent escapade: girls being sold into the sex trade, a TV show host being a crazed psychopath, and a woman making dolls out of human flesh to fill the loss of her daughter’s disappearance. She has been helping Officer Morton search for the surviving girls from the sex ring in the hopes of reuniting them with their parents. On these trips, she has gotten very close to Officer Morton, the two deciding to to date when they have a free moment.

Smirkity smirk smirk

Lisa, is also a member of Simone’s mother group. She is a germophobe, control freak, and sociopath. She’s been having a lot of anger problems, and when a plumber doesn’t follow her plan and makes her furious, she kills him, cuts him up, and serves him for dinner.

Meanwhile, Simone has woken up, but finds herself trapped in a room full of bats. Her captor let’s her out, but warns her to run as fast as she can; chasing after her with a shotgun.

Back in 2003, Ellen has become very serious about the man she is dating, the two about to be married. But this won’t stop Thomas, he has decided to up his game in hopes of winning his love back.

Sophia, Emma’s friend and neighbor, stops by Emma’s house to let her know the news about Simone. She wants Emma to use her investigative skills to find out what is going on. Sophia thinks that Simone’s husband might be behind the disappearance as they recently fought. He is a police officer, so Sophia thinks that if he did do it the cops won’t do anything about it.

In 2005, Ellen is married and having a baby, but Thomas has not given up. He watches her, sends flowers, gifts, etc.

Always watching

In modern times, they find Simone’s body in her car, shot in the back several times.

What?!

Meanwhile, Lisa has decided she will run for mayor of Fanø Island. Even though others laugh and such at her, it only makes her more angry and determined.

In 2009, Thomas is watching Ellen and her husband fight over the gifts and flowers sent by Thomas. They don’t notice the kids playing outside and when their daughter’s jump rope gets stuck on a tree and starts to choke her; Thomas sees it and runs across the street to help her. When he does Ellen and her husband are grateful…until they realize he is the stalker.

Lisa goes to see Simone’s husband Tim and bring him some food to comfort him. Tim lets out that they were fighting because one of the secretaries at work kissed him. Lisa figures out which one did it and sets out to get rid if her as she enjoys the thrill of killing.

Susanne is taken next and found in the same predicament. Stuck with bats, released and told to run as fast as she can.

Back in 2009, Ellen and her husband call the police. They detain Thomas as the family move away, forever lost to Thomas.

See ya!

One more of the women in the mothers group is killed and they start putting the pieces together. Who is killing them and why?

How does Thomas connect to the whole thing?

Hmm…

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like this.

The two stories didn’t really connect well.

This doesn’t really make sense.

I also thought the Lisa character was weird and her story also made zero sense. Didn’t they match up the fork she used to kill the mayor with the one she killed Thomas with? I mean there would be blood from both murders on it.

I know seriously.

This one is one that I would definitely not waste your time on. The next one is worse (to be, ugh, reviewed in the future)

For more Emma Frost mysteries, go to Miss Polly Had a Dolly

For more kidnapping, go to Death Threads

For more mysteries featuring stalkers, go to The Shadow Hunter

For more mystery reviews, go to Secrets Can Kill

The Utterly Perfect Murder

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“An Utterly Perfect Murder” from Long After Midnight by Ray Bradbury

“The idea had come to me for some reason on my forty-eighth birthday…I will arise and kill Ralph Underhill.”

Douglas has decided that thirty-six years after he’d been bullied and mistreated he is going to kill the guy that made his boyhood so unhappy.

He boards the train and remembers how Ralph Underhill beat him up so he was so covered in bruises. But yet Douglas still wanted to be him, be his friend.

Ralph traded his Tarzan action figure for Douglas’ baseball glove and even though Douglas knew the glove was worth more and that Ralph cheated him, Doug still hoped they would be friends.

Then Douglas decided to just ignore Ralph, and wait for the day Ralph would come and tell Douglas how much he missed having him around and how much he needs him. But he never comes.

Nothing is working!

So now Doug is going to kill him.

He travels down to see Ralph and knocks on the door.

But when he sees Ralph, it is no monster from his childhood…

But a wrinkled, balding, sick old man.

What?

Doug was going to shoot him. And with the pistol he brought, but looking at the guy…he decides against it. Instead he goes to his old home and throws rocks against the window; calling to himself like he always hoped others would come call on him.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was great.

I think he captured real feelings and emotions in this. After all, who hasn’t felt that way, wanted to take down their old bullies?

I thought the twist at the end was great, Douglas has the gun and is ready to kill what hurts him-but then realizing that Ralph wasn’t hurting him it was his own bitterness. And true happiness would be to can only come when he gets rid of that-not Ralph.

For more by Ray Bradbury, go to The October Game

For more short stories, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more bible verses, go to The Oath

Baked Potato Soup

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Thoughts before cooking:

This recipe comes from The Cat Who…Cookbook. It is inspired by the soup eaten by Polly Duncan and James “Qwill” Qwilleran. It sounded good, fast, and easy to make-so of course I wanted to try it out.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Onion, finely chopped
  • 5 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 5 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 1 14-oz can of Chicken Broth
  • 1/3 Cup of Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1 Baked Potato (6-7 inch baker), cold, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 2 Cups of Half-and-Half
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
  • 6 Slices of Bacon, cooked, broken into bits (Or use Bacon Bits)
  • Cheddar Cheese, to go on top

Directions:

  1. Sauté the onions in butter.
  2. While stirring, slowly add the flour and then the chicken broth.
  3. Cook until it thickens.
  4. Add the cheddar cheese, stirring until it melts.
  5. Then add the potato, leaving the skin on the pieces.
  6. Finally stir in the half-and-half and the milk.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Top each serving with crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese.

Thoughts after cooking:

I loved this soup!

It was so delicious I just wanted to eat more and more.

The only problem is that when you add the milk and half and half you have to stir constantly so it doesn’t burn.

I took a picture, but it didn’t come out well. The color makes it hard to photograph unless you have a really special camera. Oh well.

For more recipes from The Cat Who…Cookbook, go to Nature’s Own Cocktail

For more soup recipes, go to Crazy Cantina Chili

For more potato recipes, go to Scandinavian Spuds

For more recipes, go to Kielbasa Bowtie Pasta

Secrets Can Kill

Where I live, school starts tomorrow, so I thought what better way to get “back to school” than with a school centered mystery.

Secrets Can Kill (The Nancy Drew Files #1) by Carolyn Keene

So I know most people started with the original Nancy Drew books, but I never grew up reading those. My first introduction to Nancy Drew was The Nancy Drew Files. And of course, the TV show.

In fact, I was first introduced to Nancy Drew by accident. I was looking for a Sweet Valley High book to read and someone had mis-shelved a Nancy Drew Files. 

I first was interested in Nancy Drew when I picked up a copy on accident, as it was mis-shelved with Sweet Valley High. 

Why not try it out?

I read it and loved it and immediately wanted to read the whole series.

Unfortunately, when I started reading them, they were out of print and the library only had a few books in the series. It then became a treasure hunt as I tried to find copies in thrift stores and library book sales.

Background Information:

So this series began in the ’80s and have some updates from the original series. Nancy Drew originally was a 16 year-old, high school, amateur detective, but in this version she has been aged up to 18, and a high school graduate.

She still lives in River Heights, IL and is in a long distance relationship with Ned Nickerson, who is a student at Emerson College.

Yes that is Rick Springfield. He played Ned in the Christmas episode which you can check out on Netflix or youtube.

Her friends are still cousins Bess Marvin and George Fayne; Bess being the beautiful blonde shopaholic who is always eating and George the super athlete in every way. Instead of a blue roadster, in this book she gets a blue mustang convertible.

One of the best things I love in this series are the clothes, the author (as Carolyn Keene is a pseudonym), always gives great detail to what she wears. I’m totally going to add a special section at the end.

One other thing that this series does a little differently is that every book cover has a handsome guy on it, someone who appears in the book. Some people hate that, but I always think of it as a fun guessing game as we try and figure out which of the characters it is.

Hmm…

Another thing this book series does, is that since it is a “case file” there is a little information sheet at the very beginning. Sometimes the suspects mentioned turn out to be who did it, while other times the person whodoneit is someone Nancy never saw coming.

ASSIGNMENT:To pose as a student, go undercover, and investigate a series of thefts at Bedford High.

CONTACT: Daryl Gray, a gorgeous senior with sexy, blueberry colored eyes and an instant attraction to Nancy.

 SUSPECTS: 

  • Jake Webb, a genuine creep who seems to have something on half the kids at school.
  • Walt “Hunk” Hogan, the tough football captain who’s acting strangely paranoid.
  • Carla Dalton, who hates Nancy on sight. Mere jealousy–or something more sinister?
  • Hal Morgan, the class “brain” who Nancy catches cheating on a test.

COMPLICATIONS: There’s more going on at this school than meets the eye. Much more. If Nancy isn’t careful, she could get herself into serious trouble…She could get herself killed.

Nancy thinks this will be a simple job, a few rooms at the school have been broken into, one or two things were stolen. The police can’t do anything as the fingerprints don’t match any of the adults, and the offenses are so minor.

The principal turned to Nancy to pretend to be a student and search who did it, as it is most likely a student. She bought new clothes, will take some easy classes, etc. However, things take a dark turn quickly.

After her shopping trip with Bess she discovers a VHS on her porch. When she puts it in to watch, she sees HERSELF!

What?!

Someone videotaped her, which means whoever she is out to investigate, knows who she is.

The next day, Nancy gets into a race with a handsome guy. When she goes to see the principal and report for her job, it turns out that her contact to know who she really is, is the guy she was racing!

He’s cute!

Daryl Gray is cool, handsome, rich the student body president, and drives a porsche. He and Nancy spend a LOT of time together, and things start heating up between them…

Smirkity smirk smirk

Nancy starts investigating and discovers that they call the strange happenings in the school “the ghost”.

As she searches further she discovers this case involves a kleptomaniac, hidden injuries, false test scores, blackmail, cut brake lines, and espionage!

Nancy figures out who the is responsible for the break ins, but when she goes to confront them the next day-they turn out to be dead! Will Nancy solve the mystery or turn out to be next?

Outfits-

This book doesn’t have as many as later ones do. There is one that caught my eye, when Nancy goes to the dance near the end of the novel. I always imagine her in something like this:

And let’s not forget the cover, I love the purple leather jacket and would totally wear that of I could find one.

Thoughts After Reading:

Loved it! From beginning to end. It had a great twist I didn’t see coming as well.

Nancy’s next case:

Another thing I loved about these mysteries is that they were designed like radio shows and TV episodes. They always made sure to leave you with a little preview of what will come next:

Nancy’s next case:

When she investigates a rock star’s mysterious disappearance, Nancy once again finds herself probing perilous secrets! Her only lead takes her straight to Bess’ new boyfriend. What is he hiding? Finding out my kill her friendship with Bess. But not finding out may kill the kidnapped rock star–with Nancy and her friends next on the hit list.

Can Nancy survive the dark side of the rock scene? Find out in DEADLY INTENT–Case #2 in The Nancy Drew Files,™ available now!

For more Nancy Drew, go to Betty and Veronica: Stranger Than Fiction

For more private investigators, go to Sam the Cat: Detective

For more female private investigators, go to B is for Burglar

For more ’80s mysteries, go to C is for Corpse

For more undercover mysteries, go to The Hyde Park Murder

For more espionage, go to The Manchurian Candidate

Sam the Cat: Detective

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Sam the Cat: Detective (Sam the Cat Mysteries #1) by Linda Stewart

Sam is a cat, but not just any cat, he’s a private investigator. He takes on cases in the animal kingdom, trying to emulate the great fictional bests.

On the case!

Everything changes when a cute blonde, cute blonde cat that is, walks in one day asking for his help in discovering who is robbing the building her master lives in.

The case seems problematic and full of trouble, but Sam can’t resist a pretty face. Sam is on the case and will have to use all his contacts to figure out who this thief is. Is it human or animal?

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this book! I thought it was fantastic how the author took the noir drama and made it a kids book.

Sam was a great character, a Sam Spade Phillip Marlowe type of detective.

I love that the main character is a cat as well. Mysteries and Cats just seem to go together.

For more mysteries centering on cats, go to How to Wash a Cat

For more children’s books, go to The Secret of the Three Teardrops

For more books with a private investigator, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more mysteries featuring burglaries, go to The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern

Kielbasa Bowtie Pasta

Thoughts Before Cooking:

Sometimes you need something that is fast to make, cheap, and be able to serve a large group of people. When that happens, I like to pull this recipe out.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of Bowtie Pasta Noodles (You can substitute with any pasta noodles)
  • 1 Kielbasa Sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 Cup of Chopped Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Cup of Chopped Green Bell Pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons of Chopped Red Onion (Can substitute with yellow onion)
  • 3 Teaspoons of Butter
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the peppers and onion in the butter, until tender.
  3. Add the sausage, salt, and pepper; cook and stir until sausage is heated through.
  4. Drain pasta and add to the skillet.
  5. Toss to coat.

Thoughts After Cooking:

I love this recipe. Delicious, fast, and great.

I recommend it!

For more pasta recipes, go to Two-Cheese Roasted-Veggie Pasta

For more recipes, go to Nature’s Own Cocktail