Amish Baked Oatmeal

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

So we had an Amish mystery on Tuesday, Blessings in Disguise, so we needed an Amish recipe. After searching on pinterest, I found Amish Baked Oatmeal from Cooking Classy

You know me, I don’t eat regular oatmeal-so any recipe I can find that uses it, I go for.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup of Light Brown Sugar
  • 1.5 Tsp of Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp of Cinnamon
  • 1.5 Tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Tsp of Salt
  • 1 1/4 Cup of Milk
  • 1/4 Cup of Butter, Melted
  • 3 Cups of Rolled Oats (Quick Oats work too)
  • Cinnamon Sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter an 8×8 inch baking dish, set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs.
  4. Add in brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until there are no lumps.
  5. Stir in milk and melted butter.
  6. Add oats and mix well.
  7. Pour into prepared baking dish and spread evenly. (At this point you can refridgerate overnight or bake immediately.)
  8. Bake in oven 30-40 mins until it is set.
  9. Cut into squares and serve warm with fresh nuts, milk, a little cream, half and half, maple syrup, or honey of desired.
  10. Top with a blend of cinnamon and sugar.

Thoughts After Baking:

It was good. A little bland until I put some cinnamon and sugar on top. Then it was KNOCKOUT delicious! I wanted to eat it all!

For more Cooking Classy recipes, go to Pumpkin French Toast

For more breakfast recipes, go to Scrambled Eggs in a Waffle Maker

For more oat recipes, go to Scottish Oatcakes

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Apple Pie Smoothie

Blessings in Disguise

Blessings in Disguise (Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries #1) by Nancy Mehl

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I picked this up in the library as I was interested in the little proverb they had on the first page. These are part of a Christian Inspirational series, so they are clean mysteries. No murder, no swearing, no sex. Mysterious happenings and investigation.

Anyways, on with the review…

Plot Synopsis:

Cheryl Cooper was ready for a change. Her boyfriend turned out to be a stuck up prig, she dislikes her job as a banker in Columbus, Ohio; so when her aunt calls her asking her to take over her shop as she goes overseas as a missionary-Cheryl jumps at the chance.

Cheryl finds herself in Sugarcreek, right next to the Amish community. She runs the Swiss Miss gift shop, which carries all kinds of local Amish products.

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

She quickly becomes friends with Naomi Miller, an Amish farmer-and her family. Naomi’s daughter Esther and her best friend help out in the Swiss Miss.

Cheryl is learning a lot about the Amish life as the two girls are on their rumspringa. There also are two brothers who meet in her store to play chess, but do not speak as one brother is Amish and the other is shunned.

Things are going well…except Cheryl starts finding items she never purchased or remembers having stocked. They are beautiful items and people want to spend quite a bit to take them home. She sells them, but places the money aside-unsure of who to give it.

Esther also finds a beautiful leather bible, and inside is a note:

“Someone is not who they seem.”

Cheryl is shocked at the note, and wonders what it means.

It turns out the bible belongs to Levi Miller, Naomi’s son. He’s handsome, the same age as Cheryl, and she finds herself admiring him.

Levi doesn’t know what the note means, and Cheryl, Naomi, and Levi decide to stick their heads together trying to find out what it could mean.

Cheryl keeps getting invited to visit the corn maze her neighbors have. When she goes she overhears a man talking about finding “her”. He knows she is there somewhere and he won’t rest until she is found or killed.

Ooops…

Cheryl is upset and discusses it with Naomi and Levi. They begin trying to look into it and stumble onto a secret. An Amish woman, Rachel, is pregnant and has her cousin visiting to help her. Rachel confesses that she lost the note, and it is about her cousin.

Her “cousin” is really a abused friend of a friend hiding out until she can come up with a better plan to escape her husband. Cheryl promises to keep mum about it all, but warns her about the husband being in Sugarcreek.

They give the best description they can to Cheryl, and she, Naomi, and Levi try to figure out who could be the abusive husband. There are three suspects that match the description…

  1. There is a new bus driver for the tourist buses that visit the Amish areas. He claims to be married and started this new route to be home more…but is he lying?
  2. There is a man that is approaching buisnesses about buying their land and shops. It seems legit but he doesn’t ask a lot of questions for a potential buyer.
  3. Cheryl’s neighbor’s have a cousin Stanley visiting and helping with their corn maze. But Levi was told that both of them don’t have any aunts, uncles, or siblings..so how can they have a cousin?

Who is it? And will Cheryl and the gang figure it out before Rachel’s friend is caught? Or will Cheryl be the next on his hit list.

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved it!

The characters were awesome! I loved how they became their own Scooby-Doo crew.

I can’t wait for the next book!!

For more Amish mysteries, go to The Lesson

For more Christian mysteries, go to A Match of Wits

For more mysteries, go to The Key to Midnight

On a sad note, given the context of this book I wanted to add this:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

 

Matcha Latte (Hot or Cold)

So Tuesday we reviewed The Key to Midnight, which is set in Japan, so I thought why not have a Japanese recipe? And of course one of my favorites, Matcha Tea!

This recipe comes from my sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLife, who LOVES tea.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tsp of Matcha Powder
  • 2 Tsps of Sugar
  • 3 Tbsps of Warm Water
  • 2 Cups of Milk (Hot or Cold)

Directions:

  1. Put the Matcha powder, sugar, and water in a cup or mug
  2. Whisk together to ensure no lumps (use a matcha whisk or electric stirrer.
  3. If doing hot, warm the milk and pour into the mug. If doing cold, just pour the milk in the mug.
  4. Use the whisk or electric stirrer to combine everything until it is a light green color.

Thoughts After Reading:

It was delicious!

For more Matcha recipes, go to Green Tea Frappuccino 

For more tea recipes, go to London Fog Smoothie

For more recipes from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Scottish Oatcakes

For more drink recipes, go to Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

For more Japanese dishes, go to C is for Chocolate Oat Crackles

The Key to Midnight

The Key to Midnight by Dean Koontz

Thoughts Before Reading:

I had a Dean Koontz phase. I read almost all his books until I had burnout and moved on to something else. It all started at a book sale:

And this book was one I really enjoyed.

Plot Synopsis

Johanna Rand is an American singer who has lived in Japan about ten years. She loves living in Japan and her job at the Moonglow Lounge.

The only thing she doesn’t love, she constantly has these nightmares about a man with steel fingers and a hypodermic needle-violating and assaulting her. She would wake up and feel as if it just happened.

Alex Hunter, private investigator, is vacationing in Japan. He sees Johanna and is struck by her beauty and voice. She looks so familiar, but when they talk-there is no recognition. He spends a wonderful time and the two fall for each other-hard.

The next day, Alex is getting ready when it hits him! He knows where he knows her from-she’s Lisa Chelgrin.

He is sure she is Lisa and questions her on their date. Everything matches up that it could be the same girl, but he doesn’t want to scare her off or frighten her as he waits until he has proof as to who she is.

I’ve got to play this cool.

The two spend time together and he begins to wake up the memories so long hidden. But what they uncover is a deeper, darker, secret than either had imagined!

Oh no!

Thoughts After Reading:

So this one I thought was really good. It was pretty heavy on the romance, but otherwise kept you guessing. I never saw that ending coming!

For more missing children, go to Candy from a Stranger

For more books from a library book sale, go to Real Murders

For more books with private investigators, go to Lowcountry Bombshell

For more books not in a series, go to An Unwanted Guest

Individual Vegetable Terrines with a Spicy Tomato Sauce

So I was shelving book in the library and saw this cookbook Vegetarian: Tasty Recipes for Every Day, by Helen Aitken, and was just captured by that image on the cover. I had to check it out and make it for myself

Ingredients:

Vegetable Terrines

  • 1/2 Cup of Oil
  • 2 Zucchini, Sliced on the Diagonal
  • 1 lb Eggplant, Sliced
  • 1 Small Fennel Bulb, Sliced
  • 10 oz of Ricotta Cheese (I don’t like Ricotta so I use Cottage Cheese)
  • 2 oz of Parmesan Cheese, Grated
  • 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Flat-leaf Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon of Chopped Fresh Chives
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, Grilled, and cut into large pieces
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Grilled, and cut into large pieces

Spicy Tomato Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon of Oil
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 1 Red Chili, seeded and chopped
  • 14 oz Can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste

Directions:

Vegetable Terrines

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan. Cook the vegetables in separate batches on high heat for 5 mins, or until golden, adding oil if needed.
  2. Drain vegetables separately on paper towels.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Place the cheeses and herbs in a small bowl and mix together.
  5. Lightly grease four 1 1/4 cup ramekins and line with baking paper.
  6. Using half the eggplant, put a layer in the base of each dish.
  7. Layer with zucchini, bell pepper, cheese mixture, fennel and onion over the eggplant.
  8. Cover with the remaining eggplant and press down firmly.
  9. Bake for 10-15 mins or until hot.
  10. Leave for 5 minutes before turning out.

Spicy Tomato Sauce

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan and cook the onion and garlic for 2-3 mins or until soft.
  2. Ass the chili, tomato, and tomato paste and simmer for 5 mins or until thick and pulpy.
  3. Purée in a food processor.
  4. Return to the saucepan and keep warm.
  5. Spoon over the terrines.

Thoughts After Reading:

This was sooooooooooooooooooo good that I ate it all instantly and forgot to take a pic. I strongly recommend it! Like I am serious, words cannot describe how delicious this was.

And if in a time crunch, you can substitute the spicy sauce for pasta sauce.

For more vegetarian recipes, go to Vegetable Tempura

For more recipes, go to Scrambled Eggs with Spinach & Parmesan

 

An Unwanted Guest

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

Thoughts Before Reading:

So when this book was published, I saw it constantly on Goodreads. They had a ton of book trailers, and every time I went on the site, the page would “load” and then play it.

So when I saw it at the Library, I was stoked to read it!

It sort of is a play on And Then There Were Nonestrangers all stuck, snowed in at a resort, and then they start dropping like flies. Which one is the killer-or is there a stranger in the resort?

Hmm…

Plot Synopsis:

Our mystery is set at the Catskills, a beautiful, remote resort.

Gwen Delaney is in Communications. She has never been able to move forward from witnessing a rape in college, and the guilt of doing nothing about it. She studied journalism, but as she could not tell truth, went a different route. Her idea was to bring her friend Riley, to the secluded resort, but now isn’t sure it is such a great idea. Could there be more to her than a sweet, innocent girl-could she have a dark side?

Hmm…

Riley Shuter was always the confident, brash, drop dead gorgeous girl who people loved/hated-but since she has been overseas in Iraq-she is not the same woman. She has severe PTSD, drinks far too much, and is acting strange. Could she have finally cracked?

David Paley is a defense attorney, who is taking a leave of absence. His wife was murdered, with many believing him to have done it. He was acquitted, but is he a murderer? Could someone have known something and he had to silence them?

Lauren Day and Ian Beeton are traveling for a romantic getaway. At first the two corroborate each other’s stories, but then it turns out that they aren’t each other’s perfect alibi. In fact, there are a lot that the two don’t know about each other-could one have a secret they’d kill for?

Beverly Sullivan had planned this romantic getaway for her and her husband Henry only to find out that he has a mistress. He wants the relationship to be over, but Beverly doesn’t. Could this have been a plot to stay together? To further separate? Or could this news have caused one to crack?

Dana Hart is from a poor family, but did all she could to catch a wealthy man. Matthew Hutchinson is that man, except he won’t marry her. The two have a fight-could it have been the last straw-could one have killed?

Candice White is a writer, escaping her duties of taking care of her elderly mother, to work on her book. She is very observant, watching everyone. Could she have seen something, or could there be more to her as well?

Hmmm…?

Which one, which one-or is there an unknown, “unwanted”, guest killing. Will they find out before they are all dead.

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was very well written. WE only know bits and pieces of each character-essentially having no clue as to who could possibly be the killer. It was so well written, but as we neared the end I began to get worried.

Everything was great up until the end. The characters, the tension, the buildup, the suspense-but then the cops finally come, are there for a little bit, and all is solved.

I know, right?

The only problem with giving us so little about the characters it felt as if in the end it was too quickly sewn up.

The last few pages she wrapped everything up very quickly which threw off the pacing and, in my opinion, weakened it.

Very distressing as the rest if the book was fantastic.

For more mysteries not in a series, go to Pieces of Her

For more romantic getaways that turn to murder, go to Murder on Ice

 

Scrambled Eggs with Spinach & Parmesan

So you know that I have iron deficiency, so I’m always looking for recipes to do with spinach as I love it and the iron is great for me.

I looked about online and found this recipe from bon appétit.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large Eggs
  • Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Olive Oil
  • 3 Cups of Baby Spinach
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Grated Parmesan
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Directions:

  1. Whisk eggs in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a medium nonstick cooking pan.
  3. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 min.
  4. Add eggs and cook, stirring occasionally, until set about one minute.
  5. Stir in parmesan, and add red pepper flakes.

Thoughts After Cooking:

I loved it! Another spinach recipe I’ll be making again.

For more spinach recipes, go to Spinach Tortellini Soup

For more egg recipes, go to Scrambled Eggs in a Waffle Maker

Lowcountry Bombshell

Lowcountry Bombshell (Liz Talbot Mysteries #2) by Susan M. Boyer

Liz Talbot is living on the Stella Maris island and has recovered from her past adventures in Lowcountry Boil. She has given up her obsession over ex-sweetheart Michael Devlin, and has admitted her feelings for Nate Andrews, partner in her private investigations and her ex-husband’s brother.

The two have things to work out as he wants to stay in Greenville, South Carolina-but Liz needs to stay in Stella Maris-in order to protect the island from developers and keep Colleen, the spirit of her dead friend who is a guardian spirit for the island. As long as Liz’s investigations fall into her mission-she will assist her in any way she can.

Elizabeth has just gotten a new case, and boy is it a doozy. In walks a beautiful blonde who is the spitting image of Marilyn Monroe.

And that’s not all that’s the same. She has the same birthday June 1st: birth name Norma Jeane Mortenson; her mother Gladys was in and out of hospitals because of her schizophrania; her client was in and out of foster homes; she married a Jim to leave her mother-but also divorced him; she later married a Joe, a baseball star (although only minor leagues, and a few other similarities.

After her second husband died, she changed her name from Norma Jeane to Callista McQueen. Her husband played the lottery every day, and won the big jackpot before he was murdered. Callista moved around, settling on Stella Maris.

She wants to hire Liz as she feels someone is trying to kill her, and mimic Marilyn’s death. Liz only has a few days until, August 5th.

Liz doesn’t know whether this Marilyn stuff is true, but does admit that her client is afraid. She starts investigating and discovers that someone is after her, but who?

Hmmm…?

Then Callista’s psychic/life coach, Harmony, is murdered-the gun one that was used in a murder years ago and should be in an evidence locker-but is missing.

WHAT!

Obviously, someone has infiltrated in Callista’s life and wants to kill her, but who?

Hmmm…

Could it be her mother who has mental disease and fixation on copying Marilyn’s life for her daughter? Or her mother’s friend Grace who is crazy and high strung?

Her ex-husband who is obsessed with her and is unwilling to let her go again?

Her creepy Mrs. Danvers-esque housekeeper?

Niles, the gay yoga instructor who has become her confident and resides in her house?

Hmm…

Her security team who are watching, but somehow allowed someone into Callista’s home?

Her creepy psychiatrist who is way too into Callista?

This is not good

The man who attacked her years ago? Or the man who murdered her second husband?

With each step Liz finds herself in another thread and possibility. But it is clear that someone is after Callista and with each day passing, will Liz and Nate solve it? Or will Callista end up like her namesake?

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was good although not as good as book one and three. The mystery is interesting and intriguing-I LOVED it-it was the Nate and Liz relationship that got me.

In the 1st book they were purely professional, although it was super clear that Nate was into Liz. Then in this we are barely in and they are consummating their relationship. I know time passed, but it felt like bang-no buildup nothing.

We also have barely any Colleen, which really causes issues as I grew to like her in the other book and its not the same without her.

Bring her back

I love the Marilyn Monroe angle and that whole storyline. A fantastic idea.

For more Liz Talbot Mysteries, go to Lowcountry Boil

For more female private investigators, go to Innocent in Las Vegas

For more on private investigators, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

Scrambled Eggs in a Waffle Maker

Thoughts Before Cooking:

I received a waffle maker as a gift, and after making a ton of waffles-I was interested in what else could be made in a waffle maker. This recipe comes from Snapguide.

Ingredients:

  • Eggs (Depends on how many you want to make)
  • Milk
  • Waffle Maker
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Turn your waffle maker on. It depends on the waffle maker the heat, with mine I do a two or three.
  2. While the waffle maker is heating up whisk your eggs with a bit of milk.
  3. Spray cooking spray in the waffle maker, or skip this step if you have a non-stick one.
  4. Add eggs, be careful not to overfill your waffle maker.
  5. Add salt and pepper.
  6. Cook for 1-3 mins.
  7. When cooked through, remove from waffle maker.
  8. Take out and enjoy.

Thoughts After Cooking:

I thought it was really good and so fast. It was done in no time.

For more ways to make eggs, go to Eggs in Purgatory

For more things to do with a waffle maker, go to Waffle Maker Grilled Cheese

For more breakfast foods, go to Scottish Oatcakes