The Andromeda Strain

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The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

I love Michael Crichton novels and have read almost every single one of his books. This was opne of the few I hadn’t had a chance to and when I finally was ready to read it I was so excited to add another one of his books to my collection.

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The united states has been shootong things into the atmosphere and a group of scientists come togeter with a plan. What to do if something should come into Earth from outer spce? How could they prepare for it?

The plan is made, people choosen, a facility picked; and then all forgotten. Years pas and then in a little town in Arizonia, something falls out of the sky wrecking havoc.

The people are calld up and sjipped out. When they examine the town only two survivors remain, a baby boy and a cancerous, alcoholic, chain smoker, eighty year old man.

What is this alien virus? Why idn’t these two contract it. Can the team stop it from spreading?

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thought this was okay, but not the best Michael Crichton novel. I didn’t really like the end in which they leave it so open. I like his later work better.

Basic Hamburger

Thoughts Before Cooking:

Almost everyone loves hamburgers. This recipe is just a basic one that my mom would do all the time she made burgers. This is the bones of it, you can dress it up any way you like.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pound of Ground Beef or Turkey
  • 1/4 Cup of Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Large Egg

Directions:

  1. In  large bowl place the meat.
  2. Add the bread crumbs and egg.
  3. Work the bread crumbs and the egg into the meat.
  4. Form the meat into patties wide enough to match the bun and at the thickness you desire.
  5. Cook in pan or on grill.
  6. Add any extras or condiments you desire.

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved it, and I think you all will too.

For more recipes, go to Simple Charoset

In other news today is:

Have a great time and watch some scary films!

For more on Friday the 13th, go to C is for Chocolate Oat Crackles

Loose Screw

Loose Screw (Dusty Deals Mystery #1) by Rae Davies

Thoughts Before Reading:

I received this book free in return for an honest review. I love Westerns and mysteries, so when I read the description I was all for it.

Plot Synopsis:

Lucy Mathews was a reporter for the Helena, Montana newspaper, but left because her editor thought she was a “wuss”. Lucy isn’t a coward, she just doesn’t like confrontation.

After leaving the newspaper, Lucy went into the antique business, having a western specialty store Dusty Deals. She leaves alone with her Alaskan Malamute, Kiska.

Recently, famous Helena pioneer Denton’s Deere’s objects have come up for auction. Lucy heads over and manages to score a box of pottery with an antique stoneware item hidden in, and a box of books she can easily resell.

The big ticket item is a Medicine Man outfit, that ends up in a bidding war. It is finally sold to an out-of-town dealer, James Crandall, for $40,000.

The next day, Crandall comes into the shop trying to buy some books on the Deere family. Lucy sells him a book and he is seen later arguing with the other bidders from the auction- a local dealer in Native American objects, Bill; and Andrew and Melaine Malone, out-of-town- dealers who are starting a Native American museum in Washington D.C.

Later that evening, Lucy is heading home with Kiska when she discovers a dead body by the dumpster, and not just any body-James Crandall.

Lucy calls the police and the newspaper (hey, once a reporter always a reporter). And finds herself caught up in the middle of a murder mystery with the Medicine Man suit missing except for a dried weasel.

To further complicate things, her old editor has asked her to come back and write a series of stories on the murder. Lucy finds herself investigating friends and prominent people in the community.

To make things evem harder on her, she has to try to work with Detective Peter Blake. Blake hates Lucy and never aids her in anything, always having made her life as a reporter tough. Things have gotten even more strained as Blake flits between making things hard and making a move on Lucy.

So now Lucy has to balance Dusty Deals, reporting, investigating, a police detective, her dog, a jazz festival, and someone coming after her.

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was a good story. I liked the characters and the concept.

At times I did wish Lucy was a bit more assertive, such as when her editor who is paying her nothing yells at her. I would have told him, heck no, I am not being paid you deal with it.

And it was pretty obvious at times who the villains were.

Otherwise, it was good and fun.

For more antique shop mysteries, go to Larceny and Old Lace

For more mysteries featuring a reporter, go to For Whom the Bluebell Tolls

For more Western mysteries, go to Paper Roses

For more mysteries, go to The Night Sister

What to Do When You Run Out of Cupcake Liners

I was making Breakfast Puffin Muffins the other day, when I realized I ran out of cupcake liners!

I wasn’t sure what to do!

Then I scoured the internet until I found a hack I could do with what I had.

If you run out of cupcake liners you can do three things. 1) Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2) Line the pan with parchment paper.

 

3) Get a paper towel and wet in melted butter or oil. Wipe the pan with it, making sure to heavily oil the molds.

The Night Sister

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

So I went to the mall to buy a dress that I really wanted and had been thinking about for months afterwards.

But when I got there, the dress was no longer available. Since I couldn’t buy that I decided I would go somewhere that would make me very happy.

While I was walking around I found The Night Sister. I had read The Winter People and loved it, so I thought that I would enjoy this one too. Plus I was sad that I missed out on that dress and needed a pick-me-up.

Plot Synopsis:

This book takes place in three different times 1955, 1989, and 2013.

1955-1961

Sylvie and Rose are sisters who live at the 28 roomed Tower Motel in London, Vermont; designed after the Tower in London, England. Sylvie is blonde, beautiful, and obsessed with Alfred Hitchcock and the idea of becoming a movie star like Kim Novak.

Rose is dark, secretive, troubled, and jealous of her sister.

As the two grow up, Rose starts noticing odd behavior of Sylvie. As she becomes more and more determined to get to the bottom of it, Sylvie disappear one day without a trace and never to be seen again.

1989

Piper and Margot moved to London with their mom and befriended the coolest girl in town, Amy. Amy’s mother Rose left her with her Grandmother Charlotte, who lets her, Piper, and Margot run about the motel. The girls spend their time swimming, playing games, and avoiding Jason Hawke who is in love with Amy.

NERD!

Then one day they discovered something dark and sinister at the motel that ended their friendship with Amy forever.

2013

Years have past and the girls are now all adults. Amy had some wild years but married, had two kids, and runs the motel.

Margot married Officer Jason Hawke, and is about to start a family in between studying local history.

Piper moved to California and has her own video-production business.

Everything changes when Amy’s family is attacked and killed, the only survivor of the massacre being her daughter. Margot calls Piper and tells her what happened. But the horrible murders aren’t the only shocking news, at the crime scene a picture from Sylvie was left behind with the words “29 Rooms” written on it.

This brings those girls back to that summer of 1980s and the horrible secret of what lies in the Tower!

Thoughts After Reading:

The book had a good premise and build up but it all fell flat at the end of the book.

ugh

Everything was too easily resolved. And it was no surprise who the  night “mare” turned out to be.

For more by Jennifer McMahon, go to The Winter People

For more on sisters disappearing, go to B is for Burglar

 For more not in a series mysteries, go to The Wife

For more Alfred Hitchcock, go to Psycho

For more mystery reviews, go to The Last Suppers

Simple Charoset

Thoughts Before Cooking:

So in youth for bible study we have been reading about Moses and just reached the Passover meal-right on the week of passover. In order to have it hit home for the kids, I decided to try my hand at making a Seder meal.

It was  lot of fun as we read the scripture and talked about the importance of it and the food. Afterwards, I thought it would be good to post the recipe of one of the dishes I made.

This is a Martha Stewart recipe of charoset, although I did tweak it a bit as I was making it for kids.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup of Walnuts
  • 1/4 Cup of Grape Juice
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place walnuts on lined baking sheet. Toast until lightly browned and fragrant (about 10 mins)
  3. Set aside. When cool, chop coarsely.
  4. Peel, core, and finely chop the apples.
  5. Add grape juice, sugar, walnuts, and apples together. Stir to combine.
  6. Serve.

Thoughts After Reading:

I burned some of the walnuts.

But otherwise it was really good and the kids all enjoyed it. I loved how easy it was and the great taste.

For more holiday posts, go to Irish Blueberry Scones

For more relishes or dressings, go to Green Goddess Salad Dressing

Exodus 12:1-30

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.

12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do.

17 “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”

21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. 23 When the Lord goes through the land to strikedown the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

24 “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants.25 When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 26 And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ 27 then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” Then the people bowed down and worshiped. 28 The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.

29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

 

The Last Suppers

Takes place during Lent and ends just before Easter so I am posting on Maundy Thursday

The Last Suppers (Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery #4) by Diane Mott Davidson

So a lot has happened since the last book. Julian has been going to a community college while having applied to  Cornell and hoping to get in.

Arch has crossed off magic and swimming on his list of hobbies, but instead has an obsession with a show about UFOs and other weird/mysterious things.

And Goldy is going to marry Tom Schulz. Yes, she went from being in love with the victim of the last book, and uncertain about love; to marriage.

It is the day of the wedding and things are not going according to plan. The food isn’t ready

The minister is late

The reception house is locked and no one has spare keys, etc.

Things take an even darker turn when Tom calls to postpone the wedding. He went to pick the minister up and found him dead.

Oh no!

The police rush to the scene of the crime and find that things have gotten much worse. It appears that Tom was attacked and kidnapped or killed, living behind a cryptic note that neither the cops or Goldie can decode.

Now Goldie is involved in a race against time as she tries to find her fiancé before death tries to part them.

Goldie’s investigations turn her to her own church! One of the members killed the reverend, but why and who?

Thoughts After Reading:

I hated this book. I thought it was absolutely awful.

Al the characters were horrible and unrelatable.

The author appeared to have a lot of anger at the Episcopalian church as she is venomous against the people and the faith, which makes me wonder why Goldy didn’t just leave her “awful” church and go somewhere else.

Apparently the Author has some issues she needs to address.

Seriously!

The book was also extremely boring as it went on and on and on about the charismatic and traditional Episcopalian faith. And she uses all the terms that we as layman have no clue what they are or mean.

And the end made no real sense as to why the person was a murderer and holding Tom hostage. It felt like the author wasn’t sure how to end it and just flipped a coin to come up with a solution.

If I hadn’t already read later books in the series I would be tempted to quit the series as the last few books have been duds.

For more Goldy Bear Culinary Mysteries, go to The Cereal Murders

For more wedding mysteries, go to For Whom the Bluebell Tolls

For more mysteries with missing fiancés, go to A Case of Identity

It Was Brain-Tanned Leather, As Soft As a Horse’s Nose, and the Color of Butter Melting in the Sun

Today is the third anniversary of my blog Mysterious Eats. We’ve been through a lot and reviewed all types of mystery books and recipes. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as I have.

The traditional gift is leather-which at first seems hard to think of something, but then I figured all I needed was a Western mystery to find the perfect thing: a rifle scabbard from:

Happy Anniversary and a very special thanks to all my readers!

For more anniversary posts, go to A Loud Thud-Followed by the Unmistakeable Crash of an Enormous Ceramic Vase 

Mock Clotted Cream

Thoughts Before Cooking:

So I have made a few different scone recipes these past few years as you all know I love tea time.

And almost every time I make them all I can think is “I really wish I had some clotted cream to go with it.”

So that’s easy, just go to the store and buy it.

You cannot purchase it anywhere that I live. So after yearning and yearning for it, I decided to make my own.

This recipe comes from Genius Kitchen by Julie Bs Hive

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Sour Cream (Can substitute with Plain Greek Yogurt)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons of Confectioner’s Sugar (Powdered Sugar)

Directions:

  1. Fold vanilla into sour cream (or yogurt).
  2. Beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
  3. Fold the sugar into the cream.
  4. Fold this mixture into the vanilla/sour cream (yogurt) mixture.

Thoughts After Baking:

This was fantastic!

It was so good, I didn’t want to stop.

I really recommend making this! And it would go perfect with Crasins Scones Harlem Tea Room Baking Powder SconesHarvest Pumpkin Scones, Irish Blueberry Scones, or Lemon Scones.

For more tea recipes, go to Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

For more recipes, go to Chocolate Whoppers

 

The Wife

The Wife: A Novel by Alafair Burke

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I am a librarian:

And one of my jobs is to process the new books and finish them to be added to the library. This is dangerous as you know I love reading, and I get first look at everything new.

So as you know, being a book lover I just can’t resist checking the new things out. This was one of them. As I was working on it, I read the synopsis on the jacket and just had to read it.

Plot Synopsis:

Angela met Jason Powell, a brilliant economics professor, while catering a party in the Hamptons. For him it was love at first sight and nothing could keep him from courting her. Angela never understood why he was interested, but this marriage gave her a chance to reboot her life and move her and her son out of her parent’s house.

Six year later: Jason, Angela, and her son are still a family but Jason is hardly ever home. He is now the author of a best-selling, has a huge media footprint, started his own consulting firm, and has become a cultural lightening rod.

For Angela, ever day is a resurrection of her old fears-the fear that her anonymity will be destroyed and that her dark past she has tried so hard to keep secret will once again become front page news.

No!!

When a college intern is accusing Jason of sexual harassment, both Jason and Rachel think of it as nothing more than a love-sick student.

 

But when a women from one of the company’s that Jason consults for accuses him of rape and looks to have proof, Angela starts to wonder if these women are lying, and does she know who the man she married?

Thoughts After Reading:

It was okay.

ugh

The beginning and middle were really good and a page turner

But the end fell flat for me. It was a good twist but at the same time it weakened the whole book.

For more books not in a series, go to Candy from a Stranger

For more book reviews, go to For Whom the Bluebell Tolls

Irish Blueberry Scones

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Thoughts Before Baking:

So every 17th I try to make an Irish recipe in honor of the day. Usually I make some Irish Soda Bread and something else to go with it. I needed a recipe and I love scones, so when I found this recipe on pinterest, I had to make it.

This recipe comes from Kathy Strahs of  Sunny Days, Good Food: Living the Tasty Life in California, who was inspired by her Irish friend Una O’Connor

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter, sliced into pats
  • 1/2 Cup of Dried Blueberries
  • 5 Tablespoons of Milk
  • 2 Eggs, one for the batter and one to brush the tops
  • Sugar to sprinkle (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
  4. Rub in the butter with your fingers until it’s all worked in.
  5. Mix in the dried blueberries.
  6. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the milk and one egg together.
  7. Pour the milk mixture in with the dry and gently mix until the liquid is fully incorporated.
  8. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface. Knead the dough a few times and pat it into a disc about 3/4″ thick.
  9. Slice the dough into 8 equal wedges, and transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet, leaving spaces between each scone.
  10. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar (if you so desire).
  11. Bake the scones for 15-20 mins or until the tops are lightly browned.
  12. Serve warm with butter or clotted cream.

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved these! They were absolutely wonderful and great breakfast, snack, or dessert!

For more Saint Patrick’s Day posts, go to Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce

For more scones, go to Harlem Tea Room Cheddar-Thyme Scones

For more holiday posts, go to Pão de Queijo

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage & Spinach

For more blueberry recipes, go to Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

 

For Whom the Bluebell Tolls

For whom the bluebell tolls

For Whom the Bluebell Tolls (A Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery #2)

This is the sequel to Bloom and Doom. As I posted that book a while ago, let’s recap. In the first book, cousins Audrey Bloom and Olivia “Liv” Rose-Meyer; find their flower shop unwittingly involved in a murder. Audrey is trying to help an old friend call off a wedding to a wealthy man, offering her a job at the flower shop as she no longer will have an income. When said ex-fiancé is found stabbed to death by one of the flower shop tools given to the friend to help her practice, Audrey is on the case to clear her friend’s name.

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Time has passed since the first wedding and things at the flower shop are going well. Audrey has been dating Nick the baker, and that relationship is going well too. And to top it off; Audrey is closer to having enough money to purchase her grandmother’s cottage.

Lordoftherings LifeisGood

But then a cloud comes over everything. Her ex-boyfriend, Brad, who left her for the city has come back to town.

2013-11-27-bradpitt friends ugh slap face stupid

He’s not exactly back for Audrey, but works on the famous reality show Fix My Wedding. 

Wedding

Fix My Wedding is a show in which brides agree to go on air and submit to the all the wedding planners’, Gigi Welch and Gary Davoll, decisions as they create the perfect weddings: flowers, cake, dress, etc.

The place they were going to use for the wedding of a bride obsessed with bells falls through, so Brad told them about their old church with a beautiful bell; and now they are moving the event to Ramble, Virgina.

While the town happily opens up to the crew, others are not so happy. A bride from a wedding gone wrong, has come with a set of bridesmaids to protest the TV show.

And to make things even more difficult for Audrey, one of the show’s hosts, Gary, is an insufferable jerk and the bride a complete diva. Audrey soon finds herself regretting ever agreeing to be on the show.

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

But when said jerky host dies, Audrey finds herself worried about more than flowers, as she has to figure out who the murderer is, before he can strike again. Especially as her ex-boyfriend is looking to be the one to hang for the crime.

While said ex was a complete jerk and moron, Audrey can’t stand to see him wrongly imprisoned. So she starts researching into the people surrounding the case and discovers that there is much more about these characters than meets the eye. Before Gary joined the show he was an investigative journalist who made many enemies. As Audrey tries to whittle down the suspects, she finds her love life also in turmoil, as she has to choose between the budding baker romance, or an old flame.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I really enjoyed this mystery, more than the first one as it was far more challenging. It not only had a great twist, but continued that small-town Southern charm introduced in the first book.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next novel in this series.

For more Bridal Bouquet Shop mysteries, go to Bloom and Doom

For more mysteries involving weddings, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more Southern mysteries, go to Death by Darjeeling

For more mystery reviews, go to This Pen for Hire

Chocolate Whoppers

Thoughts Before Baking:

So this recipe comes from my sister blog theCatWhoWroteaBlog.wordpress.comNow my big sister blog TheCatWhoWroteaBlog usually does this with all the recipes in one post. I prefer doing one at a time so I won’t be reposting the whole thing.

However if you are interested in all the recipes pulled from the second book, The Cat Who Moved a Mountain, just follow this link.

Ingredients:

  • 2  1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 a cup of sugar
  • 3/4 a cup of brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 a cup of shortening
  • 1/2 a cup of butter or margarine
  • 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 squares of utnsweentened baking chocolate, melted and cooked
  • 1 10-oz package of semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • 1.5 cups of walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and put aside.
  3. Beat sugars, shortening, and butter or margarine until light and fluffy with an electric mixer.
  4. Add vanilla extract and eggs, beating after each egg.
  5. Add unsweetened baking chocolate and the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and mix well.
  6. Fold in chocolate chunks and walnuts, mixing by hand.
  7. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  8. Bake 12-14 minutes

Thoughts After Baking:

It was delicious and a great combination.

For more from The Cat Who…Cookbook, go to Festive Pink Lemonade

For more Chocolate Chip Cookie variations, go to Rice Krispies Cookies

For more cookie recipes, go to Sugar Puffs

For more desserts, go to French Strawberries