the recipe box by Viola Shipman

The Recipe Box: A Novel

Bestselling, beloved author of The Charm Bracelet spins a tale about a lost young woman and the family recipe box that changes her life.

“But sometimes-at the strangest times- I think God forces us to stop for a moment, be still and reflect on our lives. Either we choose to pay attention or we don’t…and I think that often determines the path we take.”

Sam couldn’t wait to get out of Michigan and her family’s orchard and pie baking business. She had much grander dreams of being a chef in the big city. But after working for an ungrateful and just plain not nice Chef, she is ready to come home for a bit.

While Sam feels around for her own place in the world, her mother and grandmother share their recipe boxes and baking and as always with Shipman, sage advice and stories of family, love, relationships between mothers and daughters and how sometimes you may just need to take a second, and realize that everything you want has been right there in front of you.

The food descriptions are scrumptious! Oh my goodness I think at one point I was crying and drooling at the same time!

Excellent job as always!

NetGalley/March 20th 2018 by Thomas Dunne Books

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Playing With Bonbon Fire By Dorthy St. James (A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery)

Playing With Bonbon Fire (A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery #2)

Chocoholic Charity Penn must smoke out the killer to stop her newly inherited beachside chocolate shop from going up in flames in Dorothy St. James’ decadent follow-up to Asking for Truffle.

Chocolate shop owner Charity Penn is finally settling into life in the quirky South Carolina seaside town of Camellia Beach cooking up chocolate treats. She’s even helped organize the town’s lively beach music festival which has brought rollicking crowds eager to dance the Carolina shag. That is, until one of the band’s lead singers is found dead beside a beach bonfire.

While also trying to balance the amorous attention of music star Bixby Lewis, in town for the festival, and her quest to perfect a new hot flavored bonbon, Charity dives into the investigation. Though it’s more spice than sugar when she discovers a threatening note, comes across decades of age-old secrets, and Bixby comes into the line of fire when a gas grill explodes on the deck of a beachfront house.

Now Charity must turn up the heat and catch the killer before her chance melts away in Playing With Bonbon Fire, the delightful second Chocolate Shop mystery served up just right for fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke.

The second installment of the Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries has Penn trying to continue her Grandmother’s business, The Chocolate Box. Known for their decadent chocolate bonbons. As hard as she tries it’s just not coming easy to her.
But with her partner Bertie doing most of the creating in the kitchen, Penn has free time to plan a music festival on the island featuring local talent as well as a famous rock star. Much like her fledgling efforts to create mouth-watering bonbons, things aren’t going as planned!
When more than wood goes in the bonfire, she finds herself being targeted by a killer. Or is it someone close to her? When her half-sister flies into town to find out what is going on, they both get to work trying to solve the murder as well as trying to find what happened to Penn’s mother. Which is a continuing story line within the series.
This tale brought back so many happy memories playing on the islands around Charleston. My mother and her sister winning prizes for the Shag! Any time a book brings a smile to my face, it’s a good read!
Netgalley/Crooked Lane Books   March 13, 2018

THE QUICHE AND THE DEAD BY Kirsten Weiss ( A Pie Town Mystery #1)

The Quiche and the Dead (Pie Town Mystery #1)

Is Val’s breakfast pie the quiche of death? Owning her own business seemed like pie in the sky to Valentine Harris when she moved to the coastal California town of San Nicholas, expecting to start a new life with her fiance. Five months–and a broken engagement–later, at least her dream of opening a pie shop has become a reality. But when one of her regulars keels over at the counter while eating a quiche, Val feels like she’s living a nightmare. After the police determine the customer was poisoned, business at Pie Town drops faster than a fallen crust. Convinced they’re both suspects, Val’s flaky, seventy-something pie crust maker Charlene drags her boss into some amateur sleuthing. At first Val dismisses Charlene’s half-baked hypotheses, but before long the ladies uncover some shady dealings hidden in fog-bound San Nicholas. Now Val must expose the truth–before a crummy killer tries to shut her pie hole.

Oh my! An entire shop of pie. A dream come true. Val has poured everything she has into Pie Town, even going so far as sleeping in the tiny back room.

When good friend of the shops dies in his booth after some quiche, fingers are pointed and Val doesn’t think the police are taking this as seriously as they should.

Against her better judgement, she follows Charlene down a rabbit hole of investigations, conspiracy theories and narcoleptic cats. All for the chance to nab a real killer and get business going back in Pie Town. Plus Charlene just may hold the answer to her living situation so she lets herself get sucked into Charlene’s outlandish stakeouts and plans.

I liked Val a lot. Not so much on the ex! What a jerk! The combination of Val and the elderly Charlene chasing criminals and stumbling over bodies works. And it’s a good thing it does, because this little town is full of liars, schemers and killers!

I’m looking forward to the next one already. And some more of the hunky cop!

Netgalley/Kensington   Release Date: October 31st.

 

PECAN PIES AND HOMICIDES * A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery* by Ellery Adams

Pecan Pies and Homicides (A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery, #3)

Her Charmed Pie Shoppe is open for business, but baker Ella Mae LeFaye is about to discover solving a murder is not as easy as pie… 

Owning the Charmed Pie Shoppe and serving enchanted treats in the magical town of Havenwood, Georgia, seemed like a little slice of heaven for Ella Mae LeFaye. But now her hopes for both a lasting romance with Hugh Dylan and business success are starting to seem like pie in the sky, and Ella’s left wondering: Where has the magic gone?

When an enchanted grove is set ablaze, Ella realizes she has more grave problems. With her magic waning, she’s going to have to sleuth from scratch to stop an arsonist who has no respect for sacred ground—or human life…

This was one of the books in the Meet Cozy Author Ellery Adams post I did. I started with this one because…well I’m from Georgia and I love pecans! And magic!

The town is charming. The characters are so real. This is a town I want to live in! And eat in!

Since her mother gave her all for the grove and her people, Ella and the entire town seem to have a case of the doldrums. And with the winter festival coming, they need to snap out of it. While Ella cooks up dozens of pies with an extra dollop of magic, someone in town is cooking up trouble. Murder trouble.

The food descriptions alone are drool worthy! And yes, there are recipes in the back. Meat pies? Uh, yes, I’m there! Red Hot Apple Pie? That’s mine too. I can’t wait to catch up on the ones in this series that I’ve missed. This is definitely a big Yes for me!

Favorite quote:

“When a friend or a family member is solicitous, it feels good. But when a person you don’t know from Adam cares about your welfare, there’s something special about that. It strengthens your faith in your fellow man, makes you believe there is goodness everywhere, just waiting to show itself”.

Well Done!  (Berkley Crime)

Thank you Claire!

Thanks to Claire for her inspiration! So I made a large amount of dough and since my kitchen was warm from the bean pot it rose nicely.

I made the buns and also loaves of regular and herb bread!

And since I was on a roll I made carrot cake bread!

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Everyday y’all inspire me to try new things. According to my taste tester they are all a hit. So thank you Claire!!!❤

Beignets, Brides and Bodies by J.R.Ripley

Grabbing my cup of Chai Tea this morning with some almond milk and nibbling a beignet. Okay, so I’m not nibbling, I am gobbling.

Beignets, Brides and Bodies: A Cozy Mystery Set in Smalltown Arizona

When we last saw Maggie Miller, she was trying to open her Beignet and Coffee shop in Table Rock, Arizona. And also trying to figure out how a dead body got into her storeroom.

Remember Clive and Johnny from the wedding shop next door? Well, when he pops into Maggie’s shop to beg a ride out to the cake shop to drop off a color swatch for the wedding cake, Maggie, who drives a Schwinn, borrows her brother in law Andy’s truck and heads out.

When Clive returns to the truck extremely shaken, he shows Maggie what he found. A body lying at the bottom of the stairs underneath a wedding cake. Now Clive and Johnny are suspects and Maggie isn’t going to stop nosing around until they are cleared.

But who to suspect? Table Rock is not exactly full of your normal everyday citizens. Think Area 51 meets new age hippies. Anyone could have done this horrible crime. Just as she thinks she has the killer figured out….bam! Plot twist! 

I love all of the oddball characters in Ripley’s books. They are people just like the people you probably know, a bit weird, but very lovable. I was right with Maggie in her thinking and was so very wrong!  Good Job, Mr. Ripley! You got me on this one!

Just one mention of Maggie trying to perfect a recipe for a chocolate beignet had me off the computer for 2 days trying to make one. Still working on that! However if you would like to make your own beignets, Cafe’ du Monde sells their boxed mix at Super Targets and specialty stores. Or if you are feeling adventurous you can whip some up in no time!

You can find all of the author’s books on Amazon!  You can find the author in New Orleans today eating beignets most likely! https://goo.gl/wk8NsU

Thank you Netgalley and Severn House. Look for the book coming out Nov.1, 2016

Beignets

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour
1/4 cup shortening
Nonstick spray
Oil, for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions
Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
Add the confectioners’ sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners’ sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.

 

National Rum Day

As an upstanding member of the Pirate Nation, it would be horribly rude of me to not celebrate National Rum Day. I’m pretty sure there is something in the Codex about it.

It may come as a big shock to you, but I love Rum!
While other people may be stocking up on cigars when they go on a cruise, I am stocking up on the Tortuga Rum Cake in the Caymans.

In 1984, while working for Cayman Airways, Captain Robert Hamaty and his wife Carlene, an in-flight supervisor, founded the Tortuga Rum Company, Ltd. They introduced the first rums of the Cayman Islands, primarily to appeal as a souvenir to the growing tourist and cruise passenger business. In 1987, they opened the first Tortuga duty free liquor store and later that year introduced the now world famous Tortuga Caribbean Rum Cake.

For years Carlene had baked rum cakes for special occasions, using a four-generation old family recipe. Friends in the food business encouraged her to make it part of the Tortuga line. First offered at a local restaurant, her moist delectable cake was an instant hit.By 1990 the demand was so great that the company expanded with a bakery, making their cake the Caribbean’s first commercially produced rum cake. A custom vacuum-seal packaging machine was added in 1991. The process prolongs the cakes’ shelf life for up to twelve months or indefinitely if refrigerated or frozen – ideal for distribution anywhere in the world.

One of these mini cakes will have you mellowed out just fine!  They do ship world wide for those who can’t make it down to the Caymans.

For 5 years I tried to duplicate the recipe and I pretty much have it down. There is a cup of Rum in the batter and a cup in the glaze. I’ve had people actually lick the platter clean! Especially that one time when I tripled the recipe for a birthday at the American Legion. Let’s just say there were some shenanigans going on that night!

Enjoy your Rum today and give these cakes a try. You won’t regret it!

xxooAaarrgghh!