Thursday, October 8, 2015

Asking for Murder by Roberta Isleib #recipe #confession

LUCY BURDETTE: All this week I'm celebrating the publication of ASKING FOR MURDER, my third advice column mystery, as an ebook. These books (written as Roberta Isleib), star a clinical psychologist who also writes an advice column. The character, Rebecca Butterman, is close to my heart, as she does the kind of psychotherapy work that I used to do. She's also a very good home cook--in ASKING FOR MURDER, she makes a wonderful meal for a man she is sort-of dating, a good friend, and a murder suspect whom she wants to grill. Cooking not only helps her think, it shows people she cares about how much she loves them, and gives her something to do while grilling bad guys. So her spaghetti carbonara is what I wanted to make for you today:

 "I diced the pancetta and scraped it into the frying pan, then began to mince an onion, the first Vidalia of the season. The hot oil would bring out the sweetness—a luscious contrast to the salty Italian bacon and cheese." 

Are you swooning?

Unfortunately, this summer I've suffered with several serious bouts of vertigo and nausea, and finally had the problem diagnosed as Meniere's disease. This involves too much fluid in the inner ear. 

First line of treatment? A diuretic and LOW SALT DIET. Goodbye spaghetti carbonara! Goodbye olives and bloody Marys with the glass rimmed in salt! So long soy sauce and Chinese food. The list goes on and on. In fact, once you start reading labels (which I have to), you will be astonished and appalled at how much sodium gets packed into food. And as my brother said when I told him about this development: "But I love sodium! Sodium makes food taste good."

Sigh. But the symptoms are awful, so I have no choice. I will have to be cooking differently. And I thought there might be others of you who need to reduce salt in your diet for various reasons, and might find what I learn to be useful.

I'll start with the first thing I made--I needed protein and potassium and good easy food fast. So I made this:

Strawberry Banana Smoothie


1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen (I had frozen from the garden)
1 banana
1 cup plain yogurt or milk or some of each
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups of ice

Add the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. That's it! 

Something delicious and nutritious to sip on while reading Asking For Murder, which you can download right here.

-- Marilyn Dahl, Shelf-Awareness

It's springtime in Connecticut and psychotherapist Dr. Rebecca Butterman's fancy has turned to hamburgers...and murder, in Asking for Murder, the best entry of this series to date.

Jennifer Monahan Winberry, The Mystery Reader

Roberta Isleib's new novel Asking for Murder is a unique mix of murder mystery and psychological exploration. The characters are believable, likeable, and easy to relate to. The prose flows well and the dialogue is intelligent. I couldn't put this book down.

-- Jennifer Melville, Story Circle Book Reviews

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West foodie mysteries. KILLER TAKEOUT is coming next April, but is available for pre-order today

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  1. The Strawberry Banana Smoothie looks yummy! Thank you for the recipe.
    I hope your health improves, and you feel better soon.

  2. Vertigo is certainly no joke.
    Although, having seen John Cleese and Eric Idle live last night, I'm sure they would be able to find an appropriate comment to make!
    Continue to feel much better.

  3. I'm so sorry, Roberta. But I know you'll find lots of delicious recipes with less salt. I was thinking about you recently when I was reading labels on food. They do pack a lot of salt into some things. More home cooking! You'll have more control over the salt. But in the meantime, pass me one of those yummy smoothies, please!

    1. I hope so Krista. I'm still in the early stages of figuring out which of my recipes will work with lower salt. Because some of them have tasted inedible to me. I know it will get better over time, and hopefully my ear will settle down too!

      Really big lesson: Read all the labels for ingredients! Yesterday I learned that even plain frozen veggies have salt added. That was a shocker!

  4. I love strawberry smoothies--I freeze all my overripe bananas and use them so I don't have to add ice. I'm glad they've got your vertigo cause diagnosed--but sorry about the salt!!

  5. thank you Celia. Freezing the bananas is a clever idea. I seem to have the weakest blender in the world--may need to change that!

  6. Aldi has the lowest sodium chicken broth I've seen. They also have other things but you have to search. M neighbor has this also so I'm always looking. Organic tends to have less.

    1. I've noticed that about organic broth. I've never heard of Aldi, will have to look. thanks for the tips Sue!

  7. Vertigo is no fun, for sure. I hope you get better, soon. I love your Dr. Butterman series.

  8. In 2009 I had a serious problem with vertigo. I was alone and had no vehicle for two weeks. When I was finally able to get to civilization, I used Musinex DM and I felt so much better. A few months ago I had an episode and I took Musinex Dm and I felt better pretty quick. I don't know if it will work for you, but wouldn't it be worth a try? Vertigo is no fun! My one sister, who really is not sympathetic if it doesn't involve her, said I should just go with the flow. Yeah, right. Vertigo is pretty awful.

    1. thanks Elaine. YOu are so right, there is no going with the flow when you are that dizzy! So glad you found something that worked for you! xo

  9. Roberta - First of all, happy congrats on the *E-Birth* of your 3rd Advice Column Mystery - ASKING FOR MURDER, woot!

    I also think it's wonderful of you to share your diagnosis with us. It may seem like bad news, but it truly is good news because it targets the problem and has a solution. (Nothing more frustrating and worrisome than serious symptoms *without* rhyme or reason.) Now that you know what's up, you are set to get well, and that's a very good thing. Certainly plenty of health conditions require a low salt diet, and I'm sure plenty of people in our audience will appreciate tips and recipes (whether for ourselves or people we know and love). Thank you for sharing with us and may you always, always eat with joy and in good health!


    - Cleo

    1. thanks so very much for the encouragement Cleo! It's definitely harder to not know what's going on. so onward and upward, and read all the labels:)


  10. Congratulations on the "E-birth" (I like that) of "Asking For Murder." I might just have to read those books again - it's been awhile since I got to see Rebecca in action! And my sympathies on the need to reduce sodium. Dietary restrictions are so hard to get used to. Hope this one helps with the vertigo, and soon!

    1. Thank you Laineshots, for reading Rebecca's story and for the sympathy. It's amazing how hard it is to break an old habit:), especially when I'm used to eating absolutely anything! xo