Sunday, March 24, 2019

Potato Asparagus Soup #recipe + #book #giveaway from author @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl:


I went to my go-to soup recipe book by Williams-Sonoma. I wanted to make asparagus soup. I bought the ingredients.

Or so I thought...

I did not buy enough asparagus.  They wanted 3 pounds for a full recipe. I was going to make a half recipe from the start, but I only bought 1/2 pound.  Oops.

So here’s what I made,  using most of the ingredients and adding potatoes, and then tweaking to my pleasure.

I love soup. I truly enjoy that I can fiddle with it to make it mine. This is my “half” recipe and it made enough for 4 nice-sized bowls.  By the way, I removed some soup before adding the cream so it was just veggies and potato. YUM.  Try it both ways, if you dare.


1/2 sweet onion, chopped fine
1 stalk celery, with leaves, chopped
8 ounces asparagus, chopped, (reserve 2-6 tips)
1 very large brown potato, peeled and chopped into 1” cubes
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups stock *
1 teaspoon basil, dried
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup cream

(In the WS book, they make from scratch; I use gluten-free stock. Also if you buy low sodium stock, you might want to add extra salt.)

Fix all the veggies first.  Chop the onions, celery, asparagus, potato.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and sauté until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the stock, all the asparagus stalks and most of the tips, the potatoes and basil.  Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Skim away froth if it arises. None did for mine probably because I used premade stock.

Reduce the heat and cover, and simmer gently for about 25 to 30 minutes.

In small batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor.  Each time I finished my batch, I returned to the saucepan. When it’s all pureed, heat over low and stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and white pepper. 

Meanwhile, quickly steam the asparagus tips, for decoration, about 3-4 minutes.

Spoon the soup into bowls and garnish with asparagus tips. Enjoy.


To celebrate the upcoming release of 

I'm doing a special Sunday giveaway - winner's choice of any of my cozy mysteries.

Leave a comment to enter. Do you love cozy mysteries? What's one of your favorites?
Remember to include you're email should you win so I can contact you.

The latest Cookbook Nook Mystery (#8), available for pre-order. Comes out April 23.

What's it about?

Book clubs from all over have descended on Crystal Cove to celebrate the library’s Book Club Bonanza week, and Jenna Hart has packed the Cookbook Nook with juicy reads and tasty cookbooks. But she’s most excited about spending an evening with the Mystery Mavens and their moveable feast, when they will go from house to house to share different culinary treats and discuss the whodunit they’re all reading. It’s all good food and fun for the savvy armchair detectives, until one of the members of the group is found murdered at the last stop on the tour.

As if that weren’t enough to spoil her appetite, Jenna discovers that all the evidence points to her friend Pepper as being the guilty party. And with Pepper’s chief-of-police daughter too close to the case to be impartial, Jenna knows she’ll have to step in to help clear her friend’s name before a bitter injustice sends her to jail. Sifting through the clues, Jenna unearths any number of possible culprits, but she’ll have to cook up a new way to catch the killer before Pepper’s goose is cooked.

Includes tasty sweet and savory recipes!

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A SOUFFLÉ OF SUSPICION, the 2nd French Bistro Mystery.
Can Mimi prove her chef innocent before the chef gets dusted?
Click here to order.

A DEADLY ÉCLAIR, the 1st French Bistro Mysteries, in all formats.
Can Mimi clear her name before the killer turns up the heat?
Click here to order.

SIFTING THROUGH CLUES, the 8th Cookbook Nook Mystery.
Sifting through the clues, Jenna unearths any number of possible culprits, but she’ll have to cook up a new way to catch the killer before her friend Pepper’s goose is cooked. 
Click here to order

WREATH BETWEEN THE LINES, the 7th Cookbook Nook Mystery.
Jenna Hart is busy decking the halls and ducking a killer
Click here to order.

FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE, the 7th Cheese Shop Mystery by Avery Aames.
Finally there's going to be a cheese festival in Providence!
Click to order.

GIRL ON THE RUN, a stand-alone suspense.
When a fairytale fantasy night becomes a nightmare, Chessa Paxton must run for her life...but will the truth set her free?
Click to order

DAY OF SECRETS, a stand-alone suspense
A mother he thought was dead. A father he never knew. An enemy that wants them dead.
Click here to order

Saturday, March 23, 2019

#Eggplant Skillet Dinner by Denise Swanson

My husband and I like to have a couple of meatless dinners a week, but we don't want to sacrifice protein. Teaming up tofu with eggplant in this skillet supper helps us achieve both goals. Be sure to purchase extra-firm tofu so that it holds its shape. Serve with crusty bread.

7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 (14-oz.) pkg. extra-firm tofu, cubed
1 large (about 16 oz.) eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
crumbled feta cheese

Preheat broiler with an oven rack 6 inches from heat.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add 2 tablespoons oil and swirl to coat. Add tofu and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. 

Remove tofu from skillet. Add 1/4 cup oil and eggplant slices in a single layer. Cook without stirring, until browned, about 4 minutes. Flip eggplant slices and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

Combine tomatoes, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, cumin, salt, and crushed red pepper in a medium bowl.Top eggplant evenly with tofu. Spoon tomato mixture over eggplant and tofu. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with feta. Broil until cheese begins to brown, about 4 minutes.



The chips are down in Scumble River

School psychologist Skye Denison-Boyd had hoped that her maternity leave would be at least a little relaxing, but when she and her husband, Wally, meet with the priest to discuss their newborn twins' christening, an explosion at the nearby bowling alley rocks the rectory. And although the business was closed at the time of the blast, there's a body inside.

As police chief, Wally is inevitably drawn into the investigation, which seems to indicate that foul play is afoot again in Scumble River, and Skye can't help but do a bit of her own sleuthing. But the clues come fast and furious, ranging from an odd new stranger in town to animosity toward the gambling machines that had recently been installed at the bowling alley, and Skye finds herself wondering if this could be the puzzle that stumps her for good.

New York Times bestselling author Denise Swanson has penned another hit for cozy fans with Die Me a River, the latest installment in her beloved Welcome Back to Scumble River mystery series.

Coming March 26 BOOK #2 IN THE Chef-to-Go SERIES

The back-to-school season can be murder

It's the beginning of the university's fall semester and Dani can't wait for the college students to return to Normalton, Illinois―after all, without them, there is no one to support her Lunch-to-Go service, which is a vital part of her Chef-to-Go business. But Normalton University's orientation week is marred by a mysterious murder, along with a series of car-jackings and sightings of a mysterious creature in a pond on campus. And with the whole town feeling unsettled, Dani finds herself dealing once again with the infuriatingly handsome Spencer Drake, the head of security at the university.

Although Dani vowed that her life would never again be boring and routine after she quit her stifling corporate job, she had no idea that she'd end up dealing with such strange happenings―not to mention murder. But as the trouble in Normalton draw worryingly close to home, Dani realizes that if the killer isn't caught soon, she may be the next one who is found scone cold dead.

Enjoy the occasional romance?


Take one dedicated wildlife veterinarian who treats her animals as if they were her babies, add an impossibly handsome nightclub manager who’s determined to open the hottest spot in Las Vegas, and what do you have? A sweet, sexy romance that proves that no matter how much a man and woman may snarl at the idea of a relationship, love always wins.

* * *

Marco Thorne was hired by Club Wilde’s owner to open up the newest, most outrageous venue yet. He is absolutely certain that he can handle all the competition Las Vegas has to offer until his overbearing boss contracts with Lions and Tigers and More sanctuary to have live exotic animals present in the jungle-themed club. Still, he has no choice but to go along with his boss’s idiotic scheme, even if he thinks it’s the worst idea he’s ever heard.

Dr. Sage DeSantis’s entire life is devoted to keeping the animals under her care in the sanctuary healthy and happy. After the sanctuary’s owner announces that he’s renting out some of Sage’s babies to Club Wilde, she’s sickened that they will once again be exploited.

When Marco and Sage meet, the chemistry between them nearly knocks them off their feet. Although they both have experiences in their past that make them leery of love, and Sage is determined to guard her heart, Marco is all in. But will Marco be able to convince Sage to give them a chance?

* * *

Publisher’s warning: This book contains sensual consummated love scenes.

Series description:

Second in Denise Swanson’s new Delicious contemporary romance series. All books are complete with no cliffhangers and a guaranteed HEA!

Sinfully Delicious is available now!

Undeniably Delicious is coming in 2019!

For more information, please visit
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Friday, March 22, 2019

Ham with Whiskey Sauce

My sister is visiting for a couple of weeks to help me sort out the stuff in the house. Since she arrived in time for St. Patrick’s Day, we went trolling for an appropriate recipe. I’m well equipped with Irish cookbooks, and we’d just been grocery shopping, so we had all sorts of ingredients. Here’s what we settled on.

Ham with Whiskey Sauce

As usual I tinkered with the recipe (adapted from The Country Cooking of Ireland, by Colman Andres), because there were only the two of us and the term “ham steak” can mean a lot of different things in terms of size. But this recipe worked out well. As you might guess, between the brown sugar and the Irish whiskey, the sweetness of the sauce paired well with a slice of smoked ham.


2 Tblsp butter
2 pieces of ham (whatever size you like for two servings)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 Tblsp flour
1 Tblsp dark brown sugar
1/4 cup Irish whiskey
1/2 cup beef stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste


Melt one tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the ham steaks on both sides. Remove the ham from the skillet, and set aside, covered with foil, and keep warm while you make the sauce.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the same pan, the add the sliced onions. Cook slowly for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Reduce the heat to low. Sprinkle the flour over the onions in the pan, and mix with the pan juices. Cook briefly, until the liquid has been absorbed by the flour. 

Add the brown sugar and stir, then add the whiskey and beef stock and stir until smooth (if you’re worried, the alcohol in the whiskey will cook off quickly, but the flavor will remain). Whisk in the cream and add salt and/or pepper if you think the sauces needs them.

Put a ham steak on each plate and spoon the sauce over each. Serve with rice, noodles or potatoes.


Thursday, March 21, 2019

Go-with-anything Creamed Spinach #recipe @lucyburdette

LUCY BURDETTE: My mother used to make creamed spinach using frozen spinach and canned mushroom soup...hmmm. I thought I could update it so it didn't have those slimy bits of mushrooms! This can go with anything--we served it with rice and yellowtail snapper and a salad. Delicious and easy meal!


6-9 oz fresh spinach
1 large shallot, diced