Sunday, August 7, 2016

Welcome guest, author Laurie Cass!

Laurie Cass grew up in Michigan and graduated from Eastern Michigan University in the 80’s with a (mostly unused) Bachelor of Science degree in geology. She and her husband live on a lake in northwest lower Michigan. When Laurie isn’t writing, she’s working at her day job, reading, yanking weeds out of her garden, or doing some variety of skiing.

Laurie is offering a giveaway - see below and leave a comment!

Take it away, Laurie!


In the fall of 2013, my husband and I, for the first time ever, traveled to the great state of Louisiana. Our destination was not New Orleans, but Baton Rouge, because the reason for the traveling was to attend the American Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) conference.

The trip was research for the bookmobile cat books, but it was also a vacation. We stayed at a Hilton in a room with a Mississippi River view, and had a great time touring the capitol building, area museums, and trying a different restaurant for every meal.

One particular dinner, however, we didn’t go to a restaurant at all, because down the street from the hotel was the city’s annual Jambalaya Jam, an event sponsored by the local United Way. We bought our $10 tickets and received wrist bands that allowed us to roam and sample jambalaya from forty-odd competing teams. (I think we made it through seven.)

We had a great time talking to folks and listening to live music and headed home determined to try our hand at making jambalaya. The following is the result, non-spicy because that’s the way the female half of this partnership prefers it.

Jambalaya – Non-Spicy
3 slices         Bacon
1 lb.              Raw pork loin, cut into cubes
1 lb.              Mild smoked sausage, diced or sliced into 1/4” rounds
1/4 lb.           Shrimp - peeled and diced
1/4 cup         Water
2 cups          Onion, chopped
1 cup            Green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup         Celery, chopped
1 TB.            Garlic, minced
1 qt.              Beef stock or broth
3 cups          Water, heated
1/4 cup         Green onion, sliced
1/2 teas.        Thyme, dried
1/2 teas.        Basil, dried
1/2 teas.        Parsley dried, plus extra for garnish if desired
4 cups          Rice, long grain
For table       Bottled hot sauce

Slice bacon into a 6 quart Dutch oven and cook until fat is rendered. Add cubed pork and cook over medium high heat in the drippings, stirring regularly, until meat is heavily browned and browned bits have formed in the bottom of the pot. In a separate pan, cook the shrimp in a tablespoon or so of oil.

To the Dutch oven, add the sausage and shrimp, cook and stir for 3 minutes, then add the 1/4 cup of water a little at a time, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom. This will add both flavor and color to your jambalaya.

Add onion, bell pepper and celery, cook and stir for 4 minutes; add the garlic and cook another minute. Stir in the beef stock, bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add the 3 cups of hot water, green onion, Cajun seasoning, thyme, basil, parsley and rice; stir well.

Cover, transfer pot to the oven, baking at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove, let stand covered until ready to serve, or for at least 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving. Spoon loosely into a serving platter if desired, but do not pack down. Garnish with parsley, serve with a side salad or green vegetable, and pass a bottle of hot sauce at the table.

Note:  We freeze the leftovers in individual plastic zip bags with about 12 ounces of jambalaya in each. When reheating, we’ll add a quarter cup or so of chicken broth to keep it moist. Yum!

I’ll be giving away a copy of the latest release in the Bookmobile Cat Series, Cat With A Clue. And, as an added bonus, I’ll include a copy of Murder at the PTA, the first book in my other mystery series, written under the pen name Laura Alden.


Facebook link

Cat with a Clue
Released August 2, 2016

Early one morning while shelving books in the library, Minnie stumbles upon a dead body. Authorities identify the woman as an out-of-towner visiting Chilson for her great-aunt’s funeral. What she was doing in the library after hours is anyone’s guess . . . but Minnie and her rescue cat Eddie are determined to save the library’s reputation and catch a killer.

As rumors about the victim circulate through Chilson, the police are in a bind over a streak of baffling break-ins. Luckily, Minnie and Eddie are traveling the county in their bookmobile, and they'll stop at nothing to find the spineless killer before the final page is turned on someone else.


  1. A new to me series! Thanks for the chance!

  2. Excellent Jambalaya recipe; and the books sound wonderful!

  3. The word bookmobile always grabs my attention. New to me series, sounds like fun.

    Great recipe. Non-spicy with hot sauce on the table is a good idea. Satisfies those of us who don't like it hot!

  4. We love jambalaya in our house, and have it at least once a month! It's usually never the same, my husband is forever looking different recipes up on the internet. I can't imagine going to a festival where there were 40 different varieties to try, I doubt I'd make it all the way through either! :-). Nicole

  5. I've enjoyed the previous Bookmobile cat books. Looking forward to reading more of them and trying the jambalaya recipe.

  6. I love the Bookmobile Cat series...Eddie is awesome! And thanks for a less spicy recipe for jambalaya. Thanks for the chance to win your book. grace dot koshida at gmail dot com

  7. It's been a while since I made Jambalaya. I like it spicy but no one else does so I make it mild and add hot sauce to mine.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  8. Another new to me series! Would love to win so I can get started. Thank you for this opportunity.

  9. Hi, all, Laurie has unexpected out of town guests today. She will be checking in, but just want you to know how good it is to see you al! ~ Daryl

  10. I've read one book in the series and loved it. I loved going to the bookmobile growing up, only ours didn't have a cat. :-( Great giveaway!

  11. This is a new series to me so I would love to win. Looks like a really great series.

  12. Wow. What a lucky break. Wish I had been there. I can't imagine the variety. Love the recipe. I'm not big on hot, hot, hot, either. A bottle of hot sauce on the table sounds like a smart compromise.

  13. Both new series to me! Thanks for the chance to win!

  14. would love to win..thanks for the chance

  15. Thanks for the recipe and a chance to win one of your books!!

  16. looks awesome. -mollie.

  17. I've always lived close to a library so have never seen a bookmobile but I love the idea of them!


  18. Please tell me I may have a copy for review? And (for some reason) I can't print the Jambalaya recipe - would you send it to me in an e-mail. I know you have my e-mail. Please and thank you, oh wondrous writer of feline-friendly mysteries!

    1. From Laurie: PJ - I'll email you a copy of the recipe and will get you a review, soon!

  19. That recipe is mild enough that I think my husband will try it!! I love cat mysteries so I've got my fingers crossed on the giveaway.

  20. These books are new to me! Thank you for the recipe and the opportunity to win your books. crossxjo

  21. How awesome. Love the mobile library books. Downeastfall at yahoo dot com. Melisa��

  22. I wish we had a local bookmobile. I know they have them in the city but not any that come out this far. Thanks for the chance to win.

  23. Awesome recipe! We are definitely going to try it. I am salivating over the books! Thanks.

  24. Love the cat mobile books.

    1. You won the giveaway from Laurie. She's tried to contact you via email but you haven't yet responded. You will have until Sunday to respond. Congrats! ~ Daryl

  25. From Laurie: So glad that so many of you folks are enjoying the books and are looking forward to making jambalaya! We're actually making it tonight for our guests! My husband says it's an hour and forty-five minutes from start to finish :)

  26. Love the recipe! Cannot wait to give it a try! The series sounds intriguing, looking forward to giving it a try as well.

  27. Yummm! But I'll leave out the shrimp and add the spice! Thanks for the recipe and the chance to win!

    cozyupwithkathy @ gmail dot com

  28. I like the idea of bookmobile mysteries and would love to read your books. Thank you for the delicious jambalaya recipe!