I’m Somewhere Else…

 

Good morning! Today I’m sending you over to Lindy’s Lair, the blog of John Lindermuth, where I’ve got a guest post up. It’s about writing three series and what works for me. Click here for the post, and many thanks to John for hosting me today.

Locals, I’ll be at the Avalon Free Public Library tomorrow evening at 6:00 as part of the Summer Authors Series. I’d love for you to join me!

Until next time,

Amy

 

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First Tuesday Recipes for August

This year is flying by! Summer is half over and before we know it the weather will start to turn cooler (woo hoo!) and the days will get noticeably shorter.

But let’s not rush Mother Nature…it’s still August, and for this month I’ve got a few summery recipes to share with you.

First up is one of Sharon Aguanno’s favorites: Hawaiian Smoked Sausage. She adapted the recipe from one she found here.

Hawaiian Smoked Sausage

3 T. canola oil

1 medium green pepper, cut into 1″ pieces

1 medium yellow pepper, cut into 1″ pieces

3 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 lb. fully-cooked smoked sausage, sliced into 1/2″ pieces

1 T. cornstarch

1 T. ground ginger

1 T. vinegar

1 T. soy sauce

1/2 c. apricot preserves

2 c. fresh pineapple chunks (drained if canned)

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add peppers, tomatoes, and sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften and sausage is heated through.

Combine all other ingredients except pineapple in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add to sausage mixture; stir until mixture is bubbly and begins to thicken.

Add pineapple to skillet. Reduce heat to low; stir until pineapple is heated through.

Delicious over rice!

 

The next one goes great with anything on the grill (and is good if you have someone in your family who loves corn but doesn’t eat corn on the cob):

Shoepeg Corn Casserole

2 cans (11 oz. each) shoepeg or white  corn, drained

1 can condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted

1 c. sour cream

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 c. chopped onion

1/2 c. chopped celery

1/4 c. chopped green pepper

3/4 c. Ritz or other butter-flavored crackers (about 18), crushed

2 T. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to a greased 2-quart casserole dish.

In a small bowl, combine crackers and melted butter; sprinkle over casserole.

Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

 

And what would August be without dessert?? My family loves this recipe:

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

2 T. cold water

1 c. heavy cream

1/3 c. sugar

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out

One lg. container (about 2 cups) whole milk plain Greek yogurt

Place cold water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water (do not stir) and let sit for 5 minutes. The gelatin will be slightly softened.

While the gelatin sits, in a small saucepan mix together cream, sugar, vanilla bean, and vanilla seeds. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin until melted.

In a medium bowl, whisk yogurt by itself until smooth. Remove vanilla bean from cream mixture and whisk cream mixture into yogurt.

Divide mixture among 6 (1/2-cup) ramekins and refrigerate until chilled, 3-4 hours.

Once chilled, run a knife around the inside of each ramekin and invert panna cotta onto a small plate. Drizzle with your favorite fruit compote or homemade syrup.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Amy

The Last Tuesday Book Roundup

As you know, I’ve been trying to come up with ideas for regular features on this blog. We’ve got the First Tuesday Recipes, We Are the World Blogfest on the last Friday of each month, a monthly author feature (interview and/or guest blog post), and a post that I write based on whatever I’m feeling like writing (last month it was the special “holidays” in July, two months ago it was my summer reading wish list). I also like to do a book recommendation whenever I find a book I’ve really enjoyed. We tried a monthly book club, but we didn’t have a ton of participation.

So I’m trying something different for the last Tuesday of each month and it takes almost no effort to participate: all you do is tell us in the comments about whatever book you happen to be reading.

See how easy that is?

You can simply tell us the title and author, or you can go a little further and tell us a little bit about the book. My hope is that we all are exposed to books other than the ones we’re reading–maybe books in a genre we don’t usually read, maybe books we haven’t heard about but think we might enjoy.

I’ll start. I’m reading two books at the moment: Secrets in Storyville by Patricia Gligor and Death on Heels by Ellen Byerrum. Since Secrets in Storyville was the subject of a blog post earlier this month, I’ll focus on Death on Heels.

Death on Heels is about Lacey Smithsonian, a fashion reporter from Washington, DC. Her old boyfriend and cattle rancher, Cole Tucker, has been arrested for the murders of three women in her hometown of Sagebrush, Colorado. This doesn’t sound like the Cole she used to love, so she heads out west to help clear his name.

So far, I’m enjoying the book. There are some short “Fashion Bites” every few chapters, and I have to say I could do without them. But on the whole, it’s been a good read.

What are you reading?

Until next time,

Amy

We Are the World Blogfest #WATWB

It’s the last Friday of the month–time again for some good news to take you into August with a smile.

The story I’ve chosen for this month is one that I guarantee is going to make you smile. It’s about a couple using ocean trash in an incredible way to help people.

Click here to read the story.

Here’s how #WATWB works: On the last Friday of each month a number of bloggers participate in a blog hop in which each blogger highlights a story that spreads good news, happiness, and hope.

Want to join? Click this link to sign up and help spread some happiness!

 

Book Recommendation: The Outermost House

The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod

Henry Beston’s book, The Outermost House, was on my list of summer reads this year (see post from June 19th) and I’m happy to report that I enjoyed it very much.

It’s not what I expected, but that’s okay. What I expected was a day-to-day diary of the mundane things Beston did for a year on Cape Cod: what he did to ready the house for winter, the things he cooked, what he did when he encountered snakes, how he communicated with the rest of the world, etc.

What I got instead was a season-by-season account of the natural world on Cape Cod: how the tides change, how the beaches shift and move, where the birds and animals go when it storms, how the grasses move in the wind, and what the sun looks like on the water. It’s a beautifully-written book that manages to describe everything from sunrises to deadly storms with lyrical language that soothes, surprises, describes, and teaches.

One can see how it had such an impact on Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, one of the seminal books on environmental protection and conservation.

The Outermost House wasn’t like any other book I’ve read: it wasn’t fast-paced, there was no suspense, and it didn’t keep me up at night. Rather, it was something I looked forward to reading when I wanted to relax and be calm. And from what I’ve read about the book, it has that effect on lots of readers. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the natural world, who wonders what life might have been like on a deserted New England beach in the early decades of the twentieth century, and who wants a break from the busy-ness and hectic schedules we all have. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Until next time,

Amy

What Day is It, Anyway?

photo courtesy of Larisa-K, pixabay

Did you know that as of July 17th in the United States we’ve already missed National Stay Out of the Sun Day (July 3rd), National Strawberry Sundae Day (July 7th), and National Give Something Away Day (July 15th)? Did you know the whole world celebrated International Kissing Day on July 6th?

If you’ve been as negligent as I have in observing these crucial holidays, it’s time to set things straight.

In the spirit of trying to help you squeeze as much fun out of July as possible, I’m going to list the holidays that take place for the entire month and for the rest of the month, according to nationaltoday.com and nationaldaycalendar.com.

And if these holidays aren’t celebrated where you live?

Who cares?? Celebrate anyway!

July is:

World Watercolor Month, National Anti-Boredom Month, National Baked Bean Month, National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Grilling Month, National Horseradish Month, National Hotdog Month, National Ice Cream Month, National Independent Retailer Month, National July Belongs to Blueberries Month, and National Picnic Month.

Here’s a breakdown of the rest of the month by day (and, if necessary, by country/region that celebrates), so mark your calendars!!

July 17th:

World Emoji Day

National Yellow Pig Day (had to look this up–it’s specifically for mathemeticians)

National Peach Ice Cream Day

National Tattoo Day

July 18th:

National Sour Candy Day

National Caviar Day

Nelson Mandela International Day

World Listening Day

July 19th:

National Daiquiri Day

Get to Know Your Customers Day

National Hotdog Day (changes annually)

July 20th:

National Lollipop Day

National Moon Day

National Pennsylvania Day

July 21st:

National Junk Food Day (woo hoo!)

National Be Someone Day

National Strawberry Rhubarb Wine Day

Toss Away the ‘Could Haves’ and ‘Should Haves’ Day

July 22nd:

National Hammock Day

National Parents’ Day

National Penuche Fudge Day

National Rat Catchers’ Day

July 23rd:

National Vanilla Ice Cream Day

National Gorgeous Grandma Day

July 24th:

National Cousins Day

National Drive-Thru Day

National Tequila Day

National Amelia Earhart Day

National Thermal Engineer Day

July 25th:

National Hot Fudge Sundae Day

National Wine and Cheese Day

National Hire a Veteran Day

National Merry-Go-Round Day

National Threading the Needle Day

July 26th:

National Aunt and Uncle Day

National Chili Dog Day

National Coffee Milkshake Day

National Intern Day

National Bagelfest Day

All or Nothing Day

National Refreshment Day

July 27th:

Asalha Puja (Buddhists)

Guru Purnima (Hindus and Buddhists, Nepal and India)

National Creme Brulee Day (France, US)

National Scotch Day

National New Jersey Day

National Get Gnarly Day

National Talk in an Elevator Day

National System Administrator Appreciation Day

July 28th:

National Milk Chocolate Day

World Hepatitis Day

National Waterpark Day

National Buffalo Soldiers Day

National Day of the Cowboy

July 29th: 

National Chicken Wing Day

National Lipstick Day

National Lasagna Day

July 30th:

International Day of Friendship

National Cheesecake Day

National Father-in-Law Day

National Whistleblower Day

July 31st:

National Avocado Day

National Mutt Day

National Raspberry Cake Day

 

So do you have a favorite??

Until next time,

Amy

 

Welcome Back, Patricia Gligor!

Today I’m thrilled to welcome Patricia Gligor back to Reade and Write. Pat is the author of the Malone Mystery series, and if you’ve read any of those books you already know Pat can weave a compelling tale. She’s here today to tell us about her new release, Secrets in Storyville. Here’s a quick synopsis:

Kate Morgan, a single mother, lives in the small town of Storyville, Ohio, where she grew up. A want-to-be author, she works as a sales clerk in the town’s only department store doing what she describes as “a job a monkey could do.” Although she’s bored with her job, she’s reluctant to consider making any major changes in her life. However, she’s about to find out that change is inevitable.

When Kate’s ten-year-old daughter, Mandy, tells the family she plans to do a family tree for a school project, the negative reaction of Kate’s parents and grandmother shocks her but also arouses her curiosity. Why are they so against Mandy’s project? Surely her family is too “normal” to have any skeletons in their closet.

Kate decides to support her daughter even if that means defying her parents. As she searches for the truth, she discovers some long buried secrets that, if she decides to reveal them, will change her life and the lives of the people she loves – forever.

 

Pat wrote a quick post for Reade and Write–I think you’ll like it:

“We all know that laughter is cathartic. No matter what’s going on in our lives and in the world, a good laugh or even a chuckle has the power to make us forget about whatever challenges we’re facing if only for a short time. The more we laugh, the better we feel.

Kate, the main character in Secrets in Storyville, has what she calls “a healthy sense of humor.” I have to agree with her because I found myself laughing out loud as I wrote many of the scenes in the book. I hope, as you escape into Kate’s world, you will too.”

And here’s an excerpt from the book:

I pushed the button on my radio for our local oldies station. As I drove back to work, I cranked up the music and sang along to the strains of Frosty the Snowman.

The song reminded me of the “anatomically correct” snowman Bobby had built in our front yard when we were in our early teens. As long as I lived I would never forget the expression on my mother’s face – a combination of shock and rage – when she pulled into the driveway that day and saw the snowman.

She slammed her car door, stomped over to us, grabbed one of the two carrots Bobby had used – it wasn’t the one for his nose – and tried to pull it out. That carrot must’ve really been stuck because she yanked and yanked before it came out in her hand.

 Bobby and I exchanged glances, trying so hard not to laugh out loud because we knew better than to do that. Somehow we managed to control ourselves until my mother had stormed into the house. Then we both lost it. Thinking about it now as I drove back to work, I couldn’t stop laughing. 

And here’s Pat’s bio:

Patricia Gligor is a Cincinnati native. She has worked as an administrative assistant, the sole proprietor of a resume writing service and the manager of a sporting goods department but her passion has always been writing fiction.

Ms. Gligor is the author of the Malone Mystery series: Mixed Messages, Unfinished Business, Desperate Deeds, Mistaken Identity and Marnie Malone.

Secrets in Storyville, a small town mystery, is separate from her series.

Her books are available at:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007VDDUPQ

  

 

I have Secrets in Storyville on my Kindle and I’m eager to start it. Best wishes, Pat! The book sounds great.

Until next time,

Amy