We Are the World Blogfest #WATWB

It’s the last Friday in May, and time for some good news to take you into June with a smile. The post I’ve chosen to share this month is about a planned solar project in Nevada that has been approved by the US Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management. The project will result in the largest solar facility in the United States and the 8th largest in the world.

And the best part? The renewable energy generated from the facility will offset the annual greenhouse emissions from 83,000 cars. There will also be long-term monitoring of the project to reduce the possible negative environmental impacts caused by the facility.

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 worldwide blog hop in which each blogger highlights a story that spreads good news, happiness, and hope.

Your cohosts for this month are Eric LahtiSusan Scott, Dan AntionDamyanti Biswas, and Inderpreet Kaur Uppal. And if you want to read more uplifting articles, please visit the WATWB Facebook page here or the Twitter home page here to find links to other stories.

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – Pre-order for June 2nd – Cape Menace: A Cape May #Historical Mystery by Amy M. Reade

With thanks to Sally Cronin for sharing the news of my new release…

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to share the news of the release of  Cape Menace: A Cape May Historical Mystery (Cape May Historical Mystery Collection Book 1)by USA Today Bestselling author Amy M. Reade on pre-order for June 2nd.

About the book

The year is 1714. Two years have passed since Ruth Hanover vanished into the wilderness of the New Jersey colony without a trace, leaving behind her husband, William, and their daughter, Sarah. Though William and Sarah have never stopped hoping that Ruth will return, as time goes by it becomes less and less likely they will ever see her again.

Now William is acting strangely. He won’t tell Sarah why he’s conducting business with a mysterious stranger in the middle of the night, he won’t explain the sudden increase in his income, and he won’t share with her what people in town are
saying about her mother’s disappearance.

When the time…

View original post 480 more words

A Time to Embrace…

Almost four years ago, I wrote a blog post honoring my grandfather, who had just passed away, and my eldest daughter, who was graduating from high school. I took the title of my post, “A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance,” from the Book of Ecclesiastes.

And time flew.

Yesterday that same daughter graduated from college amid a global health emergency, and again I turn to Ecclesiastes for inspiration—”there is a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing” (Ecc 3:5).

If you know my daughter, you know she’s happiest when she’s surrounded by her friends and all the people who love her. She looked forward to her graduation as a celebration with all her favorite people, and now that the fun and excitement of that rite of passage has been taken from her, she’s been feeling sad and blue. I know she’s not the only one, that there are literally millions of young men and women around the globe who have missed and will miss big events in their own lives due to this pandemic, but she’s the one who matters most to us right now.

Of course, our family of five will share hugs with Carolyn today, but for everyone else who was supposed to be with us for the celebration, this is a time to refrain from embracing. In fact, this is a time when we’re all supposed to be six feet from each other if we’re not wearing masks. It’s a scary time, and one that has left people feeling lonely and frustrated.

But Carolyn will be able to embrace her larger family and her friends again, just as people all around the world will, too. It may be a while before it happens, but it will happen.

Because there is a time to embrace, and that time will come again.

To everyone graduating this year, wherever you are, you have a bright future ahead of you. This pandemic has made us all stronger and more aware of the things that matter. Remember what you’ve learned.

Congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2020!

Until next time,

Amy

P.S. The family photo was taken from an appropriate social distance!

The Cape May Historical Mystery Collection

As you may have heard a hundred times by now, my next book is called Cape Menace: A Cape May Historical Mystery. This is the first book in my new Cape May Historical Mysteries Collection.

I thought I’d use my post today to tell you a little more about the collection. As of now, I am planning to include at least seven mysteries in the collection. The books will span the length of Cape May’s history between 1712 and the World War II era. Each book will be a standalone, so there is no need to read them in any particular order. Each book will feature different characters and focus on mysteries that are unrelated.

I am really excited about this project. My husband has been asking me for years to write about the area where we live in New Jersey, and I have found the research fascinating. I’m learning so much—the amount of information I didn’t know about Cape May County could fill volumes!

Here’s a little more about the Cape Menace:

Sarah Hanover and her parents, Ruth and William, left behind their life in England and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to the English colonies in 1710, settling in the colony that had only recently been named New Jersey. Until the very early eighteenth century, the area had been known as East Jersey and West Jersey. It was in 1702 that the two provinces were joined.

In December of 1712, Sarah’s mother disappears without a trace. Sarah is convinced that her mother met a violent death when she came upon a wolf in the woods near their home, but as Sarah is to later discover, there were other—more sinister—forces at work at the time of Ruth’s disappearance.

It is just over two years later, in 1714, when Sarah experiences tragedy again, this time one that forces her to take a hard look at the secrets her father kept from her. She is beset by questions about the mysterious stranger with whom her father was doing business, the whispers she keeps hearing about her mother’s disappearance, and her own safety as she starts asking questions about what happened to Ruth.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Cape Menace and if you do, I hope you enjoy it. The ebook is available for preorder now (link to Google Play TBA), and the paperback version will be available very soon. I will keep you posted. If you’re interested, click this link to be directed to preorder at your favorite online retailer.

Thank you!

Until next time,

Amy

First Tuesday Recipes for May

One of the things I’ve been reading about is that people are cooking more during this pandemic. The grocery store shelves bear this out, at least in the baking aisle: there’s no yeast, no cake mix, and limited flour and sugar. At our local store, there has been a limit on the number of eggs one can buy, too. Is it any wonder that images of baked goods look even better than usual right now?

This month I’m focusing on things you can make mostly without baking ingredients. Hopefully these recipes have ingredients that are easier to find at the moment. I’ve got a hearty salad, a soup that even the kids will eat, and a chicken noodle casserole.

***

Avocado Salad

with thanks to my aunt!

Salad:

1 ripe avocado, sliced

1 small can Mandarin oranges

1 handful black olives, sliced

1/2 small red onion, sliced

Dressing:

1 T. white wine vinegar

4 T. vegetable oil

1/2 t. Dijon mustard

pinch salt and pepper

Place salad ingredients in large bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients; pour over salad and toss gently to coat. Serves 2.

***

Broccoli Cheese Soup

with thanks to my mom!

1 10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped broccoli

1 can cream of mushroom soup*

1 soup can milk

4″ Velveeta cheese, cubed

Cook broccoli according to package directions and drain well.

In a medium saucepan, whisk soup and milk. Heat slowly over low heat and add cubes of cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. If necessary, add a little more milk to thin the soup. Add broccoli and cook, stirring, until heated through.  Serves 4.

***

Jeanne’s Noodle Casserole

2 c. egg noodles, cooked in salted water according to package directions

1/2 – 1 c. cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 c. frozen peas

1/2 c. sliced mushrooms

1 can cream of chicken soup*

1/2 soup can milk

Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine cooked noodles, chicken, peas, and mushrooms.

In a small bowl, whisk soup and milk. If the mixture is thicker than heavy cream, add a little more milk to thin it. Pour soup mixture over noodle mixture and mix to coat well.

Pour into greased 1 1/2-qt. casserole dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake for one hour.

***

*If you prefer not to use canned soup (which is high in sodium) or if it is not available, the following mixture works well as a substitute. I use it all the time. You’ll still need to add the milk called for in the main recipe.

1 T. butter

3 T. flour

1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 c. milk

pepper

handful sautéed mushrooms, if recipe calls for cream of mushroom soup

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and whisk until smooth and bubbly. I’ve found it necessary sometimes to add a little more butter. Remove from heat.

Add chicken broth and milk, a little at a time, stirring until mixture is smooth.

Heat mixture over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Cook until mixture is slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add pepper to taste.

***

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Amy