Friday, April 30, 2021

Foodie Friday

 A few Rustic Dinner plates . . .  

First sharing a favorite family recipe 

Cut from a magazine when we were very first married.  A little rough around the edges. You can tell I've cooked this dish alot. 
I tried a few variations of ingredients but it is never ad good. 
The funny thing is my mother cooked this Pepper Steak.  The recipe was on the box of Minute Rice.  My mother would not touch Chinese food. 
Because we are moving I have already packed the Rustic plate.  Using a few plates I will give away.  
This was a yummy meal of Pan Fried Pork Chops, Rice, Black Eye Peas and Gravy and Biscuits.
Here's  my dinner plate.  You can see the stack
Of dishes ready bro he packed. 
Missed match plates.  I love the white plates but we are down sizing.  
 I tenderized then dusted with flour and brown d some Sirloin.  Then baked in the oven with onion soup for a few hours.  Then I just stored a low sodium Brown Gravy mix.  Served over package instant potatoes. And Corn on cob.  I boiled then cut off the cob and put in a pan of butter. 
Our lunch today.  I made grilled cheese from some french bread.  I live this bread.  A warm and yummy meal with Split Pea Soup. 

The next couple weeks will be super busy getting ready to move. 

We have found a place and are waiting approval.
Fingers crossed! 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Good Morning


Character Guest Post feat. Margene Brown Southern Sass and a Battered Bride by Kate Young


The wedding party seemed to be lining up for pictures, and the guests were starting to corral near the tent. When I got inside, my crew was nowhere to be seen. I could see Paul through the window on the opposite side of the tent. I searched for my staff and nodded approvingly when I walked around the first few tables with beautifully lit candles positioned around the pink Stargazer centerpiece. From here, the wedding cake appeared to be holding up nicely. I moved closer. 

My smile faltered, and I squeaked in surprise. 

My hand went to my parted lips. 

On the floor in front of the wedding cake table lay Lucy, covered in what could only be funnel cake batter . . . 

And that’s how my day from hell began. 

Hi! I’m Marygene Brown, and I, along with my sister, own and operate The Peach Diner located on Peach Cove. A tiny little island located off the coast from Savannah, Georgia. We inherited the business my nanny started after my mama passed away a couple of years ago. Nanny always said The Peach saved the Brown family from becoming destitute and losing everything we had. I guess you could say food was the salvation for the women of the Brown family. We are foodies through and through. 

Several years ago, I fled the Peach Cove after I had a massive blowout with Mama and broke up with my high school sweetheart, Deputy Alex Myers. After I moved to Atlanta to pursue a culinary degree, I made some mistakes. Dropping out of school and marrying Mr. Wrong was a big one—thankfully, he’s now in my rearview mirror. 

Arriving home was both joyous and a little stressful. Reconnecting with the friends and family I lost touch with brought joy. My coworker Betsy is my ride-or-die BFF. She’s my personal cheering section, and I love her to pieces. The stressful part was having my mama wake me when I was dead to the world. Allow me to set the scene. 

“Wake up!” Mama shouted at my ear. 

“I’m tired,” I groaned, rolled over, and pulled the blankets over my head. 

“Marygene Francis Brown, I’m not telling you again,” Mama said.

I jolted upright, suddenly aware as my mama flipped on the lamp next to her, that she meant business. 

Wait a minute, Mama is dead. 

And my mother is indeed dead. But she appears to me none the less. 

As ridiculous as it sounds, my mama, Clara Brown, is tied to the island and has been since the day she passed. She wasn’t what you’d call a pure heart in life, and now the powers-that-be forced her to remain in limbo on Peach Cove until she makes amends. I wasn’t sure what qualified as amends, or what it would take to satisfy the requirement. For all I knew, she could be here my entire life span or be gone tomorrow. I did understand that if a soul was forced to remain as an island spirit, it created an energy around the person they were communicating with. An aura, if you will. The deceased are drawn to said person, i.e., me. The possibility that I might be insane lurks in the back of my mind often. Either way, I have to deal with Mama on a regular basis. At first it was rough, but I’m dealing with it better now. 

Back to today, I’ve also learned to heed Mama’s warnings. And she’d warned me of something awful surrounding today’s wedding. And boy had it come true. Lucy, the one covered in batter, is not only a client and my high school sweetheart’s wife but a widely loathed bridezilla. It was no secret the conflict she had not only with me but also with Betsy. So, when moments after we found her deceased, her body goes missing. It just went poof into thin air. Or felt like it went poof. No one saw anything or at least they aren’t speaking if they had.

Blame gets thrown around and Alex is losing his mind. He even accuses Betsy and me of having something to do with his new bride’s murder. Can you believe that? Yeah, it’s complicated. Now Betsy and I are on a mission to prove our innocence. Today, it has truly hit the fan, y’all…

About the book ...

At a murder mystery–themed wedding reception on Georgia’s picturesque Peach Cove Island, the bride is doing an awfully good job playing dead . . .


Marygene Brown always figured she’d marry her childhood sweetheart, Alex Myers, not cater his wedding. But the Peach Diner could use the exposure. Most of the island is showing up—although more for the role-playing murder game at the reception than for the widely loathed bridezilla, Lucy Carmichael. Marygene may have to smile through the festivities, but Mama doesn’t have to hold her peace—especially since only Marygene can hear her mother’s ghost. Mama says she sees an aura of darkness around the wedding.


So when Marygene finds Lucy lying beside the wedding cake, buried in batter, with no pulse, it looks like Mama called it. This is no game. And when the bride’s body simply vanishes, it’s up to Marygene and her best friend Betsy (cousin to the groom and no fan of the bride) to solve a real-life mystery—with a little help from Mama’s sassy spirit . . .

Includes Seven Recipes from Marygene’s Kitchen!

Buy the book 

 Amazon – B&N – Kobo – IndieBound

Visit the tour 

To read reviews, guest posts, Interviews and see Spotlight Posts with recipes click Here


A September to Remember by Carole Bumpus Except Post


Read an excerpt ... 



    . . . . Like lava flowing down a mountain, the crowd began to surge along the stone roadway with us (my husband and I) caught in the current. All were moving toward the festival grounds at the bottom of the hill. Smoke from the pits of braising meats tantalized us, along with the intoxicating aromas of simmering pasta sauces. The crowd turned toward the ticket booths, and the excitement grew. Music, laughter, and the banter of their melodious language filled the air. Lisa (our Tuscan host) recited the menu to us in English in the most delectable detail. We hungrily placed our orders. 

    Another push from the crowd propelled us into nearby tents, where we were again greeted with hugs and kisses by those who were already glowing with amiability and wine. Lisa wedged us into the two remaining spaces beside her in the middle of a long table of twenty or more of her closest friends. We had barely been seated when a trumpet sounded, and the feast began. The doors to the kitchen flew open and local waiters proceeded in great numbers to the tables, carrying plates of bruschetta—toasted bread slathered with rich, local olive oil, chopped fresh tomatoes, and succulent olives. One simple bite brought tears of joy to my eyes. The savory yet mellow flavors danced through my mouth. Bottle after bottle of local wine began to magically appear—some from the kitchen and some from under the table. 

Again, the waiters swung out of the kitchen. For the prima piatti, or first course, platters of fresh pasta were served. Plates of tortoni, Poderi’s local pasta specialty—delicate pillows filled with cheese and arugula and covered with a bubbling, robust marinara sauce —were reverentially placed before us. The masses swooned with appreciation, and we joined their ranks. 

Lisa leaned over and whispered, “I had to live here over twenty years before the older women of Poderi allowed me into the kitchen to help prepare their beloved tortoni. Yes, I could come and help at the Festa, but prepare the tortoni? Heavens, no. And the recipe? Don’t even ask!  It is still a much-guarded secret.”  She laughed with delight. 

Cecilia, who had been reserved until then, leaned over the table and shouted, “They’d perhaps have to keel you if you got your hands on the recipe.”  She grinned and sat back as handmade gnocchi with meat sauce and pasta e fagioli were whisked to their designated places along with baskets of Tuscan bread to sop up any lingering juices. 

For our secondo piatti, or second course, sizzling grilled meats of beefsteak, pork, chicken, or sausages, all on spears, were passed down the tables. Then, contorni, (vegetable side dishes) of white beans, fried potatoes and mixed green salads followed the meats. Gasp!

Filled to the brim, we all leaned back to gather our collective breath, but to no avail. We were next tempted with formaggio, the cheese course. And the finale was the dolci—dessert—presented with a majestic flourish. Lisa whispered over the tumult surrounding us, “You are to choose either a Salame cioccolata or a Mousse di ricotta.”   We moaned with delight, though we had no idea what either contained. 

“Ah,” she echoed our moan, “Mousse di ricotta is sweet, creamy custard made by my dear neighbor, Margarita.”  She pointed across the table to her kindly-looking, blue-eyed friend from Germany, whom we had met earlier. Margarita nodded politely. 

“Margarita made this dessert this morning using seventy-two eggs! Can you imagine that? Seventy-two eggs to make her most delectable Mousse di ricotta! And the Salame is not a sausage at all, but a rolled cookie filled with chocolate cream. This was prepared by dear Amelia,” she said pointing to a petite, gnarled elderly woman waving to us at from the far end of the table. Of course, we tried a little of each; we had to. Each was delicate, light, and almost floated off our tongues. 

“Mmm,” I swooned, as wine was poured into my cup, as it had been throughout the meal. Like magic, as one bottle emptied, another would pop into its place. 

    As the evening flowed into night, the air filled with music from a local band in the piazza at the top of the hill. The rhythm reverberated through the tents, and the crowd was on the move. Following a festoon of colorful lanterns, people of all ages made their pilgrimage back up the hill—wizened old women in their finest black dresses, shiny from use and a heavy iron; rotund old men in their best dark suits, a bit rumpled from the lengthy dinner; young couples in sensually-loose clothing looped together with encircled arms.  Giggling children in shorts and tee-shirts grabbed sweaters handed to them by caring parents; swaddled babies snuggled down in the arms of protective grandmothers; and the likes of us, middle-aged folks, laughing at shared stories while enjoying another paper cup of wine—all of us moving uphill to the beat of the music. 

The instant we reached the top, the harvest moon broke out above the rooftops and sent golden light cascading onto the heads of the villagers below. Despite, or because of the food, wine and the beauty of the night, everyone began to dance.  The music was a captivating mix of old and new, some rock and roll, some lilting Italian melodies, some familiar American pop tunes. But once the waltzes began, Winston and I stood back to marvel at the grace and elegance of the more skillful dancers. We enjoy dancing together, but on that night, we were not worthy. 

As night became morning, the villagers, undaunted by the late hour and copious amounts of wine, continued to dance. No match for these stalwart sorts, we crept back up the stairs to our newfound home. With exhaustion cleaving to every part of our beings, we pushed open the back windows for one last peek. The moon spilled into the room and across the bed, filling the space with light. It flowed like mercury over the ancient hills and valleys across the hills and away from us. And there silhouetted against the night sky, was the medieval fortress and clock tower, shimmering on the highest hill in Manciano. Awash with exhaustion but full of gratitude for having experienced the beauty of both people and place, we slid into bed. Our eyes flickered closed as the final songs reverberated from the streets below—or was that the heartbeat of Tuscany we were hearing?

Good Morning

 Hello all just posting a few Dinner plates. 

We are moving mid May...lots to do... 

Monday, April 26, 2021

September to Remember by Carole Bumpus


About the book

This culinary travel memoir is an invitation to join in on a month-long trek through Italy, all in the search of the true Italian experience. Sprinkled with unforgettable characters, you will sup on sumptuous traditional foods, sip regional wines, and enjoy vast panoramas of extraordinary beauty. You may find yourself dancing at harvest festivals, climbing through Etruscan tombs, traipsing among Roman ruins, or bathing in ancient Roman termes (hot springs).

You may also enjoy climbing to the heights of wonder in Capri or to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. Or delight in soaking up the ancient and cultural history in Milan, Firenze (Florence), Amalfi, Pompeii, Lecce and Rome. You can bask in the sun and rugged beauty of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Adriatic Sea, or the gorgeous Amalfi Coast. Or you can chat for hours over family meals while collecting a compendium of regional and traditional recipes (cucina povera), while you capture a rare glimpse inside the secrets to the Mediterranean psyche. It is truly a trip of a lifetime.

Advance Praise September To Remember by Carole Bumpus

“A cultural and gastronomic tour through Italy by train, car, and ferry with culinary delights at every turn…Elaborate descriptions of almost every meal and snack turn this compelling travel book into an enjoyable vicarious experience…A joyous book of Italian history, traditions, and food that’s worth savoring.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Carole Bumpus’s culinary travelogue A September to Remember is written in the inviting voice of a learner. [Her] exploration as an American abroad will draw in those who hunger for travel as much as they hunger for flavor. For Bumpus, appreciating food requires a strong sense of people and place; in fact, she regards food and culture as inseparable….Bumpus embraces authenticity over simplicity, encouraging cooks to rise to the challenge. A September to Remember is a food narrative that brings the heart of Italy to tables around the world.”—Foreword Reviews

“…here, as in other places, [Bumpus] also sends us on a sensory tour with her descriptions of the marvellous meals they enjoyed, of course all handmade, regional, and accompanied by superb wine. A true celebration of Italy. I believe that Carole Bumpus is such a successful author because of the love and passion she puts into her books, through her writing the landscapes, architecture, and gastronomy of Italy are brought wonderfully to life. Highly recommended!”—Susan Keefe,

“…a delightful romp… This is an intimate and affectionate book (complete with a generous array of local, easy to follow recipes!) that takes us with this energetic couple to experience Italian life as it is lived as well as learn more of the rich history of Italy. ”—Mag Dimond, author of Bowing to Elephants; Tales of a Travel Junkie

“Abundant with Italian culinary traditions of ritual and region, this delightful travel memoir charms and entices. Bumpus is genuinely present in her stories, as if reliving the experiences in real time… Bumpus extends a gracious invitation to join her, with delectable, regional recipes—a shared feast that brings her journey home to us.”—Kate Farrell, author of Story Power: Secrets to Creating, Crafting, and Telling Memorable Stories 

And I thought 

Charmingly delightful.   I've become interested in Italy lately and wanting to travel there.

The Author describes the locales in way that you feel your there! 

I found I wanted to read more and study the area. 

I usually only read fiction but the Italian theme free me in and I wasn't disappointed!

A page turner is not a discripton that I would give a memoir. Memoir s are just not my thing. 

But Carole Bumpus has changed my mind. 

I received a complimentary as part of the book your. 

My review will appear on retail sites and Good Reads. 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Character Guest by River Holloway Merrick as interpreted by Maggie Toussaint Author Shrimply Deadly


Love, marriage, and the empty baby carriage

By River Holloway Merrick as interpreted by Maggie Toussaint

As a child, I wished for a houseful of brothers and sisters. Turned out, it was only me and my baby brother, Doug. Then Dad died and a few years later Mom got sick.

Through it all, Pete Merrick was my go-to guy. I assumed we’d get married one day, but his business-fixing career took him from Shell Island. The last time he left, we drifted apart, and it nearly broke me. I loved Pete, but he didn’t have the time of day for me.

Come to find out, Pete was trying to survive in a literal dog-eat-dog corporate environment. Plus he’d staked our entire future on turning this business around. He’d cut communication with me to protect me. Later he limped home and back into my life, vowing never to leave again.

So he bought Island Creamery, the best ice cream shop on Shell Island, and we got married. I even made progress on my dream to start a family. But it was not to be. An early miscarriage clipped my wings and my dreams.

I didn’t give up hope. I loved Pete, and he loved me in every way. But as each successive month rolled by and there was no new baby, I felt barren all over. After so many years of trying to prevent pregnancies, fate seemed truly unkind now that I wasn’t using birth control.

Doug’s girlfriend got pregnant, not that they were trying, and it was all I could do to smile and congratulate them. Pete and I got fertility tested, and nothing is wrong with either of us. These things happen in their own time, the doctors assured us.

I struggle with my failure to conceive. There I said it. I have always found things and fixed things for others, but this is out of my control. Wrapping my head around this isn’t easy.

A baby would complicate our lives. After all, Pete was rapidly changing the face of the island ice cream business, and I had more catering work than I knew what to do with. Though I wasn’t at the end of my fertile years at 32, I heard my biological clock ticking.

When Doug and Viv’s daughter arrived, we were all overjoyed at the healthy infant. I love holding her and snuggling with her. I’m good with all that.

But in the dark of the night, I hear the playground rhyme sing-songing in my head. “River and Pete sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage.” It haunts me.

About the book

When veterinarian and amateur naturalist Jasmine Garr is shot in her yard, residents of Shell Island press caterer River Holloway into investigating the homicide. River dons her amateur sleuth cap and sets out to discover who killed her former catering customer.

Between Jasmine’s estranged cousin, a rival veterinarian, a wild animal trapper, the chicken lady, and a real estate broker, River has plenty of suspects to consider. As she peels back the layers of Jasmine’s life, dangerous secrets come to light.

Jasmine’s orphaned kitty, Iris, along with River’s cat Major, and her husband Pete help River sift through the evidence. At the same time, River recently expanded her catering business. She must service her regular catering clients, plus provide fresh baked goods for Pete’s ice cream shop.

The killer follows River’s every move relishing the thought of another victim. Time is running out. Will River solve the murder before she becomes a cold dish?

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Undercover with Natalia aka LiaMonkey Bread Business

Undercover with Natalia AKA Lia

It’s never easy being someone you aren’t. We all do it. Wear different masks for work, family, and friends. My masks have become literal costumes starting with my ex-husband, who is as crooked as they come. Yet, law enforcement can’t seem to catch him.

We met in Canada, fell in love quickly, married, then everything changed. He was one way with me, but I noticed he was more secretive and some of the phone conversations I overheard pointed to a life of crime. Naturally, I snooped. What I found was racketeering, smuggling, and violence. I was terrified, to say the least. 

I felt trapped, but I had the advantage of Jackson Nestle not being aware that I knew what he was up to. I sought help from a friend who was dating someone in the FBI. What a long, tedious story to tell. I’ll keep it short. I found out I couldn’t testify in court, but I took it upon myself to share what I found with the FBI to help them build a case. From there, it got ugly until I finally got a divorce.

I had to go into witness protection due to some of the men getting squeezed from the law based on information I shared. Then, my ex-husband found out I had betrayed him. Since then, I’ve been a different person—literally. I now go by Lia with a new color and style hair, colored contacts, and all the stress that goes with that.

Recently, I read a news story about possible mafia connections being associated with the small village of Leavensport, Ohio, and saw my ex-husband’s name in the article. I took it upon myself to leave witsec, go undercover as a homeless woman so I could be close to the construction crew my ex, Jackson Nestle, ran building a mall between Tri-City and Leavensport. And boy, a lot is happening in that little town. I’m feeling heavy and hanging by a string right about now.

To find out more about the masks I wear, you’ll have to dive into The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series!

Welcome to Leavensport, OH, where DEATH takes a DELICIOUS turn!

About the book 

Nature breeds new life with the sign of Spring in the air in Leavensport, Ohio, and Jolie and Ava find their new families’ lives turned upside down! With properties in Leavensport beginning to sell, Nina Sanchez opened a bakery after purchasing the lot next to M&M’s Italian restaurant. She is new to town and swears to Ava and Jolie she has no connection to the Dominican Republic Sanchez mafia family. Yet, Ava is skeptical, and this sends Jolie and Ava off on yet another investigation looking at how organized crime connects to their little village and the politics that surround it.

Meanwhile, Nina Sanchez is not thrilled to feel obliged to cross-sell and become a full-fledged member of Leavensport, especially not with Jolie and Ava investigating her history. She has no choice when her son discovers a murdered homeless woman on the street on his way to deliver bread to the local shelter—it looks a lot like a mob hit and the reveal of who the homeless woman is will send all of Leavensport on alert making Jolie question the future of her town.


Welcome to Leavensport, Ohio, where DEATH takes a DELICIOUS turn!

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Visit the tour 

To read reviews, guest posts, Interviews, and Recipe posts click Here