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Now Available:

Soul of the Desert

Moon Shadow series:

Under Witch Curse

New Kobo Trivia Contest

There’s a new Kobo Trivia contest with several major prizes (Kobo devices) and lots of coupons for correct answers. If you are in the US, play here If you need the Canadian or UK links, let me know and I will post them!

If, like me, you missed the first couple of days of contests, remember you can go back and play the earlier days–just click on the “day” you missed that are blank and it will reveal the game. Good luck!

I need a couple of good coupons this round…

savingMargaret Lake’s newest book was just published this week and it is couponable: The Bold Heart is 2.99. Win a coupon and it will be even less. I LOVE the cover. Here it is at Amazon.

The first book, The Brave Heart, is free on Kobo and 99 cents on Amazon.

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Posted: December 17, 2014

Engineering with Dad

I was recently home in New Mexico again visiting my parents on the ranch. There’s always odds and ends to take care of when I’m there. This time it was the sliding door over the tub. Yup, one of the doors had not only come off the rails, the little wheel had fallen off. Of course, there is no room to get the wheel back up under there where it belongs, but Mom and I spent an hour finangling the thing into place. Half that time was spent getting the screw into the wheel to hold it in place and the other half was lifting the door back onto the rail. Yes, I screwed the thing in backwards the first try. But we finally got it on there. The problem was that the screw needed tightening. Dad wasn’t home, and I didn’t know where his angled screwdriver might be located. So I took a shower with the thing hand tightened. As soon as I got out, the wheel fell off again.


So later that evening, Dad brought his newly made phillips screwdriver to the bathroom. (Dad is a machinist in addition to rancher–he took a straight phillips and angled it). Neither of us has small hands. Shoot, you’d have to have fingers the size of matchsticks to get up in there. Neither of us is terribly patient either. But we were determined. We used a kitchen knife, tweezers, a flashlight, a stool, a flat-head screwdriver, the phillips screwdriver…we dropped every item at least twice. We nearly lost the screw down the drain. BUT WE GOT THAT WHEEL ON TIGHT. Of course, then, the door refused to go on the rails. The entire time we worked on this lovely project Dad peppered me with his opinion on the door, the parts and the engineer who designed the door. “This door may look nice, but it sure doesn’t work very well. I wonder who invented this door.”

“I don’t know. An idiot,” I said.

“I think he wanted to make a lot of money, because if the wheel falls off, he figures you will just give up and buy a whole new door.”

“That could be it,” I said. “But I’d rather just put up a shower curtain.”

“It’s a very poor design,” Dad proclaimed. “I don’t know how they expect anyone to get this to work. That wheel doesn’t turn. It should be a ball bearing up there, not a plastic wheel.”

After we finally got the wheel on and the door on the rails, it didn’t slide smoothly.

“I’ll clean it and maybe put w-d40 on it tomorrow,” I said.

“It doesn’t look right.” He stood back. He stood close. He shined the flashlight high and low. He pushed it. He pulled it. “It’s not level.”

“It’s on the rails,” I pointed out hopefully.

“It’s not adjusted right.” He shone the flashlight around some more. “This other side needs to be higher.”

“We can’t adjust that side,” I replied. “We don’t have an angled screwdriver for it.”

“What do you think we just used?” he said, holding up the phillips.

“That’s a phillips. Whoever put this door together used a flat blade screw in this side.”

“That is just ridiculous. Who would do that?” But he looked. And, I was right. It needed a flat blade.

(The shop with all the tools is down the hill. It was already dark out. Not that dark is really an impediment, but it’s an additional annoyance. And if he had to bend another screwdriver, that takes time and the torch has to heat up and so on and so forth.)

But Dad was determined. So he hacked away with a flat blade screwdriver even though it didn’t really fit in there. He finally pushed that thing up where it needed to be, and I held it there while he tightened it. When he was done, the door did, indeed, slide perfectly.

He packed up his tools and said, “Well, I don’t know who designed these doors, but I don’t like him.”

Me either, Dad, me either.

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Posted: December 15, 2014

Chernobyl Ghosts

There are ghosts and there are ghost towns. And then there’s Chernobyl. This drone flew over Chernobyl.

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Posted: December 13, 2014

Carrot Cake

Cake image I made this old favorite of mine this week–but I forgot to buy pineapple. So I subbed in one pureed apple and some lemon juice. It’s STILL the best carrot cake I’ve ever had!

A very moist carrot cake with cream cheese icing; the best I have ever eaten! The original recipe came from a friend of mine, but of course it has been severely tweaked. He put raisins in his. Ugh. You can also use all granulated sugar or all brown sugar in this recipe. If you like coconut, you can double to a full cup. If you don’t like coconut, leave it out!


3 beaten eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup buttermilk
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 tsp vanilla

2 cups white wheat flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, undrained–I put it through the food processor again to avoid any large chucks as I have found the crushed isn’t always as crushed as I would like.

2 cups grated or shredded carrots
1 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts. I grind half the nuts very fine and leave half in pea-sized chunks.
½ cup flaked coconut (optional)

Combine eggs, oil, buttermilk sugar and vanilla and mix well. Then stir in all the dry ingredients and mix. Stir in pineapple, carrots, nuts and coconut.

Pour into sprayed (no-stick spray) 9×13 oblong pan. Bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes. Do not over bake. Frost when completely cooked and refrigerate.

Cream Cheese Icing

I recommend that you cut this recipe in half, but I do that with a lot of frosting recipes. I have no idea where people use the icing from the full recipe because it makes so much!

½ cup butter or margarine softened
8 ounce package softened cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla

16 to 20 ounces of powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients, using about 16 ounces of sugar to start. Beat until creamy. Add more sugar to get the desired consistency. Spread on completely cooled cake.

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Posted: December 10, 2014
Filed in Desserts

Caesar Salad – Carrabba’s

I’m reposting this recipe because so many people ask me for it.

I fell in love with Carrabba’s Caesar salad the first time I tried it. Luckily, the owners of the restaurant published a cookbook with the recipe:

Ciao Y’All by Damian Mandola and Johnny Carrabba

(Here’s another good Carrabba’s Cookbook– in ebook form: Carrabba’s Italian Grill: Recipes from Around Our Family Table)

If you want the exact recipe, I’d advise you to get the book. I tried the recipe, but even with perfection, I had to have my own additions/subtractions, tweaking here and there until the dressing I made was distinctly my own. That said, I certainly do recommended the recipe in the cookbook!

One other note: I keep getting searches by people who want to make caesar dressing without anchovies–try anchovy paste and/or worcestershire sauce as a substitute, but keep in mind anchovy is the heart of caesar salad dressing.

Here’s my version of Caesar Salad Dressing:

Open and drain 1 can (2 oz) of anchovies. Place the anchovies in plain water. This removes some of the salt and since the oil in the anchovies is permeated with the fish, it also keeps the anchovies from being too strong in the recipe.

Drain the water and oil from the anchovies.

Mince 4 medium or 2 large cloves of garlic and put in bottom of blender with 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Blend on low speed (you won’t get much blending at this stage).

Add to blender:
1 scant tablespoons capers (optional)
8-10 anchovies (1 can) –or 1 1/2 tablespoons anchovy paste
Blend on low speed until completely mixed.

1 and 1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp sugar
Blend again on low speed.

3 egg yolks with a little of the egg whites (or two very large egg yolks)
Blend on low speed until everything is creamy and well-mixed.

After everything has mixed well, continue blending on slowest speed and drizzle slowly into the blender:

1 1/4 cups olive oil. (I substitute in Walnut Oil because I have dry eye and Walnut Oil is highest in Omega 3 oils.)
Adding it slowly allows the mixture to “cream.”

When everything is well blended:
Add 8-9 tablespoons red wine vinegar
juice from 1/2 medium lemon


Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated (not packed) romano or asiago cheese and blend again.

For the salad, tear romaine lettuce and slice fresh mushrooms. Toss. Use about 2 tablespoons of the salad dressing per salad serving. Serve with extra romano, parmesan or asiago cheese on top!

And of course, you might want to just buy yourself a gift card to Carrabba’s and eat the salad dressing there.

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Posted: December 8, 2014
Filed in All-American, Appetizers
Tags:, ,

Guest Post: Agent Lucy Finds Gems

Agent Lucy has been on a roll when it comes to finding some great books to read lately. This time she has found a set of two in a new series and she shares her thoughts and enthusiasm with us. She is a generous reader!

Agent Lucy:

savingSo, I just finished book 2: 3 Sisters, 2 Dogs, 1 murder. It was every bit as good as the first book, Sleuth Sisters. Author is Maggie Pill.

First book is 2.99, second is $2.99.

My review:

I loved the first book, and 3 Sisters, 2 Dogs, 1 murder is just as good, if not better. I can hardly wait for the next one, so write fast Ms Pill. The characters are well drawn and feel like real people, not cardboard cutouts filling out the story. The locale is delightful. I’ve never been to this part of the world, so it’s fun to visualize. Like most series, this one is best read in order. If you like reading cozies, you’ll like this book.

My review of Sleuth Sisters: Surprisingly Fantastic

This came as a free book, so I wasn’t expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised that it was quite a good read. I enjoyed the characters, the structure of the narrative, the locale, and even though I guessed who done it before the reveal, it somehow wasn’t spoiled. If you are looking for a good cozy, you’ll enjoy this book.

Thank you, Elisabeth!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m anxious to give these a try!

(Exclusive to Amazon so no other retailer links available.)

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Posted: December 6, 2014

DepositPhotos Discount

I asked depositPhotos about holiday discounts and they said they don’t usually do one! However, I sweet talked them into a ten percent off credits or subscription. To obtain you need to go through this link: Depositphotos Special When you land, enter this code: CS3798567 on this page.

The discount is for 10 percent. The best deal is to buy a month long sub, download 5 pieces of artwork a day and arrange to your heart’s content. Feel free to spread the word and sent people through my blog!!! This offer is only good through the end of December. Looks like I might be doing artwork over Christmas!

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Posted: December 4, 2014

Zombie Apocalypse

This could be it, folks, the start of the Zombie Apocalypse. I don’t imagine anyone else would want those brains. Don’t be fooled by the laid-back attitude at the university. They are in a panic, checking closets for evidence of zombies, you know they are.

In other convict news, Leo brought in a bug the other night. Husband immediately chastised him and got up from his chair. Leo picked up his bug and politely waited by the back door until Husband opened the door. Then out Leo trotted with his prize. Now as to why he couldn’t just duck out the cat door he had just come in, well, that’s cat logic for you. I guess Leo has brought in enough bugs and had them taken back outside that he knows the routine. We both had the distinct impression that Leo didn’t *understand* the rules, but he *knew* about them.

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Posted: December 3, 2014

Get A Geek – New Lexi Carmichael

savingNew book by Julie Moffett in the Lexi Carmichael series is out today! No Test for the Wicked is book 5.

At Amazon: Lexi – Book 5 No Test for the Wicked

Here’s the link to Kobo — Coupons from the trivia contests work on these books.

The first in the series:

At Kobo: No One Lives Twice – An excellent humorous mystery with a great cast of characters. Silly fun!

No One Lives Twice at Amazon

Kobo is also having a Cyber Monday sale today on a HUGE list of books:

Cyber Monday Sale (Use code CYBERMONDAY35 on any and all books in the list!)

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Posted: December 1, 2014

Expired – Ebay Discount!

Expired! Check the post below for updates on various deals.

For today only, there is a 50 dollar gift card at ebay for only 45 dollars (I think you have to have paypal.) (I’m not an affiliate there and the deals you see may be different than the deals I see!)

Good luck!

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Posted: November 29, 2014
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