Thoughts

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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Nov 30, 2011

Date Nut Bread

Tis the season for baking.  If you like to make breads or cakes for Christmas Gifts, there is a new tool to use this year - paper bake ware.  I first saw it in a cooking magazine, then I found it at Michael's.  Celebrate It! holiday bake ware is paper bake ware with holiday designs on the outside that allow you to bake and give without the pans.  Just think of it as large cupcake papers.  Find more at Michael's.

If you need a new bread recipe, try this one:



  1 1/2 Cup dates, pitted and chopped                                        3 Tbl margarine
  2 1/4 Cup boiling water                                                          2 eggs, beaten
  3 Tsp baking soda                                                                  1 Tsp salt
  1 Cup chopped walnuts                                                          4 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  2 Cup white sugar                                                                 1 Tsp vanilla extract

Combine baking soda with the boiling water. Soak the dates in the water and baking soda solution for 30 minutes.

Cream sugar and butter together. Add eggs, vanilla, dates, nuts, flour, and salt.  Divide batter equally between two 9 x 5 (or 8 1/2 x 4 1/2) inch greased loaf pans. Bake 1 hour at 300 degrees F until loaf tests done. Loaves can be frozen when cool.

Nov 29, 2011

Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

Another rainy day in Pennsylvania along with a squash and potatoes to use led to this warm, flavorful soup.  As made, it is vegetarian.  If you don't have vegetable broth, you can use chicken broth and sauteed chicken with curry is a nice addition.  If you don't have sweet potatoes (not yams), increase the amount of squash.


  1 1/2 Lb Butternut Squash                                                      
  1 Tsp Canola Oil                                                                    1/2 Tsp Hot Paprika
  1/2 Cup Celery, chopped                                                        1/4 Tsp Tumeric
  1/2 Cup Carrot, chopped                                                        32 Ounce vegetable broth
  1 Tsp ground cumin                                                                1 Tsp Salt
  1/2 Tsp Ancho Chili Powder                                                   

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cut squash in half and seed. Place the halves on a baking sheet, cut-side down. Add the potatoes to the pan and bake until tender when pierced with a knife, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Scoop out flesh when cool enough to handle.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add celery and carrot and stir to coat. Sweat until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the squash flesh, peeled potato and spices.  Add broth and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.    Puree the soup with an immersion blender or a regular blender (in batches) until smooth.

5 Servings - Per Serving: 153 Cal (28% from Fat, 7% from Protein, 64% from Carb); 3 g Protein; 5 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 2 g Mono Fat; 26 g Carb; 4 g Fiber; 4 g Sugar; 101 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 1313 mg Sodium

Nov 27, 2011

Apple Cranberry Pie


  9 Inch Pie Crust                                                            1 Tbl Apple Jack OR Lemon Juice
  1 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar                                         10 Tbl Unsalted Butter
  5 Tbl Cornstarch                                                            3/4 Cup Sugar
  1 Tbl Cinnamon                                                             2 Tbl Heavy Cream
  1 Tsp Nutmeg                                                                1 Tsp Vanilla
  1 Tsp Grains Of Paradise                                                1 Cup Walnuts
  1 Tsp salt                                                                         
  4 Cups Granny Smith apples,                                                  
  -peeled, cored, and cut into slices                                            
  1 Bag fresh cranberries, rinsed                                                
  1 Tbl lemon juice                                                                     
                                                                                                 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Line deep dish pie pan with crust, set aside.

In a bowl combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, grains of paradise and salt and mix well. In another bowl combine the apples, cranberries, lemon juice and apple jack.  Toss well. Pour the dry mixture in your other bowl over the fruit mixture. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and pour it over it all and mix thoroughly.   Turn the mixture into the pie shell and bake  the pie until the fruit is tender, for about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and set the pie on a rack to cool.

In a large skillet on medium heat, melt the remaining 8 tablespoons butter with the granulated sugar. Cook, stirring, until the mixture is bubbling and the consistency of a thick roux, for about 5 to 6 minutes.  Stir in the cream, vanilla, and walnuts and cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for 20 minutes. Spoon the topping over the cooled pie and refrigerate overnight.

Nov 26, 2011

Baked Grape Nuts

I am not a Grape Nuts fan, but Hubby is, and this is a good way for him to have a hot breakfast.  Especially before he goes hunting.  As a bonus, I like them this way, too.


  2 C 1% Milk                                                                      2 TB Butter
  3 Large Eggs, Well Beaten                                                  2 TB Brown Sugar
  1/2 C Sugar                                                                        1 Tsp Cinnamon
  1/4 Tsp Salt                                                                         1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
  1 C Grape Nuts Cereal
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine ingredients in buttered square cake pan.  Cover, bake about one hour. 

Nov 25, 2011

Puppy!

Everybody loves a puppy, but they grow.  We recently got a border collie puppy and thankfully we had done our research.  Border Collies are very energetic and must be kept busy or they find their own entertainment - which may not be your idea of a good thing.  So if you are going to get a puppy, research the breed(s) you are considering - even if you go the rescue route, if you know one or more of the breeds of dog you are looking at, it is worth the effort.   You and your dog will be happier.

Nov 23, 2011

Leftover Turkey Bake

After Thanksgiving, chop up enough leftover turkey to make this casserole and put it in your freezer for a cold winter day.  You can pull it out and make this casserole with limited effort.


  1 1/2 Cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese,                                     1 Cups Mayonnaise, Can Use Light
  -Shredded                                                                          1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  1 Tablespoon Flour                                                             1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  16 Ounce Turkey, Cooked And Chopped                            1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  1 Cups Celery, Sliced                                                         1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  1 Cups Carrot, Sliced                                                         1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix 1 cup cheese with flour.  Add turkey, celery, carrots, mayonnaise, lemon juice and seasonings.  Mix and put into a 9 by 13  baking dish or oven safe dish that will hold the mixture.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake 30 - 35 minutes.

Nov 22, 2011

Pumpkin Latte

As promised, here is something to do with leftover pumpkin puree.  If you don't have the half and half and/or coconut milk or even the 1% milk, use whatever you have on hand.  Hubby has been looking for a good Pumpkin Latte all season and this one made him happy.


  3/4 Cup 1% Milk                                                                    1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  3/4 Cups Fat-Free Half And Half                                            1/8 Tsp Nutmeg
  3/4 Cup Coconut Milk                                                             1/8 Tsp Ginger
  2 Tbl Pumpkin Puree                                                              1 Tbl Vanilla
  1 Tbl Sugar                                                                            1/2 Cup Brewed Coffee

In 2-quart saucepan, heat milk, pumpkin and sugar over medium heat until hot (do not boil). Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 spices,  vanilla and coffee.  Pour into 2 large mugs and enjoy.

Per Serving: 309 Cal (60% from Fat, 10% from Protein, 30% from Carb); 7 g Protein; 21 g Tot Fat; 17 g Sat Fat; 1 g Mono Fat;  23 g Carb; 0 g Fiber; 17 g Sugar; 219 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 183 mg Sodium

Nov 21, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes

This is a great recipe for Thanksgiving breakfast or brunch.  The cinnamon syrup is optional, but adds so much to the recipe.  If you don't have whole wheat flour, use all purpose only.  These can be embellished with dried cranberries, if you like.  If you have extra pumpkin puree, don't throw it out - I'll give you something to use it for tomorrow. 




  1 Cup whole wheat flour                                                        1/2 Cup pumpkin
  1 Cup All Purpose Flour                                                         2 Tbl oil
  1 Tbl sugar                                                                          Cinnamon Syrup:
  2 Tsp baking powder                                                              1/2 Cup white sugar
  1/2 Tsp salt                                                                            1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
  1/2 Tsp cinnamon                                                                   1 Tsp cinnamon
  2 Large Eggs                                                                         1 Tsp vanilla extract
  1 Cup milk                                                                             1 Cup water

Pancakes:  Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, pumpkin, and oil together.  Mix the pumpkin mixture in with the dry ingredients. Stir just until combined.  Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto a hot,  greased griddle. When bubbles appear, flip and continue cooking.

Syrup:  Stir the ingredients together in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Boil and stir until it thickens.  Remove from heat and set aside until needed.

Nov 20, 2011

16 Bean Soup

This soup is made even easier because you don't have to soak the beans.  The slow cooker takes care of everything.  With just two of us, this makes enough for leftovers and to freeze.  I used Hunt's Fire-Roasted tomatoes and added some diced chilis for kick.


  1 Lb 16-bean mixture                                                              1.5 Lb Ham Shank
  2 Qt water                                                                              3/4 Tsp salt
  1 Large Onion, Peeled                                                             30 Ounce Diced Tomatoes
  1 Clove Garlic, minced                                                           

In your slow cooker, put the beans, water, whole onion, garlic and ham and cook that for about four hours on low.  After 4 hours, remove the onion and add the salt and tomatoes and cook for 4 more hours.  Serve as is or, if the ham is lean, remove it from the  bone and add it to the soup.

Going to Philadelphia?

Make reservations to eat at Davio's.  The food is wonderful, the atmosphere is inviting and the service is impeccable.

Nov 18, 2011

Apple Cider Stew

Apple Cider makes an awesome base for this stew.  Serves 6


  1 Lb Beef, Cubed                                                                   2 Tsp Salt
  8 Carrots, Sliced Thinly                                                           1/2 Tsp Thyme
  6 Potatoes, Sliced Thinly                                                         2 Tbl Onion Powder, Minced
  2 Apples, Chopped                                                                 2 C Apple Cider

Place carrots, potatoes, and apples in crock pot. Add meat and sprinkle with salt, thyme, and onion. Pour cider over meat and  cover. Cook on low heat 10-12 hours. Thicken gravy.

Per Serving: 383 Cal (29% from Fat, 25% from Protein, 46% from Carb); 24 g Protein; 12 g Tot Fat; 5 g Sat Fat; 5 g Mono Fat;  44 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; 15 g Sugar; 32 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 843 mg Sodium; 65 mg Cholesterol

Nov 17, 2011

Caramel Apple Tart

Again, I found myself with a fruit drawer full of apples.  What to do?  I just received my new, lightweight, Starfrit Cast Iron Cookware and decided to try an apple tart.  Hubby tried it, and after grinning, said that he really hopes he never becomes sugar intolerant.  Me too....
 
Yield: 8 Servings

  1 Cup all-purpose flour                                                           7 Tbl Butter
  1 Pinch Salt                                                                           1 1/4 Cups Sugar
  5 Tbl Butter, Cold And Diced                                                 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  2 Tbl Water, Cold                                                                   1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
  6 Medium Apples                                                                   

Place the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the fat and pulse until it becomes sandy in texture. Add 2 tablespoons of cold water and mix with a fork. Squeeze some of the mixture between your fingertips. If it holds together, its fine.  If not, drip a little more water in and mix again.  It will still look like crumbs.  Pour into a bowl and mix with your hands until the dough comes together (1 - 2 minutes).  Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate.

Peel and halve enough of the apples to cover the entire bottom of the pan.  Remove the core with a melon baller and trim out the rest of the core with a knife.



Melt the butter in a 9 to 10 inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When the butter has melted, sprinkle the sugar over the top, then nestle the apples in the sugar, cut side down. They should fit snugly alongside one another. The sugar and butter should bubble up around the apples. Continue to cook, without stirring, for 30 to 45 minutes, until the caramel is well colored and the apples are soft. While they cook, peel and core the remaining apples and cut into eighths then drop them in the caramel around the apples to fill in holes caused by shrinking.  Shake the pan from time to time to detach the apples from the bottom, but do not  stir. Cook until the caramel is well colored and the apples are soft when you prod them with a spoon.  After adding the apple slices, roll the pastry into a circle a smidgen bigger than the diameter of the frying pan. Cover and refrigerate it.

Turn the oven to 425F.



When the apples are soft, remove the pan from the heat and place on a baking sheet.  Remove the pastry disk from the refrigerator, wait until the caramel stops bubbling, then place the pastry on top, pushing down on the edges to cover the apples and tuck it inside the rim of the pan.  Place the pan in the oven and bake about 25 minutes, or until the pastry is nicely browned. Remove the pan from the baking sheet and place it on a cooling rack and loosen the edge of the pastry with a knife.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes. 

While sitting, line a flat baking sheet with non stick foil or parchment paper.  Place the baking sheet, foil/paper side down, on top of the frying pan. Flip the frying pan over onto the baking sheet and then use the pan to center the tart on the paper. Slowly lift the frying pan off the tart. If any apples or caramel stick in the pan, gently remove them with a spoon and replace them on your tart.



Per Serving: 378 Cal (41% from Fat, 2% from Protein, 57% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 18 g Tot Fat; 11 g Sat Fat; 4 g Mono Fat; 56 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 41 g Sugar; 15 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 123 mg Sodium

Nov 16, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake - you decide the size.

This cheesecake (or any cheesecake) can be made individual just by changing the pan you bake them in and reducing the cooking time slightly.  You choose how to make this cake, and my friend tried it with whole cookies in the cupcake pans and they turned out beautifully.  Happy Baking!


  --9 Inch Crust--                                                                3/4 Cup white sugar
  1 1/2 Cup Ginger Snaps, Crushed                                         1 Tsp vanilla extract
  1/2 Cup Pecans, Finely  Chopped                                         3 Large Eggs
  1/3 Cup Butter, melted                                                        1 Tbl Cake Flour
  --OR Individual Crusts--                                                 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  1 Box Ginger Snap Cookies                                                 3/4 Tsp ground cinnamon
  --Cheesecake--                                                                1/4 Tsp ground nutmeg
  16 Ounce Cream Cheese, Room Temp                                   

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

9-inch Crust:  In a medium bowl, mix together the crushed gingersnap cookies, pecans, and butter.  Press into the bottom, and  about 1 inch up the sides of a 9 inch spring form pan.  Bake crust 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven.  Set aside to cool.

Individual Crusts:  Line cupcake pans with cupcake papers or rounds of parchment paper.  Put a whole cookie in the bottom of each cup. 

Cake:  In a medium bowl, blend together the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.  Mix in eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition.  Mix in the cake flour.  Set aside 1 cup of the batter.  Blend 1/4 cup sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the remaining mixture.  Spread the pumpkin flavored batter into the crust, and drop the plain batter by spoonfuls  onto the top.  Swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect.

Bake 55 minutes in the preheated oven, or until filling is set.  Remove from oven and run a knife around the edge of the pan.    Allow to cool before removing pan rim.  Chill for at least 3-4 hours or until firm

Roasted Cauliflower and Gnocchi

I have never roasted cauliflower before, but everything else is better roasted, I had fresh sage, so why not?  This dish is lighter than it sounds and a filling lunch or dinner.  To make it a little spicier, add roasted garlic.  To prepare the sage:  Stack the leaves together and cut of the stems.  Cut the sage lengthwise into 1/8 to 1/4 inch pieces.


4 cups cauliflower florets
3 Tbl olive oil
4 Tbl Sage leaves (or 1 1/2 tsp dried sage)
1 Tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper (can use black)
14 ounces frozen Gnocchi
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  In a 9 x 13 pan, toss all ingredients except the Gnocchi and cheese.  Roast for 30 minutes.  While roasting, cook Gnocchi.  When everything is done, divide gnocchi and cauliflower evenly between 4 bowls.  Top each with 1 Tbl Parmesan.  Enjoy!

Per Serving: 327 Cal (35% from Fat, 12% from Protein, 52% from Carb); 11 g Protein; 14 g Tot Fat; 3 g Sat Fat; 8 g Mono Fat; 45 g Carb; 10 g Fiber; 2 g Sugar; 138 mg Calcium; 8 mg Iron; 276 mg Sodium

Nov 14, 2011

Pumpkin Custard Orange Cheesecake

This is a very unusual cheesecake - it's base is pumpkin custard.  The top is orange cheesecake.  The trick to any cheesecake is to make sure the cream cheese and/or sour cream are room temperature.


3/4 cup crumbled sliced almonds
3/4 cup + 1 Tbl grated carrots
5 large eggs
3 cups grated pumpkin
6 Tbl All Purpose Flour
1 medium orange
1 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbl cake flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Beat 3 of the eggs with 3/4 cup sugar.  Fold in pumpkin, 3/4 cup carrots, all purpose flour, all but 1 tsp orange rind, ginger and almonds.  Spread into a 9 inch greased spring form pan.  Bake on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes. 

Beat the cream cheese in a food processor until smooth.  Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, the remaining eggs and orange rind and the rest of the ingredients.  Pour the mixture on top of the custard.  Sprinkle with remaining carrot. 

Bake 40 - 45 minutes until firm.  Chill.

Nov 13, 2011

Hamburger Option

Tired of everyday hamburgers?  Want to try something new?  I did, so I made these.  Hubby said that I can make them any time I want.


  1/2 Lb Ground Beef                                                                1/2 Tsp salt
  1/2 Lb Ground Pork                                                                 1/2 Tsp black pepper
  1/2 Tsp Caraway Seed                                                             1/2 Cup plain bread crumbs
  1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder                                                             1 Tbl Frank's Red Hot, Optional

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and form into 4 patties.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the patties for 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until the juices run clear and no pink remains.

Enjoy!

Per Serving: 357 Cal (57% from Fat, 31% from Protein, 12% from Carb); 27 g Protein; 22 g Tot Fat; 8 g Sat Fat; 10 g Mono Fat;  10 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 1 g Sugar; 45 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 473 mg Sodium

Nov 12, 2011

Window Seat - Or Is It?

When we finally put furniture in our guest room, we decided that we no longer wanted to have a litter box in there.  Unfortunately, it was the only room where the cat could get in but the dog could not.  In addition, we had friends and family with small children and we did not want the litter box to be accessible to them, either.  Enter the window seat.


I looked for furniture that could multi-task.  Most pieces I was familiar with just looked like a side table with a flap or just a hole on the front.  That would not keep out a dog or a child.  Then I found this piece at petsbycsn.com - it looks like a window seat but has an opening on the side.

The cat has to go in, turn slightly to the left and through another opening to the litter box.  All but the smallest dogs would be kept out of this piece.  Ease of cleaning, you ask?  Piece of cake with a hinged lid.


We have had this piece for over a year and it works beautifully.  Our cat was 7 years old when we moved the litter box and he adjusted very well.  Another benefit is that it limits tracking to carpets.  As you can see in the above photo, a lot of litter comes off the paws in the pass through to the exit.

Nov 11, 2011

Beef with Rosemary

I love to use my slow cooker - especially one with a built in timer because I can set it and it will cook and then keep warm until I am ready  This recipe is good for the two of us with leftovers for one day or three days of lunches - 6 servings.


  1/2 Lb Fingerling Potatoes                                                       1/2 Tsp Dried Thyme
  1 Cup Baby Carrots                                                                 1/2 Tsp salt
  1.5 Lb Chuck Roast, Boneless                                                 1/2 Tsp pepper
  3 Tbl Mister Mustard                                                               14 Ounce Beef Broth
  1 1/2 Tsp Dried Rosemary                                                      

Cut potatoes into 1 inch segments and carrots in half.  Arrange potatoes and carrots around outer edge in 4- to 5-quart slow  cooker.

Trim excess fat from beef. Mix mustard, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper; spread evenly over beef. Place beef in slow cooker  and pour broth evenly around beef and vegetables. Cover and cook on low heat setting 4 to 5 hours or until beef and vegetables  are tender.  Remove beef and vegetables from slow cooker with slotted spoon. Slice beef.

To serve, spoon beef juices from slow cooker over beef and vegetables.


Per Serving: 372 Cal (48% from Fat, 42% from Protein, 10% from Carb); 38 g Protein; 19 g Tot Fat; 8 g Sat Fat; 8 g Mono Fat; 9  g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 1 g Sugar; 37 mg Calcium; 6 mg Iron; 749 mg Sodium

Nov 10, 2011

Our Newest Addition

Meet Abby, our new Border Collie Puppy.


After the loss of our Sheltie, we thought we wanted to wait to get another dog, and we did.  Three weeks.  We checked local shelters and tried to adopt, but we were always too late.  I am happy the dogs were adopted and found homes.  Hubby wanted a Border Collie, I agreed, and I found the Esh Family through Sunny Side Puppies.  The website shows many breeds, but they are for various breeders.  When we got to the farm to meet Abby, we were greeted by two of the working Border Collies that live there.  They were very friendly and greeted us right away.  Then we met Abby.  She was very cute and snuggled right in when I held her.  I was hooked.  While Abby is the last puppy from this litter, keep watching the Sunny Side Puppy website.  I will keep you posted with pictures as she grows.

Nov 9, 2011

Cornbread

This is the best cornbread.  Slightly sweet, very moist and, if you are adventurous, excellent with a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 9 inch round cake pan.

In a large bowl, stir together 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 cup cornmeal, 2/3 cup sugar, 3 1/2 Tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt.  Stir in 1 egg, 1 cup milk and 1/3 cup vegetable oil until well combined.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Nov 7, 2011

The Spa at the Hotel Hershey

This year, I had the opportunity to visit the Spa at the Hotel Hershey.  From a Spa Rain Shower to a Moisturizing Body Wrap and ending with a Cocoa Massage, it made for a very relaxing morning.  Lunch in the Oasis ended that day, but it did not need to.  When you have services at the spa, you have full access to their facilities all day.  Go for a swim; take a fitness class; sit in a whirlpool, sauna or steam room; or just sit in one of the sitting areas and read a book.  It is a fully relaxing day.  I enjoyed it so much that I scheduled a couples massage as an anniversary present for Hubby and he loved it - and wants to go back.  If you choose to have lunch at the Oasis and have dietary restrictions, tell them when you make your reservation so they can have a meal made for you.  Check out their website, http://www.chocolatespa.com, find a service that you like and go for it!  Try it, you'll like it.

Nov 6, 2011

"No Rest for the Dead"

Do you like murder, mystery and a well written novel?  Do you like any of the 26 authors listed below?  Are you looking for a great book?  Then try No Rest for the Dead.  This book is a masterfully written tale in which each of the 26 authors wrote a chapter.  Even with varying styles, the book grabs hold of you and will not let go.  Even the introduction, written by David Baldacci to explain the project, is interesting.  What have you to lose?  You get to read a book that includes one of your favorite authors and may find some others along the way.

Authors:  David Baldacci, Andrew F. Gulli, Jonathan Santlofer, Jeff Lindsay, Alexander McCall Smith, Raymond Khoury, Sandra Brown, Faye Kellerman, Kathy Reichs, John Lescroart, T. Jefferson Parker, Lori Armstrong, Matthew Pearl, Michael Palmer, J.A. Jance, R. L. Stein, Marcia Talley, Thomas Cook, Diana Gabaldon, Peter James, Tess Gerritsen, Lisa Scottoline, Phillip Margolin, Jeffery Deaver, Jeff Abbott and Marcus Sakey

The book follows the story of Christopher and Rosemary Thomas and their investigating officer, John Nunn.  Rosemary is convicted of killing Christopher, but the officer who  investigated the case falls apart with doubt after the conviction.  Ten years after the conviction and sentencing, we find John Nunn still trying to find what, if anything he missed.  We learn about Rosemary's Brother, John's Ex-wife and her new husband and several others who have lived a lie for ten years that comes out in a a rather unexpected service.

Find out more about the book, as well as an excerpt from the Diary of John Nunn that starts the book, at Goodreads.com

Nov 5, 2011

Apple Cider Baked Beans

Hubby loves baked beans, and he loves cider, so I combined the two.  These are a sweet/smoky bean with a very nice flavor.  Don't be afraid to add water when cooking to prevent scorching.  Please note - on high, these will boil and may cause the lid to rock.


  3 Cups dried pinto beans                                                   6 Tbl Molasses
  3 Cups fresh apple cider                                                   1 Tbl Dry Mustard
  8 Ounce Thick Bacon, diced.                                            2 Tsp Salt
  1 Small Yellow Onion, peeled and left whole                      2 Cups Hot Water
                                                                                                 

Pick over the beans, discarding any stones and wrinkled beans. Rinse well and place in a large bowl. Add cold water to cover by 3  inches, cover, and let soak for 12 hours.

Drain the beans and transfer them to a heavy saucepan. Add the cider and slowly bring the beans to a boil over medium heat. Gently boil, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.  Pour the beans into a slow cooker.  Stir in the bacon, molasses and salt.  Bury the whole onion in the beans.  Stir the dry mustard into the water and pour over the beans.  Add additional hot water, as needed, to cover the beans.

Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours, adding boiling water as necessary about halfway through cooking.

When beans are tender, remove the onion, stir thoroughly and serve.