Weekly Menu: March 14-20

Hi there! Did you miss me? It’s been a crazy few weeks of traveling (I’ve been in NYC, Toronto and New Jersey in the last month) and on top of it all, my parents visited and I got the cold from hell. I haven’t actually cooked more than one meal a week for something like three weeks so this week is going to be an interesting challenge in getting back into some sort of routine of cooking. And I have NO idea what I want to cook, so I’ll be figuring it out as I write this. Here we go…

Sunday: oh, this is easy. I’m not cooking. I actually just got back from NJ this afternoon so…yeah. Day 1: failed 😛

Monday: Beef Stroganoff in the crockpot (for some reason I think I may have made this recipe before, but I’m not sure. If it turns out, I’m going to blog about it).

Tuesday: Pizza Pinwheels

Wednesday: Thai Basil chicken with rice

Thursday: Mexican Casserole

Friday: 40 clove garlic chicken in the crockpot (new-to-me recipe)

Saturday: We’re going to wing it because Josh is going to help his dad with some moving. Maybe grillin’!

Whew. I won’t tell you how long that took me. And I had to beg Josh and Adam for ideas. They came up with three of the days. Oh well, it was their turn, right?

So, what’s on your menu? And is anyone else starting to think about summer cooking and grilling?

Wordless Wednesday

(seriously, how do people do Wordless Wednesday without saying stuff. I want to SAY stuff about this picture, dammit. So I’ll at least say that I took this picture at the beach a few weeks ago.)


Mexican casserole: Dinner

I admit that this is a recipe I made up myself. Years ago, when Josh and I were first dating we used to buy a kit in the refrigerator section that made the best Mexican casserole. Although, since they discontinued making it, perhaps we were the only ones who thought so. But we so often talk about that Mexican casserole, and I’ve never successfully found a recipe that seemed similar enough for me, so I made one up. We like it (though Josh would prefer I leave the Pinto beans out to which I say…oh well. Ha!) Also, this recipe is super easy and can be prepared and on the table in under an hour.

Mexican Casserole:


2 lbs hamburger/ground beef

Taco seasoning (one or two packages, your choice)

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 can Pinto beans

1 can chopped/diced green chiles, drained

1 jar queso (or a can of nacho cheese soup)

1 can sliced black olives

1 2-cup bag of mexican cheese or cheddar cheese

4 burrito size tortillas

1. Fry the hamburger thoroughly. While you’re doing that, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Once hamburger is fried, add to it taco seasoning (no need for the water), a can of Rotel tomatoes (or just petite diced tomatoes, if you prefer less spicy…but why would you?), 1 can Pinto beans (again, optional), 1 can chopped green chiles, and the jar of queso or can of nacho cheese soup. Heat through.

3. Spray a casserole dish (I used my enamel cast iron heavy oven instead) with Pam. In the bottom, put 1/2 cup of the mixture. It won’t cover it, just spread it around, it’s to keep the first layer of tortilla from sticking to the bottom. So go ahead and put that tortilla down. Now, dividing the mixture into thirds, put 1/3 of mixture down, sprinkle with olives, put down a tortilla and repeat. End with a tortilla on top and cover with cheese and sprinkle last of black olives on top.

4. Bake the casserole, uncovered, for approximately 30 minutes. Turn it on broil for the last few minutes to get the cheese just right. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice like a pie and serve. The end.

Can be served with corn bread, a salad, Spanish rice or nothing at all if you’re lazy like me.

Kaye Chambers: Blood and Destiny

skitched-20100309-133958.dCWIfTzuU8Tl.jpg Once upon a time…

I pulled a book from the slush pile. Okay, if we’re being really accurate, it was targeted for an anthology I’d put out a call for, but it was an author I’d never heard of and it was sent to the slush pile. So my story stands. Anyway! The book and the author captured me with its paranormal/urban fantasy tone, with the fun story, spunky heroine and imminently readable author’s voice. I knew immediately that I was going to acquire Kaye Chamber’s Tiger by the Tail and publish this debut author’s first story. That was two years ago and, as with all of my previous authors, it was hard to say goodbye to working with such a talented author whose voice I find delightful and fun to both edit and read.

So when Kaye contacted me to give me an opportunity to read her newest release, Blood and Destiny, I jumped at the chance. And I’m delighted to give her book a bit of space on the blog, to tell you a little about it, encourage you to buy it (it’s a fun read, I promise!) and to encourage you to enter her contest. In fact, when I learned of the contest, I told her not to bother sending me a copy of the book, I’d buy my own so I could enter the contest and win!

First, the book:

When the past bites, bite back.

Ladies of St. George, Book 1

For Destiny St. George, shapeshifting lioness and private investigator, her best friend’s looming wedding is little more than a reminder of her failed relationship with vampire king Marcus Smythe. Tired of being only one of many mistresses—and dinner entrees—she’s stayed away from the vampire scene altogether. Until a missing-person case forces her to seek his help.

Knowing that pressing Destiny is not the way to convince her to give their relationship another try, Marcus has been waiting her out—and his patience is rewarded when she steps into his nightclub. Now is his chance to lure her back into his arms. This time, he plans to keep her there.

Destiny’s not sure which is worse: working with Marcus, or trying to remember all the reasons she called it off with him. And when it becomes clear the case is an elaborate trap to avenge a millennia-old grudge, she finds herself caught between love and instinct—while the clock ticks down on an innocent victim’s life…

Product Warnings

Vampires determined to take more than a bite out of the heroine. A lioness sure that she’s going to have the last word.

You can buy Blood and Destiny at a number of places including: My Bookstore and More, Books on Board, and Amazon Kindle.

Now, for the contest from Kaye’s site:

Do you have an ereader?

No? Do you want one?

That’s right, folks. In celebration of the release of BLOOD AND DESTINY, I will be giving away a Sony Pocket Reader to ONE lucky winner.

How do you enter? I’m so glad you asked!

Simple: SAVE YOUR RECEIPT when you purchase BLOOD AND DESTINY between March 1st and June 21st.

EMAIL (or forward) the receipt to chamberskaye @ gmail.com (remove the spaces, please)

That’s it!

You don’t want to buy the book? That’s okay, there’s an alternative way to enter.

Email me for details!

Full details are on Kaye’s site. I’m led to understand that right now, the odds of winning look good. Heck, let’s be honest, this will probably be one contest where your odds are better than many, many (most) others and the prize is awesome. You don’t even have to buy the book to enter, but I think you should!

Lightning Round

Let’s do a lightning round of things I’ve been meaning to post about the past week:

In the past two weeks I’ve been in New York City, had my parents visit, been to Toronto and the Harlequin offices and been laid out by a cold. I think my body is formally protesting.

Have you visited the <a href=“http://www.carinapress.com/blog”>Carina Press blog</a>? We’ve been posting covers over there.

I hate Facebook Pages. That’s all.

Brianna’s mind is quick as hell. I can’t keep up. Earlier in the week she was firing off questions at me faster than I could keep up, including some deep theology questions (“where did God come from?”). My favorite: “Who borned the first person if there was no one to borne them?” (I had no warning leading up to this question). Second favorite: “Why don’t babies get borned from our mouths?”

She also caught me saying someone’s child was homely (and now all of you are wondering if it was your child. I assure you, it wasn’t) and she said “what’s homely?” I feel like a walking dictionary lately because she asks for the definition of everything. I wasn’t expecting to have to tell her what homely is when I’d just used it about someone’s child, though (shame on me). Thankfully, while I was looking up the most innocuous definition of homely I could find, she decided I must have said “lonely” and came up with THAT definition all on her own (“oooh, you mean she’s all alone”). Whew. Note to self: watch what you say!

My travel schedule is picking up. I hope I have time to visit the beach this summer. Is it summer yet? I’m happy to report that most of the snow has melted, though we do still have a giant pile in the front yard.

Last, while my parents were in town, I snapped a bunch of pictures. We went to the beach to collect shells (yes it was cold and yes we are crazy) and I got some great pictures of family, the wild ponies, other wildlife and a random seagull. Below is one of my favorites: my dad and Brianna. It makes me smile because it’s a perfect moment captured.


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