Monday, April 29, 2013

Green Fries, no Dr. Seuss

I don't know about you, but fries have always been a huge temptation for me. The classic Idaho spud fries, crisp from oil, sure. But lately, I'm more inclined toward wonderful variations, like sweet potatoe fries. And, because I'm always looking for more healthful options: baked zucchini "fries." Last night I cooked up a batch from a recipe in our local grocery store's "Something Extra" magazine. And they were FABULOUS. Crispy, fragrant, and coated in a crumb mixture that includes Parmesan cheese and a surprising measure of roasted sunflower seeds. This recipe is going to to be a keeper at the Calverts' house, for sure:

Crisp zucchini Fries

1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds--very finely chopped
1/4 cup grated (not fresh shredded) Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried thyme flakes
Ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
3 egg whites, beaten until foamy
4 medium zucchini, cut into French fry wedges 
Olive oil cooking spray

This is a stock photo, I cut my zucchini strips a bit longer (the length of the zucchini itself) by cutting each squash in half lengthwise, then slicing each half into about 4 narrow strips; so each squash yielded about 7 or 8 fries.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with cooking spray
Stir together panko crumbs, seeds, cheese, thyme and pepper in a shallow dish
Place flour in another shallow dish
Beat together mustard and egg whites in a third shallow dish

Dip zucchini wedges into flour, then egg, then breadcrumb mixture.
Place on baking sheet and spray them lightly with cooking spray
Bake for 20 minutes (til lightly browned), coating fries with cooking spray again halfway through

Here's the finished photo of my fries:

We served them with ranch dressing--and left nothing but the crumbs. Okay, only a few crumbs . . .

I'll bet you think I can't come up with a book excerpt related to zucchini. Not true. Here's a short snippet from my debut medical drama, CRITICAL CARE, where Claire Avery and Dr. Logan "McSnarly" Caldwell visit my favorite Lake Tahoe restaurant:

Sunnyside Mountain Grill, a favorite with both locals and tourists, was casually upscale with men and women sporting trendy resort wear and sunglasses no doubt worth half a nurse’s biweekly paycheck. A jazz combo played at the edge of the deck, its bass-heavy music blending with soft laughter, tinkling glassware, and the crisp flutter of sails in the marina below. In the distance, the majestic Sierra Mountains, peaks white with snow, seemed to rise from the glassy blue surface of the lake itself. 
Claire closed her eyes for a moment, letting the sun warm her face and inhaling the wonderful mix of scents: pine trees, oiled decking, coconut sunscreen . . . and sizzling orders of burgers and fries. Her stomach rumbled and she smiled. This was not her typical day, for sure. She opened her eyes as Logan spoke.

“You’re from Arizona?” Logan leaned back as the waitress presented their plates.

“No.” Claire smiled, realizing he’d already beaten her to the punch in the get-to-know-you inquisition. “I’m a local. Sacramento. My dad took a job transfer to Phoenix after . . . my brother died.” She grabbed a fried zucchini stick, crispy and hot, and pointed it at Logan, determined to turn the conversation back to him

As a matter of fact (which has nothing to do with zucchini), right now Amazon is offering the e-book version of Critical Care for the very low price of 1.99.  I don't know how long this offer will continue, so if you're looking to load up your e-reader for the summer, now would be a good time to snatch this one up. 

So, what are YOUR favorite fries?  Do you have a favorite place to enjoy them?

Bon appetit . . . and happy reading! 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Birthday Getaway: Yummy Carmel, California

This post is a day late because we just returned from a two-day getaway to one of our favorite spots on the planet: Northern California's Carmel-by-the-Sea.  Given the choice of typing, or simply drinking in this view . . . I'm sure you get the picture:

Besides, I was busy gathering blog research. Translation: sampling local FOOD:
Which meant forcing myself to walk through the doors of quirky-delicious restaurants like this:

As usual, I was tempted by the appetizers: 

Grilled artichokes with lemony mustard dip

The artichokes were heavenly and locally grown--we passed acres and acres of them on our drive to the coast.  They always prompt hubby to recall his (Texas-born) father's less-than-impressed remark the first time he encountered these gourmet thistles: "It's a great way to eat mayonnaise."
On the other hand, my father (a native Californian) delighted in this thorny veggie. I do believe I've inherited his taste--and his deft leaf-pluck and upside-down-bottom-teeth-scrape skill in eating them. 

Since it was a birthday getaway (mine!) we let ourselves be tempted by dessert: 

Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Tart

Classic Creme Brulee

I am no longer shy about photographing food--no mattaer how strangely the wait staff and other patrons look at me. Research . . . it's rugged, but someone has to do it. 

And one last photo: 

View of Monterey Bay from the end of Fisheman's Wharf. The exact spot of this scene snippet from my second Mercy Hospital novel, DISASTER STATUS.   Feisty ER charge nurse Erin Quinn and by-the-book fire captain Scott McKenna:

They walked on for awhile in silence. Erin heard the distant bark of seals and realized they’d come to the end of the wharf, marked by benches, a few coin-operated viewing scopes, and dizzying view of the marina with hundreds of masts bobbing silently in the black waters. Faraway, lights dotted the outline of the Monterey Bay. A fog horn sounded, long and low. The breeze, salty and damp, lifted her hair. She shivered.

“Cold?” He asked.

She crossed her arms, rubbing at the sleeves of her cotton sweater. “I’m okay. California girl--tease me with a little March sunshine, and I’ll leave my coat in the car every time.”

“Here.” He pulled off his jacket and insisted that she slide into it despite her weak protests. It was fleeced-lined, pre-warmed by his body, and smelled like . . . she chuckled aloud.

“What?” He asked.

“Everything you have smells like a campfire.”
So how about YOU:  Are you a fan of  artichokes?   Would your dessert choice be blueberry-lemon tart or creme brulee?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Go Bananas . . . Kindly

Today my baby daughter (who is 34, regardless of whether or not that meshes with my chosen age) must have surgery on a finger--a nerve and tendon repair after a rather dramatic injury. Trust me, she earns the nickname "Adventure Girl." I'll be accompanying her to the hospital, sitting in the waiting room . . . and stocking her apartment and fridge with a few food items, easy stuff, comfort food. Like her favorite tomato soup, and the fixings for sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches. And some healthful juices . . .

I'll also be bringing bananas.

 Not just because they are simple, yummy, and loaded with good stuff like potassium, but because my daughter and I have a banana legacy of sorts. It involved horses:

This is a photo of  my Adventure Girl at age 8, at her first horse show. First of many. Boots, wool coat, "rat catcher" shirt and collar, leather gloves, velvet hard hat . . . even in California's blazing sun. As a horse show Mom, I quickly learned to feed her on the fly between events--sometimes during. She likes to tease me about the time I stood at the rail as she and her horse warmed up: I waved a banana--insisted she trot by and take bites as she practiced.

Since that time, we've shared a silly mantra when faced with a challenge: "Eat a banana!"

Food is a common "Get well, Thinking of You, Thanks, I'm Sorry" offering--suitable for most occasions.

Like here, in this short snippet from my newly released novel, RESCUE TEAM.  Our heroine, nurse Kate Callison, has just gone through a very rugged few days. This scene is shown tthrough the eyes of her friend, a hospital volunteer. Who arrives, bearing food:


“Kate?” Judith held a cardboard coffee carrier in one hand, the scent of Starbucks wafting upward as she tapped on the door. “It’s Judith Doyle, from the hosp—Oh, hello.” She tried not to gasp as morning sun revealed the swollen bruise on Kate’s face. “I hope this is all right. That I’m here. Your address was on the thank-you card you sent after the auxiliary fund-raiser. . . .”

“Of course it’s fine. I almost didn’t recognize you without your pink uniform. Come in. The place is sort of a mess. I haven’t felt like doing too much since I got home yesterday.”

And haven’t slept either? There were shadows under Kate’s beautiful eyes. Judith could relate; she’d been awake most of the last two nights herself. Thinking. Then praying, at long last.

“The way you like it,” she said, lifting Kate’s coffee from the carrier after they settled on the couch. “And there are scones, too—maple oat nut and a blueberry. We never got a chance to meet for coffee last week. And now so many things have happened.” Her throat tightened at Kate’s expression. Her eyes were red like she’d been crying.
Yes, my characters must earn their happy endings!

Today I'll be toting Get Well, Love You bananas to my Adventure Girl.

How about YOU: Do you arrive at the doors of friends and family laden with food offerings? Have you been cheered, heartened, comforted by someome offering that kindness to you?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Are You Friends with Your Kitchen? Guest Author Keli Gwyn

Weds. April 24th 3:47 PM: Congratulations to our book giveaway winner, "Gram"!

Today I'm pleased to host historical romance author (and fellow northern Californian) Keli Gwyn. Welcome to Authors' Galley!

Making Friends with My Kitchen
by Keli Gwyn

I love my kitchen. When our realtor showed Gwynly and me the house all those years ago, I actually rubbed my hands together with anticipation before exploring the cheery room with its slate blue wallpaper and bright white tile.

What I didn’t love was spending time in the kitchen. For years I considered myself a lousy cook and avoided doing so as much as possible. It wasn’t until this year that things changed. I faced a hard truth: I wasn’t so much a lousy cook as I was a lazy one.

I’d been battling osteoporosis over a year. Working out at Curves and walking helped me arrest the disease, but I wanted to do better. When I learned that Curves has a diet plan as part of their Curves Complete program, I signed up pronto.

Thanks to some great genes, my goal wasn’t to lose weight, although I have dropped a few pounds of persistent belly fat. What I wanted to do was learn to eat right and build muscle to support my itsy bitsy bones. I figured out following a plan prepared by a nutritionist was one way to do it, and I was right.

These days I prepare nutritious, delicious meals. One of our favorites is a turkey flatbread sandwich I created that makes our mouths water just thinking about it. It’s quick, easy, and mighty scrumptious. (Recipe below.)


As writers, we’re often asked if we put any of ourselves in our characters. When I developed Elenora Watkins, the widowed heroine of my debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, I made her a lousy cook like I was at the time. Ellie isn’t a lazy cook, though. It’s just that she was never given the opportunity to learn.

An ever-resourceful widow, Elenora Watkins arrives in El Dorado ready to go into partnership with Miles Rutledge. When he refuses, Elenora becomes the competition across the street. Is this town big enough for the two of them? Miles can't help but stick his well-polished boot in his mouth whenever he comes face-to-face with Elenora. Can he find a way to win her heart while destroying her business? Miles's mother, Maude, is bent on Elenora becoming her new daughter-in-law while Elenora's daughter, Tildy, thinks Miles would make a perfect papa. How far will these meddlers go to unite this enterprising pair?

At one point early in the story, while they’re dining with the hero, Miles Rutledge, and his mother, Ellie’s daughter, nine-year-old Tildy, tells them just how bad a cook her mother is.

Elenora smothered the last bite of beef with smooth brown gravy and savored the rich taste. “Thank you for another delicious dinner, Mrs. Rutledge. Sharing your noondays is a blessing to me.”

“And me,” Tildy added. “Mama’s cooking is so bad that Grandpa said she was as much use in the kitchen as a broken axle on a wagon. She burned the toast this morning and broke the fried eggs when she flipped them.”

Mrs. Rutledge scowled. “Matilda, is that any way to talk about your mother?”

Tildy lowered her head. “Sorry, Mama.”

“It’s fine dear. You’re right. I have a good deal to learn.”

Later in the story, Miles, who has a knack for tickling his tonsils with his toes, pays Ellie a visit to make an apology. He notes her improved cooking skills.

He followed her into her back room. An unmistakable scent filled the air, the same one he’d smelled in Mother’s kitchen earlier. “You didn’t burn the bacon.”

“You do have a way with words, don’t you?”

“Sorry.” What a fool he was. He’d come to make peace. Instead he’d been downright rude. She studied him with such intensity he felt like an insect being eyed by a hungry bird. It was all he could do not to squirm.

Her expression softened. “Since I owe you an apology, I’ll accept yours."

"What do you have to apologize for? I’m the one with the habit of tasting boot blacking.”


Turkey Flatbread Sandwiches

Flatbread – one piece approx. 5x8 inches, fairly thick
Deli Turkey – ¼ lb. sandwich sliced
Cheese – 1 slice, your choice
Spring Greens
Tomato Slices
Black Olives – chopped
Sweet Purple Onion – sliced
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Pepper

1. Spread the turkey on the flatbread, covering the entire surface.

2. Put the cheese on top of the turkey.

3. Heat in toaster oven until the cheese melts.

4. Add the greens, tomatoes, olives, and onion.

5. Sprinkle with oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste.

6. Fold in half and enjoy.


Questions for You

Are you a foodie like Candy who loves spending time preparing meals, or are you more like I was and don’t enjoy cooking as much as you might?

What is your favorite sandwich?

Thank you, Keli. That sandwich looks awesome. I'd say you've definitely made friends with your kitchen, AND made our visitors mouths water! 

Now, as an added treat, Keli is offering a signed copy of  A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, Calfornia as part of a book giveaway. Simply leave a comment answering one of her questions--include your e-mail address--and you will entered in a drawing via Random.Org.  The winning name will be selected on Weds. April 24th and notified by e-mail.  US entrants only, please. 

Meanwhile, happy reading . . . and Bon appetit! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Other Tea Party: Pinky Fingers not Politics

Sometimes it's not about the food; it's about the delightful fuss. And the company. The conversation and perhaps unexpected . . . drama.  If you've ever watched an espisode of Downton Abbey, you know what I mean. Those Crawleys know how to serve food as a side dish to drama. And how raise a proper pinky finger when navigating a tea cup.

As you know, I was an ER nurse for . . . ever. And blessed to be part of an amazing team that not only saved the lives of countless patients, but saved mine (literally) and figuratively on many occasions. Angels in scrubs . . . with a devilish bent for humor and fun. We're still close friends, and we gather annually for Spring Tea, hosted by our long-time charge nurse, Melanie. We did that again yesterday. Nurses who bonded over the wail of sirens, grabbed cold pizza and stale coffee in the throes of back-to-back trauma . . . suddenly wearing hats and sipping tea:

Enjoying amazing little finger sandwiches:

Lovely ambience . . .

And delectable sugar cookies . . . shaped like little hats:

Yes, sometimes it's all about the experience. As my * Rescue Team * hero, Wes Tanner, learns in this teeny scene snippet. The rugged search & rescue volunteer joins his neighbor, battling Alzheimer's, for tea and cookies. The other guests are a K9 search dog named Hershey, and the woman's beloved plastic doll . . .

“Yes, ma’am,” Wes told Amelia Braxton, hoping his finger wasn’t permanently stuck in the handle of the dainty flowered cup. “Best tea I’ve ever had.”

The elderly woman’s barely visible brows rose, and he hurried to amend his compliment. He turned to Nancy Rae, sitting on the porch swing, wearing a cherry-print dress and something that looked like an old Pilgrim hat. Only faint scratches gave evidence to her near miss with the business end of a shotgun. 

“Thank you, too, Miss Nancy,” Wes said, fairly sure that Hershey, wriggling beside him in hopes of a cookie, would laugh out loud if he could. “It was very nice of you to invite me to tea.”

Amelia giggled. “She thinks you have beautiful eyes. So do I."

I don't know about you, but this willingness to risk making himself look silly, made Wes even more of a hero to me.

So how about YOU? When was the last time you enjoyed tea and cookies--Starbuck's and a muffin-- and conversation with a good friend? 

** FYI:  Rescue Team is now available and shipping!**

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Finding his inner Rachel Ray: Guest Author Bruce Judisch

** Congratulations to our book giveaway winner: JANET E! ** Weds. April 17th 7:25 AM

Today, I'm thrilled to host a second gentleman guest (I must purchase some manly aprons!), a wonderful author I met in a San Antonio Christian writers' group. I've recently read two of his books and highly recommend them. Everyone wave their wooden spoons, please, in a hearty Authors' Galley welcome for  Bruce Judisch!

Okay, here’s what happened.  The wife of my youth in whom I rejoice, Jeannie, picked up a tidbit on Rachel Ray called “Drunken Spaghetti.”  There are truly lots of reasons to rejoice over Jeannie; the fact that she watches Rachel Ray is just one of them.  But I digress…

Naturally, I thought, “What better candidate than ‘Drunken Spaghetti’ for the blog of a Christian author!”  (Shame on me.)  But, getting the go-ahead from Candace , here we go:


·    Salt
·    1 pound spaghetti
·    1 bunch Tuscan or flat kale, stripped and shredded 1/2 inch
·    1 bottle red zinfandel or Barolo wine
·    3 tablespoons olive oil
·    1 red onion, finely chopped
·    4 cloves garlic, chopped
·    1 teaspoon dried chili
·    1 teaspoon sugar
·    1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
·    Grated Pecorino cheese

My older daughter, Kim, a ceramicist, made the canisters in the background.  They’re really cool, but optional to the recipe.

Jeannie watched Rachel separate the kale leaves from the stalks…spines…inner-stringy-part-that-you-don’t-want-to-eat (whatever you call them).  Rachel made it look easy.  Jeannie described the process to me, and I tried it.  Patience exhausted, Jeannie offered to ‘help’.  I took pictures.


Bring large pot of water to boil for pasta. Salt water and add spaghetti and kale, boil 5 minutes and drain. Return pot to stove, add wine and reduce over high heat for 2 - 3 minutes. Once boiling, add in the pasta and kale and cook until most of the liquid evaporates over medium-high heat, tossing frequently with tongs.

Hint:  The wooden spoon worked just as well as tongs.  (Apologies, Rachel…)  We used whole wheat pasta, which was good, but made the dish pretty robust.  If you like a lighter pasta experience, forget the health thing and go with regular spaghetti.

 Meanwhile in a skillet heat 3 turns of the pan with olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic and chili flakes, salt and pepper, cook till tender 7-10 minutes.

Notice those are Jeannie’s hands doing the important stuff.  I’m still taking pictures…

Sprinkle with sugar. Add some of the wine sauce to deglaze the pan, then scrape into pot to combine with pasta. Toss with walnuts and some cheese and serve.

Okay, so I don’t have a picture of that part.  I was too busy stealing tastes.  Wooden spoons connecting with the back of the hand hurt, by the way.

Serves 4 (or one r-e-a-l-l-y appreciative husband; can you blame me for stealing tastes?)

Finally,  I got my chance to contribute to a great dinner! (My hand in the photo!  My hand!)

So, if you’d like a more concise—but less entertaining—explanation, here’s the link to Rachel’s page.  She won’t mind: Rachel Ray Pasta Recipe

And here is an excerpt from my novel Katia that also includes food: the story's young heroine, Maddy, narrates as she, Oscar, and Katia dine in a restaurant near the top of the 1200 foot Fernsehturm tower in Berlin, Germay. Note: Katia is a diabetic:

My entrée of veal roulade in mushroom sauce with apple-honey cabbage and potato dumplings was as heavenly as the view. Tante Katia picked at a tasty looking dish of duck smoked over tea, and served on a bed of Asian vegetables and basmati rice. Oskar selected Geschmorte Ochsenbacke with a cream of celery and pearl onion sauce. I instantly regretted it when I asked him what that was.

Braised ox cheeks? Great choice, Oskar. She’ll never kiss you now.

For dessert, I zeroed in on the house specialty: the Cup TV Tower, a chocolate ice-cream sundae with coconut cream and passion fruit sauce. Oskar selected the assorted French cheese plate with figs and little slices of nut bread. It came with port wine, which I think is what tipped the scales for him. When Tante Katia ordered hot poached chocolate cake with mango, we both looked at her. I was about to say something about sugar, but a twitch of her jaw invited me to mind my own business.

((You all really want to read the rest of this scene.  Trust me. ))

 A spirited American exchange student. A sixty-year-old invalid. A riveting Cold War secret.  Spunky Maddy McAllister, a twenty-one-year-old exchange student in Berlin, Germany, has a journalism career to launch. Stalwart Katia Mahler, a sixty-year-old invalid from the former East Berlin, has a story to tell. Cultures and generations clash as the young American and the German matron strive to understand each other's present and past. Maddy learns more than a personal history; Katia receives more than a memoir.


 I'm still laughing at the image of Bruce stealing tastes, getting smacked. But you gotta love a man who does the dishes, right? A big thank you to both Bruce and his lovely wife, Jeannie for inviting us into their kitchen. And now, Bruce has generously offered a signed copy of Katia as a book giveaway. Leave a comment (with e-mail address) below, and you'll be included in a (Random.Org) drawing. The winner will be announced and contacted by e-mail on Wednesday April 17th. 

Happy reading and . . . Bon Appetit!

Monday, April 8, 2013

It's Spring: How About Some Crunches?

Don't panic, I'm not talking about exercises for your abs. No delusions of six-pack grandeur here!
By "crunch," I meant crispy greens-- salads. There is something about spring that begs for them.
But salads don't always have to be iceberg lettuce and quartered tomatoes drenched with ranch dressing. Salads can be a fun,  interesting, colorful (and healthful) combination of tangy and sweet. 
Like this one that's a favorite in the Calvert household:

Berry, Glazed Walnut & Goat Cheese Salad

Gather your ingredients: fresh spring mix greens, walnuts, berries (I used organic strawberries and black berries here) some mild goat cheese (you can substitue Feta or Bleu if you prefer), and a nice poppyseed dressing (this one was mango poppyseed). If you like a little tang, add a thinly sliced green onion. 

To "glaze" the walnuts (or pecans), simply melt butter, add some brown sugar, small pinch of salt, and the nuts, stir over medium-low heat until coated and a bit browned. So yummy!

Top the chilled greens with the berries, chunks of cheese, glazed nuts, and a drizzle of  dressing. Then add a slice of lightly buttered whole grain bread, and Voila! A simple Spring Crunch--no gym clothes required.

 And now, just for fun, here's a tiny snippet from my (ready to release any day now!) newest novel,
Rescue Team. Our hero, Wes Tanner, takes nurse Kate Callison out for dinner--a romantic spot with a view of the Austin skyline:

“You’re lost in thought,” Wes said, bringing Kate’s attention back.

“No,” she said in a hurry. “Only remembering how much of this amazing city I’ve discovered, thanks to you.”

She glanced toward the window again. “That shoreline down there—with Stevie Ray Vaughn himself—the capitol, those crazy food trailers and Lake Austin.” Where we kissed.

His eyes met hers and Kate felt her face flush. “And now this spot,” she added, glancing across the casually upscale oak-and-brick dining room toward a lively bar offering spotted cowhide stools. And, in summer, apparently the city’s best view of the famous Congress bridge bats. “It’s great.”

He pointed to her empty salad plate. “You were just surprised to find Humboldt Fog goat cheese this far from California.”


Kate smiled at him, feeling the same persistent quiver that had begun at Wes’s arrival on her doorstep tonight. It wasn’t so much that he’d looked different, though he certainly did: jacket and dress shirt paired casually with nice jeans and boots, and an enticing hint of a scent that had nothing to do with horses. It wasn’t that he’d left his “Got Water?” truck behind in favor of a comfortable sedan—something she greatly appreciated with her clingy dress and heels. And the quivers didn’t even spring from the way Wes kept a protective hand at the small of her back when they crossed the street to this restaurant. The truth was that they came from the sense that tonight was different. Because I’ve never known a man like him. 

There you go, salad with a side of romance.

What's your favorite salad? Does goat cheese make you say, "Baaaaa"? Or is a fave for you as well?  Do tell!

Happy reading and Bon appetit!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What's Cookin' Doc? Guest Author Richard Mabry

** CONGRATULATIONS to our giveaway winner, Rebecca Maney! And thank you all for stopping by and making Dr. Mabry feel welcome! *** Weds. April 10th, 8: 37 AM.

Today it's my great pleasure to host Dr. Richard Mabry, a fellow medical fiction author--and the very first man to venture into this foodie-author cyber kitchen. Okay, everyone, all together:

"Welcome! And . . . What's cooking, Doc?"

Candace, it’s a pleasure to tie one on with you—tie on an apron, that is. The problem, though, is that an apron is sort of uncharted territory for me. Frankly, my cooking is generally limited to coffee, eggs done in the microwave (recipe below), soup, and PB & J sandwiches. I, and many of my medical school classmates, subsisted on a diet like that for years. Thank goodness I’m now married to a woman who cooks, and cooks well.

Here’s a scene from my forthcoming novel, Stress Test. In it, attorney Sandra Murray brings Dr. Matt Newman home from the hospital after he’s undergone surgery for a severe head injury. How did I know what she’d find in a bachelor doctor’s kitchen? It’s pretty much the same as in a medical student’s apartment. Been there, done that, got the dirty dishtowel to prove it.

“Are you going to be able to make it on your own?” she asked. “Is there a friend or relative we can call to stay with you until you get your strength back?”

Matt waved away the offer. “I’ll be fine. Thanks, though.”

Sandra made no move to leave. “Why don’t I fix some lunch for you? At least let me do that.”

Over Matt’s protest, Sandra made her way to the kitchen, where she found that Matt’s cupboard was about as full as Old Mother Hubbard’s. The refrigerator held a quart of milk that was out of date and a few bowls that served as Petri dishes for the mold covering their contents. The food in the cabinet would have been sufficient had she wanted to feed Matt dried cereal full of weevils or a can of soup with saltines that had lost their crunch.

She tossed the cereal and crackers into the trash, poured the milk down the sink, and marched back to the living room. “I’m taking you out for lunch...”

Will Matt ever get a decent meal? For that matter, will he find out who’s trying to kill him before they finish the job? Will he be arrested for the murder he’s alleged to have committed? Sorry, but you’ll have to read Stress Test to answer these questions.

If anyone really wants to know the secret to “Eggs McMabry,” here’s my recipe for this quick, on-the-go breakfast: Start an English muffin toasting. Spray a ramekin or small bowl liberally with Pam or other cooking oil. Break one or two eggs into the bowl and whisk with a fork. Cover with waxed paper and microwave until done (about 45 sec. per egg in my microwave).

Salt and pepper the cooked eggs, loosen with fork and slide onto the muffin, wrap in a napkin, pour coffee in a travel mug, and you’re out the door, breakfast in hand.

Thanks for having me here, Candace. I appreciate the opportunity to visit your new blog site, and am delighted to be writing medical fiction alongside a talented professional such as you.
For those who can’t get enough of me, my website is here (where you can read a sample of Stress Test) and my blog here. And, in case anyone is interested, you can purchase my latest novel of medical suspense, Stress Test, by clicking here or shopping at your favorite online or brick-and-mortar bookseller.
Thank you, Richard. And, friends, I've had the opportunity to read (and heartily endorse!) this exciting new medical suspense story, and have no doubt that you're going to love it.

Now, as an extra treat, Dr. Mabry's publisher has generously offered to provide a copy of Stress Test as a book giveaway. ** This will be limited to US entrants only** And we'd appreciate it if the winner would be willing to offer a review and/or mention the book on social networks--as always, this is so very helpful during the launch of a new book!

Please leave a comment below, including an e-mail contact, and I'll draw a winning name (via Random.Org) on Wednesday, April 10th.

Good luck, happy reading . . . and Bon appetit!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Raspberries & Cinnamon? Oui, s'il vous plaît!

First, let me say that I hope your Easter was wonderful, and that the glorious hope in that celebration continues to color your year/ your life . . . more vividly than the sparkliest rainbow-dipped egg!

And secondly: Before we go into full sugar withdrawal from our feasting (I was going to say before we go "cold-turkey," but that seems more suitable for a Thanksgiving day over-indulgence), I'm going to share a recipe for one more sweet treat.

By popular demand, after I posted photos on Facebook:

(adapted from a recipe by tasteofhome)

This was the first time I'd tried this particular recipe, and I couldn't have been more delighted at the results--a  big hit, very pretty, AND super-simple. Convenient, too, since it is for the most part assembled the night before. 

Here are the ingredients that I used:

12 slices of bread (I used sourdough) crusts removed and sliced into cubes
5 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups whole milk (I used half & half) because I had it)
1 cup brown sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated if you can)
1/2 cup almond slices
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups of fresh raspberries


Place bread cubes in a buttered 13 X 9 inch baking dish
In a bowl combine: eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Pour the milk mixture over the bread cubes, cover, and refrigerate overnight (or for 8 hours)
Remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking. Sprinkle almonds over the bread mixture.
Combine melted butter and last 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Drizzle it over the top of the bread mixure.
Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
Sprinkle with the raspberries. Then bake 10 minutes longer, or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

( I put maple syrup on the table, but no one used it--this dish is moist and sweet enough as is.)

So there you go: Serve warm from the oven, and . . . Bon appetit!