Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Another Teacup Tuesday Treasure

Don't you just love this beautiful teacup from my Pinterest collection? What I like about it is the squareness of both the cup and saucer. Couldn't you just imagine drinking a nice cup of tea out of this, and washing down a freshly baked scone or tart?  (Say yes!!!)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Men luck out

I eat a healthy breakfast at least 6 days of the week (usually 7--and it's usually green juice). Mr. L eats whatever he wants and NEVER gains an ounce. I just look at the pound cake and gain weight.

It's pretty obvious what our cat Fred's choice is when it comes to breakfast.

 What did you have for breakfast this morning (and I'll bet you enjoyed it ore than I did).

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A terrific teacup!

Hey, it's TEACUP TUESDAY, and isn't this peacock motif cup and saucer by Lomonosov adorable? It's something I'm sure Katie Bonner, from The Victoria Square Mysteries, would love to drink from and own.


Monday, February 20, 2017

My Brain Hurts Thanks To Website Woes

Over the years, I've learned just enough HTML code to be dangerous. I can update certain things on my website, and I recently learned how to embed a PDF. (If you go to my Lorraine site, on the From Katie's Kitchen page, you can download a couple of Katie's recipe cards.)

About six weeks ago, I was informed that the company that has hosted my website(s) since day one (and we're talking more than a decade), was going out of business. I've leaved in dread ever since then because I knew it was going to be a GIGANTIC pain in the patootie. And guess what. It is.

First, I contacted my website designer. We've been going back and forth about new hosting faculties while we talked about refreshing the look of at least two of my sites. Today was the day she said she was ready for the sites to be moved. (She's backed up everything and is ready to move forward.)

Gulp. That means it's my turn to figure things out.  So on Thursday, I spent over three hours talking with a prospective new host, the old host, and the people that take care of my domain names. And. I'm. Not. Done. Yet.

By the time I got through all that, it was Happy Hour and brother did I need a couple of strong belts.  Friday, I called the new hosting guy (a fellow name of Gene) and once I give him my authorization codes, he said he will "take care of the rest."  Whew, thoguth I was rescued because thinking about all that rigmarole made my brain hurt!

So, bright and early Friday morning I emailed Gene all my information to get the website shift in motion, including my phone number because that was going to be a LOT faster than doing on their website on my own.

Then I waited.

I only had one errand planned for the day, but it was to be a fun one.

Three hours later, I figured I wait until after lunch.  Sure -- I had HOURS left when I could run my errand.

And I waited.

By 4 pm, I'd gotten a little tire of waiting. I emailed Gene.  "Hey, are we going to do this today?"

No answer.

My goal is to call the company at the crack of dawn and see if somebody else will help me with this shift. I was told this company had good customer service.  So far, I'm not seeing it. But I'll give them another chance. ONE more chance.

But the good news is, my site will be moved. I'm getting a great 3-year rate (less than I paid for one year with the old host), and my website(s) will be refreshed.  I'm starting with my Lorraine site.  Here's a sneak peak.

So what do you think?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

It happens just about every other night

Cat vomitThere ought to be an Olympic event for pet owners leaping out of bed in the middle of the night, scooping up their pet, and saving the rug from barf.

TWICE last night I was awakened by the sound of retching and rescued first my duvet, and then the rug. Of course, the duvet was saved, but the rug by the bed wasn't so lucky. (And I stepped in it when I came back to clean up the mess at FOUR AM. I was awakened for the 2nd time at 6:46 am when the other one decided it was hairball time. Whew! Saved the rug that time.

So, how many of you could compete in this Olympic sport?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

From Biker Chick to Short Order Cook

Who is Noreen Darby?

If you've read With Baited Breath, the first Lotus Bay Mystery novel, you know that Noreen is part-owner of The Bay Bay, which is right next door to the wreck of a house Kathy Grant wants to turn into a B&B.

Noreen was an office worker who rode a motorcycle. (Although, she's not into tatts, so don't ask if she has any.)  She met Paul Darby, owner of the bar, on a Poker Run, and it was love at first sight. She traded in her job and now she'd the short-order cook at the bar.

Wow, what a change. She went from filing papers to flipping burgers. From eight hours a day to whatever it took to keep the customers happy, and since the bar also takes in fishermen (they've got two rooms to let), she's also in charge of keeping those rooms clean and ready for the next guest.

She liked her life, but it got better when she met Tori Cannon, her BFF Kathy, and Tori's childhood friend, Anissa. What do they all have in common? Being business owners .... or at least they have that goal in mind.

It was Noreen who held out the hand of friendship.

“It’s a tough life. Not only do I cook, but I keep the rooms clean, too. And let me tell you, some of our guests are real pigs—and they’re not all men.”

“I hear you,” Kathy said, taking a sip of her neglected drink. The ice had melted, leaving it watery. “We’re starting with the bait shop. We’ll scrub the outside walls and start painting it tomorrow.”

“We’ve got a power washer. We’d be glad to loan it to you guys.”

“That’s very generous of you. I’ll take you up on it. Thanks.”

“Anything to help out Herb,” Noreen said. “I’ll be back in the kitchen about eight in the morning. Knock on the door and you can pick it up then.”

That was the beginning.

So you can see that Noreen is a real sweetheart.

I'm currently figuring out the next adventure for these entrepreneurial ladies, including fleshing out Noreen's character.  What do you think? Should she have a funny hobby? Collect something strange? Knit sweaters for birds with no feathers?  Come on--share your ideas.

And if you haven't read the book, you can:

Trade Paperback:  Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Books A Million
Ebooks:  Kindle US ~ Kindle Worldwide ~ Nook ~ Kobo ~ iBooks

Monday, February 13, 2017

The hostess with the mostest--Kathy Grant will do it

In WITH BAITED BREATH, Tori Cannon asks her BFF, Kathy Grant (both of whom are in their late 20s), "Why aren't we married?"

Kathy answers: "Because nobody asked?" But then she added, “What if instead of me getting married, my destiny is to give other women the wedding of their dreams at my B and B?”

Ever since I wrote that line, I've been thinking about Kathy's dream weddings ... or more correctly, wedding (and other) showers. I may have to wait until the third novel for her to get a chance to throw one of those showers and/or a wedding, but that hasn't stopped me from doing research. From party games to party food and decorations, I've been downloading suggestions and inspirational pictures.
Why am I fascinated with wedding showers? Because my own was nearly a debacle. It was very small, and the person who threw it for me (and who is no longer in my life) did nothing to prepare for it. I asked my sister-in-law, who was supposed to be helping what the plans were.

"She bought a small cake."

"Any decorations?"

SIL shook her head.

"Cookies? Punch? Coffee?"

Again, SIL (who has never hosted any kind of gathering before or in the years since) shook her head.

I knew I was going to be embarrassed, but what could I do? It was the day of the party.  I picked up my mother at her house and on the drive to the shower, tearfully told her the so-called plans.
Well, she wasn't going to stand for that and directed me to divert to the nearest Wegmans. She marched in, bought dozens of rolls, pounds of cold cuts, cartons of potato and macaroni salad, and I can't remember all what else, but the car was nearly full. When we arrived at the party, she quietly walked into the kitchen, handed over the makings for a nice lunch, and without a word, came and sat down in the living room.  The shower went on, the guests had a lovely lunch, Person-X took full credit for the spread, and my mother never said a word. I was too embarrassed to say anything, either, but I thanked my mother profusely then and in the years that followed.
That won't happen to any of Kathy's guests. She'll have fabulous food, delicious drinks, and plenty of party games. If you'd like to see some of the pictures of the food she'll serve, and the decorations she'll hang, you can visit my Pinterest board for Bridal Showers at Swans Nest. Just click this link.

Do you have a story (funny, sad, or in between) to share about a shower?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

On the Breakfast Menu

Mmm-- delicious poppy seed bread (cake?) from the local Polish store. Of course, that's Mr. L's breakfast. Me? I'm having my usually green (vegetable) goop. 

Who do you think had the better breakfast?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Boil some water, take out some teabags, and have a nice cuppa tea.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Inspired by a child

Poppyseed cake with lime glaze that I made.
I admit it, I came to cooking and baking LATE.. Baking, not too late, but cooking LATE.

I always liked to bake because I like sweets. Cookies and pies were about the extent of it, but now I like to bake cakes, too. I don't do it that often because ... well, once you bake something, it must be eaten, and my eating audience has dwindled to about my husband and brother, and my brother is usually on a diet (one of those crazy ones where you only have 500 calories a day, so you eat a lot of canned veggies and apples.  Hmmm...he always loses weight. Maybe I should try that).

I used to brag about how much I DIDN'T like to cook. But then I started writing cozy mysteries, and it's almost a given that you need to include a few recipes. So I started making stuff to test recipes and I found out that I like to tinker with recipes, too.

I had a little time on my hands of late (call it a rest between writing assignments) and I started watching Kitchen Nightmares (with Gordon Ramsey) on Youtube. In just over a week, I'd watched every one available. (Talk about binge watching.) Then I moved on to Hotel Hell. I really liked that one because I got to learn how NOT to run a B&B. And Gordon's cussing? Doesn't bother me a bit. (Hey, I worked in a machine shop for 18 months drilling holes in metal parts for the space shuttle. I've heard it all.)

Yesterday, I watched nearly a whole season of Masterchef Junior (going to watch the finale to see if Addison or Avery wins--go girl power!). What amazed me about that show was the level of skill these kids have. We're talking 8-year-olds who can whip up a serving of duck a l'Orange, bake perfect cream puffs, and cook a perfect medium rare steak, none of which I feel capable of doing.  (For one think, I like my steak well done, which would cause the Chef to puke ... and I've heard him do it many times after being served nasty food. Oy, some of those walk-in fridges make you never want to visit a restaurant again).

But, I felt inspired by those kids and decided to make the recipe I've been collecting ingredients for all week.

Pasta With White Beans And Kalamata Olives
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 ounces uncooked rotini pasta
1 can (about 15 ounces) navy beans
1 can (about 14 ounces) diced tomatoes
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
½ cup spinach leaves, packed
¼ cup (1 ounce) pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
½ cup grated feta cheese
pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, combine the oil, garlic, salt and pepper flakes; set aside.  Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Meanwhile, drain the beans and tomatoes in a colander. Pour the pasta and cooking water over the beans and tomatoes. Drain well. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the garlic mixture, olives, spinach, nuts, and basil. Gently toss; blend well.  Top with the cheese.

Yield:  4 to 6 servings

Now, I don't like feta cheese, so I substituted Parmesan; I couldn't find pine nuts, but it tasted great without them. And fresh basil?  This is winter in Western NY. Dried worked out just fine. (See what I mean about tinkering with recipes.)

I may not be a Masterchef, but I'm happy when I make a recipe that works and then goes into the dinner rotation.  This one's a keeper.  And, it's going into my next cookbook (with my changes, of course), "written" by my character, Brenda Stanley.

Care to share a recipe for something you've made recently?