Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Eve Dinner Idea: Potato Bar

Christmas Eve dinner can be tricky, especially when you have guests dropping by and everyone needs to be at church services at different times.  Make the evening meal easy on yourself by fixing food ahead of time and setting up a buffet.

This is one of the times when I advocate paper plates, napkins and cups.  There are many pretty designs available and they are sturdier than in the past (insert painful memories of flimsy paper plates collapsing).

One Christmas Eve I set up a baked potato bar.  I baked the potatoes in the afternoon (wrapped in foil) and kept them hot in a warm oven.  In small bowl I had a selection of toppings such as butter, sour cream, crumbled bacon, grated cheeses, and chives.  It was easy and people enjoyed customizing their dinner.

A friend of mine talks about a party where there was a sweet potato bar.  Bake the sweet potatoes just as you would Idaho potatoes.  Some toppings would be butter, brown sugar, raisins, pecans and mini marshmallows.

In my kitchen I set up a drink bar with a variety of sodas, water and ice.  Keep a Sharpie pen nearby and write each person's name on their cup before you serve them.

Set up on a pretty decorated table.  Your guests can help themselves and you will be able to relax and enjoy yourself.  Have fun!

God bless,

P.S.  Keep potatoes warm on buffet table by placing them, still wrapped in foil, in an uncovered crock pot set on warm or low.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Good Reads: The Red Queen's Run

The Red Queen's RunThe Red Queen's Run by Bourne Morris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Red Queen's Run is one of the most intelligently written and emotionally gripping mystery novels that I have read this year. It starts with a chilling reference to a real murder that took place in academia and then smoothly moves us into the fictional heroine's fears regarding her own co-workers.

When the heroine, Red, receives a phone call telling her of the murder of her boss, the Dean of Journalism, at the university where she works, she is horrified. She is named as his temporary replacement, soon finds herself trying to identify his murderer and in a relationship with the investigating detective. The plot is fast paced and gripping.

I highly recommend The Red Queen's Run to any mystery lover. It ends with a satisfying HFN. I look forward to reading more from this author.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Good Reads: Shadow of Doubt

Shadow of DoubtShadow of Doubt by Nancy Cole Silverman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shadow of Doubt is the first book in the A Carol Child Mystery series. It is a well written and professionally edited mystery novel.

Carol Child is a middle aged, divorced, single mother, radio news reporter with an FBI agent boyfriend. She is on the edge of being fired by her much younger boss, so when her next door neighbor becomes a murder suspect, Carol jumps in to solve the murder and get an exclusive news report for her radio station.

The first novel in a series can be a bit boring while the author establishes the characters, their backgrounds and the plot for the reader. I found this to be true of Shadow of Doubt, but once the background was established the plot became fast paced and interesting.

While a HFN was established at the ending the crime had not been completely solved which led to a very dangly cliffhanger. I look forward to reading future books in this series.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.