Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring Flowers and Book Sales !!!!

Yawn! Oh, that is so unladylike. I must just say it was a whirlwind of a weekend. Did you know I had a booth at a huge craft fair? Probably not, unless Fern has been whining about it. Goodness gracious, she knows I go all out a few times a year, you'd think she'd be used to it by now. 

This year I came up with some doozies. I sold several floral arrangements from my collection of silk beauties. I made enough money to restock and refill my craft closet. Now that Memorial Day is just around the corner, that money is going to stretch quite nicely. I think I'll grab some after Easter bargains, too. Don't you think a spring bouquet is just the thing to make you hope out of bed and shout "Good Morning!" 

Speaking of good morning and bargains... Our story is on sale for two days. 

For a mere $.99 (that's less than a gas station coffee!) you can download our story and read about some serious hubba-hubba heroes (and heroines) and a couple of damsels in distress. 

Tootle-doo...I have some craft supply plotting to do. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Just Getting Right To It. Applesauce Cake by Fern

Zula makes an applesauce cake that needed just a bit of tweaking to make it healthier. So here it is. Fernified. 

2 Cups flour
1 Cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 Cup sugar
2/3 Cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs or 2 Fern eggs (2 TBSP ground flax combined with 6 TBSP milk = 2 eggs)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 Cups applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup chopped walnuts or pecans. 

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a pan or pans.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl including nuts. Make the Fern eggs in a medium bowl, add the remainder of the wet ingredients. If the coconut oil hardens because of the milk just stick the bowl in the preheating oven for a minute or zap in the microwave for a few seconds. Pour the dry into the wet or wet into the dry and stir just until combined. Pour into two greased cake pans or a greased 9 x 13. Bake approximately 20 minutes. Test for doneness with a knife. There should be moist crumbs. Remove from oven. You could probably make this a bundt cake and bake for 35 minutes. That's according to Zula. 

In a small bowl mix applesauce and powdered sugar until you get a glaze the consistency of what you want. Approximately 1 cup sugar to 1/4 cup applesauce.  Add a dash of cinnamon if you desire. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. 

What I changed: decreased oil and sugar amounts, omegas and fiber with the flaxseed. 

Okay, Zula. I'm done posting for the month.  

Monday, March 13, 2017

Zula's Siren Cinnamon Muffins

I let someone else do the typing! I just got my nails done. And I'm not feelin' the need to click, click, click. So I just copied and pasted. Win! Win! I gave the recipe to the author. So I appreciate that she included my ownership! WIN! That's Win! Win! Win! for the Win!

You will love these. I promise.

Zula’s Siren Cinnamon Muffins
By Michelle Griep

I love to cook, so getting into character for my latest co-authored release, Out of the Frying Pan, was particularly fun.

Main character Zula Hopkins is renowned for her sweet culinary skills at the Sunset Paradise Retirement Community. These muffins are her go-to recipe for attracting male suitors—and it’s the first thing she whips up to garner the attention of Detective Jared Flynn for her niece KC. Here’s the recipe . . .

Siren Cinnamon Muffins

2 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
8 ounces sour cream
2/3 cup cinnamon chips
Streusel: 1 package instant cinnamon oatmeal

  1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease your muffin tins.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt in a bowl. Make a well in center of mixture.
  3. Dump the rest of the ingredients (except for the instant oatmeal) into the well and stir until mixed. The batter will be rather thick.
  4. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full then sprinkle the instant oatmeal over the top.
  5. Bake at 375 for 18 minutes.

I’m not going to lie. These bad boys are slightly addicting. This recipe makes about 15 muffins so you’ll probably want to double it because they are some kind of good!

Here’s some food for your soul as well . . . One of my favorite Bible verses is Nahum 1:7.

“The Lord is good. A stronghold in the day of trouble. And He knows those who trust in Him.”

Muffins and God’s Word . . . it doesn’t get much better than that.


Murder in Paradise whips life into a froth for FERN and ZULA HOPKINS. When the retirement center’s chef is found dead, the two ladies get folded in with the case. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective JARED FLYNN. Should he be concerned about their safety—or the criminal’s?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts, especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.

Life at Sunset Paradise Retirement Village will never be the same.


Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. Her latest release is OUT OF THE FRYING PAN, but historical romance is her usual haunt. THE CAPTIVE HEART releases in October. Follow her escapades at or or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Bananas, Bananas B-A-N-A-N-A-S

Just in case you haven't made this cake. And you've got bananas just crying out to be saved from their frozen brown sticky state or limp, lackluster existence on your counter, you really must make this cake. If you are out of bananas or a banana hater you can use pumpkin. 

I made it again the other day and not one crumb remained. And this little moist beauty sat right next to one of June Findlay's peach pies. The cake went first. I need a blue ribbon, please. Is that the highest award? Why do I think purple is better? Is it? Then I need a purple ribbon. No. Let's just make that a rainbow of ribbons. This cake deserves a rainbow. 

Fern was all atwitter because I made it her way again with the flaxseed and such. 

(Speaking of Fern. I'm not supposed to mention this. I was actually forcefully FORBIDDEN! But I don't expect her to read this. She mentioned my comments were drivel one day when talking about the Paradise Paragraphs newsletter I edit. 

Well, drivel this, Dearest! 

Anyhoo...she's going on date number 2 tomorrow. Hmmmm maybe I should start concocting wedding canap├ęs. I could do it right under her nose since we are hoping that Kathryn and the detective start humming "Here Comes the Bride!" Ooooh! That gives me an idea!) 


Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes one deep sheet cake. Or a shallow sheet cake and 8 x 11 if you want a thinner cake and more of it. Or a 9 x 13 plus an 8 x 8.  Or good grief, cupcakes. About 40 of them. Heat your oven to 350.  Grease and flour a jelly roll pan. Or pans. Or fill your muffin tins with paper liners.


¾ Cup coconut oil (You may use butter if y’all think that’s better. I will say Fern's suggestion of coconut oil did add a different and tasty spin on this cake.)
3 Cups flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 Cup water
½ Cup milk (¼ cup if using eggs instead of ground flaxseed)
2 TBSP ground flax seed (or 2 eggs and decrease milk amount as noted above)
2 Cups sugar
1 teaspoon slightly mounded baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ Cup or 4 ripe mashed bananas (or 1 1/2 Cup pumpkin puree)
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Optional but recommended: 1-2 Cups chopped pecans or walnuts

Place the water, coconut oil (or butter) and milk into a saucepan. Bring to boil then remove from heat.

Place every other ingredient into a large mixing bowl where you have smashed the bananas. Pour the hot liquid over the other ingredients and mix very well.

Pour and spread into the prepared pan(s). Test the cake at 20 minutes. A toothpick or knife should come out clean or with wet crumbs. If wet give it an additional 5 minutes and test again. And repeat.


½ package cream cheese (4 ounces)
4 Cups powdered sugar
dash of vanilla
1-2 TBSP milk, added 1 TBSP at a time.

Mix it to the consistency you want. I made mine pretty thick.

Spread over the cooled cake. Serves at least 20 people.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Fern Has an uhhhmmmm Event (DATE!!!!)

After Fern's recent non-relationship relationship she went into a bit of a slump. The old girl wouldn't even wear tinted lip balm. (Which is pretty much the only thing I can get her to slap on her face to make her appear lifelike. I swear to you she'll look so much better all dolled up in her casket than she does on her jaunts to art galleries or "taking in a museum." She has all that natural beauty just lying there unenhanced! One night, when I can't sleep, I'm going to sneak into her room and give her a makeover instead of my usual craft-craft-craft til I drop sessions. Who am I kidding? I won't. She's got a sharp right hook and knows how to use it!)

Anyhoo. She's going to a museum with a fella. A right handsome hottie-patotti. Margaret Baumen's brother. He came to visit Margaret one day last week and was besotted with Fern. And since she's only had Creepy Carl to deal with of late, she seemed quite interested as well. Humming "Here Comes the Bride," people. Not even kidding.

Anyway, the gentleman lives an hour from us. Mere child's play in the game of love. No dragons, no dark knights, just a quick drive. They are meeting up in the city for a learning adventure and coffee. Or as some of us would call it. A DATE!!!!!!!!!!!

Help me talk her into these shoes, some peach blush, and my Milky Way eyeshadow. And maybe a little Texas cheerleader lift to her hair? She could be stunning!

Oh, and don't forget the author giveaway!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Note to "Those" Men from Fern

Warning! Registered weapons of mass destruction. 
This if Fern doing her due diligence with the blog. 

Zula has been pestering me for weeks but I've had nothing to say until right now. 

A certain man has recently caused me to come up with an excessive amount of words. Some have been posted in the dining hall as a warning to certain someones in the land of Paradise. But Paradise isn't the only location with snakes so I will share the boiled down version with you, Dear Readers. 

Never, elderly gentlemen of the world, is it okay to touch a woman without her permission. Nor is it okay to proposition or hint about certain subjects with a woman who has asked you to stop. 

Now this should be common sense. Would you go up to a nicely dressed business man or friendly waiter or burly bouncer type and squeeze his cheeks or chuck his chin and tell him he's much more handsome when he smiles? Hmmm that seems like it might net you a throat punch. Can I mention that  I am at the defcon throat punch level with you, Sir. Chuck my chin or squeeze my cheeks again and you will have a whole lot of hurt coming fast and furious. 

If I have not responded to your lame attempts at flirting chances are very, very high that I am not on any level attracted to you. So please, for the love of everything good and sweet, please, please, please stop with your cheesy pick-up lines. "Hey, did you leave a banana peel on the floor, cuz I've fallen hard for you." (In a retirement village? Are broken hips cute?) "If you were a painting you'd be a Rembrandt." (You know Rembrandt's work, or did you just pick the artist's name you've heard more than once?) 

Have these worked before? If so, go back to where you used them because they aren't flying here. And if you ever volunteer to model nude for one of my paintings again I will not be responsible for the things I might say or do. 

Fern out.