First, apologies for this being late guys. I wrote down the wrong date and have been sicker than a dog (hahaha) so kind of off my game! Anyway…. Looking for a fun inspirational holiday read this week? You are going to need a destresser or time for a break so you can actually enjoy Thanksgiving! Pick this lovely read up and be inspired to make sure that Turkey, or whatever your traditional meal is, is perfect… as in everyone is happy and you aren’t no one is freaking out in the kitchen!

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I have said it a hundred times, here and on Bewitching Radio … I hate romance novels. I fell in love with Suzanne Johnson’s writing style and believe it or not, her stuff is romance related. This tells me that perhaps I should not write the whole genre off, and heck I keep coming back for more. This lovely mid-day break of a read is so rewarding. It is full of colorful people, amazing cultural references and to top it off a real and comforting story about coming home. Traditions are so important in the holidays, and Resa is neck deep. Bayou dwellers are very very superstitious (I have a cousin who is a transplant there and she calls me with the funniest stories). Superstition means there is usually a deep well of local traditions.

But this was not just a book on traditions, which is such an important theme for the holidays, but specifically a blush of a paranormal romance that caught me unawares. She barely touched it, but reminded us that not everything is what it seems and to embrace who you are. I should have known, duh, by the genre on the tour packet, but I tend to not read that stuff, other than the description, and dive in. At the end, I was crying with a smile and wondering if there are more stories from this world of Dogtown.

Perfect at 11K words, a quick lovely read that will get you ready for this weeks crazy festivities for Thanksgiving! Make the recipe below, it will help keep fire in your belly and home in your heart! Enjoy!

An easy 4.5 stars!

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“He moved home two months ago. Took over his cousin Mike’s job as the gator man for the parish.” Jean leaned toward her and said in an exaggerated whisper, ” and he’s still single.”

The subtext of that was: So are you, missy, and you’re creeping toward thirty.

They’d both been covered in blood and smelled like they’d been rolling in bait, which should have tipped her off that anything in Dogtown reeking of romance, well, reeked.

You couldn’t be from Dogtown and live somewhere else. You had to be Dogtown. 

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I love gumbo. Geoff and I are both huge fans of meals with heat. The heat of this short story, the fact that Resa’s family is the local business where they make sausage and boudin and … the HEAT from the romance…

Chicken-Tasso-Andouille Sausage Gumbo
Recipe Type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Southern – Cajun
Author: Philip Elliott, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
One of my favorite gumbo recipes mainly because it is so easy to make. This will become a family favorite! It is from [url href=”http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-tasso-andouille-sausage-gumbo” target=”_blank”]Southern Living[/url], and I have not changed a think because it is perfect the way it is!
Ingredients
  • 4 pounds skinned and boned chicken thighs
  • 1 pound [url href=”http://www.foodterms.com/encyclopedia/andouille/index.html” target=”_blank”]andouille[/url] or smoked sausage
  • 1 pound [url href=”https://www.cajungrocer.com/savoie-s-tasso-pork.html” target=”_blank”]tasso[/url] or smoked ham
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 large green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 large celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 (32-oz.) boxes chicken broth (I make my own and if you buy it, use low sodium)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Hot cooked rice
  • Garnishes: sliced green onions, [url href=”http://www.nolacuisine.com/2006/07/03/homemade-file-powder/” target=”_blank”]filé powder [/url]
Instructions
  1. Cut first 3 ingredients into bite-size pieces. Place in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, and cook, stirring often, 20 minutes or until browned. Drain on paper towels. Wipe out Dutch oven with paper towels.
  2. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat; gradually whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 25 minutes or until mixture is a dark mahogany.
  3. Stir in onions and next 3 ingredients; cook, stirring often, 18 to 20 minutes or until tender. Gradually add broth. Stir in chicken, sausage, tasso, thyme, and black and red ground peppers.
  4. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir in parsley. Remove from heat; serve over hot cooked rice. Garnish, if desired.
Notes
For a variation try: Shrimp-Tasso-Andouille Sausage Gumbo: Omit chicken thighs and proceed with Steps 1, 2, and 3. Proceed with Step 4, stirring in 4 lb. medium-size raw shrimp, peeled and, if desired, deveined, the last 15 minutes of cooking.[br][br][i](found in Southern Living – NOVEMBER 2007)[/i]

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excerpt-pink-grunge“You are stupid,” Resa told her reflection in the tiny, scratched mirror of the White Castle’s rose-pink bathroom. “Stupid, ridiculous, and absurd.”

She’d been wrestling with her curly black hair for a half hour, and the brown eyes that stared back at her from beneath freshly plucked brows and carefully applied eyeliner looked more jittery than sexy. “And idiotic.”

First, it had been almost a week since Chan had asked her to the Saturday night community dance, popping the question almost shyly as they hacked at the bodies of gigantic dead fish. They’d both been covered in blood and smelled like they’d been rolling in bait, which should have tipped her off that anything in Dogtown reeking of romance, well, reeked.

Second, her potential date had left immediately after asking her out so he could catch an alligator that had eaten somebody’s poodle in one of those backwater houses near the swamp. He burned rubber out of the Madere’s driveway after making sure he had enough duct tape to wrap around the gator’s jaws. Adequate duct tape was not an attribute she’d ever sought in a man.

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