June 30, 2010

Wednesday's Chow - Cool Summer Punches

Here’s a few recipes to help cool you down during the summer heat (or while drooling over the hunk pictures!).

The first two recipes are from Kraft Foods:

Sparkling Peach Tea

1 tub Crystal Light Peach Flavor Iced Tea Mix
3 cups cold water
1 liter diet ginger ale

Place drink mix in large pitcher, add water and stir until mix is dissolved.
Stir in ginger ale just before serving. Pour over ice cubes in tall glasses.

Fruity Lemonade Cooler

2 cups water
½ cup Country Time Lemonade Flavor Drink Mix
3 cups chopped seedless watermelon
1 cup ice cubes

Place all ingredients into a blender, cover. Blend on high speed until smooth.

Makes four servings.

Brownie Punch
From Treasured Traditions: Recipes from Southern Louisiana

For a really large gathering

4 12-oz cans pineapple juice
6 6-oz cans frozen lemonade
2 12-oz cans frozen orange juice
6 pkgs strawberry drink mix
4 cups water
2 large cans crushed pineapple
1 large jar maraschino cherries

Mix lemonade by directions on can, then dissolve strawberry mix drink in lemonade.
Mix in orange juice with 1 quart water. Combine with lemonade-strawberry mix.
Garnish punch bowl with pineapples and cherries.

May be made ahead of time and stored or frozen in plastic, clean, milk containers.

Tea Punch
From: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/tea-punch/Detail.aspx

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup strong brewed black tea
2 cups orange juice
2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups prepared lemonade
1/2 (2 liter) bottle ginger ale, chilled

In a pitcher, combine sugar and tea. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in orange juice, pineapple juice and lemonade. Chill in refrigerator for 4 hours.
Just before serving, pour chilled juice mixture into a punch bowl and stir in ginger ale.
Serves 12

June 25, 2010

The Friday Record - Western Words

Here’s a fun game for those who write Westerns. These definitions come from WESTERN WORDS: A Dictionary of the Old West from Ramon F. Adams.

I’ve done this a few times before. It’s simple, match the word with the correct definition: 1X, 2Z, 3Y.

Good Luck.


1) Angoras
2) Good Whittler
3) Daunsy
4) Arbuckle
5) Motte
6) Petmakers
7) Sunpecked Jay
8) Good lay
9) Sinkers
10) Fender


A) Heavy leather shields sewn to the stirrup leathers.
B) Slang for biscuits.
C) A green hand.
D) A rustic; a rural resident.
E) A clump of trees.
F) Slang for spurs.
G) Moody, downcast.
H) A good cutting horse
I) Slang for chaps made of goat hide with the hair left on.
J) Well-managed ranch.

June 23, 2010

Wednesday's Chow - "Sangria" Fruit Cups

"Sangria" Fruit Cups
From Kraft Foods


1 cup orange juice
1 pgk (4-serving size) Strawberry flavor gelatin
1 pgk (4-serving size) Lemon flavor gelatin
1 ½ cups cold water
1 cup pitted fresh sweet cherries, halved OR seedless grapes, halved
1 cup quartered strawberries (about 8)
1 cup sliced peeled nectarines (about 1)
1 cup thawed whipped topping


Bring orange juice to a boil. Place dry gelatin mixes in a medium bowl and stir in orange juice until gelatin is completely dissolved, about 2 mins. Stir in cold water, mix well.

Spoon fruit into 8 clear cups. Pour gelatin mixture over fruit.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Top with whipped topping just before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Serves 8.

June 21, 2010

Guest Author - Joan K. Maze

Hello out there, all you mystery lovers and lovers of heroes. First I’d like to thank Anna Kathryn for inviting me to appear on her blog.

My name is Joan K. Maze, and I’m going to talk about my cozy series involving my lead character, Mollie Fenwick. The first book in the series is Murder By Mistake, which is available from Red Rose Publishing. The second, Murder For Kicks, is not yet out.

Mollie Fenwick is a thirty-something widow who acquired psychic abilities up;on her husband’s death. This has led her to have visions, including that of a murder in her apartment (Murder By Mistake). In the second book, Murder For Kicks, she views a kidnapping and becomes a target for a murderer.

Unable to ignore these visions, Mollie begins chasing down clues, finds murderers, and lands in a considerable amount of hot water.

Two heroes from Murder By Mistake, who continue on in Murder For Kicks, are Detective Bradley Bartholomew and Native American Artist/ex-special forces Jack Wolf discuss Mollie and what they should do about here.

“I suppose you have the perfect solution.” Bartholomew glared at Wolf, his arms crossed. “You did a great job at the lake, letting her fall in the water and come close to drowning.”

“Yeah right,” Wolf said, a smirk on his face as he recalled the situation. Remembering the minnow caught in her bra, it took superhuman effort to keep from laughing out loud.

“I wasn’t there. She went on her own.”

Bartholomew relaxed his arms. “Yeah, she does that a lot.”

Wolf pointed a finger at Bartholomew. “If you’d answered the phone when she called about her former neighbor, she wouldn’t have gotten tied up and left in the woods. And don’t forget, you called me for help.”

Bartholomew rolled down Wolf’s passenger side window, letting in a blast of snow and wind. Unable to see much beyond the vehicle next to Wolf’s truck, he shut the window again.

“God knows what she’s gotten into this time.” Bartholomew checked his watch. “An hour late. She tell you where she was going?”

Wolf activated the wipers and peered through the windshield. “I’ve answered that three-four times already.” He shifted to face Bartholomew. “You could solve this real easy.”


“She’s got the hots for you. A caveman tactic might work or, the knight on a white horse deal.”

“Uh huh, Wolf. I’m sure that independent woman would fight tooth and nail. If she didn’t do that, she’d start thinking about you before we got half a block away.”

“What in hell does that mean?” Wolf asked.

“I’ve seen her look at you.” Bartholomew blew out a breath. “You know what they say about two’s company, three’s a crowd.”

“Unh unh, not any more.” Wolf fiddled with the heat controls. “I think Jackson’s in on this now.”

“Shit,” Bartholomew said, thinking of all the times he’d assigned Jackson to guard Mollie, among other things. “When he went to the zoo with her she ended up in the dolphin pool.” He pointed at Wolf. “I thought you were going to help her get rid of this psychic crap.”

Wolf shook his head. “If she’d ignore them, they’d lessen. That’s the best I can do. You see her doing that?”

Bartholomew shrugged. “No.” Then he whooped. “There she is. This time I’m gonna get outta her what she’s been up to.”

Wolf laughed. “Wanna bet?”


Murder For Kicks, book 2 in the Mollie Fenwick Mystery Series

What’s next?

Work in Progress: I’m currently working on book 3 in the series, Murder By Spook, where Mollie becomes intangled with the CIA.

Joan K. Maze
Writing as J. K. Maze
Murder By Mistake, book 1 in the Mollie Fenwick Mystery Series, available from
Red Rose Publishing
Framed In Fear, romantic suspense set in Colorado, available from Red Rose Publishing
Murder For Kicks, book 2 in the Mollie Fenwick Mystery Series, coming soon

June 17, 2010

Not Your Ordinary Father's Day Ties

Don't know what to get dad for Father's Day?  Well, I got an email from Matt, who's blogged about unique Father's Day cakes. Not Your Ordinary Father's Day Ties.  Personally, if I tried to make one of these confections.....the guy would look like he was being hung, not tied......my artistic talents end at the keyboard. So, make Matt happy, and check out his blog. You just might learn a thing or two about neckties, because who knew there was a cult for such a thing?

Anna Kathryn Lanier

Where Tumbleweeds Hang Their Hats


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The Breast Cancer Site

June 15, 2010

Wednesday's Chow - Texas Rattlesnake

For those of you who want to taste the wild side of life....

Texas Rattlesnake
From Cookin' in Texas


Find and capture a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.
Kill, skin and remove entrails.
Cut into edible portions.
Make a batter of flour, cracker meal, salt, pepper and garlic.
Roll your snake portions in the batter.
Fry in deep fat, heated to the temperature that will ignite a floating wooden matchstick (place match in oil, when it itnites, the oil is hot enough to fry the snake).
Fry until meat is a golden brown.

COWBOYS Pictures, Images and Photos

June 14, 2010

A Fairy Tale

Two feet down; a hundred to go. The prince had better be in the tower.

Damn the sorcerer. Just because I wouldn't dance with him, he makes me a green frog. I never looked good in green.

Ouch! These bricks are hot.

If Prince Charming would just let down his blond locks, and pull me up, this would be a lot easier. One kiss, that's all it'll take. Bet he won't do it either, the jerk.

Ugh, I just broke a nail! Why didn't someone tell me being in a fairy tale would be this hard?

copyright 2008 Anna Kathryn Lanier

June 11, 2010

The Friday Record - The Mexican War

Mike Flanagan, in his wonderful little book IT’S ABOUT TIME: How Long History Took, tells us that The Mexican War lasted 1 year, 9 months and 27 days during 1846-1848. This war has part of its history with the Republic of Texas. In 1836, Texas won independence from Mexico and became its own country, but from the beginning, Texans planned to become part of the United States. “Due to internal disputes over slavery and continuing international arguments with Mexico,” Texas was not annexed into the U.S. until 1845, according to THE UNITED STATES: A Brief Narrative History. This annexation did not sit well with Mexico, who recognized neither the boundaries between the two countries nor the annexation of Texas.

Moreover, President James Polk very much wanted to add both New Mexico and California territories to the United States. Efforts to buy the territory from Mexico failed and Polk realized he could only achieve his goal by force. He knew, however, that he would not gain favor from his own countrymen or the international community if he started the conflict. Instead, Polk sent American troops to the disputed Texas-Mexico border. As a young Ulysses S. Grant later said, “We were sent to provoke a fight, but it was essential that Mexico commence it.” And commence it they did. On May 9, 1846 Mexican troops crossed the border and attacked the Americans. Eleven soldiers were killed, five wounded and the rest taken prisoner.

Polk immediately asked Congress to declare war on Mexico.

Both Mexico and the U.S. were ill-prepared for the war. Though Mexico had 32,000 soldiers, they were mostly pressed into service or recruited from prisons. At the start of the war, the U.S. had only 7,000 troops. By 1849, that number had increased to 104,000, with most being volunteers signed up for only six- to twelve-month stints. Ill-trained and ill-equipped, the troops often rebelled against the discipline of the military and committed plunder, rape and murder.

The obedience of the Mexican army wasn’t any better and the U.S. army consistently defeated the larger Mexican armies.

General Zachary Taylor (later President Taylor) scored two major victories North of the Rio Grande and on May 19th his army crossed the border into Mexico. They quickly captured Matamoros and achieved Polk’s goal of conquering the northern provinces of Mexico.

Taylor’s popularity and folk-hero status grated on Polk and he soon replaced Taylor with Winfield Scott as field commander. Upset about his reduction in command, Taylor ignored orders and took the offensive himself. Once again the American army met up with a much larger Mexican force. Santa Anna offered for the Americans to surrender, but Old Rough and Ready Taylor replied, “Tell them to go to hell.” The hard fought two-day battle ended in a stalemate.

Meanwhile, Scott started the long-planned move on the Mexican capital by landing his forces at Vera Cruz. After a week-long siege, the Mexican commander surrendered and Scott’s troops started the 260-mile journey to Mexico City. On September 13, 1847, the U.S. Marines occupied the “Halls of Montezuma” when they hoisted the Stars and Stripes over the National Palace.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo  was drawn up on February 2, 1848. Mexico gave up all claims to land north of the Rio Grande as well as ceding California and New Mexico to the United States. For this, the U.S. paid Mexico $15 million. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty on March 10, 1848, officially ending the war.

AMERICA: A Narrative History outlines the legacy of this often forgotten war: 1,721 killed, 4,102 wounded and 11,155 dead of disease. “Out of every 1,000 American soldiers in Mexico, some 110 died.” This is the deadliest combatants-killed ratio in U.S. History. In other words, the percentage of those who died compared to those who fought is higher than in other war. The ratio in the U.S. Civil War was 65 dead out of every 1,000 who fought.

The landing of Scott’s forces in Vera Cruz was the first major amphibious military operation by American forces. The military and naval costs came to $98 million. For this price plus the $15 million Mexico was paid, the U.S. acquired over 500,000 square miles of territory and truly stretched “from sea to shining sea.”

Also of historical interest is the list of junior officers who would later serve as commanding officers during the Civil War: Jefferson Davis (President of the Confederacy), Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Thomas Jackson, George B. McClellan, George Pickett, Braxton Bragg and George Meade. It was on the battlefields of the Mexican War that these soldiers gained significant combat experiences, later used against each other during The War Between the States a mere 12 years later.

The Mexican War had a huge impact on the United States, evoking “a growing spirit of patriotic nationalism that increasingly characterized the American people,” says THE UNITED STATES. In contrast, it also aggravated growing tensions which featured prominently in the sectional conflict, leading to the Civil War.


AMERICA: A NARRATIVE HISTORY by George Brown Tindall and David E. Shi

Anna Kathryn Lanier
Where Tumbleweeds Hang Their Hats

June 9, 2010

Wednesday's Chow - Onion-Tomato Salad

Here's another good  summer recipe for a picnic, pot luck or family gathering.

Onion-Tomato Salad


5 medium tomatoes, cubed (4 cups)
4 medium onions, chopped (3 cups)
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp dried basil leaves
¼ tsp crushed red pepper


In large glass bowl, toss tomatoes and onions.

In a separate glass bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Stir into tomatoes and onions. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, but no longer than 48 hours.

Serves 12.

sexy men Pictures, Images and Photos

June 7, 2010

Guest Blogger - Jannine Corti - Petska

Hunting dogs of the Middle Ages
Why I love using dogs in my romances

I’m a dog lover. Friends and family will say that’s an understatement. Okay, so I’m a lover of dogs—BIG TIME! To me, there is no such thing as an ugly dog. Nope. Not a one. In my eyes, all dogs are cute. But cute wasn’t a prerequisite for people in the Middle Ages who owned dogs.

After the bubonic plague and the Black Death, people saw dogs in a negative way. Fleas spread disease. With so many people dying, dogs were left to fend for themselves. Domesticated dogs turned wild, roaming in packs. They killed in groups and even resorted to eating corpses.

After the plagues, dogs were back in favor and considered a symbol of nobility. Although the animals were seen as loyal, they also symbolized a husband’s and wife’s devotion to each other. On the other side of the coin, dogs were associated with envy.

The largest group of breeds in the Middle Ages was the hunting dogs. The assortment of breeds were used for different tasks. Many of these dogs differed from the breeds of today. Some were much larger back then, and their disposition has changed over the years.

The Greyhound is a classic hunting breed. They were valued for speed and were able to attack and take down game. Unfortunately, these dogs didn’t have stamina, so they were released only when it was time for the kill. The Greyhound was an aggressive dog, but it was also docile in the home (or castle) and often were brought indoors.


The Alaunt (or Alant) was built sturdier than the Greyhound and was used to catch larger game like boars. The problem with this breed was their reckless nature. They were known to attack humans as well as game.

More rugged than the Alaunt was the Mastiff. This breed was not only used for hunting but also as guard dogs. They were huge. Would you want to mess with them? The history of the Mastiff dates back to 3000bc. Their images were found on recovered Egyptian monuments. Mastiffs may have been (and still are) large, powerful and courageous dogs, but they were gentle and affectionate.

The Greyhound, Alaunt and Mastiff didn’t have the ability to follow a scent. Instead, they hunted by sight and were referred to as sighthounds. Mostly people of rank and the nobility owned these dogs. A few sighthounds were the Wippet and Borzoi. And more.

The dirty work of tracking game by scent fell upon the running hounds such as the Foxhound we have today. With excellent stamina and sensitive nose, they were quick and tenacious. Similar dogs were the terrier, harrier and Spaniel.

The Lymer (Lymerhound), on left.

The Lymer was an asset for his scenting skills. He can be compared to today’s Bloodhound. He’d be sent out to find the game, then he’d lay quietly until the hunter’s and their sighthounds came to attack and bring in the game. Lymer’s had a good nose, and they were patient and quite while waiting for the hunting party.

Lurcher, on right

I used the Lurcher in my latest novel, CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY, book 2 of the Sisters of Destiny trilogy. It was the dog of choice for Gypsies.

This dog isn’t a purebred. At least one parent was a Greyhound. You can see the similarities by it’s sleekness, long legs and narrowed head and muzzle. The other parent usually was a working/herding dog. These dogs were obedient, faithful and affectionate.

Irish Wolfhound (below)

The nobles claimed ownership of this dog. An Irish king’s motto will give you an insight to the Irish Wolfhound temperament. “Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.” Honestly, would even the bravest of knights want to come up against this dog on a dark night? Or the light of day?

From the 14th to the 16th centuries, English monarchs asked for this breed in particular and referred to them as large Greyhounds.

Scottish Deerhound

This breed was always eager to please, gentle and dignified. They were known for their power, speed and strength. The following is from a 16th century manuscript:

“Some are of a greater sorte, some of a lesser; some are smoothe skynned and some curled, the bigger therefore are appointed to hunt bigger beasties.”

As you can see, the Greyhound is the first and foremost breed of choice for hunting in the Middle Ages. Their traits are evident in the larger group of hunting dogs, some of which I noted above.

Interesting tidbit from The Long History of the Canine Race: “The term “cur” derives from the medieval practice of requiring lower-class dogs to have their tails docked so they could be distinguished from hounds belonging to aristocrats. Such canines were first described as “courtalt,” then “curtal,” and finally “curs.” Francis I of France apparently was not much of a dog lover, for he issued an unusually cruel mandate that ‘all dogs belonging to peasant or farmer must wear, attached to their necks, a heavy block of wood, the weight and bulkiness of which will stem their ardor whenever they move away from their homes. If despite this precaution they take to hunting on royal land they will be punished in situ immediately by pure and simple hamstringing.’”

Because of the above, Francis I of France was a cur in my book.

I’ve used dogs in various books I’ve written not only because I love dogs, but also because there’s nothing like a big, strong hero intermingling with his or the heroine’s dog. It’s one way to bring out his tenderness, to endear him to the reader, to give us a warm feeling when he talks to the dog and rubs his head. I’ll take alpha males any day, but they must be kind-heart towards animals.

Nine years ago, I got my first hunting dog, a Rat Terrier. Not a huge dog by any means; she weighs 16 pounds (she’s 2 pounds overweight). We were impressed with her quickness and agility. She goes from 0 to 60 in seconds. We saw first hand what she was bred to do when she chased down a squirrel on our front lawn and shook it, snapping its neck. Not a pleasant sight, but an awesome experience.

Rat Terriers are a mix of the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Manchester Terrier, both breeds brought to the U.S. from England. They were crossbred for speed to hunt squirrels, rats, hares, and other small game.

FYI: The RCA trademark dog was a large RT.

From Wikipedia: U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt owned a small, dark colored dog that became well known for eradicating rats from the White House, and some have claimed the dog as a Rat Terrier. A short-legged version of the Rat Terrier (a.k.a. the Type-B Rat Terrier) was recognized in 1999 by the *UKC as a separate breed, named the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier since the former President's dogs were supposedly of the short-leg variety.

It was said Roosevelt preffered the RT to cats because the dog was better at chasing down mice and rats.

*Thanks to the efforts of the Rat Terrier Club of America, the Rat Terrier is now recognized by the AKC.

What I’ve written about is only the tip of the iceberg in the arena of hunting dogs and the Medieval and the Renaissance period. Dogs have been romanticized in paintings, drawings, engravings and sculptures throughout history. They are loyal and give unconditional love. All they ask for in return is a place to sleep, food to eat, and lots of affection.

Please support your local shelters and the Humane Society of the United States. Dogs, cats and other animals need loving homes. If you can’t adopt, then help out by donating towels and toys. My local Humane Society has a list for needed items up on their website. Yours may, too.

For information on my Sisters of Destiny trilogy, please go to my website: http://www.jcortipetska.com/. The trilogy is about 3 psychic sisters separated at birth. The first two books are available to buy.

Carina and the Nobleman, book 1
Charlotte and the Gypsy, book 2
Callie and the Knight, TBA

Jannine Corti Petska

Assapora la passione (Feel the Passion)

June 5, 2010

Coming back

I've taken time off from dong The Friday Record....a post about history--an event, person, place, thing.  It's a lot of work to put that post together each work.  But since someone recently bragged about my blog, saying how informative it is, I figured I need to post The Friday Record more often. I probably won't do it weekly, but I'll shoot for twice a month...the second and fourth Friday's for sure.  I do enjoy doing the research and writing the blogs, they just took up a lot of time.  So, we'll see how this works out.

Look for the next blog on Friday, June 11th!

Anna Kathryn

June 2, 2010

Wednesday's Chow - Cucumber Dip

Here's a quick appitizer for a summer party.

Cucumber Dip


2-8 oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
2 medium cucumbers
½ cup onions
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
Salt to taste


Mix cream cheese, cucumbers and onions. Add mayonnaise and salt. Form in a serving bowl, sprinkle with paprika. Serve with crackers or vegetables.

Makes about 3 cups.