Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I'd post a picture, but too tired to get up at the moment.  Today was a "spend every moment in the kitchen, or (*sigh) doing dishes" day.  I've done 2 1/2 batches of dishes so far, and even Bob did 1.  Still a lot to go.  I made chicken soup for Bud (a friend who is ill), 3 loaves of cinnamon raisin swirl bread, chicken and biscuits, and cinnamon rolls (Yes, made them again).  I'll be sharing with Joanne, Alice and Jerry, too.  We had the chicken and biscuits for dinner.  I'll keep some of the cinnamon rolls and 1 loaf of the bread, the rest will be going to our friends.  I use my favorite white bread recipe for the rolls and cinnamon swirl bread.  I wish you could  have a sniff of my kitchen.  Just don't look!  hehe

OK, I couldn't help myself.  I took pictures of the food.  HA HA, the only messy thing you can see is a paper plate under the bread to catch the excess icing.  I wish these pictures were scratch and sniff.

OMG, I want to make mararoni salad now. 

Poll:  Do you think I'm insane?
Yes ___              No ____           Probably ____

Friday, August 24, 2012



A few weeks ago, in broad daylight, a black bear ran in front of our car.  When you live in the country, you're apt to see almost anything. While driving home from a meeting at River Read Books in Binghamton, we pulled onto the dirt road that leads to our lake. At the end of a driveway, Bob pointed out a sign that reads, "FREE ROOSTERS." Almost immediately, he said, "Look, there goes one now." It was running helter skelter across someone's yard, and of course we laughed.

We wondered why someone would have an excess of roosters. Bob's guess is that they bought chicks that were supposed to be hens. I'm thinking they decided to try their luck at raising their own baby chicks from eggs that their hens laid. Hmm, it might be dangerous to visit these people. Maybe these roosters are guard attack roosters. Or maybe there is a cock fight at any given moment, and the family has been amassing unsavory fans and gamblers.

What's your guess?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Our sale is a big hit.  People are loving their instant 15% rebate and so happy with all the free goodies they're getting.  We recently sold eight books to one person.  She commented in FaceBook later, that her daughter was getting married in October, and most of the books were gifts for the children that will be participating in the wedding.  How wonderfully creative!  After buying eight books, just imagine all the free goodies she received and can pass on to the children!
Tomorrow we meet again with River Read Books, in Binghamton.  We hope to introduce our children's line in this awesome shop :)

Bye for now :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012


     For those of you who have followed my blog for years, you know that I've never commented or recommended a product, but you all know what an avid cook I am.  Today I just can't help myself.  These are the Progressive International silicone gripper tongs.  They are available in 9" and 12" length.  For kitchen use, removing waffles from a waffle iron, cooking bacon, removing corn on the cob or potatoes out of boiling water, the 9" ones are fine, but for outside bbq?  Bob uses the 12".  (I make him.  You all remember when he singed the hair off his forearm when bbqing, right?  He's safe now.  LOL)

     Seriously, these tongs are fantastic, and we use them daily.  Their grip is phenomenal and nothing slips out of them.  Until I bought the longer ones, Bob was using the 9" on the grills and could easily turn a heavy rack of ribs. He uses these on the gas grill, the smoker and charcoal grill. Since we bbq 6 days out of 7 in the summer, let me say that we are getting our money's worth.  They have thicker stainless steel handles and wide ridged silicone grippers that  are safe to use on my hard anodized pots and pans. The tongs are dishwasher and high heat safe.  Storage is simple, the locking mechanism on the handles actually works and doesn't pop open every time I bump them.  Since I'm currently lacking counter space, I lock them before I set them down.  It takes a nano-second and keeps them out of my way.

     The ONLY problem I ever had with these tongs was created by my husband.  Often, when I went to get them out of the drawer, they were gone!  Yep, he had them outside at the grill.  So, there was only one thing to do.  I ordered three more.  Now we'll have two at the lake and two at home.  A happy home calls  for two sets of Progressive International gripper tongs.  The tongs are available at amazon.com, sears.com, surlatable.com and many other retailers.

My uses:  Removing
hot bagels from the toaster oven                                       Turning bacon or sausage
baked potatoes from the oven                                           Great to take spaghetti out of the bowl
waffles form the waffle iron                                                Salad tongs
                                                Ideal for serving hot foods

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Oh, Summer Peaches


A delicious light peach dessert that has just enough sugar to bring out the natural sweetness of the peaches without overpowering them.  So fresh tasting.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

  • 7 - 8 fresh peaches                                             
  • 3 Tbsp white sugar                        
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar                          
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg     
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch 

      ·         1 cup all-purpose flour
·         3 Tbsp white sugar
·         3 Tbsp brown sugar
·         1 level teaspoon baking powder
·         Dash of salt
·         6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
·         1/4 cup boiling water

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Over an ungreased 2 or 3 quart baking dish, peel and slice the peaches.  You want to enjoy every drop of that delicious juice.  Add 3 Tbsp white sugar, 3 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Stir, and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, - 3 Tbsp white sugar, 3 Tbsp brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water.
  4. Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of cobbler top over them. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon mixture on top. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.
  5. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping.                       8/15/2012, BY GAIL WESTOVER

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Thistlewood Publishing is having its first ever sale.  In honor of our best month ever, we would like to offer you a 15% discount on all our books, sitewide.  Make your purchase as usual, and get an instant rebate.  We'll take care of it, no annoying rebate forms to fill out.

Stock up now for gifts, or for yourself.  No limit.  Go to www.thistlewoodpublishing.com

Monday, August 6, 2012

Do you really want to read another boring Author blog?

I thought not!  People have asked me why I don't often write about Thistlewood Publishing, my publishing business or my books.  Answer?  Because, I work seven days a week.  This blog is not work for me, rather its a few minutes to escape work and write something fun and talk to my fans and friends.  Another very good reason is that I am not one to follow the pack and do what everybody else does.  That's not me.  So, if you want to read about an author that completed a new Chapter, or edited all day, or has writer's block, or spent two hours researching how to lose thirty unsightly pounds in three days, you probably ought to stop reading right here. 

If, however, you want to take your chances, keep coming back to this blog.  You are apt to read about almost anything.  I love to talk about my gardening, silly things that happened, and of course the new recipes I've created.  This blog is about daily events, not books.  I will share photos, some of my new recipes and lots of silly stories.  Normally, the only time I mention of of our books is when we release a new one.  So on the whole, you are pretty safe coming back here.

Now, to make a liar out of myself, I do have ONE teeny little piece of Thistlewood Publishing news.  My very first children's book, Mrs. Mouse's Garden Party in Giggleswick Village has broken every sales record since Thistlewood Publishing opened.  Teachers, a children's therapist, parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents have purchased this book.  I'm in Author Heaven! (not a real place.  I just made that up).  ((I know, not funny))

Alright, back to business.  Today's bit of Gail Westover (aka Tika Newman) news is geared toward every gardner that loves to compost.   Don't spend twenty or thirty dollars buying an indoor counter-top kitchen container for  the little bits and pieces you want to compost so you don't have to run outside ten times a day.  I am a BIG fan of green living and organic gardening.  This is my way of putting kitchen veggie and fruit trash to good use.  Get yourself one of these:
                                  It's FREE!!!  Did she say FREE?  Yessssssssss

Buy yourself a 2 pound container of coffee.  Make your coffee, drink it, and save the container with the lid ( I really prefer the brand with the handle, as it makes it super easy to pull it in and out of the cupboard under the sink).  I keep a plastic bag in it cover the scraps with the excess bag, then put the cover on.  Once it begins getting full, pull the bag over the scraps and then push down a little.  For Tika sakes, don't touch it with your hands!  Ewwwwwwwwwwwww.   It will give you another day or two before you have to empty it.  Yep, green AND lazy.
There is NEVER an odor.  I use a fresh plastic bag every time I empty it, nd give it a quick rinse with the last of the dishwater before I drain it.  Boy, talk about going green.  A re-use for old,  nasty, cold, dishwater.  Yucko.

If you have never composted, be sure to add other things besides fruit and veggie scraps.  NEVER put meat, bones, OR seeds in your compost.  Meat rots and will smell.  Bones will hurt if you step on them while barefooted, not to mention that you'll have every dog in the neighborhood digging in your garden.  Seeds will sprout and make a mess of your flower or vegetable beds.

Make sure to add grass clippings, leaves, and an occasional  bit of newspaper, paper towel, napkin, etc.  A few things I don't like to add are corn cobs and egg  shells.  They take a long time to decompose.

I have a big black composter outside,  and close to my kitchen door, so I actually use the thing.  If you compost on the ground, turn it over every few  weeks  to make sure it's well aerated.  If you're having a dry summer, wet it with the garden hose once in a while.  It helps break down the scraps.  An occasional shovel-full of  dirt is also beneficial.

ok, that's all I know about composting.  There's a lot more info online.  Search for "How to compost"