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You, Too, Can Be A Copy Cat!

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By Gini Rainey

Well, last week was quite interesting in Tyler, Texas!  Beginning late Monday evening, our temperatures dropped below freezing while we were having a bit of a rain storm.  This is the way it always seems to work here, and then before you know it, we were in the teens with snow flurries.  Of course, the recorded snow fall was below an inch –maybe even below a half inch, but remember – we had a bit of freezing rain first.  That being said (to all of my snickering friends in the north), schools and businesses shut down Tuesday and Wednesday and us folks in the south are definitely not good at all at driving on an inch of ice.  With over 200 reported fender benders and stranded vehicles, we had quite a mess on our hands.  Now today, our temps are in the high 60s and the snow is just a dim memory.

If you didn’t make my cream of chicken with wild rice soup this past week, you might want to give it a shot this week and while you’re at it, I’m going to share my recipe for cheddar/garlic biscuits to go with it.  As my publisher commented on my blog last week “Where’s the recipe for the biscuits!!!”  I guess sharing the soup recipe was just not enough.  I have to admit that part of the fun for me when dining out is trying to figure out just “how they made it!” and my recipe for the biscuits came from dining at Red Lobster over the years.

So, along those lines, I did it again.  I jumped on to ebay during one of the snow days and bought a few more cookbooks.  One of them was “Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2” by Todd Wilbur.  Guess what is pictured on the cover!  Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits!  This fun, 395-page book was published in 2007 by Penguin Group and borrows 150 recipes from 29 restaurants.  So if you don’t feel like going out, you can cook up one of your favorite dishes using Todd Wilbur’s version from this cookbook.

Whether you love the Grilled Baby Back Ribs at Chili’s©, the Penne Rustica at Macarone Grill©, the salsa at Chili’s©, the Garlic King Crab Legs at Joe’s Crab Shack©, the Pasta E Fagioli at Olive Garden, P. F. Chang’s© Garlic Snap Peas, or the Cinnamon Apple Oblivion at Outback Steakhouse© this cookbook has you covered!

However, if you would like to make my version of Red Lobster’s biscuits (which is very, very close to Wilbur’s version) here’s how I do it.  First, preheat your oven to 375°. Then melt 3 tablespoons of butter and stir in ¼ teaspoon garlic salt and pour onto your baking sheet (I’ve always used a pizza pan).  In a large bowl mix together 3 cups baking mix (I use Pioneer Original©), 1 cup of milk, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 ½ cup grated cheese.  Turn out onto a floured surface and gently knead until no longer sticky.  Cut into rounds and dip both sides into the melted butter/garlic salt mixture place in a circle with edges touching on baking sheet.  Bake for 13-15 minutes or until light golden brown.  If you want to come even closer to the Red Lobster© version, add ¼ teaspoon dried parsley flakes.  I think you will discover these are stinkin’ good, you really don’t need anything else to eat with them, yet they go so well with so many kinds of food.

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Books

Book Review: “The Blue Cloak”

By Gini Rainey

The Blue Cloak by Shannon McNear

Set at the turn of the 18th century in Kentucky and Tennessee, The Blue Cloak is based on the true account of the Harpe family’s killing rampage along the Wilderness Trail.  McNear who is basically a Christian writer, struggled with the concept of the re-telling of such dynamically horrible events, but came to realize that this could become a story of redemption.

When Sally, the very young daughter of a Baptist preacher, marries the younger of the Harpe boys, many people have big misgivings about her choice of men, especially Sally’s best friend, Rachel. As Sally is leaving after the wedding festivities, Rachel hands her the gift of a packet that contains a beautiful indigo-dyed, woolen cloak. This cloak becomes a symbol of friendship, trust, and love throughout the book.

With an amazing skill for character development and research, McNear’s words succeed in weaving a tale filled with desperation, angst, deception, and ultimately forgiveness and love as the three Harpes, with their three communal women in tow, create murderous mayhem along the Wilderness Trail.

Although this book is not terribly long (255 pages) it is filled with more adventure and romance than books twice its length.  Definitely a page-turner, you might find yourself unable to put it down.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2020 – Barbour Publications

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BOOK REVIEW: Sentient Beings in the Kingdom of Bhutan

Sentient Beings in The Kingdom of Bhutan by Laurie S. Chambers

By Gini Rainey

Chambers, who has spent over fifty years traveling the world seeking to understand the complexity of being human, has written a lovely book about the peaceful kingdom of Bhutan.  Located in the Himalayan mountains, Bhutan’s people have formed a unique relationship with the animals sharing their space in this beautiful area.

While the cover might lead you to think this is a children’s book, it is filled with the complexity of human/animal relationships.  In a place where all living things matter, Chambers has managed to capture the beauty of both the sights and principles of the Bhutanese and subtly implores that we all take on these loving and caring and grateful people.

And don’t be mistaken, there are at least three levels presented in her book.  One that appeals to the seeker of truth and peace, one that encourages the young child to live a life of appreciation and love, and one that captures the eye of the seeker of visual beauty.  This is not a book to be read straight through.  Rather, it would be a wise and intelligent thing to read each page for its own merit and value and digest and internalize the message that each one has to offer.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2019 – Balboa Press

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BOOK REVIEW: Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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By Gini Rainey

Imagine, if you will, a shack in the middle of the backwater marshes of the Atlantic Ocean in North Carolina.  The setting is as raw as the story that Owens tells about the abandonment and coming-of-age of young Kya.

Left behind by her entire family at the age of six, Kya learns more about life and survival in a short time than most people learn in a lifetime.

Ms. Owens’, no stranger to the publishing community having several books in print, paints a world full of wonder and discovery as Kya explores the beauty of nature around her as she struggles to stay alive.

Living on the edge of a community that neither helps her nor understands her, she grows into a beautiful, highly intelligent young woman with the help of a young boy who was a friend of her brothers.

Expertly building characters you will come to either love or despise, Ms. Owens laces Where the Crawdads Sing with a hint of physical abuse, romance, and murder.

Owens has created a book that has everything necessary to keep the reader turning the pages to the surprise ending.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2018 – G. P. Putnam’s Sons

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