Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Cooking With Author SD Shaw



Today we welcome SD Shaw, a U.K. author, on the Patchwork Quilt to share a recipe and his novel.

Welcome, SD (a.k.a, Steve)!  Tell us about your recipe and book. Both look interesting. I love cheese and pasta . . .and tomatoes . . .and you can't go wrong with bacon.

Breakfast Mac 'n' Cheese
500g of dried macaroni (or preferred pasta)
300g of grated cheese (cheese of choice but works well with mature cheddar)
4 sausages (any variety)
6 rashes of unsmoked bacon
4 large eggs
4 large tomatoes 
1 small tub of soft cheese (such as Philadelphia) 
a little splash of olive oil
a pinch of salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of English Mustard

1) Start your pasta boiling in a saucepan, covering with boiling water with a pinch of salt and a splash of olive oil added into the mix. The pasta should boil for around 10-15 minutes or until al-dente. Once cooked, drain and leave to cool.
2) Whilst the pasta is cooking, pop your sausages under the grill and cook till browned, turning to achieve maximum coverage. Repeat the process with the bacon rashers. Once the sausage has cooled, cut into slices and chop up the now crispy bacon. The meats are best cooked under the grill, in order to remove some of the fats, which will make the Mac more greasy than cheesy.
3) Chop the onion into dice or slices and fry up in a little olive oil.
4) Select a baking tray or large flat pan, use a drop of olive oil to grease it and tip in your pasta.
5) Add the cream cheese to the pasta in easily mixable spoonful's, add the salt and pepper and the mustard and coat the pasta as best you can. There is no cheese sauce, as this is intended to be quite a thick, dry, but sticky Mac and Cheese.
6) Mix in the bacon, sausage slices and 200grams of the grated cheese, ensuring an even spread.
7) Next, crate 4 circular 'craters' in the mixtures, making gaps in the pasta mixture, to which you will crack your eggs into, one per crater.
8) Slice the tomatoes into quarters and  wedge them into the pasta mix at frequent intervals, but not into the raw eggs, and sprinkle the remainder of the grated cheese over the top of the dish.
9) Bake for 20-25 minutes, at around gas mark 7, or until the egg whites are fully cooked and there is a nice golden, cheesy top to the dish.
10) Serve in slices, this dish is accompanied perfectly by a crisp green salad or a side of baked beans.

Okay, that recipe sounds wonderful. I must try it. Now tell us about your novel, The Peculiar Investigations of Felix Mathis #1: Astounding Secrets and Deadly Professors.

Felix Mathis is a regular 14-year-old boy with the usual problems. As well as struggling with school bullies, strange crushes and troublesome parental issues he also happens to have brilliant powers of deduction and a burning desire to become the world’s greatest detective. But when his sleep is disturbed by a series of loud crashes seemingly coming from beneath his house and his best friend, Morgan tells him of a fiendish plot to injure their fellow student Ellie Baldwin, Felix cannot even begin to imagine the dramatic and dangerous path his investigations are set to lead him on. As Felix struggles with his own investigations, Dominic Chase (a grizzled American spy) and Scarlett Romonova (a Victorian explorer who’s been frozen in time) two operatives working for the secret government agency SPIT, face a parallel struggle to control their latest house guest, a live Velociraptor, in a secret base deep beneath Felix’s house. 

As the worlds of both Felix and the Agents inevitably collide, they are forced to join forces in order to take down a mad Professor and stop his complex and evil plan, re-designing the genetic make-up of a number of kidnapped children and turning them into modern day versions of history’s most notorious bad guys . Along the way Felix is inducted into the Agency, must navigate a trap filled secret wing in the hospital, avoid reincarnated prehistoric beasts, fight zombified paramedics and come face to face with the evil genius, Prof. Callum Doyle.

Get your copy of The Peculiar Investigations of Felix Mathis here.

Thanks for joining us for Cooking With Authors today!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Grief Dates

"Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim."
~Vicki Harrison

Not sure why I was feeling sad on this Friday.  I went through the usual check list. 


They are okay as far as I know.

Parents?  Getting older, but healthy.



My health?


It all showed up good.

I carried on, packing orders for our in-home business. Carl and I talked about Memorial Day weekend plans. I worked on a newsletter, did laundry, texted my kids, What was wrong with me? I felt as through I could burst into a puddle of tears. I made a cup of hot tea. Tea is soothing.

By 3 PM when Carl and I went on our daily trek to the local post office to mail orders, I was still unsure what was making me sad.

And then, as we sat in Friday Memorial Day weekend traffic, I realized today is the 24th, Could it be . . .?

With the help of Google, I found out.

"Google," I said into Carl's phone (I'd left mine at home), "What day of the week was May 24, 1996?"

And Google said, "It was a Friday."

And then all mysteries were solved.

Today is Friday, May 24th. Twenty-three years ago May 24th was also a Friday. Twenty-three years ago our pediatrician called to tell me that my three-year-old had cancer. Daniel spent that night in the hospital with his daddy as tests were done. Shortly after that, his week of chemo started. And nothing let up, no breaks, no good news, and then he died.

Obviously, I haven't sealed this date in my mind by remembering it; I've always associated his diagnosis with the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Since every year the 24th of May doesn't fall on on a Friday, I just recall a little or a lot of that particular weekend. Some years I remembered how the hospital staff decorated his hospital room with Barney because Daniel had on a Barney T-shirt. They didn't know that Daniel only wore the shirt because I'd gotten it on sale at a consignment store. Other years what jumped out was that vivid scene of seeing another family headed in their van to a church picnic while our family was headed in our van back to the hospital.

The thing for me is the realization that even after all this time, Memorial Day still makes me sad. I can't hide it. You would think that time would take away sadness. It has reduced some of the intense heartache. But the sadness this day holds never fades. This was when I heard that my son had neuroblastoma. This was when I realized how one moment can change the course of a life and there is no going back to how things used to be.

We learn to swim in the waves of grief. We discover how to adapt to our new lives. I think we spend the rest of our lives navigating grief.  It really is learn to navigate or sink. There isn't any other choice.

Memorial Day Weekend is a time to remember those we have lost over the years. I know the holiday was created to honor our servicemen and servicewomen, and I do that. But I also honor the memory and life of Daniel. He fought hard through every treatment. He was A Brave Cookie.


Do you have certain dates that are sad for you because of the diagnosis or death of a loved one?
How do you handle the emotions? Does grief ever surprise you?

Monday, May 20, 2019

Cooking With Author Robert Sanasi!

Today at my Cooking with Authors segment on The Patchwork Quilt Blog, we welcome Robert Sanasi from the South of Italy, but when he wrote his novel, he was living in Dublin. He has a recipe for us to try and a bit about his novel, Dublin Calling.

Welcome, Robert. Thanks for joining us here.

Robert says: This is my recipe for an Italian "frittata" (our omelette).
Whisk eggs, basil, salt, breadcrumbs, and parsley in a large bowl; pour eggs along with some ham or salami as you prefer. Sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese. Cook on the saucepan for about 5 minutes until everything becomes a solid shape that you can slice and serve. It is kind of special to me as I remember it was the first thing my mom tried to teach me how to cook before I moved out of home long ago.

That's a sweet memory. Also, I like frittatas. Tell us about your debut novel.


Here's the blurb:
A Southern Italian man who finds himself hungry for life decides to emigrate to the crazy Northern European city of Dublin. From that moment onward, no matter where else he chooses to travel, Dublin is forever calling him! Dublin Calling is a fascinating and honest insight into the life of a 2.0 migrant.

I was jumping on a rollercoaster for a long and amazing ride. I was a young soul waiting to take-off and experience unpredictability. Hope, pain, love, sex… and everything in between. Dublin was calling me.

Readers, you can get a copy of Robert's book here on Amazon.

Robert, thanks for being my guest today. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Cooking with Author Hope Bolinger

This post is part of a series I call Cooking with Authors. It's fun to read recipes and try them. You know I've been a life-long-explorer of interesting recipes.

Today we welcome author Hope Bolinger.

Hope, welcome to The Patchwork Quilt Blog. I'm looking forward to learning what recipe you've brought for our readers.

Hope: My favorite recipe is avocado banana smoothies.

The ingredients are half an avocado, one banana, enough milk to cover the ingredients (highly recommend vanilla flavored rice milk or almond milk).

Place the ingredients in a blender, blend, use a colander if needed to ensure the liquid is smooth.

Why is this recipe special to you?

Hope: My dad used to always make the this after a hard day at high school. It’s healthy, hearty, and tastes delicious. 

Tell us about your soon-to-be-released book, Blaze, that comes out June 3rd.

Hope: Danny was told sophomore year was supposed to be stressful . . . but he didn’t expect his school to burn down on the first day. 

To add to his sophomore woes, he—and his three best friends—receive an email in their inboxes from the principal of their rival, King’s Academy, offering full-rides to attend the prestigious boarding school. Danny says no. His overbearing mother says yes. So off he goes. 

From day one at King’s, Danny encounters horrible hazing initiations, girls who like to pick other people’s scabs, and cafeteria food that could turn the strongest stomachs sour. As he attempts to survive, he will have to face his fears or fall prey to the King’s Academy lions. 

Tell us a little about you:

Hope: I'm a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a recent graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 300 of my works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. I've worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and have edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. My column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 2,700+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog, which receives 63,000+ monthly hits. I'm excited for my modern-day Daniel "Blaze" to come out with IlluminateYA (an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). I enjoy all things theater, cats, and fire.

Where can readers find you and your book?

Hope: You can find Blaze on Amazon. You can find me here:

Facebook: @therosewoman
Twitter: @hopebolinger
Instagram: @hopebolinger
Website:  or click here.

Thanks for joining us today, Hope. Best wishes for the success of your novel. I'm off to make an avocado banana smoothie.