Savory Sunday: May 31, 2015

I may live in Texas, but I’m a Jersey girl at heart. This is one of the dishes my mom made when I was younger and I only had about twice since I’ve been in Texas. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come out looking like the picture. It never does!


Baked Ziti

2 or 3 LBS of ground beef

3 LBS jar of meat spaghetti sauce (If fancy your own sauce)

Small/Medium/Large tub of ricotta cheese (Whole or Skim)

Big bag of Ziti pasta or Penne pasta

Bag of shredded cheese sharp

Bag of shredded cheese mild

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Brown ground beef on stove top.

 Place a large pot with hot water on to boil. Once boiling place the pasta into the pot. Cook until done. Strain pasta.

As you are doing this, you can be making your own sauce or warming up the spaghetti sauce. Once warm, put as little or all of the ricotta cheese into the sauce pot. Stir, melting the cheese. Leave no chunks and the sauce will become a light red.

Once ground beef is done, drain it before adding it to the sauce. Mix together, then put on low.

Get you baking pan. Cover the bottom with pasta, before adding some meat/sauce to cover the pasta. Sprinkle cheese on top of meat. (Repeat until you run out of pasta and meat)

I like to do the first two layers with mild adding the sharp on the top layer.

Wrap with foil, place in oven until cheese is melted. (About 20 minutes.)

Once done, take out of the oven and serve.

Will be extremely hot. Remember to blow. 🙂 Taste yummy with garlic bread or Texas toast.


Simple Saturday: May 30, 2015

So let me set the mood for you. I am sitting at my computer, listening to my Google Play, while I get the post ready for Teaser Thursday. My two girls are sitting in the living room with me. There minding there business on the couch. The oldest is watching television, while the youngest is writing in one of my notebooks. Everything is going well.

Until I hear my son screaming “mommy, mommy” frantically. I get up to see what’s wrong, when he is running from the bathroom, fixing his clothes.

Me: What’s the matter?

Son: The bathroom scared me.

So, now I’m curious.

Me: What scared you?

I ask as I walk towards the closed bathroom door. Maybe it was a bug or fly.

Son: The toilet scared me.

Now, I’m trying to contain my laughter. I look at the toilet and the lid is closed. So I state logically.

Me: Maybe when you stood up it the lid closed on you. It’s okay.

He looks at me then the toilet before saying okay. As we are leaving the bathroom, the microwave timer goes off, letting me know my tater tots are almost done. He announces this to me like we did not just have to investigate the bathroom.

Now let’s fast forward 20 minutes.

I’m in the kitchen while I finish fixing my food. When I hear my oldest say, “Wow, you’re strong let’s do that again.” “What the hell,” comes from me, because she’s talking to a three year old. How strong can he be? I go investigate and find my oldest laying on the couch, while my son tries to pull the pillow from under her head. Both of them are cracking up.

I look around the room because there is a child missing. I go look in the bedrooms and find her sitting on my son’s bed coloring in his coloring book with her back to me.

Me: What are you doing?

Youngest: Looks at me before throwing the coloring book and crayon, then pushing it away from her for good measure. Slide off the bed, then run into the living room as if she wasn’t doing anything wrong.

Kids, I tell you!

Flash Fiction Friday: May 29, 2015


“Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?”

“Same thing we do every night Pinky, try to take over the world.”

I stare down at my lover, laughing. He gets me.

“You are such a dork.” I state with a fond smile.

“If I am, so are you. You started it.” He states chuckling.

“I know, but I didn’t expect you to keep going, I thought you would tell me what we were going to be doing.”

“I did, one restaurant at a time. I’m starving.”

Teaser Thursday: Taming His Mercenary

“Fancy meeting you here.” Elliot said as he came to his table. “Mind if I join you?”

“No not at all.”

“So how’s your day going?” Elliot asked with a smile.

“It’s going; and yours?” Rick replied as he waved the waitress back over.

“It’s going. Have you talked to your best friend?”

Rick had hoped Elliot would have forgotten what he told him, but that was something kind of hard to forget.

“Yeah. He said he wanted to stay friends.”

“Ouch,” Elliot said with a chuckle.

“Tell me about it. Look, I don’t think we should go to dinner. I don’t want you to feel like I’m using you.”

“You can use me anytime you want.” Elliot said with a wink, then turned to the waitress to give her his order.

“No really-“

“I wasn’t kidding this morning when I told you I can be the guy to help you forget. What do you have to lose?”

He was right, Christian didn’t want him, and there was a man sitting in front of him who did. What did he have to lose?

“Okay, I’ll go.”

It wasn’t like Rick had been a monk, but he always compared the people he was with to Christian. He wasn’t doing that with Elliot, maybe if he succeeded in making him forget his love for Christian then they could be friends again.

“Do you have any plans for today?” Elliot asked after their food had been delivered.

“No. My boss gave me the day off.” Rick answered before he took a bite of his food.

“What is it you do?”

This was the tricky part. Did he tell Elliot now, and risk him walking away or later on down the line have Elliot try to get him to change his profession.

“I’m a mercenary.”

“Really. That’s not something you hear every day; interesting.” Elliot had a gleam in his eye as he spoke.

“I think so.”

“Hey, if you love what you do, keep doing it.” Elliot replied as he pushed his empty plate away.

Rick let out a sigh of relief. This might work. “What do you do for a living?”

“Nothing as interesting as you, that’s for sure. I’m a real estate agent.”

“I never would have guessed that.” Rick said with a chuckle.

“I can say the same for you. Well… maybe not. The bad ass look is good on you.”

“I won’t deny that I can handle myself.”

“I have to head out of here. I’m showing a house today. Text me later?” Elliot asked as he stood and placed some money on the table.

“You can count on it.”

Rick watched as Elliot left the diner. He was actually excited about his date tomorrow. Which was odd, because he never would have looked twice at anyone before. Now that he knew where he stood with Christian, there wasn’t anything holding him back. Except his pesky heart. Waving his hand to get the waitress’ attention, he paid the bill and he left for home. He didn’t need to spend the day away after all, and it was mainly thanks to Elliot.

Copyright © Vanessa Sims, 2015

Wish List Wednesday: May 27, 2015


Heart’s Duo (Ugly Eternity #4)

Release Date: May 18, 2015


What began as a half-baked scheme to help his brother win the man of his dreams has become a tailspin Joss can’t escape. His actions and secrets have kept him from making any real claim on the woman who captured his attention years ago.

But secrets have a way of coming to light.

Maddox has known from almost the beginning Joss has been playing games with his life. What he doesn’t realize is how deep the man’s deception runs. When Cade and Dylan’s wedding reception brings everyone together in one place, the entire story is revealed with a little help from Benton.

And Hell hath no fury like a man with nothing left to lose.

The implosion Joss has braced for has finally come to pass, changing everything forever. With Jamie and Hawke in another country, enjoying their happily ever after, Maddox is about to teach Joss a valuable lesson in toying with other people’s lives.

What happens when bad decisions, manipulations, good intentions, and misunderstandings combine? It’s an Ugly Eternity.


Buy Links:


Charlie’s Hero (Hero’s #1)

Release Date: June 17, 2015


Schoolteacher Charlie Matthews returns to his hometown, looking to regain a sense of community, reconnect with friends, and settle down. It looks like his dreams have come true when paramedic Josh Campbell attends an accident at the school. It’s love at first sight, and a romance begins.

But Josh’s reluctance to come out to the brother who raised him, puts pressure on their fledgling relationship. While Charlie understands Josh’s concerns, he can’t help growing impatient. After all, Charlie came out years ago.

It’s not until Charlie confronts his own parents and realizes he hasn’t come to terms with their rejection that he fully understands what Josh has to lose. But Josh is Charlie’s hero, and Josh will do anything to prove to Charlie that he doesn’t need his parents to be part of a family.


Buy Link: Pre-Order
DreamSpinner Press

Cover Reveal: A Fighter’s A Heart

A Fighters Heart E-Book Cover

Image by Jasminko Ibrakovic

Cover Art by Kellie Dennis at Book Cover by Design
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“Have you talked to Harvey recently?”

Riley Hall stopped his grocery cart in the middle of the aisle. Oliver’s tone of voice told him he needed to pay close attention to his next words.

“No, I haven’t spoken to him lately. I thought he was out of town with the Robertson’s this week.”

Riley, Harvey, and Oliver worked  together for an at home manny service. Each with their own clients. Harvey should have been at the beach with the Robertson’s. Lucky bastard.

“I think you need to talk to him along with Mr. and Mrs. Marshall.”

Riley’s ears perked up at the name of his clients. They had a little boy and girl, Alicia and Tanner, who were six and three. He had been with them since Tanner had been eighteen months.

“Why do I need to talk to them Oliver?”

Today had been Riley’s day off, it wasn’t uncommon for the families to use another person from the manny service. He had decided to go grocery shopping, he could only live off of noodles for so long. He didn’t think he needed to worry about his clients.

“I got a call from Harvey today. He told me the Marshall’s wanted to keep him on full time.” Oliver stated matter of fact.

“That son of a sea biscuit. He knew, he knew, I’ve been trying to get on full time with them.”

When a client liked one of the mannies services, they normally took them on full time. Making it so that they worked exclusively with that client.

“Really Ry? If there were ever a time to use the word bitch, now would be that time.” Oliver chuckled.

Riley had needed to curb his tendency to use sentence enhancers, better known as curse words. He found out quickly that kids will repeat whatever you said.

“Shut up, this is serious.” Riley admonished as he started pushing his cart again.

“I know, that’s why you need to use grown up words.”

Teaser Tuesday: A Fighter’s Heart

“Dom.” Holly’s voice pulled him from his thoughts.

“Oh, Summer stopped by out of the blue, stating that I was Emilia’s father. I even found a paternity test inside the diaper bag she gave me.”

“Did you know she was pregnant with your kid?”

“Hell no. Are you calling me a dead beat dad?” He asked careful not to raise his voice. He did not need for Emilia to wake up crying.

“That’s not what I’m saying at all. I just needed to ask.” Holly stated before sitting next to them on the couch.

“What the hell am I going to do Holls? I don’t know anything about tiny kids.” He whispered to his manager and best friend.

“First, you’re going to have to stop cussing.”

“What the hell?” Dominic stared at her in horror. He was the World Heavy Weight Champion in Mixed Martial Arts. He needed to drop a few f bombs to get his point across.

“Kids pick up on that quickly.”

“We don’t even know if she’s my kid.” He grumbled.

“All the same. I’ve been telling you, you need to stop cussing because of the kids you’re around at the center.”

She had been telling him that, but he wasn’t incline to listen.

“Do you want her to be your child?” Holly asked in a soft voice.

Dominic hadn’t stopped to think on that question. “I don’t know.” He answered honestly.

“Okay, so here’s what we’re going to do. Tomorrow morning we’re going to get a paternity test. If she turns out to be yours we are going to get everything you will need to get you two settled.”

Holly was right. There wasn’t anything Dominic could do about it now until he knew for sure. “Thanks Holls. I want to go to sleep, but I’m scared to move.”

“Don’t tell me a little toddler has the World Heavy Weight Champion scared to wake her.” Holly giggled.

“He… Heck yeah. Did you hear the lungs on her?” He was trying with the cursing.

“Great save. Here I’ll take her to your room. Have you changed her diaper or feed her?”

Dominic stared at Holly in horror, change a diaper. “Uh no.”

“You are too much right now.” Dominic held his breath as Holly took Emilia from his chest. When it looked like Emilia was going to cry, Holly started talking to her, while rocking her.

What the hell was he going to do now?

5* Review: Freeing His Mercenary

Vanessa Sims got us right back into the story with Rick and Christian.

Freeing his Mercenary is the third book in a series Mercenary in Love. I would highly recommend that you read His Mercenary, and Taming His Mercenary first.

Rick was induced coma to help with the swelling on his brain, for his beating and capture. When he wakes up he does not recognize his team mates and the man he was in love with Christian. When Christian see that Rick does not remember him and that they were best friend and more, he decides not to tell him. There are many roller coast feeling going on between Rick and Christian. The team is still searching for Logan who had kidnapped Rick. Elliott is Logan brother, and he just wants to get away from his brother and the others. There are many twist and turns in this story with Chase, Killian, Rick, Christian and Elliott.

The cliff hanger at the end, just makes it so much harder to wait and see what happens with the couples and the team


This is a must read book and the series should be read in order.

~ Virginia Lee

Savory Sunday: May 24, 2015

For everyone who will be grilling today and/or tomorrow here are some recipes for  BBQ Ribs. Easy and delicious. Don’t worry if yours doesn’t come out looking like the pictures. They never do!


2 1/2 LBS country style pork ribs

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 tbsp salt

1 cup barbeque sauce (Bottle of barbeque sauce)

Place a large pot of water on the stove top. Put all of your season into water and mix it all in there. Place the ribs into the seasoned water. Bring water to a boil and cook until ribs are tender. You can cover the pot or leave uncovered.

Pre heat oven 325 degrees F (165 degrees C)

Remove ribs from pot once done, and place into a baking dish. Pour your one cup of barbeque sauce over the ribs, but if your like me and want them babies smothered in barbeque sauce you use the entire bottle. Cover dish with aluminum foil.

Place in your pre-heated oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Or until internal temperature of pork has reached 160 degrees F (70 degrees C)

Once done take out and serve.

Will be extremely hot, remember to blow. 😉 Great with mashed potatoes and corn on the cob.


Seasoned salt

8 pounds baby back pork ribs (8 racks) or St. Louis-style spareribs (4 racks)

1 1/2 cups store-bought or homemade barbecue sauce plus more (Entire bottle or a lot of homemade sauce)

Preheat oven to 350°. Place each rack of ribs on a double layer of foil; sprinkle seasoned salt all over ribs. Wrap racks individually and divide between 2 baking sheets.

Bake ribs until very tender but not falling apart, about 2 hours for baby backs and 3 hours for spareribs. Carefully unwrap ribs; pour any juices from foil into a 4-cup heatproof measuring cup; reserve juices. Let ribs cool completely.

DO AHEAD: Ribs can be baked up to 3 days ahead . Cover and chill juices. Rewrap ribs in foil and chill. (Optional)

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Add water to rib juices, if needed, to measure 1 1/2 cups (Optional). Whisk in barbecue sauce to blend.

Grill ribs, basting with barbecue sauce mixture and turning frequently, until lacquered and charred in places and heated through, 7-10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; cut between ribs to separate. Transfer to a platter and serve with additional barbecue sauce.

Will be extremely hot, remember to blow 😉 Great with mashed potatoes and corn on the cob.