Tammy's Weblog

Tammy’s French Dip Recipe
October 17, 2015, 8:14 am
Filed under: Favorites, Food, Recipes | Tags: , ,

French Dip


Boneless Chuck Roast

Boneless Chuck Roast

One chuck roast. Lean is preferred, trim if overly marbled with fat.

HEB Beef Broth 32 oz.

32 oz Beef Broth

32 oz sounds like a lot of liquid for slow cooking but remember that this is the base for the au jus dipping sauce. It is so good there never seems to be enough.

Pioneer Brand French Dip Au Jus Mix

Pioneer Brand French Dip Au Jus Mix

2 packages – this is key, do NOT substitute with other brands.  http://www.pioneerbrand.com/where-to-buy/

HEB 5 for $1 Bakery Bolillos

HEB 5 for $1 Bakery Bolillos

Or other suitable hoagie/sub or ciabatta rolls.


Pour the beef broth and au jus mix into the crock pot. Mix well (I use a silicone whisk).  Add beef chuck roast.  Slow cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Tear cooked roast apart with fork.  Load up a bakery roll with slow cooked beef and other toppings as desired. I like mayo, but some folks like cheese and/or carmelized onions and peppers.

Serve au jus on the side for dipping.

Key Lime Poundcake with Key Lime Cream Cheese Icing…omg!
March 22, 2015, 5:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Tammy Sue:

Key Lime makes me happy!

Originally posted on The Irreverent Kitchen:


Next week is my older sister Cynthia’s birthday.  She was my first friend, my first confidante and my first co-conspirator.  She loved tennis and french, classical music and fashion.  She was the best big sister.  She watched out for me and was always there for me especially when I went through my “wild” stage.  She never judged and has unfailingly given me the best advice she could our whole lives together.  We share the early years in Puerto Rico before Tommy and Pamela were born.  We shared Crayola crayons while coloring and spent hours playing “little dolls”.  While in college the clouds of cigarette smoke billowing out of her bedroom were epic during our late night girl-talkathons.


Here she is circa 1974 after a tennis match and cooling dip in the pool.  Slender, feminine and a helluva flirt she drove her college beaus mad.  Today we both have a passion…

View original 901 more words

2014 in review
December 29, 2014, 3:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,800 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

2014 Summer Reading List

Tammy's 2014 Summer Reading List

I have read some great books this summer from a variety of different genres. Discovered some new authors. Met new characters from favorite authors. I hope you find something new to read from my list.


Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King     Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King  

In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands.

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

GENRES: Horror, Thriller, Mystery>Crime

Buy for nook     Buy for Kindle


The Girl Who Came Home by M. R. Casey     The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Casey

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin and Neil Gaiman.

GENRES: Horror>Zombies, Science Fiction, British Literature

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle


Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio     Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio

Seattle, 1933. Single mother Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, goodnight and departs to work the night-shift at a local hotel. She emerges to discover that a May-Day snow has blanketed the city, and that her son has vanished. Outside, she finds his beloved teddy bear lying face-down on an icy street, the snow covering up any trace of his tracks, or the perpetrator’s.

Seattle, 2010. “Seattle Herald” reporter Claire Aldridge, assigned to cover the May 1 “blackberry winter” storm and its twin, learns of the unsolved abduction and vows to unearth the truth. In the process, she finds that she and Vera may be linked in unexpected ways…

GENRES: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Women’s Fiction

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle


Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion     Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.

R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Not just another zombie novel, Warm Bodies is funny, scary, and deeply moving.

GENRES: Horror>Zombies, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle


Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens     Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens

All her life, Sara Gallagher has wondered about her birth parents. As an adopted child with two sisters who were born naturally to her parents, Sara did not have an ideal home life. The question of why she was given up for adoption has always haunted her. Finally, she is ready to take steps and to find closure.

After months of research, Sara locates her birth mother—only to be met with horror and rejection. Then she discovers the devastating truth: Her mother was the only victim ever to escape a killer who has been hunting women every summer for decades. But Sara soon realizes the only thing worse than finding out about her father is him finding out about her.

Never Knowing is a complex and compelling portrayal of one woman’s quest to understand herself, her origins, and her family. That is, if she can survive. . . .

GENRES: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery>Crime

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle


Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass     Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass (Book 1 of the Body Farm series)

“There is a patch of ground in Tennessee dedicated to the science of death, where human remains lie exposed to be studied for their secrets. The real-life scientist who founded the “Body Farm” has broken cold cases and revolutionized forensics . . . and now he spins an astonishing tale inspired by his own experiences.”

Renowned anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton has spent his career surrounded by death at the Body Farm. Now he’s being called upon to help solve a baffling puzzle in a remote mountain community. The mummified corpse of a young woman dead for thirty years has been discovered in a cave, the body bizarrely preserved and transformed by the environment’s unique chemistry. But Brockton’s investigation is threatening to open old wounds among an insular people who won’t forget or forgive. And a long-buried secret prematurely exposed could inflame Brockton’s own guilt—and the dangerous hostility of bitter enemies determined to see him fail . . . by any means necessary.

GENRES: Thriller, Suspense, Mystery>Crime

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle


Evidence of Life by Barbara Sissell     Evidence of Life by Barbara Sissell

On the last ordinary day of her life, Abby Bennett feels like the luckiest woman alive. But everyone knows that luck doesn’t last forever.… As her husband, Nick, and daughter, Lindsey, embark on a weekend camping trip to the Texas Hill Country, Abby looks forward to having some quiet time to herself. She braids Lindsey’s hair, reminds Nick to drive safely and kisses them both goodbye. For a brief moment, Abby thinks she has it all—a perfect marriage, a perfect life—until a devastating storm rips through the region, and her family vanishes without a trace.

When Nick and Lindsey are presumed dead, lost in the raging waters, Abby refuses to give up hope. Consumed by grief and clinging to her belief that her family is still alive, she sets out to find them. But as disturbing clues begin to surface, Abby realizes that the truth may be far more sinister than she imagined. Soon she finds herself caught in a current of lies that threaten to unhinge her and challenge everything she once believed about her marriage and family.

With a voice that resonates with stunning clarity, Barbara Taylor Sissel delivers a taut and chilling mystery about a mother’s love, a wife’s obsession and the invisible fractures that can shatter a family.

GENRES: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle


The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson     The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson (Book 1 of the Walt Longmire series)

Walt Longmire, sheriff of Wyoming’s Absaroka County, knows he’s got trouble when Cody Pritchard is found dead. Two years earlier, Cody and three accomplices had been given suspended sentences for raping a Northern Cheyenne girl. Is someone seeking vengeance? Longmire faces one of the more volatile and challenging cases in his twenty-four years as sheriff and means to see that revenge, a dish that is best served cold, is never served at all.

GENRES: Thriller, Mystery>Crime

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle


Easily Amused by Karen McQuestion     Easily Amused by Karen McQuestion

Twenty-nine year-old Lola Watson has two best friends, a dream job editing a parenting magazine, and a charming old house inherited from a great-aunt she barely knew. Life would be perfect if only she could avoid her intrusive neighbors. And for that matter, she also wouldn’t mind being happily married like her friend Piper, or even engaged like her younger sister Mindy.

Lola’s peaceful existence is shattered when high school buddy Hubert moves in with her after a break-up, her sister changes her wedding date to Lola’s thirtieth birthday, and the nosy neighbors take Hubert under their wing. Life gets more complicated when Piper sets Lola up with a good-looking stranger who turns out to be the talk of her neighborhood–the mystery man from across the street.

GENRES: Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit

Buy paperback from Barnes & Noble    Buy for Kindle

Ripper by Isabelle Allende     Ripper by Isabel Allende

The Jackson women, Indiana and Amanda, have always had each other. Yet, while their bond is strong, mother and daughter are as different as night and day. Indiana, a beautiful holistic healer, is a free-spirited bohemian. Long divorced from Amanda’s father, she’s reluctant to settle down with either of the men who want her-Alan, the wealthy scion of one of San Francisco’s elite families, and Ryan, an enigmatic, scarred former Navy SEAL.

While her mom looks for the good in people, Amanda is fascinated by the dark side of human nature, like her father, the SFPD’s Deputy Chief of Homicide. Brilliant and introverted, the MIT-bound high school senior is a natural-born sleuth addicted to crime novels and Ripper, the online mystery game she plays with her beloved grandfather and friends around the world.

When a string of strange murders occurs across the city, Amanda plunges into her own investigation, discovering, before the police do, that the deaths may be connected. But the case becomes all too personal when Indiana suddenly vanishes. Could her mother’s disappearance be linked to the serial killer? Now, with her mother’s life on the line, the young detective must solve the most complex mystery she’s ever faced before it’s too late.

GENRES: Thriller, Mystery>Crime

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle


The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes     The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes


The future is not as loud as war, but it is relentless. It has a terrible fury all its own.”

Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future. Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women, burning with potential, whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbles on a House in Depression-era Chicago that opens on to other times.

At the urging of the House, Harper inserts himself into the lives of the shining girls, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He’s the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable-until one of his victims survives. Determined to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago Sun-Times to work with the ex-homicide reporter, Dan Velasquez, who covered her case. Soon Kirby finds herself closing in on the impossible truth . . .

THE SHINING GIRLS is a masterful twist on the serial killer tale: a violent quantum leap featuring a memorable and appealing heroine in pursuit of a deadly criminal.

GENRES: Thriller, Science Fiction>Time Travel, Mystery>Crime

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle


The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley     The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (Book 1 of the Flavia de Luce series)

To Flavia the investigation is the stuff of science: full of possibilities, contradictions, and connections. Soon her father, a man raising his three daughters alone, is seized, accused of murder. And in a police cell, during a violent thunderstorm, Colonel de Luce tells his daughter an astounding story—of a schoolboy friendship turned ugly, of a priceless object that vanished in a bizarre and brazen act of thievery, of a Latin teacher who flung himself to his death from the school’s tower thirty years before. Now Flavia is armed with more than enough knowledge to tie two distant deaths together, to examine new suspects, and begin a search that will lead her all the way to the King of England himself. Of this much the girl is sure: her father is innocent of murder—but protecting her and her sisters from something even worse…

GENRES: Historical Fiction, Mystery, British Literature

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle


Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson   Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson (Book 1 of the Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery series)

Diane Mott Davidson’s winning recipe of first-class suspense and five-star fare has won her and caterer Goldy critical raves and a regular place on major bestseller lists across the country. In Goldy’s tantalizing debut, she serves up a savory dish of secrets, suspicions, and murder….

Catering a wake is not Goldy’s idea of fun. Yet the Colorado caterer throws herself into preparing a savory feast including Poached Salmon and Strawberry Shortcake Buffet designed to soothe forty mourners. And her culinary efforts seem to be exactly what the doctor ordered…until her ex-father-in-law gynecologist Fritz Korman is struck down and Goldy is accused of adding poison to the menu. Now, with the Department of Health impounding her leftovers, her ex-husband proclaiming her guilt, and her business about to be shut down, Goldy knows she can’t wait for the police to serve up the answers. She’ll soon uncover more than one family skeleton and a veritable stew of unpalatable secrets–the kind that could make Goldy the main course in an unsavory killer’s next murder!

GENRES: Mystery>Cozy Mystery, Food and Drink>Culinary

Buy paperback from Barnes & Noble    Buy for Kindle


Must Love Otters by Eliza Gordon     Must Love Otters by Eliza Gordon

Hollie Porter is the chairwoman of Generation Disillusioned: at twenty-five years old, she’s saddled with a job she hates, a boyfriend who’s all wrong for her, and a vexing inability to say no. She’s already near her breaking point, so when one caller too many kicks the bucket during Hollie’s 911 shift, she cashes in the Sweethearts’ Spa & Stay gift certificate from her dad and heads to Revelation Cove, British Columbia. One caveat: she’s going solo. Any sweethearts will have to be found on site.

Hollie hopes to find her beloved otters in the wilds of the Great White North, but instead she’s providing comic relief for staff and guests alike. Even Concierge Ryan, a former NHL star with bad knees and broken dreams, can’t stop her from stumbling from one (mis)adventure to another. Just when Hollie starts to think that a change of venue doesn’t mean a change in circumstances, the island works its charm and she starts to think she might have found the rejuvenation she so desperately desires. But then an uninvited guest crashes the party, forcing her to step out of the discomfort zone where she dwells and save the day … and maybe even herself in the process.

GENRES: Womens’ Fiction, Chick Lit

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle


Six Years by Harlen Coben     Six Years by Harlen Coben

In “Six Years,” a masterpiece of modern suspense, Harlan Coben explores the depth and passion of lost love…and the secrets and lies at its heart.

Six years have passed since Jake Sanders watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd.

But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for…but she is not Natalie. Whoever the mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for almost two decades, and with that fact everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life–a time he has never gotten over–is turned completely inside out.

As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can’t be found, or don’t remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years. Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart, who lied to him, soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on a carefully constructed fiction.

Harlan Coben once again delivers a shocking page-turner that deftly explores the power of past love, and the secrets and lies that such love can hide.

GENRES: Thriller, Suspense, Mystery>Crime

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle


Three Souls by Janie Change   Three Souls by Janie Chang

We have three souls, or so I’d been told. But only in death could I confirm this … So begins the haunting and captivating tale, set in 1935 China, of the ghost of a young woman named Leiyin, who watches her own funeral from above and wonders why she is being denied entry to the afterlife. Beside her are three souls—stern and scholarly yang; impulsive, romantic yin; and wise, shining hun—who will guide her toward understanding. She must, they tell her, make amends.

As Leiyin delves back in time with the three souls to review her life, she sees the spoiled and privileged teenager she once was, a girl who is concerned with her own desires while China is fractured by civil war and social upheaval. At a party, she meets Hanchin, a captivating left-wing poet and translator, and instantly falls in love with him.

When Leiyin defies her father to pursue Hanchin, she learns the harsh truth—that she is powerless over her fate. Her punishment for disobedience leads to exile, an unwanted marriage, a pregnancy, and, ultimately, her death. And when she discovers what she must do to be released from limbo into the afterlife, Leiyin realizes that the time for making amends is shorter than she thought.

Suffused with history and literature, Three Souls is an epic tale of revenge and betrayal, forbidden love, and the price we are willing to pay for freedom.

GENRES: Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Asian Literature

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle


A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon     A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

A Washington Post Best Book of the Year A Spot of Bother is Mark Haddon’s unforgettable follow-up to the internationally beloved bestseller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. At sixty-one, George Hall is settling down to a comfortable retirement. When his tempestuous daughter, Katie, announces that she is getting married to the deeply inappropriate Ray, the Hall family is thrown into a tizzy. Unnoticed in the uproar, George discovers a sinister lesion on his hip, and quietly begins to lose his mind. As parents and children fall apart and come together, Haddon paints a disturbing yet amusing portrait of a dignified man trying to go insane politely.

GENRES: Contemporary Literature, Humor, British Literature

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle


The Gravedigger's Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates     The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates

In 1936 the Schwarts, an immigrant family desperate to escape Nazi Germany, settle in a small town in upstate New York, where the father, a former high school teacher, is demeaned by the only job he can get: gravedigger and cemetery caretaker. After local prejudice and the family’s own emotional frailty result in unspeakable tragedy, the gravedigger’s daughter, Rebecca, begins her astonishing pilgrimage into America, an odyssey of erotic risk and imaginative daring, ingenious self-invention, and, in the end, a bittersweet – but very “American” – triumph. “You are born here, they will not hurt you” – so the gravedigger has predicted for his daughter, which will turn out to be true.

In The Gravedigger’s Daughter, Oates has created a masterpiece of domestic yet mythic realism, at once emotionally engaging and intellectually provocative: an intimately observed testimony to the resilience of the individual to set beside such predecessors as The Falls,Blonde, and We Were the Mulvaneys.

GENRE: Historical Fiction

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle


The Girl Who Came Home by Hazen Gaynor     The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor

A voyage across the ocean becomes the odyssey of a lifetime for a young Irish woman. . . .

Ireland, 1912 . . .

Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America. For seventeen-year-old Maggie Murphy, the journey is bittersweet. Though her future lies in an unknown new place, her heart remains in Ireland with Séamus, the sweetheart she left behind. When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the few passengers in steerage to survive. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that fateful night again.

Chicago, 1982 . . .

Adrift after the death of her father, Grace Butler struggles to decide what comes next. When her great-grandmother Maggie shares the painful secret about Titanic that she’s harbored for almost a lifetime, the revelation gives Grace new direction—and leads both her and Maggie to unexpected reunions with those they thought lost long ago.

Inspired by true events, The Girl Who Came Home poignantly blends fact and fiction to explore the Titanic tragedy’s impact and its lasting repercussions on survivors and their descendants.

GENRE: Historical Fiction

Buy for nook    Buy for Kindle

Tammy’s Plain Chili
March 6, 2014, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Favorites, Food, Recipes

This is a plain basic chili recipe that works when you don’t have fresh veggies on hand but want to do a quick pot of chili. You can add canned beans if you’d like. It will serve 3 – 4 and can be easily doubled for leftovers or lunches.



1 lb. ground beef, cooked
1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
3 TBSP chili powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cumin


Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Chili with cheese

January 19, 2014, 6:47 pm
Filed under: Favorites, I'm Just Saying


Here’s to 2014
January 10, 2014, 8:53 pm
Filed under: Girl Power, I'm Just Saying



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