Friday, January 31, 2014



 UV Blue Vodka
 Jack Honey Lemonade
Sparkling Lemonade
 Orange Vodka
Blueberry Schnapps
Lemon Lime Soda
Simple Syrup

This shot is based on the Leonardo DiCaprio movie "Inception." It's a shot, within a shot, within a shot. What makes this version different from the others is that the shots here blend together and go down smooth.

Random Eats...Philly Cheese steak Sloppy Joes

Philly Cheese steak Sloppy Joes

 1 lb ground beef
1 small sweet onion chopped
1 green bell pepper seeded and chopped
1/4 cup steak sauce (like A1)...
1 cup beef broth
provolone cheese

Crumble the ground beef into a skillet and add the chopped onion and pepper. Begin to cook, when the beef is about half cooked, add the broth and steak sauce. Cook until all items are done and allow to simmer and cook down/thicken.
I used hoggie buns from the bakery. Slice them open and filled 6 with the meat mixture. Then each was topped with a slice of provolone cheese. This was placed under the broiler for 3 minutes.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Random Eats...Loaded Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole:

Loaded Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole:
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cubed (1")
8-10 medium potatoes, cut in 1/2" cubes
1/3 cup olive oil
1&1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
6 Tbsp. hot sauce

2 cups fiesta blend cheese
1 cup crumbled bacon
1 cup diced green onion

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Spray a 9X13" baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and hot sauce. Add the cubed potatoes and stir to coat. Carefully scoop the potatoes into the prepared baking dish, leaving behind as much of the olive oil/hot sauce mixture as possible. Bake the potatoes for 45-50 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until cooked through and crispy and browned on the outside. While the potatoes are cooking, add the cubed chicken to the bowl with the left over olive oil/hot sauce mixture and stir to coat. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Top the cooked potatoes with the raw marinated chicken. In a bowl ix together the cheese, bacon and green onion and top the raw chicken with the cheese mixture. Return the casserole to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the topping is bubbly delicious.
Serve with extra hot sauce and/or ranch dressing.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


2 oz. (60ml) Vanilla Vodka
1 oz. (30ml) Cranberry Juice...
Top with Champagne
Glass rimmed with Sprinkles

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Random Lit...3 on 3 with Shewanda Pugh and the Crimson Footprints Series

Shewanda Pugh
Novelist Shewanda Pugh scorched the literary scene with her debut novel, Crimson Footprints, in 2012. Since then, she's been featured in newspapers, radio shows, and television networks throughout the U.S. Shortlisted for the National Black Book Festival's Best New Author Award, the AAMBC Reader's Choice Award, and the prestigious Rone Award for Contemporary Fiction, she's best known for brazen, out-the-box romances that delve deep into contrary worlds. Pugh whips up wit, charm, humor and a dose of heartache, for a sophisticated recipe all her own.
Find Her:

Shewanda's Facebook
Shewanda's Twitter
Shewanda's Goodreads Page

Q & A Session
Q: Interracial relationships and how they're viewed seem to play a major role in this series. What was the influence behind that and what message were you trying to convey? Are there any personal undercurrents to it?
A: Well, the first "seed" for Crimson Footprints was planted with the idea of Tak. I knew who and what he'd be before I had an inkling of the world that surrounded him. He seemed the sort that would be stuck in a convoluted, conflicting world. So, that was the world I built around him. Everything and everyone, including Deena, was a product of that original idea. The only personal undercurrent I can see is that both Tak and I are the children of immigrants. It's the equivalent of forever straddling two worlds.
Q: Throughout the novels you approached time from a "vantage point." You skipped ahead by years, but you still showed the growth, or lack of it, amongst the characters. I've seen quite a few authors stick to picking up exactly where one story left off or with only a few days/weeks between, choosing to show development as it unfolds. Was it hard to go with that process?
A: I did what felt most natural. In the case of the Crimson Footprints series, it seemed that readers would want to see that lapse in time. It represented not just how their favorite characters grew (or regressed) but realism...and real life. I can't imagine a string of events "happening" to people endlessly the way it does in fiction without breaks in time. I strive for authenticity in my stories. The lapses in time are just another way I provide them.
Q: How would you classify your writing in terms of growth from the first book of this series to the last one? If you could go back and change anything within the novels would you?
A: Wow. The growth has been tremendous. It's hard to put into words. First, I was still in my grad school writing program when I penned most of book one. I look back on that and see some things that I wish I would have done differently. By book two I can see that my skills have been honed more and my writing is more focused. I won't comment on what I wish I could change because I have this nasty habit of editing so much that I wind up back where I started. So, I'm not so sure my changes would be worth much.

Just for the record, the hopeless romantic in me loved book one the most, but I thoroughly enjoyed all three books and cannot wait to read more from you. Thank you so much for stopping by and chatting with me!

Reviews and Purchase Links
The first novel in the series, Crimson Footprints, journeys through the ups and downs of a love story. The insecure Deena Hammond happens upon the brilliant Takumi Tanaka and although their relationship seems highly unlikely in a sea of doubt, hatred, and blasphemy, the two explore like no other.

Deena is bred from a family where her mother murdered her father, her grandparents blame her and her siblings for their deaths, and her siblings…well let’s just say her siblings are the least of her worries. Her biggest problem should be that of her boss and Takumi’s father, Daichi. While Deena may be bred from the slums, Takumi is the exact opposite. His father, arguably the best architect of his time, oozes class, wealth, and Japanese tradition. Takumi is expected to marry a Japanese woman, not the bi-racial Deena who he helplessly falls in love with.
Their relationship is kept a secret. Deena’s family would never accept or understand her love for a Japanese American man; they barely accept her. Takumi’s father would never accept and understand that his son has chosen to be with anyone other than a Japanese woman; this is proven in how Takumi’s uncle, who married a white woman, is all but cast out.
All hell breaks loose when Daichi discovers their relationship, fires Deena, and Takumi nearly dies.
I give the novel 5 stars. The author is an amazing writer, with a keen eye for description and you lose yourself quite easily within the pages. I’m also a sucker for romance and I love the way their story played out.

In book two in the Crimson Footprints series Takumi and Deena take a back seat to the relationship struggles of Lizzie Hammond, Deena’s prostituting, drug addicted younger sister; and Kenji Tanaka, Takumi’s hide-in-the-shadows younger brother.
Lizzie learned at a young age that sex sells, no matter the dollar amount. Her immature mind led her to sleep with her cousin’s boyfriend (grown-ass-pedophile-man, who later became her pimp!!) and from that point on she used sex as her biggest asset. A flash of her breast got her good grades. A blow job got her money for her clothes. Her body could get her almost anything she wanted…except love.
Kenji’s one true love is baseball, but his need for affection and attention from his father, Daichi, led him to accept the notion of being an architect. While he knows architecture, he’s not content with it. He would rather let everyone, including his father, assume he’s on the track to being a top architect.
A chance encounter with Lizzie trying to get information on a child claiming to be the son of her dead brother, Anthony, leads to a budding relationship between Kenji and Lizzie. Against all odds they prosper. They find in each other what they couldn’t find anywhere else. Although they try to fight it, it’s inevitable. Kenji becomes her rock; gets her into rehab and cleaned up. She becomes the one thing he can’t be without.
Book two shows the growth of the characters from book one; Deena and Takumi are married with a daughter, which shows their lives as parents and the issues they face while dealing with Anthony’s son. Daichi has become accepting of change and his son’s decision to be with Deena.
Overall Mrs. Pugh did an outstanding job, another 5 stars!

Crimson Footprints III: The Finale

I waited and waited and waited…and waited some more for this book to drop! When it finally came out I was beyond excited. I know you hear people say they read a book in a day or they stayed up all night trying to finish a book; well, I hate to sound clichĂ© but that’s exactly what I did! When I read the synopsis, I remembered thinking, ugh another storm and the focus is Deena’s grandmother, why would Shewanda do that??? Of course I was pleasantly surprised.

Leave it to the sweet and charming Takumi to talk Deena into something as crazy as a family reunion with all of the Tanakas and the Hammonds…you know the ones who barely got along, stayed in the middle of some drama, basically oil and water?? What could possibly go wrong, right?

The novel progresses with each character coming to some sort of realization dealing with themselves or a person closest to them. Takumi and Deena find themselves struggling to be the once loving couple they used to be. Their relationship is strained and tested to the max. Takumi’s cousin, Mike, in his usual fashion, has his sights set on Deena and in the midst of it all he decides that he has to have her and takes his desires to an unbelievable level. Oh, and although I know it has significance, I could have done without Mike's interest at the end.

Hurtful truths and damaging lies are hurled carelessly amongst the family members. Fed up and trapped in a home in the middle of an Aruban storm everything comes to a head; relationships are mended, some are ended. Threats are made as well as promises. In the end, you’re left with the “happily ever after” and a promising future. The only thing I wish would have been different is more from Kenji and Lizzie; it seems they were all but forgotten in this novel.

Overall, loved it, 5 stars. Great ending to a great series.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Random Lit

Top of the year news from Delphine Publications new books, events, and more

Random Drinks

The Vanity Cocktail

1oz. (30ml) Strawberry Vodka
1 1/2 oz. (45ml) Peach Schnapps
Splash of Cranberry Juice...
Dash of Sweet & Sour
Top with Sprite/7up
Garnish with Strawberries

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Random Eats... Lazy Crockpot Gumbo

3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 cups frozen cut okra
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground red cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14.5 ounce size) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 package (12 ounce size) frozen shelled deveined cooked medium shrimp, rinsed
1 1/2 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice 3 cups water
In small saucepan, combine flour and oil; mix well. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.This is your Roux. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes or until mixture turns reddish brown. Place flour-oil mixture in 3 1/2 to 4 quart Crockpot. Stir in all remaining ingredients except shrimp, rice and water. Cover; cook on low setting for 7-9 hours. When ready to serve, cook rice in water as directed on package. Meanwhile, add shrimp to gumbo mixture in crockpot; mix well. Cover; cook on low setting for additional 20 minutes. Serve gumbo over rice.

Monday, January 13, 2014

From the Mind of Kenneth D. Price...PFC LaVena Johnson

Ask about Gabriel Union, and many will readily give details about the actress' recent engagement to Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade. Ask about Beyoncé and get the skivvy on her 2013 CD of the same name. Ask about Olivia Pope and get the most insightful predictions of upcoming Scandal episodes. Ask, however, about deceased Private First Class [Pfc.] LaVena Johnson and all too many will reply, "Who"?

If you have asked the "who" question, know that you are not alone. And if it is some consolation, also know that a number of factors contribute to your lack of knowledge. Being unaware is not completely your fault. Mainstream media is unlikely to touch the story of LaVena Johnson due to the powerful interests that might that it go quietly into the night. Black media is consumed with the goings-on of celebrities. Cultural blogs make these rather simple reports that require little serious journalism and research their focus and top priority. As a result, the broader community masters the scoop on the rich and famous as if this demonstrates being in the know on key issues of our times. And [black] politicians are likely to risk their political fortunes on the tragedy involving some 19-year old black girl. And as if the death of Pfc. Johnson is not sad enough, after answering the "who" question, one is left with another equally disturbing question. How?

Thanks to a film documentary The Silent Truth, reports on alternative media such as Democracy Now, and a recent article that appeared on The MadMan Chronicles, the story of this young lady is regaining much needed attention.


Pfc. Johnson, a daughter of Missouri Dr. John Johnson and Mrs. Linda Johnson, was stationed in Balad, Iraq on July 19, 2005 - the date on which her life ended. The Army's official ruling stated that Johnson died from a self-inflicted, non-combat "intraoral" gunshot wound. According to investigators, Johnson was depressed at the time of her death and had made overtures to fellow soldiers that she was contemplating killing herself. Johnson's lifeless body was found in storage tent owned by contractor Kellogg, Brown & Root [KBR].
Parents of Pfc. Johnson indicate that their daughter was very patriotic and desired to serve her country. At the time of her death, Pfc. Johnson was looking forward to a brief return home before completing her tour. Long-term plans included attending college upon re-entering civilian life.

In April 2007, the Johnsons had the casket containing his daughter's remains exhumed at Jefferson Barracks Cemetary, followed by a new autopsy. This came nearly two years after unsuccessful attempts to obtain further details from the Army. Dr. Johnson, with a 25-year record of serving enlisted personnel, maintains that his daughter was brutally raped, tortured, and murdered. And further, that her body sustained additional trauma to conceal the attack she suffered as well as to complicate identifying who committed these crimes. Dr. Johnson raised a number of issues that are not easily explained by the Army's account. Namely:
  1. How does a young lady take an M-16 automatic rifle to shoot herself in the mouth?
  2. Why no suicide note at the scene to corroborate stories of LaVena's depression?
  3. Why did investigators fail to recover a bullet?
  4. Why were no traces of gun powder found on LaVena's hands?
  5. A trail of blood leading from LaVena's body and the tent.
  6. Forensic evidence that someone tried to set the tent on fire, leaving Pfc. Johnson's fully clothed body inside the burning tent.
  7. What of trauma to LaVena's body, including: multiple abrasions, a broken nose, loose teeth, and burns?
  8. A corrosive chemical on LaVena's genitals.

It is unconscionable that our nation has arrived at this place where a young woman commits her life to the service of our nation, ends up dead, and little attention is given. At a time when our nation has chosen a more aggressive military posture in the world, citizens are being called upon for dangerous, lengthy tours of duty. Further, this call comes without conscription (i.e., draft), thus requiring an appeal to younger citizens who might otherwise attend college or pursue a trade. Surely, the Armed Forces must appreciate the need to take every precaution to rest any concerns about the safety of military personnel stationed on domestic and foreign bases.

In May 2013, the Pentagon released a report that highlighted the serious extent of sexual assaults taking place within the ranks of the military. The report found a 35 percent increase in unwanted sexual contact since 2010 and a 6 percent rise in incidents from the previous year. During a May 7, 2013 news conference in the East Room of the White House, President Obama announced his "no tolerance" policy regarding sexual assaults in the military:
"I expect consequences. So I don’t just want more speeches or awareness programs or training, but ultimately folks look the other way. If we find out somebody’s engaging in this, they’ve got to be held accountable – prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period... For those who are in uniform who’ve experience sexual assault, I want them to hear directly from their commander in chief that I’ve got their backs,” the president said. “I will support them. And we’re not going to tolerate this stuff, and there will be accountability.”
Given the backdrop of a known problem and the President's zero tolerance commitment, resolving all legitimate doubts associated with the Pfc. Johnson's death would go a long way in changing the troublesome culture of sexual assault. 
Even more shocking is the African American community's overwhelming support for an African American Commander-In-Chief that has not translated into White House calls for a thorough investigation into the death Pfc. LaVena Johnson. Some might argue that President Obama is the "president of all, and not just blacks". However, when lesser misfortunes, as in a wife appealing to the President on-behalf of unemployed worker Darin Wedel, the White House responded. If the notion of "sanctity of life" still exists as a central tenet of who we are as a nation, then surely LaVena Johnson's mysterious death merits more attention from the Commander-In-Chief than the troubles of an unemployed worker whose particular solutions are beyond the scope of the White House. And if 96% and 93% of black voter support in 2008 and 2012 count for something, let it be counted in African Americans demanding justice and a President responding to this demand.

Civil rights leaders are likewise complicit in their silence. Al Sharpton was outspoken in the 1987 case of Tawana Brawley, the teenager later found to have concocted a story of being kidnapped and raped. The NAACP [rightfully] took a vocal position in the matter of murdered 17-year old Trayvon Martin, organizing marches and circulating a petition to the Department of Justice that obtained 1.5 million signatures. Jesse Jackson interceeded during the deportation of Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban-American boy whose Cuban father successfully fought to regain custody of his son in his home country of Cuba. Jackson, on his own volition, negotiated the release of hostages in conflicts involving Hafez al-Assad, Fidel Castro, and Saddam Hussein. How Jackson has been so quiet on the Pfc. Johnson matter when previous involvements have taken him around-the-world to Cuba, Serbia, Lebanon, and other hot spots is a mystery. And consider the outpouring of protests led by the ACLU, Amnesty International, NAACP, and other groups as the State of Georgia deliberated the execution of Troy Davis.

Juxtaposing these direct actions is the virtual silence regarding Pfc. LaVena Johnson. Indifference to the tragedy that befell the young soldier suggests unequal concerns about justice. Indeed, one might argue that the left is more concerned about bringing pressure to President Obama than it is about justice for LaVena. And that politicization of injustice calls into question lofty overtures about fairness.

Lingering questions about the Johnson death deserve answers. The implications speak to our honoring the dignity of Pfc Johnson's life, an intercessory compassion for the Johnson family, and general concern for women in the armed forces.