Thursday, July 25, 2019

Summer Memories and a Texas Best Chocolate Cake Recipe!

As a child, I loved summer. I still love it, but I’m not as immune to the heat as I once was. Back then, on the very first day school turned out I shucked my shoes and went barefoot all summer long. I don’t think I put them back on except for church until school started back again in the fall.

One of my fondest memories from summer was camping with my dad’s family. We’d camp out down by the river. We slept in the back of our station wagon and cooked over an open fire. The food tasted so good. The water was shallow enough to go wading, and I still remember the smell of coffee brewing on the fire.

And I remember my mom’s homemade chocolate cake.

I loved watching her in the kitchen. She was an artist in her own way. Mom never used a recipe because she knew them all by heart. A talent I have yet to master.

Today, I’m sharing my favorite chocolate cake recipe with you. Perfect for summer picnics and parties. Though I’m not sure it matches up to the one my mother made, it’s awfully good and I hope you enjoy it.

Texas Best Chocolate Cake recipe
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup boiling water
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream together sugar, shortening, and eggs. Beat well. Sift together 3 times flour, cocoa, and salt. Add and mix well buttermilk, boiling water, baking soda, and vanilla.
Spread into a greased 13″x9″x2″ baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Mix together in medium saucepan sugar, cocoa, milk, and margarine. Boil 1 minute. Add pecans and vanilla.
Leave this thin like syrup and pour over cake while icing is hot; reheat if needed. Will form a sweet glaze.

And don't forget to enter our Summer of Suspense contest for a chance to win some great prizes!

Happy Summer Everyone!

Mary Alford 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


While we're running a SUMMER OF SUSPENSE contest, you can also order a SUMMER OF SUSPENSE anthology that includes several of the Suspense Sisters!

Only .99 now, but the price will go up on August 6th. So get your copy now!


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A Perfect Summertime Dessert ~ Fresh Lemon Sheet Cake

Happy Summertime, readers! Mary Ellis here. 

Here's my favorite cool dessert for when the weather turns hot!

Lemon Sheet Cake

Cream together:

1 ½ cups white sugar
½ cup butter (1 stick)

Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

2 cups cake flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Add dry ingredients to creamed ingredients alternate with 1 cup milk. Next add in the juice of ½ lemon and about 2 tsp lemon zest. (Optional: a few drops of lemon food coloring) Fold in 2 well beaten eggs last.

Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees – your oven temp may vary) for approximately 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Hint: This cake is great with lemon sherbet for a cool summertime treat or you can frost with a lemon butter frosting…


Cream 3 tbsp room temperature butter

Blend in 2 egg yolks

Stir in 2 ½ cups powdered sugar

1 tsp grated lemon rind (zest)

2 tbsp lemon juice

Don't forget to enter our Summer of Suspense contest! There are a-maz-ing prizes to be had!

Thursday, July 11, 2019


Cooking hot meals in the summer isn't appealing. But everyone loves summer sausage served with sliced cheese and crackers.

Here's a recipe I've used for many years. My family is crazy about it!

Homemade Summer Sausage


5 lb ground hamburger (no lean burger)
5 Tbsp liquid smoke 
5 Tbsp Morton salt tender quick (found in dark blue bag in spice aisle)
2 Tbsp coarse ground pepper
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp mustard seeds


In a large bowl, mix all ingredients with your hands like making meatloaf. Cover and Refrigerate 24 hours. Take out and knead one more time then make 4 (14x2 inch) logs. Put them on a cookie sheet with 1-2 inch sides. Bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours. Take out and wrap in wax paper with aluminum foil around that. Refrigerate until well chilled. Serve by slicing and eating alone or with crackers and cheese.

NOTE: When rolling logs into shape, make sure you knead the meat and form a tight log so there's no cracks forming while baking.

Hope you enjoy it!

Nancy Mehl

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

One-Pot Meal for Summer

by Patricia Bradley

I don't know about you, but during the summer I'm always looking for an easy, one-pot meal. My daughter shared this one with me and it's so easy! 

Chicken Tacos

I use a pressure cooker to cook my dish in, but you could cook it on top of the stove or in an air-fryer or a quick cooker.

4 Chicken breasts
1 each, red, yellow, green bell pepper
1 sliced onion
1 jar of thick salsa
5-6 tortilla or hard taco shells
sour cream 
shredded cheese

In your pot, place the chicken breasts, then the sliced peppers and onions. Add the salsa and pressure cook for 12 minutes. Let the steam fall and after you open the cooker, slide the chicken and veggies into a shallow dish and make your tacos. I always put a dab of sour cream and shredded cheese on mine.

Don't forget to enter our Summer of Suspense contest! There are a-maz-ing prizes to be had!