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Book Reviews, Author Features, Recipes & More... Now from Indiana

A Good Book, Comfort foods & #Recipe with @Jensenborger6 #MondayBlogs

Just in time to read in front of the fire with a cup of cocoa or your favorite hot beverage, J. J. Lyon’s fun private investigator mystery, with a twist, TRUTH is RELATIVE; the first in the A Truth Inducer Mystery series is here. A giveaway, great posts, reviews and best of all? Fun! My post today is pretty fun. I am really hooked at authors sending me their Top Ten Comfort Food lists. I have really had fun creating new recipes, adapting others and digging out old classics. Today’s was inspired when I re-read the first line in this book; “The Monday before Thanksgiving, my car disappeared… ” and by my theme of comfort foods and vices while writing. The book is in my TBR but before I posted I read a the first couple chapters and can tell you right now I am going to love the read if it continues in this manner. Thanks J. J. Lyon!


First I better post a bit about the book! There also is a giveaway for a $25 gift card and also the book is on sale for 99¢ for the duration of the tour.


A Good Book, Comfort foods & #Recipe with @Jensenborger6 #MondayBlogsTRUTH is RELATIVE
Series: A Truth Inducer Mystery Book 1
by J.J. Lyon
Pages: 275
Published by Gem Cache Publishing
on July 13, 2014
Genres: Humor, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Suspense, Thrillers
Amazon • • Goodreads •
Anthony Blackwell’s “gift” compels people to confess their deepest secrets.

It corrupts his relationships, derails his career and drives him toward eviction—until he becomes Anthony Bishop, private investigator.

His first case drops him into a deadly family drama that will save him financially, if it doesn't kill him first.
From the author:

The world didn't have enough mysteries with a sense of humor, so I wrote one.

From other authors:

"What a fun, great read! I loved the characters and the concept was one I'd never heard of. Reading was an absolute pleasure."

--Rebecca Belliston, author of Sadie and Augustina

"Even though Anthony’s "gift" makes him an effective detective, it is almost impossible for him to establish meaningful relationships. Anthony finds himself in situations fraught with danger, but tinged with humor. His charm and good looks draw people to him, but they quickly regret revealing their darkest secrets. I found myself laughing out loud and reading to find out what happens next. It’s easy to get caught up in the fresh and intriguing story. Lyon has so much imagination and skillful writing, I look forward to reading whatever she comes up with next."

--Carole Warburton, author of A Question of Trust and Poaching Daisies




My blog followers know all about the family pizza obsession, which runs so deep we have a wood fired oven in the backyard. Husband has read whole books on how to make a good crust (his is amazing). I make sauce from scratch. And when the good things are coming out of the garden, it just doesn’t get any better.

Rosemary and shoulder bacon on red. (photo by author)

Rosemary and shoulder bacon on red. (photo by author)

Potato soup

This is comfort food from my childhood, and I will always love it. Especially with shoulder bacon and a little cream in the mix.

Fresh bell peppers

I realize this one is weird to some people, but I love a fresh-from-the-garden, perfectly ripened bell pepper. I eat them straight, but they’re even better with…

Greek olive oil, Italian balsamic vinegar and coarse salt

This is the best dressing ever, if the oil and vinegar are really good. We order ours because it’s hard to find the good stuff at the supermarket. Then we drizzle them over everything: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, whatever comes out of the garden.

Melon_LambkinGarden fresh Lambkin melon

We planted the Lambkin variety a couple of years ago and were amazed with the results. You could cook all day and not get a better flavor.

Pumpkin pie

I actually use squash instead of pumpkin, but I call it pumpkin pie so the kids don’t freak out. I love it with cream, nutmeg, allspice and just a little coriander.

BT sandwiches

When you have vine ripened tomatoes, shoulder bacon and some good, crusty bread, who needs lettuce?

Peach JamPeach jam

Mmmm. I make my own.

Ice cream

A local company makes the best Burnt Almond Fudge.


I really like Lindt Excellence 70 percent Cocoa. But if I’m on a true binge I go with Lindt Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts.


Oh my, the list gave me so many ideas. Though I may need to nag for the recipe for the dough and the peach jam 🙂 I spent hours pouring through my recipes this weekend trying to find the perfect one. I settled on one thing that has all the vices in it. A maple bourbon pumpkin pie in a dutch chocolate pie crust. Oh me, oh my. I have made it a couple of times in the past for Thanksgiving and at other times… to ummm fill my belleh! Plus in honor of one of the best opening lines ever:

“The Monday before Thanksgiving, my car disappeared… “



All the Vices Pie (Maple Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Chocolate Pie Crust)
All the Vices is paired well with any comfort food list. Harvest time means sugar pumpkins, hot cocoa and warm bourbon by the fire. Paired together creates an exquisite texture and flavor. Slightly smokey and ever so delicious.
  • The chocolate pie dough/crust
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3½ tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1¼ cups plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 8 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ tsp organic apple cider vinegar
  • For the pie
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups of pureed sugar pumpkin (in season)
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp Kentucky bourbon (Maker's Mark is a good choice)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp of granulated sugar
  1. Like any other pie dough, the easiest way to make it is with a food processor. It has been so long since I have not used one, I do not have the instructions for a mixer, the key though would be to cut the butter in.
  2. Food processor: Pulse the cocoa powder, sugar, salt and flour to combine. Add the butter to the processor in small handfuls and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse, wet sand.
  3. In a small non-metallic bowl, whisk together egg yolk, vinegar, and ¼ cup ice water. Drizzle into the food processor and pulse until mixture starts to come together.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a 1-inch thick disk.
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour but up to 48 hours.
  6. When ready to bake the pie, roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured work surface to approx. 14 inches or one which will fit in your 9 inch pie pan. Trim with a one-inch edge, fold over and crimp. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  7. Perfect fill crust trick: Preheat the oven to 350. Line the pie with parchment paper and fill with dried beans. Bake until the crust is dry around the edges, (20 minutes). Remove the beans and parchment paper and bake for 5 minutes more, or until crust looks dry. Brush the bottom and sides of the crust with a beaten egg. Return to the oven for three more minutes. Set aside while you make the filling.
  8. Filling: In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, Greek yogurt, bourbon, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. Whisk in the remaining 3 eggs. Set aside.
  9. In a small saucepan on high, bring maple syrup and vanilla into a rolling boil, reduce heat to med-high and while stirring frequently simmer till it thickens (3 minutes).
  10. Remove from heat and slowly stir in cream till smooth. Slowly whisk the hot cream mixture into the pumpkin mix.
  11. Place a parchment lined baking dish into the oven, place your baked pie-crust and then carefully pour filling in. Bake for 50-60 minutes, rotating halfway through and until it is set around the edges and the center with a tad wiggly..just a tad.
  12. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Can be made a day ahead. Do not brûlée till ready to serve. You do NOT have to brûlée but it does make a really nice topping and is so tasty with the whole pie full of vices!
Just before serving, sprinkle pie with sugar and, using a kitchen torch, brûlée until sugar is melted and dark brown.
photo credit - ©2013 eatswellwithothers

The author has lowered the price of the book just for the tour! If you like well-wrought mysteries with a touch of humor and a twist of thriller, grab your copy and make sure you let your friends know too!

Grab it while you can for 99¢ and earn an extra entry in the Rafflecopter.


About J.J. Lyon

A Good Book, Comfort foods & #Recipe with @Jensenborger6 #MondayBlogs

 J.J. Lyon is a wife, mom, public relations professional and recovering journalist.

Her passion for prose and love of the American West are so intertwined; she doesn’t think she can separate them. When J.J. runs out of words, she reaches for her camera, takes off on a back road and returns home with a bucketful of inspiration.

She lives in a mountain valley with her husband, three children, some cats, two goats, a bird and a basset hound.


Chapter One – Truth is Relative by J. J. Lyon

The Monday before Thanksgiving, my car disappeared. Or it might have been late Sunday night. The day was half over before I even looked outside. Instead I focused on an ugly painting until I realized I was hungry. I was out of bread and low on groceries in general. I cleaned my brushes, grabbed my keys, opened the front door, and stared at gray asphalt where my Mazda used to be. A few dead cottonwood leaves swirled there before the wind swept them off.I didn’t bother calling the police. My car hadn’t been stolen, it had been repossessed.

My cell phone buzzed. It was my brother, Bart. “Hey,” I said.

“Hey, Bro. How’s life in the Big City?” Bart wasn’t being ironic. Compared to our hometown of Jersey, Cheyenne was enormous.

“It’s good!” I stepped back into Sam’s Café and tried to think of something else to say. Something that would back up my lie.

“Great. When are you coming for Thanksgiving?” Bart asked.

My brain scrambled, too busy to pay attention. I didn’t need a car. The abandoned café was a great studio, with north-facing windows and indirect natural light. My work happened right at home.

My work was also stacked against the walls, waiting for a gallery to accept it. The art that was already in a gallery had hung there for months. I needed a day job. A car would help.

“Tony? Hello?”


“What about Thanksgiving?”

“I don’t know yet.”

“Whaddaya mean? I thought you were your own boss.”

“Yeah, but I’m pretty …” I glanced out at the empty parking place. “It’s hard to get away right now.”

Bart was quiet, and when he spoke again he sounded unusually hesitant. “So how are you really?”

“Fine. I’m doing great.”

“Yeah, okay. You know what you need? A night out.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do. I can tell you’re depressed.”

“I’m not depressed.”

“C’mon, Tony. Think of everything we could learn about the beautiful women of Cheyenne.” Bart could afford to be fascinated by my new ability. He didn’t have to live with it.

“I’ve got to go get some groceries,” I said.

“Fine.” Bart sounded annoyed, but he didn’t argue. “Fine, I’ll talk to you later.”

I turned away from the café window and walked to my bedroom, which was actually a converted storage area in the back of the café. A walk-in cooler had once taken up most of the space, but it had been ripped out and sold the last time the place went out of business. There was room for a twin bed and a battered dresser from Goodwill Industries. I pulled my wallet from the top drawer and retrieved my old bike from the back of the building.

It was a cold ride to the store. Cheyenne’s legendary wind pushed against my side and cut across my hands. I’d forgotten my gloves. I zipped my jacket all the way up, stuffed my hands in my pockets, and kept pedaling, glad I had at least one useful talent. God gave me excellent balance.

My mind whirled as fast as my bike wheels, tallying my other useful abilities. I was decent at hanging Sheetrock, and I could tape and texture as long as the customer didn’t mind it a little antique and heavy. As for roofs, I’d done it all—patch, replace, steel, asphalt. If I had a truck I could rent myself out as a handyman. I could work in blissful isolation most of the time.

A gust of wind broadsided me. I went down in slow motion, shifted my weight, scuffed on the pavement with my feet. In the end my shoulder hit the road before I could pull my hands out of my pockets. The car behind me screeched to a stop and a woman got out. “Are you all right?” she asked.

“Fine,” I said. The front bike wheel spun uselessly. My arm hurt. I scrambled out from under the bike, trying to place the woman’s voice.


Recognition registered in my gut as much as my ears. I knew that voice. The last time I had heard it, its tone had been much angrier. “Hi, Heather,” I said.

“What are you doing out here in the cold on a bike? I heard you drove a hot Mazda.”

“Not today,” I said.

“I heard you got fired, too. Twice.”

Technically I only got fired once. The other time I quit before the ax fell.

Heather wasn’t in my fan club, but she wasn’t being rude, either. She was just under my influence. After thirty seconds in close proximity, people began confessing to me. I didn’t know why this began happening. For the first year or so, I didn’t realize it was happening at all. But as soon as my “gift” began manifesting itself, my life started rolling down a rocky slope.

“I almost drove by when you fell.” She brushed dirt from my sleeve. “I knew it was you and I don’t want to talk to you, but it looked bad.”

“It’s all right.” I stepped away from her brushing hand.

She didn’t leave. “Can I give you a ride? Please say no. I don’t want to be in a car alone with you, pretending I don’t remember how you—”

“No thanks.” I gripped the handlebars and pressed my weight on them a little.

She nodded. “You wouldn’t accept help from me anyway. Bart, maybe, but not me.”

“I don’t need it. I’ll see you later, okay?”


I rode the rest of the way to Safeway with my hands on the handlebars. My fingers numbed in the wind. The pain in my arm faded to a dull ache, and I shook off the encounter with my ex. In the store parking lot, the lights shone in the murky daylight. It was early afternoon, but the thick clouds fooled the light sensors into thinking it was dusk. I went inside the store and found some sandwich meat on sale and a package of rubbery cheese slices. I picked up some day-old wheat bread and waited in line behind a thin, fortyish man with a few days’ beard. He wore dirty jeans and a sweatshirt stained with what looked like motor oil. After thirty seconds, he turned to me.

“My wife left me this morning,” he said.

I nodded. If I didn’t acknowledge him, he would only repeat himself. Louder.

“She put her ring in my hand and said, ‘I’ve got to go to work.’ I said, ‘Can we talk about this?’ and she said, ‘It’s too late.’”

I nodded again.

“How can it be too late? Twelve years, and she can’t even talk about it? Isn’t twelve years worth a little discussion before you throw your husband in the garbage?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“I know I didn’t pay attention before. I mean, when she was going around all mopey and resentful. I just figured she’d work it out. And sometimes she tried to tell me something and I’d change the subject, ’cause I could only hear that her life sucked so many times—”

“They’re ready to ring you up,” I said, nodding to the sales clerk.

The man stepped forward. I stepped back. So far, ten feet looked like the magic distance. More than that, and most people were out of the range of my gift. Less than that and I was in the confessor’s bubble.

“Are you in line?” a young mother asked behind me.

“Yeah. I’m just, uh …” I glanced at the man, who was now deep into an emotional conversation with the salesclerk. Apparently I wasn’t far enough away yet. I took another step back. “That guy needs a little space.”

The mother peered at him. “Is he crying?”

“I think so.”

She shrugged. “It figures. I get it all day from these two.” She nodded to her cart. A baby in the front clung to the push bar and gummed it with a slobbery mouth. A curly-haired toddler sat in the main basket, his fist buried in a box of cereal. “Maybe they never get over it. ‘I need this,’ ‘I want that.’”

I nodded.

“And then their dad comes home and he needs dinner and he wants sex. Everybody’s gotta have something.”

I took a step forward.

“Can’t anybody see that I’m tired? Look at me. I haven’t had a shower in three days, and I’m supposed to be a sex goddess?”

I glanced at her. She was frumpy. “Looks like it’s my turn.” I stepped up to the counter the crying man had just left.

She followed me, closing the space I had opened between us. “I mean, I’m doing good to be conscious at the end of the day.”

“Maybe you should tell this to your mom.” I hoped to deflect her. I didn’t want to hear any more—not today.

“She’s in Alabama,” the young mother said. “Everybody I know has a mom who acts like a built-in babysitter, but I’m stuck here alone in the cold.”

“Ten fifty-four,” the salesclerk said in front of me. I dug my wallet out of my jacket pocket and handed some bills to her.

“You have the most amazing blue eyes.” The clerk leaned forward. This might have been interesting, if she were not sixtyish, wrinkled, and stinking of cigarettes.

I held out my hand. “Can I have my change?”

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  1. You can never go wrong with a cup of cocoa.

  2. I absolutely love that you always throw in food or recipes with your daily posts Kriss. One of the reasons, yours is my fave !! Book sounds amazing ! On my way to grab it !

  3. I love that you did an “All The Vices” pie! Kriss, this is awesome!

    • I am thrilled that you like it. The pie is DELICIOUS! Perfect for all the upcoming harvest dinners! Or breakfast… ummm no judging!

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