Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fang-tastic Books Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Sherry who won Kat Duarte's giveaway on the Fang-tastic books blogspot (December 4th guest blog). She'll soon have a beautiful limited edition print from photographer Lilly Prinn.

Kat sends out a big thank you to all the great Fang-tastic Books fans who entered the giveaway and their wonderful feedback to the question: What type of vampire do you prefer?

Here's some of the responses that Kat received:

"...with the women he loves he can be very sensitive and romantic. He's dangerous when his woman is in trouble. "

"I like the Dark and Mysterious kind!"

" perfect vampire would have a great sense of humor ( I mean who could live all those years without a laugh)..."
- Jenn

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fang-tastic time at Fang-tastic Books

by Kat Duarte

I have to thank Roxanne Rhoads for letting me be a guest blogger at her great blogspot Fang-tastic Books on Saturday. Had a great time tossing around my thoughts about the ideal vampire and hearing from her fans and mine.

If you haven't visited Fang-tastic Books before, check it out. There are always a lot of interesting things happening'll be able to find out how you can win a print of Lilly Prinn's if you read my post from December 4th.

Lilly Prinn an exciting photographer specializing in supernatural and Goth images. She had exhibitions at the You'll learn more about Ms. Prinn and her work when I interview her later this month for Cafe Lotti.


What type of vampire do you prefer, dark and dangerous? sensitive and romantic? Or some unique combination from your own dreams?

Email a short description of your version of the perfect vamp to me at by midnight December 8, 2010.

Meanwhile, hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season so far.

Kat Duarte

Sunday, November 28, 2010

April's Home Cooking

Wondering what else to do with all the turkey leftovers this year? Try this turkey pie recipe. I usually make it as a chicken pie, but turkey will certainly do the trick, too. It’s great as a hot meal and equally tasty cold with a green salad as a quick lunch. I make this quite a bit with leftovers or from scratch using skinless, boneless chicken breasts, so I’ve tried a few variations over the years. I’ve added different spices, different veggies and have even added in some cheese once in awhile. If you come up with some tasty variations, I’d be happy to hear about them!

Basic Turkey Pie


2 cups diced, cooked turkey (or chicken)*

1 ½ cups canned turkey broth (or chicken broth)

4 tablespoons margarine (April’s note: I use olive oil now instead)

1 medium onion, chopped (about ½ cup)

½ pound mushrooms, sliced (optional, but add an extra ½ cup of meat if you opt out)

3 tablespoons flour

2 ready made pie crusts


9-inch pie pan

Large skillet

*If you want to start from scratch, cut up 3 chicken breasts, regular size (or 2 jumbo), skinless and boneless and stir fry in a large skillet. You can then add the onions and mushrooms and cook in the same pan.


Preheat oven to 400º. Place one of the ready-made pie crusts into the pie pan so that the edge of the crust is standing up slightly higher then the edge of the pan. (This will shrink down as it bakes.) Use a fork to prick the crust on the sides and the bottom. Bake the bottom crust for about 10 minutes or until it just begins to turn a golden brown. Check every crust halfway through. Press crust back against sides of pan if it starts to fold inward. When the crust is ready, remove form oven and reduce the heat to 375º (or 350º for a glass pie pan).

While the crust is baking, you can begin to make the filling.


In the skillet, melt the butter and fry the onion until golden at a medium heat. Next, add the mushrooms and cook till tender. Then add the cooked, diced meat and a bit of the broth. Heat for a minute, adding a bit more broth if necessary. Add the flour and mix to coat contents of skillet. Add the rest of the broth gradually and blend all contents in skillet thoroughly. At this point, you can add salt and pepper to taste. (April’s note: if you want to get creative with other spices, try adding a bit of poultry seasoning.)

Pour filling into baked pie crust. Put second prepared crust over top and pinch securely around the edge of crust in the pan. Trim off any excess. Cut vents in the top curst.

Bake at 375º for about 30 minutes or until the top crust has begun to brown.

Cool for five minutes or so before cutting into wedges to serve hot.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Holiday Recipes

Sorry for the delay in getting more recipes posted. The Lotti has been jumping ever since the cold weather hit. It seems everyone in town stops by at least once a day—if not twice!—to warm up with a winter beverage or hot meal. In case you can’t make it in to have a cuppa with a peppermint fudge brownie or a slice of our hazelnut torte, here are some more recipes from our “Favorite Holiday Treat” contest for you to try out at home:

Candy Cane Cookies

(from Kimberly A. Sutton)


1 cup shortening

1 cup butter


5 cups flour

2 cups confectioners sugar


2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. almond extract

2 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

Divide in half. Add red food coloring to one half. Mix well. Cool approximately 1 hour. (Because of the heat from your hands while rolling, you want the dough to be fairly cold.) Pluck a small amount, about a 2" ball of each color, and roll into a tube about 1/2" wide. Wrap together and lay on an ungreased or parchment lined, cookie sheet in the shape of a candy cane.

Bake at 375* oven for 7 minutes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares...taste like Reese's PB Cups!

(from Lisa White)

3/4c melted butter
2c icing sugar
1c smooth peanut butter
1&1/2c graham cracker crumbs
1&1/2c-2c chocolate chips

Mix first four ingredients together and press into 9X13 pan. Melt chocolate chips and spread evenly on top. Refrigerate until chocolate is hard.

Many thanks to Kimberly and Lisa for sharing these recipes with the rest of us!

April Garza, Lotti manager

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Café Klatch Reviews: Angel Gets Her WIngs by Kat Duarte

Café Klatch meets the second Monday of each month...
Where: McKenna Café Lotti
When: 7pm to 9ish or closing

Recap: Last month five of us gathered for dinner, dessert, coffee and a discussion of Sloane Taylor’s hot book French Kiss. We loved it and her style of combining romance, suspense and some pretty steamy sex scenes. Her stories are definitely “Sweet as Honey...Hotter than Hell” as she says on her website. It looks like we’re not the only ones who feel that way. Ms. Taylor has been announced as a finalist for the EPPIE Awards, which we hear is like the Emmy Awards of ebooks.

Imagine how excited we all were when she actually dropped by the Lotti for a visit! Not only that, but when she heard our book for this month was Kat Duarte’s new one, she volunteered to write up a review on it for us.

This month’s Café Klatch review is for:
Available now at Eternal Press

Here’s that review by none other than EPPIE finalist (we’re so excited for her!) Sloane Taylor:

Angel Martinez O’Reilly is a hot seraphim wannabe who finds herself aboard an airplane Christmas Eve among exuberant travelers who have more than indulged in holiday spirit. With her Naughty and Nice candidate list in hand, she discovers two more people who need her help.

Computer nerd Eugene Freeman is sexually inexperienced and programmed for great things in his life. All he needs now is a self-confidence boost to propose to his true love.

Stewardess Bitch Jeannie Wilson is the woman you love to hate, but this sex queen delivers satisfaction like none other.

Captain Sean Conlan dreams of his future but lacks the strength to follow though. Angel is more than willing to help Sean overcome any problem.

Celeste, the mother of all cherubs, pops in to oversee Angel, offering delightful pearls of wisdom along with caustic humor.

It’s Angel’s job to make it all work out. And it’s Angel who will win your heart as she travels her own journey to self-discovery.

ANGEL GETS HER WINGS is perfect to kick start to your holidays. Ms. Duarte has penned a poignant, squirm in your chair sexy read filled with humor and sincere emotion along with the hottest sex I’ve read in a long time. This talented author made reading the last paragraphs difficult through the happy tears in my eyes. I certainly hope Ms. Duarte creates a series based on the ultra hip Celeste.

We agree with Sloane on this one. Angel Gets Her Wings gets a rating of 3 peppermint chocolate truffles from us. It’s truly is a holiday treat! For more on Kat Duarte’s work check out her websites:

Remember to check out Sloane Taylor’s latest work at her sites:

Next month’s book: Psychic Passions by Ally Robertson

Monday, December 8, 2008

Winners in the "Favorite Holiday Treat Contest"

The winners of the Lotti’s “Favorite Holiday Treat Contest” are Judy Cox and Robyn Lee. Congratulations to both of you! Your prizes will arrive shortly.

Thanks from all of us at the Lotti to those of you who dropped by to participate. If your name wasn’t picked, don’t be sad. There are treats for everyone—the great recipes sent in for the contest! Come back and visit the Lotti often because we’ll be posting new ones every few days. Try out one or try them all. You might find a new favorite to make your holidays a little merrier. We’ll start out with the two from our contest winners...

When asked for her favorite holiday treat, Judy Cox said, “My favorite is a fruit salad my husband makes. I am not big on a lot of the fruit salads out there. His mother always made hers this away is where he got it. He only makes this during the holidays; I think that is why I love it so. Here is a rough draft of what you use:”

Holiday Fruit Salad

  • oranges
  • bananas
  • apples
  • seedless grapes
  • bottle of cherries
  • nuts ( he uses pecans and walnuts)
  • mayonnaise
  • juice from the cherries

How many of the fruit you use depends on how much you are making and what you like the best. You just slice all the fruit up, slice the cherries in half, chop the nuts coarsely, he slices the grapes in half also. You use some of the cherry juice and the mayonnaise, use what is needed to mix, it usually does not take much, because of the juice in the fruit itself being cut up. She use to put sugar, but the cherry juice is sweet enough for us.

Robyn Lee sent us this wonderful recipe:

Coconut Tarts

  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon Corn Syrup
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 24 mini tart shells (2") (in foil)

Mix the above ingredients and pour into tart shells that have been arranged on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

*my oven is hotter so I bake at 350.

Everyone that loves coconut loves these and with a cup of coffee they are wonderful.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sense of the Season: Go Green This Christmas

by April Garza

‘Tis the season when we usually go overboard on everything—food, drink, presents, spending and utility bills. I’m not saying we shouldn’t make merry with the food and drink (although, our waistlines will thank us come January if we don’t), but I am planting the seed that this year is a good year to cut back on the Christmas lights.

While it’s lovely to shine a light of welcome in the dark days of winter, your lawn decorations don’t have to be massive enough for the folks up in the International Space Station to enjoy. I know that some of you have already put up the outside trim, but for those of you who haven’t why not tone it down this season? It’s better for both the environment and your wallet.

Of course, you know my motto by now: simple is best. Part of that has always been living within my always merger budget, but the other part is that simple is easier. (Also, unless you really know what you’re doing like those with art or interior design degrees or natural decor geniuses, well, the more that gets thrown together the more a lawn starts looking like you’re wishing everyone a very merry “Chaos” instead of Christmas.)

What did I do for the outside decorations this year? Simple as always. I put a wreath on the front door, draped a lighted garland on the railing of my front porch, and a winter “Welcome” sign on my back door. I used to go in for all white lights in my decorations, but because I do so little lighting outside, I switched to multicolor lights a few years ago. (I may have been inspired by the small stained glass window in my front door, too. I’m a big believer in letting the decorations reflect the style of the house.) Granted, you don’t have to go all minimalist like me, but no matter what you decide to do, here are some tips to make the outside holiday decorations easier:

1. Use pre-lit greens.

Pre-lit garlands, wreaths, trees, what-have-yous are the best invention since sliced bread in my opinion. Buy them if you can, but you don’t have to pitch your old, non-lit decorations if they’re still in good shape.

My “pre-lit” garland wasn’t that way out of the original box, but it is now when it comes out of my storage boxes. I made the garland from four artificial garland pieces (purchased après Christmas at the sales, of course!) that are now wired together into one long garland that’s the right size for my porch railing. The first year I put it up, I added the strings of lights, made sure they were placed well, and attached them securely. Fake greens are great for holding on the lights because all you have to do is bend the little branches around the light string like a twist tie and voila! The lights aren’t going anywhere. The lights are connected and I have just the one plug, ready and waiting, to go into the extension cord. At the end of the season, I just unplug it, wind up the garland, and store it away for the next year.

Eventually, as the old light strands start dying, I will invest in LED sets to be kinder to the environment and my electric bill, but for now what I have will have to do.

2. Timers

Stop at the hardware store and pick up a timer for your Christmas lights. (Of course, if you put up Halloween/fall lights like me, the timer and extension cord are already set and good to go. All you have to do it unplug the old season lights and plug in the new.)

Timers are the best invention since...I guess I have to say “since pre-lit decorations” so I don’t have to rewrite number one above. Your lights will then be on to brighten up the end of your day when you get home and you won’t have that moment of “Did I remember to turn off the Christmas lights?” angst when you’re all tucked into bed. You can also get one for the tree inside the house. (I usually want to turn that on and off at such different times it doesn’t work well for me.)

3. Plastic storage bags and boxes.

If you don’t have any, pick them up this year at the after holiday sales. (Actually, due to the financial crunch this year, the stores may have some extra good sales before Christmas so keep your eye out.) If you’re like me, you have to store the big stuff out in the garage. Plastic tubs are the way to go, because they provide good—though not fool-proof—protection from water. They’re also sturdier for stacking and last longer than the corrugated storage boxes.

I store my indoor evergreens in one box and outdoor greens in another so I can grab them easily and don’t have to sort things out every year. Special boxes for wreaths are great because you can find them easily due to their shape and size. I also have a nice big tree bag with handles on it. It’s so easy to pack and carry, I don’t know how I managed before I got it! I stack the tubs for the evergreens on the side of the garage and put the tree bag on top; it’s higher and drier—and much easier to lift.

4. Big red bows.

If you want a splash of color, go for the bows. You can get big, red ones that will stand up well to the weather almost anywhere so check around for the best bargains. If you don’t have any and want them now instead of waiting for the sales, I suggest stopping by a dollar store: red bows are such a general stock item that they’re sure to have some and it won’t break your budget.

Bows can be added to your wreaths; they look great attached to each post on a porch railing; and your can even decorate whole outdoor trees—evergreen or otherwise—and get a big impact with this simple, tasteful effect.

5. Edit your decorative scheme.

Okay, not everyone’s going to agree with me on this one: If you love all the lighted and inflatable lawn figures, I encourage you to make a bold statement by sticking to one theme. Religious with angels, choir boys, manager scenes and stars is fine; Santa with his reindeer, sleigh and presents is it great; whimsical with penguins, deer, and other animals is cute, too (you could even add Santa to that one). But if you throw them all together, you get that “Merry Chaos” feeling I spoke of earlier. And, did I mention, that big electric bill? Not such a merry after Christmas gift to yourself!

If you’ve already got all these decorations, what do you do with them? Remember, you can always rotate themes like the department stores do for their windows. Also, heads up: no one needs more than one lawn Santa.

6. On the other hand...

This holiday more than any other is about Nostalgia (yes, with a capital N) so if it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas to you without everything you own on display, go for it. That warm, heart-felt, fulfilled feeling is what helps us all be kinder to our fellow humans and that is definitely not something to cut back on no matter what happens on Wall Street!

I know a lot of this column has been about the practical side of Christmas decor, but my theory is that we should all spend more time enjoying the look of the season than stressing out over putting up and taking down all the festive glitter.

Next time, I’ll give you some insight into what goes on indoors at my holiday-decked house.