Friday, November 23, 2012

Say It Isn’t So By Margo Hoornstra

Happy day after Thanksgiving Everyone. For those of you who are now 'turkeyed out'. Here's a totally different meat dish to try. Anyone who knows me is well aware I don’t like to cook. In fact, based on many past culinary efforts of mine, my family prefers when I don’t even try. Which is fine with me. I’m a firm believer in the credo; Why make something from scratch when you can buy it already prepared and delicious.

However, to fulfill the recipe requirement of this particular post, here’s one compliments of my late grandmother.

Easy Pot Roast

1 package dry onion soup mix
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 soup can water

Mix together in a bowl. Pour over roast. Cover and bake at 300 degrees for three hours.  This is a great one to simmer all day in the crock pot too.

(Mashed potatoes would be good with this since it makes lots of gravy. You could make them from real potatoes, but I’d go for instant.)

In the excerpt that follows this blurb from my Class of ’85 novel, To Be, Or Not, Barry Carlson is trying to convince Amanda Marsh to accompany him to his sister’s for dinner. As it turns out, she’s making pot roast.

Back Cover Blurb of To Be, Or Not

Barry Carlson had it all, a successful career in professional baseball and the adoration of any woman he wanted. Except one. Forced to retire in his prime, Barry returns to his hometown of Summerville, New York to coach the Minor League Hornets.

Twenty years ago, Barry broke through Amanda Marsh’s trust issues. He melted her ice, won her love, then walked away without a backward glance to survey the wreckage. Now Amanda is the head of public relations for the Hornets and happily single—until Barry slides back into her life.

Still reluctant to trust, Amanda gives Barry another chance. But the announcement of their twenty-fifth high school reunion leads to an asinine bet between Barry and his old buddies, and threatens to ruin their newfound relationship. As scandals of the past and present converge, can Barry and Amanda get beyond their differences to find their second chance at love?

In this excerpt, Barry is still trying to get Amanda to take him seriously.

Sunlight glinted off her long, dark hair like strings of sapphires. Then the wind fluttered a few strands over her face and Barry had to shove both hands in his pockets. It was that or raise one hand to brush the hair away for her. And probably end up kissing her until they were both forced to come up for air.

“So, you doing anything tonight?” he asked. “Going anywhere for dinner?”

“Just home to warm up some cold pizza.” She drew her lower lip between her teeth as her full attention went to digging for her keys. “Or maybe just eat it cold.”

“You’re giving me a complex here.” He produced his most charming smile which was wasted when she didn’t bother to look up at him.

“How so?”

He ticked off the times he’d asked her out and she’d refused. “I’m surprised you haven’t used the excuse you need to wash your hair.” Ducking his head, he tried to study her face. If she felt any remorse at all turning him down so many times, he wanted to see her expression reflect it. Chin directed downward, she took great pains to avoid his scrutiny.

When she glanced up at last, he caught her faint smile. “That’s tomorrow night. You should have asked me last night. Tonight, I have to brush the dog.”

“I didn’t think you had a dog.”

The keys retrieved, she reached for the door handle of her car. “My neighbors do.”

He put his palm flat against the top of the panel. “I asked you to share a beer at Doogan’s with me last night.”

“The team’s in training. You’re not supposed to drink.”

At her next attempt to open the door, his hand slid down to cover hers. “The no booze mandate doesn’t apply to me any more. I’m a coach now.” He closed his fingers over hers. “I’ve changed from when I was a player.”

She lifted a skeptical gaze to him. “Interesting turn of phrase, Barry.” Before he could ask what she meant, she said, “I went to lunch with you last week.”

He shook his head. “Pizza and pop in the upstairs conference room with the admin staff and coaches doesn’t count.”

“We were together,” she teased, and he cherished her weak smile. She was less uptight than the night he drove her home from Doogan’s; he’d consider that a victory.

“With Donaldson and Trudy between us,” he reminded her.

“Together is together,” she insisted while the hesitancy in her voice suggested she’d temporarily run out of arguments.

He pressed his advantage before she could regroup. “As it turns out, today, you’re in luck.”

“Trudy enjoys your company,” she said before he had a chance to tell her what she was in luck for.

“And I like her too,” he agreed, then lowered his voice. “But, I like you more.” When she didn’t offer an immediate response, as in invent another reason to turn him down, he stayed on message. “I get the feeling your recent avoidance of me has to do with not wanting us to be alone.” Though his gut tightened as he verbalized what he hated to admit to, he made himself smile. “Marcy invited me to dinner tonight,” he said and dropped his hand from hers. “Why don’t you come along?”

With the car door now open, she paused before climbing inside. “Thanks, but I don’t want to drop in on her unannounced.”

He had his cell out before she’d finished yet another refusal. “So, I’ll call and announce you.”

“You don’t have to do that.”

“Too late. I already hit speed dial.”

When his sister’s voice mail picked up, he acted as if he actually had her on the line. Desperate times required desperate measures.

“Yeah, Marcy. Hi. It’s me.” He glanced up at Amanda and smiled. “Amanda’s with me. Yeah. We’re just leaving work. I invited her over for dinner like you wanted me to.”

Amanda reached out with one hand. “Let me talk to her.”

Stepping back, he lifted the phone away. “What’s that? Your potatoes are boiling? By all means take care of them first. We’ll be there soon. Bye.” He put the cell in his pocket.

“Are you sure about this?” Though a frown marred her mouth, there was no mistaking the slightest acceptance in her eyes.

To Be, Or Not my final book for the Class of ’85 series, is available at:
For more stories, some to download for free, please visit my blog or website.

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Jannine Gallant said...

This sounds like a perfect change from turkey.Great excerpt, too.

Margo Hoornstra said...


A recipe to try, huh? Easy, peasy!