Friday, November 9, 2012

Season's Eatings

Skye Denison from Denise Swanson’s New York Times bestselling Scumble River mystery series talks about her life and adventures.

 With Halloween over, and Mom having changed her concrete goose from a witch to a pilgrim, it’s time to turn my attention to Thanksgiving. As a school psychologist in Scumble River, a small town in Central Illinois, my year revolves around the holidays—and not just because I get those days off.

 School personnel generally decorate their rooms with the monthly holiday theme, and a lot dress for the holiday as well. In fact, the staff at Scumble River Junior High makes it a bit of a competition. And it’s cheating to wear the same outfit twice. Since I’m itinerant, and am usually only at the junior high two days a week, it’s a little easier for me to come up with six or seven fall sweaters, and six or seven Christmas tops. But I have no idea how the rest of the faculty manages to have fifteen to twenty ensembles—let alone, store them the rest of the year.

Another thing that revolves around the holidays is food. First, there’s the negotiation—who is bringing what. Then there’s the shopping and preparation. And finally, my favorite—the eating. Although, this year, I’m trying to be good since I really don’t want to go for the final fitting of my wedding dress and find out it’s too tight. How embarrassing would that be?

Here’s a recipe for my Grandma’s famous sausage dressing.


2 loaves of white bread

1 lb. Jimmy Dean regular sausage

1 lb. Jimmy Dean sage sausage

1 lb. Jimmy Dean hot sausage

2 cups celery

2 cups onion

1½ stick margarine

1½ cup  boiling water

1 tsp. sage

Salt and pepper

Remove crusts from bread, then tear bread into small pieces. Set aside. Fry all the sausage together, drain, and set aside. Sauté onions and celery in ½ stick of margarine. Mix bread, sausage, onion, and celery together. Add sage, salt, and pepper. Melt 1 stick of margarine and add boiling water. Our water/butter over the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Put in a Crock Pot on low for 6-8 hours.

What is your family’s Thanksgiving menu like?

--New York Times bestselling author Denise Swanson writes the Scumble River and the Devereaux Dime Store mysteries. Murder of the Cat’s Meow is her newest book and is available at:



  1. We do a potluck, but someone has to roast a turkey, and someone has to bring creamed onions. And pies. Lots of pies...

  2. that recipe is very much like mine. which this year I amnot doing. feels weird.

    1. Nancy, do you use the crusts or discard them? After my grandmother passed and I was making the stuffing for the first time, I wasn't sure what she meant.

  3. This sounds like a great Slow Cooker recipe... I collect them, so I'll have to try this one! I always do stuffing *in* the bird, but this one is worth a try!!

  4. I've never even thought of making stuffing in a slow cooker. That's new to me. What a novel idea!

    ~ Krista

  5. My daughter Sonia Safian (RIP) enjoyed your books; I would like to share what she wrote on her blog about them:
    "Murder of a Barbie and Ken is a part of the Scumble River Mysteries series that stages Skye Denison, the little town Scumble River school psychologist, who always manages to get involved with some murder and helps the police find the murderer. Rather classic crime novels, but I particularly like these.
    First, Skye is a realistic character, with a real life, a job, a love life and a family. She's not perfect, she's slightly overweight, she was forced to come back to her home town despite having insulted its inhabitants in her prom discourse ten years before, her love life is not a peaceful lake and her inquiries often put her in a tight corner. Scumble River is a small town, meaning people are always under someone's indiscreet eyes and that affects as much the murder inquiries as Skye's life.
    Besides searching, of course, who the murderer may be, I find it very interesting what happens at her job, which I guess is widely inspired by real facts, as the author Denise Swanson is herself a school psychologist. I like her writing that is spattered with popular references, that paints very vivid characters and is full of humour. Two instances: “(Skye:) I am in shape. Round is a shape”; “My first husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he was God and I didn't”
    If you are interested in discovering these series, I would advise to begin with the beginning; the first book is Murder of a Small-Town Honey."