Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Morning Breakfast: Crock Pot Hash Brown and Sausage Casserole

Christmas Morning Breakfast: Crock Pot Hash Brown and Sausage Casserole

Image from: 12 Tomatoes


Ever since I moved out on my own it has been a tradition to spend Christmas Eve at my parents house. We always wake up early Christmas morning and open presents, then have a big family breakfast. 

This year I wanted to make a nice dish to go with our bacon, eggs, toast and fruit. So I decided to make a new favourite of ours: Crock Pot Hash Brown and Sausage Casserole.

I discovered this recipe several weeks ago on Pinterest and made it for dinner one night. The husband and I both loved it and thought that it would be great for breakfast as well. The fact that it is done in a crock pot meant that there would be plenty to go around and perhaps even leftovers. This also made for quick and easy preparation. 

To save time in the morning I cooked it the night before (Christmas eve) then just re-heated it in the morning before serving. 

Well I am happy to report that it was a hit with me family. Some of them even had second helpings. 

I've never shared a recipe on my blog before, but I thought it would be a nice addition from time to time. 

I found this recipe on: 

And adapted it to suit my family. 

1 Bag of Frozen Hash Browns
1/2 White Onion Chopped
1 Bag of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
5 Smoked Cheese Filled Sausages
1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup

Dump all ingredients into a lightly greased crock pot. Cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. 
Adapted from:

Sounds easy right? And its tasty as well. If you check out the original recipe you will notice that I omitted the green onion and salt. But that was just a personal preference. I'm sure there are many other wonderful ingredients that can be added to suit different tastes. 

Now I'd like to know what you think about me posting the occasional recipe? I'm no chef or baker by any means, so they will generally be simple favourites that I intend to share. I'd love to hear your thoughts and/or suggestions in the comments below. 

-Melissa Lee

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Submerged (Alaskan Courage #1) by Dani Pettrey

Title: Submerged (Alaskan Courage #1)
Author: Dani Pettrey
Published: April 2012
Published By: Bethany House
Format Read: Kindle for PC
Genre: Christian Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery
Date Read: December 21 2015
Rating: 5/5

After a difficult upbringing and a lot of bad decisions made, Bailey Craig found her faith and turned her life around. Still returning home to Yancey, Alaska and facing those who knew of her past was the last thing on her mind. Then Bailey gets a phone call with some devastating news; her beloved Aunt has died in a plane crash. So she rushes north to say her final goodbyes and handle the affairs pertaining to her inheritance; a Russian-American Post and antique shop. Her intended short stay in Yancey is extended when the circumstances surrounding the plane crash are determined to be suspicious. 

Meanwhile deep-sea diver Cole McKenna (and Bailey’s old flame) heads up the team that discovers the wreckage. When the investigation leads to the discovery connecting Bailey’s Aunt with information regarding a Russian Icon, the two are thrown together to help the local authorities solve the mystery. Can they work together without letting their feelings and heartbreaks from the past get in the way? 

These are a few of my favourite things:
Russian history, Alaska and a good mystery are some of my favourite things to read about. Submerged had all three. 

Location, Location, Location:
The more books I read set in Alaska, the more I long to go there. Normally associated with harsh winters, this book was actually set in summertime. To be honest I didn’t realize how beautiful the weather could get during that season there. The McKenna family’s tour business really helped to give the reader an idea of all the things this small town had to offer. Not only did cruise ships dock there, but the outdoor activities including; diving, hiking, boating and more. The author did a great job of pairing this adventure story with its beautiful setting.

The History:
Having read the synopsis, I knew that this would have some sort of mystery to it, but I was pleasantly surprised to read of the Russian historical aspect of this book. Although a work of fiction, Pettrey used real facts to blend in and create a family connection to the characters. 

The Characters:
Submerged features a wonderful cast of characters with storylines that set the stage for future books. I loved reading about Cole and the McKenna family. Although Bailey and Cole are the main characters in this first installment, readers get an introduction to the rest of the family, an aspect of the story I found equally enjoyable. 

My Verdict:
I became so caught up in Submerged that I just wanted to keep reading and reading. It was an adventurous story from start to finish that kept me guessing. I can’t wait to read the next book in the Alaskan Courage series. I would recommend this series to people who enjoy reading adventurous Christian fiction.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday Wrap-up: December 27 2015

 Sunday Wrap-up: December 27 2015


Offline Ramblings:

This past week was crazy with Christmas preparations. I managed to get all my shopping done before Christmas eve, which I was pretty impressed about. Still I felt stressed out getting everything ready and my Christmas spirit just didn't end up coming at all. Here is how my holidays went:

Christmas Eve

We spent Christmas eve over at my parents house, with my brother, sister in-law and aunt and uncle. We had a big yummy turkey dinner. There's nothing like my moms home cooking. Then we exchanged gifts with my Aunt and Uncle.I got some nice PJ's and an Indigo/Chapters gift card. I am looking forward to using it.

Later we played a couple of games of Cards Against Humanity, which was absolutely hilarious.

Christmas Day

The next morning we went back to my parents house to open our gifts, which is our tradition. Then we had a nice big family breakfast with all the regular favourites: bacon, eggs, toast and fruit. I also made a hash brown and sausage slow cooker casserole, that went over well. I will share the recipe here on my blog later this week. 

I got some nice gifts this year. Mostly things that we needed like: bed sheets, a new kettle and a set of kitchen utensils. The hubby got me some fun things including;

A cool colouring book

Boxing Day

Boxing day brought another delicious turkey dinner, this time with my in-laws and family. Then we played some more Cards Against Humanity.

So all in all, despite my lack of Christmas spirit it went well and was spent surrounded by those who mean the most to me. 

On the blog: 

Recent Posts


 Upcoming Posts

Tuesday December 29
Book Review: Submerged (Alaskan Courage #1) by Dani Pettrey 
Wednesday December 30 2015
Christmas Morning Breakfast: Crock-pot Hash Brown and Sausage Casserole
Friday January 1 2015
Monthly Wrap-up: December 2015

Books Read:  


Completed. Rating: 5/5
Completed. Rating: 4/5

 Currently Reading:

I hope that all who celebrate had a wonderful Christmas!

-Melissa Lee

Today I am linking up with:

The Sunday Post hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted by Kathryn @ Book Date 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Happy Holidays from Melissa Lee

Just wanted to make a quick post to with everyone a Happy Holidays! I hope that you are enjoying the season and spending quality time with those who mean the most to you.

All the best,

Melissa Lee

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. 

In anticipation for Christmas which is almost upon us, this weeks Top 10 Tuesday asks what books we would like to see under our Christmas trees. Well can you believe that I didn't as for any books this year? Its true. I have so many that I would like to catch up on in my physical TBR pile and in eBook format. I think I made a decent dent on those piles this year, but since I joined NetGalley, Edelweiss and have started reviewing more for publishers my pile grows faster than I can read. But I'm sure many of you can relate to this as well. I won't say its a problem because I'll never run out of books, but it does add some pressure. 
However... if for some reason I am given books for Christmas I definitely wouldn't object, of course. So here are some titles that I wouldn't mind seeing under the tree:

There are some classics that I would love to own in nice hardcovers, like these from Chapters

I would like to complete my collection of the following series:

And perhaps even this collection as well:

Yes I realize that I went over 10. I could probably go over 20 or 30, ha. 

Anyway, would you like to see any of these books under your tree this Christmas? Let me know in the comments. 

I hope that you are all having a wonderful holiday season.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Sunday Wrap-up: December 19 2015,

 Offline ramblings:
This past week involved more resting and sleeping. However I am happy to report that I am feeling much better than I was. I'm not in nearly as much pain and I'm able to move around normally again. One thing that is true about having a lot of surgeries is the younger the person is the quicker they recover and heal. So I guess I have that going for me.

Christmas isn't far away at all and I still haven't put up any decorations, but meh. I don't think I will even bother as we will be celebrating Christmas Eve and Day at my parents and my in-laws. On the plus side, I managed to get out today and do some Christmas shopping. I only have a few more things I need to pick up and then I am done.

Bookish Ramblings:
This past week I finished Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich (click on the link to see my review). Its nice to get back into this series again after a long break. However not much progress is being made with our main character. I gave it a 3.5/5.

I had hoped to complete Submerged by Dani Pettrey by now, but I have been making good progress on it. This is such an exciting book.

After completing Sizzling Sixteen, I began reading Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. It has been quite sometime since I read a book focusing on the holocaust and I knew it would be heartbreaking. The story is really captivating me already. 

New Additions to my TBR Pile:

This past week I added The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick to my pile. It is a NetGalley sent from the publisher Harlequin US and Canada.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
 When Arthur Pepper discovers a mysterious charm bracelet in his late wife’s wardrobe, he sets off on a journey to discover, charm by charm, her secret life before they met.

Having been married for over 40 years, 69-year-old Arthur Pepper is mourning the loss of his wife. On the anniversary of her death, he finally musters the courage to go through her possessions, and happens upon a charm bracelet that he has never seen before.

What follows is a surprising adventure that takes Arthur from London to Paris and India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met, a journey that leads him to find healing, self-discovery, and love in the most unexpected of places.
This sounds like it will be an interesting book and I plan to start reading it after I complete Sarah's Key.

That is all for now. I hope that you all had a great week and are looking forward to the coming festivities.


Today I am linking up with:

The Sunday Post hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer 

It's Monday! What Are You Reading hosted by Kathryn @ Book Date

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) by Janet Evanovich

Title: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16)
Author: Janet Evanovich
Published: June 2011
Published By: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Format Read: Paperback
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Humor
Date Read: December 17 2015
Rating: 3.5/5

Stephanie Plum is back in this sixteenth installment of the bounty hunter series. Life is following its regular pattern of living paycheck to paycheck and being caught in the middle of a love triangle with two irresistible men. Then cousin Vinnie is kidnapped by a mobster after racking up too many gambling debts and the fate of the bail bond company hangs in the balance. It is up to Stephanie, Lula and Connie to rescue their boss and find a way to pay back the accumulating debt. 


After reading the first fifteen books, I felt burnt out by this series and decided to take a break. Now a year later I feel as if I have been reunited with an old friend. I slipped into the story and Stephanie’s life like I hadn’t missed a beat. 

Plot Progression
Not much has changed from the previous books, which is kind of a downer, but I thought the way the plot progressed will hopefully open doors for some changes to come in number 17. It is a shame that there isn’t more character development. But this fan is still holding out hope for more. 

About the Story Line
The story line was enjoyable and fast paced, as was expected. However I think that had I not taken a break from reading these books, my overall rating would have been lower. I enjoy when Connie joins Stephanie on a hunt, as she definitely brings some brains and muscle to the team. Also an appearance from the Moon Man himself; Mooner is always appreciated. 

Moving Forward
Moving forward, I have decided not to rush through the rest of the books, as I have learned that spacing them out amongst other genres results in a much more enjoyable reading experience.
I would recommend Sizzling Sixteen to those who are already fans of the Stephani Plum series and Janet Evanovich. 

To read more of my reviews from the Stephanie Plum series click the links below. 

1. One for the Money
2. Two for the Dough
3. Three to get Deadly
7. Seven Up
8. Hard Eight 
14. Fearless Fourteen