You have found the site of private investigator Sally Jo Pitts whose sleuthing and other experiences in working with all kinds of people has led to writing sweet romance and private investigator mysteries. You will find my books listed under the books tab, Romance Books and Mystery Books.

I delve into a variety of topics on the website. Currently, I am investigating food used in novels found under the Investigator’s Blog. Each post is accompanied by a recipe found under Investigatin’ Recipes.

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Apricot Pie, A Novel Idea
6/16/2022 1:23:00 AM BY Sally Jo


Investigating Food used in Novels


This month’s food scene comes from the novella  “Nobody Knows Me Like You,” by Cheryl Rae Johnson included in the romance collection, Where Blooms Love.

 The romantic suitor, Jack, shows his affection for the heroine, Arlene, by purchasing her apricot pie at a church auction.

Here’s the scene:

Not long after Easter, the First United Methodists held their annual dessert auction to raise money for missions. Arlene baked an apricot pie made from the apricots grown in the Hutchins’s backyard. Her lattice crust adorned the top like a crown jewel.

Jack saved his money, determined to outdo anyone who bid on Arlene’s coveted apricot pies. With each auctioneer’s cry for bids, Jack held firm until he strolled out carrying the pie on one arm and Arlene on the other. Arlene would graduate in a few short weeks, and Arlene’s father didn’t stop the pie-crossed sweethearts from seeing each other.


“Jack?” Arlene asked not long after the auction. “Do you want me to bake you another apricot pie? The last one cost you a fortune.”

Jack drew her close and held her gaze with mischievous eyes. “I gotta confession to make. I’m not crazy about apricot pies.”

Arlene pulled away. “You didn’t like my pie? What was wrong with it? Was the crust too tough?”

“Slow down. You didn’t hear me. I didn’t say that I didn’t like your apricot pie. I said I don’t like apricot pies. As in I don’t eat apricots. Never have. But my dad gobbled it right up. Said it’s the best he’s ever had.”

Arlene’s jaw dropped. “If you don’t eat apricots, why did you buy my pie?”

Jack leaned toward her. “Because I’m crazy about you. And no one else was walking out of there with your pie.”

Arlene squealed and ran back into Jack’s arms.


                                  Pie Crust, Arlene’s

Author Cheryl Johnson said she did not have the apricot pie recipe, but shares her mother’s pie crust recipe and a bit of backstory:

“The story I wrote is fiction, but I took a lot of inspiration for the story from my parents, and the pies/fried apricot pies was one of them. My mother was an excellent cook and my dad got her to make fried apricot pies often. I am a good cook, but my youngest daughter is an amazing cook like her grandmother was. I say all this to explain the picture of the pie I am sending. It is an apple pie my daughter made a couple weeks ago, and she made it using mother’s pie crust recipe. I took a picture of it and sent it to a friend of mine and said, this is exactly what I imagined when I wrote: "Her lattice crust adorned the top like a crown jewel." I think that adds a nice touch - third generation still using the recipe.”

For this pie crust recipe and an apricot filling recipe go to Investigatin’ Recipes above under Investigator’s blog or click here. 


More about Where Blooms Love:

Love is in bloom in this inspiring collection of romances. In these seasonal stories, meet a young Loyalist who discovers a wounded patriot hiding in her barn and must choose to help or betray. A king issues a one-year challenge between sisters to determine who will succeed the throne. A wounded soldier attends a Star Wars marathon and finds his future. And a horse and a baby bridge the way for an unlikely couple to explore a life together… and more.

Author Bio:

Cheryl Rae Johnson teaches writing and literature at Lamar University in Beaumont, TX. She enjoys traveling, college football Saturdays with her family, and finding a great estate sale. More than anything, the author enjoys being CeCe to her grandchildren. She is the author of the Benny the Dachshund children’s book series, based on the antics of her daughter’s miniature dachshund. Cheryl Rae Johnson resides in Port Neches, Texas, with her husband, Jim, the one who knows her better than anyone. https://www.facebook.com/cherylraejohnsonauthor  http://www.cherylraejohnson.com/

"Zero Guilt Calories" makes an appearance in Novel Use of Food
5/15/2022 9:50:00 PM BY Sally Jo Pitts

Investigating Food used in Novels


This month features a fun scene from Donna Schlachter’s  “Zero Guilt Calories” in Sweet Sprinkles: A Limited Edition Collection and a low calorie carrot muffin recipe.

Here is the scene:


Christina paced the kitchen. What to do now? She’d already searched her cupboards and the downstairs pantry for milk or a substitute. Strawberry gelatin, icing in a tube, and an expired jar of applesauce didn’t even come close. No, tonight would be her first attempt at her latest idea—calorie-free cupcakes.

The idea came to her today at the shop. A rather rotund woman came in asking for low-calorie delicacies. Christina pointed out her sugar-free cupcakes, but the woman said she was allergic to the sweeteners on the label.

The customer jabbed a forefinger on the glass case, leaving a smudge that Christina would need to clean later. “What’s in that one?”

“The white cake with pink frosting?”


“Well, white cake made with flour, sugar, butter—”

“Sounds pricey.”

“No. It’s the same as the—”

The woman straightened and met her eyes across the counter. “I mean in terms of calories. I’m on a slimming program, and they allow us a hundred extra calories a day. I want something in that price range.”

“Oh, I see.”

Her customer’s brow furrowed. “I’m not certain you do.” She eyed Christina up and down. “I don’t know how you stay so thin working in a place like this. I expect the owner is the size of a barn door.”

“Well, actually I am—”

The woman, likely near her own age, sidled along the case, stabbing toward another offering. “How about that one?”

Knowing without a doubt she had nothing to satisfy this customer’s idea of what she wanted, Christina sighed. “That’s a chocolate lava cupcake. Filled with a dark chocolate éclair cream.”

Her eyebrows shot up. “Dark chocolate is good for you, isn’t it? I read an article recently…”

“Yes, it can be good for you. But this doesn’t have enough cacao to be that beneficial.”

Down went the eyebrows again. “False advertising, don’t you think?”

Christina sighed. Counted to ten. “I carry few desserts of less than a hundred calories apart from cookies. Unless you cut the other items in half, or even thirds. Would you like to do that?”

A snort. “You and I both know the chances of that happening are—unlike me—slim. Any other ideas?”

“You could save up your calories for three days and eat them all at once.”

“Highly frowned upon.” Another snort. “Apparently, that kind of eating behavior leads to all sorts of bad eating habits. According to the leader of my class.”

The woman left the shop empty-handed, but their chat started the neurons in Christina’s brain firing in all directions.

Next time this woman came back—if she did—there would be at least one pastry that met her guidelines.

Or Christina would die trying.

And here is a sweet low calorie muffin from Donna!  For the recipe go to Investigatin’ Recipes above under Investigator’s blog above.

                          Carrot Muffins, Low-Cal



Do you have a favorite low calorie dessert? Tell us about it in the comments for the opportunity to receive a FREE Sweet Sprinkles: A Limited Edition Collection ebook


About Donna Schlachter:

A hybrid author, Donna writes squeaky clean historical and contemporary suspense. She has been published more than 50 times in books; is a member of several writers groups; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, traveling extensively for both.


www.DonnaSchlachter.com Stay connected so you learn about new releases, preorders, and presales, as well as check out featured authors, book reviews, and a little corner of peace. Plus: Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!


Some Like it Hot!
4/17/2022 8:53:00 PM BY Sally Jo

 Investigating Food Used in Novels


This month’s food scene goes Mexican in Lisa Jordan’s novel, The Father He Deserveswhere a Texano burrito spices things up.

In the scene main character Evan Holland anticipates a quiet dinner date that turns into a double date at a noisy Mexican Restaurant and is followed by a visit to an escape room for entertainment. Here’s an excerpt:

After he’d picked up Nat, she’d asked if he minded a last-minute double date. What could he say? Really.

So he ate his Texano burrito, smiled and laughed in the right places and tried not to knock into Julian’s tangle of legs under the table. But now as he stood on the sidewalk outside the escape room place, a trickle of sweat slid down his spine. And it had nothing to do with the lingering fire in his chest from the jalapeno peppers he’d eaten or the eighty-five degree sunshine beating down on them.


                                     Texano Burrito

 For the recipe go to Investigatin’ Recipes above under Investigator’s blog


And for more about The Father He Deserves here is a back cover blurb:

Injured in a kayaking accident, champion Evan Holland returns home to train rescue dogs. But his unexpected partner is the woman he left behind, Natalie Bishop. And she has a secret: a son Evan never knew he had. Now Evan must prove he can be a real father. But earning Natalie’s trust back will take hope, forgiveness—and risking everything on forever…



© 2022 Sally Jo Pitts
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