Archive for the 'Recipes' Category
Tuesday, January 1st, 2013
It’s New Year’s Day. As is tradition, we eat black-eyed peas and cabbage. The husband is in the kitchen with the peas in the pressure cooker and putting together Smitten Kitchen’s cabbage roll-ups (minus the parsnip because I didn’t have any, plus jalapeno and ancho peppers, feta and parmesan cheese). (On Sunday, I made Deb’s Jacked-Up Banana Bread (minus the bourbon which I did not have) and it was great! I’m noshing on a chunk while I type this!) The smells coming out of the kitchen… Mmm-mmm. There’s a reason I married this man. :) Oh, and now he’s making pecan pie (registration required to view that recipe, sorry)!
The last several months have been insane around here, so there has been no blogging, very little posting to Facebook, and only recently have I been active on Twitter after taking a break. There were SO many family things happening, immediate family, extended family, that I’ve had time for nothing but work. Almost no TV or movie watching (though we did see The Hobbit), and very little reading at all (finished The Quiet Game (LOVED all 640 pages) and am currently loving The Survivor by Gregg Hurwitz).
I’m working on BENEATH THE PATCHWORK MOON, the second Hope Springs book, and I finished UNFORGETTABLE, the third book in the Dalton Gang series. Everyone here is fine, but I’ve been inside too many hospitals lately, visiting folks following surgeries. And I did every bit of my Christmas shopping online this year because I’ve been nursing an injured knee now for weeks and walking sucks. And that sucks because I’d been walking three or four miles a day when I hurt it. And the suckage increases because this is the best time of year for walking because there is no risk of heat stroke!
While waiting for the fireworks to die down last night, I read a sample of a new romance, one by a very popular author readers love. The sample bothered me a lot. If the book was edited, it was done poorly. If it wasn’t, well, I won’t even go there. Yes, we all miss things. I don’t read my finished books for this very reason. But this was no more than ten pages, and these ten pages should’ve seen copious use of a red pen.
Obviously, this author is a great storyteller because readers eat her up, but as a reader and as an author, I want great storytelling done with clean, exacting, polished prose. I strive for that in my own work, though I know I don’t always succeed. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of my first sale, and yet I am still learning how to write with every word I put on the page. Which brings me to the piece I’ve been posting every New Year’s Day now for seven years. I love this piece, what it says about craft, about reading everything (ergo, my midnight sample) with “grinding envy or weary contempt.”
This is John D. MacDonald’s introduction to Stephen King’s NIGHT SHIFT. Enjoy!
I am often given the big smiling handshake at parties (which I avoid attending whenever possible) by someone who then, with an air of gleeful conspiracy, will say, ‘You know, I’ve always wanted to write.’ I used to try to be polite.
These days I reply with the same jubilant excitement: ‘You know, I’ve always wanted to be a brain surgeon.’
They look puzzled. It doesn’t matter. There are a lot of puzzled people wandering around lately.
If you want to write, you write.
The only way to learn to write is by writing. And that would not be a useful approach to brain surgery.
Stephen King always wanted to write and he writes.
So he wrote Carrie and Salem’s Lot and The Shining, and the good short stories you can read in this book and a stupendous number of other stories and books and fragments and poems and essays and other unclassifiable things, most of them too wretched to ever publish.
Because that is the way it is done.
Because there is no other way to do it. Not one other way.
Compulsive diligence is almost enough. But not quite. You have to have a taste for words. Gluttony. You have to want to roll in them. You have to read millions of them written by other people.
You read everything with grinding envy or a weary contempt.
You save the most contempt for the people who conceal ineptitude with long words, Germanic sentence structure, obtrusive symbols, and no sense of story, pace, or character.
Then you have to start knowing yourself so well that you begin to know other people. A piece of us is in every person we can ever meet.
Okay, then. Stupendous diligence, plus word-love, plus empathy, and out of that can come, painfully, some objectivity.
Never total objectivity.
At this frangible moment in time I am typing these words on my blue machine, seven lines down from the top of my page two of this introduction, knowing clearly the flavour and meaning I am hunting for, but not at all certain I am getting it.
Having been around twice as long as Stephen King, I have a little more objectivity about my work than he has about his.
It comes so painfully and so slowly.
You send books out into the world and it is very hard to shuck them out of the spirit. They are tangled children, trying to make their way in spite of the handicaps you have imposed on them. I would give a pretty to get them all back home and take one last good swing at every one of them. Page by page. Digging and cleaning, brushing and furbishing. Tidying up.
Stephen King is a far, far better writer at thirty than I was at thirty, or forty.
I am entitled to hate him a little bit for this.
And I think I know of a dozen demons hiding in the bushes where his path leads, and even if I had a way to warn him, it would be no good. He whips them or they whip him.
It is exactly that simple.
Are we all together so far?
Diligence, word-lust, empathy equal growing objectivity and then what?
Story. Story. Dammit, story!
Story is something happening to someone you have been led to care about. It can happen in any dimension – physical, mental, spiritual – and in combinations of those dimensions.
Without author intrusion.
Author intrusion is: ‘My God, Mama, look how nice I’m writing!’
Another kind of intrusion is a grotesquerie. Here is one of my favourites, culled from a Big Best Seller of yesteryear: ‘His eyes slid down the front of her dress.’
Author intrusion is a phrase so inept the reader suddenly realizes he is reading, and he backs out of the story. He is shocked back out of the story.
Another author intrusion is the mini-lecture embedded in the story. This is one of my most grievous failings.
An image can be neatly done, be unexpected, and not break the spell. In a story in this book called ‘Trucks,’ Stephen King is writing about a tense scene of waiting in a truck shop, describing the people: ‘He was a salesman and he kept his display bag close to him, like a pet dog that had gone to sleep.’
I find that neat.
In another story he demonstrates his good ear, the ring of exactness and truth he can give dialogue. A man and his wife are on a long trip. They are travelling a back road. She says: ‘Yes, Burt. I know we’re in Nebraska, Burt. But where the hell are we?’ He says: ‘You’ve got the road atlas. Look it up. Or can’t you read?’
Nice. It looks so simple. Just like brain surgery. The knife has an edge. You hold it so. And cut.
Now at risk of being an iconoclast I will say that I do not give a diddly-whoop what Stephen King chooses as an area in which to write. The fact that he presently enjoys writing in the field of spooks and spells and slitherings in the cellar is to me the least important and useful fact about the man anyone can relate.
There are a lot of slitherings in here, and there is a maddened pressing machine that haunts me, as it will you, and there are enough persuasively evil children to fill Disney World on any Sunday in February, but the main thing is story.
One is led to care.
Note this. Two of the most difficult areas to write in are humour and the occult. In clumsy hands the humour turns to dirge and the occult turns funny.
But once you know how, you can write in any area.
Stephen King is not going to restrict himself to his present field of intense interest.
One of the most resonant and affecting stories in this book is ‘The Last Rung on the Ladder.’ A gem. Nary a rustle nor breath of other worlds in it.
He does not write to please you. He writes to please himself. I write to please myself. When that happens, you will like the work too. These stories pleased Stephen King and they pleased me.
By strange coincidence on the day I write this, Stephen King’s novel The Shining and my novel Condominium are both on the Best Seller List. We are not in competition for your attention with each other. We are in competition, I suppose, with the inept and pretentious and sensational books published by household names who have never really bothered to learn their craft.
In so far as story is concerned, and pleasure is concerned, there are not enough Stephen Kings to go around.
If you have read this whole thing, I hope you have plenty of time. You could have been reading the stories.
Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
After too many days of too many rich foods, I wanted something simple for dinner last night. And last week, two separate recipes for spinach tortellini soup had arrived in my inbox within minutes of each other. One was in an author’s newsletter, another in a daily recipe email I get from Fine Cooking. The latter was for a smaller pot, less of everything except garlic. The former added an onion which I knew I wanted, so I combined the two. It was very simple, not fancy at all, a thin brothy soup, but adding some fresh baked bread – and a couple of ham slices from Christmas to the husband’s plate – made it a very filling meal. Here’s my version of the two recipes.
1 onion diced
8 garlic cloves minced
2 cans petite diced tomatoes with juice
8 cups chicken broth
2 cups fresh cheese tortellini
16 oz fresh spinach
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven and brown the onions, then quickly brown the garlic, 30 seconds or so. Pour in the tomatoes with their juice and the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook until done per instructions. Turn off heat and drop in fresh spinach to wilt. Spoon up, top with shredded parmesan and nom!
Friday, August 13th, 2010
Congratulations to Laurie (comment #4) for winning the $50 Amazon Gift Certificate! To claim your prize, please email your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winner #1 – Laurie G
Winner #2 – R Varnum
Winner #3 – Lori
Winner #4 – Alina D
Winner #5 – Sharon
It’s time to remind you I have an upcoming book. Not only an upcoming book, but a LAUNCH title for a BRAND NEW imprint from HCI Books, True Vows, Reality-Based Romance, real life love stories written to read as romance novels. The other two launch books are by fabulous authors Julie Leto and Judith Arnold, and right now, you can start reading free chapters of Judith’s MEET ME IN MANHATTAN at this link.
One of the spring True Vows releases will be written by my buddy, HelenKay Dimon. She’s got a GREAT couple with a very cool story to share. You can read that news at this link. Additional spring / summer titles will be written by Cindi Myers, and Jill Barnett – who will be writing the most AMAZING WW11 era story – and a third author I can’t yet spill the news on.
If you haven’t read the story of my couple, Todd Bracken and Michelle Snow, here is the WaPo write up of their wedding. Eventually there will be more about them at the True Vows website, but you can see their bakeshop’s website at this link and do some drooling while there. One of my Twitter followers said: “I work across the street. The Cupcakes are orgasmic.”
Here’s the cover copy for my book, and you can read an excerpt at this link.
Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match . . . dot.com. An on-line dating service is not Michelle Snow’s idea of how to find love but when the Big 3-0 hits, Michelle decides she has nothing to lose since she hasn’t brought a date home in ten years, she’s professionally burned out, and her climb up the corporate ladder has come at the expense of abandoning her sweet dream: to own a boutique cupcakery.
Todd Bracken, early thirties and a successful technology consultant, isn’t exactly a player after being off the market for ten years, and pours himself into his dual passions of martial arts and home-sweet-home renovations. Only there’s no one to come home to so he decides to give Match.com a try. Todd isn’t so sure the Internet dating scene is his thing – until a message pops up in the wee hours on a weekend night: “I like your smile.” Todd likes – a lot – the whole package that glides into a French bistro in Washington, D.C.
It’s serious mojo-at-first-sight but there’s a glitch: Todd and Michelle live in different cities. Will love find its way in the digital age with a You’ve Got Mail courtship when video cam kisses just aren’t enough? And when Todd challenges Michelle to not only go for her dream but also let him share it, will they be able to make it happen together despite obstacles more plentiful than a shower of rainbow sprinkles?
If you’re on Facebook, this is the link to the Frosting – A Cupcakery page, and there are several articles online that mention their bakery: at the link, at this link, at this link.
So . . . since my story is all about cupcakes, I decided to do a contest that’s cupcake driven. To enter, you have to post your favorite cupcake recipe in the comments. (If your favorite cupcake recipe involves a box of Betty Crocker and a can of icing, okay. You can say that. Or if your favorite cupcake recipe is one you buy at a bakery, that’s okay, too, but at least give us the scoop on why you love it and where you buy it. But it will be a LOT more fun if you share a recipe, or at least link to one online.)
Since a Sprinkles recently opened in Houston, No. 1 Daughter and I have sampled about a dozen of their flavors, and have decided that the cupcakes I make are FAR superior. (We found their cake SO dry, though the frosting was gooey and good.) Of course, I only make one kind these days, and it’s not even my recipe. It’s a cake recipe you can find at this link, and the ONLY thing I do differently is to NOT pour the icing on until the cupcakes are cooled. I tried it the other way, and the cake became a gooey thick unpalatable mess. Much better to cool the cake first.
So, post your recipe, and each weekday from 8/16/2010 – 8/20/2010, I will draw a name to win a copy of THE ICING ON THE CAKE. Then on 8/21/2010, I will draw one name to win a $50 gift certificate to Amazon. I will draw the weekday names each morning at 10:00 a.m. CDT starting on the 17th, and the gift certificate drawing will be held at the same time on the 22nd.
Go, go, CUPCAKES!
Friday, July 9th, 2010
Like a lot of you probably do, I subscribe to Hungry Girl’s newsletter. For July 4th, she included a crock pot recipe for pulled pork. My favorite pulled pork recipe is The Pioneer Woman’s, but I wanted to give HG’s a try.
The only change I made is that I used all tenderloin and no shoulder, and though the meat was good, the sauce was a vinegary no go. We had a ton leftover, but I also had a chuck roast that had to be cooked, so did that the next day (again, The Pioneer Woman’s no fail recipe), meaning I had to do something with the pork leftovers because I was not going to throw them out.
Enter Cooking Light on Twitter. The same weekend, they posted a link to light versions of fifteen pies. Some fruit, some vegetable (a spinach and ricotta in phyllo dough I want to try), some sweet but low cal desserts, and some meat.
One of the meat pies was a Galician Pork & Pepper Pie. Since I had all that pork, my dilemma was solved. This was dinner on Wednesday night, and for me, lunch on Thursday and today both. Cuppacafe’s only complaint was that it needed more onions, and he was right. Still, he ate a hefty portion and leftovers tonight.
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
My mother is a good cook. I’ve always thought so. Even as a kid (for the most part). My father traveled often, and would bring home recipes from ladies at churches he’d visited around the country. (Church ladies make the best cooks!) One was for a chicken spaghetti casserole that’s the best I’ve had in my life, and yet I’ve never made it. Not even sure why! One was a jello salad, cherry probably, made with red hots.
Another was a lime jello with pears, pineapple, pecans, and a topping of some whipped cream and mayo and vinegar combo. We don’t eat jello. @cuppacafe can’t stand it. I’ve never made either, but I loved them when she’d make them. (The closest I’ve come was to whip fat free cream cheese into hot water with sugar free jello, subbing out half the water for diet soda. Sounds weird, but was really very good!)
I know she never had access to the same conveniences I do now, or even all the same foods, so it’s fun to think about the things I’ve learned through practice or from @cuppacafe or even the Internet about cooking and food. But from my mother, I learned about cornbread dressing, and I still make her banana spice cake with penuche icing, and No. 1 Daughter makes her chocolate orange balls at Christmas.
We didn’t eat much variety when it came to vegetables. Corn and green beans were a staple. Potatoes and carrots. Peas. Almost all vegetables were canned. I remember her making turnips and cauliflower, but I wanted nothing to do with either. I’m still not on board with the turnips, but cauliflower is a regular here at home, steamed with cheese sauce, or roasted with garlic and parmesan.
My kids grew up with that and with broccoli, and cabbage. I seem to remember cabbage as a kid, but like with the turnips and cauliflower, the stench turned me off. I couldn’t get beyond the smell to the taste. She would also cook okra. I’d eat it fried, but never EVER would I eat it steamed. All that slime . . . though now I’ll eat it in gumbo, no problem!
Oh, and spinach. We ate spinach. I LOVED spinach. I still do. My first mother in law was a country cook like no other. She stored her bacon grease in an aluminum can in the pantry, and liberally used it when cooking greens (which I do NOT like, except for spinach). She did everything by hand, and my first father in law would say nobody whipped better left-handed potatoes. No mixer for her. (I had wonderful first in-laws.) Her table was always loaded with fried foods, gravies, etc. And I learned chicken fried steak from her and my mother both, combining their methods into my own.
I don’t remember my mother cooking with garlic except garlic powder or salt. I never peeled and minced a garlic clove until I was married to @cuppacafe. It just wasn’t on my radar to do so. The garlic powder served its flavoring purpose, but oh do I love having discovered the difference. I also never ate Chinese food until he introduced me to it. Italian and Mexican yes. My mother made tacos and enchiladas, and lasagna.
Every Sunday we had yummy pot roast with potatoes and carrots and gravy. My mother would put this in before we went to church, and her oven timer would come on while we were gone so the house smelled wonderful when we came home. This meant that on Mondays, we usually had leftovers. She would slice the roast beef and warm it and the vegetables in a big iron skillet so the edges were crunchy and brown.
We had meatloaf (I’m a HUGE meatloaf fan) and meatballs with cream of mushroom soup gravy (which I still make) and spaghetti. We had hamburgers with the meat patties fried up in that same big iron skillet. We had chicken, fried or baked, and back then I only wanted to eat the thighs. I thought breasts were too dry. Now breasts are the only thing I want. We had Swanson pot pies. Most of the family had chicken, I wanted beef. I would cut chunks of cheddar cheese and push through the crust to melt. These days, Marie Callender’s pot pies are my fave, but the extra big ones, with things like broccoli and parmesan and THOUSANDS of calories. I don’t eat them often.
We rarely went out to eat. Picking up Whataburger was a huge deal. And it was usually on Saturday, maybe once a month, because Saturday was a big prep day for Sunday church. Shoe shining. Ironing. Hair rolling. With four kids, a stay at home mom and a preacher’s salary, I’m pretty sure even those hamburgers and milkshakes were a huge splurge. I remember taking Home Ec my sophomore year in high school, and having to cook dinner for a week, and my teacher coming to the house to make sure I did. The only thing I remember making was a tuna dish with mandarin oranges and dried noodles. Oh, and peanut butter cupcakes with a crumble topping.
I still have that recipe somewhere. Those were SO good.
Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
Even though it was 70 degrees out, I made Pioneer Woman’s Italian Meatball Soup for dinner on Monday. Yum. @cuppacafe and I ate almost the whole pot between us, with only a bowl leftover for my lunch today! (And we won’t talk about making cupcakes out of her Best Chocolate Sheet Cake Ever. But I did. And it is.)
On the not as successful cooking front, a couple of weeks ago, I made this Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff after seeing several raves about it on Twitter. Lesson learned? Don’t trust everything you read on Twitter. Not a good recipe for our family.
I’m thinking of dropping our Netflix subscription down to one movie at a time as we’re not watching anything that comes to the house. Today I mailed back two unwatched discs. No. 1 Daughter is too busy with nursing studies, and streams what she wants to watch, as does @cuppacafe, though he did order up Topper this week.
I’ve gone back to the beginning of LOST to rewatch before the final season starts in February – not that I’m going to have time. Netflix happens to be streaming all the seasons that are out on DVD. I have some thoughts on how a second watching 1) clears up some questions while at the same time 2) reveals some really poorly thought out character motivations (Season 1, Episode 12, Whatever The Case May Be).
Having now owned an iPod Touch for nearly a month, I can say without a doubt that I would never want an iPhone. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the iPod Touch as an ereader and an mp3 player. I’m having fun with apps like Treadmill and I use the IMDB app constantly (we have a thing for figuring out where we’ve seen actors before). But I have a Blackberry Curve and can type on that keyboard almost as fast as I can on my pc, so as cool as it would be to have one device, it’s not going to happen. And then there’s the battery life issue with the iPod Touch that’s just ridiculous! I’ll be sticking with Blackberry for my phone, texting, and mobile email needs.
Takumi has taken to hanging out on the backyard work table. No idea why.
Thursday, December 24th, 2009
If you’ve come here expecting to find this sort of food craftery, you’re in the wrong place (but, wowza, isn’t that amazing!) as I save my craftery for the stories I tell. What my baking lacks in pretty, it makes up for in yummy. The recipe I use for shortbread sugar cut out cookies was given the name Love Cookies by one of my co-workers because she said our other co-worker who made these every Valentine’s Day and Easter and Christmas made them with LOVE. She would take a day of vacation to bake for the office, and bring six dozen or so to work, and they were ALL gone by noon (except for the ones we would sneak and hide in our desks for afternoon snacking).
(Because it’s the easiest way to take pictures with messy hands, I used the camera on my Blackberry, ergo, lack of color, focus, depth, clarity, etc. I am no Pioneer Woman.)
As I said on Twitter on Tuesday, I couldn’t find any of my cookie cutters except for an Easter bunny (which I was told was actually a Christmas bunny) so I decided to use a cup to cut simple rounds. Nothing beats a 25 year old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mug for cookie cutting. Just be sure to flour well your rolling pin and rolling surface. (And why bother with a pastry sheet when a countertop is just as easy to clean?)
The trick to these cookies is not to over bake. The recipe says 8 – 10 minutes. In my oven, which cooks hot, 6 was perfect. You want the edges of the bottom to be lightly brown. The cookies themselves are pale and naked and boring, but oh the smell of the sugar and vanilla, mmm. (I bought a Secret Ingredient stocking stuffer for @cuppacafe from King Arthur Flour; if it had been open when I made these, I would’ve used it. I’m dying to see if it’s as flavorful and aromatic as the claims make out.)
I set my rack over one side of the sink for glazing and let them cool a few minutes while I cut out another pan’s worth and pop those in to bake. The glaze is thin and will run, but it adheres better when the cookies are barely warm, rather than still hot. In keeping with the Easter and Ninja Turtle theme, I went with green.
I put a plate beneath the cooling rack for obvious reasons. Yes, once the glaze has set and the next batch has come out of the oven, I pour the glaze from the plate back into the bowl. The cookies are smooth so there are no crumbs to mar the glaze.
I doubled the recipe and had to take a break between batches because I’m battling the worst flare up of sciatica I’ve had in years (doing a lot better today, the treadmill is helping, as is the yoga) so this was a long afternoon’s worth of work. I rewarded myself by eating three out of each batch. Then later ate one more. Yum yum YUM!
My co-worker’s cookies glaze perfectly, very neat and clean. Me? I’m all about eating so no need for perfection! A couple of cookies, a cup of tea. Mmm. Nothing beats it!
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
I probably read more food and cooking blogs than book and writing blogs these days, and one of my favorites is Dutch Girl Cooking – probably because of her very cool recipe cards and pictures, but also, how can you not love a recipe that calls for a “knob of butter?”
Last night I made her Twice Baked Beef Potatoes, and though @cuppacafe looked at them dubiously when he got home, when he dug in, he said, “Hey, these aren’t bad.” I took that as a compliment. Plus, he was right!
Now, I didn’t use a leek because that’s just not something I would have on hand. Instead, I shredded one yellow squash. Neither did I use curry powder (don’t even own any) or HP sauce, since I have no clue what that is in the Netherlands. I also added some young green peas instead of corn because every shepherd’s pie I’ve ever made has had peas. And that’s basically what this is. Individual shepherd’s pies.
I only baked two potatoes, seasoning the skins with olive oil and kosher salt, so I still have some of the meat mixture left over. @cuppacafe ate two halves, I ate one and had the other for breakfast this morning. It looks like a lot of steps, but it was fast and fairly easy. I was going to take a picture when they were done, but was starving and forgot. I love recipes with a lot of leeway as this one has, so I recommend!
Friday, November 6th, 2009
For as long as I’ve known him @cuppacafe has enjoyed baking bread, pizza dough, all manner of yeasty things. (He used to make me pizza when we were dating. *g*) And all without any sort of measuring of ingredients or recipe usage. He just tosses stuff by ratios and it all turns out good. A month or so ago he got a bug to get a bread machine. Remember when those things cost a fortune? No longer.
$50 later we’re home from WalMart with the one and only Sunbeam model they had in stock. The first loaf he made was another of his no recipe concoctions (and it remains my fave of our experiments thus far) and didn’t use bread machine yeast, but the live yeasty blob growing in a container in the fridge. (Scary science experiment.)
My first loaf was a big fail because the only yeast I had needed to be proofed, but I treated it as bread machine yeast to see what would happen. It was a jalapeno cheese recipe that we eventually made again. The jalapenos were great, but the cheese worked as a flavoring rather than being a chunky part of the slices. We’ve done another cheese loaf since, with a sharp white cheddar, timing when we added the cheese, but we haven’t yet managed to get it right. Everything gets eaten, a lot of it toasted with garlic, butter and parmesan with whatever we’re having for dinner!
I blogged here about one of the loaves I made. It was a bit heavy, and if I do it again, I’ll do some adjusting, cutting back on the wheat flour. I’ve also done the following:
- 1 – French Bread (super great crust, texture meh)
- 2 – White Bread (thick slices toasted made great sandwiches)
- 3 – Black Pepper Onion Bread (boy did this one smell good, decent taste)
- 4 – Dill Cottage Cheese Bread (again, great smell, flavor okay)
We’ve finally found a recipe we love so much we’ve now made it twice. In one week! It’s a Buttermilk Cinnamon Raisin Bread and it’s the best! We have tweaked it a bit, cutting the wheat flour to 1/4 a C and increasing the bread flour the same amount. Also, we upped the yeast to 1 1/2 tsp, and might up it a tad more next time.
I also played with adding the raisins so they wouldn’t all be stuck on the bottom. Dusting them with flour and pouring them in a bit at a time at the add-in cycle worked great. At the same time, I had to add about a tablespoon of water as the machine was starting to bounce across the countertop! I should’ve used the sweet setting instead of basic as it keeps the sugar from burning, but I was rushed and forgot.
Anyhow, this is SUPER yummy. Anyone else play with bread machine recipes?
Got any good ones to share?
Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
As I mentioned yesterday, I attended the Heart of LA’s Readers Luncheon on October 3rd. There were around 100 attendees who came to hear Kelley St. John and Cynthia Eden while enjoying an awesome lunch at Drusilla Seafood Restaurant. Both @cuppacafe and I chose their fried catfish, and it was truly some of the best ever.
The night before, we had arranged to have dinner at Sammy’s Grill with Toni McGee Causey and her husband. Several other authors came, including Cynthia Eden and Amber Leigh Williams, Elaine Grant and Rhonda Leah, and we had a great time discussing writing and the writing life and sharing our processes as well as comparing reading habits. You might be surprised. *g* (BTW, the choice of Sammy’s was an order from No. 1 Daughter. She and her boyfriend love it, and eat there every time they’re in Baton Rouge. She told me if I ever made a trip through, I had to stop for their shrimp.)
There were DOZENS of prizes given away at the luncheon in addition to the MONSTROUS goodie bags full of swag. There was also a signing. I was still blonde at the time, and sitting at the end of the table next to Cherie Coen and Amber. The hint of a red sleeve belongs to Maya Banks. I got to visit with her for a few, but there’s never enough time at these things. Since @cuppacafe and I were both attendees (I was a featured author, he was just along for the ride – and to drive) we came home with two big bags full of STUFF.
I’ve divided everything you see below (minus the bag which I’m keeping) into three prize packs, one of which will include a copy of DEEP BREATH since I was one book short when divvying up the mountains of loot.
To be eligible to win one of the three prize packs, leave a comment here by Friday, October 16, 2009, noon CDT telling me what holiday food you’re most looking forward to eating this year. Is it something you cook? Something a family member fixes? Something a co-worker brings to the office every year? Something you order from a favorite bakery? Feel free to leave a recipe or link to one! Let’s nosh!
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