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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

On select Tuesdays I share delicious recipes either inspired by my books or that are just plain delicious!


In continuing my fall-themed recipes, here's one I make this time of year that's sure to please. If you're never tried a zucchini-style bread because it sounds weird, give this a shot! Zucchini in baking imparts no flavor of its own, but melts away to create a wonderful moistness. (That's why it's important NOT to drain or pat dry zucchini in a baking recipe unless specifically instructed.)

I found this recipe in the breakfast section on joyofbaking.com, but we have it as a dessert treat or afternoon snack. I have not managed to convert this to a paleo-friendly version yet, so it's a special treat I indulge in once in a great while. I love the smell wafting through the house while this is in the oven!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread


Ingredients

1 1/2 cups zucchini (about 1/2 lb)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
1/2 cup oil (I use coconut or olive oil, but you can use vegetable if you prefer)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract


Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan. 

Grate zucchini; set aside. In large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. I like to use a wire whisk for this because it gives the flour the same texture as if I sifted it. Stir in chocolate chips.

In a separate large  bowl, beat eggs. Add oil, sugars, and vanilla; whisk until well blended. I use the whisk from earlier, but an electric mixer can lend a hand. Just don't overbeat. Fold in zucchini and then flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Pour into loaf pan and bake 55-65 minutes, until the bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for a while, 10-20 minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely. If the family can stay away that long, at least! This tastes great while still warm...but try to be patient for at least half an hour to keep the moistness from evaporating in the steam caused by cutting into this too soon.

 This can be stored at room temperature for several days, but I usually keep it in the fridge. It also freezes well.

~~~

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Goodreads. She loves talking to people!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Yummy Maple Sweet Potato

It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

On select Tuesdays I share delicious recipes either inspired by my books or that are just plain delicious!


So last time I posted a fall recipe for making applesauce, and with Thanksgiving almost here, I wanted to post a traditional side dish that is super easy and is a bit healthier than the style I grew up with.

My mother always made sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving, and it was one of my favorite dishes. She used lots of margarine, corn syrup or brown sugar, and a generous layer of marshmallows on top. With sweet taters in season now, I've been buying organic ones from the local farmer's market and adding them to my lunch. I season them in different ways, but when I'm in the mood for something like my mom's old recipe, I came up with a paleo-friendly twist that's simple and delicious! 

Yummy Maple Sweet Potato


Ingredients

Sweet potato (I use 1 large at a time, but you can size this up by adding 1/2-1 potato per serving. Double the rest of the ingredients as needed.)
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp real maple syrup (or honey, if that's what you have in the house)
a dash of salt to bring out the flavors

Directions
Prick potatoes with a fork and bake at 375 for 45 minutes to 1 hour until soft. Squeeze soft potato from skins, mash together with butter, syrup, and salt. Serve!

Enjoy!

~~~

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Goodreads. She loves talking to people!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

EZ Homemade Applesauce

It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

On select Tuesdays I share delicious recipes either inspired by my books or that are just plain delicious!


It's time to bob for apples! I love apples year-round, and we always have plenty in the house. When there's a bumper crop, I grab a few and make the following applesauce. Great on its own, or serve with pork chops or fried chicken! 

EZ Homemade Applesauce


Ingredients

4 medium apples (I like Fuji, but any will do!)
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. sugar (For those avoiding refined sugar, try honey or maple syrup)
Cinnamon to taste

Directions
Cut and core apples. Peeling them is optional, I usually do. Heat apples with sugar, water, and cinnamon in medium saucepan until just at a low boil. Reduce heat to medium or medium low, cover and cook 15-20 minutes until apples are nice and mushy. Remove from heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes, then mash with a fork or ricer/potato masher.

Enjoy!

~~~

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Goodreads. She loves talking to people!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Crockpot Barbecue Chicken

It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

On select Tuesdays I share delicious recipes either inspired by my books or that are just plain delicious!


I spent some time around a chicken coop this past week, so today's recipe is inspired by it! There's nothing like the tangy goodness of barbecue chicken, but with cooler days approaching, it might not always be convenient to zip outside to the grill. Instead, I've got a crockpot version that's so easy you may not even miss those lazy summer days standing over the barbecue! Okay, maybe not, but it's still delish! 

Crockpot Barbecue Chicken


Ingredients
8 pieces of chicken (I cut up a whole chicken, or use thighs/drumsticks on sale)
1 bottle of barbecue sauce
1/4 cup vinegar (apple cider works, but regular is good)
1 tsp red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar (you could sub honey, molasses, or palm/coconut sugar)
1 tsp garlic powder (or mince up a garlic clove or two)

Directions:
Mix all the ingredients together in your crockpot except the chicken. Arrange your chicken pieces in the sauce; turn over to coat everything well. Cook on low for 4-6 hours until chicken is tender.

Enjoy!

~~~

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Goodreads. She loves talking to people!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Why I'm Not Doing NaNoWriMo This Year

I logged into the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) site today. It told me I've been a member for "about" 8 years. Every year since, I've started the race on November 1--and every year, I've crossed the 50k goal. Along the way, I hosted NaNo contests, mentored new writers, and come December, couldn't wait until November rolled around again. I couldn't even foresee a time in which I wouldn't want to jump on the bandwagon. Until now.

I'd been eyeballing the calendar for a while now, watching November approach on swift wings not with a sense of anticipation, but with dread. Folks who've been following my blog know I've been struggling with writing this year. There are lots of busy reasons why I've put the pen aside, but I know there is truly only one reason why my schedule has derailed writing so completely. My heart isn't in it. 

I've tried and tried again to rework my writing schedule to fit daily life, and it took me a while to figure out why my new schedules weren't working out any better than the old one. Word count has eluded me completely, and during the times words do flow, they leak all over the place without good rhyme or reason. This time of year is not traditionally when I do the bulk of my writing, thanks to other obligations, but this has been going on for some time now. And last week, I realized that what's happening is not just because of my summer life blitz or Mercury being in retrograde. It's not just that I've fallen out of discipline as a writer. It's that I just plain don't want to write. When I try to crack the whip and make myself get to it, the results show that lack of heart. My readers--and my muse--deserve more.

In light of this, I have decided not to do NaNoWriMo this year. I also pulled out of an anthology I was participating in so I could focus on family and spend some "me" time. Neither of these was an easy decision. A writer who isn't writing feels to me a lot like a fish who isn't swimming. But it's obvious that my cup is way beyond empty right now, and scheduled days off from writing for fun and such isn't cutting it. What's needed, I suspect, is an honest to goodness, sanctioned hiatus. I'll spend more time with my family, do some stuff outdoors, enjoy the holidays in a way I haven't let myself for a long time because of all the work I have to do. 

With the last book in my Lone Wolves series still unfinished, this is a tough pill to swallow. But I need to take my medicine. That book deserves my absolute best, and I seem to have lost it. I'm hoping it doesn't take long to find it again. 


On select Mondays, I like to gab about writing or whatever's going on with me. For more gab, please join me on Twitter or Facebook. I love talking to people!

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Chile Rellenos

It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

On select Tuesdays I share delicious recipes either inspired by my books or that are just plain delicious!

Today's recipe is a celebration of savory, spicy romance! Chile rellenos have a comfort food feel with all that gooey cheese and flavor, yet there's a nice kick from the chile and sauce.

Chile Rellenos


What's not to love about melted cheese stuffed inside pretty much anything? Use canned ranchero sauce to make this a quicker prospect, or if you're feeling industrious, there are lots of sauce recipes on the internet.

Ingredients
4 poblano chiles, skinned (see HERE for info on how to roast off the skins) 
4 pieces string cheese OR 4 slices Montery Jack, cut 2" long, 1" wide, 1/2" thick
4 eggs, separated
4 Tbsp flour
oil for frying
ranchero or enchilada sauce

Directions:

Heat oil in large skillet or pot you like to use for frying. Stuff chiles with cheese sticks. Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat yolks until creamy and stir in flour. Fold yolks into whites carefully to maintain volume. Drop chiles into batter (one at a time is best), then lift gently and place in hot oil. Cook until lightly browned and turn carefully with a spatula to brown other side. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with sauce. Makes 4 rellenos.

FYI, you'll note the above ratios make this recipe easy to increase or reduce. 1 egg and cheese stick per chile, plus 1 Tbsp flour.

Enjoy!

~~~

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Goodreads. She loves talking to people!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Putting a Manuscript on Time Out

(Time Out Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com)
There are times when a manuscript needs a firm, guiding hand to get it ship-shape. There are other times, however, when the manuscript (or muse) is guilty of manhandling the writer. This isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes, letting a manuscript have its own way can be quite a boon. I've joked many times that my characters come up with much better stuff than I write on my own. On the other hand, there are books that defy every attempt to tame them into graceful, cohesive prose. These obstinate projects refuse to bend to the author's will and have no good ideas of their own. A writer may try any number of ways to "force" the words out, but they do not come. 

In these cases, it's time to STOP. Step away from the offending book slowly and let it think about what it has done.

Putting a manuscript in time out can be a frustrating prospect. When you've put so much time and effort into a project, setting it aside can feel like a failure. But just as a time out can help redirect a misbehaving tot, sticking your wayward story in a corner--for the time being--can smooth out the kinks.

This breather from begging, battling, and bribing doesn't mean all writing efforts should cease. This isn't a warning sign that it's time to consider a change in careers, or even that you should take a vacation from writing. When one child earns a time out, the rest don't get disciplined along with him. So set a mental timer for when you want to go back to the naughty volume, and then move right into the next project. 

There may be fear that once a book is in the naughty corner, it may never come out again. In my years of writing, the truth is, there have been one or two that fit that description. The first is over a decade old. Oh, I revisit it from time to time, but it continues to elude a reasonable conclusion. And so it sits, waiting for the right time, and yet without the power to stop me from completing other projects. 

I've just put another in time out for refusing to be completed in time for me to move onto holiday deadlines and NaNoWriMo. Let's hope that book is feeling more generous after we've had some much needed time apart.

On select Mondays, I like to gab about writing or whatever's going on with me. For more gab, please join me on Twitter or Facebook. I love talking to people!

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mustard Balsamic Chicken

It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

On select Tuesdays I share delicious recipes either inspired by my books or that are just plain delicious!

I'm sharing today's recipe after a conversation about what to do with chicken. We'd eaten so much of it that it fell out of our graces for many months. Finally, we decided the time had come to place chicken back into our meal rotation. Which is not to say it's back to the same old boring bird. I wanted something with a little zip, so here's a recipe that fits the bill!

Mustard Balsamic Chicken


This is a slight variation on a delicious Paleo-friendly recipe I ran across on the internet a while back (
http://paleoleap.com/mustard-balsamic-baked-chicken/). I like coconut oil for this, as the slight sweetness offsets that tang of the balsamic/mustard combo. But you can substitute olive oil if you wish.

Chicken hasn't been the cheapest cut of meat in our area lately, so I personally either use a whole chicken cut up or thighs that are on sale. However, this recipe works on any "parts" you want to use. Bon appetit!

Ingredients

8 chicken pieces (boneless thighs, drumsticks, etc)
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced fine
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Mix mustard, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and lemon juice well in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in coconut oil 
Slowly pour the olive oil in with the mixture while whisking constantly. 

Lay chicken pieces in a single layer in a large glass baking dish (no metal). Pour marinade over all evenly. Cover and refrigerate; let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour until chicken is cooked and tender.

~~~

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Goodreads. She loves talking to people!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Happy Fall!

Happy Fall!
What a week! It was clean-a-palooza at the house all week, from carpets to laundry and some work on the garage. I'm pooped! But I like getting things shipshape before holiday season rolls around. We got our fall/Halloween decorations up, which was fun, and I'm absolutely thrilled that the past couple of days have seen temperatures much lower than the 100 degrees we've lived with for the past month or so.
LIFE STUFF

Meet Claire
My prior Monday posts mentioned car issues, and that our newest car visited the mechanic just days after we brought it home. Sigh. Turned out to be a rather major deal with the steering. But after a week at the shop, the car is back with us, and I got to drive it for the first time yesterday. Here's a photo of Claire:

One of the doctors at work is forever recommending books to read, and I just downloaded Feast of Souls, book 1 of the Magister trilogy by C.S. Friedman. He also told me of another that I've placed a hold on at the library: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. That's quite a title!

WRITING STUFF

I did some writing and rearranging on Lone Wolves 7, Disarming Cowboys, which is now approaching 85k words. I wrote a fight scene, hated it, gave it a couple days, and then figured out how to fix it. I'm hoping that's the final glitch in this book, but judging from how it's gone thus far, I'm not betting on it.


TV STUFF

Lots of premieres this week. I'm leery of the whole Elsa story line in Once Upon a Time. The UK premiere of Downton Abbey didn't wow me. Neither did Sleepy Hollow, which I quit watching halfway through. I haven't been much in the TV mood, admittedly. I'm trying to get other stuff done.

~~~~
On select Mondays, I like to gab about whatever's going on with me. For more gab, please join me on Twitter or Facebook. I love talking to people!

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Caramel Apple Cookies

It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

On select Tuesdays I share delicious recipes either inspired by my books or that are just plain delicious!

Today's recipe is inspired by fall, actually. Although it's a great one to have by your side, along with a cup of tea or coffee, while you curl up with a favorite book!

Caramel Apple Cookies


When fall rolls around, the first thing I get excited about is all the recipes I like to make this time of year. And these are a fun treat!


I won't pretend this recipe is in any way "Paleo friendly", but it is a fun treat every now and again. I might play around with altering the ingredients, subbing coconut oil for shortening, maple syrup or coconut sugar for the brown sugar, and using nut flours. 

Caramel Apple Cookies

Cookies
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/3 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon
tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
---OR 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice or to taste

1 cup grated peeled apple
1 cup raisins (optional, but yum)

Caramel Icing
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp cream or half-and-half

Directions:

Cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together shortening, sugar and egg until light. Sift dry ingredients; add to the creamed mixture. Blend well and stir in the remaining ingredients. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake in 12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from the pan cool. 

Icing: Heat butter and brown sugar in small saucepan until dissolved. Add remaining. Beat well. Spread on cookies. 

Enjoy!

~~~

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Goodreads. She loves talking to people!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Our Hunger Games Car and Writing with Minecraft


Happy Fall!

Can you believe it's already that time? Apple cider, fall leaves, pumpkins. Man, where did the year fly off to? 

LIFE STUFF

My fall flowers display that sits outside the front door
In a recent update, I mentioned our car woes. Well, we finally got Car 1 replaced with a new (used) one. Spoiler fin, leather seats, digital compass readout on the rear view mirror, etc. We were quite happy with Claire (she came with her name embroidered on the custom dash cover, heh). Five days later, Claire was already at the mechanic. Turns out there was a recall on that model for a power steering issue that resulted in these cars CATCHING FIRE. Since we aren't interested in being a title from the Hunger Games, we're back to Car 2 for a bit while that gets sorted out.

WRITING STUFF

If you saw last week's Monday post, An Open Letter to My Manuscript, you know that I have been doing some writing lately. Lone Wolves 7,  Disarming Cowboys, is approaching 85k. I'm still finishing the Big Finale sequence, and then all that's left is the last wrap-up chapter. There are touching moments in store for the end. This draft will be a whopper, not sure what to do about it. It'll need some heavy paring down before it can be submitted to the publisher. I can already tell that deciding what to cut will be tougher with this book than any I've ever written. Maybe because it's the grand finale to a series that's been near and dear to my heart. 


OTHER STUFF
My Minecraft lake house
My oldest and youngest daughters (32 and 10, respectively) recently got me into playing Minecraft. Although my oldest lives ten hours away, we've been "hanging out" together in her realm. She builds the greatest stuff! It's inspiring to see how creativity flourishes within others. And since world building is something writers do a lot of, it's been fun to go about that in a different, hands-on way. That sort of creativity has given the rest of my right brain a boost. Plus it's been a great supplement to my youngest's STEM education (STEM=Science/Technology/Engineering/Math). 

I used to build worlds in The Sims, and I used that to plot out settings and storylines for my book characters. One of my books, Bewitching Love, was first plotted out in great detail in The Sims 2 before I turned it into a novel. I thought about recreating Shay Falls in Minecraft and making it available as a downloadable world map. Either way, I'm wondering how my forays into building, mining, and zombie management will influence upcoming stories. :)


~~~
On select Mondays, I like to gab about whatever's going on with me. For more gab, please join me on Twitter or Facebook. I love talking to people!

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday With Richard Brawer


On Throwback Thursday I showcase the very first book or story ever written by some talented authors.  Today I'm happy to have Richard Brawer, author of Love's Sweet Sorrow. He's here to share a throwback to his very first work.


Throwback Thursday with Richard Brawer

Before retiring I commuted an hour and twenty minutes to New York City by train.  To fill the time I read a newspaper in the morning and books on the ride home.  

One day I read a horrendous news story about a father whose child was born with a brain impairment and he refused to take him home from the hospital.  The nurses were outraged and their disgust was quoted in the story. Nothing was mentioned about the mother. That’s when my imagination took over and I asked myself, What happened to the child? Where was the mother?

With mysteries being my favorite genre, I took those thoughts and began making notes.  The notes turned into paragraphs and the paragraphs into chapters.  Thus my first novel, The Nurse Wore Black, was born.

Now I had a book, but what do I do with it?  Being a complete novice, I did the usual things most new writers do.  I sent out query letters to agents and received a stack of rejections. Lamenting my woes to a friend, he told me about a local independent publisher in the town next to mine.  Excited, I dropped in cold to their office. Two weeks later they said they wanted to publish my book. Wow!

When I saw the finished product, the “Wow” factor fell into the depression factor. The cover was not well done and leafing through the book I saw a number of typos.  The publisher had never discussed the cover with me nor did they give me a proof of the formatted book. At the time I didn’t know enough to ask for them. As far as I knew, I thought the publisher would do the editing as well as create a proper cover.  Needless to say, I did not send this book out for reviews nor did I push to sell it.  It was an embarrassment. 

The moral:  Make sure you are pro-active in every phase of your book’s production from editing, to layout and design of the cover.

The Nurse Wore Black has been rewritten and re-titled, Secrets Can Be Deadly and is now the first story in my Trilogy, Murder at the Jersey Shore featuring detective David Nance. The three book volume is available on Amazon. See the link below.

Read more about Richard and his books at his website: www.silklegacy.com

His latest book is Love’s Sweet Sorrow, a romantic suspense novel. Love and faith are tested when Jason and Ariel are caught in a battle to expose smugglers selling weapons to terrorists.


Love’s Sweet Sorrow
by Richard Brawer

It is said opposites attract. There can’t be two people more opposite than Ariel and Jason. Ariel is a traditional Quaker with an absolute aversion to war. Jason is the lead council for America's largest weapons manufacturer.

Their budding romance is thrown into turmoil when Jason uncovers evidence linking his employer to international arms deals that could devastate America. His determination to stop the treason puts Ariel in the middle of dangerous territory.

As the chases to retrieve the evidence intensify Ariel is forced to kill to save Jason’s life. She withdraws into a battle raging inside her, unable to reconcile whom she has been to whom she has become. Delving deeply into hers and Jason’s long-held opposing convictions she questions whether they are truly meant to be together.

“Exciting thriller and love story extraordinaire!” Mortimer

“Excellent writing, impeccable plotting, and nicely developed characters. Shoshana Hathaway

“Your writing is very strong, and you have developed a gripping story.” The Writer’s Edge
 
“The characters and the plot were both extremely well-crafted.” S. Lynn

Read the full reviews at Richard’s website: www.silklegacy.com or the Amazon page for this book.

Love’s Sweet Sorrow is available in a trade paperback and e-book wherever books are sold.

E-book: $2.99
Trade Paperback: $11.99
Buy now:

Also can be ordered from any bookstore by title or ISBN: 978-0-9890632-7-2

Love’s Sweet Sorrow is published by Vinspire Publishing. www.vinspirepublishing.com

About the Author

Richard Brawer writes mystery, suspense and historical fiction novels. When not writing, he spends his time exploring local history.  He has two married daughters and lives in New Jersey with his wife.

Links to Murder at the Jersey Shore and his social networks:






Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Healthier Fried Honey Banana


It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

On select Tuesdays I share delicious recipes either inspired by my books or that are just plain delicious! Today I'm sharing a quick-n-easy treat the family will love!



HEALTHIER FRIED HONEY BANANA

Since our family decided to ditch refined sugar and flour for the most part, I'm always looking for easy dessert ideas that will satisfy my sweet tooth without breaking the diet. This one I adapted from something I saw online a while back. It took all of five minutes and left my crew begging for more. Frying bananas changes the flavor into something really sweet and delish. And coconut oil is my favorite for the frying--it's very healthy and imparts a nice fragrance and taste.

Ingredients

2 bananas
2 tsp coconut oil (you can sub olive oil if you want)
a sprinkle of cinnamon to taste
a dash of nutmeg (optional)
a few tbsp organic honey or real maple syrup thinned with 1 tbsp water
1/4 cup coconut milk, whole milk, or half and half (optional)

Directions

Heat oil in a large frying pan while slicing bananas thinly. Lay slices in pan in a single layer and fry over medium heat, turning after a minute or two when the bottoms are golden. Turn off the heat.  Turn off the stove. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg, if using, and drizzle honey/maple syrup over the top. Cook for another thirty seconds or so to let everything glaze nicely. Serve with a small amount of coconut milk or cream poured over the top (or just plain).


By the way, this is amazing over ice cream!


Monday, September 15, 2014

An Open Letter to My Manuscript


Dear Manuscript:

I'd like to think of myself as both a reasonable person and a seasoned writer. For reasons I have yet to fathom, however, you apparently want to challenge both of these opinions.

I have given you the due attention all manuscripts deserve. Before ever setting pen to paper (or fingers to keys), you were carefully considered, debated, dreamed about, and conceptualized. Extensive notes were taken, continuity was checked, and index scene cards were written, shuffled, and altered. Character dossiers were constructed with all the fervor of a secret agent tracking down a million dollar bounty. And I must say, with all that preparation in hand, we were off to a great start when I opened that first blank page and began writing.

Where did it go wrong?

Before long, smooth sailing turned to hurricane conditions in shark-infested waters. Characters wouldn't behave, plot points refused to leave my fingertips, and word count stalled. I would wrestle you down until a scene finally appeared, only to have you shut down again. This start and stop approach has turned what should have been a two month draft into a seven month (and counting) battle of wills.

Now, just when I thought I'd figured out the rules, you changed course on me. New details are emerging, vital additions to scenes that you've whispered must be added. More action. More shocking revelation. More, more, more. Write, write, write. Go, go, go! And now, my dear, please forgive me for saying it, but you've put on a lot of meat in the process. Too much.

The plan was for you to be a tidy little manuscript of oh, say 60k words or so. Maybe 70k, since you are the last in a series and there are ends to tie and a big picture to finish painting. But you had other plans, didn't you? You got greedy. At the rate we're going, we'll cross 100k and still be sprinting to the finish line. You know you're going to have to shed 30k or so of bloat before you can cross the publisher's desk. So why do this to yourself--and me?

Now, I'm not suggesting we return to the days of "you can't make me". If given the choice, I'll take the runaway train approach over the solid block wall anytime. But we have got to wrap this up. So put on your jogging shoes and your fitness wristband, baby, and prepare to go lean and hard. No more late night snacks of 3k or so when you won't let me sleep. No more early morning binges where you whisper, "You should go back to chapter three and add THIS because it'd be really cool". Feel free to deviate from upcoming notecards, but only if your suggestion is both an improvement and a replacement for the existing scene, not an addition.

I know it will be tough. Habits are hard to break. But believe me, I'm doing this for your own good. You'll thank me when edit time comes rolling around.

Sincerely,

Your Loyal and Frazzled Author

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J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night.  For more gab, find her on Twitter or Facebook.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Glazed Balsamic Wow Ribs

It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

On select Tuesdays I share delicious recipes either inspired by my books or that are just plain delicious!


Today's recipe is inspired by my work in progress, Disarming Cowboys. The heroine gets to dig into a plate of hot, juicy ribs, and that got me to thinking about my favorite rib recipe. I first posted this one three years ago, but it's definitely worth repeating. 

These ribs are treated to a delicious rub and a balsamic glaze that will knock your socks off. This one takes some time, so it's not something I bust out every other week. But if you're looking for a special occasion rib with real WOW factor, this is it!

Glazed Balsamic Wow Ribs

Ingredients

For ribs: 
8 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
tbsp packed dark brown sugar
tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp cayenne
8 lbs baby back pork ribs
1 cup water

For glaze:
2 cups hot water
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

Directions
Mince and mash garlic to a paste together with 1 tsp salt. Stir with rosemary, brown sugar, vinegar, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub evenly on all sides of ribs. Marinate in roasting pans in refrigerator for at least 8 and up to 24 hours. 

Preheat oven to 425°F. Racks should be moved to upper and lower third.

Pour 1/2 cup water into each roasting pan and tightly cover with foil. Roast ribs, switching position of pans halfway through, until meat is very tender, about 90 minutes to 2 hours. Transfer ribs to a platter.

For the glaze:

Add 1 cup hot water to each roasting pan and scrape up brown bits. Skim off and discard fat, then transfer liquid to a 10-inch skillet. Add vinegar and brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer on low to low-med heat until glaze is reduced to about 1 cup. This can take from 10-15 minutes, depending on your heat. Brush some onto both sides of ribs.

Grill ribs over a medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until they are hot and grill marks appear, about 6 minutes. Brush with more glaze to finish. Serve glaze on the side. Yum!

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J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Facebook. She loves talking to people!