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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

~~~~

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!

~~~

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!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Healthier Magic Shell Chocolate Coating

It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

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

Healthier Magic Shell Chocolate Coating


I used to stop in at the Dairy Queen and order a dipped cone. The kids and I watched in fascination as the vanilla ice cream got dipped in warm, liquid chocolate and magically transformed into a hard shell moments later.


I confess, ice cream is still an indulgence of mine, even when I haven't whipped up a Paleo-friendly version. To go with it, I like to make a healthier substitute for that Dairy Queen magic. And talk about easy! Two ingredients and five minutes gets this magic from the cupboard to my mouth. 

By the way, this coating isn't limited to ice cream--try on strawberries or bananas! A fun activity for the family get in on, too.

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life when I'm being good, LOL, but milk chocolate chips are amazing too)
1/2 cup coconut oil  (solid measure)

Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil together over very low heat or over the top of a double boiler. Stir until smooth. It will be thin at this point.

To use, I recommend drizzling this over a cup of ice cream rather than trying to turn your cone upside down. I've lost more than one scoop right out of the cone this way, LOL. OR, place fruit pieces on a fork or skewer and dip right into the chocolate. Work quickly--it will start to thicken up as it cools. If need be, warm it up again and it will regain its texture. Store leftovers in a covered container. Not that there will be any leftovers!


~~~

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 1, 2014

Cars, Minecraft, and Writing-In That Order

In my last update post, I mentioned I was ready to redo my Organized Writer schedule because I'd finished planning out Bri's homeschool coursework. HA! I say with a hearty laugh. I should know by now, my best-laid plans are only a very rough first draft. It takes sitting down to actually use my homeschool schedule to trial and error our way to something we can live with. August was largely dedicated to finding the right workflow, and I'm happy to say that after hours of tweaking, I think we've got it!  Yes! NOW I'm in much better shape to redo my Organized Writer schedule.

LIFE STUFF

Cars, cars, and more cars! Car 1 went down in July. It had so many issues we decided not to fix it, so we were down to one car. Car 2 ran strong for all of a few weeks. Then one night on the way home, CLUNK-SCRAPE. The axle broke. Drove Car 3, a rental, while the mechanic dealt with the axle (and bought Car 1 from us in the bargain.)  Enter Car 4, the replacement for Car 1 that we will be picking up probably sometime this week. Let's hope that'll be it for car stuff for a while.

Still reading, but now that summer is over, I've slowed down. Just finished The Cell by Stephen King. In place of reading, my daughter got me into playing Minecraft with her. Minecraft is an awesome and addicting game, great for homeschoolers because of the STEM principles involved. And yeah, I needed one more thing to add to my schedule and time it so it doesn't interfere with writing. Heh.

WRITING STUFF

Even though I had to delay redoing writing schedule, I'm officially back on the writing clock. I've been hard at work adding scenes, dialogue, and details to Lone Wolves 7, AKA Disarming Cowboys


TV STUFF

The True Blood finale was a lot like my natural hair color: meh but made much better with some interesting highlights. Eric rocking out in the car was awesome! Defiance finale: better than TB, and I'm glad the whole weird Irisa possession story line is over.

Anyone else watching The Lottery? Interesting premise--the world is in a population crisis since no babies have been born in 6 years. Scientists manage to fertilize 100 eggs, and the government hosts a lottery to decide who gets to be surrogates for the lot. I'm curious to see where they go with it.

~~~~
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.