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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Farmer's Market Brunch

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 was something that came about when I started hitting up my local farmer's markets. I'm fortunate to have a few within a stone's throw, although I don't get to them as often as I'd like. Since produce is season and subject to local availability, one never knows what delicious deals can be had at the market, and I wanted a way to use the bounty while it was still fresh but with a flexible list of ingredients. 

Farmer's Market Brunch

The idea for this came from http://iowagirleats.com/2012/05/14/farmers-market-recipe-collection-farmers-market-skillet


Ingredients:
1-3/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp oil (I use olive oil, pastured butter, or coconut oil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Some chopped up farmer's market bounty, such as:
1 zucchini
1 green onion
1 tomato
large handful spinach or Swiss chard leaves
1 cup of broccoli/caulifower florets, cut into small bites
...etc
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup feta or goat cheese (or grated cheese of your choice)
2 Tbsp chopped basil (I liked to pick this straight out of my herb garden)

Fresh Honey Lemon Vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1 garlic clove, grated or finely minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  Cook quinoa in chicken broth on a low simmer, covered, until broth is absorbed (about 20-25 minutes).  Meanwhile, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients in small bowl and set aside.
    In large skillet, cook garlic 30 seconds over medium heat. Add vegetables in turn, the longest cooking ones first, and saute until just tender. (Omit tomato if using.) Toss in half of the vinaigrette and cook briefly to meld flavors.
    Add remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes if using, cheese cheese, and basil. Toss everything well and let cool slightly before serving. (This can also be served cold.)

~~~

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, April 27, 2015

A Writer's Creativity in Other Forms

Readers of this blog are aware that I have been on a forced hiatus from writing due to some personal issues. One of the hardest things about not writing anymore was that I'd lost a much loved outlet for creative energy. Of course, I'd also lost the energy itself, as it flat-lined during times of stress and depression. I desperately missed the act of creating.

As part of my therapy to find my way back to writing, I've recently been exploring other artistic avenues. This is great news, as it means I've not only got creative energy back in stock, but I'm finding ways of expressing it. Currently, my explorations have spanned a variety of mediums in which I have zero mastery, but it has been a greatly satisfying experience nonetheless. I can feel these studies in art buoying my writing muse. Someday, I believe one outlet will feed the other.  

I thought I'd share a few of my creative outbursts. The closest I've come to writing something new is the poem above. I woke up with the poem and painting in my head, and I couldn't shake it until I got it on paper. 

Some more:

Trees done in watered down acrylic
 
Mother Earth in flight, dry erase marker on whiteboard

"Lonely Tree" , a pencil sketch

A fairy hideaway-done in micro gel pen on a Post-It!


 As the creative side of my brain begins awakening from its long, cold slumber, my excitement builds. I know there's so much more inside of me, and I feel I'm in a good place to discover where it's all hidden. Thanks for listening.

~~~~

I'm J. Rose Allister, wife, working mom, and the author of over twenty-five books. Somewhere in between one and the next, I love hanging out here on my blog and over on Twitter. Give me a comment or follow-I love chatting with people!



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Visions by Lisa Logan


Throwback Thursday is a time to showcase early work by myself or fellow authors.  Today I'm going to share my first full-length novel. 

Throwback Thursday with J. Rose Allister


It was roughly early 2003, I'd been writing fiction for a while (as my alter ego Lisa Logan), and I had a dream. I don't mean I dreamed of someday being a novelist, I mean I had a literal dream one night that sparked the idea for a story.  

I began writing Visions as a short story, because at the time, short fiction was all I wrote. In fact, I couldn't imagine every tackling something as daunting as a full-length novel.

Then this dream happened, and I started trying to capture what I saw in that brief scene, and soon I realized the plot was growing more complex and detailed than what could ever hope to remain short fiction. And so my first novel was born. A difficult first child, this novel took me over a year and a half to complete and still longer to edit and revise. But by the summer of 2005, I'd had an offer from a publisher--and I realized that after several published mystery/horror stories, what I really wanted to do was write romance novels.

So what was this dream? I dreamed that a movie star accidentally bumped into a stranger and suddenly becomes psychic. The stranger--a woman with visions herself--somehow triggered his powers, starting with a vision of a romantic future for the two of them. While this dream was no more than a strange and short-lived scene, the aftermath of that meeting brought a lot more dire consequences for the characters in my book, including unwanted attention from the press for Glory Windsor, a reluctant psychic who wants a simple life and to hide from the powers that has brought her nothing but heartache.


Here's a snippet from Visions:

    Rodeo Drive rolled under the wheels of the Camry only four turns and ten minutes after leaving Trenton’s driveway. The midweek crowd was sparse, and within a block she was able to whip greedily into a curbside parking spot abandoned by a silver Maserati. She got out and strolled past posh storefronts to one with Kiera Olin lettered in gold on a pair of windows flanking the entrance. Pink awnings fluttered like giant eyelids over each.

Stepping inside, she noticed that unlike other boutiques she’d visited, there were few racks of actual clothing. This one had a small selection of items, each displayed on stylized mannequins in black lacquer. Some were headless; others lacked arms or had legs amputated above the knee. The designer favored stark, geometric lines and solid colors, currently in a fall palette of coppery apricot, dusky eggplant, and mustard-tinged brown. Everything appeared to have been designed for the chosen few who were capable of pouring themselves into a size five or less. Aside from Olin’s modest line, a complement of designer accessories were arranged on stacked Plexiglas cubes, giving each item the appearance of floating in midair.

As she made a quick sweeping appraisal of the room, her eyes came to rest on a pair of sales clerks. The first was an impeccably groomed metrosexual male in his mid-twenties, the second was a girl with cropped hair bleached near white, spiking out over a cold stare heavily ringed with eyeliner. Her expression indicated she had elevated herself to a spot in the shopping universe well above Glory’s own.

“May I help you?” a pair of wine-stained lips beneath the stare asked, though the girl made no move to show she intended to do so. Based on the tone, Glory translated this to, “Why do you think you belong in here?”

Refusing to be cowed by a kid with poor manners and questionable fashion sense, she drew her posture upward, keeping eye contact with the girl as she spoke. “Your shop was recommended by a friend. I believe Trenton Dane phoned ahead. He told me to ask for Melissa?”

It was obvious that the correct password had just been given. The narrowed eyes morphed into something almost resembling friendliness. 

“Oh, yes ma’am! I’m Melissa. We’re holding something for him–you–in the back. Just a moment.”

The mystery item must have been heavy, because both clerks scurried off to retrieve it. Glory chuckled at their retreat. So, she thought, it truly is a matter of who you know.

Turning back to the displays, she picked up a Hermes scarf in swirling jewel tones of purples and blues. It would be a perfect companion for the boring navy blazer she wore a bit too often at the office, had it not been for the hefty price tag. Perhaps if she had two more jobs.

Her eye landed on a stunning handbag of hand-dyed red leather. Flinging the scarf around her neck, she grabbed the purse from its Plexiglas roost. Prada, worth more than her monthly gross income.

“Glory Windsor?”

Her head snapped up, startled to find flashbulbs going off from over a nearby display rack. She hadn’t noticed anyone come in. “Yes?”

“Glory, can you really see the future?”

Two photographers slapped at shutter buttons as she tried to process what was happening. The press? Had they followed her here?

“What’s the future look like for you and Trenton Dane?” Another reporter chimed in.

“Are you taking money for your services? Is it true you’re running a scam on celebrities?”

“No!” She looked around, silently pleading for help. The sales people were now huddled together by the register, making no move to intervene. For one of the most famous shopping destinations in the world, she decided some Rodeo personnel could stand lessons on customer service.

The press stood between her and the exit, leaving her trapped, like a mouse about to be picked off by a circling hawk. Desperate, she dropped to her knees and shuffled through two small racks of designer dresses before hopping up and rocketing out the door. Not to be outdone by the feeble trick, reporters pushed after her.

Another flashbulb, this time situated by the curb, caught her head-on as she fled out onto the sidewalk.

“Glory, who’s going to win the playoffs next week?”

The question sent up a ruffle of derisive laughter.

“Hey, she didn’t pay for that stuff!” The spiky-haired salesgirl protested. But Glory was too far out the door–and moving too fast–to register the words. Without thinking, she dashed across the street, narrowly averting a trip to Cedar Sinai hospital courtesy of a midnight blue Mercedes. The driver was still yelling at her as she took the remaining few feet of Rodeo Drive in long strides and rounded the corner, nearly taking out a woman heavily laden with shopping bags labeled Escada.

Her sprint brought her to the old-world European splendor of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where she wasted no time peeling through the glass doors. Still at racing speed upon entering, her black flats slid across the shiniest floor she’d ever seen. A quick look back offered reassurance that no one had followed her. Yet. She leaned against a massive square column, her breath coming in short, mouth-drying gasps. 


 Visions
   by Lisa Logan
Buy Now on Amazon


~~~~

I'm J. Rose Allister, wife, working mom, and the author of over twenty-five books. Somewhere in between one and the next, I love hanging out here on my blog and over on Twitter. Give me a comment or follow-I love chatting with people!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lisa's Gluten Free Coconut-Banana Pancakes

It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

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


When I was new to the natural/gluten free eating habit, I confessed to my eldest daughter, Lisa, that one of the things I missed was the pancakes I used to make on weekends. She immediately told me about her recipe for flourless pancakes. Flourless in that there is no wheat flour, but rather coconut "flour", which contains no gluten. 

You may notice what seems a disproportionate amount of liquid to the small 3 Tbsp measure of coconut flour. That's because coconut flour absorbs a good deal of liquid, more than traditional flour. 


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 revisiting one of the most popular recipes I've posted here, a flourless pancake I shared a year and a half or so ago.

Lisa's Gluten-Free Coconut-Banana Pancakes


My eldest daughter, Lisa, posted about these on Facebook one day when I was very new to a more natural food eating habit. I'd been missing the pancake breakfasts I used to make on weekends, so I immediately had to give these flourless babies a try.

These pancakes are so YUM. If you start sampling these while cooking up the batch, there may be none left for anyone else. LOL. 

That said, these need a little love and patience while you are cooking them. Make sure your griddle is well greased (I like to use coconut oil for this) and resist the
temptation to flip them too soon. They don't get as bubbly as other pancakes (although I’ve found an extra ¼ tsp of baking powder helps), but do wait for some to appear and also check for readiness by carefully sliding your spatula underneath a corner. If you turn these too soon they’ll SPLAT and come apart everywhere.

Ingredients
2 bananas
3 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 Tbsp coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Directions
Toss bananas, eggs, and vanilla into a blender or food processor and blend til smooth. (Or mash your bananas in a medium bowl and stir the remaining wet ingredients in until well mixed.) Add dry ingredients and pulse/stir until mixed well. Pour onto a hot and greased griddle and turn when edges look dry and ready to flip. (See above—these may or may not bubble when ready. Don’t turn early.)

Serve with real maple syrup, banana slices/fresh fruit, cooked apples, or heat up some frozen berries with a dollop of maple syrup to make a compote.

Makes anywhere from 8-12 pancakes, depending on how large you like to make them. I do recommend keeping these on the small side for easier flipping.

~~~

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, April 20, 2015

50 Days of Positivity

For those of you who missed my last Monday update post, I started another blog called Experimental Positivity.  EP is a one-year project to boost my positive outlook by completing little daily challenges. 

I began this project shortly before entering therapy to address some past traumas and recent family issues that had triggered a rather serious bout of depression and insomnia. The depression crippled my fiction writing, which is why I have not had a new release in a while. Not to mention the insomnia caused a catastrophic failure in my ability to function.

To those readers who have been wondering when to expect my next book, and especially to those patient souls awaiting the seventh and final installment to my Lone Wolves of Shay Falls series, I don't have an answer right now. I can, however, tell you that I have a short story nearly complete, and Disarming Cowboys (Lone Wolves 7) is 3/4 finished. I have been working hard to regain the state of mind I need for fiction to flow again, and I'm encouraged to say that today, 50 days into Experimental Positivity, I've already seen changes for the better. I have good days and rough days, but things are leveling off and the insomnia is now only an occasional thing. I'm getting closer to picking up my writing hat.

What am I doing specifically to help regain that author mindset? 

-Meditation
-EMDR therapy
-Tapping (EFT/TFT) therapy
-Positive visualization
-Reading
-Writing a public blog (one of the reasons for Experimental Positivity was to get back into a daily writing habit, even if just a small one)
-Other creative outlets (painting, drawing, working with clay, anything to feed creativity and keep my right brain active)
-Regular visits to the library and bookstore
-Clearing and redoing my writing zone
-Improving eating habits that slid badly with the depression
-Taking Omega 3 and fish oil supplements to feed the brain beast

Thank you for those who have been supportive during this time. You can follow along with my positivity journey by reading Experimental Positivity, and I will continue to keep posting here as well. This week, I'll have a new recipe for you on Too Yummy Tuesday and I'll also be posting a Throwback Thursday. Onward and upward!