Thursday, February 25, 2010


Writing Prompt:

Describe the sounds of winter.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kitchen Gadgets

I love to cook, but normally the few kitchen gadgets I have -- I don't have the large gourmet kitchen with lots of gadgets - I have a really tiny kitchen with a lot of multi-taskers -- normally kitchen gadgets do not make their way into my office area. That is no longer the case. At least for one gadget.

I was having an issue staying focused on my writing, so I decided to try something I think I heard in passing from somewhere. I don't remember where, when, or who said it though. Anyway, I decided to set a kitchen timer for 30 minutes and write until it went off. When it went off, I added my word count total and the time passed into a spreadsheet and then went to get a drink, change laundry around, etc and then restart the timer and get back to work. I was able to write 3k words in a matter of a couple of hours that way. And because I was curious to see if it was a fluke, I tried it again, for a shorter period of time, and it worked out great!!!

Music + Kitchen Gadgets = Lots of progress

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

If It's Tuesday --

I am over at Writer's Evolution and this week we are talking about manuscripts in hiding.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Adventures In Cooking - Something New This Week

Since I can't remember what I made this past week that was new, I'll share a couple of recipes that I am going to make this coming week. I found both recipes on Allrecipes

Chorizo And Lentil Stew
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3/4 pound bulk beef chorizo sausage
  • 5 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 3 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground dried turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic, and cook until it turns golden brown, about 45 seconds. Add the chorizo sausage; cook and stir until the sausage is crumbly and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in celery, and cook until the celery softens, about 4 minutes more.
  2. Pour off any excess grease from the sausage, then add the lentils and water. Season with turmeric, curry powder, and cumin. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.
** I'm going to make it twice - once with curry and once with paprika instead of the curry powder, because some of my friends/family don't like curry and will use chicken broth instead of water. I'm using beef chorizo, which is harder to find in my area, because my family doesn't generally eat pork.

I'm going to serve this with a loaf of homemade bread recipe that I have found on the same site.

Jo's Rosemary Bread
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning (Tuscan Sunset from Penzey's Spices)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select white bread cycle; press Start.

I make this by hand, because I don't own a bread machine. Here are the instructions that I use to make this brso I started by proofing the yeast in the water for about 5 minutes, then added one cup of the flour, the sugar, salt, and oil and mixed in my stand mixer on pretty high speed until it was a thick creamy batter (looking almost like pancake batter), 3-4 minutes or so. Then switched attachments to the bread hook and began adding flour gradually, along with the herbs and pepper. Knead just until all dough pulls away from the bowl, then finish kneading by hand (about 5 minutes or so). I let this rise is a greased bowl for one hour, then punched down, formed into an oval loaf and let rise another hour. I brushed with olive oil and coarse sea salt before baking, and I also spritzed this with water about 3 times during baking (it gives it that crunchy outer crust, but it still stays soft in the middle). I baked this about 20 minutes at 375 then turned the heat up to 425 for about 10 more minutes.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Adventures In Cooking -- The Curry Express

I actually like to cook and bake. Tonight, I made Honey Baked Chicken and served it with Curried Rice Pilaf. I find them easy to make, but I don't know if everyone else would agree. :) I know my sister in law wouldn't. Well one of them wouldn't. I used a sweet curry powder from Penzey's Spices, if you don't like a strong curry taste, cut it in half.

Honey Baked Chicken

2 pounds chicken breast, cut into large pieces
1/4 Cup Butter, melted
1/2 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup prepared Mustard
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Curry

1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C)
2. Place chicken in shallow baking dish.
3. Combine melted butter, honey, mustard, salt and curry powder in bowl and pour over chicken.
4. Cover with foil (shiny side down) and bake for 55 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Baste every 15 mintues with juices.

Curried Rice Pilaf
1/2 Cup Green Onions, chopped, divided
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 Cup Butter, soften
1 1/2 Cup Jasmine Long Grain Rice
3 tsp Curry Powder
1 - 32 oz carton Chicken Broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Cup Golden Raisins
1/2 Cup Almonds, chopped, toasted

1. In a large skillet, saute 1/4 Cup onions and garlic in butter until tender.
2. Stir in rice and curry powder. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until rice is lightly browned
3. In a md saucepan, heat broth and salt. Pour over rice mixture and stir.
4. Cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until rice is tender.
5. Remove from heat.
6. Stir in raisins, almonds, and remaining onions

Both dishes were good. Next time, I'm going to use cornstarch and milk to thicken the sauce for the chicken and serve it with either plain rice or a different rice pilaf with pine nuts and raisins or dried apricots. Just to see what happens.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Smugglers' Cove - Knight Of Pleasure

I got the cover for my new book! Knight Of Pleasure, the first in the Smugglers' Cove Series, due out from Total-e-Bound on March 15th!