Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Food for Thought—Trick or Treat

Happy Hallowe'en!

No recipes today. Instead, I’m reminiscing about the treats I remember getting as a child. I grew up in a rural community and everyone knew everyone else, so there was a real social component to trick or treating. And that was long before any concerns about treats being tampered with, so lots of people still handed out homemade goodies. Remember those days?

* candied apples on a stick
* homemade cookies
* popcorn balls wrapped in waxed paper
* Rice Krispie treats
* peanut brittle
* full-sized chocolate bars and bags of potato chips
* Kraft caramels by the handful

Yum! What were your favorites?

Until next time,

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More on Cowboys and Coyotes

Remember my post—Of Cowboys and Coyotes—a couple of months ago?

Okay, so here’s the latest. Shreve Stockton at The Daily Coyote is selling 2009 calendars. The coyote calendar showcases some of her wonderful shots of Charlie, the coyote. But the cowboy calendar . . . oh, my.

Do we care that we don’t get to see MC’s face?

Not. A. Chance.

Actually, I think I might be just the teensiest bit in love with that cowboy. The coyote, too. Of course. But mostly the cowboy.

In my previous post, I told you that Shreve’s photographs of MC had given me an idea for a romance novel.

It'll be called Sleepless in Wyoming.

Until next time,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday News—Harlequin American Romance Authors’ Blog

For the past two months, the Harlequin American Romance Authors have been celebrating the line’s 25th anniversary. We’ve had some wonderful guest bloggers, including Kathleen Scheibling and Johanna Raisanen, the editors for the line.

This week we wrap up the party with interviews with two very special authors.

Thursday, October 30
Ginger Chambers

Friday, October 31
Anne Stuart

I’m currently reading The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, a wonderful collaboration by Jennifer Cruise, Eileen Dreyer and Anne Stuart. Such a fun read, and the writing is as yummy as it gets.

Be sure to check out Ginger’s and Anne’s blogs this week!

Until next time,

Monday, October 27, 2008

This Week with the Wet Noodle Posse

This week the Wet Noodle Posse wraps up Golden Heart month. Here’s what you can look forward to.

Monday: Get to Know Your Characters with Priscilla Kissinger

Tuesday: Noodlers Reminisce About Their First Entry (facilitated by Terry McLaughlin)

Wednesday: Guest blogger Robin Kaye

Thursday: Does Accuracy Count?

Friday: Q&A Day
Happy writing!
Until next time,

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Food for Thought—Pumpkin Cheesecake

You heard me. Cheesecake! I’ve never met a cheesecake I didn’t like, and I especially love this one.

But before we get to that, today on the Harlequin American Romance Authors' blog I'm reminiscing about my kids' Hallowe'en costumes over the years. I hope you'll drop by and say hello!

Okay, back to the cheesecake.
3/4 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
3 eggs (at room temperature)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch

Combine the ingredients for the crust and press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Mix pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar and spices. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and corn starch. Stir in the pumpkin mixture and pour over the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes, until the center is set.

Run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan as soon as the cheesecake is removed from the oven. Cool at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Before serving, drizzle with two squares of melted semi-sweet chocolate. A few chopped pecans a dollop of whipped cream also make a great garnish. Or try all three! And enjoy!

Until next time,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday News—Blogging with the Harlequin American Romance Authors

This Friday, October 24 I’ll be posting some Hallowe’en fun on the Harlequin American Romance Authors’ blog. If you drop by and post a comment, you’ll be eligible to win autographed books.

And in case you missed her, the amazing Debbie Macomber was our guest blogger yesterday. Here’s the link to her very inspiring post.

Happy reading!

Until next time,

Monday, October 20, 2008

This Week with the Wet Noodle Posse

It’s still Golden Heart month over at the Wet Noodle Posse. If you’re a writer, be sure to drop by for some helpful advice on entering this prestigious contest sponsored by Romance Writers of America. Here's what's happening this week.

Monday: Theresa Ragan—Nothing to Lose Except Money

Tuesday: Esri Rose—Making the Golden Heart a Priority

Wednesday: Delle Jacobs—Shine on the First Page

Thursday: Noodlers Reminisce About Their First Entry

Friday: Q& A—Readers Ask, Noodlers Answer

Happy writing! Happy reading!

Until next time,

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Food for Thought—Blueberry Pumpkin Loaf

One year my husband came home with a dozen pumpkins and carved them into jack-o-lanterns for Hallowe'en. Instead of tossing the seeds into the garbage—and there were a lot of seeds—he put them in the compost bin. In the spring he worked some compost into our flower beds and—you guessed it—we had pumpkins everywhere!

Okay, now for the recipe. If you made your own pumpkin puree for last week’s pie, here’s a great way to use the leftovers.

2 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup shortening
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups pumpkin puree
2/3 cups water
3 1/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups fresh blueberries (if frozen, thaw first)

This recipe makes two loaves.

Blend the sugar and shortening. Stir in the eggs, then the pumpkin and water. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Fold the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture. Gently stir in the blueberries.

Pour the batter into two greased and lightly floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour and fifteen minutes. Let the loaves cool in the pans for about ten minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.

Not into baking? Try this instead.


Until next time,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday News—Harlequin American Romance

The Harlequin American Romance Authors' 25th Anniversary Celebration continues this week with two more exra-special guests.
Sunday, October 19—Part Two of an interview with Barbara Bretton

Monday, October 20—A Q&A Chat with Debbie Macomber

And you'll find this month's American Romances in stores today. Here's what to look for.

Holding the Baby by Margot Early

Finally a Brideby Lisa Childs

Lisa’s book earned a four-and-a-half star, Top Pick review from Romantic Times Magazine. Congratulations, Lisa!

The Inherited Twins by Cathy Gillen Thacker

Once Upon a Thanksgiving by Holly Jacobs

Happy reading!

Until next time,

Monday, October 13, 2008

This Week with the HAR Authors and the WNP

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to my readers in Canada. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Here's a special treat for you. The Harlequin American Romance Authors blog is hosting Barbara Bretton today. Twenty-five years ago, Barbara was the launch author for the line. Love Changes was #1 in the series! You won't want to miss her amazing first sale story. And be sure to check back on October 19 for the second of Barbara's two-part post.

If you’re an unpublished romance writer and you plan to enter RWA’s Golden Heart Contest, you’ll find a ton of helpful information on the Wet Noodle Posse blog this month.

Monday: Polishing Your Entry by Diane Gaston
Tuesday: Imperfection is Okay: How Not to Lose Your Mind by Esri Rose
Wednesday: From a Judge’s Point of View by Karen Potter
Thursday: tba
Friday: Q&A Day
Until next time,

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Food for Thought—Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Do you make your own pumpkin puree or buy it canned?

I have to confess that as much I love the look of pumpkins, I do not like working with them. They can be difficult to cut into, and one good-sized pumpkin makes a lot of puree. Yes, I know it can be frozen but we’re just not a freeze-for-later kind of family. So I buy canned puree. Not pumpkin pie filling, but the puree that says “Ingredients: pumpkin.”

I do make my own pastry because it's so easy, but if you’re not a pastry-maker, by all means use a store-bought shell.

This no-bake pumpkin pie is a great stand-in for the classic version, especially if your Thanksgiving turkey is already in the oven and there's no room to bake a pie. It might seem a tad early to be thinking about Thanksgiving, but my Canadian readers celebrate that holiday on Monday. So, Happy Thanksgiving, Canada. This one's for you.

1 8-inch baked pie shell
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs, separated
1/3 cup milk
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar
Combine brown sugar, gelatin and spices in a small saucepan. Mix together the pumpkin puree, egg yolks and milk, and blend into the brown sugar mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat as soon as it boils and set the pan in a bowl of ice water to cool.

With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy, and then slowly beat in the sugar. Continue beating until the egg whites are stiff (this is important). Blend the cooled pumpkin mixture into the meringue. Spoon the mixture into the baked pie shell and chill for 2 to 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream, and enjoy!

Until next time,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tuesday News—Harlequin American Romance Celebrates 25 Years!

The Harlequin American Romance Authors invite you to join their 25th anniversary celebration!

It's turning into quite a party, including guest appearances by several authors who launched the line 25 years ago!

October 8—An interview with current HAR author, Linda Warren

October 9—Kathleen Scheibling, Senior Editor for American Romance

October 12—Guest blogger Barbara Bretton (part one)

October 20—Guest blogger Barbara Bretton (part two)

October 30—Guest blogger Ginger Chambers

October 31—Guest blogger Anne Stuart
Sprinkled in between, you'll find blogs by current authors and a few more surprise guests. And as always, posting a comment makes you eligible to win free autographed books by American Romance authors.

Until next time,

Monday, October 6, 2008

This Week with the Wet Noodle Posse (and other stuff)

Last week I told you that Kathleen Scheibling, Senior Editor for Harlequin American Romance, would be guest blogging with the Harlequin American Romance Authors today, but we’ve changed the schedule a bit. Instead Kathleen will join us on Thursday, October 9.

Tomorrow the HAR authors will be chatting about making their first sale to the line. Be sure to leave a comment so you’ll be eligible for this month’s draw for autographed books. For more about what's going on with Harlequin American Romance, check back here for tomorrow's Tuesday News.

Meanwhile, Golden Heart month continues at The Wet Noodle Posse and we have a great line-up of bloggers this week.

Monday: “The Importance of the First Page” by Maureen Hardegree
Tuesday: “The Rules” by Diane Gaston
Wednesday: literary agent Kelly Mortimer (guest blogger)
Thursday: Norah Wilson on “Mistakes Writers Make with Their GH Entries”
Friday: Q&A Day
Until next time,

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Fun—Shabby to Chic

Refinishing furniture is not my forte, but after my daughter was given a pair of old kitchen chairs someone found at an estate sale, we decided to try our hand at it.

Both chairs had been stripped of their original finish, one had been given a coat of white primer, and the seats were upholstered with a shade of purple that doesn’t match anything in my daughter’s eclectic collection of furniture. I'm not sure that particular shade of purple goes with anything.

Shabby, for sure. I suggested we spruce up the old chairs with a couple of coats of paint and some new upholstery. She loves the black-and-white prints that are so popular these days, so that’s what she settled on.

We lightly sanded the wood and gave it a coat of glossy black paint. Two coats, actually.

Neither of us has ever done any furniture upholstery, so tackling the seats was an easy first project.

We borrowed a funky old stapler from our neighbor and used that to fasten the new fabric in place. The previous upholstery had been attached with a bazillion tiny staples. Rather than try to remove them-that would have taken forever-we simply applied the new fabric over top.

Here’s one of the newly refurbished chairs. My daughter is delighted with the outcome, especially since the chairs were free and she spent less than twenty dollars on fabric and supplies!

Very chic, don't you think?

Until next time,

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Food for Thought—Pumpkins

One of my favorite fall things is a field full of bright-orange pumpkins. A close second is the big pumpkin-filled bin in front of the grocery store.

In keeping with this I’m doing pumpkin recipes this month. For starters, here’s a nice, tasty, quick-to-make soup recipe.

Pumpkin Bean Soup

2 cups pumpkin puree (canned or make your own)
1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 15-ounce can white beans (kidney, navy, etc.)
1 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lime, cut into wedges

Combine the pumpkin, coconut milk, broth and sage in a saucepan and heat until just boiling. Add the beans (drained and rinsed), reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with cracked pepper and serve with lime wedges. Makes four servings.


Until next time,

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Channel Surfing—The Big Bang Theory

I’m a big fan of sitcoms—always have been—so I'm glad to see The Big Bang Theory is back for another season. 30 Rock might have cleaned up at the Emmy’s but in my opinion, The Big Bang Theory and The Office are the best-written and best-acted comedy series on television right now.

I’ll confess, though, that I’m a sucker for a show that promises an engaging love story, which may be why 30 Rock has less appeal to me. The Office has several love interests—Jim and Pam finally engaged! The Dwight-Angela-Andy triangle.

And of course The Big Bang Theory has Leonard and Penny. In spite of opening the box to discover Schrödinger's cat survived the experiment, their relationship was short lived. Poor Leonard. Lovable? Totally. Brainy? Yes. Socially inept? Oh, yeah. Pointing out that Penny didn’t even graduate from community college? At least he didn’t mention her weight.

In this week’s episode, enter Leslie Winkler, whose biological clock is wound tighter than the DNA she wants to replicate. She’ll even risk passing on Leonard’s short stature and lactose intolerance to her progeny if it means said progeny will inherit his brains.

The deal breaker?

No way will she take a chance that her child will favor string theory over loop quantum gravity.

Seriously. A girl has to draw the line somewhere.

So have we seen the last of Leslie? My instincts are saying no. There’s been some biology but definitely no chemistry between Leonard and Leslie. But there could be something between Leslie and Sheldon. Don’t you think? Is their constant sniping and animosity just a hint of what’s to come?

Leslie and Sheldon are identical character archetypes. He’s a Chief, she’s a Boss. Both highly competitive, both with an intense need to be right, all the time. So the big question is, will they be able to overlook theories of relativity long enough to let the laws of attraction take effect?

If I was one of the writers for this show, that’s the direction I’d take. It means Leonard would need a certain amount of consoling, and who better to do it than Penny?

Until next time,