Monday, February 28, 2011

Giveaway at the Inkwell

I'm over at Inkwell Inspirations talking about growing sprouts in my kitchen. If you've never grown this healthy, attractive protein, then come on over and see how easy it is.


Here's a photo of a small, spicy selection I grew in my kitchen this past week. I started on Monday and this is what the sprouts looked like by yesterday (Sunday).

I'll be picking 3 names out of the people who comment on my sprouting post at the Inkwell and each will win one tablespoon of sprouting seeds as detailed in the post, to see if they like this type of gardening. Ability to send in mail will be dependent upon winner's location in accordance with local postal and customs regulations. Contest ends Thursday, March 3rd at midight.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Recommendation: Masquerade Marriage

Masquerade Marriage by Anne Greene, White Rose Publishing

It’s 1746 in the Scottish Highlands and Brody MacCaulay wakes to a massacre. Blinded in one eye, buried beneath his dead clansmen, he hears the clipped English voices as they walk amidst the wounded Highlanders and finish them off with bayonets. Against his urge to strike out in fury, he silently waits for them to pass. Then leaving his fallen brothers and father behind on the battlefield, he gathers other injured clansmen and makes his way to a hidden cave. If they leave, they’ll be hunted by the English. Their fight, their world, is over.

In a distant castle, Megan MacMurry mourns the loss of her fiancĂ© who led and perished in the Highland battle. Upon her pastor’s advice, she decides to honor her fiance’s death by saving one of his men the only way possible – through marriage. Megan is sure the chosen man will be willing to trade his doomed life for a new name, new clothes, and new life as her marriage-in-name-only husband. When the list is presented to her, she chooses the only familiar name – that of a boy who teased her mercilessly until she took a club to him and his friends. No doubt, Brody MacCaulay wouldn’t remember her girlish warrior stance. And if his teasing was what she had to put up with, she’d do it for her fiance’s sake.

Of course, once Megan is introduced to the adult Brody – a man with a mind of his own who fears nothing for himself - she begins to doubt her choice. Brody has turned into a fine specimen who turns the lasses’ heads. Surely she’s not jealous!

For his part, Brody only agrees to the marriage because his sister and mother are now under his care and they’ll be safer under his protection in a castle. And no matter what Megan says, he’ll never admit to making a secret vow of love when he was but 15 yrs old and a 12 yr old female warrior with flaming red hair stood defiantly before him with a club and warned him to stop the taunting.

Totally satisfying, the end was not been what I expected. On reflection, I realized it was what I’d hoped would happen in a fleeting moment of despair. For I cried when the end was near and things had not gone as planned. I felt Brody and Megan’s loss when they realized precious time had slipped away and there was nothing they could do. And then, when I read the last paragraph of Masquerade Marriage, I smiled.

The story is one of faith in the face of adversity. Faith in God. Faith in yourself. And faith in those people God surrounds you with.

My only concern with this book was the thick Scottish brogue in the beginning chapters since the book starts in Brody’s point of view. But the farther I read, the more I began to appreciate the soft burr of his words. I knew when he was talking and began to follow his speech patterns in my mind. And after a while I didn’t want to separate the brogue from the man, because … well… that was part of Brody.

Anne Greene, I commend you on your character choice of worthy adversaries. And more.

Masquerade Marriage is available in both ebook and print.

Anne Greene can be found at http://www.annegreeneauthor.com/
.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Scrumptious Baking Fundraiser

Last week was the annual Valentine Dessert Auction at our church with all proceeds going to the youth. Because I have 2 boys in youth, our house turned into a bakery for 3 days. No, I didn't get any writing done during that time and here are the photos to prove why...

First off, let me say I love my 5 quart mixer. It's the largest I've ever owned, and it's lasted longer than any other. When I bake, I don't piddle around the kitchen... I go on a baking binge, as my friend Val calls it, and bake all day for days. When I make sugar cookies, instead of doubling the batch, I'll triple or quadruple it. Sometimes even sextuple it. (Is that even a word?) Anyway, that calls for heavy duty equipment. And that's where my KitchenAid mixer comes in.

JJ's contribution was German chocolate cupcakes. Some of them were in the usual cupcake round size, but he made others using tin heart-shaped molds. They looked good, and tasted better.



I made some Rice Krispie Hearts using the Pampered Chief Heart bread mold. Then JJ decorated them with chocolate, pushed a lollipop inside them, and bagged them.  







Nick's contribution to the event was a triple layer carrot cake with cream cheese icing. It's hidden under all this plastic, but it sure looked good before we wrapped it up.



One of the new things I tried was Stained Glass Cookies. Since I was making sugar cookies anyway, I thought I'd give them a try. Especially since I had the perfect cookie cutter for it that cut the outside and inside hearts at the same time.



On this cookie sheet are the 6 sugar cookies ready to be baked. In the center of each is a Jolly Rancher hard candy. Two of the candies are red and the other 4 are pink.

Here Nelson is holding the finished Stained Glass cookie. Yes, the icing isn't the best job, but I admit I was rushing it.
Here's what the plate of Stained Glass Cookies looked like when we brought them to the auction...





As well as regular sized iced sugar cookies, we brought these huge 4.5 inch ones that people can write their own messages on with those cake decorating gels or pens, etc.


Another use for the sugar cookie dough was the base for these cookie pizzas. We covered the partially baked sugar cookie with mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, nuts and butterscotch sauce before popping back into the oven to finish baking. We made 2 of these 6" cookie pizzas.



This Peanut Butter Chip Cheesecake was a favourite last year so I made it again. Cheesecakes are so easy to make.  I probably shouldn't have used so much chocolate on top, but you never can have too much chocolate.


This Triple Chocolate Cheesecake should've had white chocolate drizzles on top but I didn't have any so I used the chocolate one again.





And finally, I brought this dish of fresh from the oven Chocolate Caramel Pecan Breakfast Buns.


I think that's all we brought. And no, I don't want to tell you all the goodies we bid on and brought back.

If you want to know more about the Dessert Auction evening, check out the post I did for our church blog.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Talking Coffee at the Inkwell

I'm talking about Cowboy Coffee over at Inkwell Inspirations today. Can you imagine how long it took to make a cup of coffee 150 yrs ago? We think we're in a modern, civilized age because we can grind our own beans for freshness. Back in wagon train and frontier times, they had no choice. Everyone carried their own grinder around with them because until 1865 you couldn't buy ground coffee. And if you could, it was probably rancid.

I have this video over at the Inkwell but like it so much I'll add it here. It's from the Arbuckle Coffee website and explains what happens to all those missing socks...



I wonder if that's where they got the idea for the Mr. Bean segment? LOL

If you'd like to read more, head on over the the the Inkwell and answer this question:

Do you like to drink belly-wash or six shooter coffee? Or would you rather have tea?


:)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Book Winner

If you left a comment on my Jan: Good News, Bad News post, either here or on Facebook, then your name was entered to win a book. After assigning a number to each name and handing it over to random.org, the winner is...

Victoria Bylin!

Congrats, Vicki. I already have your email address and will be sending you a list of books to choose from. (Pssst - I'm gonna wait a couple days until it warms up. My fingers almost froze when I went in my garage office yesterday to look for my sprouting kit. Brrrrrr)

Thank you everyone for commenting.

Anita Mae.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jan: Good News, Bad News

We’re already into February! Oh yay, oh yay. Just 6 more weeks of snow – 10 tops. I hope.

I found the perfect way to have January slip by without notice of the cold outside – I stayed in my cave. But I’m getting ahead of myself... here’s my monthly report:


Family-wise:

Nick has been invited to join the Street Invaders Youth Mission Team to South Africa this summer. Yikes! I thought Australia was far last year, but S. Africa just seems so much farther somehow. One thing is for sure... we have to start fundraising for his ticket. Ideas, anyone?


Weight-Wise

My weight loss schedule has wobbled a bit. Not so much because of the holidays, but with the 53 lb loss, I was cold all the time. Major cold. Seriously. The doctor said it was because my bones were starving and I had to eat more protein. In my attempt to do so, I changed my eating habits, went over my self-imposed daily calorie count, and ended up gaining weight. So, I’m back to losing – hopefully with better food choices. I’ll be doing a blogpost at Inkwell Inspirations on Monday, Feb 28th about my weight loss journey, my starving bones, and what I needed to feed them.


Writing-Wise

Remember my manuscript submission of Emma’s Outlaw last Nov? Well, I received an email from the editor and she’s passed on it. That’s a nice way of saying she rejected it. Funny thing is, it seems to have rolled off my shoulders without a qualm because I don’t feel sad. Haven’t even shed a tear over it. You think I’m still in shock?

Meanwhile, I’ve written 65% of the first draft of The Key to His Heart, my new 1888 story with a North West Mounted Police (NWMP) officer as the hero. Much of that progress can be attributed to the ACFW for its NovelTrack initiative where the mbrs support and encourage each other along. Thank you, ACFW.

Also, Barbour Publishing has opened its doors to authors who’d like to write novellas for their anthologies. My Inky sisters and I are working on some proposals together. At the moment, our stumbling block is that we need another published author to join us – preferably one Barbour is familiar with. And although I’d love for our projects to reach the publication stage, these group proposals are teaching me so many things about writing and submitting proposals as well as team writing. Great stuff there.


I'll be drawing a name for a free book from all those comments received on this post (blogger and facebook) by Sunday midnight CST. The winner will be announced on Mon, Feb 7th and will have the choice of one book from a list which will include both secular (ABA markets) and inspirational (CBA markets). Some are autographed. I'd go pick one out now, but they're in my office garage and it's too cold outside. I'm also thinking you'd rather choose one yourself.

So, what’s January been like for you?