Karen’s Diary Drop-In ~ 11/8/12

[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]

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Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 10/25/12 ~ and…

Due to circumstances beyong my control, there will be no Diary Drop-In this week.  🙂  Will catch everyone up next week!

See you next Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

 

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special** with Deborah Palumbo

  

  Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **AUTHOR SPECIAL** with DEBORAH PALUMBO

Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!!  Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of his favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors.

Introducing author, DEBORAH PALUMBO, and her favorite recipe for PUMPKIN PANCAKES WITH CARAMELIZED BANANAS & CINNAMON WHIPPED CREAM!

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BOOK PEEK ~   THE BANISHED ONE by Deborah Palumbo

The Banished One, a serial killer vampire also named Lucius, is still wreaking havoc on the sleepy town in Tower City, and since he’s supernatural he can’t be captured by normal police procedure . A frustrated Lieutenant Welby, a staunch disbeliever in vampires is finally convinced he’s got a serial killer vampire on the loose and follows the old town rumors about vampires right to Quentin and his gothic castle to enlist Quentin’s supernatural aid in capturing Lucius. The question is, will Quentin make the Lieutenant one of The Undeparted, or will he battle Lucius and send him to hell?

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  About the author, Deborah Palumbo….

I’m a self-pubbed author spinning yarns in two genres available in ebook and paperback on amazon…historical and paranormal laced with mystery and sometime spice…and Mystery/crime; you know, who dunnit with frustrated detectives who are hot on the trail of some killer.

I also co-wrote a screenplay with the acclaimed actor/writer Jordan Rhodes.  www.jordanrhodes.com

I was honored to have caught Jordan’s attention with my mystery crime novel EDGE OF DARKNESS, hence his invitation to co-write with him. He wrote a review of me and my novel I’d love to share with you if you don’t mind a little bragging:

“Edge of darkness is a taut suspenseful Detective thriller laced with humor that reminds one of the wit displayed by the character of Lenny from Law & Order. It’s an interesting read that would easily translate to film as it conveys visuals to the reader. For every Mickey Spillane fan out there – Mickey’s back – only he’s a female and her name is Deborah Palumbo.”   ~ Jordan Rhodes Actor/writer ~

I wish I could say that I write these tales of love and murder and mayhem behind an antique desk, but the fact is I write in my king bed with my pillows scrunched up behind me! I began this whole writing journey when I became bedridden and homebound. Talk about fate. I had always wanted to write novels, since I was a kid, but it took a period of long confinement to bring about that dream.

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THE BANISHED ONE by Deborah Palumbo

EXCERPT

Suddenly a chemical shot through Lucius while he was watching that sexy female, similar to a feeling when he was mortal and checking out a hot babe. But this desire in his vampire state was more intense, almost electrified and mingled with this lustful craving for blood. He had to drink from her neck; taste her life’s essence, and he had to get laid. There was no fighting it, no self-control. He was accustomed to indulging every desire, no matter if they were spontaneous eruptions from some surging chemical, or a well-planned rendezvous.

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Connect with Deborah Palumbo & her books:

WEBSITE: www.deborahpalumbo.com

BLOG: http://deborahpalumbotheundeparted.blogspot.com/

AMAZON BOOK PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=deborah+palumbo&x=6&y=19

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/deborahpalumbo2

GOODREADS:http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6441876.Deborah_Palumbo

WANTED: 1500 PEOPLE TO BORROW MY BOOKS FREE THIS MONTH BY JOINING AMAZON PRIME MEMBERS 1 MO FREE TRIAL.
Join up and borrow and all of DEBORAH PALUMBO books for FREE!
http://amzn.to/SignupPrime via @amazon

I hope you enjoy the recipe Deborah is sharing with us today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s.  Happy eating!

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 63 recipes and counting with this posting.  Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.

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PUMPKIN PANCAKES WITH CARMELIZED BANANAS & CINNAMON WHIPPED CREAM

Here’s a wonderful Autumn recipe for everyone!  How about some pumpkin pancakes with caramelized bananas with cinnamon whipped cream to go with your cup of java? Does that sound scrumptious or what!

Pumpkin Pancakes:

  • 1 cup pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/16 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/16 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/16 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1-ounce melted butter
  • 4 egg whites, whipped to soft peak
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil

Caramelized Bananas:

  • 4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 4 tablespoons sugar

Cinnamon Whipped Cream:

  • 4 ounces whipped cream
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

To make pancakes, sift together all of the dry ingredients. In a bowl, combine the puree, whole eggs, and the half-and-half. Add the flour mixture and stir, being careful not to over mix the batter. Finish with the melted butter. Gently fold in 1/2 the egg whites to loosen the batter and when the whites are nearly incorporated, fold in the remaining egg whites.

Heat the griddle to medium heat. Drizzle enough vegetable oil to prevent sticking and spoon batter onto griddle, spreading them with the back of the spoon. When pancakes are golden brown, flip to finish cooking.

Cut the bananas in 1/2 lengthwise. Heat a saute pan to medium and melt the butter and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves and begins to caramelize. Add the bananas and toss to coat.

To prepare the whipped cream, whisk the cream, cinnamon, and sugar in a bowl until it holds a stiff peak.

To serve, stack the pancakes on each plate. Spoon syrup over the pancakes, top with the caramelized bananas and a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream.

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I want to thank you Karen for your gracious hospitality here on your blog! I had a great time and look forward to being friends.

Deborah Palumbo

Karen’s Diary Drop-In ~ 11-01-12

[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]

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Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 10/25/12 ~ and…

I’ve dumped a Trick or Treat bag full of goodies I want to share all over my dining room table.

“Wait,” you say.  “We’re too old for this nonsense.”

I say, “Who made it a rule only kidlets got to go trick or treating last night?” 🙂

So, before you put away your favorite scary costumes and wash off  your glittery, fairy princess makeup, let’s see what’s in the neighborhood for readers and writers. Warning: Be sure to hold onto your flashlights in case the lights go out, and please don’t get grabbie. Manners, please!  There are enough treats here for everybody.

Fill your bag with treats, but watch out for the tricksters!

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TRICK  OR TREAT FOR WRITERS

  Muse dances your story down the wrong path into a dark, scary forest you can’t escape.

  Hero finally realizes it’s not indigestion burning in his chest, but love for his heroine.

  Heroine hides in the pumpkin patch and refuses to come out and play.

  The Cover Goddess of the Meadow blesses your new release.

  Wicked critique partners slash and burn through your weekly page offering.

  Chapter is finished in record time and pronounced “perfect” by the villagers.

  The editorial wizard who understands you and your writing has the gall to go on maternity leave in a distant castle far, far away.

  You type “The End” on page 425 of your tome and the angels weep for its beauty.

  Your computer crashes, taking three months of unsaved work to the fire pits of Hell.

  Your tome tops the N.Y. Times Best-Sellers List proving magic does drip from your fingertips.

TRICK  OR TREAT  FOR READERS

  The next tome in the series you’re waiting for is lost in a scheduling shipwreck on the high seas.

  The villain in the scary story you’re reading is so real, he slinks out of the shadows behind the fainting couch and grabs you by the throat.

  You get to the end of the tome only to discover the story sailed off without you and you have no choice but to buy a berth on the next ship to finish your journey.

  The local tomestore has a 50% off sale on all of the tomes you want to buy.

  Editorial Gremlins drive you crazy littering the tome you’re reading with typos and grammatical mistakes designed to drag you down into a viscous bog.

  You not only meet the model who posed for that sizzling tome cover you love so much but you get your own clinch picture taken with him, sans shirt.

  The heroine in the tome you’re reading is TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) and should be eaten by the nearest fire-breathing dragon…with catsup.

  Each of the tomes on your cobwebby Keeper Shelf is autographed, capturing the author’s soul in ink forever.

  A favorite author travels to a new genreland filled with trolls you can’t abide and you’re unable to follow her.

  The N.Y. Times best-selling tome-writer you love talks to you regularly from the ether cloud and invites you to sit beside her in the inner castle.

 HAPPY *AFTER* HALLOWEEN FROM KAREN’S TRICK OR TREAT BAG!

 

See you next Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

 

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special** with Mark Nesbitt

  Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **AUTHOR SPECIAL** with MARK NESBITT

Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!!  Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of his favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors.

Introducing author, MARK NESBITT, and his favorite recipe for PEACH LIGHTNING, shared with him by a ghost!

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BOOK PEEK ~   CIVIL WAR GHOST TRAILS by Mark Nesbitt

  • Riveting ghost stories with history from all the major engagements of the war, including Manassas, Shiloh, antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Petersburg and Appomattox.
  • Chilling accounts from wartime capitals of Richmond and Washington, DC, and haunted Civil War prisons at Johnson’s Island, Point Lookout, and Andersonville.
  • Field investigations with witnesses and EVP recordings.

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 About the author, Mark Nesbitt….

Mark Nesbitt was a National Park Service Ranger/Historian for five years at Gettysburg before starting his own research and writing company. Since then he has published over fifteen books including the popular Ghosts of Gettysburg series and newly released Civil War Ghost Trails. For his most recent ebook, Blood & Ghosts, his co-author was Katherine Ramsland, an expert in the field of forensics and serial killers. Mark’s stories have been seen on The History Channel, A&E, The Discovery Channel, The Travel Channel, Unsolved Mysteries, and numerous regional television shows and heard on Coast to Coast AM, and regional radio. In 1994, he created the commercially successful Ghosts of GettysburgCandlelight Walking Tours® and in 2006, the Ghosts of Fredericksburg Tours.

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CIVIL WAR GHOST TRAILS by Mark Nesbitt

EXCERPT

Why would ghosts be associated with the Civil War? Like most wars, the Civil War began with naïve expectations of a quick victory—on both sides. Men enlisted for ninety days and prayed that the war wouldn’t end before their enlistment. Parties and celebrations sent young men off to glorious war, and girlfriends could not really be serious when they told their beaux to bring home their uniforms without any holes in them.

Tragically, after four years, nearly 850,000 of those young men would never come home. Half of that number would die wasted from disease. Hundreds of thousands more would return missing a limb. These figures, however, are slightly misleading. America in the nineteenth century had less than one-tenth the population it does today. So we need to multiply those figures by ten to get the same impact they would have today. Imagine if, in just four years of war today, America lost more than 8 million young men and millions more came home missing an arm or leg or both. The outcry would be overwhelming.

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Connect with Mark Nesbitt & Civil War Ghost Trails:

I hope you enjoy today’s Killer Fixin’s, as well as the recipe Mark is sharing with us today.  Happy eating!

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 62 recipes and counting with this posting.  Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.

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Note from author, Mark Nesbitt: Thanks to Sarge, a resident ghost at the Cashtown Inn, Pennsylvania, for sharing this recipe when told we had a bottle of Virginia White Lightning. For those folks who are wondering, White Lightning is actually legal moonshine that you can buy in the liquor stores. The illegal version would make the recipe much more fun and might be what my ghost Sarge actually used, but we’ll stick with the legal version! 🙂

 

PEACH LIGHTNING

* Muddle 1/2 peach in the bottom of an Old-Fashioned glass
Add crushed ice
Top off with White Lightning

STIR.

[[FOR THOSE OF LEGAL DRINKING AGE ONLY!!]]

* One type of bartender’s tool is a “muddler” which is used like a pestle to mash the fruit in the bottom of the glass.

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**SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  Mark will give away an ebook copy of BLOOD & GHOSTS, which he co-authored with Katherine Ramsland (this week’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench author, check Monday & Wednesday blogs for more about Katherine)  to one reader who comments on today’s Karen’s Killer Fixin’s blog.  Winner will be randomly selected and announced Monday.  Thanks, Mark, for sharing your story, and favorite recipe, with us!

Karen’s Diary Drop-In ~ 10-25-12

[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]

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Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 10/25/12 ~ and…

I’m continuing where I left off last week when I mentioned how much I love social networks and the friendships I’ve made across the country.  I spent two glorious days last week visiting with friends I made online.  I thought you might like a peek at what we did.

I spent the night in Colorado Springs with Linnea Hall(http://www.amazon.com/Linnea-Hall/e/B004LL0OFA). We met when I went to Tennessee to speak at her chapter couple of years, but we’ve chatted ever since. When I heard she was coming to Colorado for several days, I just had to find a way to go play. And did we play!  We didn’t have much time around her conference, but was able to dash out before it got dark to explore the Garden of the Gods. It was doubly fun for me because, long as I’ve lived in Colorado, I’ve only driven through the area once.

It truly is beautiful, one of the reasons why I love my Colorado Rockies!  See for yourself….

Love the red color of these rocks!

Looking west where the sun has gone down but the sky is still light enough to take pictures.

Love all the different strata colors.

Fascinating erosion variations.

 

Balancing Rock!

It’s all fun and games until some silly tourist knocks the rock off balance…Linnea! 🙂

 

My friend, Linnea.  Last stop, Balancing Rock, before too dark to explore.

We drove out of the Garden of the Gods park into Manitou Springs where I knew the BEST restaurant for the hungry and adventurous.  Stagecoach Inn has been around forever (some say it was the original stage stop 100 years ago) and has a few specialties I wanted to introduce to Linnea. Specialties she can’t get back in Tennessee anyway…like Rocky Mountain Oysters (yummm, a fav of mine). Yes, we’re talking Bull Bullocks, “balls” for the less squeamish. Done right, they can be great eating, and Stagecoach does it right! We also tried their smoked pheasant soup. We rounded our meal off with buffalo pot roast and homemade berry cobbler.  We were stuffed when we were finished, even had leftovers to take back to the hotel, but it was well worth it!  It gave us the energy we needed to sit up into the wee hours of the night in our pajamas talking.

The next morning, Linnea went back to her conference schedule and I dashed off to a friend’ s house fifteen minutes away in the foothills.  Lori Kander is a friend I met on a MySpace readers’ group, if you can believe it!  We were online friends for years before she moved to Colorado and we finally met. I got to see her lovely new home (well, it DID take me a while to get down to her!) and we spent several hours visiting and brainstorming her new book.  (I wonder how many of us who read prodigiously end up picking up a pen to put to paper.  I’m sure there are lots!)  Sadly, I left my camera in the truck when I arrived and we got sidetracked by what is turning into a great book, so I have no pictures of Lori or the foothills around her to share. I’ll be sure to share her photo when she publishes her book — she will — and I highlight her on one of my Book Bench blogs.

Around the fun stuff, I had a tough decision to make. I had already scheduled to conduct my 4-week online workshop, The “W” Plot…Or The Other White Meat for Plotters, several times through the next year.  But I have some surgeries coming up that forced me to cancel all of them except for January’s date with STAR (Southern Tier Authors of Romance).  My online workshop career will have to go on hiatus for a while. I’ll miss the fun of exploring student plots but I just can’t take a chance I can’t give everyone 100%.  When I take the schedule back up, I’ll be sure to make an announcement.  Thankfully, I have made my workshop available on my website at www.karendocter.com for those who still want the full class lectures, so I’m not completely deserting my fellow writers!

Interestingly enough, directly on the heels of sending out my cancellation emails, I received an invitation to go back to Phoenix to do my full day, “W” workshop for the good folks at Saguaro Romance Writers. I did the workshop for them several years ago and had a great time, so I’m looking forward to doing it again.  I decided I could do the physical workshop for them since it’s only one day and it’s not scheduled until October.  Still, going to keep the rest of the year open so I can work on getting back on my feet and running…literally.  Hmmm, maybe not. But walking would be nice!

I’m sure I have lots of other things I could share today, but I’ll refrain.  I really need to get this posted since it’s running about fourteen hours behind schedule. 🙂  Wishing you all a wonderful week!

See you next Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

 

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: Bean with Bacon Soup

  It’s time for Karen’s Killer Fixin’s!

Over the years, I’ve filled two 4-inch, 3-ring binders with my own creations as well as recipes my family and friends were willing to share with me.  I simply love to cook and want to share that love with my readers.

So every Friday, I share one recipe I think you and your family might enjoy. It might be a main course recipe. A cookie or baked item. Candy. Salads. Whatever strikes my eye and fancy…which today is BEAN WITH BACON SOUP!!

My absolute favorite Campbell’s soup growing up was bean with bacon.  I spent some time trying to reproduce the flavor from scratch and finally came up with this final recipe.  Yes.  It includes a LOT of bacon but then, anything with bacon, is enhanced with MORE! 🙂  If you’re watching your diet, just give yourself a treat once in a while. You won’t be sorry!

I hope you enjoy today’s Killer Fixin’s.  Happy eating!

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 61 recipes and counting with this posting.  Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.

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 BEAN WITH BACON SOUP
[Serves 6]

1 bag white beans
1 tsp. thyme
1½ tsp. crushed garlic
½ lb. raw, chopped bacon
2 carrots, chopped
2 cups tomato juice **
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tsp. liquid smoke
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp. salt
2 T. brown sugar

In crock pot, soak white beans overnight in water 2 inches over top of beans.  In morning, add enough water to recover beans back to 3 inches above.  Add rest of ingredients and cook in crock pot all day.

*  Recommend making this soup first time with you at home to make sure beans don’t absorb all of the water and burn.  Have made this one all over the country, and differing altitudes and moisture levels do affect results.

**  If tomato juice is unavailable, you can replace 2 cups of tomato juice with 2 small cans of tomato paste and 2 cups water.

Karen’s Diary Drop-In ~ 10-18-12

[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]

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Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 10/18/12 ~ and…

Have I mentioned how much I love social networks — okay, today I love them 🙂 — and the friendships I’ve made across the country, hmmm, the world?  With a click-clack of my keyboard, I can keep in touch with new and old friends I would probably never have met any other way.  I’ve been riding Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads for a long time. Before that, I had a huge bunch of friends on MySpace.  This blog has been a staple of my day for several years now.

I’ve made thousands of friends.  Yes, they are friends. I talk to everyone daily.  I share jokes, writing triumphs, boohoos, wonders and “huh?”s.  I commisserate, encourage, and celebrate with my friends. And sometimes, when I’m really lucky, I get a chance to meet one or two in person.

And, you know what?  It’s not like I’m meeting strangers.

Right now (this posts tomorrow), I’m sitting in a hotel room almost 100 miles from home waiting for one of those friends to get out of her class. She’s flown to Colorado from Memphis to take these classes, and the first thing we did when we knew she was coming was start making plans to get together while she was here.  Oh, we have met once before…when I went to Memphis to conduct a workshop for her chapter.  But, that was almost two years ago and we talk daily on Facebook. Thanks to Facebook, we’ve become more than teacher/student in a one-time meet. We’ve become friends.  When she gets here, I will have this blog ready to post, we’ll grab some dinner and sit and chat…just like we are old friends who haven’t seen one another in a while.

And this morning (still writing this for tomorrow 🙂 ) after my Memphis friend runs off to her class, I’ll pack up my things and drive a few miles to the home of another really good friend I met online…on MySpace.  Hey! Told you I’d been on the social scene a while! She and I met on a reader’s group that focused on one of our favorite genres, paranormals, etc.  We talked there daily for several years before she mentioned she was moving to Colorado, less than 100 miles from my house in Denver.  The first time we met when she came to my house, it was like we’d been friends forever too. No awkwardness. Just plain fun.  I’ve been remiss in getting to her house for a return visit so we’ll grab some lunch and talk books and writing. She’s picking up her keyboard to pen a novel! How cool is that?

These are two very dear friends I wouldn’t have gotten to know if it hadn’t been for social media like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, even this blog  I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity for the world!

Whenever I find myself railing at the way a network is behaving or the amount of time it sometimes takes to wend my way through the timelines so I can find what I want, I remind myself of the reason I go to each digital playground.  Several times daily. These are my friends and the networks are the only way I’ll ever meet most of them.  And, if I’m really lucky, there comes a day when I can hug one of these friends up close and chat like we do each and every day.

Toddling off to play now. Have a wonderful day, my friends. Would love to meet you all someday!

See you next Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

 

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: Pumpkin Pie ~ Made with Fresh Pumpkin

  It’s time for Karen’s Killer Fixin’s!

Over the years, I’ve filled two 4-inch, 3-ring binders with my own creations as well as recipes my family and friends were willing to share with me.  I simply love to cook and want to share that love with my readers.

So every Friday, I share one recipe I think you and your family might enjoy. It might be a main course recipe. A cookie or baked item. Candy. Salads. Whatever strikes my eye and fancy…which today is PUMPKIN PIE ~ MADE WITH FRESH PUMPKIN. A Double Feature Recipe!!

This week’s recipes are courtesy of a request by a friend of mine. We were talking about her abundance of pumpkins and what to do with them all. I suggested preparing them for freezing for fresh pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, which reminded me that it was time to share this recipe.  The first time I made my family homemade pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin, they put a moratorium on ANY canned pumpkin. It’s that fresh and that tasty! We like the lighter touch on spices, too. 

With the deluge of pumpkins on the market this month, it makes good sense to get your pumpkins now and freeze it so all you have to do is thaw it in November for your pies. The first recipe below tells you how to prepare and freeze the pumpkin (easy peasy) and the second recipe is how to make the BEST, freshest pumpkin pie you’ve ever had. I’ve even had people who hate pumpkin pie like this one. I’ve found happy holidays can be truly happy, even for the cook, with some advanced planning. 🙂

I hope you enjoy today’s Killer Fixin’s.  Happy eating!

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 60 recipes and counting with this posting.  Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.

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PUMPKIN…MAKING/FREEZING FRESH

Small pumpkins are best for flavor and texture and ease of preparation, however, larger pumpkins can also be used. MUST USE whole, fresh pumpkins, not those used as Jack O’Lanterns!!

Cut pumpkin in half (thirds if larger) and scoop out all seeds and debris.  (Set seeds aside if desired to make baked pumpkin seeds.)  Leaving rind on, place cut side down on cookie sheet or pan large enough to accommodate pumpkin halves.  Bake in 275 degree oven 45-60 minutes until pumpkin meat is fork tender.

NOTE:  After 60 minutes, if pumpkin is not quite tender, check in 10 minute increments.  There might be a bit of browning juice in bottom but that’s okay as long as it doesn’t burn.

When pumpkin is tender, remove from oven and let cool enough so it can be handled.  Scoop the tender pumpkin into a ricer or food processor (even a blender can work in a pinch if you don’t mind stopping to push down pulp until smooth, a bit time-consuming though) and process until texture is smooth.

When pumpkin meat is completely cooled, spoon into ziplock freezer bags and mark with the date processed.  Freeze flat for easier stacking.  Thaw completely before use.

NOTE:  Use processed pumpkin in pumpkin pies, cookies, and desserts as needed.  Be aware that fresh pumpkin retains more moisture than canned pumpkin and adjust your recipes accordingly.  If you wish to freeze pumpkin for future pies, recommend freezing in five-cup increments.  That way you’ll have exactly enough fresh pumpkin for the two pies in next recipe.  Then, all you need to do is thaw one package.

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KAREN DOCTER’S FRESH PUMPKIN PIE
[Two 9-inch deep-dish pies]

 

2 uncooked 9-inch piecrusts
1 large can pumpkin OR 5 cups fresh (thawed) pumpkin (see 1st recipe)
2 T. flour
1-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 can evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk)
2 large eggs (add last!)

SPECIAL NOTE:  Recipe above is for a fresh tasting pumpkin pie using canned pumpkin.  If using fresh pumpkin, increase flour to 3 T. and use 3 eggs.

Make two 9-inch, deep-dish piecrusts, either from scratch or use ready made (there are generally two in a pack in your grocery freezer section, NOT graham cracker crumb piecrust!).  Set aside.

In large bowl, beat together rest of ingredients until smooth and thoroughly mixed.  Pour into uncooked piecrusts, spreading evenly between pie shells.  Do not overfill—extra pumpkin can be poured into small, oven-proof bowls and cooked separately as a custard.  (Great for those who don’t want crust!)  Bake in 400 degree oven, 10-15 minutes. Then, turn down heat to 350 degrees for 45 minutes until middle is set.

NOTE:  May need to cook longer to set when using fresh pumpkin.  Check in ten-minute increments after 45 minutes.  Cool on racks and serve.  If not serving immediately, cool, and then place (covered with plastic wrap) in refrigerator.  Serve with whipped cream.

Karen’s Diary Drop-In ~ 10-11-12

[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]

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Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 10/11/12 ~ and…

I’m musing today.  I can’t speak for other authors but I have to admit to a bit of confusion (dare I say frustration?) about the apparent disconnect in the book publishing industry between what we’ve all been trained to expect from our books in the past, both as writers and readers, and the market of today. Things are changing so fast that it’s almost impossible to keep up or make conscious decisions before something new happens to change the tide in another direction.

Case in point.  Something happened this week that reminded me that I’m still lagging, both as a reader and a writer, in a publishing mindset that’s been around, well, forever. I won’t get into the specific event because it’s not the event that’s important to the discussion, but the subsequent musings it prompted.

I can remember the first time I picked up my new Kindle. (Only last year!) I’d put off adding any more electronic “stuff” to my beleaguered life as long as I could.  When I started considering the possibility of publishing my own book through the wondrous “new” technology of digital publishing — yeah, I was one of the last bastions of a land line phone only two months ago, too — I decided I needed to get a Kindle of my own.

Hmmm, where was I? Oh, yeah….lagging mindsets.  I swear it’s senility but my kids do occasionally tell me I’m not that old.  Or maybe I’m imagining that, too. 🙂

Let’s talk about my reader mindset.  Although I loved so many things about my new Kindle, like the ability to make the font bigger so I could actually read the book — okay, no more snarky remarks about old ladies and dinosaurs, please — there were certain things I didn’t like about reading on a machine.  Of course, all comments aside about type size (print book fonts are getting smaller to help publishers save printing costs, that’s good economics), I like holding a book in my hand. I like knowing where I stop reading when I toddle off to make dinner for my family.  I love the smell and feel of a print book. I love sifting through my 24-foot long, 8-foot high wall of paperback novels.

I miss these things when I read on my Kindle.  I no longer know how many books I have waiting for me to open their pages. They’re tidily tucked into my Kindle bookshelves but they’re no longer lined up side-by-side for easy skimming. I read across the genres and sometimes I feel like reading a historical. Sometimes I like reading suspense. And sometimes, I just want to pick up a cute little contemporary or a paranormal or a…well, you get the picture.

With a leather cover wrapped around my Kindle, one that opens up like a book, I can recapture the feel of a print book…sort of.  But I love throwing my leather book thong between the pages of my print book when I stop on page 85. I love knowing I’m on page 85. I love knowing that, by eyeball estimation, I still have approximately two-thirds of the book to wallow in before I finish. Yes, I have a love affair with my books but that’s a whole ‘nother topic!

It bothers me I don’t know these things when I read the same book on my Kindle.  Why?  Because I don’t feel the same sense of completion when I read that invisible “The End” that tells me the book is finished. I’m still used to closing the binding on that physical book and I don’t know how to get that same closure when I finish an eBook. I know I’m 25%, 60%, 85% through the story on my Kindle. But I want page numbers. I want to know that I got my money’s worth.

As a reader, it frustrates me that I’m unsure whether I’ve just read a full length novel of 50,000 to 100,000 words, or a novella.  When I hold a skinny book or a fat book in my hand, I know exactly what I paid for.

Which brings me to the other side of my musings.

As a writer, it frustrates me that my readers don’t really know if they get what they paid for either.  I know I write full length novels as traditional publishing standards fly.  My contemporary romantic comedies are the same size as the Harlequin Temptations (Satin Pleasures anyway, that may be changing with my next book 🙂 ) because the story was aimed at that publisher.  My romantic suspense is longer but that’s to be expected because it’s single title…again as the traditional publisher flies.  But on the digital devices, you really can’t tell.  It’s all too easy to feel cheated without a physical book weighing in on your senses and my suspense might feel as “light” as my contemporaries to some readers.  I hope not!

I’m a realist and I know there’s not much I can do to  influence reader perceptions especially when the traditional publishing benchmarks are masked or no longer apply. The story is finished when it’s finished. The last thing I want to do is add “fluff” to a story to make it appear bigger. If the story is told in novella length, that’s how I’ll sell it.

I like to believe I’m moving around this digital world fairly well. But questions pop up and knock me sideways once in a while, reminding me that I’m still a baby in Indie publishing, as most of us are since the digital world is still evolving.  How many of the traditional publishing expectations should writers carry over into our digital publishing?  How much do I, as a reader, have a right to expect of the authors I’m buying? I think we’re still all kind of wandering in the dark on both sides of the question. There doesn’t seem to be any easy answers.

Maybe tomorrow, there will be.  🙂

See you next Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

 

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special** with Sharon Clare

 

  Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **AUTHOR SPECIAL** with SHARON CLARE

Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!!  Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of his favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors.

Introducing author, SHARON CLARE, and her favorite recipe for CURRY GLAZED CARROTS!

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BOOK PEEK ~  Love of Her Lives by Sharon Clare

Calum and Beth are soul mates who have lived many lives together until Beth decides to live a life on her own. Left behind in the Upper World, Calum sees a wrongful imprisonment in her future, so he bargains with Finn, an elven trickster to return to Earth, rescue Beth and reclaim her heart. Unfamiliar with the twenty-first century, he must determine who plots against Beth while playing Finn’s passion-provoking game.

Beth has no recollection of their lives together and didn’t ask this sexually-charged stranger to come to her aid. She is horrified to find her house ransacked and her life threatened. With a secret to keep, she takes the greatest risk of all—trusting Calum. Her life soon depends upon re-evaluating everything she thought normal. Their eternal bond will only be saved if Beth can rescue the man who spanned worlds to rescue her.

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 About the author, Sharon Clare….

Sharon Clare lives in Ontario with her husband and three wonderful grown-up kids who come and go from the nest. She fell in love with writing at the University of Toronto where she graduated with a science degree in psychology and professional writing. She writes paranormal romance and has published short stories, art reviews, newsletter and magazine articles. Her favourite place to write is outside under the maple trees beside the trickling pond and blooming lilies.

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LOVE OF HER LIVES

EXCERPT

If the best way to a man’s heart was through his stomach, then tiramisu may just be the best way out of a man’s heart, or so Beth Stewart hoped. She needed all the help she could get. Breaking up with Matthew required tact and diplomacy. Her financial security depended on them remaining friends.

She stood at her kitchen counter, bent over a shopping list, considering the perfect break–up meal. He loved her sweet potato coconut soup, one of the few things about her he’d not tried to improve. Since it was vital they continued to work together amiably until their investment house in Belize sold, she would butter up his palate to ease the breakup.

Matthew, you deserve a woman who is crazy over you … Or one who didn’t see his endless suggestions as a need to control. Was that a good way to start the break–up conversation? Should she wait till dessert?

And what else to serve? Nothing that sparked romance, no chocolate–dipped strawberries tonight. Perhaps tiramisu was too decadent. Perhaps an old–fashioned apple pie to bring thoughts of support, community, the golden rule? Or was she reaching with that?

She should serve something to ensure Matthew left the house after dinner. Baked beans?

She chuckled as she approached her garden shed. A heaping plate of Rocky Mountain oysters would have him running for the curb before dinner. How do you prefer your bull’s testicles, Matthew? Rare? Well done? Roasted in their sac?

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Connect with Sharon Clare & Love of Her Lives

For more Love of Her Lives please visit sharonclare.com

Love of Her Lives is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Google Play (for epub file) and wherever ebooks are sold.

I hope you enjoy today’s Killer Fixin’s, as well as the recipe Sharon is sharing with us today.  Happy eating!

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 58 recipes and counting with this posting.  Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.

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Note from author, Sharon Clare:  Recipe comes from one of the best cooks I know, Barbara Urbain.

 

CURRY GLAZED CARROTS

12 carrots
2 tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. chopped or grated ginger root
1-1/2 tsp. curry powder
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp. honey

Peel carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices. In a deep skillet, heat butter, garlic, and ginger root over medium heat for 1 minute. Add curry powder and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add carrots, stock and honey. Cook until liquid evaporates and carrots are tender and glazed. About 20-30 minutes.

Bon appétit!

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**SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  Sharon will give away an electronic copy of LOVE OF HER LIVES to one reader who comments on today’s Karen’s Killer Fixin’s blog.  Winner will be randomly selected and announced Monday.  Thanks, Sharon, for sharing your story, and favorite recipe, with us!

Karen's Book Bench