Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

      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 CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES.

I’m a chocoholic. They say admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving it.  It must be true because I now have a number of chocolaty desserts to sate my craving.  🙂 Today’s cookie recipe is a particular favorite. How can a chocoholic go wrong with a double dose of chocolate?

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

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 27 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, etc.

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CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

[4 dozen]

1 cup brown sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
½ cup butter
½ tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1¼ cup flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup powdered cocoa
½ cup chopped nuts

Place all ingredients in mixing bowl except chocolate pieces and nuts.  Beat at medium speed until blended.  Mix on high speed about 3 minutes.  Fold in chocolate and nuts.  Drop on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees, 9 minutes.  Cool on rack.

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: **Author Special** Linda Rae Blair


Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **AUTHOR SPECIAL**

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 her 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, LINDA RAE BLAIR, and her recipe for Fruit Scones!

BOOK PEEK ~ Hard Press’d

Here’s a taste of “Hard Press’d”, the first in the series of seven currently published novellas. Number eight is due to publish in the spring of 2012. Press has just been assigned a new partner, a young cop who just made detective. Press isn’t happy about “baby-sitting” a new partner but decides to make the best out of it by having a little fun at the “kid’s” expense. He had just caught himself nearly growling. Looking at his watch he silently cursed as he realized it would still be hours before the local Starbucks down on Laskin opened.

~~~

“Throw up on me or my crime scene, Evans, and you’ll ride your desk for the next week,” Press growled in his deep voice. “Lesson #2, Evans—never, ever throw up on my crime scene.”

“Yes, sir—I mean, no sir!”

“Make up your mind, Evans! See anything else? ”

Evans took a deep, cleansing breath. “Strange the way she’s laying there. The first shot should have knocked her off her feet. Usually there’s an odd position of the body—she looks like she just lay down to take a nap.”

“Yeah, or maybe somebody laid her down.”

Another notch for the kid.

“But the girl’s very probably not a pro, Evans—at least not a street pro—there’s real money here and lots of it. Could be a high-priced pro, but I don’t think so. The clothes are too pricey. Dress is silk.” He bent over and gave a slight lift to that dress’s skirt—which had never covered more than the top third of those long, slim legs. “Lingerie is French lace.” He carefully put the skirt back in place. “And those sandals were about fifteen-hundred dollars retail.”

“Whew!”

The awe in Evans’ voice and the look on his face told Press that the kid couldn’t imagine paying that kind of money for a pair of shoes—let alone shoes that were just straps with spikes for heels.

“I’ve got a sister with expensive taste,” Andrews explained.

“How can you tell that’s French lace, sir?” Trace asked. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen French lace.”

Press gave the kid a crooked smile and a wink. “Once you’ve seen it up close, kid, you never forget it.” He saw Evans taking one more look, as the kid tried to figure it out.

Novels by Linda Rae Blair are available at the following retailer websites: Barnes & Noble, Sony, iTunes, Kobo. Also available on Smashwords and Amazon. Links to these sites and others are available on the author’s website: http://lindaraeblairauthor.wordpress.com/

FMI: Linda Rae Blair Author of The Preston Andrews Mysteries Sample or purchase:http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lrbauthor Web site & Blogs: http://lindaraeblairauthor.wordpress.com/

“Like” both “Linda Rae Blair, Author” and “The Preston Andrews Mysteries” on FaceBook! Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/lindaraeblair

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

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 26 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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The Preston Andrews Mysteries
By Linda Rae Blair

The “hero” of my detective series, The Preston Andrews Mysteries, is a guy with so many good attributes besides those icy blue eyes and that thick black hair that tops off the 6’3” frame of his that I dare not try to list them all here or we’ll lose our interest in cooking altogether.

One thing that Press, as his friends call him, definitely gets from me is his love for Starbucks coffee. And, if you love your coffee, you’ve just got to love scones to go with them.

My absolute favorite recipe started out an entry in the “Flat Belly Diet Cookbook”. Of course, I couldn’t just leave it alone!   First, let me say that you don’t have to use cranberries (I use Craisins) for these wonderful scones. I’ve used dried or fresh blueberries, dried cherries, dried apricots and dried mixed fruit. So, here’s my version of:

FRUIT SCONES

Freeze and thaw for individual servings through the week!

Oven 400 degrees F  20-25 Minutes 9” round pie pan pre-treated with canola oil spray or non-stick spray.

Mix together all the dried ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt 1 tsp. orange or lemon zest (experiment using lemon w/blueberries, orange w/cherries for example)

Slowly add in:

1 ½ cup plain or vanilla yogurt
2 T. canola oil

Once the above are mixed thoroughly (batter will be rather thick and dry) add in:

1 cup walnuts or pecans (I love walnuts) and mix well.

Then stir in:

1 6-oz. pkg. of your favorite dried fruit (by adding these last and by hand, you will avoid tearing up the fruit pieces and have larger, yummier bits of fruit in your scones).

Place the batter in prepared baking dish. Spread level with a wooden spoon or spatula. Score the dough with a knife to make 8 equal slices.

If you like your scones a little sweeter, you can sprinkle a light topping of granulated sugar over the top of the dough just before baking.   Done when toothpick or knife test in center comes out clean.

 

Monday Musings: “I Quit” slugs it out with “Persistence”….

MONDAY MUSINGS: “I Quit” slugs it out with “Persistence”….

You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist. ~ Isaac Asimov ~~~~

I quit! These were the words I wrote in my now defunct monthly newsletter (I do enjoying blogging more often) back in the summer of 2010. Oh, I wasn’t talking about not writing any more. In fact, after rereading the newsletter today, I have to say the sentiments and goals I shared then haven’t changed. Thank goodness!

I thought it might be fun today for you to read my original newsletter article. Then, I’ll share what I’ve learned and how far I’ve come in the past year and a half.  So pour a glass or cup of your favorite beverage and settle in because this trip down memory lane might be a tad longer than my usual Musings. (The trip is worth it though!)

It was the summer of 2010…

I quit! The sentiment has been on my mind a lot recently. No. I won’t quit writing, although I will admit I considered it…for about 2 nanoseconds. The moment the thought escaped its bounds, my brain stood up, pushed its way to the bully pulpit and shouted in my head, “Hi! My name is Karen Docter, and I’m addicted to writing. It’s been six months, four days and ten minutes since I last wrote my last full chapter! ”

Yeah, not only is my brain entirely too independent for my peace of mind but it’s stubborn as well. It’s a good thing we do love to write together. Most of the time. 🙂

For those who don’t know me well, I’ve been at this awhile. This meaning working toward a career in writing. Awhile translates to when I joined RWA in the latter part of 1991. That’s when I began to think my writing could become my career. Who doesn’t want to make a living out of something we love? I wish we all had the ability to get paid to do what makes us happiest. The world might be a better place!

Sorry. I digress.

And that’s what this Musing is all about. I wish I could say I’ve been walking hand-in-hand with Persistence during all of those intervening years. I did well until after the new millennium kicked in. I was writing traditional and short contemporary full time. I had seven books under my belt and had generated interest in my writing with New York and Canadian editors, even if the projects weren’t quite what were needed at the time. I can write well. I even had an agent who believed in my projects as much as I did.

Then I got hit with several whammies. The publishing lines toward which I’d aimed my projects kept shutting down, forcing me to evaluate my goals and my genre. My agent closed her doors around the same time. I started a personal relationship with debilitating medical issues. My writing hit a long dry spell. While many authors can write through anything, I discovered my threshold didn’t match my yearning. Persistence rolled off the wagon beneath just about everything else.

Yet I’m still not prepared to give up my writing career. Why?

Persistence has been whining in my ear for months now. Every morning she’s right there as I brush my teeth whispering schedule changes in the mirror. “Take 20 minutes between lunch and organizing online classes to review the two prologue versions for KILLING SECRETS.” Persistence is there when I take a break from teaching a class, tugging me toward my laptop. “Kick up your feet to ease the pain and, oh, by the way, take a minute to finetune the victim’s emotional distress after she’s kidnapped.” Persistence accompanies me into the kitchen when I throw dinner into the microwave at 9 p.m. after I’ve shut down my desktop with the intent to decompress from 14 hours of computer work. “Come on! You can at least read through what you wrote last week for IN DANGER’S SHADOW so you’re ready to pick it back up in the morning…after I’ve whispered tomorrow’s schedule changes into your ear!”

Persistence has become…persistent. I’m not quite sure what kicked her in the backside. I can’t say I even noticed it much until she became downright ornery. But, clearly, she’s been sneaking up behind I quit for months and wearing her down.

Hey! You don’t have to hit me up the side of the head twice! Wait. Yes. Evidently you do. But this writer’s getting the message. So I quit.

I quit fighting the inevitable. I quit allowing other things to get in my way, even if my friends throw puppy dog eyes at me to get me on board with a project. I quit dwelling on my health to the detriment of my writing. If I have to go through two surgeries to fix the problems, so be it. I quit pushing my writing, the one thing besides my family and friends that means the world to me, to the back burner of my life. I quit because Persistence is a lot stronger and she’s going to keep kicking my butt until I quit quits.

So. I’m back. Did ya miss me?!

It’s now February 20, 2012….

A lot has changed in the last year and a half. When I wrote that original Musing, I launched back into my life and career with a completely different mindset. I’m now taking better care of me. I split my genres. And last, but not least, I’ve taken my career in my own hands and published my first book.

• Taking better care of me was an imperative first step. In addition to some serious health issues I was not cognizant of or simply ignoring, I had run myself into the ground trying to juggle too many balls. The ball with the word write on it wasn’t even in the air much of the time. It sat on the ground looking up at me with reproach until I picked it up and tried to juggle it with all the others. And my health suffered.

I’ve since learned that Wonder Woman is a comic book hero and I just can’t wear her tights with any panache at all. Many of us, as women, overextend ourselves in some misguided attempt to be the perfect mom, wife, girlfriend, sister, friend, and writer and, the truth is, there’s no such person! If I were to encourage you, writer or reader, to take anything from what I’ve learned it’s to give yourself permission to not be perfect at everything. You’re not doing anyone a favor by killing yourself with unrealistic expectations.

• Splitting my genres gave me room to be truly creative once again. I wrote traditional and short contemporary novels for a long time. I loved the books I wrote. I did well even though I didn’t actually sell for one reason or another. But line closures and my growth toward romantic suspense told me I needed to move on. At the time, it was a good decision but with the recent industry changes, I realized I’d thrown the baby out with the bath water. Moving on to romantic suspense didn’t mean I had to give up on my contemporaries. Besides, my romantic suspense has taken a much darker tone than expected and I find the cute contemporaries are the breath of fresh air I need to offset the darker suspense. Splitting my genres was the best thing I could have done for my creativity.

• Taking my career into my hands and publishing my own projects, quite honestly, had never been on my radar. I didn’t want to go with a digital publisher. Not to diss any of the wonderful digital publishers out there or to the great authors who publish with them, it was impossible for me to see me going that route. I’m “old school” and I had my heart set on print. Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!

Sweeping changes in the industry with the Kindle, Nook, and other self-publishing digital formats, changed my mind quite recently. Like late last fall recently! My critique partners were encouraging, okay, pushing me to finish my current suspense project to take advantage of the new publishing opportunities. I wasn’t ready to push my unfinished baby onto the world. Their response? “So publish one of your contemporary romances. They’re great and readers will love them, and you can take a break from serial killers once in a while.”

I love my critique partners! I have no doubt part of their reasoning was that they had started to get as buried in the darkness of my psychological suspense as I was, but they do know me and my writing. And as they so often are, they were right. That next day, I split my genres, tweaked my website to accommodate two genres, and pulled out one of my favorite contemporary romances – a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart contest – and got to work.

That leads me back to the Isaac Asimov quote I pulled from the internet a year and a half ago. I’ve come full circle. Persistence has finally K.O.d, knocked out and obliterated, I Quit winning the championship round on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, the day I published my debut contemporary romance novel, Satin Pleasures. Since last week, I’ve been feeling like Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky, my hands thrown high as I pump the air with my fists at the top of the stairs in celebration.

I know this is only the beginning. I’ll have to go through the entire process with the next book and the next, and the next after that because I want you, my readers, to get the very best stories I can write for you. I have six brothers in my upcoming romantic suspense series, Thorne’s Thorns. I plan to have the first brother, Patrick Thorne’s story out this summer.

I’m still learning – we won’t even discuss how I’ll add promotions and blogging and reviews, etc. to the balls I’m now juggling — but as long as I keep company with Persistence, I just may see my way clear to recapturing a bit of the Wonder Woman in me.

Nah! Never mind. That’s just so wrong…I still can’t fit into her tights!
~~~~~~~~~

[If you’re interested in reading an excerpt of SATIN PLEASURES, I’ve posted one on my website at www.karendocter.com. The book is now available on Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/Satin-Pleasures-ebook/dp/B0078VSY6G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329777162&sr=8-1 and Nook at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/satin-pleasures?keyword=satin+pleasures&store=book for only $3.99.

~~~~~
 ANNOUNCEMENT: Yesterday, at noon as promised, I randomly pulled one of the names from the five (5) comments on my February 13th blog post. I’m happy to announce the winner of the #FREE digital copy of SATIN PLEASURES is Gerri Bowen! Congratulations, Gerri! I’ll contact you privately to get your email address so I can send your PDF copy. Thanks, everyone, for commenting!

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: Mini-Crabcakes

KAREN’S KILLER FIXIN’S: MINI-CRABCAKES

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 MINI-CRABCAKES.

I love seafood! If it comes from the sea, I’m likely to have tried it and loved it. Craved it. One of my absolute favorites are crabcakes. Not all crabcakes are created equal, though, so I looked for a good recipe for a long time. This is it! It’s easy to make, too. Make a salad and you’ve got dinner. (Hmmm, where is my grocery list? I’ve got a craving!)

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

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 25 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, etc.

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MINI-CRABCAKES
[Makes 24 mini-crabcakes]

1 lb. fresh or pkg. crabmeat
½ sweet red pepper, finely diced
3 scallions, chopped
2 eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. dried tarragon, crumbled
1 cup yellow cornmeal
6 T. vegetable oil
Remoulade, recipe follows

Pick through crabmeat to remove shell or cartilage.  Stir in red pepper, scallion, eggs, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and tarragon.  Add ½ cup of the cornmeal; place remaining cornmeal in small bowl.  Let mixture rest 10 minutes.  Using 2 T. mixture for each, form 24 2-inch crab cake patties.  Shape with your hands, then coat patties with remaining cornmeal.  Heat 3 T. of the oil in large skillet over med-med/high heat.  Cook 12 of the crab cakes for 3 minutes.  Flip over; continue to cook an additional 3 minutes.  Repeat with remaining 3 T. oil and remaining 12 crab cakes.  Place on paper towels before serving with remoulade.

Remoulade:  Stir together ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 T. chopped capers, 1 T. fresh lemon juice, 2 tsp. pickle relish, 2 tsp. sugar and a dash of hot-pepper sauce.

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: *Author Special* Jennifer Zane


Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **AUTHOR SPECIAL** Jennifer Zane

Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!  Today, in lieu of one of my recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her 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, JENNIFER ZANE, and her recipe for Pulled Chicken Sandwiches!

BOOK PEEK  ~ Gnome On The Range

Once you get the zing you can’t go back.

Jane West has everything a woman could want. A job in a small Montana town’s only adult store, two busy young boys and one dead husband. Everything except a little excitement–a little zing. But that changes one summer morning at a garage sale when her kids buy some garden gnomes.

Now someone wants those gnomes and will let nothing get in their way. Including Jane. This new excitement for Jane spells trouble for a relationship with new neighbor–and hot fireman–Ty Strickland. Can Jane and Ty handle a relationship meddling mother-in-law, crazy kids, and stay alive while trying to solve the mystery of the garden gnomes?

Excerpt:  http://jenniferzane.com/sneak-peek/

FMI about Jennifer and her book…. http://www.jenniferzane.com
Amazon:  http://amzn.to/vrvUI3
Follow her on Twitter:  @JenniferZane

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

Karen

P.S. We’re at 24 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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PULLED CHICKEN SANDWICHES (EASY!!)

In your crockpot place boneless chicken breasts. Pour your favorite BBQ sauce in, stir around and lift meat to coat. Cook on low for at least 3 hours. When ready to eat, take chicken out, pull apart with 2 forks and return to crockpot. Scoop out chicken and sauce. Serve on rolls. I like jalapeno jack cheese and dill pickle slices with it.

** For an easy cleanup, don’t forget the crockpot liner!

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: **Author Special** Ann Everett

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **AUTHOR SPECIAL**

Welcome to my new 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 her 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, ANN EVERETT, and her recipe for Chocolate Coconut Pecan Pie ~ “Orgasm Pie”!

BOOK PEEK ~ Laid Out and Candle Lit

The nicest little town in Texas, Brownsboro, just had a murder.

Twenty-six year old Tizzy Donovan is a widow, single mother, daughter to the best baker in town, sister to the county Sheriff, and also known as the local girl who occasionally talks to the dead.

When Tizzy discovers a dead body in the cemetery, she goes to prime suspect number one, and lands in a decidedly unsweetened pickle. With lead after lead placing her in the crosshairs, her only hope and potential damnation come in the form of Texas Ranger Ridge Cooper. She won’t be able to wiggle her way out of this one with a sassy comeback and a helping of Better than Sex Cupcakes.

Cutting his teeth on his first murder case, Ranger Cooper becomes torn between duty and desire. His job gets a whole lot harder as he works to find a viable suspect other than Tizzy.

Adding some fun to the serious business of solving the crime is a skunk attack, a bar fight, and some downhome wit and wisdom served up Texas style by Tizzy’s mom, Pattiecake and Aunt Sugarpie.

LAID OUT AND CANDLE LIT is the first book in a series of three revolving around the same characters and set in the same location of small town Brownsboro, Texas.  Because many scenes take place in SWEET THANGS BAKERY, a recipe from one of those scenes will be included in each book. For LAID OUT AND CANDLE LIT, the choice was Chocolate Coconut Pecan Pie. A delectable, rich concoction guaranteed to become an addiction.

Owners of the bakery, Pattiecake McAlister and Sugarpie Monroe, will be releasing a SWEET THANGS cookbook very soon, brimming with…you guessed it…nothing but Sweet Thangs!

  A native of the Lone Star state, Ann Everett is a former school secretary. For many years, Ann enjoyed doing stand-up comedy for businesses, corporations, and non-profit organizations. She is an active member of the Northeast Texas Writers’ Organization, where she currently serves as Director for their  twenty-sixth annual writers’ conference.

Ann is an award winning short story author and has been published in on-line e-zines as well as several newspapers. She lives on a small lake in Northeast Texas with her husband.


FMI about Ann and her books… http://www.anneverett.weebly.com
Twitter: @TalkinTwang
Email: Ann.Everett@rocketmail.com

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

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 23 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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CHOCOLATE COCONUT PECAN PIE

     “Orgasm Pie”

2 eggs
1 ½ Cups sugar
½ Cup cocoa
6 oz. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
¼ cup margarine, melted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (secret ingredient)
½ cup chopped pecans
1 cup coconut
1 unbaked deep dish pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl beat eggs. (We use an electric mixer.)  Add sugar and cocoa and mix well.  Add milk, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and melted margarine, mix well.  Stir in pecans and coconut, mix well by hand.  Pour into pie shell and bake for 45 minutes or until firm.**

** If the edges of your crust start to get too brown before the pie is firm, cover the edges with foil or a pie crust shield.

*** You can use a frozen store bought pie shell if you like. We make our crust by hand.

PIE CRUST

1½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ cup shortening
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water

Sift together flour and salt.  Cut in shortening with a pastry-blender—Sugarpie does this by hand. Pattiecake uses the dough hook with her stand mixer. Either way is fine, but Pattiecake’s is easier.  Blend until pieces are the size of small peas.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over the flour-shortening mixture continuing to blend either with the pastry-blender or the dough hook. You keep adding water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all is moistened. Your dough should be “wet” enough to gather into a ball and hold together.

On a lightly floured surface, flatten ball slightly and roll with rolling pin to 1/8 inch thick. If edges split, pinch together. Always roll spoke-fashion, rolling from center to edge of dough, using light strokes.

To transfer pastry, roll it over rolling pin, and then unroll it over pie plate, fitting loosely onto bottom and sides.

 

Monday Musings: One-Minute Romance Novel….

MONDAY MUSINGS: ONE-MINUTE ROMANCE NOVEL….

A friend shared this with me some time ago, labeling it “One Minute Romance Novel.”  I had no clue this was a commercial when I opened it, let alone what was being advertised, but it didn’t matter. I simply enjoyed the romance story. When I got to the end of the commercial I was surprised, yet not, by the product being sold.  It is a creative approach to product placement.  But that’s not what my Musings are about today.

Let’s talk about the romantic appeal of this one minute “story”, about expectations and every woman’s dream man.  Our heroes.

Don’t we all want to wake up married to a sexy, loving man who lives only to make us happy?  Many of us grow up with some version of Prince Charming living at the back of our minds ready to charge in, slay our dragons and hug us close on top of his white charger as he whisks us away to his castle.  That doesn’t mean we all want tons of money, rocks on our finger the size of a goose egg, and a man catering to our every whim.

Too much cloying attention screams stalker to this damsel! Just saying…there are limits to my Prince Charming fantasies!

No.  It’s the idea that a man loves us so much he’s willing to go that extra mile to give us everything we need and want that appeals to our feminine psyche.  We want our men to be attractive and strong and successful at whatever he does for a living. We’re instinctually hardwired to seek the perfect mate.  It’s embedded in our DNA.

Heroes are the reason I read and write romance novels.  I fall a little in love with each hero I meet.  Or not.

This bank commercial brought that dichotomy home to me.  As women, we have differing viewpoints on what is important to us.  You may want a man with strong protective instincts, while another woman wants a man who can give her the lifestyle to which she’d like to become accustomed. Maybe you want an alpha male and your best friend finds a Beta male more to her liking.  A man’s drive for a higher position in the social hierarchy might turn you on, while driving the next woman away because she wants to be the center of her hero’s world. The point is that the individual appeal of a hero is directly connected to what we look for in a man, either consciously or subconsciously.

With this in mind, let’s go back to my reaction to the hero in the commercial.  I know millions of women love George Clooney so the producer’s choice of hero makes sense in the grand scheme of things.  But, at the risk of being tarred and feathered for even suggesting such blasphemy, Clooney leaves me cold.  Oh, he’s handsome enough, I guess.  I just don’t like him.  He doesn’t do it for me.  I wish I could tell you specifically why.  I suspect it’s partially wrapped around his playboy good looks.  Even before I learned anything about him personally, I somehow knew he was a player and not to be trusted to take anything seriously, especially regarding a woman’s heart.  He’s a grown up Peter Pan. Not the type of man that turns me on at all!

Now, throw some of my favorite movie heroes into the same commercial role, I’d be running to that bank barefoot through a blizzard to open an account.  Especially if the hero is Jason Statham—actually, at the moment, that man reigns supreme over my feminine psyche—Sean Connery, at just about any age, “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson, Liam Neeson, Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford, Denzel Washington, Tom Selleck, Patrick Swayze (miss him!), and several others…I can go on!  🙂

In analysis, I know I adore all of these men because they play strong heroes, both emotionally and physically, who go above and beyond to protect the people they love.  Even to the point of dying for their loved ones.  In practicality, dying for me isn’t what I’d want from the man I love. It’s the concept that he’s willing to do whatever’s necessary to protect me that appeals to me.

Knowing what kind of man turns me on, I’m not surprised by the type of hero I find in every book that hits my Keeper Shelf whether it’s a contemporary, suspense, historical, or paranormal.  These men are not all classically tall, dark and handsome.  They don’t all have millions to keep their heroines in jewelry and classic cars. They may be bad boys or the boy next door. They are, however, all completely invested in their love for their heroine and loved ones.  This is what fits my vision of the truly heroic man.

What kind of hero turns you on when you pick up a romance novel?  The Greek God? The warrior?  The friend? The sexy bad boy?  What about movie actors who do it for you?  What is it that makes you willing to shell out your hard earned cash just so you can spend two hours with them on a leisurely Sunday afternoon? Who are your favorites?  There’s no right or wrong answer to any of these questions but, if you’d like to share, enquiring minds want to know.

Okay, the truth is I want to know!  I’m always on the lookout for another hero to place on my Keeper Shelf. 🙂

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: **Author Special** Christine Warner

  Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **AUTHOR SPECIAL**

Welcome to my new 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 her 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, CHRISTINE WARNER, and her recipe for Chicken Salad Sandwiches!

BOOK PEEK  ~ Some Like It in Handcuffs
Releasing March 23, 2012 with The Wild Rose Press

Sunny Kennedy is a fledgling private investigator and the only girl in a family of protective male detectives. She’s out to prove testosterone isn’t the main qualification required to solve a cold case. The only things standing in her way are a sexy detective and a killer who will stop at nothing to keep a secret.

Judson Blackwolf, a seasoned homicide detective, thinks women in law enforcement should work behind the scenes. The prospect of working with his Captain’s sexy daughter doesn’t thrill him.

But when their investigation takes a dangerous turn, they realize their feelings for each other, tangled in a web from the past, might not be the only thing to keep them apart.

Excerpt….

“This isn’t how I wanted it between us.”  Judson grabbed the neckline of her sweater, dragging her body to meet his with a solid thump.  Sunny licked her lips in answer to the question in his eyes.  He lowered his head to move his mouth over hers.

Sunny closed her eyes, a small whimper escaping her lips.  She didn’t want it like this either, but that wasn’t possible.  Unable to resist her attraction she accepted it wasn’t an affair, or a long distance romance she craved, but for him to love her back.  It was all or nothing for her.  Her heart sank.  She accepted this as their goodbye kiss.

With no thought to what was happening upstairs, Sunny rose up on her toes demanding more.  Her lips pulsated against Judson’s.  When his hand trembled against her cheek in a soft caress she lost touch with reality.

“Judson.” Sunny’s weakened body drifted farther into Judson’s as his fingers glided down her arms, pulling them to her sides where their fingers intertwined.  He forced them behind her before his tongue thrust into her mouth.

Their bodies molded together, she heard her own heartbeat and his as well when he curved his fingers around her rear and squeezed.

That’s when the click of the handcuffs against her wrist connected her to the handle of the locked cupboard.

“What the hell…Judson?”  She looked up at him, her knees shook, her body still inflamed with fever.

“Like I was saying, you wait here and I’ll go upstairs to check it out.  Backup’s already been called, so you’re safe until your brothers arrive.”  Judson winked before walking toward the steps to the third level.  Once he reached them he turned toward her and smiled.  “Gotcha,” he whispered with his notorious grin.

FMI about Christine and her books….http://christine-warner.com/
“Like” her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Warner/143430882396013
Follow her on Twitter:  christineswords

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

Karen

P.S. We’re at 22 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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CHICKEN SALAD SANDWICHES

3 White chicken breasts cubed
1 cup red or green grapes without pits (I slice them in ½)
¾ cup Celery
1 small onion diced
½ cup chopped walnuts
Miracle Whip as desired (important to use Miracle Whip and not mayo)

You can serve on croissants or Hawaiian dinner rolls with 1 lettuce leaf per sandwich.  If I’m serving at a get together, I put a strawberry or olive on a toothpick and insert through the center.

NOTE FROM CHRISTINE: I know that this recipe is more geared toward the summer months, but there are times during the winter I get a craving for this and make it anyway!  Yep, it’s that good!  J

Monday Musings: Split personality of a writer….

  MONDAY MUSINGS: Split personality of a writer….

I had hoped to have an extra-special post today.  As many of you know I’m preparing for the release of my first contemporary romance, SATIN PLEASURES, by the end of this month.  Alas, I must wait to share my new book cover and book blurb with you. The cover isn’t finished.  Sigh. With any luck, I’ll have it for you next Monday along with the announcement the book’s available for sale.

It drives me crazy when I don’t have control over absolutely everything!

There, I said it. I’m a control freak. A nice appellation is “Type-A Personality” but we all know that simply means that I worry things into perfection.  I write and revise and write and revise my manuscript pages daily.  This blog post will be revised half a dozen times as I write it.

Blast through an entire story and then go back and edit?  Pshaw!  Each scene I write is completely revised at least ten times before I type THE END on a manuscript.  I can’t go on until I’ve gone back over the previous 2-3 scenes.

In theory, I know this methodology was born as a result of the years I spent in revision as a pure pantser.  Yeah, I know it’s hard to believe I was ever a pantser but, believe me, it’s true!  I used to get up each morning and write whatever came to mind.  I didn’t plot anything and went wherever my muse took me.  I wallowed in the creativity I didn’t allow anywhere else in my life.  Completely unfettered, I wrote one of my earlier novels in eight weeks!

I don’t know where that writer went.  I can’t even pinpoint exactly when she disappeared into the mist.  It was a gradual thing and can be attributed to a number of factors.  Spending months, years in perpetual revision was only part of the transition.  I learned a lot about the craft of writing during that time.  POV (Point of View).  Characterization.  Plotting, etc.  Each skill I added to my repertoire made it more difficult for me to separate my creative side from my pragmatic side. When I made the subconscious decision to turn my love for writing into a career—yes, it was subconscious long before it became a conscious decision–my business background took hold, my stories became creative products, and the rest, they say, is history.

I’m not saying this transition was all bad. Writing a novel in eight weeks doesn’t guarantee the story’s good enough to publish.  Interestingly enough, SATIN PLEASURES was that novel.  Creatively, it wasn’t a bad story. In fact, it was a RWA® Golden Heart® finalist back when the only thing they looked at was the first three chapters and synopsis. (The book didn’t need to be finished then to be entered.  I only had the first three chapters and synopsis, but I was the Queen of Pristine Proposals!)  But I didn’t win, the story didn’t sell despite the fact several editors like many things about it.  I just hadn’t grown into my skills. I wasn’t quite “ready for prime time.”

I’ve since forged a comfortable balance between my creativity and my skills.  Well, most of the time, it’s a comfortable balance.  The editor perched on my shoulder does have 12-inch talons embedded in my creative soul!  I plot using the “W” technique I teach.  I focus my attention on making sure I use my technical skills to create a coherent, compelling story.  And my muse has learned to dance in whatever scene she wants in whatever order she wants. (Yes, I’m a non-sequential writer 🙂 ) Thanks to this alliance, I’m now ready to present my book to the world.

Yet, I’m discovering there are still things I can’t control.  Like my cover art.  My creativity doesn’t include drawing a straight line with a ruler, let alone designing the gorgeous cover I want.  So, I have no choice but to let someone else do it. Which means I have no control…and that just makes me crazy. 🙂

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s: Funnel Cake

  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 FUNNEL CAKE.

I have a guilty secret. As many times as I went to the carnival growing up, I never tried a funnel cake. Thankfully, one of my daughters took pity on her poor, deprived mother and bought me one at a county fair. Every time I see one now my mouth waters. Since I don’t attend fairs often, I was delighted to find this recipe. A fun, fast treat your family will love!

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

Karen

P.S.  We’re at 21 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, etc.

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FUNNEL CAKE
[Makes 6 cakes]

1 large egg                                                                   1 T. baking powder

¾ cup milk                                                                  1/8 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup unsifted flour                                                    Powdered sugar

 

In heavy, wide saucepan, heat 1½ to 2 inches salad oil to 360 degrees.  In medium bowl, beat egg with milk; stir in flour, baking powder, ¼ tsp. salt and cinnamon.  Mix until smooth.  Holding finger under funnel with a 1/3-inch wide opening, pour ¼ cup batter into funnel.  Starting in center of skillet, drop batter into hot oil; move funnel in circle to make snail-like coil of rings, each about 6-inches in diameter.  Fry cake, turning once, until golden, about 2 minutes each side. Place on paper towel lined wire rack in warm oven while frying remaining cake.  If batter thickens, add more milk.  Sprinkle powdered sugar over cakes before serving.

 

Karen's Book Bench