Category Archives: life

A look back


Five years ago, I posted a 40 before 40… Today I hit that particular number, and decided to see how I did.

1. Get out of debt (this is a big one, and may only be doable  before 40 if I publish a few books or we inherit some money from a mysterious, long-lost aunt, but a girl can dream).

I actually did this one–mostly. I owe on cars and the house, but the credit cards are paid off. So there is that.

2. Take a fabulous vacation. I’d say Prague and Budapest, followed by a jaunt through Croatia and maybe a stop off on Mykonos, but I think that number one is completely unattainable if we go that route, so I’ll settle for Hawaii.

It wasn’t foreign, but we found some pretty cool stuff in our back yard, and have been to some fantastic places in Oregon, so there is that.

3. Hike to the summit of a nearby mountain.

It wasn’t the one I envisioned, but I did do this. Had an asthma attack along the way, too.

4. Take the kids camping.

We got REALLY into camping two years ago, and have never looked back.

5. Go fishing.

Yup

6. Learn to love myself–scars, saggy everything and all.

I’m closer than I was, but probably not all the way there yet.

7. Get a really fabulous haircut.

Done.

8. Change my hair color.

I went red for a month. It was cute, but the dye burned my scalp.

9. Go camping at Mt. Ranier. Hike up as far as reason and normal people would go (not going to do ice climbing or repelling. I mean, hiking. That’s it).

Didn’t do this, but I went to Oregon instead.

10. Get into shape (other than amorphous blob). Like with actual muscles.

Uh, no.

11. Lose 20 more pounds. And then I’m done. Everything else is gravy.

I did this, but it came back when I started eating again. Welcome, pounds.

I don’t feel quite as bad about this as I should. I gave up wheat, stopped barfing, began eating again, and gained weight. I feel like it’s an even trade. It was so bad for awhile that I knew I could go five days with no food before my sugar crashed and I got REALLY cranky. I’m glad that’s behind me.

12. Go on a “girls only” trip, even if only for a weekend. Not a work trip, but an actual trip. Spas, massage, girl bonding. I’ve neglected my girls and I miss them.

I did this, and it was great.

13. Finish a half marathon. Don’t care if I have to walk it, but I want to finish one.

I’m not even sure how far a half marathon is.

14. In that same vein, get well. I’m sick of being sick and tired. Find a doctor who will actually believe me when I say I’m not well and not tell me “You don’t look sick” and that I need to “Go enjoy my life” when I’m wrapped around the toilet three days a week. Because barfing and enjoyment are somewhat mutually exclusive in my world.

I’m better. Not great, and I’m working on getting that fixed.

15.  Buy pants not in a fat girl store and not in the fat girl section of a major department store (I’m actually fairly close on this one).

I did this. It was fantastic.

16. Start saving for college for the kids. Should’ve done this years ago, but better late than never, right?

We started…

17. Get the kids in swimming lessons. Keep going.

Did this, too.

18. Figure out a way to make Chewey behave more… consistently.

I wish. It’s better. Still hard, but better.

19. Calm the f*ck down.

Nah, this one isn’t mastered, probably because I never got around to 20.

20. Take up yoga.

I’ve done yoga twice. Does that count?

21. Meditate.

Uh, no. Not yet.

22. Finish my series (both of them).

I didn’t do this either, but I’m working on it. I wrote other books instead.

23. Find an agent.

I didn’t do this, either.

24. Find an editor.

I did this one! Thank you, Debby from SoulMate!

25. Get published… OR still be trying.

I did this four times over!

26. Learn to accept my mother as she is, and not how I wish she were.

I did accept that she would never change. The way I’ve dealt with that was unexpected.

27. Tell M I love him more often. Daily would be good.

I try.

28. Tell the kids I love them every day, even when they’re being… imperfect children.

I think I do this. I haven’t counted.

29. Figure out how to program a darn Dynavox.

I did this

30. Go someplace new once a year. Even if it’s close by.

We do this! It goes with the camping!

31. Learn to get out of my comfort zone. And know that I’ll be OK outside of my box.

Well, I’m a work in progress.

32. Get more technologically savvy (kinda goes along with 31).

I’m still working on it, but I’m more technologically savvy than I was. After all, I’m doing this on my phone.

33. Don’t allow people to put me in a box. I’m more complicated than that.

I’m better at this

34. Go to New York and see a show on Broadway.

Didn’t do this. That’s okay.

35. Visit with my friends more often.

I do this all the time now!

36. Redecorate the computer room. Some nice tropical theme would be nice.

It became a play room for this kids. So no office for me….

37. Paint the boy’s room.

I did this!

38. Paint the living room.

I didn’t do this.

39. Get the floors finally finished downstairs. Floors are done. Baseboards are not (Yes, I’m giving myself four years to finish a project that should, realistically, take a weekend to finish. Why do you ask?).

Embarrassed to say, it’s STILL not done. But we have plans.

40. Have great sex in some fabulous place. Really, this one SHOULDN’T be last.

I’ll never tell.

So there are my 40 before 40. I guess I didn’t do too badly with it!

M

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop: Sloane B. Collins and Favorite Tradition


Hey everybody. As usual, here’s the plug for the rafflecopter…. Enter to win some fantastic prizes

SLOANE B. COLLINS

Buy link:  Amazon

Website/blog

Facebook

Twitter:  @sloanebcollins

Goodreads

Heat level 4

Sloan

Give American cake artist Genevieve Haywood a picture of anything, and she’ll turn it into a sweet and decadent creation. She’s not going to let hard work or competition stop her from opening her dream business. But when she’s hired as the cake artist for her cousin’s wedding in France, she never expected to run into the French fashion designer who broke her heart fifteen years ago.

Roman Duchaine is done with living life in the fast lane. Tired of being in the haute couture spotlight, he’s moved back to the small French village where he was born and raised.
Roman’s ready to settle down and have a family until the lost love of his life arrives for his cousin’s wedding. Seeing her reminds him just how devastating falling in love can be.

Their fragile truce is meant to last through the wedding, yet every second together makes their attraction and long-buried feelings undeniable. But old habits and hurts die hard, and while Roman is ready to weave their lives together, Genevieve can’t afford to lose herself in his shadow.

****

Favorite Christmas Tradition… Oh, this one is easy. This is the day we cut down our tree.

The family and I wake up slowly… around ten o’clock we pile into my husband’s truck with some coffee and hot cocoa and drive north. We stop at “our” truck stop and buy a permit to cut the tree, and usually get some snacks (it never matters if I pack lunch and all sorts of snacks; we always wind up with more). Then we go to wherever  it is that we will cut down our tree.

Most years, we go up to a certain reservoir with some friends of ours and their kids. The kids play in the mud/snow, and the adults cut down the tree. This year, we went out on our own, and found a nice little copse of trees. The kids pick out the tree, and husband will cut it down. Then we’ll hike back to the truck, have some snacks, water and more coffee, and head back into town.

I love the smell of the trees, the bite of wind on my face. I loved where we went this year, because it wasn’t far from a nice gravel road, and therefore, I felt like we wouldn’t get stuck (there have been some years when it’s been a little dicey.)

When we come home, I’ll make lunch of leftover Thanksgiving spread (that I then turn into sandwiches) while the kids/husband take out the Christmas decorations. Then husband will help put up the Christmas lights, and then the kids and I will decorate my crazy tree. I love it.

My second favorite Christmas tradition is, late on Christmas Eve, after the kids have opened their presents and we’ve helped Santa put together any of the toys that need putting together, husband and I will sit down, have a glass of wine, and watch While You Were Sleeping. Well, except for that one Christmas, when Santa left us in charge of putting together my daughter’s play kitchen, which took until 3 in the morning. We skipped that year. I really felt like Santa owed us one that time. 🙂


 

12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop: Jessica Jefferson and Dessert Recipe


First, don’t forget to check out the rafflecopter in order to enter to win some fabulous prizes!

First up,

JESSICA JEFFERSON

BUY LINK

websites: http://www.JessicaJefferson.com and http://www.embracingromance.com

Facebook

Twitter: 

Goodreads 

Heat level 3

Jessica Jefferson

Miss Tamsin Tisdale believes herself to be completely unsuitable for London life. After a myriad of social mishaps, and the potential ruination of her family name, she’s shipped away to her cousin’s northern estate. Only after she accepts the type of existence Society dictates she must follow will she be welcomed home.

Marcus Winston, the Duke of Grayson, has a lackluster reputation. The last in a dying line, he’s endured a protected life—rank with privilege, but encumbered by isolation. After a brief encounter with rebellion, he learns the devastating consequences of his carelessness and willingly accepts living life from inside his gilded cage.

However, a chance meeting with the brazen Miss Tisdale gives Marc the opportunity to reinvent himself into the man he’s always dreamed of being. But when his deception comes to light, and ghosts from both their pasts threaten to unravel the intimacy they’ve come to cherish, will either of them set their fears aside long enough to embrace love? Or will Miss Tisdale’s stubbornness divide them?

****

So, dessert recipes.

Well, the last time we had this topic, I chose my more complicated dessert recipe. This time, I’m going easy.

Like, breathtakingly easy. But it’s Christmas, and what’s Christmas without fudge?

Here’s all you need:

1 can of sweetened, condensed milk

1 package of dark chocolate chips

walnuts (as many or as few as you want).

Put the chocolate chips and walnuts into a microwave safe bowl and mix. Pour the condensed milk on top. Microwave on high for one minute. Stir. Put back into the microwave for another minute. Take out and stir again. If the mixture has the desired smoothness (as in all the chips are melted), take it out and let it cool on the counter. If it’s not done, then put it back in for one minute. I’ve never had it require for more than three and a half minutes, and I’ve made this with an ancient travel trailer microwave.

Word of caution: don’t turn your back on this if you have dogs. Frank loved ours. Darn dog. Given that he ate ALL the fudge, it’s amazing he’s alive, but hey. The vet said he was made of pretty stern stuff. Expensive stuff, but stern stuff.

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop: Cynthia Gail and Favorite Christmas Song


Welcome! First, let me remind you to enter the rafflecopter to win some fabulous prizes!

Now, let’s welcome Cynthia Gail (see, I always start with the exciting stuff first).

She’s the author of Winter’s Magic, which I have read, and I loved. And y’all know I don’t often offer free endorsements. (Oh, and look, I figured out the problem with the pictures. It’s that my Mac loves me, and my PC hates me)

CYNTHIA GAIL

 

Untitled

Amazon: http://amzn.to/12ysNRp

Website: http://www.cynthiagail.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CynthiaGailBook

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CynthiaGailRomance.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6564818.Cynthia_Gail

Heat level 3.5

Owner of La Bella Vita, a five-star day spa nestled in the affluent suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, Beth Sergeant knows her elite clientele first hand. She attended their private schools. She was even engaged, although briefly, to one of their most recognized bachelors. But she never fit in to their social-elite world.

After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. When he chooses to socialize, he has a never-ending list of exclusive events and beautiful women vying for his attention. Yet he never lets himself forget that everyone has an agenda.

Beth can’t resist Nick’s charm and accepts an invitation to dinner, despite her deep-seated insecurities. She proves she’s nothing like other women Nick’s dated and learns to trust him in return. But just as the last of their resistance crumbles and true love is within reach, challenges from Nick’s past threaten to destroy everything and force Beth to reveal her most guarded secret.

***

So, favorite Christmas song.

When I saw this theme, I just about had a conniption fit. I turned to husband and said, “Am I a grinch? I don’t like Christmas music! Oh no, I’m a grinch. All these years, and I’m a grinch. A grinch with children. And I’m ruining their holidays because I don’t like Christmassy things!” (Except my tree. I really do love my tree. Other forms a decoration? Meh.)

It’s true enough that I put a red light district in my mother’s Christmas Village when I was 17, and I kept one in my own Christmas Village when I got one. Actually, last year, a dragon perched on top of  the castle (courtesy of my son… He put the dragon there, and I left it, because, well, it was awesome), all my son’s storm troopers were coming out of the now traditional red-light district (which we call the “emergency district” because it’s right next to the police station, and my children have no idea what a red light district is, and I’m not going to tell them), and Darth Vader had a battle with Luke Skywalker in the town square. I thought it was the most fabulous Christmas Village ever.

But I digress.

Christmas songs.

I thought about it. A lot. Then I came to the conclusion that I actually do like Little Drummer Boy, and I like Stille Nacht, though that’s mostly because I know all the German words. But then, as I was bemoaning the fact that I am a grinch raising children, and ruining the holidays for all time, husband pointed out that I actually really like Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas is You, even though I’m not an MC fan (it could be because I love, love, love the movie Love, Actually). And no Christmas is complete without Feed the World, maybe because it’s from the 80s, maybe because it has Bono from U2, and maybe because it’s an emo enough Christmas song to appeal to my inner grinchiness.

Then husband pointed out the following: the last three nights when he’s come home, the kids and I have been singing Christmas carols really loudly and really off key as I make dinner. Maybe I’m not a total grinch, after all.

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop: Sophia Kimble and Finger Food Recipe


Hi Everyone! Don’t forget the rafflecopter!

Today’s installment is from Sophia Kimble!

SOPHIA KIMBLE

Protect Her on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1u6bWf5

www.sophiakimble.com

Blog: http://sophiakimble.com/blog/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SophiaKimble

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiakimbleauthor

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/SophiaKimble

 

Heat level 3.5

Golden Alexander is trapped in a nightmare.

Trying to flee her hallucination of a demon, she runs heart first into the brooding alpha male she’s been dreaming about for years, and then her nightmare really begins.

Kris Pietka is done with women…he’s broken. But when he meets Golden, an overwhelming need to protect her tests everything he thought he knew about himself, and the paranormal.

A bond forged centuries ago thrusts them together as they search for a way to break an ancient Druid curse prophesying their demise. Racing against the clock, they travel from Vermont, to the Carpathian Mountains in Poland, and the Scottish Highlands in search of answers and a way to break the curse.

But something evil watches—it covets, and time is running out.

Will fate allow love to prevail against unbeatable odds, or will Golden wake to find it was all a delusion?

**********************************************************************

This one is rather like yesterday’s: I don’t really do finger foods, any more than I do appetizers. I’m a chips and dip kind of girl.

I do, however, like dolmas. I’d post that recipe, except that they’re the thing I don’t cook: I buy them from the Greek restaurant in town. I get the vegan kind, because I like them,  but you can get them with lamb, beef, etc. And I do love them.

So… dolmas.

Don’t make them. Buy them.

What’s best about this? You’re not spending a boat load of time prepping them. For instance, I go out, buy some fancy olives and some dolmas, put them on a platter with some stinky cheese, and I’m good to go. I’m a busy girl, so sometimes, it has to be all about convenience.

Huh. Now I feel like  a massive curmudgeon. Like, “I don’t do finger food or appetizers. Bah humbug.” But I don’t really like many finger foods. Just watch. Like I rebelled against my mother by being able to make just about any kind of soup imaginable, my daughter will rebel and become Captain Appetizer or something. Being honest, I wouldn’t put it past her to have her own cooking show devoted entirely to appetizers. I can see it. I really can. After all, the girl hates soup.

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop: Tracey Livesay and Appetizer Recipe


First, I’d like to welcome Tracey Livesay to The Bodice! Here’s the 411 on her/her books.

I can’t get the cover to appear, so if there’s no pretty picture, I’m super sorry. I’m suffering from technological difficulties.

TRACEY LIVESAY

Not on sale until 12/29

My blog link: http://traceylivesay.com/mimosas-at-midnight/

Website: http://traceylivesay.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TraceyLivesayAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tlivesay

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7789871.Tracey_Livesay

Heat Level: 4

Commitment makes you weak. It’s playboy Carter Richardson’s motto. The only exception to the rule is his aunt, and when Carter learns she’s terminally ill, he rushes to her bedside. Filled with fear and guilt—and desperate to ease his aunt’s mind—Carter does the only thing a guy could do…he panics and blurts out that he’s engaged to his aunt’s enticing protegé.

Lauren Olsen has already had her heart crushed once by Carter. Against her better judgment, she agrees to keep up appearances—until Carter makes their “engagement” public in order to protect the family business. Now Lauren’s torn between obeying her conscience, and obeying her desire. Because while she could never trust the womanizing Carter she once knew, she seems to be falling for the man beneath the playboy…

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So, uh, appetizers.

With my various food related issues, I feel like I’ve mastered dessert. I’ve mastered cooking without wheat, and I can even bake cookies without wheat, eggs or refined sugar that actually taste relatively decent (yes, I know, there’s a qualifier there, but come on. They’re cookies without eggs, wheat and refined sugar–all of which makes cookies delicious!)

That being said, I don’t really do appetizers. Nope. I am firmly in the camp that, if I’ve cooked for two days to make food I can eat for the family get-together… YOU WILL NOT FILL UP ON FINGER FOOD!

I know, it sounds angry, and I’m not an angry person, but really.  For Thanksgiving, I started cooking on Tuesday. I really wanted my peeps to be starving by the time the food came around, so I could at least be assured they’d eat it. So, no appetizers at my house. Sorry, Charlie.

So, here’s my installment:

College Dip

1 stick of cream cheese (to be true college dip, it MUST BE generic. But, the good stuff also works)

1 jar of medium heat salsa

Place the cream cheese in a bowl. Put the salsa on top. Serve with tortilla chips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop: Christi Barth and My Tree!


Welcome back. Here is my part of the 12 days of Christmas blog hop, and info about my tree!

First, here’s Christi:

Purchase at  Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Carina Press iBooks  Kobo

Website | Blog | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page |Facebook

Heat level 4

Becca Huntley’s produced the Lyndale Park Player’s over-the-top Christmas pageant for ten years. The beloved Minneapolis tradition is the theatre’s main fundraiser. But this year’s production is almost canceled when their director disappears into rehab at the last minute. Good thing his directing partner steps in to save the day. Except for the minor fact that he hates everything about Christmas.

Jack Whittaker wiped the Twin Cities off his shoe with his graduation tassel and never looked back. But duty compels him to fulfill Tyler’s promise to direct the show. Even though it means working side-by-side with Becca, the girl he always wanted, lost to Ty, but never forgot.

It’ll take more than a few handfuls of tinsel to soften Jack’s heart toward Becca’s favorite holiday. Steamy kisses that melt the snow right off his boots are a step in the right direction. They’ll both discover that Christmas is about making each other’s dreams come true. But will doing so destroy their chance at a happily-ever-after together?

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So, my tree.

I adore my Christmas tree. Every year, I really want it to look like this:
12262013ochristmastree

 

Instead, it looks like… well, my tree.

17 years ago, when I first got married, I had precisely one ornament, a decorated egg that I bought in Prague two years before (I was shocked my mother let me have it, even though I bought it for me… I mean, I bought her one, too, but… The egg is pretty awesome).

Over the years, I’ve bought other ornaments, from various trips we went on Disneyland ornaments? Check. Ornaments from that trip we took (pre-kids) to Mexico? Check. And every single ornament made by my children through the years. Including all the ones that are held together with scotch tape, glue and popsicle sticks.

I love my tree. Half the time, it’s a bit scraggly (seven years of drought will do that to trees, and if I’m going to have a real tree, it’s going to be one I cut myself). The decorations are crazy, but I love them. Every memory of my family is contained on that single tree, in that one space.

I have an ornament that is a recording of my son telling a knock-knock joke when he wasn’t even two.

I have an ornament for when I was expecting my daughter, and one that holds her first Christmas pictures.

I have ornaments of all their little handprints, and the ones they colored. Including the ones my son colored, and that boy hates to color, so it’s not… um… his best work.

Best thing ever, my scraggly, crazily decorated tree. I wouldn’t trade it for the most perfect tree ever. Not in a million.

 

12 Days of Christmas: Cocktail Time


Welcome! Don’t forget to check out the rafflecopter at https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/153622a61/ to win some fabulous prizes!

Today we’re talking cocktails (well, sorta). But first, here’s Aidy Award.

AIDY AWARD
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1yYwv2k
B&N: http://bit.ly/1phCvjF
iBooks: http://bit.ly/1r8TN0e

http://www.AidyAward.com
http://www.AidyAward.com/blog
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/AidyAward
Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/AidyAward
Goodreads: http://www.Goodreads.com/AidyAward

Heat Level 10

Curvy girls deserve a happy ever after, too!

Vanessa hasn’t let her curvylicious plus-size body keep her from having a solid career, great friends and a crappy love life. Oh, wait – yeah, her sex life blows, and not in the fun way. A string of unsatisfying relationships and a best friend who drags her to a BDSM club help her step full swing into her dirty thirties.

Cade, the stoic Dom, always in control but never in love, is drawn to Vanessa’s size 20 submissive streak. He can’t keep his hands (or his tongue or any other part of his body) off this voluptuous new sub. Her open and honest exploration of her new found kinks excite him like no one else he’s ever been with.

Amazing orgasms and intimate cuddles soon grow into love for Vanessa, but Cade’s the one person everyone has told her not to develop feelings for. This Alpha male drops his subs the moment they express deeper feelings for him. What’s a girl to do?
She’ll have to dump his ass before he discovers how she feels or be the curvy temptation he can’t resist.
If you like curvy girl BBW romance, a hot alpha hero, and some BDSM power exhange between a sexy dominant and a new submissive, you’ll love this book!

***

So, cocktails.

I don’t drink them–really, that’s because I don’t know what’s in them, and that causes problems for those of us with food allergies. So, my friends, here’s what I do….

Drink it straight.

I once had a friend from San Francisco who marveled that girls from my hometown drink “brown liquor.” It’s true, though. We do.

I don’t drink fruity stuff, because of the allergies AND because I know me. I’d drink it like it was juice, and I’m not in college anymore.

I will drink Irish coffee, though.

So, here’s how I make that.

1 shot Irish whisky (I like Jameson’s)

8 oz strong coffee

Sugar to taste

Plain creamer (I use half and half).

Enjoy!

Christmas Movies!


Remember to enter the rafflecopter to win some really fantastic prizes!

First, though, before we get to that, let’s welcome Kim Hotzon!

KIM HOTZON

Not on sale until 1/14

Kim Hotzon

Website: www.kimhotzon.com

Twitter: @KimHotzon

Heat level 4.5

Olivia promises to fulfill her dying husband’s wish – to scatter his ashes around the world. Wading through grief and depression, she journeys to a remote orphanage in Uganda. Living amongst the children in their threadbare surroundings, she vows to fight for the children’s lives as she begins to fight for her own. While Olivia develops a passion for humanitarian work, the lonely director of the orphanage develops a simmering passion for her.

Just as time begins to heal the wounds of Olivia’s fragile heart, her world is shattered when she is involved in a violent encounter with an armed rebel group in the picturesque mountains of Uganda. Olivia flees to the safety of Rwanda, where she learns the truth of her husband’s unimaginable betrayal.

As Olivia hovers on the brink of an emotional collapse, her broken soul is reawakened with a startling new love – but her life is about to take another dramatic turn as she struggles to survive in a region left torn apart by civil war. It will take every ounce of Olivia’s courage to hang on to those she loves the most but it may come at a great cost to all of them.

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And now, for my favorite holiday movie!

It’s While You Were Sleeping…

Okay, okay, so I do like Sandra Bullock, and I’ve always enjoyed Bill Pullman… and Peter Gallagher has awesome eyebrows. I mean, sure, they’re super heavy and dark, but so were mine before I discovered the joys of wax. At least he has two of them, right?

However, even if this movie didn’t star Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows, I would love it.

Every year at Christmas, I make mashed potatoes. Every year, after his first bite, Husband says, “These mashed potatoes are so creamy.” And that gets us started on an entire Cesar Romero riff that lasts a good five minutes.

It also started the whole “leaning” conversation with the husband. And the snarky comments of “I know karate.” Because even though the kids haven’t seen this movie, both of them will randomly spout off, in a New York-style accent, “I know karate.” Boy child will even
punctuate this with some sort of twirling jump-kick thing that looks pretty good if it’s not badly executed.

file0001740365772

Alas, the last time he tried it, I thought he pulled his groin.  There were tears and ice and Motrin. And maybe some wine for the old mom.

In any case, after the mashed potato comments, after the kids are in bed, and after we have put together all the things that need putting together, Husband and I will sit together and watch this movie on Christmas eve. It’s my favorite part of the entire day.

 

Let’s Have Dessert First!


In the spirit of the season, we’re posting dessert first on the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop. But first, here’s a tidbit from Heather Miles!

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the rafflecopter to win those fabulous prizes!

HEATHER MILES

 

Heather miles

My web address for my blog is: www.heathermiles.net/blog

Facebook: Heather Miles
Twitter: Heather Miles (@heathermmiles) | Twitter

Heat level 8

Kasey Blakely doesn’t know that her date is anything more than incredibly hot. It’s after things have moved past friendship, that she learns her new lover is also slated to be her partner in a corporate merger. He knew it all along withholding his identity to have her.

Self-assured, future CEO, Kasey Blakely stumbles into Joshua Crawford, leaving her breathless and momentarily senseless. Taken with her, he learns she’s more than just a beautiful woman, she’s slated to be his partner in a corporate merger. Never feeling as smitten or intrigued, he’ll do anything to have her, including, not revealing his last name. After a passionate exchange and the prospect he could lose her, does he come clean with his identity. Always confident, Kasey, struggles with her growing love for a man who has claimed her heart and changed her world, but should be forbidden. She’s all in…then all out. Despite the warnings not to mix business with pleasure, Kasey and Joshua risk it all. Committing to return to California with Joshua, Kasey’s world unravels. Were her fears right, or can they manage the MERGER of their hearts and their future partnership?

Find it on Amazon! 

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And now, for my posting on dessert…

Ah, dessert, elusive dessert. Dessert has always been the bane of my existence. Mostly because I love it so, so much. I love baked goods, but I never really made them. Let’s just say that I learned to cook at a young age as a survival skill,  but baking seemed beyond me (probably because, like Lemony Snicket, there was a series of unfortunate (baking) events. Though these incidents did fuel my love of firefighters. They’d all show up in their turnouts, and I would hide somewhere with a good view while someone explained about the rolls. Or the bread. Or the popcorn. Or how the back wall of the kitchen just happened to catch on fire. Twice. And I swear, by all that it good, that I wasn’t the one doing this. I have my own baking mishaps, but the fire department never came to those).

In any case, I was a box cake, buy it at the store, kind of girl.

And then I became allergic to eggs. My first baking episode post diagnosis looked like this:

My super awesome disaster

Yes, that is an actual picture of a real cake I sort of made. I keep it because it’s both funny AND sad, which always makes for a great story. Apparently, without eggs (and using a baking soda egg replacer), a box cake will turn into, at the slightest touch, chocolate dust. This was five years ago, for my son’s second birthday. And yes, I squished it together with a mixture of willpower, upper air strength, and frosting. It held together long enough to take this picture, sing Happy Birthday, and look at it sideways. And then, it was frosting-covered chocolate dust.

It was horrible (tasted OK, as I recall, but it wasn’t pretty. Boy child didn’t seem to care, but then, he’s boy child. He’s not picky, unless it’s green).

In any case, shortly thereafter, I discovered that I also have celiac disease, so welcome to a wheat-free lifestyle. At the time, I thought I’d never eat dessert again. It was depressing.

I discovered, after a while, and reading many, many blogs, that I can bake. It’s just a matter of being creative. And using pumpkin. I’m an expert on using pumpkin these days.

So,  here is my recipe (and yes, it’s pumpkin.). It’s an adapted version of one that I found in Sunset magazine. The original is a two layer cake, but it was too much, and everyone felt over-full and sugar comaed (yes, I just made up a word) afterward.

Gluten free praline pumpkin cake

1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 c butter

3 tbsp plus 3/4 c whipping cream

1 c chopped pecans (this I kept, because, well, pecans are fabulous)

2 flax eggs (to make a flax egg, combine 1 tbsp flax with 2 tbsp water. Normally, recipes call for three, but I find that with pumpkin recipes, it needs to be thicker, or you’ll never get it cooked through)

1 c granulated sugar (because this cake is so stinking sweet)

1/2 c vegetable oil

1 c canned pumpkin

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 c flour (I had a mixture of 1/2 c gluten free all purpose baking mix, and  1/2 c sorghum flour. The all purpose tends to be made with garbanzo bean flour, which in baked goods isn’t awesome unless you really overdo the sugar. Sorghum is sweet and delicious, but doesn’t rise very well without some complicated mixture involving arrowroot and tapioca and xanthan gum–all of which I have, and have made before, but it’s complicated, and I didn’t want to have to think too hard on Thanksgiving. So here you go)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or you can make your own with ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Which I did this year because I ran out on THANKSGIVING DAY, but I added ground cloves because I like cloves. If you don’t, just leave it out).

1/2 baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 c powdered sugar

So… Now that you have all the ingredients, here’s what you do with them:

Preheat over to 350 degrees

Butter one 9 inch cake pan and line with parchment.

Over low heat, mix the butter, 3 tbsp whipping cream and brown sugar together until melted and blended. Pour the mixture into the pan and sprinkle with most of the pecans (reserve some for the topping)

In a bowl, mix the flax eggs, granulated sugar and oil until well blended. Stir in pumpkin and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients (omit the powdered sugar; that’s for the frosting)

Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet stuff (I’m being totally specific here… I harp on my students all day for using non-specific language, and here I go, doing the exact same thing). Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. At higher elevations, decrease the heat and extend the cooking time. It just works better. i’m not at a high elevation, but I cook as though I am because it just seems to work better for me. I think I live at that funky “in-between” elevation. Let it cool in the pan for a bit, then invert onto racks and remove pans and paper. Let cool completely.

For the frosting (topping), take your remaining whipping cream and the powdered sugar and mix until soft peaks form. Once the cake is completely cooled, then you can put the cream on top. Top that with the remaining pecans.

It is a pretty cake, and it tastes fantastic, even for people who are accustomed to wheat cakes with eggs (which are admittedly a whole lot easier to bake). This cake came out super moist, and sure, my cakes don’t rise like a normal cake, but it was delicious. This is very, very rich, though, so you only need a small piece to be satisfied. I’ll admit, I wondered if Husband’s blood sugar would ever be normal again.

I wish I’d taken a picture. But since I don’t Instagram my successes (only my dismal failures), I didn’t take one.

Happy eating!