Pages

Saturday, April 19, 2014

IN HONOR OF EASTER, AN EASY TREAT! 
HAPPY EASTER!

This dish is so fast and easy with only two ingredients that you'll make it all spring and summer long! Plus, it's gluten free, dairy free and healthy. This is also one of the recipes that you'll find in my dessert cookbook, The Mall Fairies Sweet Tooth Cookbook. Enjoy!

BANANA "ICE CREAM"

Ingredients:
3-4 bananas, sliced and frozen (slice before freezing)
a generous tablespoonful of peanut butter (or other nut butter, see my recipe above for nut butter, I use cashew butter for the sweetness, can be omitted for a lower calorie ice cream)
2-3 tsp. cocoa powder (for chocolate ice cream, can be omitted)

Put your bananas into the food processor (not a blender) and blend. This takes a while and you will need to stop and check to see if all the frozen pieces are getting chopped. When it gets smooth, add the other ingredients add the other ingredients and blend again and eat! If you want it to be more of a firm instead of a soft serve, put it in the freezer for a few minutes.  Will freeze to the consistency of sorbet if left in the freezer, but is just as delicious.

Variations:
Try other frozen fruit, like strawberries for strawberry sorbet.
Add a touch of vanilla, always good.
Or rum flavoring and nutmeg for a different taste (this works with or without the chocolate).
Add coconut flakes and chocolate bits and nuts for a rocky road ice cream.
Or maraschino cherries and chocolate bits.
Or lemon flavoring,  or—the list goes on! Try your own!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What works and what doesn't with marketing books

 The re-release cover of my cozy mystery novel, Starke Naked Dead!

Best thing about this new publishing world: No longer do authors have their books pulled from the shelves after a measly 3 to 6 months. All the marketing authors do online stays online and continues to market.

Worst thing about this new publishing world: No longer do authors only have to worry about a book's release for the three months before and after the release date. Books remain published and available for years and the pressure is on to promote each title all the time they are available. Plus, authors are always grinding out "content" for all the social media and other online sites, while reading the arguments pro and con for this site or that strategy, on and on. When do we write?

So what's an author to do? Relax, there's help for us all! I've found a secret through the marketing maze. And it's simple, if three different steps.

First step is to do what you enjoy. Okay, I can hear you all saying, "Yeah, right." But there are numerous social media sites that all provide a different approach and will get your name out there. You can't do them all, trust me, I've tried. If you choose one that you enjoy, you're much more likely to visit, post, comment, whatever more often and get more followers, views, whatever. For example, I adore Pinterest and so visit it daily. Daily I repin and pin (it's like having hundreds of great teapots, all for free and none that need washed, ever!). As a result I have 1300 followers and more people follow me all the time.

Second step is to provide content that is pertinent to your interests (see teapots above) and not only around writing or selling product. Yes, I have writing boards on Pinterest, but most of my boards are about my interests, jewelry and jewelry making, recipes, fitness and of course teapots. Some of these are tangential to my novels, I have a main character who is a jeweler, for example, but not most. This avoids the dreaded "Buy my book!" syndrome as well. People will "discover" you as an author instead of being annoyed by endless pitching.

That brings me to the third step, which is think outside the promo box. It's a different world because of eBooks, so don't be trapped inside of "you must belong to Facebook and Twitter and Google+ and post daily, etc. etc." My example? I love writing reviews, all kinds. I have over 80 reviews on TripAdvisor. So what, you ask? So I've had 19,000+ people read my reviews. Since I've placed one of my book covers on TripAdvisor as my profile photo, that's 19,000+ people who've seen my name and cover. If only a tiny portion of them register this ...

What do you think, dear readers? Useful ideas? Or?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Starke Deadly Delicious FREE March 17th in honor of St. Paddy's Day

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!

In honor of this oh-so-Irish holiday, Starke Deadly Delicious Recipes is FREE, Monday March 17th! One reason? It contains a recipe for slumgullion, that oh-so-Irish dish. And here's a variation on slumgullion, a slumgullion salad recipe, great for lunch if you overindulge celebrating the holiday! ENJOY!

SLUMGULLION SALAD
A twist on an old traditional salad

The inspiration for this "leftovers" salad came from the simple Greek salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and feta cheese, with vinegar and oil dressing. But never stop there—slumgullion salad can be any mixture of vegetables that you like. You can even mix cooked and raw veggies.

Some combos that work well are:

Either raw or cooked broccoli and cauliflower (or one can be cooked and one raw, trust me, it works) with raw or cooked carrots.
Cold cooked brussel sprouts with garbanzo beans and raw carrots
Add fresh tomatoes to any slumgullion salad (not cooked or canned, because it is too reminiscent of spaghetti sauce and the tomatoes are too liquid)
Add garbanzo, lima beans or white beans to the Greek salad
Add olives to the salad, or capers 
Add nuts and/or dried cranberries or raisinsAdd chopped apple or pineapple, or even mangos, if you like sweetness with your salad

Some combos to avoid:

Tomatoes are a strong flavor, so be careful what you mix them with, apples and tomatoes don't mix well, for example.
Avoid adding too many ingredients together, this will create a murky, muddy taste, with no one taste standing out.
Avoid too much of the strong tasting topping, for example too many nuts or olives or capers will overwhelm the salad, and in the case of pickled olives and capers, will make the salad too salty. 



Friday, February 14, 2014

No bake healty gluten free chocolate balls for Valentine's Day!

SWEETS FOR YOUR SWEETIE FOR A
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!
If you have an avocado, and some cocoa you can make these fast and so healthy and yummy (especially if you use the stevia.)

Ingredients:

1 large avocado
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 teaspoon stevia (to taste) (or 1 tsp additional sugar, again to taste)
2 tsp. powdered sugar (optional)
1 cup old fashioned oats, processed with a food processor into flour ( make sure to use Gluten-Free)

Instructions

Add parchment paper to a plate or half size baking sheet or if you have a nonstick cookie sheet that will also work.
In a bowl mash the avocado, until smooth. Mix in cocoa powder, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until well incorporated. Taste test it, to see how much stevia/sugar you want to use adding slowly. Add oat flour and mix well.
Take about a tablespoon size of batter in your hands and roll into a ball and place on prepared baking. The batter will be soft. If you want a more firm batter, add a pinch more rolled oats, but be careful not to get too dry.
Optional: roll the balls in the powdered sugar before placing on the plate. Pretty!
Place the baking sheet in the freezer or refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Once frozen or hardened place your balls in a ziplock freezer bag and store in the freezer or refrigerator and let warm for a few minutes before indulging.

ENJOY!

And through today, Valentines Day, my dessert cookbook The Mall Fairies Sweet Tooth Cookbook is FREE. More sweets for your sweetie!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Easy Gluten Free Flour Recipe for baking Valentine sweets!

A Valentine's Day Valentine with a few of my covers, created by the incomparable Kim Scott!

This is the best and easiest gluten free flour I've found. But make sure you see the baking tips at the end of the recipe for close-to-regular-flour baking. I have yet to find an exact substitute for wheat flour--any of my readers have recipes? This comes close, but will have a slightly different texture.

4 cups brown or white rice flour
1 1/3 cups potato starch (not potato flour)
2/3 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch) 

When measuring scoop the amounts lightly and don't pack into the cup. I double the amounts and put in a large plastic bin container and then shake the container over and around and up and down and side to side until well mixed. Great exercise! If you use the flour as a one to one substitute then baked goods will be a little dry, but here's a couple of tips:

For desserts: halve the liquid and/or oil amount and use non-sweetened applesauce instead. There is something about the fiber in the applesauce that retains the moisture. 

For all baked goods:

Xanthum gum: I often add a scant teaspoon to a recipe, again this retains the moisture while baking. Be careful with Xanthum gum, too much and it will cause an odd, bitter taste.

Often I also add a teaspoon or two of egg replacer as again this helps the texture. (Note: if you can use real eggs, they are best to use.)

You can find lots of recipes to use this flour with in my dessert cookbook The Mall Fairies Sweet Tooth Cookbook! 

Enjoy! And any tips/recipes happily accepted!


Saturday, February 8, 2014

An Egg Free, Dairy Free, Delicious Chocolate Cupcake Recipe for Valentine's Day, Fast and Easy to Make!

Wacky Cake Cupcakes, Yum!

No time to make a spectacular sweet for your sweetie for that special day? No worries, here's a quick, easy and delicious recipe!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (may be omitted)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon white or apple or coconut vinegar
 6 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola oil works well or coconut oil warm to liquid, but not hot!)
1 cup cold water

Directions:

Preheat 350 degrees F.

Mix the dry ingredients well in a bowl. Make 3 small holes in the mixture. Pour the vanilla in one hole, the vinegar in another and vegetable oil in another. Pour water over the top and mix. Pour into cupcake papers in a muffin tin and bake for around 15 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Makes about 8-10 cupcakes, depending on size.

Plenty good plain or you can frost using one of the frosting recipes in The Mall Fairies Sweet Tooth Cookbook.

ENJOY!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Promo, Passion and New Year's Resolutions for Writers

My first audio book, published December 26th and it's a Christmas Story!

It's that time of year when people with product to sell go insane with promo, promo, promo. I'm one of the worst. I grew up in the ski resort of Sun Valley, Idaho. There, the two weeks before Christmas are make or break for many businesses. Having grown up with this as a business model, it's difficult for me to remember what my good friend Kathy McIntosh, award winning author of Mustard's Last Stand said: "Readers will read the day after Christmas." Yet, it's true. Readers read. And no one knows what promotion works and how or even why.

It's that time of year when people look back and then forward, twisting their necks trying to do both. I'm one of the worst. Wry neck anyone? However, this year, instead of second-guessing and predicting and following old patterns, my resolutions are all about trying something new.

My resolutions (feel free to steal):

1. What, me worry? Since no one knows what works in this new publishing world and since it changes moment to moment, one of my resolutions is to not worry about it! Do what I can and let it go. Focus on the writing.

2. See above, especially focus on the writing. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that the one major thing that leads to success for a writer: write better and write more.

3. See above, especially focus on the writing. Because it is also following my bliss and living in my passion.

SO my New Year's Resolution is: Relax, follow my bliss and enjoy the journey.

What's yours?