Sunday, January 12, 2020

A few of my favorite things I'm doing



I'm reading:

Fiction: The Light After the War by Anita Abriel 

It is 1946 when Vera Frankel and her best friend Edith Ban arrive in Naples. Refugees from Hungary, they managed to escape from a train headed for Auschwitz and spent the rest of the war hiding on an Austrian farm. Now, the two young women must start new lives abroad.

Fiction: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

When the concierge of The Alexander, a historic Atlanta apartment building, invites his fellow residents to join him for weekly screenings of Downton Abbey, four very different people find themselves connecting with the addictive drama, and—even more unexpectedly—with each other…
Audible: The Grand Sophy by Georgette Hyer

When the redoubtable Sir Horace Stanton-Lacy is ordered to South America on business, he leaves his only daughter Sophia with his sister, Elizabeth Rivenhall, in Berkeley Square. Newly arrived from her tour of the Continent, Sophy invites herself into the circle of her relatives. When Lady Ombersley agrees to take in her young niece, no one expects Sophy, who sweeps in and immediately takes the ton by storm.


Nonfiction: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years.

I'm watching:  Firefly

My son gave me the complete set and I'm bingeing!

I'm writing/editing: Old-Fashioned Wishes

My contemp romance! I'm 3/4 of the way through.


What about you? 
What are you reading? 
What are you watching? 
What are you working on?


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

2020 goals --- What are yours?



I can't believe this year, 2019, is almost over. As I've looked back over the past twelve months, I've found I've done a lot of good, wished I had more time to do better and did some things I didn't know I would.

As I've worked on goals that I want to do in the coming year, 2020, I've first asked myself "What am I already doing?" and that has made a world of difference in how I perceive myself and accomplishments. Because I do have a ton of accomplishments! This is part of goal-making that I'm aren't great at and I'm going to change.

Another surprise discovery for me was learning how I work on goals. When I feel like I've failed or can't make a deadline, I tend to give up and move one, which is fine, but I think I've found a better way for me. TWEAK. Not to be confused with twerk.

I'm writing my goals in pencil and tweaking them as I make my way through 2020. That way, if my schedule changes, or I get sick (like I am right now!) or family dynamics cause a shift, I can tweak my goals to fit what I need. That way, I don't give up on my vision.

Speaking of vision...do you make a vision board?? I'm thinking about one this year.


This year I want to be a better friend, mother and sister through listening better (sounds easy, but I tend to get lazy so I'm thinking of reaching out with texts, one-on-one dates and calls)
This year I want to be in better shape through lifting weights and certain dietary restrictions (apparently, tomatoes hate me).
I'm going to read more nonfiction books (got over 70 suggestions on FB!). 
This year I want to have five novels ready to self pub.

I have three novels written; two need edits.
I have two novels half way written.
That makes FIVE!

We can do this! We can make our dreams come true!

What about you?
What have you discovered about yourself?

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

New favorite Christmas bread!

I found a new favorite Christmas morning bread (that we will eat all year long!) from Annie & Everything! 


Christmas Morning Sticky Buns

***Prepare these the night before you want them for breakfast.  
That might be Christmas Eve, or it might the night before a special birthday, or any time you are craving the sticky goodness… (my mom used them at her bed & breakfast!)
            3/4 cup chopped pecans
             1 package (12 rolls) FROZEN roll dough — DO NOT THAW
1 box (3.4 oz) butterscotch instant pudding mix
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
These easy make ahead overnight sticky buns are one of the best ideas for Christmas breakfast. Using Rhodes frozen rolls, dripping with a gooey pecan, cinnamon, and brown sugar topping -- this will become one of your favorite holiday recipes. While they bake, you can open gifts with the family -- then enjoy the decadence!1
. The night before you want to eat these (sorry for the obnoxious repetition, but I don’t want anybody to be disappointed by starting these on the morning they plan to have them!), grease a bundt pan.  Sprinkle pecans in the bottom.


These easy make ahead overnight sticky buns are one of the best ideas for Christmas breakfast. Using Rhodes frozen rolls, dripping with a gooey pecan, cinnamon, and brown sugar topping -- this will become one of your favorite holiday recipes. While they bake, you can open gifts with the family -- then enjoy the decadence!
2. Arrange 11-12 FROZEN rolls on top of pecans (however many will fit comfortably).

These easy make ahead overnight sticky buns are one of the best ideas for Christmas breakfast. Using Rhodes frozen rolls, dripping with a gooey pecan, cinnamon, and brown sugar topping -- this will become one of your favorite holiday recipes. While they bake, you can open gifts with the family -- then enjoy the decadence!
3. Sprinkle dry pudding mix over top of rolls.  (The “cook & serve” type of pudding will work in a pinch, but it will not make the nice sticky caramel like the instant pudding will.  Instead it will be rather runny — but it will still taste yummy.)


These easy make ahead overnight sticky buns are one of the best ideas for Christmas breakfast. Using Rhodes frozen rolls, dripping with a gooey pecan, cinnamon, and brown sugar topping -- this will become one of your favorite holiday recipes. While they bake, you can open gifts with the family -- then enjoy the decadence!
4. Stir together melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and pour the whole thing over top of the rolls.  PLACE IN A COOL OVEN OVERNIGHT.


These easy make ahead overnight sticky buns are one of the best ideas for Christmas breakfast. Using Rhodes frozen rolls, dripping with a gooey pecan, cinnamon, and brown sugar topping -- this will become one of your favorite holiday recipes. While they bake, you can open gifts with the family -- then enjoy the decadence!
This is what you will see in the morning.  Yea, baby!!



5. REMOVE THE ROLLS FROM THE OVEN.  This is very important.  If you do not remove them before preheating, you will not be a happy camper!  After removing the rolls from the oven, preheat to 350 degrees.  When the oven is up to temperature, return the rolls to the oven and bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool 5-10 minutes, then flip over onto plate.
And then it’s time to indulge in this thoroughly amazing, yummy, tender, sticky, gooey, mmmmm-delicious treat!!  Perfect with a cup of coffee or a cool glass of milk… oooo this is killing me….

These easy make ahead overnight sticky buns are one of the best ideas for Christmas breakfast. Using Rhodes frozen rolls, dripping with a gooey pecan, cinnamon, and brown sugar topping -- this will become one of your favorite holiday recipes. While they bake, you can open gifts with the family -- then enjoy the decadence!

 
Now that the kids are older, I have to make two batches of these sticky buns to keep the whole family happy.  But since they’re so easy and quick — and I want my fair share, lol — I don’t mind doing it! Try them for your family this year and see what they think — and also notice how relaxing your Christmas eve and morning are. I think you’ll start a new Christmas tradition!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Cranberry-Chocolate Chunk Cookies by Betty Crocker

I found a new favorite Christmas cookie! This is a recipe from Betty Crocker, where they use their own sugar cookie pouch, but I used my own recipe. It was delicious! 



There must have been some magic baking up in the Betty Crocker Kitchens when this recipe was developed, because this deceptively simple cookie is about to steal the show (and your heart). Perfect for bake sales, book clubs, Christmas cookie exchanges and anything in between, this genius recipe will disappear in almost the same short amount of time it takes to make them—maybe even faster. 

To keep it simple, we started with Betty Crocker’s sugar cookie mix, added a few heaps of dark chocolate chunks, tossed in dried cranberries and for a dazzling finish we sprinkled these confections with coarse sparkling sugar. We could have picked a different dried fruit, but the sweet-tart cranberries balance out the rich dark chocolate so perfectly that we’d say this combination is a match made in flavor heaven. Plus, with just 20 minutes of prep, you can make this always-impressive cookie in almost no time flat!


Ingredients

1 pouch (17.5 oz) Betty Crocker™ sugar cookie mix 
 
Butter and egg called for on cookie mix pouch for drop cookies 
 
1 bag (6 oz) 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate chunks (about 1 1/4 cups) 
 
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Steps

  • Heat oven to 375°F. 
  • Make dough as directed on pouch for drop cookies. Stir in chocolate chunks and cranberries. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle sugar on tops. 
  •  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are set. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Store in airtight container. 
    TIPS
    70% cacao bittersweet chocolate chunks give this recipe its premium flavor and texture. 
    Using a cookie scoop makes quick work of dropping the cookie dough. It also ensures cookies will be the same size and will bake the same length of time. Use a #40 scoop to make 1 1/2-inch balls, using about 2 tablespoons dough each.

A few of my favorite things I'm doing

I'm reading: Fiction: The Light After the War by Anita Abriel  It is 1946 when Vera Frankel and her best friend Edith Ban ...