Thursday, December 29, 2011

The After Christmas

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am glad Christmas is behind us now so I can sleep! My daughter and I worked our buts off last week and it all caught up to me yesterday, I had a 3 hr nap! But no one can deny, we still had fun. Now we are headed to the last days of 2011 and what our hopes are for this next new year. Of course, most of you probably know mine, to get my book finished and ready for publication, that's my hope anyway, but it is a lot of work and the way it's looking I have a long way to go. It is slowly coming together however.

I also have the usual new year resolutions coming to mind, such as, lose weight, and quit smoking...yeah that will happen! I do try though, at least the losing weight part. Now that we have medical insurance again, I will be talking with my doctor to try to find ways to do so.

Back to the book, I am almost finished with revisions on 5 chapters and I am thinking about having one person read through them that are serious about really looking at how they sound, are they strong enough, exciting enough, will you want more kind of a thing. So those of you that are interested please let me know. If you are, I will need you to have the time to read them in a few days, not weeks or months. If you are still interested, get back to me. Your input is invaluable and I appreciate it very much.

I hope all of you have a wonderful and prosperous new year next year. I hope that you stick to your resolutions and feel better about your accomplishments, I mean after all, isn't that what resolutions are all about? Wanting to better yourself, and feel good again, I believe so. I am very curious as to what your new year's resolutions are so drop me a comment and let me know. Also, if you are interested in reading my first 5 chapters, let me know that too. I could use all the input I can get at this point. I need to know if the book grabs you and if you really like it.

Love to all of you and I look forward to your comments! Lisa

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My German Press Cookies

I know I was supposed to post this yesterday, but I ended up not squeezing it in with my crazy busy day! I hope this is still time enough for those of you that want to try these! This is a family cookie tradition for us. Originally this recipe is from my one of my friends family and when we were growing up together, her mother would make these on almost every holiday. They are also great for Valentine's and Easter. Kids love this recipe because it is fun and colorful. They get to decorate them with sprinkles and icing. You will need a cookie press for these! Try them, if not this year, save the recipe for next year and make sure you have kids with you because they love them! One more thing that is really nice about these cookies is you can store them in the freezer and eat them right out of it! They are wonderful really cold! Enjoy!!


German Press Cookies

1 cup butter (make sure you use butter, not margarine)

1pkg 3oz cream cheese

1 cup sugar

1 egg beaten

1 1/2 tbls lemon juice

2 1/2-3 cups of flour

1 tsp baking powder


Mix softened butter with cream cheese well, blend in sugar and mix until fluffy. Add egg and lemon juice and blend well. mix flour and baking powder together and slowly fold into the cream cheese mix. Blend really well. Spoon into cookie press and make your different shapes with little space, about 3 per line on your sheet. Bake on 375 for 8 minutes (and no more)

Frosting: 1 cup of powdered sugar and 2 tbls of lemon juice. Mix together

The cookies should be light colored with a little browning on bottom, and I mean little. After cooling, dip the tops of the cookie in the frosting and then the sprinkles and let dry before storing.

I hope you do try these, especially those of you that have kids or grand kids! This is my absolute favorite cookie so I always double the recipe.

Merry Christmas to all of you!!! Love ya, Lisa

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Teaser

I know I promised to post my new first few paragraphs from chapter 1 but I have not had the chance to rework it yet, so I thought I would post another part of my book. I would love to see comments on what you think and always remember, I'm not finished with revisions yet, it might need work! I also wanted to tell you all that it's been great getting feedback from you and your support is unmeasured!

So don't forget to post, I have the contest going on, and April has posted the most now! Do you think you can beat her?


Drawn back to the window, she squinted into the night, hoping to get a glimpse of the mysterious man. Who are you? She searched the tree line in vain, but the back yard began to darken, as though a cloud had moved over the moon. Her eyesight shimmered, and the landscape wavered as if she were viewing it under water. Blackness crept in peripherally, until her sight was narrowed to a pinprick. Then the center of her view brightened and opened into daylight.
Stevie reached down to brace herself against the bed, but instead found only air. She gazed around at the surroundings, no longer in her room, but rather standing in front of a pristine lake. Trees dotted the landscape on all sides and snow capped mountains created a backdrop to the valley. The smells had changed from the warming springtime in Golden, to a crisp fall air filled with the scent of evergreens and earth. She looked at the crystal blue sky above her; awed at seeing a sun in place of the moon.
Movement caused her head to turn to the right. A man stood on the lowest branch of the ponderosa pine not five feet from her. The way he smiled, his long raven hair and glowing blue eyes made her breath catch. She blinked once and he was gone. No wait, now he was in the tree to her left. He leaned back against the trunk long enough for her to get a clear view of his archaic outfit: Dark breeches, deep brown leather vest over a rough spun shirt, and fitted knee-high boots of some sort of animal skin. A two inch pendant of blue lace agate encircled in silver thread hung about his neck, and the sunlight glinted on a sword hilt peeking out from behind his right shoulder. Then he disappeared once again, the light began to fade into a tunnel. She found herself back at the window sill.

Well, let me know what you think, I am very curious! Next time I will post my German Press cookie recipe and once I finish the first part of chapter 1 I will post it! Have a wonderful day! 
Love, Lisa

Monday, December 12, 2011

Some Day

I thought I should touch on my book today since it has been a few weeks and since that is the main reason I started a blog in the first place. I do want to say that this has been a long row for me and I think it is finally coming together, I hope!

I started this venture 3 years ago, and actually with another book. The first one I began to write was a mystery and I ended up putting it down after 10 chapters. I could not get into the mind of a sociopath! It was right before Christmas of that year, so I decided to wait until after the holidays. Finally January came and I realized it was another genre I needed to be in, Fantasy/Sci-fi. After all, it's what I love, isn't it?!

I sat down and scribbled notes about this world I was going to make up. I came up with a name and a little bit of the language. then I came up with my heroine and what she was all about. After figuring out the basics, I went on line looking for ideas and could not come up with any matches (which I thought was good since I didn't want it to be typical) and then sat down with my sister and began to tell her about my new world. She loved it and when I told her the name and asked her how she thought I should spell it, she came up with a great idea, and hence Djenrye was born!

I wrote the story in 3 months, and believe me it was not novel form, it was in story form, if you get my meaning. I knew something was wrong, but because I had not been in school for 30 years I did not know all the rules, and I broke most of them! I worked with my mom, she was an editor for non-fiction, and began to learn about grammar and punctuation all over again. But it did start to breathe some life into my book. After that, my sister and I began to work together, and I saw that I needed professional help, so I found a writing coach through a friend. Best thing I ever did! My writing coach and I worked together privately for a year and then I was invited to her class through meet up.

2 and a half years later, I am proud to say, I can actually write! Yes, I still need work, I am a work in progress, but the novel is now really coming to life and I can't wait to do the revisions. I am now up to chapter 5 and moving right along. I would be further, but I realized the beginning chapters were moving to slow, so I had to re-write the first 5. Also, most recently, I had to re-write the first few pages of my chapter 1, the part that I posted to all of you about a month ago, because it was not the way it need to be, now that is taken care of.

I am very excited about getting through the whole book this time and submitting it to an editor, for more revisions I'm sure, and maybe getting it in front of a publisher this next year some time. It has truly been an adventure and I now am in love with my book!

The other exciting thing for me is, my character, Stevie, is finally talking to me in my head. She is really coming to life and I am seeing the direction she needs to go in. I will post my new few paragraphs of chapter 1 this week and ask what all of you think. Now that I am moving in a clearer direction, I can also post other pages of my book to get your opinions. Thanks again for all of your support and encouragement! You have all been more than patient and I also thank you for joining my blog, that is great support for me too!

Don't forget to post, I have the contest going on, the more you post, the better your chances!

Thanks again, Lisa

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fifty!

What an amazing trip so far! I can't believe I am 50 years old! Where has the time gone?

I remember as if it were yesterday, when my kids were little. Travis with his amazing energy, Brandie with her cute baby doll smiles! Or the day I married Rick (the first time) and how excited we were! And then he came back into my life and the joy and love has been more than I thought it would be! And when my precious grand babies were born and filled my heart and soul with more love than I could possibly imagine!

Life is a wonderful trip. Sure there are ups and downs, but that is what makes it so interesting. I have had an interesting life so far and I am looking forward to watching my grand kids grow and my children move through the weave of life. I am also looking so forward to when the day comes that my book is published and I can see it in it's cover on a book shelf...in a book store!!

I am so grateful for all the wonderful and supportive family and friends in my life! Thank you all for your love and understanding! I have been blessed with awesome parents, husband, sister and her husband and kids, my children and grandchildren, and not to mention my extended family and excellent friends!

I know it is a tough world out there right now, but I thank God for all of you and I don't know what I would do without all of you in my life! Thank you for all your love!

Lisa

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Christmas Time Recipe

Well, I did promise to post some holiday recipes and I am true to my word. This one in particular was one that my dad always made for the family on Christmas and I remember him slicing the meat and serving it with pride. He loved this recipe and I do too. This one does take a little longer because you have to marinate the meat for 2-3 days, depending on how long you want too. I usually do it for 3 days, it seems to really bring out the flavor. We are having this Christmas night with the whole family and I am looking forward to it.

                                                    Marinated Flank Steak

2-3 Flank steaks (depending on the size of your family)

1/2 cup of canola or olive oil

1/4 cup of soy sauce

1/2 cup of lemon juice

1/2 tsp of oregano

1/2 cup of honey

2 clove garlic

4 tbls of Worcestershire

black pepper to taste

I always double the ingredients and then mix it all together and lay the meat flat in a casserole dish and pour the mixture on top and keep in the refrigerator. Turn the meat every 12 hours. Once you are ready to cook it, you broil the meat for about 10 minutes on each side. When slicing, you slice it very thin and to the side not straight up and down. It should be red still in the middle, otherwise it will be too tough.

I serve this with either mashed potatoes and your favorite gravy (I like hunter's gravy with this) or baked potato. What ever veggie you prefer and rolls. This is also a nice meal any time of the year.

If you try this, let me know what you think! Enjoy! I will do my famous press cookie recipe next time.

Love ya, Lisa

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Winner

First, I want to thank those of you that took time out to look at new names for my Orbs! I loved a lot of the names and it made for a tough choice. 3 of you each had a name that I am considering, but the winner had 3 names I liked, so Jenna, you are the winner!

Jenna's top names that I liked were, Essence, Skye, and Ember. Great picks!!

I also liked Brandie's pick Borvo, April's pick Ki, and Robin's picks Elan Vital and Seir

Congratulations Jenna! I will contact you by email!

Okay, a new contest:

Through the month of December I will keep track of those who post on my blog! Whomever posts the most will win a gift card and a prize!

Good luck and look forward to seeing your posts to my blogs!

Love ya, Lisa

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

American Christmas Shopping

What I have heard a lot lately is others reminding us to buy Christmas gifts from local stores and made in America, so I thought of some ideas that I want pass along this holiday season.

One idea is to buy books for gifts for those people on your list that like to read. You are not only buying local, but also supporting your favorite writers. Another idea is to buy movie tickets, most love to go to the movies and it's also a way to support America, and one more is gift cards to local restaurants. Also, tickets to a play or comedy show, or even a concert, local or big. There are a lot of people out there that can't afford entertainment and these are ways to give them a night out.

I love to share and I love giving gifts, but sometimes people are sick of getting a sweater or scarf. There are lots of ways to give fun gifts this year, my sister is the queen of coming up with awesome ideas!

For kids, how about a seasonal gift card for the Zoo, or Train museum, or a pottery making class? Giving gifts doesn't have to be over the top and can show support of your local businesses and artists, even in your own state.

If you can, take time out to not buy made in China, and give a gift of Fun!

Well, tomorrow is the last day of my contest to name my Orbs, so if you want to put in ideas, you have got two days to do so. They do not have to be looking up the meaning of those elements, they could be made up words, like the one we made up for Earth-Tecton. So if you want to post something you thought of, feel free, other wise, the winner will be posted on the first of December. Good luck, and have a wonderful holiday!

Love, Lisa

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Moment of Thanks

Well, it's that time, Thanksgiving, and time to reflect on what we are thankful for. I have had a good year and I am very grateful. Although platforming my book has not been an easy task, it is getting better, and I do appreciate those of you who have joined my blog and I pray for others to do so.

My book is coming along, with all the changes it has gone through, whoever had read the rough draft will barely recognize it. But, that is the nature of the beast and this book means the world to me and my hope is that one day when it is published, that all of you will enjoy it too.

Back to the things I give thanks for:

First, my husband, Rick. What a wonderful man he is! He is so patient and supportive and is truly my partner in life and love. He will do anything to help me and the others in my family and is always making me laugh, he is absolutely my treasure!

Second, my children. Although there are times I want to scream at them, they are trying their best to make it in this complicated world we are in now. My daughter, who is extremely busy, always finds time for the family and she is a wonderful mother and also my friend. My son, yes he is struggling through life, but I have complete confidence that he will come out of his tunnel with a lot of character and strength. I love them both very much.

Third, my grand baby's. They are my heart and soul. They always seem to make me smile, and tear sometimes from their sweetness, honesty, and love. It is so nice when they come home and immediately come downstairs to see us and tell us what is new in their lives. They draw us beautiful pictures and fill us with joy!

Forth, my sister. Wow, has she really helped me with my book, I don't know what I would do without her. I also love the extra time we have together now and have really gotten to know the wonderful and beautiful woman she is. What a supportive and uplifting person. She deserves everything, and would ask for nothing. She is my best friend, (other than my husband).

Fifth, my book. I am so ecstatic to have my book in my life! It is my saving grace and it really is fun to write. I love building the story and giving it all that I have. I hope and pray that it becomes a novel that everyone will enjoy reading, and that it takes you away, even if for a little while.

Sixth, is my Mom. I have seen some amazing changes in my mom the last few years. It is so nice to spend time with her and her support for me has been overwhelming even with everything she is going through. I miss my father, his friendship and his laughter, but my mother has been there, really been there for me and I appreciate her love and time.

Seventh, are my friends. I have some friends who have stood by me through thick and thin. They are a lot of my strength and I love to spend as much time with them as I can. Thank you for your support and letting me vent when I need too or just visiting for a day. I love you all.

Eighth, is our home. I am so grateful to have a home especially with the struggles other's are facing today. I am also grateful to have a good job, that I do enjoy, and good friends to work with and friends that I am getting to know that I serve everyday.

And last, but not least is my dog Branch. What a sweet gentle spirit she is and a wonderful addition to our family. She is so loving and cute and I appreciate her enthusiasm when you come home. She just wants to be with us and of course get some snacks on the side!

Well, there is my list and as you can see, I have a lot to be thankful for. What are you thankful for this year? Leave me your list so that I can enjoy with you all, the gifts in your life!

Love you, Lisa

Monday, November 21, 2011

A new Thanksgiving Recipe

I said I would post some of my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving and this one you can also make all year long and it will still be a hit. This is my son's favorite meal. It was passed to me by my son's aunt, and we love it. No, it is not a low calorie meal, but it is delicious!! Yes, it's a casserole, but a good one.

                                                  My Broccoli Casserole

2 pkgs of frozen chopped broccoli-thawed
8 oz jar of cheese whiz
2 eggs beaten well
1 tbls of flour mixed in a 1/2 cup of cold water
1/4 cup of chopped onion
4 tbls of butter or margarine

the topping:
3/4 of a box of wheat thins
4 tbls of butter or margarine

Directions:

Melt 4 tbls of butter in a normal size pot, about a 12 cup pot. Stir in the onion and saute. Add the flour mixture and stir until it thickens and then add the eggs immediately, and continue to stir until all is thick. I usually pull the pot off the stove so it won't burn until it is thick, then add the cheese whiz  and stir until melted. Once melted, add the broccoli and stir together and put on med heat, continuing to stir off and on until heated. About 10 min.

Get a casserole dish, small one and either coat with pam or shortening, and pour mixture in, spreading evenly.

Set aside, and then pour wheat thins in a bowl and crush them to almost crumbs and melt the remaining 4 tbls of butter and pour over cracker crumbs and mix together. Spread the crumb mixture on top of the broccoli  and put in a pre-heated oven of 350 degrees. 45-50 min.

Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

I always double this recipe and bake it in a 13 by 9 casserole dish so that there is plenty. This is always a hit and I am sure your family will love it. If not for Thanksgiving, it is always good served with a salad or a baked potato, and a roll. Try it, you will love it!

Love, Lisa

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Newly transformed chapter one

Those of you that know me, know I have been working hard on revamping my book. Of course chapter one has been worked and re-worked for two weeks now, and that has lead me to sleepless nights, and power editing! Then I receive a book I ordered called the Fire in Fiction and decide I still have work to do. This is the never ending cycle of a writer, especially a new one like me.

I went to a conference, I read about your first page and action, and about your first 50 pages. I talked with family, friends and co-authors, and still I feel I have work to do. No, I know you can't please everybody, but I really want my book to be the best that I can do! So I have decided to add a little more richness to my characters in hopes that it is not to much detail. I would love your thoughts on this. I am going to post a few paragraphs from my new chapter one in hopes for opinions from my blogger friends.


Stevie threw her hands against the dashboard to keep from slamming forward as the Ford truck roared into the driveway, sliding sideways on the gravel and spitting rock behind them. She turned to Jeremy, but he refused to look at her; choosing instead to glare out the windshield. Despite her efforts and the seatbelt, she was still flung forward when he came to a skidding halt.
            “It’s just the way it is, Jeremy,” the athletic blonde said, cautiously releasing her death grip on the dashboard. “I already have plans that night.”
            “You could break them,” he growled between clenched teeth.
            “I don’t want to. The Wild Earth Guardians only have two fundraisers a year and I promised I would run the donations table.”
            Fixing her with a fierce look, his strong jaw tightened. “So a bunch of mangy dogs, smelly hippies, and losers are more important them me?”
            “With that ‘ttude? Yes.” Stevie got out of the truck, slamming the door hard. Without a glance backwards, she stormed up the porch steps. The sounds of squealing tires and engine gunning followed her into the house. Closing the door behind her she said, “Good riddance to bad rubbish.”

Now what I need to know is first, does it have enough action so you want to continue reading and second should I add any more thoughts from her, so you know more about her? That is my dilemma. I need to have the action, but still something about my main character. Please give me your thoughts on this.

Love, Lisa  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Your Favorite Books

Your walking through the aisles of your favorite book store or library, browsing for that book that will take you away...what do you pick? Do you pick that classic that you have always wanted to read, or one that your closest friend recommended? Is it mysteries that you love, or historical fiction? I want to know.

I want to know what you love, and who your favorite authors are. Do you like all kinds of different genres, or just one? Do you like series or trilogy's, or prefer the story to end? These are the questions I want answered by my friends and family who have joined my blog. I would love to hear what moves you, what you can't wait to get back home to read! It's okay what ever it is, and don't be shy!

I will list my favorite, although some of you already know. My favorite genre is sci-fi/fantasy, but I do love historical fiction and the occasional murder mystery. I love a book that grabs me and usually I don't want it to end, so I tend to pick the trilogy's or series. I do love details though, not so much that it takes two pages to describe a room, but enough that I see the room.

I just want to hear from all of you so I can see what runs through readers minds, so I can think of those thoughts of yours as I write my own book. I want my book to be the best that it can be and through your support and critiques, I hope to reach that goal. Okay, my list...

The most recent series I've read is the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, and they have now become my favorite books-ever!

After that, Harry Potter series, Dan Brown's series, Angel and Demons, Da Vinci Code, Lost symbol
I like Nora Robert"s trilogy's, John Sandford's Prey series, Lizzie T. Leaf's Beyond Magic series, Amy Tan, the Bonesetter's Daughter, Jeri Smith Ready's trilogy, The Eye of Crow (by the way, that is a really good trilogy)

I also like, Ray Khoury, Brad Meltzer, Steve Berry, Lisa Jackson and Logan Hawkes.

Those are my favorites, and as you can see, I do like action, but different genres.

So now it's your turn, I can't wait to see what you all like! One more thing, don't forget my contest to name my Orbs. It ends the end of this month!

Love, Lisa

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Stuffing Recipe

With Thanksgiving around the corner I thought it might be appropriate to do a recipe that all with taste-buds will love! I have made this stuffing for 25 years and it is always a hit. Although, I do not have any pictures since I won't be mixing it up until thanksgiving morning, I am sure you will be able to follow the directions with ease, and if you give it a try, you will love it! One more thing, it is not a recipe for dieters, but I don't think it is over the top in fat content.

1 package of Pepperidge Farm Country style cubed stuffing 12oz

1 roll of Bob Evans sausage 16oz

2 or 3 celery stalks

2 red apples

1/2 medium yellow or white onion

4 tbls. of butter or margarine

Make the stuffing according to the directions on the bag and set aside. Take a good sized skillet and brown the sausage, breaking it up as if you were cooking hamburger. After stuffing has absorbed all the water, switch it to a good sized mixing bowl and add browned sausage. Cut up the celery, apples, and onions in about 1/2 inch pieces.

Wash out skillet then add 4 tablespoons of butter of margarine to pan and melt until starting to sizzle then add the celery, onion and apples together in the skillet and saute until they are soft. You should be able to cut them with ease. After the saute is done, mix it into the stuffing mix, tossing lightly so as not to turn it to mush.

After the stuffing is complete, put it into the refrigerator over night so it will be the same temperature as the Turkey. The next morning after you have prepared your Turkey for the oven (I cook mine upside down. The white meat is more juicy) you stuff the neck and butt of the bird, wrap it up in an oven bag and slit the bag. Cook according to the directions on the oven bag box.

The left over stuffing put in a casserole dish and brown in the oven after you pull out the Turkey, for about 15 or 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it so you don't over brown.

That's it! Now you have stuffing for those who like it inside the bird and for those who like it cooked on the side, either way, it is delicious!!

I hope you try my recipe, I am certain your family will love it! Let me know if you do and if you enjoyed it!

Love, Lisa

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Support Class

After 3 weeks of no writing class, we met last night, and for the first time I realized what a support they all are! I know I have mentioned (in passing) that I have to rearrange the first quarter of my book and my frustrations rang out last night. All of the ladies were so caring and helped me to understand that it is my book and although I know I have to change things around, it will be perfect in the end.

They laughed at my antics about being nervous at the conference, they inputted ideas for my first chapter, and let me know that they are there for me, I appreciate their support. I realize sometimes that when you feel like you don't have support, people will surprise you! Even on Saturday my sister and mother came over to help me decide how to re-layout my first chapter, what wonderful people I have in my life!

Those of you that have been with me through thick and thin on this book project, I love you all! Thanks for being there for me, thanks for putting up with my panic phone calls (Tanya and Janet) and thanks for reading excerpts from my book so I know if it sounds good.

Believe me, your support is well documented and needed, probably more than you thought, and I love you all!

Keep up the good work!!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

My 5 Orbs

I had a hard time deciding what to blog about this morning. My first initial thought was about the dilemma that I was having with the layout of my book...which I am sure none of you want to hear about, or something fun!

Then the thought dawned on me, what about a contest? Those are always fun right?! So here is my contest:

I have 5 Orbs in my book and I have had a hard time coming up with names for them. Right now the biggest one in the center, which represents the "Eternal Life Force" is named Spirit. I don't like it.

The other 4 represent the 4 elements...Water, Fire, Earth, and Air.

Their names are, Storm, which I like, Brimstone, Which I don't like, Tecton, which I really like and will keep, and Breath, which, I guess is okay but I want a better one.

So my challenge is whoever can come up with better names for the Orb for Eternal life force, and fire and air, will win a Visa gift certificate from me and a prize, which will depend on if you are a male or female on the prize.

So there is my contest. The winner will be announced at the end of the month. Good luck and I hope you can come up with some good names for me that will be in my book!

Lots of Love, Lisa

PS Make sure when you post your ideas that you leave me your email so I can get in touch with you in case you win!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Fun Recipe

Time for me to finally add my first recipe to my blog. I wanted it to be a special one and I searched through many, but I thought this one is unusual and delicious!! Apple Butter- that's right, you heard me, Apple Butter!

Remember when you were little and grandma would spread it on your toast, well, it is still good today and not only on toast, as the quarter master at the VFW where I work says, try it on pork chops, it's so good!

This recipe came from one of the ladies at the VFW, Tammy, who's Apple Butter was a big hit! It tastes just like apple pie filling and I am going to buy a jar of it to share with my family and I think I am going to make a batch for Thanksgiving! Try it, it's a fun recipe and all will enjoy!


Apple Butter Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 lbs of good cooking apples (we use Granny Smith or Gravenstein)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • Sugar (about 4 cups, see cooking instructions)
  • Salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Equipment Needed

  • 1 wide 8-quart pan (Stainless steel or copper with stainless steel lining)
  • food mill or a chinois sieve
  • A large (8 cup) measuring cup pourer
  • 6-8 8-ounce canning jars

METHOD

Preparing the Fruit

1 Cut the apples into quarters, without peeling or coring them (much of the pectin is in the cores and flavor in the peels), cut out damaged parts.

First Stage of Cooking

2 Put them into large pot, add the vinegar and water, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cook until apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Measure out the purée and add the sugar and spices

3 Ladle apple mixture into a chinois sieve (or foodmill) and using a pestle force pulp from the chinois into a large bowl below. Measure resulting puree. Add 1/2 cup of sugar for each cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add a dash of salt, and the cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, lemon rind and juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Second Stage of Cooking

4 Cook uncovered in a large, wide, thick-bottomed pot on medium low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Scrape the bottom of the pot while you stir to make sure a crust is not forming at the bottom. Cook until thick and smooth (about 1 to 2 hours). A small bit spooned onto a chilled (in the freezer) plate will be thick, not runny. You can also cook the purée on low heat, stirring only occasionally, but this will take much longer as stirring encourages evaporation. (Note the wider the pan the better, as there is more surface for evaporation.)

Canning

5 There are several ways to sterilize your jars for canning. You can run them through a short cycle on your dishwasher. You can place them in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don't touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse out the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.
6 Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal. If you plan to store the apple butter un-refrigerated, make sure to follow proper canning procedures. Before applying the lids, sterilize the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids. I use a hot water bath for 10 minutes to ensure a good seal.
As an alternative to stove cooking the puree you can cook uncovered in a microwave, on medium heat to simmer, for around 30 minutes.
Makes a little more than 3 pint jars.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween all my family and friends!
Whether it's getting ready to take the kids out for trick or treating tonight, or all the fun parties over this last weekend, I hope it's a joyous one for all of you! My grand kids and Jon carved pumpkins, including Madison doing her own this year, and my daughter has been baking her famous muffins and some cookies too! Plus the decorations are up, so she is ready for the spooky day!

But this is another joyous day in our family, it's my parents wedding anniversary!! Happy memories come flooding back to me on this day! My parents got married in my grandfather's office in 1969. I will never forget it, and yes, I was there! My father adopted my sister and I when we were about 8 and 7 yrs old. He is my mother's second husband. Our birth father (or at least my sister's, I'm adopted to them too) had disappeared, so when my mother remarried, he gave us his name!

Anyway, back to the wedding, it was in my grandfather's office at Central Christian Church, in Lexington Kentucky, and I will never forget my dad saying, "Look I went trick of treating and brought home a wife and two daughters".

They have been married for 42 years now and we had some great times! Unfortunately my father has Dementia and is in a nursing home, but I keep the memories safe in my mind of the wonderful and funny man he was!! He was and is a great man! I do miss the times we had together though! The trips every summer to either visit family back east, or to sight see, or the BBQ's at their house with all the kids, and not to mention the holiday parties, usually at my house. He was always the life of the party!

My Mom used to jump right in and help set up everything. She seemed to love getting together and really enjoyed the kids! I know that she is going through a lot right now, but I have enjoyed the hikes we go on, or trips to see dad,(he's on the other side of Denver) or even going out to breakfast with Sonny Boy in tow.

I just wanted to take a little trip back down memory lane and to wish my parents a Happy Anniversary! I thought sharing this with all of you would bring it all back for me and I hope that today is fun and full of chocolate for all of you!!

Have a wonderful Halloween and I love you Mom and Dad!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Queries, Synopsis, and Publishing

For the last two days my mind has been filled with articles, blogs, and comments about queries and synopsis' and it is now spinning. I ask myself, why are you letting yourself be worried about this right now? I guess my answer is, I went to the conference and met with an agent and he asked for them.

I know I am have a long way to go before I really need to worry about these things, especially since I am still in revisions, but they are still playing with my self-esteem and confidence. I am so grateful for the people in my life that keep encouraging me, actually I don't know what I would do without all of you, but I would really love to hear more comments from you about my book-honest ones at that-and just know that I am a little scared of it all!

I thought maybe this would be a good time to put in a little exert from my book to get your opinions. I did first think that maybe a recipe would be good for today, but personally I think something from my book is just what the blog ordered...okay a silly play on words. Please give me your feed back and know that this is another hint into my world of the Djen and Stevie's journey.


The terrain around the house gave Colten an excellent advantage for surveillance. An advantage he had used wisely for nearly two decades. Summer or winter, the variety of foliage provided by the ponderosa pine, spruces, aspens, cotton woods, and other species offered Colten an assortment of hiding places in the trees, allowing him to remain virtually undetectable either from the ground or higher elevations. From an early age, his only purpose for existing was protecting his charge from detection by the rebel forces on their home plane.
            Colten was trying to be patient, but for the first time in eighteen years he had lost track of Stevie. He listened for anything that would signal someone or something coming up the driveway, a change in the wind, some sound or smell (he could follow Stevie’s trail just by the scent of her shampoo). Nothing. Nervously jumping from tree to tree, anxious as a caged animal, he wished she would come home and again be under his protection.

So, give me feedback, I am curious as to what you think. Don't be shy, and don't hold back. It's the only way sometimes for me to see what I need to work on or if it is great the way it is. I look forward to your comments!

Thanks and love, Lisa 

Monday, October 24, 2011

I Survived

It's Monday, finally, and I survived a very busy weekend! First the conference, I had a wonderful time. It was great having my critique partner and new friend with me to support each other through our first pitch. I think she had a good time too! We both pitched to Jim McCarthy, an agent from New York, and both of us were asked for the first 50 pages of our books (after our revisions are done of course) and a synopsis. Then I was lucky enough to win a free query and synopsis help from Mary Buckham, co-author of Breaking into Fiction, because I knew when that time comes I will need all the help I can get!

Also, the food was good and it was great to see Lizzie and to meet some new writers and talk about their experiences and books they are writing. After the conference, we worked on Robin's blog and I think successfully got her's where she wants it to be and had chili (that my daughter made) for dinner. All and all, a full day, but a good day!

Next, Sunday, my son's 28th birthday! I was up and running, cleaning, shopping, laundry and getting ready to host the family and friends invited to celebrate his day. WOW, I was pooped by last night! I fell asleep early, woke back up and read, and then back to sleep by 11:00. I am actually glad that it's Monday!

Back to the norm and grateful for it! I have to say that this journey of writing a novel is exhausting, and exhilarating! It leads you through so many changes, in yourself and in your book. I do love it though and I look forward to the next workshop or conference, or my classes with my writing coach. I also enjoy meeting some wonderful people, and the amazing thing is they are so supportive and non-judgmental!  Thanks to all the great people I have met on the road to writing a novel, and thanks to my family and friends! I could not do this without all of you there cheering me on and giving me advice! I love all of you!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Holidays

Well, can you believe it...it's almost Halloween?? I don't know about you, but this is my favorite time of year, it's cooler out, the colors of the leaves invite walks in the park, and of course the most important part...chocolate time!

Okay, any time is chocolate time! But that's beside the point, the point is, it's the holidays! My grand kids are getting their costumes all set for the big walk of candy next weekend, my daughter has bought 5 big pumpkins, some for carving, and some for making her wonderful bread and muffins (I can feel the pounds adding on now!) and the decorations are itching to get out and spread out onto the walls and front door, with witches and ghosts, and vampires! I love it, and I love the kids excitement because that's what it's all about to me...the kids!

I have had the privilege to live with my grandchildren for the last year and a half, and sometimes it's great fun! Other times, not so fun, but kids are kids, and the best part is to be a part of their joy when trying on their new costume, or opening a gift, and even getting a new outfit and modeling it for us.

Next it's my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. I love this holiday the most because it's not all about gifts that you need to buy, it's about getting together with family and eating the best meal ever! My husband and I have a tradition of cooking for the entire family, and some friends, and we have such a great time! I always look forward to it. Maybe I will post some of our favorite recipes next month, believe me they are tasty too.

And the last holiday, which I love too, Christmas! Now we have a new person that has joined our family and he is Jewish, so we get the honor of celebrating both holiday's, and I am learning about their traditions. Welcome Jon and know that we love you! Okay, back to Christmas. What I love about this holiday are the lights and decorations, and of course, all the delightful sweets. Cookies, breads, chocolate (there goes that sinful word again) and candy. I love getting cozy on the couch with hot chocolate in hand and gazing at the Christmas tree all shiny and yet soft. And then the kids eyes when they see new gifts piling up under the tree and they are so excited that they can't sleep and need to count down the days till they get to open them...what fun!!!

Yes, the holiday's have always been my favorite time of year. I also know that there are those who won't have the joy that our family does during the holidays, so I pray for them and that miracles come their way. Everyone deserves to celebrate the holidays and I want my family and friends this year to reach out and either volunteer to one of our many organizations that help make sure that the less fortunate people find comfort during this time of year, or to at least give money to support their cause.

I know that all of you have big hearts and want to help and I know I can count on everyone to do their part. I work for the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and I pledge to bake goods and help in whatever way I can to gather donations.

What ever it is you decide to do I am sure that it will help. Let me know what your family does and maybe it will give ideas for those who don't know what they could do to help. Leave your comments for others to share in this time of great need. Love you all!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Welcome

Welcome to my Djen Den! What is a Djen Den? Well, Djen are the people in another dimension who protect us from total earth destruction!  Yes, those are the people in my world, the world of Stevie, my heroine, and her long time friends, Alyssa and Jack.


Aside from my novel, I will post other insights into my "real" world, such as introducing other author's and their platforms, recipes, short stories, news that I want to share, contests, and yes, even pictures! Hopefully one day I will even post a book trailer about my published novels!! Thinking positive!!


Although I am new to all of this, I hope I can inspire, aspire, and humble myself and others through this new journey of blogging! I welcome any suggestions, thoughts, and comments and will probably want help now and then to questions about my book, so feel free to offer ideas and even answers to some of my troubling questions.


I have been inspired by awesome family and friends and I love all of you and appreciate all of you!

150 Words

Well, I am off to the Denver Romance Writers mini-conference this Saturday, with hopes and my learning cap firmly on! I am so looking forward to this, especially since I had such a great time last year, and this time my critique partner is going with me, it should be fun!


Not only will I learn about Query letters, but also I am to pitch my first agent (little nervous) and I have to present my first 150 words of my novel to see if they would capture an agent or publisher. They need to grab you and making you want more, and it needs to be good writing...no pressure there.


The thing is, your first chapter is so critical that it will literally drive you crazy! I have re-worked my first chapter so many times that it is now not the same--at all!


When I first began this little venture of writing a novel I had no idea of what it all involved. The hours of writing sure, but not the YEARS of revisions, classes, workshops, conferences, facebook, blogs, well you get it... It takes a lot of effort, nerves, and not to mention, learning!


I am not the computer type for one. I was never raised in front of a keyboard having to learn all the new jargon, fit in with the teens and young adults, and communicate within 140 words! I will easily stress out over what are the simplest things and want to scream!!  I think my husband wanted to lock me up last night!


After all of this I am sure it will be worth it, at least that is what I am told, and I pray my novel is a success. My friends, co-workers, family and even people that barely know me, have been so supportive and very appreciated. I am posting my first 150 words to get my blog followers to let me know what they think. Please be honest (I don't want to look like I write like a kid in junior high) and please comment. I need input and of course, reassurance that I am not doing this all for not...if you get my meaning...




The tremor was so intense it shook the bed chamber, knocking a vase off the side table, sending shattered porcelain, lilies, and water sliding across the polished wood floor. The heavy oak door rattled violently as if something unseen desperately wanted to gain entrance. Combined with a distant war cry, the uproar jolted Carlynn awake, nearly tumbling her from the window seat. She jerked her head this way and that trying to discern the cause of the commotion.
Fear gripped her and she protectively enfolded her arms around her swollen belly. Squinting, she could barely distinguish the prone form of her husband on the bed, three long strides from where she sat. Goose bumps prickled her arms. Light filtered through the window from below, eerily illuminating the landscape. It was followed by a thunderous noise which became deafening as she opened the window outward to get a better view.

Well, there you go...let me know what you think. Love you all and can't wait to hear your views!