Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tasty Tuesday: dessert- Peach Bread Pudding

Hi Everyone!
Welcome back to Tasty Tuesday! Once again it's time to taste a kid friendly, super easy dessert to try. Since it's December I wanted something to warm up up on those cold days and nights, something that would fill your home with a light delicious scent and still be super easy and kid friendly since they will be home for the holidays. Enjoy!


Peach Bread Pudding with Brown Sugar Sauce 
Peach Bread Pudding with Warm Brown Sugar Sauce:


  • Bread Pudding:
  • 1/2 a loaf of day-old unsliced bakery bread
  • 3-4 peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla or vanilla bean paste
  • 4 tsp. white sugar, for topping

  • Brown Sugar Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • pinch salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. and grease 4 individual dishes or an 8x8-inch baking pan. Set on to a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Peel peaches and cut in to slices. Set aside.
  3. Slice bread in to thin 3/4-inch slices or cube. If using slices, you'll want your bread pieces to be about an inch higher than the height of your baking dish, so figure out how tall they should be and cut off the bottom of the slices to that height. (*You won't need the part you cut off the bottom, but you can use them by cutting them in to cubes and making some croutons with them!). Then cut each of the trimmed slices in half from top to bottom to make two pieces. Set aside.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 cup white sugar, cream, milk and vanilla.
  5. Place your bread slices in to your baking dishes (or dish) by slightly overlapping them (crust side facing the side of the dish) and allowing them to tilt back a bit. If using cubes, place in your dish or dishes. Place some peach slices in the gaps between the bread. Pour some of the egg mixture over the bread and in to the dishes, just until it reaches the top edge of the dish or until it nears but doesn't cover the top of the bread. Allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, then top up with remaining egg mixture, just until it reaches the edge of the dish again or near the top of the bread. You may not need it all.
  6. Lightly brush the top of the bread with a bit of the egg mixture, then sprinkle a heaped 1 tsp. of white sugar over the top of each dish, especially on the top crust edge. Place dishes on baking sheet (to catch any overflow!) in to preheated 350° F. oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden and set. (*You may want to check at 25-30 minutes in case it's browning too quickly, in which case, just lay a sheet of aluminum foil over top while it finishes baking.
  7. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before eating. If not eating right away, allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate.
  8. While puddings are baking, make the brown sugar sauce by melting butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, cream and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Allow to come to a boil, stirring regularly. Once it comes to a boil, cook another few minutes, stirring regularly, then remove from heat and pour in to a bowl or pitcher. Cover and refrigerate if not using right away. Can be re-warmed in the microwave/saucepan to serve.
  9. Serve puddings at warm, at room temperature or slightly re-warmed in the microwave, topped with warm brown sugar sauce (*You'll want to place your small dishes on a plate, as the brown sugar sauce will most likely spill over the sides when poured on top).

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tasty Tuesday: dessert- Pumkin Snickerdoodles

Hi Everyone!
Welcome back to Tasty Tuesday! Once again it's time to taste a kid friendly, super easy dessert to try. Since it's November I decided on these delicious cookies. 

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
White Chocolate Pumpkin Snickerdoodles:



  • 6 tbsp Pumpkin puree

Baking & Spices

  • 1 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar, packed light or dark
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon, ground
  • 1 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract

Dairy

  • 1/2 cup Butter, unsalted

Other

  • 1/2 cup (90g) white chocolate chips or chunks



Thursday, October 6, 2016

Thursday Tips: vivid language

Hello everyone!
Welcome to another Thursday tip day! Today we will talking about vivid language. Our job as a writer is to paint the picture in the readers mind so they can see your story unfold before their eyes. Vivid language is very important to descriptive writing.
Let’s look at the sentence:
"I took a trip to the mountains."
Does this paint a picture for your reader? Assuming that the reader has ever seen a mountain, the reader is able to somewhat visualize what you meant. However, the picture the reader has may be very different from what you actually mean. After all, there are many different types of mountains.
Is this one better?
"My last trip was to the quaint mountain village of Helen, Georgia located in the foothills of the evergreen Appalachian mountain range."
Does this paint a more clear picture for the reader?
How about this one?
"I visited the snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rocky mountains, where I stayed at a skiing resort."
Does this paint a clear picture? Is it different from the image evoked from the first example?
There are many different types of mountains. Just saying that you took a trip to the mountains is not sufficient to paint a clear picture of your experience to the reader. Vivid language consists of the descriptive adjectives that bring your experience to life for the reader.
Remember when describing something look at what you have written and see if the words are sufficient to put your reader in the moment with you. 
Hope this helps! See you next week!


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tasty Tuesday: dessert- Apple Pie Bites


Hi Everyone!
Welcome back to Tasty Tuesday! Once again it's time to taste a kid friendly, super easy dessert to try this Fall. Apple pie bites will give you all the flavor and deliciousness of eating an apple pie with only 1/10th of the total calories! It's like eating the whole pie without any of the consequences.  


Apple Pie Bites made with crescent rolls, apples & pecans.

EASY Apple Pie Bites made with crescent rolls... these taste better than apple pie!!:



  • 1 Granny smith apple, small

Baking & Spices

  • 1 tsp Apple pie spice
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar, packed light

Nuts & Seeds

  • 1/3 cup Pecans

Bread & Baked Goods

  • 1 (8-ounce) can Pillsbury crescent rolls, Original

Dairy

  • 3 tbsp Butter






Monday, October 3, 2016

Me Mondays- Avenging the Donnells

Hello everyone!
Hope your weekend was great and your work week starts of  great as well. As the title implies, today is dedicated to my updates: where I'll be virtually and in real time, what's new with me, my new releases, what I'm working on and so forth.

My monthly newsletter is live and doing well. Everyone who gets the newsletter is automatically entered in the drawing to win an original item from my craft shop. (This craft shop tab on the website) The newsletter is also your vehicle to ask me questions. When you send in your questions you are entered again into the monthly drawing. The answer to those questions will be posted here as well. What is exclusive to the newsletter is the free reads. Sign up for the newsletter on my website

Book ISeven Year Switch was about Kyle and Sonja Winters, a mid thirties, childless couple, together 10 years, married 7 and happy. Sonja discovers a secret that rocks their marriage to the core. It will either destroy them or they will have to restructure to survive it.
Available now

Book II: The Right Choice, is about Christian and Andrea Cooper. They have a long term marriage, 20+ years, are in their 40s and are new empty-nesters. Basically this book shows how you could get caught up in doing the right thing and push someone away unintentionally. Even after being together for years you can still make mistakes. 
Available now exclusively from my website in print and all formats of ebook


Today I am spotlighting my completed work, Avenging the O'Donnells, a wolf shifter, urban fantasy romance. 
I love to put folklore and magic into my stories. Avenging the O'Donnells has it all, folklore, tragedy, redemption and destined love. It is waiting for it's cover and to be edited.

Blurb:
The beast of the lake massacred the O’Donnell family leaving only Ian to avenge his clan. During the long wait to them he met Nadine and fell in love. With love in his life again, Ian is distracted from his duty after waiting over a hundred years for the chance. Will Nadine be the loophole that will allow him to have love and revenge?

Excerpt:

“Wait! Listen…do you hear that?” he asked in a hushed voice.
Sean joined him at the doorway. He looked left then right, before closing his eyes. Suddenly he gasped and turned wide eyes to Ian. Ian’s heart filled with the fear he saw in his friend’s eyes. He returned to the pantry with Sean close at his side. Opening a cabinet he tossed Sean one of the swords that were hidden there, took one for himself and they left the kitchen again with a sense of urgency.
They walked through the house, but came across no one. None of his brothers or servants seemed were about. As they approached the great room, muffled screams reached his ears. Ian and Sean looked at each other and ran to the steps, taking them two at a time. At the top of the stairs they found the missing servants. Their broken and abused bodies lay along the hallway with all sorts of weapons lying nearby.
The sight froze them in place, but another shriek shook them alert. Ian pushed through his fear to hop through the small spaces between people moving down the hall. Following the sounds, he and Sean burst into a bedroom. A monster, taller than any man he’d ever seen, black as night and dripping with what looked like loose mud, plunged his fist deep into his brother’s chest. His mouth dropped open as he stood horrified.
“No! Leathan!”
The monster flung Leathan’s lifeless body across the room. Ian watched his brother’s body hit the wall and slide to the floor to land on top of his other brothers disfigured bodies and turned toward Ian. The monster moved in his peripheral, but he could not tear his eyes away from his brother. Tears streamed down his face. His breath caught when he was abruptly yanked away.
“Come, Ian! We must flee!”
Sean dragged him from the room toward the back steps. The obvious thud of bodies hitting the walls followed them. The terror in Sean’s eyes woke Ian from his stupor fueling an urgency to get back to the kitchen. Ian leaned on the door closing it behind them. He snatched his hand away from Sean and held it up.
“Wait, Sean, stop. I cannot run away. I must fight!” he told him trying to catch his breath.
“Ian, don’t be daft! Think man! Live today, fight tomorrow!”
Ian shook his head. “My family is dead. I must avenge them.”
Sean pointed up the stairs. “That was the demon from the lake! You cannot defeat it on your own! You must go to your guardian and pray for help.”
Ian shook his head. “Listen to me, Sean. I cannot leave my family. I must fight with them or die with them. You must go to the glade and summon the guardian for me.”
“What? No! I won’t leave without ya, Ian.”
Ian grabbed Sean by the shoulders and shook him hard. “Sean! Do as I say! You are my servant!” he snapped choking on the words as new tears fell down his face. “And my friend,” he added in a softer tone. “Now please, go to the guardian and beg for her help.”
Sean stared at him for just a moment longer then pulled him into a hug.
“I pray that the guardian hears the pleas of one that is not an O’Donnell by blood. Now go,” Ian said.
Ian took a deep breath and returned to main house. Halfway up the stairs muffled screams and doors slamming reached his ears. Images formed in his mind of the monster going room to room dispatching all he found hiding. His distress magnified when he realized they came from his father’s bedroom. Standing in the doorway he could see his father broken body across the room. He moved inside at the sound of a door being torn off its hinges. The monster pulled Emma from the closet and lifted her from the floor by the throat. He knew his horror matched hers when their eyes locked, but for a brief moment he saw relief in her gaze before the light of life faded from them. 
“No!”
Howling his rage, Ian charged the beast with his sword extended. With all his might Ian shoved the blade deep into its back. The monster screamed in apparent pain. Swirling about trying to dislodge the weapon, the beast slung Emma’s body one way then slapped Ian haphazardly across the room the other way. His body crashed to the floor landing on discarded and broken furniture. Pain radiated through his body from head to toe. It was unlike anything he ever felt. He could barely draw a breath.
The monster had managed to remove the weapon. It turned toward him with the blade in his hand. Ian closed his eyes bracing himself as the beast walked to him. The blade pierced his gut swiftly stabbing into the floor beneath him. Surprisingly it did not add much to his discomfort. The monster stood over him just a second the shuffled from the room.
A visual of his father and brothers came to mind. Ian could not avenge them, but he was at peace to die with them. Closing his eyes he prepared for death. His head lifted and rested on something softer than the floor.  Conscious thought slipped away and the pain began to ease.
“In here! He’s in here! Oh my God! Fairy! Quickly!”
Ian gasped and let out a moan when the blade was removed from his body. His eyes flickered open, but closed again.  
“His heartbeat is very faint, but he lives. The O’Donnell’s are good and kind people. Don’t let their line die this horrible way. Heal him, please,” Sean begged.
Fingers touched Ian’s forehead. They were so light he barely registered the sensation, but a rush of heat rolled over his body like a wave at the slight connection. Immediately he drew in a deep breath and his eyes popped open. The pain ceased and his heart beat with new vigor. He felt stronger than he ever had. Sean smiled down at him.  
“My God Ian. The bleeding has stopped. The fairy has healed you.”
Ian scrambled to his hands and knees rushing over to his father’s body. Cradling his father’s head in his lap he looked toward the fairy.
“Can’t you save him too, fairy? He is my father, leader of our clan.” 
She shook her head. “No, Ian O’Donnell, I cannot. It is fate to end here.”
Ian cried rocking his father’s head close to him. Sorrow and frustration filled his screams. After a while he stopped and he laid his father back on the floor, retrieved his weapon, and moved toward the door. 
“Ian, where are you going?” Sean asked.
“I’m going to avenge my family’s deaths,” he replied calmly.
“Ian, no! The fairy has given you a second chance to live. You cannot squander it!”
Ian turned and opened to his mouth to argue his point with his friend, but the fairy’s calm voice stopped his retort.
“Ian O’Donnell, your family line will not die here, but if you chase the beast now you will erase what I have done. I can give you the means to avenge your family, but it will not happen today. The beast thinks he has destroyed your blood line, he must continue to believe it is so. All must believe until the time is right.”
Ian looked at his father’s body again and then to the only mother he ever knew. His heart was heavy with his loss. He was exhausted with grief. Turning tear filled eyes to the fairy, Ian dropped his weapon and fell to his knees beside it.

“What must I do, Fairy?” 
*********

Keep an eye out for a cover reveal! All Dana's books are available on her website

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thursday Tips: Using all 5 senses

Hello everyone,
Welcome back to another Thursday tips to help you be a better writer. As writers we want to be aware of the five senses. We use the five senses to transport our reader into the scene we are describing. The five senses have a power to connect with our readers in a deep way. So remember,engaging them all helps bring your fictional world to life.


Write With Sight
Don’t simply tell your reader how you feel or what is going on. Show them. There is more to writing with sight than green trees and blue skies.
Ask yourself, “What am I seeing?” and as you start with the mundane white car driving by I challenge you to look further. Beyond the man walking by with tattoos covering his arms, watch the way he walks. Does he stare at the ground as he walks or does he confidently stare forward? Practice with photos. Try to describe a picture to someone who has never seen the photo before. Show them what is there in detail so they can build the picture in their mind's eye.

Write With Taste

Describing taste can be a fun way to keep your reader intrigued in the details. So often we neglect or even simply forget to describe the way something might taste or what that taste means.
This might be awful, but comparing the flavor and taste of Krispy Kreme donuts to “eating a baby angel” does bring a picture to ones mind. Or, the taste of tomato soup is like, "coming in from a blizzard, kicking your boots off, and sitting in front of the fire.” 
The metaphors we use have the power to transport our readers to places that evoke memories and emotion from their own life, allowing a deeper connection to be made.

Write with Smell

Generally  smells are categorize into two options: good or bad, but smells can help tell stories, too. When you begin to describe a scene close your eyes and envision all of the possible smells that surround you. Smells do not only describe food and body odor, they can be used to describe the weather, a room, or a situation.

Write With Sound

There are noises all around you. Have you unlocked what the sounds are really telling you?Sounds are not always external buzzes and bangs, sometimes they come in the form of thoughts and voices. Some of those sounds are truths and some are lies. Some sounds tell the reader where you are or what you are doing without actually having to tell them.

Write With Touch

Describing the way things feel is just plain fun. The number of adjectives available are endless. Temperature and texture great to use and so much fun!
For example: “Her fingers skimmed the cool, silky water.”
When writing about touch, the physical is very important to describe, but even more important is the invisible. The different aspects that are “touched” but not with your hands.
As you have probably noticed by now, the key to unlocking the five senses is the question behind it. The question of why you are seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, or feeling something. Once you’ve established the sense, ask the question, 
“What does this mean?”
Hope this helps! See you next week!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tasty Tuesday: dessert- Mini Pineapple Upside Down cakes

Hello everyone!
Since I've reactivated my blog I noticed I haven't posted a single dessert! Me! Someone who has to have dessert with my final meal of the day. Well. with Fall now upon us and the "dessert season" here with it I will be posting a "sensible" dessert for you to try and possible have for holiday time too. So, for my first dessert I'm posting a very easy, kid friendly and one of my favorite desserts. the mini pineapple upside down cakes.

A classic cake gets individual!  Perfect for parties and easy to make, 5 ingredients is all it takes!  The combination of mouth-watering caramelized sugar, sweet pineapple and cherries on buttery cake is sure to please.:



  • 2 cans Dole (20 oz. each) dole pineapple, Slices

Condiments

  • 1/3 cup Butter or margarine

Baking & Spices

  • 2/3 cup Brown sugar, packed
  • 1 package Yellow or pineapple-flavored cake mix

Desserts

  • 9 Maraschino cherries