Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Savory-Toothed Tiger...


Growing up I had a sweet tooth. Like most kids, I was all about the candy, cake and ice cream. Easter baskets had hidden treasure under the synthetic grass, Christmas stocking always produced some chocolate coins along with the orange in the toe. Then there was Halloween — the BIG HAUL. I was always amazed when my friends were still pulling candy out from their under-the-bed stash long after my candy was gone.

But as an adult I no longer have a sweet tooth. I now have a savory tooth. I crave savory, salty foods. Tonight I had sauerkraut and wieners. My mom could never get me to eat it want I was a kid. The sauerkraut, that is. I now prefer savory-salty snacks over ice cream; main dishes with lots of flavor over cookies. 

Either sweet or savory-salty, too much of a good thing is not good. So I’m always keeping my eye out for savory, low salt, vegetarian recipes. 

The Savory-Toothed Tiger, watch out for her!



Here’s a couple recipes adapted from Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutritarian-style recipes. The first is a creamy dressing which I really love, but don’t make too often since it’s easier just to grab my Spicy Ranch from the fridge. Second is a recipe for oatmeal. I’ve never liked oatmeal, just too porridgy , but this is good and you can adjust it for what you have on hand.  


Creamy Dressing
Ingredients
1/2 c raw cashews
½ almond milk (soy, or hemp milk)
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T lemon juice
1 t dried dill weed
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic powder
3 T tomato paste
1 rounded T date sugar or 1-2 pitted dates.
1/2 cucumber, peeled and separated into two equal portions (finely chop one of the two portions).
2 T finely chopped onion

Directions
In food processor or high-powered blender, blend together cashews, milk, vinegar, lemon juice, spices, tomato paste, date sugar and half of the cucumber until smooth (use the cucumber portion that is not finely chopped)
Remove from blender and fold in remaining finely chopped cucumber and the finely chopped onion.
NB: I have a little Bullet type blender. It comes with a nut grinder that makes the cashews into a fine powder, so I grind them first then add them to the blender with the other ingredients.  I also use less cucumber and add some of the onion to the blended ingredients. 

Purple Oatmeal
Ingredients
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup old-fashioned oats
4 pitted dates, chopped
1/4 teaspoon coriander
2 bananas, sliced
1 cup chopped or grated apple
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/4 chopped almonds or pecans
Instructions
In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil and stir in all ingredients except blueberries and ground flax seeds. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in blueberries. Sprinkle flax seeds on top or stir in. Cover for 2-3 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Almost Published… The Frustrations…

If you've experience computer frustrations (who hasn't?) then don't read on. You've had your share. Unless you feel alone in the computer frustration world and want company...

Friday I finished formatting HER SCOTTISH CEO for Kindle. I’ve included 17 watercolor illustrations so it took a while to process all those image files. Since my photo shop doesn’t work with my system upgrade I had to take the files to work to process them. I zipped the mss and images files according to instructions, then I uploaded it… and got the spinning wheel of death. Three hours later it was still spinning. I went to bed, got up in the morning and it was still spinning. I had to quit the browser, reopen and fill out the form again. I looked for another source for instructions to zip the files and this time it uploaded in a couple of minutes. Yea!

Next I downloaded the Kindle Preview app so I could check out the book on different devices. To run that I had to update Java, then I had to install XQ-something or other. Then I had to check my system memory as I knew my HD was getting full. Then I had to burn some stuff on CD so I could dump it.

HER SCOTTISH CEO looked good on all Kindle devices, even the B&W ones. However, the iPhone and iPad previewers crashed. But the Table of Contents didn’t work. I had followed the instructions for building a linked ToC and it worked in Word, but not in the preview. So I searched for more instructions and the only ones I found that were different from the ones I used looked like writing code. So I wrote to the help desk. They got back to me Monday and I was able to redo the ToC with Mac instructions. Back to the preview, the ToC works, but the back to ToC doesn't work. And what's the NCX File? Sounds like a TV show. Whatever it is, my book doesn't have it. Then I an error message while viewing my cover that I didn't have a cover. 

Saturday I was so frustrated I grabbed my keys, my camera and my mom, threw them in the car and drove into the mountains to see the fall foliage. We went about 40 miles out to 7000 ft. and the trees were gorgeous, bright yellow and some even orange, which I don’t remember seeing before. There were a lot of people stopped on the side of the road to see and photograph the trees. We took a side road to a reservoir/lake we visited last spring and were shocked at how low the water is. It’s because we had no snow last winter and hardly any rain all year. We took another side trip and stopped for lunch as a small cafĂ©/deli. It was great to get away from the computer and out into the mountains.

Now I'm gong to see if I can get my book published. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tattoo...

Does anyone remember watching the Smothers Brothers? Or am I dating myself? My friends and I loved their antics and bought their albums.

One song that has always stuck in my mind is the daisy song. So much so that I’ve always wanted a daisy on my toe, too. This last weekend, after 40 years, I got my daisy. Now I can truthfully sing the song.

"I've got a daisy on my toe. It is not real, it does not grow. It's just a tattoo of a flower, so I'll look neat taking a shower. It's on the second toe of my left foot. A stem and flower, but there's no root (because that wouldn't look good). A pretty daisy on my toe. My right foot loves my left foot so."

I got the tattoo cheap ($20) because I was getting a larger tattoo at the same time. And by larger I mean it came out larger than I had originally planned. I thought 2-3 inches would be good and ended up with an almost 5 inch tattoo on my upper left arm. The tattoo is to memorialize my father who died Sept. 5, 2011, and includes two symbols I associate with him, an anchor and a heart. The rope of the anchor holds the heart close. To anyone who doesn’t know the symbolism, it looks like I love the navy. Oh well, I’m happy with it even if it is a shock whenever I look in the mirror. I seldom go sleeveless, so most people won’t even know I have it, unless I show it to them.

This isn’t my fist tattoo. I got the first one 35 years ago when I lived in Long Beach, Calif. and a co-worker wanted a tattoo but was afraid to go alone. I said I’d go and get one with her. We went down to the Pike and I understood why she didn’t want to go alone. She wanted a butterfly tattoo to cover her appendix scar and because it was below the belt the guy wouldn’t let me in the room with her. What? That was too weird. So I waited outside wondering if he was molesting her. A couple of years later she showed me the tattoo when she was 8 months pregnant :0 I got a small butterfly on my right shoulder. I originally wanted a dragonfly but the guy said he couldn’t do it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

When Opportunity Knocks...

They say to be ready when opportunity knocks.

I joined Twitter recently and although I'm not real sure how to navigate it, I did figure out how to follow quite a few people. I happened to open Twitter when Angela James, editor at Carina Press, tweeted about a submission opportunity at Carina Press this week. Submission. And I just happen to have a mss ready to submit. A DADDY FOR LUKE is the first story in my COTTONWOOD COUNTY CHRONICLE series. I had synopsis, query and mss ready. I read thru them all and made any needed changes and sent it all off Sunday afternoon. This opportunity includes feedback and a turnaround time of 6 weeks. Getting THE CALL would be the best scenario in this opportunity, but getting feedback is valuable, too. And everyone will get feedback. Not everyone will get the call.  In six weeks I'll report on the outcome.

On the home front. We've had an unseasonably warm start to October. Usually, we can expect a frost by Sept. 15, but so far it's been warm. Today was the first day that it started to feel chilly in the evening and we almost turned on the heater. But with oil prices so high, we managed without it. I'm still watering the mature trees and landscaping but I've left my vegetable garden open for the deer and peacocks. The more they eat, the less I have to clear out. They're having a hard time in this drought same as the trees are. The deer love grape leaves and the peacocks have been noshing on our petunias all summer.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I'm feeling nostalgic...

I'm feeling nostalgic, not for my childhood or that one summer between high school and college where I didn't have a care in the world. I'm feeling nostalgic for the year 2005. That was the year "writing seriously" took over my life. That's when I couldn't wait to get home from work, get through dinner and dishes and shut my self in my office (/studio/craft room/storage/junk room) and just write. That year the characters and stories that had been rattling around in my brain forever, coalesced. That summer I house-sat for a friend and had a month all to myself just to write.

I miss that freeform, that ignorance of story structure, that pure joy in discovering the story and where it would take me. I wrote four novels that year and started several others. 

Since then? I've been learning the craft, revising, polishing, taking workshops, establishing a social media base, rewriting, and more rewriting. 

Like Marcie Winters in my upcoming book HER SCOTTISH CEO, I have a dream and I'm working hard to reach it. Also, like Marcie, I've had disappoinments, but I set them aside and I push on. Though, it would be nice to have a handsome Scotsman like Greg McInnis on the journey with me...



I still can't wait to get home after work, get through dinner and dishes and close myself in my office. In fact, I spend may unproductive moments at work (when I'm waiting for the computer to catch up with me or I'm doing a task I know so well I don't need to keep my mind on it) thinking about whichever of my WIPs are calling out to me. I send myself notes by email. And even with HER SCOTTISH CEO, which will be published soon, I think of more ways to improve it, more ways to clarify a scene.  

And I can't wait for that day when I can again let the works flow freely, but with the knowledge to do it right in the first place. I feel closer to that day every day.