Saturday, February 28, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~ Din-Din Report.

So we made four recipes to try out over the weekend.

-Good Cold Sesame Noodles and the good news is that you can click on the title...the recipe is posted at the HG website. I am now a fan of these crazy Tofu Shirataki noodles. These noodles are firmer than pasta. The only trick is that they have to be rinsed well and very thoroughly dried. If they have any other funkiness I couldn't pick up on it. I even ate a raw one and there was no aftertaste and the only texture difference is that it felt like extra al dente pasta. Very Yummo.

The other three recipes were
Jalapeno Swappers, Lord of the Onion Rings and Fiber-ific Fried Chicken Strips. All made with Fiber One cereal.

Honestly, I was less impressed. Fiber One has a sweet taste. The texture was great, especially with the onion rings. We baked them longer that suggested and cut the onions into thinner slices. But the sweetness bugged me. I will try to find another breading option that will not have a sweet overtone. If I do, I'll let you know what I discover.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~ Din-Din

So tonight, 22 and a friend are rustling up some recipes from this cookbook.

Here's my review of the cookbook. I'll be sure to let you know my review of the recipes!!!

If you are a fan of the website you will likely love the cookbook. With her same voice, flair and creative snippets of calories, serving and nutrition information, Lisa Lillien delivers what she promises. I found myself marking more recipes to try than I thought I would. Folks who are looking for more nutritious choices might want to look a little deeper before purchasing. The recipes in Hungry Girl can be summed up as fast/snack food menu made with low/non-fat, sugar-free substitutions so it almost tastes like the real deal. I personally don't like the idea of adding more chemicals to save calories and fat and won't use most of the recipes because of that. Lillien covers breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks including alcoholic and coffee. But with a few minor tweaks I will be able to serve some delicious and nutritious meals/snacks to friends and family thanks to Lillien's research and creativity.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Serials and Scenarios ~ Daisy Chain

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First Chapter is a must read. Click here. Visit Mary. Click on the bookcover to read more.

Mary has visited the here to read more.

About the book:

The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance from a small Texas town in 1973 spins three lives out of control—Jed, whose guilt over not protecting his friend Daisy strangles him; Emory Chance, who blames her own choices for her daughter’s demise; and Ouisie Pepper, who is plagued by headaches while pierced by the shattered pieces of a family in crisis.

In this first book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He’s convinced it’s his fault his best friend Daisy went missing. Jed’s pain sends him on a quest for answers to mysteries woven through the fabric of his own life and the lives of the families of Defiance, Texas. When he finally confronts the terrible truths he’s been denying all his life, Jed must choose between rebellion and love, anger and freedom.

Daisy Chain is an achingly beautiful southern coming-of-age story crafted by a bright new literary talent. It offers a haunting yet hopeful backdrop for human depravity and beauty, for terrible secrets and God’s surprising redemption.

My Review:

Mary DeMuth's Daisy Chain transported me to Defiance,Texas, dropped me into the mid '70's and immersed me in the home of a wounded family. Jed is fourteen and has just lost his best friend and future wife. It's his fault, because he's weak and selfish and he wouldn't walk the little spitfire home because if he did, his daddy would be upset. And when daddy is upset bad things happen. Daddy is a preacher. Jed can't quite bring himself to stand up to daddy to protect his precious sister and his sickly, broken mom -- a mom who writes messages of love, encouragement, and sorrow on flower petals and leaves them by Jed's bed.

Jed's whole world is inside out and upside down. The town is holding its breath because Daisy is missing. And heaven is brass because God isn't listening to Jed, and apparently doesn't care to.

If this little sliver of drama turns you inside out and upside down you may not want to read this book. But if you are one who claims To Kill a Mockingbird or Peace Like a River as one of your favorite novels, you really owe it to yourself to look further into Daisy Chain. Tom Morrisey, Lisa Samson, Claudia Mair Burney, Charles Martin and W.Dale Cramer fans need to look in Mary DeMuth's direction as well.

This is a novel that will haunt me for weeks and months, probably landing on my 2009 favorite list. The characters are deep and rich, complex and challenging. The story is gut wrenching and awful, and beautiful and full of the power of love and faith and Jesus. I can't imagine anyone not being horrified and then blessed as this novel opens and blooms, bleeds, withers and fades. Technically, the only complaint I had was just a few moments of transition between the adult Jed and the younger versions of Jed, and a brief incident where a scene's timing didn't quite jive in my mind. And those issues are only because I read so many books for review and can't just get lost in pages and not look for flaws that might impede a reader's experience.

I so appreciated the depth of truth and faith in this novel. Daisy Chain could be a very tough book for some readers. Child endangerment, abuse, anger, bigotry, religious bullying, drinking and hints of sexual scandal are not buried under a layer of pristine Sunday-best white gloves. I do recommend Daisy Chain to anyone who hungers for honest fiction that doesn't leave one weeping over the hopelessness of a story without redemption and grace.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~ Can't Resist

So I occasionally enjoy e-mail forwards. One that arrived today had a picture that I must share.

It was entitled, "How to Know if Your Feet Stink."


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Serials and Scenarios ~ Daniel's Den

Daniel's Den
By Brandt Dodson
Published by Harvest House Publishers
ISBN# 978-0-7369-2477-1

Go here to read another review and to read the first chapter of Daniel's Den.

Back Cover:

Daniel Borden and Laura Traynor live two different lives…Daniel is a successful stock analyst in New Orleans.

Laura operates a bed and breakfast in Shenandoah Valley.

He is wealthy, enjoys racquetball and lives with Elvis, a black lab.

She is a struggling single mother, works two jobs and lives with her young son, Andy.

But, when unseen forces send hit men after each of them, a twist of fate drives them together as they are forced to flee their common enemy.

In high stakes game of cat-and-mouse, they learn just how big the cat can be.

And that it's no game.

My Review:

Daniel's Den is a tense, terse read. Told in multiple almost narrative voice the story unfolds in New Orleans and the Shenandoah Valley. Daniel lives in a controlled environment, from the truth of the numbers he deals with as a stockbroker to the regimented life he's created for himself, everything is defined and in place. Until he is given the files of a dead co-worker and stumbles onto a big mess.

Laura is hanging on to a dying dream and has run out of hope and faith. When a bizarre and frightening man begins to hound her to sell her property fear and despair take hold.

Daniel and Laura unite in the worst of situations and end up running for their lives. Andy and Elvis, a young boy and a dog complicate matters.

I read the advanced copy and hope that several typos were taken care of in the final edit. One secondary plot thread threw me a bit but only briefly. The story is the driving force in this novel, so the characters, though rich enough, took a back seat to the action and plot.

If you like page turners, or Dodson, you need to look further into Daniel's Den.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~ Oops....

You may bristle at this video females. But it hits a little to close to home. Let me tell the truth about one particular female

I crimpled the side of my van while turning around a large cement slab wall in a parking garage.

I scraped a yellow racing stripe down the side of my green pick-up truck when I stopped to get gas and forgot about the yellow poles keeping the gas tanks safe from drivers like me.

My brother still laughs at another gas station stupid human trick, which I have blocked from my memory, so I can't share it. Apparently it was hilarious.

Because my driving scared my Mom, I pulled over to hand the wheel over to her. Unfortunately, I pulled directly into the ditch.

I blew past a state trooper's car going thirty over the speed limit. I don't know who was more surprised...the state troopers who shined their flashlights over every inch of my pick-up bed, likely looking for beer cans, before discovering a teen girl and two little boys, or me that I actually got a ticket. Sobbing does help. Or maybe it's the eruptions of slick wetness that flew during the sobs. Who knows.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Super Cinema Saturday ~ Ghost Town

Ghost Town is one of the more charming/clever movies I've seen in awhile. Due to an unfortunate glitch during a routine colonoscopy a crotchety, nasty dentist (Gervais) suffers from ghost harassment. One slick ghost (Kinnear) makes a deal with the dentist. If said dentist will mess up the Kinnear's widow's romance with a new man, Kinnear will keep the other ghosts at bay.

In the process lives are changed, non-lives are changed and the laughs come often. There are definitely moments that are not child appropriate. A few F-bombs, an affair, an oft mentioned male body part joke, and some double entendres/outright sexual comments make it mature viewing only.

Despite the few negatives as mentioned above, Ghost Town has a deep message and is charming and almost old-fashioned in the romance department. The colonoscopy prep and hospital check-in alone are almost worth the price of a rental. Then you have the quirk of Tea Leoni's laugh and two pretty hilarious prat falls. If you are into sarcasm, quirky romance where making a woman laugh is high on the list of romantic qualities, physical humor, ghosts or the idea of ghosts, or just fun character pieces, I recommend Ghost Town. It's on my to buy list. I will watch this one again.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~ Report Card Time

Lily and Lola Report Card/Update.

Bouncing. Yep. Check. Satisfactory.

Walking on leashes. Well. Needs work.

Unsupervised in-house behavior. Oh, not good at all. Unsatisfactory.

Unsupervised outside behavior. Ha. Ask the UPS guy. And the neighborhood squirrels.

Digestion and food habits.
Rug -- chewed, swallowed, deposited in back yard.
Peanut Butter. Good. Will do anything for peanut butter -- humans best friend (and they say dog is).
Dog food. Science Diet and Iams weren't expensive enough. We have now moved on to organic allergy free. Lily developed an allergy to her food (interesting since she has eaten things that would kill a lesser being). How do we know? The ears swelled and turned red and her sister licked them until she developed little scabs. Surely she had ear mites. Nope, the vet said it was a food allergy. The new food has been an adventure. The lamb and potato or maybe the venison and barley blend leaves an after odor. Like some folks have garlic scent that oozes from sweat glands and pores... Lily and Lola smell a little like a down-and-out drunk man in an alley. So, in an attempt to deal with this unpleasant side effect, Doggy Mama purchased the vegetarian flavor. Guess what that does? Think fiber and bubbles...very, very bad bubbles.

Cuteness. Life saving A+
Tardies. Never late for dinner.
Enthusiasm. Over the top.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~ Hoping

Hope and courage...words that resonate with me.

When I'm struggling spiritually, my hope, my Pollyannaish rosy outlook tends to shrink and dwindle into hopelessness. My courage during spiritual testing becomes anemic and wobbly-kneed in my darkest moments of faithshaking.

Even when I realized that discouragement is a lie. It has to be. How can it be anything else? If, as a believer in Christ, I am to be an encourager and an encouragee in the body of Christ, then I am far, far away from encouragement if I am discouraged. If God talks about taking courage, standing strong, and being all the strength I need, then discouragement steals from courage.

How can I, a vessel of the Holy Spirit -- the very heart of Jesus, Himself, how can I be hopeless when I possess all I need to hope?

Today. I choose to hope. Even in the impossible.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Serials and Scenarios ~ Gingham Mountain

Mary Connealy is back with a new tangled-Texas-tale.

All aboard for a delightful, suspense-filled romance, where a Texan is torn between his attraction to a meddlesome schoolmarm and the charms of a designing dressmaker. When Hannah Cartwright meets Grant, she's determined to keep him from committing her orphans to hard labor on his ranch. How far will she go to ensure their welfare?

Grant Cooper is determined to provide a home for the two kids brought in by the orphan train as runs head-on into the new school marm, who believes he's made slave labor out of eight orphaned children. He crowds too many orphans into his rickety house, just like Hannah Cartwright's cruel father. Grant's family of orphans have been mistreated too many times by judgmental school teachers. Now the new schoolmarm is the same except she's so pretty and she isn't really bad to his children, it's Grant she can't stand.

But he is inexplicably drawn to Hannah. Can he keep his ragtag family together while steering clear of love and marriage? Will he win her love or be caught in the clutches of a scheming seamstress?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Gingham Mountain, click

My Review:

Mary Conneally has a charming voice. She manages to give petticoats and prairie dust a hint of breezy chick-lit. Her western series has been an entertaining and a quick and satisfying read. Gingham Mountain follows previous characters and creates new situations in which she tortures her characters. Hannah and Grant and a whole passel of orphans burst out of the Gingham Mountain pages and into my affections.

If you are looking for authentic western historical details and language, you may want to look further into this series before plunking down your money. But if you are looking for entertainment, creative storytelling, charming characters and downright as much fun as a barn raising, get yerself to yer favorite book store.

More from Mary via a previous visit to the dregs, click here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Serials and Scenarios ~ My Book Therapy

So, you all know I need lots of therapy. Maybe I'll start here.

Writers/novelists pay attention. Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck have collaborated on a how-to book. (I've read most of Rachel's stuff and I want to pick up whatever she's laying down.) They are also writing a novel with input from readers. Go here to chime in.

You have a chance to do the same:

Want to win a copy of From the Inside…Out: Discover, Create and Publish the Novel in You for your very own? Leave a comment here and tell us what kind of novel you have in YOU.


Do you already have your novel down on the page? Does it need a little THERAPY? Enter to win 10% off a Book Therapy Session (that’s a savings of $30+) by leaving a comment here telling us a brief synopsis of your story!

Click on the video about their My Book Therapy for more info. And here for even more info.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Serials and Scenarios ~ Colleen Coble

Wednesday we got a peek at Colleen Coble's new release, Cry in the Night. Make sure you scroll down and click to read the first chapter if you haven't yet. And visit Colleen's website and the Amazon page for more info. Now. Colleen was kind enough to come and play at the Dregs.

Thanks, Colleen, I love your c
rayon answer. : )

Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?

Bree from the Rock Harbor books has a lot of me in her. Okay, I don’t have a search dog (but I love dogs) and I’m not short with red hair, but I love pistachios and the wilderness. I’ve got a lot of Native American blood and I’m drawn to places that are still just a little untamed.

If you could change something in any novel, what would you change about it and why?

I would change the title of Anathema. People don’t know how to say it or what it means and it caused more confusion instead of illuminating what the book is really about.

What crayon in the box describes you on a good day? Bad day? Which one do you aspire to be?

Yellow. I’m an optimist and nearly always look on the bright side. Even on a bad day I’m likely only to tinge a bit to gold. LOL It drives some people crazy but I can’t help it. I’m always aware that God is in control.

If you were assured of writing a best-seller, what genre would it be? Give us a sliver of information, a characteristic or glimpse of a scene.

I write my favorite genre—romantic mysteries with a strong dollop of romance. I’m blessed to be living my dream of writing what I love to read. I love everything about the writing life—from the promotion to the actual writing.

What period of history intrigues you the most?

Funny you should ask that because the next book I’m going to be working on is a historical novel. I asked my publisher a couple of years ago if I could write my typical novel in a historical setting and my editor recently gave me the go-ahead. I’m still tossing ideas around but I’m particularly drawn to turn of the century novels.

What makes you feel alive?

I am energized by being around other people.

Book, music, person, food you would take with you on a very long trip.

Book: The Stand by Stephen King. I’ve read it at least 30 times.

Person: My husband Dave. I hate to go anywhere without him!

Food: DeBrand mocha truffles

Where would you most like to travel ----- moon, north pole, deep seas, deserted island, the holy land or back to a place from your childhood, somewhere else? – and why.

Australia! I’ve dreamed of going there since I was a kid. I’ve always wanted to see its vast spaces and the Great Barrier Reef.

Favorite book setting and why?

Hawaii is magical place where I feel totally one with God. Maybe because it’s so gorgeous and serene.

What would you do today if you knew you had only a week to live?

I’d spend it making sure my family and friends know how much I love them. And I’d hold my baby granddaughter every minute!

Super power you'd love to borrow for awhile?

The ability to fly so I could zip out to see my daughter in Arizona once a week!

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

I can’t stand the whole political correctness thing. I live in a small town in the Midwest where we don’t hold to such nonsense. LOL I just recently learned the gal who brings my food isn’t a waitress but a food server, according to the politically correct. Hey, SHE calls herself a waitress in my small town. I mean, it’s just getting ridiculous!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Chia Saga Continues

To continue the saga of life changes and chia seed. (Kim read my comment on Tuesday's post for Chia info.) (And this is a really bad picture of my Wii Mii stretching while those around her sleep. Hee Hee.)

I mentioned that I was asked to help our physician's assistant with a healthy lifestyle "curriculum." And I was chosen because I have Word on my work station and happen to be there more often than the other gal who has it.

The PA brought loads of material, some books, magazines, doctor recommendations and website addresses to my desk and we condensed the information into the whats and whys of healthy choices.

Most of them are common sense no-brainers. I.E. most fast food = bad choice. Exercise, even simple walking, is good. The more good choices that are made the better for your overall health. Simple enough. Our average patient age is probably fifty. We have loads of Medicare and a nice mix of twenty-somethings. But since we are internal medicine we tend to attract those with more than one chronic condition and more adult type issues like Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension. Some of our patients carry both of these conditions and high cholesterol. And since all three are managed by medication, many are looking at five and six meds. It makes sense then to do what we can to encourage patients to drop ten or twenty pounds and make better choices. Many of the health woes can be treated with diet and exercise and people can then weed some meds out of their life. Win. Win.

So as the PA and I are digging, we get caught up in the whole nutrition and Mediterranean diet and low glycemic index foods lists and the fact that many conditions benefit from eating healthy fats, whole grains, rainbow colored veggies and fruit.

Having been aware of food and the bazillion diet options I had heard of both of these types of eating plans. But the problem for me was the switch over to healthy from junk. How does one completely change the way they shop, think and eat? And what will the rest of the family do when confronted with a lack of Ho-Ho's, soda, white bread and greasy pizza?

More later.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Serials and Scenarios ~ Colleen Coble's A Cry in the Night

Come back on Friday for a Q and A with Colleen.

Book Details:

The highly anticipated novel that delivers what romantic suspense fans have long awaited-the return to Rock Harbor.

Bree Nichols gets the shock of her life when her husband-presumed dead-reappears.

Bree Nichols and her search and rescue dog Samson discover a crying infant in the densely forested woods outside of Rock Harbor, Michigan. Against objections from her husband, Kade, who knows she'll become attached, Bree takes the baby in. Quickly she begins a search for the mother-presumably the woman reported missing just days earlier.

While teams scour the forests, Bree ferrets out clues about the missing woman. But she soon discovers something more shocking: Bree's former husband-long presumed dead in a plane crash-resurfaces. Is he really who he says he is? And should she trust him again after all these years?

An engaging, romantic suspense novel from critically-acclaimed author Colleen Coble.

If you would like to read the first chapter of , go HERE.

My Review:

Bree has moved on, or has she?

Now married to Kade, Bree has discovered that Davy doesn't quite need her like she needs him to. And her frustrating baby alarm is sounding loud and clear. Into that challenging stew Coble adds many edge of the seat moments with Windingos, strangers, murder and facts that don't quite add up.

Colleen Coble tells a great story, one that made an impression, since I remembered so much about Bree and Davy months, and countless books since reading about their struggles.

I did struggle with a few moments of disbelief that refused to be suspended. Fans of Coble and those who want closure to Bree Matthews first marriage will want to get their hands on a copy of Cry in the Night.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~ Slap Me if You Must

Somebody may need to stop me. I made another batch of chia muffins. This time they were chocolate/oatmeal, and again, delicious.

I'm not kidding.

They tasted like a blend of cake, brownie and protein bars. See picture. (Yes, I did find the camera. Ha. You thought you were off the hook.)

My chia obsession started in July. The physician's assistant asked me to help her come up with a healthy eating plan for our patients. I was the no-brainer choice. Why? Because I'm one of the only few who have Word on my work station and the only one who works every day. Yes. A high honor indeed.

While the PA and I discussed the requirements of a healthier life a longing bubbled up inside of me.

I swore off dieting years ago. Something happens to even the Princess of Pollyanna optimism when repeated failure slaps said optimist upside the head.

There is not enough room in a month of blog posts to detail the bizarre diets I've tried. And my kids reminisce with great relish about the Richard Simmon's Sweatin' to the Oldies video workout parties.

Even now I hesitate to share anything about the changes we've made in our family. Like if I say it out loud something inside my brain is going to switch back and I'm going to face another failure.

But now that I've outed myself about the chia obsession, I'm going to randomly share some other details. Because what I've discovered and the changes we've made have made our lives very interesting indeed.

I will be posting those muffin recipes. This one is nearly perfect but with the addition of the cocoa the texture changed and the muffin stuck a little too much to the paper. Having no clue what I'm actually doing here I'm going to have to experiment again.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~ Yes, Virginia, Chia Muffins Are Delicious

After the whole Chia lesson last Monday I'll bet you thought I
had moved on.

No such luck.

I must report that Chia muffins are delish.

I'd post a picture of said muffins but a) can't find the stupid camera b) they are all gone c) I'm going to make more so eventually you'll see one.

These little buggars were moist, tasty and nutrition packed.

Think old fashioned oatmeal, hardly any sugar or fat, whole grain flour blend, flax seed, bananas and nuts.

My Sunday school class was very excited. I asked if the muffins were good. I heard "not good. DELICIOUS." Did I mention that they are healthy? Fifth and sixth graders also love the unique characteristic of the gel blobs that get stuck in the teeth and swell up and make themselves known up to half an hour. Hey, for fiber and complex protein sources, you make exceptions. : )

Once I tweak the recipe a little more and make sure I've got good ingredient ratios and try it with other fruit etc I will post it for all of you chia lover wannabes.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Random Facts

Six Random Things About Me That Nobody Really Wants to Know.

According to this article anyway.

Oh Well. You've been warned.

1) I own a cat that thinks it's a small dog.

2) I don't get football. I live in Nebraska Cornhusker Country and I just don't get the game.

3) My kids are growing older at an alarming rate but I still feel eighteen.

4) I wrote a romance novel when my twenty-two-year-old was a baby. I typed it, edited it, revised it and threw it away. It was a spy romance set in Africa. I don't remember the plot. I do remember that it was b-a-d.

5) I teach fifth and sixth grade Sunday School. I have issues with following curriculum to the letter so we are being very creative. I do have a passion for them. I want to help them grow more fascinated with God instead of becoming inoculated against passion by spouting the top three Sunday School answers to get the questions right. In case you don't know the top three, here they are. 1) God 2) Jesus 3) Bible.

6) I really love my husband. Sometimes I'm amazed how much. Seriously, I think he's the greatest guy on the planet.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Scribble and Scrambles ~ Wordle

Toad Boy sent me a link to Wordle.

Here's what it did with my thoughts.

You might all be thrilled to note that Chia is clearly important to the Dregs. As is the word Ha.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Chia, I Told You!!!

So I had to do one of those meme things on Facebook.

My 25 Random Things About Me included:

"I found out that chia (as in Chia Pets) are edible seeds that are very good for you. I have to make Chia muffins for my Sunday School class on Sunday."

This little statement has already netted three comments. One was very serious and supportive...thanks, Erin...the others...well, let's just say they oozed sarcasm.

I quote:

"After you eat a chia muffin, does your hair grow better?"

"I want to know if after you eat the chia muffin you start to grow hair in unusual places - YOU DONT HAVE TO ANSWER THAT!! Ha!Ha!"

So Nora and Ane might I introduce you to the very serious nutritional powerhouse in a very tiny package. (This is also known as milking something for a complete waste of time blog post, and/or doing research you planned to do anyway and using it to fill an otherwise empty blog.)

Click on the pictures to be forwarded to the always enlightening Wikipedia pages.

And you do know that the next time I see you ladies I'll be packing chia muffins...right?