Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Vegan Food Fun

So this is fun. Isa Chandra Moskowitz has a new cookbook out. Isa Does It. She got to make a few videos this past summer to promote it. 

I've tasted these crazy Rosemary Chocolate Chip cookies twice. They are delicious and sweetly savory. Click this link to see the rest of her videos. Her sense of humor is dry and sarcastic. Pretty much my favorite. I also tried a version of her pumpkin ice cream, also featured. Also delicious. 

Since Isa currently lives in my neck of the woods and I get to see her periodically I told her I'd love to promote her video series. I also told her that I would tell the world that I'm being forcibly compelled to post it because otherwise I'm afraid I'll be cut off from all cool Vegan things in Omaha, forever and forever. So please, watch this video and tell your friends so I can play with the hip Vegan kids. K? 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Pinterest/Blog Inspired Pasta Meal in One Pot ~ Delicious

I saw this idea on Pinterest and pinned it. How easy and promising, right? But for some reason I didn't quite wrap my mind around it. I was picturing soggy pasta and not so much taste. Then I saw this recipe that was for a smaller portion size and I thought I needed to just do it. I had mushrooms that needed to be diced and cooked, and already diced onions, and everything else except fresh basil. 

I used vegetable broth and added about a cup of diced mushrooms and about two teaspoons of dried basil. I did have to simmer it longer so next time I might either decrease the liquid a bit or plan to simmer it longer. I simmered for twenty minutes instead of ten and it was not mushy or over-done. Win, win. I also will probably use half vegetable broth and half water instead of all vegetable broth next time. Delicious. And definitely easy. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Weekend Dronage...

I warned you that you'd be seeing him.  I love grumpy cat.

Over the weekend I accomplished quite a bit, none of it cleaning. We had a mini-conference at church that was cleansing. Best word for it.

I went to a book signing that ended up being a book reading for Isa's new book. Fun. She's so dry and so sarcastic. Needless to say her reading of her prologue with a side of extra sarcasm was hilarious. 
deadly butter chicken...yep that's why I'm Vegan.

Also, after I purchased Isa Does It and was carrying it around waiting for the signing to start I found a few contrast books. Isa Does It has some recipes that I will be trying. Expect a review sometime. Maybe not November because I will be writing instead of making meals for anyone. Not true. But. There will not be many memorable meals. Just sayin. Isa brought cookies from the book. Rosemary Chocolate Chip...yes. For reals. Very satisfying and bizarrely good. 

Then, my mom, daughter and I threw a costume party. Interesting turn of events as in last minute headaches, lateness issues, cars not starting. I had a great visit with my folks, enjoyed hanging with a few peeps, making pumpkin crafts and ate some good food. 

Sunday, instead of you see a common theme here? I refamiliarized myself with Out of the Frying Pan, KC, Fern, Zula and Flynn. And then I wrote a couple of scenes to really get a head start on the whole commitment to finishing this dang thing. Oddly. I'm really enjoying writing the scenes. Maybe I just needed a long break from writing. And I don't think writing is like if you don't touch it for years and years you don't remember a thing. Instead, I think the shorter writing and the reading I've been doing actually have been honing my skills a little. So far what I'm writing doesn't make me hurl. But, the month hasn't even begun. And I have thousands and thousands of words to write. So we'll see. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Announcing a Plan for November

So. Remember that novel I've been working on forever? You may not. It's been, oh, 18 months since I touched it. The last time I did I had promised Michelle, co-author, that I'd work every day in April of 2012 on the book. 

And I did. 

She has wondered a few times when the next focused energy might occur. 

In my "wisdom" I suggested that November, the month of novel writing all over the world, i.e. NaNoWriMo, might be the perfect month to do just that. 

And guess what. I promised. And bizarrely, November is just around the corner. 

I will be writing Fern and Flynn and solving a murder this next month. I will be bouncing off of Zula scenes and creating a bit of romance, too. Expect random. Who knows what kind of bits you'll get during NaNoWriMo. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Update...Living Room in Process Photos...

Recycled at least twice by me coffee table with my peacock feather/paisley abstract top....

Grand dog sitting for the month of October....

Ditto that.....

Weird effects...not sure why this pic turned out like this. But this is one mostly finished section of wall. The gold is an accurate shade pretty is not the yellow it looks like below. Yikes. The long wall will have a canvas with the words from Matthew about the birds of the air and the flowers of the field and that if we seek God we don't have to worry about the daily needs we have. 

My repainted super cheap white cabinet that the TV and DVD sit upon and in. It's got a need for a touch up. And I hate that the doors next to it look so yellow. YIKES. They are a rich shade of gold and the trim around it is going to be the turquoise of the TV cabinet and table top. The accent colors are all the colors on the table top and in a peacock feather. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Hump Day Laugh...My Style of Funny

So you know that it's involving someone getting hurt. :  ). Is this for reals? I'm not sure, but the longer it goes the realer it seems and the funnier it gets. So. Whatever it is, it got me through Hump Day with a smile. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ I Need Me a Hedgehog...

My aunts always gave me the best books for holidays. Unique and beautifully illustrated with quirky stories with enchanting characters. I suppose those books gave me the need for depth, beauty and humor in my definition of a good book. One of my favorite gifts was Miss Jaster's Garden. The 1972 version must have been the one I received and I couldn't remember the title until I just did the search. I adored the story of the poor little sprouted hedgehog and I loved the video of Kayak. Now. I want a hedgehog of my own. Sigh. I'm going to have to get a copy of the book so I can relive the best parts.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Serials and Scenarios ~ Rene Gutteridge's Greetings from the Flipside

I don't have a review because I just got the book on Saturday. It looks great. I'll post a review soon!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Greetings from the Flipside
B&H Books (October 15, 2013)
Rene Gutteridge


Rene is the author of seventeen novels. She also has extensive experience writing comedy sketches, and worked for five years as the director of drama for a church. She has a degree specializing in Screenwriting, for which she earned the Excellence in Mass Communication Award, and graduated magna cum laude.

She is married to Sean, a musician and worship leader, and has two children. They reside in Oklahoma, where Rene writes full time and enjoys instructing in college classrooms and writers conferences.


Hope Landon has been rewriting other people's greeting cards since she was six years old -- there's always a funnier caption. She's all set to chase those creative dreams with her musician fiance in New York City until he leaves Hope at the altar, deciding he must not really love this girl if he can't write a song for her. That may give her something to write about . . .

Hope disappears alone on what was supposed to be the couple's month long honeymoon. Upon returning she learns of her funeral -- everyone in her life concluded Hope must have killed herself after being jilted. Needing a fresh start more than ever, she heads for the Big Apple only to discover it's not that easy to rent a place when you've been declared dead.

Taking shelter at the YWCA, Hope soon lands a job at a Christian inspirational greeting card company as an assistant to Jake, a guy who shut down his organization's humor department. She has lost her faith in love; he needs to find something or someone that will make him laugh.

Is there anything in the cards for these two? Find out in the truly original Greetings from the Flipside by authors Rene Gutteridge (Boo) and Cheryl McKay (screenplay for The Ultimate Gift).

If you would like to read the first chapter of >Greetings from the Flipside, go HERE.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Earth Balance Aged White Cheddar Popcorn Review

One of my favorite all-time, so-bad-for-me but I loved it, snack was cheese popcorn. I rarely bought it because I was like the Coneheads at Subway with it. As in inhale the stuff. It was crack in a bag for me. If it had cost more than $3.00 or so a fix, who knows what I would have done if I needed me some. So. In case you didn't pick up on that, I really, really liked cheese popcorn. 

Then came Vegan. And pretty much the end of cheese anything. No more cheesy nacho tortilla chips, etc. etc. 

NO MORE CHEESE POPCORN! yeah. So I tried to satisfy that itch on occasion with nutritional yeast sprinkled over freshly popped corn. Delicious in it's own way, but not the bagged cheese popcorn mouth party. 

Yesterday, while doing massive amounts of grocery shopping, after I got overwhelmed with the vast amount of activity in my week and ditched a violin lesson and Bible study, I found Earth Balance aged white cheddar popcorn on Whole Foods shelves. It was on the highest shelf, just out of my reach, and I never would have seen it if it hadn't called out to me. "Look up!" it said. I asked for help in retrieving it and hoped that what I wanted in to be in there truly was. 

Oh yeah. It is. That crunchy squeaky mouth feel that only bagged popcorn has. And the taste. Oh my. Powdery, but not so much it coats your fingers, cheesy, sharp, savory, deliciousness. I won't ever have to feel shame at succumbing to the vivid orange, greasy, dairy infested cheese popcorn that the rest of the world has to offer ever again. Nor will I have to deal with the digestive distress. Also, this product is made without GMOs, and with the fiber it's nearly a health food. :  ). Thank you, Earth Balance. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Monday Musings...

Expect some light blogging this week. I have three recipes to create, a house to clean, an article to write, a few pieces of furniture to cover with polyurethane, a Bible study lesson to attend, a violin lesson to suffer through, and the day job to work before Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. 

But. I'll get it all done or shove things in closets to hide them as necessary. 

My weekend included some great fun. &'s birthday was spent doing random activities involving coffee and food, and random acts of kindness. Sunday my mom, sister-in-law and & went to a women's event at our local conference center. Outside the conference center we spied the tiniest and cutest oak tree full of acorns. So cute. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles... uhhhh

You'll be glad there are no pictures.  Today I spent the majority of the day with my fabulous kid on her birthday.  She set a goal to do 27 different random acts of kindness!  Huge cool blessing!  During one trip to and fro we encountered a woman looking for lids to some 5 gallon buckets she wanted to purchase. She had on a uniform. But we didn't really pay attention. She exited right after us and got into a police van. & said "that's gotta be a crime scene van wonder what the buckets are for." Then we recalled seeing two police vans by the interstate. 

I checked my email later and had a breaking news report that human remains had been found in a drainage ditch by the interstate!  I think we know what the buckets were for! Glad they found lids!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ What's for Dinner?

 Sometimes nothing sounds good for dinner. Honestly, I would probably be content with popcorn or oatmeal most of the time. Or standing at the sink and eating a tomato like an apple and letting the juice run down my arm. Or hummus smeared on something. Yeah. But when you know you have to put some effort in to make someone else satisfied, well, that's where I gotta think things through. 

We still have tomatoes, and a few cucumbers, thanks to our crazy weather. Not all of them are beauties, but we still have some to pick and eat. So chopped cucumber and tomatoes with balsamic vinegar. Yum. 

Since trying the Harmony Valley dehydrated "hamburger" last week, I've been wondering if the sausage was any good. Wonder no more. I added the water, let it sit and fried it up in a pan sprayed lightly with coconut oil. Then I crumbled a few patties over crescent roll triangles, rolled em up and baked them as per the package. Okay. We were hungry. But darn, they were good. 

Harmony Valley dehydrated sausage? Yep. Going to be ordering that again. I'm thinking overnight breakfast casserole, shredded potatoes, some chunks of bread, a tofu "egg" base, non-dairy cheese or "cheese" sauce, onions and Harmony Valley sausage. Going to have to get to work on this very soon. 

Monday, October 07, 2013

Serials and Scenarios ~ Brandilyn Collins's Dark Justice ~ Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dark Justice
B&H Books (October 1, 2013)
Brandilyn Collins


Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline "Don't forget to b r e a t h e . . ."® Brandilyn's first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows. Brandilyn's awards for her novels include the ACFW Carol Award (three times), Inspirational Readers' Choice, and Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice.

Brandilyn is also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons). The Writer magazine named Getting into Character one of the best books on writing published in 2002.

When she's not writing, Brandilyn can be found teaching the craft of fiction at writers' conferences.


If I’d had any idea what those words would mean to me, to my mother and daughter, I’d have fled California without looking back.

While driving a rural road, Hannah Shire and her aging mother, who suffers from dementia, stop to help a man at the scene of a car accident. The man whispers mysterious words in Hannah’s ear. Soon people want to kill Hannah and her mother for what they “know.” Even law enforcement may be involved.

The two women must flee for their lives. But how does Hannah hide her confused mother? Carol just wants to listen to her pop music, wear her favorite purple hat, and go home. And if they turn to Hannah’s twentyseven- year-old daughter, Emily, for help, will she fall into danger as well?

Pressed on all sides, Hannah must keep all three generations of women in her family alive. Only then does she learn the threat is not just to her loved ones, but the entire country . . .

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Dark Justice, HERE.

MY REVIEW: Brandilyn Collins's Dark Justice is a whiplash read. From the first page Collins begins building tension as the reader is introduced to the main character, Hannah, and her mother who is fading into dementia. The opening pages are a mere shadow of Hannah's trials. As Hannah and her mom head for home after a relaxing weekend away, trying to forget that the future holds a lot of confusion and sadness, they happen upon a wreck. A whispered request from the wounded man turns their lives upside down and inside out as they are put into a cat and mouse game that will require every ounce of Hannah's strength and courage. When Hannah's daughter Emily gets involved the stakes zing higher. And the body count grows. The resolution offers a peek into an uncomfortable place for anyone concerned about the reality of terrorism or our dependence on anything outside of God. This is a terrific edge of seat read that may cause the reader to lose some sleep. Collins has loaded the novel with realistic characters who are facing the things that many face on a daily basis, and a compelling and comforting message.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Harvest Chicken Salad

Harvest Chicken Salad

3/4 Cup diced chicken replacement (I used Beyond Meat)
1/2 finely chopped medium onion
2 stalks finely chopped celery
1/2 chopped med to large apple (I used a Gala)
1/2 Cup chopped pecans

2 1/2 TBSP vegan cream cheese 
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 1/2 TBSP tahini (or almond butter) 
salt to taste

Mix together and serve on toast, bread, buns, crackers, stuff in peppers or tomatoes or your mouth. 

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Meatball Soup and Harmony Valley Vegetarian Hamburger Mix Review...

Why on earth would I make soup on a humid 82 degree October day? Because it seemed easier than coming up with something requiring a bit more creativity. 
I was apparently online shopping while hungry a few months ago. And Spencer's Market (a vegan mecca) was offering free shipping if I spent $50.00. So, being the kind of bargain hunter that I am, when what I really wanted was some of their delicious looking vegan candy, and had emotionally spent $15.00 on candy to share with my honey, I only needed to spend $35.00 more to score free shipping. That's when I found this.  Now, part of me, in my crazed shopping mindset thought that a dehydrated bag of hamburger was going to be somewhat disappointing. But. I bought two and two of their sausage mixes, too. I mean, at $5.00 a bag they would work as expensive dog treats if fails, right? 

Tonight was the night to use one of these bad boys up. And, dang, I think I'm kind of a fan. (On a side note, the dogs were very interested and were completely willing to lick the bowl, clean off my hand and pick up the stray morsels that occasionally hit the they would be a-okay with this as a dog treat, but that's not happening.) 

It's a textured dry powder. You add a cup and 1/4 (I think) of cold water, stir and let hang out in the fridge for awhile. I preheated the oven to 375 and then, when the burger mix was ready, I rolled it into meatballs and baked them for 23 minutes. Easy Peasy. The raw texture was pretty burger like, almost freakishly so. And they tasted good right out of the oven without any sauce. Not exactly super burgery, but really close,  Of note, I never ate hamburger that wasn't smothered in sauce or mustard when I was a meat eater, so I'm not sure I'm the best judge of that. Also, of note, a vegan meatball that mushes in the mouth is nasty. I want something that bites back a little, that gives some texture. A vegan burger that, when you bite, burger oozes out the bun...ugh, ick. And these meatballs, they had some nice texture. Next time, I will spray the pan a bit because I didn't and they stuck a little.

Here was the acid test for me and the meatball. A soup. Hmmm. Would they disintegrate? 

Meatball Soup (serves 2 to 3 depending on sides and appetites)

6 Cups vegetable broth
1/2 large small dice onion
3 stalks small dice celery
3 medium to large potatoes medium dice
salt and pepper to taste
15-20 vegan meatballs

Seriously. Simple. I put all the veggies in the veggie broth and cooked until the potatoes were almost tender (20 minutes or so) while my meatballs were baking. Then I tossed the meatballs in the soup and finished cooking it for 15 minutes or so until all the veggies were super tender. 

The meatballs did not simmer apart, fully intact meatballs. And the soup tasted really good. Rob even said it was amazing and that he thought he could fool some meat-lovers with it. And he's a pretty tough customer to win over with a meat substitute. So. Even though the hamburger mix is processed and a cheater meal, I'm going to have a few on hand. Because sometimes you don't want to reinvent the wheel and dirty the food processor, sometimes you just want to eat some satisfying simple food. And that's exactly what you get with this one. 

I'll let you know when I make the sausage. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Redecorating Fun

I didn't have chest x-rays at work scheduled today. And my living room redecorating project has been calling my name the past few weeks. So I took a day off to answer the call. I've been painting away all day. The living room color scheme is the top picture. The turquoise is the accent color. The walls are doneish---Rob has to do the upper edging because my skillz with dark paint next to white ceiling is not so great. 

I plan to use peacock colors as decorating accents. Today, I got a good start on my coffee table, which is being repurposed a second time, and a cute bird plaque I got at a thrift store that was plain wood with a pink bird. The table is going to be various peacocky paisley designs in dark brown, turquoise, dark blue, light blue, gold and silver. So far it's pretty coolish. 

I'll post pictures when I get the room together.