Tag: Reviews

26
Jun

Friday Favorites: Wrapping Up June

This week has been bursting with gorgeous summer weather and beautiful sunshine. I have to admit: summer used to be my least favorite time of the year. I just don’t like being hot, and summers in Southeast Wisconsin are hot, sticky, and humid. Living in northern Minnesota, however, you learn to appreciate warmth. Honestly, you learn to appreciate positive temperatures–however short a time they last. Up here, the summer temperature hangs around the upper seventies and the daylight stretches past 10pm. I’ve been reveling in the sunshine–and so has my garden! Besides the lovely weather, here are a few other things that have made my Friday Favorites list this week!

Thai Crunch Salad

Recipe adapted and picture from Once Upon a Chef

Warm weather makes me crave refreshing foods and cool, fresh produce. This Thai Crunch Salad recipe combines a whole bunch of power veggies with a kickin’ peanut sauce. The result is an amazing salad you can’t stop eating–and one that so good for you that you don’t have to!

The original recipe called for Napa cabbage, but I just substituted with whatever I had on hand. Here’s what I tossed into my salad–mix and match with whatever you have and start munching!

For the Salad

1 green cabbage, diced

1 cucumber, sliced thin

6-7 carrots, diced

A bunch of chives (from my CSA), chopped

1 bell pepper, diced

For protein, I also added Ginger-Sesame baked tofu (recipe from Thug Kitchen cookbook)

For the Thai Peanut Dressing

1/4 cup peanut butter

2 Tablespoons rice vinegar (I had white wine vinegar, so that’s what I used and it worked just fine)

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, from one lime

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce (I use tamari)

4 Tablespoons honey

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1-inch square piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon salt

A bunch of fresh cilantro (half for the sauce, half to sprinkle on top of the salad)

Blend all ingredients for the dressing in a blender. Then, chop all the veggies. Pour the dressing over the veggies. Add tofu or other protein, if desired. DEVOUR! 🙂

Next Stop: Book World in Baxter!

Book World, here I come!

The Seven Stones Book Tour’s next stop is at Book World in Baxter. I’ll be signing books from 11-2pm on Saturday, and am just so excited! I LOVE touring with my book. It is literally a dream come true and part of me still doesn’t believe it’s real, even though I’ve been at a different book store every weekend in June!

July is going to be even BUSIER! After a short break for the 4th of July holiday, I’ll be traveling almost non-stop. Here’s what’s going on in July:

Thanks to Krista at Blue Cottage Agency for making it happen! I hope to see you all at my author events. 🙂

Reader Photos!

Thanks for taking me on vacation, Jenn!

Thanks for taking Seven Stones on vacation, Jenn!

People have been uploading pictures of their copies of Seven Stones to social media! THANK YOU! I love getting these pictures and messages about how much you are enjoying my story. Social media is a wonderful way to get people interested in and talking about Seven Stones. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the pictures, comments, and reviews that have been posted! Want to tell people what you think of Seven Stones? Go to Goodreads, Amazon, or LibraryThing to post your review! I’ll also copy your review on my website for the world to see. You’ll be famous. 🙂

Love it!!!

Love it!!!

Book of the Week: Anne of Avonlea

I did not grow up reading Anne of Green Gables like so many other little girls. I was too busy reading all the Star Wars and Dear America books I could get my grubby mitts on, and I scoffed at poor Anne.

I only picked up a copy for the book club I was leading last year–and instantly fell in love. Anne Shirley is the type of girl I would have loved to be friends with. She is feisty, smart, and has the same luck for getting into trouble that I do. I’ve been hesitant to read the sequels because I figured nothing could compare with Green Gables. So far, Anne of Avonlea has delivered in the same delightful ways the first novel did. If you’ve never picked up one of L.M. Montgomery’s classic books, I highly recommend doing so! Anne is a perfect summertime read.

Word Count

784 words this week. What a stinker. After being sick last week, I found myself running around like crazy trying to do all sorts of catch-up work. When I finally had down time, I was flighty and distracted. I have the ideas in my head, I just couldn’t tackle them on the page this week. My goal for next week remains the same: I WILL hit 3,000 words.

Happy Friday!

24
Apr

Friday Favorites!

On Monday night, a winter storm rolled in that dumped a few inches of snow on us all of Tuesday. Today, the snow has mostly melted and on Saturday, the high will be back up to 60 degrees. Who knows what will happen next week! After living in northern Minnesota for almost four years, nothing surprises me anymore (at least not weatherwise). That’s why I’ve been determined to bring spring onto my plate, even though it’s felt like winter for most of the week. I’ve been experimenting with a lot of spring inspired foods, in the hopes that Mother Nature will get the hint and turn up the heat. If nothing else, Shane and I have been happily munching on fresh treats and a few surprising dishes that may sound adventurous but are truly delicious.

In addition to the good food we’ve been making, there have been exciting updates to the world of books! So, without further adieu: FRIDAY FAVORITES!

 

Review Page!

Book 3

As an author, reviews are my best friends. I love them more than watermelon, chocolate, or tea. Yes, I love reviews THAT much. Why? Because reviews help spread Seven Stones to a bigger audience and makes people feel like buying an indie book by a new author isn’t such a big risk after all. Also, the more reviews an item has on a database like Amazon or Goodreads, the easier it is to find it in a Google search. So, by writing a review, you are making my book more visible. THE POWER IS YOURS!

As of this week, my fabulous web designer, Luke, created a Review Page right on my website. And as essential as professional reviews are for a novel, reader reviews are equally important. If you’ve read the book and post a review to Amazon, Goodreads, or LibraryThing, I’ll put your post on my website as well. You’ll be super famous! And I’ll love you forever. 🙂

 

Creamy Asparagus Noodles–With a Secret Ingredient!

It’s no secret that I love to experiment with tasty, healthy foods. Being creative in the kitchen and working with my hands inspires my writing, so that’s why you see so many recipes on my blog. Plus, I love eating.

The recipe I’m sharing became my favorite meal of the week because of it’s taste, ease of preparation, and nutrition. Now, I’m not usually one for cream based sauces–they leave me feeling weighed down and kind of gross–but when I saw the main ingredient in this dish, I was intrigued. What is this oh-so-secret base for the noodle sauce? Cauliflower. You heard me right: CAULIFLOWER.

At this point, you’re probably giving me the same look that Shane did when I announced my experiment of the week. But, since he’s a good sport and really willing to try anything at this point, he helped me throw it together for lunch on Thursday. The prep is super easy–the bulk of the work is just chopping up an onion, garlic, and a head of cauliflower. You boil the veggies until tender, then puree them with lemon juice until they die and go to velvety heaven.

If you are skeptical or questioning my sanity at this point, there are a few things you should know:

1) Until this year, I hated cauliflower. It was the one veggie I couldn’t stand to eat. Since experimenting with different methods of cooking it, however, I’ve realized I didn’t hate cauliflower. I just hadn’t discovered how I liked it prepared.

2) Shane, a true meat-eater at heart and not as big of an eating weirdo as I am, DEVOURED his bowl and said it was one of the best noodle dishes he’s ever had.

So, if you are feeling adventurous, here’s a fresh spring recipe from Detoxinista.com that will leave your tastebuds–and body–happy!

*Note: if you don’t have asparagus in your area, this recipe is just as good without*

Creamy Cauliflower Noodles with Fresh Asparagus

Ingredients: 

1 teaspoons coconut oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped

Enough water to cover the cauliflower

1/3 cup milk

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pound shell noodles (or any other kinds of noodles, really. The sky’s the limit!)

crushed handful of oregano, basil, or Italian seasoning (optional)

Directions:

Prepare the pasta according to the package directions and set aside.

To prepare the creamy lemon sauce, melt 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in large pot over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant  and softened. Add in the cauliflower and enough water to cover, and bring it to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat let simmer about 10 to 15 minutes.

Once the cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork, transfer the contents of the pot to a blender (including the liquid) and add in the milk, lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper, and seasonings, to taste. Carefully blend the sauce until silky smooth.

In the same large pot, melt the other teaspoon of coconut oil over medium heat and sauté the onion for 5 minutes. Add in the asparagus, and continue sautéing until tender, about 8-10 more minutes. Add in the cooked pasta and pour the creamy cauliflower sauce into the pot, stirring well to combine. Season the pasta with additional salt and pepper, if needed, and serve warm!

 

Book of the Week: Princesses Behaving Badly

I’m not usually one for nonfiction unless it gives me a good story. This book hooked me from the very title, and has been delivering stories of intriguing, backstabbing, murderous, cunning, kind, brave, and adventurous women throughout history. Unlike the Disney version of princesses, these are real women who use their status to gain power, wage war, or shirk it to become pirates (which happens to a few!). It’s been a butt-kicking, action-packed read that I’ve been devouring all week. The stories are broken down into fascinating narrations and are bite-sized enough to keep you reading way past your bedtime.

Have an adventurous weekend! Happy Friday!