Thanksgiving in July

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I’ve already heard it; “you’re crazy, cooking all that stuff in the middle of summer,” but for some reason I’ve been dreaming about turkey (not so much the turkey, but the mashed potatoes…yummm :) ) and stuffing for the last couple weeks, so I thought I’d just do it. However, I lightened everything up for a “summer” makeover, including this awesome gluten free dressing with fresh herbs.

Gluten Free Stuffing with Fresh Summer Herbs

1 bag gluten free stuffing mix
8 oz chopped mushrooms
fresh sage, finely chopped (about 5-6 leaves)
fresh thyme, finely chopped (about 4 sprigs)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 large green onions, chopped
8-10 large kale leaves, finely chopped (spinach or chard would work well)
1/4 c salted butter (or a vegan alternative)
1 can chicken broth (or veggie broth)
2 eggs (or egg alternative for binding since gf bread doesn’t have the protein “glue” to make it stick together as well as regular bread)

Saute the onions, celery and kale in butter. Once softened, add the mushrooms and cook over medium until soft. Add fresh herbs and saute for about 3 more minutes. Then, transfer to a large bowl to cool to lukewarm. Add 2 eggs and broth, mix up and season with salt and pepper. Pour into greased baking dish and cook at 350 for 30 minutes.

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hot buttered what?

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Good morning and happy Sunday everyone! I’m playing hookey from church and made a pin from Pinterest…I’m sure you’ve all seen it by now; Hot Buttered Cheerios.
I must say, I’m not quite as impressed as I thought I’d be, especially with all the hype! Yes, anything that is sautéed in butter is usually good, but honestly, it just didn’t knock my socks off. Even with my addition of 2 teaspoons of coconut sugar, because I was looking for a sweet crunch for breakfast.

Not my most creative moment in the kitchen but I’m glad I at least tried it. Then again, maybe because I’m not a huge cheerios fan, that would have something to do with it. :)

Hot Buttered Cheerios

2 cups cheerios
2 tb butter
2 ts sugar (optional) or sprinkle salt

Melt butter in the pan, throw the cheerios in, sauté until very slightly browned and sprinkle with sugar.

Have a great day!20140720_071503

a great summer read!

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The time has come, my dear fans, book lovers and readers!

Nowhere But Here, a “park your butt in the hammock, have a glass of pinot noir at hand and settle in” kind of book by my darling friend and accomplished author, Renee Carlino, is now available in paperback! I’m so excited for her and could not be more pleased to hear that this book is already flying off the shelves. So, before you hit the roads for your summer vaca or fill up the inflatable pool for your “stay-cay”, go out and grab a copy.

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Thank you to the lovely people at Simon and Schuster for asking me to be a part of the book blog tour. I must say, I’ve missed blogging the last couple weeks and I’m feeling energized to be writing again, so thank you! Now that we’re settling in to our new “old” house in New Jersey, I hope I can share some of what I’ve been up to in the coming days, so come back…often. :)

Now, here is a synopsis that SHOULD make every one of you want to run out and buy it.

“A jaded Chicago reporter in her twenties unexpectedly finds love in Napa Valley when she’s assigned to spend a week with a famously reclusive genius in this rich and deeply satisfying contemporary romance by the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing.

Kate Corbin has lost her spark. A year ago, she had a handsome boyfriend and a budding career as a reporter at a popular Chicago newspaper. But after the woman who raised her passed away, leaving her lost and alone, she fell into a rut—and never got out. Now she’s stuck writing fluff pieces about lipstick and wine, and feeling trapped in a relationship that’s going nowhere.

Trusting that the hungry, ace reporter is buried somewhere deep inside, Kate’s boss and mentor gives her the opportunity to jump-start her career. The assignment: spend a week interviewing R. J. Lawson, a famously reclusive tech genius who disappeared years ago but recently reemerged as the owner of a well-respected Napa Valley winery.

Kate jumps at the chance, but the trip begins in disaster, both personally and professionally. After alienating R.J., her only saving grace is Jamie, a charming vineyard hand who shows her the beauty of wine country—and stirs her aching heart. It doesn’t take long for Kate and Jamie to fall hard, and for Kate to rethink her life in the city. But the week ends with a heartbreaking journey back to Chicago that sends Kate reeling, wondering what went wrong in those four perfect days.”

I’m honored to have been asked by this world-renowned publisher to be a part of the buzz and hype for Renee. It’s amazing and exciting and I certainly can’t wait to see just how far my talented friend and author will go! Hugs!!!

Nowhere But Here by Renee Carlino

Atria Books

Paperback: Atria Books | 320 pages | ISBN 9781476763965 | $15.00 | July 8, 2014

eBook: Atria Books | 320 pages | ISBN: 9781476763972 | $3.99 | May 5, 2014

Order the paperback

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
IndieBound

Order the eBook
Amazon
Apple
Barnes & Noble
Blio
Books-a-Million
Google

And to learn more about this up and coming author, visit her website: http://reneecarlino.com/

Happy chocolate 4th of July!

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It’s been a long time since I blogged and even longer since I’ve had a day off by myself. Unfortunately, you will see today what happens when I’m home alone…:) Instead of doing mounds of wash and scrubbing toilets, (bla bla bla) I opted for creating an unbelievable recipe today. I’m sorry it’s nothing with stars and stripes for the holiday, but it’s raining out and I feel like curling up with, well, a bowl of ganache brownie batter dip! I made this as a serving for 1 so there wouldn’t be leftovers. Ha! Like there’d be leftovers! Dark Chocolate Ganache Brownie Batter Dip 2 Tb dark chocolate chips 2 tb butter 1.5 tb cream cheese 1 ts cocoa powder (optional) 1 ts raw sugar or powdered sugar would be better for mixing but I like the raw flavor better! Heat chips, cocoa powder, the extra sugar if you desire and cream cheese just until melted. Then remove from heat and add butter. Mix well. Enjoy warm or refrigerate, although I didn’t try it cold. And if you’re wondering if that’s coffee in the background of the photos, why no. It’s not. It’s fresh, ground, roasted cacao. Like I needed more chocolate. ;) 20140704_100352 20140704_100545

Raw sunflower falafel

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Happy Thursday! I am so excited to share this recipe with you that my sister and I made while starting the ever-daunting pre-juice fast diet. (If you haven’t done a juice fast before, this is where you will gradually move into a vegan and less processed diet a few days prior, so the juice cleanse isn’t quite as much of a shock to your system). Yes, we made it; did a fantastic 3 day juice fast and are still enjoying the benefits a week later. Little things like a clear head, less headaches (for me anyway), more energy and of course, a slimmer waistline.

But I digress. This recipe is perfect for vegans and carnivores alike. It’s full of nutrients and protein. Light enough for a summer meal when added to salad or hearty enough to get you through a long afternoon.

Here is the original recipe and it couldn’t be easier! http://goneraw.com/recipe/falafel-balls-no-dehydrator-needed

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Mary’s Flowers

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It’s been a long time and I apologize for not writing regularly. I just haven’t had the “heart” for it lately. It’s been over two months that we’ve been in our new (old) house, but it seems like forever. And yet, I still haven’t dug out my craft supplies.
As I mentioned before, the woman who owned the house before us was a neatnik and she left a lot of treasures. Some of them were various pots of fake flowers. Now I’m more of a real flower gal, but I just couldn’t throw all the things she loved and cared for so much, away. So, I created this wreath out of some of them as a memento or “ode” to her if you will.

Here is Mary’s wreath.

I re-used my Easter wreath from last year; disassembled it and re-assembled with some of her flowers for a lovely, spring/summer wreath for our front door.

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Old wreath

Old wreath

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365 Days To Unstuck is in a book blog tour!

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Did you hear that? That’s me; sighing heavily, as I finish off this dreamy book. Mentally, I’m still floating around over the luscious Napa Valley in California, with pinot noir-filled thoughts and two incredibly hot main characters hanging around in my consciousness.

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I am completely honored and elated to be a part of my friend and author, Renee Carlino’s, book release blog tour. Now don’t tell anyone (ssshhhh!!!) but I’m not a book blogger. I’m just a creative gal, looking for ways to make my mark on this world with fire engine red hair, a passion for God’s green earth and a job list longer than the Duck Dynasty guys’ beards.

A quick note for my usual readers; mom, dad, Uncle Phil, maybe a couple friends bored enough to read my blog…close your eyes ’cause this girl is first and foremost a woman, and I intend to share every racy moment of this book with you. Well not really, but you will get a taste in the synopsis below. :) But seriously, I really loved this book. Not only is it oozing with sensuality and picturesque Napa Valley descriptions, but it will leave you buckling at the knees and reaching for kleenex over this totally hottie McTottie couple. Hhhmmm…I wonder if my husband can come home for lunch…good lord, I need a fan or a whiskey on the rocks…

Renee has blossomed before my eyes in this book. Not only has she shown some incredible talent for making you fall in love with a character, but the development of the story, twists and turns and all, show the mark of a budding pro. I loved loved loved this book and keep pinching myself, asking, “is this the sweet gal that I used to swap weekend beach bar stories over lunch in the breakroom with? I am so proud of her and especially in awe of her God-given talent. With each book she writes, she inspires me to dig down just a little deeper to find my “thing”. Who knows what’s lurking inside each one of us; that “thing” we’re created to do, unless we take the chance, run after, chase it down and don’t stop until it waves a white flag.

Now, here is a synopsis that SHOULD make every one of you; mom, dad, Uncle Phil, want to run out and buy it.

“A jaded Chicago reporter in her twenties unexpectedly finds love in Napa Valley when she’s assigned to spend a week with a famously reclusive genius in this rich and deeply satisfying contemporary romance by the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing.

Kate Corbin has lost her spark. A year ago, she had a handsome boyfriend and a budding career as a reporter at a popular Chicago newspaper. But after the woman who raised her passed away, leaving her lost and alone, she fell into a rut—and never got out. Now she’s stuck writing fluff pieces about lipstick and wine, and feeling trapped in a relationship that’s going nowhere.

Trusting that the hungry, ace reporter is buried somewhere deep inside, Kate’s boss and mentor gives her the opportunity to jump-start her career. The assignment: spend a week interviewing R. J. Lawson, a famously reclusive tech genius who disappeared years ago but recently reemerged as the owner of a well-respected Napa Valley winery.

Kate jumps at the chance, but the trip begins in disaster, both personally and professionally. After alienating R.J., her only saving grace is Jamie, a charming vineyard hand who shows her the beauty of wine country—and stirs her aching heart. It doesn’t take long for Kate and Jamie to fall hard, and for Kate to rethink her life in the city. But the week ends with a heartbreaking journey back to Chicago that sends Kate reeling, wondering what went wrong in those four perfect days.”

So, there you have it. Now that I’ve wiped the drool off my computer screen, I’m ready for Renee to write another one. :) And don’t tell Nora Roberts, but Renee Carlino has just surpassed her on my Goodreads bookshelves as my fave author. Love ya, girl!

To purchase the e-book, click one of these links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1jVtIjT

Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/1gExKrH

B&N: http://bit.ly/1m5PyRx

Indie Bound: http://bit.ly/1h8V05T

For the book purists, the paperback will be available July 8, 2014.

And to learn more about this up and coming author, visit her website: http://reneecarlino.com/