Proper Nana Puddin’ with Bonus Elvis Style Twist

So those of you who follow my Twitter and Facebook [see the sidebar] know I’d been yapping about proper old school banana pudding. When I say proper and old school, I mean basically one thing: no damn pudding mix.

banana pudding nutter butter

Nutter Butter Nana Puddin’ like the good lord (Elvis) intended

Look. Shortcuts exist for good reasons.  You want to make pudding fast? Knock your socks off! Goodness knows I’ve used shortcuts in my kitchen. But you know what I don’t  do?  Say my recipe is “homemade” or “old school” if I used a pudding mix. Charlene, my sassy-ass grandmother who didn’t put up with nonsense unless it was from her own mouth, did not make her Nana Pudding with Jell-O pudding mix.  Not company pudding, any way.

[Dibs on new band name: Company Pudding]

And neither will I.

I had a mighty need recently for my Nana’s Nana Pudding and finally found her original recipe, the one that used to be on the box of Nilla Wafers, like back in the 1940s.  CLICK ON FOR THE RECIPE! Continue reading

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Psst! Ever wonder how you can read new book releases for free?

Look, books are expensive. I appreciate every one of you who buys my book in either print or eBook format, but I also get that it’s not cheap. And you’re probably a lot like me: a voracious reader. That habit adds up. So what do you do? Okay, there’s this place you can go and find new releases like, on the day they come out, and you won’t have to pay a freaking dime*.

THE LIBRARY.

WAIT. HEAR ME OUT.

Yeah, yeah, that seems obvious, but a lot of times your library doesn’t have genre fiction, especially if it’ a subgenre or from an Indie press like my publisher, @interludepress. So what now?

LIBRARIES LOVE TO BUY BOOKS. Here’s what happens when you ask your very excited librarian if they can get a copy of a particular book for the branch:

  • They go in the back room and hit the WE GOT ONE! buzzer, and all available librarians put on their party cardigans and do a choreographed dance number to I’M SO EXCITED
  • The winner of the dance off gets to approach the branch supervisor with proof that patrons want new books, DIVERSE BOOKS at that!
  • which, GEORGE (all crappy supervisors are named George. I don’t make the rules here, I just state them), is why you can’t reallocate the new book funds for a bigger parking space for yourself
  • they get all the relevant information (ISBN numbers basically) and put in an acquisition order and send that off
  • the books arrive at the library shortly after
  • the librarians breakdance in their pink satin jackets (yes, the men are wearing them too, because duh, they’re fabulous with appliqued glasses and hot pink lips on the back) and update the branch’s database with NEW BOOKS ARE HERE COME ON AND READ THEM
  • and now you and anyone else who comes into the library has a chance to read a new book

AND IT’S FREE FOR YOU, THE PATRON. The best scenario possible, really.

And who are you to deprive these book warriors their dance offs, huh? Why don’t you stop being selfish and think of the librarians? THEY WORK HARD.

library librarians books LGBT

FUN FACT: a lot of libraries have ONLINE REQUEST FORMS for people, if you might be a little adverse to going out in public and speaking directly to a person. I get it! It’s nerve wracking! So how cool is THAT? Trick question. Very.

(World Cat is the catalog for books in libraries, and you can see if YOUR library has the books you want.) Make a librarian’s day! (Janice won the last dance off, and your favorite librarian would just LOVE to make her eat it. The delicious treats she found on Pinterest, of course, and thoughtfully brought in to share with her fellow employees.)

*no dimes involved unless you don’t bring the book back on time.

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Free For All Friday – Nachos

I was horribly offended (horribly!) by a recent “here were the best nachos of 2014!” on a food blog because a) they weren’t nachos and b) THEY WERE BARELY EVEN FOOD. Look, be vegan if that floats your boat–it’s between you and your lord. But vegan cheese is a corruption of nature, we all know it, you know it, I know it, the good people of this world know it.

I’m not even going to start on the one with tater tots instead of chips.

Me, doing my best "Jen from Appleton"

Me, doing my best “Jen from Appleton” when I saw the tater-tot horror.

We will leave those fools and their abominations, since they deserve each other. But you and I? Come. Let me show you the beautiful simplicity of… the nacho.  Continue reading

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USA Today likes me. They really like me!

Okay, I have no idea if they– as an entity–like me, but I do know that they like my book!

From here:

Thrilled and enthralled that describes my reaction to reading this wonderful debut novel by Laura Stone. Seth and Oliver are high school sweethearts separated by time and distance. In the five years since they were last together, Seth has gone on to become the darling of the New York stage and appeared on a national morning TV show. After seeing his appearance on TV, Oliver decides to go see Seth in his play and just … watch. He isn’t going to talk to Seth, just enjoy his friend’s success from a seat in the theater.

Fate has a different plan, and it leads to bit-by-bit heartbreak as Oliver is torn apart by past anguish and misery of what might have been. Just when you are tearing up over the turn of the story, something happens to bring a smile to your face and a bit of sunshine to the book. I couldn’t put it down. Characters who appear at first to be formulaic turn out to be unique and special. A plot of lost love reunited is instead so much more. The characters are richly developed, even the secondary characters. I’m hoping to see another book that gives them their own stage and story development.

By the time the book ended I was in love with the characters to the point I couldn’t let them go. As many romance novels as I read, it surprised me that I couldn’t predict the conclusion of the story of Seth and Oliver. It was difficult to pick up another book knowing Seth, Oliver, Moira and the others wouldn’t be there. My own life was enriched by this story and these characters. Laura Stone is an author to remember and follow. I highly recommend The Bones of You as a beautifully written book and a story to enjoy.

I hear it fits PERFECTLY in stockings, making my book an excellent stocking stuffer strictly by definition. It can be found here, or at your local indie book shop (just ask them to order it if they don’t have it on the shelf). And never forget that libraries are a great resource for books, too! Much easier on the wallet, if that’s a factor.

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Free For All Friday

I do this thing every summer where I try and teach my kids how to prepare a complete meal on the, ha, chance they’ll ever go away. I mean, move out.

[Law & Order voice] What you are about to witness is that attempt with my twelve year old.

One Pot Eggplant and Mushroom Pasta

YUM eggplant pasta

First, let’s get this out there. You are going to dirty up three dishes, max. A colander, a big, heavy bottomed pot to cook in, and a bowl or platter to hold veggies, unless you’re some kind of weirdo who slops hot food on your counters. If so, then you must be one of my children. Continue reading

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Friday Free For All – Tex-Mex Fest

I’m having a pool party tomorrow, which means I needed to try out some recipes before hand. It’s all in the name of science, of course. And everything turned out spectacular. Want a twist on a margarita? Avocado fries? You do, even if you think you don’t. (And if you don’t like tequila or avocados, this is probably not the post for you. Also, I don’t think I want to be friends.)

First up, cocktails! The Pepino Sandía-Rita (Cucumber-Watermelon Margarita.) Alternate name: Snakebite. [sound of maracas] Click for the recipe!

Continue reading

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