AN APOLOGY

Writing the Anti-Superbowl Fun blog for the past two days wore me out. I don’t know why it was so draining, but it was. So today I find myself brain dead. I have no ideas on what to write today, so I’m taking the day off. My apologies. I hope that later I will find inspiration so I will have a great post for you tomorrow. Meanwhile, please stay warm, stay happy and healthy and stay tuned. I leave you with a new recipe or two though.

 

 

banana-pecan pancakes

Home Cookin Chapter: BLINTZES, CREPES, PANCAKES, ETC.

Banana- Pecan Pancakes

======================

Yield: Ten to twelve 5-inch pancakes

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 12 min

Ingredients:

1 large egg

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium)

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional- but so good!)

.

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, beat the egg with a whisk until it’s a little

fluffy. Whisk in all of the remaining ingredients, except for the

pecans, and mix until smooth.

2. Heat a large skillet or griddle to medium heat. Spray with

nonstick spray.

3. For each pancake, scoop 1/4 to 1/3 cup batter onto the heated

surface. Cook pancakes until puffed and dry around the edges. Turn

and cook other sides until golden brown.

Source: RecipeGirl.com (adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook:

Bridal Edition) via

http://kickassrecipes.tk/banana-pecan-pancakes/

Servings: 0

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

 

 

gingerbread-waffles-recipe_17081

Home Cookin Chapter: BREAKFAST AND BRUNCH RECIPES

Gingerbread Waffles

===================

Prep 8 min

Cook 10 min

Ready 18 min

Gingerbread Waffles

Ingredients:

3 cup all-purpose flour

4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated, eyeball it

1/2 tsp salt

4 large egg

2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted, plus some to grease the waffle

iron

1 syrup, whipped cream, or fresh fruits for topping, to pass at

the table

.

Directions:

Preheat a waffle iron.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger,

nutmeg, and salt.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and brown sugar until fluffy, then

beat in pumpkin, milk, molasses, and melted butter.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just

moist. Do not over stir the waffle batter.

Brush the waffle iron with a little melted butter and cook 4

waffles, 4 sections each.

Serve with toppings of choice.

source: http://www.kitchme.com/recipes/gingerbread-waffles

Servings: 4

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

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THE 6TH DAY OF CHANUKAH

THE 6TH DAY OF CHANUKAH

 

 

a mensch on a bench

 

 

 

 

 

-VS-         elf on the shelf

 

This is the first year I have ever heard of the Mensch on The Bench or the Elf on The Shelf. I didn’t give either a second thought until just now reading Rabbi Jill Crimmings’ wonderful article at http://tcjewfolk.com/rethinking-hanukkah-traditions-buying-mensch-bench/.

I am a person who loves decorations and have always felt the empty hole of a lack of a Chanukah symbol. But now I see that perhaps we are better off without it. I, for one, would not like to see our kids think that they get gifts for anything they did that was good or bad. I always saw getting Chanukah presents as payment for the kids of past times finding the oil that led to the miracle of Chanukah. That it was to celebrate the miracle that kids got Chanukah presents. To have someone or something sit in judgment of Jewish kids at Chanukah time leaves me cold. Now, if someone could come up with something like a Macabee freedom something or other as a symbol, that would be truly wonderful. If it could be colorful that would be even more wonderful. I don’t know, perhaps adopt a whale because of the whale blubber…I don’t know. And why isn’t there a Judith Macabee doll? She was a part of the miracle after all. Why can’t we come up with our own unique cookie? Why does everything have to be blue and white? I think we can adopt more color into our celebration. I am also appalled at the lack of Jewish crafts for our holidays, the lack of poetry and cannot understand why there are no adult Chanukah stories. Why don’t Jewish composers and singers such as Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan write songs and or sing songs for the Jewish holidays? Ok, yes, we have Adam Sandler and his Chanukah Song and all its versions. Truthfully, that just doesn’t cut it for me. I applaud The Bare Naked Ladies for their efforts on our behalf. Are all of you Jewish entertainers ashamed of your Jewishness? I have always admired Mandy Patinkin for embracing Judaism and making Jewish albums. We need more of it. We need more up-to-date Jewish music and art literature. I seem to read more Jewish novels from writers hailing from the British Isles than from the US. Why is that? Am I missing something?

Perhaps we need to create a niche for this type of thing? Is it the lack of a market? Is it the lack of money in the market? How do we solve this problem? Or is it just me? What do all of you think. What do you feel is lacking in the Jewish arts?

Speaking of British-Jewish novels, I am now reading “The Marrying of Chani Kaufman” by Eve Harris. This is Ms. Harris’ debut novel and came out in 2013. It is a wonderful book with a very real storyline. Chani is standing under the chupah (the Jewish wedding canopy) with her groom, Baruch. They are very young (Chani is just 19 years old) ultra religious people who both come from ultra religious families. They have only met four times prior to their wedding. They are both innocent in the ways of the opposite sex and in many ways the world around them. They are scared. What is the wedding night going to be like? Will I have more freedom to be me in our marriage than I do under my parents’ roof? Will he/she love me? Do I love him/her? What will we talk about? How many children will we have? To complicate things even more, they are to set out for Israel where Baruch will study to become a Rabbi. What will this move mean? These are some of many things this couple is wondering about, just like many couples, the difference being more poignant due to the fact that they don’t know one another. While they are contemplating their lives, their Rabbi and his wife are contemplating their lives and their marriage. Their marriage seems to be falling apart. Their beginnings were so different from Chani and Baruch’s. The Rabbi and his Rabbitzin (Rabbi’s wife) met and fell in love in Israel. The Rabbitzin had a secular upbringing and life prior to marrying the Rabbi. She was more worldly than either Chani or Baruch, and after many years of marriage and motherhood, she is questioning her life as a wife, mother and member of the Orthodox Jewish community of London. I am loving this book. It is well written and the characters are wonderful. I look forward to more books by Ms. Harris.

I got some writing done on my book after a week off. I now have 8 ¼ pages completed. I introduced one of the antagonists. I’m not sure if I really like introducing her so early. It was not my original plan. And I’m not sure how it will play off in this chapter, but we shall see. I know how I want to color this character. It is much clearer in my mind than the other characters. But, I am not sure why. I am having the most trouble seeing the male protagonist and the male antagonist clearly. I need to work on them a lot more.

I had to interupt this post to join my mother for a day of girly fun. We went to have manicures and pedicures and lunch, then shopping at Sam’s for prescriptions and printer ink. Then I dropped her off, picked up Paul and we took Chanukah-themed pasta, meatballs and meat sauce that Paul worked all day making over to mom’s apartment and had dinner with her. It’s almost 10 p.m. And I have so much to do. I apologize for having not posted this sooner and cutting this post short. I am not sure if I will be able to post tomorrow. If I can, it will be late too. We have last minutes errands to run tomorrow.

Here’s today’s recipe: This is in honor of my hubby who is a Brooklyn boy. He has had many egg creams in his life and claims to have come up with the idea of adding an egg to it! So, my darling, here’s to you!

 

Made with Brooklyn Boys & Girls in mind.

Made with Brooklyn Boys & Girls in mind.

 

 

Home Cookin Chapter: CAKES 2013-2014

CHOCOLATE EGG CREAM CUPCAKES

============================

ACTIVE TIME: 50 mins.

TOTAL TIME: 1 hr. 20 mins.

YIELD: 6 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE CUPCAKES:

1/4 cup UNSWEETENED Cocoa Powder

1/4 cup Chocolate Syrup

2/3 cup All-Purpose Flour

1/3 cup Granulated Sugar

1/4 tsp. Baking Soda

1/4 tsp. Baking Powder

1/4 tsp. Salt

1/4 cup Vegetable Oil

1 LARGE Egg

2 tbsps. Whole Milk

1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

FOR THE FROSTING:

1 oz. MILK Chocolate

6 tbsps. UNSALTED Butter; AT ROOM TEMPERATURE

1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 cups Confectioners’ Sugar

1/4 cup Whole Milk

2 tbsps. UNSWEETENED Cocoa Powder

2 pinches of Salt

2 tbsps. Malted Milk Powder

Mini Pretzel Rods; FOR TOPPING

.

“Try this fun frosting trick: Put two different kinds of frosting

in separate disposable pastry bags, then position both bags in a

larger pastry bag fitted with a star tip. When you pipe, the

frosting will come out swirled!”

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Make the cupcakes:

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 350° F. LINE A 6-CUP MUFFIN PAN WITH PAPER

LINERS.

Whisk the cocoa powder with 1/3 cup HOT WATER i a MEDIUM bowl

UNTIL dissolved. Whisk in the chocolate syrup UNTIL smooth; LET

COOL SLIGHTLY.

In a LARGE bowl, whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda,

baking powder and salt.

2. Whisk the vegetable oil, egg, milk and vanilla extract into

the cocoa mixture UNTIL smooth, then fold into the flour mixture

UNTIL JUST COMBINED. Divide among the PREPARED muffin cups. Bake

UNTIL a toothpick comes out clean, 18-20 mins. LET COOL FOR 10

MIS. IN THE PAN, then REMOVE to a rack to cool completely.

3. MAKE THE FROSTING:

Chop the chocolate AND place in a MICROWAVE-SAFE BOWL; MISCROWAVE

ON 70% POWER in 30-second intervals; STIRRING UNTIL MELTED. LET

COOL SLIGHTLY. Cut the butter into pieces, beat the butter,

vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl with a mixer on

MEDIUM-HIGH speed UNTIL fluffy. Add 3 tbsps. milk and beat UNTIL

smooth, 3 mins. REMOVE HALF OF THE FROSTING to a separate bowl,

add the cocoa powder, melted chocolate and a pinch of salt and

beat until FLUFFY, 2 mins. Mix the remaining 1 tbsp. milk and the

malted milk powder in a cup, then add to the plain frosting; add a

pinch of salt AND beat until fluffy, about 2 mins. IF THE

FROSTING IS TOO SOFT, COVER AND REFRIGERATE UNTIL FIRM ENOUGH TO

PIPE.

4. Put the 2 frosting in SEPARATE PASTRY BAGS and snip off the

tops (or put in separate zip-top bags ad snip off a corner of

each). POSITION THE FROSTING BAGS SIDE-BY-SIDE IN A LARGE PASTRY

BAG FITTED WITH A LARGE STAR TIP. Pipe the frosting onto the

cupcakes in a spiral motion to create a swirl. Put a mini-pretzel

rod upright into the top of the swirl so it stands securely to

look like a straw (you want it a bit tilted but not too tilted).

SOURCE: food network magazine’s “Sweet, Our Best Cupcakes,

Cookies, Candy and More” cookbook, pg. 25.

Servings: 0

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

DAY 5 OF CHANUKAH – 2014

hanukkahcandlesisrael

 

 

Chanukah is quickly coming to an end and Christmas is coming so quickly that it boggles my mind. I have been giving my hubby books for each night of Chanukah. Last night he said before opening his gift, “Ok, this is book three in the trilogy.” Geez! Yes, of course he was correct in his guess, but he could have played along with the surprise element to humor me, couldn’t he? Not my hubby! Tonight he will be getting book one of another trilogy. But, for the last night I have a surprise for him…he will not be getting the third book of the trilogy. It hasn’t come out yet! LOL My hubby loves Nora Roberts and her alter ego, J.D. Robb. He has read many of her books,as I have, but these two trilogies have been missing from our collection. I know he will enjoy them. Currently he is reading the last of her Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy as we just got the last book in that trilogy a few weeks ago. Of course I had to read it first. I love her trilogies. I’m not too into her J.D. Robb books. I don’t know why. But I do love her trilogies.

I admire Nora Roberts. What I’d like to know is how she writes so many novels. It blows me away everytime my hubby gives me the latest count. Does the woman sleep? Does anyone know of any author more prolific than Nora Roberts?

It is a grey dreary day here. I slept away most of it. Had another bad night, but that goes alone with getting older, I think. When I got up, I immediately went to Pinterest.com to pin recipes that I will probably never try. It relaxes me to do that though and I love drooling over the photos. I envy the creativity people showcase in their decorating and presentation of such goodies as Chanukah and Christmas cookies and cakes. Just blows me away. However, I am finding that when I follow the link to get some of the recipes, the webpages are messed up. Of course, it could be my virus-ridden puter. I need to take it in but it will have to wait till after the first of the year. So, expect another period of down-time in the near future. I need a different virus checker, but waiting till the subscription on my current one is over.

So, how is your holiday going? Did you get to go to many parties? Did you get all of your shopping and wrapping done? I still have to wrap four Christmas gifts. Did you mail your holiday cards? I still have to print and mail my cards out, for both holidays. I don’t know why I am procrastinating. Did you do your baking? I hope to do mine on Wednesday. I want to make Chanukah cupcakes to take over to my mom. I will use a box mix though, but will decorate them for Chanukah. If they turn out pretty, I will post photos here.

I see very few posts about Chanukah music, so I thought I would share the Chanukah songs from my youth, the songs I learned in Sunday school and later in Hebrew school:

 

Let's all dance the hora!

Let’s all dance the hora!

CHAUKAH, OH CHANUKAH

Chanukah, Oh Chanukah, come light the Menorah
Let’s have a party, we’ll all dance the hora
Gather round the table, we’ll all have a treat
Sivivon to play with, and latkes to eat.
And while we are playing
The candles are burning bright
One for each night, they shed a sweet light
To remind us of days long ago.
One for each night, they shed a sweet light
To remind us of days long ago.

 

We sing Maoztur  – Rock of Ages – after we light the menorah.

ROCK OF AGES

Maoz tzur yeshua-si
Lecha na-eh li-sha-beyach
Tikone bais ti-fee-lasi
Vi-sham todah ni-za-beyach.

Li-ase ta-chin mat-beyach
Mee-tzar ham-na-beyach
Az eg-more vi-sheer meez-mor
Chanukas ha-meez-beyach
Az eg-more vi-sheer meez-mor
Chanukas ha-meez-beyach.

 

 

Oh, Dreidel We Shall Play

Oh, Dreidel We Shall Play

 

I HAVE A LITTLE DREIDEL

I have a little dreidel
I made it out of clay
And when it’s dry and ready
Then dreidel I shall play!

Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel
I made it out of clay
And when it’s dry and ready
Then dreidel I shall play!

It has a lovely body
With legs so short and thin
And when my dreidel’s tired
It drops and then I win!

(Chorus)

My dreidel’s always playful
It loves to dance and spin
A happy game of dreidel
Come play now, let’s begin!

(Chorus)

 

Sivivon, Sov, Sov, Sov

Sivivon, Sov, Sov, Sov

SIVIVON, SOV, SOV, SOV

 

Sivivon, sov, sov, sov
Chanukah, hu chag tov
Chanukah, hu chag tov Sivivon, sov, sov, sov!

Chag simcha hu la-am
Nes gadol haya sham
Nes gadol haya sham
Chag simcha hu la-am.

For some more modern Chanukah songs, including one from Bare Naked Ladies, and for translations of the Chanukah songs that I have included here that are in Hebrew, please go to http://www.hanukkahcelebrations.com/songs.html

I found the following treasure at: http://jewishmusiclyrics.blogspot.com/2013/05/tatenyu-8th-day-chasing-prophecy-jewish.html You must visit the site to see a very cute Chanukah song about latkes. Just keep scrolling through the music there.

 

Happy-Hanukkah-Candles-Images

Colored Candles from Destiny Volume 1 Eli Nathan Jewish Music Lyrics Chanukah Song

 

From his block of rolling lawns and fancy cars
He was so proud that he’d come so far
With the greatest of ease, he moved through high society
That grocer’s boy from the city streets

Well he’d long since gone and changed his name
It was the only way that he could play the game
With the neighbors like the Richardsons, the Williams and the Jones,

 What could he do with a name like Cohen

But he had one memory,
Yes his father he did see
Lighting colored candles on the window sill
Eight days a year he’d light
Another candle every night
It lingered in his memory still

In December came home from school his little girl called Sue
She held a picture of an x-mas tree she drew
All the kids in my class have one she said with a tear,

And could we have one in our home this year

He didn’t know what to do
With his little daughter Sue
Although her desires he wished to fulfill
“My dear Sue listen to me,
There’s something better than a tree,
It lingers in my memory still”

The next day he came home from work with a menorah in his hand
His dear wife said to him “Joe! I just don’t understand,
We’ve worked so hard to get to where we are today,
And now what will we do? What will the neighbors say?

But he light those candles anyway, yes there were 5 that night
And from his window to the street glowed the candle light
They were burning for an hour maybe a little more
When suddenly Mr. Richardson stood there by the door

He said would it be ok if a word to you I’d say
There’s something about those candles you must know
Yes they bring back memories, of my father I still see
As he light those candles many years ago

He stepped outside on that night and boy was he surprised!
He couldn’t believe what he saw he couldn’t believe his eyes
From all the houses on the block glowed candle light
From their window sills and out unto the night

Yes they had one memory
Yes their father’s they did see
Lighting colored candles on the window sill
Eight days a year they’d light

Another candle every night
It lingered in their memory still 

My favorite modern Chanukah song was written by none other than the great Woody Guthrie. I found these lyrics at: https://www.woodyguthrie.org/Lyrics/Honeyky_Hanukah.htm I do own the Klezmatics’ cd that this is on and I highly recommend it. The cd is called Woody Guthrie’s Happy Joyous Hanukkah.

 

happy Chanukah

 

Honeyky Hanukah
Words by Woody Guthrie, Music by Frank London (The Klezmatics)

It’s Honeyka Hanukah ‘round and around,
Honeycake Hanukah, eat them down,
Latkes and goody things all over town,
It’s Honeyky Hanukah time.

It’s Honeyky Hanukah, shaky my hand,
My candles are burning all over this land,
To light the dark road for the man passing by,
It’s Honeyky Hanukah time.

It’s Honeyky Hanukah, kissy my cheek,
The light in my window it burns for a week
I’ll open my present and take a little peek,
It’s Honeyky Hanukah time.

It’s Honeyky Hanukah, makes me feel glad,
This box for mother and this box for dad,
For sister and brother, nice ribbons I’ll tie,
It’s Honeyka Hanukah time.

It’s Honeyky Hanukah, huggy me tight,
It’s Hanukah day, and it’s Hanukah night,
If you’ve got no money, well, that’s all right.
It’s Honeyky Hanukah time.It’s Honeyky Hanukah, brushy my hair,
Let’s dance a big horah and jump in the air,
You look lots prettier to me every year
At Honeyky Hanukah time.


Copyright © 2003 by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc.

pie-clipart-1

Ok, to enjoy all this wonderful, memorable Chanukah music, relax with a cup of tea and the following recipe which is my favorite recipe for pie.

Home Cookin Chapter: MARILYN’S RECIPES

Chocolate Mint Pie

==================

This is my verrrrry favorite desert! I first made and served this

pie when my sister became engaged and my parents invited her

future in-laws to dinner. My future brother-in-law’s father really

enjoyed this pie as much as I did. This is a very rich pie and I

strongly suggest serving with whipped cream! It is my favorite

pie recipe! ~ Marilyn Sultar

Ingredients

CRUST:

1 1/4 cups (10 double graham crackers) Graham Cracker Crumbs

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Butter OR Margarine; melted

2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar

FILLING:

3 squares (3 ounces total) SEMI-SWEET Chocolate

1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter OR Margarine

1 cup Confectioners Sugar

2 Eggs

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1/2 teaspoon Peppermint Extract

.

Directions

CRUST:

PREHEAT oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

Blend crumbs, margarine and sugar. Press firmly on the bottom and

sides of an 8″ pie plate. Bake in PREHEATED 350° Fahrenheit oven

for 10 minutes. Cool.

(MARILYN’S NOTE: You can skip the fun of making your own graham

cracker crust as above and buy a ready-made graham cracker crust!

Your choice.)

FILLING:

Melt chocolate over hot water in a double boiler; cool slightly.

(MARILYN’S Note: Melt chocolate in microwave for about 30 seconds

to a minute on HIGH OR until chocolate is shiny and melted.) Cool

SLIGHTLY.

In the small bowl of your electric mixer, cream butter with

confectioners sugar. Blend in the eggs, flavorings and melted

chocolate.

Place bowl in REFRIGERATOR until well chilled. Beat at HIGH speed

in your electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Spread

chocolate mixture into baked and cooled crumb crust.

9

REFRIGERATE until ready to serve. Garnish with whipped cream, if

desired.

Source: Marilyn Sultar – original is from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle or the Rochester Time’s Union newspaper. It is a very old recipe that I cut out and the name of the paper isnt’ on the clipping.

Servings: 0

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

 

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT DUE:

Menorah photo:  http://www.israelnewsagency.com/hanukkahisrael481225.html

Blue Dreidel:  http://pickandprintgallery.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/bluedreidelkathygrimmc2a92012.jpg

Menorah clip art:  http://poetrysync.blogspot.com/2013/11/hanukkah-candle-clip-art-pictures.html

Happy Chanukah clip art:  http://poetrysync.blogspot.com/2013/11/hanukkah-candle-clip-art-pictures.html

2 DAYS TILL CHANUKAH

NOTE:  This post was written while I was still without a connection to the internet.

 

2 DAYS TILL CHANUKAHWRITING

 

 

I am sorry that I have not posted but I have been having trouble connecting to the internet. For some reason my wireless connection died, so I am waiting for a new unit to arrive and it won’t arrive till tomorrow or Tuesday. So, I stopped writing posts, but today decided that was just plain silly. I could still use my computer for some things, and one of those things is word processing. So, here I am.

I took my the opportunity of my “off-time” to work on my novel, cleaned it up a bit, still only have six pages written. I let my hubby read what I have done. This is the first time he’s seen it. He said it was too descriptive and he almost fell asleep. I was afraid of that. That is why I gave it to him to read. So I reworked it and I think it is much better now. I changed the opening sentence and am much happier with it. No, that was not his suggestion. It was something I’d been thinking about. Now I am taking the day off from writing that book. It’s given me a headache.

I started yet another something…not sure what it is going to be, but I think Flash Fiction. However, truthfully, I have no idea what that means, so it may be a short story, a novel or a trilogy. Also, I’m not quite sure if it is going to be fantasy for adults or children. But I love how it is flowing. I have one page written for that. I let hubby read that to. I have one descriptive paragraph in the story about a city that may or may not exist. Hubby thought that it was too like Brigadoon. He found it to be a turn-off. Would you agree? What would be wrong with a Brigadoonish story? I hadn’t envisoned such a story, truthfully, I just wanted to come up with a fairy-tale city that may or may not be the final destination for my characters. I like the dialogue between the two main characters and I like how the story begins. I’m just going to let it flow and see where it takes me.

This morning I told my sister that I was writing a book. She informed me she is too, although her book will be non-fiction. She told me her brother-in-law and his ex-wife have each written excellent books and have contacts in the publishing world, but have not been able to get their books published. I was disheartened by this news. I know her brother-in-law is a very talented man and if he can’t get published, how can there be hope for me? Then I thought well, there are hundreds of authors who get published, so who knows, maybe I will be one of the lucky ones. But first, I have to write that book!

I have to talk about not being connected to the internet though. It is driving me crazy. I can’t do any research because I’d not connected. I can’t do my thing on Pinterest and Facebook which is my relaxation. I can’t print out the holiday cards I worked hard on creating because the stupid program I use requires you to be on the internet to work with it. I can’t read “Auntie Mame” because that is on Amazon.com’s Kindle app. And for some unknown reason I can’t download the books onto my harddrive, which I used to be able to, so I need to be connected to read all my books, which also means I cannot read my “how to write” books. If that isn’t enough, I can’t play my games or download new games to play. Can you feel my frustration?

Luckily, I just got a shipment of paperbacks that I ordered from Amazon, so I began reading Barbara Ross’ book, “Boiled Over,” which is the second book in her Maine Clambake series. I loved her first book, “Clammed Up,” so much, that I had to get the second book when I found out it was out. I just finished reading “Boiled Over.” Barbara did not disappoint me at all. In fact, I found this book even better. It seems to me that there are more plot twists in this book than in “Clammed Up.” Barbara Ross’ characters are well drawn and the picture she paints of Busman’s Harbor makes you want to pack up and drive there. Of course, I wouldn’t want to go till spring or summertime, because they, like us here in Rochester, get snow in the fall and winter. I’d rather go to Myrtle Beach for the fall and winter months. If only I could. Anyhow, I do recommend Barabara’s books. They are great cozy mysteries.

Now I am going to begin reading a book called “The UnHaggadah: How To Keep The Conversation & Wine Flowing At Your Seder” by Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg. To me it is never to early to begin thinking about Passover. The holiday fascinates me and I strive to find ways to make the seders more interesting. But, it is too early for me to start writing about that holiday. I skimmed through the book last night and it looked fascinating. I think it may turn out to be the most stimulating book of Seder how-tos that I have read. I collect them. Well, actually, I buy them for my husband to collect them, but it turns out that I’m the one who actually reads the books and then tells him what I found interesting that we should incorporate. More about that in March or April.

I thought I would write another Chanukah poem today for your enjoyment:

 

latke

 

LATKES – A TRUE CONFESSION

by Marilyn Sultar

 

Latkes I could eat for 8 days straight,

If only I wasn’t afraid of what they would do to me.

I can eat a dozen at one sitting, couldn’t you?

I find it hard to stop at only three.

 

The taste, the texture, the smell too,

Like a magnet draw me to them.

Don’t they do that to you?

 

I know that Chanukah is supposed to celebrate the

miracle of the oil and freedom too,

But it’s the taste of the latkes that I celebrate.

How about you?

 

 

In honor of my poem and my love of latkes, here is another recipe for them:

 

 latkes2

 

 

Home Cookin Chapter: LATKES & KUGELS

Latkes: Cheese, Judith’s #1 – Dairy

===================================

3 Eggs; well beaten

1 c Milk

1 c Dry Pot Cheese

1 c Flour

1 ts Baking Powder

1/2 ts Salt

 

To the beaten eggs, add milk and cheese. Sift the dry

ingredients together and stir into the eggs. Blend to

smoothness. Drop by spoonfuls into hot fat in the frying pan.

Cook to delicate brown on both sides. Serve with syrup or jam.

I have not tried this recipe. It comes from “The Jewish

Festival Cookbook” by Fannie Engle and Gertrude Blair.

Note: The Judith referred to in the recipe title is Judith

Maccabee, the courageous daughter of the Judah Maccabee. It is in her

honor that we eat dairy products during chanukah.

Servings: 0

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

 

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE:

 

Quill and Paper clip art – unknown source

Latke clip art – by Gail Copple got from Bitsela.com

2nd Latke clip art – source unknown

 

5 DAYS UNTIL CHANUKAH

NOTE:  I have not been posting as I was without an internet connection due to router problems but wrote this to post whenever I got reconnected, which was yesterday late afternoon.  So, don’t scratch your head when reading the title of the post.  Neither one of us is crazy!

5 DAYS UNTIL CHANUKAH

 

neon-clipart-objects_domestic_clock_rainbow

 

 

I can’t believe Chanukah is so close! It scares me because that means that Christmas isn’t far behind, and that means that it is almost 2015! 201! Oy! Where does time fly off to? I don’t remember time passing me by. I didn’t see it coming, and now I don’t see it going. Time is an interesting topic isn’t it. Thousands, if not billions of people have probably studied it. Books have been written about it and it is a major genre of fiction. I love time-travel books. I am a huge Diana Gabaldon fan. I can’t read enough about Jamie and Claire in her Outlander series. I also loved reading The Time Traveler’s Wife. I have so many reading interests. I like all genres of books, except horror. I’m an eclectic reader, I guess, and I’d like to be an eclectic writer, although I am not sure that is allowed. Why? It’s a marketing thing, or so I’ve been lead to believe. Someone told me that once you connect with a certain audience that in order to keep them you need to keep writing in the same vein. Do you believe that is true? I know that some of my favorite writers have veered into two or three different genres with success, but I think that came after they were well established. For example, my all-time favorite author, Andrew Greeley, has written non-fiction, love stories, mysteries and fantasy. .Nora Roberts writers love stories, mysteries and paranormal trilogies. Rich DiSilvio writes non-fiction and historical fiction. If you are unfamiliar with Rich DiSilvio, I highly recommend Liszt’s Dante Symphony. I couldn’t put it down. I have his latest book, A Blazing Gilded Age, but have not been able to read it due to lack of time and then misplacing it. This distresses me as I look forward to reading it. I’ve done the same with Diana Gabaldon’s latest book. You see, I have a pile of books and stuff all around my house and I don’t know where anything is. This is my tragic character flaw.

Where is this leading to? I had no idea that I was going to write about time-travel this morning. And what does it have to do with Chanukah? Oh, no! I can see it now…another story idea. Last night I began a new story…story ideas flow out of me so freely, but it seems that is as far as they get. Last night I began a story about a fairy and a giant. I have no clue as to where that one is going to lead me but I do know that prejudice is going to be a major theme in it. And now, writing this, my head is churning and I’m wondering what would happen if I make a Jewish character time travel to another time. This is scary territory for me though. Why? Because being Jewish makes me scared. I am so afraid of another Holocaust being carried about against us that I often have nightmares about it. I am proud to be a Jew and I love our religion as I see it as a religion of tolerance, good rules to live by and a religion of personal freedom. I love our traditions and sense of family. I love our food. So, what era would I send my hero and heroine back to? What would he/she face? Hmmm….the beginnings of another book idea. Do you have this problem of coming up with so many story ideas that you cannot concentrate on one? Any ideas on how I can learn to concentrate? Any and all suggestions are welcome, as usual.

Progress report. I now have 5 pages written of my first book, the one I’ve been tell you about here. Not much, but it is something. I wanted to check this blog last night about midnight to see if anyone had replied to yesterday’s blog and I wanted to check my email, but my internet connect is out. This is the second time this week that this has happened. I can’t understand why. There is no big storm here. I am frustrated. I am a person who needs instant gratification. I haven’t called Time Warner yet. I haven’t finished breakfast yet and can’t deal with other people till I’ve had my breakfast and either played one of my games or written, so I chose to write this blog before calling Time Warner. You, my readers, are much more important than playing a solitary game. No, not the game solitaire, which I do enjoy, but any game that I have downloaded on my computer. It used to be games such as World of Warcraft, but I got tired of that and didn’t play for five years. I tried to play a different game last year but I found the people were horrible. I am a social gamer. I play to make friends and socially interact. I do enjoy the medieval environment games. I do enjoy the fantasy aspect. I hate the fighting, especially the pvp (person-vs-person) fighting. I love the guild structure, especially when I’m in charge as the Empress, as I was for 20 years. Oh well, that tale is for another time…oh no! Another story idea just popped into my head. I should tell the tale of the Treslok family! Hmmm…

OK, I’m back. I had to jot those ideas down in my program. They’re too good for me to forget them.

Now, what was I trying to get to? Ah, yes, my progress or lack thereof. I think I am satisfied with the progress on my book as the holidays and other things are interfering right now. I think the process is also getting in my way…the process of learning. So I’m not worried. I have a deadline for the completion of my first book though…I want to end it before I die. I’m hoping that is a good number of years away yet, so I’m not too worried! I don’t like pressure, so I set what I feel is a realistic goal.

So what recipe shall I leave you with that ties in with today’s blog theme(s)? I know, I’ll post a recipe that I consider timeless as it is a family recipe…let me see if I can find one without going on the internet which is where most of my family recipes are now stored. Well, I’m going to have to put this post on hold until I get connected with the internet again. Please bear with me for a while. Ah, I have decided upon one of Paul’s great recipes. This makes a very nice company dish! Enjoy and have a wonderful Chanukah!

 

 

The art of cooking chicken...

The art of cooking chicken…

 

 

PAUL’S STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS

This is one of the fabulous recipes my dear husband dreamed up! He’s much more creative in the kitchen than I am! The stuffing reminds me of Clams Casino! The is a great recipe to make, especially in the summer, but all year around. Nice company dish! This stuffing is also good for fish.

Ingredients:

CRAB MEAT STUFFING:

1/2 pound IMITATION Crab Meat**

1/2 Green Pepper

1/2 Red Pepper

1 stalk Celery

1 MEDIUM Onion

1 Egg

1/2 cup SEMI-COURSE Bread Crumbs

1 tablespoon Margarine

CHICKEN:

6 BONELESS, SKINLESS Chicken Breasts*

1/8 cup Rose Wine

1 dash Thyme

1 dash Garlic Powder

1 MEDIUM Onion; sliced

1 dash Pepper OR Paprika

Directions:

CRAB MEAT STUFFING:

1 Chop and saute red and green peppers, celery and onion with 1 tablespoon of margarine.

2 COARSELY chop imitation crab meat. Mix with vegetable mixture, then mix in 1 egg.

3 PAUL’S NOTE: You will have leftover stuffing but will find uses for the leftovers.

CHICKEN:

1 Put as much stuffing on each chicken breast as you dare! Roll up the breasts jelly-roll style and secure with NON-COLORED, NON-FLAVORED WOODEN toothpicks.

2 Place the chicken rolls in a microwave-safe casserole. Pour wine over all and sprinkle chicken breasts with a dash of thyme and a dash of garlic powder. Put a few slices of sliced onion on top of each chicken roll.

3 Microwave on HIGH for approximately 5 minutes (based on a microwave purchased in 1986 and using *single breasts of chicken; if you use double breasts, add a minute or so, checking after every 30 seconds.

4 Sprinkle with a dash of pepper OR paprika before serving. (MARILYN’S NOTE: I think paprika makes it look nicer!!!)

MARILYN’S NOTE: Read the ingredients carefully on packages of Crab Meat. Some have crab or crab juice in them. Look for packages without in order to keep dish Kosher!

Source: Marilyn and Paul Sultar

 

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE:

Clock clip art: http://www.clipartpanda.com/categories/clock-clipart-for-kids

Chicken clip art:  http://homedesigni.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/kids-kitchen-clipart-6.jpg

6 DAYS UNTIL CHANUKAH OR HELP WANTED


helpwanted02

 

It’s 2:00 p.m. I have only been awake and up for an hour. I didn’t fall asleep until 8 a.m. I could not turn my head off last night. Don’t you hate nights like that? I shouldn’t complain though as I actually got to work on my book, not that you could tell. All I completed was a few paragraphs of page 1. But, at least it is an accomplishment, albeit a small one. In it I introduced three characters and set the starting locale. After that was completed, I decided to check the descriptions for the chapter that I had previously laid out in my scene outline and in the story summary in my Anthemion Writer’s Cafe program. This helped me to see that I had missed things I wanted to accomplish in the story’s opening and it helped me see what I still need to add. This method seems time-consuming, and it is, but I think it is working for me. In my earlier attempts at writing, I just wrote. That didn’t work for me. Does anyone have any suggestions for a middle ground approach? How do you write your books? With questions like that on my mind, I decided to look for a writer’s community. I would love to join one and form a group of five people who would work with me on my books and I would help them work on their books. Anyone interested? If you are, please contact me. My email address is wxxifan@gmail.com. Please use the subject title “WRITERS GROUP” (yes, all in caps to catch my attention as I get a ton of junk email everyday. Allow me a few days to reply as I don’t always check my email. If I do get a group together, I will set up a special email just for us.

Anyhow, after searching the internet for quite a while, looking for a writer’s community, I came across two websites. I applied to both of them, but I found that one didn’t let me join. It wasn’t because they were rejecting me, but when I hit the “join” button, nothing happened. So I thought that perhaps at some time in the past I may have joined. So, I tried to log in with my email address and one of my passwords. No luck. Talk about frustration. To add to my frustration, the one I did join wants money to upgrade. The freebie version is not really what I am looking for, so I have my doubts about the upgraded version. So, I’d like to know what writing communities you have found useful for new authors. I am looking for a friendly community that will give me constructive criticism on my work, give me encouragement and ideas on where to go for help. I’d also like to know what books to read and how to find people to help me in my research, which I have not begun to even think about, but know it will come soon enough. Actually, this is also what I hope to have in my “Writer’s Group.” Anyone have a better name for the group? I’m brain-dead this afternoon.

To ease my frustration I decided to read. I’m reading a book that I have wanted to read for probably the past 30 years. It is the book based on one of my all-time favorite movies, “Auntie Mame.” The book is Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade by Patrick Dennis. The book is as funny as the Rosalind Russell version of the movie, which is my favorite version. There are two other movie versions of movie. I highly recommend the book and the movie. What is your favorite book? Your favorite movie? The reason I love “Auntie Mame” is because I want to be just like her. I think she is a great role model! She is kind-hearted but not overly so. She protects herself and those she loves. She is anti-prejudice in all of its forms and she is a progressive liberal. She is also a lover of arts and culture. Mame has traveled the world and embraced its cultures. She adores learning about everything. This is the person I would like to become. Is it too late for me, at age 67, to become her? The story is about an orphan who goes to live with his eccentric Aunt and takes place in the 1920s. It is pure camp but at it’s finest.

After reading a chapter, I got an idea for yet another book. By this time I was very tired and decided to go to sleep. I turned off the computer, shut out my light and laid my head on the pillow, only to have my mind run a mile-a-minute. I finally gave up trying to sleep, took the laptop back out and began to put the ideas for this third book down. You would think that I could sleep after that! No way. So I allowed myself to read a book that I just received, Wilton’s Special Anniversary Issue of their 2014 Wilton Yearbook . I haven’t purchased one of these in the past three years as I have been unable to decorate cakes let alone bake them, but I couldn’t resist this issue. The cakes are gorgeous, as usual. Wilton hasn’t let me down yet. However, they have a new format for their recipes and I hate it!!!! If anyone has any influence with the Wilton company, please tell them to go back to the old format!!!

I finally fell asleep somewhere about 8 a.m and I am still tired as I didn’t get a good night’s rest. It is amazing that I can even think clearly enough to write today’s post. But here I am, writing it. Now I have to decide what recipe to include. I think it has to be something sweet. I think we need another cookie recipe today. Let me think for a minute. I’ve got it! The perfect recipe for this post:

 

My nephew all grown up and married.

My nephew all grown up and married.

Home Cookin Chapter: MARILYN’S RECIPES

Cinnamon Nut Rugelach

=====================

“I made this for the first time for my nephew, Dov’s, Bar Mitzvah.

They were easy to make and turned out delicious. I then began

making them for Rosh Hashannah and my step-son, Scott, loves them.

One of the reasons I like this recipe is because it is paerve.” ~

Marilyn

Ingredients:

FLAKY GINGER-ALE PASTRY:

1 cup All-Purpose Flour PLUS

1 tablespoon All-Purpose Flour

1/2 cup FROZEN Margarine; cut into 6-8 pieces

1/4 cup Ginger-Ale, 7-Up, Fresca OR Soda Water (Marilyn’s Note: I

use Ginger-Ale.)

1/2 tablespoon Vinegar

FILLING:

2/3 cup Walnuts

1/3 cup Sugar

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 Egg White; lightly beaten

.

Directions

FLAKY GINGER-ALE PASTRY:

With the steel knife in your food processor, process flour and

margarine with on/off turns (about 2-3 seconds at a time) for 4 or

5 times, until the mixture begins to look like coarse oatmeal.

Combine ginger ale with vinegar and add through the feed tube

while machine is running. Process JUST UNTIL the dough begins to

gather in a mass around the blades, about 8-10 seconds. DO NOT

OVER  PROCESS!!!

Remove dough from machine, divide into two balls. Wrap each ball

in waxed paper and CHILL IN THE REFRIGERATOR AT LEAST 1 HOUR, OR

OVERNIGHT. The colder the dough, the easier it is to roll. The

dough may be frozen at this point if you are not ready to finish

making the rugelach. (MARILYN’S NOTE: You can freeze the baked

rugelach also. This recipe freezes well!)

NOTE: This recipe can be doubled in one batch successfully.

Flour dough lightly. Roll one portion of dough on a floured pastry

cloth or floured board.

Roll it into a circle about 1/16″ thick.

(MARILYN’S NOTE: Make sure to keep second ball of dough in

refrigerator until ready to work with it.)

FILLING:

With the steel knife in your food processor, process walnuts,

sugar and cinnamon until nuts are fairly fine, about 12-15

seconds.

RUGELACH:

Sprinkle dough with about 1/4 cup of cinnamon/nut mixture. Cut

with a SHARP knife into 12 triangles (each circle). Roll triangle

up from the outside edge towards the center. Repeat with remaining

dough and filling.

Dip the Rugelach first in egg white , then in cinnamon/nut

mixture. Place on a GREASED, FOIL-LINED cookie sheet. bake at 375°

Fahrenheit for 18-29 minutes, until lightly browned.

NOTE: Ingredients for filling may also be doubled successfully in

one batch. Extra filling may be stored in a plastic bag in the

freezer.

SOURCE: Noreen Gilletz, “The Food Processor Bible.”

Servings: 0

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

 

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT DUE:

Help Wanted Sign clip art from http://www.free-graphics.com/clipart/Business/helpwanted02.shtml

Photo of my nephew was taken by his darling wife, Amanda.

 

7 DAYS UNTIL CHANUKAH

pine-tree-md

 

7 DAYS UNTIL CHANUKAH

It’s snowing outside. The gorgeous pine tree, mammoth in size, that I can see from my bedroom window is laden with snow and the flakes are falling like a light mist. We are expecting 8-14” of snow by tomorrow night. Now this is nothing in comparison to what Buffalo experienced, but it’s still too much snow for me. I hate winter. I hate the cold and the ice. I hate cleaning off the car and having to deal with getting the driveway and sidewalks cleared. I’d much prefer being in Myrtle Beach. But, I have to admit, right now it looks like a gorgeous scene that belongs on a Christmas card. Also, it is a perfect day for a cup of tea to relax with. Paul, my better half, brought home some delicious gingerbread men from Wegmans for me last night. I’m going to have one with my tea.

I have to tell you about my tea. Why? Because it ties in with one of the books I am writing which I am currently entitling A Witch’s Match. In my book, my heroine, Teagraine, owns a tea room and her father is her tea blender. Teagraine also blends tea from time-to-time. Anyhow, in doing some research on tea blending I came across a great company on the internet called Adagio.com. At their website, you can actually concoct your own blends. To make it even more fun, you get to name your tea and personalize your packaging with a graphic of your choice and they credit you with the blend right on the packaging. I have made two blends and love them both. You can even purchase my blends at the Adagio.com website. I named my teas “Magical Break Up Soother” and “Magical Date Night Tea.” “Magical Break Up Soother” is my new go-to tea. It has the nicest hint of chocolate in it. I find it very relaxing. “Magical Date Night Tea” is like a wow blood orange tea. Truthfully, I’m not sure it will get your man to desire you, but it tastes great. The best orange-spice type tea I’ve ever had. I actually find it a great wake-up tea. It is so much fun blending teas and incorporating them into my story! I find it helps me set up a scene.  I only wish I could get immediate satisfaction and taste the tea before it is blended. When is someone going to design a computer system whereby you push a button and youget what you want immediately, at the exact moment you press a button? Wouldn’t that  be just super? Just so you know, if you do purchase my tea from Adagio.com, I do not get any compensation. There is a way you can get compensated except sharing a link on social network or via email and then only if someone uses that link.

I am also including recipes in my book, as sharing recipes is something of a passion with me. I found a recipe for my first chapter and have already received permission to use it! Yes, I have started the first chapter, but not sure if it is the one I will come up with after I finish creating the characters and doing my scene outline. A great source for doing scene outlines is How To Write a Novel: A Beginner’s Guide by Sean O’Neill. I am finding this book very helpful. (Again, I get no compensation for these plugs.) I purchased the Kindle edition from Amazon.com. It is helping me see the progression of the story and I find the experience is like a treasure hunt. I think using tools like the character worksheets I spoke about yesterday and the scene outline are helping me greatly. I am finding that since I began looking for help in my writing, I am progressing. I think that many of us beginners need to be shown what to do with our ideas and thoughts. I know that even though I took a course in creative writing in high school, it really taught me nothing. It was a six-week mini-course. I think I should have found a similar course in college but at that stage of my life, I wasn’t thinking about becoming a writer. I wanted to be a drama teacher. Truth be told, I didn’t do well in English in college so I decided that I couldn’t be a drama teacher. Such is life, or at least my life.

Brunch is here and my tea is brewing. I’m having my “Magical Date Night Tea.” It smells so good. So, before I go to enjoy my goodies, I leave you with a recipe for the potato kugel/potato latke recipe which was the recipe my paternal grandmother used and my mother uses. I use it too. I think my mother made the best latkes in the world! Who do you think makes the best latkes in the world?

 

These look just like the latkes my grandmother, mother and I make!

These look just like the latkes my grandmother, mother and I make!

 

Home Cookin Chapter: MARILYN’S RECIPES

GRANDMA SILVER’S POTATO KUGEL AND LATKES

========================================

Ingredients

1 large Onion

4 large Potatoes

1 Egg

1 tablespoon Matzah Meal (or flour)

1 tablespoon Kosher Salt

1 drop of Oil

Pepper to taste

.

Directions

KUGEL

1 Peel and quarter onion. Put into food processor. (Yes, I updated

this recipe just a bit!!) Peel and quarter potatoes. Process the

potatoes with the onion with your steel blade till consistency of

puree.

2 Continue till all potatoes are processed. Put potato-onion

mixture into a strainer to drain off as much water as you can from

it. Then, put the potato-onion mixture into a large bowl.

3 Beat the egg and add it to the potato-onion mixture. Also add 1

tablespoon of oil, and 1 HEAPING tablespoon Matzah Meal(or flour,

if not for Passover!)[Use a regular tablespoon, not a measuring

tablespoon to measure the Matzah Meal.] Add Kosher Salt and pepper

to taste. Mix all together.

Pour into greased 9×13 inch pan and bake at 400 degrees for at

least 1 hour. I like to bake longer because I like it really

crusty!!

LATKES

TO MAKE LATKES:

1 Follow directions above, but instead of putting into a pan and

baking, heat 1/2 inch oil in a heavy frying pan and drop really

full large spoonfuls of batter into the oil and fry on one side

until golden then turn over and fry on the other.

2 Line a plate with toweling or line a counter top with a couple

thicknesses of brown paper bags to drain the fried latkes on.

Repeat till all of the batter is used.

Source:Marilyn Sultar

Recipe Notes:

I use vegetable oil or peanut oil to fry latkes in. When making

latkes you don’t need to add the extra drop of oil to batter, but

you do need it when making kugel. Triple recipe for 12-18 people,

small latkes.

Servings: 0

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

 

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT DUE:

Pine Tree Clip Art found at http://www.clker.com/cliparts/i/W/X/6/V/f/pine-tree-md.png

Latkes Graphic found on internet (If anyone knows who owns this photo, please let me know so I can give a link back.  Thanks!)

8 DAYS TILL CHANUKAH

May The Lights Of Chanukah Shine Bright Within You!

May The Lights Of Chanukah Shine Bright Within You!

Time certainly flies and I still need to order gifts and I still haven’t made those gingerbread cookies that I want to try. Maybe I’ll just go with cupcakes made from a box mix. Small steps lead to bigger ones, right? That is how I am approaching writing my first book. I am a total novice with so much to learn. I wish I was a natural writer. You see I have a problem. I bet many of you have the some one. Perhaps together we can solve this problem. I will share what I’m doing to solve it from time-to-time as I progress. So what is my problem? I can’t sleep at night because an idea for a story pops up in my head and I will begin a book. I am on attempt numbers four and five currently. I am currently working on two books. I come up with the plot, or some semblence of one. I come up with the location. I even come up with the characters. But then I get stuck. I cannot for the life of me come up with the conflict. I hate conflict. I avoid it in my own personal life at all costs. So, I give up. Well, I decided to read all the advice I can afford or lay my greedy little hands on offered by many generous authors. One author, Jason Haas in his book, How To Write A Novel, has given me new insights that are helping me. Let me share how and where I am in my work.

Mr. Haas has taught me how to develop my characters. He shares his character worksheet with his readers. Work sheets! Wow! What a great idea!!! Thank you, Jason Haas!!! So now, I am getting to know my characters. I always wondered how authors did this. I am loving this part of the writing process. I get to see the characters as a whole now, not as a shell. Using this method, I’m seeing the conflicts they have gone through already in their lives. When I have finished doing character sheets for all of my characters, I will have to sort out their individual conflicts and see if and how they combine with each other. I have a good feeling that this may help me come up with at least some comflict situations. I haven’t gone past the chapter on character development in How To Write A Novel, which I purchased as a Kindle book from Amazon.com, but I am sure that it will be just as helpful as this chapter. So far I have completed (or mostly completed) worksheets for five characters. I have to share what my favorite part of Mr. Haas’ method is, I hope he doesn’t mind. Mr. Haas suggests that at the top of the worksheet page for each character that you insert a photo of the actor that you would like to play your character in the movie version of your book. I have to share the names of the celebrities I have chosen thus far: Katie Pavo (who I have never heard of before, but will look for her now), Ann Margaret, Sean Connery (he’s so sexy), Nathan Fillion (he’s so loveable), and Brad Pitt. By choosing celebrities, I now can picture my characters more clearly. I have at least four more characters to work on. I’ll let you know when I’ve finished.

Another big help to meet is a program that I downloaded from the internet. It is called “Anthemion Writer’s Cafe.” I am using their free version, but am dying to get the full version. It has been a great help in organizing my thoughts and ideas. I have to save up for it after the holidays, unless someone wants to buy me a present! Using help from sources like these has really helped me greatly and so I see progress for the first time and I know that I will actually complete the two books I am currently working on. It may take me a while, as I find I can only work on them in short sputs, meaning like two hour tops a day. I get a headache after that. I get so intense when I’m writing.

Ok, enough about that subject for today, I have to return to real life. Today’s main project is to design my Chanukah and Christmas cards, then I must work on my books. So, without further ado, here is today’s recipe which I exported from my MasterCook program which is another one of my recipe dbase programs:

 

Let's get this beauty cooked!

Let’s get this beauty cooked!

* Exported from MasterCook *

Beef Rib Eye Roast with Madeira Sauce

Recipe By :Susan Parenti

Serving Size : 12 Preparation Time :0:15

Categories : Main Dish

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

5 pounds beef rib eye roast

2 cloves garlic — crushed

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper — cracked

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves — crushed

1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves — crushed

1/4 cup shallots — finely chopped

1 cup ready-to-serve beef broth

1/2 cup Madeira wine

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Apple slices — if desired

Italian parsley — if desired

Combine garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and tarragon to form paste; rub evenly over surface of beef rib roast. Place roast, fat side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of roast, not touching fat. Do not add water. Do not cover. Roast in 350 degrees F (moderate) oven to desired degree of doneness. Allow 18 to 20 minutes per pound for rare; 20 to 22 minutes per pound for medium. Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135 degrees F for rare; 155 degrees F for medium. Cover roast with aluminum foil tent and allow to stand 15 to 20 minutes. Roast will continue to rise approximately 5 degrees F in temperature to reach 140 degrees F for rare; 160 degrees F for medium.

Meanwhile skim and discard fat from drippings in roasting pan. Add shallots; cook over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high. Deglaze pan by adding beef broth and Madeira wine to pan, stirring to dissolve browned meat juices attached to pan. Add tomato paste; continue cooking until liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup, stirring frequently. Trim excess fat from roast before carving. Serve roast with sauce.

Garnish roast with apple slices and Italian parsley.

Source:

“National Cattlemen’s Beef Association”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 342 Calories; 17g Fat (48.5% calories from fat); 40g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 93mg Cholesterol; 378mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 5 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 1 Fat.

NOTES : A beef rib eye roast will yield three 3-ounce cooked, trimmed servings per pound.

Nutr. Assoc. : 9042 0 0 0 3159 3158 0 117 4080 0 0 0

I think this roast sounds delicious. I have not tried it out. I think it would be perfect with you potato latkes, some carrot tzimmes and purple string beans (yes, there is such a thing!). For dessert? Chanukah cookies, of course!

DISCLAIMER: I have received no compensation in any form from Jason Haas, Writer’s Cafe nor MasterCook. All opinions are strictly my own and my endorsements of these products and resources are because I use them and fully believe in them. ~Marilyn

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT DUE:

Menorah Clipart:  http://poetrysync.blogspot.com/2013/11/hanukkah-candle-clip-art-pictures.html

9 DAYS TILL CHANUKAH

Well, I took the bull by the horns yesterday after writing my blog post and called our dear friends that moved to Buffalo. We caught up and it was wonderful hearing Leo’s voice. Hopefully, I’ll hear from Laura soon. It was great to hear that their kids are both doing well and are happy and that everyone is healthy!

What shall we discuss today?

I know it’s untimely, or perhaps it’s perfect timing. Let’s talk about Ferguson, Missouri. Paul and I were recently in Missouri for our niece’s wedding. The hotel we stayed at was about 10 minutes away from Ferguson. Talk about day and night! The hotel was pure elegance and not cheap…at least in my eyes and there, down the street, was Ferguson, the picture of poverty. We were there in late September. While there, my hubby got lost coming from Walmart where he had to go one day to pick up a prescription for me for crucial meds that I forgot to pack. He got lost in Ferguson. Today, while chatting with Leo, and telling him about the wedding, I heard Paul say that he thinks the news media is just heating things up and exaggerating. I was flabbergasted to hear him say this. Why? Well, because I lived through the Rochester Race Riots of the 60s and that was no picnic. I imagine things are even worse in Ferguson, especially after the verdict of a few days ago, since they are still rioting. Paul even said that there was no rioting….maybe not on the day he was there, thank G-d!, but I am sure there was and is rioting going on there.

What would it have been like if Jews had rioted in Europe, in Jerusalem throughout the ages? I shudder to think about that. I do understand the motivations of rioting and discontent. I do understand poverty, hunger and poor conditions. I wasn’t always a Jewish princess. No, that didn’t come until I married my hubby and I am not a rich Jewish princess by any stretch of the imagination.

I am a child of the 50s and 60s. I struggled, although my parents helped me greatly. I was lucky they could. But, I did go without food at times and I never lived in nice apartments nor did I ever live in the suburbs. I grew up in a great neighborhood in the City of Rochester. I lived in a nice home, thanks to the sacrifices my parents made on my behalf. Maybe it wasn’t as nice as most of my cousins’ homes but it was a beautiful home to me and full of love. I have it a bit better today, thanks to my hubby. But I remember the years I struggled as a single young woman. I remember doing so many stupid things. But, that is life. What did I know though of prejudice? Plenty!

I first felt prejudice from the mother of a young man I was very much in love with. She equated Jews with Blacks, she hated both. I next came across it in an office where I worked. There was an invisible division, a silent one, but it was there. I was careful not to dramatically cross the line. And luckily, I had a defender or two there also. But it was nothing like my mother’s experience in her first jobs. Again, I was lucky. Also, the color of my skin didn’t mark me outwardly. But then, I knew about the pogroms and the Holocaust. I now know about the trials of people all over the world who are treated shamefully. What I don’t know and wish I did is what to do about all of this? How can I make this a better place to live in? A world of peace? I don’t know, but this is how I am trying, by sharing with you here my thoughts and my recipes. This, to me,  is a step in saying, “This is who I am. I’m glad to meet you. Come, let me get to know you. Maybe we can become friends.” If we can become friends, that is step one in the peace process, I think. To those of you in Ferguson and elsewhere in the world that are being persecuted because of any reason, my prayers are with you and I hope that soon you will be able to exist as easily as I am currently existing. So, in friendship, I offer all of you this recipe for sweetness in hopes you can enjoy it!

 

mint chocolate-chip cookies

Home Cookin Chapter: COOKIES 2014

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

===========================

25 MIN Prep Time

40 MIN Total Time

36 Servings

 

INGREDIENTS:

 

1 Pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker™ sugar cookie mix

1/2 Cup butter or margarine, softened

1/4 To 1/2 teaspoon mint extract

6 To 8 drops green food color

1 Egg

1 Cup creme de menthe baking chips

1 Cup semisweet chocolate chunks

 

DIRECTIONS:

 

Heat oven to 350°F.

 

In large bowl, stir cookie mix,

butter, extract, food color and egg until soft dough forms. Stir

in creme de menthe baking chips and chocolate chunks.

Using small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on

ungreased cookie sheet.

 

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 3 minutes; remove from

cookie sheet to wire rack. Serve warm or cool completely.

 

Storetightly covered at room temperature.

 

Drizzle cooled cookies with melted chocolate.

 

For even baking, make sure cookies are of the same shape and size.

 

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 Cookie

Calories140 ( Calories from Fat60), % Daily Value Total Fat7g7%

(Saturated Fat4 1/2g,4 1/2% Trans Fat1/2g1/2% ),

Cholesterol15mg15%; Sodium75mg75%; Total Carbohydrate17g17%

(Dietary Fiber0g0% Sugars13g13% ), Protein1g1% ; % Daily Value*:

Vitamin A0%; Vitamin C0%; Calcium0%; Iron0%;

Exchanges:

0 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat

Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0

High-Fat Meat; 1 1/2 Fat;

Carbohydrate Choices:1

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Servings: 0

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

star_of_david_cookie

10 DAYS TO GO

Still plenty of time left to do your Chanukah shopping!  Nah!  So who do you buy for?  What do you buy? So far I have only bought for my beloved husband and our neighbors.  Today is the day I have to sit down with hubby, access our finances and see who we still need to … Continue reading