20 October 2017

Black Bean Brownies

I am completely and totally flabbergasted. For the last several months my husband's Aunt Sherrie has been telling us to try her Black Bean Brownies.  I don't know if I need to explain why we didn't try them right away.  Black Bean + Brownies? Ew, right?

Well, it just so happens that we were being unnecessarily prejudiced against these no flour, no sugar, black beanies. They are amazing! And I'm not the only one who thinks so. (I usually have to ask other people if something tastes good to them too. Since I've been eating gluten-free, sugar-free for so long my taste buds are severely skewed.)  My husband and daughter both thought they were delicious and they're the most discerning tasters I know.

Seriously, everyone should try these guilt-free babies.  You'll be feeling chocolatey and happy in your healthy gloating.

I just say "you're welcome" now.

1 15 oz can (1 3/4 Cup) black beans (well rinsed, drained)
2 large eggs
3 TBLSP coconut oil
a pinch of salt
3/4 Cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 C. honey, agave, sugar (or mix and match)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
**Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Puree bean and other ingredients in a food processor or blender for three minutes, or until smooth and well blended. Fill muffin tin, or small baking dish. For muffins, bake 12-15 mins. For baking dish bake 20-25 mins.


14 October 2017

The Blue Castle

Occasionally I'll be cruising around the book section of my local amazon store (which, as everyone knows, is located at our kitchen table in our pajamas with messy hair) and find something I am shocked, appalled and delighted to see.  For example:

The Blue Castle

The Blue Castle is written by L. M. Montgomery, the same beloved author who wrote the Anne of Green Gables books.  Most of her books are difficult to read as stand-alones because they're part of a series, but this one... this one is a gem.  One of my favorite books ever, and I mean EVER.

Ms. Montgomery was always known for writing characters that leapt off the pages and became real, full-blooded friends and neighbors and the characters in this story are no different.  I really feel like I know Valancy.  I lived with her through the trials and joys and heartaches of the year she lived when she thought she would die. I snuggled in the cabin on the island in the lake and watched the moonlight sift the leaves through each season.  I felt the anguish in her broken heart when she felt she'd betrayed the one man she had ever loved.  And I laughed with her when she told her family all the thoughts she'd kept inside her head and watched as they reacted to her words.

Truly, this story is a joy, a constant refreshment and reminder that we have control over our lives and can make our own happiness.  And some times, that happiness lands in our laps when we've done nothing to deserve it except live as best as we could.

Have I gushed enough?  I don't think it's possible to gush enough about this book, but I'll stop anyway.

The major reason I'm bringing this book up in a blog post is, not only did I find it on amazon, but it's one dollar.  ONE DOLLAR!  So... click on the link, right now, and buy it.  Sometimes when we see books that aren't expensive we figure they must not be worth very much.  Don't let its price fool you.  Just be happy you have access to a gem that'll knock your socks off at a price that allows you to keep all your limbs.

23 August 2017


I wish this picture didn't describe my first day of school reaction every year, but it's spot on.

Every year, I sit around and wonder what I'm supposed to do with myself now.  My kids are gone.  My job is sitting in front of the computer in my imaginary world, but I can stand up and walk away whenever I want.  Truth be told, I probably walk away more often than I should.  But mostly, after three months of having my kids home all day every day, I miss them.  They give me purpose, along with something to do.  Also, I like them.  They're among my favorite people.

And one of the worst things is that I feel like I'm one of the only people who feels like this.  It seems that everyone is busy, constantly running from one duty or activity to the next. They don't have the time or need to wonder what they're going to do with themselves because they're already doing it. Does that mean along with missing three pieces of my heart that there's something wrong with me? Really, does anyone else feel this way?

So, go ahead and ponder that while I mop up my face. I'll try to buck up and give myself some direction for my life sans enfants.

02 August 2017

Badlands, Good Book

Our family vacation was so much fun.  I know you are all waiting with baited breath to hear about it. Who doesn't like looking at other people's vacation photos? *snort*

We stayed for two night in Breckenridge, Colorado.  I'd never even heard of Breckenridge (not being a skier) but it was the cutest town I've ever seen.  One morning I jogged along a river path that I truly wish I could fold up like a board game and carry with me where ever I go.  This was a small area I got to pass as the sun was cresting the Rockies.  The surroundings deserve a much better camera and photographer than this picture got, but it was all I had to work with at the time.

We then moved on to Devil's Tower in Wyoming.  I must lead a very uneducated life because I had no idea this place existed.  It was super, super cool.

Eastern Wyoming turned out to be a place I wouldn't mind living.  So beautiful.  At least during the summer months.  I hear the winters are way harsh (I couldn't resist throwing in some valley girl.) so that would probably be why no one lives there currently. But isn't it lovely?

And this old coal mine was sitting on the side of the road. (Apparently, I got into sun flares.)

We rode passed Sturgis after dark, but weren't attacked by any biker gangs.  It was a little disappointing.  The following day we knocked out several places from our list.  Strangely, the only picture I got from all of that was this terrible one from Mt. Rushmore.

It rained and rained and rained while we were there.  We saw the faces for about three minutes when we first got there, then, embarrassed by all the Disneyland-like hype surrounding them, they hid in the clouds.  We also saw Crazy Horse and that first picture up there: the Badlands.  (The Badlands aren't bad, they're misunderstood.)

I didn't get any pictures of Ellsworth Air Force Base, but it was lots of fun to have our name on jets.  My brother and father-in-law went on a guided bus tour of the base and the tour guide said they needed everyone's ID so they could be sure none of them shouldn't enter.  He jokingly said they'd all probably be fine, since they only pulled terrorists off the bus.  Just then, two guards came and called out the names of my father and brother-in-law and escorted them off the bus.  I imagine everyone left on the bus had their noses pressed against the glass, trying to see and hear what these two gentle men were accused of.  Turned out, the guards just saw the name Ellsworth and wanted to know if they were related to the man the base was named after.  But the guards also knew how it looked and got a kick out of it.

We made it back home eventually.  In case you wondered.

Also, in case you wondered, I have two books to give out.  Thanks to Katy and Janet for your comments.  If you will email me, or contact me on Facebook, I'll make sure you get your books.

Happy reading!

23 July 2017

Summertime and the Living Is Lazy

As far as productivity goes this summer doesn't rate very high.

Mostly, the kids have been breaking concrete with a sledgehammer, practicing piano, and waiting for 4:30 to FINALLY get here so they can turn on their screens and do some serious gaming.  I have been reading, writing, and getting hit repeatedly with the Hashimoto's stick. I've decided that Hashimoto's loves my life because it keeps trying to take it over. My husband has been working two jobs, so he doesn't fit in at all with what the rest of us have been doing.  (Or rather, not doing.)

There are two exceptions to our Summer of Doing Nothing:

My second novella got published in "The Pathways to the Heart" anthology!  Woo!  This is a big deal!  I would stand up and cheer it from the rooftops if I had that kind of energy.  Even if I don't shout it out, it's definitely worth a read.  You can find it on Amazon as a kindle or hard copy. At Seagull Book.  Or Deseret Book.  

My story is about a rancher in Oregon in 1888 who finds a few unexpected guests in his house who have nowhere else to go.  When he helps them find food and safety, he ultimately helps himself find happiness.  If you leave a comment on this post or on Facebook by August first, you may just be lucky enough to win a copy of this lovely book for yourself.

The second exception to this summer is that we're going on a road trip! We leave tomorrow for Colorado and then on to Mt. Rushmore.  In Colorado we're mostly doing research for the story I'm in the middle of writing - because I'm so dedicated to my craft I make my family give up part of their summer vacation for it.  In my defense, Fairplay, Colorado has some amazing history displayed. And none of us have seen Mt. Rushmore or Crazy Horse or the Badlands.  So, watch out South Dakota, here we come!

It's just a good thing we don't have to walk there, or I'd never make it.

07 June 2017

Summer Lovin'

Just got the release date for my next book.  (If you notice, my name is the second one down from the top.  Silver medal. I like silver better than gold anyway.)  The release date of this lovely second anthology is July 11.  Put that on your calendars: July 11.

Now, if I can just persuade myself to actually do something productive this summer, I might begin to market the little beastie.

15 May 2017

Meh to Mother's Day

Since Mother's Day was just yesterday, I'm speaking to you all from my pedestal, looking down on the rest of the world from waaaay up here.  I'm sure over the next day or two, that pedestal will sink back down to rest where it usually resides, right between the titles of picker-upper and nagger.  But I'm enjoying the view while it lasts.

The last couple of years I've struggled with Mother's Day.  Yesterday, I woke up and decided I'd rather just not get out of bed.  I didn't want to deal with myself and that made me bugged with everyone else.  But, like pretty much every other mother I know, I got out of bed.  I even got dressed and went to church because I'm nothing if not disciplined. (snort)

I made it all the way through the first two hours of church with no problems, other that agreeing with myself repeatedly that I didn't want to be there.  Then came the last hour, where the Young Women combined with all us old ladies and we had a couple of talks about mothers and strawberry shortcake was distributed.  I enjoyed a plateful of strawberries with my daughter, then I looked around.  It didn't take me long before I was on my feet and out the door.

I still don't know what it was that made me feel like I couldn't stay there one more second, but I was done.  I walked home with my head down, ignoring the beautiful sunshine while trying to figure myself out, but the few blocks wasn't long enough to puzzle it out.  All I knew is that I wanted my head on my pillow and I wanted it immediately.

That's how I was when my husband found me.

I don't think my dislike of Mother's Day is because of guilt or inadequacy or anything like that, although I certainly feel that.  I have thought that maybe it's because even bad mothers get a pedestal on Mother's Day, and mother's that hate being mothers and never wanted to be one get a pedestal, and all of us who work and try and give our everything every day to being good mothers get the same strawberries as everyone else.  And maybe that's part of it, but that isn't all of it, either.

So while I work on figuring out my dislike, I hope all of you had a wonderful Mother's Day and that you made it wonderful for the wonderful mothers in your life.