Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Mexican Bean Burritos



As you may well know, my husband and I are vegans.  It's very hard to find vegan food in supermarkets and almost impossible to get vegan food in restaurants in the UK.  (Vegan - no egg, no dairy and certainly no meat or fish!)
So, more often than not, I cook at home.

Friends often ask me what we eat and what they could cook for us if they invited us to dinner. 
I like this kind of question! :-)
Therefore, I thought I would post a recipe here and there for my friends and readers.  These are easy and great to add to your repertoire of family meals, especially when your veggie/vegan friends pop over!

Vegan food is not difficult to cook, it just takes some thought and time.  Also, there is no healthier food on the planet.  So you can imagine that I don't mind sharing recipes.

My favourites are often from Dr. John McDougall and his wife, Mary's recipe books.

Today we had Mexican Bean Burritos for lunch and I thought I'd share - enjoy! :-)





Preparation Time: 15-30 minutes  

Cooking Time: all day 

Servings: variable, at least 10-12 

Smashed pinto beans: 
2-3 cups dry pinto beans 
Water to cover at least 2 inches over beans 
1 large onion, coarsely chopped 
4-6 whole cloves fresh garlic 

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook for 8-10 hours on high. Pour off almost 
all of the water that remains after cooking (save for another use, if desired) and mash 
with an electric hand mixer or a hand held bean masher. (The onion and garlic will be 
soft enough to mash with the beans.) Season with a little salt, if desired. 

Toppings: chopped onion, chopped tomato, shredded lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, assorted 
fresh salsas, grated soy cheese (optional). 

Assorted burrito shells or tortillas, both flour and corn 

To serve: 
Place all topping ingredients in individual bowls and place on a serving counter or table. 
Let each person take a burrito shell or tortilla, warm it on a dry non-stick griddle if they wish, and then layer it with all the ingredients that they like. Or warm all the shells in the oven or 
microwave, and assemble at the dinner table. 

Click here to see a video of Mary Mcdougall making the Burritos.





Friday, 26 July 2013

Guest Post: Dani Morgan the Plotter.



I guess we could call this blog post Plotter to the Core. If you look up the term plotter in the dictionary, well, there I am smiling and waving back at you.  It’s almost to the point of obsession really.  Scary, I know.

Every story I write has it’s only folder or binder depending on size.  I first come up with a basic concept and jot down a few notes, starting the folder. Then it’s on to cast, because I need visuals.  When I find people close enough to the vision in my head, I print off their pictures, name them and give them a basic story.  I have to admit, name genie is my best friend.

Next step is music. I figure out the basic tone and go searching.  I have a few go to bands like Papa Roach and Daughtry that I start with. Then I branch out.  I make a playlist and keep adding, even as I’m writing.  I remember being in the grocery and hearing the perfect song for one of my stories.  I’m always open for inspiration.

Next is the basic outline and timeline.  I hate writing myself in a corner so I make notes on things that have to happen.  Sometimes I know the title right off the bat and other times it’s a struggle. But once I hear it… I know.

Finally, I open up a word doc, set it up and I’m off to the races.  I can write day or night, it doesn’t matter. Though for some reason, midnight to four a.m. seems like the best time.  I think there is the least amount of distractions then.  I keep going, sending bits and pieces to beta readers as I go and hopefully, within a few months, it’s done. 

That’s my process in a nutshell. 






ABOUT DANI MORGAN




I was always the girl who spent most of her life living in her head, even at an early age. My made up worlds were so much more interesting than real life. In them, anything was possible. I could be a reckless archaeologist digging up a mummy who came to life, terrorize a medieval village by drinking all their blood, start an intergalactic war between rival planets, or ride a wild stallion with a hunky Native brave clad only in a breech cloth, all within the course of a weekend.

Life didn’t stay simple. I had to grow up, get a job, became a wife and mother and put all my dreams on hold. After a change in my life, I found myself a single mom who had plenty of time to fall back into the land of make believe.

One night I opened up my computer and soon several novels were penned. Now I have embarked on a journey to become the person I always envisioned myself to be, an author, sharing my crazy ideas with the world.









Links For Dani

 Blog


Links For Insanely Drawn












Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!



Welcome to the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!

Wow, this blog hop is full of some tasty recipes to drool over while reading about some great books too.  Delicious apple pie tartlets, hazelnut chocolate cookies, partridge stew, and Portuguese sweet bread to name but a few.  Those recipes look so tasty I think I'm gaining weight just reading them! 

Here’s how the hop works. Each author invites from one to five other authors to answer five questions about their current summer release or 'work-in-progress' and gives a tasty recipe that ties into it.  
I have tagged the The Rebel Puritan herself  JoAnn Butler.  Her recipe is straight from the good ole pioneer days and I have no doubt that Herodias Long, the heroine in her books would have loved the partridge stew! 

Just click on the names on the list to see what everyone else has cooking. 
Okay then, let’s get to it!


My most recent release is THE UNCANNY LIFE OF POLLY.



Polly writes chick lit and her debut novel is a worldwide bestseller. However, something strange starts to happen when she gets back from an international book tour. Polly finds that instead of art imitating life, her life starts to imitate art - or rather, her novel. 
She arrives home to find her husband in the arms of the maid. Wasn't that in Chapter Three of her book, Happily Ever After? 
Her best friend is having an affair with her husband, too, and is pregnant! Isn't that in Chapter Four? 
Then she meets a bronzed Greek and embarks on a passionate love affair. Wasn't that in Chapter Seven? 
Will anyone believe her life is mirroring her novel? Can she prevent the ultimate tragedy or must the book play out, precisely as she wrote it, to the bitter end? 

Her agent recommends that Polly go and live Happily Ever After on the proceeds of her book, and keep away from drama!




Now for some tasty questions:

1) When writing, are you a snacker? If so, sweet, or salty?


Not really.  In fact, I forget to eat when I'm writing.  I get so absorbed in the story that I even forget to feed my husband - oops!  

I do, however, keep water by my side and I do like Rooibos tea or some other herbal tea, particularly camomile.
Snacks are prohibited in our house because we need to lose the 'spare-tyres' around our waists, but if I was a snacker it'd be salty.  I do love salty foods, and if you can add a little chilli in there, that would be perfection! 


2) Are you an outliner, or someone who writes by the seat of their pants?


I outline in my head.  I hate writing things down and taking notes. I do that mostly when I have a new idea and I won't get to it for a few months.  
So, I outline in my head, then I immerse myself in the story.  I imagine the lives of the characters, what they look like and do.  Then, I get typing.  From then on, I write by the seat of my pants.  I like it when the characters' personalities take over and they sort of tell me what they want me to write.  I know that sounds as if I need my head shrunk, but it's true!



3)When cooking, do you follow a recipe, or do you wing it?


I like to follow recipes but I don't fret if I am missing an ingredient.  However, hubby insists that he can taste that something is missing! lol   

He loves to cook too and he follows his mother's recipes to the letter.  I love those meal times - you can't beat Indian food. 


4) What is next for you after this book?


Right now I'm working on a sequel to Relative Deceit (out August 30th) set 21 years on from that book.  It's an interesting time because women had just been allowed into the Police in 1923 and I love having strong heroines in my books. 
I'm also scribbling away (typing, I should say) at book 3 in my Pride and Prejudice series and finally, I am working on a new series that I started at Christmas.  This is taking a lot of research and time.  Although there are women in that book, it's protagonists/antagonists are male, and that has been a challenge for me.  A good one though.  


5) Last question… on a level of one being slightly naughty and ten being woo hoo steamy, how would you rate your book?


Hmm.... The Uncanny Life of Polly is more a comedy than a romance, although having said that, there is a hilarious sex scene in it.  But because of that comic element, (you'll have to read it to find out) I would say about a 4.  You can't get steamy while laughing! ;-)



And now for the really tasty part - a recipe to share! 

Polly is from New Zealand and the nickname for a New Zealander is a Kiwi.  So, I thought considering it's summer in the book and she's a Kiwi, how about a recipe with Kiwi-fruit?
I'm a vegan, so I made this without dairy, but you can change that if you want!
I've also added imperial measurements for our American friends :-)





First we have to make the pastry base...  (small)

Vegan sweet shortcrust pastry


125g/4½oz plain flour
55g/2oz icing sugar
55g/2oz soya margarine

Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl and add the soya margarine.
Use your fingertips to rub the fat into the flour until you have a mixture that resembles coarse breadcrumbs with no large lumps of margarine remaining. 
Bring the mixture together to form a dough, adding extra flour if the mixture is too wet, or some water if too dry, a teaspoon at a time.

Wrap the dough in cling-film and chill for 10-15 minutes before using.



Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Fruit Dip

225g/8 ounces non-dairy cream cheese, room temperature
110g/Half a cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Mix the brown sugar and vanilla extract into the cream cheese.  

Spread the topping into the tart base and then arrange slices of Kiwi-fruit on the top.  Pop into the fridge to cool and enjoy!  (This is also good as individual tartlets) 



As stated above, there are a number of interesting recipes on this blog hop – and some equally good books! Take the time to enjoy.

Christy English
Diana Russo Morin
Nancy Goodman
Lauren Gilbert
Lucinda Brant
Prue Batten
Anna Belfrage
Ginger Myrick
Jo Ann Butler
Karen Aminadra 


And I tag Hunter S. Jones









Relative Deceit



My crime novel Relative Deceit will be out on August 30th through Moon Rose Publishing.





I am so excited!   It's been a fabulous journey with MRP and I am so pleased that I can tell you the new release date.

They've even made a snazzy trailer for it!  Check it out, I'd love to know what you think!











Available now to PREORDER through 
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and Moon Rose Publishing











Friday, 19 July 2013

Insanely Drawn by Dani Morgan



Welcome to the blog tour of Insanely Drawn! 

This amazing debut novel is being published through Moon Rose Publishing on the 15th July 2013, and is one worth picking up.

A psychological thriller with a paranormal twist, we guarantee you won’t be able to put this one down! 
Scroll down to find out more, and get ready to add this to your summer reading!








The Blurb

Your first job out of college. It’s supposed to be a stepping stone or a transitional job, not the single defining decision that will alter the course of your entire life.  Sienna Kennedy never signed on for the craziness, danger and even love that her new job thrust into her world.
But she didn’t run either.
Assigned to a maximum security floor of Western State Hospital for the mentally ill, the last thing she expected to encounter was a reminder of her past.
Cade Collins’ animal magnetism draws her into an unseen world filled with creatures from her wildest imagination. Discovering his story, as well as the very institution in which she works, becomes her obsession. Her every waking moment is consumed with unearthing a way to free the man that has stolen her heart, body and mind.

The secrets Sienna finds will free them of their bonds…or lead them to their doom.  Fate flung the two destined souls together, but how can any love survive in such a demented place, filled with peril and danger?











More About The Author




I was always the girl who spent most of her life living in her head, even at an early age. My made up worlds were so much more interesting than real life. In them, anything was possible. I could be a reckless archaeologist digging up a mummy who came to life, terrorize a medieval village by drinking all their blood, start an intergalactic war between rival planets, or ride a wild stallion with a hunky Native brave clad only in a breech cloth, all within the course of a weekend.

Life didn’t stay simple. I had to grow up, get a job, became a wife and mother and put all my dreams on hold. After a change in my life, I found myself a single mom who had plenty of time to fall back into the land of make believe.

One night I opened up my computer and soon several novels were penned. Now I have embarked on a journey to become the person I always envisioned myself to be, an author, sharing my crazy ideas with the world.




Links For The Author


 Blog



Links For The Book















Thursday, 18 July 2013

Writing, headaches, and melting!








Greetings!
It's been ages since I posted, hasn't it?
Why is that? I hear you cry!

Well....  we in the UK, like a lot of countries this year, are experiencing a heatwave.   It's been an unusually hot July.
So, I've been ensconced in my room, with the fan on full-blast, writing away, dealing with headaches and melting.  Literally.

This weather, as you can imagine, is not good for productivity.  I'm not writing as much as I usually do and it always frustrates me when I'm not writing as much as I want to!

It's been too hot to sit outside for long - so unfair!  Last year we had a terrible summer and this year it's too dangerous to sunbathe for long *sulk*

If you've never been to the UK then you won't know how humid it is here in the summer - it's a nightmare.  I think I've had a headache for 4 days now!
If we could just tow the UK southward to just off the west coast of France, that would be great! ;-)

I hope you're coping with the weather!  Happy Summer! xxx





Here are some photos of the UK sweltering under this hot sun! :-)



This was the scene on Brighton beach last weekend


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23313525


Temperatures from 31 and surprisingly 40 Celsius (88 - 104 F) 


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/weather/10185583/Heatwave-sparks-rise-in-AandE-admissions-as-level-3-health-alert-issued.html