Tuesday, December 18, 2012

SOMETHING DARKER by S.A. Price Release Party! (Giveaway)

Welcome!

Today we have a special guest post by authors S.A. Price! They are here to share an epic giveaway with everyone that you will not want to miss out on!

And now over to S.A. Price!




Happy release day to us!

So Audra and I have a new book out today called SOMETHING DARKER, and we are really excited about starting this new, sexy series!

The one thing Syrus Alcot, the God of Death Osiris in the Egyptian Pantheon, wants in all the worlds is the woman he loved and lost returned to him. When he gave up his powers, and freedom for a life of service he was promised her return. That was over one thousand years ago. A member of a team of dark gods charged with keeping humanity safe, he leads a loveless existence in New York City, searching for the one thing that could bring his wife back to him, a lapis scarab that was lost to him ages before.

Gwen Stapleton, a mild mannered librarian, is unaware that she holds the key to not only Syrus’ happiness, but her own. Seemingly stuck in a hopeless relationship with a man she doesn’t love, she has no idea that a chance meeting in Alphabet City will start a landslide to her heart’s content. Because Gwen is the keeper of the scarab, and is everything Syrus has ever wanted… and he’s not the only one.

An Ancient evil is waking, and its servants will stop at nothing to see it seize its rightful place as the new pantheon of earth. And in order for Syrus and his team to save the world, Gwen is going to have to accept him, and show that love does make all the difference.

Sexy right? What’s not to like about strong gods and sassy librarians? Exactly!

So to celebrate this momentous occasion, we are having a HUGE contest, as we want YOU to enter!

$2.99 really CAN change a person’s life, and kick a career into high gear…

Want to win something awesome? What’s awesome? How about this: Registration to AAD (2013 or 2014 if you are already registered for 2013), a VIP package including VIP early seating and entry badge, and welcome goodies from the hotel, a gift basket fulla goodies and our backlist books and Breakfast with us on Tuesday morning.  Awesome right? We thought so.

So how do you win? Simple.

We have a new book available called Something Darker, the first in our Inferi Dii series. You can pick it up at Amazon on kindle and in print. Simply buy the book, and send us the receipt from Amazon. That will get you entered for the big prize.

What’s that you say? You want more entries? 

We have other ways of adding to your entries…
  • Going to Authorgraph.com and requesting we digitally sign your book will get you 3 extra entries.
  • Tweeting the contest will get you 2 more entries
  • Facebooking the contest will get you 2 more entries
  • Liking the Book on Amazon will get you 3 more entries
  • Liking our other books on Amazon will get you 2 more entries per BOOK (and yes we are counting both print and e book likes!)
  • Posting a review before the end of the contest (a real review) will get you 5 entries per place you post (max of 10 entries for posting on Goodreads and Amazon.com)
  • Buying other books in our backlist will get you 10 entries PER BOOK you send a receipt for (sorry guys, has to be bought between December 18 and the end of the event and MUST NOT be returned! We will know if it has been!)

Now here is the kicker…. We have to hit a minimum of 200 sales before the big contest prize goes into play. Why? Because it’s a VERY expensive prize, and we cannot offer it and make it worth our while without a minimum of 200 receipts!

And if we get this book in the top 100 at Amazon, I will throw in the coup de grace, your hotel room for AAD from Tuesday-Sunday FREE OF CHARGE! This prize is already worth $1000! Add in the room and its worth almost $2000! Isn’t that worth paying for a $2.99 book?

So you ready to win baby? Send your receipts to: everversestella@gmail.com with “SOMETHING DARKER CONTEST ENTRY” in the subject. (For other books put: SOMETHING DARKER CONTEST ENTRY---(NAME OF THE BOOK). Contest runs from December 18 to January 15th. Winner will be announced on January 18rd 2013!

Wanna join in on the release day fun? Join the Release day group at Facebook and hangout!

Kindle Link:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AOT77GW

Book Blurb:
The one thing Syrus Alcot, the God of Death Osiris in the Egyptian Pantheon, wants in all the worlds is the woman he loved and lost returned to him. When he gave up his powers, and freedom for a life of service he was promised her return. That was over one thousand years ago. A member of a team of dark gods charged with keeping humanity safe, he leads a loveless existence in New York City, searching for the one thing that could bring his wife back to him, a lapis scarab that was lost to him ages before.

Gwen Stapleton, a mild mannered librarian, is unaware that she holds the key to not only Syrus’ happiness, but her own. Seemingly stuck in a hopeless relationship with a man she doesn’t love, she has no idea that a chance meeting in Alphabet City will start a landslide to her heart’s content. Because Gwen is the keeper of the scarab, and is everything Syrus has ever wanted… and hes not the only one.

An Ancient evil is waking, and its servants will stop at nothing to see it seize its rightful place as the new pantheon of earth. And in order for Syrus and his team to save the world, Gwen is going to have to accept him, and show that love does make all the difference.


*** Please note that borrowing the book from the kindle lending library will not be accepted as a “Buy Receipt”. In order to be entered to win the grand prize, you must purchase the book.***

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hihowtheheckareyou?

so...tired...

I'm exhausted from skipping toward the end of school, waving furiously and smiling in a creepy way (although I don't mean for it to seem creepy--that's just an unfortunate result of the time of year).

But I wanted to say "Howdy!" and that I will see you so soon because we are so close to the end of the semester and I can almost taste the delightfulness.

I leave you with this:

20 days until my birthday!

Shop early; shop often!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cover/Blurb Reveal & Giveaway: SOMETHING DARKER by S.A. Price!



Expected publication: December 18th 2012

SOMETHING DARKER (book one of the Inferii Dii)

The one thing Syrus Alcot, the God of Death Osiris in the Egyptian Pantheon, wants in all the worlds is the woman he loved and lost returned to him. When he gave up his powers, and freedom for a life of service he was promised her return. That was over one thousand years ago. A member of a team of dark gods charged with keeping humanity safe, he leads a loveless existence in New York City, searching for the one thing that could bring his wife back to him, a lapis scarab that was lost to him ages before.

Gwen Stapleton, a mild mannered librarian, is unaware that she holds the key to not only Syrus’ happiness, but her own. Seemingly stuck in a hopeless relationship with a man she doesn’t love, she has no idea that a chance meeting in Alphabet City will start a landslide to her heart’s content. Because Gwen is the keeper of the scarab, and is everything Syrus has ever wanted… and hes not the only one.

An Ancient evil is waking, and its servants will stop at nothing to see it seize its rightful place as the new pantheon of earth. And in order for Syrus and his team to save the world, Gwen is going to have to accept him, and show that love does make all the difference.



To learn more about authors Stella and Audra Price, visit their Website:



***VIRTUAL RELEASE PARTY NEWS***


On December 18th, SOMETHING DARKER will be available for purchase and to celebrate the release authors S.A. Price are giving away some AMAZING, out of this world prizes! TRUST ME, you DO NOT want to miss out!

What are they giving away?

Are you ready for this?

A registration to Authors After Dark (2013 or 2014 if you are already registered for 2013), a VIP package including VIP early seating and entry badge, and welcome goodies from the hotel, a gift basket fulla goodies, backlist books, and Breakfast with Stella and Audra on Tuesday morning.  Awesome right? We thought so.

To learn more about Authors After Dark visit www.authorsafterdark.org

And wait, it gets better!!!

There will be a second and third place winner!

SECOND PRIZE winner will win a Nook Touch.
THIRD PRIZE winner will win tons of signed swag.

There's a little extra, too, but you will have to wait until December 18th to find out! :)

Mark your calendars... DECEMBER 18th!!!

Right now we're kicking off an early celebration with a $20 Amazon/BN Gift Card - Winners choice.



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Cover Reveal hosted by...

 




Sunday, November 25, 2012

I am thankful because of reasons.

November is the time of the year when Facebookers crank their status updates to full-throttle positivity and thankfulness because Santa is in the house.  Or at least in the mall, and that's close enough to the house.

I always forget to hop on the bandwagon, because I'm not really all that coordinated and even if I did hop up that high, I don't think I'd be able to hoist myself up and into the music-filled vehicle. So it's best I stay with my feet planted on the ground rather than take a tumble and get run over by the danged thing. (Just another reason to stay away from musical stuff.)


Yes, a bandwagon is an actual thing.
But I digress, because that's how I roll.

I started out planning to make a list of all the things I am thankful for because during a final-ish pass of a millionth revision, I just rewrote the ending to my novel Fare Well (out soon!) and the main character, Madeleine, is very thankful for all the wonderfulness in her life. (I know that sounds sappy and very unlike me, but I promise it is NOT sappy and is VERY MUCH like me.)


 But I digress. Again.

So in my head, I started to make a list of things that make me happy, like my family and friends and amazing guy who fits into both categories. And my health, which is at times wonky thanks to this, but I am still good to go every single day.* And my books, which you should check out.** And and and...

So rather than narrowing my thankfulness down to a single day or even a single month, I give you my thought on the subject:


So if you are thankful for someone, tell them. Or if there's something you're thankful for, tell everyone.  I'll start.


*Even incredibly lazy days when I can't get out of my own way because there is much TV that needs to be watched. I love you, HGTV.

**Or I will fight you.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cover Reveal (or: Go buy this book! Now!): Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin






Release: December 27th

Blurb:
I was never supposed to be a rock star. I had my life all planned out for me. Play football in college. Go to the NFL. Marry my high school sweetheart and live happily ever after.

I broke both our hearts that day when I told her I was leaving. I was young. I made the right decision for me, but the wrong decision for us. I’ve poured my soul into my music, but I’ve never forgotten her. Her smell, her smile.

And now I’m going back.

After ten years.

I hope I can explain that after all this time.

I still want her to be my forever girl.


My grandma once told me that I can do anything I want, so I am.

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, I now live in picturesque Vermont, with my husband and two daughters. Also renting space in our home is an overhyper Beagle/Jack Russell and two Parakeets.

During the day you'll find me behind a desk talking about Land Use. At night, I'm writing one of the many stories I plan to release or sitting courtside during either daughter's basketball games.

I'm also an active reviewer on The Readiacs - a site I own with my best friend and uber special beta, Yvette.


WebsiteFacebookGoodReadsTwitter


_______________________________________
 
GIVEAWAY
_______________________________________

This giveaway is open INTERNATIONAL.


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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Best Meal I Ever Had. In My Whole Life. Ever.*

So for The Chef's birthday a little bit of time ago, we spent a few days in New York City, which is one of my most favorite places, which surprises me more than it does you.**

But I fall in love with it a little more each time.

For the Great Birthday Weekend, we saw Book of Mormon (front row!) and Jersey Boys (third row!).

And we ate at Babbo, which I enjoyed much more this time than the first time we went.*** And if you go, which you totally should, you'd darned well better get the Tasting Menu, otherwise, you're not getting the most for your time and money. You should trust me. I know lots about food.  But I'll tell you about Babbo another time.

And I'll tell you about Eataly another time too--which is one of our favorite places in the whole wide world.

But the biggest and bestest birthday dinner (which was, in fact, lunch) of all time was at Del Posto, the only 4-star Italian restaurant in NYC and one of only 7 four-stars in the city.

We got the tasting menu, which if you don't know, is when you get forty thousand small courses brought to you over a couple of hours. It included the best salad ever made: Bitter HERBS & LETTUCES with Truffle Dressing. Salad isn't a thing that I love, but I could eat this every single solitary day. For the rest of my life. But I digress, because that's how I roll.

Anyway, the reason why you should always get the Tasting Menu is because you'll receive a variety of dishes you probably never would have chosen for yourself, which expands your experience and makes it unique. Plus it's at the whim of the chef so each visit is a surprise. And it means you don't have to choose one thing and regret your choice. <--I hate when that happens.

And speaking of surprise, when we got there and were chatting with the maitre d', one of the owners popped in and we chatted with him for a bit.  You may know of him--Joe Bastianich from MasterChef fame. We asked him to have lunch with us, but he was running in and out. And you'd think, well, that's the end of the story.

Except that would be 1. boring and 2. not the way our lives work.

So in our chat with Joe, The Chef may have mentioned we were there for his birthday. A throw-away comment in a longer discussion.  And yet not, because at the end of our meal, when they were bringing us FOUR dessert courses, one of them happened to be a super-rich chocolate birthday cake, complete with candle and well wishes written on the plate in chocolate, all accompanied with an olive oil gelato that made us weep with delight.****

I could go on for a thousand years, but I will spare you, and instead will go write, in order to make more money, because The Chef has another birthday coming up in nine months and I suspect I know where we're going for dinner.*****



* For some reason, Blogger is being an asshat and won't let me add pictures. Sorry! Check out the links!!

** You know--on account of I don't like noise or crowds or weirdness.

***I was DYING on that trip two years ago--I felt kind of lousy the whole time and then on our way home, I asked if we could, you know, stop at the hospital cause I felt that crappy. So, 8 days later, when I finally left the hospital...  Yeah, I didn't really enjoy Babbo's $300 dinner price tag as I probably should have. (By the way, I still can't eat prosciutto, which was one of the last things I had on that trip. ::shudders just thinking about it::)

****The Chef says I have to tell you about my most favorite parts, which includes a member of our team of servers and buspeople bringing an embroidered (by Italian vestal virgins) footstool upon which to lay my purse, lest it rest on the immaculate carpet. And we shan't forget the table covered with linens woven that morning by saints, which rested upon a plethora of batting, made of angel wings and unicorn manes, much softer and more plush than any bed on which I shall ever lay my head.

*****And this lunch was $350.00, so I can only imagine the cost of dinner. Gotta go!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Do you know what this is?

If you guessed awesome, then you are correct!! A million cupcakes for you!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hi! Hi! Hi!

"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry!*"

I have ignored you, my sweet little blog, ignored you for so long that even a cute picture of a kitten isn't going to make up for the lapse.  How about two kittens? No?

Okay. I'm going to try to catch up, because I still have to tell you about
Summer
A trip to Dallas
A trip to NYC
A book
Writing
Another book
Delicious delicious amazingly delicious meals.

And that's just stuff I can think of while another tutor in this writing center I'm working at right now speaks really really really loudly and I can't think of anything except he needs to be quieter! I know! I can't even think about rainbows or glitter. That's shocking!




*Apparently, and this is a point I can neither confirm nor deny, when I fall asleep on the couch** and The Chef wakes me up, this is how I respond.

**Which rarely happens***
***This is a lie

Friday, June 22, 2012

In which I break the "What happens in Vegas" rule

Also while I was away from you, we went to Las Vegas. For WORK. The Chef's work, not mine--although prepare yourself to be featured in a book sometime soon, Las Vegas. You've been warned!


We stayed here:
The Venetian. You have to sleep here. You may also want to dance in the lobby next to Thomas Keller's bakery with an Australian guy who hasn't slept in 48 hours because he just came from Kuwait.
You HAVE to eat here. "The menu, created by James Beard Award-winning Executive Chef Luciano Pellegrini, features an array of traditional and contemporary Italian cuisine that includes a variety of homemade pasta dishes, enticing entrees and decadent desserts." That's a fancy way of saying you want to put every morsel of food they make right in your face.

We also ate at the Mexican restaurant, right there on the right, which was weird as the gondoliers sang "O Solo Mio."
But the best part? Besides being there with The Chef?  This:


Obviously I didn't shoot that video, but we saw this one in real life, and can you say SUPER COOL? (I thought you could.) The best of the zillion fountain shows we saw. "Just one more!" I kept saying. The Chef is so kind to put up with my shenanigans.




We're so AWESOME!!! And we're definitely staying here next time!


I did realize during the trip that I may not be cool enough for Las Vegas. I was shocked--SHOCKED!--that in all the amazing shops in all the amazing hotels, I did not see one bookstore. NOT ONE! What the...?  Las Vegas, you've got some 'splainin to do.


Friday, June 15, 2012

The Secret

I was debating whether or not to tell you this, but since we're such good friends, I figure I probably should.  You may have noticed the difference and I don't want you to think I've been captured by mild-mannered aliens or anything. Ready? Here goes.  ::deep breath::

I am uncaffeinated.

No, not in the "Holy crap, I forgot to go to the store and I may die" way.

The "I'm going to cut down on DC/soda/caffeine/Nutrasweet" way.

See? It still loves me, no matter what.

One Thursday a couple of months ago, I called The Chef and said, "I'm not going to have Diet Coke any more." Kind of like when a toddler spits out the binky and never wants it again.

Except not like that at all, because I still want it.  And I want it bad, man, real bad.  I still have half a can in the morning with breakfast, but I have gone days without that too.

I think in the beginning, The Chef was very very afraid for his life. He's okay now, though. I think.

I miss the taste and the bubbles and the awesome feeling of actually being alive and alert.  I don't miss the needing a fix and doing whatever needs to be done in order to get it.  I don't walk around whining "I miss soda" anymore. Aloud.  Much. I did have some with dinner last night and was awake until 2 a.m., but that may have been because The Chef was away and no one told me to go to bed. (Oh, look, and it's 12:21 am already! Whoops!)

And for you holier-than-thou-ers out there, I didn't do it because you obsessively sent me stupid undocumented "sciency" research about the dangers of soda/artificial sweeteners/things in cans/anything that tastes good/caffeine/anything that makes you happy/all words with the letter C. I made the decision because I was tired of the constant chase for more. Not only did I want the DC all the time, I wanted it exactly the way I wanted it. And it was starting to cost a fortune. A Large Diet Coke with extra ice (LDCEI) doesn't come cheap.* And it made me hungry all the time, which meant more eating and more soda and more eating and more...you get the picture.

Do I still have it when we go out? Yes, sometimes. Sometimes not. And not usually 47 refills in one meal. And not close to a two-liter bottle (in varying forms) throughout the day. Every day.

My only worry? Not getting a birthday card from The Coca-Cola Company, like I usually do. By the way, six months and ten days until my birthday.  Shop early; shop often!

I would do this. In a heartbeat. No joke.
Sad that the Diet Coke post is over? Go read about A Social History of Diet Coke!!



*Except now it does, because McDonald's is running their any soda/any size $1 special again this summer.  ::shakes fist at the golden arches::

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Arch. She sways.


 The Gateway Arch is known as the "Gateway to the West". It was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen and structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel in 1947 and built between 1963 and October 1965.
During my time away from you, I visited St. Louis and while there, The Chef and I went up in the Arch--and by the way, that's just a nickname for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial--because we thought we should. It's actually quite lovely, but before I go any further, I have to tell you a few things:
  • I don't like to be closed in.
  • I am not one of those people who sees a little kid and gets all mushy; in fact, I'm the opposite. I run away from them.*
  • I don't love heights.
  • I have wicked vertigo.
  • Not a fan of crowds.
 It stands 630 feet (192 m) tall and 630 feet (192 m) wide at its base. The legs are 54 feet (16.5 m) wide at the base, narrowing to 17 feet (5.2 m) at the arch.

Knowing we had to return the car by whatever o'clock or we owned it (or some other penalty), we sprinted from the parking lot to the Arch.**

 There is a unique tram system to carry passengers to the observation room at the top of the arch.

We beat the line by offering to go up in separate pods--like the single rider feature at any amusement park. A good idea, right? No, because:
  1. You do not want to ever get into anything called a "pod," especially with strangers.
  2. Children may be some of the strangers in your pod.
Lets take a tiny little look into some pod facts:
  • Eight small capsules, used in each of the two Arch trains.
  • Each train capsule has a 5-foot diameter barrel that is open on the front and closed on the back.
  • There are five seats in each barrel, so the weight of the passengers helps keep the capsule in an upright position.
  • Each capsule rotates approximately 155 degrees during the trip to the top of the Arch.
  • Each of the Arch trains carries 40 passengers and is capable of making a round trip with passengers in 9 minutes including loading and unloading passengers in both directions.
There is nothing in that list that gives the impression of, "Hmmm, that sure sounds like fun!" Nothing.
So we got to the top and as I rolled out of the capsule, I expected to see something glorious inside the Arch. I don't KNOW what, specifically, I expected to find. Maybe something in the tone of Disney. Instead, we got something in the key of crowded old doctor's office. And more kids. Gah!
Look beyond the handsome and blurry Chef for a minute.
See those tiny little windows?
Yeah, that's what you get on both sides.
And you have to lean over an angled, carpeted area to see out them.
Okay, now you can look at the handsome Chef
and please note that he's not that blurry in real life.
But, of course, I guess you could say that the glory of it all is the view.
Hello, vertigo, my old friend

Nothing personal, St. Louis, but your buildings aren't very big, especially for the largest metropolitan area in Missouri..

And then the Arch moved. Or swayed.  "Can you feel the movement?" The Chef asked his delicate flower of a girlfriend, who felt more woozy than after three-quarters of a margarita.
We took a few more pictures and vamoosed because we had to hurry to get to the airport to...do nothing because our flight had been cancelled. Apparently someone coughed in Georgia or something and we were trapped until the next day. Trapped and tired and uncaffeinated and cranky. And that was just me! Poor Chef. He puts up with so much crazy.
I get just as dizzy looking at these pictures as I did when I took them.

But you've got to give me an A for effort, right?
Unless these are the ones The Chef took,
which would explain why they're clear and well-composed.
Apparently, there is more to St. Louis than the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, I wouldn't mind checking it out, which will probably happen in the near future because if you want to get to Columbia, MO, where my son lives, and not pay one gajillion dollars for a plane ticket, you visit "Rome of the West" / "Gateway to the West" / "Mound City." Heh heh. I said "mound."

*Except little kids who have proven themselves to be cool and worthy of being in the vicinity of my awesomeness. You parents who have children who have passed the test know who you are.

**Yes, by sprint I mean The Chef walked quickly and I went slower and slower as I looked around and then came to a full stop. The Arch is a VERY big, VERY shiny thing. Shiny sense overload.

PSSST! Unless otherwise noted, I swiped the info from Wikipedia, because I'm cool like that. Yay me!

Friday, June 8, 2012

It took a long time.

I knew my blog was missing something and it crippled me. I couldn't even stop in to say, "Hello," because something...not there.

I've missed you all very much while I've been enmeshed in school and running my Mary Kay business and thinking about writing but not actually putting many words on paper. Or screen. Whatevs.

I'll catch you up soon, but in the meantime, here it is, the very thing that all good blogs have and mine didn't but now that it does, we are back in session and ready to kick butt.

Hold on.

Ready?

(scroll down)











A cute cat picture. You're welcome.
XO

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I am bad at YouTube

Last night my son recommended* I check out this video on YouTube, so I fired up the laptop and showed The Chef and we laughed and laughed and laughed.



And then I, who was in charge of the laptop because it was on my lap, started clicking on a couple of other funny videos that weren't as funny. And then I said, "What should I look up now?" because I was enjoying our cozy couch time.*** 

Then I actually said, "What else do they have?" because I am so very cool.

I clicked on a few things and then watched an Adele video because we saw her on the Grammy's**** and I liked her a lot.*****

And then I threw up my hands. "I don't know what else to look at," I said.

"You're not very good at this, are you?" he asked.

I admit I'm not. Just like I get bored on the internet. And shopping. I go in, get what I want, and then leave. Want to see a funny Louis C.K. bit? Open it, watch, laugh hysterically, move on. Want to check my amazon sales? In and out baby, with an announcement of the day's number. Need a new pair of yoga pants?  Hello Target, how are you doing and gotta go!

I'm afraid of learning to like YouTube stuff, or the mighty internets for that matter. I can waste plenty of time on a good day without that kind of distraction. I have books to write! And Mary Kay sales to make! And TV to watch!****** And... and... and...

So, sorry, YouTube. I will not be your friend. I'm sure there's someone else out there who will pay attention to you.





*Ha ha ha. In some families, the recommend the newest literary work by Sir Stuffypants or seeing the latest pretentious documentary by Baron von Betterthanyou.  We recommend videos of cats playing Fruit Ninja.**

**Fruit Ninja is a really fun game!

***I'm such a GIRL sometimes. Ugh.

****Um, that Nicki Minaj girl? SO not a fan.

*****You have to remember that I don't actually listen to music. Ever. (Except when The Chef is driving.) Audiobooks in the car and on my iPod. Always. And I mean ALWAYS.

******You're thinking I should say "And papers to grade!" but you'd be wrong. I don't bring that work home.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

An Ode to Mio Farro

The Chef and I went to Uno's Chicago Grill in Warwick, RI last week and had a super fun time sitting at the pizza station where we got to watch the amazing pizza cook, whose name I can't remember, sorry Pizza Guy, kick serious pie butt. (Can you tell by the length of that sentence that I've had a TON of Diet Coke and it's before 9:00 am?)

Before we ordered our main courses,* we got the farro appetizer.  I know it doesn't look like the most beautiful thing in the whole wide world, but that's not what your mouth will say. Your mouth will say,** "Holy mother of pearl and all that is good and delicious, this is effing amazing." Your mouth will then cause your brain to make your arm push the man you love from his pizza-station stool to create a diversion so you can eat all the farro while he recovers.***

I will admit that I didn't actually know what farro is, so when the chef suggested the appetizer, I shrugged and said "okay" because I am very agreeable and I was eyeing the thin crust, multigrain Mediterranean pizza we also ordered as an app.**** He could have the weird stuff.

Here's what I learned about farro because I am curious by nature. Hahahahaha no. I suspect you might be curious about what it is, so I'm here to tell you, and by tell you, I mean plagiarize Wikipedia.

"Farro is a food product consisting of the grains of certain wheat species in whole form. The exact definition is debated. It is sold dried and is prepared by cooking in water until soft, but still crunchy (many recommend first soaking over night). It may be eaten plain, though it is often used as an ingredient in dishes such as salads and soups. It is sometimes ground into flour and used to make pasta or bread.

"There is much confusion or disagreement about exactly what farro is. Emmer, spelt, and einkorn are called farro in Italy, sometimes (but not always) distinguished as farro medio, farro grande, and farro piccolo, respectively. Regional differences in what is grown locally and eaten as farro, as well as similarities between the three grains, may explain the confusion."

Do you think the people at Uno, who The Chef actually knows, would give me the recipe and then The Chef could make it for me?***** Or am I going to have to drug The Chef at night and sneak over to the local Uno's and get an order or ten? Nightly.  Well done, Uno's. I wouldn't sacrifice sleep for much, but in your farrowing case, I will make an exception.

Oh, you wily little grain, you.


*Which I will tell you about later if this post doesn't get too long.

**But your mouth will not be able to say it aloud because it will be full of delicious farro.

***I'm so sorry, honey. It was an accident.******I swear I didn't mean to push you. I blame the farro.

****When you've worked in the restaurant business, you get to say appetizer like this. If you haven't worked in the biz, then you're just being a pretentious butthead.

*****Please note that nowhere am I suggesting that I actually have anything to do with the creation of this product. That would just be SILLY! And dangerous for the beloved farro.

******This didn't actually happen in real life.*******  I am blowing the scene out of proportion for dramatic emphasis on how ay-may-ZING this stuff is.

*******Just in my head. Shhh.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Delish Dish (pan actually but no alliteration there!)

Barbecue pizza with chicken and red onions and cilantro! (It was supposed to have flat leaf parsley on it, but The Chef made a mid-cooking replacement.) That's it, below.

Hello, I am it.

We're at Uno Dué Go in the heart of Boston* and this place is fantabulous! It's like Panera only waaaay better (and not just because there's pizza here).

I swear if there were one of these anywhere near Casa Chef and Me, I would write here; I would run my Mary Kay business from here; I would even eat here. Of course all that would be contingent on them losing the Pepsi products and hauling in a fountain dispenser of the good stuff. (You know what I'm talking about!)

We also had the grilled cheese panini with tomatoey goodness (we should have gotten the tomato soup to dip it in; make sure you do this if you go there) and a prosciutto, fig, and cheddar panini, which would have been superawesomegreat if I didn't have this thing about prosciutto... it was one of the last things I had before I got really sick last October and spent a good long time in the hospital, so not so fond of that anymore... But the rest fell out of the tasty tree and hit every branch!

Of the three things, the pizza won my heart, though. Just in time for Valentine's Day!

And keeping with the Uno's theme, we went to an actual Uno's restaurant a couple of nights ago, but you'll have to wait on that. Time to go!  The Chef is done chatting with the workers and I'm going to see if I can score myself a whoopie pie (chocolate with chocolate filling)!!

XOXO



* Yeah baby. Blogging from my phone in a restaurant. Am I cool or WHAT?

Look!!!

More details soon!!!

I am the cover to Penny's book! *



*Designed by the most awesomely amazing Jame Richards!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

It is so pretty and yet...

Yuck.

But the sushi makes The Chef very very very very very happy, so I order unpretty foods that taste delicious, like the chicken tempura and moo shu pork, which he also partakes in when the raw fish is gone.

I've tried to like sushi but here are my hang ups about it:
  1. Um, fish. Me no likey.*
  2. You're supposed to jam the whole piece of sushi in your mouth at one time. I'm a delicate flower and it's unladylike and uncomfortable to have no chewing room in your maw.
  3. Chopsticks are not for the clumsy. I tend to flick things far away from my face and the table when the sticks are in use.

Not good but apparently good for you. I'll take the deep fried vegetables, please.



*The Chef and his dad decided I don't like fish because I haven't had it prepared the right way. I can tell you that RAW is not the right way.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oh curly noodles.*

Stop being so awesome. I want to eat you all.**

Hello. I am Fusilli Bucati Corti. How are you?


*I would tell you their Official Pasta Name but I am too lazy to look it up.

**Especially when you are covered in The Chef's amazing chili.***

***Maybe if you're especially nice, I will tell you how to make it someday. I promise to tell you all the recipe parts--not just the ones that interest me.****

****This has nothing to do with curly noodles***** or chili but SUPER BIG GIGANTIC news about Hazel and her pals is coming very soon.

*****Actually, there IS a connection because Hazel's story takes place in Italy! And you know how those Italians love the noodles (not to mention the Parmesan cheese and the eggs on everything).

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My dad, the foodie

Dad: What's this?
Me: Baba ganoush, baba ganoush*
Dad: What's in it? I'm not going to eat something if I don't know what it is.
Mom: Just try it.
Dad: I don't like it!
The Chef: Have you ever had it?
Dad: No, but I don't like the way it looks.

Brief staredown between all parties.

Dad tries the baba ganoush with the homemade pita chips The Chef made at home.

Dad (excited): This tastes like ham salad!

Penny, The Chef, Mom: ::facepalm::


*Singing my most-excellent baba ganoush song

Shiny Antics

The Chef and I were at BJ's Wholesale today getting a few things. Right when we walked in, a guy handed us two raffle tickets and mumbled something about the jewelry department.

I carried the red stubs in my hand like they were winning lottery tickets (foreshadowing, in case you missed it).

Then we were about halfway done shopping and people-watching, the voice of god or someone on a bad PA system or god on a bad PA system said we should all go to the jewelry kiosk so we did because we are very obedient.

We had to be present to win. Present as in shouting distance, which meant we had to listen to his spiel about this fine fine jewelry line and its lovely gold plating or spray painting or something.

Me: Can we not listen to this anymore and go?
Jewelry guy: blah blah blah
The Chef: Nope. We're going to stay for the whole thing. [He loves torturing me like this!]
Jewelry guy: ...and it's available in white gold!
Audience: Ohhhhh!
Me (whining): Please can we go?

This conversation went on for about four hours or maybe four long minutes.

Me: I don't even want to win the ugly necklace.
Other audience members: Oooh! Pretty!
Me: Harumph. Can we go?

Then the jewelry guy tossed around the raffle stubs in a plastic grocery bag and pulled out the winning number.

Our number.

We won the lovely necklace below. Look how on one side the charm is yellowish and more whitey on the other side. Classy.

Jewelry guy said it was a real CRYSTAL! The Chef asked if he could sell it in eBay and retire.

Jewelry guy was not amused.

But we were! We laughed and laughed and then bought the fixins for Manwiches.

Friday, February 3, 2012

You should get this

...because it is one of the most amazingly awesome things ever.

You're welcome.

(Mine is bright pink.) (And who would have thought anything could make Froot Loops even better? Yet this bowl does just that!)

Xoxo

Sign you know your partner is in the right profession

During an intimate* time...

STOP READING THIS IF YOU ARE ONE OF MY PARENTS!!!

and the TV is on the Science Channel in the background showing "How It's Made" and apparently out of the corner of his eye, he sees what's on the screen and this partner of yours, this partner who loves you very much and you love him very much, stops what he is doing and says, "Hey! All-Clad!"**


*I am clarifying "intimate time," per The Chef's request. Naughty bits were involved. Shut. Up.

**The creation of All-Clad pans is actually a pretty interesting process.

When worlds collide, part 2

When I "throw something together" for dinner, peanut butter is involved, as is its BFF jelly.

When The Chef "throws something together" for dinner, we have tandoori chicken, baba ganoush*, and raita.

You can be jealous now.

Maybe later I'll tell you how to make some of these things. Right now, I have to go lie down because I'm so full.


*This makes me sing "baba ganoush...baba ganoush" in an annoying melody of my own making. Even I know it's annoying and yet I can't stop.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I am now afraid of jellyfish and Hot Pockets and very strong margaritas

Things you should know, in case you didn't already:
1. I grew up in an ocean town.
2. I've been an ocean-frolicker for much of my life.

This morning, which was actually last Saturday when I started writing this and then got distracted by something shiny, anyway, on Saturday, way later than my Yankee* upbringing naturally allows,** I was lying in bed watching the National Geographic channel. This was not a choice. The Chef is in charge of the remote. I am in charge of watching whatever he and the remote choose.***

I enjoyed the show about octopuses, which I thought were octopi, but I assume National Geographic knows what they're talking about, so octopuses it is. Did you know each of those suction cups has a mind of its own? Each one can hold up to 35 pounds. This means all together, they can hold about 2 1/2 tons. And they can taste through their arms! Think of how fun that could be--although I probably wouldn't use the Victoria's Secret "Rapture" body lotion anymore.

Then NatGeo (which I am allowed to call them now because we are now BFFs) started in with the jellyfish. Here's what I know about jellyfish: We have Portuguese Man-o'-Wars (Men-o'-War?) in our area, which require meat tenderizer (the liquid, not the mallet) on the skin to neutralize the sting. Apparently peeing on the injury also works, but I have a shy bladder, so that's never going to happen. That's it! That's all I know, so therefore that's all anyone needed to know and/or all there is to know.

But!

There are apparently umpity-kajillion kinds of jellyfish--some 12 feet wide and some a centemeter big. The little ones? More dangerous. Like dead-dangerous. And the box jellyfish? Get stung by their microscopic harpoons of death all along those lovely swaying tentacles and you are dead from exploding red blood cells, paralysis, and skin-eating poison. Good times. The end.

More things you should know, in case you didn't already:
1. I'm a lightweight in the liquor department
2. Drinking makes me hungry.

Why was I in bed so long?

Because The Chef and I went out last night, which was really last Saturday night, to our favorite place, Smoke Lounge in Providence, RI on Federal Hill. I had two margaritas and they were strong and delicious and then I talked a lot, even more than usual, which is a direct correlation.

When we got home, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And then Hot Pocket roll-type things. This was as big a mistake as swimming in a bathtub full of jellyfish.**** I went upstairs and got into bed without telling The Chef I was going upstairs and going to bed. I know! Rude! He said we had this conversation when he came upstairs in search of my disappeared self:

Me: My stomach hurts.
Him: What's wrong?
Me: My stomach hurts.
Him: What's wrong?
Me: My stomach hurts.
::time passes::
Him: What's wrong?
Me: I feel like I could throw up. But don't worry. I won't throw up in bed.

So!

What we now know:
1. I never need to eat another Hot Pocket for the rest of my life. And if I am forced to do so, I will not make it a peanut butter and jelly chaser.

2. As a really bad drinker with no tolerance for the devil's juice, I am not allowed to have two very strong drinks during the same outing.

3. Jellyfish are very scary and yet creepily pretty.



*As in New England hard-worker, not that baseball team to the south.

**More on this in a second. Get back up there and keep reading.*****

***Don't go getting all feminist bat-shit on me. I, for the most part, don't care what's on. With all those channels (who knew the world needed so many HBO and Showtime channels?), I'd rather not choose.

****I don't know why a bathtub would be filled with jellyfish and I don't know why I would even think about swimming in it, but...meh, go back to reading and pretend the metaphor is better than it actually is.

*****I lied. I don't feel like writing about this now. I also don't feel like going back and adjusting all the asterisks.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

FINALLY! Chicken soup in every pot (and freezable container)

We all know that when household collide, so do methods of food preparation. To wit: Chicken Soup.

My (Penny's) way of making chicken soup:
  1. Open can.
  2. Dump contents in microwavable bowl.
  3. Add 1/2 can of water.
  4. Microwave until you're tired of waiting to eat.
  5. Remove from microwave, taste, burn tongue.
  6. Shake fist at microwave.
Optional: Add a boatload of crackers because the soup may not taste exactly like a salt lick quite yet.

The Chef's way of making soup:
  • 3-5 pound chicken
  • 4-5 carrots cut in 3-4" pieces
  • 1/2 stalk celery with leaves cut in 3-4" pieces
  • 1 large onion cut in 3-4" pieces
  • sachet bag*, made up of 1/2 bunch Italian parsley with stems, 20 whole black peppercorns crushed, 2 T thyme, 3 whole cloves, 2-3 bay leaves
  • cold water (keep reading for how much!)

  •  To make stock:
  1. Using a cleaver, cut chicken into small pieces (each part of the chicken--leg, breast, etc-- should be cut at least in half to expose the marrow, about 3-4" pieces)
  2. Add enough cold water to cover approximately 6-8" above the chicken.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Skim the scum. (Say that three times fast--fun!)
  5. Add carrots, celery, onion, and sachet bag.  Stir.
  6. Simmer for 5-6 HOURS** skimming off scum occasionally.
  7. Remove chicken and place on sheetpan to let cool.
  8. Strain stock through fine strainer. (Use fine chinois or cheesecloth if possible.) Let cool.
  9. While stock is cooling, pull chicken from bones. (Best to do this while watching the movie Until the Devil Knows You're Dead.)
  10. Evenly separate chicken stock into freezable containers. (Your choice but 1/2 gallon size works best.)
  11. Add equal amounts of pulled chicken to the containers.
  12. Freeze--EXCEPT ONE! We're going to keep going with that one container.
Ready?
  • one 10-oz block frozen, chopped spinach
  • 1/3-1/2 bunch fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • About 1/2 pound of your choice of pasta (we like egg fettuccine, broken up into 1" pieces, which hurts your hands. ouch.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
  1. Remember that container from above? Pour the contents into a large sauce pan.
  2. Add one block of frozen spinach. (Do not thaw.) Cook until hot.***
  3. Add chopped parsley.
  4. In a separate pan, cook pasta. Go PAST the al dente stage.****
  5. Strain pasta and rinse with cold water.
  6. Add desired amount of pasta to spinach/chicken soup and bring to simmer. Keep in mind that if you add too much pasta, it will suck up all the juices and you'll have one giant spinach noodle. Yuck.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste. This is the first time you're adding salt, so you may find it takes a lot.*****
  8. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese. I'm not kidding. These Italians put cheese in everything. I stopped my open mocking for a moment and tried it and WOW!
*sachet bag=herbs wrapped in a cheesecloth, tied with a string. This keeps all the little bits from floating all over the place. Little bits are like that.

**HOURS!!!! Hahahahaha!

***If you're using one of the frozen containers of the stock, pop out of container into saucepan along with frozen spinich. Cover and heat slowly (or quickly if you're wicked hungry).

****Be sure to wave to the al dente as it passes by.

*****The Chef says, "You can even add an egg to that." I say, "Why do you Italians have to put an egg on or in everything???" He defends this wacky practice by saying it would be like an egg-drop soup.  I say, "Whatever, dude."******

******And then he kills me for calling him "Dude."
I am delicious soup and you want to eat me.
You will use a spoon because if you try to slurp directly from the bowl, you'll spill it down the front of yourself. Trust me on this.

I'm denouementing. And whining.

Lots of writers say they don't like writing the middle of their stories, especially novels because they (the middles) are just so...effing...long.

Yeah, that can be a problem. Friend/mentor/really cool lady Pat Giff says we should keep making the problem (conflict) worse for the main character during this time. That has helped me a lot to get through those pesky long middles.

Me? I'm no fan of the denouement, the very very end of the story where everything wraps up. According to this source, which is not wikipedia,*  "Denouement is usually the final scene or chapter in which any necessary, and, as yet unmade, clarifications are made. The word is taken directly from French and means literally 'untying.' The French nouer is from the Latin nodare which was derived from nodus, meaning 'knot to untie.'"

Look! A graph! Or is it a chart? Or a map? ::shrugs:: I'll stick to writing.
My inclination is to write an ending something along the lines of "And then they died. The end" regardless of what came before that sentence, but apparently this is not an ending readers like. In fact this pesky denouement** is the only part of the Julia novel (which I've been working since...forever) that I have left to write. My friend Shelagh (check out her blog) said I'm not allowed to end this way. She is mean.*** 

How to tell I do not like writing that part of the book?  I'm explaining literary terms to you rather than just doing it.

In order to not have a predictable ending, I may have fiddled with the idea of the happy ending. I read recently, "You can write a good ending as some novelists do. You can write a great ending as fewer do. You could write the perfect ending as all too few do. Or... you could write the only ending. Ah, there's the rub. What's the perfect ending? And can the progression of the plot (i.e. the journey of the character(s) and chain of events) justify the denouement and vice versa?"

 I KNOW what the perfect ending is.**** I just don't want to write it because it may wind up being a little bit sad and I don't like being sad.

It's not like I am against happy endings in general. I love happy endings. (Shut up, you.) I just want it to be DONE already.****

 Fine. I'll do it. (After snacktime.) But I'm not going to like it. (But I will like the snack.)

What's that? You're worried because I seem to have completely abandoned Hazel?  Oh, on the contrary. She has some big news coming up in less than a month. But it's a secret so you will have to wait.




*Although they have a great breakdown of dramatic structure even though they are The Evil W.
**But I do LOVE to say "denouement" because it makes me feel really really smart.
***Not really. She is actually very nice.
****Because The Ending Fairy came!
*****And by DONE, I mean MOSTLY done. She still needs a good going through/editing, but that's different and way easier.

No chicken soup for your soul. Or bowl.

Apparently when you're writing a recipe, you are not supposed to only include the steps that interest you.  For that reason, you are not getting the chicken soup recipe I have been promising you in my head.

Oh, you'll get it eventually. Or I guess I could give it to you now, but it wouldn't work.

I wrote it, thinking I was Miss Sassy-Smartypants and I sent it to The Chef, asking him to check it out and he laughed and laughed and told me it was perfect except for all the wrong things and all the missing things. (I added the "perfect" part.) (He said all this very nicely because he is very kind and sweet, but we all know that's what he meant. There may have been some head-shaking on his part.)

So...if you're sick and you need chicken soup, just hold on! It's coming!


Someday I will tell you how to make this.


Inappropriate Response

Him: I am the saddest person in America.

Me: ::laughs uncontrollably::

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pork loin is not photogenic

It kinda looks like a dead, boneless animal, doesn't it?  Oh, wait. It is. But a very delicious one.


There really are no words, but I sure do like to write captions!

Here's the recipe, for those of you brave enough to slow-cook. I've slow-cookered thrice, so I'm a pro now. (And by "pro," I mean The Chef helped/supervised every step of the way. We should all thank him. If you think I'm kidding, see Step 2, which I did on my own.)

Non-Photogenic but Most Delicious Slow-cooker Pork Loin
  • 1 boneless pork loin, 2-3 pounds
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
Glazey McGlazerson:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  1. Get your in-home chef to wash pork, trim excess fat, pat dry.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then prick the meat all over with a fork or skewer. (NOTE: I forgot to poke and no one would have been the wiser if I hadn't just narced on myself.) (ANOTHER NOTE: I said "prick.")
  3. In a cup or bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard, and vinegar. Rub all over the hunk of meat. (Best to put the gloves back on before you do that--no messy cleanup!)
  4. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours.
  5. After an hour of cooking, add water around the side of the meat--not right on it!
  6. About 1/2 hour before the pork is done, combine ingredients for glaze in a small sauce pan.
  7. Heat and stir until mixture thickens.Pour off the excess juices and reserve.
  8. Brush pork with glaze.
  9. Add reserved juices to glaze and reduce on stove to nappe* stage. (The mixture coats the back of the spoon.) This is your gravy. You will drink whatever's left. I guarantee it.

*Does using this term make me sound like I know what I'm doing?