LibCon West in Glendale, AZ on December 10th

Posted by on Dec 9, 2016 in Blog, public speaking | 0 comments

The Glendale Main Library here in Arizona is hosting a full afternoon of events for teens on December 10th! It’s inspired by comicons, and will host vendors, crafts, panels, and a myriad of ways for teenagers to geek out. I’ll be there for a panel at noon alongside awesome authors Amy K. Nichols and Aprilynne Pike.

Read an article about LibCon or review the full schedule of events.

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Snowed in: A Giftmas Guest Blog from Jennifer Crow

Posted by on Dec 7, 2016 in Blog, giftmas, guest | 0 comments

giftmas-blog-2016

One of the first things anyone learns while growing up in Maine is that winter weather means preparing, adjusting plans, or else spending some quality time stuck in a snowdrift. For us kids, a blizzard brought adventure and welcome days off from school, an extra morning or two of sleeping in, or an afternoon sledding and sneaking extra marshmallows into the hot chocolate. Snow usually meant extra fun.

giftmas-crow1_smBut even Christmas wasn’t off-limits for those polar blasts that swept down out of the northern forests to whomp my hometown. One Christmas morning we woke up to a foot or two of the white stuff and more still falling. My sisters and I were in a frenzy of frustration because Grandma and Grandpa were supposed to join us after breakfast—already way too far in the future—and between Grandpa’s slow driving speed and Gram’s nervousness with regard to his driving and the weather, it looked to my siblings and I like the vital present-opening part of the day might get pushed back until the January thaw.

Dad stepped in to rescue the day, and his in-laws, by heading out in his truck to pick them up. While he was gone, Mom called our elderly neighbors and honorary grandparents to see if they’d weathered the storm. Yes, they were warm in their little farm house, but they wouldn’t be driving to their son’s home while snow was still flying.

“Go get them,” Mom told Dad when he’d returned from fetching the grandparents. “Patience and Karl won’t be able to get to Norm’s in this weather.”

“Okay,” Dad said.

“Patience will tell you not to bother,” Mom added. “Do not listen to her.”

“Right,” said Dad. (I think he liked knowing he and the truck could not be defeated by a little blizzard.)

So that was how we ended up eating Christmas dinner with both the grandparents we expected, and the adopted grandparents we hadn’t planned on. I always thought of that as the ‘Kidnap Christmas,’ but the truth is, that meal which we stretched a little farther, that table where we squeezed a little more, was one of the best holiday dinners I remember. The pictures from that day still make me smile.giftmas-crow2_sm

Today the world seems a little colder, a little more unsteady than it did when I was a kid. But I haven’t forgotten the lessons of the Kidnap Christmas, and how little it took to make the world a better place for someone in a time of need. If we can help, through the Giftmas Blog Tour, to provide for families who are at risk, that will be one small way to keep the darkness and the cold at bay.

Light a candle. Add an extra leaf to the table. No matter the strength of the storm, there’s always something we can do to make a difference.

This year, the Giftmas Blog Tour is raising money for the Edmonton Food Bank. The link to our page is http://bit.ly/Giftmas2016.

Please help us to make sure some needy families have what they need for the holidays. No one should be going without a warm, wholesome meal.

 

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Jennifer Crow has been writing speculative poetry for almost twenty five years now, which is probably a sign that her judgment is not to be trusted. Her collection of fairy tale poems, The First Bite of the Apple, was published in 2013 and nominated for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Elgin Award. She lives near a waterfall in western New York.

Read some of her recent poems in Uncanny Magazine, Mythic Delirium, and Mithila Review.

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Bready or Not: Churro Chex Mix

Posted by on Dec 7, 2016 in Blog, Bready or Not, gluten-free, side dish | 0 comments

Churro Chex Mix is addictive. It is dangerous. It might cause a sugar high that keeps you awake for a full day.

Bready or Not: Churro Chex Mix

This stuff has made the rounds on lots of food blogs. I looked at about five different recipes, read the comments for more tips, and threw together my own version. I was concerned that some of the recipes featured a lot of Chex that looked, well, naked.

Bready or Not: Churro Chex Mix

I wanted my mix to be slathered in happy sugar and cinnamon. I soon discovered that the pale pieces still have a lot of sugary-ness. It’s just invisible. Subtle. Ninja-like.

Bready or Not: Churro Chex Mix

Note that Nestle cinnamon chips melt in a very thick way. It might be necessary to add a lot more butter (because these things weren’t unhealthy enough already) to make it easier to stir the melted goop into the cereal.

Bready or Not: Churro Chex Mix

Also, depending on the ingredients you use, this can be served-up gluten free! Heck, you could even use Cinnamon Chex or the Cascadian Farms cinnamon cereal and just decrease the amount of added cinnamon.

Bready or Not: Churro Chex Mix

Just be warned: this makes a LOT. Be ready to share it with a lot of friends!

Bready or Not: Churro Chex Mix

Bready or Not: Churro Chex Mix

A Bready or Not Original from the High Priestess of Churromancy: This Churro Chex Mix is quick to make, and the recipe makes a lot! Kept in a sealed container, it should stay fresh for up to a week.

  • 9 cups rice Chex cereal (about 1 cup less than full regular box)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 bag cinnamon chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon

Pour Chex cereal into a ginormous bowl. Combine sugars and cinnamon in small bowl so that it's ready to go. Also set out a few large rimmed cookie sheets; line them with aluminum foil for easy clean up.

In a microwavable bowl, melt the 1/4 cup butter, cinnamon chips, and white chocolate chips. Heat for 30 seconds, stir, then 30 seconds, then stir, continuing in small careful bursts until the chips smooth out. Be careful: the chocolate burns fast! Nestle-brand cinnamon chips tend to melt extra thick, so add another 1/4 cup butter (or more) if needed to make it more fluid.

Pour some melted mix over the cereal. Stir. Add more melted goop. Sprinkle in some sugar mix. Stir. Keep adding more melted mix and sugar mix until it's all gone and things are mostly covered. (Note: it's okay if some Chex still looks kinda naked, because it's still likely covered in sugar!)

Shift the Chex out onto the cookie sheets and spread it out so it's not too chunky. Let set an hour or so, then throw it in a sealable bag or a few big plastic containers.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Bready or Not: Churro Chex Mix

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Giftmas Bready or Not: Cake Batter White Chocolate Fudge (Microwave)

Posted by on Dec 5, 2016 in Blog, Bready or Not, cake mix, chocolate, fudge, giftmas, no-bake dessert | 0 comments

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I’m offering a holiday-favorite Bready or Not recipe again to help kick off Rhonda Parrish’s Giftmas Blog Tour. Rhonda lives up in Edmonton, Alberta, and she’s hoping to raise funds for the Edmonton Food Bank. I’m all about helping to feed people! Please donate if you can. Note that funds are listed in Canadian dollars.

Rhonda is also doing a giveaway as part of the tour. She’s making a crocheted throw. The winner gets to choose the color, and she is shipping it anywhere in the world!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wander around to other stops on the tour over the next week. I’ll post another favorite recipe at Eileen Bell’s site on the 10th!

giftmastourschedule

This is a sweet cause, so here’s a recipe to make something especially sweet: microwave fudge that uses cake mix!

Cake Mix White Choc Fudge

Eating this fudge is like licking the paddle after mixing up cake mix batter. If you prefer savory over sweet, this recipe isn’t for you. This is for the people who love fudge and frosting and all things sweet.

Cake Mix White Choc Fudge

I didn’t limit myself to sprinkles in this. I had some Christmas candies, the type for topping cupcakes and such, that had been sealed away for a year. It had been a great post-holiday clearance buy. I wanted the containers GONE, so I pretty much dumped the contents into this fudge. That’s why you see little light bulb shaped candies in there.

Cake Mix White Choc Fudge

This is obviously a great Christmas recipe, but it’s an easy one to customize year round depending on the colors you mix in. Make fudge to support your favorite sport team, or pink and red for Valentine’s Day, or pastels for spring. Cake mix goes on sale all year round, too, making this a pretty cheap recipe to throw together.

Whatever you add in, I’m sure it will be pretty. And delicious. So very, very delicious.

Modified from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Bready or Not: Cake Batter White Chocolate Fudge (Microwave)

Cake Mix White Choc Fudge

This microwave fudge comes together in minutes and creates sweet fudge with the help of some cake mix! This isn’t a recipe to be confined to December. Add different sprinkles to make this fudge seasonally-appropriate (or sports team appropriate) all year long!

  • 2 cups + 2 Tbsp white or yellow cake mix (any brand), sifted
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, cut into chunks (or use unsalted and add a pinch of salt)
  • 1/4 cup milk (almond milk works)
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles/non pareils/jimmies

Line an 8×8 baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside. Measure the white chocolate chips and the sprinkles in separate dishes so they are ready to add quickly.

Mix sifted cake mix and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add milk and butter, without stirring, and microwave for 2 minutes.

Promptly mix ingredients until the butter is fully melted and incorporated. The batter will be very thick. Fold in white chocolate. Add the sprinkles last and stir gently so they don't leak too much color.

Scoop into prepared baking pan. Level it across the top. Chill the fudge in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before cutting into small blocks.

Fudge will keep upwards of a week in the fridge, if it lasts that long.

*OM NOM NOM *

 

Cake Mix White Choc Fudge

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