Posts made in April, 2017

Sunday Quote braces for a busy May

Posted by on Apr 30, 2017 in Blog, Quote | 0 comments

“The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man.”
~ T.S. Eliot

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Bready or Not: Jumbo XXL Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

Posted by on Apr 26, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, lemon, muffin | 0 comments

You could made normal, piddly muffins. Or you can make ENORMOUS HONKIN’ MUFFINS like the kind you get in bakeries. These Jumbo XXL Lemon-Blueberry Muffins taste pretty darn good and will fill your belly, too.

Bready or Not: Jumbo XXL Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

These muffins pans are surprisingly cheap. Amazon has a couple different kinds. Search for “jumbo muffin pan” or “Texas muffin pan.” (Because everything is bigger in Texas).

Bready or Not: Jumbo XXL Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

Confession: one reason I like these muffins is because they are pretty. I add a couple blueberries on top to make sure they don’t all sink, and I add some turbinado sugar to make them glisten.

Bready or Not: Jumbo XXL Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

Then there’s the size. Look at the pictures here and you’ll see that silver cup for size contrast. That’s 1 cup. Yeah.

Bready or Not: Jumbo XXL Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

If that’s too much muffin for you to eat, you can easily cut one in half. Or you can do what I do and freeze most of the batch. Wrap’em up in a few layers of plastic wrap and they’ll keep well in the freezer for a few weeks.

Bready or Not: Jumbo XXL Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

That’s a perfect way to make these cakey lemon-blueberry bombs last a little longer!

Modified from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Shared another version of this recipe in 2013 on my LiveJournal.

Bready or Not: Jumbo XXL Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

Bready or Not: Jumbo XXL Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

Use a jumbo muffin pan to make delicious and ginormous lemon-blueberry muffins, just like the kind you get in bakeries! These muffins are best eaten within a day or two, but they can also be frozen to enjoy later. Eat at room temperature or warmed.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk (almond milk and half & half work well)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces fresh blueberries, washed and patted dry
  • sparkling or turbinado sugar for the top, optional

Preheat oven at 425-degrees. Use nonstick spray or butter on the muffin pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Mix in the milk, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Mixture will be pale and yellow.

Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, making sure to scrape the bowl, but don't overmix. The batter will be thick and somewhat lumpy.

Carefully fold in the blueberries, reserving some to place on top of the muffins.

Pour the batter into the greased muffin tins, filling just about to the top. Add the reserved blueberries and some turbinado or sparkling sugar, if desired.

Bake at 425-degrees for 5 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375. Continue to bake for about 25 minutes. The tops should be lightly golden, and the muffins should pass the toothpick test. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes in pan, then remove to begin eating or to allow them to cool completely on a rack. (If you leave the muffins in the pan too long, they will steam and get soggy.)

Muffins are best eaten within a day or two, but they can also be frozen for later enjoyment. Eat at room temperature or zap in the microwave to warm up.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Bready or Not: Jumbo XXL Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

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Sunday Quote feels poetic today

Posted by on Apr 23, 2017 in Blog, Quote | 0 comments

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
~ Shel Silverstein

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4 Ways to Affordably Acquire Historical Research Books

Posted by on Apr 20, 2017 in Blog, writerly advice | 0 comments

When you’re engaged in historical research, web pages often are not the best sources: old-fashioned books are. But how do you find the right books? How do you acquire them? How do you afford them?

- Use Wikipedia, but scroll down.
Sure, Wikipedia can provide a decent synopsis of a subject, but the most useful information is in the footnotes at the bottom of the page. That’s where you find cited data, such as book titles and theses. Follow the links and you might even find the materials online for free!

- Libraries still exist.
Shocking, isn’t it? You can go to physical libraries and get books for merely flashing a library card. Look into inter-library loans or see if you can access college libraries nearby. Librarians are available to help you out, too.

- Buy used books.
This is my preferred method of research, simply because I like to hold onto content for future reference. My favorite shop is Better World Books because the shipping is free, the selection is great, and my purchases benefit charities. I also look for used books on Amazon and Half.com.

- Find free ebook archives.
Most people know about places like Project Gutenberg and its efforts to digitize old books, but it’s not the only such resource. State and city governments and museums are also creating more online archives. For example, check out the California Digital Newspaper Collection created by UC Riverside or Washington State’s Online Library of classical state literature ranging from pioneer biographies to native tales or the San Francisco Library’s 1906 earthquake photograph collection. Savoring the Past has digitized a numerous 18th and early 19th century cookbooks. Don’t forget Amazon, either. Look up classic books and check their availability for Kindle; sometimes you can find them for zero dollars or for almost nothing.

Trust me. When you’re deep in the word mines and require dozens and dozens of books to world-build an alternate history, those free and almost-free books are worth a whole lot.

Reposted from Novelocity.

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Bready or Not: Chewy Honey Snickerdoodles

Posted by on Apr 19, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, cookies | 0 comments

This is a Bready or Not Original recipe. And it will blow your mind.

Bready or Not: Chewy Honey Snickerdoodles

As WorldCon in Kansas City neared, I asked on Facebook if people had cookie requests. Several people asked for Snickerdoodles. Problem: My traditional Snickerdoodle recipe only stays optimal for a few days.

Bready or Not: Chewy Honey Snickerdoodles

Therefore, I needed to create a new Snickerdoodle recipe, one that would travel well and hold up to summer heat. I looked at my other go-to convention cookie recipe for Chewy Honey Maple Cookies. I Snickerdoodlified it.

Bready or Not: Chewy Honey Snickerdoodles

The end result: a new kind of Snickerdoodle with a sweet kiss of honey, and the durability to travel without falling apart AND the miraculous knack for staying fresh ‘n tasty for over a week.

Bready or Not: Chewy Honey Snickerdoodles

These cookies were well loved during the con. Several people said they were the best Snickerdoodles they’d ever had.

Here’s the recipe, so that you may replicate their joy.

Bready or Not: Chewy Honey Snickerdoodles

Bready or Not: Chewy Honey Snickerdoodles

A Bready or Not Original: classic Snickerdoodle cookies with a touch of honey! These cookies are excellent to pack for conventions or ship cross-country, as they’ll stay chewy and delicious for over a week and a half. Also note that the dough is great to freeze for weeks, and the wrapped-up dough can also idle in the fridge for several days before being baked. These cookies are convenient at every stage!

  • For dough:
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tb honey
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For rolling:
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and honey and beat until creamy and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix in the egg and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: bread flour, all-purpose flour, cream of tartar, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Sift together.

Slowly stir together the wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and stash in the fridge for several hours or days.

When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Use greased stoneware, parchment paper, or silpat mats. Prepare sugar and cinnamon mix, and roll dough balls to coat.

The cookie dough, even straight from the fridge, has a soft Play-Doh-like consistency, so it will spread when it bakes; keep this in mind when you space the cookie dough balls.

Teaspoon-sized cookies need to bake 9 to 12 minutes; Tablespoon-sized take 11 to 13 minutes. Let set on cookie sheets for 10 to 15 minutes before moving to a rack to cool completely.

Cookies will keep in a sealed container, between waxed paper or parchment layers, for over a week and a half. They are excellent for travel or shipping.

OM NOM NOM!

Bready or Not: Chewy Honey Snickerdoodles

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