Posts by Beth

What’s New in May

Posted by on May 23, 2019 in anthology:story, Blog, chicken soup for the soul | 0 comments

– The F is for Fairy anthology is out NOW! I wrote the story for the letter Z. Get the book in print or ebook.

– I can now say I’ll have stories in TWO Chicken Soup for the Soul books this year: Life Lessons from the Cat (released on May 14th) and It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas (October 14th).

Future SF Issue 2 includes my story about a cat lady on the moon, “The Peculiar Gravity of Home.” Wulf Moon narrated a fantastic podcast version. Kirkus Reviews had incredibly nice things to say about it, too.

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Bready or Not: Oreo Thins Cake Batter Blondies [cake mix]

Posted by on May 22, 2019 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, cake mix, chocolate, cookies, oreo | 0 comments

I’m no baking snob. Cake mix has a place in my kitchen when I need quick-fix baked goods. This recipe for Oreo Thins Cake Batter Blondies is fantastic.

Bready or Not: Oreo Thins Cake Batter Blondies [cake mix]

I made a different variation of this back on my old LiveJournal lo those many years ago. In that one, I used regular Golden Oreos as Oreo Thins didn’t exist yet.

Bready or Not: Oreo Thins Cake Batter Blondies [cake mix]

Both styles of Oreos are great in this recipe. If you use Thins, use the entire package, chopped-up. For regular Oreos, use about 2 cups of chopped cookie.Bready or Not: Oreo Thins Cake Batter Blondies [cake mix]

There IS such a thing as too many Oreos in a recipe like this. They can overwhelm the batter and make everything (a delicious) crumbly mess when it’s cut. I speak from experience.

Bready or Not: Oreo Thins Cake Batter Blondies [cake mix]

Use whatever kind of Oreo you want here. I used Oreo Thins Salted Caramel when I took these pictures. Use Golden Oreos, regular Oreos, or any seasonal remix–and choose different color sprinkles to match!

Bready or Not: Oreo Thins Cake Batter Blondies [cake mix]

Sprinkles make everything better, right?

 

Bready or Not: Oreo Thins Cake Batter Blondies [cake mix]

Bready or Not: Oreo Thins Cake Batter Blondies [cake mix]

This super-simple recipe uses cake mix to bake up a delicious dish of blondies. Use an entire package of Oreo Thins, whatever flavor you fancy (Salted Caramel is great if available)! Regular Oreos are also fantastic for this recipe, but use only about 2 cups of chopped Oreos or they will overwhelm the batter. Adding chocolate chips is an option, too, depending on the Oreos being used; with some kinds it may make the bars too sweet.

  • 1 18.25-oz box yellow cake mix
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk or half and half
  • 1 package Oreo Thins, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate or chocolate chips [optional]

Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 13x9 dish with foil and apply nonstick spray or butter.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, oil, egg, and milk. The batter should be thick. Fold in the Oreo Thins and sprinkles [and chocolate chips, if using].

Pour into pan and even out. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until middle passes toothpick test. Cool completely. Use foil to lift contents onto cutting board to slice into squares. Store in a sealed container.

OM NOM NOM!

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Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Beef Chili

Posted by on May 15, 2019 in beef, Blog, Bready or Not, crock pot, main dish | 0 comments

Make a big ol’ pot of meat with this recipe for Slow Cooker Beef Chili!

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Beef Chili

My husband loves a good, spicy chili. He does not like beans. This recipe is his favorite.

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Beef Chili

I find it simple to put together, too. The only fussy thing is taking the time to brown the meat, but I can typically do that in two batches.

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Beef Chili

There are several heat levels of Rotel-like canned tomatoes and chilies out there. There are also tomato sauce cans and boxes with added spice. In our case, I add a hefty sprinkle of a local Hatch New Mexican seasoning mix.

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Beef Chili

These make for great leftovers, too, and you can even throw some in a freezer bag to heat up later on!

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Beef Chili

Modified from The Everything Soup, Stew, & Chili Cookbook edited by Belinda Hulin.

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Beef Chili

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Beef Chili

This all beef, no bean chili recipe makes a big pot of delicious chili! Make it as spicy as you want by using different types of Rotel and additional spices and sauces. Modified from The Everything Soup, Stew, & Chili Cookbook edited by Belinda Hulin.

  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds beef stew meat or chuck roast, chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tablespoons chili powder, hot or otherwise
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 10-ounce can tomatoes and green chilies, like Rotel
  • 14-15 ounces canned or boxed tomato sauce
  • additional spices or sauces, to preference

In a skillet or wok, brown beef in vegetable oil over high heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer beef to the crock pot. Add onion to pan and cook for just a few minutes to soak up the drippings. Add onion to the slow cooker, followed by the green bell pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Sprinkle over the meat. Pour the cans of chili and tomatoes and the tomato sauce over the meat. Stir with a large spoon.

Place lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Turn heat to low, and break the meat into smaller pieces. It should flake apart under little pressure. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Eat and enjoy. Keep leftovers in fridge up to 3 more days, or freeze for later enjoyment.

OM NOM NOM

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Bready or Not: Cranberry-Candied Ginger Blondies with Macadamia Nuts

Posted by on May 8, 2019 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, chocolate, cookies | 0 comments

Cranberry-Candied Ginger Blondies with Macadamia Nuts! The name is a mouthful, but I assure you, the goodies make for delicious mouthfuls, too.

Bready or Not: Cranberry-Candied Ginger Blondies with Macadamia Nuts

If the basic ingredients sound familiar, they should. I did a similar-sounding recipe just recently, but you’ll notice, they don’t look the same–nor do they taste the same, but both are excellent.

Bready or Not: Cranberry-Candied Ginger Blondies with Macadamia Nuts

This recipe has a different sort of soft chewy texture, plus macadamia nuts. Macadamia nuts make almost everything better, right?

Bready or Not: Cranberry-Candied Ginger Blondies with Macadamia Nuts

I think these look especially pretty because of the topping as well. You have to sprinkle on the cranberry and ginger bits fast at the end to make sure they stick in the melted white chocolate.

Bready or Not: Cranberry-Candied Ginger Blondies with Macadamia Nuts

It’d be a tragedy if the pieces fell off. Then you have to eat them all. Darn.

Bready or Not: Cranberry-Candied Ginger Blondies with Macadamia Nuts

Modified from Brownies & Bars Magazine.

 

Bready or Not: Cranberry-Candied Ginger Blondies with Macadamia Nuts

Bready or Not: Cranberry-Candied Ginger Blondies with Macadamia Nuts

These soft, chewy bars include dried cranberries, crystallized ginger, and macadamia nuts inside and out.

  • Blondies
  • 1 bag (about 11 ounces) white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped candied ginger
  • Topping
  • 4 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 1 Tablespoon shortening
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon dried cranberries

Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 13x9 pan with foil and apply nonstick spray or butter.

In the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop, at low heat warm the bag of white chocolate chips until melted. In the microwave, that means brief bursts at low power and stirring well between each pass--watch it, as it can burn fast! Stir in the butter until it's melted. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

Whisk the eggs and sugar into the white chocolate mix followed by the flour and vanilla. Fold in the macadamia nuts, cranberries, and candied ginger. Spread evenly in the ready pan.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, until top is light brown and center passes the toothpick test. Cool pan completely.

In the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop, melt the white chocolate and shortening over low heat until smooth. Drizzle over the bars. Immediately sprinkle the remaining ginger and cranberries over the top and gently tap them into the drizzled chocolate. Let set at room temperature or fridge.

Use the foil to lift contents onto cutting board. Slice into bars. Store in sealed containers with waxed paper between the layers.

OM NOM NOM!

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Bready or Not Guest: CASSANDRA COMPLEX author Wendy Nikel with Chocolate Blueberry Cupcakes

Posted by on May 7, 2019 in Blog, blueberry, Bready or Not, chocolate, guest recipe | 0 comments

I’m happy to welcome back author Wendy Nikel for the release of the 3rd book in her time-traveling novella series with World Weaver Press. The Cassandra Complex is out TODAY. Be sure to print out her previous recipes for Continuum Coffee Cupcakes and Grandmother Paradox Cherry Cupcakes.

The third book in my Place in Time novella series, THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX, is now out into the world, which means it is once again time to make some celebration cupcakes!

My original plan was to use one of the original Harvey Girls recipes, which have been collected online by Stephen Fried in the Harvey Girls Cookbook Project. The Harvey Girls were waitresses who worked at one of the “eating houses” (and later dining cars) of Fred Harvey, a restaurant pioneer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His goal was to serve good food to people traveling west on the new railroad lines, and he was very successful in doing so, thanks in part to the thousands of women who came out west to serve his food – including the protagonist of my story, Cass.

I soon found out, though, that in trying to bake from a classic recipe like this one for Homemade Blueberry Cake, I was biting off a bit more than I could chew. Even after doing all the math to figure out how much 5 ounces of sugar is in tablespoons and how much 1 gill of milk is, my dough didn’t rise as it was supposed to, and I ended up with a sticky mess.

It was time for Plan B. I pulled out a tried-and-true cupcake recipe, made some tweaks, and created a chocolate cupcake, topped with blueberry frosting and fresh chocolate-covered blueberries for my own version of a blueberry cake.

I started by melting down some chocolate chips with a tiny bit of coconut oil. I created my garnishes by dropping a nickel-sized dot of chocolate on waxed paper, then stacking five blueberries together and sprinkling with sea salt before throwing them in the freezer. These are some of my favorite snack treats, so I made a couple extra.

After that, I started on the cupcakes, mixing the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, and baking powder) in one bowl and the wet ingredients (sugar, butter, and eggs) in another before combining them together, along with some milk. These then went in cupcake trays with a couple chocolate chips on top, and went into the oven for 16 minutes at 350 degrees.

While those were cooling, I made up my blueberry frosting. I started by blending a cup of butter until it was smooth and then alternated adding powdered sugar and blueberry pie filling until I had the consistency I wanted. I loved the color the blueberries turned the frosting – a perfect match for my new book!

Then, it was time for my favorite part: decorating! I added two kinds of sprinkles to the top.

And, for the final touch, I pulled my frozen chocolate-covered blueberries out of the oven and plopped them on top. And there you have it: a tasty treat for an afternoon of train riding, reading, or traveling through time.

 


About The Cassandra Complex:

Cass is a 22nd century university student who – like most young adults – has always believed her parents were a bit stuck in the past. But on her eighteenth birthday she learns exactly how true this is: not only are her parents time travelers, living in an era different than either was born in, but now, to ensure that history plays out as it’s supposed to, she must travel to the year 1914 to live out her adult life.

Cass isn’t the type, though, to just sit back and watch while all the tragic events she’s learned about in her history courses play out in front of her. Not when she’s the only one in the world with the foreknowledge – and determination – to change it.

 

The Cassandra Complex: Amazon Barnes & Noble | iTunes/Apple Books | World Weaver Press

 

About the author:

Wendy Nikel is a speculative fiction author with a degree in elementary education, a fondness for road trips, and a terrible habit of forgetting where she’s left her cup of tea. Her short fiction has been published by Analog, Nature: FuturesPodcastle, and elsewhere. Her time travel novella series, beginning with The Continuum, is available from World Weaver Press. For more info, visit wendynikel.com

THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX Chocolate Blueberry Cupcakes by Wendy Nikel

A chocolate cupcake with blueberry buttercream frosting, inspired by THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX by Wendy Nikel

  • Cupcakes:
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • Chocolate chips
  • Frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons blueberry pie filling
  • Topping:
  • Blueberries
  • Melted chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together flour, cocoa, and baking powder.

In separate bowl, blend sugar and butter.

Add eggs to sugar mixture one at a time.

Gradually add the dry mixture and milk into the sugar mixture until well blended.

Fill cupcake liners half full, add a few chocolate chips on the top, and bake for 15-17 minutes. Let cool.

Melt chocolate chips and make nickel-sized dots on waxed paper. Create a pyramid of blueberries on each dot, with 4 berries on the bottom and 1 on the top. Drizzle melted chocolate over them, sprinkle with sea salt, and freeze.

Beat butter until creamy. Alternate adding 1c powdered sugar and 2T pie filling, mixing well after each addition, until all ingredients are mixed in.

After cupcakes are cool, frost and top with frozen blueberries and sprinkles. Enjoy with a good book!

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