Posts made in December, 2015

Bready or Not Guest Lawrence M. Schoen with Cold Porridge for Anthropomorphic Elephants

Posted by on Dec 31, 2015 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, guest recipe, healthier | Comments Off on Bready or Not Guest Lawrence M. Schoen with Cold Porridge for Anthropomorphic Elephants

I’m happy to welcome Lawrence M. Schoen as the final Bready or Not guest for 2015! Lawrence is a good friend, a Klingon linguist, and is about ready to burst in joy because his novel is out from Tor this week. Barsk features anthropomorphic elephants in space. How cool is that? Lawrence, quite appropriately, is here today with a recipe that may be enjoyed by such wayfaring pachyderms.


Cold Porridge suitable for Anthropomorphic Elephants

BarskCover(300dpi)_smThere’s not a lot of cooking going on in my novel, Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard. There’s a fair amount of eating, but since the main characters are anthropomorphic elephants living in a rainforest, most of what they eat is in a raw state — leaves, assorted grains and grasses, fresh and dried fruit.

In an earlier draft of the novel, I had a scene where Jorl, my protagonist, is visiting another planet, one inhabited by several different species/races of uplifted animals but which hasn’t seen an elephant in a millennium. In that scene, Jorl’s doing a signing at a bookstore and a helpful clerk brings him a large mug and a tureen of vanilla cocoa he can presumably refill it from. To the horror of everyone around him, Jorl dips his trunk directly in the tureen and empties it in one go. I miss this scene and I’m hoping to find a home for it one day. More importantly for this blog, I thought I had invented the idea of blending vanilla in with hot chocolate (which I had been doing for years by adding vanilla extract). Imagine my surprise when I saw you could buy this as a pre-packaged flavor.

But in terms of an actual recipe from the book, let’s talk about “cold porridge.” The first anthropomorphic elephant we meet in the book is Rüsul, and he’s on a raft on the ocean sailing off to his death. Along with the fruit and grasses included in his provisions, there’s mention of grain for making cold porridge. It’s worth noting that it’s almost always raining on Barsk, which is why a hot meal is complicated (not that making a fire on a raft would be a good idea even if it were easier). There are many variations on this, depending on what fruits you want to use, whether or not you choose to go with yogurt or coconut milk, and so on. Here’s the one I personally like best:


1/2 cup of rolled oats

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 sliced and chopped banana

1 pinch of salt

2 tablespoons unsweetened dried coconut

1 tablespoon sliced almonds

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


Blend everything — except the banana! —together. Ideally, you want to put this into a sealed container and shake it furiously. Add the banana bits and repeat the blending/shaking. Then put the whole thing in the refrigerator overnight. By morning, it will have all set, and you’ll have a delicious cold porridge to start your day or in case any anthropomorphic elephants happen by.

SchoenLawrence M. Schoen holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology, has been nominated for the Campbell, Hugo, and Nebula awards, is a world authority on the Klingon language, operates the small press Paper Golem, and is a practicing hypnotherapist specializing in authors’ issues.

His previous science fiction includes many light and humorous adventures of a space-faring stage hypnotist and his alien animal companion. His most recent book, Barsk, takes a very different tone, exploring issues of prophecy, intolerance, friendship, conspiracy, and loyalty, and redefines the continua between life and death. He lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his wife and their dog





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Bready or Not: Snickerdoodle Muffins

Posted by on Dec 30, 2015 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, muffin | 1 comment

Let’s end the year on a sweet note! How about some Snickerdoodle Muffins for breakfast or dessert?

Snickerdoodle Muffins

These things taste and look just like the cookie version. From straight overhead, they even look like cookies!

Snickerdoodle Muffins

The muffin texture is light and fluffy. This is because the butter and sugar are beaten to fluffiness, and then the sour cream creates tenderness without any negative impact on taste. The dough is thick enough to be rolled in cinnamon sugar.

Snickerdoodle Muffins

I have made this as normal muffin size and as mini muffins. Both are fabulous and freeze well for later eating, too. Unless you plan to eat them the first day, do store them in the fridge. At room temperature, after two days they go really spongy and soft, but they can be saved by sticking them in the fridge or freezer.

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Many of the sweets I make go with my husband to work, but not these. He adores Snickerdoodles. These are all for him.

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Heavily modified from Rincon-Cocina.

Bready or Not: Snickerdoodle Muffins

Snickerdoodles in muffin form! This recipe makes 11-12 normal-sized muffins, or 22-24 mini muffins. They keep in the fridge for days and can be frozen, too.
Course: Breakfast
Keyword: mini muffin, muffins, snickerdoodle, sour cream
Author: Beth Cato


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 stick, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sour cream


  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon


  • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin or 24-cup mini muffin tin by adding liners and spraying them with Pam.
  • With a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for about three minutes, until it's light and fluffy. Add the egg.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, and nutmeg.
  • Take turns adding the flour mix and the sour cream to the butter-sugar mix until everything is just combined.
  • Prepare a bowl with the topping sugar and cinnamon. Use a 1/4 cup or scoop for large muffins or a teaspoon scoop for mini muffins, and dole out a ball of batter into the topping mix. Roll it to cover it, then transfer the ball to the prepared muffin tin.
  • Bake large muffins for 21-24 minutes; bake mini muffins at 12-14 minutes. Do a toothpick test to ensure doneness. Let muffins cool in tin for about 10-15 minutes, then use a fork to gently pry them out to set on a rack to finish cooling.
  • Note that muffins keep best in the fridge. At room temperature, they will go very soft after about two days, but can be revived by being popped in the fridge. Muffins can be frozen for an extended time, but remember to remove the liners before freezing.


Snickerdoodle Muffins

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Sunday Quote looks to 2016

Posted by on Dec 27, 2015 in Blog, Quote | Comments Off on Sunday Quote looks to 2016

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
~Frank Herbert

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Bready or Not: Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies

Posted by on Dec 23, 2015 in Blog, Bready or Not, cookies | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies

Plain shortbread cookies are buttery and amazing. This recipe amps them up with a delicious boost of Earl Grey tea!

Earl Grey Shortbread

I love how the tea freckles the cookie dough all the way through!

Earl Grey Shortbread

I like to think that these are cookies that Captain Picard would enjoy with a cup of Earl Grey. (Hot.) You don’t actually brew tea to make these cookies. You rip open the tea bags and pour the contents right into the dough.

Earl Grey Shortbread

The texture is pure shortbread: buttery and soft. The Earl Grey flavor is distinct (and you could toggle this by adjusting the amount of tea you add) and adds a smidgen of heat and freshness. These are unlike any other shortbread I’ve had before.

Earl Grey Shortbread

Pair these cookies with your favorite beverage, place them on your holiday cookie tray, or leave some out for Santa in a few days. You know he needs the caffeine.

Make it so!

Bready or Not: Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies

These shortbread cookies carry the distinct flavor of Earl Grey. They are perfect to pair with tea or coffee. Make it so! (Makes 30-35 cookies.)
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: British
Keyword: cookies, shortbread, tea
Author: Beth Cato


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon Earl Grey tea leaves heaping, from about 3 bags
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  • Open up the tea bags and measure the contents to get a heaping tablespoon. Blend butter and tea together until fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, which takes about 3 minutes. Gradually add in flour mixture until just combined.
  • Divide the dough in half. Form into logs about an inch in diameter (to slice) or into flat rounds (to roll out and cut with a cookie cutter). Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. (Or keep frozen for days or weeks, then allow to thaw in fridge for a day before proceeding with the baking.)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the cookies into discs or with a cutter; be aware that the dough will spread when baking. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment or silicon mats.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are just turning color.


Earl Grey Shortbread

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Holiday Tales and Tidings

Posted by on Dec 22, 2015 in anthology:story, Blog, podcast | Comments Off on Holiday Tales and Tidings

I have my first-ever holiday story posted over at Every Day Fiction: “Rootless.” It’s a peculiar sort of love story between a dryad and its tree, and when that tree ends up being chopped down for Christmas purposes, well, that’s bad.

One of my wintery stories has just been republished in podcast form, too. “Hat Trick” can be heard (and downloaded!) over at Cast of Wonders. Just your average story of hockey, kids, and superpowers.

If you celebrate Christmas, I wish you a joyous day on the 25th. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I still hope you have a joyous day. Peace to all.

Oh yeah, and with all the crazy food and sweets being offered up this week, be sure to…



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