Monday, January 18, 2016

Website or Blog Which One Should An Author Call Home by C.H. Admirand

The title of this blog says it all today. There are days when I'm so conflicted and confused as to where readers would prefer to go...an author's website, their blog(s), Facebook, Twitter, or their author page at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

I played around with creating a new blog that might take the place of my website, but then had trouble repointing the DNS info etc. to my domain...yes technology isn't always my friend. Long and gory story. LOL!

Sooo, then I refreshed my website when doing an update and was surprised when my DH asked if Facebook wasn't the first destination for Readers. I honestly couldn't answer him, since social media isn't exactly my forte. Those of you who know me, are laughing right now...and so you should. :)

In the hopes of getting the word out to Readers in a timely and efficient manner, I'd love your input. 

Where do you go to get release dates/info for your favorite authors?

Thanks!!!

Slainte'
C.H.





Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Large Print Edition Book One in my Mo Ghra', Mo Chroi, Go Deo Series by C.H. Admirand

As most of you know, I really love releasing my backlist in large print editions. It is oh so easy on the eyes and wonderful to have yet another option available to my readers.

The fabulous Ms. Sahara Kelly, author extraordinaire, and fabulous cover designer with P and N Graphics, LLC has designed the covers for all of my backlist. She's been working closely with me on this latest trilogy, and I'm delighted to be able to announce that the first book in this series is available on CreateSpace and Amazon, and coming soon to Barnes & Noble and Indiebound.




Stay tuned for release information for books 2 and 3 in this Medieval series :)

Happy Reading!!

Slainte'

C.H.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Inkitt and Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency Romance Writing Contest

I received this information yesterday from Inkitt and was asked to blog about this info, passing it along to any authors interested in submitting. Good luck!

Slainte'

C.H. 


Romance Writing Contest: Win a Publishing Deal and $500USD

Inkitt and The Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency are looking to find the next ‘50 Shades of Grey’! 

The pair are running a new romance writing contest from Jan 12 ­ Feb 23, where the winner gets published and receives $500USD! The judges are best­selling authors Laurelin Paige and Melody Grace, as well as literary agent Rebecca Friedman herself. The trio will work closely with the Inkitt analytics team to pick the most engaging stories of the contest. 

The judges are looking for romantic stories that engage the reader, with dynamic characters, fresh story­lines and any level of heat.  All works over 40k words are welcome! Find out more below. 

Rules:
     Starting: 12th of January at 13:00 PST
     Ending: 23rd February 23:59 PST with voting continuing for an additional week. 
     Novel Length: 40,000 words or more at time of submission. 
     Entries must be posted on the Inkitt contest page to participate
     Stories in the top 10% of the "most voted" and "most popular" categories get the opportunity to be picked for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places.

Prizes:
1.    Publishing Deal + $500USD
2.    $100USD
3.    $50USD


Monday, January 11, 2016

Tasty But EPIC Pie Failure by C.H. Admirand

For those that know me, one of the things I think I actually do pretty well is bake pies. Well...that and butter cake and cream scones. The rest is up for grabs :)

There have been some EPIC failures over the years, but this is the first time since I started baking my Sweet Potato Praline Pie that I've had it imitate Vesuvius. Well maybe more like that scene in the original Journey to the Center of the Earth with James Mason...when they're in the volcano shaft and the lava just sort of oozes up out of the ground...before they all climb in the ceremonial bowl and escape with the help of all that lava :)

ANYWAY...here are a few pics that I snapped because I needed to remember why I shouldn't use toooo much of the praline topping that really is the best part of the pie. IMHO. I was kindof surprised that the crust came out okay, since I was cutting Mom's recipe in half on the fly...yeah...not always a sure thing. But that part was okay :)



Mashing up canned sweet potatoes and adding in the yummy ingredients worked out okay too, well, except for the fact that I used a deep dish pie plate that wasn't my biggest, so I had some extra filling that I put into a glass loaf pan, figuring I could bake it like a custard. I even had enough topping for it. It disappeared before the pie, so I'm guessing it tasted pretty good. :)





Here's the leftover filling after it came out of the oven.




The topping...probably more than doubled since I eye-balled the pecans, and kept adding just a dash more of the butter, brown sugar, and Karo syrup...and forgot to follow the part of my recipe where I make pralines with the leftover...*SIGH*



I almost forgot to take a pic of the pie...first part of the baking is without the topping...




Of course I forgot to take a pic of the pie partially baked with the topping on it. *sigh* 

BUT...here we have the Vesuvius-effect...major spillage onto the cookie sheet that was a shower present all those years ago (used for just this sort of occasion).

See where the filling popped up in a few places? That never happened before. *sigh*


Check out the mess from the side! I had to scrape around the pie plate while it was till piping-hot...YUCK!



Here's the "cleaned-up" version of the pie...never would have guessed what a disaster it was, would you? LOL...Oh and btw, it still tasted amazing...there's just something about sweet potatoes combined with all of that praline goodness that makes a body really happy :)




For all of you bakers out there, here's the recipe:

C.H. Admirand's Sweet Potato Praline Pie
© C.H. Admirand 2002 
Filling:
¾ cup sugar             
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger             
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt                  
1 tsp vanilla
1 (23 oz.) can sweet potatoes in syrup, drained and mashed (about 2 cups) Note: you can use baked sweet potatoes, but I’m usually short on time and go for the canned ones.
½ c whole milk + ½ c heavy cream
2 large eggs, beaten

Topping: (I like to double the topping, that way I have leftover to make Pralines)
3 tbsp light brown sugar    
3 tbsp light corn syrup (or King’s syrup)
1 tbsp butter
½ tsp vanilla (optional)                  
¾ cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup whipped cream

Prepare pie crust, heat oven to 425.  In a large bowl, combine all filling ingredients; blend well.  Pour into pie crust lined pan.  Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350.  Bake an additional 25 minutes.

Meanwhile (during last five minutes of baking time), in a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup and margarine.  Bring to a boil over low heat.  Reduce heat, simmer 2 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Sprinkle nuts evenly over pie; drizzle with topping mixture. 

Bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool.  Garnish with whipped cream.


The real trick is keeping your family away from the pie while it cools; mine can’t seem to keep their hands off the praline topping!

Happy Monday!

Slainte'
C.H.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Nutmeg Cake and Caramel Frosting by C.H. Admirand

I shared a pic of this cake on FB recently, and one of my author friends, Terri Brisbin asked me to share the recipe. I thought it would be easier to type it up on my blog and share the link on FB...soooo, Terri...here goes :) 


Readers, please check out Terri's latest releases Rising Fire and Raging Sea! 







Nutmeg Cake

1/2 c. butter
1 and 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, well beaten
2 c. sifted cake flour
1 to 2 tsps ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. buttermilk
 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans...or one 10 inch spring form pan. I like to use the fancy bottom...instead of the straight cake bottom. Since it was the first time I baked this cake, I didn't want to use the bundt bottom...cooking times can be tricky with our old oven :).

Cream butter and sugar with beaten eggs and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients, add to butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Pour into greased and floured spring form pan. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, checking after 45 minutes...bake times are different for every oven. I just kept putting 10 minutes on the timer after 45 minutes and watched it like a hawk. Sorry that I forgot to write down the exact time. But cooking and baking is always an adventure in our house :)



Caramel Frosting (tastes like a Praline :) - frosting will harden when cooled
1/2 c. butter
1 c. packed brown sugar (we love the dark brown sugar)
1/4 c. milk
2 d. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla


Heat butter until melted, stir in brown sugar and heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce to simmer for a few more minutes, stirring constantly, slowly add in milk and heat to boiling. Remove from heat and cool. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and vanilla, ice cooled cake.





Cake...it's what for breakfast...well only if there's no pie LOL! 

Enjoy!




Sláinte!
C.H.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day Jam--Fabulous Failure or Creative Culinary Save--with Taste Test Update by C.H. Admirand

Did you ever have one of those moments where you decided to improve on one of your recipes? Well, that's what prompted me to share my fabulous failure...well maybe not quite a failure...but definitely not what I intended. LOL!

I totally love the Ball Jar heritage collection, so when I saw their latest squat, square jam jars a few months ago, I thought, I'm definitely picking some up. But the budget ebbs and flows, and I hadn't had the extra to splurge just because I liked them...and then a few days ago, our darling oldest son surprises me with them. Aren't they gorgeous?

I picked, cooked and froze Rhubarb from our garden last month and was itching to get at it today, since we had the family cookout yesterday. While the canner is heating up...because yep, these jars are NOT freezer safe--although cute as can be *sigh*...I've got the Rhubarb defrosting and heating up. Then my evil-side nudges the let's-keep-it-safe-and-try-to-follow-the-recipe-this-time-side, and I'm searching through the spice jars for the Lemon Peel and Orange Peel. I added in 2 tsps. of each and taste it, thinking oh this is good, but it needs something. And I reach for the ground cloves...which could have been perfect if I'd only added a 1/2 tsp. instead of a whole one. *sigh*

So now I'm thinking, OK, do I toss the whole pot, or do I try to keep adjusting and fixing it. Evil side says go for it, you've already ditched your recipe. LOL! Yeah...welcome to my world. Soooo I'm thinking not Jam...but Conserve! Cool, just add in dried cranberries and chopped walnuts. And I'm finally happy with it. So, nose to the grindstone time, boiling those jars--which don' really fit well inside the jar holder inside the canner--think cute square bottoms in the round hole jar holder...yeah. BUT I figure out how to tilt, lift, etc. to get them in there and sterilized while the conserve is cooking.

It was quite a bit trickier to get the filled jars back into the jar holder inside the canner...but again, where there is a will, there is always a  way. As I'm putting on the canner lid,  I'm asking for help from above: Mom, am I doing this right? All those years spent canning with my Mom, and I still think of her every time I get out the makings for jam or jelly. Lord, I miss you, Mom. 


Finally the conserve is processing in the water-bath and my darling hubby comes back inside after being my hero adding the trim to the refinished back door (which is gorgeous and no longer painted red, btw) and when I briefly give him the run-down, he makes the appropriate hmms and ahhs so that I'm pretty sure he's listening. Then he asks the question that stumps me: What do you do with conserve?

YIKES! All I could think of to say was well, you can serve it when your turkey or ham is too dry. Yes, my brain has ceased to function as my creativity has gone into my culinary creation and decided that's it for today. 


Then darling daughter answers my text and saves the day, after I explained what happened: She suggests serving the conserve with crackers and Brie!! Genius! I think we need to add a glass of wine to that and we'll be good to go.


The best news so far is that as soon as I've removed the processed jars, so they can cool on the counter, I hear that first *ping* of a lid sealing. Then another one, and then the last two and I know that Mom heard my prayer and helped the jars seal because I am suddenly reminded of countless nights with our family around the dinner table cheering as each jar of jelly (or tomatoes, peaches, chili sauce, etc.) cheerfully *pinged* as it sealed. Thanks Mom, I love you!

Soooo, I think I'm done in the test kitchen for today, and thinking leftovers sound like a plan for the rest of the day!

Happy Labor Day!

Sláinte!
C.H.
  OMGoodness Taste-Test Update!!!



Because I didn't overly-fill the jam with cranberries and chopped walnuts for this first try at a recipe, the pic looks a little odd. Ignore that. LOL!




Test-tasted and approved by my darling hubby :) We were fresh out of Brie cheese, but had Vermont Sharp White Cheddar...so he tasted his on a Ritz. 

BUT, then I remembered we had cream cheese, so I had mine on Italian Herb flatbread crackers with a small glass of red wine. Totally yummy!

 






Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Summer Isn't Over Yet by C.H. Admirand


As the days warm up toward the first day of school, it's our darling oldest grandson who will be starting Pre-K next week! Where did the time go? Wasn't it yesterday that our oldest was born, no that's not right, he's been out of college for going on 11 years. LOL...don't stand still or life will pass you by.

I was fiddling around with my website yesterday and changed it up a bit, and then started playing with my blog today to see if I could come up with a new look. The problem is I have SOOOO many pics of our gardens, birds, butterflies, yummy baked goods, jams, grandbabies, puppies, etc. but not all of the pics are the right size for the header or background. Good Grief! BUT, I finally decided on a background after spending almost an hour on it. Whew. Might change my mind as the Autumnal Equinox gets closer, but until that first snap of cold, I'll keep our Black Swallowtail Butterfly in the Butterfly Bush.

The yummy dessert pic for the new blog header was a recipe I tried out of Tricia Yearwood's cookbook for shortbread, but instead of just strawberries, I had a bunch of berries and real...yes folks...real whipped cream. No extra sugar needed if it's the real deal. :) Teasing you with a pic of Butter Whiskey Cake with Jameson Sugar Glaze :)

As I'm working in the kitchen, I hear the sweet chirping of Goldfinches, we've had at least 5 to 6 at-a-time raiding our Thistles and Coneflowers...here are few pics I snapped yesterday am.






I'll miss the butterflies that have graced our gardens this summer...








And then there was the baby bunny who came to gorge himself on our fresh clover 





OH! And the Green Frog that scared the you-know-what out of me when I was adding water to our pond. I swear he laughed at me! 




And of course lots of pics of our darling grandbabies and puppies. Life has been wonderful, and even though at times a challenge to keep going when hard times hit, these images of Mother Nature at her best and reminder of the blessings of family and a place to gather to share a moment in the garden, or in the kitchen sample jams, pies, or cakes, all in all, I wouldn't trade my life for anything!  My family is and always will be my rock :)







Life is truly good, and I have been blessed.




Sláinte!
C.H.