Nirvana

Nirvana

Monday, April 24, 2017

Stories from Paradise - Fern's Portrait

http://amzn.to/2ndM0qv
Fern and I are doing a little storytelling for fun. 

Every day we'll load a line into this post and build an ongoing story and we'll uhhh toot? No, twirp...like chirp but it's a bird symbol webbie thing. Anyway. We'll add a bit of the story there at that website thing with the bird and here and people can click on it and come see the whole story as it unfolds here. Does that sound like fun? You know it. So fun! So come back every single day so you can follow the story as it unfolds. 

So first we will start with Fern's story. 

We will call it. 



Fern's Portrait

A fog of Brut announced Delbert's arrival a full minute before Fern ...to be continued...

Monday, April 17, 2017

This Just In...

Before I reveal whether or not Fern wore the tasteful hat I made for her...before I reveal another annoying thing about that woman! Before I share the weather catastrophe that ruined my outfit...before I share Fern's recipe I want to share this. Our story of murder and mayhem is on sale. Well better than that. It's on sale for free if you have one of those reader devices. Click here to go there. 

That is correct. For two days. It's free. No excuses not to read about how Fern and I helped to save all of Paradise. It's really a big deal. Bad stuff was going down. And with our help Detective Flynn saved the day (and a damsel, but I'm not supposed to talk about the "relationship" anymore, but between you and me, I'm expecting wedding bells. Fern's going to kill me, again.) I'll tell you, though, keeping Paradise safe is worth all the scars I received while nearly laying down my life for my neighbors. 

And. Fern did NOT wear the hat. Did NOT. But even if she had it would have probably not been on for long. 

Go get your free book. (there are others, too. Here's a list.) 
Murder of a Manuscript                                                                                              
Shock the Clock                                                                                                          
Common Mistakes Writers Make: Editing and Proofreading                                                
Firsts In Fiction: First Line Hooks, Hints & Help                                                      
Crashing Into Love - Where Personal Tragedies, Faith, & Love Collide                   
The Chamomile                                                                                                           
Out of the Frying Pan   (By the way, this does have 4.3 stars out of 5...so not only is it our story, but it's a good story...Just sayin.)                                                                                               
Searching for Sanity - Help for Moms from Moms of the Bible                                
Racin' Flat Out for Christ - Daily Devotions for NASCAR Fans                              
Why You Do What You Do - Your Personality is the Key  

And come back next week where I will share all the promised details in the first paragraph. Now. I have some serious cleanup to do! 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Decorative Quandary

I have a problem. You'll know what I mean if you keep reading. 

Conversation between me and Fern: 

Me: Fern, please let me make you an Easter bonnet?!?!?! Please. PLEASE!!!!!

Fern: Not if it was made of gold and diamond encrusted Benjamins, Zula. That means no!

Me: But you would look so beautiful in the elegant bonnet I have pictured in my mind. Please!

Fern:  Sigh. What about my first answer did you not understand, Zula? I am not Easter bonnet material. I do not want to parade around like a silly matron who thinks she looks good with a garden party on her head. 

Me: But, Fern, I almost died last year. This is my first Easter where I really feel like I can celebrate life fully after staring the Grim Reaper in the eye. I want you to celebrate with me. 

Fern: It was a flesh wound, Zula! You are going to annoy me every day with this request. Fine! If it will quiet you, make me a hat and if it's not ridiculous I'll wear it for 5 minutes. 

You see it?!? She gave her permission. She made a promise. 

But I don't know what to do to pull off a hat she won't hate. Should you need a visual. Mine is covered with red paper roses. I've been making them for 2 days and have broken a nail and burned my fingerprints off. I didn't just cover the hat with paper roses. Ooooh that's a goodie and oldie. Paper Roses. Hummm, hum, humity-hum. 

Anyhoo. I'm adding a ribbon/rose train. It is going to be magnificent. I've made a hundred roses and probably need to make a hundred more to make this the most epic Easter bonnet, ever!!! 

But what do I do for Fern?!? Part of me wants to make paper roses out of brown grocery bags but that's not going to fly. What she'd like would be as exciting as a paper plate and I just can't! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Free Book and Minestroneyumm Soup

This just in! A copy of our story is being given away! Go here http://bit.ly/2nBaveJ ! 

Now here we go! To the other good stuff! I'm the best at scratch cooking. Not tooting my own horn, I'm just stating the facts. One day I might have to share testimonials to this fact. I have a notebook full of statements, comments and a blue ribbon from every state fair I've ever entered! 

But being a good cook means choosing your battles. I have to decide if I want to spend my time and energy on creativity or chopping things. Now. I love the feeling of chopping. It's a very satisfying stress reliever (especially with Fern around...I do so much chopping therapy) and the released scents can be just heavenly. But I will use a food processor like nobody's business if one will be a useful tool and free me up to be creative! 

That said I am not opposed to dump and go type meals. Soups are one of these. 


Today I share my minestrone style soup. Using fresh, frozen or canned ingredients you can make a restaurant quality soup. Delicious!

To cut down on sodium use home prepped dry beans, a homemade pesto and frozen or fresh veggies.

1 can of kidney beans (approx 15 ounce) (dump the juices down the sink, rinse and drain) 
1 can of white or great northern beans (approx 15 ounce) (dump the juice down the sink, rinse and drain) (use your own home canned beans 1 and 3/4 cups if you like) 
2 cans of diced tomatoes with garlic, basil and oregano (approx 15 ounce each) (you could substitute chunky spaghetti sauce here.) (Or chopped fresh or canned tomatoes and add dried Italian spice (about a TBSP) and 2 - 3 cloves minced garlic)
Veggie broth (or chicken) (approx 4-5 cups) 
1 Cup of pesto sauce (you can use one that you've created, your favorite recipe, or store bought) 
1 Can of chopped spinach or 1 1/2 cups chopped frozen or fresh
1 Can (13-16 ounce) vegetable of choice. I used asparagus for kicks. I think I will use artichoke hearts in the future or green beans.
1 Cup pasta of choice. 
A Handful of quinoa Rinse it first if it's not prewashed. The package will say so.  

Put everything but the pasta in a crock or soup pot and stir well. Simmer for 4-6 hours. Add the dry pasta an hour before serving. Stir well and continue simmering.  

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring Flowers and Book Sales !!!!

SALE!!!!
Yawn! Oh, that is so unladylike. I must just say it was a whirlwind of a weekend. Did you know I had a booth at a huge craft fair? Probably not, unless Fern has been whining about it. Goodness gracious, she knows I go all out a few times a year, you'd think she'd be used to it by now. 

This year I came up with some doozies. I sold several floral arrangements from my collection of silk beauties. I made enough money to restock and refill my craft closet. Now that Memorial Day is just around the corner, that money is going to stretch quite nicely. I think I'll grab some after Easter bargains, too. Don't you think a spring bouquet is just the thing to make you hope out of bed and shout "Good Morning!" 

Speaking of good morning and bargains... Our story is on sale for two days. 

For a mere $.99 (that's less than a gas station coffee!) you can download our story and read about some serious hubba-hubba heroes (and heroines) and a couple of damsels in distress. 

Tootle-doo...I have some craft supply plotting to do. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Just Getting Right To It. Applesauce Cake by Fern

Zula makes an applesauce cake that needed just a bit of tweaking to make it healthier. So here it is. Fernified. 

2 Cups flour
1 Cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 Cup sugar
2/3 Cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs or 2 Fern eggs (2 TBSP ground flax combined with 6 TBSP milk = 2 eggs)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 Cups applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup chopped walnuts or pecans. 

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a pan or pans.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl including nuts. Make the Fern eggs in a medium bowl, add the remainder of the wet ingredients. If the coconut oil hardens because of the milk just stick the bowl in the preheating oven for a minute or zap in the microwave for a few seconds. Pour the dry into the wet or wet into the dry and stir just until combined. Pour into two greased cake pans or a greased 9 x 13. Bake approximately 20 minutes. Test for doneness with a knife. There should be moist crumbs. Remove from oven. You could probably make this a bundt cake and bake for 35 minutes. That's according to Zula. 

In a small bowl mix applesauce and powdered sugar until you get a glaze the consistency of what you want. Approximately 1 cup sugar to 1/4 cup applesauce.  Add a dash of cinnamon if you desire. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. 

What I changed: decreased oil and sugar amounts, omegas and fiber with the flaxseed. 

Okay, Zula. I'm done posting for the month.  

Monday, March 13, 2017

Zula's Siren Cinnamon Muffins

I let someone else do the typing! I just got my nails done. And I'm not feelin' the need to click, click, click. So I just copied and pasted. Win! Win! I gave the recipe to the author. So I appreciate that she included my ownership! WIN! That's Win! Win! Win! for the Win!

You will love these. I promise.


Zula’s Siren Cinnamon Muffins
By Michelle Griep

I love to cook, so getting into character for my latest co-authored release, Out of the Frying Pan, was particularly fun.

Main character Zula Hopkins is renowned for her sweet culinary skills at the Sunset Paradise Retirement Community. These muffins are her go-to recipe for attracting male suitors—and it’s the first thing she whips up to garner the attention of Detective Jared Flynn for her niece KC. Here’s the recipe . . .

Siren Cinnamon Muffins

2 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
8 ounces sour cream
2/3 cup cinnamon chips
Streusel: 1 package instant cinnamon oatmeal

  1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease your muffin tins.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt in a bowl. Make a well in center of mixture.
  3. Dump the rest of the ingredients (except for the instant oatmeal) into the well and stir until mixed. The batter will be rather thick.
  4. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full then sprinkle the instant oatmeal over the top.
  5. Bake at 375 for 18 minutes.

I’m not going to lie. These bad boys are slightly addicting. This recipe makes about 15 muffins so you’ll probably want to double it because they are some kind of good!

Here’s some food for your soul as well . . . One of my favorite Bible verses is Nahum 1:7.

“The Lord is good. A stronghold in the day of trouble. And He knows those who trust in Him.”

Muffins and God’s Word . . . it doesn’t get much better than that.

ABOUT THE BOOK ~ OUT OF THE FRYING PAN

Murder in Paradise whips life into a froth for FERN and ZULA HOPKINS. When the retirement center’s chef is found dead, the two ladies get folded in with the case. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective JARED FLYNN. Should he be concerned about their safety—or the criminal’s?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts, especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.

Life at Sunset Paradise Retirement Village will never be the same.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ MICHELLE GRIEP

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. Her latest release is OUT OF THE FRYING PAN, but historical romance is her usual haunt. THE CAPTIVE HEART releases in October. Follow her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or www.writerofftheleash.blogspot.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.