Brenda knows books!

September 20, 2017 | 8 Comments

Brenda Novak writes wonderful novels, she’s drop dead gorgeous, super smart, and a first class fundraiser for juvenile diabetes.

I know, right? And she has the same number of hours in the day the rest of us do. Yet she gets it all done.

One of the most innovative authors out there, Brenda and her daughter, Alexa, are bringing books, writers, and readers together in a unique online book group. And you can join it right here. Each month, Brenda selects a book to read, share, and discuss.

She’s coming to visit me and Map of the Heart. You should join us because we are telling ALL. And we’re giving away $100 worth of gift cards during the event. Thursday, 21 September, at 8pm eastern. Be there.

I’m so excited, I made her a delicious cake. And I used gingered pears that were  homemade by my favorite reading group–the Bees of Mineral County in Superior, Montana.

This is my go-to cake because the ingredients are always on hand. I learned it years ago from Suzanne who got it from Sunset Magazine… Anyway, you should save this recipe because it’s almost impossible to mess it up.

Cake of a Thousand Faces
Preheat oven to 350º (F)
Use any juicy berry (not strawberries), or pitted cherries, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, or sliced almonds.
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup fresh, or frozen (non-sweetened), fruit
1 Tablespoon powdered (confectioners) sugar
Coat a 9 inch cake pan with removable rim with cooking spray.
Cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Then add flour and baking powder and blend into a stiff batter.
Scrape the batter into the pan and spread. Lay the fruit (berries or slices) over batter and press down slightly.
Bake just until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and tests done, about 40 minutes.
Run a thin-blade knife around pan rim and let cool for about 10 minutes. Then brush on a glaze of warm jam, jelly, or syrup, and dust with powdered sugar. Serve at room temperature. Delicious with tea.
#books #bookclubs #giveaways #recipes

“Tomatoing” is a verb

September 14, 2017 | Leave a comment

This time of year, the tomatoes are begging for attention. There are a zillion ways to prepare them, but here’s the simplest, most delicious way I’ve found.

You don’t need a recipe. You just need tomatoes. Any size, shape, and variety will do. Here’s a day’s pickings of the cherries.

Pick them when they’re ripe or almost ripe. Try to beat your doberman to it. Barkis is very greedy when he finds a ripe one.

It’s even more fun when your granddaughter helps.

Important! Cut the center slice from each one and have it on buttered toast for breakfast. Homemade no-knead bread is the delivery system of choice. You’re welcome.

Slice them any which way (leave the cherries whole) and place them on a parchment-lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add a few herbs from the garden–thyme, basil, and oregano. Garlic cloves if you like.

Roast at about 350F until they start to carmelize. An hour or two, maybe. Then whiz them up in the food processor along with some fresh raw tomatoes. This adds freshness to the mix.

Give the sauce to your very clever husband to can using his grandmother’s canning gear. You can also freeze it, but jars are so pretty.

Label and store. This sauce is versatile. You can use it as-is. Add dried oregano and garlic to make pizza sauce. Make salsa. Simmer with butter for Marcella Hazen’s famous sauce. Reduce it by half, and you have tomato paste. Reduce it even more for ketchup. Knock yourself out.

Happy tomatoing! #homegrown #recipes


September 08, 2017 | 1 Comment


Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend :: A MUST For Booklovers

You’re getting a massive party in your honor, thanks to reader-in-chief Barbara Vey. She has a unique gift for bringing readers and writers together for lively book discussions, crazy-fun games, parties, meals, and books books books….

Get to know your favorite authors, and meet your next new obsession. Look at the list of authors. Look look look. I MEAN.

Click this link to find out more. Click this link to be the first to get your ticket, on sale at 12:01am on September 9. Hurry, because this event is iconic in the publishing world, and it sells out fast!

All with Milwaukee’s own special brand of hospitality.

Y’ALL. This is their MUSEUM:

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It’s like the Sydney Opera House only closer to home.

Trivia note: One of Jerry’s favorite clients is Milwaukee Tools. He designs their heated outerwear for them. So I imagine Jerry will come along to hang out with the tool guys.

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