Tag Archives: rant

Week At A Glance…

17 Jun

Once upon a time, I had a really busy week…

Six hours of driving got me here, wrapping three-ply TP around my friend to make a wedding dress. It was a competition, and I learned that I should have been a fashion designer…

After three hours of that and a few Champagne cocktails (ample time letting it wear off) I then got to the Ferry where it took me two hours (including waiting because of the UW Graduation at Safeco Field) to get to Seattle.

Needless to say, I crashed.

The next day, My friend and I spent ten hours at thrift stores looking for things for her condo. We managed to make this:

2$ worth of furniture and spray paint…

And this:

All the while, Hubby was at home making this:

Happy Garden Shed!

Because he made me this, I bought him this:

And then I went home. It was a good, LONG trip…

Whiskey Demi Glace` and a diet…

27 Apr

Well, fishing weekend was great! The first day was rather windy, and the motor in our bass boat stopped working while we were out on the lake, but hanging out in the cabin drinking wine and watching movies was not bad at all! Not to mention the whiskey demi glace` on steak and the cream clams with a salad…

needless to say this week is all about salad and rice cakes… maybe some edimame to splurge.

to celebrate diet week, I’m going to give you a favorite diet dinner recipe!

Citrus-Herb Game Hen

Courtesy Giada DeLaurentis

Ingredients

  • 2 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) Cornish game hens
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest, from 2 medium oranges
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, from about 3 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or currants
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions

Place an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Rinse the game hens and pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, shallots, orange zest, lemon zest, thyme, mint, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub 2 tablespoons of the zest mixture over the skins of the game hens. Place the remainder of the zest mixture under the skin and into the cavities of the hens. Using kitchen twine, truss the legs together. Place the hens in a shallow 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Add the chicken stock, Marsala wine, lemon juice, orange juice, and cranberries. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the leg juices run clear. Remove the game hens and set aside. Place the flour in a small saucepan. Whisk in the pan juices. Bring the juices to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Whisk in the butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

To serve, remove the kitchen twine and place the hens on 2 serving plates. Drizzle with the citrus-herb sauce.

Cook’s Note: Reserve 1/4 cup of the citrus-herb sauce for the Crouton Salad.

Crouton Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 (8-ounces) loaf rosemary bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes* see Cook’s Note
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • 3 cups packed arugula
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup Citrus-Herb Sauce, see Roasted Citrus-Herb Game Hen recipe
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the bread on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until toasted. Set aside to cool.

In a medium salad bowl, mix together the cooled croutons, arugula, and pine nuts. Add the Citrus-Herb Sauce. Toss well until all ingredients are coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

*Cook’s Note: You can also use olive bread or any plain rustic loaf in place of the rosemary bread.

Cabin Fever

13 Apr

Yeah. Cabin Fever.

Everytime I finish a book, this is me. I run out of things to do, and I’m so used to being inside, that the thought of even approaching my door seems daunting

and the car is getting an oil change, so I have no car.

I feel like I need an adventure! And not just any adventure, but Indiana Jones, James bond, go on a vacation, adventure.

But I don’t have my car.

So a walk around the neighborhood in the rain will have to do.

Knight Angels now Available on Kindle and Amazon. Barnes and Noble. And others to come… (nook, sony e-reader, iPad…)

FIND HERE

my read shelf:
Abra Ebner's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Knight Angels Website

Look Who’s Getting a Makeover!

24 Mar

Hello!

So, for a while now there has been something itching me when it comes to the Parallel book cover and title. I don’t, or didn’t, think it portrayed the right feel pertaining to what the book was all about. It seemed too ‘sci-fi’ which it’s not. Above all, it’s another love story just like the Feather Book Series

Here was the old cover…

It was cute, I get that, but do you agree? It tells you NOTHING!!!!

LOL

Now, though, things have really begun to change! Parallel is taking on a newer, more gentle feel. Lovey-Dovey you may say…

Here it is:

Manic Monday: Another Year Older? That’s a Good Reason to be Manic…

22 Mar
  
Happy Birthday?
  

I’m finally at that age where you start realizing that you really are getting older. At first you don’t see it coming… You aren’t getting wrinkles yet, you can still live off three hours of sleep, your metabolism manages to rebound after a long weekend, and life still surprises you…

 

Well, life will always surprise me, but that whole metabolism thing is definitely out the window. Two words: Rice Cakes…

 

So long Girl Scout cookies,

 

Tagalongs,

 

mint chocolate wafers,

 

and especially those coconut things…

 

Nice try, but cupcakes are nothing more than a beautiful reminder of what once was my waist-line… Oh well, right? I guess I have other things to look forward to: Social Security, Depends, and of course Ensure for my future toothless grin.

  

But…

  

Then again…

 

I’m only 26!

 

So I guess that means there’s still a beer in order. And if I play my card right, maybe a New York Times Bestselling Book…

 

Happy Birthday, Me; and may all my dreams come true!

 
(and thank goodness for my future Botox… someday…)
Check out my new series Knight Angels

Fantastic Friday: Mailmen and New Book Covers

12 Mar

I am still anxiously awaiting my edited manuscript. I have positioned myself in the chir that looks out the window at the mailbox…

I wish there was some dance you could do to make the mailman come faster…

What really makes me anxious is the fact that the mailman never comes at the same time every day. What I’f I’m in the shower?? Most of the time I have to sign for my manuscript, and that alone makes me anxious…

What I need to do is track him down…

Maybe that’s a bit too manic??
 
Well, anyways. I have things to distract me ’till then, like planning for the Alice in Wonderland party tonight. My friend and I are throwing one. It’s just a small get together, but that doesn’t stop us from making it great! We’re making cupcakes, and I bought peeps in every color. I’m also making Cougar Gold Cheese dip. If you’ve never had Couger Gold, then shame on you!!! It’s only the best cheese in the world, and I’m not kidding.
Absolutely worth ordering online and having shipped to your house. You don’t know what you’re missing!!!
Winning Cover
 
So, after a few days of voting and commenting, I’ve come to a decision. It was a hard decision to make because most of you chose something different, and you all had a good reason why!!! The conclusion I came to is that I will be using the first three covers throughout the series since all were loved. I felt that based on the story, this cover should go first:

It’s soft and sweet, and a little bit mysterious. This embodies the mood of the characters at this point of the story. They’re somber and isolated – locked in worlds of their own. For now, this cover embodies the essence of what I want to convey about Knight Angels.

Weekend Makings: New Websites!

1 Mar

New Websites!

All day I have been madly working, and I mean ALL day (got up at 5:00am and it’s now 12:15) I’m not quite finished with them, because eventually they will have their own web addresses:

featherbookseries.com (still has the old one up)
knightangels.com

but you can still see what I’ve got so far here!

Knight Angels
Feather Book Series

Also, check out my friends: The Emerald Talisman

Brenda just entered the ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award) and made it to the second round! She is now awaiting the next cut coming at the end of March. I am very excited for Brenda, and she deserves this! Trust me. Leave her a few good comments and make sure you watch her progress!

Wino Wednesday: Affordable Luxury and Romance on a Writer’s Budget

24 Feb

Looking for a little affordable romance?

Aren’t we all??

When I went to get the mail yesterday, I had no idea that it would spark the kind of evening it did. You know the kind – eating lavish foods and enjoying velvety wine. Watching a great movie that encases it all…

And above all – making it affordable!

I enjoy the romantic things in life: A great book (no Kindle!), writing, wine, cooking, art, movies, rich and well made things – handmade.

Heaven forbid this should dent my wallet!

Well… I’m here to tell you – to show you – that is doesn’t have to. Let me outline my evening for you, so that you can re-create it!
 

How It All Started

As I said earlier, it all started when I went to the mailbox. We (Husband and I) get Entrepreneur Magazine. My husband REALLY enjoys collecting wine, and he recognized the man on the cover right away. James Stewart, son of top winemaker, Michael Stewart, at Stewart Cellars in Napa Valley. James decided to break the mold of expensive Napa Valley wine. His father has long been the vintner of premium Napa wines, bottles priced near $100. His son, wanting to tackle a market that was suddenly suffering after the stock-market woes, decided to change things.

James looked at the market, trying to find the hole – the need. He noticed that there was a lack of affordable Napa wines in the twenty dollar range.

What James did shocked many. James took a batch of his father’s grapes that hadn’t made the cut for his premium wines and created his own – affordable – version. He called it Slingshot. In the first year he sold out, and in the second, he’s made more.

This was how my evening started, with a story…

 

The Big Guns

So, My husband finished the article, and looked at me. He then bounded down to the wine cellar (A bomb shelter under our garage, lol) and began to rummage. What you need to understand about my husband is that when he was in college, he spent more time researching wine than studying economics, though he’s still good at both.

I watched him go through boxes and boxes of wine (he has too many)

Out comes these two.

It’s one thing to read a story about a wine and wishfully dream, it’s another when your husband just happens to have it. This here (orange label) is James Stewart’s Father’s wine.

We opened it… SO GOOD!

It was salty, velvety, REALLY easy to drink. But as we know, this is definitely not affordable unless you think the way I did – he bought it before we got married, lol.

A good substitute is naturally the Slingshot I spoke of, or a good $12 Cab. Sauv. bottle like Melange.

With it, I made the below recipe. I RECOMMEND!!!!!

the other wine (Benson Cab. Franc) I’ll get to in a minute…

Affordable Lox and Toast

Package of Smoked Salmon (not the hard smoked, the kind that looks raw) 4 oz. I got farm raised Atlantic, saves a lot of money and tastes good. If you can afford wild, though, do it. this package cost me $4.50

Italian Bread, 4 slices about 1/2 inch. (Get the real waxy kind, NO SOURDOUGH)

Capers (Those little buggers are pricey, but they last a long time)

Herb Cream Cheese (I got onion and chive)

Red Onion (a few slices. Slice as THIN and possible)

1 Tbls. Olive Oil

Toast the bread in broiler, or toaster. DON’T BURN! Spread with cream cheese while warm. Top with a few onions (5-6 little sliced pieces.) Divide salmon into four, one ounce piles and place on top of toast. Drizzle with Olive Oil so that the capers stick. Spoon capers (some juice is good!) over the top. ENJOY!!!!!

Now, if you don’t have the Stewart, like I said, try the Slingshot! if not, eat with a general Cab. Sauv. The robust flavor of the salmon can hold it’s own, and it does not overpower the wine. Quick and salty/delicious!

Affordable Main Course

Now is where I get to involving the other wine. 2007 Cabernet Franc. VERY peppery, rosemary, and cilantro. This wine has a serious punch of those flavors.

Below is a recipe my husband found through his wine club with Cakebread – another expensive wine, but the Benson Vineyard one above was the affordable option. Naturally Cakebread paired it with a Merlot, which would also be good. You can try this recipe with either.

What I’m showing you is two versions – the pricey and the cheap.

I substituted the Filet Mignon for Sirloin, and it worked GREAT!

Recipe Courtesy of Cakebread Cellars…

 

Grilled Filet Mignon with Mushroom and Avocado
$ the pricey $

Their Version serves 4-6

2.5 pounds Beef Filet

1 head garlic

1/4 c. Olive Oil

2 sprigs Rosemary

2 c. Dried Morels, soaked in warm water

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz. Tomatillos

2 Avocados

2 T. Cilantro, chopped

1 lime

2 oz. Queso Fresco

 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the pointed end of the garlic off to expose all the cloves. Place in the middle of a sheet of foil. Drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil. Wrap in foil to seal and place in the middle of the oven to roast for about an hour until the garlic is soft. Remove and when cool enough to handle, squeeze out the pulp and mix with the remaining olive oil and chopped rosemary.

Clean the beef filet of any fat and connective tissue. Cut into two 3″ sections across the grain of the meat. Holding a large knife parallel to the cutting board, cut the filet lengthwise to form thin steaks, about a ¼” thick. Place in a shallow dish and rub with the roasted garlic mixture. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least two hours.

To make the salsa, soak the morels in warm water for twenty minutes until soft. Drain and rinse to rid them of any dirt. Cut into small pieces and sauté in a small skillet with two tablespoons of olive oil. Once mushrooms start to brown, add the garlic and cook for another minute, reserve. Place a small saucepan of water over high heat. Once water comes to a boil, add the tomatillos and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Roughly chop the tomatillos and avocado. Combine with the morel mushrooms and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Season with a squeeze of lime juice and salt and pepper.

To serve, remove the meat from the refrigerator and season with salt and pepper. On a very hot grill sear the steaks for thirty seconds to a minute per side. Serve with pinto beans, top with a spoonful of the salsa and garnish with the crumbled queso fresco.

My Faster and Affordable Version…
 
$ the cheap $
 
serves 2
 
1 – 8oz Sirloin Steak
6 cloves of Garlic – for marinad
6 T. Olive Oil – 5 for marinade, 1 for salsa
 1 T. Dried Rosemary
Salt and Pepper
6 Cremini Mushrooms, fresh
2 cloves garlic, minced – for salsa
 2 Roma Tomatoes
 Dash of Hot Sauce
 1/2 Avocado
 1/2 Lime
 2 T. Cilantro
2 oz. Feta Cheese
 One can plain Pinto Beans
 
 
 Marination 
 
I sliced the beef across the grain to 1/4 inch thickness and placed in a dish. I then warmed the oil in a pan on the stove. When oil was hot, I added the sliced garlic and removed it from the heat so it didn’t burn. Let the garlic simmer there for a few minutes (really cuts out all the time it takes to roast it.) Smash the garlic with a fork and add rosemary. Pour over beef (it’s okay if the oil is still warm) cover with plastic and put in fridge for at least two hours to marinate.
30 min before it’s time to eat warm beans in a little water on the stove.
 
Salsa
 
Heat 1 T. oil in a pan on stove. Add diced cremini’s and saute until they begin to sweat water. Add 2 cloves of garlic – minced. Remove from heat. Dice the tomatoes and 1/2 avocado and put in a bowl. Add mushrooms/oil/garlic. Add cilantro and squeeze 1/2 lime juice. Combine.
  
Putting it together
 
Remove meat from fridge and heat a pan (preferably a grill pan) on stove, Medium high. Grill meat for 1 minute on each side. dust with salt and pepper on each side while cooking. Remove.
Pile half the beans into the middle of plate, top with half the beef, then half the salsa. Top with a sprinkle of feta.
 
And Viola!!!! YUM YUM YUM!!!
 
Enjoy with that affordable Merlot or Cab. Franc!
 
The Movie that Pulls it all together
  
If you haven’t seen this, you don’t know what you’re missing. You really don’t.
it’s called Bottle Shock, and it’s all about california wine and kicking some french butt.

Manic Monday: More Things to do with Books!

22 Feb

Still looking for more things to do with that collection of books? Well, stick with me and I’ll never let you down! The above photo shows books hung by strings. This utilizes space in a completely new way. If you’re one of those lucky enough to have your own library, this would be a great addition to an empty corner. This also applies for any corner!

In a children’s room perhaps? So cute!

Not willing to ruin your books?

Try going to the local Good Will store and peruse their selection. It’s likely you can pick up a few books for 25 cents, and you won’t feel so guilty stabbing a drill through beloved stories.

What you need:

Heavy duty cotton twine (Colorful ribbon works great, too!!!! Especially in a kids room! raid the sale bin at your local craft store.)

Books

A little hook to hang from ceiling.

Drill with a bit long enough to go the depth of your longest book.

What to do:

Take your book and center drill on cover. Drill (Slowly please. No need to burn down the house)

Take your ribbon and tie a knot. Lace through hole you made (if you use a length of wire and fold it in half, you can use it as a needle, especially for thick ribbon) let the book rest on knot. You can make another knot on the other side of you like, it does look neat if ribbon was your choice.

Repeat and hang on ceiling hook! Viola!!

Sunday Means Revisiting the Past…

21 Feb

So, I pulled out the beginning of a book I stared over a year ago and never got around to finishing. For the last week, the Knight Angels book has been off for editing, and I’ve been left mulling around the house–very bored.
 
That was, until I found this book…
 
This week, I will be starting my very own Novel Writing Month. Typically November is National Novel Writing Month, and I did love NaNoWriMo. It was this past November that I got the first draft down for Knight Angels, after all.
 
So, from tomorrow, February 22nd, ’till March 22nd (My Birthday!) I’m going to be re-visiting that frantic month of writing and delving into this partially written (partially drawn, by me) Children’s Chapter book…
The Moonlight Manor!