Archive for February, 2012

At RG2E, it’s all about the readers!

This post wouldn’t be complete without background music. Click here for a short clip of the theme song.

That’s right…there’s a new sheriff in town when it comes to sites for readers. It’s a big, confusing world out there when it comes to books. So many titles to choose from, so little time to read!

So what’s the shortest path to the best books on the web?

That’s right: The Readers’ Guide to E-publishing. This site lists some of the best e-books on the market in all genres.

What could be better? Why, if they gave away some of those books free, of course!  And they do, of course!  Free books daily.

What could be even better than free books daily? Free e-readers! And they do that do.

Check it out and make it a destination stop for book shopping.

You might even find some of my books there starting later this month.  😉

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Healthy Eating Tip #1 – Lasagna

Who doesn’t love lasagna? It’s classic comfort food. The problem is, it can pack in the calories, fat, and sodium. The biggest problem with lasagna, in my opinion, is not the ingredients–those can be improved–but the portion. We fill that big ‘ole casserole dish to the brim with pasta-y, tomatoey, cheesey goodness. And when we serve it, we get the spatula down in there and cut out a walloping half-plate serving.

I’ve heard many a fitness/diet/healthy eating guru say that eating right doesn’t have to be about giving up all the foods you love, but in controlling how much of them you eat. But that’s so hard to do with the golden bubbling brown 13 X 9 casserole dish just begging you to take more…

While watching the Food Network the other day, I saw this tip for creating an amazing, cute-as-could-be, portion-controlled serving of lasagna:

Make individual servings of lasagna in little oven-safe ramekins!

Duh! Why didn’t I think of that?

Tried it today, and the results were ah-maze-ing!

How delicious does this look? And pretty enough to serve at a dinner party.

I don’t think I even need to give a recipe–just use your favorite spaghetti sauce, whether from a jar or homemade (but do try to get a lower sodium version if store bought), your favorite lasagna noodles, cooked like normal (you’ll need only 1 or 2 noodles PER SERVING depending on the size of your noodles, more info below), your favorite lasagna filling (I used frozen spinach mixed with ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese).

Spray the sides and bottom of the oven-safe ramekins with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon just enough of your spaghetti sauce in to coat the bottom of the ramekin. Lay one cooked lasagna noodle across the ramekin and push down into the sauce. One is all you’ll need if you’re using very wide noodles.

If your noodles are narrower (or if you want to cut your wide noodles in half) make a cross in the ramekin. I like the cross method better because then all sides of the ramekin have noodle “walls.”

Spoon in about a tablespoon (or less) of the cheese mixture. Top with another dollop of spaghetti sauce, then fold over the ends of one noodle. Make another layer of filling and sauce, fold over the ends of the other noodle to cover. If your noodles are too long, just snip the ends off with clean kitchen scissors. Put another small spoon of cheese filling on, then another small dollop of spaghetti sauce, then a layer of grated parmesan cheese. I add a little mozzarella to mine for that top layer so it will melt and bubble and brown better.

Cook in oven on 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. Adjust cooking time as needed for your size ramekin and thickness of cheese layers.

I like to serve it in the ramekin, but one friend did comment that it was a little harder to eat that way because the ramekin slid around the plate, and it was too hot to hold still with bare hands. On the Food Network, the chef was able to run a butter knife around the edge of the ramekin to make sure nothing was stuck and then slip it out onto a plate right-side up. Hers held together and made a perfect round little lasagna on the plate. I’ve tried that and mine always seem to fall apart. But oh well–it still tastes great, so serve however you like. I guarantee people will eat it.

One more thing…if you like veggie lasagna with eggplant, a circle of eggplant fits perfectly into most ramekins. Just grill or roast your eggplant to soften it, then add a slice to one or two of your layers.

Oh and one more, one more thing. Pyrex makes some cool little glass dishes about the size of a ramekin that have lids and are freezer safe. These individual servings freeze perfectly! Just follow all the steps except baking. When you’re building your layers, make sure not to overfill so that you can get the lid on. Then pop them in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, thaw on defrost in the microwave and then put in the oven. Do not go straight from freezer to a hot oven!

Good-bye, my friend

Sorry I haven’t been posting much lately, y’all. It’s not that nothing is happening worth writing about, honestly. I’ve just had this post that I’ve needed to write for several weeks, but had a hard time wrapping my head around what to say, how much to say, and how to say it.

I lost a friend in January, a very dear friend who taught me a lot about living.

Being in my mid-forties at the time I met Shirlee, I thought I knew about living. I was wrong.

I like to ride horses–not just in arenas or my back pasture, but in new, scenic places. In mountains and forests and across rivers and grasslands. I had always wanted to ride in Caprock Canyon here in Texas, but never had anyone to make the trip with me. One day I was hanging out on a forum for people who trail ride and I saw this woman post that she and her husband were plannig a trip to Caprock. They lived in Iowa at the time.

Out of the blue, I sent this woman I’d never met a message asking if she minded some company out there. I’m easy to get along with as a trail rider. My horse is pretty reliable and I don’t mind going off and doing my own thing. I promised not to hang on her coattails all day long every day.

Well, I did. Hang on her coat tails, that is. Because Shirlee and her husband Leroy and I bonded pretty quickly. We had similar riding interests and styles, though they had a lot more wilderness experience than I did. A LOT more.

I learned that Shirlee was a four-time cancer survivor. FOUR TIMES. Can you imagine that? She was a bit older than me, and weakened from all those treatments, and yet she could ride me into the ground. I’ve never, ever seen someone who enjoyed being in the saddle so much. For Shirlee, riding–living–was pure joy. Because she’d learned that being able to do either of those things is not a given. She was one of the bravest riders I’ve met, and she helped me put my fears aside. She took me and my horse over, under, and through things I would never have tried on my own.

We became fast friends and Shirlee and Leroy took pity on me (my inability to find other riders here in Texas who want to go horse camping and trail riding) and allowed me to accompany them on many other trips. We rode the Buffalo National River several times, the Shawnee National Forest, in the Colorado Rockies, and at Robber’s Cave in Oklahoma. Just last fall we went back to Caprock for a reunion ride. We talked about me coming out to their new ranch in Colorado this summer.

Shirlee passed away January 21.

In the end, it wasn’t the cancer that took her, and I’m glad for that. She fought hard and she won that battle. She deserved to win it.

Farewell, my friend. I miss you. I won’t forget you or the lessons you taught me: Live. Love. Laugh. And RIDE.

Shirlee Wolfe

 

Meet Paranormal Romance Author Carrie Ann Ryan!

Hi all,

I’m turning over my blog today to a special guest star — paranormal romance author Carrie Ann Ryan, whose latest release A Taste for a Mate (Redwood Pack)
hit the virtual bookshelves just a couple of weeks ago, and already has a perfect 5-star rating on Amazon.com! Please welcome Carrie as she tells all about her penchant for falling in love with fictional characters. And really…when you write steaming hot sexy werewolf stories, who wouldn’t?

As a special surprise, Carrie Ann brought along some autographed prizes, so comment on the blog today (leave your email address) for a chance to win!

Falling in Love with Characters – Carrie Ann Ryan

I love falling in love with characters. Whether they be mine or another author’s, I just can’t help but get a tingling feeling when I start on the path. I mean, in romance novels, you essentially are on the same path as the characters. You are finding those first signs like and attraction, then the wham or sinking into love.

            You as a reader are finding the sweet and not so sweet things that made your heroine and heroine fall in love with each other. Wouldn’t it make sense that you would fall in love with tem too?

            Now, I’m not talking about the “love” in which you find yourself stalking a tween sensation – don’t get me wrong that has its time and place LOL. But I’m talking about the times where you read a book and you sit up and say “Wow. I really love them.” You really want to get to know them – not necessarily have their babies. Well. Okay. You can do that too, but I digress.

            For example, I was just reading Matthew by Emma Lang, and I totally fell in love with the family. I mean eight siblings? I could totally get involved with that world and never let go. The first book came out like last week and I’m already chomping at the bit for more. Sadly I’ll have to wait like forever for it though LOL.

            But it’s the interactions between the characters, the way they breathe, smile, and act, that just makes me want to sigh and melt into the book.

            In A Taste for a Mate, I had a love/hate relationship with Willow and Jasper. I know some authors say you have to love your characters and always pimp them. But I swear I wanted to murder them sometimes LOL. Willow, at first, isn’t a kick ass heroine. And I’m okay with that. It takes everything that is piled on her for her to buck up. And believe me. She does. To the point that I wanted to hug her and say “I love you.” Because I do. Jasper on the other hand is a sexy kick ass hero. *sigh* But sometimes, I wanted to kill him. He’s a man. What can I say.

            But I think that’s what makes reading romance and falling in love with characters so much fun. I mean, if you didn’t love them, you wouldn’t want to strangle them, right? Or am I just a scary author LOL.

            Jasper and Willow had to overcome a lot in order to get where they are. I went darker and scarier in this book than I did with An Alpha’s Path. I dove deep and scared myself a bit. But I came out stronger – like Willow. I truly love my characters and I can’t wait to write more about the rest of the Jamenson brood.

            Do you find yourself loving your characters? What characters out there do you truly love?

If you answer, along with adding your email addy, I’ll enter you in the drawing to win some autographed swag!

Here’s the skinny on Carrie Ann’s book, A Taste for a Mate

Jasper Jamenson’s only responsibility to being the Beta of the Redwood Pack, second son of the Alpha, is to protect the Pack from themselves and the human world. After a century of selfless service, his brother’s new found mating forced him into taking a good look into his life. He isn’t sure he wants a mate, but fate may have other ideas.

 Willow Delton is a skinny, bakery owner – the type most woman love to hate. Being without family, she finds herself alone to the Greek god with green eyes who saunters into her bakery every morning. Her desire to follow him, to be with him, overrides every rational sense she possessed.

Jasper and Willow are drawn together, despite every nuisance that works against them. But evil beyond even Jasper’s supernatural compensation will make war against him, by going after the only thing in his eternal life he desires – Willow. Is Willow’s heart enough to overcome Jasper’s soul to save her life? A fight he cannot win, but to save her life – he must.

Read an excerpt of A Taste for a Mate

A Taste for a Mate Excerpt

More about author Carrie Ann Ryan

Carrie Ann Ryan is a paranormal and contemporary romance author. After spending too much time behind a lab bench, she decided to dive into the romance world and find her werewolf mate – even if its just in her books. Happy endings are always near – even if you have to get over the challenges of falling in love first.

Her first book, An Alpha’s Path, is the first in her Redwood Pack series. She’s also an avid reader and lover of romance and fiction novels. She love meeting new authors and new worlds. Any recommendations you have are appreciated. Carrie Ann lives in New England with her husband and two kittens.

Carrie Ann loves hearing from readers. You can find her at:

Website, Blog, Facebook Author Page, Facebook Friend, Goodreads, Twitter: @CarrieAnnRyan


Available Now!

western romance novel boxed set

7 men as tough as the West. 7 women ready to Cowboy Up

Available Now!

Psychological Suspense short story with a bonus inspirational short story included

Coming Soon from Vickie Taylor

Fantasy Romance Novella

What am I reading today?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker - Just started, but I'm intrigued so far!

Last five books read:

TEXAS GOTHIC - Rosemary Clement-Moore - Awesome! Great fun and spooktastic at the same time!

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN - Ransom Riggs - Really creative idea. Enjoyed it very much!

BOOTSCOOTIN' BLAHNIKS - D.D. Scott - Very enjoyable, fun book!

THE GOOD DAUGHTER - Diana Layne - Awesome! Get it now!

GOT YOUR NUMBER - Stephanie Bond - Fun little mystery!

What’s on my TBR List?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker

Reader’s Guide to E-publishing

Find your next e-book here!

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