Check out my fiction - http://www.jaletac.com
Check out my science fiction series - The Fall of the Altairan Empire

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Thursday Recipe - Sweet Slice Pickles

And another wonderful pickle recipe from my awesome pickle cookbook. This one holds up well to processing. You can use little cucumbers or fully ripe ones or anything in between. It's pretty quick to do, too.

Sweet Slice Pickles

Cucumbers - enough to fill 5 pint jars once sliced
1 T. mustard seeds
2 t. celery seeds
whole cloves
3 c. 5% acidity white vinegar
5 c. sugar
1 T. pickling salt

Scrub cucumbers thoroughly. Slice off blossom end and stem, discard. Slice the cucumbers into 1/4 inch slices. Stuff the slices into pint jars, packing tightly.

Divide mustard seed evenly between jars. Repeat with celery seeds. Add 2-3 whole cloves to each jar.

Heat vinegar, sugar, and salt together until it boils.

Pour hot syrup over cucumber slices, dividing it evenly between the jars. If you need more liquid to fill the jars, just add some plain vinegar on top.

Process and seal as appropriate to your altitude.

Makes 5 pints of sliced sweet pickles.

You can add sliced onions or peppers to this if you want. Just substitute it in for some of the cucumber slices.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Thursday Recipe - German Pot Roast

My kids told me I had to post this recipe so I don't lose it. The meat was tender and flavorful and dinner was a great success. It was also really easy. The slow cooker did most of the work.

German Pot Roast

1 - 1 1/2 lb bottom round steak, thick cut
1/2 c. sliced onion
1 c. baby carrots OR carrot slices
1/4 c. chopped dill pickles
1/2 c. hot water
1 T. beef bouillon
2 T. brown mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
dash ground allspice
1 bay leaf

Put steak in bottom of a small crockpot - I used a 1.5 qt pot. The meat should fill the crockpot about 1/3. Put onions and carrots around the sides of the meat. Spread the pickles over the meat. Mix water, bouillon, mustard, salt, pepper, and allspice together; then pour over the meat. Drop in the bay leaf.

Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours, until the carrots are tender and the meat falls apart.

If you want to thicken the gravy -
30 minutes before serving, break the meat into chunks and stir everything gently to mix. Stir 2 T. cornstarch into 1/2 c. cold water until smooth, then stir into the hot gravy in the crockpot. Cover and let cook on high until gravy is thickened.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Happy Birthday to Me

It's my birthday week and yes, I'm trying to get back on schedule with the blog posts.

So I'm sharing some of my favorite birthday videos:










Thursday, August 2, 2018

Thursday Recipe - Guest Chef C Michelle Jefferies

Please welcome guest chef and author C Michelle Jefferies to The Far Edge of Normal! She also wrote the guest blog post today. So, in her words:

For as long as I remember, I have wanted to be an author. I’ve created stories, worlds and people in my head since I was young. Since learning my way around a kitchen as an older teen I have also had a love of cooking. My greatest love in the writing world is futuristic suspense, which I often times describe as “James Bond in the future”. While my two greatest loves in the culinary world are a traditional English tea, and Asian food. 

My two published series are Futuristic Suspense, with my most recent work being DESCENDING and the other books in the Ashes series. It follows the Chrysalis series main character Noble’s son Ashby as he navigates his teen and early adult years. 

All he wants is to fly.

Ashby Standing has it all planned out. Prove his ability to captain a starship in the simulator. Then enter the Star Captain Academy a year early skipping another hellish year of being bullied at school. 

When a new street drug proves fatal, taking the life of Elija’s son Nicolai. Noble has no choice but to step back into his role as an agent for Trinity. In spite of his age and his other duties. Including coordinating a twenty year celebration for the colonization of Caledonia. 

After losing Arial, Lyris is hyper focused on making sure all of her children are safe and protected. Even if it skirts what is legal or moral. 

Everything converges into a complicated mess as moral obligations, desires, and ego’s battle for dominance and for some, descending into the depths of dark is the option seems the best choice.  

Lately, my love of food has meandered it’s way into my stories and books. Finding that if I or my characters are hungry, bored, stressed, my characters make and eat what I am craving. 

It wasn’t until I was finalizing edits and formatting my books, I realized that I had incorporated several of my favorite foods into the stories I wrote. Enough of them, as I catalogued them, that the thought of making a “Chrysalis and Ashes series cookbook” was completely possible. 

So, if you want a great futuristic read with lots of good food mentioned, Check out the Ashes Series starting with Descending

Here is a recipe from Blue Moon, the novella in the Ashes Series. It’s a scene where Porter comes home to visit his mother and she is making squash (Zucchini) bread. Since it is summer, and the infamous green squash is pretty much everywhere, it felt like the most appropriate one to share with you. 
Chocolate Zucchini bread

3 eggs
1 c. oil 
2 c. sugar
2 c. grated zucchini
2 t. vanilla

Mix together, then add:

3 c. flour
1/4 t. baking powder 
1 t. baking soda 
3 t. cinnamon 
2 T. baking cocoa
 
Pour into greased bread pans and bake for 60 min at 325°F.
C. Michelle Jefferies is a writer who believes that the way to examine our souls is to explore the deep and dark as well as the shallow. To manipulate words in a way that makes a person think and maybe even second guess. Her worlds include suspense, urban fantasy, and an occasional twist of steampunk. When she is not writing, she can be found on the yoga mat, hand binding journals, dyeing cloth, and serving ginger tea. The author and creator divides her time between stories, projects, and mothering four of her seven children on the wild and windy plains of Wyoming.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Thursday Recipe - German Potato Salad

Yes, I'm still on hiatus, but as I find recipes I've overlooked, I'll add them.

Thought I'd posted this one. It's a family favorite.

Hot potatoes, crisp bacon, sweet onions, all wrapped in a creamy, tangy vinegar sauce. How can you possibly pass it up? I get to, because I haven't found a good potato substitute and me and potatoes are no longer friends.

Enjoy!

German Potato Salad

4 medium potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
4 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T. flour
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1/4 t. celery seed
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. vinegar

Put potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer for 20-25 minutes, until barely done.

Cook bacon in a large frying pan until well-done and crispy. Remove bacon and set aside.

Cook onion in bacon grease until tender. Stir in flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture gets all bubbly. Stir in water and vinegar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute. Remove from heat.

Crumble bacon into sauce, then slice warm potatoes and add to sauce. Put back on low heat. Stir gently just until potatoes are coated and everything turns into a nice, starchy mess.

Serve hot.

Gluten-Free version:
Follow all directions until you come to adding the flour.
Skip the flour. Stir 1 T. cornstarch into the water. Stir into the onion and spice mixture with the vinegar. Cook and stir until it thickens and comes to a boil.
Continue with the rest of the recipe.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Hiatus, Again

My apologies to the few regular readers of this blog. Life is overwhelming right now. I need to pare down the things I commit to, and unfortunately, this blog is not a priority right now. It takes time and effort to write posts, even weekly ones, and I think I've about run out of my go-to recipes to post.

I might pick it back up in a couple of months. And maybe not.

I'm thinking of putting the recipes together in a cookbook. Anyone interested in a paper copy? Please comment. Ebooks are easy to throw together so I'll probably do those, but paper ones mean I need to go through a cookbook publisher to get the spiral binding and coated paper which means I have to order a whole pile to get a decent per-book price which means boxes stacked in my garage which is not necessarily a good thing at this point. And that was a very long sentence.

So, please comment if you want a paper cookbook. Please comment if you want me to keep posting stuff. Please comment if you read this blog regularly.

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Thursday Recipe - Hibiscus Punch Take 2

Remember that hibiscus syrup recipe I posted a few weeks ago? I made punch out of it the other night. It was delicious - light, cool, refreshing, and a lovely shade of red. Try this instead of that kidney-stain punch mix next time you want a fun party drink.

Look for dried hibiscus flowers online or at a local Latino grocery store. They make a really fun syrup with a sweet floral flavor. If you want to make Hawaiian punch that tastes like the name brand, try the recipe with the Hibiscus Syrup Take 2. Or try this recipe. It's a lemon/lime/orange-ade with mint and hibiscus.

And here is another version of the punch.

Hibiscus Punch Take 2

2/3 c. hibiscus syrup (the kind made with ginger and lemon)
1 quart ice
1 quart cold water
2 cans lemon-lime soda

Mix everything. Serve immediately.

Makes about 3 quarts.