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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday Recipe - Purple Potato Soup and Ginger Carrot Soup

It's been nasty weather and very cold here. Add in sick kids and soup is the answer. I came across some recipes in this cookbook and used them for my inspiration.

The purple potato soup is very simple, but very tasty. I had roasted garlic in my fridge from a 5-lb bag I bought a month ago. Instructions for roasting garlic are here. Just wear disposable gloves and plan on smelling garlic for a while. We tried peeling the garlic before roasting this time and it worked okay. The taste is better if you roast them as whole heads, though. Less bitter.

Of course I couldn't make the soups as written. I had to make my own versions so here they are. They were inspired by the recipes in the book, though.

By the way, if you're looking for a good soup cookbook, this is a nice one. It has a wide range of ingredients and tastes, including Moroccan and African soups, something you don't usually find in my area. Ingredients are given in both European/metric units and traditional American units.

The potato soup is bright purple because I used purple potatoes. Yes, you can find such a thing. I used them out of the fingerling potato mix from Costco. But you can use any potatoes you want for the soup. It just won't be a gorgeous purple color.

Yes, the potatoes really are that color.
Purple Potato Soup

4 c. diced potatoes (don't peel them if they're small)
2 t. garlic salt
1/2 t. rosemary
1/4 c. roasted garlic
1/4 c. milk, rice milk, coconut milk, or cream

Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan and add water just until they are mostly covered. Add the garlic salt and rosemary. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook for about 15 minutes, until potatoes are very soft. Add the garlic. Use your trusty stick blender to cream everything into a smooth soup. Stir in the milk. Serve hot with croutons or fresh bread. Garnish with parmesan cheese or parsley if you want.

Ginger Carrot Soup

1 T. butter
2 T. thinly sliced onion
5 medium carrots, thinly sliced (about 4 c.)
1/2 c. thinly sliced potato
1 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
2 t. ginger
1/2 t. nutmeg

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion. Cook until onion is very soft. Add the rest of the ingredients. (I used my trusty salad shooter to slice everything straight into the pot.) Add just enough water to barely reach the top layer of carrots. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes until everything is very soft. Pull out your trusty stick blender and cream it all into a smooth soup.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Game Reviews

I confess. I'm a game addict. Sometimes. It has to be the right kind of game. I've spent way too much time the last couple of weeks conquering Lego Pirates of the Caribbean for the Wii. And too much time before that playing Lego Lord of the Rings. I love those Lego games.

I am horribly uncoordinated, always have been. Hand-eye is not my forte. I've always preferred games that didn't require coordination. I played RPGs on my computer where when you encountered a monster, you hit "F" for fight until it died. That's the kind of game I like. So console games haven't been on my list to play, other than the occasional bout of Tetris. (I'm still the Queen of Tetris at our house. Nobody's beaten my record of 234 lines.)

A few years ago, we got Lego Indiana Jones for our Wii. I fell in love. Here was a game I could handle. There were a few spots I had to get my son to navigate for me, but they were very few. The point of the game was to re-live the movies as Lego characters. Sort of. The game involves a lot of smashing and destruction, things I love to do in a game. The movie cut scenes were hysterically funny. The game added lots of little touches that just made it that much more fun. Indy has a special move with his whip that catches whatever female character is close and pulls her in for a kiss. He's scared of snakes and can't do anything if you get him too close to any. A frozen Luke Skywalker is hanging in the Yeti's cave. No, Indiana Jones did not encounter a Yeti. But he should have.

When Lego Star Wars came out, I was eager to get my hands on it. It isn't nearly as much fun. The play is a lot more complicated, for one thing. I've run into several levels that I can't pass no matter how hard I try. Several of them give me massive motion sickness migraines. And the silliness is mostly missing.

Lego Lord of the Rings lives up to Indiana Jones. It's not silly, mostly because the story is a lot more serious, but it does have some very funny moments. The game is huge, following the three movies/books in game play with a massive overworld of Middle Earth to explore. There are games and trophies galore. The characters are wonderfully animated. Gollum is the freakiest Lego I've ever seen. Game play isn't that difficult. Some areas took a lot of patience and dexterity to conquer, but they weren't essential to the game, only to getting every prize. The dynamic split screen made me dizzy until we figured out that you can change it to static mode.

Lego Pirates was exactly what I needed. Lots of pirate action, lots of silliness, a perpetually drunk Jack Sparrow, and not too complicated game play. Some of the puzzles took work to figure out, true, but they didn't require massive amounts of hand-eye coordination. The game really needs to played at least twice - once in story mode to unlock all the others, then again in free play so you can find all the hidden rooms and treasures. My only real complaint, other than that I want MORE, is the dynamic split screen. You can't set it to static. I recommend this game as a one-player, but only for that reason.

All of the games are rated E 10+ for cartoon violence and lego smashing. They are bright and happy colored, just like Legos. The games are entertaining without being so hard they frustrate all but the most determined players. Overall, I give them two thumbs up and 5-stars. Except Lego Star Wars. I have to rate that as a 3-star.

This article has a lot more information about the games, although it doesn't include Lego LOTR.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday Recipe - Baked Fritatta

This is one of those recipes that is great for using up bits of leftovers. Fritattas are a fun dish to make. Usually they are fried until the bottom is set, then the pan is transferred to the oven to finish baking. I just threw everything in a baking dish this time.

A fritatta has three basic ingredients:
  A starch of some kind - I've used potatoes, leftover noodles, and leftover rice
  Vegetable and meat bits - whatever you've got in the fridge that's either already cooked or fast cooking. Things like green beans, roasted carrots, finely diced onion, ham bits, leftover roast or chicken, shrimp, shredded spinach, etc.
  Eggs - These are what hold the fritatta together.

Here's the recipe of the one I tossed together last night. My kids all ate it with no complaints. Of course, I did give them free reign of all the sauces in the fridge...

Baked Fritatta

8 eggs
1 t. dried parsley
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. dried marjoram (because I had it around, skip it if you don't have any or use Italian herb mix)
2 t. garlic salt blend
1/2 t. ground black pepper
3 c.  cooked brown rice, or white if that's what you have around
1/2 c. ham, small dices
2 c. cooked broccoli, chopped into smallish bits
1 red bell pepper, diced into chunks

Heat oven to 400°. Generously spray or grease a 9x13 baking dish. Beat eggs and spices in a large mixing bowl until smooth, like you would for scrambled eggs. Add everything else. Mix lightly, until everything is coated in egg. Dump into the baking dish and spread it out evenly. Bake for 18-24 minutes, until the eggs are set. Serve hot.

Suggested sauces and toppings:
Ketchup or Catsup, however you want to spell it
Spaghetti sauce
Cream sauce
Cheddar cheese
Parmesan cheese
Sliced tomatoes
Green chilies
Ranch salad dressing

Monday, January 21, 2013

January Resolution - Organize my sewing/craft area

I'm posting these photos in the hope that it will shame inspire me to throw stuff out organize it. By the time this posts, I should have it either done or be hopelessly behind already. I'll update it with the new, organized photo when I finish.

I'm doing this because I'm trying to organize the rest of my house. The rooms we've done are so wonderful, especially my lovely kitchen, although it's growing clutter on the counters despite my best efforts to kill clutter.

What are you resolving to do this year?
This is my sewing/craft area. It's a disaster.

Those cupboards are mostly empty. They got organized last spring. Plenty of room for the rest of my stuff.

This is the other side of the room where the laundry (16 baskets - 8 for dirty, 8 for clean) and my fabric stash live. Nice and organized. Makes the mess seem even worse in comparison.
Ta-Da! All cleaned up and ready for me to finish those projects that have been patiently waiting for much too long.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thursday Recipe - Sweet Potato Cookies

There's something about winter that makes you want to hunker down and eat spicy cookies. At least it makes me want to. This recipe, the original version, was included with a bag of sweet potatoes I bought at Costco. My husband has accused me of never being able to make the same thing twice because I tinker with recipes. Here's my version of their cookies. Not too sweet with a good bite of spice, these are similar to pumpkin bread or pumpkin cookies. They are wonderful with some cream cheese.

You can see how we roll at my house - serve them off the cookie sheet with a block of cream cheese straight out of the box. The recipe makes a lot more than this, that's just what's left of a double batch made last night.

They also work on my diet, as long as I don't eat too many of them. Only a dozen or so...

Sweet Potato Cookies

2 c. cooked sweet potatoes or yams (Don't use the canned version. Buy some fresh ones and roast them. Instructions are in this post.)
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. cloves
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. oil
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
2/3 c. oatmeal
1 c. flour (use 1/2 c. whole wheat and 1/2 c. white if you want)

Heat oven to 350°F.

Put sweet potatoes, spices, sugar, salt, oil, egg, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Use a stick blender to whip it smooth. If you don't have a stick blender, use a potato masher or something similar. You want this to be as smooth and creamy as you can get it. Don't use a regular blender, it will be much too thick.

Stir in soda, baking powder, and oatmeal. Add flour and stir just until blended. Generously grease or spray two baking sheets. Drop batter onto pans, leaving plenty of room for spreading. Each drop should be about 2 T. of batter. Bake for 12-18 minutes, just until set (Mine took 15 minutes). Let cool at least 5 minutes before trying to remove from cookie sheet.

Optional add-ins to stir in with the flour:
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips or mini chocolate chips
1 c. dried cranberries or raisins
1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
3 T. finely chopped candied ginger or orange peel
1/2 c. shredded carrots for a carrot cake type flavor
1/2 c. crushed pineapple, well drained

Optional fillings or frostings:
Whipped cream cheese, plain or with a sprinkle of cinnamon
Cream cheese spread with pineapple
1/2 c. cream cheese, 1 T. softened butter, 1/3 c. honey or brown sugar - whip all together
Cream cheese frosting
Caramel frosting - Try this to-die-for recipe, just scroll past the goat cheese recipe

Monday, January 14, 2013

Author Interview - Gail Martin

Please welcome author Gail Martin to the Far Edge of Normal. You can find her at:
@GailZMartin on Twitter
Winter Kingdoms on Facebook
Blogging at
Podcast at
Gail Z Martin on Shelfari and Goodreads—new Goodreads discussions every month!
And, be sure to check out her Amazon author page!

Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?

I love epic fantasy!  I love the big, historic sweep of the story and the large-scale themes, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.  I’ve got a new book and the beginning of a new series in January, 2013 with Ice Forged, book one in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga—and the adventure begins just as the world ends.

I still love my Chronicles of the Necromancer series and my Fallen Kings Cycle books.  It’s hard to pick my personal favorite among them because there are story lines I really adore in each one.

What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite movies or tv shows? Hobbies?

I’m married with three teenagers, two puppies and a cat, so that doesn’t leave a lot of down time!  I do enjoy watching movies on Netflix with the family (or at the theater if it’s a big release), and I read for fun, especially when I’m traveling.  I’m a new convert to Dr. Who, so I breathlessly await new episodes, and I’m also getting caught up on Torchwood.

Sounds like my house, except with more children. What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to a music, and do you want to share your playlist?

I listen to a rather eclectic mix—if I’m writing the more supernatural parts, I love Midnight Syndicate’s music—perfect for getting in the mood!  I also like New Age, Gregorian chant and spa-type instrumental music just to stay relaxed while I write.

"All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?

I have a 9-year old Himalayan cat named Nicholas, a 6 month-old Golden Retriever and a 6 month-old Maltese.  The dogs are being trained to be writer’s dog, meaning that they hang out and sleep around my feet.

What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Any advice you'd like to share about writing?

I devoured every book by Writer’s Digest Books before I got published, and they helped a lot.  Now, there are even more good resources online, as well as a variety of online communities for writers to get input and support. As far as advice goes, the biggest thing is to stay with it—don’t give up.  There’s an old saying, “What do you call a persistent writer?  Published!”  Advice #2 is read up on how to prepare a manuscript and a query letter so that your work looks professional.

What writers inspired you to become an author?

I grew up around books of all kinds.  My mother had been an elementary school teacher, so she loved to read to me and later, with me.  There were books all over the house, and then there was the library!  I was always reading.  Two of my best friends would come over and we’d each be reading—quietly but together.  My mother would come up to see what we were up to because we were too quiet!  And there one of us would be sprawled in a bean bag chair and one on the bed, reading!  Then I realized there were books that I wanted to read that hadn’t been written yet—and I figured if I wanted to read them, I had to write them!

Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?

Lots!  I love getting out and meeting readers.  So I hope people will come and say ‘hello’ at my live or virtual events!

•    Arisia in Boston Jan. 18 – 20—Ice Forged Launch Party is Saturday night 9:30 – 11:30!
•    Also official!  I’ve been invited to Chattacon in Chattanooga, TN Jan. 25 – 27—Ice Forged Launch Party is Saturday night!
•    Feb. 1 I’ll be signing Ice Forged at the Barnes & Noble Morrowcroft (South Charlotte) from 1-3
•    Feb. 2 I’ll be signing Ice Forged at Park Road Books in Charlotte from 2 – 4
•    Shevacon in Roanoke, VA Feb. 8 – 10
•    Feb. 15 I’ll be signing Ice Forged at the Books a Million at Cotswold from 1-3
•    Feb. 16 I’ll be signing Ice Forged at the Barnes & Noble in Pineville, NC from 2-4
•    Roanoke for Mysticon Feb. 22 – 24—Ice Forged Launch Party is Saturday night!
•    Arizona Renaissance Festival (near Phoenix) signing books March 23-24
•    Ravencon in Richmond, VA April 5 – 7.
•    ConCarolina in Charlotte, NC May 31 – June 2
•    Dragon*Con Labor Day weekend!
•    The Hawthorn Moon Virtual Book Tour on my sites and on partner sites world wide on June 21—sneak peek of the next new book!
•    Be part of the conversation on Goodreads as I host a new discussion every month.  We’ll talk about writing, publishing, fantasy, favorite books and more—and you’re invited!
•    I’ll be bringing out all-new short stories throughout 2013—a new one every month on Amazon.  Explore my Deadly Curiosities universe of cursed objects and intrepid thieves (think American Pickers meets The Exorcist across 500 years).
•    Jonmarc Vahanian is back!  Find out how the brigand lord of Dark Haven became the most feared warrior in the Winter Kingdoms in my Cursed Champion series of short stories—new on Amazon!

That's quite the schedule. If you could travel to any time in history, when would you visit?

I was a history major, so as much as I love stories set in other times, I appreciate the convenience, air conditioning, medicine and sanitation of modern life!

If you could have dinner with any of your characters, which ones would you choose? What food would you serve?

I’d love to have dinner with the main characters in Ice Forged—I think they’d have some stories to tell that even I haven’t heard yet!  And considering the lack of temperature-controlled ovens and other conveniences in medieval times, they cooked some pretty amazing foods and pastries.  At least the nobility could really put on a yummy feast!  Roast fowl with stuffing made with dried fruits and brandy, pies and tarts with macerated or dried fruit, cloves, cinnamon and other spices, hot wassail, spiced wine, freshly baked bread…..they knew how to party!

If you could travel anywhere, on earth or off, where would you go?

I have a long bucket list!  I’d start with the United Kingdom and northern Europe, work my way east to Eastern Europe, take a river cruise down the Rhine and the other major rivers, then grab a flight to New Zealand and Australia, and end up taking the Trans-Canada railroad back home.

What color would you wear if you had only one choice?


Describe your dream writing spot.

Somewhere that overlooks the ocean and has unlimited hot coffee.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Good luck with your new series!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday Recipe - Almond Coconut Custard

Most of my family is allergic to milk, hence my quest to find a really good milk-free pudding recipe. I think this one really nails it. You want to make it at least 1-2 days ahead of when you want to use it. It needs time to cool and the texture really improves after the first 24 hours, especially if you whisk it really well a couple of times.

I bought coconut milk from a local Asian grocery store. A whole case of it was pretty cheap. You may have to search for it at your local stores. Use the full fat version for this recipe. It needs the creaminess. It was similar to this one:
I found almond milk at Costco. It's pricier than Rice Dream, which is our usual milk substitute, but Rice Dream doesn't cook well. Almond milk gives it a great taste and body, especially if you use the vanilla flavored variety.

Almond Coconut Custard

1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
2 c. almond milk
2 c. coconut milk
4 egg yolks (use the whites for divinity)
2 T. butter
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. almond extract

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 3 quart saucepan. Stir in almond and coconut milk and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil and stir for one minute. Remove from heat. Add butter and extracts. Stir until butter is melted and pudding is smooth.

Pour into a bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the pudding, pressing it down on the surface and sealing it to the sides of the bowl. I find a ceramic, Corelle, or metal bowl works best for this. Refrigerate the pudding for at least four hours until thoroughly chilled. Beat with a hand whisk until pudding is smooth. Cover and return to refrigerator overnight.

Whisk pudding before using in banana cream pie or serving as pudding. We like to set ours out with a variety of mix-ins and let the kids build their own fancy pudding.

Mix-in suggestions - cookies like Oreos or Teddy Grahams or Cream Wafers, fresh fruit - especially bananas or strawberries or blueberries, mini-marshmallows, chocolate chips, M&Ms, or whatever else you like with your pudding.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Author Interview - Voss Foster

Please welcome Voss Foster to the Far Edge of Normal. He's just released Tartaros and is giving away one copy to a lucky commenter. To enter, just leave a comment on any of the blog tour stops. Please include your email addy so we can find you.

January 2nd: Voss Foster :: Demon Hunting and Tenth Dimensional Physics
January 3rd: Frances Pauli :: Speculative Friction
January 4th: M. Pax :: Wistful Nebula
January 5th: B.B. Hartwich :: B.B. Hartwich Author Blog
January 6th: Adriane Ceallaigh :: Adriane Ceallaigh
January 8th: S. Evan Townsend :: Writer's Thoughts

Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?

Fantasy. Fantasy fantasy fantasy. More specifically, what I call ‘light fantasy,’ since I don’t really have a better term for it (If anyone knows of an ‘official’ name for it, please tell me.). Fantasy that has no magic, or very little magic. Which I know sounds kind of insane and contradictory. But it’s what I like most of all. Not to say that’s all I write, of course.

Favorite? I don’t have a favorite. I don’t think I could.

Coming up? Well, for release, I have a short in ASIM coming either this month or next month and a story in Gears and Levers II (steampunk anthology). As for writing…well, I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll say this: marionettes.

What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite movies or tv shows? Hobbies?

Relax…does reading count as relaxing if you’re a writer? I’m not sure if it does, but I do like to read. And I play online games like a fiend. And the singing. Ooooooh the singing.

I find that I don’t really watch my favorite movies much. They’re normally too heavy, like RENT or The Saddest Music in the World. But, for everyday watching, I like anything good. Although there’s a very soft spot in my heart for martial arts movies.

I actually do have a life outside of writing, which I realize makes me the oddity. I’m a part of the local Rocky Horror Picture Show cast and crew, I cook, I do photography, I belly dance, and, again, the singing. I’m always looking for singing partners.

What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to a music, and do you want to share your playlist?

It would be really hard to share my playlist. Each one is unique for the project, which is why I have about ten or eleven different playlists on the side of my player, with more being created.

"All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?

Oh, I wish. Where I live now, pets are not allowed. Animalia non grata, if you will. But I used to have cats. Tons of cats. More than twenty. And I had a dachshund, Fritz. And I’ve sort of adopted dogs that aren’t mine. An ex’s dogs (and cats), and now my neighbor’s Peruvian Hairlesses…and this stray cat that sort of sits on my back porch.

What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Any advice you'd like to share about writing?

I’d have to say make good use of the Internet, just in general. The Absolute Write Water Cooler, Preditors and Editors, and, one I’ve found recently, Piers Anthony’s listing of epublishers. As for keeping your spirits up, I have to recommend the Office of Letters and Light. All their resources for National Novel Writing Month and Camp NaNoWriMo, and even the Young Writers’ Program, are incredible.

Other than that, I’d just have to say to keep your eyes open, keep your mind open, and write. You’ll hear everyone say it, but only because it’s true. There are two things you really need to do to set yourself above the majority of aspiring writers (this isn’t my brilliance, mind you, this is advice I got, once): start something and finish something. You’ll be light years ahead of the vast majority of beginning authors.

What writers inspired you to become an author?

I never get this kind of question. Not once did I read something and think ‘I want to be like this.’ I had stories in my brain and started spewing them, and some of them started to stick.

But, if I had to guess which authors influenced me, that’s a little easier to answer. Early authors I read, like Rowling and D.J. Machale, and a lot of sort of ‘outdated’ books I’ve picked up in secondhand shops and tracked down in libraries: Phillip Pullman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Stanislaw Lem, Miyuke Miyabe…and movie/television writers as well. The first one that comes to mind there is Luc Besson, but I’ve definitely put some serious study into Ang Lee’s work and Robert Rodriguez’s work, too.

Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?

Well, there’s the release from a few days ago. And I will be at RADCon this year.

If you could travel to any time in history, when would you visit?

Either 1900s China or Mughal India. Or the height of German royalty, back when they were still building places like Neuschwanstein. Of course, this is assuming that they would be amazed by me rather than want to kill me.

If you could have dinner with any of your characters, which ones would you choose? What food would you serve?

I’m none too sure about eating with any of my characters. For the most part, they’re not nice people. Lots of killing and subterfuge and such.

If you could travel anywhere, on earth or off, where would you go?

I’m not great with picking. I’ve always wanted to travel the globe. The idea always appealed to me. It varies from day to day. The Hawkers’ Markets of Singapore, the castles of Germany, the temples of India, Thailand, Laos…basically anywhere in Asia, Russia for the architecture…it goes on and on and on.

What color would you wear if you had only one choice?

Grey. It works in business situations and casual, and it’s really hard to clash if you go out with somebody.

Describe your dream writing spot.

I’d need a really comfortable chair (not a couch) and an ottoman to rest my feet, plus a nice desk (I’ve always had a thing for rolltops). And the walls would be holographic. Actually, everything would be holographic, so I could change color at will. And there would be plenty of tea. And hot chocolate. Oh, and I’d have touch screen whiteboards for notes. And a door. With a big lock. And the walls would have to be soundproof, too.

I could go on, but you get the picture.
Excerpt from Tartaros:
Daniel rose to his feet and stared at Yolanda. Light shone from her eyes and mouth. Her muscles pushed against the skin. The blood from her cuts sizzled again as Daniel stared at her arm. The three slashes he made were already replaced with tiny scars.
Her muscles continued to bulge out. “Daniel?” Her voice, weak and scared, quivered from her throat. “Are you there?”
He heard sudden cracks coming from her body and saw her legs bend forward. Bits of bone fell from her shattered knees and floated around her. He rushed at her, but when he made contact, an electric pain raced up his arm. He flew back to the opposite wall and crashed into the window, sending glass shrapnel across the floor. He watched her body curl and tighten into a ball.
Rathbone crawled through the broken glass and threw a bottle into the fray. It shattered before it hit her and the contents, whatever they were, swirled around with the bone fragments. Yolanda’s blood crashed to the floor next and splashed into the whirling sphere in turn. Daniel couldn’t move, couldn’t even cry for terror. Panic paralyzed him as he looked on.
Yolanda’s form obscured behind the thin veil of blood and bone, soon disappearing all together. When he could finally move, Daniel dragged himself across the floor, pangs of agony sliding through him with every bit of glass that cut his body. He reached up to the ball of blood and pushed his hand through. A beam of light shot out of the puncture and bounced around the walls. He fell back to the floor as more light washed over his body. The sphere broke apart and blood spattered around the room, filling up the carved runes with bright red.
Then everything went blank and Daniel felt nothing
Voss Foster lives in the middle of the Eastern Washington desert, where he writes speculative fiction from inside a single-wide trailer. When he can be torn away from his keyboard, he can be found cooking, practicing photography, singing, playing trombone, and belly dancing, though rarely all at once. His first full length work, Tartaros, is out now through Prizm Books.

Twitter: @VossFoster
Google +:

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thursday Recipe - Ranch Dressing

I've mentioned my new diet several times, mostly to complain. But the diet is helping. I'm just getting desperate for some kind of salad dressing I can have. When vinegar, lemon juice, and mayonnaise are all on the banned list, dressings become very hard to create. I did come up with a version of ranch dressing that is low-acid and okay on my diet. It tastes quite good, but it doesn't keep for more than a week or two and it's loaded with dairy. I'm working on a non-dairy version but I'm running low on coconut milk.

IC Friendly Ranch Dressing

1/2 c. cream cheese
3/4 c. milk
1 t. cornstarch
1/2 t. garlic flakes or powder
1/2 t. dill weed
1/2 t. dried parsley
salt to taste

Put cream cheese, milk, and cornstarch in a blender. Blend on high until smooth. Pour into a small saucepan. Stir in seasonings. Cook over medium heat until dressing thickens and boils. Boil for one minute.  Remove from heat. Cool on counter, stirring every half hour or so to keep it smooth. Taste and add salt if needed. Place in covered container and refrigerate overnight before using.

Makes about 1 1/2 c. dressing. Shake well or stir before using. Use within a week.