A to Z Challenge -S


 

What are you guys thinking about my photography challenge? I’m having a blast with this!

I’m wondering if maybe I should invest in a real camera.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

S – Sunflowers

We grew sunflowers one year. They were taller than me! OK, so that doesn’t take much since I am only 5 foot 5 inches.  The heads on them were over twelve inches across! I have a picture somewhere of me standing next to them with flaming red hair! By October I had gone back to my natural brown.

Quotidiandose does not own rights to this image. All rights reserved to the artist.

Quotidiandose does not own rights to this image. All rights reserved to the artist.

S- Sailboat

Someday I am going to learn to sail. It seems like it would be perfect! Serenity, solitude, and speed when the wind catches the sail! Sign me up!

 

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

A to Z Challenge – R


 

R – Red Wine & Roses

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You had to know I would  use this as one of my R words, right?

My very first published book! This is contemporary romance, and a bit steamy! According to one of the reviews, too steamy.

Most of my manuscripts are paranormal fantasy. This one is a stand alone. I loved writing it,  but I already know some things I will do differently in my next romance.

Red Wine & Roses – get your copy and leave me a review!

 

 

 

R – Reviews

The all important reviews for a book.  I don’t know how many readers actually read the review before purchasing, but to an author, it’s vitally important to receive reviews.

Wonderful Romance, extra Spicy

Couldn’t Put This Book Down

I Loved The Characters

 

R – Rice

Organic_BrownJasmine

 

 

Rice is the mainstay of most of the world’s diet.  It is versatile, so it’s used in a variety of  cooking styles. For instance Spanish Rice next to the Chimichanga and refried beans, Fried rice with the sweet and sour shrimp,  steamed rice with chicken ala king, or my favorite . . RISOTTO.

Which requires a RECIPE

If you can’t get any morels,  then you can substitute another type such as Portobello. Morels are best, but they are hard to find/get.

 

 

Risotto with Morels

Ingredients:
1/2 pound  morel mushrooms, chopped into small pieces – rinsed and soaked in salt water then drain on a paper towel
4 cups chicken stock
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces bacon, cooked drained and chopped
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
freshly chopped parsley

Directions:

In a saucepan, heat the chicken stock with the 2 cups of water and bring to a simmer.
In a  Dutch oven, melt the butter and the morels, and bacon, saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of the chicken stock mixture to the rice plus the saffron, salt, and pepper. Stir and simmer over low heat until the stock is absorbed,  10 minutes. Continue to add the stock mixture, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry before adding more of the stock mixture. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes total. When done, the risotto should be thick and creamy and not  dry. Remove from  heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve  with extra cheese and a sprinkle of parsley.

R- Rash

While poking around in the garage working on furniture  restoration, I’ve gotten into something that has irritated my skin. The sad thing is I have no clue as to what it was, so I’m likely to repeat this.

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And technically, I did not take this picture. My daughter took it of me.

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

A to Z Challenge – Q


 Q -quinoa

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An amazing super food! There are so many ways to incorporate this into your diet. Here are a few suggestions:

  1.  use instead of rice, or combined with rice
  2. use in place of bread crumbs in meatloaf
  3. use as you would oatmeal in the morning – add your favorite toppings. Mine are peaches, cream, and a little honey.
  4. Make quinoa cookies – pretty much like you would make oatmeal cookies.
  5. Add it to a basic bread recipe!
  6. Add some to your salad before drizzling your favorite dressing over it.

Q – Queen

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Queen -of hearts,  of diamonds, spades, but what about clubs? Are there no songs to commemorate the queen of clubs?

Many of you may not know this,  but a friend of mine has immortalized me as the evil queen (mwahaha haha- cackles with evil laughter) in  not one but two of her books.  OK, so the second is a sequel to the first but never the less I am immortalized as evil queen Ellie!  Apparently Queen Ellie has a thing for shrimp, not the kind you eat but rather a character that is a shrimp. Interesting.

I considered snapping a few pics for queen-sized, but naaaaaaaahhhh!

 

Q – Quackers

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Baby ducks –  ok so it’s a stretch. But come on –  are these not the cutest things? Spring time is flourishing with flora and fauna!
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These precious babies bring a smile to my face when then my legs are nearly shaking on the last lap around the pond.

 

Q – Quilt

OK,  I don’t know what the deal is but we saw numerous of these, all different on the ends of barns as we drove through northern Missouri and Iowa. Is this an Amish thing? Mennonite? Is there some symbolic meaning behind it?  I don’t know but  it got us talking.

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If anyone wants to fill me in on why  so many people have a quilt block design on their barns, I’d love to know.  Have a fabulous day!

 Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

A to Z Challenge – O


 

 O – Ocean

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the_perfect_day_to_spend_in_freeport_355-212

The ocean – ahhhhhh. Relaxing, calming, soothing, refreshing. Some people recharge in the mountains. For me it’s on the beach or on the deck – yes those are my thick calves in the capris! We celebrated our anniversary with a cruise to the Bahamas last year. I absolutely loved Freeport Bahamas!

O – Onion

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Do you  know why onions make you cry?

Onions contain amino acid sulfoxides that form sulfenic acids. The enzymes and the sulfenic acids are kept separately in the cells. When you cut the onion, the otherwise separate enzymes start mixing and produce propanethiol S-oxide, which is a volatile sulphur compound that starts wafting towards your eyes. The gas that is emitted reacts with the water of your eyes and forms sulphuric acid. The sulphuric acid  produced causes burning sensation in your eyes and this, in turn leads to the production of tears.

Does it make me stop using onions?  NOPE.  Tonight we are having chicken fajitas, with lots of sliced peppers and onions.

O – Office

You may notice the distinct lack of images for this.

WHY? Because I don’t have an office. This is a problem.  I had one for a while,  then it was taken over. Then I moved to my daughter’s room while she was at college. But when she would come home on break,  or for the summer, I had no place for my office. My office has been a corner of the kitchen table.

I need my own office with places to put my writer stuff, and craft stuff, and research stuff, and  . . . . my STUFF! We have five desks and four people here. One is in the garage covered with Guy stuff. I think it’s too large to fit down the stairwell. One is being used by my youngest daughter, one is my writer’s desk that is in the oldest daughter’s room, one is in the living room and is my husband’s computer desk, one is in the downstairs office, which has become my husband’s office, and one desk is a corner desk that I painted for my oldest daughter when she was in junior high.  It’s purple zebra print.

At this point I don’t care. I need a desk, I need an office, and I need some storage shelves /cabinets/bins – whatever! OPERATION PERMANENT OFFICE IS GO!

 

Have a fabulous day!

 Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

A to Z Challenge – N


 

N- Notes & Notebooks

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20160415_100654Old school is still the best way for me to brainstorm. I pot my notes into a notebook, this one is a cheap composition book  purchased during back to school sales. I think it was all of 49 cents. I tab my pages at the beginning of a section. When I have something I add to it. It may sit untouched for weeks, but when I need to go find that one thing that I wrote down, I will have it. Those tab things from post-its are great!

 

 

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N-Nails

Such handy little things, nails.  These are for hanging decor and picture hangers. No, it’s not the same thing.  Sometimes you need a nail to hang something, other times you need one of those angled metal hook things –  a picture hanger. I’ve been tackling a few  things on my to do list.

I’ve waited for the hubs to “get around to it” for ages. It’s actually better if I tackle it because I know what I want. Never mind the extra holes in the wall.  They will get patched next time we paint. I’m nonplussed by little details like that –  I try to get it right the first time,  but hey, life goes on when you get your nail half an inch to the left too far and have to do it over. A little dab of toothpaste, smoothed out with an old gift card hides that sucker. And a little dab of paint from the leftover can we keep stored in the basement.

N-Noodles384106

The beginning  of one of my family’s favorite meals:

Crab alfredo

Bear with me on this one,  I am trying to remember as if I were making it because  this was a throw together meal.

1 package of medium egg noodles

3 cups water

1 package of artificial crab meat, torn into pieces

1 package of scallions chopped into small pieces ( about 1/2 cup of scallions)

fresh spinach with the stems removed ( about 2 cups of fresh spinach)

1 jar alfredo sauce

1/2 cup of  parmesan

1 cup milk

2 Tablespoons butter

salt and pepper

In a large skillet or electric skillet (this is what I use to make this dish), put noodles in skillet, add water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Stir occasionally to keep pasta from sticking to the pan. Water will absorb. Once the pasta is cooked al dente –  which is only about seven minutes – egg noodles cook fast. Add butter and stir around. Pour jar of alfredo sauce over noodles. Stir to coat evenly, pour milk into the jar, shake up and add. ( Sauce thickens so this isn’t going to make your sauce too thin, plus you’re going to add more cheese.)  Add milk, stirring in.

Make sure the pasta is evenly coated. Add torn pieces of crab meat. Add scallions.  Layer  fresh spinach over the top. Add salt and pepper, cover for just a couple of minutes while preparing your salad and setting the table.

Uncover, scoop onto the plate, top with  some grated parmesan and a twist of freshly ground black pepper.

Super simple, healthy and satisfying.

Let me know if you decide to try my concoction! My kids love it and they have never complained about the spinach!

Have a fabulous day!

 Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

A to Z Challenge – M


 

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M- Macaroni

One of my kids favorites! It matters not that they are young adults now,  it’s still a favorite.

In fact, I think I’ll share a recipe.

 

Macaroni and Cheese ala Ellie

Ingredients:

1 cup (8 ounces) uncooked elbow macaroni

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese ( I sometimes use a combination of shredded cheddar and American slices because the American slices make it creamier.)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 cups milk

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)

2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Directions:

Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain.

In a saucepan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux. Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly until   creamy and fluid. Stir in cheeses and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick, still stirring constantly. Put macaroni in large casserole dish, and pour sauce over macaroni. Stir well.

Melt butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and brown. Spread over the macaroni and cheese to cover. Sprinkle with a little paprika or black pepper. I prefer the black pepper myself.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Serve.

Present dish to your hungry family, and watch their mouths water. Make them want it.  Take your time in setting the table.

Serve.

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M- Maraschino Cherries

Sorry but I wasn’t about to open the jar as these are for my favorite fruit salad to have with barbecue, which my husband will be cooking this weekend!  My job is the salad, corn, deviled eggs, and strawberry shortcake!

OK, fine. Since you insist, here’s the recipe for that as well.

 

Ambrosia Fruit Salad

Ingredients:

1(20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

1 (15 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained

1 (16 ounce) container whipped topping

1 (10.5 ounce) package miniature marshmallows

3/4 cup shredded coconut or to taste

I jar maraschino cherries cut in half and drained

Directions

  1. Mix pineapple, oranges, whipped topping, marshmallows, and coconut together in a bowl. Fold in cherry halves. Stir lightly, cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until flavors blend about 2 hours.

M- Me

In one of my favorite shirts, at one of my favorite stores – Hobby Lobby, and what do I find but an oversized martini glass! Now if I can just find a wine glass this size!

Ignore the no makeup hair pulled back in a ponytail look. This is me.  This is who I am. Life is too short to stress over putting on makeup to go to the store, or drive for hours, or anything that I do in my nonwork day.

Speaking of driving, I’m  heading out on the highway once again.  I may have to put some Motley Crew, Maroon5, Metallica, Megadeath, and Michael Franti on the playlist.

Have a fabulous day!

 Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

A to Z Challenge – G


 

G – Grass

Grass

Grass

It’s that time of year when everything greens up, the pollen is flying, and we have to get the mower out. I love the smell of freshly cut grass. Since I have more free time now, I guess I will be the one to cut the grass. I really hope he gets the riding mower fixed!

G- Graduate

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I have two of them and I couldn’t be prouder!

It’s hard to believe that my girls are grown women ready to start their own life journeys.

They are both enrolled in college, different colleges.

 

 

 

Gladiolas

Gladiolas

Gladiolas

I just love the bright pop of red from my gladiolas at the end of my driveway!

 

 

 

Going –

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I’m going here this weekend!  YAY! If you are in the area stop in to see me!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

A to Z Challenge – F


I have two pictures to share. Two completely different F words.

FIRE

FIRE

FIRE

There is something soothing about sitting around a fire, listening to the crackling wood, roasting some hot dogs on the open flames, enjoying s’mores, and seeing the night sky. Where I live, there is little ground light so the stars are beautifully visible. The warmth of the fire against the slight chill of the night air is invigorating! Not to mention that I rather like the smell of wood smoke.

Fabric

Fabric

 

FABRIC

I have a craft project in the making and this is the gorgeous fabric that I found for it. I absolutely love the Paris and wine bottles! It doesn’t show up well in the photograph, but the white one has silver metallic designs.  Have I mentioned lately that I am a craftaholic?

Can’t wait to share the repurposed dragonflies that I made.  Right now they are drying. I might slip them in for Repurposed since D has already gone by.

I couldn’t decide on the next image, so I am going to ask a question instead:

What does FUN look like for you?

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

A to Z Challenge – E


Eggs

eggs

eggs

Eggs have gotten a bad rap a few years ago,  with doctors telling their patients they were too high in cholesterol and they needed to limit their consumption. egg-white protein however, is one of the best sources of protein available. Eggs provide the binding for cakes,  bread, pancakes, and fritters. One of our favorite ways to enjoy eggs is deviled eggs – especially when we have barbecue!

For your pleasure:

Deviled Eggs

6 eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I use Miracle Whip)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1  1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
Smoked  paprika, for garnish

Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with enough water that there is 1 1/2 inches of water above the eggs. Heat on high until water begins to boil,  cover and reduce temperature to medium heat,  and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and leave covered for 15 minutes, then rinse under cold water continuously for 1 minute.

Crack egg shells and carefully peel under cool running water. Gently dry with paper towels. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, remove yolks to a medium bowl and placing the whites on a serving dish. Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, and mix well.

Now here’s a handy trick that will make your deviled eggs look professional and makes clean up a cinch – Scoop the yolk mixture into a quart sized freezer bag (they are sturdier than a storage bag). drape the bag over your hand, making a funnel, so the mixture fills one corner, like a pastry bag. Snip the corner, twist the bag tight as you fill the egg whites. They come out smooth and creamy every time!

Sprinkle with paprika and serve or chill until the ribs are done!
Bon Appetit!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

A to Z Challenge – C


 

C- Cupcakes

Stokpic

Stokpic

Who doesn’t love cupcakes? In Red Wine & Roses, Julia bakes gourmet cocktail cupcakes. The recipes for those are in the bonus section of the book – a mini cookbook!

C – Chocolate cake

cake

My new favorite cake – Red Wine cake – OMG it is so good. Moist, rich chocolaty goodness. I may have to go bake one now.

C- clouds

Dramatic cumulonimbus Couds

It’s amazing the  contrast of beautiful sky compared to in January. Fluffy cumulus clouds. Let’s just hope that they don’t turn into a massive storm!

None of these things were what I intended to photograph.  My crab cakes were a flop that turned out greasy. Not sure what happened, I’ve made them hundreds of times before.

Oh well.

 

 

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie