Friday, February 27, 2009

Food Movies

Last week I rented the movie Bottle Shock from my local Hollywood Videos, mainly because I’d watch anything Alan Rickman is in.  I liked it very much.  It relates the true tale of the 1978 wine tasting showdown between wines grown in California and wines grown in France.  A California wine won the blind tasting and the French wine industry was never the same again.

Bottle Shock put me in mind of another great wine movie, Sideways.  My husband owns a copy of Sideways and watches it every few months. What Virginia Madsen’s character says to Paul Giamatti’s character about wine, as they sit in the dark on the porch, will make even a teetotaler feel kindly and sentimental about the romance of the grape.

Which puts me in mind of several of my favorite food movies. Tortilla Soup inspires me to eat Mexican for a week, just as The Big Night puts me on an Italian kick.  What about Chocolat?  If you know someone who doubts that chocolate has magical properties, make her watch this movie.

There are so many wonderful food movies I could name off the top of my head, but rather than reel off a list, let me ask what you Dear Readers think is the greatest food movie ever made?

I have a nomination, and that is :

Babette’s Feast

Allow me to tell you why.  The meal - the feast - that Babette prepares for the sweet, uptight, Danish ladies who gave her a home for 15 years, is an act of perfect love, and literally changes their whole view of life.  

Food prepared with loving hands can do that to you.

Frustration, thy name is petit four!

I am tired, and I smell like a birthday party. On a positive note, if anyone has a need for a pied piper for children, I think they'd follow me anywhere at the moment.

I've been trying all day, so far, to prepare petit fours. Yesterday, I baked a cake and nine mini-loaf cakes. Today, I've been trying to cut and decorate the petit fours. They're not attractive, but they're good. I know because I "messed one up" and ate it. I put that in quotations because, in actuality, they're all messed up.

I made them to take to a book club meeting tonight. You see, the book club chose my book Murder Takes the Cake to review. I was flattered and thrilled. Then came the half-hesitant, half-hopeful request: "One of the girls said maybe you'd make us a cake."

As I believe most of you know, the heroine in my book is a professional cake decorator. I am not. I enjoy decorating cakes, and I have a few--very few--of the many I've done on "Daphne's" website. I do my children's birthday cakes; and while I never feel they turned out good enough, I can usually do a passable job. But to make a cake impressive enough for a book club expecting one of "Daphne's" cakes...I'm afraid I'm simply not up to the task.

As I was laboring over these petit fours and the cake my family will get to eat, I wondered if other fiction writers face similar challenges. Do people ask Stephenie Meyer if she would literally "fly them" somewhere? Do they wonder if Janet Evanovich would go after their bail-jumping cousin?

Don't get me wrong. I desperately want to impress this group and live up to their expectations. But I don't think I can...unless I do it with a bakery-bought cake.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Flip for Pancakes!

International House of Pancakes did a really cool thing yesterday. They offered free shortstacks in an effort to raise money for Children's Miracle Network, which helps children's hospitals. The link tells just how succesful this fundraiser had been:

What is it about pancakes that make them so great for fundraisers? Around here, school groups and churches are always having pancake breakfasts and suppers to raise money. In fact my church is having a pancake supper tonight.
If you are part of a organization that wants to plan a pancake fundraiser, or just want to flip up some fun at your house, here is a website with some ideas and recipes:
Suddenly, I am so hungry for a stack of pancakes!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Holiday Named After Me

Happy FAT TUESDAY! My name isn't Tuesday, so guess which part is named after me? Mardi Gras sounds a lot nicer, but Mardi Gras is just Cajun French for Fat Tuesday, so....

My mother and I went to the Mardi Gras Jambalaya dinner at the local Presbyterian Church, which they have the Saturday before Ash Wednesday. Great food, great music (recorded, alas), good company, and a fine time was had by all. They had chicken or sausage jambalaya, red beans and rice, salad and dessert.

One of the desserts was King Cake, a cake with cream filling. A sweet little baby Jesus was baked into the King Cake. If you found the sweet little baby Jesus in your cake you won a prize. Mom and I were like... yeah... okay.... I'll have the pecan pie.

So OF COURSE I was thinking what if you accidentally swallowed the sweet little baby Jesus and choked to death? What if somebody stuck a poisoned or allergen-coated sweet little baby Jesus in YOUR slice of cake? I mean, like, what if you were allergic to almonds and somebody made a sweet little baby Jesus out of almond paste or something? Good plot ideas, eh?

Then Mom and I went out to the car, and one of our tires was flat. Should be fat, but was flat. Not totally flat, but almost flat. I couldn't get my husband on the horn and I couldn't find my AAA card. I'm like, "There's a filling station just down the road. I'll go pump up the tire. If it holds, I'll drive home."

So we went to the filling station--one of those convenience stores--and found the air pump. Cost 75 cents. I'm like, "Free as the WHAT? Free as the AIR, people! Air is FREE!" But the sticker on the pump replied that the air was free but the delivery system cost 75 cents. Slick. Anyway, I pumped up the tire, it held, I drove home. The tire is still pumped. Somebody obviously let the air out of the tire, then replaced the valve cap.

Mom said, "Why? We have to get Monk to solve this case." So I looked at the tire and held my hands funny and said, "I've solved the case. Here's what happened: Somebody wanted us at that filling station, but we never go there. The only way they could get us there was to make it the ONLY place we COULD go. So they let enough air out of our tire that we couldn't help noticing it, but not enough to make it impossible to drive. The only thing we could have done was DRIVE TO THAT FILLING STATION TO PUMP UP THE TIRE."

Nothing happened at the filling station or because we went to that filling station, but that didn't make my solution any less brilliant. Another plot idea!

I'm telling you, if I weren't Dale the Whale's good twin, I would be dangerous!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

March is Noodle Month

I was missing again last week.  I fear that until my darling husband’s health problems are resolved, the possibility exists that I’ll be off somewhere doing something I’d rather not be doing  when I should be writing my weekly entry.  

But I shall persevere.  Just because my writing tasks are suffering doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about food.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  Since we have become more or less homebound over the last couple of months, I’ve been thinking about food more than ever.  We eat at home for every meal, and I am constantly trying to come up with a breakfast/lunch/dinner that is interesting, wholesome, and full of the right kind of calories. 

Handily, March is Noodle Month.  Therefore, allow me to sing the praises of noodles, possibly the most versatile food ever invented.  Since most varieties of noodles are made of the same thing - wheat - one would think that the shape of the noodle wouldn’t make that much difference in the taste.  But if one thought that, one would be wrong.  Elbow macaroni just tastes different from fusilli, or lasagna, or udon.  Each shape has a different mouth feel, and relates in its own unique way to whatever sauce or topping you pair with it. 

My Ozark foremothers made their own noodles.  They were thick and fat and dumpling-like (the noodles, not the foremothers), and were boiled with chicken or beef for a mouthwatering soup, or cooked with canned tomatoes or in a stew.  If your foremothers were Jewish, you were blessed to grow up with kugels, sweet and savory.  Hungarians have their goulash, Russians their stroganoff, and Asians their noodle dishes by the thousands, boiled, steamed, and fried.  And if you’re Italian, fuggedaboutit!

I could make a noodle dish every day for years and never repeat myself.  Tonight we’re having a simple and easy spaghetti salad.  I’m sure everyone has eaten pasta salad made with corkscrew or bow tie noodles, but it just ain’t the same as a homemade spaghetti salad. The first time I ever ate a spaghetti salad was in 1974.  Don and I were in graduate school, and still dating.  We were invited to lunch at the home of a friend, and she served a spaghetti salad and warm, crusty, Italian bread, along with a nice red wine.  I have been throwing together spaghetti salads ever since.

I generally use whatever I have at hand for my salad, but it usually includes spaghetti - freshly boiled and rinsed in cold water, chopped tomatoes (I like to use red and yellow tomatoes, just because it looks nice), cucumber, chopped sweet onion, lettuce (of whatever variety I have in the house, though Don likes iceberg or Romaine, since they’re crunchy).  I like cubed avocado, celery, chunked or grated cheese, sunflower kernels, if I have them.  I like bacon bits and chunks of wieners, too.  We’re vegetarians, so we use the soy kind, but if you want to use the real kind, who’s going to judge you?

I usually dress my salad with nothing more fancy than a couple of tablespoons of mayo, though we like Italian dressings, and I’m partial to raspberry vinaigrette or an Oriental sesame.  Whatever dressing you use, however, don’t get carried away. There shouldn’t be dressing pooled in the bottom of the bowl.  Just coat those lovely noodles.

And by the way, the crusty bread and red wine is pretty important, too.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Possum - Not Just for Dinner

You know I'm kidding, right? I just had to find a way to work this story into our Fatal Foodies theme.

This happened last year, and I got to thinking about it yesterday and decided to share it with you. It was spring break and the children were out of school. We heard a commotion outside and found the cats (ours and the neighbors') after a baby cardinal. Normally, I'm terrified of birds; but I decided to try to save this baby bird. Maybe I was thinking of Fannie Flag's A Redbird Christmas or I just couldn't stand to have any parents watch their child be terrorized and possibly devoured. Yes, both the cardinal's mom and dad were hovering. I'd chase the cats away, and they'd swoop down to check on Junior. I was afraid I might get flogged, but they seemed to understand I was trying to help (unlike a certain robin I can recall vividly).

While the children and I were trying to save the baby bird, another mom walked through a neighbor's yard. It was a white possum with a back full of gray and white babies. As I watched her stroll along, one of the babies fell off! I watched to see if the mom would come back, but she didn't. Now, I had to save a baby bird AND a baby possum! But--first things first--I had to save my own children. I ordered them into the house, thinking possums (possi?) are nocturnal and shouldn't be out during the day. Perhaps the mom had rabies.

Keeping one eye on the baby possum and one eye on the baby bird, I grabbed the cordless phone and called 9-1-1.

"9-1-1, what's your emergency?"

"Um...there's a possum...roaming through our neighborhood."

"WHAT is your emergency?"

"It's a...a possum. She's roaming through our neighborhood in broad daylight with her babies on her back. I think she may be rabid."

"You'll need to call animal control."

"Oh. You don't do that?"

"No, ma'am."

For those of you (dispatcher) who think a possum walking through your yard in broad daylight is not an emergency, have you seen a possum up close and personal? Yes, they have cute little faces; but when they open their mouths and hiss at you, you can see that those mouths are full of sharp little teeth and they look menacing and downright scary. Unless they are little bitty baby possums. Then when they hiss at you, it's cute. I know because when I went to check on the baby possum, it hissed at me.

I called animal control and was assured that the possum was most likely NOT rabid, especially since she was carrying her babies. I asked what I should do with the baby. The animal control guy said the mom might miss it and come back and get it.

"But what if she doesn't?"

He told me of a woman in the area who rehabilitates possums.

The possum whisperer.

I called my husband and apprised him of the situation. I told him we HAD to take the baby possum to the possum whisperer if the mother didn't come back and get it.

"Gayle, leave it alone."

"I can't!"

"It'll be fine."

"It won't be fine. There are cats out there ready to tear it apart. They've already chased a baby cardinal under a porch. I can't even get to it to help."

Silence. I could nearly hear Tim's eyes rolling.

"I'll see you when you get home for lunch," I said. "I'm going out to move the baby possum somewhere safer."

You know, it's hard to move something you want to help but are terrified to touch. However, if the creature is small enough, you can slip it upon to the tip of a shovel and place it gently among your neighbor's mulched pine bushes.

When Tim came home for lunch, I took him to the neighbor's house and showed him the tiny, defenseless possum.

"When you get home this afternoon, we'll take it to the possum whisperer."

"Gayle, please leave it alone. It's mother will probably come back for it."

"If she's going to come back for it, she'll do so by the time you get home. Otherwise, we'll take it to the possum whisperer."

Not long after Tim got back to work, he called me. "Wanda wants the baby possum. She raises sugar gliders and wants to rehabilitate the possum. Get it ready, and we'll bring it back over here when I get home from work."

Prior to Tim's arrival back at home, I looked all around the house to find something in which to transport a baby possum. All I could find was a Styrofoam cooler. I poked some breathing holes in the top and, once again making use of the shovel, placed the baby possum in the bottom of the cooler. Once again, the possum hissed at me.

As we drove back to Tim's office, I sat with both hands clamped onto the sides of the cooler. Sure, "Hissy" was cute as it could be and I wanted the very best for it, but if it managed to escape the cooler, all bets were off. Then I looked up and noticed we were driving through the ritziest neighborhood in town. I started giggling and then laughed until tears poured down my face.

"What's so funny?" Tim asked.

"I was just thinking what would happen if the car broke down here in Country Club and we were found with a possum in a cooler. 'We're the Hillbilly Catering Company, and we deliver!'"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Seriously Good Hospital Food

I could go into labor at any minute! My doctor says it could be days or weeks. There are so many things that are exciting about this upcoming event. The greatest, of course, will be my little bundle of sugar and spice!
One much less important thing is that the food at the hospital where I will be giving birth is really good! Johnson City Specialty Hospital is a small private hospital. When I had Calli, I found it to be much more comfortable than the average hospital. One of these great comforts is the food.
A couple of friends who had their children there had told me about the food. I quickly discovered what they were raving about. My first food after having Calli was a sandwich. During my normal lunchtime, I was in the midst of labor. By the time she was born, at 1:15 in the afternoon, I was famished and thirsty. The nurse announced that she would have the cafeterial send up a sandwich and drink. I expected two slices of bread with a piece of meat and possibly a slice of cheese between them. Instead, I got a fat sub sandwich, stuffed with meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato.
A few hours later, I was brought a plate of hot fried chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes. For breakfast the next morning, I had pancakes, sausauge and fruit. My plate was even garnished with an artfully cut orange.
Between the food and the around-the-clock nurses, Johnson City Specialty may not be able to get rid of me until my insurance company sends an armed guard to carry me out!
Oh, my goodness, what was that? Ladies, I think my water just broke!!
Just kidding!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Are you a Frugalicious Foodie?

I'm live, interviewing Christina Davidson. She has a new site called Feed the Masses. She calls herself a Frugalicious Foodie: Someone who loves good food but doesn't think you have to break the bank to have it.

MA: What is the purpose of Feed the Masses?

CD: Good question. Part of it is practical because I have a lot of parties, and people are always asking for recipes and how we do things, because economic times are tough and we manage to do--I cook for probably 20 extra people a week, having people to dinner--and I do it so cheaply.

MA: How cheaply is "cheaply"?

CD: We can have a dinner party for 10 people for what it would probably cost the two of us to go out to dinner.

MA: What's your other main purpose in having the site?

CD: So many of our friends and other people are intimidated by the thought of cooking. They have an idea of Martha Stewart and Mario Batali and those kinds of anal, uptight, elitist types and it's intimidating for someone to expect that if they want to cook they have to do it like that. What we're trying to do is strip away the mystique and show that cooking is more a creative art, not an exact science. You don't need a recipe book. You don't need a bunch of expensive ingredients. You can just use what's in your pantry or what's on sale at the store and create really interesting and delicious meals.

MA: You don't need a recipe book?

CD: Right. That's why, if you follow the blog, we won't do much in the way of really precise recipes. I don't own a cookbook. If we bake bread or do something that requires precision, I google it on the net and then we tweak it.

MA: At the time of this posting, you only have one entry at the site. There will be more soon, yes?

CD: I have 10,000 words ready to upload.

MA: Wow! I look forward to reading. You cook like I cook, only you don't use a net. Thank you.

CD: Thank you.

I'm telling you, go to this site! The first one, the Frugalicious Foodie Manifesto, is worth saving and looking at if you ever feel insecure over your pinch-of-this-and-a-dab-of-that meals. I know from reading the posts here that we all tend toward the Frugalicious Foodie, but I didn't have a name for us before!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Late, as per usual!

Dang me, I have been having the hardest time remembering to do things the last few weeks. Book deadlines and work stress play a large part in that. Last night was my deadline for my non-fiction project and I'm happy to say I met it...but forgot to do things like eat during the day. How can I write about food when I forget to eat? By the time I realized it'd been about eight hours since my last meal or snack, my blood sugar had hit the floor and I had reached a semi-psychotic state where I knew I needed food, realized I was two short steps away from homicide (or catracide - my little angels were bouncing off the walls and enacting thundering kitty rampages involving a direct path over my lap and computer), and yet couldn't bring myself to do anything about it.

Finally a brief fight with Dave convinced us both food was a necessity, so I whipped up a batch of pasta made with ground turkey, marinara sauce tarted up with more oregano and basil, parmesan cheese and brown rice fusilli. It was delicious and the opposite of fatal food - it may well have saved a life or two!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine Reflections

I got my Valentine's Day gifts early . . . mainly because I was standing there with my husband when the box was delivered. I think it was also because he was so pleased with the gifts he couldn't wait to give them to me. The gifts are pictured at right: a Monk bobblehead and a Psych mug. Monk and Psych are two of my family's favorite TV shows; and I've been wanting these things for ages, which is what makes them so special to me.

This afternoon as I was waiting in the car riders' line for my children, I saw a group come out onto the playground. I was working on The Quick and The Thread; but when I heard the group come outside, I completely lost my focus on the novel. I scanned the group, and there he was. My son. It seemed my heart flipped right over. I'm so in love with my children, I thought. Until they went back inside, all I could do was watch them.

I sought vainly for my daughter (they're twins, so it's conceivable she'd be outside at the same time), but I couldn't see her. When she got into the car, she told me that she had, in fact, been outside but had gone straight to the swings.

"You were parked behind that building, which is why you couldn't see me," she said.

I've spoiled these little people so much this week. I've put candy in their lunch boxes and small surprises on their beds. But, they're growing up on me (they'll be 13 in two months); so I figure I should spoil while I can.

As for the monthly poll, won't you take this opportunity to tell us about your favorite Valentine's Day gifts and memories?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What Have I Not Dipped in Chocolate?

Todd and I had a Valentine's Day date last weekend. We left Calli with my parents for the night and went to an awesome little cafe with friends.
Saturday, we'll have a sweet little dinner at home, that will include Calli. The menu will be:
peel-and-eat shrimp, filet mignon, baked potatoes, salad, and bread. This has become our traditional Valentines Day meal, because it's easy, delicious, and a bit special.
For a romantic dessert, I always love to serve a bunch of stuff dipped in chocolate. The process will begin with me spreading waxed paper across my kitchen island, then microwaving big pyrex bowls full of both regular and white chocolate chips. Strawberries are sort of the gold standard.. Another thing we love is marachino cherries, coated in chocolate. Be sure to drain them in a strainer to get rid of the juice, then dip them just as you would anything else. Recently, I had chocolate dipped pinapple slices, which were also yummy. Of course, you can also do pretzels, cookies, jef-puffed marshmallows, etc., etc. What doesn't taste better with a little chocolate?
It couldn't be easier! Dip your item in melted chocolate, lay on waxed paper to harden. All of these things are extra-good and pretty rolled in sprinkles, coconut, crushed nuts, or, if you need more chocolate, grated chocolate.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cooking with Gas

I'm back from my exile in the land of ice and snow (i.e. my house).

I've been blogging about doing ten days without power due to our recent ice storm, but I saved the cooking bits for here.

There are three houses of us back here off our 1000-foot driveway: Charlie and me, Mom, and Charlie and my (yes, that's all grammatically correct--sorry it sounds weird, but it's right) #1 daughter and her husband and their 8-year-old son. Daughter has all electric, we have all electric but heat with a MASSIVE wood furnace in the basement, Mom has propane. Sadly, her house heater, though propane, didn't work without the electric blower. So Mom had a cooktop (couldn't light the oven without the electric spark because the gas inlet is safely and inaccessibly tucked away) and hot water but NO HEAT. We had heat but no cooking facilities. Daughter and family had nothing but food likely to spoil.

So we took our refrigerator food to Mom's, where it was like a BIG walk-in refrigerator, cooked and ate and washed dishes in hot water. The frozen food, we just put outside--no problem.

Mom made fudge, which did not have to be refrigerated, and I took this picture of the double boiler, because I spilled a blob of water in the center of the gas unit, and watching that blob of water dance in the middle of the flame almost made up for missing TWO EPISODES OF LOST.

After six days, Charlie and I realized we could heat water on top of the wood furnace, and I realized I could cook in my stove-top smoker. We made baked potatoes and I experimented with making a biscuit oven. The potatoes were the best we ever ate, but the biscuits were not a success. Putting them directly on the furnace burned them, and putting them any degree away from the furnace didn't make them hot enough to fluff up and bake properly. Oh, well, we tried!

And here is a romantic candlelight dinner, Chez Nous (our house). Daughter made a sliding run out the drive to get hot greasy pizza and peach soda--a feast!

Everything's back to normal now--or as normal as things get around here.

It was so sad to hear and see all the trees breaking and falling, and so sad to see an 8-year-old snowbird who couldn't play in the snow because...trees were breaking and falling.

Here's wishing you all warm houses and hot food and cold refrigerators!


Saturday, February 7, 2009

My Valentine

I had something else planned for today's blog entry, but reading the previous entries has put me in mind of my first date with my husband, which happened to occur on Valentine's Day.  Not because we had some romantic evening planned, but because that happened to be the night of the big Feminist Film Festival at the university we both attended.  

He had been trying to get me to go out with him for a couple of weeks, but I wasn't in the mood to get involved at the time. I had been less than lucky in love previously, and decided I needed a break from relationships for a while.  This man attracted me, and I knew very well that dating him was going to be like eating peanuts.  I wasn't going to be able to stop with just one.

But he was persistent, enough so that I began to think that he was actually interested in something more than a fling.  So I decided that it would be safe enough to meet him at a university function and go for coffee afterwards.

So, in what might be called a final test of his resolve, (or perhaps in a fit of perversion), I asked him if he wanted to meet me at the Feminist Film Festival on Valentine's Day (this was the 1970s, after all).  He jumped at it.  I was stunned.  Afterwards, we walked over to a local pizza joint and spent hours over a pie. We had a wonderful time.  And the rest is history.

Friday, February 6, 2009

NOT Too Good to Be True

Oh, my goodness. . . . I have to share with you this wonderful recipe from Holly Clegg ( Holly first sent me this recipe last year when I did an article for on healthier romantic meals for Valentine's Day, and I got to thinking about it this morning. This particular recipe is from her new Trim & Terrific Cookbook. Bear in mind, this recipe makes 36 brownies with 138 calories per serving. And they are DELICIOUS! Which is why a serving for me is more like 1,242 calories. But you probably have willpower. I need to have my brownies rationed. It's a freezer-friendly recipe, so maybe I should simply freeze half a batch before I get started.

Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

1 18.25-ounce package devil's food cake mix
1 12-ounce can fat-free sweetened condensed milk, divided
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1 egg white
1 7-ounce jar of marshmallow creme
1/2 cup peanut butter morsels
1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch non-stick baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the cake mix, 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk, margarine and egg white.

Pat two thirds of the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan (the batter will be stiff and sticky). Bake for 10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, mix the remaining sweetened condensed milk and the marshmallow creme. Stir in the peanut butter morsels and peanuts. Carefully spread the mixture evenly over the partially baked brownie layer. Drop the remining batter by spoonfuls over the marshmallow mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until set.

Visit Holly's site ( for other delicious recipes altered for weight watchers, diabetics and cancer patients. Great stuff.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dinner and Deception!

On our first Valentine’s Day, my husband and I had only been dating a few weeks. We were not yet a serious couple, but both knew things could be headed that way. To impress me, Todd offered to make us dinner at his house.
I showed up at his front door that evening, gift in hand. I wasn’t sure what to get someone for Valentine’s Day that wasn’t quite a boyfriend yet, so I went for a nice candle in a clean manly scent and a funny, rather than romantic, card. His house was filled with the savory aroma of a rich chicken and pasta dish and warm crusty bread.
There’s just something about a man who cooks! I fell deeply in like as I watched him carefully stir the big pot simmering on his stove, take the bread from the oven, and artfully serve salad. After dinner, a cute teddy bear with a bow that matched the predominant color in my apartment’s decorating scheme and a sweet card topped off the evening.
As the weeks and months passed, we fell in love, and became utterly comfortable and secure with each other. We discovered each other’s quirks and previously unknown truths. Take for instance that romantic dinner that Todd “cooked” on our first Valentine’s Day. Pretty soon, I realized that Todd didn’t know much at all about cooking. One evening, I was craving the main dish we’d had that night. When I requested that Todd recreate that meal, the real story came out! His brother’s fiancée (now my sister-in-law) had cooked the meal earlier. The whole thing about him preparing the dish was staged!
In reality, he only reheated what Becky had fixed. Still, I’m touched by the lengths he went to trying to pull this Cupid Day Caper!

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's My Birthday and I'll Forget to Post 'cause I'm Ancient!

Heh. Not really. Ancient, that is. I just got caught up in deadline schedule over the weekend and forgot to post. But it IS my birthday and I'm also a bit giddy from surving yet another year!

So our economy is lousy right now...and my personal finances not great. So my boyfriend and I discussed how to save money grocery shopping and what kind of meals to cook that will a: be nutritious (no mac and cheese or Cup-o-noodles!), b: tasty, c: make more than one serving and d: be cheap!

Taco salad is always my first choice because you can get good ground turkey or beef relatively cheap and make portions small to last longer, with the side benefit of losing weight. But I would love to hear your ideas of good, inexpensive and tasty meals that won't result in eating nothing but white bread and other carbs!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Gayle on Type M 4 Murder

Our very own Gayle Trent is the Sunday guest blogger on the Type M 4 Murder mystery blog.  Head on over to to see what insights she gives us on e-publishing.