Thursday, February 25, 2016

I'll show you mine if you show me yours...

I was recently filling out an author survey for the awesome Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA) of which I am a proud member.

Fake Gordon Ramsay's zucchini tart thingy. It was delish
 I sipped on my vino of choice (Sauvignon Blanc). Gordon had cooked up a lovely meal, we were about to play a dangerous game of Scrabble (not a euphemism, we play dirty and we play hard – again, not a euphemism).

I came across this question and was genuinely stumped.  What is one item you can’t resist buying. I pondered this out loud and Fake Gordon Ramsay spluttered his Stella Artois and looked at me incredulously. “What?” I asked.

“Lipstick,” he muttered, “you have an insane amount of lipstick.”

I rolled my eyes and plotted what I could do with three I’s and u and a depressed looking k.

Gordon being a guy didn’t get the lipstick thing. Now I admit I love lipstick but I don’t think I have too many. Pondering that thought I toodled off, gathered the ones I could find and lined them up.

So, what do you think?  Too many?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Yayyyy. It's meatless Monday

Meatless Monday or Tofu Tuesday?

Disclaimer - I eat nothing with legs. Haven’t done for seven hundred years (yes, I am that old).  Years ago, I thought it would be nice to have a family dinner together where we all sat down to the same meal. I asked both Clueless Wonders, and the Fake Gordon Ramsay as they sucked marrow out of a chop bone, if they’d like Meatless Monday or Tofu Tuesday. The collective went silent and I heard a whispered, “we just want cows.” “Well, tofu up boys,” I cried, because I want a meal that we can all sit down, at the table, where Clueless One and Two pretend they were beamed down from another planet and are here patiently waiting extraction, because they can’t possibly be related to myself or the Fake Gordon Ramsay. 

So on honor of Meatless Monday or Tofu Tuesday, I bring you my Meatless Monday. Gordon is traipsing through the snow in Chicago and complaining). Sorry, good people of Chicago, Gordon does not transition from 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 to my Celsius friends) here in Southern California where this cannot be called winter, to 27F and -3C respectively. To be fair you would hear me complaining all the way to Fiji. 

So today I bring you our favorite Meatless Monday recipe – Green Pie. It’s easy and forgiving and if I can make it anyone can.

Thaw out half a box of filo pastry

Squish all the water out of one box of spinach and throw into a food processor (spinach not box)

To the food processor add:

A tub of cottage cheese
A block of crumbled feta
Two dripping tablespoons of pesto (more or less according to taste) – the Fake Gordon Ramsay makes a pesto that would ward off vampires.
Crack in three eggs
Throw in a teaspoon of mustard
Salt and pepper

Whizz until smooth.

Spray a cake, pie or lasagna dish with olive oil spray and line the dish with filo, spray then another sheet of pastry until done. Spoon in filling and bake at 180 C or 350 F until it doesn’t wobble in the middle (wish I could say that) - about 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the dish. I serve with baked sweet potato or (kumara) where I’m from and a large dollop of sour cream.

This is a forgiving dish. I once forgot the feta and it worked. You can double the spinach and adjust the pesto or add another egg if you like it firmer.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The safety catch is OFF!

Today I sent to my poor editor version 290 of my manuscript (Bound to the Bounty Hunter – working title). This book has taken four hundred years to write (yes, I am that old) and aged me ninety years. I’ve really, really struggled with this book. I love the characters, I love the story, I adore the secondary characters, so…

As I was about to cry, hurl and call an innocent apple a bad word, I had an epiphany (it was 2 a.m. – it could have been more of a breakdown). My manuscript was as interesting as a boiled egg with no seasoning. Nutritionally sound, but kind of bland. Is there a worst word out there to describe yourself than bland? That was me, writing beige.



I was writing safe. Due to my children needing straight teeth and an education, moving countries and all the usual stuff that comes with life, I haven’t written a lot and now I’m in the position where I can and it terrified me. I wrote my manuscript and sat on it (not literally, that thing would be flatter than my pavlova’s).

Even the cat is flabbergasted.

Going back through I was thinking “This is ok.” Hmmm. Ok. Oh, hell no! I don’t want to write ok. Who wants to read ok? I know I don’t. The little safety catch was on in my head and if I want this book to be the best I can make it, I had to flick the safety off and go for it, which meant putting me on the page wearing high heels, black stockings and a slinky dress with a dirty martini in my hand. The beige wearing woman pulling up her socks, straightening her cardigan, holding a cup of sugarless tea had to go. Sorry, beigey, but you’re out of here. I sat down and rewrote solidly for four days, looking like something Medusa had hacked up and not caring. One word? Liberating.

It could be that my editor will hate it, people will think I need medication (let’s not go there yet), but it’s me and if I can’t be me, then I’m screwed. So here’s to all of us flicking off our safety switches and being who we are, not what we think people want to see.

Okay, admittedly I’d love to swap places with someone for a day and that person would be my yoga instructor, Carrie who is the most positive, caring, nurturing person I know and forever corrects my downward dog with a smile.

Is there a person you’d like to be for a day?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Fun fact Friday!

A cat has 32 muscles in each ear to eavesdrop on 
your conversation and plot your demise. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

How foster dogs changed me.

I was feeling nostalgic today as I weaved through dog lovers out for a stroll in Redondo Beach today (it's embarrassing to call it winter when it is 84 to my Fahrenheit (29 to my Celsius friends). When we lived here before we fostered 37 dogs. I loved them all. Okay, so I had issues with Donny of the 'humping' Donny and Marie duo, but they were all loved. 

One of my favorite dog's was Pixie - the three legged wonder chihuahua who stayed with us for nine months before she found her forever home. I sobbed in the middle of an aisle in Target when she left as I couldn't be there for the handover. All the dogs taught me something. Here's a couple that come to mind. 

Kylie who was eighty percent blind with congenital cataracts, taught me to slow down. 

Scarlet who had acid thrown over her body and who still loved everyone, taught me to let go of the anger and live in the moment. 

Tucker who would wet himself if he came inside. I'd sit out there night after night trying to convince him to come inside. He never did. He taught me that as much as you want to try and fix someone, sometimes you can't. 
I salute all the dogs with a can of Chum and a virtual hug to the people who are now their new parent, thank you for making me see the world differently. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Tolerate My Child Day

Clueless Wonder One has offered our house up to two of his friends for four days. I’m good with that. I have and will continue to happily take in other people’s offspring in the hope that should the need arise the same will be granted to Clueless.

We did entertain The Lost German, who we found out later was more a passing acquaintance. The Lost German ate two loaves of bread a day, sat around and watched hours and hours of SpongeBob. I wouldn’t have minded if he were seven, but at nineteen, I thought this a tad odd. Now, I don’t mind a bit of Mr. Square Pants and Patrick and look for the hidden gems that used to fly over my kids heads.

The reason I am a bit cranky with Clueless are his friends are arriving on Super bowl Sunday at 3pm. The chances of them clearing Customs and stuffing their massive backpacks in my jaunty car and getting in and out of LAX in half an hour is slim even if we had a time machine.

Faux Gordon Ramsay will be in the kitchen cooking up a billion tequila and lime chicken wings and checking that the beer is icy. His advice to Clueless will be ‘Give them our address – they can catch a cab, because I’m not moving off the couch.’ He’ll make good on his word. I shall have to press out the indents on Monday.

But it’s football I hear you cry. True. Since the mighty Buffalo Bills are not there this year, (such a travesty), I’m picking the Broncos because Peyton and I share an awesome last name. The fake Gordon Ramsay is a bit in love with Cam Newton, so he’s going for the Panthers. But the real reason I’m mad is I’ll miss some of the commercials and the buildup. The Super bowl has the best commercials ever and the best buildup to any sporting event (okay tied with the showjumping or the Eventing final at the Olympics).

The lost puppy on the Budweiser commercial still makes me cry.  
So I’ll be tolerating my child, picking up his bread-eating friends and if I don’t make it back before Mr. Mars hits the stage at the halftime show I will cry like a seven-year-old denied SpongeBob.

Go Broncos. 

Here's a little of the puppy magic.