Happy New Year and TV rec!

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Happy New Year! Needles to say I’ve been a slacker in the blogging arena as of late as well as the healthy cooking arena. But the good news is that I’ve been kicking ass in randomly finding new TV series to watch on Netflix. I know I’m not alone in my series watching addiction, because I’m often consulted by family and friends as to what to watch. It’s nice when you can color your downward spiral into procrastination with a bit of altruism.

There are so many great shows out there, but one of my favorites that hasn’t gotten the buzz it deserves is Continuum. Don’t dismiss this show if you’re not a sci-fi fan.  I didn’t add the link up front because many of you will. I’m not a die-hard fan of the Sci-fi genre ,  but I am a sucker for time travel.  Continuum features a female time-travelling cop, Kiera Cameron,  from the not so distant future. I love the fact that some of the time travelers that Kiera is thrust through time with still have connections in the present which is basically our period. The flash backs are brief and cool and we get so much insight into Kiera. I love the fact that Kiera has a built-in video in-plant that allows her to view her recordings of her young son who she desperately wants to get back to in her own time. Rachel Nichols, the actress who plays Kiera, does an unbelievable job of playing a tough, strong heroine and a vulnerable mother who is separated from her child. I think this show appeals on so many levels.

So I just checked on Netflix to rewatch the first episode of Continuum (partly to complete my review and partly because I like it so much, it made me want to watch it again) and it’s now only available on DVD from Netflix. Bummer. But there will be a Season 3 in 2014 so it’s worth the effort to find Season 1 and 2.

Happy, Happy New Year. Thank you all for giving my books a chance and making this a great year for me. I’m a bit off schedule but I will have the next Pleasure book out next year and hopefully one or two more new releases. For those who are waiting for my next book, thank you so much. I wish I could come to all of your houses and make you dinner. I’m going to try to get better at writing and releasing on a more structured schedule. Uhm, another one of those resolutions or Needs Improvement areas. But not tonight. We’re staying in and having filet mignon and king crab legs for dinner. Cheers, all!

Easy Gluten-Free Beef Stew

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It’s been way too long since I’ve posted a recipe. I’ve been struggling with my gluten-freeness over the holidays. I haven’t been making healthy food a priority and my health has suffered because of it. So that’s one of the things I’m going to be working on in the New Year. My proposed 2014 improvements is a very long list since I’ve been an absolute slacker and Netflix addict as of late. A  TV series  recommendation will immediately follow this post.

We’ve been having amazing summertime weather. I shopped for our Christmas tree in shorts and flip-flops. So when we had a rare winter-like rainy weekend, I managed to throw together some beef stew that both the husband and I agreed was damn good. I used to use a spice pack before I had to give up gluten. This time, I used a slow cooker and a lot of red wine, but the flavors came together with little effort on my part. Yay and double yay. Here it is:

Ingredients:

2 lbs cubed beef for stew
gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free all-purpose flower is a staple in my pantry)
beef broth (I bought a carton that came with 4 cups. Very available in all grocery stores.)
red wine
frozen pack of stew vegetables (The first word in this recipe is easy. The frozen pack has cut and peeled carrots, potatoes and celery. You can replace with fresh. Not as easy.)
Herbes De Provence (my new favorite dried herb mix)
one bay leaf
fresh mushrooms
fresh green beans (I bought a pre-cleaned and cut pack, but I think I’ll just add frozen peas for fiber next time)

Pull out a 4 quart Crock Pot and heat it on warm. Coat the beef in the gluten-free flower. Brown the meat on the stove with a bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the meat to the Crock Pot and add 3 cups of beef broth. The meat doesn’t have to be all the way cooked because you’ll be cooking it for a few hours before you add veggies. Depending on time, cook the meat on high for 2 hours on high or around 3-4 on low. Add the pack of frozen veggies, the herbs (about a 1 1/2 tablespoons), and a cup of red wine. Go ahead and add the mushrooms and beans. I waited a bit and the beans took  longer to cook than I thought. Cook a couple of more hours on low or less on high, depending on your time limits. Hope this recipe isn’t too vague, but the flavors really come together in the slow cooker and there is lots of room for experimentation.

Wishing you all a safe and Happy New Years!

The Pirate’s Jewel Free on Amazon

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Hope everyone is surviving the holiday rush! If you’re like me and sometimes feel like Christmas is throwing up all around you, and have a moment to escape (a big if this time of year) download a free copy of The Pirate’s Jewel from Amazon. The ebook will be free through December 22. This swashbuckling romance  is set on the eve of The American Revolution. The cover was created by Kim Killion and features the very handsome cover model, Harvey Stables. Kim did an amazing job of translating the feel of the book with the colors and the tropical background.

Here is a little description to whet you appetite:

Jewel Sanderson has relinquished hope that the treasure map her estranged father left with her for safekeeping holds any value. Being the daughter of a notorious pirate was just as useless for a girl raised in a tavern on the docks of Charles Town as the map she couldn’t read. She is ready to accept the suit of a man who thinks of her as nothing but cheap labor when a ghost from her past sails through the tavern door demanding she hand over the map. Her rescuer is her father’s former protégé and she’ll gladly give him the map as long as he takes her with him to find the treasure.

Nolan Kenton ran away to be a pirate in his youth, but soon found he was trapped and at the mercy of a cruel mentor. When he was old enough to escape, he returned to his pious father and tried to lead a moral life. Only the lure of joining in the coming revolution can persuade him to return to the sea and the past he left behind. But to finance his venture, he must face the thing he dreads the most: his old mentor’s daughter, the only woman who has ever captured his heart. Nolan fears that finding the treasure with Jewel will reveal secrets he wishes to stay buried and will result in his losing his heart, and Jewel, forever.

Thanks so much for everyone who has bought my books. I appreciate you all so much. Happy holidays and hang in there. Only five frantic days left.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

DSC01447aAhoy,  matey. It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Believe it or not, I did not have this marked on my calendar, but coincidentally (or synchronistically if you’re of the mind that there are no coincidences) The Pirate and the Puritan is free on Amazon today and through the weekend. Here is the blurb:

Felicity Kendall forced her passionate nature into hiding after a handsome rogue seduced her only to sail away with the profits from her father’s shipping company. Afterwards, she embraced the strictness of her mother’s faith, molding herself into a rigid spinster before her time. After ruining herself so thoroughly, she can never marry. Her only hope is to escape the strict mores of Boston’s Puritan population so she could be of use in her father’s enterprises in the Caribbean.

On Barbados, she discovers her father has added a new partner to his venture. Lord Christian Andrews might charm her father, but Felicity sees the scoundrel behind his handsome exterior. She won’t allow him to send her away, despite the fact a notorious pirate has targeted her father’s ships and murdered his other business partner. Felicity feels it her duty to sneak aboard Lord Christian’s ship before he sails away with her father’s fortune. What she discovers is a man capable of unleashing her denied lust, though their passion might destroy them both.

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And if you still be needing a bit of swashbuckling check out my newest release, The Pirate’s Jewel. This one is set in 1775 on the eve of the American Revolution.

Jewel Sanderson has relinquished hope that the treasure map her estranged father left with her for safekeeping holds any value. Being the daughter of a notorious pirate was just as useless for a girl raised in a tavern on the docks of Charles Town as the map she couldn’t read. She is ready to accept the suit of a man who thinks of her as nothing but cheap labor when a ghost from her past sails through the tavern door demanding she hand over the map. Her rescuer is her father’s former protégé and she’ll gladly give him the map as long as he takes her with him to find the treasure.

Nolan Kenton ran away to be a pirate in his youth, but soon found he was trapped and at the mercy of a cruel mentor. When he was old enough to escape, he returned to his pious father and tried to lead a moral life. Only the lure of joining in the coming revolution can persuade him to return to the sea and the past he left behind. But to finance his venture, he must face the thing he dreads the most: his old mentor’s daughter, the only woman who has ever captured his heart. Nolan fears that finding the treasure with Jewel will reveal secrets he wishes to stay buried and will result in his losing his heart, and Jewel, forever.

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And don’t forget to down some grog and party like a pirate. Aarr! Which means have a nice day in pirate lingo.

Bye-bye Summer 2013

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My last post of June an F-ing long time ago suggests that I might be prone to laziness in the summer months. And I did  enjoy my slacker time. But Labor Day arrived and forced me to feel guilty and get my happy little self back to work. Though I would like to note that Summer isn’t officially over until the Autumnal Equinox on  Sept. 22.

So what have I been up to exactly?

At the end of June, I released The Pirate’s Jewel in e-book format with a stellar new cover by Kim Killion.

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The Pirate’s Jewel is set at the start of the American Revolution and features a former pirate turned privateer, a treasure map, and a hero who falls for his enemy’s daughter.

Thanks so much to all of you who have given The Pirate and the Puritan a chance over the summer and kept it in the Amazon Top 100 for seafaring novels. I raised the price back to $2.99, (actually it used to be 3.99), but you can get it free September 18th-22.

Starting tomorrow,  Improper Pleasures will be free through Sunday Sept. 17th.  Though set in England, that book also features an American privateer hero who comes to collect a barony and estate after the war. Needless to say, it’s not nearly as simple as he hopes.

Thanks to all of you for dropping by the blog and buying my books despite my radio silence. And to all you other summer slackers out there, we still have almost a week and a half to bask in the sun!

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And here is my pick for song of the summer:

Gluten-Free, Dairy Free Mango Smoothie

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Happy Summer! Well, it won’t be official until the Summer Solstice on Friday, but I’m already thinking beach, barbeques and fresh fruit. No to the fresh fruit? How about strawberry short-cake? That’s one of my summertime favorites and it doesn’t taste the same without fresh, ultra-ripe strawberries. But this post has nothing to do with strawberries. Except that I need to find a gluten-free recipe to substitute the cake part. Hopefully I’ll post about that later.

Smoothies also remind me of summer. I’ve gotten a lot of hits on my Chocolate Gluten-Free smoothie so I decided to share a different version made with mangos and coconut milk. This smoothie is so creamy, it’s hard to believe it has no dairy. I used vanilla hemp powder instead of the chocolate, but beware, the powder is a little on the green side and it doesn’t disguise the hemp flavor as well as the chocolate version.

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Ingredients:
3 tablespoon of oatmeal
1 tablespoon of flaxseed
3/4 cup vanilla coconut milk
1 banana
16 frozen mango pieces
water if needed
3 tablespoon vanilla hemp powder (the package calls for 4 tblspoons but my first try tasted a little heavy on the grains so I cut down on the oatmeal, flax and hemp that I used in the chocolate smoothie.)

I start with putting 3 tablespoons of oatmeal in the blender and blend because it’s not instant which dissolves better in the smoothie. I then add the flax-seed, banana and the cocoanut milk. Blend before you add the mangos. I take the clear part of the lid off and feed in the mangos. It doesn’t blend as well, not to mention it’s hard on the blender, if it has to blend everything at once. If the mangos are making the mixture to thick, add a little water. When everything is blended, sprinkle in the three tablespoons of vanilla hemp powder. Don’t dump it all in at once or it won’t blend well. Enjoy! This smoothie is great for a midmorning snack when your coffee buzz has worn off. It’s light but filling enough to keep you going without making you sleepy like a full meal.

And a few other things that remind me of summer is reading in a lounge chair by pool or surf, pirates and the Caribbean. In honor of my favorite time of year, I have The Pirate and the Puritan free until this Friday and .99 cents for the rest of the summer. My other pirate historical, The Pirate’s Jewel, will be available on Kindle early July. I hope to make it available before the 4th because the hero is a pirate turned privateer at the start of the American Revolution. Of course, he has a treasure to find, and the daughter of his arch-enemy to seduce before he can do any of the patriotic stuff.

Thanks to everyone who has been enjoying my books. My readers mean the world to me.

Friday Movie Rec: Lost In Austen

DSC00599I stumbled upon Lost In Austen a few years back when I broke my foot. The story involves a Jane Austen fan that travels back in time to find herself living with the Benett family from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.   The trailer speaks for itself.

http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi3094938393/

You can rent the 4 episode mini-series on DVD on Netflix. I believe you can also find the first episode on YouTube.  Happy Friday!

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