August run up to the Northern Gila County Fair: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

This is the month we pull out all the stops for getting the Northern Gila County Fair ready. The fair is September 7th – 9th this year. We’ve changed the opening to 4pm on Thursday and running all day Friday and Saturday. Since in the past we’ve had so few people attend on Sunday, we’re just going to have exhibits pick up on that day. We have a fantastic line up of entertainment, Flat track racing, Ranch Rodeo, rides, bands and so much more. Mark your calendars. Check our Facebook page: Northern Gila County Fair and our website: www.NorthernGilaCountyFair.com for schedules.

Early Girl Tomatoes

The garden is in full swing. I went to Saturday’s Farmer’s Market and overheard a customer asking why the tomatoes were so few this year. The farmer told the woman, it’s because it’s been overcast. Tomatoes want full sun to ripen. So, that explains my lack of ripe tomatoes this year. Now that we’re getting a break from the monsoons, my tomatoes should ripen up quickly! I’m also harvesting peaches and for the first time since I planted the trees, nectarines! I picked a couple of serrano peppers, green bush beans and yellow beans and the apples are ripe as well. The pears will be another month, I think.

Giveaways:

Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or a $130 in Paypal cash? Drop by http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Summer Blockbuster Giveaway.

I’m setting up a mystery giveaway with about 20 other authors on BookFunnel.com. Book Funnel allows you to get your chosen story in whatever e-format you like and is easy to use. The giveaway starts August 19th and runs for one week. Stay tuned for more details and the link to use!

Shout Out:

Today’s shout out goes to author Dave Edlund. His newest book, Hunting Savage, has great action-packed suspense! http://tinyurl.com/y9mh8wcr

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

My next public appearance will be at the Pine Fall Festival October 14th and 15th. On both days I’ll be in the Community Hall with a few other authors selling and signing books with the antique dealers. On Saturday besides crafters, is the annual chili cook-off. Saturday hours are 9am – 5pm and the chili cook-off starts at 11am. Be there at 11am. The chili usually runs out by noon. Buy a ticket, taste the chili, vote for your fav top three! My hubby is usually there with his version. Sunday the hours are 9am – 4pm. Lots of crafters will be there and the weather is lovely in October. Come on by and say hello.

On December 9th I’ll be at the Mesa Book Festival. Get full details at https://mesabookfestival.com/. I’ll be in a booth with my author friend Marsha Ward. www.MarshaWard.com. Between the two of us, we have a large number of genre’s covered. Come get your Christmas presents and stocking stuffers. The festival runs from 2pm – 8pm.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Avocado Pesto: A Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Avocado Pesto

I was scrolling through the channels the other day and landed on Food Network’s Trisha Yearwood’s show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. She had a vegetarian guest on and they were making Avocado Pesto Toast (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/avocado-pesto-toast). I didn’t copy the recipe down and I didn’t go back to look it up when I made this for dinner but my recipe and hers is pretty close.  Next time I’ll remember the lemon. That would be even better.

Why avocado pesto? Some people, my daughter included, find a full basil pesto too much. Basil is a powerful flavor and it can be overwhelming. Cutting down on the basil with avocado (or Swiss Chard, Spinach, Arugula, Asparagus, or some other green) is a really good alternative. The avocado lends the sauce a smooth, rich mouth feel and is good for you too!

The best thing is that this is a no cook sauce and serves 2 – 4.

the ingredients

Hardware

Blender

Serving Bowl

Pot for Spaghetti

 

Ingredients

2 oz package of pine nuts

1 package fresh basil (about 1/2 cup) stems removed

1 cup shredded parmesan

1 4oz package avocado (guacamole that is just avocado) (or 1 whole fresh avocado)

1 Tblsp minced garlic

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Lemon juice (2 Tblsp Optional)

In a large pot, cook 12oz spaghetti according to package directions.

Go here to see the full recipe.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite pesto supper? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Hassleback Potatoes: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

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This is the time of year for entertaining and while I’m a mashed potatoes kind of girl, once in a while it’s nice to change things up. Hassleback potatoes are named for the Austrian restaurant that developed them. Deceptively simple to make and very elegant on the plate, these are delicious.

Hardware

Cutting Board

Knife

Baking pan (I was cooking for two so I only needed an 8-inch square pan)

Large metal or wooden spoon

Small saucepan for melting butter

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Ingredients

4 whole, peeled Yukon gold potatoes (Other recipes I saw called for baking potatoes (russets) or even sweet potatoes.) The potatoes I used were small so we had two each. Judge your needs accordingly.

1 stick butter

Salt and Pepper

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Melt the butter over low heat. To see the rest, click here.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What is your favorite kind of potatoes? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Tomato Soup: Chicklets in the Kitchen

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It’s the end of summer and I have a glut of tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes. Fortunately, the variety I chose for this year has that cherry tomato sweetness but isn’t too sweet. What to do with a giant bowl full of cherry tomatoes? Why tomato soup, of course! A few random Amish Paste and Early Girls found their way into the soup as well but it’s all good. The batch ended up making 3 pints of soup. Half a pint made it into my lunch but the rest I froze for future meals. Happy cooking and eating.

Hardware

4 Quart Pot

Cutting Board

Knife

1 or ½ pint freezer containers

Immersion Blender

 

Ingredients

Bowl full of cherry tomatoes, washed

¼ cup sliced onion

2 med garlic cloves, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the onion and garlic. Cut the tomatoes in half.

Click here to see more.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What do you do with your tomato abundance? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Chili Spice Mix: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Finished Jar of Chili Spice Mix

Finished Jar of Chili Spice Mix

I know. I missed May and June. I can only plead that I was super busy but I haven’t forgotten you. Today I’m talking about chili spice. What’s that? It’s a spice mix that I use to flavor my chili! I know a lot of people just by those little packets at the store. That would work except I’m Celiac and most of those packets have additives in them that I can’t eat. Well, what’s a girl to do who likes chili? Make it myself. There are tons of recipes out there for the spices for chili. I started with a recipe that is courtesy of Tyler Florence from Food Network. I added my own twists.

This spice mix can also be used as a dry rub. I love it on spare and country ribs, especially.

I’m still trying to perfect my dish but here’s the recipe.

Read more at Chicklets in the Kitchen.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you make your own herb or spice mix? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Chicken Cordon Bleu: Chicklets in the Kitchen

Finished Chicken Cordon Bleu

Finished Chicken Cordon Bleu

Once in awhile, I like to get fancy and in February, I did just that. I happened to have ham and swiss cheese on hand and boneless chicken breast in the freezer so I decided to make chicken cordon bleu.

The first time I ever had this dish was when my husband and I were stationed in West Germany in the late 70’s. We went to a local Gast Haus (pub) in the small town where we lived and I spotted it on the menu. I’d heard of it in movies and books. Here was my chance to try it. It arrived on a plate by itself and covered the entire plate. Crispy and golden brown on the outside, the inside was a delight of tender white chicken wrapped around a ham and cheese center that just oozed out onto the plate when I cut into it.

I’m still trying to perfect my dish but here’s the recipe.      Click here to see the rest.

 

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Have you ever had chicken cordon bleu? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Individual Scalloped Sweet Potatoes: Chicklets In The Kitchen

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Finished individual scalloped potatoes with green beans and sirloin steak

One of my favorite dishes is scalloped potatoes. My mom taught me to make it in a huge pan and nestle pork chops into it for a delicious one pan meal that fed two parents and six hungry kids. I have posted a gluten-free version of it on this website in the past. Today I’m sharing a recipe I saw on a Facebook post. Have you ever done that? Seen something that looked tasty on Facebook and gave it a try?

Well, I did, mainly because this recipe looked easy and used very few ingredients. I love my traditional scalloped potatoes but it involves a lot of steps. Hey, I thought, let me try this easier version.

Hardware

One 12 cup muffin tin

Bowl (to hold potato slices)

Mandolin (or sharp knife)

 

Ingredients

One large sweet potato, peeled and sliced thin

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 tsp dried thyme, or fresh if you have it

1 pint heavy cream

Vegetable oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

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If you have a mandolin, it makes the job faster and easier but using a knife is just as effective. Be sure to get sweet potatoes. There is a difference between the light yellow sweet potatoes and the dark orange yams we’re used to having at Thanksgiving. The yams would certainly work as would regular potatoes. Lots of options.

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In the bowl, mix the potatoes, melted butter, salt, pepper, and thyme.

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Lightly oil the muffin cups. Layer the potatoes in each muffin tin.

 

See the rest of the post at Chicklets In The Kitchen.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your favorite potato recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com.

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Monday Blog Post: August and Summer

Garden, Zucchini, Connie Cockrell

Garden Zucchini by Connie Cockrell

It’s amazing, really, how fast the summer goes. I stay busy, and that, I think, is the clue. I seldom have a lazy day, a day where I just lounge around, reading or binge watching movies. Even my downtime, hiking or gardening, is scheduled into my day so that they get done. I’m fully invested in the old saying, idle hands are the devil’s workshop. I’m never idle.

The garden is going nicely. Cantaloupes are just about ready to pick. Zucchini is growing well. Picked my first roma tomato a few days ago. Fortunately for me, the hornworms are few and far between this year. Yay! Yesterday I made zucchini fritters from one zuke I forgot about. It didn’t get too big but bigger than I want for grilling.

Saturday I canned peaches. A hiking friend had never seen it done so I invited him over and he helped me through the whole process. I ended up with 12 pints of peaches. There are still peaches on the tree. They’re not quite ripe yet.  I also picked all of my apples. Perhaps applesauce.

Mystery at the Fair is released on Smashwords. Smashwords will distribute the story to Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and iTunes. See the links at the end to find Mystery at the Fair on those sites.

Camp NaNo is over and I missed my 50,000 word goal. I did achieve 32,000 so I’m satisfied. I’ll continue to write on it until it’s finished. In the meantime I need to edit Betrayal Moon for the Forward Motion anthology and rewrite Gold Dream, a flash fiction I wrote earlier this year. I want to turn it into a short story and send it to the Society for Southwest Authors writing contest. That deadline is September 15th so I need to get in gear!

I’m totally up on conniesrandomthoughts.com. The techs at GoDaddy, my hosting site, were very helpful and we’ve straightened out all of the problems. Yay! I’ll put a notice up on my wordpress blog so my readers can find me. Be sure to follow me at my new website. I’m going to stop posting to the wordpress site (www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com) after Friday.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I put a special offer up in my July newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blogs.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Flash Fiction Friday – 100 + 5 word challenge: My Third Date

100 Word Challenge: …what does it taste like…?

I first saw this over at Peter Denton’s site. Head there immediately (after reading my post, obviously.) Originally, the prompts are over at Julia’s Place, and last week’s prompt for the 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups was:

…what does it taste like…

So here I am with a prompt and here’s the story I came up with.

My Third Date

It was my third date with this guy. I never ate anything like this.

“You’ll like it,” he said, pointing out the pepperoni and mushroom pizza.

I tried to smell it, still under the warming lights. These were fresh mushrooms, browned and shriveled looking from the oven heat. I wrinkled my nose, “Aren’t they fungus?”

“I’ll get a slice and you can try a bite or two, if you don’t like it, you can get something else.”

“What does it taste like?”

His mouth opened and his eyes rolled and shoulders shrugged, “Like mushrooms.”

So I tried it. Pepperoni and mushroom pizza is my favorite.

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