Thursday, November 14, 2013

Easy Organic Pizza/Pasta Sauce

As a busy mom, I am always on the lookout for easy meals. One of my favorite things to cook is pizza. I originally made my dough from scratch but used canned pizza sauce. Needless to say, the canned pizza sauce was missing something. Recently, I started to experiment and found, what I believe to be a tasty and easy to make sauce. I also use this with pasta.

What you need (please note that these are estimates since I don't really measure things when I cook.):

1 Jar of Trader Joe's Organic Spaghetti Sauce

1 Can of Tomato Paste

1-2 teaspoons of minced garlic (I use the already minced garlic that comes in a jar.)

1 tablespoon of basil

1-2 teaspoons of chipotle chili powder

Toss it all in a sauce pan and heat it on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. For an extra lazy night, just toss the cooked pasta and any meat you want in the sauce pan and heat it a little longer.

TIP: I cook my dry pasta and ground beef in bulk. Then I put them in freezer bags and freeze them until needed. On the day of use, after I thaw them out, I simply add sauce or put them in a casserole.

Looking for a great pizza dough recipe? I swear by this book.  Pizza: More than 60 Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pizza. One of the authors, Tony Gemignani, is a five time world pizza tossing champion.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Author: Rhiannon Frater

Book Description:  All Lady Glynis Wright ever wanted was the freedom to live her life as she pleased. Unfortunately, her aristocratic parents want her to marry well and settle into a life of luxury. When her family becomes guests to one of the most fearsome and powerful vampires of all time, Glynis finds her fate is far more terrible than an arranged marriage. Trapped in the power of her new master, she fights for freedom, revenge against her creator, and the chance to be with the one she truly loves.

Tale of the Vampire Bride


Book Review

When I first started reading this book, I was not certain that I would be able to make it to the end. The level of violence made me uncomfortable. This was largely due to the author’s vivid descriptions. Make no mistake, the violence is not out of proportion with the story but it is quite graphic.

Rhiannon Frater weaves fantasy and history throughout this book making it seem more real. Her writing is very descriptive but it does not cross the line that some writers do. I did not feel overwhelmed with unnecessary details or long breaks in the middle of dialogue. I will admit that with some authors I find myself skimming through overly long descriptions. I was not once tempted to miss a single word of Ms. Frater’s writing.

While I did want to yell at Glynis on several occasions, she did nothing that seemed out of character. There were also many times when I found myself getting teary eyed with Glynis or angry on her behalf. She was not always a likable character, but she was never boring. 

What can I say about the character of Dracula? Dracula was my first . . . vampire that is. For that reason I always expect more when an author decides to use him in a book. At the beginning of this story he seemed like a static character with very little depth. By the end, I viewed him as fascinating and complex. His relationship with Glynis proved equally complex as the story progressed.

This is book one of a two-part series, but it ended in a way that made me want more without feeling frustrated.

Where to buy:     Barnes & Noble     Amazon UK

Friday, November 8, 2013

Finding Balance

I must confess something to all of you. I set up this blog in May and have done absolutely nothing with it since that time. Each week I say that I am going to sit down and write my first blog entry, and each week I devote all of my spare time to working on my next book. I suffer from SPD, Selective Procrastination Disorder. It truly wasn’t a matter of wanting or not wanting to write a blog post. It was more a matter of deciding where to start. You see, I always have something on my mind.

So who am I, besides a selective procrastinator? The answer to that question varies from day-to-day. Prior to the beginning of 2013, I mostly referred to myself as a homeschooling mom. Despite the satisfaction that I gained from playing such a big role in my children's education, I felt that something was missing from my life. What I finally discovered was that I needed an identity that was not about my husband and children. This is in no way stating that I think being a stay at home parent is not an important job. At the end of the day, that is still my most important job and I wouldn’t have it any other way. What I am saying is that it’s easy to lose sight of ourselves when we become too focused on the care of others.

In January of 2013, I concluded that for more than two years I had been on an almost desperate search to find an identity outside of being a mom. In those two years, I contemplated a part-time job, tried sewing, become an avid baker, and took up running. None of these things gave me the balance that I was seeking in my life. This lack of balance was impacting all areas of my life and it was making my family miserable.

After much searching, I decided to start writing again. It is not a new hobby for me, but I hadn't written in many years. I was a little nervous about the prospect of finding time to write so I took a book that I had written fifteen years ago, Vampires and Vixen, and rewrote it. After completing that project I started working on a few other books. Needless to say, it is not easy to find time during the day to write with two small children in the house. I wake up early and I stay up late most days. I sneak upstairs to the office when the children are resting. Despite my lack of sleep, I have more energy now than I did  a year ago. My writing has given me the balance that I needed. Raising and educating my children are still my top priorities but I have found that one thing that reminds me that I am more than a mom. Some days I tell people that I am a homeschooling mom, and others I tell them that I am a writer. Both answers are true and both give me a sense of satisfaction and confidence.

Next week I will be posting a review of Rhiannon Frater’s, The Tale of the Vampire Bride.