28 June 2013

Happy Birthday, Summer! Nutella-ish Chocolate Chip Cookies

On Monday, I opened up my Twitter feed to see many of my friends wishing Summer (@Fizzygrrl) a Happy Birthday. What? A birthday? And I didn't send anything?? This situation must be rectified immediately!! So I ran to the kitchen and whipped up a delicious peanut-butter cookie-based dessert... and then I remembered. Summer's son has peanut allergies. Ooops!

However... I KNOW Summer loves Nutella! I could make a Nutella-based cookie!... Except, I happen to be allergic to Nutella (it's the palm kernel oil that gets me, not the actual hazel nut and chocolate goodness).

Well, you know me. I'll never let a little thing like allergies stop me. It took me a few days to figure it out, but in the end, the answer was simple. I just made my own HOMEMADE Nutella!! And the cookies are delicious!

So, Summer, Happy Birthday!! This recipe is for you:

25 June 2013

23 June 2013

Broken Things

This week has been a really difficult one for me. Without going into a lot of personal details, suffice it to say that the plans I've made for myself keep going awry. And I've been very frustrated with the way my plans keep breaking to bits. I keep asking myself, "Why can't anything go right???"

But on Thursday night, we had our monthly Relief Society activity (Relief Society is the women's organization for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). The theme of the evening was parenting, and one of the speakers (my friend Ana's mom) talked about loving our children, even when they stray into destructive paths. As she quoted a talk from Jeffrey R. Holland (one of the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), I couldn't help but think of this song by Kenneth Cope:

15 June 2013

Pitch-a-Rama!

I've been trying to hold myself to a 2-contest limit on my manuscripts, so they don't end up seeming overused and old... but even though I've already had successful runs in Pitch Madness and The Write Voice, I saw the line-up of editors participating in Pitch-a-Rama, and I couldn't help myself. So I'm going to throw my pitch in the ring one more time. Wish me luck!


Update: Yay!! I made it to the editor round of Pitch-a-Rama! WooHoo!! :) There are a few publishers on the list of participants that I'd really love a chance to work with, so I'm keeping my toes crossed. (Can't cross the fingers, because that makes it really difficult to type.)

11 June 2013

Book Review: ONE by Leigh Ann Kopans

Today is the day!
ONE by Leigh Ann Kopans is officially available now!

I was one of the lucky people who got to read an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of this novel, and I've been waiting to post the review since I read (and loved) it way back in February!! (Didn't want to post the review before it was available, since it would be just mean to be raving about a book you couldn't read yet.) But it's finally available for purchase, and I can share my thoughts.

09 June 2013

Boring Summer? Try this Instant Fix!

The kids have been out of school for a little over two weeks, and we've already packed a lot of summer fun into our days. We've had movie marathons, sleepovers, all-day pool parties, play dates at the local video arcade/pizza buffet, daddy-daughter dates, manicures, father-son camp-outs, hanging-out-with-mommy nights, trips to the library, monster-brownie-sundae dessert nights, water fights, picnics... and my son just got home from a week-long "trek" (the young men and women from the congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in our area divided into families and handcart companies, then participated in a recreation of the pioneer trek west). We've been so busy, I've barely had time to stop and take a breath. Two-and-a-half weeks into the summer break, and I'm already on the verge of collapse. There's no way I'll be able to keep up this frantic pace all summer long.

06 June 2013

Crock Pot Gourmet: Tomato, Artichoke and Zucchini Pizza

The Cinnamon Rolls we made in the Crock Pot were such a success that we decided to see what else we could adapt from oven baking to Crock Pot baking. As I have 2 teenagers & 2 preteens with healthy appetites, pizza is always a welcome choice for dinner. However, in the summertime, I often prefer something a little less heavy than the typical sausage & pepperoni-filled pizza. Luckily, fresh vegetables are plentiful and totally yummy right now, and they make delicious pizzas!
For this Tomato, Artichoke and Zucchini Pizza, we brought out both the 7-quart and the 5-quart Crock Pots, but if you have a smaller family, you might want to cut the recipe in half.