Caesar Salad: A Recipe for the Real Thing

I was going to share this recipe weeks ago. Then, on the afternoon that I was driving to the grocery store to purchase the necessary ingredients, Glen called and invited me to lunch. Of course I took him up on it, figuring the grocery store could wait until the next day. That evening, contaminated romaine lettuce was all over the news, so I shelved the post for a future date when we could all, I hoped, eat romaine again without requiring hospitalization. Some days later, lettuce grown in Arizona was fingered as the culprit and Americans were cautioned to be sure of where lettuce came from before buying. The information seemed to hold up, but I waited a bit longer […]

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Vichyssoise: A Recipe

“Summer is my favorite time of year!” said no one in my Texas family, ever. Which might explain why my parents appreciated the cooling serenity of chilled soups in the summer and wanted me to enjoy them too. When I was only 5 or 6, they introduced me to vichyssoise at one of their favorite San Antonio restaurants: the wonderful (but gone now, sadly) La Louisiane. (Read a 2015 article about it from the San Antonio Express-News here.) That restaurant bears much of the responsibility for beginning my lifelong love affair with food. Going there as a little girl was a huge treat for me, and created some of my fondest food memories. We introduced Katie to La Louisiane when […]

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Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Shell Topping: Recipes!

Less than 2 weeks ago, I had an unexpected root canal. I was a dental work newbie, so it took me by surprise. I’d never had a cavity, no orthodontia. My sole experience was with wisdom teeth removal. But after it was over, several friends who are more dentally savvy than I am told me, “You need ice cream!” Well, really. Who doesn’t? And since by last week we’d hit 97° in Central Texas, it was clear what the subject of this week’s post was meant to be. So today I present to you a recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream: smooth (very important, since my temporary crown is now in place), delicious, and the easiest ice cream I make. No […]

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Crawfish: Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler!

How many of you out there enjoy boiled crawfish but shy away from preparing them at home? The poundage! The timing! The massive boiling pot! The mess! Not to mention finding a good source for live ones. It’s all kind of intimidating, I think. Which is why Glen and I didn’t eat them as often as we wanted to. We had depended on regular trips to Louisiana to ease the cravings, but haven’t made it there in five or six years now. Yes, we could eat them elsewhere, but it just isn’t the same as sitting in a roadside dive in the Pelican State, zydeco on the jukebox, the steamy funk of boiling crawfish rolling out the kitchen door and […]

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The Story Behind the Story

Hi, Everyone! So here we are after successfully dodging the latest End of the World on April 23rd (henceforth to be known by the acronym EOW, and pronounced YOW!). For many reasons, I’m glad we aren’t all toast (so many cocktails, so little time!), but chiefly because I want to share some exciting news concerning The Space Between. No, not lead-story-on-Entertainment-Tonight news. Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson aren’t in a bidding war for the movie rights. Yet. (She says hubristically.) This news is about an honor I first learned of in January, four months after the book was published September 12, 2017. All the recognized authors were asked to keep quiet about it until the results were released a […]

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The Realm Below: A Sample

The sequel to The Space Between is getting closer to completion every day. Well, maybe not today. Glen and I are on vacation today, drinking The Daughter’s sophisticated hand-crafted cocktails, eating The Son-in-Law’s fabulous Eggs Benedict (I wish I’d taken a picture of the plated effect, but I was too busy devouring them to think of it) and enjoying some colder weather. (With April snow! It started as we were leaving a casino in the mountains of Colorado.) But soon vacation will be over, and I’ll get back to writing The Realm Below: The Rise of Tanipestis. It’s the second book in the Space Between series, and publication is planned for later this year. The closer I get to finishing […]

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Family Easters: Mislaid Eggs, Immovable Feasts

As Easter 2018 approaches, I’ve been thinking about Easter holidays from my childhood, and I realized there are just two I can remember. Probably because both had residual effects that lingered long after Easter Sunday was over. One of those is the episode I call The Year of Mislaid Eggs. It was the early 1960s. My mother Eloise was a meticulous record keeper who listed everything she thought notable, whether it was spring bulbs she’d planted, countries she’d visited or marriage proposals she’d received. Naturally, she recorded details from each Easter egg hunt too. One year, though, after making notes of how many eggs she’d hidden and what colors they were, she forgot to note where she’d hidden them. Our […]

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Post-Apocalyptic Off-Grid Living: A Handy Plan

Have you ever watched those TV shows about people who choose to build their homes in remote locations that have no access to utilities, Wi-Fi or Whole Foods? Without even a Starbucks in sight? Alaska, the deep woods of Maine or Washington and the windy mountain valleys of the American West are popular places for this, apparently. The typical episode follows the intrepid homebuilders (often a couple who are constructing their off-grid dream home themselves, with the aid of a host of their handy friends) through material shortages, scary weather events and roofing near-disasters, until their new home, a marvel of innovative engineering and fabulous rainwater collection systems, is complete. And the interiors of these homes are always stunning. Because […]

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Where (and When) Do You Get Your Ideas?

Most writers of fiction are asked, at some point in their careers, “Where do you get your ideas?” Our responses tend to be vague. Because, really, who can nail that down? Is it the subconscious? Carl Jung’s “collective unconscious”? Do we snatch them, as Willie Nelson has said he’s done with his songs, “out of the air”? To my readers who write fiction: Can you tell me with certainty where you get your ideas? Sometimes I’ve had a notion strike me out of the blue with such force that it felt as if a being from a vastly superior parallel universe murmured the suggestion in my ear. No, it may not be as reasonable as the other theories (even Willie's), […]

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After the Glory Days

Do you ever catch sight of yourself in the bathroom mirror while brushing your teeth and think, “Yeah . . . my best days are behind me . . .”? Boy, I do. Even my teeth aren’t as good as they used to be. Excitement! Hotness! Talking my way out of speeding tickets! All a distant memory now. Okay, maybe hotness was never on the table, but occasionally I did have excitement, and I also managed to talk my way out of quite a few speeding tickets. Sometimes I did both at once. But now? I hallucinate for fun. Normally, I can shrug off my creeping, dull decrepitude (except while lying awake at 3 a.m.), but something on Twitter brought […]

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Seeing Things. Again. And *sigh* Again.

As I’ve written in previous posts, hallucinations are kind of a normal thing for me. Ever since experiencing high fevers as a child, I’ve seen and heard things that I later learned weren’t real. Or, at least that’s true of much of what I hallucinate, but other times I’m not so sure. For example, I’m willing (eager!) to believe that the black, hairy spiders the size of dinner plates streaming down my bedroom walls in the first light of dawn are mere illusion. Since I’m in a transitional, hypnopompic state when I see them, I’m completely paralyzed in bed and at their mercy. If they were real, they could easily wrap me in silk and snack on me at their […]

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Sweet Batter Bread: A Recipe

Long, long ago when The Daughter was a mere child, her 2nd Grade teacher would occasionally bake and sell loaves of slightly sweet, soft, very tender bread. To ensure good sales, the teacher would cannily pass out samples to her students, who then went home and begged their parents to buy the bread. It really was delicious, and the teacher was understandably very secretive about the recipe. But Katie didn’t see why we should be restricted to enjoying the bread only two or three times in a school year. She asked me if I could come up with a recipe that produced a similar loaf. In those days, my passion for food had broadened beyond collecting recipes and cooking to […]

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