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Celestial Goldfish

November 2014

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Nov. 21st, 2014

Celestial Goldfish

<3 Librarians

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

I love librarians. My hometown librarians took good care of me when I was young. They knew to let me know when new horse books arrived or when old favorites of mine were being discarded and sold. They helped me get my fix.

Bookalanche!

Therefore, I was really excited when the Greenville Public Library in Ohio reached out to me for an interview. It’s now up on their blog, Fourth and Sycamore.

I also have a guest post over at Milo James Fowler’s site where I discuss why I write a bit of everything.

I’ll be busy with Thanksgiving and family and loads of cooking next week, so I’ll be scarce online. Happy Turkey Day to my fellow Americans, and happy almost-winter wishes to everyone!

Nov. 19th, 2014

Pusheen Cake

Bready or Not: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Shortbread

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

Shortbread makes me think of autumn, so it’s only right to combine shortbread and pumpkin.

Choc Chip Pumpkin Shortbread

It’s been a while, but I have talked about my shortbread/autumn association before. It puts me in mind of kilts and bagpipes and happy family times.

Pumpkin lends an orange tint and a very mellow and pleasant flavor. It’s such a small amount that it doesn’t make the pieces feel tacky, either.

Choc Chip Pumpkin Shortbread

The original recipe called for dark chocolate. That’s just not my thing. I prefer white chocolate with pumpkin. Here, I mixed in white and semi-sweet chips. YUM.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that this uses an 8×8 pan–the shortbread is thick, so it makes a good bit. I cut it small, like I would with fudge.

Choc Chip Pumpkin Shortbread

Like most any shortbread, these keep very very well. I imagine it would mail well, too, if you don’t live in a place where it’s still 100-degrees in November.

Modified from Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Shortbread from The View from the Great Island.

Choc Chip Pumpkin Shortbread

Bready or Not: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks, (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 heaping Tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp each: cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, allspice
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (white, dark, semi, whatever you want!)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Prepare an 8x8 dish by lining it with aluminum foil or parchment paper and applying nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Beat in the vanilla, pumpkin, and spices.
  3. Fold in the flour, and then the chocolate chips.
  4. Spread the batter in the pan, smoothing it out evenly.
  5. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until the edges just start to turn gold. Set out to cool to room temperature, then use the foil or parchment to lift the shortbread out for easy cutting.
  6. Store in a sealed container at room temperature.
    OM NOM NOM!
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Choc Chip Pumpkin Shortbread

Nov. 17th, 2014

Celestial Goldfish

Wherein I share a ToC with Neil Gaiman

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

I LIVE.

I survived World Fantasy Con and had an absolute blast. I managed to complete a Poem-A-Day and make slow progress on my Clockwork Crown copyedits even during the con, which made me feel like a real writer. Fun fact: real writers are also sleep-deprived.

copyedits

[Me working on copyedits on the flight to DC.]

The good news is that I mailed in my copyedits Sunday morning. Now I have a back log of other smaller projects to get done before I start work on a Top Secret Project that has a very tight deadline. It doesn’t look like I get to slack off for the holidays this year. I must do All the Things.

One of the nifty things about being at a convention is that you get told about good news. I knew I had a reprint story that had been requested for inclusion in Twelfth Planet Press’s Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction 2013, but the full Table of Contents was announced the day I was mostly offline as I flew cross-country.

Surprised Kirk

So I was pretty gobsmacked to find out I’m sharing the book with Neil Gaiman. And my story follows his. Gulp.

The full ToC:
Selkie Stories Are For Losers – Sofia Samatar
By Bone-Light – Juliet Marillier
The Myriad Dangers – Lavie Tidhar
Carpet – Nnedi Okorafor
I Gave You My Love by the Light of the Moon – Sarah Rees Brennan
57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides – Sam J. Miller
The Minotaur Girls – Tansy Rayner Roberts
Not With You, But With You – Miri Kim
Ghost Town – Malinda Lo
December – Neil Gaiman
An Echo in the Shell – Beth Cato
Dan’s Dreams – Eliza Victoria
As Large As Alone – Alena McNamara
Random Play All and the League of Awesome – Shane Halbach
Mah Song – Joanne Anderton
What We Ourselves Are Not – Leah Cypess
The City of Chrysanthemum – Ken Liu
Megumi’s Quest – Joyce Chng
Persimmon, Teeth, and Boys – Steve Berman
Flight – Angela Slatter
We Have Always Lived on Mars – Cecil Castellucci

The book should be out in just a few weeks! Pretty darn good note to end the year on, I think.

Nov. 16th, 2014

Muse

Sunday Quote needs to wrap up her holiday shopping

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

“You must see with eyes unclouded by hate. See the good in that which is evil, and the evil in that which is good. Pledge yourself to neither side, but vow instead to preserve the balance that exists between the two.” ~Hayao Miyazaki

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Nov. 12th, 2014

Leeks!

Bready or Not: Pumpkin and Pudding Mix Pound Cake

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

I’m picky about my pound cakes. I like them moist. They should be soft, cushy, and spongy. Dry pound cakes? Bleh!

Pumpkin and Pudding Mix Bundt Cake

This pumpkin bundt cake is everything a pound cake should be. It’s tender and delicious without being sweet. The secret to the softness here is an entire box of pudding mix poured into the batter. Just as with cookie recipes, that pudding mix makes everything tender and chewy.

Pumpkin and Pudding Mix Bundt Cake

A slice of this cake doesn’t need anything to accompany it. You could serve this for a breakfast, brunch, or dessert. It keeps covered in the fridge for at least four days. I can’t vouch beyond that. It was all eaten.

Modified from Pumpkin Pound Cake at Sing for Your Supper.

Pumpkin and Pudding Mix Bundt Cake

Bready or Not: Pumpkin and Pudding Mix Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 5.1 oz package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting the top

Instructions

  1. Grease a bundt cake very well. Preheat the oven at 350-degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the two sugars and oil until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves and pudding mix.
  4. Add the dry mix to the wet batter, alternately with pumpkin, until everything is well combined. Pour into the bundt pan--it will be very thick. Use a spatula to even it out across the top.
  5. Bake for 60-65 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for fifteen minutes and then invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Will keep very well stored covered in the fridge. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.
  7. OM NOM NOM!
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Pumpkin and Pudding Mix Bundt Cake

Nov. 9th, 2014

Knight

Sunday Quote is in a colder place

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

“You have to be ready to take a fair amount of criticism and rejection. For most writers, you can work for years, and then even if you sell it it’s like you threw it down a well.” ~George R. R. Martin (from August 2014 interview along with Robin Hobb)

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Nov. 5th, 2014

Leeks!

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

I don’t follow a paleo diet, but I do follow delicious food. In this case, delicious AND healthy.

pumpkin pucks

These pumpkin pucks are rather like mini pumpkin pie custards with a slight nutty taste. That nutty taste is stronger if you follow the original paleo version of the recipe and use almond flour, which was my preference, though making them with whole wheat and all-purpose flour works well.

I also used different nut butters. Almond butter tastes the strongest–in a very good way–though cashew butter was fantastic, too. Once, I only had 3/4 cup of pumpkin, so I made up for the difference with applesauce. I found no major difference in taste or texture.

This isn’t one of those dishes I make for my husband to take to work. These are mine. Two of them make for a yummy, nutritious breakfast. Pucks also be an awesome snack, and with their size they are very kid-friendly. They keep very well in the fridge for at least a week.

Modified from Paleo Parents.

pumpkin pucks

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree [canned, NOT organic] [can also substitute some applesauce]
  • 1 cup almond or other nut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup almond flour (or wheat or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Optional: 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips or chopped nuts for tops

Instructions

  1. Prepare a muffin pan with dropping in cup liners, then spray the insides with nonstick spray. Preheat oven at 350-degrees.
  2. If your almond butter is very stiff, zap it in the microwave for 15 seconds or so to soften it. Mix pumpkin puree and the almond butter together.
  3. Add honey and syrup and beat in eggs one at a time. Follow with each of the dry ingredients until it's just combined.
  4. Fill the muffin cups to 3/4 full; a tablespoon scoop makes this easy, as it's almost exactly 2 tablespoons to fill the cups. Top with mini chocolate chips or chopped nuts, if desired.
  5. Bake at 350-degrees for about 20 minutes. They will not rise much. The tops of some may start to crack. Let them cool for a while and then keep stored in fridge. They'll keep upward of a week, if they last that long!
  6. OM NOM NOM!
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pumpkin pucks

Nov. 2nd, 2014

Destroy

Sunday Quote sends happy vibes to NaNoWriMo participants

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

“You must learn to overcome your very natural and appropriate revulsion for your own work.” ~William Gibson

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Oct. 31st, 2014

Clockwork Dagger

Treats, Not Tricks

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

First of all, Happy Halloween! And Happy Clearance Candy Day tomorrow!

Expect the blog to be quieter in November. I’ll be extremely busy, so posts, comments, social media, and emails will be a lower priority. So, what do I have planned exactly? For starters…
- World Fantasy Con in D.C.
- Poem-A-Day Challenge
- Novella Challenge on Codex. I’m aiming for 25-30,000 words, so it’s like a mini NaNoWriMo. I have never written to this word length before, so this will indeed be a challenge.
- Thanksgiving

… and other stuff, too, that I can’t talk about yet but will need to complete on a tight deadline. Somewhere in there I need to eat and sleep and tend to the family, too. *twitch twitch*

Sylvester-anxiety

Oct. 29th, 2014

Celestial Goldfish

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pudding Snickerdoodle Cookies

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

The name of the recipe is somewhat misleading. These don’t actually include pumpkin. Instead, they use dry pumpkin pudding mix!

Pumpkin Pudding Mix Snickerdoodle Cookies

This important ingredient vexed me. I found this recipe for pumpkin streusel pudding cookies at Chef-in-Training two years ago and wanted to do my own remix as snickerdoodles last year. The pudding mix is a seasonal ingredient. Foolish me, I started looking for it at Walmart in September, which is when I really want autumnal food even though it’s still 110-degrees here. No luck. I looked at every grocery store around. Still no luck.

Finally, the first week of November, I happened to be in Walmart. Lo and behold, they had the pudding mix! I bought several and resisted the temptation to cackle and dash through the store.

Pumpkin Pudding Mix Snickerdoodle Cookies

Therefore, you see, the timing of this post is so you can be on the prowl, too. Grab’em while you can!

Pudding mix is awesome in baked goods. It makes the end result soft, moist, and tender, and it stays like that for days. The pumpkin pudding here tastes like real pumpkin, but it has a lot more endurance. (If you want a real pumpkin snickerdoodle recipe, I posted one last year!)

Pumpkin Pudding Mix Snickerdoodle Cookies

This recipe makes a lot, too. I ended up with about 50 cookies using my teaspoon scoop.

 

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pudding Snickerdoodle Cookies

Ingredients

    Cookie Dough:
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 small box pumpkin spice instant pudding mix, dry
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • Topping:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven at 350-degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar.
  3. Add the dry pumpkin spice instant pudding mix and beat until well combined. Next, mix in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. In another bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mix.
  5. Prepare the snickerdoodle topping in another bowl.
  6. Form dough into small balls. Use a spoon to roll them around in the sugar and cinnamon. Place them on a greased or lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  7. OM NOM NOM!
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Pumpkin Pudding Mix Snickerdoodle Cookies

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