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Celestial Goldfish

April 2014

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Apr. 23rd, 2014

Pusheen Cake

Bready or Not: Chocolate Almond Fudge

Every few months, I need to share a fudge recipe. Because reasons.



This fudge has all sorts of awesome going on. It's fast to make in the microwave, tastes great (even better after a day in the fridge) and keeps for at least a few weeks. The consistency is good, too--smooth, and holds up well if it's kept at room temp for several hours for a party.



You can make this fudge as intense as you want, too. I did it with semi-sweet chocolate but if you love dark, go dark.

FUDGE. Glorious, happy fudge.



Chocolate Almond Fudge
Makes about 50 1-inch pieces
from Barefeet in the Kitchen

14 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
12 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds, plus 1-2 tablespoons more for topping

1) Prepare a 8x8 or 9x9 dish by lining it with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Grease the surface.

2) Combine the condensed milk can, chocolate and butter in a medium size glass bowl and heat in the microwave for 40 second increments. Stir well, then heat another 20 seconds, stir again. Continue to heat and stir until the mix is smooth.

2) Add in almond extract and almonds. Pour everything into the ready pan. Chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Like many chocolate recipes, this tastes even better after a full day. It keeps well, sealed in the fridge, for at least two weeks.

OM NOM NOM!

Apr. 21st, 2014

Pusheen Writing

Website: Expect Some Down Time

I last remodeled BethCato.com back in early 2011, I think, when I was starting my agent search. It's not a terrible site--I do love the shade of green--but it's time for something new that will better showcase my forthcoming novels. Plus, the Bibliography page has gotten very long and clunky (file that under "nice problems to have") and needs organizing.

To those ends, I will be doing a full remodel and a switch to the Wordpress engine. This means a few things.

- most of the site content will be offline as I figure out what the heck I'm doing

- my food image files will briefly be offline during the initial set-up. I hope it will only be for a few minutes, so maybe this cautionary note is completely irrelevant. Or not. The way I do code, it'll likely explode like Alderaan.

- I will use my website to send my posts to LiveJournal. I have no intention of leaving LiveJournal, though I will be using it in a different way.

- if you hear any screams of frustration bouncing off the atmosphere, it means I'm working on my website. Carry on.
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Apr. 20th, 2014

Starlite

Sunday Quote dreads summer

"I have written each book as an exercise, as practice for the one to come." ~John Steinbeck, Journal of a Novel
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Apr. 18th, 2014

Pusheen Cake

Revising the Kitchen

A weird thing about selling a book: you get money. There's then the question of what to do with it. Mind you, my deal was pretty much average, so it's not like I was going to run out and buy a car or anything.

It should come as no surprise that I'm using my windfall for the kitchen.

I made my first celebratory purchase soon after my revision letter changes were accepted for Clockwork Dagger. I bought a brand new set of Wusthoff knives with a cherry holding block. Our original knives were a wedding gift that served us well for over a decade, but they were from Wal-mart and it was time for an upgrade. Sharpening can only do so much. Even after a few months, I'm amazed that my new knives can CUT THINGS. I don't have to saw! It's amazing!

The next step is more major. I'm getting a kitchen back splash installed! It's tumbled marble like this. Along with that, I'm having undercabinet lighting installed in my primary work area (which I hope will make for prettier food photos) and we're getting the tops of our cabinets capped. I have a lot of counter space and the entire wall is the glossy white paint that came with the house. Hunter green is my favorite color, and this tumbled marble is gorgeous because of all the veins and variations.

This means I'll have three days this coming week where a work crew will be tearing apart my kitchen. So not looking forward to that, since it means I won't be able to cook over those days either, but the end result...!

I'll be sure to post before and after pics.

Apr. 16th, 2014

Pusheen Bread

Bready or Not: Overnight Cardamom Orange Rolls

I wanted a special breakfast recipe that fulfilled certain requirements. I wanted to:
- make it the night before
- have baking and assembly in the morning be simple
- make something that tasted extraordinarily good



I looked around for the kind of recipe I wanted. In my head I was like, "I want it to have a nice dough like my orange knots but done like a cinnamon roll, but with cardamom, and an icing like an old Bisquick roll I used to do..."

When I didn't find an existing recipe that met my needs, by golly, I combined everything to make a newfangled recipe all my own.



The dough here is super soft and lush. I had my bread machine do the bulk of the work for me, so all I had to do was flatten the dough, add my filling, roll it up, and stash the ready cookie sheet in the fridge overnight. The prep in the morning was simple--have it rise while I did other stuff, make the glaze as the rolls baked, then ta-da!

This is the perfect recipe for when company's coming, or for a holiday morning when you have a gazillion other things to do.



Overnight Cardamom Orange Rolls
A Bready or Not Original Recipe

Dough:
2 3/4 - 3 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast (or yeast packet)
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, room temperature
zest of 1 orange
2 Tb orange juice

Inside:
3 Tb butter, room temperature
3 teaspoons cardamom (or cinnamon)

Glaze:
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1.5 Tb milk or cream or water

1) This can be made in a mixer or bread machine.

In microwave, warm the milk and butter together to about 90-degrees. Set aside. Zest and juice orange. Whisk egg to mix a little.

Sift together the minimum flour, sugar, and salt.

For a bread machine, add ingredients in recommended order; for mine, this means liquids and egg on the bottom, dry ingredients, and yeast on top. If you're using a stand mixer, whisk liquids and gradually add dry ingredients, ending with the yeast.

For a bread machine, run on dough cycle about two hours. In a mixer, combine until a soft, not sticky dough forms. Using either method, you may need to add a little more flour or milk.

2) Once it has fully risen, roll it onto a large floured surface to make a rectangle. Gently smear soft butter up to about 1/2 inch of the edge. Sprinkle cardamom all over. Along a long edge, roll the dough.

3) Place tube of dough on a large cookie sheet and shape as a circle, horseshoe, or stick. Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut through the dough about 2/3 of the way, about one inch apart, along the length. Not to the bottom, but enough to see at least half of the inner layers. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight.
(Or set it out to rise for another hour, then bake.)



4) In the morning, set the cookie sheet with bread at room temperature for an thirty minutes to an hour.

[To encourage more rise, you can also proof the bread in the oven: preheat oven to 220, then once it reaches temperature turn it OFF. Put dough inside to rise 20-30 minutes or until puffed, then remove bread to preheat at full heat.]

Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until outer rolls are browning.

5) Make the glaze. Add enough liquid to make it slowly dribble but still thick. You can always add more sugar or milk. Drizzle over rolls and serve immediately.

OM NOM NOM.

Apr. 14th, 2014

Clockwork Dagger

Deadline: Met

Clockwork Crown was contractually due by June 1st. I sent it to my editor today.

*great big sigh of relief*

Not that work on it is done by any means. Next up will be the revision letter (cue suspenseful music), then copy edits, then the page pass... and other stuff as well, but that's as far along as I am on the current publication path.

The comic Pearls Before Swine had a fabulous commentary on the path to publication in the strip yesterday. I am bracing myself for those "mehs." I guess I should stock up on flavored vodka.

Apr. 13th, 2014

Pusheen Haters

Sunday Quote has five more months until book release

"Although some times I have felt that I held fire in my hands and spread a page with shining--I have never lost the weight of clumsiness, of ignorance, of aching inability." ~John Steinbeck, original dedication to East of Eden
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Apr. 9th, 2014

Pusheen Bread

Bready or Not: Golden Oreo Cake Batter Blondies

I like baking from scratch, but I don't scorn the occasional use of cake mix.



It's awfully handy at time to just throw something together in about ten minutes, let it cool, cut it up, and have it all done.



Plus, it's an inherent truth that everything is better if you add Oreos. And that everything is more fun with sprinkles. Plus, CHOCOLATE. This has it all going on. The end result is a fast-to-make, festive blondie that's chewy and delicious.



Golden Oreo Cake Batter Blondies
modified from Sally's Baking Addiction

Ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix (18.25 oz)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/3 -1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sprinkles
2 cups chopped Golden Oreos (reserve 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top)

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Apply nonstick spray or butter to a 9x13 pan.

2) Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl. Add the milk slowly; less milk will create a more dense blondie. Fold in the chopped Golden Oreos, white chocolate chips, and sprinkles.

3) Pour into prepared baking pan. Add the rest of the Oreos on top and more sprinkles if you'd like. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges are just turning brown.

Allow to set for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares.

OM NOM NOM.

Apr. 7th, 2014

Moon

Bloghop for FAE: Four Questions for Writers

I have a story ("The Cartography of Shattered Trees") in the forthcoming FAE anthology from World Weaver Press. All of the contributors have been invited to take part in a blog exercise today, but we're sharing in the love. If you want to take part and continue the 'hop,' please take these same four questions and post on April 14th--and link back to me as the one who invited you!

1) What am I working on?
My sequel novel The Clockwork Crown. I did the rough draft in the month of January, and the time since then has been spent revising, waiting for feedback, and revising more. This is my first novel under contract (ack!). It's due soon (ACK!).

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It's fantasy steampunk and it's secondary world, meaning it doesn't take place on Earth. Unlike a lot of steampunk, mine has a more Edwardian basis than Victorian. I was especially influenced by post-World War I Europe and tried to work in many of those historical details.

3) Why do I write what I do?
Because I'm strange? *laughs* That's a very existential question. I am not my characters, but I am definitely a reflection of what I write. I seek magic in the every day, but I also have a dark, depressive streak.

4) How does my writing process work?
It's different for everything I write but I am most definitely a plotter. My novels are a duology, and I started the sequel with a very hefty outline because I knew I had to wrap up everything in that book. Even for flash fiction, I'll jot down notes to outline a story but it's still an organic process. I think I have the story all figured out and then it surprises me. My poetry is the exception to my plotting ways. A lot of times, I start a poem and have no idea how it will end.

---
I was invited to the bloghop by Rhonda Parrish
Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for over five years now (which is like 25 years in internet time) and is the editor of the forthcoming World Weaver Press anthology Fae.

In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast and Mythic Delirium.

Her website, updated weekly, is at http://www.rhondaparrish.com

---

Apr. 6th, 2014

Pusheen Shock

Sunday Quote notes Easter's in two weeks

"This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve addressed it ‘to the editor who can appreciate my work’ and it has simply come back stamped ‘Not at this address’. Just keep looking for the right address." ~Barbara Kingsolver
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