I’ll be finishing “Absinthe, Alewives & Alchemy” by Kate Henriott and Ted Jauw today. I met the authors at a Michigan Steam Expo earlier this year, and found them both utterly delightful folk. Kate shared some of her homemade absinthe with me, and I really need to track her down again to buy a few bottles. We talked about heritage cooking, wine making, gardening and herbs, and I found so many connections with her. It took me a while to get to the book, and then it got set aside for a while, half-read, but it’s time to settle back in for the rest of the story, while sipping one of my own weird little recipes: a huge mug of boiling water laced with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, a LOT of cinnamon and honey. Lovely stuff and seems to awaken something in me.
You can have a sneak preview of the book below. What are you reading today?
It’s 2156. Corporations now control the people of what used to be the United States. And they’ve gone way too far.
But, there’s a Resistance. The Democratic State Force has pushed back for decades. And they’ve come up with an incredible plan: To free the people from a system that literally runs their lives by knocking out the Citizen Standing Score. Now, all the force needs is just the right team with enough smarts and guts to pull it off. Being a little crazy wouldn’t hurt, either.
It’s a mission custom-made for Base 1407. Every team member is brilliant in their assigned duty – and not a one of them lives up to society’s common expectations.
But even as the team puts in endless hours working on their game plan, they also strive to figure out who they are and what their lives mean—not only to themselves, but to others.
This is a ‘Mission Impossible’ style adventure caper, but it’s also an unflinching (and often smart-ass) examination of life, love, acceptance, change and what truly makes a family. And just like the unorthodox team members of Base 1407, it’s a story that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
A caution: LBGTQ romantic themes are explored, often in graphic, loving detail. If this is not your cuppa, you may be put off by this aspect of the story. I was not. I felt this very real part of life was included in balance with the breathtaking action sequences, the absorbing tech details, the quirks of personalities, and the varied blessings and challenges of body and mind that the people of Base 1407 face every moment of their lives.
When we moved into this house 2ish years ago, our lifestyle changed a *lot*. This house is newer, better built and well maintained, unlike the old house. It even has a spacious, well-landscaped country yard.
But best of all, it has THREE bedrooms! This meant, to my utter glee, that for the first time in my life, I could have an office of my very own. Even during my working career, I had never had an office, not even once. I always worked from cubicles, computer rooms, warehouses, and open plan desk rows. But now I have my very own Girl Cave. Want a little tour?
Thanks for visiting! Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to be writing. Or… napping. Time will tell.
Dandelion bread isn’t what most people think it’s going to be like. It’s a dense bread, like banana or zucchini bread – but with a light, slightly sweet flavor that’s almost like a standard white bread. I think its the best of both worlds. Ken loved it, too! Other than the actual gathering of the dandelion petals, the recipe is very easy to make. If you’re awash in a sea of yellow outside, turn those weeds into treats!
Last fall, a friend gave me this recipe, and I’ve been wanting to try it ever since. Imagine my joy when one fine morning my lawn had turned completely yellow with dandelions. The original recipe was published online by Walnut Acres, but that website keep redirecting me away from the page to a dubious domain-parking site. So, rather than send you there, I will give them credit and keep the recipe here.
Be sure to pick flowers well away from driveways or roads, and avoid areas that have been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals.
Clean enough dandelion flowers to make two cups of dandelion petals. It’s important to remove the petals, leaving behind all green parts of the flower. To learn more about my own method of doing this, read my previous post, It’s Dandelion Day!
Walnut Acres Dandelion Bread
This recipe makes two small loaves, using 8″ x 4″ x 2-1/2″ loaf pans.
Preheat over to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease your bread pans. I used melted, unsalted butter. Sodium Note: I cut the recommended salt amount down to 1/2 tsp as we are a low-sodium house. I’ve left the original recipe unchanged here, though. Using a sodium-free baking powder will also save you a lot of sodium.
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 – 2 cups dandelion petals Note: I recommend using the full 2 cups
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup honey
2-2/3 cups milk
In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir with a large spoon until very well blended and the petals have been evenly distributed.
Pour the batter into your two greased pans, dividing it evenly between them. Bake for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking for another 20 minutes. Test with a toothpick or cake tester to be sure the batter is set in the center. Bake a little longer if needed, watching over the breads carefully.
Cool the bread in the pans. A good trick is to tilt the pans on their sides for even cooling all around. This helps the bread come out of the pans easily after its cooled, too.
With its sweetness and density, I’ve been thinking that this bread might also make a nice coffee cake. If I can gather another two cups of petals before the season passes, I’ll be experimenting with that. I think adding raisins would compliment the sweet lightness of the bread, and perhaps an orange flavored glazed drizzle-topping would be the finishing touch.
If you like to experiment with recipes and need to change the pan size, here’s a handy pan sizing chart. Once you know the volume of the recommended pan, you can substitute another sized pan that holds the same amount. If you don’t change the depth, you probably won’t need to adjust the cooking time. If you do change the depth, be prepared to stay near your new creation, and watch it like a hawk.
Post your dandelion baking adventures in the comments!
The dandelions have achieved full bloom in the back yard. Each year, I set aside one day in early spring to wallow in them. This year’s goal – enough petals to brew the annual batch of dandelion wine, with extras to try making dandelion bread. First, I spent a couple of hours crawling around the lawn with a large, clean bucket, picking as many as I could. Next, I set up camp on the back deck with plenty of beverages, and my iPad logged in to Amazon Prime to keep me company. Time to clean those flowers.
I aim for perfection. NO green whatsoever in the petals. The green parts are bitter. My special method of achieving this is to pick up a flower, hold the hard green bulgy cylinder under the flower between my thumb and index finger, and press-twist the flower. This detaches the petals from the green parts of the flower, and I can pluck them out easily.
This process takes hours. And a lot of patience. That is why Dandelion Day only comes but once a year. After two hours, this is what I collected in my big green bowl.
Eventually, the green bowl was filled – by then I was in such a twist-and-pluck trance I forgot to take any more pictures.
And finally, the closing ceremonies for Dandelion Day. A Wizard performs a special spell from the book of John Deere, and all the remaining dandelions vanish into the mists.
Stay tuned for the adventure of the Dandelion Bread!
Last year I was delighted to be invited to Fantasy Faire as a Literary Festival featured author, and I want to pay it back. This year, in honor of my dad, lost to lung cancer this past Autumn, I’m participating behind-the-scenes at the Faire, tending to some of the necessary proofreading, editing, and webmistressing. The Faire takes place in Second Life, as part of the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life events.
If you think that virtual worlds only exist to shoot zombies or run raids, think again. Second Life is a world – not a game. It’s completely created by its residents, and a lot goes on in here. This year our Literary Festival will welcome author Elizabeth Bear as our special guest, and we will pay tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin.
Fantasy Faire in Second Life has emerged anew from the mists of the virtual world to create a new and immersive fantasy-inspired experience each year for the past eleven years. Since the 2015 Faire, writers have gathered to pen new stories and poems inspired by the Fairelands as part of the annual LitFest. And though the Fairelands disappear back into the mists every year, the stories remain to inspire and transport.
Please click the poster to be taken to our press release – you’ll be taken to the Fantasy Faire website, so have a look around while you’re there. I’m especially invested in the Literary Festival, which you can find under the “Events” menu tab at the top of any page. We are still adding content as opening day approaches, but you won’t mind our dust, as it’s sparkly magical fairy dust!
It’s so easy! Don’t be shocked, but there are literally only four ingredients. NO additional spices or embellishments are necessary. And to add to the shock value, all the ingredients are convenience foods, and the end result isn’t a sodium riot.