I Wash My Hands Of You, Flour!

COOKING ADVENTURE # 52: Buuz

Buuz

Ah, flour: an incredibly important powder in a person’s life. No matter what type it is, it gives us the base material to make certain breads, cakes, and pies. If you are new to Cooking Adventures, the following may seem very strange to you: I have a problem with touching flour. Well, I should be specific. Not exactly “touching”. I don’t mind putting my hands into it. It’s just when skin makes contact with other skin covered in flour that I can’t stand. There’s something about that rough texture on me that makes my skin crawl and makes me think of chalk… which in turn makes me think of nails on a chalkboard. Don’t ask me where I made these mental associations because as far as I know, they’ve always been there. I’ve been working steadily to overcome my aversion to flour. Last year, I made several different recipes that required kneeding dough and rolling it out, all with copious amounts of flour. For the start of the new year, I wanted to try this traditional Mongolian wonton recipe, Buuz. The recipe has the person make the wontons by hand. I rolled up my sleeves, prepared to dive into what was likely to be a very messy Cooking Adventure. I wasn’t wrong.

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Ginger Overload

COOKING ADVENTURE # 51: Ginger Tumble

Ginger Tumble

The old saying goes “You can never have too much of a good thing.” In this case, I think that’s debatable. I like ginger. I think when you detect a hint of it in a dish, whether it be a dessert or a dinner, it really adds a nice heat and flavor. The recipe for Ginger Tumble went above and beyond the call for a “hint” of ginger flavor. This was a full on ginger roller coaster ride, one that I didn’t quite enjoy as much as I’d hoped I would. However, I will say that I enjoyed certain parts of the dish (particularly the sauce, the only non-ginger part) and would probably make it again with a different kind of ice cream for garnish. Let’s not kid ourselves here either: this is a very, very rich dish. It’s definitely something that you don’t want to O.D. on. I totally just did and now my mouth is tingling from too much ginger. All I can say is that at least it was edible in the end. It could have gone much worse.

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Goodbye 2012… Welcome 2013!

Wow. What a year its been. I’ve got to say that never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I’d be keeping a blog going all year long… two blog posts weekly. Sure I slipped off the track here and there but still managed to make up for it each time. I’m not that great with being consistent about weekly writings, so this was a big step for me. I had a wonderful year cooking many bizarre and sometimes wonderful dishes, expanding my culinary knowledge and having a few good laughs at the same time. Likewise, I also enjoyed discovering unique and inspiring music to branch out my creativity in my writing and sharing it with you all. I intend to continue both blogs into the new year along with a resolution to try and keep my promises of having Inspiration Through Music up on Mondays and now Cooking Adventures up every Friday.

In addition to the blog, I’ve also published my Kindle and paperback versions of Aequitas, a feat that has had me with my nose to the grindstone since two years ago. I learned more than I can ever imagine about self-publishing, self-marketing, and online marketing and am eager to learn more. I also had some inspiration for some wonderful projects that I hope to continue with into 2013. I joined both Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and the New England Horror Writers Association, both amazing groups to be a part of with being an author in Midcoast Maine. I organized my very first readings with the Camden and Rockland libraries, both of which were tons of fun. And let’s not forget the other awesome writer’s I’ve met this year.

I’d planned to have both my Cooking Adventure and my Inspiration Through Music up tonight for your viewing pleasure. Alas, I’ve been struck not only by a devilish headache but by the most sinister back ache imaginable… from shoveling snow yesterday morning. (I lifted with my back, not my legs. I know, I know. You’re not supposed to do that. I learned my lesson.) So we’ll be kicking off the new year tomorrow evening with both instead. My Cooking Adventure is in the oven as we speak, and the house smells wonderfully of gingerbread. Mmm-mmm!

To the rest of you, here’s hoping you have fantastic evenings and happy New Year’s celebrations! Looking forward to interacting with more of you in 2013!

~KSilva

Goodbye 2011! Hello 2012!

Good morning, readers!

Today marks the end of 2011. And though this year was a year of wonderful opportunities and many crazy happenstances, I can happily say that I’m ready to see it go.

2011 was a year of many firsts for me. First book signing, first time having a book on Kindle, first book-reading… etc. All of these experiences have opened my eyes to how truly great the world of self-publishing really is. It’s the latest and greatest thing. A few years ago, I never would have dreamed of being an author or having the opportunity to get my book out there, not only in paperback form but digitally as well. I couldn’t have done this though, without help from my friends, family, and fans of the series!

In the last two weeks, The Monstrum Chronicles has grown by leaps and bounds. On December 14th, when I posted the infamous I Need a Christmas Miracle post, I had 108 fans on Facebook. I had 26 Twitter followers. 1 review on Amazon and no likes. ‘Vox was in 672,oooth place on the Kindle best-sellers market. ‘And I had 2 subscribers on the blog.

Since then, here are the stats: On the facebook page, there are 115 fans. I have 70 followers on Twitter. There are 5 reviews for the Kindle version of “Vox” and 2 for the paperback. There are 4 likes for the book (and two for me!) “Vox” is now at 234,194th place on the Kindle best-sellers market. (At one point, it was at 97,000!) I have 5 subscribers (but several other readers) on my blog. I’m absolutely ecstatic! Thank you all so much for everything you’ve done in the last couple of weeks! You truly are some awesome people!

In 2012, I’d like to take it up a notch! (Sorry, Emeril, not trying to take your catch phrase or anything.)

My New Years Resolutions for 2012!

  1. Better management of time: There aren’t enough hours in one day, to be true. So I need to learn how to organize all of my activities better so that I can do more without stressing. (Such as blog before work!)
  2. Money management: In order to really market “Vox” and its upcoming sequel, “Aequitas”, I’m going to need to crack down on the way that I spend money and lay out a budget for buying ads and such.
  3. Read more!: I don’t read enough. In the last couple months, I’ve gotten back into it and would love to get to a point where I can fly through research books while gleaning valuable information from them as well as enjoying genre and literary fiction without taking 6 months to get through a book.
  4. Write more!: It’s true. I say I write in all of my spare time but more often than not, I’m so tired that I just sleep! Or slip into a vegetative state on my couch, while staring out my window. This fits in with my “time management” resolution as well. I hope to write more short stories and upload them to Kindle next year in addition to finally finishing “Aequitas” and uploading that, too!
  5. Exercise program: This is about energy! I collapse when I get home from work every night. In the mornings, I never want to get up. At night, I’m so restless I can’t sleep. My solution? Exercise. It will tire me out before bed, invigorate me in the morning, and keep my muscles from feeling like goo.
  6. Don’t be afraid to try new things!: Yes. I am a homebody. I don’t go out much and yes, I am hesitant when approaching things I’ve never done before. I’d like to try and come out of my shell more this year and do things I’ve never done before! (okay, a bit dramatic, I apologize.)
  7. Try cooking different recipes!: Here’s a secret: I practically cook the same stuff every week. Its easy and it’s usually cheaper. But its also boring. I’d like to do a new recipe once every two weeks, if I can. And definitely try some international dishes. Any endeavors I take in that area, I’ll post here. And if it’s not too much trouble, I’d love to learn how to bake. Oh yes, some of you know how I excel in crumbling cakes, creating “grunge cakes” (the long-lost, black sheep cousin of the cupcake) and burning cookies. I’ll be working on this.
  8. Lastly, I’d like to put away some of my resentments, turn the burner down on my anger, and attempt to leave the past in the past. Everyone holds onto unnecessary bad mojo. It’s time I said “Au revior!” to mine.

And I need to figure out how to tame the wild, demon that I live with; Lemon Jelly.

He may look all cute and fuzzy... but...

He’s actually mellowed out quite a bit over the last year. However, he’s still capable of douchey things. Last night, one happened to be leaping across my laptop, while I was holding a mug of tea and making me spill it on the keyboard. He did the same thing with a cupcake I was holding at the beginning of the month when I was having a particularly bad day.

And my time is up for the morning. To one and all, have a Happy New Years!

~KSilva

Pretty Much Still Half-Asleep

Good morning, folks.

As you may have guessed, I’m not fully awake this morning. I feel as though I went to sleep early enough last night but this morning, my head is telling me I didn’t get enough z’s. I spent the day zooming all of the Midcoast at break-neck pace. But it was all for a purpose.

I found the elusive Caleb Carr book, “The Angel of Darkness.” I call it “elusive” because I’d looked in at least three different places before happening upon it in a tiny used bookstore in Camden. Even better: it was only $4. I’m so excited to dive into it but first I must finish Anthony Bourdain’s “Medium Raw.” I haven’t had much time to read this week considering the holidays and being at work. Hopefully on my next day off, I’ll be able to sit down and read quite a bit of it.

Yesterday, I also had the pleasure of watching “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” with my friend for her birthday. Wow. What an awesome movie! I was surprised by the amount of action that this movie included. There was alot more deduction and dialogue in the first movie. The addition of so much action did help to keep me on the edge of my seat for the entire movie though. And I was pleased to see that they included the legendary Riechenbach Falls into the story as well.

Work on “Aequitas” is still underway. I’m anxious for the holidays to pass so that I will have more time to put to editing the book. It seems the last few weeks have been absolutely crazy. I’m longing for a day that I can stay in at home. I want heaps of snow to pour from the clouds as I sip at a hot cup of peppermint tea, curl into a blanket on the red leather sofa, and write to my heart’s content. That, folks, is my idea of a perfect winter day.

But I’m not entirely sure when we are supposed to get snow… and when we do, how long it will stay. We had a pretty hefty snow storm on Christmas. Then, two days later, it was 50 degrees outside and it all melted with a wash of rain. Hopefully soon, Midcoast Maine will begin to resemble white Decembers/Januarys in past years. Keeping my fingers crossed!

That’s all that I have time for this morning, I’m afraid. I must start getting ready for work.

Tomorrow: New Years Resolutions and an ode to 2011!

KSilva