Monthly Archives: October 2013

Time for Pumpkin Bread (or Muffins)

Pumpkin It is that time of year again – time for pumpkin bread! My sister, Lynn, has an amazing recipe that’s earned her a blue ribbon at the County fair. I will confess, I’ve made a few changes to the recipe, for health reasons. Instead of oil, I use apple sauce. Instead of white flour I use white whole wheat, and this last time, instead of sugar I used half sugar and half Stevia. Of course, I’m not sure how healthy Stevia is, but it did cut the carbs and sugar significantly and it didn’t leave a yucky aftertaste like some sugar substitutes. Instead of loaves, I made muffins, which significantly cut down the baking time. When using apple sauce, instead of opening a jar and wasting some of it, buy a package of plain applesauce sold in individual 4-ounce portions. Just two of these are needed in a batch of pumpkin bread. I buy mine at a dollar store – and get a six-pack of plain applesauce for just a buck.

Pumpkin Bread Recipe (Altered version)

4 eggs (blended)
1 can of pumpkin (15-ounce can)
1 cup applesauce (or two 4-ounce single servings)
2/3 cup water

3 cups white whole wheat
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups Stevia

In a large bowl, blend together the first four ingredients. Sift in the dry ingredients, blend well. The recipe makes three loaves, or three dozen muffins. The original recipe calls for baking the loaves at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. I didn’t try making loaves with the Stevia, but from past experience, it seems baked items with Stevia seems to take less baking time, I would keep a close eye on the bread; you don’t want to over bake. As for muffins, they take about 15 minutes at 350 degrees, but again, I would keep a close eye on them, and pull earlier if needed. Use the old fashioned toothpick in the middle to check for doneness. If the toothpick comes up clean, remove the bread or muffins from the oven.

Enjoy, and happy fall!

Hint: When using white whole wheat instead of white flour, after sifting not all the flour will go through the sifter. I simply dump what’s leftover into the batter and blend.

I must think my books are REALLY good!!

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There are probably some shoppers over on Smashwords, Sony and other sites Smashwords distributes to, looking for Christmas books, that think the author Bobbi Ann Johnson Holmes (me) is daft. Or just plain nuts. Or perhaps some sort of lame con artist.  After all she’s trying to sell a Christmas eBook for $100, when the same book goes for 99 cents at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I mean really, what is up with her?

I wish I knew! Actually, I sort of  know.

A while back (I honestly can’t remember when) I was uploading a new file for The Story of  the Christmas Village over at Smashwords. Sometimes when I’m not sure about a file, I’ll price it high while I am working on it, so no one will stop by Smashwords and pick up a copy before I’m done. I often sell an eBook or two on Smashwords right after publishing.

I figured, who would pay $100 for a little Christmas eBook? Apparently no one – which is a good thing. But here’s the problem. Somewhere along the way I got distracted – not sure what happened – or maybe I simply forgot to change the price – but today, when I looked over on Smashwords, I noticed the book was priced at $100! I checked Sony, and they also had the $100 eBook, but Kobo didn’t. I haven’t checked the other vendors, I simply unpublished the book at Smashwords.

I need to take the time and check the file that’s currently posted at Smashwords, and make sure it’s what I want.  It might take a week before it comes off the other vendor sites.  So for now, unless you want to bay a hundred bucks for it – you can just get the eBook at Barnes & Noble and Amazon – for 99 cents!

Charting your characters’ astrological sign. Do you ever do it?

dreamstime_xs_28173588Written in the Stars

I’ve a birthday coming up. It’s just around the corner, in November. When asked what my birthstone is, I used to say topaz. But I’ve recently learned there are two birthstones for November, topaz and citrine.

I’m just as confused when it comes to my astrological sign. For most of my life, if asked what sign I was, I’d answer Scorpio. Then somewhere along the way I started noticing astrologists no longer placed my birthdate (November 22) under Scorpio. I was now a Sagittarius. How did that happen?

When I asked this question of a writing friend, she reminded me astrology is a much more complex system than one sign. She’s talented artist and mystery writer C.A. Newsome and she regularly charts out real astrological charts for her fictional characters. If you like a good mystery, check out her Lia Anderson Dog Park Mysteries.

She offered to give me a detailed reading, based not just on the date of my birth, but the time and location. Of course I accepted! While many people will insist astrology is nothing but pretend, mine was a bit eerie. The following is an excerpt from Carol’s reading:

“You are just barely a Sagittarius. 0 Degrees, 11 Minutes. that’s 1/9th of a degree into the sign. But you have so many planets in Scorpio that you are more inclined to identify with Scorpio. Moon is in Scorpio, too. As a Sagittarius your goal in life is to be a Seeker, Teacher, or Preacher (or all of the above) publishing, which gives you a broad platform for expressing ideas, gives you a format for that.

You’ve got Gemini rising, which means that people have no clue how deep you really are until they get to know you. Gemini gives you a love for words and communication. Aquarius on the midheaven gives you a reputation for being eccentric and inclines you to pursue an unusual career.  Aquarius is associated with the internet (modern things) and its ruling planet Uranus is in the third house of writing and communication.

What is fascinating is that you have a T-Square of your Sun to Mars and Pluto. That gives you intensely powerful energy, and since Mars is sitting on your midheaven (career) you are likely to sink that energy into career matters. It can sometimes get away from you. I would not want to make you mad!

You have a ton of planets in your 6th house, suggesting that work as an act, (not your career) personal discipline and health are big issues for you. I would not be surprised if you had some weird, hard to diagnose condition, or if you followed a spiritual/new age type discipline for your health since you have Neptune there.

Your part of fortune (lucky spot) is in the twelfth house of the unseen, so charitable acts, behind the scene activity (such as publishing online) and playing secret Santa are all lucky for you.

Every chart has 12 houses, each house has a group of meanings. Things associated with your lucky spot are prayer, or talking to god (in a personal way, not religion) charitable acts, and working behind the scenes, also institutions (which are mostly charitable, but can include prisons) so doing things related to these things is lucky for you.”

Time for Harvest….or time for planting?

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Vegetable Garden in Bishop California, Fall 2013

My sister, the master gardener was harvesting her vegetable garden yesterday, up in Bishop California. In Lake Havasu City, Arizona on the same day – I was busy planting my indoor herb garden. She keeps telling me to give a real vegetable garden a try, but I seem to have more luck with flowers than vegetables.

I’ve tried planting herbs from seeds. But they just sprout then fizzle.  This weekend the local Home Depot had a sale on potted herbs, so I couldn’t resist. Hopefully the herbs will do as well in my kitchen window as my African violet and spider plants.

As soon as I wrap up a few projects for my alter ego, Anna J. McIntyre, I need to get back to Recipe Traditions, A New Generation. Perhaps I can use some of my own homegrown herbs in my recipes. Of course, I will have to let them grow a bit, because at this point, they are simply fresh herbs I purchased at Home Depot instead of the local grocery store.

Precarious Nester

hummingbird nest

Hummingbird nest precariously perched in a wind chime.

When Don was barbecuing our dinner tonight he noticed something perched precariously atop the wind chime that hangs over our back patio – a tiny little bird’s nest. While I am not expert, I’m fairly certain it’s a hummingbird nest, considering its size 

I snapped a few pictures, but it was impossible to see into the nest without finding a ladder, and I didn’t want to disrupt the wind chime, should the nest be occupied.

The odd angle of the top-right image is the fault of the photographer (me). The wind chime wasn’t tilted.

Last night it was pretty windy in Havasu, so if the nest was/is occupied, it must have been a rough evening for the poor little mama. Happy to report I haven’t noticed any tiny eggs – or eggshells on the patio.

I’ll be keeping an eye on the wind chime to see if the nester returns.

Welcome!

I believe I’m ready to officially announce my new blog and website, here at bobbiholmes.com. It is a total revamp of my author’s website, and will also replace my Mid-Journey blog over at Blogger. I wanted to combine author blog and website in one location. I toyed with the idea of importing my Blogger posts here, but was afraid I’d muck things up. So for now, Mid-Journey will remain up, just without new content. When I’m done here, I’ll leave one final post at Mid-Journey.

It’s a sunny Sunday morning in Havasu, so I think I’ll hurry up with my farewell post for Mid-Journey, then head outside to re-pot some herbs I picked up yesterday. In the past, when trying to grow herbs from seeds I was a dismal failure. Hopefully this will work better. Plants seem to love my kitchen window, so wish me luck.