Wednesday, June 12, 2024

In the Kitchen with Morgan Sterling - Recipe for Hibiscus-Infused Cupcakes #HibiscusInfusedCupcakes #InTheKitchen


I love flowers, cake, and the kitchen, so I’m excited to combine these for you! This year, my “flower” is the hibiscus. Maybe your tongue has had the joy of being introduced to hibiscus tea, hot or iced. But have you tried this yummy flavor baked into a delicious treat? 

Here is a recipe that’s a bit like me–sweet, tart, and unexpected! 

Hibiscus-Infused Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes:
1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers (or 4-5 hibiscus tea bags)
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

For the Hibiscus Glaze:
1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers (or 2-3 hibiscus tea bags)
1/2 cup water
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional, for extra tang)

Instructions

1. Prepare the Hibiscus Concentrate:

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small pot.
Add 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers or 4-5 hibiscus tea bags.
Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 15-20 minutes.
Strain and let the hibiscus concentrate cool. Set aside.

2. Make the Cupcake Batter:
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Mix in the vanilla extract.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
Mix in 1/4 cup of the hibiscus concentrate, a splash at a time, until the batter is smooth and evenly colored. Use a bit less or more if needed to get to that right consistency. 

3. Bake the Cupcakes:
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling each about two-thirds full.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

4. Prepare the Hibiscus Glaze:
Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil and add 1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers or 2-3 hibiscus tea bags.
Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 15-20 minutes.
Strain and let the hibiscus concentrate cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of the hibiscus concentrate until smooth and slightly thickened. Add lemon juice for extra tang, if desired.

5. Glaze the Cupcakes:
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, drizzle the hibiscus glaze over the top of each cupcake.
Let the glaze set for a few minutes before serving.

Yields 12 cupcakes





This a great recipe to take when you’ve been asked to bring boring old cups and you want to show off a bit! You’ll have people saying “This is great. I know that flavor. What is it?” 

Don’t worry, I won’t tell them if you don’t!



Stellar Harmony
A Nerdy Love Affair
Book 1
Morgan Sterling

Genre: Urban Romance
Date of Publication: May 31, 2024 
ISBN: 9798883229052
ASIN: B0CW1BH188
Number of pages: 211
Word Count: 59,926
Cover Artist: Morgan Sterling 
Tagline: An Urban Romance Written In The Stars

Book Description:

In the vibrant streets of Chicago, Langston, an astrophysics professor, and Aurora, a gifted musician, find solace in each other's embrace. But as their love blossoms, they must confront societal pressures and personal demons. Will they find harmony in the chaos of their lives? Dive into this captivating urban romance filled with passion, self-discovery, and the wonders of the cosmos.


Excerpt:

We reached across the table to clink our glasses together.

"No one understands me either," we said in unison.

I blushed. His scent of fresh soap and spiced cologne intoxicated me as if I could taste it on my tongue.

The server asked if we needed another round, but we both declined. Langston waved him off kindly and said we should get some air.

Outside, the cool night air felt good against my skin. The stars twinkled above us, and Langston pointed out constellations like reading a book. Orion, Cassiopeia, and others. I let out a small gasp when he told me there was one that resembled a man with a star for a crown.

"Wow. That's the first time anyone's ever shown me that," I whispered, goosebumps prickling my arms.

He smiled. "Imagine how people used to look up at stars, see images, paint pictures." He blew out a breath in a cloud in the cold air. His nose was starting to turn red. He looked adorable. But he didn't seem to notice the cold as he looked up. "Fantasies in the sky."

He looked down at me but said nothing as he wrapped his arms around himself to stay warm.

"So, tell me about your fantasies," he murmured into the silence.

"Huh?" I blinked, caught off guard by his directness.

He chuckled. "You know, what do you like to dream about when the stars come out? What turns you on?" His voice was deep and husky, sending shivers down my spine.

"I don't know," my eyes lowered nervously. "I've never really thought about it." My cheeks flushed as I realized how naive that sounded.

"I don't think that's true," he began, taking my hand into both of his. He blew onto them, his hot breath hitting my cold skin. And his lips, so soft, brushed against the palm of my hand.

A moment later Langston pulled me in for a warm kiss. When our lips met, a fire ignited, spreading like wildfire through my veins. Langston's mouth moved against mine with a fervor that matched the intensity of the kiss. His lips were soft and pliant, molding perfectly to mine.

I tasted the remnants of the wine on his lips, an intoxicating blend mingling with the sweetness of his breath. His heat enveloped me, seeping into my skin. Gathering my hair peeking from under my hat, he tangled it in his fingers, willing my head back, my lips parted. His other hand slipped past my bomber jacket, onto my butt, pulling me closer.

A moan escaped me instinctually. It was all he needed to pull me in further, his tongue exploring my mouth.

My pulse pulsed, feeling him press against me.

"God damn it," he said, pulling away, searching my eyes as I searched his back for answers to unasked questions.

"I think- I think I should head home." I took wobbly steps back, cold air rushing between us. I did not come to Chicago for this - the last thing I needed.

I waved briefly and left him confused on the cold Chicago street. And if he felt only a pinch of what I did, I also left him horny as hell.





About the Author:

Explore the captivating narratives of Morgan Sterling, a seasoned wordsmith whose storytelling prowess transcends boundaries. Spanning various genres, from contemporary to paranormal and urban romance, Morgan's narratives challenge conventional norms, spotlighting the allure of imperfection. Within Morgan's literary universe, characters are intricately layered, diverging from traditional romantic archetypes. Here, protagonists may embody antiheroic traits, and heroines navigate their journeys with authenticity and fortitude, illustrating the boundless nature of true love.

As a minority woman blerd (black nerd) with a penchant for romance and an imaginative flair, Morgan draws from personal encounters to craft authentic and diverse tales. Motivated by a quest for representation in literature, Morgan embarked on a creative odyssey to fill a void, merging romance with the fantastical realms of science fiction and fantasy.

Beyond her literary endeavors, Morgan is a polymath of varied interests. From indulging in cosplay to immersing herself in anime, comic books, and lingerie, she draws inspiration from her eclectic passions, infusing her creative process with vivacious energy. Influenced by literary luminaries like Octavia Butler, Dean Koontz, and Rebecca Roanhorse, Morgan's narratives transport readers to both familiar and fantastical worlds, captivating them until the last page.

Morgan lives in the Southern United States, but fully embraces her 1st generation status as a Caribbean-American. Though her pen allows her to live many lives, she lives real life with her husband, children, and pets.

Embark on a journey through Morgan Sterling's enchanting realm, where love transcends conventions, and imperfections are celebrated with reverence.








Monday, June 3, 2024

In the Kitchen with Creole Noir - Recipe for Spicy Jerk Chicken Wings #InTheKitchen #Recipe #SpicyJerkChickenWings



Spicy Jerk Chicken Wings

Ingredients:
- 2 tbsp Onion powder
- 2 tsp Red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup Lime juice
- 3 tbsp Soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Garlic powder
- 2 tbsp Brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp Kosher salt
- 2 tsp Ground black pepper
- 2 tsp Ground allspice
- 1 cup Pineapple juice
- ½ tsp Ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp Nutmeg
- 3 lbs Chicken wing drumettes
- Cooking spray

Directions:
1. In a bowl, combine onion powder, red pepper flakes, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic powder, brown sugar, oil, salt, black pepper, allspice, pineapple juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg to make a smooth marinade.
2. Place chicken drumettes in a large bowl, pour marinade over them, and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
4. Arrange chicken on the prepared baking sheet, reserving marinade in the bowl.
5. Bake for 25 minutes. Brush half of the reserved marinade onto chicken, then turn over and bake for another 15 minutes.
6. Turn chicken over again, brush with remaining marinade, and bake until tender and caramelized, about 10-15 minutes more.
7. Rest chicken on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a serving platter.

Recipe Tip:
Instead of marinating in the refrigerator overnight, you can marinate the wings at room temperature for 2 hours, turning every 15 minutes.

The Heart of Chenoa
The Black Dove Legacy 
Book One
Creole Noir 

Genre: Magical Realism, YA, Coming of Age
Date of Publication: June 2, 2023
ISBN:  979-8396415935
ASIN: B0C6VYSPF1
Number of pages: 275 pages
Word Count:  44,953
Cover Artist: Creole Noir 

Tagline: Everyone knew she was the belle of the ball, and it was hard to imagine anyone ever taking her crown away from her.

Book Description:

The Heart of Chenoa is a heartwarming tale about a young woman's courage to leave her abusive boyfriend and start a new life in a new town. Along the way, she finds a group of misfit friends who become like family to her, including the inseparable siblings Brooke and Jerald, and the popular but conflicted JC, who harbors a secret love for Jerald. As they navigate high school drama and personal trauma, they come together to seek revenge against a conniving classmate, and ultimately learn to embrace their unique gifts and find strength in their bond.

The story explores themes of love, friendship, betrayal, and redemption as the characters navigate their way through the ups and downs of life. Brooke's premonitions and Lucille's powers add a touch of magic to the story, while Jerald learns to control his trauma-induced alter ego. Ultimately, they discover that they have grown and evolved in unexpected ways and that their bond is stronger than anything life can throw at them.


Excerpt:

Amidst the sprawling fields of Chenoa, a small town nestled in the heart of the Texas, a tale of resilience and friendship unfolds. At its core lies the story of a young woman named Indigo, whose journey from darkness to light weaves a tapestry of courage, love, and the transformative power of friendship.

Indigo had known no other reality than the one she shared with her abusive boyfriend, Troy. The shackles of fear bound her tightly, choking the life out of her dreams. But one fateful night, fueled by a flicker of courage ignited deep within her heart, she made the decision to break free.

With nothing but a few belongings and a trembling resolve, Indigo set out on a journey to start anew in a town where nobody knew her name. Chenoa welcomed her with open arms, offering sanctuary from the storm that had raged within her for far too long.

As Indigo tentatively navigated the unfamiliar school of her new home, she stumbled upon a group of misfits whose warmth and acceptance enveloped her like a comforting embrace. Among them were Brooke and Jerald, inseparable siblings whose laughter echoed through the halls of Chenoa High School, and JC, whose inner turmoil simmered beneath his charming exterior.

Together, they formed an unlikely family, bound not by blood but by the unbreakable ties of friendship and shared experiences. Each member of their motley crew bore scars of their own, but together, they found solace in the company of kindred spirits.

As high school dramas unfolded and personal traumas resurfaced, Indigo and her newfound companions stood united against the tide of adversity. They rallied together to seek justice against a conniving classmate, their bonds growing stronger with each shared victory.

But beneath the surface of their idyllic friendship lay secrets waiting to be unearthed. JC harbored a love for Jerald that dared not speak its name, while Brooke's premonitions whispered of futures yet to unfold. And in the shadows, Jerald battled with the demons of his past, struggling to tame the beast within.

Yet through it all, they clung to each other, their hearts intertwined in a tapestry of love and loyalty. As they confronted their deepest fears and embraced their unique gifts, they discovered that strength lies not in solitude but in the unbreakable bonds of friendship.

In The Heart of Chenoa, amidst the Spanish moss trees and the whispering winds, Indigo and her friends learned that the greatest battles are fought not with fists but with hearts open wide. And as they embraced the magic woven into the fabric of their lives, they found redemption in the unlikeliest of places: within themselves, and within the hearts of those they held dear.


About the Author:

Creole Noir is an author who has a passion for writing stories that not only bring suspense, but also delve into deeper themes of social justice and class disparities. His debut novel Cry of the Black Dove follows London and her friends as they embark on a mission to get revenge after being wronged by those in power. Creole hopes his work will help readers think about these issues and the marginalization that often follows. Outside of writing, he enjoys hosting a podcast with Kinky Boots. Creole currently lives in Tyler, Texas where he obtained an Associates degree in General Studies from Tyler Junior College before engaging in healthcare labor such as caregiving and teaching life skills. He now writes full-time.

Keep in touch with Creole Noir's work by following him on Instagram or checking out his podcast. He loves hearing from readers about their favorite stories and characters. With Creole Noir’s vivid imagination and captivating voice, each of his novels will keep you hooked until the very end.

Keep in touch with Creole Noir via the web:






Thursday, May 30, 2024

The Evorath Trilogy by Joseph P Macolino


The Birth of Death
The Evorath Trilogy
Book One
Joseph P Macolino

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Free Dragon Press LLC
Date of Publication: August 11, 2016
ISBN: 978-0997883800
ASIN: B01K9PRWQA
Number of pages: 377 pages

Book Description: 

Clues that lead deep beneath the surface.  Rituals to summon an ancient power. 

In a world filled with magic, can good stop a hungry evil? 

Lieutenant Artimus Atyrmirid feels unsettled. As a talented archer and head investigator for the kingdom, the pragmatic elf tries to brush aside the flaws others claim are infiltrating his picture-perfect realm. But he senses a shift when a breakthrough in a bizarre kidnapping case puts him face to face with a devilish villain.

Mage Savannah Sylvanas is on a personal quest for justice. Delighted to be assigned to the rangers’ top investigative squad, the former druid drives herself hard to impress her new leader. And she’s horrified when their venture into an abandoned dwarven mine ends with half the team’s minds corrupted by a lurking darkness.



The Rise of Yezurkstal
The Evorath Trilogy
Book Two
Joseph P Macolino

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Free Dragon Press LLC
Date of Publication: July 11, 2023
ISBN: 978-0997883824
ASIN: B0C6JRCBV4
Number of pages: 394 pages

Book Description: 

A year ago, he was forced to retreat. Now he’s back for revenge. Will the people of Evorath be able to stand against his terrifying new power?

Yezurkstal is more determined than ever to reshape the forest of Erathal in his image. He’s done hiding and ready to lead the dark elves to build a new empire in Erathal. His plan is guaranteed to succeed after he creates a spell to lure unsuspecting humans into his army.

Evorath's heroes are once again called upon to fight. With new allies joining the cause, they unite to stand against the rising evil. But as Yezurkstal's power increases, time is running out, and the challenge is greater than ever before.

Will Yezurkstal and his undead army prevail over the heroes of Evorath or has he finally met his match?

The Rise of Yezurkstal is the thrilling second novel in the Evorath epic high fantasy series. If you enjoy reading about characters everyone loves to hate, mythical creatures, and fantasy worlds, you'll love Joseph P Macolino's epic fantasy adventure.



The Battle for Erathal
The Evorath Trilogy
Book Three
Joseph P Macolino

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Free Dragon Press LLC
Date of Publication: February 20, 2024
ISBN: 978-0-9978838-4-8
ASIN: B0CNHHS4FH
Number of pages: 319 pages

Book Description: 

He just wanted to enjoy this time of peace. But when a familiar evil is unleashed upon the forest of Erathal, will anyone be safe?

Enjoying the time without strife, Irontail works to spread peace and unity throughout the forest of Erathal. Organizing the first ever Festival of Gratitude, he finally feels he is fulfilling his calling as the leader of his centaur village. But his plans are once again hijacked when a familiar villain escapes from imprisonment.

The felite warrior, Tel’ Shira, joins Irontail and the other heroes of Erathal as they plan their counter-offensive. But even her gift of foresight is not enough to prepare her for the upcoming battle against this malevolent foe.

With the future of Erathal on the line, will anyone survive to tell the tale?

The Battle for Erathal is the thrilling conclusion to the Evorath epic fantasy trilogy. 

If you like expansive world-building, heart-pounding battle scenes, and heroic ensembles, you won’t want to miss Joseph P Macolino’s epic fantasy adventure.



About the Author: 

Joseph Macolino has a passion for nature, philosophy, and all things fantasy. An unwavering Christian and self-declared anarchist, he dreams of a future human society where people can truly cooperate and voluntarily exchange ideas, goods, and services. When he’s not writing Evorath, he’s likely outside gardening, spending time watching a show with his family, or reading a book on philosophy.

Considering himself a lifelong student of humanity, Joseph enjoys meeting new people and being exposed to new perspectives. He believes each person’s unique gifts can help contribute to stronger communities and hopes his work encourages others to embrace their gifts. Find out more about him at his website.

https://evorath.com/ 

https://www.facebook.com/Evorath

https://www.instagram.com/evorath/   






Wednesday, May 29, 2024

In the Kitchen with M. Laszlo #InTheKitchen #MeatballsHawaiian


M. Laszlo’s Favorite Recipe: Meatballs Hawaiian 

This dish is tender, appealingly-brown meatballs in a sweet-and-sour sauce.

Start with:

¼ cup milk

2 slices of white bread. (Might as well cut the crusts off.)

1 egg

½ cup finely-chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, crushed

In a large bowl, pour milk over 2 slices of white bread. Let soften.

Beat with a fork.

Beat in one egg until well blended.

Add 2 lb. ground beef. (Should make approximately 10 meatballs.)

Add chopped onion.

Add garlic.

Add salt and pepper.

Mix and shape into meatballs.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil and sauté until brown.

The sauce. 

In the drippings left in the skillet, sauté ½ cup of celery, 1/3 cup green pepper strips and ¼ cup of chopped onion. Sauté until tender.

Into all that put 13 ¼ oz. can of pineapple tidbits.

Add 1 cup chicken broth.

Add ½ cup cider vinegar. (This has a more exotic taste than regular white vinegar.)

Add 1/3 cup of light brown sugar.

Add ½ teaspoon of ground ginger.

Add 2 tablespoons corn starch.

Add 1/3 cup soy sauce. 

Stir until it thickens and comes to a boil.

Return meatballs to the sauce, reduce heat, and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve over steamed white rice.

If you are the creative type, you can switch out some of the vegetables and replace them with pea pods and/or green onion.



On the Threshold
M. Laszlo

Genre: SciFi, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism
Publisher: Awesome Independent Authors Publishing
Date of Publication: February 2024
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1922329584
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1922329585
Number of pages: 342
Word Count: Approximately 90,000 words
Cover Artist: Rose Newland

Tagline: Obsessed with solving the riddle of the universe,  Scotsman Fingal T. Smyth conducts an occult-science experiment during which he unleashes a projection of his innate knowledge. 

Book Description: 

Obsessed with solving the riddle of the universe, a Scotsman named Fingal T. Smyth conducts an occult-science experiment during which he unleashes a projection of his innate knowledge. 

Fingal aimed to interrogate this avatar to learn what it knows, but unfortunately, he forgot how violent the animal impulses that reside in the deepest recesses of the unconscious mind can be. The avatar appears as a burning man who seeks to manipulate innocent and unsuspecting people into immolating themselves. 

With little hope of returning the fiery figure into his being, Fingal must capture his nemesis before it destroys the world.

Amazon     BN



Excerpt:

Autumn, 1907: late one morning, some kind of torrid, invisible beast seemed to wrap itself all around Fingal T. Smyth’s body. Each one of his toes twitching fiercely, he exited the castle and scanned the distant, Scottish Highlands. Go back where you came from. As the entity wrapped itself tighter all about his person, Fingal blinked back his tears. I’m melting, I am. Aye, it’s the heat of fusion.

Gradually, the beast’s heartbeat became audible—each pulsation. At the same time, too, the illusory heat of transformation emitted an odor as of oven-roasted peppercorns dissolving in a cup of burnt coffee.

Over by the gatehouse, Fräulein Wunderwaffe appeared—the little German girl wearing a plain-sewn robe and square-crown bowler. In that moment, she no longer seemed to be a sickly child of seven years: her inscrutable expression resembled that of a wise, indifferent cat.
Perhaps even some kind of lioness. Fingal cringed, and he recalled a fragment of conversation from three weeks earlier.

“She suffers from a most unnatural pathology, an anguished, maniacal obsession with cats,”

Doktor Hubertus Pflug had explained. “Ever since the poor girl was a baby, she has always regarded it her fate to one day metamorphose into a glorious panther, for she believes herself to be ein Gestaltwandler. Do you know this word? It means shapeshifter and refers to someone who possesses the power to take the form of anything in nature.”

The heat radiated up and down Fingal’s spine now, and his thoughts turned back to the present. Aye, it’s a change of phase. I’m melting into a chemical compound. Despite all, he greeted the girl and willed himself to flash a grin.

Fräulein Wunderwaffe did not return the smile. Hand on heart, the little girl drew a bit closer.

Then, as the hot, animalistic presence undulated all across Fingal’s body, the little girl’s eyes grew wide. Until the little girl’s expression turned to that of a vacant stare.

A moment later, her feet pointed inwards, she removed her hat and undid her long, flaxen hair.

Again, he cringed. “If you’ve noticed something, ignore all. This hasn’t got anything to do with you.” A third time, he cringed.

A most ethereal, lyrical, incomprehensible hiss commenced then: from the other end of the winding, decorative-brick driveway, each clay block shining the color of blue Welsh stone, a sleek Siamese cat with a coat of chocolate-spotted ivory had just appeared. And now the creature raced toward his shadow.

As he looked into the animal’s big, searching, blue eyes, the chocolate Siamese studied the off-center tip of his nose. Then the animal turned away, as if to compare the peculiarity with that of some disembodied visage hovering in the distance.

Out upon the loch, meanwhile, a miraculous rogue wave suddenly arose—and now the swell crashed against the pebbly strand.

Not a moment later, a cool flame crawled across Fingal’s throat. The strange fire rattled, too—not unlike the sound of fallen juniper leaves caught up in the current and dancing against the surface of a stone walkway.

Crivens. By now, the alien, pulsating presence held him so tight that he could barely breathe.

Before long, he fell to the earth, and as the dreamlike flame continued to move across his throat, he rolled all about—until the illusory sensation of cool warmth wriggled and twisted and dropped into his neck dimple.

He crawled over to the little girl and grabbed her ankle. “Get on up to your physician’s room, eh?

Please. Go on and wake Doktor Pflug and tell him what’s happened.”



About the Author:

M. Laszlo is the pseudonym of an extreme recluse who lives in Bath, Ohio. Rumor holds that he derived his pen name from the character of Victor Laszlo in the classic film Casablanca. 









a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 23, 2024

In the Kitchen with Susanna Strom - Recipe for Grandma Helena’s Oatmeal Cake #InTheKitchen #Recipe #OatmealCake


 

Baking is one of the most soul satisfying things I do. I love to share home-made breads, cookies, pies, cakes, etc. with my family and friends. You can’t beat the taste of home-made. My favorite baked goods are things you rarely see at a grocery store or bakery: baklava babka, Nantucket cranberry pie, black bottom pie, rhubarb coffee cake, marionberry crunch bars. I could go on and on. Baking from scratch is a real money saver, too. Tonight I’ll be serving a rosemary and roasted garlic peasant bread with our dinner. A beautiful, crusty loaf of peasant bread costs less than $1 to produce. Baking relaxes me. From start to finish, it’s a joy.

I love baking so much that I feature it in my new Black Rock Guardians paranormal romance series. The heroines in the first three books—the Hagen cousins—own and operate Freya’s Bake Shop, named after their beloved Grandma Freya. Many of the pastries they sell at their bakeshop are my family’s favorite treats.

My Norwegian grandmother was a fabulous baker. Her oatmeal cake is one of my all-time favorite desserts. It won’t wow you with its looks. It’s a simple, homey, unfrosted sheet cake that tastes like the pecan coconut filling in a German chocolate cake. Straight from the Torland family cookbook, here’s the recipe.

 

Grandma Helena’s Oatmeal Cake 


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x11-inch pan.

 

Stir together in a large bowl:

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/3 cups flour

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

 

Stir in:

1 cube of melted butter

2 eggs

 

Add:

1 ½ cups boiling water

 

The mixture will look very soupy and watery. Pour into the greased pan. You’ll add the following topping before it goes into the oven.

 

Stir together:

1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans

½ cup white sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup of grated coconut

6 tablespoons melted butter

¼ cup cream

 

Sprinkle the topping over the raw cake. Bake for 45 minutes.

 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

  

Marked Under the Midnight Sun
Black Rock Guardians 
Book Three
Susanna Strom

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Cougar Creek Publishing, LLC
Date of Publication: May 21, 2024
ISBN: 9781960382092
ASIN: B0CKKXFYFC
Cover Artist: Lori Jackson 

Tagline: He was loaded for bear. And he still wasn’t ready for her… 

Book Description:

Viggo

I do jobs no one else in my pack can do. Dirty jobs.

Like kidnapping Liv Hagen.

I didn’t want to do it. I was just following my alpha’s orders.

I never thought my bear would think she’s ours.

But there’s no way I can keep her. The consequences are too dire.

So, when the time comes, I’ll have no choice but to surrender her to fate.

Even if it kills me…

Liv

Kidnapped, held captive, and used as a bargaining chip against the Black Rock Guardians.

Yeah. Seems about right for my luck.

But if the big, bad bear shifter thinks I’m going to submit to his—or anyone’s—will, he’s got another thing coming.

Which is why I’ll just have to ignore my attraction to the sexy jerk. It’s probably Stockholm syndrome, anyway.

I mean, it’s not like he’s my fated mate or anything… right?

Marked Under the Midnight Sun, Book 3 in the Black Rock Guardians Series, is a lightly angsty, enemies to lovers paranormal romance with plenty of spice and tense moments, and just the right amount of suspense, action, and adventure. Download today and get ready for the supernatural romance you didn’t know you needed.

Amazon     Kobo     Apple     BN     Books2Read      

Excerpt:

Liv huddled next to the campfire, a flimsy Mylar sleeping bag wrapped around her shoulders. Soaking wet, her cheeks flushed scarlet from the frigid air, the human was in trouble. The sun had dipped below the horizon and the temperature was plummeting.

I glanced at my shivering captive. “Gimme your coat, dress, and boots.”

“What?” she sputtered. “Dude, I’m not stripping in front of you.”

My lip quirked. Nobody but this feisty, gotta-be-freezing-her-ass-off woman would dare call me dude. Most pack mates cringed in my presence, and referred to me as Mr. Creed, or sir.
Not Liv.

“You’ll never warm up if you spend the night in wet clothes.” I pointed at the sticks wedged into the ground next to the campfire. “I’ll put your things close to the flames to dry out.”

“Forget it.” She yanked the emergency sleeping bag up to her ears.

I bit the inside of my cheek. I never got a good look at her body underneath the sodden down parka, but her legs were shapely and I bet her figure matched.

What the hell am I doing?

Was there any thing more pointless, more self-destructive than being attracted to the woman I’m turning over to my heartless alpha?

Time to shut this shit down.

I stepped toward her and deliberately shaped my features into an intimidating scowl.

“You telling me you’d rather freeze to death than take off your wet clothes?”

She didn’t answer, probably realizing how foolish she’d sound if she said yes.

“My orders are to bring you safe and sound to Medved. I can’t let you get hypothermia.”

“And a flunky like you doesn’t dare disappoint his alpha, right?” Scorn dripped from her voice.

“That’s right.” No point in taking offense when she spoke the truth. I lowered my chin and put command into my voice. “So either you strip or I’ll do it for you.”

Color returned to her cheeks in an angry flush. “Try it, buddy, and you’ll lose a hand.”
I could easily overpower the mouthy woman and peel her clothes off. Grizzly shifter versus human? Hell, no contest. Liv wasn’t stupid. She had to realize how powerless and vulnerable she was. Still, she jutted out her chin, and her pretty brown eyes shot sparks.

Rubbing the back of my neck, I debated how to handle the insolent human. I’d ripped her away from everybody and everything she knew. Her next few days were bound to be rough, especially if she shot off her mouth in front of Medved. Why not cut her some slack? If she saw me as a reasonable man, she might be more willing to listen when I warned her to mind her manners in front of my alpha.

“How about I turn around and look the other way while you undress?” I proposed.

The fingers clutching the top of the sleeping bag had turned bone white, and she trembled from the cold. “Fine,” she said reluctantly. “Do it.”

I put my back to her. “Just don’t get any crazy ideas about picking up a branch and clobbering me.”

She snorted. “We’re in the middle of godforsaken nowhere.” I heard rustling as she dropped the sleeping bag and shed her wet clothes. My imagination filled in the details as I imagined her naked behind me. “Even if I managed to knock you out, where would I go?”


About the Author:

Susanna loves to read―and write―stories full of complex characters who find love, hope, and connection while navigating through an exciting and dangerous world. Susanna lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and two very spoiled cats.






Susanna’s Stormers, Facebook Readers Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1572291033136914