Tag Archives: chocolate

Here Comes Captain America!

Long weekend coming up and I’m so excited for the extra day! I’m currently working on revisions to THE FIFTH KINGDOM, a romantic suspense that will be out in July. Also hoping to catch up on some television shows I missed this week, visiting the Ocean Grove Chocolate Lovers Weekend and maybe a movie.

I know this movie is not out yet, but I am counting down the minutes until its release. I mean, Chris Evans, looking way buff. And a superhero to boot. My favoritest. So watch out, because here comes CAPTAIN AMERICA!

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Murder, Mayhem & Chocolate

Today I’m doing a holiday visit over at the Carina Press romantic suspense authors blog on which I’ll be writing off and on during the course of the coming year – NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS.

So what do murder, mayhem and chocolate have in common? Why not pop on over and visit with me and Bobbie (aka Sunny) Cole as we discuss those three key ingredients for a romantic suspense. LOL!

And just in case your feeling the winter bite today, let my personal assistant (don’t I wish!) bring you a little something to chase away the chill or try the marvelous Chocolate Chile Recipe over at NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS.

Caridad's Personal Assistant

Trifle with Berries and Sour Cream

cookiesThe other day I needed to clean out fridge and freezer in anticipation of the space that I would need for all the Christmas Eve food prep! But what does one do with frozen berries and sour cream (they had a sale so I went a little overboard!).

Then there was the box of vanilla wafers just sitting on the shelf and I thought, why not a variation on a simple trifle. It took just a little prep, some sitting in the fridge and even my hubby, who is not a dessert person, loved it.

So, next time you want something quick, semi-healthy and light, try this Trifle with Berries and Sour Cream!

Ingredients

    1 lb frozen blueberries
    2 lb frozen strawberries
    1 pint sour cream
    1 cup mini marshmallows
    1 capful vanilla extract
    4 packets of Splenda
    1 box of vanilla wafers

Directions

  • Empty frozen strawberries and blueberries into a bowl. Let them thaw and cut strawberries in half. In the summer months you can use real berries, but you’ll need to put a little sugar on them to generate the juice you get from the frozen berries. Set this bowl aside.
  • Dump sour cream into another bowl. Add capful of vanilla, Splenda and marshmallows. Mix well and place in fridge to set a bit. About an hour.
  • Use a quart and half clear glass bowl (it looks nice to see the layers of cookies, berries and sour cream!). Line the bottom and one row up with the vanilla wafers. Spoon some of the berries onto this layer, but try to leave the liquid behind for now. It’ll make it’s way to the bottom anyway.
  • Cover with about a cup of the sour cream mixture, spreading it out all over the berries.
  • Add another layer and row of vanilla wafers above the sour cream mixture.
  • Cover this vanilla wafer layer with more berries and again, another layer of sour cream.
  • Place some of the vanilla wafers in a plastic sandwich bag and crush them until they are a little coarser than bread crumbs. It’s okay if you’ve got a few pieces that are chunkier, but not too big. Sprinkle these pieces on top of the sour cream layer.
  • Refridgerate for several hours.

Easy, right? Now there are several variations you can do to this recipe. For starters, use light or fat free sour cream to reduce the calories. If you don’t like Splenda, substitute confectioner’s sugar. Real sugar will be too coarse in the sour cream mixture. Want to make it a little more adult? Add a touch of alcohol to berry mixture. Amaretto, Frangelica or Navan vanilla brandy would all be delightful. If you want to do strawberries only, try adding Godiva Chocolate Liqueur.

You can also add frozen or fresh raspberries to the mix. Just keep the ratio of 3 pounds to the one pint.

If you find as you’re doing the layers that you’ve got left over berries/sour cream, just keep on layering. You can also puree some of the berries for a sauce that you can drizzle over the trifle once it’s served.

Hope you enjoy this little treat!

Thoughtful Thursday – A Cure for Recession Depression

It’s not easy watching the news lately. In fact, it’s downright depressing. For the first time in my life, I feel like I have no control and that’s not a good thing. For that reason, I can understand the anger of many who might be feeling the same way.

But luckily, this morning’s news has something good to read! The AFP reports that researchers in Stockholm have found that ” Heart attack survivors who eat chocolate two or more times per week cut their risk of dying from heart disease about threefold compared to those who never touch the stuff.”

In addition, the news article mentions that there was a connection between cocoa and improved blood flow and lowered blood pressure!

Good news! You can click here for more of the news article or cut and paste this link:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090813/hl_afp/healthdiseaseheartchocolate

Also – please drop by tomorrow to visit with my friend Raul Ramos y Sanchez to find out more about his new book, AMERICA LIBRE.

The Dreaded Info Dump

dumpI was rewriting a chapter yesterday and when I read it to my critique group, I didn’t need them to tell me what I was doing wrong.

I knew I was doing the Dreaded Info Dump.

What’s that? you might ask.

Well, if you’re a reader it’s something you hopefully will not see in a book. It goes something like this:

Mary realized that it was Dr. Smith. He had treated her for bunions three years ago. Then again two years later for a heel spur. Now she was there to see him for an ingrown nail, but suspected it was much more than that. For two weeks her toe had been hurting. It had first been a slightly pink color. Then a few days later a little brighter red. Then after a week it had started getting really nasty. Finally a day ago she realized it was time to go see her favorite foot doctor.

Yes, I know we wouldn’t be interested in a story about her feet, but imagine that the story was a romantic suspense and all that information was about what had happened to the heroine in the last three months – an info dump.

Much like the person in the photo I posted, info dumps inundate a reader with too much info at one shot and in general, are boring. It’s like reading an encyclopedia entry for your hero or heroine.

If you need to provide the reader some backstory, it should be layered throughout the chapter and provide subtle hints and information about what’s put the protagonists in their current situation. In fact, the less you say and make the reader intuit, the more they will be drawn into the story you are writing because the reader is participating in the story.

Of course, don’t make it so confusing or obtuse that the reader will say, “I just don’t get it,” and disengage from the story.

The hints should be clear and lead the reader toward an understanding of what’s happening. They should be like the breadcrumbs that Hansel and Gretel leave behind, enough so they can be followed to a particular point where you, the writer, are leading them.

How do you know you are doing the dreaded info dump as a writer? Look for long paragraphs filled with too much information. Dense paragraphs like that are a clear sign that something is up that you should revisit.

I hope you found this Tuesday Tip helpful.

Also, don’t forget this week’s b’day bash. Just visit any of the blogs listed below this week and leave a comment and you’ll be eligible to win a prize from me! At Barbara Vey’s blog, there are tons of other prizes as well!

I’ll be visiting all of these blogs and if you’ve left a comment at any of them, you’ll also be eligible to win a $25 Godiva gift card! The more times I see your name at the different blogs, the more your chances improve to win the gift card. So take a moment and stop by one or all to improve your chances of winning a prize.

The contest ends on Friday, March 13th at midnight EST, so be sure to get your comments in there on time!

Barbara Vey’s Beyond Her Book Blog for lots of fun and giveaways!
http://www.publishersweekly.com/blog/880000288/post/1240041524.html

Fresh Fiction: http://freshfiction.com/page.php?id=1602

Harlequin Paranormal Romance blog: http://paranormalromanceblog.wordpress.com/

Liberty States Fiction Writers (leave a comment on any of the blog posts): http://www.libertystatesfictionwriters.com/blog-read-around-the-world/

Long and Short Reviews: http://longandshortarchives.blogspot.com/search/label/Caridad%20Pineiro