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October 2016

Easy Deadline Dinners for Writers!

Like many writers, I’m working on sitting less and getting healthier. I’ve always cooked six days a week, but I’m trying to focus on healthier recipes. And, I need them to be fast to get me through deadlines on top of dealing with the kids’ afterschool activities. As an aside, one thing I do to stave off the munchies while saving time is pay for the convenience of precut vegetable plates. The best recipe website I’ve run across recently is called Skinny Taste. It’s all healthy and everything has been great.

The recipe I’m including here is modified from a Weight Watchers cookbook. Both my kids love it. I call it:

Pasta with Wine Sauce

1lb ground meat (can use beef, chicken, turkey, or pork)

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1/2 cup diced onion

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 garlic clove, minced (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)

1 32oz can of petite-diced tomatoes

1/4 cup red wine

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 lb pasta (bow-ties, shells, etc)

While water is boiling for pasta, dice carrots and onion. Saute in a drizzle of olive oil until tender with seasoning and garlic. Add meat and brown. Cook pasta according to the box. Once meat is done, add can of tomatoes and wine, salt and pepper. Simmer while the pasta is cooking.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Now, speaking of deadlines…I’ve got one! Enjoy and happy cooking!

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Let’s Celebrate!

Are you in the mood for love? Well, the BadGirlz have you covered with not one, but two new releases!

First up is a new novella from the lovely, talented Brighton Walsh… And, it’s calling to me because it’s set during my formative years! Plus, y’all know I love me some football. msw_cover_ebook Check out the blurb below:

She’s the last thing he needs, but she’s the only thing he wants…as long as it’s behind closed doors.

It was supposed to be a one-time thing. No one would find out; no one would have to know. And then once turned into twice, and twice turned into several times a week, and now pierced, punk-loving, rebellious Tia Lanning is banging Mason Brooks, the big man on campus and Mr. All American.

But banging him isn’t the problem. Falling for him is. Especially when he’s content to let her remain his dirty little secret.

Set in the time of mix tapes, Pearl Jam, and babydoll tees, My Strongest Weakness is a steamy 25,000 word novella with a dirty talking hero, no cheating, a grand gesture that’ll make you swoon, and a guaranteed HEA.

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Now that things are cooling down, the holidays are calling. What could be better than a “sweet and steamy” Christmas novella about a reformed bad who finds love where he least expects it–in the back of a cop car! If you’ve read my Falcon Football series, you might recognize Jeremy aka Whitey. Well, he was a very bad boy then, but times have changed and so has he…if he can just convince himself he deserves to be happy. This is also a great introduction to my Cottonbloom series and only $1.99! Hope you enjoy!

A very Cottonbloom Christmas!

Jeremy Whitehurst has tried to leave his bad-boy behavior and tarnished image behind in Alabama for a fresh start in Cottonbloom, Louisiana. Unfortunately, trouble has dogged him across state lines. Stepping up and protecting a young woman from her abusive boyfriend earned him a beat-down and got him fired. Although the thanks in the girl’s dark eyes made it all worth it, he recognizes she’s just a different kind of trouble. A trouble he’s not sure he can stay away from.

One rebellious summer dented Kayla Redmond’s carefree innocence. Now her focus is on completing her associate’s degree for bookkeeping, and no one is going to derail her plans. Unfortunately, her job at Fournette Brothers Designs puts her in the path of the one man who has seen her at her worst, yet his blue eyes don’t judge her. He sees beyond the brokenness inside of her and rouses her wild side once more. But, that’s what got her in trouble in the first place.

Christmas is coming and Kayla’s ready to forgive herself and take a chance. But the holiday has only ever brought heartache to Jeremy. No Christmas miracle kept his mother clean or out of jail. Will one reckless night and some time spent in the back of a cop car be the best present Jeremy’s ever been given?

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Cooking with Sophia – for beginners

Hello Hello!

I’m here to share my favorite recipe. It’s very easy, since I am NOT a good cook. I once had the fire department come to my house sirens-blaring because of my cooking. No joke. Don’t worry! There was no fire! Just a lot of smoke from me trying to follow very well written recipe instructions.  *I apologized profusely and also brought the firefighters doughnuts and coffee the next morning.*

Sophia’s Favorite Recipe

Cup or glass–I prefer a Tervis Tumbler. I’m not a fan of condensation.

Ice–or not.

Vodka–as much as you want

Add whatever beverage you like with vodka–or none at all–it’s great both ways

Grab a book. Relax and Enjoy!

*Please do not drive after consuming this beverage.*

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SOPHIA – WHAT BOOK SHOULD I GRAB?

I’m glad you asked. Because my fourth book, UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT released TODAY! And it stars a hot Russian hockey player. So the vodka fits perfectly!!

More Info:

UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT

Contemporary Romance.

Random House Loveswept

Sparks fly when a strong-willed Greek girl meets a cocky Russian hockey player on a singles cruise in this story of adventure, forgiveness, and LOVE. Discover why Kelly Jamieson calls the Pilots Hockey series “fun and flirty, warm and sweet.”
 
Kristen Katsaros wants a life full of adventure and laughter. After a difficult childhood, her motto is to live each day like it’s her last—because it just might be. So when Kristen’s parents send her on a post-grad singles cruise in the Caribbean to meet a Greek husband, she promptly hooks up with the hottest guy she’s ever met. Pasha’s decidedly not Greek, but Kristen gives him a pass because he’s got fun written all over his rock-hard abs.

Pavel Gribov, the cocky playboy of the Detroit Pilots hockey team, can score any girl he wants. But when a teammate drags him on a singles cruise, he can’t resist the chance to help out a drop-dead gorgeous damsel in distress by pretending to be her boyfriend. Before long, the fake fling turns intimate, fueled by something much deeper than lust.

Kristen and Pasha both agree to walk away once the cruise is over, but reality hits like a slap shot when Kristen finds out Pasha lied about everything. Just when she’s ready to start living again, the two stubborn survivors must decide if they can bear to lose the best thing that ever happened to either of them.

Also – I donate the first $500 in my royalties (yes, before I pay myself) to a different charity for each book. I’ve chosen the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for this book, as my heroine has CF. <3

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Buy Links:

Amazon // iBooks // Barnes & Noble // Kobo

Books-A-Million // Google Play

 

Thank you for letting me indulge in a NEW RELEASE post instead of a real recipe!! Happy Reading! <3

Sophia Henry writes Heartfelt Flirty Fiction featuring hot, hockey-playing heroes. DELAYED PENALTY and POWER PLAY, the first two books in the Pilots Hockey series from Random House Flirt, are available now at all major e-book retailers.

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Easy Pot Pie for the Busy Writer!

There is nothing better than a nice warm meal on a chilly autumn night.  However, when you’re in writer mode there’s not a lot of time to spend dallying in the kitchen. Following along with our Bad Girl theme this month, Quick Meals for Writers, I wanted to share one of my easy-to-make, family favorites.

Double Crusted Chicken Pot Pie

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Ingredients:

2 (9 inch) refrigerator pie crust

1 to 2 packages of pre-cooked chicken (Or you can prepare fresh or cut from a rotisserie Chicken)

1 (16 oz.) can mixed vegetables drained

1 can of cream of chicken soup

½ tsp. of Old Bay seasoning

1/4 tsp. of pepper

Directions:

Fit one pie crust into the bottom of pie pan (do not bake)

Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and spoon into pie crust

Place remaining crust on top. Fold edges together. (You can cut off extra crust and fork the edges if you like but the crust is my favorite part, so I fold together)

Cut four slits in the top

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes!  (Let stand for ten minutes before serving)

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There you have it. Easy-Peasy! Stay warm and stay writing!

Remember to Dream Big!

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Let’s Run Away Together!

With the hurricane hitting the coast this weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about storms. There’s the kind of storm that beats on the walls of homes and uproots trees, and the metaphorical kind that rips through our lives and tears apart everything we thought we knew.

Both types of storm are crazy to experience firsthand, and both—if you look hard enough—have a small place of peace right in the center of the chaos.

I remember when I was 12 years old, I sat wide-eyed in my living room floor in South Carolina, surrounded by the warmth of my sleeping bag while Hurricane Hugo passed directly over our house. It hit us at night, for hours pounding against the brick on one side of our home. Then a time of deadly calm surrounded us. There wasn’t even a breeze as we sat waiting for what we knew would come soon, and then it did, hammering the other side of our home until early morning.

Lately I’ve felt like I’ve been living through a different sort of hurricane, the overly hectic life sort of hurricane. As many of you know, the construction at my house started in May and has been unrelenting ever since. Every day there are multiple crews of workers moving around me, and hammering things—always with the hammering of things. And the mess, dear God, the mess.

On top of the construction madness, there’s been my writing life… Bad Girlz of the World, will things in this business ever be simple? I’m pretty sure the answer is no, in fact I’m sure of it. LOL

In this constant fight to navigate my way through the current hurricane of writer life and real life, I’ve been feeling pretty run down, defeated even. I’m someone who likes to have everything in my life neat and organized. I select my clothes for a conference months in advance, I already know what vacations I’ll take in the next 2 years, and the plot of my manuscripts as well as my dinner menus might as well be chiseled in stone. But lately all of my plans and carefully sorted details of life have blown around until they’re unrecognizable, and the effort of keeping things straight has become exhausting.

That was until last week when the wind and rain came to abrupt halt for a day and I finally found the eye of the storm and peace for the first time since spring. It started with a simple text message from Heather McGovern: I need a break. We should run away from home for a night.

Sometimes that’s how times of peace approach us, with a gentle tap on the shoulder or in this case, a text message from a friend, for you to stop and turn around.

Soon we were meeting up in Asheville, NC for a full day andnight of fun!

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The construction at my house was still pounding away and I had a deadline for developmental edits on my next book, but for a day McGovy and I laughed, shopped, sipped champagne, ate chocolates, and stopped to sit on the sidewalk with a poet for hire.poet-for-hire

Sure, it was a nice break from reality and a good time with my good friend, McGovy. But more than that, our time away helped me remember that I’m not finding my way through the dark and rainy streets of the writer world or the real world alone. I have a tribe. Not only do I have a family who loves me, I have you, my Bad Girlz. Wherever the wind pushes me tomorrow, next week, or a year from now, I know now that I’ll survive the storm. And so will you!

poemHave you ever survived a hurricane? Which kind? I hope you found the eye of the storm in the middle of the madness.

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Sticky Cashew Chicken

About three years ago, I made a switch that would change my life. I did my first Whole 30 and figured out some things about myself. Firstly, the stomach problems I’d had all my life and had been to see numerous doctors about? Yeah. Turns out I’m lactose intolerant. And those daily headaches and weekly migraines I suffered from for years? Yeah. Turns out my body hates sugar.

It’s been a bumpy three years, and while I haven’t always stuck with it as well as I should (and I’ve paid the price), we’ve made big strides to changing our lifestyle. Especially in January when, after watching the documentary Fed Up as a family, we went paleo. Yes, I detoxed my kids from sugar. No, I’m not crazy (most days). For the past ten months, we’ve been following what I call the 90/10 paleo life where we do paleo 90% of the time and cut ourselves some slack the other 10%.

While I could go on and on about how amazing the effects of eating this way are, that’s not what this post is about. This is about quick meals for writers. But. Well. It’s incredibly difficult to find fast meals that are paleo friendly and that aren’t eggs (again).

Enter my favorite meal, ever. It is AHMAYZING. It’s so amazing, I have to make a triple batch every time I make it because that’s how much every single person in my family loves it. And I promise you, even if you’re not paleo, you will gobble up every bite. This recipe is adapted from Juli Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook (my favorite cookbook of all time) because I don’t like to cook with chicken wings and, well, because I had chicken breasts on hand the first time I made this and was too lazy to go to the store.

sticky-cashew-chickenSticky Cashew Chicken
2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2-3T arrowroot or tapioca starch
2T coconut oil (may also use olive oil or ghee)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1t fresh grated ginger
1/2c coconut aminos
3T honey
1T chili sauce
Splash of Worcestershire sauce (or fish sauce, if you have it)
2T olive oil (may also use coconut oil or ghee)
3/4c cashews
green onions as desired

  1. Get your sauce going by melting 2T coconut oil in a small saucepan. Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. Then add coconut aminos, honey, chili sauce, and Worcestershire; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Boil until it’s reduced a bit and has thickened.
  2. Meanwhiiiiiile, cut up your chicken, then throw the bits in a gallon ziplock baggie with the arrowroot/tapioca starch and salt/pepper to taste. Toss to coat. (use more starch if needed, but these should just have a dusting, not full coverage otherwise they’ll get gummy)
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan. Once ready, add your coated chicken. NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT: Let the chicken sit, sizzling and popping, until the the chicken starts to turn just a bit white on top. Then flip and repeat! You should have a nice golden crust on all your bitesize pieces.
  4. Once chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened (it may still be a bit runny), add your crispy chicken to the sauce pan and divvy up. Try to remember other people may want some, too. I know it’s difficult.
  5. Serve over cauliflower rice (or regular rice, if you’re a rebel), and top with desired amount of cashews (lots) and green onions (a few).
  6. Stuff your face.

From start to finish, this recipe takes about 45 minutes and is worth every second spent in the kitchen. Yes, even while on deadline.

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