The Friday Poem: Frenetic Lines


Fantastic Summer Reads Half-price on Smashwords

Just a few days left! Looking for a fast-paced and fun paranormal #Romance for summer reading? Earthbound is just $2 for all ebook formats on Smashwords right now, along with a host of other great books in many genres. #tirgearrtuesday


The Sunday Recipe: Vanilla Applesauce



This past week my munchkin and I were sick with the stomach flu and I discovered I had none of the recommended B.R.A.T. diet in the house for recovery. (Yeah, you don’t want to be running out to the store with the stomach flu.)

For those who don’t remember, B is for bananas, to which I am allergic. R is for rice, but apparently only white because the bran in brown can make matters worse. A is for applesauce, which is generally eaten as whole apples in our house. And T is for toast, but again only white bread which I rarely eat because it just doesn’t like me.

So, we had apples. Luckily, I’m well acquainted with a little kitchen magic to turn them to sauce. It’s a handy trick to master. My mother taught me years ago to add a teaspoon of butter and a bit of vanilla to please the young palate. I will venture to suggest that if you don’t do dairy, a teaspoon of any neutral kitchen oil will work.

Fat content, even a tiny bit, is a major trick in many recipes to make the tastes hit your palate in a very different way. It’s why just a touch of cream in coffee can make a big difference.

So many recipes use sugar but we’ve never found it necessary. We ate a couple bowls of applesauce today and I asked my daughter if she would call it sweet or sweet-tart. She said, “sweet!” There you have it.

One of the nice things about applesauce is it’s pretty forgiving, use what you have and just enough water to keep the apples from sticking to the pot. Make a big batch or a single apple. It’s all good.


  • 6 medium apples (Northern Spy or Granny Smith preferred. Other tart varieties will do.)
  • Water to cover the bottom of the pot.
  • 1 teaspoon butter or neutral oil such as light olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)


  1. Peel, core, and chunk up the apples into a medium pot.
  2. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Maybe 1/3 cup.
  3. Bring the water to a quick boil.
  4. Stir and cover the pot.
  5. Turn the heat to low.
  6. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. If the apples aren’t soft, give them a little longer.
  8. Mash the apples.
  9. Stir in the butter or oil and vanilla.
  10. Serve warm or chilled.
  11. Enjoy.

The Friday Poem: A Sanctuary Built of Words

I’m afraid the munchkin and I have been down with a rather severe stomach virus this week so I’m going to revisit an old poem that captures my philosophy about writing. I hope you enjoy.


The Sunday Recipe: Coconut Oil Chocolates


Fruit & Nut or Coconut Chocolates

Years ago I came across a recipe to make chocolates out of coconut oil, cocoa powder, and Stevia. I used maple syrup instead and I’ve added different things. Recently I made fruit and nut bars with pecans and reduced sugar Craisins in cupcake liners, and smaller chocolates with coconut in them in mini muffin liners. Here’s my recipe. They are as good as anything I can buy, and slightly healthier, in my estimation. Plus, they make great little energy bites while I’m writing!


  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder (56 grams, packed tablespoons will yield a MUCH darker chocolate)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans & 1/3 cup chopped craisins OR ½ cup (40 grams) grated unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 cup cake liners or about 15 mini cupcake liners


  1. Heat the coconut oil gently in a glass bowl or measuring cup on 50% power for about half a minute.
  2. Stir in the cocoa powder.
  3. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt.
  4. Stir in any additions.
  5. I divided the cranberry and pecan ones evenly between 6 muffin liners.
  6. The shredded coconut ones made about 15 tablespoon sized chocolates in mini muffin liners. (Or would have if my daughter didn’t steal a spoonful to eat.)
  7. Refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.
  8. Store in the refrigerator, especially in hot weather.
  9. Enjoy!

The Friday Poem: Continuity

This one was inspired by physicist Alan Lightman’s book, Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine.


The Sunday Recipe: Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper Melange


Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper Melange

I remember serving this to my father many years ago, it was one of his favorite things that I cooked. I was surprised and elated when my young daughter loved it. She was the one who dubbed it “Veggie Melange.” If you have the option, get a red bell pepper with four ‘lobes’ on the bottom, they are better for cooking.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium sweet red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 medium zucchini squash or 2 small, chopped in about ½ inch chunks
  • 1 – 15 ounce can diced tomatoes (no salt added, or leave out the salt below)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder (or 2 cloves of crushed garlic added in with the onions)
  • ¼ teaspoon of sea salt
  • Pinch of sugar


  1. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and pour in the olive oil.
  2. Allow to heat on medium while you dice the onion.
  3. Saute onion while you core and chop the bell pepper.
  4. Add the bell pepper, give it a stir, and turn the heat down a little bit, medium low now.
  5. Dice the zucchini and add to the pan. Stir and cover.
  6. Cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Stir and cook another 3 minutes.
  8. Add the diced tomatoes and seasonings. Stir and recover.
  9. Simmer 5 minutes.
  10. Stir and simmer another 3 to 5 minutes.
  11. Add anything you would like from options below and enjoy!

Optional —  Add a cup or two of cooked pasta or tortellini, add some chopped up leftover meatloaf, some meatballs, or Italian sausage. Stir in some cheese. These days I tend to serve it with Italian sausage but my daughter likes to stir in some cottage cheese.

The Friday Poem: Tension Headache


Childhood Summer Reading


Is there much better than summer reading on vacation? There seems to be a central mystery theme at the core of my reading when I was growing up. I still love a good mystery. Some were books I found at my grandmother’s house where I went on vacation and some were books I got through my little local library.

Here’s just a few of my favorites from summer reading as a kid –

Bobbsey Twins in Rainbow Valley by Laura Lee Hope  – This was a little book that I found in my grandmother’s house and I loved reading it every time I was there.  The two sets of twins, Flossie and Freddie and Bert and Nan, go on vacation with their parents to Rainbow Valley.  Many mildly scary adventures befall them on their trip.  I think the adventure on vacation angle appealed to my mind because I was on vacation at my grandmother’s house.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – I think my recollections of this story could be a little bit mixed up with the movie at this point but I still remember the soft green of this paperback copy and the softness of the pages for some reason.  The story never got old for me.  Mary is an orphan after her parents die of Cholera in India.  She is frail and sickly but when she goes to stay with her uncle on the moor in England, the garden she finds helps her return to health even as she helps it.  Who wouldn’t like a little bit of Earth to call their own? And how much better if it’s a secret garden with a hidden door in a high wall?  It’s the magic of nature.

The Mystery of the Crimson Ghost by Phyllis A. Whitney – Like most teen girls, I was horse crazy. Of course, it didn’t help that I grew up on the same street where they held horse auctions every other Friday and I walked horses to cool them down after polo matches one year.  I spent years trying to find this book again because I didn’t have the title quite right.  I finally ran across it and found out it was by none other than Phyllis Whitney.  This was the perfect story for a horse crazed teenager with a love of mysteries.  Janey goes to visit her Aunt Viv on summer vacation and sees a mysterious crimson ghost dog across the lake.  There’s also a beautiful horse across the lake.  In order to ride the horse, she’ll have to figure out the mystery surrounding the crimson ghost.

What were some of your favorite childhood reads?

The Sunday Recipe: Coconut Custard with Berries


Coconut Custard with Berries

I’ve made this with peaches, blueberries, raspberries, and even rhubarb. (Warning: Even though I LOVE rhubarb, the flavor just didn’t go with the coconut for me. Try that at your own risk.) Pictured above are raspberries in the top two and blueberries in the bottom two. It can be made, at the same time and temp, in a deep-dish pie plate instead of individual ramekins by simply doubling the recipe. I made a double batch because it uses a full can of coconut milk then just refrigerated half overnight and made the other half the next day. That way I could bake it in my toaster oven on the front porch to keep from heating the kitchen up. I highly recommend the blueberries, preferably fresh but frozen works too.


  • 1/2 can of coconut milk (cans are usually 13.33 to 15 ounce)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (sugar will work)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour (Almond flour, tapioca flour, and even cocoa powder have worked. If using cocoa powder, add a half tablespoon of tapioca starch or a teaspoon of cornstarch.)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup berries, fresh or frozen.


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the four ramekins in a square baking dish, metal or glass work.
  3. Put one layer of berries in the bottom of the dishes.
  4. Heat 1 ½ cups of water for a water bath.
  5. Place the rest of the ingredients in a blender or bowl and mix thoroughly. (I used a stick blender.)
  6. Pour batter slowly over fruit.
  7. Pour hot water into pan around ramekins. (Be careful, the pan can now become quite hot.)
  8. Bake for 40 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and drain water. I do this by either removing the removing the ramekins to a towel using rubber covered tongs, or by using a turkey baster to suction the water out of the pan.
  10. Allow to cool then refrigerate for several hours.
  11. Serve as is or with whipped cream, or whipped coconut cream.
  12. Enjoy!

*Last Edited 7/8/2020

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