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Book Review: The Glassblower

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The Glassblower, by Petra Durst-Benning, is a little slow to get into, but the story of the Steinmann sisters and their struggles in glassblowing soon drew me in. With the death of their father, Johanna, Ruth, and Marie have lost their last parent and their income. Life becomes frighteningly uncertain, and the young women face near-starvation. Continue reading

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Filed under book review, Dolores Davis, Fiction

The Day the Country Store Catalog Arrived…

The catalog from the Vermont Country Store arrived in the mail today. Immediately, I’m plunged into countrystore Continue reading

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Filed under Jean Shriver, Musings

Does Hitler Matter Anymore?

What we believe about Hitler is that he was an obviously inhuman madman whose deliberate hatred motivated him to kill millions of people in concentration camps. But was it that simple? What if he was, if not perfectly sane, sufficiently so to be fully responsible for his actions? And what dark psychological forces underlay that hatred? Are there more lessons for us to learn, lessons that could prevent recurrence of such mass exterminations? Or is it already too late for us?

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Filed under historical fiction, Jeff Guenther

Fast French Onion Soup

Fast French Onion Soup

This soup is prepared in approximately 20 minutes and matches the taste of the original classic very well. You don’t need the ovenproof bowls as the broiling step is eliminated! 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 large, onions skinned, halved and sliced as thin as possible

½ teaspoon dried thyme or 3 or 4 fresh sprigs

3 tablespoons flour

½ cup dry white wine

6 cups hot beef commercial stock

½ cup Gruyere cheese, grated (also known as Swiss)

4 to 6 slices of French-style bread, toasted

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

 Parsley chopped fine

 1.     In a large saucepan, caramelize (sauté until golden brown) the onions in the butter and oil over medium to low heat, stirring occasionally. This will take 10 to 20 minutes. Add the thyme at the end of this process.

2.     When the onions are caramelized and the bottom of the pan is all sticky, add flour, stirring it in well, and cook about one minute. Add wine to deglaze, then hot beef broth, and bring the soup to a simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3.     Place toasted French-style bread in soup bowls, followed by a few tablespoons of grated cheese, then a ladle of simmering soup. Garnish with parsley.

Notes

Butter in this soup adds flavor but you don’t need much due to the cheese.

 Also olive oil or any oil combined with butter stops the butter from burning.

I like to use white onions as they are higher in sugar content and caramelize better. You may add a teaspoon of sugar to the onions to hasten the caramelizing process.  

 Use the best possible Swiss / Gruyere cheese as this is a large part of the recipe’s taste.

Use very little salt if you use commercial stock.

In this recipe you have learned to caramelize and deglaze, or lift sticky bits from the bottom of the soup pot, to greatly enhance the flavor of your soup. 

This is a recipe from my cookbook “Gourmet the Simple Way”

Find it on Amazon

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Guest Post: Rayne Hall The Art of Procrastination

RayneHall - Fantasy Horror Author - Portrait by FawnheartA Non-fiction Piece
by Rayne Hall

1. Read this blog before you start today’s writing session.

2. Nobody can procrastinate all the time. Take a break now and then and write something. Then return to procrastination with renewed vigour.

3. Don’t waste your procrastination on Continue reading

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Filed under Excerpts, Guest Posts, humor

Aroint Thee, Unholy Adverb! Hie Thee Hence! Fie! Fie!

ShaltNot-ShaltTooA few years ago, there suddenly appeared, as if from Heaven, a new rule for writers, no doubt engraved somewhere in marble or ivory: THOU SHALT NOT USE ADVERBS. (For those who are unclear as to what an adverb is, the rule has a variant: GET RID OF ALL LY WORDS. [1])  The source of this rule is unknown to me at this time, but one authority blames it on Continue reading

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Filed under Excerpts, Jeff Guenther, Musings, Writing Tips

Parking Lot Philosopher

ParkingOceanI put my groceries in my car trunk, (all except the bag of low sodium popcorn) and settled myself into the front seat of my car. Time to drive home, but I didn’t feel like it. Home meant cleaning chores, laundry, and some vigorous digging in the garden. I’d rather stay here. It didn’t hurt that my supermarket parking lot has one of the best views in town. It overlooks the ocean, which today was a steely gray with dramatic black clouds filling the sky above. Continue reading

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Filed under Jean Shriver, Musings

Holiday Ravens

by Dolores Davis

Once there was a raven couple that followed Woman on her morning walks, because she fed them from a bag of treats. He was stout, with a hooked beak and a bold presence. She was smaller, cautious and demure. Woman named them Continue reading

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Filed under Dolores Davis, Short fiction

What’s in a Word?

urnWhat’s in a Word?

When my cousin Ruth phoned, I said, “You were nice to call. I bet you remembered this is the day my mother died. “
“Alice,” she said, and I could just see her primming her lips, “nobody says died any more. You really should say Continue reading

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Filed under Jean Shriver, Musings, True Stories

TIME FOR NANOWRIMO

writing_200-84d258b8dfbfa29512203c8a486efc0ccec90cdc-s6-c30Thousands of writers are running the marathon – a month long writing event in which we are challenged to complete a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. Here are a few ideas to keep you going… Continue reading

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