Spotlight on Penny Estelle: Author of “The Unwanted Christmas Guest”

Looking for a fun read to get in the holiday spirit? You’re in luck! Penny Estelle shared with me that her novella, The Unwanted Christmas Guest (a contemporary romance), is 99 cents from now until December 1!

You can find information on where to buy after her book blurb…Hope everyone is having fun prepping for the holidays! – Anne

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Elizabeth McMurphy is an up and coming high powered attorney and is after vengeance, involving one of the richest and most powerful families in Colorado. Steve York is an obnoxious reporter that thinks the ice queen has gone too far and does all he can to get under her skin.

When one of the worst blizzards in history, hits CO and leaves a hurt Steve York, stranded with Elizabeth in a mountain cabin. Things start to heat up between the two, thawing their icy relationship. But – Elizabeth guards a secret that must be kept at all costs, even to the point of risking love and her own happiness.

Buy Links for THE UNWANTED CHRISTMAS GUEST

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1uSXzQn

Barnes and Noble : http://bit.ly/1FlxWuB

iTunes: http://bit.ly/1xVVh5a

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A bit about Penny Estelle…..

Penny Estelle is a best selling writer for all ages, from the early reader to adults. Her books range from pictures books for the little ones, to fantasy. time-travel adventures for ages 9 to 13. She also, under P. A. Estelle, has written adult stories including a family drama and contemporary, paranormal and historical westerns romances.

Penny was a school secretary for 21 years. She and her husband moved to their retirement home in Kingman, AZ, on very rural 54 acres, living on solar and wind only.

Penny and her books can be found in the following links:

www.pennystales.com

www.pennyestelle.blogspot.com

http://www.amazon.com/Penny-Estelle/e/B006S62XBY

https://twitter.com/Pennystales

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5820078.Penny_Estelle

http://www.facebook.com/pennystales

http://www.pinterest.com/pennyestelle

***Penny has a newsletter that goes out for new releases or sales. If you would like to be notified please sign up @ http://eepurl.com/388Xr

Meet Author Heather Cobham (and enter to win an Amazon Gift Card!)

Interviewing Heather Cobham wasn’t something I had to think twice about: She grew up in North Carolina (where my mother’s family lives), loves dogs (she has a yellow lab) and we were both touched by a similar event: The stories coming out of post-Hurricane Katrina efforts. Reading Heather’s bio, I knew she was someone I needed to know a bit better.

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Check out our Q&A below, then take a few minutes to enjoy the excerpt she’s loaned us to from her book, Hungry Mother Creek.

***Want to enter Heather’s contest? Leave a comment here and you’ll be entered to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!!

1. In your book, Hungry Mother Creek, Maya is starting her life over in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Is there a personal reason for choosing Hurricane Katrina as part of the storyline?

Yes.  I am a counselor and after Hurricane Katrina traveled to Waveland Mississippi with a mobile hospital out of North Carolina.  I provided crisis intervention counseling for the patients who came to our hospital and I also assisted the local mental health practitioners with their clients who had no access to counseling or medications.  This experience had a major impact on me. The strength of both nature and the human spirit was what stayed with me.  I was inspired by the resilience of the people in the face of such massive devastation and tragedy.  Maya’s flashbacks and memories of Katrina are based on actual experiences people shared with me.  I kept a journal while I was there and wrote down the stories of heroism, tragedy and resilience.

2. I read that you worked diligently on your novel for six years – Where did the idea for Hungry Mother Creek come from?

For many years I knew I wanted to write a book but thought it would be non-fiction. I wanted to focus on mental, physical and spiritual practices to promote positive emotional health.  After reading Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, another North Carolina author, I was inspired to write a novel.  I realized it would be more fun to share the ideas I had in a fictional format.  In addition to my experience in Mississippi, another important factor that inspired Hungry Mother Creek was spending time in Oriental, N.C.  Being by the water was healing and allowed me to tap into creativity that I had ignored for many years.  Thankfully, Oriental is now my full time home.

3. What advice do you have for anyone who wants to start writing?

Begin keeping a journal to incorporate writing into your daily life.  Look for workshops and classes in your area.  This is a wonderful way to learn more about writing and to have accountability so you have to write.  Find a writers group. People you can share your writing with and who will keep you motivated.  Finally, practice self compassion and self acceptance.  Many times my writing stalled when I became too judgmental. Nothing can stop the creative flow like your inner self critic so try to ignore that as much as you can.  My mantra is “just keep writing”.

4. What projects are you working on for the future?

I am currently working on the sequel to Hungry Mother Creek.  I have created more time to write so hopefully this one will not take six years to finish!

5. Lastly – if we were hanging out and I was about to make us fresh margaritas, what flavor would you want? ;) 

I would have the classic margarita, on the rocks, no salt and preferably in a tropical location like the Virgin Islands.

Thanks for stopping by!!

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Enjoy the excerpt from Hungry Mother Creek:

Maya walked to her small kitchen area just behind the living room.  She smiled to herself as she placed the casserole on the bottom shelf and wondered what type of condensed soup Hazel used to make this.  She guessed it must be Cream of Mushroom, a southern staple she had used many times while helping her grandmother make Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.

As she turned back towards the living room, Maya’s heart lurched when she saw Hazel was holding the decorative urn she thought had been discretely placed, but it must have caught Hazel’s eye.  “Maya, this urn is beautiful.  I love the yellows, blues and greens in the pattern.  Surely you didn’t find it here in Oriental?  It’s so well-made.”

Maya’s pulse quickened and she felt the color drain from her face.  She stood frozen not prepared for this discussion and unsure of how much of the truth she wanted to share.

“Maya, are you okay?  You look like you might faint.”  Hazel placed the urn on the coffee table and hurried to Maya’s side.  She placed her hand in the small of Maya’s back and led her over to the couch.  Hazel’s hand was small, but very strong and her touch comforted Maya as she lowered herself down to the couch.  She had a flash of insight that said she could trust Hazel and as she regained her composure, Maya decided to be truthful.

“Sorry if I scared you, Hazel.  It’s just that this urn is much more than a decoration.  It contains the ashes of Steven, my husband who died two years ago because of Hurricane Katrina.”

Well, it was a lot easier than Maya thought it would be, sharing this truth, although not the whole truth, with the first person outside her family.  It actually wasn’t that hard talking about the ashes.  The hard part would be answering the questions that may follow.

“Steven has a brother who wasn’t able to come to Mississippi after his death,” her words tumbled out, “and everything was in such a state of destruction and confusion I didn’t feel right about spreading the ashes in Mississippi.  I’ve just kept them with me since then.”

As Maya was speaking, Hazel sat down beside her on the couch, her hands folded neatly in her lap as she listened.  Maya and Hazel’s eyes met and Maya could see Hazel’s eyes were moist with emotion.  She reached over and took one of Maya’s hands into hers.

“Oh, honey,” Hazel started, her southern accent drawing the syllables out.  “I am so sorry.  Losing your husband is one of the most difficult things to endure.  My husband died when I was just 50 and it took me a while to make sense of my life, not having him in it.  At least we’d already had 25 years of marriage and a son.  You and Steven still had so much left to do together.”  Hazel’s eyes filled again as she squeezed Maya’s hands.

Maya turned her head to look out the creek window.  She was embarrassed by her lack of emotion and didn’t want Hazel to see her dry eyes.  What was wrong with her?  Why couldn’t she even muster up a couple of tears for Steven?  When he was alive he made her cry easily.  Now a lump did form in Maya’s throat.

She felt his grip tightening on her upper arm as he dragged her out into the parking lot of Sherlock’s, the pub a couple of miles from their house.  When they were away from the entrance, he said, “Don’t you tell me I’ve had enough to drink ever again!  Do you hear me?  You embarrassed me in front of my friends.”  He shot the words at her through clenched teeth and she physically recoiled, shrinking as his grip on her arm tightened.  He yanked her arm for emphasis and continued, “I can’t help it if your lame ass is wasted after three or four beers but I’m fucking fine so leave me alone.  If you can’t hang anymore then maybe you should just go home.”

He released her arm, turned and strode into the pub without looking back.  Maya instinctively began rubbing her arm.  The emotion she had been holding in her chest erupted and tears rolled down her cheeks.  She knew she couldn’t go back inside and since Steven had the car keys, so began the walk home, her body weighted by shame.

Hazel squeezed her hand and Maya turned back to look at her, the urn prominent in her peripheral vision.  “Well, at least you found his body and knew for sure what happened to him.  I’ve heard of so many people who are still searching for their loved ones who most likely got washed out to sea.”

Maya’s face flushed knowing she wasn’t being fully truthful, but she wasn’t ready yet to talk about the real cause of Steven’s death.   After a few seconds of silence, she said, “Thanks for understanding.  You’re the first person I’ve told outside my family.”

“Well, Maya, please know you can talk with me any time about Steven, and for extreme circumstances I can always make you another casserole.”   Maya smiled, appreciating Hazel’s humor and the change of topic.

“I know I’ve already said this, but I’m so happy you decided to rent my boathouse.  I grew up here with my mother and grandmother but have been alone for the past fifteen years so it feels good to have another woman on the property.”

“It feels good to be here.  When I visited in April something just told me this was the place to come.  I’m looking forward to meeting more people, getting a job and creating some happy memories here.”  Maya smiled, feeling very comfortable sitting next to Hazel.  Maybe one day she would tell Hazel the whole story.

“I better get on my way so you can heat up that casserole for dinner.  Good luck with your job search and I’ll let you know if I hear of anything.”   Hazel stood and walked to the door, Doodle Bug following at her heels.

Hazel’s hand rested on the doorknob just a millisecond longer than necessary.  Maya waited for her to turn back and say something else.  Hazel never turned but opened the door and stepped out into the humid early evening.  The sound of cicadas filled the air.

Connect with Heather!

 www.heathercobham.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8056473.Heather_W_Cobham

Buy the Book!

http://www.amazon.com/Hungry-Mother-Creek-Heather-Cobham/dp/1495936414/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Got a Craving? Meet Sofia Grey…

I’ve got a very special guest today and I’m excited for you to meet her:  Sofia Grey, author behind the Talisman Series!

Sofia is on tour this month promoting her newest release, Craving  (you can check out her book trailer here). She’s also giving away 3 copies of Craving to 3 lucky commenters across the tour!! How fun is that? Just make sure you leave a comment here and you’ll go into the draw. I’ll cross my fingers for you😉

P.S. Don’t forget to check out the book excerpt she so graciously shared – Enjoy!

CravingBlogtour

 

My invisible friend

Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? I had an imaginary pony. She was called Flicka, and was a perfectly well-behaved palomino, unlike the bad-tempered nags I rode on Saturday mornings at the local riding school. Hey, I was seven years old. I had a vivid imagination!

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Having an invisible friend might be fun though. Imagine it. They could sneak in to the places you couldn’t go. Your boss’s office, to see just what he does behind the closed door. To the busy kitchen of a fancy restaurant to see how frantic they really are, and why your order has taken forty-five minutes to appear.

The possibilities are endless * grin *

In Craving (Talisman #2), Dante has several invisible friends – his spirit guides.

Excerpt:

I crawled into my sleeping bag, rolled up my leather jacket for a pillow, and relaxed for the first time that day. My lids were heavy, and sleep beckoned. Then Ingrid appeared.

She looked like a small child with fair skin and blonde plaits swinging down her back. Today, she wore a white wool dress and furry boots, and a blue scarf matching the vibrant color of her eyes.

“Hello, Dante. Why are you on your own?” She perched on the table, her legs swinging back and forth. I sighed and forced myself to be polite.

“Hello, Ingrid. I called you earlier, where were you?”

She scared me. And…” The swinging stopped. She shuffled back a little, crossed her legs in front of her, and rested her chin in her tiny hands. “I didn’t feel safe.”

My hunch had been right about Screamer, aka Melissa. With luck, she wouldn’t bother coming back tomorrow night. “Why didn’t you feel safe, Munchkin?”

“I don’t know.” Blue eyes regarded me, an impish expression on her face. “Do you want to play a game? We could play something. I’m bored.”

“I’m tired, Ingrid. Do you mind if we play tomorrow, instead?”

She huffed, glared at my bike and then back at me. “He said you wouldn’t want to play. You’re no fun anymore, Dante.”

~

Craving (Talisman #2)is available 10 June 2014, from Time & Tide Publishing – Get your copy today! Here’s where you can find it:

Amazon All Romance Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Goodreads |

Time & Tide Publishing

On Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest? So is Sofia! Connect with her here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sofia.Grey.Romance.Author

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sofiagrey1/

Twitter: @SofiaGreyAuthor

 

 

 

Cinco de…Uh-oh!

My mouth waters as I write this…

Living in Southern California afforded me the chance to not only indulge in your typical homemade Mexican fare on a daily basis, but also to learn how to make it. From salsa to guacamole to refried beans..I learned how to whip up a Mexican Feast in no time flat. Sauces? A cinch. Rolling taquitos or burritos? No problem! Making tortillas from scratch?

Making tortillas from….SCRATCH? HUH?

That WAS my attitude – past tense! Now, I’m proud to say no longer a tortilla-making novice. Not at all! The Kiwi BF and I have been so into making our favorite Mexi-Cali dishes, that we grabbed Tio Pablo’s Instant Corn Masa Mix (ok, not quite from scratch, but close enough!).

We wanted to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, except I wanted to make the tortilla’s from this mix for the authentic vibe we were aiming for with the meal. We rounded out our tortilla making kit with a press and I was good to go.

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This is my new boyfriend…Don’t tell my current one!

This was so easy…as in, ridiculously easy! The mix, which is gluten free, makes life simple: You mix 2 cups of the Corn Masa with one cup of water, mixing the ingredients until they form a firm ball. Separate into 12 smaller balls then …press away!

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So..the beans aren’t quite homemade…This time! They are gluten free, though🙂

Pressing tip: Use parchment paper on both sides of the dough, and press. This helps keep the tortilas from sticking and makes clean up a lot easier. Lift the press and move the tortilla a quarter turn and press again, repeating these steps a few times to get the tortilla just thin enough, but not too much!

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Seriously, everyone needs a tortilla press!

 

The batch we made gave us 12 tortillas – add some grilled chicken, roasted onions and red peppers, homemade (for real!) guacamole and salsa and you get a perfect Cinco De Mayo – or anytime – meal. The tortillas we made came out soft and pliable, delicious and fresh!

Once you have food this fresh, there is no return😉

Are you a fan of Mexican food? Share your fave dishes in the comments below..we love hearing what you think🙂

 

 

Do you, Twitter, take #AmazonCart to be your bride? YES, PLEASE!

If you know me, you know I love, LOVE  Twitter! I also really love Amazon…Really, really love it. Easy for sending a gift, seamless when buying – It’s my go-to for online shopping.

Now, you can imagine my thrill waking up in a world where #AmazonCart now exists!! #MORETHANYOUKNOW

That’s right, Twitter and Amazon said secret vows and got married y’all. What is this #AmazonCart (or #AmazonBasket for our UK friends) I speak of? Let me ask you this: Have you ever scrolled your Twitter feed and saw something you wanted to buy linked to Amazon, went to buy it but HAD to go through the whole process to sign-in to Amazon and add said item to your cart for purchasing? Takes away from the instantaneous “let me get this now” rush, doesn’t it?

As of this week, we can tie our Amazon accounts with our Twitter accounts to make life easier. See something you like in a status update? Simply reply to the Tweet with #AmazonCart and your wish is added to your cart on Amazon, and you can take care of purchasing it later.

Yep. That is easy.

Now, this seems to be good news for my fellow authors, as we can now point folks to this easy-as-pie route for grabbing our books when promoting them on Twitter. You can see in this first picture the test Tweet using my book (shameless plug for THE ABBY GEORGE SERIES) as a guinea pig:

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In this next pic, I replied to myself to see what happens…

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What I found: If you elect to get an eBook, Amazon will send you a SAMPLE of the book to read because “digital products are not eligible at this time.” However, I did get an email and a Tweet letting me know this was sample was sent to my iPhone Kindle to read…

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My thoughts: Well done, Amazon, and thank you for making it just that simpler to grab what I need when I see it. Life happens at a swift pace and I’m grateful when I feel like I can keep up.

Overall: Well, the jury is still out…but this ain’t no drone!

PS: Wanna know more? Watch the official AmazonCart Promo Video here or check out this Next Web article I found.

 

Five Questions With: Laurel Osterkamp

I love reading, I love writing and I LOVE discovering new authors, don’t you?

Meet Laurel Osterkamp, an award-winning author who speaks to my heart…Her novels have been hailed as funny, intelligent, snarky and poignant. She is the author of four novels and two novellas, including the November Surprise series, which, like The Holdout (her newest release), features the Bricker family. Laurel was recently on a federal jury, and she loves watching Survivor.

I gave Laurel five questions to answer, so we could get to know her a little better – from her biggest obstacles to how she got started, here’s a little sneak-peek into the life of author Laurel Osterkamp…And make sure to check out the excerpt we’ve attached at the end of the post!

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Anne: Every author’s story of how they began their first book or started writing is unique – How did you get started writing?

Laurel: Back when I was young and single I used to perform with comedy groups in the Twin Cities. But I realized that I enjoyed writing the scripts for our comedy sketches more than I enjoyed actually being on stage. Then I read this article about how to write your first novel. The author said that if you can commit to writing 500 words a day, you’d have a novel in a few months. Suddenly it seemed doable, and I decided to just take the plunge!

Anne: From carving out time for yourself to write to organizing your characters or the story: What is your biggest obstacle when writing?

Laurel: If I have an hour or two to myself then I want to be writing. It’s not always easy to find the time, because I teach full-time and I also have two young children. But writing has become almost an obsession with me – I’ve been accused of being very single minded! Once I sit down I struggle with all the normal stuff I suppose, but they’re all just symptoms of the same disease – self-doubt! And you just have to push past it.

Anne: When you aren’t writing, what can your friends and family find you doing?

Laurel: You mean, if I’m not working or spending time with my kids? They’d find me exercising, eating Mexican food and chocolate, reading, watching Scandal and/or Downton Abby, and hopefully, sleeping.

Anne: What’s the best piece of advice you can give to any budding authors out there?

Laurel: Don’t give up. I think the hardest part of writing a novel is finishing it. Starting it is easy, but there are a million reasons not to keep going. Don’t listen to yourself when you try to convince yourself to stop.

Anne: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Laurel: Probably about where I am now, which is still publishing my books and hoping that readers will notice them. The publishing world is changing so quickly, and some very smart/lucky people have figured out how to stay ahead of the curve and get their books in front of readers. I’ve had some ups and downs, but I figure I’ll just hang in there and hopefully be one step ahead of the game!

Connect with Laurel:

Website: www.laurelosterkamp.com

Blog: www.laurelosterkamp.blogspot.com

Goodreads author page: http://bit.ly/1du9tIN

Twitter: @laurelosterkamp

Buy the Book!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1iR6oC8  

Robin wanted to win The Holdout, a cutthroat reality TV show, so she gave it her all, challenge after challenge. Then she fell for Grant, with his irresistible eyes and heartbreaking life story.

But Grant was only using Robin as they competed for a million dollars. Once home, Robin wants to hide from the humiliation as episodes of The Holdout are aired, and she worries her family was right all along; she’s not a survivor.

Yet she could surprise everyone, and have the last laugh.

Besides, Robin now has jury duty. And as she forges ahead, confronting her demons about bravery, justice, and romance, Robin will come to decide which is more important: the courage to stand alone, or the strength to love again.

FOCUSED, PASSIONATE, INTENSE: MY INTERVIEW WITH TOP CHEF WINNER MICHAEL VOLTAGGIO

In January 2012, I had the honor of sitting down with the owner of ink. Restaurant, ink.sack and Top Chef champ (and fellow Frederick-tonian) Michael Voltaggio. I really wanted to re-post this piece – let’s all get our inner chef’s inspired, shall we? It’s the HOLIDAYS!!!

PS – I have the Voltaggio Brothers (yep, Michael AND Bryan!) homemade applesauce recipe..it’s SO easy to make! I’ll post it in time for Thanksgiving🙂

 Focused, Passionate, Intense: Meet Top Chef Winner Michael Voltaggio

When entering celebrated Chef Michael Voltaggio’s new restaurant, ink., one cannot help the feeling as if interrupting a conductor who is privately guiding his orchestra through its greatest concerto. With movements that are quick and decisive it’s no wonder three words come to mind to describe Voltaggio: focused, passionate and intense.

It’s this focus, this passion and this intensity that seeps its way out of the kitchen and onto the main floor here in the home of his newest passion project. Tucked away in the corner of a non-descript brick building on famed Melrose Avenue, ink., opened in September in the heart of West Hollywood. LA’s newest eatery boasts an industrial interior with a minimalist vibe and has quickly become a must-stop for foodies and Top Chef enthusiasts alike.

When comparing ink.’s menus from one week to the next, it can be noted that a limited amount of items are part of his regular repertoire. Voltaggio prefers mixing things up weekly. Served on small plates and meant for sharing, his menu is peppered with interesting options that ring of familiar fare, yet with a culinary twist.

A dish such as the jidori chicken and waffles with hot sauce served with whipped maple syrup is his creative spin on the traditional dish of Southern fried chicken and waffles. Voltaggio also expands diner’s minds and palates by offering a kale salad tossed lightly with burrata, Asian pear, pumpkin seeds and a yuzu sauce.

Other menu items that are tempting taste buds to come out of their humdrum shells are the beef tartare that is served with horseradish snow, hearts of palm, and a sea bean chimichurri. There’s also a dish of brussels sprouts, much like a side dish served for a family dinner. Except Votaggio finishes his version with thinly sliced pig ears, house-cured lardo and apple.

As if one restaurant wasn’t enough, Voltaggio also opened a culinary sandwich shop, ink.sack, in August. In his own way, he has made the ordinary sandwich quite the opposite. The menu at ink.sack offers sandwiches such as a beef tongue Reuben and the “CLT”, his take on the traditional BLT. Voltaggio’s version has the lettuce and tomato but the similarity ends there. The “C’ is a chicken liver mousse topped with crispy chicken skin as the bacon substitute.

Voltaggio also makes sure to tip his hat to his Maryland roots, by including Maryland Crab Chips on ink.sack’s daily menu. Homemade deep-fried potato crisps dusted with Old Bay seasoning adds a new spin on the BBQ potato chip for resident Angelinos. This is definitely not your run-of-the mill sandwich shop.

Sitting down with Michael Voltaggio, you begin to understand his rise to stardom amongst other culinary favorites such as Thomas Keller or James Beard. Food enthusiasts think nothing of including his name among lists of the best. The reason?

He’s becoming one of the greats himself.

“I work the line, I cook the food, I order it, I wash the dishes if I have to. I want to be in my restaurant cooking, not be the guy that is never (there),” said Voltaggio.  “I want to focus, right now, my time in LA.”

How does he spend his time when he owns and operates not one, but two restaurants? Well, there’s a consulting gig for a to be announced project in India on the agenda and don’t forget about the cookbook, VOLTink, which he’s been on the road promoting with his brother Brian. One thing is for certain; Voltaggio’s schedule is not for the faint of heart.

In fact balance is something he finds himself struggling with on a daily basis.

“Lately, it’s been all traveling, so I really haven’t had much time to have a lot of  “fun” at all. I used to go hiking a lot. When I had time, I did things like normal people do: I’d exercise and surf, I went outside. I’d like to be able to go outside again,” he said with a grin.

In the midst of his hectic schedule, there is some light though. “I do go out to eat, I ride my Harley and I like to go to shows and concerts when I can.”

Voltaggio’s talent and passion became properly introduced when he was as a teenager, living in Frederick, Maryland, attending Thomas Johnson High School, playing football and working part-time at the Holiday Inn.

“I was in school full time, going to football practice then going to work. I think out of the whole course of my day, the part I looked forward to the most was going to work, and it wasn’t just because I was getting paid. It was fun. I was working on the line cooking food. I couldn’t wait to get there everyday.”

This education helped as he began planning his restaurant after his Top Chef win in 2009.

“I think Los Angeles is a city that has never been taken seriously as a food town. Within the past five years, (we’ve seen) this small food community start to get bigger and bigger, and grow and grow because there is a need for it. People are interested in going out to eat in LA. Food is big, but it hasn’t been as chef-driven or chef-branded.”

When asked what restaurants or nightlife he likes to imbibe in when traveling home to Frederick, Voltaggio’s grin widened as he shared, “Olde Towne Tavern and of course, I’m going to always go check out Volt.”

And where will Chef Voltaggio be in the next few years?

“Hopefully, still in LA, still running ink, maybe with a couple smaller restaurants around,” he said thoughtfully. “I missed my twenties and most likely am going to miss my thirties, so I’d really like to enjoy my forties.”

Photo credit: Alex Horner (for LA Times Magazine)

Photo credit: Alex Horner
(for LA Times Magazine)

 

 

 

BBQ Root Beer Chicken (Gluten Free!)

My mother is from North Carolina, so I’m born and bred to LOVE BBQ! Of course, nothing compares to being at a drive-in diner in the South and getting pulled pork BBQ sandwiches with some cole slaw on the side or piling it on top of your sandwich.

However, I do my best to try and recreate this loving feelin’ at home.🙂

I found this recipe on Pinterest (surprise, surprise!) and wanted to give it a go because it uses two ingredients I really like: Root Beer and BBQ sauce. I do tend to steer clear of soft drinks, as a general rule, but using it in this recipe only adds to the flavor of your meal.

You can throw this in a crockpot or make it in your oven..either way it’s truly all about the BBQ Sauce! This recipe uses the crock pot, so get out the slow-cooker and let’s do this!

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 Chicken breasts (thawed)
  • Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce
  • 6 oz. Root Beer (I used A&W)
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper

Throw the chicken breasts, thawed, into the crockpot for three hours on high. Drain juices out when time is up, then add Root Beer, 18 oz of BBQ sauce, salt and pepper. Cook for another 30 minutes in the crock pot, then voila!

Dinner is served…

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Weekend Quickie: Gluten Free Zucchini Chips

I’m on a health kick this month so I’ve been messing around with gluten free recipes to share…like this one for Zucchini Chips. I’m sure you’re asking yourself what the heck ARE Zucchini Chips…You are not alone! At first I was a bit skeptical, because it is zucchini. I’ve learned to embrace veggies as I’ve “matured” (term I totally use loosely!), but I tried it and you know what?

I’m in heaven.

These little suckers taste sooo good and for the calories – Anne’s Estimated Guess (AEG):  about 60-75 cal per serving – you can’t go wrong. I’m breaking down this easy 20 minute snack for you, so let me know what you think:

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 eggs whites
  • 1/4 cup gluten free bread crumbs 
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp of the following: rosemary, garlic powder, Italian seasonings,
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Heat oven to 450˚ and line a baking sheet or pan with parchment paper. Spray paper with non-stick cooking spray.

Cut the zucchini into 1/4 inch slices and set to the side. Mix breadcrumbs and seasonings in a bowl, putting egg whites in a separate dish.  Dip zucchini slices into egg whites, then dip slices into breadcrumb mixture, coating both sides. Place finished slices onto parchment paper. 

Cook for 7-8 minutes, then flip slices. I did this and I added an extra 5 minutes to mine so they were just a touch crispier😉 Check out the finished product below…So good!

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I ate them as a warm-up for lunch. Hmmm, well they are healthy…right? 

Serve as they are for a snack, with sandwiches at lunch time (replace those potato chips!) or heat up some marinara and dip these delish chips for a fun appetizer. 

Let me know how yours turn out!!

 

Giveaway! Giveaway! Giveaway!

Who doesn’t love a giveaway? And an easy one? Here’s all you have to do…

Review one of my books  and leave your thoughts on Amazon. 

That’s all…Seriously. I’m going to make it even easier and post the links to the books on Amazon for ya, too! Now, want to know what you’re entering to win? One of my charms to add to your charm collection! 

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Grab a copy of the first installment, a mini-novella introducing you to Abby George: All Fruits Ripe. Or pick up a print copy (or an eBook) of the second installment, the novel Rum Punch Regrets, which takes us along with Abby on the beginning of her Caribbean adventure. There’s also  the third installment (a novella) Gotta Go To Come Back, which has us hanging out with Abby as she contemplates her life on – and off – the island. Ta-Da!!

Then head over to Amazon and leave your review. I’m drawing a winner next Monday July 29th. Oh…yes, there is another book coming, so we’ll be announcing that release date shortly (for the enquiring minds who wanted to know!)

Go ahead, do it…and Good luck!!