Greek burgers– new take on a summer classic!

Fall in love with a burger all over again.  Here’s my recipe for Greek turkey burgers using refrigerated Pillsbury French bread dough–

Greek burger

Ingredients

1 can (11 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crusty French loaf

8 oz fat-free plain Greek yogurt or regular yogurt (3/4 cup)

1/4 cup finely diced peeled cucumber

1/4 teaspoon dill weed

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Dash salt

Dash black pepper

1 lb lean ground turkey

2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Olive Oil or Pure Olive Oil

1 block (6 oz) reduced-fat feta cheese, cut into 6 (2×1 1/2×1/2-inch thick) pieces

6 lettuce leaves

Steps

  • 1 of 5Heat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheet with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Cut loaf of dough crosswise into 6 pieces to make buns. Place buns, seam sides down and 2 inches apart, on cookie sheet. Cut 2 (1/2-inch-deep) slashes in top of each bun. Bake 19 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.
  • 1 of 5Heat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheet with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Cut loaf of dough crosswise into 6 pieces to make buns. Place buns, seam sides down and 2 inches apart, on cookie sheet. Cut 2 (1/2-inch-deep) slashes in top of each bun. Bake 19 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.
  • 1 of 5Heat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheet with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Cut loaf of dough crosswise into 6 pieces to make buns. Place buns, seam sides down and 2 inches apart, on cookie sheet. Cut 2 (1/2-inch-deep) slashes in top of each bun. Bake 19 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.
  • 2 of 5Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix yogurt, cucumber, dill weed, lemon juice and dash of salt and pepper; refrigerate.
  • 3 of 5In medium bowl, mix turkey, garlic, onion, parsley, seasoned salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of the oil. Shape mixture into 12 patties, about 3 inches in diameter. Place one piece of cheese on each of 6 patties; top with remaining patties. Pinch edges to seal well.
  • 4 of 5In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add patties; cook 5 minutes on each side. Increase heat to medium-high; cook 3 minutes each side or until burgers have dark brown, caramelized appearance and thermometer inserted in center of turkey (not cheese) reads 165°F.
  • 5 of 5Cut buns horizontally in half. Place 1 tablespoon yogurt sauce on bottom of each bun; top with lettuce leaf, burger and top of bun. Secure each sandwich with toothpick; serve with remaining sauce. If desired, serve with frozen green beans & almonds.
  • Heat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheet with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Cut loaf of dough crosswise into 6 pieces to make buns. Place buns, seam sides down and 2 inches apart, on cookie sheet. Cut 2 (1/2-inch-deep) slashes in top of each bun. Bake 19 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix yogurt, cucumber, dill weed, lemon juice and dash of salt and pepper; refrigerate.
  • In medium bowl, mix turkey, garlic, onion, parsley, seasoned salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of the oil. Shape mixture into 12 patties, about 3 inches in diameter. Place one piece of cheese on each of 6 patties; top with remaining patties. Pinch edges to seal well.
  • In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add patties; cook 5 minutes on each side. Increase heat to medium-high; cook 3 minutes each side or until burgers have dark brown, caramelized appearance and thermometer inserted in center of turkey (not cheese) reads 165°F.
  • Cut buns horizontally in half. Place 1 tablespoon yogurt sauce on bottom of each bun; top with lettuce leaf, burger and top of bun. Secure each sandwich with toothpick; serve with remaining sauce. If desired, serve with frozen green beans & almonds.

Hem pants like a pro– no sewing

Have you heard of fusion tape? This is a hemming trick I like.  Who wants to spend their time stitching? For this project, all you need are scissors, fusion tape, and an iron. I did this today, making pegged leg jeans into cute capris. You cut the fabric, fold it, tape it on the underside an iron over your crease on a warm temperature.  Let it cool and iron again.  Your hem will stay in place even after going into the washing machine. I don’t recommend this for chiffon or silk– those sheer fabrics need to be hemmed by hand.

fusion tape

Moroccan Chicken Salad

Do you love summer salads?  Here is my recipe for Moroccan Chicken Salad.  The coriander and cinnamon contribute to the signature flavor.

Moroccan Chicken Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 12cup butternut squash, diced
  • 3 beets, boiled until tender
  • 14 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 hard cooked egg, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced or shredded
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper
  • Handful of dried apricots or dates
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  • 14 cup Girard’s champagne dressing
  • 14cup roasted almonds
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. To make the spiced chicken: combine coriander and cinnamon with olive oil to make a paste. Spread on chicken breasts with a bbq brush or fingers; cook chicken in pan or grill (I used my Foreman grill and it worked well) until fully cooked. Let chicken cool and slice.
  2. While chicken is cooking, roast diced squash in a 400 degree oven for about ten minutes (I used my toaster oven).
  3. Toss all other ingredients together with the champagne dressing to taste. Top with sliced chicken & almonds.

What to Wear to the Romance Writers of America Conference in San Diego

An author’s goal is to learn about craft and marketing. If an author is not connected to a publisher, he or she might pitch to an agent or editor. In any case how we present ourselves is important.  We’re networking!  It’s scientifically proven that people are attracted to pretty people. A successful author must dress like one.

Dressing to impress is business casual. Men wear slacks and shirts. Half of the women authors wear pretty shirts with dress slacks or nice capris with pretty shirts. A third will wear long or knee-length skirts. The remaining group will wear full suits (in my opinion, over-dressed) or jeans (okay if denim is navy).  AC is on high.  Carry a sweater or blazer. Don’t dress like the hotel staff in black pants and a white blouse.

You will find me in capris wearing comfortable sandals or ballet flats.

capris

RWA is a little different than sexier Romantic Times conference.  At RWA be sure to wear a bra. Do you write hot? It’s fine to show your writing style in the way you dress, but keep it classy not trashy-tight or (bra-less) revealing.

Wear comfortable shoes but not sneakers. At the end of the day authors in high heels walk wear hurting pained expressions. A polo shirt is business casual while a Hawaiian shirt is not.  If you write New Adult romance don’t go overboard on hair accessories and flowers.  Another distraction for networking is facial and tongue piercings.

Keep makeup clean and professional.  Avoid the night club look.

Try the sport of kiteboarding!

As with flying any kite, when kitesurfing you always stand with your back to the wind. If you are facing the same direction as the wind, the position of the kite from left to right is discussed in terms as if you are standing in the center of a large clock and the kite is near one of the numbers. Straight ahead is 12:00 and 90-degrees to your right is 3:00. To your left 90-degrees is also 12:00. The kite will always remain between 9:00 and 3:00 because if it goes any farther the wind will no longer hold it aloft.

kiteboarder

Photo is courtesy of Matt Gibson who is an adventure travel writer and photographer.

Do you have a favorite song? Mine is Without You, sung by Harry Nilsson.

Without You was featured in a 2016 commercial for Heinz that first aired during the Super Bowl. Do you recall the pack of dachshunds dressed like hot dogs run toward a group of humans dressed as ketchup, mustard, and other sauces.

Harry Nilsson wrote many songs he sang, but Without You was written by Badfinger members Peter Ham and Tom Evans. Both of these artists committed suicide. Nilsson’s version added an orchestra and gave the song a dramatic production. When Nilsson recorded it, he initially played the song slow and dark, accompanied only by piano. Producer Richard Perry recalled to Mojo magazine April 2008 that he had to persuade an unwilling Nilsson to record it as a big ballad.  Nilsson died of a heart attack at the age of 51.

Harry Nilsson

Toning upper arms– for self-confidence!

Along with completing my next novel, I am toning upper arms. Are you ever self-conscious about upper arm flabbiness? Aerobic exercises such as swimming, running or bicycling do not work out upper arms specifically, but they are still beneficial activities for upper-arm firming, as they help you lose weight all over your body. Targeted exercises that utilize resistance training, coupled with a regular workout routine and sensible diet will help get your arms ready for short sleeves before you know it.  I’m doing 30 lady-style push-ups and weights.  My arms are getting toned like the women below, photos courtesy of Jupiter images, Comstock.

arms

arms2

 

Sweet Potato Bread– light version!

Sweet Potato Bread has nutritional value!  My recipe calls for very little sugar and yogurt.

sweet potato bread

Ingredients

6.75 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

2 large eggs

1/2 cup packed shredded peeled sweet potato (about 4 ounces)

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Baking spray with flour (such as Baker’s Joy)

3 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Dash of salt

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (through cloves) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine yogurt, sugar, oil, and eggs. Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Gently fold in sweet potato, raisins, and pecans.
  3. Scrape batter into a 9 x 5-inch metal loaf pan coated with baking spray. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan; cool completely on wire rack.
  4. Combine cream cheese and remaining ingredients in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until smooth. Spread frosting evenly over bread.

Easy as pie– cooking steel cut oatmeal with quinoa!

I had steel cut oatmeal left over after making Irish brown bread. You can’t put steel cut oatmeal in the microwave and expect it to taste good.

Porridge with berries (1)

Here is my recipe which adds quinoa (a seed rather than a grain).

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup well rinsed quinoa
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit of any kind
  • Pinch of salt, if desired
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups (32-ounces) water
  • maple syrup, peanut butter (chunky or smooth) or raw honey for topping
  • your favorite toppings such as; toasted walnuts, sliced almonds, dried or fresh mango, dried cranberries, dried cherries, hemp seeds, sliced apple, bananas, fresh or dried blueberries, sliced strawberries, raspberries

 

Directions:

Pour 4 cups of water into a Dutch oven, add all ingredients except the toppings, bring mixture to a boil which happens within 5 minutes, turn off the heat, give it a stir, and let it sit overnight. Easy as pie.

In the morning open the lid.  The quinoa and steel-cut oats absorbed the water.