Oh no, coconut oil is a saturated fat! Research from Walter Willet, M.D, Harvard School of Health.

 

Have you noticed, like I have, that coconut oil seems to be catching on? In a newsletter from W.C. Willett, M.D., Harvard School of Public Health, “Coconut oil is about 90% saturated fat, which is a higher percentage than butter (about 64% saturated fat), beef fat (40%), or even lard (also 40%). Too much saturated fat in the diet is unhealthy because it raises “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of heart disease.” Because of the number of carbon atoms in the fat molecule, it

gives good HDL cholesterol a boost.

cocoanutoil

But, for now, Dr. Willet advises to use coconut oil sparingly. Most of the research so far has consisted of short-term studies to examine its effect on cholesterol levels. To quote Willet, “We don’t really know how coconut oil affects heart disease. And I don’t think coconut oil is as healthful as vegetable oils like olive oil and soybean oil, which are mainly unsaturated fat and therefore both lower LDL and increase HDL. Coconut oil’s special HDL-boosting effect may make it “less bad” than the high saturated fat content would indicate, but it’s still probably not the best choice among the many available oils to reduce the risk of heart disease.”

 

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My turn to bring food to Fellowship Hour– this is a spinach, mozzarella, egg casserole.

In addition to this casserole, I’ll bring a fruit tray and muffins.

spinach and mozzarella egg bake

Ingredients for a Spinach-Mozzarella_Egg casserole:

  • 5 oz. organic fresh spinach (4 cups packed)
  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil (depending on your pan)
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella (I used a mozzarella blend from Costco; use regular or part-skim Mozzarella, your choice)
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. Spike seasoning (or use any all purpose seasoning mix that’s good with eggs)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  Spray an 8 1/2 inch by 12 inch glass or crockery casserole dish with olive oil or nonstick spray.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add spinach all at once, and stir just until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.  Transfer spinach to the casserole dish, spreading it around so all the bottom of the dish is covered.  Layer the grated cheese and sliced onions on top of the spinach.
  3. Beat the eggs with Spike Seasoning (or other seasoning mix) and salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.  (I use only a tiny pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.)  Pour the egg mixture over the spinach/cheese combination, and then use a fork to gently “stir” so the eggs, spinach, and cheese are evenly combined.
  4. Bake about 35 minutes or until the mixture is completely set and starting to lightly brown.  Let cool about 5 minutes before cutting.  (The egg bake will settle down some as it cools.)  Serve hot.  This is good with sour cream.

7-layer Mexican Dip, a lighter version

On Saturday I’m talking on the topic of Writing Dialogue for Romance at East Valley Authors (the EVA chapter of RWA). I’m also bringing food which has to be Mexican on Cinco de Mayo. Everyone loves this fun party dip, even writers! I keep it light by serving it with reduced-fat, salt-free blue corn chips.

7-layer-dip

Instructions

  1. Make guacamole: Mash avocado, lime juice, cilantro and salsa together.
  2. In small bowl, blend sour cream with taco seasoning.
  3. Spread the refried beans in the bottom of a deep-dish pie plate (you can warm the beans up in the microwave briefly to make them more spreadable.)
  4. Top the beans with the sour cream mixture, then top that with the guacamole.
  5. Spread the tomatoes on top, then sprinkle the green onions over the top, followed by the shredded cheese and black olives if desired.
  6. Serve with reduced-fat tortilla chips or reduced-fat crackers.Amazon (1)

Are you looking for a vegan chili recipe for Super Bowl Sunday?

Game-day snacks will make Super Bowl more fun and delicious. Here’s a popular menu– chili, cornbread, 7-layer dip/chips, guacamole, salad, and cookies.  If your party is potluck and guests are bringing chili, you might make vegan chili in addition to theirs. Here’s a recipe courtesy of Genius Recipes: chili bowl

Ingredients:

Directions:

Pour boiling water over textured vegetable protein and let stand until softened. Braise vegetables in a pan.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for at least 30 minutes.  It’s important to give chili a cute name.  I’m calling mine, Big Score Vegan Chili.

superbowl

If you enjoy reading, consider joining a book club!

Besides the fact that reading a book with friends is fun, strong friendships develop.  For me getting together is more important than the book choice.  According to the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, regular get-togethers are important for health reasons.  Their large scale study showed that connected people have 22% lower stress hormones.  This slows the aging process for skin and organs explains the coauthor Lynne C. Giles, PhD.  That’s amazing– we can reduce wrinkles with strong friendships.

books.gif

Consider entering the 2018 Orange Rose Contest for Unpublished Writers of Romance– here’s why…

If you are an unpublished author in any romance genre and want to get your manuscript in front of an agent or publisher, get ready to enter the 2018 Orange Rose Contest. 

Hey!

I am Kathleen Rowland and want to help you succeed. 

The 35th Contest for Unpublished Writers opens on January 15, 2018. The Orange Rose Contest is one of the programs hosted by the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America® that helps fulfill our purpose of promoting excellence in romantic fiction and advancing the professional interests of career-focused romance writers. Our contest has been fortunate to realize a high level of popularity and success due to the exceptional quality of our participating judges. Mid-January is when you can download score sheets from OCCRWA.org and submit your beginning pages with a brief synopsis before the contest closes at the end of April. Did you know agents and editors seek fresh, vibrant, and unique voices? Is this you?  This contest gives every author who enters three critiques.  Authors in the final round will receive critiques from editors or agents in their category. 

Would you like to know what qualities and tropes publishers are looking for right now? As the 2018 chair for this contest, I am sharing this insider information to help you make your big dream come true.

·       Strong conflicts where the characters’ goals are in opposition to one another

·       Physical action-oriented heroines (martial artists, MMA fighters, etc.)

·       Enemies-to-friends-to-lovers romances

·       Adventure quest style romances (think Indiana Jones or Ready Player One but with more kissing!)

·       1930s-style fast patter bantering

·       Diverse romances that showcase heritage, ethnicity and cultural practices

·       Romances that also feature very strong friendships/BFF characters

·       Gender role reversals or defiance of gender role stereotypes ( i.e. biker heroine, preschool teacher hero)

·       Post-apocalyptic romances grounded in realism (think Battlestar Galactica)

·       Couples who aren’t interested in a nuclear family-style existence

 

Here are qualities and tropes that editors and agents are presently not looking for:

·       First-person POV (usually better suited for New Adult, chick lit or women’s fiction than romance)

·       One or more “evil exes” as the main source of conflict to a romance — the conflict should be interpersonal between your leads.

·       Telling rather than showing and long exposition/information dumps

·       Characters without any goals besides finding love

·       Alpha heroes that are insulting and condescending to their heroines

·       Couples that fall into insta-love when they meet and never truly face any conflict

·       Relationships where the characters’ only bar to getting together is fear from past bad relationships (Everyone has insecurity and angst, but the only way a character can resolve these things is through internal epiphany. That isn’t enough to hang a story on.)

My review– Blood of a Stone Prince by M.J. Neary

I received a PDF copy of Blood of the Stone Prince for the possibility of a review. I am delighted to leave one for this great read.

Blood of the Stone Prince cover7

Blood of a Stone Prince begins with Daniel Dufort’s first person account in the late 15th Century. At nineteen-years-old he plays the organ at Notre Dame Cathedral and writes music. He grew up in this cloistered existence and speaks with entitlement about his intelligence and handsome appearance. Under the watchful eye of Monseigneur Desmoulins who is as unholy as a man could be, Daniel fiddles around with pipes in the organ so that his dark compositions can be heard by all. The Monseigneur and Daniel take fencing lessons from Lucius. The three men are invited to entertain a very sick young woman, Agneise. After her death, she will be buried with criminals. It’s her wish to take all three of them as lovers. No one will test the reader like Daniel, the Stone Prince, in this riotous intrigue. If you are in for non-stop action and wit, I highly recommend Blood of the Stone Prince by talented M.J. Neary.

Morning Glory Muffins with half the sugar

Who’s ready to bake now that the temps outside are getting cooler? The amount of sugar in these morning glory muffins is cut in half, but you can’t even taste the difference. Plus, ingredients such as whole-wheat flour, carrots and apples make this hearty fall treat something you can feel good about eating. Read on for the recipe.

MorningGloryMuffins

Recipe makeover: Morning-glory muffins
*Makes 18 small muffins
Original ingredients Healthier options Comments
2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole-wheat flour Substituting whole-wheat flour for half the all-purpose flour will increase the muffins’ fiber content.
1 1/2 cups sugar 3/4 cup sugar Cutting the sugar in half reduces calories, and there are ways to make up for the sweetness with spices.
2 teaspoons baking soda No change Don’t reduce the baking soda, a leavening agent, or the muffins may be too flat or dense.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon Doubling the cinnamon enhances the sweetness on your tongue, helping make up for halving the amount of sugar.
1/2 teaspoon salt Omit You can get rid of the extra sodium from the salt because the baking soda contains sodium and provides leavening.
3 large eggs 3/4 cup egg substitute Replacing each egg with 1/4 egg substitute will reduce saturated fat and cholesterol.
1 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce Cutting the oil in half and making up the difference with unsweetened applesauce, will reduce fat and help keep the muffins moist.
1/2 cup coconut Omit Leaving out coconut will cut saturated fat and calories.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Doubling the vanilla will enhance the sweetness and more than make up for cutting the amount of sugar.
2 cups peeled and chopped apple 2 cups chopped apple (unpeeled) Leaving the skin on the apples is an easy way to increase the muffins’ fiber content.
1/2 cup raisins No change Don’t increase the amount of raisins. Raisins are calorie/energy dense, meaning they have a lot of calories in just a small portion.
1/2 cup grated carrots 3/4 cup grated carrots By bumping up the amount of carrots in your recipe, you’ll increase nutrients, such as vitamin A and fiber, and compensate in flavor for the omitted coconut.
1/2 cup chopped pecans 2 tablespoons chopped pecans Cutting back on the pecans will reduce fat and calories.

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners. In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon. Whisk to blend evenly. In a separate bowl, add the egg substitute, oil, applesauce and vanilla. Stir in the apples, raisins and carrots. Add to the flour mixture and blend just until moistened but still slightly lumpy. Spoon the batter into muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and bake until springy to the touch, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Nutrition analysis per serving (1 muffin): 175 calories, 7 g total fat (0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 4 g monounsaturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 163 mg sodium, 25 g total carbohydrate (2 g dietary fiber, 8 g sugars), 3 g protein

What you save: 125 calories, 10 g of fat, 31 mg of cholesterol, 67 mg of sodium and 13 g of table sugar in each muffin.

Note: If 18 muffins are too many, freeze the ones you won’t eat to preserve the freshness. Then grab them from the freezer as needed and pop in the microwave to warm up slightly before serving.

Are you writing a series?

Are you writing a series? That’s great because after readers finish a good book, they look forward to more from you.  I’d like to share my tips.

Are you writing books in a series- (3)

Each book in a series must be a stand-alone.  There can be an open-ended question, and I deliver the answer in the next book. Some authors who write a series have a mystery arching over the entire series that is answered in the final book. 

If your series involves one character or a couple, write a happily for now ending rather than a happily ever after.  My method is to change up the hero and heroine by writing a series with male cousins.  This ensures some consistency across the series because the heroes are ex-military, honorable and courageous.  As a writer of a series you need to keep track of the family tree, physical attributes, and locations.  Consider using an Excel spreadsheet to maintain details.  In my case I need to know ages of the characters and stomping grounds of their childhoods.

Consider what is logical.   You’ve created a certain community and premise and must keep actions plausible.  The technology your characters use reflects the world they live in.  Their dialect must be consistent. Are they middle class or are they millionaires?

Have fun with your book series.

Do you want to take advantage of coupon sales on Smashwords? Here’s how.

How do I purchase a book on Smashwords? 
First, register for a free account. This allows Smashwords to create a permanent online library where you can access your purchased books in any format. At the top right of every book page is a shopping cart logo. Simply click on it to purchase the book and then enter your credit card information and follow the simple instructions.

How do I access my shopping cart? 
When you purchase a book, you click the shopping cart icon on the upper right side of the page and it takes you to your shopping cart.   

How do I download books to my Kindle or Kindle Fire?
You’ll find links to all your purchased books in your Smashwords Library. There are two options for loading Smashwords ebook content to your Kindle or Kindle Fire:

1.  USB Connection.  Plug your Kindle into the USB slot (small rectangular slot) of your computer using the cable that came with your Kindle (the Kindle Fire doesn’t come standard with the USB cable, so you’ll need to obtain the cable separately, or, use the email option described in #2 below). When you attach your Kindle to your computer via the USB cable, it makes your Kindle appear as a hard drive on your computer. After you purchase the book, from the book’s book page click to download the “Kindle” .MOBI format. Next, navigate to where you see the Kindle show up as a hard drive on your computer. Next, just drop the book’s file (it should end in file name of .mobi) to the Kindle’s “documents” folder. Then disconnect the Kindle from your computer and the book will be ready to read.  

2.  Email the Ebook to Your Kindle Email Address:  For both first generation Kindles and the newest Kindle Fire, you can email your Smashwords .mobi files to your Kindle email address. 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/706264  Unholy Alliance

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/600768  Deadly Alliance

Unholy is $2!

Deadly is $2!