Who, me? Well, yes. Sometimes. But not today!
Today, I’m joining forces with Janel Gradowski, bringing you a lovely e-book recommendation, and a yummy recipe.
I’ve signed up to review Janel’s newly published novelette, “The Queen of Bad Decisions”, because to be completely honest, I really wanted to know more about Janel’s characters from “Must Love Sandwiches”. In her own words, The Bartonville series is women’s fiction with recipes. Each volume will contain stories of various lengths, all set in Michigan.
Janel’s newest book, the second book in the Bartonville series, “The Queen of Bad Decisions” gives the reader a more detailed view into Daisy’s life. The world Janel paints so well in the novelette and two bonus flash fiction pieces she has included in the e-book comes to life from the very first paragraphs. The quirky best friend of the first book’s main character, Daisy, seems to be the queen of bad decisions.
Her story is one many people can relate to, I’m sure, even if not many of us like to admit to it. Living with the choices and decisions we make isn’t easy, nor is raising the courage to finally leave that life and exercise self love enough to keep us going further than our parent’s couches. Daisy has a tough decision to make, and it made me so glad to get a full behind the scenes kind of look into her reasoning and how she became part of the artist’s colony, where I’m sure she’s not the only one who thinks they’re not "real" artists.
All in all, a must-read novelette, which even though might hit home for many readers, has a unique character and unfolding of events.
Both of Janel Gradowski’s books can be read as stand-alone works, but I have to say: with “The Queen of Bad Decisions” being a prequel to the first published book of the series, one should read it, then immediately go read “Must Love Sandwiches” as well. You won’t be sorry!
Janel and I have discussed food quite a few times. She’s the one who introduced to me the idea of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. I know I can count on her for different foodie adventures, and she was happy to provide me with the below recipe to go with my short review.
Please give her a warm welcome, as I’m sure this can easily become one of your favorites to make during the upcoming chilly seasons
As I write this post I am keeping one eye on my laptop screen and the other on my living room window. Across the road, flock after flock of geese are landing in a freshly harvested corn field. They congregate in mottled gray groups and roam over the furrows and stalks, searching for corn kernels. They’re looking for sustenance to fuel them for the long flight south. Or if they are from some of the many flocks that stay in the area over winter, they’re looking for some rich food to fatten themselves up. A thick layer of fat is nicely insulating when the temperature drops below freezing and stays there for months.
The sky is gray, streaked with darker gray clouds. While there are still trees sporting their colorful, autumn plumage the hues have become muddied like Mother Nature washed everything with brown stain. It’s autumn – a time when I get serious about writing and comfort food. My kids are back in school. While I enjoy the peace and quiet I also have a list of writing projects that is growing at a sometimes alarming rate. When I sit at my computer I am surrounded by sticky notes and index cards, all scribbled with thoughts and tasks. Often I start working early in the morning accompanied only by my huge mug of coffee. I have never been much of a breakfast person, so a nicely caffeinated beverage is all I need in the early morning hours. BUT around mid-morning, brunch time as I like to call it, I often realize I’m hungry. Not just hungry…starving to the point where my brain is threatening to go on strike if I don’t eat.
In the summer, a bowl of cold cereal would do to satiate the hunger monster, but cold weather makes me crave warm and homey foods. This recipe for rice pudding really satisfies that craving. It is made with common ingredients most people have in their pantries. Brown sugar can be used to give the pudding a caramel flavor. A dusting of ground cinnamon or nutmeg is also fabulous.
Simple Rice Pudding
1 cup long grain white rice
1 ¼ cups water
Pinch of salt
2 cups milk
¼ – 1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan bring rice, water and salt to a boil. Continue to boil for 3 minutes then add the milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender and liquid is mostly absorbed. Add a bit more milk or water if the pudding gets too dry before the rice is cooked completely. Stir in sugar and vanilla extract. Serve warm or chilled.
More about the author:
Janel Gradowski lives in a land that looks like a cold weather fashion accessory, the mitten-shaped state of Michigan. She is a wife and mom to two kids and one Golden Retriever. Her journey to becoming an author is littered with odd jobs like renting apartments to college students and programming commercials for an AM radio station. Somewhere along the way she also became a beadwork designer and teacher. She enjoys cooking recipes found in her formidable cookbook and culinary fiction collection. Searching for unique treasures at art fairs, flea markets and thrift stores is also a favorite pastime. Coffee is an essential part of her life.
Her work has appeared in many publications, both online and in print.
*Linking up my short review and the bonus recipe as part of the Weekend Cooking meme.