Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A #Recipe from the Cat Café: Bacon Nut Brittle #MFRWhooks

My cat café series features a bakery and two fantastic bakers. So of course I must share recipes! The one below is perfect for people who like a little savory with their sweets. It's a nice gift for bacon-lovers who don't need a lot of stuff for the holidays. This will disappear in no time!

Bacon Nut Brittle Recipe

Crunchy, salty, smoky, savory, and sweet. This combination of flavors makes for an unusual treat! You can use whatever nuts you prefer. If someone has nut allergies, use sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds instead (or a vegan "bacon" alternative). If you don't eat pork, skip the bacon and try a mixture of different nuts and seeds to provide a variety of flavors and textures.

1/2 cup bacon crumbles (buy real bacon crumbles, or cook and cool 8 slices of thick cut, smoked bacon)
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 ounces roasted salted cashews
1 teaspoon vanilla
coarse salt

1.  Cook the bacon until crispy, cool, and chop into 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch pieces.
2.  Lightly spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Spray the stirring end of a large, heat-proof spoon as well.
3.  In a large saucepan, combine the following: water, sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Safety Warning: The heated mixture gets very hot and sticky. Do not let it touch your skin!

4.  Attach a candy thermometer to the pan. Cook the mixture over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally. Cook to 300°F (adjusted for altitude if necessary), about 10 minutes. The caramel should be the color of a paper bag. Drizzle a bit of caramel from your spoon, and it should spin out a thread.
5.  Remove the pot from the heat. Carefully stir in the baking soda. This will cause the mixture to bubble.
6.  Stir in the nuts, vanilla, and bacon.
7.  Immediately pour the brittle onto the baking sheet. Use the back of the spoon to spread the brittle into a thin, even layer.
8.  Sprinkle with the coarse salt. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
9.  Break the brittle into large shards. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one month.

Coffee and Crushes at the Cat Café: A Furrever Friends Sweet Romance

What do you do when you meet the guy of your dreams? Set him up with your sister, of course.

Kari doesn't have time for love when she's opening her new cat café. Renovating an old restaurant, hiring employees, fighting with the health inspector – oh, and welcoming 16 shelter cats – keeps her plenty busy. She's doing this for the cats, the community, and most of all her family. The café will give her sister, Marley, a job worthy of her baking skills.

Then a tattooed military veteran wanders in claiming to be a master baker himself. The café doesn't need another baker, but maybe Marley needs a man. Surely she'll fall for a guy this sweet, this sexy, this tasty.

Colin has other ideas. It's Kari who makes him want to pour on the sugar and turn up the heat. But he's spent the last two years recovering from physical and psychological wounds. Is he really ready for a relationship? He's not even sure he should commit to Samson, the fluffy marshmallow of a cat who steals his heart.

Get this sweet romance on Amazon, or free with Kindle Unlimited.

Visit all the Book Hooks from #MFRWHooks - You might find your next great read! 
Kris Bock writes novels of romance, mystery, and suspense. Her Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the employees and customers at a cat café. Watch as they fall in love with each other and shelter cats.

Kris also writes romantic suspense set in the Southwestern U.S. If you love Mary Stewart or Barbara Michaels, try Kris Bock’s stories of treasure hunting, archaeology, and intrigue in the Southwest. Sign up for Kris Bock’s newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more. Visit the Kris Bock website or Kris Bock’s Amazon page.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Plumbing Problems at Christmas? A #holiday #romance from @VickiBatman

Well, stuff happens. Plumbing problems come when we least expect them. I know I’ve been there, and I’m betting many of you have as well.

So why write plumbing into a holiday story? Like most writers, I’ve been asked where I get ideas. The idea to write about a Mr. Maintenance Man and a librarian hit me. I needed some catastrophe to bring them together, and voila! Plumbing.

I’ve also been asked if some of the things I’ve written about have happened in real life. And yes, they have. In “Holiday Disaster,” I write about a lost contact. When I was a single girl, this really did happen to me, except the maintenance man was in no way like my hero. No tool belt either.

Throughout my life, I’ve experienced plumbing problems. For example, the sewer backed up in my basement the day after a wedding reception held at my house. The plumber, my real-life hero, Roger, climbed on the roof to snake the drain through the vent. I’ve had pipes freeze, and again, Roger fixed everything. I’ve had potato peelings back up in the sink, and yes, Roger rescued me.

This past summer, Handsome and I traveled to Tuscany and stayed in an old farmhouse. A huge thunderstorm blew in and stayed for a whole day, which was great for reading and stitching. Then the power went out. Okay, not so bad. I had packed a book light. However, then the truth revealed itself—no electricity equaled no plumbing because the septic pump was … powered by electricity.

So yes, real life can provide fodder for books.

Here’s a bit about “Holiday Disaster”:

Hopes and wishes and holiday kisses...Sommerville holidays.

Days before Christmas, a librarian experiences plumbing issues and visits from Mr. Maintenance Man, who isn’t nearly as jolly as Santa Claus.

Merry Christmas to me. Not really.

Wrapping my hands around the older-than-time plumbing underneath my bathroom sink, I yanked, hoping-praying-hoping the darn thing would loosen, and all would be saved. But no. Nada. Too darn tight.

Obviously, somebody more muscular than me was required to strong-arm the pipe free. My shoulders hunched with helpless feelings. I should have closed the drain stopper to prevent my contact from swirling merrily away after it popped out of my eye and flew in the sink.

Feeling helpless sucks big time, and I hate it.

Not a great way to kick off the holiday season.

I should have paid more attention when Dad donned his Mr. Fix-it hat and repaired stuff in the family homestead. Maybe I would have learned something valuable, something resembling Plumbing 101. But like most little girls, playtime was ten times more fun than hanging with Dad and repairing broken stuff.

What to do. What to do. Nothing I could do. I declared “surrender” and called the condo’s emergency number. Mr. Maintenance Man told me he was on his way. I hoped he wasn’t humoring me. Lying—my number one enemy.

Vicki Batman has sold many romantic comedy works to magazines, several publishers, and most recently, three romantic comedy mysteries. Along the way, she has picked up some awards and bestsellers. Avid Jazzerciser. Handbag lover. Mahjong player. Yoga practitioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Chocaholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome Hubby. Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking, "What if??"

Find Vicki Batman at:
Author Central:   
Instagram: vickilbatman     

I hope your holidays are disaster-free 
and may your days be Merry & Bright!