Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wheat-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wheat-Free Toll House Cookies

2 1/4 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp water
2 eggs
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 375°

Stir together almond flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Combine 1 cup butter with both sugars, vanilla and water. Beat until creamy. Beat in the eggs. Add flour mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate morsels and walnuts. 

Bake 8 to 11 minutes depending on if you want chewy, soft or crispy cookies. I bake pans of all three to please my family.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Writing Prompt #36 Haircut

There is a special bond between client and hairdresser/barber. Your character has arrived at the barber shop/salon/hairdresser's home for a routine haircut/color/shave/mani-pedi/wax.

What if...
The premises are empty...
Your character's enemy is in the chair...
Your character realizes he/she forgot his/her wallet...
Your character becomes violently ill...
Your character overhears...?
There is an explosion or fire or earthquake...

Monday, April 4, 2016

Eat Fat, Get Thin


On a lazy day home alone, I was laying on the sofa, flipping through channels and stopped on PBS. Mark Hyman, M.D., a doctor from the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, was talking about carbohydrate and fat addiction and listing the symptoms of FLC syndrome. (Feel Like Crap syndrome). Fatigue, being cold all the time, depression, low sex drive, irritability, brain fog, pain and no ambition. My husband was experiencing all of it. I sat up and listened up.

Dr. Mark Hyman is a Functional Medicine M.D. Functional Medicine is kinda like Holistic or Integral medicine. Instead of treating patients symptoms, he treats the cause of the malady. Most obesitiy, Type II Diabesity, High Cholesterol and Heart Disease is caused by diet. Not just the "bad" refined carbs and sugar that we eat. The toxins in the food chain like chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, artificial sweetners and "new" lab made oils our bodies don't know how to process.

I hit the record button, of course it was too late to get the whole show, but I later watched it with my daughter then husband. They were both skeptical, calling him a quack.

It's not a crazy diet eliminating whole food groups. You eat mostly vegetables plus grass fed, free range or wild meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, berries and natural fats. A cross between the Paleo and Vegan diets he calls Pegan.

My husband was put on a low fat diet two years ago after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I've been so concerned about his nutrition because he basically was only eating salads, dry cereal, popcorn, pretzels, baked chips, pancakes, peanutbutter powder & jelly sandwiches and egg beaters. He always wanted to eat out and ordered things with sugary sauces. He has become very miserable and had gotten really sick with a lingering cold. He coughed so hard his eye bled. Several times!

I had my babies in my 20's, lost the baby fat and my weight was normal until my late 30's when it started an upward overweight climb. At one point a few years ago, I was one pound away from obesity. I did the Atkins diet and got back down--temporarily. I couldn't sustain it and was addicted to highly processed delicious carbs like pasta and cookies and ice cream.

Since my husband began his low fat diet, I've been snacking on his highly processed chips, eating cereal with skim milk for breakfast and sometimes dinner and have become a voracious cookie monster. Store bought. We gave up artificial sweetners and the pounds were packing on me from sweet tea and soda pop.

Last Monday, my athletic husband and I started the Eat Fat Get Thin diet. It took me a few days to read the book, shop for the foods and I'm still waiting on some of the supplements. I'm not taking them all, but there are some I want to try. I am overweight. I enjoy yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and I run. I've been told by my doctor I'm deficient in Vitamin D. That's no surprise because I avoid the sun and use sunscreen. I've been battling Melanoma since 2005. I'm taking Vitamin D3, a multi vitamin, Krill oil because I don't eat fish, plus a few other supplements Dr. Hyman recommends.

Today is weigh in day. I lost 6 pounds the first week. My husband lost 10. He's already at a normal weight, but he can go lower and still be at a healthy BMI. I'm now only 10 pounds away from the top range of a healthy BMI. I want to go a lot lower of course.

We're in the detoxification stage of this diet for 21 days and no it hasn't been pleasant. But detox from any substance is bad. Today is the first morning I've had noticeable ambition and energy. Heck, I'm even blogging, something I haven't really bothered much with in a long time.

My insatiable appetite is slowly being reigned in. I actually like the food on this diet, perhaps because there is such a variety. There is no calorie counting or portion measuring. I get to eat nuts and berries from day one, something I've never been allowed on other diets. I love nuts and berries.

Yes, I'm still missing bread, pasta, ice cream, cookies, cupcakes and tortilla chips. But so far, I haven't cheated. The steady weight loss is keeping my eye on the prize.

Week 1: I lost 6 pounds.

Week 2:  It was hard. I didn't lose any weight until one pound on weigh in day. I stuck with it and am now down 7 pounds in 2 weeks.

Check back, I'll keep updating my progress here. Wish me luck!




Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Writing Prompt #35: Witness

Your character is almost home from a very long day. Blocking the entrance to the street he/she lives on is what appears to be a traffic stop. A police car and another vehicle. The officer is leaning into the vehicle when it suddenly lurches away, dragging the office with it.

What does your character do?

Snap a picture and post it on social media?
Finish eating?
Curse that the cop car is still blocking the road?
Pursue the incident on foot or driving his/her vehicle?
Call 911?
Call home to say he/she will be late?
Park the car and walk home?
Flee the scene because...?

Writing Prompt #34 Radio

Your character is listening to the radio...

Where is he or she? At home, in a vehicle, a public place, the woods?

What is being broadcast? Music, weather, news, traffic, a sports game, a dramatic reading?

This leads to an immediate need for your character to act on something. What happens?

Monday, March 14, 2016

"Best I've read in a while"


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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Peetie the Parrot Doesn't Live Here Anymore

My son, Andy, has always loved birds. I remember he used to be an eagle, "flying" home from kindergarten down the sidewalk. His first pet bird was a beautiful green budgigar named Bud. He was very sweet, he used to preen my eyebrows. It tickled. We didn't understand that you can't give birds a steady diet of seeds. It's toxic to their organs. Bud passed away after only a few years. Of course, my firefighter husband was on a 24 hour shift at the time so I had to take care of the arrangements.

Andy studied birds, reading every related book in the elementary school library. He settled on a Solomon Island Eclectus parrot, which is a medium sized parrot. They are unique in nature as the females are always red and the males are always green. We surprised him at Christmas with a male he named Claytor, after a railroad tycoon he admired. In addition to birds, he's had a lifelong interest in trains, courtesy of Thomas the Tank Engine and my model railroader husband.

Anyhow, we've enjoyed Claytor's conversation as our son has grown and left the nest. Now that he's settled in his new home, my husband and I transported Claytor to live with him last weekend.

We put him into his pet carrier, which we outfitted with a perch, watter bottle and food. Claytor was very happy and chatty the entire trip, clinging on the cage door. I kept saying he needed to drink and was worried his feet would get cramps. My husband kept telling me if his feet were bothering him or he were thirsty, then he'd go perch and drink.

Seven hours later, we arrived at Andy's new home in Pennsylvania. When we took him out of the carrier we discovered his poop was red and he was hot to the touch! As my husband reassembled his cage, I held Claytor and his food dish and water bottle, re-hydrating the poor guy.  Claytor drank readily and ate, choosing to perch on me rather than his play gym. After about 20 minutes, he cooled down. His poop returned to normal.

It's been a few days and he's fine. That was a big scare and I feel so badly that we didn't stop along the way and give him water. I had flashbacks of when he was a young bird and vomited. We had to travel 90 minutes to an avian veterinarian who held him in ICU for several days. Until the bill surged into the four digits and we brought him home. I bonded with him then, wrapping him in a towel to squirt medicine in his mouth. I'm so glad he's okay.

If you ever have to take a pet on a road trip, stop regularly to hydrate it.

Claytor was my inspiration for the character of Peetie the Parrot in my novel INAPPORPRIATE. He knew who the killer was.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

INAPPROPRIATE Revamp!

I have ordered a new book cover for INAPPROPRIATE, my hilarious murder mystery aboard a cross-country train filled with writers and evangelists. I'm rebranding it to my married name, Sherry Morris. I'm hoping I'll be able to keep my Amazon reviews because they're the tops, thank you readers!

Anyhow, the new cover is due to be delivered to me on March 4th. If it needs any revision, I'm crossing my fingers that can be done quickly because I'm so excited. I'll upload it everywhere ASAP. The print book will take a few days to be approved by the printer and distributed.

My daughter gave a copy to her boyfriend's aunt who said "It's a riot! This is the funniest book I've ever read. Does your mother talk like she writes?"

By the way, I've ridden on the above pictured train, the Nickel Plate 765. I love trains!
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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Accused is now Available!


Accused
By Sherry Morris
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Excerpt:
January 1945 in the District of Columbia

Miss Chloe Lambert stepped off the streetcar at the corner of Fourteenth and C Streets. Frigid  air played tag with her breath and steam from underground. Strolling carefully on the slippery sidewalk, she watched as Sergeant Bill Blandings hoisted the loading dock door and stepped outside  the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. He struck a match to light the cigarette dangling from his  lip then ascended the ramp, locking his gaze onto hers. Heart pounding, Chloe paused to refresh her  lipstick. Bill sucked the smoke deep into his lungs as he watched and waited. Finally exhaling, he blew five smoke rings. She stepped up to him and scattered the circles with her blue gloved hand.
He said, “You are one gorgeous dame tonight.”
Chloe gazed into his midnight blue eyes. Nobody has eyes like Bill. He has the devil in them. They are so darned…irresistible. She brushed him aside.
He threw down his cigarette and snuffed it out with one twist of his black steel-toed police boot. Powdery snow blew off the retaining walls as they walked down the salted ramp. Chloe and Bill  entered  the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. He lowered the door. It thumped against the concrete floor.
She led the way through the cavernous federal building. The scent of floor polish wafted up from the pristine terrazzo.
He confided, “We’re pretty much alone now. The bureaucrats departed hours ago. The charwomen came and went. Just the skeletal police detail is left. Me, Schwartz and Krankowski.”
Bill followed Chloe into the printing room. He balked. “Jeez, this place is a pigsty.” In her sweet  southern drawl Chloe said, “Alcohol was the most popular guest at our office party today, resulting in a whole run of botched hundreds. They didn’t change the plates. The same image is printed on both sides of the notes.” She pointed to the sloppily bundled currency and a big ink stain on the floor. “They ought not to have bothered working at all. As the currency inspector, I have to file a report. I feel like a lousy snitch.”
Bill eyed her fur. “Hey, where’d ya get the coat from? It’s not from that weasel Myron in personnel, is it?”
“Eww! No, Bill. It’s Mrs. Grogan’s. My landlady. She let me borrow it. I told her this was a special night.”
Bill grabbed her collar. They kissed hungrily.
Finally  taking  a  much-needed  breath,  Chloe  pulled  away  and  smiled  as  she unbuttoned the full-length sable. She was wearing his favorite blue dancing shoes…and nothing else.
“Jeez, Chloe—lay off of them doughnuts.”
Before she  could  process  the  insult,  Bill  slipped  his  fingers  under  the  fur.  She shoved him away.
Her voice trembled, “I won’t be your dirty little secret anymore. Divorce Vera.”
There, I’ve said it.
Bill ran his fingers through Chloe’s soft red hair. He knew just the spot to touch. “Lovey, we’ve been all through this. You know I can’t possibly divorce her while he’s in office.  How  would  it  look  if  the  President’s  secretary  all  of  a  sudden  up  and  got divorced? The Republicans would go wild!  And  it’d be rough on my little girls. Just wait a little bit longer. Lovey, I promise we’ll be together soon. He ain’t gonna be Prez for the rest of his life ya know.”
Chloe fought back tears. Whatever was I thinking? Momma was right. I should have stayed in the mountains. But eleven months ago, her country had called for good girls to fill the shoes of the boys at war. When I was still a good girl. I had no idea what I’d have to do for my country. It might as well have been eleven millennia ago. I can’t ever go back. Not now. She shoved her hands in the deep silk-lined pockets…where she felt the cold steel of a revolver.
Five shots exploded down from the supervisors’ catwalk. Chloe dove under a metal desk,  pulling  in  an  olive  drab  trash  can  for  cover.  Bill  slumped  face  down  into  a carelessly heaped pile of hundreds.
Chloe peeked from behind the can. She watched a female silhouette blow smoke from the barrel  and stroll back along the catwalk then out of sight. No! This can’t be happening. I’m in a bad movie. Bad dream. Bad world.
Shaking, Chloe crawled to Bill and rolled him over. A C-note covered his eyes. She yanked it off and screamed in horror.
Chloe ran through the building and slammed straight into the loading dock door. She struggled to hoist it high enough to crawl under. Rolling onto the ramp, she pushed herself up on hands and knees, then to full height. She put her hand on the revolver in her pocket and lit out running. As she looked back over her shoulder, she slipped on the icy sidewalks, battering her knees.
Back on her feet, she forced herself onward. A dry lump ached in the back of her mouth,  forced  open  from  heavy  breathing.  Frozen  rain  stung  her  face.  As  Chloe tumbled again she pulled her hand out of her pocket, not letting go of the pistol. The cobblestones abraded her wrists as she broke her fall.
As she scrambled up again, one blue heel snapped off in a snow-covered grate, propelling her face first into a police call box. Moaning in agony, tasting blood, Chloe looked over her shoulder. A lone car sped past. Forcing herself onward, she made it to the Fourteenth Street Bridge. Gasping for breath, Chloe leaned over the concrete railing and threw the revolver. It slid along the surface of the frozen Potomac River. “Damn it. I can’t even dispose of a gun properly. It doesn’t matter anyhow. It  isn’t the murder weapon.” Murder weapon? “No!”

An icicle fell from the lamppost above her. Chloe drew back as it seemed to shatter in  slow  motion.  She  looked  at  the  hundred  dollar  bill  still  crumpled  in  her  hand. Benjamin  Franklin’s  picture  adorned  both  sides.  The  drunken  printers  should  be ashamed of themselves for such a mistake. Chloe dreaded turning them in. But right now that was the least of her worries. She shivered almost convulsively as she clutched the paper to her heart. Tears blinded her as she buttoned the fur coat.
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