Goodbye 2016! Hello better new year?

reblogging from my Author site.

Laurie Stewart:

This was me last night, ready to go to a much anticipated party at a friend’s. I look forward to NYE at his house all year! Then BOOM, snowstorm. Blizzard. NOT the yummy kind with bits of cheesecake, either.

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So we curled up in the comfy chairs and watched an Ice Age marathon, including the Christmas special.  And had a few drinks. And watched 2016 die on my 55″ TV. Not as satisfying as if I’d made it to the party, but not too shabby.

Actually, aside from a number of my favourite celebrities (whom I didn’t know in person) dying, and the Syrian war which I feel helpless and disappointed in humanity about, 2016 was pretty good to me.

I know, I should just cover my head and run now.

But… At Ad Astra last year, I got to meet and actually talk to one of my favourite authors…

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This week in writing…

Laurie Stewart:

So I am flying to Winnipeg tonight at 8, arriving about midnight. So I can spend the whole day freaking out about forgetting stuff. It’s my M-i-L’s 80th birthday, and we are having a 5 day celebration! Four if you don’t count the rack of lamb for last night’s dinner.

This is going to be a break from writing, and a chance to catch up on two books I promised to review. So I’m taking my tablet, but not the laptop. Tablet is great for reading on, lousy for writing.

I need the break, I’ve been writing so much I’m starting to confuse conversations in the book for conversations with my hubby. I also had my author’s photos done!

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So, I’ll be offline for a few days. Try not to bring on the apocalypse while I’m gone.

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The little wildfires of life

The Leading Edge of Chaos

Life is busy this summer, so busy that summer’s nearly gone and nothing’s been done!  I feel like my Grandmother: “It’s nearly 10 o’clock in the morning! Tomorrow’s Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, whole week gone and nothing done!” (It’s 10am Monday btw)

My garden is in, but with this heat wave I just can’t manage the time and energy to weed it. Gotta be done soon, though.NO idea when, next week we head off to Winnipeg for a week, then there’s a festival I’m vending at, then there’s the end of my hubby’s contract and possibly no more work for a while.

I have now sold/ donated 3 short stories for publication (go me!) all since April! I’m pitching a cookbook to a publisher, and need to finish editing the second book in the YA Mechanicsville series, and do the next cookbook in the Fresh and Home-made series.

Plus our besties…

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Cookbook for the weird at heart

I may have a few secrets, but this one is different. After all, my secret crush on Tom Hiddleston isn’t much of a secret. Not in the grand scheme of things.

Neither is the fact that I’m planning four more cookbooks in the Fresh and Home-made series. The exact types of food are still a secret, a couple even from me!

This secret is that a publisher may be interested in me doing a cookbook for them. A real cookbook, with food photos, publicity, distribution and everything!

Not necessarily BETTER than my self published ones, just more.. respectable?  But it was the two that are out there now, that got me this chance to impress them.

So…. which recipes do I submit?

Fresh & Home-made Asian                  Fresh & Home-made Indian

Peruvian goodness, and birthday plans.

Ontario Food Storage on the cheap

So, a couple weeks ago I had a Groupon for $60 off a meal for 4 at Petit Peru. WE met up with good friends to try to get in. Despite having a reservation, the place was tiny!  Seating maybe 40 people, so a group is kinda hard to seat.

Outside the restaurant, we ran into an old friend of all 4 of us that none of us had seen for a couple of year. The extra person tipped us into seating hell, we ended up with the only table large enough, which was supposed to seat 8.

But the food more than made up for the hassle. I had previously been introduced to Ceviche at a food fair, sushi grade white fish marinated in lime juice and hot peppers, served with thinly sliced raw onion.  OMG!

They had so many choices for a small place, even though the…

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Welcome back (or sorry I missed you )

I’ve noticed that this blog has gained a whole lot of new followers,  which makes me a bit embarrassed about how long it’s been since the last post.
My excuse is that I have published a novel to great (if few) reviews and built a website and an author’s blog and my mom’s getting married!
I am so happy for her, it’s taken a long time for her to get over my dad’s death.
Check out the blog on my website for links to the book and it’s reviews.
I’ve also started the Day – off diet. I know,  I know…. Dr Oz.  But it’s basically a modified paleo diet, with elements of the whole food diet. (What my mom would call… food)
No processed foods, low fat and no empty carbs, and low dairy make it hard to eat anything out but the salad bar. And now they think salad is bad for you! I’ll look up a link to that article later.
So instead, I’ll post my recipes and meal plans. I make Thai, Indian and African food from scratch, all veggie heavy cuisines, so they are on the diet without much modification.
Even if you’re not on a diet, fresh from scratch pad thai is awesome.

Topkapi Turkish Restaurant; review

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Topkapi restaurant, 484 Preston St, Ottawa

Very pretty place, all red and gold, but small.  I counted a dozen tables, only two for more than four people.  The music seemed to be classical played on traditional middle eastern instruments, a bit odd but lovely when you realized what it was.  Our waitress was slow, but very informed on the dishes, checked with the cook for gluten cross contamination, and had the silkiest accent.  Even the menu was delightful, read in her voice.

I had expected our options to be limited, as I’d bought a Groupon and it was for a four-course meal with wine and coffee.  I was pleasantly surprised to find there were at least two choices at every course.  And the majority of the menu is GF.

We also had a choice of six wines for the free one with our dinner.  I picked a Pinot Grigio because I am sensitive to migraines and red wine is problematic.  It was nicely chilled and arrived before the food, so we could enjoy a glass.

We both asked for the lentil soup, and it was amazing! Touches of lemon, mint and hot pepper in a pureed red lentil soup base.  Even the dish was pretty.

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Next we had a choice of about a dozen appetizers, and went for the combo plate.  I can’t remember them all, most were pureed with garlic and spices.  Oddly, no crackers or pita to scoop them up with.

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The red was the hottest, hot peppers, tomato paste, garlic and herbs.  Next to it is a tzatziki like yogurt, mint and garlic paste, then a garlic and I have no idea mix that was delicious!  The green and white slices were a spherical cucumber, then there was a rice, herb and wine stuffed green pepper, hummus, feta cheese, eggplant something like a chunky baba ganoush, and a dolmade or stuffed grape leaf.  The center was pickled beet shreds, but unlike anything my Grammy used to make.  Much fresher and cleaner tasting.

Then we got our main course, I asked for the kebab meat, no pita (for obvious reasons) and, although a little salty, it was very good.

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It came with roasted tomato slices, sauteed veggies, rice and fried potatoes.  The meat was sliced very thinly, beef and lamb mixed together in a gravy.  A large  portion, there was enough left over for lunch the next day.  My dearest hubby got the Kofta (meatballs) but there was some question about whether they contained wheat as there was a language barrier with the cook.  So I didn’t taste them, but my sweetie seemed to like them. (edit; I tried them at lunch the next day with no reaction, so they were GF)

The highlight, though, was the dessert.

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Sweetie got a creme caramel, I chose the coconut pudding.  Both came with fresh, ripe strawberries as decoration.  It was rich, creamy and so coconutty I nearly swooned!

We also got Turkish tea, and a small square of hand made Turkish delight.

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The tea just seemed to be a strong orange pekoe, no milk, so nothing special.  The Turkish delight was as different from the US chocolate bar as it could get.  Lemon and honey taste, much softer and silkier.  And no chocolate.

All in all I give the place a 4 out of 5.

My only two complaints were that the service was slow, bordering on ridiculous. There were only a dozen tables, not nearly all full, so there should have been faster service from the kitchen.  I wondered if it was because we were on a groupon?

And that there were no clearly marked GF dishes, and the waitress had a hard time getting clarification.

They made up for a lot with a coupon for our next visit for buy one get one free main courses.  And an invitation to a Turkish Night boat cruise with bellydancing.