Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

This is by far one of the tastiest, most decadent, fabulous chocolate recipes for the chocoholic.

molten-cake

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

6 0z. chocolate (high quality, not chocolate chips)

3 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup corn starch (sifted)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Put chocolate and butter into a bowl and melt until smooth in the microwave or in a double-boiler on stove.  Stir frequently.  Set aside

In large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt.  Mix well.

Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the sugar/egg mixture and stir until combined

Cover the batter and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (overnight)

Scoop mixture evenly into six cups in a muffin pan or similar

Put in oven and turn pan after 15 minutes to allow even baking

Bake for another 10-15 minutes.  They will be done when the outside has risen slightly above the sides of the pan and the center is puffed up but still soft

Let cool completely.   Unmold carefully

Serve on a plate and garnish with chocolate curls and berries

To serve warm, heat in oven for 5 minutes before garnishing.


Spanish Rice

ricefinishedSpanish Rice is a staple in our house.  This is an easy recipe, and you’ll love it!recipe-card-1-back-500x386

Great Heroes

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Want to learn about today’s hottest heroes?

Visit The Naked Hero!

We strip down heroes to their archtypes:

BAD BOY

CHIEF

WARRIOR

SWASHBUCKLER

BEST FRIEND

LOST SOUL

CHARMER

PROFESSOR

Tacos Buenos

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These tacos are not only tasty, they stretch the meat, thereby helping your budget.  Whether our budget needs stretching or not, we make our tacos like this because they are just too good not to.

Tacos

1 pound ground beef

3 potatoes, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tomatoes, finely chopped (or tomato sauce)

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste

1/4 – 1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Brown beef in large frying pan.  Remove and drain excess fat.  In same frying pan, saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Return meat to pan.  Add potatoes, tomatoes (or tomato sauce), carrots, salt, and dash of pepper.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

For Taco Shells:

Heat oil in a frying pan.  Fry desired amount of corn tortillas, using tongs to create a taco shell shape.  Drain on paper towels.

To Serve:

Fill each taco with meat/potato filling.  Top with:

Parmesan cheese

Shredded Jack or Cheddar cheese

Sour Cream

Lettuce

Tomatoes

Salsa, Pico de Gallo, and/or Guacamole

Pico de Gallo

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What makes pico de gallo different from, say, salsa borracha?  It comes down to the fresh tomatoes verses the blanched tomatoes.   Salsa is a cooked sauce; pico de gallo is all fresh ingredients.  Try this muy bueno recipe for pico de gallo when tomatoes are in season, cilantro is fragrant, and you’re craving fresh Mex.

Pico de Gallo

8 tomatoes, chopped

1/2 yellow onion, chopped (or 1 bunch of green onions)

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

8 serrano chiles, minced (for a milder version, use less chiles)

2 cloves garlic, minced

Juice from 1 lemon

1 tsp salt, to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Using a flat kitchen utensil or smasher, mash down slightly to produce juice

Frijoles de Olla

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This is a basic frijole (bean) recipe.  Have it one night, then refry them for later in the week.  They are a staple in our house.

frijoles de olla

Holy Guacamole!

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Holy Guacamole! This is a traditional recipe for guacamole…and is irresistible. Come with your appetite!

Guacamole

Salsa Borracha and Margaritas

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No Mexican meal is complete without Margaritas and Salsa.  Lola has a special recipe for both.  Salsa Borracha (drunken salsa) is a family favorite, and the margaritas, well, you just have to try them!

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For Writers

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What we have learned from others becomes our own by reflection: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every author has their two cents to give on the writing process, whether it is how they got where they are or what important knowledge they have to share with the writing community. I, of course, am no exception! I’ve had revelations, moments where things just clicked and suddenly made sense, and epiphanies after the fact when I realized, “Wow, that was a bit of brilliance!”

This page has links to:

~ articles and columns I’ve written that are relevant to my journey as a writer

~ articles I’ve found to be extremely helpful and informative

Michelangelo said, “I am still learning.” So am I. My path may be different than yours, but I firmly believe we learn from each other.

Articles by Me:

♥ How can astronomy help your writing? Read ‘Let the Solar System Strengthen Your Writing’ to find out.  Originally published in Romance Writers Report, January 2007.

♥ High Concept is tough to define.  Here’s help understanding what it means.

Standing Out From the Pack: Making High Concept Work for You

♥ One woman’s guide to developing your own unique style of writing.  Here’s an article on Finding Voice

♥ If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. See how perseverance really can pay off.

Finding an Agent

♥ Read the query for Living the Vida Lola.

Query Letters

♥ Understanding Marketing and Promotion [with author Nikki Duncan]

Marketing and Promotion, Part One

Articles by Others that are Helpful and Informative:

Steps to Joseph Cambell’s THE HERO’S JOURNEY

Author Marketing Experts: Practical Tips on Marketing, PR, and Exposure

Simple Ways to Promote Yourself Online

Show Me the Money: What Romance Publishers Pay

Building a Professional Writing Portfolio

Top 10 Rules for Mystery Writing

Writing the Cozy Mystery

Other Fun Places On-Line:

Lulu Titlescorer: Find out the odds of your book being a bestseller by trying the title scorer!

Finding an Agent

Waxman Literary Agency

Whoever knocks persistently, ends by entering. :Ali (A.D. 600?-661), Maxims of Ali


Finding an Agent

Finding an agent is only one step (after writing a great book) in the challenging process of building a career as an author. My experience taught me that the industry adage NO agent is better than the wrong agent is completely and unequivocally true. I was completely green when I started taking my writing career seriously. I’d written a book that I thought was pretty good, with characters that I loved, but I was afraid to send it out to agents.

One day, after my hard-written book had been sitting untouched in my computer for untold months, I had the good fortune to come into contact with a semi-retired literary agent who agreed to read my book. I jumped at the chance to get some authentic feedback. Several months, and a few revisions later, Agent X agreed to take me on as a client. Needless to say, I was thrilled!

But a year later, after three rejections from different imprints of the same publisher, I was not so thrilled. The process of submissions and rejections was disheartening and I hadn’t yet developed the thick skin required of an author. The bottom line was that this agent and I did not see my book the same way. When the last of the three rejections came, I asked what was next, thinking she’d branch out to different publishers and begin marketing my book from a different angle. Instead she told me that she didn’t have the energy to submit elsewhere.

I was crushed. I had to start over. I contemplated giving up my dream right then and there.

But I didn’t, and perseverance and commitment led me to my dream agent.

I made myself look at the situation with a ‘glass half full’ philosophy. I evaluated my relationship with Agent X and realized that I’d learned a ton from her and I’d grown as a writer and a person in the year she’d been representing me. The most important things I’d learned?

She encouraged me to join Romance Writers of America and my local chapter, Sacramento Valley Rose, two amazingly supporting writing organizations.

She encouraged me to find a critique group. I did. We’re called the Scarlets and they have become an integral part of my writing life. And they’re great friends, too.

The process of working with an agent helped me to define what I want to accomplish as a writer and set goals for myself. I believe these are keys to success–for anyone in any field.

Once Agent X and I had amicably parted ways, I regrouped and began a search for a new agent. I spent hours on Agentquery.com, identifying agents who were looking for the type of book I’d written, who were taking on new clients, who accepted email queries, and who had a proven track record of sales. I drafted a query letter and submitted.

After what felt like a thousand trips to the post office to mail off partial and full manuscripts from the requests I received, three agents were interested in my work and contacted me. Now that was thrilling! Ultimately I had to decide what direction to take my book and who I wanted to work with as the agents each saw my book a little differently. I made my decision (one of the toughest I’ve ever made), and have actually changed agents since that decision.  I know now that I have the best agent for me and the journey getting to her, while rocky at times, was well worth it.

Having someone who believes in you and your writing is huge. And it’s not something to be taken lightly. Finding any agent is hard work. Finding the right agent can seem nearly impossible. But doing your research, targeting agents that represent what you write, and believing in yourself, your talent, and your goals can and will result in your success.