Friday, December 8, 2017

Finicky Friday - Candy Cane-Kahlua Hot Chocolate

Candy Cane-Kahlua Hot Chocolate
1/2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 candy cane
*3 tbsp. sipping chocolate
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 oz. Kahlua
whipped cream
candy canes

In a saucepan over low heat, warm whole milk and heavy cream.
Add 1 candy cane and stir until melted.
Stir in sipping chocolate and vanilla extract.
Remove from heat, stir in Kahlua, and pour into glass.

Garnish with whipped cream and candy canes.


*Most people use the terms "hot chocolate" and "hot cocoa" interchangeably. They're both hot and chocolatey, so they're the same, right? Well, not exactly. We've all tried classic hot cocoa. We can probably all agree that it's quick and easy to make, and that it's warming on cold winter days. We can probably also argue about whether or not it's better with mini-marshmallows, whipped cream or a candy cane.

However, things get stickier than spilled cocoa as soon as we try to hash out what hot cocoa actually is and isn't. Technically speaking, hot cocoa and hot chocolate are two very different beverages. Hot cocoa comes from a powder, while hot chocolate is (once again, technically speaking) what many call "drinking chocolate" or "sipping chocolate". It's made from chopped bits of chocolate or small chocolate pellets that are melted (slowly and painstakingly) and then blended with milk, cream and/or water. True hot chocolate tends to be much denser and richer than its powdery relative.

Interestingly enough, some Americans are repulsed by this more European beverage because it is so rich. However, I think this has more to do with American ideas of beverage sizes. Europeans tend to drink hot chocolate in small mugs or demitasse cups, while Americans are accustomed to oversized mugs for their hot drinks.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tuesday Teaser

This is from Fangs and Fur, the book after Paws and Claws. There are sections I've skipped, but this is still in Chapter One.

The first kick to his right knee from Dun’s steel toe boot robbed Bert’s breath. Agony exploded. He couldn’t think for the torment bleeding through his veins. The pain was unlike anything he’d ever felt. Jabbing sharp knives into it would’ve felt better.
His body shuddered. Even though his hands were tied behind his back, they strained to reach forward to protect his knee. The roughness of the rope bit into the tender skin on his wrists as he thrashed. Gods, they’d tied his hands so tight they were already going numb.
Finally his lungs unlocked, and he fought not to scream. He wouldn’t give the bastards the pleasure. He damn sure wouldn’t contribute to the horror Alvin would go through when he saw the video of Bert being beaten.
“I’m not hearing anything, boys,” drawled Alpha Hogan.
Wheaton punched Bert in the side of the head. Bert’s head jerked to the side from the impact, and his vision blurred. Dun kicked Bert again—right on the same kneecap. Tears ran down Bert’s face, but he growled instead of crying out, still refusing to scream for Alpha Hogan. Fuck if he’d give that insane bastard what he wanted. But by the tenth kick, his kneecap shattered.
He started screaming.
* * * *
Bert woke, sputtering from the tempered water from the nearby stream thrown in his face. Every inch of his body shrieked in agony, and he sucked in a harsh breath. Shit. They were still here. Had he passed out? How long ago? Head drooping, he refused to glance at his Alpha.
“Break time’s over.” Wheaton grabbed Bert by his damp hair and jerked his head up.
Bert moaned, squeezing his eyes shut. His right leg felt like it had been hacked off, and breathing was damn near impossible.
Alpha Hogan squatted in front of Bert. “Only one last thing to do.”
Oh goddess, what now? They’d broken not only his body but his spirit too. He simply couldn’t take any more pain. The beatings, although not as bad as this one, had been going on since Hogan found out who Alvin was to Bert.
Bert reached for unconsciousness once again, but it eluded him. He wanted it all to end, so the first slight tug and ‘snip’ caught him by surprise. He was expecting pain, but instead they’d…. What were they doing?
Bert opened his one eye not swollen shut. Grinning, Alpha Logan pointed at the floor. There was another tug and snip. Unease raced through Bert, and knowing he didn’t have a choice, he slowly glanced down. Long, brown lengths of something rested around his feet. As he watched, more brown—what the hell was that?—fluttered to the floor.
No!” Voice nearly broken, Bert still managed to scream when he realized what was laying around his feet was none other than hanks of his long hair.
There was nothing more humiliating than a shifter having his hair forcibly cut. It was almost a badge of dishonor—proof that the shifter was unworthy or useless. Helplessly he watched as more and more hair fell until nothing left of his long locks.
“Excellent. Dun, do whatever you have to do with that tablet thing, but make sure Alvin gets our little video as soon as possible. Tell him I want my package delivered today. And if I don’t? Make sure Bert’s mate understands the next thing we cut off will be body parts and not hair.”

Dun nodded. “Yes, Alpha.”

Friday, December 1, 2017

Finicky Friday - Snowball Cookies

Snowball Cookies


1 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. walnuts, finely chopped
1/4 c. sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. softened butter, chopped
2 c. powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350°F and line a large cookie sheet with parchment. In a large bowl, mix flour, walnuts, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add butter and, using your hands, combine everything until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
Form dough into small balls and place on prepared cookie sheet. 
Bake 15 minutes. When they’re still warm but cool enough to touch, roll cookies in powdered sugar.

Set aside on a rack to cool completely. When cool, dust again in powdered sugar.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. :)  And to get ya'll in the spirit...