Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Welcome Terri Austin! (And Her Recipe for Peach Butter)

Terri lives in Missouri with her funny, handsome husband and a high maintenance peekapoo. She’s also the author of the Rose Strickland Mystery series. Kirkus Reviews has some very nice things to say about the first in the series, Diners, Dives and Dead Ends.

“Austin’s debut kicks off her planned series by introducing a quirky, feisty heroine and a great supporting cast of characters and putting them through a number of interesting twists.”

Sounds like a fun read! Read on for more details about the book…and that promised recipe. You could win a copy of Diners, Dives and Dead Ends, too.

Welcome Terri!

DINERS cover only

As a struggling waitress and part-time college student, Rose Strickland’s life is stalled in the slow lane. But when her close friend, Axton, disappears, Rose suddenly finds herself serving up more than hot coffee and flapjacks. Now she’s hashing it out with sexy bad guys and scrambling to find clues in a race to save Axton before his time runs out.

With her anime-loving bestie, her septuagenarian boss, and pair of IT wise men along for the ride, Rose discovers political corruption, illegal gambling, and shady corporations. She’s gone from zero to sixty and quickly learns when you’re speeding down the fast lane, it’s easy to crash and burn.

Warning: This traditional mystery contains quirky humor, off-the-wall characters, and a dash of spicy language. Be prepared for a fun read.
You can buy a copy of Diners, Dives and Dead Ends at Amazon or Barnes&Noble. And you can find me at TerriLAustin.com, Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads.

Want to win a copy of Diners, Dives and Dead Ends? Sure you do! Leave a comment on this post with your email address and at the end of my blog tour on August 30th, I’ll enter you to win one of three copies. Continental US only.

*******

It’s peach season here in Missouri, so I thought I’d share one of my family’s favorite recipes—

Peach Butter

Ingredients:

3 lbs. of ripe peaches (I use frozen when peaches are out of season.  If you do use frozen, thaw them out first)
2 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
½ t. salt
2 T. fresh lemon juice
½ t. cinnamon
¼ t. nutmeg
2 T. butter

Peaches1Place sliced peaches in a heavy bottom pan with about a cup of water.  Cook slowly, letting the peaches soften.  Once tender, let cool and puree in blender or food processor.  Return peach puree to the pan and add the rest of the ingredients, except for the butter.  Simmer gently for 30 minutes.  Stir often so the peach butter won’t scorch on the bottom of the pan.  Turn off the heat and stir in butter.

See?  Easy!  Should last in the fridge for up to a week—around my family, it never lasts that long.  Spread on baked chicken, biscuits, or add ½ cup to your pancake batter.  Also good in oatmeal. 

*****

Thanks, Terri! So glad you stopped by the Hearth . The peach butter looks delish. Guess what I’ll be doing with the next batch of peaches from the farmers market? And what book I’ll be adding to my next book order?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A River Runs Black

This morning K and I walked five miles along the paved path that meanders along the Cache La Poudre River north of Fort Collins. It was busy with the usual bicyclists, runners, dogs, kids, inline skaters, power walkers, horseback riders and coffee-toting strollers. But one group was conspicuously missing. Usually that route offers at least a few fisherman wielding their fly rods in elegant battle with the wily trout.

This summer the weather outside has indeed been frightful, to some degree, for folks across the country and across the world. Here in Colorado it’s been multiple, uber-destructive fires, followed by heavy rains. The precipitation is welcome, no, glorious but resulted in flash flooding in the areas where fire so recently burned, even as the rain damped the blazes still burning.

Pausing in the cool humidity, K and I watched as the Cache La Poudre, black with ash, splashed darkly over rocks like something in the heart of Mordor. The fish are dying. I cringed to see someone throwing sticks for his golden Labradors to retrieve from the sooty water. The dogs emerged with a dirty sheen to their fur, blinking rapidly, but game for another go. The breeze carried a sour smell up the banks and across the fields.

Still, it’s a relief from the relentless sun cutting through days thick with wood smoke, one record breaking high temperature after another, battening the house against “fresh” air from outside (we even taped around the fireplace doors), and the weird orange cast to the light that angled through windows and skylight and airbrushed the bottoms of clouds with a disturbing, apricot-colored tinge.

For the last month there has been a kind of generalized anxiety around town, punctuated by very specific losses of property, animals, and even human life suffered by those affected directly by the fires. Friends were forced to evacuate, and some only allowed back into their houses last week. Others lost homes, outbuildings, vehicles.

So let’s be clear: the angst the rest of us felt was nothing in comparison. Yet feeling helpless and trapped and out of control has had a deleterious effect on so many people I’ve talked to. They’ve had a hard time working, given up exercise routines and camping trips because of poor air quality, even left town altogether.

But today it’s in the 70s, and more rain will probably fall later. It’s still welcome, though with some mixed feelings. Tonight will be cool enough to cook indoors, a treat since we haven’t done so for a month. Spaghetti, I’m thinking. Comfort food.

On another note – sort of – I’ve haven’t posted for a while. But I’m back, if not on quite the rigid MWF schedule that HC started with. See, it started to feel stressful and onerous, and that was never my intention. None of the rest of my life is particularly regimented, and I think that’s one of the reasons I can get stuff done and still have fun. I’ve discovered, oddly enough, that I work better managing my time almost intuitively. Plus, I’ve decided I don’t want to pre-post or focus on promoting my books.

Over time Hearth Cricket – and you readers – have become more important to me than that, and so has the way I’ve chosen to live an integrated life full of hard work and freedom. So I’ll post at least once a week – or five if I have enough to say – in real time. If I have pictures I’ll put them up but I’m not going to put off posting just because I don’t have half an hour to find just the right image. Expect more of the same about food, gardening, books, various projects, recipes, domesticity and musings about the writing life and how it works into the rest of life. Information about book releases, etc. will likely flow from the last.

It’s good to be back.