Sunday, June 24, 2018

Simple Scripture Pound Cake

So there is a really fun scripture activity where you look up scriptures from the Bible (King James version) and find ingredients that go into a recipe to make a "scripture cake," but the recipe can be time consuming and it calls for a lot of nuts, figs, and raisins, and the cake resembles a holiday fruitcake more than anything, and not everyone is prone to that kind of cake.

So, to make a simpler version of the scripture cake, I came up with a SCRIPTURE "POUND" CAKE (adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe for Vanilla Pound Cake) that's a lot shorter with less ingredients, making for a quicker activity if there are time constraints. Vanilla was the only ingredient I couldn't find a reference to in the Bible, so I substituted it for almond flavoring.

This makes a great activity for the family or a church group.

Photo from: https://www.marthastewart.com/337155/vanilla-pound-cake
SCRIPTURE POUND CAKE

1 cup _______*, softened   Judges 5:25, last clause (butter)
2 cups ________                             1 Kings 4:22, first sentence (flour)
1 cup ________                               Jeremiah 6:20 (sugar)
4 _______                                       Jeremiah 17:11 (eggs)
*add 1/2 tsp _______ if using unsalted butter    Leviticus 2:13 (salt) 
1 tsp _______ extract (or 2 tsp vanilla) Genesis 43:11 (almond)
(no Biblical reference for vanilla)

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 6-cup (8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch) loaf pan; set aside. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla and salt*. With mixer on low, gradually add flour, beating just until combined (do not overmix). Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour (tent with aluminum foil if browning too quickly). Let cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack and turn upright to cool completely.


Original Scripture Cake
Here is an adaptation of the original "scripture cake" from PRAY COOK BLOG for those who'd like it . . . and it looks quite yummy (picture below):

Grease a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with 1 tablespoon Judges 5:25 (butter).
Sprinkle with raw Jeremiah 6:20 (sugar), turning pan to coat.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup chopped Genesis 43:11 (almonds) evenly into the bottom of the pan and set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat 1 cup Judges 5:25 (butter) along with 1½ cups Jeremiah 6:20 (sugar) beating until light and fluffy.Beat in 4 Jeremiah 17:11 (eggs), one at a time.

Combine 2 cups Exodus 29:2 (flour) and mix with the following ingredients: 2 teaspoons Amos 4:5 (baking powder), 2 Chronicles 9:9 to taste (cloves, allspice, nutmeg), 2 teaspoons Exodus 30:23 (Cinnamon), and a pinch of Mark 9:50 (salt)

Add to the Judges 5:25 mixture; beat at low speed until well combined. Stir in: 1 tablespoon 1 Samuel 14:25 (honey) along with 1/2 cup 1 Samuel 30:12 (raisins) and 2 cups chopped dried Song of Solomon 2:13 (figs)

Mix in 1 cup slivered or chopped Numbers 17:8 (almonds) and remaining 2/3 cup chopped Genesis 43:11 (walnuts). Add in 4 cups cored, peeled, and coarsely chopped Psalms 17:8 (apple)

Follow Solomon’s advice for making good boys in Proverbs 23:14 (beat - I know, I cringe when I read this one)

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake in 350 degree oven until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes.  Cool in pan 15 minutes; invert onto wire rack and cool completely.  Best if prepared 1 day before serving.  Store cake at room temperature.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream!

Photo from: https://praycookblog.com/scripture-cake/ 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Book review: A Thousand Sleepless Nights by Teri Harman

A Thousand Sleepless Nights and author Teri Harman


My review of A Thousand Sleepless Nights by Teri Harman, author of the Moonlight trilogy (Blood Moon, Black Moon, & Storm Moon).

A Thousand Sleepless Nights, a clean romance with a touch of magic, had me from the first pages, gripping my interest from the conversation between Matilda (the main character) and her dying Aunt Jetty. The themes in this story are strong and heart-wrenching as the reader travels on a measured journey of tragedy, heartache, tears, confusion, and longing. That being said, the story (for me) had a satisfying ending as it is also infused with learning, growing, hope, and a little bit of magic brought on by the power of emotions (especially grief). Lines from the story explain this element: “We rarely realize how powerful our thoughts can be, how powerful our emotions are. There’s tremendous energy there, and if we let it that energy can build and build until it creates its own strength, its own will.”

Don’t expect a fast-moving action-adventure, or even your average romance with this one. This is a leisurely-paced love story like no other. And the events in this book can be understood both figuratively and realistically as the author adds in a touch of the supernatural. Can I just say that the scene where the typewriter first starts typing by itself literally gave me chills.

The importance of, and love for, books and writing are also beautifully illustrated throughout the story. Henry’s thoughts at one point echoed my own as an author: “Writers could control what happened, could change it. A magician toying with fate. If he wanted, there could always be a happy ending.”

Even though I love the main characters, Matilda and Henry, my favorite character has got to be Abby, a good woman who remains positive despite terrible tragedies in her past. She is a good mother-figure and a great example to Matilda and Henry who are learning to deal with their own tragedies. We are first introduced to Abby through these lines and one can’t help but immediately fall in love with her character:

“Abby, we don’t have any idea who this guy is,” Gill protested. “You can’t . . .”

“Oh, shut up, you old grump,” she shot back. “The boy needs help. And I can tell just lookin’ at him that he’s good through and through. Be a decent Christian for once in your miserable life.” She frowned reproachfully, but then turned a bright smile on Henry. “You a thief?”

Henry blanched, blinked. “No, Ma’am.”

“Ax murderer? Annoying salesman? Fugitive? Nail biter?” She smiled as she said the last one and the tension in Henry’s gut eased slightly.

“No ma’am.”

Abby nodded and reached for him. “Then you come in now, out of the icy night, and let’s see what we can do.”

A Thousand Sleepless Nights is a solid read, but don’t take my word for it . . . read it yourself.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Perils of Wrath released MAY 22, 2018!



Welcome to knight boot camp! Check out PERILS OF WRATH, a medieval action-romance. Available May 22, 2018 where books and ebooks are sold. 


TO SHAPE THEIR DESTINY, THEY MUST GIVE UP CONTROL
Sir Roland Beaumont's investigation into his birth parents’ deaths leads him to Guildon Castle, domain of Lord Craven. Roland’s plans are complicated when the earl enlists him to tame his stepdaughter, Audrina Gibbons, by training her as a squire. Roland soon finds that Audrina—Audri—is much more than he imagined.
Unable to save her mother from Craven's physical abuse, Audri’s open hostility for her stepfather and his scheme pits her against her would-be trainer. Audri's provocation strains Roland’s composure, much as his merciless training regime tests her willpower.
Sir Roland’s quest for truth soon tests the resolve of both knight and squire as the dark secrets of Guildon Castle are unearthed—secrets never meant to be revealed . . . secrets that some would kill to keep.

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Trailer #1
Trailer #2
Elsie Park
I grew up in a small town outside Yosemite National Park, California, U.S.A. I enjoy soccer, piano, reading, writing, art and my family. Years ago I spent 18 months in Italy teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Seeing the castles and old Roman cities enhanced my fascination for ancient and medieval culture. In college I studied zoology, botany and criminal justice. I've worked as a wildland firefighter and a police officer, but I am currently a stay-at-home mom, spending time with my children and husband. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2017 and changed my diet and lifestyle to that of super healthy eating of fruits, veggies, grains, fish, Vitamin D, flax seed oil and exercise, and it seems to be keeping the disease at bay for the time being. I love thinking up new ideas for interesting stories and musical compositions to go with them. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Healthy Banana Nut Bread from my 9-year-old daughter

So my cute 9-year-old daughter loves to bake, and she likes to use multi-purpose baking mix as a base for some of her creations. JIFFY and BISQUICK have a good base with BISQUICK having a "heart smart" version that has no saturated fat. My daughter made banana nut bread from the back of the JIFFY box, substituting apple sauce for the shortening and 4 egg whites for the two whole eggs. The bread turned out SO GOOD! She now gets requests from family members to make it again and again. Here's the recipe as she makes it:
Healthy Banana Nut Bread or Muffins
(for use with “Jiffy” and “Bisquick Heart Smart” all-purpose baking mixes)

2 cups baking mix (Jiffy or Bisquick)
¾ cup granulated sugar (can use brown sugar)
¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce (instead of shortening)
4 egg whites (can use 2 whole eggs)
1 cup ripe banana, mashed
1/3 cup nuts, chopped (we like walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream sugar and apple sauce together. Add baking mix, eggs, banana and nuts. Mix until blended. Pour into prepared pan * , ** , ***. After baking and removing from pan, cool on wire rack before storing in plastic bag or other container for a few days . . . or freeze for later.

*For loaf: Lightly oil a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Pour all batter into pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool at least a half hour in pan before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
**For regular-sized muffins: Lightly oil muffin pan. Fill no more than ¾-full with batter. Bake for about 15-18 minutes.
*** For mini-muffins: Lightly oil mini-muffin pan. Fill no more than ¾-full with batter. Bake for about 12 minutes.



Thursday, May 10, 2018

PERILS OF WRATH Release Approaching Fast! May 22, 2018!


The long-awaited release of my second book, PERILS OF WRATH, sequel to SHADOWS OF VALOR is fast approaching: MAY 22, 2018!!! It will be available in paperback and ebook formats everywhere online and in select stores.

Tag lines:

"To shape their destiny, they must give up control!"

"Nothing frustrates a knight more than being shackled to an unruly squire with guarded secrets and a persistent sweet tooth."

Blurb:

Sir Roland Beaumont's investigation into his birth parents' deaths leads him to Guildon Castle, domain of Lord Craven. Roland's plans are complicated when the earl enlists him to tame his stepdaughter, Audrina Gibbons, by training her as a squire. Roland soon finds that Audrina (Audri) is much more than he imagined.

Unable to save her mother from Craven's physical abuse, Audri's open hostility for her stepfather and his scheme pits her against her would-be trainer. Audri's provocation strains Roland's composure, much as his merciless training regime tests her willpower.

Sir Roland's quest for truth soon tests the resolve of both knight and squire as the dark secrets of Guildon Castle are unearthed, secrets never meant to be revealed . . . secrets that some would kill to keep.

HAPPY READING!

Buy PERILS OF WRATH here:

Watch the teaser trailers on Youtube here:

Monday, February 26, 2018

SHADOWS OF VALOR now on Kindle Unlimited! Read for FREE!

SHADOWS OF VALOR is now on Amazon's Kindle Unlimited (read it for free if you're signed up). It's a great time to read this book before the sequel, PERILS OF WRATH, is released May 22, 2018.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

PERILS OF WRATH available for pre-order!


PERILS OF WRATH, my second PG-rated medieval action-romance, is available for pre-order from Amazon and Barnes & Noble before its May 22, 2018 release. I'm so excited to see it on those sites already! May can't come soon enough. Perils of Wrath is a sequel to Shadows of Valor, but the stories are standalones and may be read apart from each other. However, Perils of Wrath will be more meaningful if one reads Shadows of Valor first.

Perils of Wrath blurb (from the back of the book):
Sir Roland Beaumont's investigation into his birth parents’ deaths leads him to Guildon Castle, domain of Lord Craven. Roland’s plans are complicated when the earl enlists him to tame his stepdaughter, Audrina Gibbons, by training her as a squire. Roland soon finds that Audrina―Audri―is much more than he imagined.

Unable to save her mother from Craven's physical abuse, Audri’s open hostility for her stepfather and his scheme pits her against her would-be trainer. Audri's provocation strains Roland’s composure, much as his merciless training regime tests her willpower.

Sir Roland’s quest for truth soon tests the resolve of both knight and squire as the dark secrets of Guildon Castle are unearthed―secrets never meant to be revealed . . . secrets that some would kill to keep.

Pre-Order Perils of Wrath here:
Amazon - paperback
Barnes and Noble - paperback
Everywhere online where books and ebooks are sold

Trailers:
Perils of Wrath 1-minute trailer by Elsie Park
Perils of Wrath 2-minute trailer by Elsie Park
A Mighty Change, a full instrumental ballad by Elsie Park featured in Perils of Wrath


Shadows of Valor blurb (from the back of the book):
Something dark stirs within the peaceful walls of the prosperous town of Graywall, something only the mysterious vigilante known as The Shadow can overcome. Torn between a sense of justice and a desire for revenge, The Shadow is the nobleman Sir Calan, who must use his skills to assist the Lord of Graywall.

When Sir Calan is sent to hunt down smugglers who have run rampant after the levying of a harsh tax by King Edward, he learns of a plot against the just ruler of the town, Lord Shaufton. To thwart this plot, Calan enters a pseudo courtship with Shaufton's daughter under the guise of Sir Calan, even as he wrestles with emotions stirred by the lovely Elsbeth, Lord Shaufton's niece. Elsbeth may be the only person who can heal Calan's troubled soul, but she has secrets of her own.

Rife with deceit, greed, and betrayal, Shadow of Valor is a timeless tale of honor, love, and redemption.

YouTube Trailers:
Shadows of Valor trailer #1 by Elsie Park
Shadows of Valor trailer #2 by Elsie Park
Shadows of Valor original 2013 trailer by Yelena Baykova
One Brave Knight, a full instrumental ballad by Elsie Park featured in Shadows of Valor

Buy Shadows of Valor here:
Amazon - paperback
Amazon - Kindle
Barnes and Noble - paperback
Barnes and Noble - Nook
Everywhere online where books and ebooks are sold

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Five Fun Recipes from Pillsbury and Kraft!

Here are some fun recipes I found recently that are 
good for family, friends and holiday parties!

Pizza Pretzels (Pillsbury.com)
Photo: Pillsbury.com
1 tablespoon Crisco® 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Pure Olive Oil
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 tablespoon Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
1 can (13.8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated classic pizza crust
28 slices (1 1/2-inch size) pepperoni
8 pieces (1 oz each) mozzarella string cheese
4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup tomato pasta sauce, heated

Heat oven to 425°F. Brush large cookie sheet with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil. Sprinkle cookie sheet with cornmeal. Sprinkle flour over work surface. On floured surface, unroll pizza crust dough; starting at center, press dough into 16x10-inch rectangle. With pizza cutter or knife, cut dough lengthwise into 4 (2 1/2-inch-wide) strips. Evenly place 7 pepperoni slices on each dough strip, leaving 1/2 inch on each end uncovered. Cut each string cheese in half lengthwise. Place 4 cheese halves on pepperoni on each dough strip, overlapping ends to fit. Bring up sides of each dough strip over pepperoni and cheese, and tightly pinch together, stretching dough as necessary to fully enclose cheese and pepperoni; pinch ends to seal. Lightly roll and shape into 16-inch logs. To make pretzel shape, form each log into U-shape, then cross the ends and fold dough over so ends rest on bottom of U-shape. Place pretzels on cookie sheet. Brush pretzels with remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown. Serve warm with pasta sauce for dipping.

2-Ingredient Peanut Butter-Chocolate Truffles (Pillsbury.com)
Photo: Pillsbury.com
1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated peanut butter cookies
1 bag (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)

Heat oven to 350°F. Shape cookie dough into 1 1/4-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on 2 ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 9 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on cookie sheets 5 minutes. With buttered hands, shape each cookie into ball; refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes or until completely cooled. Meanwhile, line cookie sheet with waxed paper; set aside. In medium bowl, microwave chocolate chips uncovered on High 60 to 90 seconds, stirring until smooth. Dip cooled cookie balls, one at a time, into melted chocolate; place on cookie sheet. If necessary, reheat chocolate. Refrigerate truffles about 10 minutes or until coating is set.

Easy Nutella™ Cookie Roll-ups (Pillsbury.com)
Photo: Pillsbury.com
1 box Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
2/3 cup Nutella™ hazelnut spread with cocoa
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse white sparkling sugar

Heat oven to 375°F. On work surface, unroll 1 crust; spread half of the hazelnut spread over crust. Cut crust into 16 triangles. Roll up each triangle into crescent shape; place on ungreased large cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Repeat with remaining crust and hazelnut spread. Brush tops with melted butter; sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Hot Cocoa Cheesecake Minis (Kraftrecipes.com)
Photo: Kraftrecipes.com
10 OREO Cookies, finely crushed
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 1 tsp. sugar, divided
1/4 cup plus 1/2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
2 eggs
2 oz. BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows

Heat oven to 325°F. Combine cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottoms of 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake 8 min. Beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa powder in medium bowl with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Spoon over crusts. Bake 22 to 25 min. or until centers are almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 2 hours.
Meanwhile, cover baking sheet with parchment. Melt semi-sweet chocolate as directed on package; spoon into resealable plastic bag. Cut small piece off one bottom corner of bag; use to squeeze chocolate into 12 shapes on prepared baking sheet to resemble cup handles as shown in photo. Freeze until ready to use. Remove liners from cheesecakes. Beat cream and remaining sugar in separate medium bowl with mixer on high speed until soft peaks form; spoon onto cheesecakes. Sprinkle with remaining cocoa powder; top with marshmallows. Gently press chocolate handle into side of each cheesecake.

Mini Gingerbread Loaves (Kraftrecipes.com)
Photo: Kraftrecipes.com
18 graham crackers, finely crushed (about 2-1/4 cups)
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. CALUMET Baking Powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup fat-free milk
1/2 cup BREAKSTONE'S Reduced Fat or KNUDSEN Light Sour Cream
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp. honey
2 to 3 tsp. water, divided
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine first 7 ingredients in medium bowl. Add milk, sour cream, egg and honey; stir just until blended. Spoon into 3 greased and floured 5-1/2x3-1/4x2-inch disposable mini loaf pans. Bake 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool completely.
Add 2 tsp. water to sugar; stir until blended. Add remaining water if necessary until desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle glaze over loaves; let stand until firm.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Re-release and new cover for MG fiction CINDERSKELLA!


It's been quite a journey for mother/daughter author team Amie and Bethanie Borst as they've worked endlessly to breathe new life into Cinderskella's new cover (and what an awesome cover it is), illustrations (I've been told they're amazing), and even the story itself after leaving Jolly Fish Press in 2016. And the dynamic duo is super stoked with the changes! Can't wait to see what they do with the other books in their series.

Cinderskella is due to re-release in February 2018, so mark your calendars!

Blurb:
It’s not just monsters that go bump in the night. Sometimes it’s skeleton-girls, too. Cindy might appear to be your average twelve year old, but since her mother’s death she has a secret. Every night she faces a horrible, terrible curse; one that turns her into a skeleton. Yup, a boney, white skeleton. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Cindy’s own father is scared of her. Plus she has an evil stepmother who makes her do crazy chores, some of them with a toothbrush. And then there’s the wild dog with intentions of making Cindy into his midnight snack. As if all that wasn’t bad enough, the Spring Fling dance is fast approaching and Ethan, the cutest boy in sixth grade, doesn’t seem to know she exists. Cindy doesn’t think letting Ethan know she’s a cursed skeleton-girl is the best way to introduce herself. Determined to break the curse, Cindy travels to the Underworld where things aren’t quite what they seem, including Mr. Death, the strange and creepy Undertaker. With a jar of pickled pig’s feet, a wacky fortuneteller, and an cranky skeleton mouse, Cindy is afraid this curse has really gotten under her skin.


Amie and Bethanie Bio’s:
Amie Borst loves glitter, unicorns, and chocolate. But not at the same time. That would be weird. She’s a PAL member of the SCBWI as well as a founding and contributing member of The Mixed-Up Files…of Middle-Grade Authors, a group blog dedicated to middle-grade books. Amie lives in Virginia with her three beautiful daughters, her handsome husband, and two cute dogs named Lily and Maggie. She wishes she could travel the world in a hot pink elevator but for now, her minivan will have to do.

Bethanie Borst is 17 and the author of three books. When she was only 10 years old, she wrote her first book, Cinderskella. She enjoys reading, writing, and STEM. Bethanie is fluent in both sarcasm and humor and is prepared for the zombie apocalypse and/or spontaneous combustion of the world. Because, let’s face it, both of those things are totally realistic.

Where to find Amie:
Website www.amieborst.com,
Blog www.amieborst.blogspot.com
Facebook www.facebook.com/AmieBorstAuthor

Where to find Bethanie:
Facebook www.facebook.com/amieandbethanieborst
Website www.amieandbethanieborst.com

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Perils of Wrath by Elsie Park

Cover design by Dane Low of Ebook Launch in conjunction with Amberjack Publishing.

Perils of Wrath finally has a cover, and I LOVE it!

Perils of Wrath, a proper medieval action-romance and sequel to Shadows of Valor, follows the story of the orphan boy, Roland, who is now a gallant knight and pursuing his own quest.

"To shape their destiny, they must give up control."

“Nothing frustrates a knight more than being shackled to an unruly female squire with guarded secrets and a persistent sweet tooth.”

Sir Roland Beaumont's investigation into his birth parents’ deaths leads him to Guildon Castle, domain of Lord Craven. Roland’s plans are complicated when the earl enlists him to tame his stepdaughter, Audrina Gibbons, by training her as a squire. Roland soon finds that Audrina―Audri―is much more than he imagined.

Unable to save her mother from Craven's physical abuse, Audri’s open hostility for her stepfather and his scheme pits her against her would-be trainer. Audri's provocation strains Roland’s composure, much as his merciless training regime tests her willpower.
 
Sir Roland’s quest for truth soon tests the resolve of both knight and squire as the dark secrets of Guildon Castle are unearthed―secrets never meant to be revealed . . . secrets that some would kill to keep.

Perils of Wrath is slated for release May 2018 through Amberjack Publishing.

Perils of Wrath book trailers on Youtube:
1-minute trailer
2-minute trailer
A Mighty Change - ballad featured in Perils of Wrath