Tag Archives: Food Love

Brooke Edwards Giving Me Delicious Recipes (And talking about Sweet Dreams)

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Hello All!

When Brooke Edwards told me what her story was about, mainly cute guys and food, I was excited. As anyone who knows me knows, food is probably my biggest obsession after books and writing. I asked her if she could send me a blog post with recipes in it, and she did not disappoint. I will definitely make these foods this weekend if I can, and post pictures afterward!

There is also an excerpt of her novella below, because that is what we’re here for. Not my extreme love of everything gustatorially related.

Thanks so much for being here Brooke.

Happy reading!

kibrightly

 

Thank you, Kiyle, for the chance to talk about my new release AND have a chat about one of my favourite topics – food. This was a huge part of Sweet Dreams as it was such a major part of Benji’s life and it was a really easy way for me to connect with him. I spent many hours as a child sitting up on the counter while my granddad tried to avoid my accusing gaze whenever he poured wine into whatever he was cooking. Oh, the innocence of childhood! We won’t talk about how much wine I use in MY cooking. There was enough Chambord soaking the cake in my Christmas trifle back in December that everyone stayed just a little bit longer than planned to make sure they were safe to drive.

Benji probably wouldn’t have supported it, but I’m pretty sure Cara and Dane definitely would have been on board. It’s a good thing for Benji’s sanity that Cara took off globetrotting before Dane came crashing into his life, I think. Back on topic, though, and into the real meat of the matter. My parents raised me to always finish my dinner if I even wanted a peek at dessert, so I’m going to talk a bit about one of my favourite comfort foods. Lasagne is a staple for lots of families, I know, and lots of people have their special tricks or ingredients that make it theirs. My tricks are a visit to the antipasto bar at the local delicatessen and home-roasted garlic cloves – I pack a tub full of semi-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, seared eggplant slices and pickled roasted pepper slices and lay those through each layer. It’s a great way to beef up a sauce if you don’t want meat in it, and if you do have meat in it then you’ve got an even heartier sauce. However you make your sauce, whether it’s from a jar or from scratch, I think it’s incredibly important to simmer all the ingredients together to combine them properly. Adding a can of crushed tomato to whatever sauce you have in a jar is always a surefire way to make it richer. I like to cook some onions in a little butter when I brown the mince before tossing the two together with a generous sprinkle of salt and cracked pepper and some crushed roast garlic, then pouring the sauce in and letting it simmer for a while. I know that some people love it, but I don’t make my lasagne with a béchamel sauce. I layer it with pasta sheets, a thick spreading of the sauce and then a generous handful of grated cheeses. Sharp cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan are my three regulars. As long as your top layer has a solid coating of cheese, you’re golden.

No meal would be complete without dessert, and as a special shout-out to Kiyle, I wanted to share some baked doughnut recipes. There are SO many variations on the baked doughnut thing online that you could literally spend days lost in a Pinterest spiral. Pretty sure that’s happened to Benji a time or two, although croquembouches are more his thing. Bring on the cream puffs, am I right? Anyway – baked doughnuts. If you want to Google a basic baked doughnut recipe, there are SO many online that are really versatile. You can add berries, or flavour them in a million different ways. Dunk them in melted chocolate or fill them with salted caramel, it really is incredibly hard to go wrong with doughnuts. Today, I’m going to talk to you about one of MY favourites. Apple Pie Doughnuts.

Quick rundown on the ingredients: you’re gonna need puff pastry, apple pie filling, brown sugar, butter, some crushed biscuits (Australians should use Digestives, Graham crackers for Americans or whatever biscuit you’d use to make a crumble top or cheesecake base) an egg wash and whatever you want for toppings. Some people like caramel sauce and icecream, others like fluffy whipped cream, some people like them on their own with a big glass of milk. I make my pie filling from scratch – diced or sliced Granny Smith apples, brown sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg all over low heat and thickened with a little cornflour. Canned pie filling will do the job just as well for these purposes though! Roll it out and cut your puff pastry into rounds – 2 rounds per doughnut. Lay out your base layers on a parchment lined baking sheet and top each one with a big spoonful of your pie filling. (Protip – sugar lovers might want to drizzle some of that caramel sauce through the inside too) Brush some of your eggwash around the edges, put another pastry circle on top and pinch the edges until you have a nicely filled and sealed doughnut. Sift some of your brown sugar through the crushed biscuits and mix with melted butter until you have a nice crumbly mixture. Brush finished doughnuts with egg wash and sprinkle with your crumble. Baking time will depend on the size of the doughnuts and your oven – puff pastry is pretty telling when it comes to being done. Golden and flaky is ideal, I find that mine usually take around 15-20 minutes. Once they come out of the oven, let them cool off while you debate with yourself over what you want on top (or whether you’re gonna share them at all) and then you’re in for a really good time. On that note, and speaking of a good time, I hope you enjoy this exclusive excerpt!         

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Dane waltzes in again after three weeks of nonstop texting, flirting and interrogations about “why you’re smiling like a teenager with a new porn stash” from Sienna. It’s Saturday afternoon, right before close, and the only reason Benji knows that the figure coming through the door is Dane is the fact that he’s wearing an orange beanie almost identical to the one he stole from Glen’s head the first day they met, sunglasses and a bright violet NYU hoodie. He looks ridiculous and Benji starts laughing the second he puts the tray of tarts down.

“You missed blending in half a mile back that way,” he says in lieu of a greeting and Dane just grins, wide and bright and plucks the sunglasses off his face when he’s sure they’re alone. Dane locks the door behind him with a sense of familiarity that makes the tiny, hopeful part of Benji squirm with joy.

“That may be true but no one expects a celebrity to dress this terribly,” he says with a wink and with the full force of that grin on him for the first time in weeks, Benji gets a little weak in the knees. The tight, lingering hug that comes after makes him decidedly wobbly on his feet but it’s nothing compared to the butterflies that fill his insides when Dane casually presses a kiss to the corner of his mouth like that’s something they’ve done a thousand times before. Benji still hasn’t managed to get a word out by the time Dane has crossed to the apron rack and fastened the bikini apron around his waist again, turning around with an expectant look on his face and a glint in his eyes.

“So,” he says and Benji blinks. “What’s on the list for tonight?”

Benji glances at the list pinned to the board. “Uh, a bunch of cakes for some business function.”

Dane rubs his hands together as he steps right into Benji’s space. Benji looks at him, eyes wide, and Dane smiles so wide that the corners of his eyes crinkle. “Better get on with it,” he says, brushing up against Benji on his way to the bench. “I was hoping we’d be home in time for Saturday Night Live.”

Benji sucks in a surprised breath. There’s really no alternative meaning to that statement and if that’s where they’re heading without having to have some big emotional reveal or conversation about it, he is so down with it. He has no plans, Sienna scheduled to oversee pickup for the cakes the next day with the business function. Everything seems to have lined up perfectly.

 

“We can take these leftovers, right?” Dane asks as Benji carefully closes the refrigerator on the completed cakes a few hours later, not able to drag his eyes away from the pile of cake shavings and excess decoration. He licks his lips. “And that frosting stuff. The chocolate one?”

Benji, in the middle of untying the horrible knot he ends up with every time he wears the old blue apron, considers rolling his eyes before he thinks about what they can do with the ganache. The image of Dane licking his lips flashes across his eyes again and once that reality settles in his mind he nods fervently.

“Yes, we can take the ganache,” he says, slightly manic. His fingers tear right through the old, worn string and he wriggles his way out of the apron without even bothering to hang it up.

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For the chance to win a $5 Amazon GC, suggest the most delicious doughnut combination you can think of and don’t forget to leave your email address! Kiyle and I will select a winner after 24 hours. Also feel free to find me on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or even drop me an email, I am always up for talking about food or pictures of food. Also for chatting about my books, but mostly the food.
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Sweet Dreams is available on Amazon and through KU here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSJDGDQ?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660 and you can catch me online in the following places: Facebook at www.facebook.com/brookeedwardsauthor

Website: www.brookeedwardsauthor.com Twitter: @brookeedwardsau Instagram: @brookeedwardsauthor

Or email me at brookeedwardsauthor@gmail.com too!

 


After you read Sweet Dreams check out my newest book Trust Trade!

trusttradefs_v1Life hasn’t been good to Jeb Birchman. When he attempted to escape his abusive, zealot father, he found himself on the streets, making a living the only way he knew how, the victim of more violent men—one of whom orchestrates a series of vicious attacks that leave Jeb deaf. Now that he’s aged beyond his latest client’s interest, Jeb knows he needs to escape his risky lifestyle before it’s too late. Seeing one last chance for himself, he earns a GED and enrolls in college.

Freddy Williams enjoys a life that couldn’t be more different from what Jeb has survived. He loves sports, being a personal trainer, and hanging out with friends. The son of deaf parents, Freddy is an outspoken advocate of the Deaf community and works as an interpreter at his college. When he meets Jeb at the bookstore, he’s struck by how attractive he is, and as they get to know each other, he finds Jeb’s good heart just as appealing. By the time he learns of Jeb’s past, it’s only a few steps behind them, and Freddy must make a choice between school and his familiar routine and protecting the man he’s falling in love with.

See a sample of Trust Trade here.

Purchase Links

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

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Filed under Book Feature, book release, Brooke Edwards, Excerpt, Food, gay fiction, Guest Post, m/m

Thanksgiving: Spiced Applesauce

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It’s the first day of real snow here, which is always one of my favorite times of the year. I’m that crazy person who actually enjoys getting snowed in, not that five inches of lake effect snow actually stops anyone in Erie, Pennsylvania from getting where they’re going. With the neighbor’s houses all spouting steam or smoke from their chimney’s my little apartment seems extra snug and cozy as I watch the snow stack up on my neighbor’s shingles.

I really have nothing I must be doing today, which is rare.

So, what better time to start in on the Thanksgiving feast preparations? I decided this morning to make my special, spiced apple sauce (it tastes a lot like mulled wine) so it would be ready in plenty of time for Thursday without taking up room on the stove the day of the big event.

I don’t have a set recipe, applesauce is very forgiving by it’s nature, but here’s what I did this year:

Spiced Applesauce by Ki Brightly

Ingredients:

*About 9 big apples–I used a combo of Honey crisp and Northern Spy, but your favorites are fine, so long as they aren’t all tart

*Cinnamon–I used about two tablespoons, but I really like cinnamon. I suggest starting with one tablespoon and then taste testing halfway through. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out.

*Nutmeg–A dash will do you. I used two teaspoons, but as with the cinnamon, you can add one and then taste test halfway through.

*Vanilla–Three tablespoons. I have to say, vanilla is not the place to scrimp. I would use less if you don’t have a real vanilla extract. I usually buy the organics for my extracts simply because they have a cleaner flavor.

*Dried Cranberries–Use your judgment.  I used a handful, but if your family really likes them you could drop in more.

*Raisins–Again, I used a handful. If you like more toss in more, or you can leave them out.

*Cranberry Juice–I used about a cup of Cranberry juice that isn’t a blend, but is straight cranberry juice. I tossed this in because I had it in my fridge, but you could easily make it without, or add in some wine or mead if you have either of those hanging out in your fridge, though I’m not sure how a dry wine would turn out, and as always, don’t cook with a wine you don’t like to drink.

Preparation:

Dice the apples (peel if you like, but you don’t have to), and drop them in the pot. Add enough water into the apples that it almost covers them and the rest of your ingredients. Bring everything to a boil, stirring the entire time, then reduce to a simmer, stirring every fifteen to twenty minutes, and let the applesauce cook until it’s the consistency you like. Some people like it a little chunkier, my family likes it to be really smooth. You may need to add some more water while you’re cooking, so keep an eye on it. If it gets too thick before it’s cooked down to the point you want it to be and you don’t add more water it could start to stick. Mine took about an hour and forty five minutes to cook down. You could probably cook it on a higher temperature and stir it consistently, but I like to putter and do other things while it cooks.

Serving  Suggestions:

This works simply as a side next to the mashed potatoes and turkey, but with the hint of cranberry it can replace the cranberry jelly in the houses where that idea isn’t sacrilege. If you warm the applesauce up it can go on a turkey sandwich as a spread for your day after turkey sandwich splurge. My favorite idea is to warm it up and serve it over vanilla ice cream with a small snifter of apple brandy. Also for the day after Thanksgiving, this applesauce is sweet enough to mix in with some plain yogurt and eat with breakfast for a Thanksgiving inspired yogurt parfait.

Happy Thanksgiving!


 

Check out my book The Shape of Honey!

ShapeofHoney[The]

Available on Amazon , Dreamspinner Press, and other retailers.

Yulian Volkov is an entrepreneur and lone werewolf who hates the city. At a pack meeting, he learns the only member he’s attracted to is being expelled for crimes unspecified. Yulian strikes a deal with the pack leader to allow Rolly Witten to live on his farm and work in his Meadery. Although enjoying handsome Rolly’s company, Yulian must tread carefully, since Rolly doesn’t trust him and the pack doesn’t acknowledge homosexuality exists. Meanwhile, Yulian stealthily courts Rolly by teaching him the value of his wolf side.

Rolly, who’s known he was gay since he was a teen, has accepted a life of solitude—and a life of crime. He has no desire to relocate. Yet Yulian’s trust in his ability to do honest work builds his confidence. As life is settling well for them, Rolly learns a friend from his old pack had a crush on him, and he’s torn between returning his friend’s feelings or pursuing the budding relationship with Yulian. But that’s not their worst problem. Assassins are trying to take out both wolves, and they need to figure out who wants them dead or all the trust and happiness they’re building together won’t matter.

 

 

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Thursday Book Review: Riley Hart’s Crossroads

This is my third book review in the same week. I’m setting a personal best.

Today I’m reviewing Riley Hart’s Crossroads. Overall this book wasn’t bad. There are no warnings to speak of, some physical altercations, but nothing too horrid or graphic. It’s 340 pages long according to Amazon, but I destroyed it in about 2 days, so while it may be a lengthier read it isn’t a hard read.

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Let’s take a look at the blurb.

After divorcing the woman he’d been with since he was seventeen, Nick Fuller is starting over. He owns the restaurant of his dreams and he’s determined to meet new people, find new passions, and experience life to its fullest. Easier said than done—that is until he meets his new neighbor, Bryce Tanner…

Bryce is all about a good time. He plans to show Nick how it’s done, help him meet a few women, and enjoy the gift of the single life he’s been given. But things don’t go as planned, and soon they realize they’d rather be together than with anyone else.

Neither man has ever wanted another guy, but there’s a connection between them from the start—a spark they can’t deny. They find themselves navigating an unfamiliar new world and dealing with unforeseen obstacles. Physical desire isn’t enough, and now Nick and Bryce are at a crossroads. They have to decide which way to go: the easy path they’ve always followed, or the one that’s determined to trip them up at every turn.

The Good:

I liked the premise of this book. I was a Gay for You virgin and Crossroads popped that cherry. (Or at least I think I did…geez…but, I don’t remember reading any other Gay for Yous. Maybe I’m a born again Gay for You Virgin and I just don’t remember. Hell, and I wasn’t even drinking…) And it was a double gay for you, which is like, awesome to the second power. I like this because it’s pure fantasy, not that it doesn’t happen occasionally—I read a real life cute story last year about a couple of straight guys that fell in love. But, mostly guys don’t just wake up and realize they’d like to start fucking dudes. Mostly.

Nick is a chef and I like any book that has a chef in it. It’s kind of my thing. My significant other is a wonderful chef and I like to dabble in gastronomical delights, so it only fits. When I start reading I immediately want to cook whatever it is they’re making, so we had some Italian food at my house this week. I ended up making a white lasagna—vegetarian because the significant other is a vegetarian who takes me along for the ride most of the time. I don’t think I’ll ever make it over the hump into full vegetarianhood because…bacon. Which is terrible because pigs are cute and intelligent (and taste like meat candy).

I liked that the backgrounds for the characters were realistic, or at least something that I could see happening. Nick’s early marriage explains a lot how he could have potentially been bisexual and not realized it until after his divorce. Bryce…eh, less so. He’s very adventurous though, so I could see him delving into a new sexual experience enthusiastically. I guess what I’m getting at is all parts of the book coalesce into something that makes sense as you’re reading. There’s never a point where I was ejected harshly out of the book because of the book details.

The Humorous:

Nick is hung. Like, apparently, grade A thick penis man. That’s awesome, but he couldn’t get it in Bryce the first time they tried. That was hilarious but degraded into a pride point for Bryce. I also liked how realistic that scene was. Sometimes having sex isn’t easy. If you’ve ever been with someone and you’re like “just get it in” and they’re like “I’m trying” you either take that with a grain of salt and laugh about it and readjust positions (or expectations) or you’re going to have a bad time. I’m glad the main characters kept on trucking and had some really good sex.

Balls are mentioned a lot in this book. I’m basically a large child so every time I read the word “balls” I giggled and my significant other would give me the squirrely eye, and then three sentences later I would read the word balls and giggle again until finally he came over and started reading over my shoulder. “That’s a lot of ball talk,” was all I got before he went back to whatever enlightening thing he was reading on his own computer. I laughed for about ten minutes and then called it a night because….”balls”. I actually liked that Nick liked his nuts to be played with though. Frequently they’re ignored in fiction and they are an erogenous zone.

The sex in this book was good, hot, plentiful, and generally had an air of lighthearted enjoyment around the sex itself, even if the fact that they were doing it was causing a lot of angst in the rest of the story.

The Mediocre:

First, I wasn’t a fan of the tense this book was written in. It’s a personal preference issue, mainly, and probably not something a lot of other people would notice, but it’s limited third person past tense and my favorite is probably present tense first person or present tense limited third person.

There were points where the book seemed to drag as I was reading it and I was tempted to skim. The problems in the book were kind of beaten into the ground and I think the entire thing could have been condensed into something a bit shorter. After the seventh or eighth time of Nick angsting about his mother and the tenth time of Bryce wondering if he would hurt Nick by not being able to take their relationship seriously I was like…okay, enough. It didn’t exactly ruin the book or anything though.

The worst part of the book for me was probably the fact that I had trouble keeping apart all of the different family members for the guys. They both had large families and we didn’t see enough of the families for me to get any personality for anything to sink deep enough into my head to keep them apart as I was reading. So they were basically just “family extra A” and “family extra C” when they came onscreen, except for Mitch in Bryce’s family who actually gets a bit of talk time.

Conclusions:

This is a contemporary, character driven romance. The entire story is about the guys and getting together, resolving their relationship and familial issues. There’s no bad guy or hullaballoo going on. It’s a solid read. I’m not sure it’s something I will ever revisit and if I had it as an actual book and not an e-book I would probably give it away to a friend. I’m glad I read it though because it was a good diversion for a few hours.


Check out my book Threefold Love!

If you’d like to see these reviews as they take shape friend Ki Brightly on Goodreads!

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Filed under Book Review, Personal Stories