Do You Like To Read And Cook?
Then this blog is for you!
I’d like to welcome multi-talented author, Selena Robins, to my blog. She has a wonderful package of stories and recipes in her new work called Wishes Stitches & Dishes: Bundle of Family Fun.
A wonderful combination — stories and recipes!
By Selena Robins (Maddie Ryan)
Mike, I appreciate the opportunity to be a guest on your blog and allowing me the opportunity to introduce myself and my work to your readers.
What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?
To always enjoy writing, improve with each book and have readers come back for more.
What is the special satisfaction of your work?
When I re-read something I’ve written and think, “I wrote that? It’s awesome.”
What gave you the idea to put this package of books and recipes together?
I went to the IdeasR’Us store one day and picked this idea up of course. 🙂
It was my comedy short story—Tempted by an Angel—which inspired me to create a bundle. I thought I’d add my children’s book so that mom or dad can read Pippy’s Wish to their little one at bedtime then they could relax with a light-hearted quick read. From that the idea of sharing my family’s favorite recipes was born, and thought I’d package all three books in a bundle.
Is there any particular incident from a reader (a letter, a meeting, a comment) that stands out)?
It’s always wonderful any time a reader gives me feedback about one of my stories or a blog post.
There is one particular incident that has stayed with me for a long time. A few years ago, a magazine had published TEMPTED BY AN ANGEL.
A woman wrote to me to say while she was reading it she was laughing so loud, her husband wanted to know what she was laughing about. She gave him the magazine and insisted he read the story. He laughed out loud for the first time that she could remember, and it brought her tears of joy. Her husband had sunk into a depression after he suffered an accident and was a paraplegic, so shared laughter was rare and she treasured that moment.
Does cooking help stimulate your creative writing mind?
It helps keep my family fed and happy so that way I have more time to continue my writing journey. 🙂
I learned how to cook at a young age, as it was a time that I shared with my mother and siblings, as we cooked and baked together. It was also a time where we were encouraged to experiment, think outside the box and be as creative as we could be with ingredients. Of course, not all our efforts tasted good, some were inedible, but the main thing was that we gave it a shot and took a chance. It was also a time when my mom would tell us stories, which in turn she encouraged us to tell stories. Cooking and creating characters and stories go hand in hand for me, as they both have a lot in common, both need a lot of patience and love, and there are hit and misses, but the experience is always a tasty enjoyable one.
Do you cook with your husband?
On the weekends or when we have a dinner party, he volunteers to be my sous-chef, and it’s a fun time for us both, as long as he follows my instructions. 🙂
We put on some music, pour a glass of wine and chop, slice, dice, and sauté. It’s relaxing for us both, as we will bicker about lid on or lid off a pot, more seasoning, etc, tease and joke around. I think the kitchen is the soul of the home. It’s the place where families, couples or even by yourself can just go for it, don’t hold back, change recipes, invent ones, and then enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Let’s talk a little about Pippy in PIPPY’S WISH. Pippy loves to wear bright colors—
do you dress wild and crazy too?
I don’t know if you’d call it wild and crazy…well, my outfits I wear to the gym and yoga are fluorescent, loud and mismatched. As for my other outfits; I love artistic handmade jewelry that doesn’t match anything I’m wearing, and pairing jeans with brightly colored tops and heeled boots. I would say my wardrobe is as eclectic as my taste in books.
Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a spaceship with?
I don’t do well in enclosed spaces (I’d rather climb stairs than take an elevator). However, if in an alternate universe I find myself in this predicament, there is only person who would be able to calm me, and the one person that would make it enjoyable to be trapped with—my husband. He’s also skilled enough that he’d be able to get us out of there.
Who is the person you would most Dislike to be trapped in a spaceship with?
What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn’t do without?)
I couldn’t think of food or drink when I’m shot into space. Whoever stuck me in there, better pump me up with some sort of sleeping inducing chocolate.
What three pieces of advice would you give kids these days?
- Never cut your own bangs, especially before picture day.
- Learn how to cook. You don’t have to be a Top Chef contestant, but if you learn the basics such as homemade soup and homemade spaghetti sauce, you’ll never go hungry, save money and impress your friends.
- When I was young, I would wish away time, like most kids do:
“I can’t wait for the weekend” (because of some party or school dance).
“I can’t wait until I’m sixteen so I can get my driver’s permit.”
“I can’t for summer vacation.” (This started the first day of school in September.)
One thing my parents told me and instilled in me that to this day I have to keep reminding myself is; never, ever wish away time. It’s the one thing you cannot duplicate or ever get back. Enjoy your childhood, enjoy each and every day and savor the moments. Time will pass, that weekend will come, that sixteenth birthday will arrive and school will be over to enjoy summer vacation. In the meantime, enjoy what you are doing right now, so that you don’t miss the wonderful minutes, hours and days that you are presently experiencing.
What are your top three personal mantras or inspirational phrases.
To strive to be a better person today than I was yesterday.
To not follow someone else’s path (especially if it’s already been beaten) and to follow my own, leaving a trail, making the journey fun-filled for myself and others.
Embracing positive people and events, feeling grateful for the many blessings in my life.
What are you working on now?
I’m getting ready to launch ONCE UPON A KISS, a romantic comedy with an ethereal feel to the story, it does have a little bit of mystery, mystique and a sweet love story. I’m also working on another romantic comedy mystery, and hope to have ROXY’S WISH the sequel to PIPPY’s WISH out in the New Year.
Do you have a favorite recipe?
This is a hard one to answer—it’s like asking me do I have a favorite book? 🙂
There are so many recipes that my family enjoys, so whatever makes them happy is my favorite. It also depends on the time of the year, for example: in the winter, my meatball soup is a family favorite, whereas in the summer, pizza grilled on the BBQ.
I love spinach, rapini, kale, Swiss chard…actually, leafy greens are my favorite, so for me personally, creating different salads with these greens, adding fresh berries and goat cheese, or sautéing them with lemon, garlic and olive oil is what I make for my lunch, so that would be my favorite.
Speaking of recipes, I’d like to share a couple of recipes from the WISHES, STITCHES & DISHES Bundle for your readers.
Italian Egg Drop Soup with Parmesan Crisps
This makes a delicious and quick soup, and it’s good idea to have broth in the freeze for those times that you need stock for a recipe or for a quick soup like this. Store bought broth can also be used if you don’t have any of your own on hand.
This soup goes well with Parmesan crisps (recipe below).
Yields up to 4 servings.
5 to 6 cups of chicken (or vegetable) broth (Homemade broth works best)
4 large eggs
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
2 cups fresh baby spinach
3 cloves roasted garlic (or 1 clove minced garlic)
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
Egg Drop Soup!
Turn heat on stove at medium-high and in a large pot add: broth, lemon juice, garlic, basil and parsley and bring to a boil.
Add the spinach, stir and cook until spinach is wilted.
Season the soup.
Break the eggs in a small bowl.
Gradually drizzle the eggs into the broth, stirring gently with a fork so that the eggs form a thin strand. Do this for about one minute.
4 oz. Parmesan cheese (grated)
Freshly ground pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 300 F
Use a non-stick spray (or use parchment paper) on a cookie sheet.
Place a tablespoon of the grated cheese on the cookie sheet, 4 inches apart.
Flatten the mound of cheese with the back of a spoon.
Season with black pepper and paprika.
Place baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 5 – 6 minutes, or until golden.
Pippy’s Stuffed Potato Pizza
This is a simple recipe that combines most of the elements of a pizza inside a potato, it’s one of those one dish meals that incorporates, starch, vegetables, protein all in a potato for a quick and fun lunch or dinner.
4 large baking potatoes
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper (red, orange or yellow)
1/2 cup black (or green) olives
4 slices bacon (crisped and crumbled)
1/2 cup turkey pepperoni (or any pepperoni your family enjoys)
1 cup Selena’s Sassy Sauce (this recipe is in the recipe book) (or you can use jarred marinara sauce)
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
Wash and scrub potatoes, pat dry with a paper towel, and run a knife in the center of the potato, then brush each potato all over with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet.
Bake for 1 – 1.5 hours (until tender).
Add oil to a skillet and on medium high, cook: pepper until tender (6 – 8 minutes).
Remove potatoes from oven and turn broiler on.
In a bowl add: sautéed peppers, olives, bacon, pepperoni, salt and pepper, mix everything together.
Split each potato open and spoon equal amounts of the peppers, olive, bacon and pepperoni into each potato.
Pour sauce over each potato and top with mozzarella.
Broil dressed up potatoes under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly (3 – 4 minutes).
Please note: You can add any other vegetables that you normally like on a pizza, example; artichokes, mushrooms, zucchini, anything goes.
WISHES STITCHES & DISHES: Bundle of Family Fun is on sale until November 30th $0.99 on Amazon.
Selena’s passion is the love of God, family, friends, writing, reading and cooking. She enjoys writing stories and creating characters that fly by the seat of their pants without a safety net. The kind of free living that can be enjoyed by children and adults, spinning her fascination with life’s quirky happenings into comical adventures.
Selena is a self-professed chocolate guru who loves to sing into her hairbrush and dance with the family dog (knowing nobody will tape it and put it on You Tube, so you can imagine how wacky her singing and dance moves can be).
After giving up her dream of becoming a movie star/dancer/singer, she decided that her second-in-line dream was to be a writer. Even if she never got published, she’d still want to write stories with fun characters and happy ever after endings.
Selena continues her passion for happily-ever-after in her life (okay, some days she’s sitting in first class on the Frazzled Express…but it’s still all good).
Selena also writes children’s books under the pen name, Maddie Ryan.
Selena’s Website: http://SelenaRobins.com/
Selena’s Blog: http://SelenaRobinsMusings.com/
Follow Selena on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SelenaRobins
Follow Selena on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/selena.robins.3
Like Maddie Ryan’s Page: https://www.facebook.com/maddieryanchildrensauthor