Soda or Pop? Take the Poll.

For The Glamorous One, I researched add-in syrups for soda fountains. Not as exciting as the indoor skydiving I did for The Adventurous One, but I did have a pretty good sugar buzz going for a few hours.

So speaking of soda … do you call it soda or pop or something else? I’m curious. Vote here!

Genuine Mexican Empanadas

empanadaAna Gloria’s Empanadas

 

In The Adventurous One, Taylor tells her Grandmother about the membrillo empanadas she buys from a vendor in Mexico. Here is a recipe for genuine Mexican empanadas, courtesy of Ana Gloria Moreno, who lives in Sonora, Mexico and is the mother of a friend. They’re flaky and sweet and if you use green apples, you get just the right hint of tartness. Give it a try!

Mini Empanada Recipe

 Ingredients for filling:
15-20 apples, membrillos (quince), or peaches depending on the size of fruit
2 lbs of sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Peel, cut and take out seeds from the fruit. Put a pot on medium heat, add fruit and sugar and mix till sugar starts to melt, then put in a stick of cinnamon. Stir constantly so it does not stick to the pot, lower heat if necessary and keep stirring. As soon as you see the fruit falling apart, turn off heat, take out cinnamon stick and mash well with potato masher. Filling has to have a jelly like consistency. Set aside.

Dough for empanadas:
2 lbs of flour
1 can or 12 oz of evaporated milk
2 large eggs
1 box of Maizena or 14 oz regular corn starch (Maizena found in the Hispanic food aisle)
1 Tbs of yeast
3 cups of sugar
2 Tbs of vanilla extract
1 lb lard

In a large mixing bowl, knead the lard till soft, and then add eggs, sugar and vanilla extract and mix well. Mix in flour, yeast and Maizena and mix well, then start pouring in the evaporated mix till you get a nice dough feel. Make ping pong size balls out  of the dough and set aside.

Roll a ball of dough into 1/8 inch thick and cut with round, medium size cookie cutter. Fill with one tablespoon of the filling on one side and fold dough over the filling to make a half circle. With a fork, press the edges of the dough to seal top and bottom edges together.

Set empanadas on a cookie sheet, heat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 15-20 min, or till golden brown.

Go here to get your copy of The Adventurous One.

Pageant Schedule for Tin Foil Tiaras

There are all kinds of things that help give me inspiration when I’m writing and the research process can get pretty involved. When I was working on Tin Foil Tiaras, I realized I needed the pageant schedule to help me structure Cameron’s week in Snow Valley. So I channeled pageant director Melodee Snow-McGrath and got to work.

I based the requirements off the actual rules for the Miss Montana pageant and I may have gotten a little carried away! Here’s page one and there’s a link at the bottom if you want to see all three pages.Pageant schedule page 1

Miss Snow Valley 2015 Pageant Schedule