Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Writerly Wednesday ~~ Who Won the Contest?

Thanks to all of you who entered the Flower Power contest. Loved the concise descriptions! It's hard to write a good, complete thought in under 25 words, but you did it.

Now for the winners of surprise packages of writing stuff and a dab of Cajun and coffee goodness, which I'll mail out as soon as I have addresses...........

Please congratulate:

Jane Gaston of Gaston Studio
Small Footprints of Reduce Footprints 
and Diane Estrella 



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tasty Tuesday ~~ A Yummy Read AND Contest!

No, I'm not completely nuts and forgetting that today is usually recipe day, but you know ol' Gumbo Writer likes to shake things up now and then. So, instead of rattling the pots and pans today, I've got an especially yummy "recipe" for all the writerly folks and those who just like to doodle with words!

Speaking of all things writerly, I'll announce winners of my Flower Power contest tomorrow. Thanks for all the great entries, y'all! [***I know I've been a terrible visitor lately, but I'm remedying that in the next few days. Been busy putting together the fall issue of @RoseandThorn.] :)

Friend Kim Richardson is hosting a contest with a really cool prize over at her blog. I just know one of my bloggerish friends is going to be the winner, so get on it. Kimmi's been super busy tweaking her book and getting it ready for launch. I've read THE UNBREAKABLE CHILD, and can't recommend it loudly enough. But more on that later. Today, it's all about the contest!

Kim says,
"To celebrate the Oct. 1st 2010 release of my memoir, The Unbreakable Child, see here [Amazon] and keeping with the theme of my book, I would like to invite you to submit a children’s poem or a proverb-style type sentence (no more than 4 lines) for a child you don’t know...First Prize will be awarded by literary dream agent, Stephany Evans, president of FinePrint Literary Management.  The winner will receive a 50.00 American Express Gift Card."
Go to Kimmi's blog to enter!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Foibles ~~ Politically Incorrect Blonde Humor

Thanks to all of you contestants who entered the Writerly Wednesday Flower Power contest! I'll be choosing winners over the weekend!!

Now, on with our TGIF fun. I've been pickin' on my own Ragin' Cajun folks lately, so it's time to find a new group of victims.'s about a little stroll through Blondedom? hehe


A blonde and her husband are lying in bed listening to the next door neighbor's dog. It has
been in the backyard barking for hours and hours. The blonde jumps up out of bed and says, "I've had enough of this!," and goes downstairs.

After a long while, she finally comes back up to bed. Her husband says "The dog is still barking. What have you been doing?"

The blonde says, "I put the dog in our backyard. Let's see how THEY like it!"


Two Blondes With Hammers...

Lynn and Judy were doing some work on a Habitat for Humanity house. Lynn was nailing down house siding, would reach into hr nail pouch, pull out a nail and either toss it over her shoulder or nail it in.
Judy, figuring this was worth looking into, asked, "Why are you throwing those nails away?'

Lynn explained, 'When I pull a nail out of my pouch, about half of them have the head on the wrong end so I throw them away."

Judy got completely upset and yelled, "You moron! Those nails aren't defective! They're for the other side of the house!"

Did you hear about the two blondes who froze to death in a drive-in movie?

They had gone to see 'Closed for the Winter.'

A blonde was driving home after a football game and got caught in a really bad hailstorm. Her car was covered with dents, so the next day she took it to a repair shop.

The shop owner saw that she was a blonde, so he decided to have some fun. He told her to go home and blow into the tail pipe really hard, and all the dents would pop out.

So, the blonde went home, got down on her hands and knees and started blowing into her tailpipe. Nothing happened. So she blew a little Harder, and still nothing happened.

Her blonde roommate saw her and asked, "What are you doing?"

The first blonde told her how the repairman had instructed her to blow into the tail pipe in order to get all the dents to pop out.

The roommate rolled her eyes and said, "Uh, like hello! You need to roll up the windows first!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Writerly Wednesday ~~ Flower Power Contest!

Hope your mid-week is going well, blog friends. Are you meeting your deadlines, working toward your goals, polishing your WiPs?

When I want a break from revising my ms, reading submissions for Rose and Thorn Journal or whatever is taking up the majority of my time, I'll sometimes get out my camera and click away. It's nice to have a hobby that lets you refocus or change your perspective. The photos below are some I've taken recently.

If you're stalled out and need a little diversion, here ya go --
a short & sweet contest to get your creative juices flowing!


1.) Look at the numbered photos below and pick the one that best represents you.

2.) In 20 words or less left in a comment, explain why.

3.) Leave your email address in the comment if you don't have one connected to your I.D. so I have some way to contact you should you win a prize.

4.) We'll see how the contestant numbers stack up, and decide on how many winners based on that. The prizes will also be a surprise...but if you're a writer, you'll be happy.

Now..."pick a flower" and tell us how the two of your are alike.







Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tasty Tuesday ~~ Terrific Twofer: Soup and Salad

I love when people pass along their fav recipes, so I can pass 'em along to you! These two come from my daddy's friends, Beth Bennett and J.P. Averette.

Thought of the day ~~ Our "plates" are truly full when we have good friends to share with. Enjoy!

TACO SALAD (with delicious twists)

Ground Beef --------------------------- 1 Lb.
Taco Mix ------------------------------- 1 Pkg.
Lettuce -------------------------------- 1 Head
Cherry Tomatoes --------------------- 1 Container (Small whole tomatoes) 
Avocado ------------------------------- 1 each
Red Beans ----------------------------- 1 Can (15 1/2 Oz) (W/juice, not cream style)
Dressing ------------------------------- Thousand Isle (Use approximately 6 to 8 Oz)
Fritos ---------------------------------- 1 Bag (9 1/4 Oz - small Fritos)

Cook the Ground Beef using just a small amount of Olive Oil while adding to it, during cooking process, only one-half of the Taco Mix. Drain. Allow the Cooked Beef to cool.

Chop and wash the Head of Lettuce and allow it to drain. Dry with a paper towel if necessary before mixing into the salad.

Drain the can of Red Beans and dry them if necessary. These beans may be washed and wiped dry. Peel the Avocado and cut into real small pieces. Crush the Fritos.

In a Large Bowl: Combine and mix the Beef cooked with the Taco Mix, with the Chopped Lettuce, whole Cherry Tomatoes, Chopped Avocado, Red Beans, Dressing, and Crushed Fritos. Stir in the Thousand Isle Dressing (6 to 8 Oz).

Notes: Ample salt should be provided by the Taco Mix. If the salad is to be eaten at a later time; keep the ingredients cool in individual containers and mix just prior to eating.
 Note: Adding grated Cheese (Just a light sprinkling) and/or very small Pineapple pieces

(1 heaping TBS) is optional. Notes Wonder how this would taste with some small Spinach Leaves added? Say, abouta half-n-half mixture with the lettuce? OK, how about adding some finely chopped onion and garlic to the Ground Meat/Taco Powder mixture for a little Cajun touch? Call it “CajunMex Taco Salad."

OK- Ok, I’ll quit with this one; How about a heaping Tbs of fresh, crisp bacon bits?

Red Beans (Dark Red Kidney) ------------------------- 1 Can (151/2 Oz)
White Beans -------------------------------------------- 1 Can (151/2 Oz)
Black Beans --------------------------------------------- 1 Can (151/2 Oz)
Ground Meat (Good Grade of Lean Meat) ---------- ½ LB.
Chicken Broth ------------------------------------------ 1 Can
Rotel Traditional (With Peppers) -------------------- 1 Can
Diced Tomatoes ---------------------------------------- 1 Large Can
Bell Pepper (Chopped) -------------------------------- 1 Cup
Onion (Yellow – Chopped) ---------------------------- 1-1/2 Cups
Garlic (Finely Chopped) ------------------------------- 5 Large Cloves
Tony’s Seasoning ----------------------------------------1 TBS
Olive Oil ------------------------------------------------- 5 TBS
Salt & Pepper ------------------------------------------- To Taste
Sour Cream ---------------------------------------------- Large “dollop” per serving.

Place Olive Oil in a large black iron pot. Add the Ground Meat, Bell Pepper, Tony’s Seasoning, and Onion. Sautee the mixture until the meat is just about cooked and then add the Minced Garlic to cook just a short time more. (Note: This prevents the Garlic from Burning) (Note: It would be extremely difficult to use too much Chopped Garlic or Onion) (Note: Save about a half-cup of the chopped onion to add later.)

With the meat cooked, begin to add the Beans (Red, White, and Black), Chicken Broth, Diced Tomatoes (Large Can), and Rotel Tomatoes, and the Chopped Onion that you saved. Note: Add the juice from each can also) Note: The addition of Salt will probably be necessary due to the ground meat. Place a lid on the mixture and, at low heat, allow the soup to come to a very slow boil for no more than five minutes before turning the heat off to allow the soup to “soak” for a short time.

Serve with Keebler Crackers and a large “dollop” of Sour Cream over to one side of the bowl.

Note: This soup freezes well in individual containers for serving at a later time.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Guess Who's Getting Roasted Today?'s me. Come see how many times I can humiliate myself to the whole world in one post. LOL.

And thank you, Mr. Eddie Bluelights, for having me as your guest of "honor," or roastee, as the case may be. 

***match image from here, and firewoman here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Foibles ~~ Boudreaux in Big Trouble

Happy weekend to y'all. Now, "less git right to it!"


Way down In Louisiana, Boudreaux was involved in a terrible vehicle accident caused by an18-wheeler running a stop sign.

In court, the trucking company's fancy lawyer fires questions at the Cajun, trying to wear him down. Finally, he asks, "Mr. Boudreaux, didn't you say at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine?'" 

Boudreaux scratches his head, looks up at the judge, and says into the microphone, "Let me told you what happened. Me, I had jus loaded my favorite mule, Bessie, into da..." 

The lawyer bristles and interrupts, "I didn't ask you for any details, Mr. Boudreaux. Just answer the question, please! Did you not say at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine!'?" 

Boudreaux, unruffled, anwsers, "I had jus got Bessie into da trailer and I was driving down da road... "

The lawyer interrupts once again and bellows, "Judge, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the State Policeman that he was just fine. Now several weeks after the accident, he is trying to sue my client. I believe he is a fraud. Can you please direct Mr. Boudreaux to answer the question?"

By this time, the judge is fairly interested in the Cajun's answer, and says to the lawyer, "I'd like to hear what he has to say about his favorite mule, Bessie."

Boudreaux thanks the judge, invites him to attend the cochon de lait (coo-shaw de-lay) to be held the following weekend, and proceeds, "I had jus loaded Bessie, my favorite mule, into da trailer and was driving her down da highway when dis huge semi-truck an' trailer ran da stop sign and smacked my truck right in da side. Me, I was trown (thrown) into one ditch and Bessie was trown into da udder. I was hurting real bad, yeah, and didn't want to  move a muscle. But, I could heard ole Bessie moanin and groanin. Me, I knew she was in some kind o' terrible shape just by her groans."

Boudreaux wipes the tears from his eyes and takes a deep breath before continuing. "Shortly after da accident, a State Policeman, he came on da scene. He herd Bessie moanin' and groanin' so, him, he goes over by her. After he took hisself a look at her, he  takes out his gun and shoots her between da eyes. Den da Patrolman came cross da road, gun in hand, and looked at me. When he axe (asks) me, ' How are you feeling?'...

"...Now what da hell would you say?!"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Writerly Wednesday ~~ Creativity Gone Wild!

Two talented, creative ladies are gracing us with their presence and knowledge today. Visit their links and be inspired! Let's get started...


1.) Who & what IS Steph Jordan/Living in Color/Divacity?

Well let’s see, Steph Jordan is a mix of a half of century of craziness, creativeness, old school, soul searching, constantly learning, nature loving woman! LOL. There’s so much more but that kind of binds it all together. Basically I’m a woman with an Artistic message that even I am still trying to figure out. I don’t claim to know the answer to life but I know has a lot to do with Art!

I think Diviacity was my first bit of true seriousness about realizing the direction I was heading in with my Art. I’ve tapped into so many different mediums in my Journey including, writing, drawing, cooking, painting, jewelry, promoting artists and more. The name was courtesy of a friend who said that it was me to the nth degree LOL. Diva with all the fixings!

Living In Color With Steph Jordan was born from my need to share. I love talking to and meeting new Colorful people. And in my world I do so I wanted to share them and their colorfulness with everyone else. On the Blog I interview people from various (because there really are too many to count) branches of Art and Creativity. I love catching people in their natural state. The state of saying and being who they really are. The ultimate goal of Living In Color With Steph Jordan is to bring them all together in one source for everyone to enjoy.

2.) Do you think everyone has some creativity inside them? How can we tap into that rich vein?

Yes I do think everyone has the creativity gene. I think many people are afraid to explore their creative side because of self doubts and society. Sometimes I discover people who are fabulous Artists, Writers, Cooks, Vocalists, etc. who don’t think they will make it or are nervous about other people’s reactions to what they are doing. I can hear in my head me saying over and over, ‘if you can bring your Artist spirit outside to play you would be surprised and even amazed at what you would find’. Not to mention that the Act of creating Art itself can be self reassuring and healing. To me adding your creative energy to the wind is part of what fuels life. Much of the history as we know it is based on Art. Messages left behind by those before us!

I suggest to people that they start spending even just 15 minutes a day doing something artistic when the mood strikes. Drawing and even doodling can motivate you onto bigger grounds. I have a friend who created the most beautiful coloring book I’ve ever seen, from doodles!

3.) What are your pet projects right now, and what's on tap for the immediate future?

Currently I’m working on a few things. My first project is the show ‘Living In Color With Steph Jordan’. Although it’s online TV, my hopes are to be able to reach a larger field of people who need the motivation and inspiration to create and go after their dreams. My dreams are always a work in progress. I’m in desperate need of help and sponsorship to keep it going so I’m also working on that. Another project is a book full of Art, Inspiration and Art to heal! Almost everything I create is out of a need to stay focused, stay creative and stay positive. And I want to be able to share it with others because it really does work.

4.) I LOVE your creative crafts and mixed media work, and have done a little pre-Christmas shopping already, but will soon be back for more. Tell us about that, please.

Thank you. I have a very short attention span so I work on a little bit of everything. Call it mixed up media! I love things that are very colorful and bright. A lot of what I do is full of color and based on what I get from Nature. I spend as much time as possible at the ocean so many of my paintings have ocean in them. I paint mainly with Acrylics but am not above mixing that up to, like oil and acrylic or watercolor and acrylic.

I also love Altered Art and collage. I am big on product and texture. By product I mean things like gels, texturizing, color mediums, etc. I like to create Art that makes me stop and think or stop and chill.

5.) Is an Etsy shop easy to use?

For me it’s been fabulous. It’s free to set up. The instructions are clear and its fast going once get it started. They only charge you for the listings and it’s only $0.20. I did try lots of other services but this one turns out to be the best. 

6.) Tell us a little about how you got from "there" to "here."

I was on my own from a very young age and learned to think on my feet and moving. I was blessed in that over the years I met many people that inspired me, supported me and helped keep me focused on staying strong. I’m compelled to share the same with people I cross paths with.

Art has always played a large part in who I am and where I come from. It was my ‘thing’ to focus on. It was my outlet and as a youngster, a release from what was happening in my world. My imagination was strong and vivid and art played a great part.

I think I’m still traveling LOL. I don’t really know where here is yet. Right now I run on Dreams and Things. LOL. There’s no income, no material whatnots just dreams and desire to create, create and create and share. I only know that in the dream I’m at a place where I can share lessons learned, art, healing, creativity, inspiration, etc. (and afford to do only that LOL). So on I go LOL.

7.) As to social media -- which "channel" (Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Networked Blogs, etc.) is your fav?

I’d have to say Facebook first. I’ve been able to connect with so many people in a more visual way. I can see their Art and they can see mine. There response and recognition. I love that it’s been more professional and that I have greater control over what goes on. There’s no need for fancy page tricks and for the most part the people I’ve connected with have been respectful and all using it for the same thing, networking.

8.) Do you write? If so, tell us what, who, when, how, why.

I started out writing. I wrote many many poems growing up. In fact somewhere in this Apartment/Studio resides a binder of many of those poems. At a young age there wasn’t really anyone my age to communicate with like I needed to. So I took to writing it down. Of course at first I tried to rhyme everything LOL because at a young age I thought that was poetry. Later I learned to put my feelings in poetry and progressed from there. After my failed marriage I realized that all of my poetry was painful and depressing and kind of faded away. Now I write words and thoughts to inspire. I have some articles posted on a blog called Divaprenuer and Facebook and my Newsletter about being positive and working it all out.

I’m currently working on trying to pull a book of Art together. I have so much to share visually and verbally that it’s an obvious next step for me. I have written a couple of books that were more of a healing tool than anything in the past. Just for me. The book I am trying to put together now is for anyone that needs to be inspired and feel confident in expressing their creative side.

9.) Coffee or tea?

Both LOL. I’m very versatile. I easily adapt and if you don’t have a jar of instant I’ll gladly accept for a spot of tea!

10.) What'd I forget to ask you that you want our bloggy friends to know?

I think I just want everyone to know that there is really no excuse for not following your Dreams. Even in the worst of times, you still have your thoughts and your dreams. Keep them moving mentally if not physically. And letting them go is a decision that will most certainly not serve you in the future.

I’m also a person that likes to share positive inspiration. Anyone can write me for some positive words at

 My website is HERE and it contains links to my other outlets. Find my Etsy HERE
Youtube  Facebook: Steph on Facebook, Twitter, and Blip TV

Whew, wasn't that great? Watch a few of Steph's vids and you'll be inspired to go and create something beautiful and/or tasty today! Her art and jewelry are diva-licious. Great for upcoming holiday purchases...and *very* affordable.



1. How long have you been in the "literary" biz?

On and off, mostly on, for about 20 years, I've been a reader and editor at Apalachee Quarterly and then Apalachee Review (name change). First as a poetry reader. Now I'm the fiction editor.

2. How/what do you look for in accepted pieces for your publication?

One of New York's best literary agents just emailed to say that he wanted contact information for writers of six of this Apalachee Review issue's stories for our latest issue. He said he'd never found that many at one go in his time trolling for stories.

So what I say here may sound cruel, but it's the way I troll for stories: The first paragraph. If the first paragraph grabs me, I keep reading. If not, I let it go. It could be a first line that surprises me.

Here's a for instance, “Lives of the Saints,” by Katie Cotugno:

“Laura brings her cell phone on the junior retreat, which makes sense, since the first rule on the handout we got last week was NO CELL PHONES WILL BE PERMITTED ON THE JUNIOR RETREAT.”
Not a word is wasted here. I find out, Uh oh, already trouble—so I want to keep reading. What's going to happen to Laura? Already, I have a lot of info, like that this narrator is young, a junior retreat probably means a high school retreat, and the kids are probably tech savvy. I also get a sense of rhythm, youthful rhythm and language and immediacy. And since the title seems to suggest a Catholic school or something connected to religion, it's probably even more risky to be breaking school rules. I'm in.

This doesn't mean A.R. “wants” Catholic high school stories. It means we want strong voices, and openings that jump into the middle of trouble pretty quickly.

When we get “When I was a child, life was pretty easy....” I start scanning down the page for the real story. Often, usually, it doesn't start until p. 3, or even 7 or even 11, and too often, there's no story. What happens? And then what? And then what? And language. Tight, strong language. Action.   

3. How do you keep it all in balance without going nuts?

I AM nuts. I do too much. I forget everything, including times and dates for when I'm going to have lunch with my girlfriends, who are my sustenance. [My new novel just came out in] September, too, so I write fiction, too. And now I'm going to do an anthology of paragraphs for the Gulf Spill. So I'm completely overwhelmed and nutty.

I teach business students in the Spring, who tend to have way more practical sense than I do. Sometimes they like the nuttiness, and sometimes they just stare at me like, HUH? Whatever.

It's me. My mom said when I was young, she could put me in a room and leave me there, come back later, and I'd have something going on. My own little world of play. She said I was ALWAYS busy. She didn't have to worry about me, because I had stuff going on in the room. I could probably remember dates back then, though.

4. Any tips for the writers out there?

This isn't what anybody wants to hear, but it's true. Just write. If you're a writer, write. Or take time off from writing and don't feel guilty, just keep thinking and observing. Don't worry so much about getting published or having your first novel when you're 25 or whatever. Write. It's a soulful process. And get yourself a workshop. Have honest and empathic readers comment on your work.

5. Recent wonderful reads?

I just finished “Mockingbird,” a biography by Charles J. Shields about Nelle Harper Lee, who wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Great book that leaves author Nelle alone, which is what she wants.

I'm in the middle of Mark Mustian's “The Gendarme,” told urgently from the point of view of a WW I vet who's at the end of his life. He escorted Armenians from Turkey during the war, and now wants to find the woman he fell in love with, who was one of his captives. He wants to ask her forgiveness for what happened during that march.

Before that, I read a crime novel, “Flesh Market Close,” by Scottish writer Ian Rankin, set in Edinburgh.

6. What do you love in poetry?

I also just read “Mad with Yellow” by Lisa J. Starr, the Poet Laureate of Rhode Island. Her poems about losing her parents just kill me (pun intended). I have my parents, but I know deep down she's right about how this must feel.

7. What are your feelings about signings and speaking at conferences?

Yes, I like to read and sign books. I'm pretty introverted, and intimidated by big audiences, but it's good to stretch yourself. I toured with my short story collection ten years ago, and figured out what audiences like and don't like to hear. That way, I figured out what people like to read, too. I do think it helps your writing if you can think of readings that way. Same with poetry. I like to read a poem with another person or a group of people. Keeps it lively.

8. Some Do Nots in writing?

Shiny writing means using strong verbs, just for starters. Try to ditch the adverbs, as they preach at you. Love those good nouns. Write like you're singing, then go back and edit yourself. People who will go back and edit and edit and edit themselves make the most successful writers usually.

9. What do you think about the retold fairytales and such that are popular of late?

Well, my husband was giving me some of those stories. I don't want to indict anybody. His stories reminded me that I'm fascinated by how writers who are creative writing faculty at universities can sometimes get ruined by egotism and insularity. But then so can any kind of celebrity. Stay rooted to the earth, writers.

Find Mary Jane's "Cookie and Me" here on Amazon. [Note to Self: Order immiediately!]

Amazon Review:
Best of luck with your new book, Mary Jane! Thanks for taking time away from your crazy life and schedule to do this interview.

With an ear for regional voices as pitch perfect as a tuning fork, Mary Jane Ryals brings to life her beloved South during the tumultuous days of the early civil rights movement. Set in Tallahassee, Florida, Cookie & Me tells the story of Rayann, who is white and somewhat privileged, and Cookie, who is black and living a marginalized life that Rayann never realized existed until one life-changing summer. Cookie and Me is fresh and poignant, a beautifully-written story about two young girls, one black, one white, and how they get caught up in an explosive real-life episode during the Civil Rights Movement. Mary Jane Ryals writes like a sassy hybrid of Eudora Welty and Lee Smith. Rayann Woods, her heroine, is as bitingly funny as Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird and as sharply honest as Huck Finn. Ryals knows her North Florida backwoods, her debutantes, her good ole boys and her Jim Crow history. This novel is at once charming and unsparing, hilarious and profound. I hope this isn't the last we hear from Rayann. She's my kind of girl. -Diane (D. K.) Roberts, Dream State; The Myth of Aunt Jemima; Between Two Rivers Cookie & Me is every bit as evocative of race relations in the South as Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Mary Jane Ryals' Tallahassee, Florida is a kissing cousin of Lee's Maycomb, Alabama. The story is set in the turbulent sixties and features two main characters who struggle across racial lines to form a friendship that sustains them both. The writing is so visceral, you can almost hear Aretha, feel the humidity and taste the mulberries. I love this book. -Lu Vickers, Breathing Underwater; Weeki Wachee: City of Mermaids

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tasty Tuesday ~~ Sopapilla Cheesecake

Because I love y'all so much, I'm giving you a bib warning up front. My wonderful, beautiful, smart stepdaughter Jessica made this drool-making dessert for my birthday this past weekend, and I think you'll like it a LOT. Yep, it meets Gumbo Writer's criteria -- easy, quick and g-o-o-d!

[P.S. to Jess --- Nana LOVES the crock pot liners! And a personal request to y'all: please keep Jess and her husband Bill and the whole family in prayer. He is leaving for Afghanistan this month to serve for a year. God bless our military families for their tremendous sacrifices!]

Sopapilla Cheesecake

8 oz. fat free or reduced fat cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry 
2 Tbsp. melted butter (marg. or Smart Balance)

Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Put in microwave for 10-20 seconds in microwave to warm it up. 

Place pastry sheet on greased cookie sheet. Spread mixture almost to the edges. Top with a second pastry sheet. Pinch edges together. Spread with melted butter. Sprinkle on mixed sugar and cinnamon.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool a bit, then cut and serve. Watch your guests' faces light up! (Refrigerate leftovers -- yeah, like there'll be any of those.) :D

*bib photo from ebay

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gumbo Writer is Two Years Old Today!

Have a piece of cake!

It's hard to believe I've been blogging here for two years already. It's been so much fun getting to know you, learning from you, sharing thoughts, forming community.

Thank you who visit, follow my blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Networked Blogs. I appreciate each and every one of you.

Now...a toast to many more years of good times together, friends. *clink* and big hugs.

...and to celebrate my bloggy birfday, I've entered a GUMBO judging contest. Would 'preciate your votes on facebook! :) 

*Cake image from seeedstudio
*Blog icon from

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Writerly Wednesday ~~ Resources: Check These Out!

Gotta whole lotta nuggets for my blogging writer/poet/artist buds today, so let's just get to it. Sit back, read a while, and enjoy!

Roni Griffin talks about the pros and cons of pre-published authors constructing a website vs. blogging, and other matters of social networking.
"You don't have to be insane like me and have a website, blog, twitter, facebook, and goodreads. A website can be static, so once you have that up, it's not any work. And then if you like to blog--blog. If not, then just do twitter or facebook (I'd recommend Twitter over Facebook if you're only going to do one--it's more effective IMHO). But do whatever works for you."

Carrie Link tells us about friend Deb Shucka's editing services and memoir writing classes. Visit Deb's new blog: Writing the Breathings of Your Heart. Carrie's got an awesome, thought provoking blog to follow, if you don't already. Ditto Deb's.      

Need a splash of vivid color in your life? Visit Steph Jordan's Living in Color blog, watch her shows, get some new recipes, browse the beautiful original items in her Etsy shop. You won't be sorry. I've already done some Christmas shopping, and hooo-boyyyy, there are some great items ON SALE right now. (One of a kind, artsy, lovely things.) **Look for an interview with Steph coming soon right here!

Steph says, "Art is created with Passion and Hope. When I create my originals it's with the desire that anyone that receives will feel the love and inspiration and enjoy it the same! Lots of unique items for sale on my Etsy show."  And this for you frugal shoppers: "One of a kind Original Art by Steph Jordan. Jewelry, Mixed Media Art, paintings and more. All purchases come with a free goodie!"

Follow her blog, and click on the "About" tab for more on Steph.

Our beloved Rose & Thorn Journal's newsletter creator, Susan G. Kramer, has finally joined the Blogosphere with her brand spankin' new Coffee Girl blawg! Please help welcome her, and follow her coffee-licious blog. Another cool place to buy gifts for your writerly friends. She creates the nicest cards from recycled materials, greenie that she is. Here's some that I'm proud to have: 

For you local home girls in and around Baton Rouge, don't miss author Ronlyn Domingue's seminar in connection with Women's Council of Greater Baton Rouge annual Women's Week. Another "don't miss" at the event is Poet Extraordinaire Ava Leavell Haymon.
Date: Sunday, October 3 Time: 4 - 6 p.m. Baton Rouge Gallery at 1442 City Park Ave. Her talk is entitled: Life Terms, No Insurance: Women Writers on Resisting, Relenting or Embracing What the Universe Delivers. More info here.

If you missed my popular  interview with the author lady, it's HERE, and she gives plenty good scoop to writers about the process and other how-to tips. 

Just so y'all don't think I'm only touting the ladies, don't miss Chuck Sambuchino's (Guide to Literary Agents) upcoming post wherein expert Jane Friedman explains how to increase your blog following and building your author platform. Mark your calendars for Sept. 16.

I know y'all are following Lynn Price's Behler blog, right? FULL of great info. on publishing and all things writerly. Oh, and you'll lurve her bartending beagle sidekick!

Lynn's posts are witty, sassy, and savvy; her thoughts on book promo will get your juices flowing. Don't miss the editorial director of Behler Publications post: Promo is like Costco. Here's a snippet --
I know many authors are shy and would rather hunker down and write and never have to meet a single fan or do a lick of promotion. Good luck with that.
And look for our friend Kim Richardson's soon-to-be-on-shelves The Unbreakable Child. Behler is the publisher!     

 [NOTE TO SELF: Get Lynn's book pronto!] 


So...whatcha working on? Do tell...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tasty Tuesday ~~ The Case of the Unfaithful Foodie

Hey, friends. Hope you passed an exciting (or relaxing) Labor Day holiday if you're in the states. If not, hope ya had a nice weekend. :) We got a little BBQ'ing in at the last minute, and I'm really glad we did.

What's up with today's title? I must confess, being as I'm a good "Catlick" and all, that I have strayed from my first spice love. Please don't tell Mr. Tony. It would only hurt him! Y'all who keep up with the recipes here know I'm always touting Tony Chachere's as the be all/end all of spicy deliciousness.

Well, today a new, younger, hunkier, tastier spice has crept in the kitchen door. Although I have trouble hanging my head too low in shame, I'd like to introduce you to the new man in my spice rack -- blawgin' buds, please say hey to Diesel!

I'll always love me some Mr. Tony, but every girl needs a little new spice in her diet, and we all know variety is the (say it with me) spice of life! Now, really, can you blame me for straying?

I thought not! :D There's room for all three of us in the kitchen, right? The Diesel's seasoning is silky fine, and left a nice little afterburn on the tongue without choking off my airway. LOL. In other words, it is goo-ooooo-oood!

Besides being the son of fellow blogger Karen Evans, here's a little more about the man behind the Diesel's brand:

Diesel's Seasonings was created by Dave "Diesel" Evans who earned the nickname Diesel while serving in the Marine Corps. He started his passion for mixing ingredients while serving overseas and eating the same old MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) day after day. Dave started experimenting by mixing different items from different MREs to create new and better meals for him and his fellow Marines.
After leaving the military, Dave "Diesel" Evans continued his pursuit to make better food and is currently attending culinary school to further his foodie passion. He has tapped into his Cajun roots to help bring out the best spice and herb combinations to go with every meal. With permission from his beautiful wife Melissa, he created Diesel’s Seasonings.
Hooooweeee! See what I mean? Now, on with the recipe using Diesel's Hamburger Spice Blend. {My vegetarianistical friends, you know you can substitute tofu, TVP or ground turkey, so don't tell me no comments about the venison. LOL}

Diesel Injected Bambi Burgers

1 lb. ground venison
1/2 lb. ground pork (or pork sausage or ground beef)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 large egg
1/4 cup fine chopped onion (Vidalia or purple, if possible)
1 teaspoon Diesel's Hamberger Spice Blend 
A drop or two of Liquid Smoke
1 teaspoon Worcestershire

Mix up all the ingredients in a large bowl, and form in to nice sized patties. Grill over medium heat for about 5 minutes per side; more if you like yours well done. Add bacon or cheese to please your own tastebuds. Enjoy!

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