Then I found a recipe for Mint chocolate chip cookie dough dip, and I knew I had to make it. I mean, what could be better than a dip that reminds you of cookies that reminds you of ice cream? It's pretty great.
I made this in June, but I had such a hectic summer that I've had almost no time to edit pictures and blog. But, I figured that since this Sangria has apples, It would totally work for fall.
It's very simple to make, and would be perfect for one last summer hurrah. I love Autumn as much as the next person, but it is a little bittersweet knowing that after one month of beautiful weather and that crisp, clean air smell we'll be stuck with about six months of dismal, dreary winter. Blech.
Unless you live somewhere warm, in which case I hate you, but go ahead and make this Sangria anyway, you lucky jerkface.
- 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 medium oranges, washed and sliced
- 1 medium lemon, washed and sliced
- 1 bottle (750 ml) Riesling or other sweet white wine
- 1 medium tart apple, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup triple sec
- 2 cups lemon-lime soda, chilled
- Ice cubes
Squeeze that lemon.Cut those fruits. ...continue reading
Starting from Scratch is finally done! I'm so proud of it, and while it wasn't nearly as easy for me to write as Baking Bree, I feel as though I did justice to Emily's story while still retaining the light-hearted humor and steamy romance that made Bree so popular with readers.
You can get it here on Amazon:
And just like last year, when I posted some Baking Bree inspired recipes, I'm going to cook, photograph, and write about some of the things Emily and Nick eat throughout the book. Starting with my absolute favorite recipe:
There are very few people in the world who don't like guac, and I pity them. I've only been eating it for a few years now, but I'm certainly making up for lost time by eating a lot of it. Like, a lot. ...continue reading
On this, the eve of publication of my third (and long-awaited) novel, Starting from Scratch, I figured I needed to post about book reviews.
I don't intend to speak for every author in the world, but there's generally a reason they climb out of bed each morning, shuffle their way into the kitchen and turn on the coffee maker, and then sit in front of their computer screen until they have a headache and they can't feel their butts anymore:
They have an idea for a story, and they can't rest until it's written down.
Yes, being an author is so charming and quaint and it's such a cool lifestyle, blah blah blah. You can wear hipster glasses and go to coffee shops and drink huge steaming cups of tea. And obviously you'll be rich, right? The reality of it sucks so much more.
You have an idea, great! It's turning that idea into a 300+ page novel with realistic characters, a believable plot, momentum to keep the story moving, mind-blowing sexual tension...that's the difficult part. And I haven't even talked about editing and formatting and re-writing, or any of the other crap that comes after you finish writing.
So why do authors do it? Why did I spend a year and a half writing and re-writing a story that I promised my readers would be out in the Fall of 2013? Why not just give up? It certainly wasn't the book sales from Baking Bree or Passion's Tide. So why do it at all?
"This is truly one of the best books I've read in awhile. I easily found myself engrossed in it and had a hard time putting it down. I found myself saying , "5 more minutes" and looking at the clock thirty minutes later knowing that I needed to put it down and go to sleep. Looking forward to the next book in the series."
"This was such a cute, heartwarming story, and a great read - in fact, I found myself laughing out loud several times at the many comedic moments in the book - totally my sense of humour. Bree's quirky personality was authentic and adorable, and as one who started out learning to cook by burning spaghetti, I loved reading about her misadventures in cooking. I'm definitely looking forward to more books by this author!"
"This is an amazing book! I couldn't put it down. There were a lot of emotions in this book. I was laughing my butt off in lots of it, then there were parts that I was actually really irritated at the characters( the mom and sister). Then times that I felt a tug on my heart. Not all books can do this, but when it happens, it is a wonderful combination. The love story is....wow....I was completely smitten. Can't wait to read the next book about the sister Emily. I will definitely be reading any books that Sarah West comes out with."
I am so touched by the positive reviews I get on Amazon. Hearing that I made people laugh and cry makes me want to write another book that will do the same! Learning that readers related to so many characters inspires me to bring the characters back in a new story that will keep my readers happy. Getting irritated emails from readers demanding to know where the book that I promised them six months ago is, really makes me write faster.
And you know what? I love my negative reviews, too. I know that not everyone who picks up a book is going to love it. Hell, I've written some pretty negative reviews myself. But as long as they are honest, clearly state what they didn't like (typos? I can fix those. Hated the sex scenes and swearing? Sorry, mom, that's not going to change) I appreciate all feedback. I am always looking to improve, and I'm not afraid of some constructive criticism.
So the next time you finish a book you read, take two minutes and write three sentences explaining what you liked or didn't like. You're helping other readers, who might be on the fence about buying a book, decide whether or not to get it, and you're helping me by giving me feedback about what works in a story and what doesn't work.
In fact, if you're bored at work or stuck inside on a rainy day, go to amazon and click on your recent purchases. You can go down the list and review everything you've purchased. It's sort of fun! And the authors, sellers, and other shoppers will thank you for your opinion.
And now I'm going to climb down off my soapbox and publish my damn book! Recipes to follow.
I'm not doing any real blog posts until I get my website settled (moving to a new server, bear with me), so this is just an old photo set I never got around to posting.
You might remember that I made Doctor Who cupcake toppers for the 50th anniversary episode last November (holy crap that was a long time ago) to go with Tracy's amazing jammy dodger cupcakes. I also got curious about my sculpting abilities, and tried my hand at crafting a small bust of one of my favorite Doctor Who species, the Silurians.
I decided to sculpt one wearing the cool mask we see in The Hungry Earth episode, mostly because I wasn't certain I could sculpt the actual lizard-sapian face accurately enough to satisfy my OCDness. I think, looking back, that I could have done it justice. But for now, I'm proud to show you my Silurian. I finally decided to post her after watching the new season of Doctor Who this weekend, with the brand new Doctor, Peter Capaldi. While I miss Matt Smith very much, I am eager to see what Capaldi, a brilliant actor, will bring to the character.
Oh hey, internet. Remember me? It's been awhile.
If you've forgotten about me, allow me to jog your memory. My name is Sarah, I'm 26 years old, I live in Western NYS, and I like long walks on the beach. I am recently engaged, and I spent two amazing weeks this summer on a Birthright trip in Israel, which is the main reason I've been so bad at blogging. Firstly, you know, being out of the country makes it difficult.
And secondly, when you are gone for 15 days you come back to a LOT of stuff piled on your desk, and some unhappy coworkers who are angry at you for extending your trip an additional four days without notifying them. I also had to juggle jet lag, a huge pile of laundry, a book that needs to be published, 2k photos that had to be edited, a wedding to plan, Bioshock Infinite that needs playing, TV to catch up on, and battling depression from missing all of my new friends.
And the food.
Oh, man. The food.
I love the food there. Granted, I got pretty sick of it by the end of the trip, but now that I'm home and can't find authentic Israeli food I miss it like crazy. You can see more of my pictures on FB, but for now I'll walk you through some of the different foodie adventures I had!
See that log of meat roasting in the back there? That's shawarma. They shave the meat into a pita (which are nothing like the stale, brittle pitas we have here. In Israel they are like fluffy clouds). The meat is typically turkey, and you can get it made with all sorts of sauces and vegetables. These top three pictures were taken in Tsefat. ...continue reading
This Dash has finally met her Pinch Charming!
Kevin proposed last week while we were having my birthday dinner at Aperativo in Schenectady, which has been our favorite restaurant since we started dating. The ring is absolutely stunning, and he got my style so perfectly. It's unique and antique and shiny and really pretty and shiny!
The funny thing is, I had joked about him proposing at this dinner for weeks, saying it would be so perfect and convenient, not really expecting that he had purchased a ring and had hidden it away in the pocket of his shark shorts:
To be fair, as we were getting dressed for the evening, he offered to change. I believe my exact words were, "hells no, I want you to propose wearing shark shorts!"
After I got out of the bathroom and my creme brulee showed up, he reached for his pocket to grab the ring. Too bad I was hyper alert and was like "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" So he took out his phone for a birthday photo instead. Then, when I was distracted by sugar, he got down on one knee.
We had to keep it secret for a day so that we could tell our families in person, but we had a lot of fun announcing it. His caption for this photo was "I've made a huge mistake."
So basically, super stoked. No idea when/where the wedding will be, but we've started looking at places online together. It's adorable that he's involved, and I'm just so lucky to have a wonderful guy to put up with my craziness. Plus, he's got a sweet present coming
Don’t get me wrong, I adore grilling salmon on a cedar plank, or even directly on the grill grates, but sometimes you dry out the fish that way if you’re not paying attention. Throwing the salmon into a foil packet, along with something to keep it moist and something to add flavor works perfectly, and is more forgiving of a little negligence.
My favorite for years has been to make Cajun rubbed salmon, but just as often I’ll throw some garlic, lemon slices, and basil on top. Experiment with some flavor combinations and find one you and your family will love!
Gross. It did taste pretty good, but obviously I've learned a lot in three years. Mostly, never use these horrible plates.
A cost friendly way to make this dinner is to buy a large filet of fresh salmon, and cut it into filets yourself.
Alternatively, and how I usually make this meal, is by using frozen salmon filets. ...continue reading
I was late to work today because I got stuck behind a bus with its lights on. It was stopped in front of a house, where I could clearly see two parents standing around a tree. I thought maybe there was a cat stuck in the tree?
Nope. It was a kid.
A kid who didn't want to go to school, and climbed a tree. And wouldn't come down.
Eventually the bus drove off, and so did I, but not before I decided that that kid hates Mondays as much as the rest of the world, and his coping mechanism seems pretty foolproof to me. So if you need me, I'll be in a tree, avoiding responsibility.