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Elephant Ears

Sorry for the late post, but I got caught up twisting my hair. On top of forgetting to schedule my post. One of my favorite things to get from the local fair or a really good bakery is an elephant ear. My oldest son found a recipe online a few years ago and let’s just say he knows not to leave me alone with a plate of fresh elephant ears. :-)

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
3/8 cup shortening
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 quart oil for frying
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons white sugar
DIRECTIONS:
1. In small saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, salt, 2 tablespoons sugar and shortening. Heat until shortening melts and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm, 110 degrees F (43 degrees C). Sprinkle in yeast and let sit until foamy.
2. Transfer mixture to large bowl, and stir in flour to make a dough. Knead until smooth, cover and let rise 30 minutes.
3. In a large heavy skillet or deep fryer, heat 1 inch of oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
4. Roll out 1 to 2 inch balls of dough into thin sheets. Fry sheets 1 to 2 minutes on a side, until puffed and golden. Drain on paper towels.
5. Combine cinnamon and 6 tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle over warm pastries. Serve.

reposted from All Recipes

My Decision to begin Living Healthy

ig9ppe_thMany of you might know that three weeks ago, I decided to do something many considered drastic to get healthy. This process began about a year and a half ago with a full six hour seminar, a psych eval, cardiac release, physician release, meet with the surgeon twice with my spouse, two meetings with the nutritionist a EGD and cardiac stress test. All of this to have them cut out 2/3rds of my stomach. Why not have surgery when my insurance covered 90%? And a lot of states with medicaid are now also paying for it. And they should, the benefits are amazing. Loss of Hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, and other disease processes that are limiting to a person go away within a few months.

I feel I need to add, this has nothing to do for self confidence or sex drive our outward appearance for me…but has everything do with the desire to live longer, fuller and healthier.  I say this because I am always told how pretty or gorgeous I am and while I love the compliments, they mean nothing if I end up dying before watching my children get married and have their own families.

Many of my friends were against my choice to have this operation. A few of them cited that I’d never be able to drink alcohol again. In reality I take a beta blocker for SVT which is a racy heart. Doesn’t happen often, knock on wood but I rarely drink as is. I may order a pretty drink, take a few sips and then hand it over to a friend because I have no desire or need to get blitzed. Others cited the drastic change in diet I’d be forced to make a change.

Of course the change looks drastic but it’s not so bad. I’ve been caffeine free for almost three years due to the SVT. I have almost no desire to eat. That hormone left my body with the part of my stomach telling me I have to have what I’m craving. I haven’t had sugar in my system aside from natural fruit for two months. With that I’ve found I have more energy, I haven’t had to take my allergy pills and I just feel great. I may only eat two ounces of food at at time and have to pay attention to what my make my stomach feel weird but so far Eggs are the only thing that make me feel queasy.

What brought on the thought of having surgery was my arrhythmia doc who had a girlfriend who chose the band option. With my history he believed my SVT was weight related and would disappear once I dropped weight. It’s too early to tell now but I hope that’s the case.  Then when I went on my last float trip on the Elk River with my band of girlfriends, I had a hard time swimming and being buoyant. And having SVT means that I can work out but I can’t work out hard enough to lose weight. So I made the sacrifice of alcohol, junk food and twizzlers to get healthy in 2014 and I don’t regret it. I can go out to eat with friends and watch them devour appetizers I can’t have and be okay. I can smell the ingredients but they don’t make me want to grab and eat.

What people don’t know is that although this is a complete lifestyle change that doesn’t mean I have to give up everything. There are plenty of desserts, foods, condiments I can have. I have to choose light or fat free. I can have anything sugar free and just have to watch out a few sugar free substances that make a person gassy. There’s this huge cookbook I ordered from Amazon with four hundred meal ideas, and fun things to change up. I have it on kindle, will have it on hand in a week or so.

Two weeks before the surgery, I was put on a mostly liquid diet. Protein shakes twice a day, 64 oz of liquids, water, broth, low calorie gatorade, sugar free popcicles, and a healthy dinner.

Three days after the surgery, Same liquids, adding applesauce, greek yogurt.

Three weeks after, soft foods, deli meats, fish, cottage cheese, string cheese, crab meat, canned meat, all the same liquids, canned fruits in natural juices, oatmeal or other hot cereals, fat free or low fat refried beans, fat free or low fat cream soups, condiments, mayo, spray butters, salad spritzers and canned veggies, carrots, green beans etc. I can have any spice in the cabinet for food.  The stomach is still inflamed from surgery so eating in 1-2 ounces plus drinking is enough.

In another week I can begin to have my decaf coffee and tea again. Guess what? I can still go to Starbucks. Did you know they have sugar free flavoring and fat free low calorie whipped cream.

By six weeks I’ll be moving toward 3 to four ounce meals.

Eight weeks and beyond, I go back to everything. Raw vegetables, potatoes, beets, salads, bread, rice, pasta and course foods. I have a guide showing me how to weigh things and tub up food for the day to take with me. If I know I’ll be out and may not have time to eat, I can take a few tubs in my bag or grab a protein shake on the go.

Exercising is different. I can only walk still, no lifting for six weeks. They suggest walking for 15 minutes and then adding five minutes a week. I walk about 3o to 40 minutes a day at one time now. It took years to put on the weight, it will take a few to get it off. This is a gradual weight loss so that the skin has time to shrink down too.

Cora Blu, pick a place

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 a lake up north in Michigan

a lake up north in Michigan

Lately I’ve been tossing around the idea of moving to Alaska. My husband is still laughing.

But we’re an outdoorsy family, for the most part, and I love the idea of getting back to nature and living off the land.

Not certain about the thirty days of dark, but I live in Michigan, where once the kids come home from school and after you’ve gone to one event, dance, music lessons or whatever its dusk.

However, as an author, I tend to pick locations that interest me or I’ve met someone from there and my interest stems from their knowledge of the area. But would I live there? Hmm… Even if finances weren’t a question, there are places that don’t hold an appeal.

If you could live anywhere, and you live in the states, would you move out of the country or to a place vastly different weather wise? And if you live outside of the US, where would you like to live that’s different from where you are now?

Or would you remain where you are?

My husband is still laughing.

He’s a fireman and I tried to convince him there’s fires in Alaska.

He’s still laughing.

We would like to know. Authors grab ideas from everywhere.

Sincerely, Cora Blu

 

 

Never Let the Facts get in the Way of Good Story

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. It amazes me that some authors think that’s a true statement. Maybe it’s just me. I know a story is imaginary and didn’t really happen, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make it one that could happen.
One of the things that slows me down the most when writing is reality. I know it’s crazy, especially when I write paranormal as well as contemporary romance, but it does. I want my stories to be believable. I hate the idea of someone saying… ‘oh that could never happen’… when reading my books.
There are two times when people can say this. One is when they couldn’t believe people would be that cruel, giving, stupid, etc. I’ve had people say it’s ridiculous that the three girls of my Growing Strong Series gave up their scholarships for the fourth girl. That kind of disbelief is one of human spirit and is based on our own journeys in life. I get that. Not everyone has had friends that loyal. Much like I have problems with criminal minds because I don’t see how it’s okay for the antagonist to kill three people, but if the hero kills in retribution he deserves to die for wronging the original killer.
The other ‘that can’t happens’ come from knowing how things work in different fields. I recently was watching a movie and thought there are some things that should have been fact checked. Like the fact you can’t get a collect call from a prison at two in the morning. Or the fact that a murder trial, no matter how quickly it’s pushed through is still going to take at least three months. So, you’re not going to be able to go to the scene and find fresh cigarettes butts after three months in Chicago during the winter. There’s a weird thing that happens in Chicago in the winter, it’s called snow.
This is where you’ll lose a reader or viewer. There’s only so much imagination one can take. Backing up your writing with facts and making sure that, yes, that is the drug that would be dispensed during a stroke is not to make you as the writer look smart. It’s to make you as the writer keep your audience.
Let me know what book or movie threw you out by ignoring the facts?

It’s Time for a Vacation

Well not the actual vacation but the planning of the family summer vacation. Hubs and I both have separate trips to take this year for business, but we still want a small getaway for the whole family.

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Last vacation to New Orleans. Hubs rides a lion.

Because the budget is tight, we’ve decided to go somewhere close but a little different than what we usually do.

One of our choices is a few days at Great Wolf Lodge a few towns away from us. This is an indoor water park and hotel with themed rooms. It’s high on the list for hubs and the girls because they like the water. I don’t swim.

Next up on the list is the Palo Duro Canyon State Park located just northwest of us and the inspiration for my paranormal romance. Not only is it beautiful but we could possibly stay in the cabin, I used in the novella as well. Wouldn’t that be cool? I’m really the one one pushing for this one.

And lastly is the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. You dig for diamonds and keep what you find. A visitor in March 2014 found a 2ct white diamond. I’m pretty excited about doing this. Plus there are a lot of interactive history events set throughout the summer.

Everyone will cast their final vote next week. In case of tie, my little Giddy who doesn’t get a vote, will be shown pictures and where ever he points will be the winner. I’m secretly showing him pics of the canyons when no one is home!

Does anyone else have big plans for the summer?

A Luscious feature by Nana Prah ~ Midwife to Destiny

My most romantic moment

I love writing romance scenes for my characters, but today I’m going to share my most romantic moment.

I went to Savannah, GA to visit a friend who I had a huge crush on back in college. He took me to see The Sixth Sense at a matinee. Of course I pretended to be scared even though it was the second time I’d seen the movie. I admit to shamelessly grabbing his muscular bicep and hiding my face behind his his shoulder.

After the movie we headed out to the beach. On the way we laughed so much that my ribs hurt. To this day I can’t remember what was so dag on funny. When we got to the beach our group walked together for a short while and then the others decided to have a race.

I swear I didn’t plan this, but I’d forgotten my sweater. Who knew the weather would change? When I complained about being cold he rubbed his hands up and down my arms saying something like “I’ll keep you warm.”

The gorgeous ocean, quiet beach, and being with this wonderful man had lulled me into love.

We hugged for the longest time. When he pulled back I swore he was going to kiss me, but he only held me close again. Not one to keep my mouth shut, I asked him why he didn’t kiss me.

No response for a couple of minutes.

He shifted back and spit out his gum (the least romantic part of the story). Then he gave me the sweetest kiss I had ever experience in my life. A first kiss by the ocean, what the heck can be more romantic than that? I’m still waiting.

I’m giving away a $20 Amazon gift card which will run until the end of April. The rafflecopter link is below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/N2QyNDk4NTA2OTk1MzIyN2RmODFkZWIzNDliMzMyOjQ=/

Midwife-To-Destiny300x450

 

Midwife to Destiny by Nana Prah

Blurb

Ghanaian nurse Aurora ‘Ora’ Aikins never expected to find the love of her life while on vacation in South Africa. Engaged to another and believing that love has no place in her life, she returns to Ghana, and puts duty and honor first.

Three years later, Dr. Jason Lartey still can’t get Ora out of his mind or his heart. After learning she never married, he takes a risk and moves to Ghana hoping to rekindle what they started. His sudden appearance in Ora’s Emergency Department sends sparks flying all over again.

They’re in the same country, working in the same hospital, and together but distance creeps between them. Can they make their destined love one for the ages?

Excerpt

Ora focused on putting one foot in front of the other as if she were a one-year-old learning how to walk. After turning the corner and seeing the back of his head, she froze. She would know that head anywhere. He’d grown his hair out a little, but his adorable, Will Smith ears gave him away. Initiating the process of pivoting and sprinting out of the ED unnoticed sprang to mind when he turned around and his gaze caught hers.

The air became charged with tension and neither of them moved. Her heart threatened to pop out of her chest with the force of each beat. The nurses stood between them, looking back and forth as if they watched a tennis match. They didn’t bother to hide their expressions of curiosity.

They’d never seen Ora behave in such a manner. Not cool as a cucumber super nurse. Like herself, they kept looking at the new doctor just because of his tall, broad-shouldered, gorgeous stature. The past three years had matured him, adding a few lines around his eyes and the new feature of a goatee with a moustache changed his countenance a little. But otherwise, the same man she’d met three years ago, at least in the physical sense, stood before her.

After an eternity, Ora snapped back to attention. “Akwaaba, Dr. Lartey. Welcome to the ward.” Madam Professional stuck out her hand for a handshake.

Her words seemed to drag him out of his own stupor. “Uh….”

She had rendered the man speechless. Ora’s gracious nature—that’s what she blamed it on, anyway—took pity on him and she touched his shoulder. The contact sent sensual awareness through her and she recoiled her hand.

“Hello, Aurora. Please forgive me. It’s just that I’m a little surprised to see you.”

“Not as much as I am,” she muttered, attempting to squash both the joy bubbling up inside of her at seeing him again or the overwhelming sadness of what she’d been missing for so long.

“Pardon me?” he asked.

Buy Links

Amazon | Decadent |ARe | Barnes & Noble| Smashwords

 

About the Author

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Nana Prah was born in Ghana, West Africa, raised in the US and currently resides in Ghana where she loves her job as a writer and nurse educator. She has been writing since she can remember (in her journal) and has been an avid reader of romance novels since the eighth grade. She has finally been able to utilize the years and years of inadvertent research into writing her own romance novels where love always conquers all.

Blog : http://www.nanaprah.blogspot.com

Twitter: @NanaPrah

Facebook: Nana Prah, Author

Cora Blu Jicama Salad

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Jicama Salsa or salad

Jicama Salsa or salad

I’m recycling this from my site, so you may have seen this recipe. With the weather warming I figure it’s time to roll it back out. 

A refreshing crunchy salad. We also use it as a salsa by adding chopped mangos and pouring over rilled chicken. You can also sautee it in a skillet with a little water until the sugars run and make it into a syrup for pastries or waffles.

Cut all fruit and veggies into small bite sized cubes.

1 medium jicama. (jicama’s are extremely hard, but after you peel off the skin, and cut it into bite size pieces it tastes like a cross between a pear and celery)

1 crunchy apple. (my preference, Braeburn or Fuji)

1 medium cucumber

2 large pears

1 cup white grapes sliced in half

2 tbsp lemon juice Fresh if you have it

Three mint leaves torn into small pieces. I don’t like to cut herbs as some react negatively to metal, turning brown quickly.

 

Mix together and let chill for about thirty minutes. Keep in a ziploc and it gets better as the days go by in the frig. My girls love it. My one daughter takes it and a bag of my homemade granola to school.

Enjoy the summer fruits and veggies.

Enjoy, Sincerely, Cora Blu

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