Thursday, February 11, 2016

Best Chicken Soup Ever (According to Brent)

Okay, so Brent is my husband. That might make you think his opinion doesn't count. Especially if he offered it while I was hovering nearby.

Well, make a pot and judge for yourself!

Chicken Soup by Brent's Wife

In a dutch oven (which is a large pot in case you never heard them called that) on medium heat:

A tablespoon of oil
2 chicken breasts cut into small cubes (chicken is easiest to cut when it's still mostly frozen, by the way so if you're not using fresh, don't thaw it out very much before you chop it up)

Cook stirring often until the bottom of the pot gets just a little brown.

With your mortar and pestle, grind together:

1 tablespoon summer savory
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp of Montreal Chicken or similar spice

Sprinkle the powdered results over the cooked chicken


6 - 8 cups of  boiling water
1 box chicken broth and  (or 2 extra cups water and 2 chicken oxo)
1 finely chopped onion OR 1 pkg of dry onion soup mix

1/2 cup quinoa (rinsed)
2/3 cup pearl barley (rinsed)
3 -4 stalks celery washed and chopped

When it all comes to a boil, turn down, cover and simmer on low heat for an hour or so.


1 parsnip finely sliced
5 medium carrots, chopped
2 - 3 medium potatoes, diced

Simmer for another hour.

Eat. Rejoice in the deliciousness!
And if you have the sniffles, get better!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Random Acts

In the haze of a food-induced stupor, Zoey Dalton and her best friends Bean and Jenna make a pledge to begin performing random acts of kindness—anonymously. Their previous track record for good deeds is pretty much a flat line, so anything they do to help others is bound to be an improvement.

Or is it?

What if the random acts of kindness are unwanted and misunderstood? What if, instead of spreading joy and good will, the trio’s actions stir up trouble, wreak havoc and maybe even cause bodily harm?

That, of course, would be a different story.

This story, in fact.

News Updates for Random Acts!

Random Acts was one of ten titles selected for the 2016 All-Star Reading Challenge
kicked off by DeMar DeRozan!

Random Acts has been reviewed in:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Low Carb, Low Calorie, High Protein Muffins

Whether you're counting calories or carbs, or wanting a little more protein in your diet, this could be the muffin recipe you've been looking for.

Approximate counts for carbs, calories and protein are listed below, but you should check your own ingredients for 100% accuracy, as these numbers will vary slightly with different brands.

Don't get your beater out - you'll be mixing these up with a spoon.

In a medium mixing bowl mix:

1 1/2 cups all bran cereal. (not flakes)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil or melted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter (**see nut free option below)

Let sit for a couple of minutes. Turn your oven on to 375 degrees.

You might as well get the muffin pan (large) ready now too - a touch of cooking spray or (and this works as well for a lot less) a tiny drop of vegetable oil, spread around with a basting brush. I don't recommend using cupcake papers, but parchment would be fine.

Now, add:

2/3 cup skim milk powder
2 tablespoons granulated Splenda or brown sugar substitute
1/4 cup flour (enriched white or whole wheat)
2 tsp baking powder

Divide this evenly in your prepared muffin pan and pop in the preheated oven for 15 - 18 minutes. The top will spring back to a light touch when done.

** Nut free option - replace peanut butter with 1 tsp cinnamon, or some orange zest or other flavouring, or just bake them plain.

And now -- the numbers!

Each muffin has approximately:

13 carbs
8 grams protein
120 calories

Peanut butter free version:

12 carbs
6.5 grams protein
90 calories

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Down Here

It's all about what you see. 

Young Jamie loves to build things, and sees these creations as wonders.
Unfortunately, Mom's viewpoint is not the same. 

Down Here Reviews:


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Rain Shadow

Bethany knows that she is special.

She doesn't learn things as easily as her classmates do and that sometimes makes them mean to her. They call her names -- including the really "bad" name. Even her mom and her sister Mira say unkind things at times. But Bethany has friends like her neighbour Mrs. Goldsborough as well as happy times with Daddy when he gets home from work. And now, Mira has promised to protect her from the bullies when the new school year begins.

Then tragedy strikes, tearing Bethany's world apart in way she could never have imagined, and she starts to wonder if there will ever be a place that feels like home again.
* * * * *
I have chosen to return to the fictitious setting of Junction, Manitoba (setting for The Glory Wind) in this story.
* * * * *  
Please support independent bookstores, whenever possible. 

News Updates for Rain Shadow: 

Shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association 2015 Book of the Year for Children.

Shortlisted for the Silver Birch Fiction Award 2016.

Rain Shadow has been reviewed by:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Twice-Written Governor General's Nominee

“There are rules for what I’ve done.  
Specific punishments for 
crimes against friendship.”

Laren Olivier knows the rules, but her attraction to a friend’s ex-boyfriend is strong.  She tells herself that if only they can keep their romance a secret, no one will get hurt.  But Laren is not the only one with something to hide.

Thus begins a year long journey through secrets, lies, exposures and betrayals.  Somehow, Laren must find a way to reconcile who she is with what she’s done.  At the same time, she finds herself struggling with a discovery so shocking it rocks the very foundation of her world.  

This, my 21st published book, was written twice.  The first version was prose, but, I was not entirely satisfied with the voice.  Eventually, and with the blessing of my longsuffering editor, Christie Harkin, I tackled it again, only this time in a free verse format.  

I would like to acknowledge, with sincere thanks, the support of Canada Council, which made it possible for me to complete this project. 

Reviews and Awards!

Shortlisted for the 2013 Governor General's Awards in the Children's Text category.
Shortlisted for the 2013 - 2014 Red Maple Award
Shortlisted for the 2014-2015 Snow Willow Award
Winner of the 2013 Word Guild Award in the Juvenile Category
Horn Book Outstanding Selection 
OLA Best Bets 2013: Young Adult Fiction

Review: CM Magazine

Thursday, October 17, 2013


It never stops being thrilling - seeing a new book for the first time. I'm especially excited about this one - it's the first time I've written a novel that has stories within the main story. Loved my main character -- loved all the characters, actually, and the way everything came together thanks to excellent advice from my editor, Christie Harkin.

About the story:

Adam's summer is off to a disappointing start. His so-called "best friend" has bailed on him, choosing to stay behind to care for a sick dog, instead of joining Adam and his family at the seaside campground as planned. Adam is furious with Billy for abandoning him, impatient with his mother for her artistic obsessions, and embarrassed by his dad's lame attempts at being funny. At least an ever-changing cast of new summer friends proves to be an entertaining distraction: Joey, the shoe-thief with the cute sister; the mischievous Linden twins; enigmatic Nevin; and Ethan, the adventurer. But it is Theo, the blind gentleman up on the hill, with his magical stories of driftwood, who helps Adam to see the true nature of friendship.

A middle grade novel.

Updates for Driftwood

Shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association 2014 Book of the Year for Children

Shortlisted for the 2015 Rocky Mountain Book Award

Shortlisted for the 2016 Hackmatack Award