Kait Nolan's Blog, page 9

July 13, 2015

Stroganoff is something I haven’t tried since making the switch to dairy free living.  I hadn’t ever found a gluten free egg noodle I liked anyway.  Until now.  I recently read a taste test in Cooks Country about gluten free noodles and the winner was Jovial, which I’d never heard of.  I filed that little tidbit away in the back of my brain, and when I saw a box of their tagliatelle, I picked it up and decided to give stroganoff a try again.  Oh boy am I glad I did.  This gluten free dairy free beef stroganoff came out really well.  I had to convince myself not to go back for seconds (because gluten free pasta expands, if you didn’t know).  Serves 4.


1.73 lbs flank steak, sliced thin on the bias (if you pop it in the freezer for twenty minutes, it’ll make it easier to slice)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
1 pound baby bella mushrooms
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 onion, minced
2 tsps beef bouillon (be sure to check this for gluten)
2 tsps gluten free all purpose flour
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
1/4 cup sour cream substitute (I used Tofutti)
1 package Jovial gluten free egg noodles


Heat the Earth Balance and coconut oil in a large skillet over high heat.
In small batches, cook the steak one minute a side.  Be sure not to crowd the pan, and don’t worry about cooking all the way through. This will be going back in the sauce later.  Remove to a plate.  I didn’t get quite the sear on this that I wanted because I was too busy watching the new puppy.
Add the onions and sauté until they start to go a little translucent.
Meanwhile, bring a big pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
Add the garlic and mushrooms.  Saute for another five minutes or so.
Add the mustard, Worchestershire, bouillon, and flour and stir well.
Add the wine and almond milk.  Stir well.
Add the steak and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 5-8 minutes.  You don’t want to overcook this or the meat will get tough.
Finish off by adding a pinch of salt and pepper and the cream cheese substitute.  Stir until well incorporated.
Serve over the egg noodles.

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Published on July 13, 2015 06:46 • 7 views

July 12, 2015

I haven’t been posting much lately.

First wasn’t much feeling like it after Daisy, then busy acclimating Huck (and taking a bazillion pictures of him sleeping because–he’s ADORABLE), family has been in town,
I’ve been finalizing the plot for the anthology novella that’s my next project,
and the last week, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in revisions on Liam and Riley.  All the easy stuff is done and now I’m back to some new scenes to write that will better serve the plot.
Went to see Inside Out on Friday before our niece left town.  It was adorable and VERY well done, I thought.
Hubby and I went to see Minions today, which was precious.  Minions are awesome and I want some.  Like, real ones that would do my bidding.
And now I need to crash…

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Published on July 12, 2015 19:52 • 6 views

July 7, 2015

When I started out making these, they weren’t going to be tacos.  I’d intended to pair them with some fresh corn and black beans.  And then we got busy and plans changed and…slapping stuff in some tortillas ended up being quick and easy and VERY delicious.  These would be delicious with queso fresco.

Ingredients (per 2 people):

2 chicken breasts
2 limes
1/2 “nip” of tequila (you know the wee tiny airplane bottles)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin

For serving:

corn tortillas
cheese or cheese substitute
sour cream or sour cream substitute
guacamole or avocado slices
pico de gallo or salsa
whatever floats your boat


Combine the chicken, limes, tequila, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin in a ziplock bag.  Allow to marinate at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Remove from fridge and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes (to take the chill off).
Preheat your grill to medium heat.
Cook 8-10 minutes per side (depending on thickness).
Allow meat to rest for 5 minutes for juices to redistribute.
Meanwhile, warm your tortillas however you prefer.  I like to do mine stovetop in a cast iron skillet for about 30 seconds a side.
Slice the chicken on the bias in thin strips.
Build your tacos however your please.

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Published on July 07, 2015 08:25 • 7 views

July 6, 2015

It is officially the start of Round 3 for A Round of Words in 80 Days.  So, time to state those goals.

Write at least 20 out of every 30 days (oldie but goodie).
Write, revise, and prepare for release my novella for the upcoming Virtually Yours anthology.  This one is a Wishful tie-in following Reed Campbell (youngest cousin of Cam from  To Get Me To You ) and Cecily Dixon (Norah’s intern, also from TGMTY).  I’ve got it all outlined and ready to go.
Revise and release Know Me Well.  This is Liam and Riley’s story, the third installment in the Wishful series.  I should be getting revision notes back from my editor any day now.
Decide whether or not I’m going to write the novella I’ve been kicking around following Dillon and Avery from  Once Upon A Coffee .  If I decide to do it, outline and write it.
If I don’t pick up with Dillon and Avery again, I’ll be outlining and starting on Something’s Gotta Give, the next Wishful novel, following Autumn Buchanan and Judd Hamilton (you’ll see more of them in Know Me Well).  This book has been beating at my brain–or more specifically Autumn has–since February.  It’ll be another meaty one, more along the lines of To Get Me To You, and I CAN’T WAIT.  I haven’t had a character be this LOUD since Elodie from Red.  If I don’t get to it this round, Round 4 for sure.
Go through Couch 2 5K again.  Hubs and I have joined a local gym (he got a PHENOMENAL deal through work for both of us), meaning I’ll have access to treadmills in AC again.  I haven’t quite figured out what my schedule will be (as I definitely have to walk the dogs every day), but that’s something I’ve been itching to do.  It’s good thinking/plotting time.
Finish putting together my Preparing To Launch class for writers.  This is an adaptation of a presentation I did for WANACon last year, going over everything people who are planning to self publish need to know before doing it.

That should do me.

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Published on July 06, 2015 09:24 • 3 views

June 30, 2015


So last week was unabashedly awful.  We cried a lot.  I apparently made a bunch of other people cry with my post.  Sorry about that.  But I’ve found some peace with the whole situation.  She had a long, VERY well loved life and I know we did absolutely every single possible thing that could be done for her (and I’m grateful we didn’t have children and could afford it).

We’re a rescue dog kind of family, so Sunday and Monday we (by which I mean hubby, myself, and Callie) met 3 Great Pyrenees mixes from Grassroots Animal Rescue, whom we’ve fostered for before.  We particularly were interested in the pyr mixes because Callie herself is a Pyrenees/Malamute mix and she’s the most chillaxed, awesome dog.  That sort of temperament really suits our lifestyle.

The first little girl was sweet, even tempered, pretty calm but I didn’t feel any real tug.  But the two brothers we met Monday…OMG.  Pyr/Husky mixes.  As soon as this guy crawled into my lap, I was a goner.  And then his brother crawled up, too, and for fifteen minutes I was insane enough to consider bringing them both home.  DOUBLE PUPPY LAP CUDDLES.  And then I remembered that these adorable balls of fluff will top out around 75-80 pounds and added to our already 110 pound dog…I wasn’t going to be able to manage all that without attaching them all to some kind of sled.  Not whatcha call practical in Mississippi.  So much as it pained me, I split the brothers up and brought this one home.  I’ve never had a boy dog before, so I’ve saying “she” and “her” all over the place.

imageIn an homage to Daisy, we’ve named him Huckleberry, Huck for short.  If you do not immediately get the reference, go and watch Tombstone post haste.  Great movie.  He was Hank at the rescue, so we figure that’ll be similar enough he ought to be able to learn his name quickly.

Hubby managed to catch him still for long enough to take a decent picture.  Most of mine are blurry, with him streaking toward me to kiss the camera.  He loves kisses.  And laps.  And snuggles.  And even his new big sister, who keeps rolling her eyes and giving me this pained “Mooooom!” look.  Yes, Callie, big sisters the world over have that look for their little brothers.

So far, he’s a chill little dude.  Likes his crate (he already had a head start on that with his foster mommy).  Was quiet overnight and even while my hubby (now on night shift) was sleeping today.  I think we have a winner!  Daisy would approve.

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Published on June 30, 2015 13:57 • 10 views

June 26, 2015

It’s been an emotional week, so I’ll keep this short.

First off, thanks to everyone for your condolences.  They’re much appreciated.  And I’m sorry if I made you cry yesterday.  Hubby told me I should’ve tagged yesterday’s post NSFW.

So, goals for Round 2.

Continue to publish one recipe a week. That’s been somewhat successful.  Life got busy, and when that happens, I fall out of development mode and back on old favorites.  But I’ve definitely published several, so yay.
Write at least 20 out of 30 days. I clocked 74 writing days out of the 80 and a total of 72,730 words (10.6k of those were plot notes).
Finish Liam and Riley’s book.  Done and sent to my editor.  Waiting to hear back.
Outline and begin drafting anthology novella.  I’m plotting this now.
Outline and potentially begin drafting follow up novella for Dillon and Avery.  Not even touched.
Clean up my diet.  It’s not perfect, but I’ve definitely made strides.

All in all, considering some of the challenges we’ve faced, I’m good with this.

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Published on June 26, 2015 08:42 • 12 views

June 25, 2015

The floor looks all wrong.

I thought you should know that, being that you’re now in a position to run the Universe like you always wanted (I presume that flash storm we had yesterday afternoon was the coup you staged shortly after your arrival upstairs).  I hope you find the minions there to your satisfaction.  I know you were always harping how it was hard to find quality minions.

Quality Control

None of us know what to do without the Queen.  Callie is laying all around the floor where you should be, but not in your spot.  Your Dad and I are in rough shape.  Stupid day job.  As much as I prize quiet, the silence is utterly deafening and intolerable.  You’re supposed to be giving orders with that curious half bark you’ve had since the stroke.

Mush, human!

I’m sure you’ll let us know, when the time comes, which pooch is the right new member of the family.  Being that you were a pound puppy yourself, I know you’ll be supportive of us rescuing another.  We thought we’d stick with the flower theme for a name–maybe Shasta, in your honor, if we get another girl.  When you’re done plotting the downfall of all the squirrels up there, feel free to pass that info along.

Daisy on her special bed in the PT room.

We’re going to donate your helper harness to the vet school.  You were their mascot and a real champion success story after your FCE.  Maybe your indomitable spirit will be passed on to another pup who needs it.  You went from this:

Daisy in ICU

To this:

You bounced back from unilateral paralysis in an amazing way and never stopped enriching our lives.  It was a privilege and a joy to serve you.

Sister love

So until you figure out how to pull a Winchester, give Angel and Uncle Shadow our our love and have fun plotting your world domination.



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Published on June 25, 2015 08:35 • 5 views

June 23, 2015

Any author worth her salt (who does not want to go nuts later) keeps what’s known as a series bible to go along with any series she writes.  This is where we (theoretically) keep track of things like hair and eye color, relatives, interests, occupations, and all the myriad of details we don’t want to muck up in later books.  And even with series bibles, we sometimes still make mistakes.  :nobody saw me change the name of Gerald’s personal assistant in Be Careful after publication:  Series bibles are totally handy to keep track of all that stuff, ESPECIALLY when you have an ensemble cast like I have with Wishful.  I’m keeping up with a whole TOWN.

Readers have trouble keeping up with huge casts as well.  Sometimes they’re big messy families.  Sometimes not.  But either way, it’s a nice thing to have somewhere readers can turn to find out “Who was so and so again?”  “How is she related to him again?”  So I want to create that for you.  But I haven’t found a mechanism or format I really LIKE yet.  I’ve got something set up at Trello right now, but I really don’t like it at all.  And part of that is that I kind of don’t know what you as readers want.

A family tree for the big messy families is a given, but that doesn’t get at the scope of all the characters who are not Campbells or Montgomerys.

What do readers want out of a series bible?

Vital statistics?
Which books they appear in?
Brief summaries of who they are?
Who they’re related to?
Who they’re friends with?

Would you rather have a single page that lists characters by the book, focusing just on the hero and shero of each book, a la Fool’s Gold?   A downloadable list with every character listed (even the small ones) like this one?  Or would you rather have individual pages for each character, linked up in a more complex wiki style thing?

I am opening the floor to you!

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Published on June 23, 2015 09:07 • 5 views

June 22, 2015

This was meant to be a quiche.  But after trying first a pie plate and then a tart pan and still not having enough room for all the hash browns I dumped out, I pulled out a full 7×11 baking dish.  So…it’s a dairy free cheddar and sausage quiche in breakfast casserole form.  Whatever it looks like, it’s darn tasty.  Serves 6.


1/2 30 ounce package of shredded hash browns
1/4 cup Earth Balance spread, melted
pinch salt, pepper, garlic powder
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 pound turkey sausage, browned and drained
4 ounces Daiya cheddar shreds
6 eggs
1/2 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer
1/2 cup mayo (I prefer Dukes)
2 tbsp gf all purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt the Earth Balance.
Combine with the hash browns, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, stirring well to coat.
Spray a 7×11 baking dish with cooking spray.
Press hash browns into the bottom.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, brown the sausage and drain.
Saute the mushrooms briefly in the sausage drippings.  Set aside.
Whisk the eggs, creamer, mayo, and flour until well combined.
Remove baking dish from oven and add the sausage and mushrooms.
Sprinkle the Daiya over the top.
Pour the egg mixture over all.
Cover with foil.
Return to oven and bake for 50-60 minutes.
Remove foil for the last 5 minutes.

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Published on June 22, 2015 07:43 • 14 views

June 21, 2015

I finally finished first pass revisions on Know Me Well and shipped it off to my editor last night.  Thank you Jesus.  It took a full 2 weeks, which is a lot longer than I usually spend on that first pass (generally it’s a pretty quick clean up of stuff, typos, line edits and the like, then out the door in a couple of days), but hopefully that means I caught and fixed a number of things that my editor would’ve caught and had me fix anyway.  We’ll see.
Meanwhile, I’m getting ready to reread To Get Me To You to see what I’ve said about Reed Campbell and Cecily Dixon, who are my pairing for this anthology novella that’s next on deck.  I already have it outlined in broad strokes, but I don’t know either of those characters very well yet, so the name of the game this week will be get to know you.
We’re headed to see Jaws on the big screen this afternoon.  It’s hubby’s favorite movie and we’re taking his folks for Father’s Day.  I find myself grateful that my trip to the coast isn’t for a few weeks.  I’d as soon not think about that so close to seeing Jaws, even though I’d be more likely to be stung by a jellyfish than encounter even a baby shark in those particular waters.
In case you missed it, I’m setting up a street team (even though no pavement is literally being pounded).  If you’re interested in helping spread the word about my work (at whatever level you’re comfortable), come sign up for Team Nolan!
In celebration of the completion of first pass revisions, last night I had pizza with REAL BUFFALO MOZZARELLA!  I found it at Whole Foods, while I was in Jackson earlier this week.  I’ve been wanting to try it for ages.  When you’ve got a dairy allergy, you tend to try cheeses from the milks of other animals, just to check.  Goat didn’t work for me.  But it seems that buffalo does.  Hallelujah!  YAY FOR REAL PIZZA!  I’ve also got a wedge of manchego (sheep’s milk cheese) in the fridge to make a very grown up mac n cheese at some point soon.  My other food happy for the week is that I found a dairy free gluten free boxed mac n cheese by Daiya at my local Kroger.  It’s not that making my own is arduous, but having a box in the pantry for a quick weeknight side is a nice thing.  Evidently it’s more of the Velveeta shells and cheese variety rather than the blue box powder.  We shall give that a try this week.pizza
Hubby has moved to night shift in the wake of the unexpected death of one of his coworkers.  It’s definitely different.  Been a long time since he was on this shift.  But though it’s calling for some adjustments, it’s actually a good thing.  But it does mean I have to change around my weekday menus to stuff that can be prepared more quickly.  Share with me your favorite 30 minute meals (that don’t come from a box) in comments!

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Published on June 21, 2015 06:17 • 25 views