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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Guest Post from Author Chris Minich! Changed like a Leaf on a Tree

I'm pleased and jump-up-and-down excited to introduce my friend & fellow author Chris Minich, whose new book for middle-graders (ages 8 - 12) formally launches today. I've also fallen in love with the illustrations by Chris's wife Janelle Minich - and I'm sure you will too. This novel is the second volume in a series about a crarfty cockapoo named Sydney. You can find the book, called Misadventures of Princess Sydney, on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and itunes. I'm pleased to share Chris's blog post today:

          Can you feel it? The temperature is changing. A chill is in the air. Sunshine has made way for cloudy skies. Barbeques have headed indoors. Hot dogs and cheeseburgers replaced with soup and casseroles. In the great state of Washington where I live these events, signal a change in the season. In this case, summer has finally given way to fall. Sprinklers are nestled back in storage as leaves decorate the street in varying shades of orange and brown. Jackets will emerge from their slumber in the closet and the shorts I have on will suddenly draw awkward stares when I’m at the store. “Doesn’t he know it’s getting cold out?” Yes, I do. I like to wear shorts. 

Other than my obsession of wearing shorts to the bitter end, or cold, fall for me is about a few very specific things; pumpkin and football. However, this year has grown to include graham crackers. With that in mind, I present Chris’s favorite fun ways to embrace fall.

·        Procure pumpkin

o   I find it’s important to branch out. This year, for the first time ever, I made pumpkin bread (recipe below). Not to toot my own horn but it was awesome. But wait, there’s much more. Pumpkin waffles, bread pudding, ice cream, macaroons, scones and even pumpkin brittle. Drawing the line somewhere, I left the brittle behind but not much else.

·        Stay caffeinated

o   When energy levels get low, time for a trip to the local Starbucks. New this year is the Toasted Graham Latte. Do you like milk and cookies? This new found addiction is like drinking a cookie. A sweet cream taste and some steamed milk, yes, I checked the ingredients online to confirm, along with a dash of graham cracker rounds out this cafeinated delight. Oh, it includes expresso as well – go figure.
     Fall isn’t complete without some pigskin. Football! Down; chips and salsa – check. Set; butt planted firmly in the recliner chair – check. Hike; kickoff of another football season - check. By my side is the biggest Hawk fan and best friend I know, my wife. I took her to her first NFL game a few years ago. Not to be outdone, our cheerleader dogs also get in on the action. Our dog Sydney, the princess, has a pink jersey she wears during the games. Meanwhile, our other dog Buddy had his own jersey. The pair are known for “cheering” when the home team scores. Okay, they bark but they do love to contribute. Go Hawks!

·        Last but never least, Family. I’m thankful for family and friends who will gather to yell and scream at the television on Sunday afternoons. More important than football, yes, there are many things; I am thankful for those friends and family in my life. Much love to you all!

Fall, coffee, football and family, nothing in the world quite like it. Put together just right, it’s a special mixture of memories, energy, fellowship and love. It keeps me coming back for more year after year. Mixture, that reminds me of one last thing to add for fall 2015, pumpkin bread. The delicious recipe below comes to us via my extremely amazing and talented book manager, Maureen Wallace. Enjoy!

4 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground ginger
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin
2/3 cup water
1 cup chopped pecans

Beat first 14 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in pecans. Spoon evenly into 2 greased and floured 9 x 5 inch loaf pans

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Yield: 2 loaves.