Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Roasted Cashew Recipes & Cassidy Update

 Cassidy Update:

She may have a red left eye with droopy lid, but since that's not her "shooting" eye, Cassidy went with her Police Explorers team to a marksmanship contest in Tampa and came home with a personal First, and one for her team as well. (Medical update:  The blood is draining from her left eye, but there's enough left to reduce her vision, so it's still "wait & see.")




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The cashew recipes below were found on the Internet and included in the Cookbook I created for my granddaughters last Christmas. Our Publix supermarket sells "Raw" cashews in plastic containers just shy of two cups, making it really easy to prepare the following (with slight adjustments for "not quite 2 full cups").

Both recipes are amazingly tasty. I'm in danger of becoming a cashew addict. 

Warning: I have not found a way to keep the roasted nuts from being sticky, though a few extra minutes in the oven helps. The taste, however, is worth keeping a few napkins handy.


Here, just as I typed them up for the grandgirls . . .


Really tasty, but whatever you do, do NOT lay them out on paper towels to cool! (Aluminum foil, parchment paper, or clean baking pan only). This is a warning that comes from personal experience - you do not want to eat paper towel with your cashew nuts!

Preheat oven to 350°.

1½ tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons honey
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
2 cups cashews

1.  Prepare baking pan with parchment paper.

2.  In large skillet, melt butter, stir in honey. Add pinch of salt, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg (optional) & cashew nuts. Stir to thoroughly coat.

3. Lay cashews out on parchment paper in single layer (keeping skillet ready but off heat). Bake 10 minutes, stirring after 5 min.

4.  Return cashews to skillet. Add sugar (to taste), a bit more salt (to taste). Stir

Cool completely on rack. Or remove nuts to clean parchment paper, foil, or baking sheet. DO NOT STORE UNTIL COOL ALL THE WAY THROUGH.

*I prefer to use Sugar in the Raw




Warning:  if using less than 2 cups of cashews, adjust spices accordingly. Otherwise, this recipe will be too spicy.

2 cups raw cashew nuts*
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/8 cup sugar
Sea salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1.  Preheat oven to 350°.

2.  Put cashews in a large bowl. Pour melted butter over. Mix to coat. Add sugar, sea salt, red pepper, Worcestershire sauce. Mix thoroughly.

3.  Spray or butter a Pyrex baking pan large enough to keep nuts in a single layer. Arrange nuts in pan. Bake 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool in pan on rack. Or cool on clean parchment paper or aluminum foil. DO NOT STORE UNTIL COMPLETELY COOL.**

*If using roasted cashews, baking time will be less.

**Nuts lose their crispn
ess if bagged warm. 

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Please don't forget . . . On a planet far, far away, a starship captain and a widowed duchess—both strong-willed and accustomed to being boss—are forced to work together to save their world from a curse cast by an ancient sorcerer.


Available at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Kobo, Scribd, etc.


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   For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Freak Accident


Mothers' Day - Cassidy on left, with long hair & big grin


Cassidy in the ER




Anyone who has ever raised teenage boys can understand the "why" of what happened to my youngest granddaughter this week - the common sense of boys that age is permanently set to "OFF." But to have supposedly innocent horseplay threaten the future of Cassidy, whose hopes include the Air Force Academy and becoming a fighter pilot . . .  

Here's what happened:

Cassidy and her boyfriend Alex were visiting a home in their neighborhood. They were all in the kitchen, Cassidy sitting on a high stool and looking at her phone while several boys amused themselves throwing PEPPERMINT PATTIES (in their silver foil wrappers) at each other. One went astray - as was inevitable - and hit Cassidy in the eye so hard she was knocked off the stool onto the floor.

Long story short - when the boys finally realized she was really hurt, Alex rushed her home, her parents rushed her to the ER. She and her father spent the night in the hospital. An opthamologist opened his office on a Sunday morning to examine her. He recommended she see a retina specialist. Which she did on Monday morning. (I was truly impressed at the prompt care she received, although it was also scary, as it indicated how serious the situation was.)

The retina specialist said that although she did not have a detached retina, there was a great deal of bleeding in her eye. Currently, she is in "wait & see" mode until her next visit to the specialist on June 1.

Cassidy, heeding her training in Air Force ROTC and Police Explorers, is being, in my opinion, too stoic about it all, declaring she still plans to participate in an upcoming marksmanship contest as her "shooting" eye is still good. (Insert Grandmotherly sigh.)  

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A few days after Cassidy's disaster, her mother was involved in a very different incident - rescuing a good-sized turtle from being run over. When she posted this video to Facebook, she noted she was wearing her Girl Scout shirt while doing her good deed for the day. (Susie works for the Central Florida Girl Scout Council.)

To see Susie's video, click here. 


To close this week's Mosaic Moments with a smile, here is a cartoon sent to me by my son. (No attribution included.)


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Please don't forget The Crucible Kingdom,my latest book in the world of Blue Moon, now available through all the vendors seen below: 

The first two books of the Blue Moon Rising saga—Rebel Princess & Sorcerer's Bride—are also available through the vendors above. The Bastard Prince and Royal Rebellion should join them shortly. (They are currently available on Amazon only.)

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   For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's updated Facebook Author Page  click here.


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Fight to Write

Now available on Smashwords as well as Amazon

In this SciFi Fantasy tale of Adventure and Romance, a reluctant sorcerer makes a marriage of convenience and becomes a vital part of the rebellion against an evil empire. (Blue Moon Rising series, Book 2)

For a 20% free read on Smashwords, click here.

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As my long-time readers know, after eleven years of posts on Writing & Editing (with a number of "rants" thrown in for good measure), and after the publication of Making Magic With Words, an indexed compilation of all these posts, I "retired" Grace's Mosaic Moments to a world with far more varied mosaics—from recipes to photos (and masks - oh horrors, may we not go through that again!), plus any other topic that intrigued me at the moment. This week, however, I'm adding to the Writing & Editing posts with some serious thoughts on that ever-challenging problem: Writing can be fun, but it's really hard work!



Writer's Block, a Fallow Period, Burn-out, Stress, Exhaustion—whatever we call it, almost every author has experienced it at one time or another. Sometimes, we just can't think up a good plot . . . or maybe our characters have gone blah. For others, it's "Sit down at the keyboard and nothing but Total Blank." Or maybe things are so bad, you can't even walk through the office door. (I managed with a "boot" on my foot and a fancy "walker" to help me get around, but a broken bone can't be compared to a broken life, which has happened to all too many during these horrific years of Covid.)

So what's to do?

As much as I love to write, there's no doubt Writing is tough! Never, ever think it's easy. And whether you've simply lost your nimble fingers or lost your nimble brain, as far as I know there's only one way to get through it:  Keep slogging away. Keep writing, no matter how bad it is, or how bad you think it is. And no, this is not an original thought. To the best of my recollection, I believe Nora Roberts said it more than twenty years ago. And very likely umpteen other authors before her.

Using myself as an example . . .

Yesterday morning I hit what for me was a new editing low. FOUR inserts on one page. Yes, I'm a great one for adding details to a first draft, but I don't ever recall adding four one- to two-paragraph inserts on a single page. Sigh.

Then I asked myself, "So what? You got the idea down well enough that the draft could be expanded into something more colorful, more intriguing to the reader. The final result reads pretty well, and you're only on the initial Chapter Edit, with umpteen more edits to come.

My advice to others is the same as to myself:

Get something down on the page. Even if you delete half (or more) of what you wrote, you've accomplished something. And at the end of your edit, you'll have something better. Maybe it will only be ten percent better, but it's a step in the right direction. You now have words on a page. Maybe words on two or three pages.

Let's face it:  Writing follows the classic rule of 0 + 0 = 0. 

If you sit in front of your computer without moving your fingers - or if you don't set foot through your office door, that's what you've got:  ZERO!

But if you write a few words, extend that to a sentence, a short paragraph, you have a concrete something to work with. Yes, you may end up asking yourself:  What did I mean by that? Can I make sense out of it? Should I try a different angle? Maybe even a different Point of View? And if it still doesn't make sense . . .

Perhaps Fiction is beyond you at the moment. There's an old expression that applies here:  Take the bit between your teeth and go for it! Write about anything. Maybe  about something wonderful that happened in your past. What about those anguished faces in Ukraine? (No matter how bad things are with you, they likely have it worse.) What about your cat, your dog, your pet snake? The teenager who's driving you out of your mind? The kind neighbor who brought up your trash barrel, the so-and-so who honked at you when the light had barely turned green? Anything is better than a blank page. You just have to grease the creative wheels and get them turning again. But whatever you do, do not let those creatives brain cells atrophy! (And who knows? - in addition to getting your creative juices flowing again, you just might be able to incorporate your non-fiction scene into your next book!).

In my case, despite having to cope with an unbelievable series of disasters this month, I sit down, I write, and I face up to the edits, even if it's four inserts on one page. Today, for the first time in a couple of weeks, I could feel the old brain creaking back to life. There are a lot of edits to come, but then, there always are. Yet for the first time this month, I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

So never forget—if someone who remembers Pearl Harbor can still put words on a page, SO CAN YOU!

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   For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's updated Facebook Author Page  click here.


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)








Sunday, May 8, 2022

Questions Out of the Blue

 A remarkable photo by Earthly Mission - found on Facebook

The formation of a rainbow


A few weeks ago, as I was doing the final formatting for The Crucible Kingdom, a whole bunch of questions popped into my head about the Blue Moon Rising series. I scribbled them down and promised myself I would use them at a later date. And this week, which has been far from one of my best, seems like a good time to dig through my stacks of "stuff" and find those questions. 

As I have remarked many times, although I HUGELY appreciate the readers of my many Regency books - Historical, Gothic, and Traditional, I'd also like to steer more people toward my SciFi Fantasy books. (I so enjoy incorporating elements of the Regency "feel" into stories set a thousand or so years in the future.) 

Grace note:   The questions below are not in any particular order in the storyline. And, yes, there are some spoilers, but hopefully nothing serious.



 1.  How did the Princess Royal of the pacifist planet Psyclid end up as a cadet in the Space Academy of the military-minded Regulon Empire?

2.  How did a werewolf end up married to a sorcerer's cast-off mistress?

3.  How did a fey young sorcerer who can't talk end up with two wives?

4.  How did the heir to the Regulon Empire end up as Ambassador Plenipotentiary for the rebel government?

5.  How did the King of Psyclid's four children—and their spouses—bring down the Regulon Empire?

6.  How did mind triumph over matter in the rebels' fight against the Empire?

7.  How did a young man who can't talk go from "hopeless" to hero?

8.  What caused a Regulon huntership captain to launch a rebellion against his own monarch?

9.  How did Psyclid's Sorcerer Prime end up married to his mistress's sister?

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The answers to these questions—and a lot more—can be found in the Blue Moon Rising series.  All are currently available on Amazon Kindle. Rebel Princess is available on Smashwords and its many affiliate vendors, such as B&N's Nook. The remaining three books will follow shortly. Next will be Sorcerer's Bride.


The Blue Moon Rising series

Rebel Princess
Sorcerer's Bride
The Bastard Prince
Royal Rebellion

 The Crucible Kingdom (spin-off)


For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's updated Facebook Author Page  click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)