Sweet Saturday – Banana Pudding

So, yesterday I made Banana Pudding.

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I’d been craving banana pudding for months, ever since I saw Desmond Howard dig into a big bowl of it on ESPN College Gameday. Well, yesterday, for New Year’s, I finally made some.

For years, the recipe I’ve been using doesn’t use the normal ‘Nilla wafers and it’s not layered into a bowl. I use the recipe for ‘Not Yo Mama’s Banana Pudding‘. Paula Deen made this one famous on her Food Network show and it is a delicious, easy banana pudding. It can be made with fat-free, sugar-free pudding and Cool Whip, as well as with light or fat-free cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk (I’ve never done light or fat-free cream cheese or sweetened condensed milk in mine cause just NO, but I don’t see why it couldn’t work if that’s important to you. However, if it doesn’t work, not my fault.).

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It makes a lot, too. 13×9″ pan full, but I break mine down to a 8×8″ pan and then make 4 individual servings. And no matter how I make it, it never lasts longer than 2 days in my house.

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Big desserts like this or cheesecake are special occasion desserts for us. Holidays or birthdays. A few times a year. It’s what keeps them special and keeps them tasting more and more delicious. They’d lose their luster, just as anything would, if I made them more than I do.

But,if you like Banana Pudding, I’d encourage you to give this recipe a whirl.

~lissa

 

35 Things I Learned In 2015

Why 35? How did I come up with 35? Not using common core, that’s for sure. I simply added 20+15…

My list is comprised of personal and business related things. Some of which I’ll go into more detail about later, and some I’ll just let go of, or try…

      1. I didn’t do fuck all in 2015
      2. I learned it takes a village in the writing/publishing business to get the word out, the boost your name, etc…
      3. I don’t have a village or a small tribe of good friends/authors/bloggers who I can band together with.
      4. I’m not organized enough and I like my personal time with family way too much
      5. I hate always having to be ON
      6. I compared myself to others. A LOT. And while we’re not ‘supposed’ to do it, when everyone posts their awesomeness, it’s kinda hard not to do compare. It’s okay. We ALL do it.
      7. Success is a state of mind and mine has been in the crapper.
      8. I’m lost. And let’s face it, I’ve been lost in this writing/publishing business since 2010. That’s a long ass time to wander in the dark. Without a map.
      9. I suck at time management, especially when there are big changes to my schedule.
      10. I suck writing during the day.
      11. I didn’t read enough
      12. I didn’t bake enough
      13. I didn’t craft enough
      14. I didn’t go to any conferences and I wasn’t once sad about it.
      15. Depression is a fucking liar, but a fucking good one
      16. 6 deaths in the family in 24 months is not good for anyone
      17. I need a vacation
      18. My kids growing up make me both incredibly proud and incredibly sad
      19. Emotions are a bitch.
      20. My swearing has picked up the pace.
      21. Too many hurtful, negative voices in my head telling me I can’t and I shouldn’t and I need to but I won’t
      22. I made a bestseller list with a group of amazing authors who have dedication that I can’t begin to fathom
      23. I wrote some fun stories and made some money
      24. I wrote some fun stories and didn’t make enough money
      25. I’m tired
      26. I don’t do it right. Any Of It!
      27. I did not lose weight
      28. I exercised more
      29. I drank a lot of water
      30. I didn’t see or do a lot of things
      31. I was proud to be a Kyle Busch fan
      32. I was proud to be a Florida State Seminole fan
      33. Common Core sucks ass
      34. I’m glad 2015 is over
      35. Brilliance is out there. I just don’t know how to find it.

So, there it is. My list. It’s sad and completely uninspired. It’s depressing and horrible to look at. This lost thing is going to stop and go away. It has to. There is no other choice. I had a voice once and it’s fucking GONE. It’s time to find a new voice. I don’t know how. I don’t know how you’re going to learn about it. But, it’s time for me to find it.

I have some goals set for 2016, but that’s a post for another day.

Be blessed and beautiful and thank you for being there for me.

~lissa

 

Movie Monday – Holiday Style #2

It’s the second installment of my Holiday Movie thoughts. I was near the end of my movie list on the DVR and had to record a several more so there’d be another post for next week.

It’s been interesting, I’ll say that. Some are really adorable and full of hope. Some are so over-acted, so overly dramatic, so overly cute that the gag factor comes into play.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed watching them, as I do each year. They require a definite suspension of reality and a fair number of them have a rather large contingent of unemployed right before Christmas executives and service workers who really luck into love,a dream job, a whole new life in the end. But, I guess that’s what hope and Christmas, and romance are for.

Tis The Season For Love – small town girl goes to follow her dreams in the big city, but they don’t pan out, and she goes back home for the holidays… Can you fulfill your dreams even if they’re not working out exactly the way you’d planned them?

A Star For Christmas – on ION Television… The cheesiest, stupidest, most painfully uncomfortable holiday movie ever!!! Can’t. Even. At. All. I’ve never wanted to toss my cookies during a holiday movie before, but this one, yeah. My eyes hurt from rolling in the back of my head so hard.

A Bride For Christmas – A bet on a girl. A puppy in a shelter. Runaway bride. It’s a cute one.

A Prince For Christmas – ION Television… I was a little scared with this one. I wanted to like it… It was a little over the top with the Prince riding to the rescue of the down and out woman. The happenin’ little town that is busy everywhere except the diner.

A Crown For Christmas – Such a cute movie! From. Hotel maid turned impromptu governess (and no hotel maid wears 2″-3″ heels while cleaning rooms and pushing carts for 8-12 hours a day) meets and falls for a King. Snowball fights. A bratty, little Princess who was lonely, and missing her mother and the relationship she used to have with her father. Gingerbread cookies. Singing of carols. Nighttime horseback rides. All complete with a crown coveting royally approved bride-to-be. It was fun and sweet.

Holiday High School Reunion – This movie was every reason I have not attended any of my high school reunions.

One Starry Night – Astronomer and rodeo cowboy in New York. Sweet, holiday romance. Soul mates. Wrong loves. Making wishes on stars. Dreams coming true. It only takes 8 seconds. Do you believe?

A Holiday Detour – Candace Cameron Bure is a Hallmark Channel staple in movies. She’s played everything from a doctor to a writer to the heir of a hotel empire… In this one, she’s a magazine writer for a bridal magazine, intent on the perfect man and the perfect wedding, rather than on love. The secondary characters, Frank and Maxine, were worth it. I wish Candace Cameron Bure would play someone vulnerable, with emotional range. Someone charming. In the end, it was okay, but definitely not my favorite.

12 Gifts of Christmas – Fun, unassuming movie with a lot of the feels. A painter meets businessman in a bakery. How could I not keep watching? So sweet and tender. Loved it.

Once Upon A Holiday – A royal princess from a small independent country ditches her security and staff. For being from a European country, that they all have American accents, is truly suspect. The acting is fine, except for the whole lead actress thing. She acts in little giggles, smoldering eyes, sultry looks, and stiffness that is uncomfortable to watch. Second holiday movie I’ve seen her in this year and she, just…No.

Despite some of my less than stellar impressions of a few movies, I am still in love with holiday movies. Are you watching anything fun this season?

~lissa

Author Friday – This Author Says Thank You

I haven’t been online a whole lot the last week or so. I know I haven’t kept up with the blog as much as I used to and I know I didn’t leave a Thanksgiving message this year as I have in the past, but my heartfelt gratitude is no less diminished.

I’ve been trying hard to be present. To be in the moment. Too much planning ahead or looking back ruins the RIGHT NOW and I’ve spent too much time looking around and not looking within to savor the minutes and seconds that are passing by.

When I started writing, I didn’t go into it with the idea of hitting a list. But guess what? Earlier this week, I found out that A Very Alpha Christmas box set hit the USA Today Bestseller’s List. This was a shock for me. Not because of the others in the set, because WOW there are some major paranormal authors in it, but it was a shock because I’m part of it. I’m sitting there in the list of author’s names right along with everyone else. I mean…Holy. Crap. L. Matthews. THAT’S ME!

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I wanted to write good books. I wanted to write books that would resonate with readers. I wanted to touch people. I didn’t think about making a list. I didn’t think about making a lot of money as a writer. But I did think about a dream coming true and that was writing a story, having it published, and seeing my name on a cover. I’ve achieved those things. Time and time again.

I’ve made a little money, too.

And with an amazing and talented group of authors, I have become a USA Today Bestselling author.

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None of it. NONE OF IT could have happened without you. Those who’ve been with me from the beginning and those who’ve come to read my work in recent months, weeks, days , who’ve held me up when I wanted to cry, who’d been in my corner when it seemed every review written was a bad one and made me want to quit, who’ve supported me when it seemed no one else did, who’ve shared in my achievements and my failures, THANK YOU!

And yes, if by chance you’ve haven’t ordered the book, click the cover to do so now!

boxfullB300Please visit the authors who make up A Very Alpha Christmas… I know you’ll be glad you did!

Have a wonderful weekend!

~lissa

 

 

Movie Mondays – Holiday Style

 

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I love holiday movies. They’re sappy and unrealistic in many, many ways. But they make me feel good. They make me smile. They ultimately are about hope and family and love and returning to the simple pleasures of life. They always pose the question of What’s important to you?

I think, given the state of the world as it right now, wars on religion, on sexuality, on basic freedoms and rights… Natural disasters and illnesses… It’s vital that we find comfort and smiles and hope wherever and whenever possible. That we find ourselves.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to list the movies on Hallmark Channel or on DVD that I watch, or that my family watches during the holiday season.

So far, I’ve watched the following. Yes, I know it’s not even Thanksgiving, but these help me me find the spirit, find the joy, find the smile that I miss being away from friends and extended family during the Season…

And, they simply put me in a happy, lighter mood. So, curl up and grab the remote!

Fir Crazy – Elise has corporate marketing dreams and while out of work at the holidays, reluctantly agrees to manage the family’s Christmas tree lot in NYC for the season. Along the way, she learns the value of friendship, kindness, and to be ready for anything.

The Thanksgiving House – Is this house the site of the first Thanksgiving? The local history teacher and historian thinks do, but when it’s willed to the previous owner’s niece, a hot shot lawyer, he may not have a chance to find out. Memories and the kindness of a mother who befriends her, the hot shot lawyer may find herself with a change of heart.

A Princess For Christmas – A total fairy tale.

A Royal Christmas – Another TOTAL fairy tale!

The Nine Lives of Christmas – Confirmed bachelor fireman meets matchmaking cat who leads him to vet student Marilee, who in turn teaches him that it’s okay to fall in love.

Angels Sing – Touching and full of hope when a man who hates Christmas learns valuable lessons about unconditional love and the ability to forgive oneself.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Another annual favorite. He’s a wanderer who meets a retired cop in the airport at Christmas. She’s uber organized and a single mom who’s struggling to meet expectations. It’s all about simplicity and cutting out the nonsense.

Ice Sculpture Christmas – When the slate is blank, or the block of ice, in this case, two people from two different worlds find magic in dreams coming true.

I’ll give weekly updates until Christmas and I urge you to find the kindness and hope in the season. And if you can’t find it, be daring and be bold and be the kindness and hope for others.

~lissa

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