Traveling and…Coffee?

LissaLogoYellow_reasonably_smallYou bet! Some people when they travel scope out tourist spots, or certain types of restaurants, or highways of significance, or the nearest Walmart. Me, I scope out where the coffee shops are. Where’s a Starbucks? Is there something local that would be cool to try? What kind of coffee service does the hotel provide?

Now, we’re staying in a Marriott. A very swanky Marriott. The TPC Marriott Hill Country in San Antonio for the next few nights.

(this is it…OMG!!! it’s HUGE! I just wanna stare out at the golf courses all day…)

They have several restaurants and room service. So far, all I’ve gleaned from anything or anyone, is I can go down to one of those and order coffee, or there’s In-Room coffee (ick!), or room service. I’m thinking room service. These are people in my husband’s company. I don’t want to make a poor impression by looking like something the cat dragged in at 3am.

But yes, I try to find coffee places and those of you who pay attention or care would be disappointed if I didn’t come back with some picture of a coffee joint, even if it is just a Starbucks.

I’ll post what and when I can. We’ll be going to caverns. I don’t remember which ones, but that’s what we’re doing tomorrow, as well the Alamo (though I’ve been told unless you go to the mission outside town, it’s unimpressive), and the famed Riverwalk.

That’s what I really want to see and do. If we have a chance on Friday, I plan to drive up to Austin, Tx for part of the day. Both of these are for my own research for my books… The Bar Next Door series and the Lone Star Sweets series that will be going into some sort of get-the-ball-rolling-publishing mode in July.

Y’all know I’m an introvert, that I’m quiet and shy and don’t talk to people I don’t know who I KNOW I have things in common with (read smut, anyone?)… But this going to be close to 800 people from a very large bank and their spouses. I will be holding up the nearest wall in the ballroom. I don’t get panic attacks but large, gathered crowds zap and drain me. Sporting events are different, I can zone out. I can put on headphone or not, but I can focus on the game or race and I’m not expected to be social.

I need a cave, y’all…

And I need to get moving. I’ll post stuff to Facebook that I know you’ll find immensely entertaining…;-)

~lissa

 

In The Kitchen With…Lissa

Everyone waits with baited breath and eager anticipation for Starbucks to bring out the Pumpkin Spice latte each year. Okay well, almost everyone. Not me. I tied one once and promptly returned it. It was too sweet for me.

So, while the majority of latte drinkers seek out the Pumpkin Spice, I await the Gingerbread latte. It’s not advertised as much anymore and I’ve been in several Starbucks stores that won’t even make it. Makes me very sad. I had to take matters into my own hands more this year than usual. Instead of buying gingerbread syrup for the latte, I decided to make my own.

The internet has more food blogs than one could visit in a year, even if you tried to visit one several in one day. And because there are so many food blogs, there are many recipes for homemade gingerbread syrup. I’ve only tried one so far, and it’s very good. When it’s gone, I’ll try a different one simply because that’s what I do. I like trying different versions and modifying, tweaking…

Most of the recipes I read through use whole spices. I don’t usually have whole ones. I might invest in them for the next time. For now, I had to find an equivalency chart for whole spices to ground spices. I had to fiddle with the amounts a bit, but it worked just fine, I think. The chart I used was Cook’s Thesaurus: Global Spices

The recipe I tried came from the blog, The Galley Gourmet. I’ve visited this site many times and really like her recipes.

Homemade Gingerbread Syrup:
(modified from The Galley Gourmet)

Homemade Gingerbread Syrup
makes about 1 1/4 cup

1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon molasses (the only molasses I have is Sorghum, but Blackstrap would be good)
1 (1-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ rounds
1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon
8 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract (though I think I added more like 1 Tablespoon)

In a medium saucepan, bring all the ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes. Strain the syrup through a cheesecloth or very fine mesh strainer and transfer to a container to cool. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

The vanilla is my own addition. It cuts the sharpness of the spices and adds a bit of sweetness in a way that only Vanilla can.

If you are looking for a Gingerbread latte recipe, the Galley Gourmet has one on her site as well. I never follow a latte recipe exactly because some days I want it stronger and some days I want it sweeter.

Usually though, a latte is 2 oz espresso, 3/4 cup steamed milk, 1-2 Tablespoons syrup (gingerbread, cinnamon, caramel, etc…), and whipped cream or the froth from the milk. I add a dash of nutmeg to the top of the whipped cream… Yummy!

The Gingerbread latte is my holiday indulgence. I make one several times a week. If I bought one from Starbucks (when I can get them to make one), I’d be broke very quickly. My espresso machine was relatively inexpensive given how often I use it in the fall and winter. After the holidays I usually make caramel or cinnamon lattes, sometimes a mocha (I’m still trying to get a mocha right).

For now though, enjoy…

~lissa

Book Boyfriend Blog Hop Winners!

Thank you all so much for participating and much thanks to Reading Between the Wines Book Club and As the Pages Turn for putting the blog hop and giveaway together!

The winners for my giveaway of the hop are:

$15 Amazon Gift Card and any one of my backlist titles: Danielle

$10 Barnes and Noble or Amazon Gift Card and any one ebook of your choice (up to $10): Anna Cade

$10 Starbucks Gift Card: Pam S.

Congrats to all of you and thank you all for participating.

~lissa

Book Boyfriend Giveaway Hop

ReadingBetweentheWinesBookClub
 

My Book Boyfriend Giveaway Hop is hosted by Reading Between the Wines Book Club & As the Pages Turn Giveaway. The hop will run from 12:01 AM February 1st through to 11:59 PM February 5th, 2012.

What better way to celebrate the month of LOVE than with your favorite book boyfriend? Whether you have a valentine or not, the swoon worthy heroes we find in romances can’t be matched anyway! So why not put on those naughty underwear and curl up with one of these steamy reads this year instead? Make your Valentine’s Day perfect by joining the My Book Boyfriend Giveaway Hop where fellow bloggers offer you the chance to win some of their favorite book boyfriends!

So, who are my book boyfriends? When I think of all the books I’ve read over the years, and we’re talking over 15 years of romance reading, it’s so hard to narrow it down. There are just so many to choose from. However, those who first come to mind:

Jack from Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas
Lord John Blackwood from Dancing At Midnight by Julia Quinn
Morgan MacDonnell from Whisper of Roses by Teresa Medeiros
Dermott Ramsey, Earl of Bathurst from Temporary Mistress by Susan Johnson
Earl of Wick from Her Lord and Master by Thea Devine
Jeremy Gray from Comfort Object by Annabel Joseph
Zsadist from Lover Awakened by JR Ward
All of the Cowboys that Delilah Devlin writes… 😉

These are just a few and I couldn’t begin to go back and list all of my favorites. We’d be here all day. In lists like these, I always feel as though I’m missing someone important… 😉 Which, they all are, yes?

In other words… I. Want. Them. All.

As for what I’m going to be giving away:

1 $15 Gift Card to Amazon.com and one copy of any of my backlist. (US Only)

1 $10 Gift Card to BarnesAndNoble.com and an ebook copy of any ebook of your choice (up to $10) (US Only)

1 $10 Gift Card to Starbuck (US Only)

All you have to do to enter is follow my blog via Networked Blogs (link over on the sidebar) or Like my Facebook Fan Page (click on the Facebook coffee up on the sidebar or click here.) Then leave me a comment here on the blog letting me know you’ve done so along with the name of your favorite book boyfriend and email address.


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