Skinny Orange Chicken

…unless you eat more than one serving.

Okay, I found this little gem on Pinterest. Now, sometimes you run into a recipe that is just garbage, likely because some bored jackass felt like getting his jollies off making people taste shitty food. I prefer to witness events that I place in motion, but that may just be me. Regardless, this recipe actually checks out because I’ve made it twice now. The second time I had to tone down the spices a bit and add more liquid, but I’ll explain that below.

Skinny Orange Chicken

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This is supposed to be healthier than the restaurant version. Not sure if that’s exactly true, but since I use mostly organic items and fresh at that, it very well could be these days.

YIELD: about 4-6 servings
PREP: 10 mins
COOK: 10 mins
TOTAL: 20 mins

INGREDIENTS:

2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
orange chicken sauce (ingredients below)
toppings: thinly-sliced green onions, toasted sesame seeds, orange zest

ORANGE CHICKEN SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

3 cloves garlic, minced (I do pressed; same fucking thing in my book)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. white pepper
zest of one orange
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Here’s where I altered it the second time I made it; the sauce. I doubled the orange juice and used only 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch to keep it from becoming too gelatinous, and I held back about half the ginger and white pepper. That way Umi could eat it without gagging. Me too, for that matter. And I only used two boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of 2 lbs. I also cooked white rice instead of the quinoa below. I may give that a try the next round.

(OPTIONAL: QUINOA INGREDIENTS)

1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups chicken broth

DIRECTIONS:

TO MAKE THE ORANGE CHICKEN:

0203161913Season chicken generously with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute for about 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and nearly cooked through.

Pour in the orange chicken sauce, and stir to combine. Let the sauce come to a boil, then boil for an additional minute or two until thickened. Remove from heat and serve immediately over quinoa or rice. Garnish with green onions, sesame seeds and additional orange zest.

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TO MAKE THE ORANGE CHICKEN SAUCE:

Whisk all ingredients together until combined. If you would like the sauce to be even sweeter, add an extra 2-4 tablespoons of honey.

TO MAKE THE QUINOA:

You can see Ali’s step-by-step photo tutorial for how to cook quinoa here.

Piacere!

Vive bene, spesso l’amore, di risata molto!

(live well, love much, and laugh often)

Mini Lasagna Cups

That’s right, I have another tasty treat for you. Umi LOVES these. I doubt they’re on my “diet” plan, but they’re damn good now and then, especially when I don’t feel like making an entire pan of lasagna.

Mini Lasagna Cups 1

Photo © 2016 Jinxie G

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 12 servings
The easiest, simplest lasagna you will ever make, conveniently made into single-serving portions!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Italian sausage links, casing removed
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 24 2-inch won ton wrappers
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a 12-cup standard muffin tin or coat with nonstick spray.
  • Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat and stir in marinara sauce.
  • Season ricotta cheese with salt and pepper, to taste; set aside.
  • Fit wonton wrappers into each of the 12 muffin tins, pressing carefully to make sure there is an opening in the center. Fill each cup with 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese. Top with 1 tablespoon marinara mixture and 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese; repeat with one more layer.
  • Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the wonton wrappers are golden brown.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

I don’t care for ricotta cheese so I just use mozzarella there too, and I use grass fed organic hamburger because nitrates are bad for you (found in sausage unless homemade). I also pre-bake the shells for about 5 minutes. Believe me, it makes a world of difference. Of course, I make my own marinara, but it’s up to you. I’ve linked my recipe if you’re interested. You could also alter this recipe to make Taco cups.

Photo © 2016 Jinxie G

Photo © 2016 Jinxie G

The Secret Life of Jinxie G: Part IV

….you want me to go out? Social Anxiety! ACK!

Yeah, it’s a problem I have. I want to go hang out with friends, yet I don’t because Oh My Fuck, I have to interact with people (strangers) and what if I say or do something stupid. I mean, I have no problem laughing at myself, but embarrassment can reach a level of “WHAT DID I DO?” that’s difficult to recover from. Blurting out something incredibly stupid? Yeah, that’s practically my daily life. I can talk on the phone all day and feel comfortable, but face-to-face is a whole other world that I do not do well in, though on occasion I have said something stupid on the phone too. I’d be surprised if extroverts understand what we introverts go through when it comes to socializing, but by all means correct me in the comments because I don’t want to come off as some “all-knowing” bitch and shit. Although, however introverted I may be, I *do* actually like socializing…with a small group of friends. I can’t handle big crowds. I end up sitting in a corner, observing everything, making friends with the dog if there is one. That also has its own benefits because the realist and worst-case-scenario person in me looks for ways out of every situation. You know, in case the zombie apocalypse begins while I’m out. One time, Scooter Boy wanted to do one of those wine and paint night things. They’re a lot of fun. So I grabbed my Groupon and registered, only to find out he and no one else had yet. I panicked and told him, “You *do* realize I have social anxiety and the idea of walking in there by myself is freaking me out.” His response was simply, “Oh shit!” and we had him and his girlfriend registered within a day or two. The result was that I now have a Starry Starry Night painting with a T.A.R.D.I.S. flying through the middle of it. It’s hanging in Umi’s room, mostly because I’m her favorite daughter (and only one), but also because that particular Van Gogh is her favorite. But yeah, social anxiety for me means that I can’t go do something like that by myself. The thought terrifies me.

Solitude is DangerousDon’t get me wrong, I can do some things on my own, like grocery shopping or shopping in general, but I don’t see the point of going to a movie alone or anything that’s of entertainment value. I’m also weird about meeting new people, mainly because I’m worried they’ll think I’m weird, which I am, so…yeah. And I don’t like being in a position where I’m going to be put on display, which is why I didn’t go into acting and refuse to do karaoke, even though I can sing. As a writer, I sit here tapping away at my keyboard. My performance is done in private. You get the end result that (hopefully) is free of mistakes.

I like the solitude of my hermitdom, but holidays are the worst. My family doesn’t really get together anymore, and to be honest, I’m okay with that for me because I can write or watch a movie and be happy in my introverted little world. But Umi likes being around family sometimes, so I feel bad and try to make up for it as best I can. This Christmas I couldn’t do much because money is tight for multiple reasons. She deserves so much more. I actually wanted to travel somewhere this Christmas, but that didn’t happen. Normally, though, I forget there’s a holiday unless someone tells me. The only exception is Hallowe’en.

1622272_650308168340344_1401925496_nI started this post three months ago because it’s a struggle to reveal something on this level. When friends want me to go out with them, there are a number of factors at play. Sometimes I have a deadline and editing/writing during the week is tricky when I’m working a few long shifts to make up lost time for Umi’s doctor appointments so I don’t have to use my personal time. I’m already always exhausted due to lack of sleep and health issues. Having to work a longer shift makes it worse. Sometimes I’m not comfortable in my own skin and most certainly don’t want to go to a club. I don’t care for that scene anymore; it just annoys me on many levels and I don’t dance anymore. Other times I just want to sit and watch a movie, whether on my own or out with friends. I’m cool with grabbing a bite to eat or a coffee now and then, but I just don’t have the funds to go out more than once a month right now, and when you’ve had your friends pay your way for a long time in the past, it gets real uncomfortable for you when you actually have a job. To be honest, it’s embarrassing and makes me feel like complete shit. That’s not to say my friends treat me that way; just the opposite, in fact. My friends are awesome and try to make me socialize, which is sometimes a good thing, but the timing has to be right. If I’m a broke emotional wreck with a deadline? Forget it. (This actually happened Friday, for which I feel bad and know G is reading this)

10406784_755469571172772_6371810132442591024_nSo much happened the last half of 2015 that I’m still adjusting to the wreckage and picking up the pieces. Shit happened that I don’t talk about, because it doesn’t need to be talked about; it just needs to be fixed, which I am doing, but it’s going to possibly take me a couple of years to make things right. None of this helps the social anxiety at all. It sucks.

So….yeah, I have social anxiety, which I think has worsened over the years, but I’m working on it. It may seem like this post is about more than social anxiety, and it is. I’ve been slowly prioritizing things in my life, removing the things that aren’t important or urgent, so that I can create that life I don’t need a vacation from. A life on my terms. A life with functional social anxiety, with a little bit less fear. A life with more freedom than I have ever known.

 We’ll get there.

Cover Reveal: Born of Magic

Today, I’m welcoming my friend and awesome author Missy Jane to reveal the cover of her next Gargoyle Masters series book, and let me tell you if you haven’t read the first one, Born of Stone, get to it. I even left you a nice little link directly to the book on Amazon. I’m nice like that sometimes. Shh, don’t tell anyone.

Born of Stone got a thumbs up from Umi. Just sayin’.

I’ve always enjoyed Missy’s stories. They’re always brimming with tension, action, and of course, romance. And sexy alpha males. Mmm….*ahem* At any rate, check out this awesome cover for the next Gargoyle Masters book, Born of Magic!

Born of Magic


Release date: Summer 2016
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Format: ebook


Guarding a kingdom takes mere strength. Guarding their hearts takes something more. As his month-long guard duty comes to an end, Master Wynnston should be looking forward to well-deserved time away from the king’s castle. Instead, he feels strangely reluctant to leave. When Zephara of the Pastelle race arrives, he realizes why.

The stunning, silver-eyed ambassador is the woman his heart, body, and soul have been waiting for. She’s also a powerful wizard who will endure the test of the Twenty. Wynn has never been afraid to woo a strong woman, but winning and keeping Zephara’s love will test him to the limit.

Meanwhile, pure chance has finally led Master Kephas to find the runaway Princess Theodora. But before he can return the frightened, skittish beauty to her father, he must win her trust—and her heart.

Physical strength will do Wynn and Kephas no good as they face their challenges. And two women will search deep within themselves for the strength, courage—and tenderness—to bring two powerful men to their knees.


Warning: If you’re looking for ugly stone creatures, move along—you won’t find them here. If you like hot, protective males who aren’t intimidated by strong, assertive females, settle in and turn the page.

BornOfMagic_FC

I’ll post the link when it goes live.

Simple Sesame Noodles

…because who the hell doesn’t like noodles, right?

This was a recipe Umi wasn’t real fond of but I enjoyed the hell out of it because hello! pasta with combining cultures makes a great fucking dish. I made a few adjustments because I’m not a fan of Canola oil, so I used extra virgin olive oil instead. And since I’m not a fan of super spicy food (I prefer garlic), I lightend up the hot chili sauce. Otherwise, I stuck to the recipe. It was ridiculously easy to make and real damn tasty. Give it a try!

Simple Sesame Noodles

Simple Sesame Noodles

PREP TIME:
10 Minutes
DIFFICULTY:
Easy
COOK TIME:
10 Minutes
SERVINGS:
8 Servings

INGREDIENTS
12 ounces, fluid Thin Noodles, cooked and drained
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Sugar
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Pure Sesame Oil
1/2 teaspoon Hot Chili Oil
4 Tablespoons Canola Oil
4 whole Green Onions, Sliced Thin

INSTRUCTIONS
Whisk all ingredients (except noodles and green onions) together in a bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat.
Sprinkle with green onions and toss.
Serve in a bowl with chopsticks. Yummy!

50 Romance Plot Ideas!

I just found the mother lode of romance plot conflicts!

Bryn Donovan

This post was originally titled, “Master List of Romantic Conflicts,” but it really contains big ideas for entire plots. Of course, to write an engrossing love story–whether it’s a straight-up romance, or a subplot in a different kind of book or movie–it has to have strong conflict. Like Shakespeare said, “The course of true love never did run smooth.”

Obstacles give your characters the chance to change and grow as people, and to prove how much they really do love each other. It also gives them interesting things to do. Depending on your story, it may cause sadness, terror, or hilarity before they reach their Happy Ever After. Or in the case of Romeo and Juliet, their bloody, pointless demise. Unless you’re writing a tragedy like that, your story may give your readers inspiration for overcoming difficulties in their own lives, even if their struggles are completely different.

Obviously the possibilities here are endless. I’ve used…

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Turmeric Tomato Detox Soup

Oh my fuck, people, this is tasty damn soup!!!

Now, let’s go over a few things for the ingredients. I forgot to buy a damn onion apparently, so I’m sure this tastiness is ten times better with a real onion rather than the chopped dried onion I used. Also, they say a small onion, but I didn’t see any small onions that weren’t pearl at my store, which is probably why I forgot to grab one in the first place. Or I may have thought I still had half an onion in the fridge, which I did but then threw out because it didn’t look very pretty. At any rate, still fucking tasty with the dried onion bits. I used about a handful. Everything else I did exactly as the recipe called for.

I heated the oil, onion, and garlic on a low setting to start because coconut oil has a 125 degree smoke point and I didn’t feel like setting off the smoke detector. Once I added the rest, I turned the heat up to medium to bring it to a boil before taking it back down to low to simmer. I also let it simmer just a tad longer.

Turmeric Tomato Detox Soup

Turmeric Tomato Detox Soup

INGREDIENTS
5 oz cherry tomatoes, rinsed and cut in halves
1 can diced tomatoes with their sauce
½ cup low-sodium vegetable stock
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coconut oil
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Mixed seeds and nuts, to garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
Heat the coconut oil in a sauce pan and fry the onion and garlic for one minute.
Add turmeric and cherry tomatoes, and cook until the tomatoes softens and leave their juices.
Add the tomato can, vegetable stock, apple cider vinegar and basil, bring to boil, cover with a lid and let simmer for five minutes.
Transfer into the blender and pulse to obtain a creamy liquid.
Season with salt and pepper and serve garnished with mixed seeds and nuts.

Serves: 2

Next time I make it, I’ll take photos. I didn’t expect to be posting this.