I haven’t been doing a lot of updates lately, but actually that’s a good sign. The Book is most definitely unstuck. I’m at 42,000 words now with plenty of exciting events still to come. Hoping now for a summer launch, and already thinking about cover art.
You know the coolest thing about writing a Regency? You can plan an elaborate country house party and know it won’t cost you a dime.
Okay, folks, here is the definitive recipe for my Basic Fudge. It’s the easiest thing in the world. No cooking, no baking, just blend the ingredients.
The ingredients are:
1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas (AKA garbanzo beans), drained and mashed
5 tbs cocoa powder
4 tbs Truvia
1 tbs olive oil
3 tbs water
Mix, shape, chill, cut, serve ‘n eat.
But the devil, as they say for some reason, is in the details. So here’s how I make my fudge.
First, before draining the beans, I put the can contents, liquid and all, into a small pan and heat them up. This is an optional step; remember what I said about no cooking – the beans are already fully cooked. But I’ve found that the blending is easier with hot to warm chickpeas.
Then I drain the chickpeas and return them to the pan for blending. Take care in choosing your blending vessel. Too shallow and you’ll have chickpea bits flying about the room, but the tall mixing glass that my stick blender came with is narrow at the base, so the mixture turns into a quagmire. I use a small saucepan.
Get the chickpeas pureed, and then add the cocoa, Truvia, and oil and water, and blend everything together. Please note the recipe calls for four tablespoons of Truvia. If you buy it in the little paper packets, you do the math, but it’s quite a few. I buy the spoonable version. You can tinker with the proportions of oil and water if you wish, but I’ve found that 4 tablespoons of liquid overall makes the right consistency. If you want more oil, use that much less water.
When you’ve got the ingredients all blended, it should be smooth and, well, y’know – look like fudge. Now you shape it into a square and chill it. I have a small square plastic sandwich box that I oil and use for my fudge mold. When chilled, I slice it into four slices, which are a bit larger than a candy bar. Once chilled and hardened, you’ll want to wrap or cover the fudge; otherwise the top and edges will start to dry. (But if you get dry edges, don’t bother cutting them off; they’re still perfectly edible and chocolaty.)
(per serving, 4 servings per recipe)
Calories – 145
Fat – 6 g
Protein – 6.5 g
Fiber – 6.5 g
Total carbs per serving – 19.5g
Cost will vary based on grocery prices where you live, but I costed these out to 54 cents per serving.
Now long will this fudge keep? I can’t say for certain, but I see recommendations to keep hummus (also chickpea based) in the fridge for up to a week. Just remember, this doesn’t have preservatives like commercial candy bars, so it won’t last forever. But if there are any chocolate fans in the house, I’d be mighty surprised if there was any of this left in a week.
This is the recipe for the basic fudge. If you want to add nuts or raisins or coconut, adjust the nutritional info accordingly, and blend the basic fudge first and then spoon in the additions, to keep them from being pureed.
Diabetics, this is a sugar-free recipe, but the total carbs are a smidge high for a diabetic snack. Almost all the carbs are from the chickpeas, so they’re ‘slow carbs’ with a low glycemic load, but watch your blood glucose – you might want to make your servings smaller. They’re very filling, all that fiber!
And remember, this is high in fiber. There’s the same amount of fiber in one fudge bar as there are in two small apples! And that’s great. The average American gets 10-15g of fiber per day, and ought to be getting 25 or more. But if you are one of those average Americans, adding too much fiber to your diet too quickly is going to create digestive upset. So try not to glom down the entire batch all at once. Just sayin’.
I’m starting to come to the conclusion that there is a weight over which I can’t write.
Consider. Last spring I wrote Bidding On Death. I recall it moved along rather smoothly. In the summer, I started my current book, A Feather To Fly With. I wrote about 15,000 words and then got bogged down. I’m not sure what my weight was during those periods, since I wasn’t paying attention. But I do know that when I’m not paying attention, the weight creeps up. Then in the fall, I started the weight loss challenge. I hoped to get the book kick-started at the same time, but that didn’t seem to get moving till right before Christmas, when I had a brief flurry of creativity and made some more headway.
Then came Christmas, and over the holiday season I ran amok. Gained back a good portion of the weight I’d lost. Come January, I tried to get the book moving again, without much success. Until a couple weeks ago, when I got my weight back to where it was before Christmas, and once again, the book is unstuck.
Call it superstition, but I know that number now, and will endeavor to keep below it.
In fact, the creativity seems to be running off in all different directions, with more plot threads than I know what to do with, not to mention a number of ideas for new stories. But as a problem, this is a better one to have.
Another creative outlet I’m working on – I’m attempting to make chocolate fudge with chickpeas. No, wait, hear me out!
Chickpeas can be ground or mashed into a smooth paste; that’s the basis of hummus. But the chickpeas themselves have almost no flavor – what we think of as hummus flavor is actually the garlic, lemon, and tahini. I saw an article in O Magazine a while back about making different flavors of hummus, and one was a chocolate hummus. A lovely idea, but that got me thinking about fudge. Fudge would be firmer than a hummus; I’m looking for little squares you can pick up with your fingers and eat from your hand.
I’m not quite there yet. My first attempt is still too soft. It makes squares, you can pick it up, but there’s a mushiness I want to try to overcome.
Still, it is delicious! If you’re interested in Chickpea Fudge 1.0, I used a can of drained chickpeas, 5 tablespoons of cocoa powder, and 4 tablespoons of Truvia. I added half a tablespoon of olive oil and a quarter cup of water to ease the blending. Next time I’ll try less water and perhaps a smidge more oil. There’s no cooking involved, just get everything smoothly blended. I used my stick blender in a small pan, and then spooned the results into a small oiled square container. It was firmer after a night in the fridge.
I’m already thinking of fudge variations. Add peanut butter, for a Snickers effect? How about some grated coconut? Maybe chopped nuts.
Oh, but a word of warning. This is a very creamy confection, requiring no chewing at all, but don’t be deceived – it’s high in fiber. That’s good, of course, we all need more fiber. But if you add too much fiber too quickly to a habitual low-fiber diet, well, there could be digestive consequences. So don’t eat the whole thing at once. You’ll want to, it’s that good. But try to control yourself.
I’ve successfully completed the first week of the Fitness Challenge at the Y. I took three fitness classes this week.
Monday was Aqua Surprise, which is water aerobics. I took water aerobics ages ago, but after I learned to swim I got all superior about it, so I hadn’t taken a class in years. It’s a lot harder than I remembered! But when the class is over, the jacuzzi is right there.
Wednesday I took Muscle Pump. I knew it was a weights class, but when I got there and saw the folks setting up their areas with barbells, I almost walked right back out. For some reason, I find barbells a lot more intimidating than dumbbells. But I needed the signature on my fitness challenge card, so I gave it a try. It was actually… sorta fun. Not easy, no. But I did the warmup with just the bar, and then added the smallest weights to the bar and made it through the whole class. I had a bit of muscle soreness later, but nothing debilitating, so yay me.
Friday I took Beginner’s Tai Chi. This was the first of a new class, so we started right at the beginning. I’d tried Tai Chi before with videos, and never quite got it. Now it seems to me that the videos try to get you to do too many new things at once. In this class, we’d learn a move and repeat repeat repeat. I really enjoyed it.
So there are my three classes. When I started the challenge, I intended to do a lot of sampling around of the various classes, but I think I might just make these three my regulars. They’re nicely spaced, a good variety and at a good time of day for me.
I’m also doing the stationary bike in the fitness center for aerobics, so in six weeks I hope to see some real improvement.
So that’s my week – gettin’ fit, gettin’ strong!
Oh, and I’ve also been tinkering around with Pinterest, which is Strangely Compelling – come take a look:
Been a while since we chatted, huh?
So – news from here. I’m taking another 12 week weight loss challenge (I lost 18 pounds in the last challenge, if you recall), and also taking the Y’s 6 week fitness challenge. This will entail going to three fitness classes a week, with a fitness test at the start and at the end. I’ve already had the Initial Assessment, and surprise surprise – I’m not very fit. So there’s plenty of room for improvement.
The book progresses – slowly. Trying to get back into an office hours routine and speed up that process a bit.
The holidays? I ran amok. Not in an interesting way, all memoir-worthy Auntie Mame antics, just food. All the food I hadn’t eaten for a few months, and in quantities that were downright ridiculous. So yeah, I gained a lot of weight. The good news is, I’ve already taken most of the holiday weight off again, so – whew.
I also reminded myself once again that I really am gluten sensitive, as the gluten glut (you can’t spell gluten without glut – hmm…) brought back every ache and pain and sinuses and heartburn. That’s abating too, as I’m back to eating sensibly again.
I got a wii for Christmas, which, in case you don’t know, is totally awesome for streaming Netflix.
I’ve made all the usual resolutions, weight and fitness, and The Book. And I’ve also decided to give up trying to have some Unifying Theme for this blog, so I’m just going to blog about whatever I feel like yapping about. So – FYI.
The other day, I was talking with a friend. We both enjoy Regency romances. We’ve read scores of them over the decades. And we were joking about some of the horrid covers that some otherwise good books sport.
She pointed out something that I hadn’t thought of. The books usually feature the heroine on the cover, and while the cover artists wouldn’t dream of putting a Regency heroine in a miniskirt or blue jeans, the woman inside the clothes matches the period the book was published rather than the Regency period. So you’ll see a young lady from an era where only ‘lightskirts’ wore makeup, and she’s got bright pink lips and blue eyelids.
I went back and looked at my Regency collection, some bought new and some gleaned from the finest used book stores from coast to coast. And I came across what must be the all-time worst cover of a Georgette Heyer.
Now, when it comes to Regencies, Heyer is the gold standard. She invented the genre. She set the standard that a Regency is not just a romance set in a particular time period, but is a book with a certain tone, light-hearted and with a good seasoning of humor. The best of the rest are praised as ‘almost as good as Heyer’.
And among the Heyers, one of the best is Sylvester, or The Wicked Uncle. To refresh your memory (because of course you’ve read it!), the heroine, Phoebe, is a shy young lady with mousy brown hair, whose London Season was an uninteresting flop.
My copy of Sylvester appears to be the first US paperback edition. Yes, from the 1950s. And without further ado, here is the Worst Heyer Cover Ever:
Mousy little Phoebe, a glamorous blonde in 50s era eyeliner? I wouldn’t call the clothes exactly Regency either – three-quarters sleeves? That’s 50s, not Regency.
And that… that… HAT! It’s not Regency, it’s not 50s – was there ever a time in human history when that Hat-like Thing was fashionable?
The whole thing reminds me of a movie poster from an alternate universe. Say – Breakfast At Tiffany’s – starring Doris Day.