Tuesday, December 18, 2012

OATMEAL MUFFINS WITH A CHOCOLATE TWIST




In honor of National Oatmeal Muffin Day, I'm sharing my favorite recipe with a chocolate twist. The holiday is tomorrow, but since I missed Chocolate Covered Anything Day I want to get in early on this one.

This recipe is from the back of a box of Molino Rolled Oats sold back in the 1980's. Any rolled oats can be used. I don't think they sell Molino products anymore.

Ingredients
1 cup rolled oats soaked in buttermilk for 1 hour
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup melted oil or margarine ( I always use butter)

Preheat oven to 400
Add beaten egg and sugar to oat mixture. Add dry ingredients. Stir in melted butter.
Spoon into greased muffin pan - 1/2 full
Bake 20-25 minutes

Chocolate Twist
Add chocolate chips, a packet of hot chocolate powder or 1/2 tsp of 100% cocoa powder.

Friday, December 14, 2012

FAVORITE CHOCOLATE MOMENTS OF 2012






This week end ( Dec 14- Dec 16) I will be giving fun gifts- all chocolate related - to a random winner. All you have to do is leave a comment and your email address on my blog.

Today's gift is a DD destination mug from sunny Florida and of course a chocolate donut ornament.

The fun part of writing about chocolate is not only the chocolate, but the wonderful people who consider me a chocolate expert. 
Fans, friends, and family have generously shared lots of chocolate stuff with me this year: recipes, fun facts, and delicious chocolate from all over the world.





My favorite recipe came from a fan. It's an old recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.


 Cocoa Ripple Ring    I used a boxed mix and  added                                                 
2 packets of cocoa, or more.
(mix with a tbs of sugar if you like)
Layer batter in thirds, alternating with cocoa mixture, into
a well greased 12 cup bundt pan. Bake as directed on box. 



My favorite saying came from James Sweeney.
We have to save the earth, it's the only planet with chocolate.



My favorite chocolates were a gift from my son - a delicious box of mixed chocolates from Bruge Street in Belgium.




Do you have a favorite chocolate moment this year?
Tell me about it.



Friday, November 23, 2012

Let's Talk Shopping- Black Friday Blog Hop




THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. You can enter over 200 times!
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1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $75 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!



We all know shopping is therapeutic. For me it has a calming effect on mind and body. Sure it's nice to shop for myself but shopping for a gift is even better. We all know it's better to give than receive. The thrill of hunting for and finding just the right item for a friend or relative adds to the excitement. My favorite go to gift is very often a book. Food is a close second. I don't have to worry about size or style when I gift these.
What's your favorite gift to give?

Are you shopping today - online or out there with the crowds?



Need a gift suggestion? How about a book for your favorite chocolate lover (no calories). You can even gift it to someone with a kindle. 

 
Hard cover on sale today at Amazon    CHOCOLATE MUSE (click to read inside)

Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to leave a comment with your email. My gift to one lucky commenter is a Starbucks gift card to help you enjoy your holiday shopping.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Autumn Harvest Blog Hop

AUTUMN FAVORITES



1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains 10+ paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more.

The colors, the holidays, and street fairs are some of my favorite things about the fall. However, living in South Florida has left me with a craving for scarfs, boots, and winter jackets. I love  changing from the bright colors we wear in the summer to the muted oranges, browns and grays of fall.
In Chocolate Secrets Alex and Mike first meet at a NY street fair. She's selling gourmet chocolate and he's peddling  decadent chocolate cakes and sexy NYC firefighter calendars.
Another fall favorite is all the beautiful calendars for the coming year. Here's one of my favorites.
Check out the worthy cause these guys are posing for. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/fdny-calendar-2013-sexy-firefighters-charity-photos_n_1471184.html#slide=929787http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/fdny-calendar-2013-sexy-firefighters-charity-photos_n_1471184.html#slide=929787

What's your favorite thing about Autumn?
Leave a comment with your email to be entered for the grand prize. You can visit over 200 blogs to enter.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fall in South Florida

My Halloween decorations are finally done. Living in S. Fl. it's difficult to feel the change in seasons, especially Fall. The leaves don't really change color so I have to improvise and scatter those fake leaves around the house. 

Imitating the smells of Fall is easier than trying to change the weather outside. The other night I filled the air in my house with the scent of a ricotta pumpkin cheese cake. For those of you who know me, you know baking from scratch is not my thing. I prefer semi-homemade. 
I adapted the directions on the back of the box of Krusteaz's Pumpkin Square mix and used ricotta instead of cream cheese. The ingredients listed are not the best for you so I left off the sour cream topping. Like that's going to make a difference... The cheesecake came out delicious and the house smelled like Fall.

Fall is bringing more good vibes my way. With the recent sale of Avalon Books to Montlake Publishing, the 1st book in my Love by Chocolate series, CHOCOLATE SECRETS is going to be 
reissued this month in both paperback and e-format.
CHOCOLATE SECRETS

The book takes place in the fall. 
Excerpt-
"Who's minding the chocolate shop?"
"Don't worry your grandfather, Max is there."
Alex knew it would be impossible to keep her grandfather away on Halloween. He loved the idea that everyone dressed in ridiculous costumes just to get their hands on some chocolate.

Thanks for stopping by.
Enjoy the season with a good book and your favorite dessert.
Visit my website.
www.zeldabenjamin.com

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Giveaways



Don't forget to stop by on Fri Aug 31. Along with over 100 romance authors, I'll be commenting on romance. 

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. You can enter over 100 times!

Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize:  Swag Pack!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cocoa Ripple Ring - Hurricane Food

The outer bands of Isaac are blowing outside- mostly wind and lots of rain. Not a very good time to be outdoors. Since I'm stuck inside, I've already cooked up the chicken, ravoili, and crabmeat in my freeze.  
The worst part any storm is the possibility of a blackout which can last for days. Better safe than sorry.  If everything is fine, I've got delicious food for the week. What kind of food do you eat when you're stuck inside waiting for a snowstorm or hurricane to pass?





After cleaning out the frig I moved on to the kitchen closets where I found an abundance of hot cocoa packets. I remembered an old Better Homes and Gardens bundt cake recipe that used powdered cocoa. I don't bake from scratch, it's too precise. I prefer to bake semi-homemade and used a box of yellow cake mix.
Here's the recipe. 
Cocoa Ripple Ring



1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
4 eggs
3 cups flour 
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cups milk
1/3 cup cocoa, or more, 
(mix with a tbs of sugar if you like)
Cream the sugar and butter. Add the eggs 
and beat well. Sift together the flour, baking 
powder and salt. Add flour mixture and milk,
mixing alternately, until smooth. Layer batter
in thirds, alternating with cocoa mixture, into 
a well greased 12 cup bundt pan. Bake at 350 
35-45 minutes, till toothpick comes out clean. 
Cool for 5 minutes in pan then turn out onto a plate,
Enjoy





Friday, August 24, 2012

ROMANCING THE HOP

COMING SOON

 ALONG WITH 200 AUTHORS I WILL BE PARTICIPATING IN A BLOG HOP.

EACH AUTHOR WILL BE DOING A GIVEAWAY. THERE WILL ALSO BE 3 GRAND PRIZES. 
ALL YOU'LL HAVE TO DO TO ENTER IS LEAVE A COMMENT ON ONE OR ALL 2OO BLOGS. 
I'LL KEEP YOU POSTED SO YOU WON'T FORGET THE DATE.



Monday, July 23, 2012

Chocolate and Publishing

Chocolate and publishing a book are similar processes. Both take time if you want a positive outcome. Just like a chocolatier must be patient and achieve the right consistency when blending ingredients, an  author can not rush the publishing process.
I've recently received emails from fans asking when the next book in my Love by Chocolate series will be available.
http://www.amazon.com/Zelda-Benjamin/e/B001JS8IPG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1343085464&sr=1-2 
Book 4,  Chocolate Couture was submitted many months ago. Unknown to the Avalon authors the company was in the process of being sold to Amazon. http://money.cnn.com/2012/06/04/technology/amazon-avalon-books/index.htm
I was told the submission is being sent to Montlake Romance, Amazon's romance imprint. Like a chocolate chef waiting for the perfect chocolate, I'm in waiting mode. However, I have not been idle. I redesigned my website, continue to write, and decided to keep up with my long neglected blog.
Even though my writing is taking a new direction, I will still keep this blog because chocolate is one of my passions.

Share the passion for each story I tell...
http://www.zeldabenjamin.com/