I'm very pleased to welcome DEBRA KILLEEN, who I met on Broad Universe. After telling us a little about herself, she's sharing a timely & original recipe for Raw Chai Spice Pudding (tastes like pumpkin pie!)
Debra is the author of the award-winning fantasy series,“The Myrridian Cycle.” All of the books in the series--An Unlikely Duke, A Prince in Need, Legacy of the Archbishop, Priestess Awakening and Kingdom in the Balance--have won awards at ReaderViews, and Legacy of the Archbishop also won a Written Art Award. Debra is hard at work on her next projects – Unholy War and the Naomi/Sebastian paranormal mystery series—as well as some shorter works.
A resident of Raleigh, NC, Debra shares a home with her sister, the author Diana Bastine, and three exceptional cats – Finn, Isis and Osiris. More information is available at Debra’s website, www.myrridia.net, and Debra can be contacted at email@example.com
If you were marooned on an island, and Pots & Pens granted your wish for only one book and one food, what would you choose? Wow, narrowing the choices down to one book – that’s a challenge! Right now I’d go with Moby Dick. It’s on my list of books to read, and given the size of it, should take me a while to read through it, while I’m waiting for the next ship to pass by. The food part is easy – it happens to be the healthiest and tastiest food on the planet: raw chocolate!
What’s your favorite kitchen accessory or appliance? How about a favorite writing accessory or reference? Ah, this gives me a chance to talk about my recent dietary change, to a raw vegan regimen about six months ago. The change meant getting rid of the toaster oven and purchasing some new appliances, such as a good juicer, a dehydrator, and a better food processor. But the winner is the Vitamix high-speed blender – power, versatility (not to mention noisy – the one down side to it!). I can make delicious superfood-containing smoothies, almond milk, raw soups – including a delicious dill/cucumber recipe from the Vitamix vegan cookbook – and things like avocado-based spreads and puddings. I just tried a chai spice pudding, and it tastes almost like pumpkin pie – delicious!
For writing accessories – my laptop is the most useful, since all of my manuscripts are stored there. However, I typically do my first draft in longhand, and those wire-bound notebooks come in handy. The challenge I’ve found is finding the right pen. I’ve tried a few different ones from the office supply stores, and they don’t last long when penning a trilogy, as I’ve learned over the past year and a half! I’ll stick with the laptop, and for my next writing project, I’m hoping to compose the rough draft on it and save the paper.
What’s cooking? Can you share a bit about your next project? Good question, since I’ve got two “next” projects. The current piece is a companion to my published fantasy series, The Myrridian Cycle, entitled Unholy War. It takes place roughly a dozen years after the events of the first series conclude, with the characters going on a crusade. In the alternate medieval world I’ve created, Magic works and the church controls it. With Unholy War, I’m getting the chance to expand on the religious factions, plus the narrative is chockfull of political suspense, betrayals, Magical showdowns, and plenty more.
The other next project is a short story, a contemporary fantasy piece that will be an introduction to a new series I hope to begin in the next several months. It’s a take-off of the other series, as one of the medieval characters, Sebastian, has traveled to our world. Not long after he and his companion Naomi get here, he notices some bizarre behavior on her part and thinks she’s been possessed by demons. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say it’s less demonic and more…food…related.
As far as what’s cooking in the food department – raw soups are proving excellent choices for summertime suppers. I’ve also found a veggie/flax seed “burger” that goes in the dehydrator, tasty lucuma/mulberry “cookies,” and chia seed porridge with fresh, local blueberries (I’m fortunate to live in North Carolina, where blueberries are a summer favorite. Have I mentioned the pudding?
What are three must-have foods /seasonings in your kitchen? Only three? Avocadoes rank highly – they’re so versatile and healthy, and they blend well in the raw soups, providing some excellent fat calories. I always make sure I’ve got a few on hand. Next up is leafy greens – spinach, kale, chard or something in that vein. They make a good base for a salad, work as a veggie wrap, or do well mixed in flatbreads. Micro-algae – the protein powerhouses! Spirulina, chlorella, phytoplankton – any can be added to the morning smoothie (along with a protein powder such as hemp) to replace the animal protein.
Other items tend to fluctuate with the season, such as local strawberries or blueberries. Those are my top three, with raw chocolate getting an honorable mention, but then, it’s more than just food.
Let’s say a couple of your characters are raiding your fridge right now – what are they most likely to eat? Are they disappointed or excited about what they find? I’ll go back to Sebastian and Naomi, since they’re going to have completely different reactions to what’s in my fridge, LOL. Naomi would be looking for the diet soda, microwave meal, leftover dessert. She would be extremely disappointed, just starting with my typical beverage selections. There might be some bottled mineral water, coconut water or freshly made green veggie juice. No sodas to be had! There are no microwave meals in the freezer, either, though she might find a few packages of frozen organic berries, leftover veggie “burgers” and some extra avocado spread.
Sebastian, on the other hand, would be thrilled to find the crisper sections full of fresh vegetables and fruits, food he might almost recognize, or at least recognize them as actual food, instead of the stuff he might discover in the typical grocery store – boxed cereals, canned vegetables and fruits, meat wrapped in Styrofoam and plastic, or milk in plastic bottles. The veggie juice might give him pause, though I think he’d like it if he tried it. His reaction to sodas, diet or regular, would be complete dislike. He’d be puzzled at the lack of meat and traditional baked goods, such as bread, but he might be willing to try the plant-based protein foods before searching out a local butcher.
Raw Chai Spice Pudding
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp vanilla powder (or may substitute extract)
Pinch of salt
1 large or 2 small ripe avocados
1/3 cup coconut oil
¼ cup coconut water
2 oz. coconut nectar
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
Place all ingredients into high-speed blender or mixer and mix until smooth, using a medium setting. Spoon into dessert dishes and enjoy or may be refrigerated; will keep for 4-5 days.