Monday, October 28, 2013

Fast and Easy Yeast Bread

Here is a recipe my husband loves to make. (Knowing how much he hates cooking, that's saying something.) It's pretty fool-proof.  Thank you to my friend Kathy for sharing this with us.


4 cups very warm water                              
4 tsp salt                                                
3-4 Tbsp oil                      
 8-10 cups flour (You can use up to two cups whole wheat flour.)
 8 Tbsp. sugar or honey
2 1/2 Tbsp yeast

Dissolve yeast and 1 Tbsp sugar in 1 cup of water.

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Add remaining water and oil to the yeast mixture. Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the yeast mixture into the hole. Mix into a soft dough.

Let the dough stand 15 minutes.

Knead well.  Put into 4 greased loaf pans.

Let raise 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Road Tripping with My Teens

This is my eleven-year-old enjoying the geology building on the USU campus
Last weekend, I took three teens and my eleven-year-old on a whirlwind tour of colleges. My daughter, who's a senior, brought her best friend, and planned the whole thing. My son, a junior, only came along because his dad told him he needed to shop for colleges the same way you shop for cars.

While the teens took the guided tours, my eleven-year-old and I did our own informal tours, which always included a taste of the ice cream and a perusal of the library. I really didn't expect that my eleven-year-old would enjoy the trip so much. But he kept telling me how excited he is about going to college. He took pictures until his camera battery ran out. I've included some of his pictures, so you too can see why college is so cool.

My daughter, not surprisingly, completely approved of my skipping the tour. (It's "so lame" when parents go on the tour.) I got to hear about the tours afterward in the car. Most of the descriptions compared the general attractiveness of the tour guides and the amount of free swag each college gave them. The best swag included T-shirts, folders of information, water bottles, and pens. One university, which shall remain unnamed, only gave them one folder of information to share among the three of them.

My mother-in-law kindly watched the younger kids and gave us some of her points for a free hotel stay. After eight hours of driving on Friday, I decided I'd relax in the hotel tub while the kids watched a movie. I tried to ignore the screaming while I soaked, hoping it wasn't actually coming from our room. (Surely, I could leave a few teens unsupervised.) Well, it turned out that the hotel staff had cleaned the air conditioning units and released eight wasps into our room. The staff gave us another room . . . which also contained wasps. Darn! So my son and I killed wasps, and I got to sleep next to the air conditioning unit.

It was a learning experience for all of us. My daughter and her friend learned that they really didn't want to go to some of the colleges where they'd planned to apply. They also found one that they liked a lot more than they'd thought. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Have you ever heard of the composer Paul Dukas? Neither had I. Dukas was so self-critical that he destroyed most of his compositions. The score I heard last week only partially survived. Another composer had written parts so the music could be played as originally intended. Feeling that Dukas was a kindred spirit to many of us authors, I listened with interest and liked what I heard. How sad that he’d destroyed so many of his other works!

Norman Vincent Peale, the author of The Power of Positive Thinking, also struggled with self-criticism. He threw the entire manuscript to The Power of Positive Thinking into the garbage. His wife rescued it from destruction. What a waste that would have been! Because he published that book, millions of people have learned to think more positively and blessed others’ lives because of it.

My latest issue of  The Humanities at BYU shared the account of  the
African American singer Sarah Vaughan:

Frank Sinatra, always the one for colorful descriptions, said “[she is] a singer who sings so good, I want to cut my wrist with a dull knife and let her sing me to death.” But despite her achingly beautiful voice, she suffered from persistent racism much of her life. On tour, she had difficulty finding hotels or restaurants that would allow a black woman. She later said, “They’re memories not easily erased, and at the time, I was ready to quit show business.” But instead, she transformed the pain and humiliation into a voice like warm honey poured over the soul.”

Discouragement seems to be a common thread in the life of artists. As I talk to writers who haven’t yet published their works, they often tell me they’ve been working on a book for years. Often they haven’t let anyone read it.

I suppose we could say we’re being humble when we keep our talents to ourselves. We tell ourselves we wouldn’t want to bother anyone with our inferior work. But I’ve come to look at it in another way. If God gave us talents, why aren’t we sharing them? Art has the power to bless others’ lives.  Maybe instead of feeling that it would be self-centered to share our work, we should feel that it’s selfish NOT to share our work. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Most Fun Boys Can Have with a Romance Novel

Today my boys have transformed a discarded PDF of my novel into knight helmets
and pterodactyls. It kept them quiet today while we were watching our church conference on TV. It's also saved me the trouble of having to create a Halloween costume for my seven-year-old, who wants to be a Knight for Halloween.

This one looks like a ninja helmet to me, but the boys say it's a sallet helmet.

I couldn't figure out how to take this picture without my feet getting into it.

My son says the grocery bag makes him look like a Lego Knight.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book Recommendation: Awakening

Christy Dorrity's new title for young adults just came out, so I wanted to share. If you like to read clean paranormal, you'll want to check it out.

About the Book

. . . because some Celtic stories won’t be contained in myth.

A little magic has always run in sixteen-year-old McKayla McCleery's family—at least that’s what she’s been told. McKayla’s eccentric Aunt Avril travels the world as a psychic for the FBI, and her mother can make amazing delicacies out of the most basic of ingredients. But McKayla doesn't think for a second that the magic is real—it’s just good storytelling. Besides, McKayla doesn’t need magic. She recently moved to beautiful Star Valley, Wyoming, and already she has a best friend, a solo in her upcoming ballet recital—and the gorgeous guy in her physics class keeps looking her way.

When an unexpected fascination with Irish dance leads McKayla to seek instruction from the mute, crippled janitor at her high school, she learns that her family is not the only one with unexplained abilities. After Aunt Avril comes to Star Valley in pursuit of a supernatural killer, people begin disappearing, and the lives of those McKayla holds most dear are threatened.

When the janitor reveals that an ancient curse, known as a geis, has awakened deadly powers that defy explanation, McKayla is forced to come to terms with what is real and what is fantasy. A thrilling debut novel based in Celtic mythology, Awakening is a gripping young adult fantasy rife with magic, romance, and mystery.

Awakening (The Geis, #1)

Praise for Awakening

"AWAKENING is a wonder and a delight. Christy Dorrity is a talent to watch."
~David Farland, New York Times bestselling author of Nightingale

"I thoroughly enjoyed AWAKENING, a captivating and unique debut novel that creatively integrates Irish dance."
~ CHRIS NAISH, Riverdance member and Creative Director of Fusion Fighters Irish dancers.
About the Author

Christy Dorrity lives in the mountains with her husband, five children, and a cocker spaniel. She grew up on a trout ranch in Star Valley, Wyoming, and is the author of The Geis series for young adults, and The Book Blogger’s Cookbooks. Christy is a champion Irish dancer and when she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably trying out a new recipe in the kitchen.

Purchase Awakening by Christy Dorrity:

Purchase Kindle Book Purchase Nook Book