“In the right corner we have Reddy Right Brain, his opponent, on the left is Creative Carl.”

Ugh! There is truth to the matter that some people are both right and left brained, but those of us that are, are often asked, “What would you rather be?” Immediately, I would answer “left brained” so I could be left alone to dally in my own creations. My world of gnomes and wizards and dragons. My world of making jewelry and collecting art and cooking and fun, pretty stuff. But no-o-o-o, not me, just as soon as I get in the groove, I’m yanked out to, (cue in music here) da-duh-duh…REALITY! And, my husband wonders why I’m so nutsoid! Go figure!

I guess, it’s a wonderful thing that I am able to escape to my “wonderland” but I do turn into the Red Witch–would spell it another way but do not want to be censored, or have a contract terminated,– when I am yanked out because of someone else’s incompetence that I am left having to fix. Boy, does it get ugly when the Sicilian rears its ugly head! Not saying that Sicilian’s are ugly, of course. They are beautiful, but highly emotional people who are fantastic cooks!

I actually don’t mind putting on my red shirt, I rather love the color, if I can be of help, but don’t make me do a job for which I get no payment of any kind! Give me a chocolate bar and I’m thrilled, but don’t spit on it first! You know what I mean? I think that’s why I write children’s books. They’re so gratifying!



Truth or Dare…A Gnome’s Recipe

Is this recipe a fantasy?  Maybe, maybe not.  It sure sounds good, especially on a very cold Virginia day.

Phillip made this sauce in the Vast Enchanted Forest after he and Edward hadn’t eaten for a whole day. They had just left the Farmer’s Market where Phillip said his “good-bye” to a very unhappy Ivy.  What had happened afterwards, Phillip did not know until Azur broke the news.

It was evening when Phillip and Edward entered the Forest and they were exhausted.

There were many Tree Folk in this part of the forest.  Groups of them line the curvy path and appeared to be engaged in important conversations with one another.  Their twiggy hands pointed and gestured.  One of them glanced over and gave Edward a little wink as the travelers walked by.

Phillip’s Quest, Book 1: Winterfrost, “The Staring Statues”

Edward, the squirrel was always hungry and enough was enough.  He knew that Phillip could not go much longer without food so,

He jumped from tree to tree, for a good hour, while Phillip looked over his maps (they were lost, at this point).  One of the Forest Fathers even helped by shaking his branches and allowing Edward to gather all the fallen nuts!  Phillip then made the sauce with some maters he bought from a dwarf at the Farmer’s Market.

Five or six small ripe maters will make enough for one gnome and one hungry squirrel.

Finely chop the maters up into a hollowed out rock or a saucepan that’s been coated with a little oil.  Simmer the maters until some of the water cooks out.  Put a handful of crushed hazelnuts into the mater sauce with some salt and a bit of black spice (if you have it) and cook until thick.

A perfect meal for day old tater buns and if you’re lost in a vast forest.

…Appendix F: Phillip’s Mater Sauce with Hazelnuts


The Appendices, B-F are recipes that I adapted.  Some important ingredients have been omitted and revised to coincide with the story. Still, an experienced cook could improvise and make with his or her child. Actual recipes will be reprinted here or in an upcoming cook book!

By the way, the artwork for The Vast Enchanted Forest is brilliant!  Please look at the Twisted Oak Press website: twistedoakpress.com, where you can by beautiful art prints from Phillip’s Quest, as well as other art from my collaborator, Dean Kuhta.

Taters and Onions, Italian Style

I said that I would include blogs about Italian cooking.  When I eventually do the Phillip’s Quest Cookbook, many of the recipes will be a conversion of Italian recipes to recipes for gnomes, and other creatures.  Here is one I found on Adrianna’s Cookies page.  I’d like to call it, “Taters and Onions a la Italiano”

2-1/4 lbs of russet potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly

2 cups chopped onions

2 cups chicken broth

1 garlic clove, halved

8 Tablespoons packed Pecorino Romano cheese, divided

3 Tablespoons drained capers

Olive oil for brushing, plus 4 Tablespoons, divided

Coarse Kosher salt


Preheat  oven to 350F

Rub 13 x 9 x 2 inch glass pan with cut side of garlic clove.

Brush dish with olive oil.

Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.

Add onions, sprinkle with salt and sautee until soft and beginning to brown. Stir frequently, about 12-15 minutes.

Arrange 1/3 of s;iced potatoes in even layer in prepared pan.

Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper.

Scatter 1/2 onions over the potatoes.

Sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons Pecorino and 1 Tablespoon capers.

Repeat layering and end with layer of potatoes.

Drizzle remaining olive oil.

Pour chicken broth over.

Press down on potatoes to compact layers.

Cover, gratin with foil and bake for 1hour 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, another 15 minutes, until cheese is lightly browned.

Let gratin remain at room temperature for 10 minutes, before serving.

Salute! Buono appetito!