Friday, October 20, 2017

Winners Winners!

My friend Moira took this picture and I love it, even if it does look like I live in a tiny little haunted house. 
Ah, my loves. Thank you for the buoying, wagon-circling contest entries. How many times have I thanked you for shoring me up over the years? I am feeling seen, heard, and lucky lucky lucky. Thank you. Get in touch if you win! Or if you didn't and you feel truly and deeply disappointed about it. Otherwise, please buy the books! Review the books on Amazo and Goodreads! Come visit me at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival, where Nicole and I will be selling Stitch Camp this Sunday from 9 to 4! Or come to our joint book party at Amherst Books on November 16th at 7! Or just enjoy your weekend and stop feeling so micromanaged by me!

Mepbeet and Kirsten (the one with the crafty daughter) won Stitch Camp.
Stircrazy and S. (the one with the currently crappy life) won One Mixed-Up Night

Thank you again. xo

Friday, October 13, 2017

Nacho Cheese Sauce + FREE BONUS RANT (and a give-away)

Photo by Linda Schneider, although everything in my house looks just exactly this perfect too, natch.
I know I've linked to this nacho cheese sauce before but a) the link seems to be broken, b) we've been making a lot of this lately, served both as full-on dinner nachos with pickled radishes, black beans, and sour cream, and also just in a bowl with a bag of chips for dipping, and c) the apocalypse does seem to call for orange and unctuous melty comfort.

This one's mine.
There was, originally, a different (b) up there, and then I deleted it, because I'd referred to one of my editors as a mansplaining a-hole, and I live in fear of never being hired again. But then I so fucking HATE colluding in the same culture of fear and silence that is all over the news at this moment. Not, to be clear, that this guy took me out to Junior's and jerked off into my red velvet cheesecake or anything. Just that he e-bullied me half to death, and had a lot to say about how I should write, which turned out to be more like him. Like, picture yourself with a waxed handlebar mustache and a monocle, drinking sour beer in a Brooklyn bar, and then write like that, after first deodorizing your vagina. Sigh. Anyhoo, I'm still glad I deleted that comment, because of not wanting to make myself unhire-able. Ha ha ha! Note to potential editors: I swear I'm super-pliant and easy to work with! Ha ha ha. Sigh.

Photo by David Van Taylor
Are you safe? I hate this moment so much. The shooting and fires and floods and hurricanes on top of the constant threats to our sanity and liberty and personhood. I'm so sorry. I wish I could offer more than cheese sauce and books but, as you know, that is what I have to offer.

FREE BOOKS, though, at least! Comment here, in any way you like, by noon EST on Friday 10/20, to enter the give-away. I'm going to give away 1 or 2 copies each of One Mixed-Up Night and Stitch Camp, which is already shipping from Amazon, although the pub date isn't until the 17th. It is the most beautiful book, thanks to my brilliant friend Nicole, who made all the crafts, and my brilliant friend Carolyn, who designed all the pages. You will love it, I promise.

Wait, who's that? Yes! Free Birdy sightings in every book. Shown here with one of her real-life besties.
Also, if you get a chance to review either or both books on Amazon and/or Good Reads, I'd be so grateful. As you know, the world is filled with people who take precious time away from damning us to hell to offer a lot of 1-star ratings to books that don't share their values. If you know what I'm saying.

And what I'm saying is: Have a lovely weekend! Forgive me my darkness. I will be sunnily back next time! I really will. Life is beautiful, I know it is. Make some nachos and enter the give-away. We will solace each other into the light.

In love and hope. xo

Perfect Nacho Cheese Sauce
The cheese sauce is easy and almost fool-proof (as long as you don’t use pre-shredded cheese, which will make it inclined to solidify), and there’s none of that disappointing lack of cheesiness you can experience when you make the classic kind of cheese sauce that starts with a b├ęchamel and ends with your own feeling that there’s not enough cheddar in the world to make it taste the way you want it to. This one is sharp and tangy, smooth and rich and, in a word, perfect. Stirred into cooked noodles, it makes a wonderful mac and cheese. Or skip the hot sauce, serve it with cubed bread, and call it fondue.

One last thing? You don’t strictly need to use orange cheddar in the sauce. But if you don’t, it won’t taste quite as cheesy. Don’t ask why. Just trust me.

8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated by you (not pre-grated)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup evaporated whole milk (but keep the rest of the 12-ounce can handy)
A dash or 2 of hot sauce

1. In a large bowl, toss the cheese with the cornstarch.
2. Put the cornstarchy cheese, evaporated milk, and hot sauce in a medium-sized pot over low heat.
3. Heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce is smooth and not quite as thick as you want it to be, since it will thicken as it cools. This will take around 5 minutes, and it will go through different phases as it heats: clumpy, grainy and thin, then glossy and gorgeous. If it gets too thick, you can thin it with additional evaporated milk.

Leftovers are easily microwaveable, and it is weirdly delicious if you just slightly over-microwave it so that the edges get brown.