• Daily Life

    i gotta marie kondo my life

    S P E C I F I C A L L Y i need to marie kondo all the stuff that’s lying around that’s actually already been marie kondo’d and just needs to be TAKEN SOMEWHERE ELSE. We don’t have a car, which makes some of it difficult, but there are also things too large to be put in a car (like a 3 seater sofa), so it’s less relevant on that front.

    I am just so tired of Stuff. I do not know how to winnow down the STUFF. I mean, I do, but like most things in life, it’s much easier to know HOW to do a thing than to actually do it. Even, in this case, if you apply the really fairly sensible Marie Kondo approach. I mean, like, do my yearbooks bring me joy? No, but it’s still weirdly hard to get rid of them. Does the collection of 6th grade research papers we wrote in my QUEST class bring me joy? No, but if I got my act together I could get them scanned and send them to my classmates, which might be worth a moment’s laugh.

    Or not.

    Anyway, this is hardly a new refrain, even on a blog that’s been mostly dormant for years, but it’s what I’m wrangling with today.

    My dream, really, is to DECLUTTER enough to feel like getting somebody in to vacuum and clean the bathroom would not just be sort of a waste of time. Like, I recognize the house isn’t anywhere near bad enough to make a professional cleaner recoil, but I would like to get it to a Reasonable State and then have somebody HELP ME KEEP IT THAT WAY.

    (I’m beginning to realize that the character count limit on Twitter affects my tendency to bold or italize things. Now I just YELL THEM REAL LOUD.)

    Okay, I’ve just spent twenty minutes trying to find an image for the ‘featured image’ on this post, and can’t, so I think perhaps I should just post it and move on with my day.

  • Daily Life

    as the world falls down

    All right, well, as we wait to see whether Twitter, like, collapses into a singularity or something, I’m at least updating my website, and maybe I’ll learn how to blog again. Probably not, but who knows, it could happen.

    I…have no idea what to write. I can still write books, but not, apparently, a blog post of more than 280 characters.

    I’ve recently finished writing my fiftieth book. I’ve even more recently finished my tenth novella (although of the 50 books, 3 are short story collections that include novellas, so we start getting into murky territory right away here). I started knitting once and stopped again. I occasionally read something, but mostly I forget to, and go look at Twitter instead. (Arguably Twitter disappearing would be good for me. Equally arguably, it would not be.)

    I moved my Professional Self over to CatieMurphy.com a while ago, and think it was a good decision. I think it’d be an even better one if I remembered to update it regularly, but *waves hands at the world* I think I’ve got reason to not remember.

    And now dinner is ready, so I don’t have to try to remember how to blog anymore. :)

  • Daily Life

    Apple Butter Recipes, Redux

    Miz Kit’s Apple Butter Recipe
    ~10 pounds unprocessed/~4lbs prepared (peeled, cored, sliced) apples
    1.5 cups apple juice/sweet cider
    1 tsp salt

    Peel, core and slice the apples. Put prepared apples and apple juice into a large pot, cover, and boil until the apples are soft (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally. Puree the mix in a blender/food processor/whatever until smooth. Turn into a deep, flat enamel-lined pan & put into a pre-heated oven at 325°F (150°C, 130°C fan assisted) and roast, stirring very occasionally, for 1-2 hours or until the puree has reduced by half.

    Remove from oven. Stir in FLAVORING OF YOUR CHOICE (see below). Return to oven for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring slightly more frequently. Jar as you normally would. Makes around 48oz/6 8oz jars.

    TO FLAVOR:
    Honey Apple Butter: 2 cups/500ml honey

    Maple Apple Butter: 2 cups/500ml maple syrup, 1/2 c brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon

    Warm Spices Apple Butter:
    3-4 cups sugar
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp anise seeds (if you like that sort of thing)
    1/2 tsp grated/ground/powdered cloves
    1/2 tsp nutmeg

    Caramel Apple Butter: 2 cups/500ml caramel

    To acquire caramel if you don’t have any on hand:
    Miz Kit’s Caramel Recipe:
    1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
    2 tbsp. butter
    1⁄2 cup heavy whipping cream (room temp)
    2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
    1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract

    In a large saucepan over high heat, combine granulated sugar and 1⁄2 cup water. Cook without stirring, 7–9 minutes, or until a candy thermometer reads 385°. When it starts to caramelize, swirl the pan gently for even color. Make sure it turns a nice goldy caramel color before you whisk in the cream (be careful it steams SO MUCH OMG), then butter. Lower heat to medium and whisk until thick, about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and whisk in brown sugar. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Pour hot caramel directly into the apple butter.

    COOK’S NOTES:
    this is a very forgiving recipe, and can be doubled, quartered, and more but I don’t have a big enough pan to, like, quadruple it, but if you have 5 pounds of processed apples, eh, just follow this & taste to see if you think it needs more sugar or anything. It’s a *very* forgiving recipe. :)

    Depending on how sweet your apples are, and how sweet you want your apple butter to be, ANY of these can have sugar added to them. If adding sugar to the honey butter, I would specifically recommend white, not brown, sugar, because the honey flavor can be delicate and brown sugar would overwhelm it.

  • Daily Life

    New Release: GLADIATOR TIGER

    GLADIATOR TIGER, the last of my Gladiator Shifters paranormal romance series, is out now! It’s available at Amazon for Kindle and in print! (affiliate link)

    I’m pretty chuffed about finishing this series. I’m happy with how it turned out, and also I haven’t finished a series in approximately One Million Years, so it’s emotionally cathartic. :D

    Their love can stand the test of time…

    When archaeologist Elissa Grant is asked to curate a new exhibition on ancient Rome, she can’t say no—but the last thing she expects is to meet a man who looks like the model for the 2,000 year old statue that’s part of the exhibition…like, exactly like the model. But somehow, Elissa feels more than safe with Joash. His presence seems to awaken something inside her…and more than anything else, that something says home.

    Tiger shifter Joash Namur is a legend among his kind. Believed to be ancient, known to be powerful, he lives quietly, finding joy in his friends’ happiness—until fate strikes again, offering a new chance for heartbreak…or happy endings. He will do whatever he can, however he must, to protect Elissa, even if it means finally letting the truth of his long story be known.

    Joash has tried for eons to capture fleeting love. Now, with the laws that have ruled the gladiator shifters for centuries finally breaking down, and with his fated mate once more at his side, Joash must face the single challenger who has visited so much pain upon him…and all their kind.

    Can Elissa and Joash finally break the cycle of love and loss? Find out in the final exciting installment of the Gladiator Shifters, GLADIATOR TIGER!

  • fudge for octocon
    Daily Life

    Kitsnacks: Catie’s Vegan Fudge & Marshmallow Cream recipes

    Okay, what follows are my recipes for vegan chocolate fudge, which requires homemade marshmallow fluff made with aquafaba, which is the fancy name for chickpea water.

    Do not ask me why chickpea water froths up into a great meringue. This is beyond my knowledge. It works, though.

    If you’re looking for something that’s just dairy-free but you’re not allergic to eggs, you can use regular marshmallow cream and save yourself a step, but this recipe goes Full Vegan.

    Catie’s Vegan Marshmallow Cream
    1/2 c sugar
    1/4 c water
    3/4 c corn syrup (lighter in color the better)
    1/4 c aquafaba (chickpea liquid)
    1 tsp vanilla

    Mix sugar, water, and 1/2 c corn syrup in a stainless steel pan. Cook to 245 degrees F (firm ball) and cool for 15 minutes. While it’s cooling, place aquafaba and the remaining 1/2 c of corn syrup in a metal bowl and mix to a standing froth. Pour, and by pour I mean ‘dribble in a thin stream’ in the sugar syrup VERY, VERY SLOWLY, while running the mixer constantly, and mix until the creme is light and fluffy and of marshmallow-creme-like consistency. This takes AT LEAST several minutes, even with a stand mixer. Add the vanilla in near the end.

    Jar or can (or put in the fridge in the bowl, which is what I did).

    Do not cover until cold.

    Catie’s Vegan Chocolate Fudge
    3 c sugar
    2/3 c coconut cream, well-mixed
    3/4 c 100% plant-based margarine
    1/2 tsp salt
    12oz DARK dairy-free dark chocolate
    2 c aquafaba marshmallow creme
    1 tsp vanilla

    Mix sugar, coconut cream and margarine in a sturdy stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add chocolate, stir like a son of a bitch until the chocolate is entirely melted. Add vanilla and stir in. Add marshmallow creme and repeat the stirring like a son of a bitch until the creme is thoroughly mixed in.

    Pour into a 9×13″ margarined pan and allow to cool. Cut before it’s entirely cool, but not when it’s too warm.

    The full-length, many-notes-and-comments-incorporated how-to for the process is posted with my basic fudge recipe. :)

    ***

    For those of you who’ve had my fudge, this vegan version is AT LEAST 85% as good as the fully loaded stuff. I’ve fed this to people without telling them & they didn’t know it wasn’t the regular stuff.

    fudge for octocon
    fudge for octocon