Category Archives: food

Book Review! Vegans Take Note!

cover aquafabulousAquafabulous

100 Egg-Free Vegan Recipes Using Aquafaba

By Rebecca Coleman

Robert Rose Publications

ISBN 978-0-7788-0564-9

Suggested Retail $19.95

 

Review by Joan Leotta

 

This is a book all vegans will want to have on their shelves, especially vegans who want to bake.

Making eggless meringue with bean juice and how to “bind” mixes without the addition of eggs. May not sound appealing on the face of it, but truly, Agquafaba is a godsend to those who want to make dishes that in the non-vegan world, use eggs.

As such, committed vegans have a strong ally in the form of the book Aquafabulous by Rebecca Coleman published by Robert Rose Press.—- A luscious looking photo of a cake slathered in meringue graces the aqua blue cover of this book, which according to its press release, “has blown open the world of vegan baking. Things that were once considered impossible, are now possible and the options are endless.”

 

As I have come to expect from any book published by Robert Rose,  the first pages of this volume describe the element in question and tell us the why and how of it. The rest of the book is devoted to a stellar collection of recipes ranging from breakfast to desserts. Her baked goods selection includes such delights as French macaroons, strawberry shortcake and donuts

 

The recipe portion is a wonderful exercise in exploring the use of this ingredient—new to me, but oh so useful to vegans everywhere. Of course, it is no surprise that someone with Coleman’s credentials has created such delightful recipes with easy-to-follow direction and helpful hints. Coleman is a Vancouver BC food blogger and the author of a foodie blog, “Cooking by Laptop” that focuses on recipes and her love of cooking. In addition she loves to travel, enjoys eating baked goods (especially donuts) herself.

 

If you know any vegans, steer them toward this book or purchase it for them as a gift. They will thank you for it—if you are lucky, they will thank you with one of the baked goods she mentions.

 

Here is a sample of one of the recipes in the book

 

S’Mores Cups (from Aquafabulous by Rebecca Coleman. Used with permission of the publisher)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get out a 6-cup muffin pan, lined with paper liners

Ingredients

1-cup vegan graham cracker crumbs

¼-cup vegan butter alternative, melted

½ cup chopped 70 percent bittersweet (dark) vegan chocolate

3 TBSP unsweetened non-diary milk

¼-cup aquafaba

2 TBSP granulated sugar

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

1/8 tsp vanilla bean seeds

Method

In a small bowl, stir together, graham cracker crumbs and melted butter to combine. Place two tablespoons of the crumb mix in the bottom of each muffin cup, then pack down with a glass. Bake in the preheated oven for ten minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in pan on a wire rack/

Fill a small saucepan with 1-2 inches of water and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. IN a heatproof metal bowl, combine chocolate and non-diary milk. Set metal bowl on saucepan so that it fits tightly and does not touch the water below. Stir chocolate until melted and smooth. You want the ganache to be smooth, glossy, and fairly runny, not thick and lumpy. If it is too thick, add a bit more milk. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of melted  chocolate over each graham cracker base, then shake pan to spread it around so that it forms an even layer. Transfer to freezer for at least 30 minutes.

In a mixer bowl, combine aquafaba, sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla seeds. Set mixer speed to low and beat for two minutes. Turn up speed to medium and beat for two minutes. Set to highest speed and beat mixture until fluffy and peaks form, about four to six minutes. It will have a similar texture to marshmallow  fluff.

Spoon as much fluff as possible into each muffin cup, then return to fridge for at least thirty more minutes or overnight. You may have leftover fluff.

Just before serving, pop cups out of muffin tins, peeling back the paper liners. Use torch to toast the tops if desired, and serve.

 

 

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Teachers Can and Do

I always hated, and never believed,  that old chestnut that teachers are people who cannot actually do what they teach–nonsense! Teachers are those who share with us the technology (so to speak) of the art or craft  they have fallen in love with. They want to share with us what they love, share the how-to and the mystery of it.

They become educators when they draw out of us our desires to pursue a field to the limit of our ability, usually thanks to their support, inspiration, and ministrations of technique and method.

As a working journalist, story performer and more I want to share with others what I have learned and to inspire others to follow their dreams in whatever field they desire–esp in

writing and story performance. Yep, I talk and write for audiences. It’s that simple!

This month I have had the opportunity to be a teacher and to share my love of these two modes of communication on Donna Washington’s Blog, in Ruby for Women Magazine (writing only in that one. March starts a three-part series for those who want to get started in writing) and here, on this blog by reminding you that I have two new publications out this month–My children’s book, Rosa’s Shell and my book of poems, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon.

PS Today the literative.com site has one of my writings up as the prose winner of their winter contest!

https://literative.com/writing-contest-winners/cold-snap-creative-writing-contest-winner/

Do check it out!

I’m happy to come and and talk to your school or group about writing (for adults, for children, poetry) story performance (or to give a story performance!)

Please do contact me and let me know if you would like me to come! Those who do, if they are fortunate enough also share what they know by teaching!

img_0586

Storystorm!

So, I am rarely at a loss for an idea so decided this would be a good way to organize my thoughts for the new year and give me marching orders for a series of new picture books.

Two days into it, already more than two ideas, but the discipline is a very good one. Also trying to channel creativity into a new haiku start each day.

storystorm_participant

Never Done

A writer’s work is never done!

I am busy working on PR, blog hops etc for Summer in a Bowl and also at the same time working on poems, my usual quota of articles, and coordinating with my publisher on revisions in the texts of the NEXT TWO Rosa books–Rosa and the Red Apron and Rosa’s Shell

 

Heather Zeissler of THEAQLLC has been wonderful to work with.

If you want me to come to your school to talk about the process of writing picture books or  to talk to your group about how I got started writing picture books, just email me at joanleotta@atmc.net

 

 

 

Summer in a Bowl,Progress Report

Right now I am in a hold pattern. I am waiting for the illustrator to do her magic, conjuring up the images that will bring my words to life for young readers.

I thought while we were waiting I would answer a question that many people ask of authors–how real is this story?

Like WHOOSH!, this story was inspired by a real afternoon in my life. Yes, there really was an Aunt Mary. Yes, I did watch her make soup from the ingredients in her garden! Yes, I did help her gather those ingredients.

Aunt Mary passed on many years ago. She was the mother of three of my wonderful cousins, John, Diane, and Ernie.

Diane sent me these photos of her Mom to share with you.

Here is the real, wonderful, lovely woman who inspired Summer in a Bowl:

aunt mary 3

 

 

 

 

 

Birth of a Book, Blog # 1

Blog Entry Number One

March 12, 2016

Contract is Signed!

So, I mailed the contract back to the publisher this week. The contract’s basic legal language is fine. I was satisfied with the legal provisions. The important part of the contract as far as all of you other writers are concerned is the “deliverable” list. This list is my list of deadlines for each step of the way. It also outlines the deadlines for the publisher and the illustrator. I went through my calendar and marked each deliverable date on my calendar.

 

First things first! The manuscript for Summer in a Bowl is due on March 31. Before you start to think me crazy for accepting such a deadline, there is something you need to understand about picture books.  Last year, I sent Summer in A Bowl to the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators to be evaluated. I took their comments to heart when finishing the book. It has been revised at least seven times.

 

When you send any picture book manuscript to a publisher for consideration, you send the entire thing! Don’t send a draft. Send it as finished and polished as you can make it, but  be open to making changes suggested by the publisher. Conversely, don’t make major changes unless they fit into your vision. Also, most picture book publishers choose the illustrator, so don’t send illustrations along unless they are called for. Truthfully, I have seen only ONE traditional publisher that requested illustrations. One out of hundreds.

 

After I wrote WHOOSH! I searched and searched to find a publisher who shared my vision for sharing stories of families, happy families in cities.  I was so pleased with the illustrator he choose, a woman who also shared my vision for how the characters should look, well….

 

whoosh_cover_2500

Picture Book by Joan Leotta

After WHOOSH! was published by THEAQLLC, I worked furiously on my other picture book ideas and sent Summer in a Bowl to THEAQLLC as well.

We discussed the illustrations, briefly. This book will be entrusted to the same illustrator. Now, time to polish a bit more. This book’s manuscript left open the possibility of what is called “back matter.” “Back matter” is usually a bit of non-fiction prose that goes along with and hopefully adds to the reader’s experience with the story. In this case, I am thinking about adding a soup recipe. The other possibility is to hold the recipe and use it for advertising the book, as handouts when I speak on the book, and as information in a packet of teacher information for school gardens.

 

My habit is to print out a document once it has reached this stage, giving me a physical item to work with. As I review the document, I will picture scenes in my head and picture my primary target audience—a parent and child reading together. On another read through I will picture another target audience, a teacher reading to students. Oh yes, I’ve done this when making the other revisions, before I sent it to the publisher, but I shall do it again. Probably twice again before returning it to the publisher on or just before March 31.

At the same time I am doing all of this, I need to try to build my audience for WHOOSH! and for the upcoming book.

I’m waiting now to hear from my publisher about the back matter. What do you think about the back matter, dear blog readers?

 

 

Counting My Blessings

A few days ago, a wonderful storyteller, Antonio Sacre, posted on his FB page that he had performed in a number of different countries this year, etc, listing it all in a summary form. It was impressive.  And instructive. Sometimes when we think about individual accomplishments we forget that all of this comes from God and to Him belongs the glory. As it says on the emblem I wore on my school uniform, Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.

So, I listed all of the writing of mine that had been published this year, including my non-fiction writing (which I rarely talk about on this site).

Publications in 2015 with a brief look back at 2014 at the end

 

 January 2015

Newspaper These are listed right from my invoice–all in this block were printed in Sun News during the year

Review of food sub bible
Review of  raw energy in a glass
Review of Caffe Diem and Kudzu joint venture for kicks
Restaurant article (small on Villa Romana) for coasting
Cooking with Honey (will turn in by 28th)

 

Carmen (the entire year right here in reverse order) These are for profiles in excellence on http://www.disability-marketing.co0m

Makies coming before the end of the year—

 

Poems (and play) (wherever you see the words HAts OFFm this means that North Carolina Writers Netowrk ran a small feature celebrating the accomplishment

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose ten-minute play, “Pinpoint Wisdom,” will be produced by Fort Point Theatre Channel of Boston as part of Channel/Dance: An Evening of Movement, Art, and Theater, February 13-14, 2015.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem, “The Cardinal’s Mirror,” was accepted for the Poeming Pigeon Anthology (The Poetry Box).

Also, she is 30/30 poet for Tupelo Press. For the month of February,

 

New Year Morning at the Beach published in Righter Monthly

Essay

Fiction

The Penny Dreadful accepted At the Farmstand, atwenty-one-word stories for its next issue.

February

Play Produced! Pinpoint Wisdom by Ft Point Theatre in Boston

Newspaper

Review of taste of home cookbook
 
Review of which wich for kicks
Travel article, Rome for March
Goffinet chirping birds
Chef huckabee article
Review of DOUBT

Carmen—see January

Poems

(Published: 13 February 2015, ncwn)

poem “Ora Pro Nobis” is forthcoming in Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing (March).

In Righter Puiblication Monthly,

How Long Will Winter Be? By Joan Leotta

February Joy by Joan Leotta

Essay

Fiction

March

Newspaper

Feature for food on zeppole and soda bread
Kicks café old vienna
Article on Chef Joeseph Bonaparte and HGTC
Indian food for diabetesw
Spring green tonics
Bonjour y’all book review

Carmen-see January

Poems

Published: 05 March 2015Hats Off! to Joan Leotta who in Knot Magazine for their spring issue on women in art, Dorotea, my tribute to Dorothy Lange, the photographer

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem “Morning Comes” is forthcoming in the “Insomnia Issue” of the journalThe Art of Being Human /An Anthology of International Poetry, compiled and edited by Daniela Voicu and Brian Wrixon (Volume 14).

www.mciwritershouse.com/authors-spotlight ran Mar 21, 2015 – A Platter of Mezze By Joan Leotta …

March 15 sent the poem Forbes field to the Hobart contest–accepted

Righter Publications published Path, Big Dog andRobin Crossing

Essay ==east iowa review http://www.portyonderpress.com/eastern-iowa-review.html–two cups of coffee–accepted on march 1!

Fiction

FISH OR CUT BAIT STORY Published  (accepted in 2014—Egidio Learns to Fish)

March 12 sent a cup of compfort to omdb.com ,accepted on march 18

(see May also! Same item)March 28 sent a flash fiction to spelkfiction@gmx.com Also, the online journal Spelk Fiction has accepted one of Joan’s flash fiction pieces, “The Magician’s Trick,” which will appear May 27.accepted on Mar 30—it will go up on the site ma

April

AWARDS FROM PRESSWOMEN< NC CHAPTER

Congratulations! You won several awards in the contest:

Too Hot to Cook won 2nd place, published in 2014 in newspaper

Carousel Ride won 3rd place essay, , published in 2014

Summer Storm in the Canyon got an Honorable Mention-poem

Newspaper

Feature for food  Passover meal
Kicks Play Review Atlantic Stage
Peter warren book review
Book review foods that make you say mmmmm
Book review  looking around
Book review  let the beauty inside you become……
Kicks Restaurant Review–CIAO

Carmen-see January

Poems

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta who had three poems—”The Autistic Boy,” “Backporch morning,” and “Blooming Bush”—published by A Quiet Courage. Her poem “Sampling Oysters” is forthcoming in Postcards, Poems,and Prose,

Righter publications published April Excitement and

April Birthday and

April 

Essay

Fiction

her prose piece “The Lion Tamer” has won an Honorable Mention in The Maine Review’s annual short fiction contest.

 

May

Book accepted Hats Off! to Joan Leotta who inked a contract to publish her first children’s picture book, Whoosh, withTHEAQ, LLC, a Minnesota-based publisher. The release date is scheduled for August, 2015

Newspaper

Feature for food  Mothers Day
Chefs of the Coast—cookbook review
Readers corner review (see Vicki)
Lombardo’s Bistro for Kicks
Bob’s Red Mill cookbook review
 
Kicks Restaurant Review—Le Bon Café
Ally’s Kitchen—cookbook review

Carmen—see January

Poems

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta who has three poems forthcoming in The Art of Being Human (Volume 15): “The Autistic Boy,(reprint)” “A Secret Mermaid,” and “Waiting (on a train platform).”

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem “Morning Comes” (reprint)is forthcoming in Anthology: The State of Open Mic in NC, edited by Melissa Hassard, book canceled later in the year

Farm Market Opening Day and Merry Merry Month of May published in Righter monthly

Al Dente poem accepted by Poeming pigeons (came out in fall in anthology)

Essay

Fiction

 June

Books  Came out  Desert Breeze, Secrets of the Heart and the collections of shorts, Simply a Smile

Newspaper

Chefs of the Coast—cookbook review
Ice cream cookbook storey press)
Vegan frozen things cookbook review storey press

Carmen see january

Poems

Published: 26 June 2015poems accepted for an international, English-language anthology:Gust of Wits. ( those what would henry do, cameras, ocean, faye’s daisies, and can I live here—word on that on june 4

Red Hawk” will appear in the August issue of the Indiana Voice Journal.

Reunion was published in Righter Monthly

Essay

Fiction

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose short story “A Glass of Water” received an honorable mention in the Pikes Peak Pen Women’s Flash Fiction Contest. The story will be included on their website.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose 21-word short story, “At the Farm Stand,” is forthcoming in Penny Dreadful.  came out this month

July

Newspaper

Turkish food ran July  15
Mystery writers of america—cookbook review
40 Fun Fables
Everyday vegan
Southern made fresh
Watermelon Savory
Kicks article on theatre, atlantic stage move and new season

Carmen see January

Poem

08 July 2015Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem “The Moth” was accepted for the new Janes Boy Press publicationIshka Bibble. It will appear in the October issue.(postphoned to later in the year)

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem “Joan Gabrielle—A Handy Name appears as part of the “All About My Name” Poetry Series from Silver Birch Press.

Picnic—Fourth of July and

Shell Tree Edisto Island published in Righter

Essay

Fiction

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose flash fiction piece “A Glimpse of Glory” is forthcoming in September’sIndiana Voice Journal.

 

August

Interview in paper/online, Various articles about me and my work on the project Poetry Opens Doors published in Brunswick Beacon this year, and Star News

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta, who was featured on The National Federation of Press Women website. Her career advice? Be persistent, be honest.

Book came out WHOOSH, Auugst 12

Newspaper

Barbecue Lovers The Carolinas—cookbook review
Hummus
Food gifts
Kids with diabetes

Carmen—see January

Poems

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem “Al Dente” is forthcoming in the Poeming Pigeons’ food-themed anthology to be published later this year is this double counted?(see earlier on acceptance of this poem)

August 13 sent languid lusciousness with lemons as revised to silver birch—accepted ! aug 30

Marking August Days published in righter Monthly

Essay Review of poetry book

From my heart to yours—review of a poetry book

Fiction

September

Newspaper

Vegetarian Thai (ran in August)
175 essential slow cooker
Thyroid health and diet

Carmen

Poem

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem “Leaves”(redo) will appear as part of the Winston-Salem Writers Poetry in Plain Sight Bus Project in the fourth quarter this year.

Also, her poems “Languid, Luscious Lemons” and

Happy Together” are forthcoming from Silver Birch Press as part of their Sweet Word and Songs projects, respectively.

September Brings Pears and

September published in Righter Monthly

Essay

Fiction

October

Newspaper

Preservation Society book review
A real southern cook in her savannah kitchen review
Article on Italian regional foods
Trim healthy mama–review
A dairy good cookbook–review
Pure pork awesomeness
Fuzzy mud

Carmen  see jan

Poems

Sea glass was accepted by postcard poems and poetry to run later in the year—ran in October

“The Queen of Long Division” has been accepted by Silver Birch Press to be a part of their  Sweet Words for Halloween Series

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta who won two prizes in the Mid-South Poetry Festival: First Place in the Doty Katz Memorial for “Spotting  Carolina Jessamine and Gahzal on the beach won a second prize in the ghazal contest

Carving out the Moon and Travel on Faith published in Righter Monthly

Essay

Fiction

Midnight Plumber ran again on my blog –first published by KRL in October 2014

 November

Newspaper

·         Joint review Ebenezer scrooge and State of the Heart-non food
Real and slow article ran first week nov
Oz cookbook
Joint review of two Robert rose books
Maple mania  running nov 18
Maple 100 recipes, book review
South Carolina blues—review non food

 

The Southerners Cookbook

 

Carmen—see January

 Poems

Sitting Down and Pumpkin Festival Dinner – Circleville, Ohio  both published in November’s Righter MOnthly

Nov 29 received acceptance for Indian Ice Cream Treat from the work the World Enough Writers Ice Cream Anthology.

Sent sleeping on a pile of coats to silver birch and it was accepted

Essay

Fiction

JOAN LEOTTA: Perspective | 50-Word Stories  accepted and ran

fiftywordstories.com/2015/11/16/joanleotta-perspective/

Nov 16, 2015 – Arachne’s skill still amazes me. In the early morning sunlight, I have often watched dew shimmering in rainbow-drenched glory along silken …

November 25, 2015 | Rachel Richey of Literative Newsletter, https://literative.com/
has just informed me that my entry into their last contest is the winner and will go up on the site on Friday–so, in between shopping and leftover turkey sandwiches, take a look!   TIGER is the name of the piece

 

December

Newspaper

·         Spiralizer cookbook–ran in early month
Atlantic Stage review of Scrooge for Kicks
Twelve Days of Cookies ran on Dec 9
Complete wild game cookbook book review ran on Dec 23
Good cheap eats dinner in 30 min or less
Georgialina review of book
probiotics book review
Healthy eating for the new year -article, gturned in

Carmen

Poems

the perfect tree published in righter monthly

received a note from poetry in plain sight that my poem,blue jay day will be their January poster

Essay—profile of Joseph Bathanti out now in the January issue of NIAF magazine,

reprint of the Big Box ran in grannysublogspot Dec 20

Fiction

Short story the surprise ball published in Righter monthly
Shaun Levin\!”The Fish Knife”. Accepted and will be coming out in February in A3 next year.England

2014 Notes(not all)

 (2014

Five Little Bears Came to My House today won  Third Place in the Caldwell Nixon, Jr. Award sponsored by the North Carolina Poetry Society.)

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta, whose short story “Voice of an Angel” has won First Place in the 2013 Charlotte Writers’ Club Contest!

May 2014 Hats Off! Joan Leotta, , Second, in the “Short Story” category of t

he 2014 Anthology Contest sponsored by the Winston-Salem Writers. in theWinston-Salem Writers 2014 Anthology  Leotta (“The World Turned Upside Down”) (May) poem “Falling Shells” is forthcoming in Poetry Quarterly/Prolific Press. Also, her short story “Cottonwood Grove” will be published in an anthology of Westerns from Cane Hollow Press. “Cottonwood Grove” is also available as a Kindle Single.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem, “Leaving Sunset Beach,” and one of her sunset photos will be on the cover of the July issue of Righter Monthly Review. Also, her essay “To Fly,” about her first car, is forthcoming in the July issue of Sasee magazine.  December 2014 they published a Big Box as well)

 

Then I prayed for each person who read my articles, poems, essays, short stories, books, and who saw my play (produced for the first time in Boston in February). I also prayed  for the editors and artists who dealt with bringing them to production. I prayed that my work would be a blessing to them and continue to be so in 2016. Then I prayed for all of the editors who read and turned down my poetry and stories in 2015. Their rejections in many case caused me to strengthen the work before it found the right home(I don;t send non-fiction out on spec any more–only write it when assigned). And believe me, those of you who only see my acceptances–when you send out poetry and fiction,m the rejection pile is high.

As I make my plan for 2016, I pray that my work may be a blessing to many and honor God in every way.