Friday, December 30, 2016

Chicken Soup for the Soul (or the Mild Cold)

Jen's Special Bone Broth Chicken Soup

Divas, I'm back!

Sort of ...

I've had a whirlwind year with my two books publishing—The 13th Continuum & Return of the Continuums. I won my first book award (pinch me!). Did tons of readings and signings. Started teaching creative writing class for The Writing Pad. Needless to say, that's taken a lot of time and energy away from my cooking pursuits.

Slowly, but surely, I've been coming back to food. How can I stay away? I love it too much. I hope to start posting my recipes again, maybe once a month. I'll see how it all goes!

I made this chicken soup at the height of cold and flu season (doing lots of public events = lots of germs). I got requests for the recipe, so here you go! Keep in mind that you can throw in whatever veggies you happen to have on hand. You can also add beans (I love putting white beans in soups). You could add quinoa or rice. Really, it's whatever floats your boat.

For this iteration, I did use my homemade chicken bone broth that I make in the slow cooker overnight. First, I make a whole chicken, one of my fave slow cooker recipes. Then I save the meat we don't eat for soup and return the carcass to the slow cooker, cover it with filtered water and a tablespoon or two of raw apple cider vinegar and cook it on low overnight. The next day, I strain it and BOOM—amazing homemade bone broth. My recipe has some fancier things you can throw in with the chicken bones, but it's fine with the extras.

Okay, so the next day I have 1) chicken meat and 2) chicken bone broth. Now we make soup! Yes, you can use store bought broth BUT it won't taste nearly as good. I buy my chickens primarily from a vendor at my farmers market that specializes in grassfed/pastured meat. I'll buy three or four at a time and keep them in my freezer. Yes, they're more expensive. But you can actually taste the difference.

Of course, store bought will work. Trader Joe's sells organic whole chickens at a very reasonable price point. A whole chicken can stretch to two or more meals easily.

Chicken Soup for the Soul (or Mild Cold)
Serves 4 to 8 people
Cooking time: about 25 minutes

2 cups chicken meat (cooked & pulled into pieces for soup)
2 cups red potatoes, halved or quartered
1 cup frozen peas
3 cups raw spinach
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
about 4 to 6 cups of chicken stock
fresh herbs: thyme, rosemary & chopped Italian parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
optional garnish: ground turmeric

1) In a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute until beginning to soften (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the potatoes and cover with the chicken stock (about 4 to 6 cups depending on how much broth you like in your soup). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

2) Add the frozen peas, spinach, chicken pieces and herbs and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, recover, and cook for another 5 minutes or until the greens are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3) Serve with a dash of ground turmeric and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Friday, October 21, 2016

My Book "The 13th Continuum" On Sale & More Recipes Coming Soon!

Divas, it's been a while since I've posted—and with good reason!

I've been in the trenches, writing my Continuum Trilogy books. I'm thrilled to announce that I just won my first book award! I also just sent off the third book in the series to my publisher and plan to come back with new recipes SOON now that I actually have some time. This Sunday, I'm off to a cooking and writing workshop at Julia Child's old house in Provence (yes, you read that right!). I'll be cooking and eating and reporting back here with photos and fun stuff. New recipes are coming soon. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, to celebrate the release of Return of the Continuums (Book 2) on November 1st, the ebook for my award-winning novel The 13th Continuum is on sale for only $1.99! The sale extends to everywhere ebooks are sold. The sale ends on 11/2/16.

Links to the ebook sale for The 13th Continuum ebook (only $1.99):

Happy reading!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

My Debut Novel THE 13TH CONTINUUM -- In Stores Now!

Me & Challen Cates (actress, Big Time Rush) at THE 13TH CONTINUUM launch party!


I haven't written here in a little while with good reason...

My debut novel THE 13TH CONTINUUM published last week!

It's been a whirlwind experience but super rewarding. The book is the first in a three-book series and we are working on putting together the film version. Publisher's Weekly featured photo and blurb on my launch party at Meltdown Comics last week. Check it out here!

One thousand years after a cataclysmic event leaves humanity on the brink of extinction, the descendants of the chosen survivors take refuge in thirteen contingency shelters buried deep underground, at the bottom of the ocean, and in the far reaches of outer space. In the underwater 13th Continuum, sixteen-year-old Myra Jackson has heard rumors and whisperings all her life of a magical place called "The Surface” where people could breathe fresh air, feel the warmth of something called sunlight on their skin, and see things known as stars and trees and mountains. Myra has never dared to ask whether the stories are true, since the act of speaking such words aloud is an offense punishable by death. But after she discovers that the air supply aboard her underwater colony is running out, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to find this mysterious place. To get there, she must first recover the only guide to the Surface―the Beacon, an ancient device that also connects her to Captain Aero Wright, a dashing young soldier from one of the only remaining space colonies. With the fate of all humankind depending on them, Myra and Aero must escape the tyrannical forces that rule their colonies, journey through the black depths of the ocean and across the cold void of space, to find each other on the Surface that their ancestors once called home.




I'm reading at Book'd tonight in the NOHO Arts District. Upcoming events include The Mysterious Galaxy Birthday Bash in San Diego, Barnes & Noble Teen Book Fest (appearances at stores in Studio City and Rancho Cucamonga), BEA, Hollins University & more. For more details visist:

New recipes coming SOON.... (I swear)... ;-)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Spinach, Bell Pepper & Potato Frittata with Feta Cheese

Spinach, Bell Pepper & Potato Frittata with Feta Cheese
So...I know it's been a little while since I've posted here. But I have a good reason—I've been busy working on my forthcoming trilogy. The first book—The 13th Continuum—publishes on April 19, 2016. Lots of awesome marketing stuff in the pipeline. So many exciting things are happening!

But I thought I would take a short break from writing fiction to post a quick recipe. It's no secret that I love making frittatas. They're simple to whip up for breakfast, keep in the fridge, and also great for lunch or snacking. I load mine up with fresh vegetables from my local farmers market. I use farm fresh eggs (yes, I believe you can taste the difference). Finally, I crumble Tunisian feta cheese on top. Maybe a little big of parmesan if I'm feeling extra fancy.

I also go light on the eggs, heavy on the veggies! This frittata combines red potatoes, spinach, and yellow bell pepper. But any mix of vegetables should work fine. As a rule, I always put greens in...well...everything. Enjoy!

Spinach, Bell Pepper & Potato Frittata with Feta Cheese
Spinach, Bell Pepper & Potato Frittata with Feta Cheese
Serves 4-6 people
Cooking time: about 20 minutes
Vegetarian; Gluten Free

4 eggs, whisked until smooth
3 cups fresh spinach
1 yellow, orange or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 small red potatoes, poked with holes and cooked in the microwave for 3 minutes until tender
3 leaves fresh basil, chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
salt and freshly ground pepper

1.  Preheat the broiler.

2. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and saute for a few minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the spinach and saute until wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spray the bottom of the skillet with nonstick spray if needed. 

3. After cooking the potatoes in the microwave, chop them and add them to the vegetable mixture. Pour the whisked eggs evenly over the top. Crumble the feta cheese over it and sprinkle with basil. Season with salt and pepper and a quick drizzle of olive oil.

4. Continue cooking stove top until the frittata begins to set. Finish the frittata under the broiler until the top is beginning to brown. Enjoy!