Wednesday, February 3, 2021



Hi All, and welcome to another IWSG Post. 

Thanks to the creator, Alex J Cavanaugh, writers get to meet once a week to air out our

insecurities and also to give advice to others. 

If you would like to join our group, please visit this link: link

For all of us in the north, winter is main part of our daily lives. So much snow has fallen in my town, that we have five-foot snow hills. As I walked through my neighborhood earlier today, the trees glistened with early morning light. For the first time, the beauty of this magical season introduced itself to me. I wished I had my phone to take pics, but one doesn't think of these things while taking their pup for a walk.

This beauty awakened the writer in me. It had been asleep for so long, I had honestly thought it would never come back. With so much stress from life's everyday dilemmas, a creative mind is often clouded. Thankfully, it is slowly coming to life. So, for those experiencing similar feelings, perhaps it's time for you to take a stroll through you neighborhood to find your "awakening."

Yesterday one of my major house projects came to a close. My upstairs bath was FINALLY completed. Although mostly functional, the freestanding tub needs to be reset. Sigh. Tomorrow the plumber returns and hopefully I will have a fully functional bath.  Of course there are still many more projects to go in rehabbing "this old house," but I am happy to say two major projects are out of the way, and the third should be completed by the end of the month.  It is so nice to have an accurate vintage-looking bath without the old '60s and '80s previous remodels. The bath was a horror, but now it is loaded with the original charm from 1915, including the original restored pine floor. Imagine standing on floors that were installed over a century ago. I am not sure we can say that with modern construction a hundred years from now...

Well, that is all for now. I hope everyone is safe and healthy. Keep positive and keep looking for inspirations to write. I am WANTING to pick up on my MS and with sub-below zero weather in our upcoming forecast, I will have no excuse NOT to write. 

Also today, we are having a blogfest for the wonderful and sweet, Jo Wake. She was so full of life and really LOVED her food. I had saved countless recipes from her...all DELICIOUS! I know Jo really appreciates everyone who is posting a recipe in her honor...sorry I am late with mine, for some odd reason, I thought the blogfest was on the 6th. 

The recipe I chose today is a real favorite of mine and I know MANY people LOVE home-made biscotti... here is my recipe for them... JO, I hope you are enjoying all your treats in heaven! We miss you!

Michael's Biscotti Recipe...

First, if you want the ULTIMATE biscotti, you should caramelize the almonds. I mix both in the recipe. About half and half. 

To do this is quite easy. In a bowl place the amount of almonds you wish to caramelize. I usually do A LOT, so I have enough for three or four batches. They don't go bad, and they are also great to toss in with a salad for that extra zing!

Add distilled or spring water mixed with sugar. I NEVER use tap.. But if you have 'good' water than great. Since you DON'T want them to be too sweet because of the calories use about a half a cup of organic sugar. It's better. Mix in a two to three tablespoons of cinnamon and two tablespoons of vanilla extract. I like mine very cinnamonny, so I use three. Pour the sugared water over the almonds just enough to cover them ... If you have too much add more almonds, if not enough add more water. Easy. Mix well and set for a half an hour. Now if you REALLY want them amazing, soak them overnight. Don't refrigerate, nothing will happen to them. The longer they sit, the more solution they absorb.

Preheat oven at 250 degrees. Use a nonstick cookie pan. Make sure it has some lip on it so the liquid stays. Place them in the pan and spread them out well. Just enough liquid to coat the almonds, you don't want them sitting in liquid. Just use a bit extra. Keep the left over and do another batch. You can do more almonds, pecans, or walnuts, they are all fantastic caramelized.

Bake about a half hour and then mix them up a bit and bake another ten to fifteen minutes. SInce all ovens are different check them on occasion. It could take longer or less time. You want them toasted and dry before taking them out. When done, remove and loosen them in the pan. Cool in pan on a rack.

Now, here's the recipe for the biscotti... This is my double recipe, it makes about twenty five to thirty, three inch biscotti. 

Ingredients :

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour (add extra half cup if using all extracts. dough shouldn't be sticky so add as much as needed after mixing original recipe)

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 cup organic or natural sugar (can substitute regular) I use a few lines less than a cup so not a full cup.

6 tablespoons of butter, softened

3 JUMBO eggs or 4 large eggs (I prefer jumbo for this recipe)

2 teaspoons of almond extract

2 teaspoons of anise extract

1 cup or more, depending on preference of slice almonds. (half regular-half caramelized)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda in medium bowl. Mix with spoon. place aside.

In large bowl beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and extracts and beat well. SLOWLY add flour a third at a time, mixing all flour in before adding more. At this point it should be a thick dough. Again, if too sticky add more flour but not TOO MUCH... it shouldn't be crumbly. lt should be workable in your hands. Add almonds a bit a time. Mix into dough well. You want almonds EVERYWHERE in the dough. OR if you prefer less use less. I love lots of almonds in mine.

When dough is workable, it should be easy to divide. If sticky add more flour. BUT DON'T make the dough crumble. If this happens add a bit of water.

Roll into about twelve inch lengths and flatten on ungreased cookie sheet. Flip it, an flatten again. It should be about a half an inch thick. I usually get two twelve inch rolls and one around ten inches. You want it to be about two to three inches wide when flattened. On top I usually encrust a few more caramelized almonds.

Bake for about twenty-five minutes or until firm. Don't overbake or they will crumble when you cut them. Cool on baking sheets for five minutes. Cut into slices of about 3/4 inch. I cut mine on a diagonal, but you can cut them across if you desire.  Arrange cut sides down on sheet and bake another fifteen to twenty minutes. Watch them... You want them toasted and crunchy not doughy or burnt... Remove and place pans on racks to cool. 

Now if you want an extra bit of punch.... melt semi sweet chocolate morsels and drizzle on top. Of course this adds calories, so keep that in mind. Perhaps on a special occasion or when you feel like you want a REAL treat. 

Well that's it... after cooling store in a tin. Not plastic... they will get soft. Put some paper towel on the bottom of tin and place cookies carefully inside.

ENJOY! Let me know how they turn out!



  1. Glad you found some beauty and peace during that walk.
    Awesome the bathroom is almost complete. It's a lot to restore an older house, but you are the man for the job.

  2. Hi Michael - yup ... with sub-zero temps not much else to do ... but remember the pup! Stay safe - and your bathroom is a treat to look at ... so pleased you're happy with it. Stay safe - Hilary

  3. The bath is lovely! Funny, you'd think with wintery weather keeping us at home, writing productivity would increase. I think I actually write more on brighter days when I can get outside for my breaks. Ah well. More coffee, and back to work. Happy writing in February!

    1. I am the same, Sadira. I write better in the light. Yes, coffee.... enjoy!

  4. The bathroom renovation looks great!

    I'm glad your stroll awakened you. :)

  5. I love the simplicity of your bathroom.

    We're sunny here today and it looks beautiful (but cold and windy) outside.

    1. Thanks L. Diane. I love it, too. I don't mind the cold as long as the sun is shining.

  6. That's awesome! The original floors. The bathroom looks great.

  7. Good luck with your awakening... and with your bathing :D

  8. Glad your home projects are wrapping up so you can focus on your writing more. Winter is the perfect time to hunker in and write.

    1. I agree. I just hope the sun is out with the frigid weather. I don't love gray days. The home projects start again in May/spring...back to the exterior. That gives me about two months to get some real work done.

  9. I hope you get your muse back soon, Michael. I can only dream of what snow would be like. I would have thought it would be more conducive to writing than the heat.
    Hope you're in that bath soon!

  10. Thanks Denise. It is SNOWING like crazy again today. Ugh. The novelty does wear off after shoveling mounds of frozen, wet stuff for two months. I should be in it by the weekend.

  11. I was wondering when would you realize you were late on the tribute to Jo, hehehe. But remember it is better late than never. Thanks for the recipe, my mouth waters just by reading it. Dragon Hugs, my friend.

  12. Taking a walk often gets my inspiration churning. I love biscotti.

  13. There hasn't been much snow here on the Northeastern plains of Colorado recently, but it is bitterly cold.

  14. That's a great bathroom. Looks like a very nice floor.

    Biscotti is some good stuff.

    I love reading a wide variety of genres. I posted for IWSG day today. My post includes a new book by a friend, a note about a free book next week, a tweet about a query contest (LGBTQ romance this round), and a quick message about April Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

    J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author