(This is a mirror site of my webpage karenjcarlisle.com)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Chocolatey Strawberry Goodness

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/11/27/chocolatey-strawberry-goodness/

It's been a long month and I'm in need of some chocolatey goodness - and the caffeine and Tryptophan and Phenylethylalanine* to pick me up. So I went searching for some new recipes and found this on Hugs and Cookies XOXO. I've adapted it to metric and for Aussie cooking.

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Brownies.

What you need:
  • 1/2 cup margarine (I'm lactose intolerant. You can use butter if you prefer)
  • 225g dark cooking chocolate for brownies.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs (we used fresh from mum's chook run)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup self-raising flour
  • 225g strawberries (just under a punnet )
  • 250g of 70% dark chocolate for the topping.
How to make it:
Brownie base:
Melt the cooking chocolate and margarine, until smooth. Stir in the sugar. Add vanilla and eggs and self-raising flour. Pour into pre-greased or non-stick 20 x 20 cm baking dish.
Bake for 20 minutes at 175 deg C.
Allow to cool.
Slice strawberries and place on top of brown base. Melt dark chocolate and pour over the strawberries. Chill for one hour (minimum) and cut into slices.
Changes I made to the original recipe:
Self raising flour has flour+baking powder. In Australia we don't have salt in our self-raising flour, as they do in the US. I removed the salt in the original recipe to make this healthier. I'm also using 70% dark chocolate which is not as sweet (and less milk - see lactose intolerant comment above). I also increased the amount of chocolate for the topping to ensure the strawberries would be covered.
Changes I'll make next time:
The extra thickness made it harder to cut and made them very, very rich. Next time I'll try my 85% dark chocolate to reduce sweetness. I may also decrease the amount of chocolate to 200-225g for the topping so it is not as thick.
Suggestion: The brownies were soft and gooey (which I love). If you prefer your brownies more 'cake-like', then you will need to cook the brownie base for longer.
And for those who like video:

Sciencey Stuff:
*Tryptophan: amino acid found in small amounts in chocolate and is used by the brain to make serotonin (neurotransmitter producing feelings of happiness).
Phenylethylalanine: has been found in chocolate. It promotes feelings associated with the initial euphoria of falling in love. It also acts as an anti-depressant, combining with dopamine in the brain.
  1. A natural compound in red wine and chocolate may halt Alzheimer’s, study finds http://www.sciencealert.com/a-natural-compound-in-red-wine-and-chocolate-may-halt-alzheimer-s-study-finds
  2. Can chocolate give me a happy high? http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/chocolate-high1.htm
  3. Compounds in dark chocolate can make you feel calmer... http://www.sciencealert.com/compounds-in-dark-chocolate-can-make-you-feel-calmer-and-more-content-study-finds
  4. Why does chocolate make us happy: http://www.sciencefocus.com/blog/why-does-chocolate-make-us-happy
Photos and Video:©2016 Karen J Carlisle.
All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Redbubble Black Friday Sale

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/11/25/redbubble-black-friday-sale/

Redbubble has a Black Friday sale today. Up to 35% off Hoodies and sweatshirts*. 20% off everything else.
Visit my store for original art products t-shirts, prints, cushions, stickers...Use code: gift-katdb
Roleplaying series:
 ancientdragontshirtfb ddroguethief  elffighterwhiterb rcdwarffighterrbtshirt
Kraken series
 steamtrekrbonline deepseaballooningonrb in-the-shade-of-octopusrb marieoctonette5rb krakenchestbusteratrb
The Question & World Squeeze
Sale finishes 25th November, 2016 at 11.50pm.
*Redbubble already has some Hoodie and sweatshirt prices are already reduced on the site. Get full 35% when you use code: gift-katdb.
All original designs ©2016 Karen J Carlisle.

Photo Friday: Supanova day 2

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/11/25/photo-friday-supanova-day-2/

Day two of Adelaide Supanova. I survived the dodgy air con and took more photos. If you missed Wednesday's post, the Con video is now up on my youTube channel.
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Meet these Australian Indie Authors at Greenlight Comics, Adelaide
17th December, 2016.
Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Adelaide Supanova

oringal post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/11/20/adelaide-supanova/

Day one:
What I love about being a writer in Adelaide is the camaraderie of the local writers and artists and the support I get from my readers. Thanks especially to Tilly who ran up to my table and expressed her desire to buy my second book as she loved the first - and for introducing her friend, Tara, to Viola's adventures. (You can find the latest review here).
  tilly tara
There are so many amazing artists and writers here in Adelaide and in Australia. In my aisle alone there are comic book artists, writers and producers, a musician and other writers. Speculative fiction is (not surprisingly) the main focus of many of them.
Then there's the skilled and imaginative costume makers. Here's just a few of the fantastic costumes on Saturday.
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and my favourites of the day:img_5133
Adelaide Indie Authors Pop-up Store:
I'm at table 14 at Supanova this weekend. Come and say hello. If you can't make it, I will be at a pop-up Adelaide Indie Author shop on 17th December, at Greenlight Comics in the Adelaide CBD.

doctorjackrbblankT-shirt Orders
I will be placing an order for Doctor Jack t-shirts next week. If you would like a tee, please contact me before Friday 25th November to place an order. (I take paypal and do direct debit) You can collect them at the pop-up store on 17th December and not pay postage!
Event Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle.
All Rights Reserved.

Supanova Event Video Live!

oringal post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/11/23/supanova-event-video-live/

Adelaide Supanova video is now live on my youTube channel.
This year I was at table #14 in The Alley.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by or bought a book.
Thanks to attendees and exhibitors who agreed to appear in this video.
Apologies for the Day 2 camera malfunction which meant so many cool snippets were lost and could not make the video.
sp-steampunkmeMore photos on Photo Friday!

Happy Doctor Who/TARDIS day

On 23rd November, 1963 Doctor Who was introduced to the world.
Happy Doctor Who/TARDIS day

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Escaping Reality.

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/11/13/escaping-reality/

I've been putting off writing today's blog post. So much has happened over the past week. My mind is still reeling. There's been a lot of contemplation on serious and soul-searching subjects. We need a reprieve.
On Friday, I posted photographs of my garden. I needed cheering up. Today, I just wanted to post pictures of lovable fluffy kittens and puppies to cheer everyone else up.
I thought of writing about how social media and celebrity has fashioned our mindset and is taking over our lives, even to the point the US now has a 'media celebrity' as their Presidential-elect. But that resulted in frustration and more anxiety.
I thought about writing a post on how the state of political and economical affairs of the world influence the type of books we read and movies we watch. In the post war-Depression, musicals helped people escape. In the 70s we escaped with Star Wars. In the high-flying early 80s, we preferred realism, like Kramer vs Kramer. In more recent times of instability, we have returned to fantasy movies and books, as the popularity of vampire novels and superhero movies attest. As the economy continues to slide, the popularity of dystopian fantasy/science fiction is waning. It it because it seems too close to our potential future?
We need escapism. We need a hero, like The Doctor or Wonder Woman. We don't need to be reminded of real life.
We know what that's like.
I reached for another square of chocolate. All gone. My back muscles tensed. No, instead, I'll repost a very short fantasy story - a 100-word challenge I wrote back in 2013. A whimsical one. We could all use a little whimsy in our lives right now.
(And I ended up posting about cats any way.)


by Karen Carlisle. © 2013
“That damned cat!” There was a blur of black under Mum’s feet. “It just appears out of nowhere.”
Binky now sat cleaning himself. Watching.
“He is always watching,” she said as she rubbed her ankle. “No doubt, smiling at his handiwork.” She glanced in his direction. The spot was now vacant.
“See! Maybe he has gone off to report back to the alien mothership?” Mum grinned mischievously.
I found Binky in my bedroom, staring into the air and mewing. The air shimmered before him, revealing a feline hologram that listened intently. It disappeared. I gasped. Binky winked.
“Ssh, our secret.”
Hugs to you all.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Photo Friday: Roses for Remembrance.

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/11/11/photo-friday-roses-for-remembrance/

bluetongue-161106It's spring. Already the native bees are swarming, the blue tongues are ferreting in the grass, the birds are nesting and the butterflies and dragonflies are flitting about. The smell of freshly turned earth and mown grass wafts through the back door and soothes the worries of the week.
A heady perfume follows on the breeze. My roses are in bloom and, frankly, I'm surprised; I've missed the annual weed, feed and hack (did I say 'hack'... I mean: prune) due to this year's health shenanigans and resulting surgery. I'm still not allowed to do digging or landscaping. Oh, the frustration!
But roses are hardy. They know I love them, even if I neglect them.
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I sit and contemplate my garden. It's Remembrance Day; the 11th day of the 11th month.
At the 11th hour, we remember those who fought and died. Its been ninety-eight years. You'd think we'd have learned by now.
I choose to remember, not the futility or horror of war, but the coming of peace - when the guns were silenced.
I don't have poppies in my garden but I do have rosemary and roses. Lots of roses.
Photos: ©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Halloween Hi-jinks

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/11/06/halloween-hi-jinks/

Last weekend I had a booth at a local Halloween Comic Con, held at The Markets on Flinders, in Adelaide CBD. There were local indie authors (who wrote science fiction, fantasy and steampunk), local artists and comic book creators, as well as the usual purveyors of pop culture memorabilia.
 badges_photo_copyright2016karencarlisle darkoz2_photo_copyright2016karencarlisle alex_photo_copyright2016karencarlisle
I tried not to spend any money. I really did. But...
There was someone selling old books. I fell in love with a book: The Illustrated News Record on the Glorious Reign of Queen Victoria. It had pictures and news articles on Queen Victoria's coronation, marriage and events up to 1901. Great for research.
We trialed a new set up, with a sunshade to delineate area, a black cloth (it was Halloween, after all) to make the items 'pop' and two new display boxes - in keeping with Halloween theme and my 'branding' (I do hate that word, however, being consistent in my 'look' improves my chances of being recognised among the many other authors and creatives out there.
And it worked! Two attendees mentioned they found me as they recognised my booth (woot!) and two more recognised my covers and wanted the second book. (Double woot!)
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There wasn't as many costumes this year. It could have been the extreme heat  on the Saturday (predicted for 30 deg C, after we had been enjoying high teens), followed by another cold day of rain and strong winds (some areas had damage). I did love this mad scientist costume - she put this together herself.
We dressed in our steampunk attire. I wore my 'new' upcycled black outfit on Sunday.
 costume_photo_copyright2016karencarlisle me_photo_copyright2016karencarlisle
Unfortunately one of my books was filched. I thought I was imagining it but, no. When we did the end of the day tally (book stock take, sale tallies and money) there was definitely one missing. This left me disappointed and needing to sell more books on the Sunday, to make up for the money lost.
<insert complaints about how hard it is to make any money anyway.>
Oh, well. Perhaps I should take it as a compliment - someone wanted my book so desperately, they stole it? I just hope they enjoy it and they bloody well better write a review on Goodreads!
cards_photo_copyright2016karencarlisleOn the upside, I caught up with some friends and met new people. I had interesting conversations, chatted with other local indie authors and artists. I made some connections, learnt new things and picked up some useful tips to help with some ideas I have for possible new directions in my work and future events. I also got to chat about steampunk and the fun I have coming up with story ideas and doing research. This definitely outweighed the unfortunate events.
A big hello to my new readers, followers on Facebook and visitors to my pages. I hope to chat to you again soon. Please come and say hello at Supanova.
It's like that ad:
Research books: $20. Books stolen: $16. Connections and conversations: Priceless.
Art and Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.