I only took one picture of this beauty. My apologies! I was too excited to try it, and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure it would actually taste good. We paired this perfectly sweet, amazing salad with grilled red potatoes (topped with a dash or two of Tabasco) and a piece of Mahi Mahi. The fish was fresh, so salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon was all it took to make it taste AMAZING.
The best thing about this salad is it looks super fancy and it is SO EASY it’s kind of embarrassing. If you’re cooking for a larger crowd, I’d say double this. There’s really no “exact” measurements, it’s more throw it together and add a little more of this or that if it looks uneven.
Here’s how I did it.
That’s it! A simple salad, completely delicious. It paired nicely with the potatoes and the fish, making the meal light but filling.
A mini throwback for #ThrowbackThursday.
Here’s a snippet from one of my favorite scenes from The Millionaire Affair.
“Hi, nanny Kimber. How’s my adorable nephew?”
You have no idea.
Have you read Tempting the Billionaire yet?
Here’s 3 reasons why you should:
1. Shane August is not your typical billionaire. He’s as sweet as the chocolate chip cookies he bakes. (Yep. BAKES.)
2. Imagine Henry Cavill as Shane. Enough said.
Need more? Here’s an excerpt:
Oscillating red, green, and blue lights sliced through the smoke-filled club. Men and women cluttered the floor, their arms pumping in time with the throbbing speakers as an unseen fog machine muddied the air.
Shane August resisted the urge to press his fingertips into his eyelids and stave off the headache that’d begun forming there an hour ago.
Tonight marked the end of a grueling six-day workweek, one he would have preferred to end in his home gym, or in the company of a glass of red wine. He frowned at the bottle of light beer in his hand. Six dollars. That was fifty cents an ounce.
The sound of laughter pulled his attention from the overpriced brew, and he found a pair of girls sidling by his table. They offered twin grins and waved in tandem, hips swaying as they strode by.
“Damn,” Aiden muttered over his shoulder. “I should have worn a suit.”
Shane angled a glance at his cousin’s T-shirt and jeans. “Do you even own a suit?”
Shane suppressed a budding smile and tipped his beer bottle to his lips. It was Aiden who dragged him here tonight. Shane could give him a hard time, but Aiden was here to forget about his ex-wife, and she’d given him a hard enough time for both of them.
“This is where you’re making your foray into the dating world?” Shane asked, glancing around the room at the bevy of flesh peeking out from the bottom of skin-tight skirts and shorts.
“Seemed like a good place to pick up chicks,” Aiden answered with a roll of one shoulder.
Shane tamped down another smile. Aiden was recently divorced, though “finally” might be a better term. Two years of wedded bliss had been anything but, thanks to Harmony’s wandering eye. Shane couldn’t blame Aiden for exercising a bit of freedom. God knows, if Shane were in his shoes, he’d have bailed a long time ago. This time when Harmony left, she’d followed her sucker punch with a TKO: the man she left Aiden for was his, now former, best friend. At first Aiden had been withdrawn, then angry. Tonight he appeared to be masking his emotions beneath a cloak of overconfidence.
“Right,” Shane muttered. “Chicks.”
“Well, excuse me, Mr. Moneybags.” Aiden leaned one arm on the high-top table and faced him. “Women may throw themselves at you like live grenades, but the rest of us commoners have to come out to the trenches and hunt.”
Shane gave him a dubious look, in part for the sloppily mixed metaphor, but mostly because dodging incoming women didn’t exactly describe his lackluster love life. If he’d learned anything from his last girlfriend, it was how to spot a girl who wanted to take a dip in his cash pool.
He’d only had himself to blame, he supposed. He was accustomed to solving problems with money. Problem-free living just happened to be at the top of his priority list. Unfortunately, relationships didn’t file away neatly into manila folders, weren’t able to be delegated in afternoon conference meetings. Relationships were complicated, messy. Time consuming.
“I can pick up a girl in a club,” Shane found himself arguing. It’d been a while, but he never was one to shy away from a challenge. Self-made men didn’t shrink in the face of adversity.
Aiden laughed and clapped him on the shoulder. “Don’t embarrass yourself.”
Shane straightened and pushed the beer bottle aside. “Wanna bet?”
“With you?” Aiden lifted a thick blond eyebrow. “Forget it! You wipe your ass with fifties.”
“Hundreds,” Shane corrected, earning a hearty chuckle.
“Then again,” Aiden said after finishing off his bottle, “I wouldn’t mind seeing you in action, learn what not to do now that I’m single again. Find a cute girl and I’ll be your wingman.” Before Shane could respond, Aiden elbowed him. “Except for her.”
Shane followed his cousin’s pointing finger to the bar, where a woman dabbed at her eyes with a napkin. She looked so delicate sitting there, folded over in her chair, an array of brown curls concealing part of her face.
“Crying chicks either have too much baggage, or they’re wasted.”
Says Aiden Downey, dating guru.
“Drunk can be good,” he continued, “but by the time you get close enough to find out, it’s too late.”
Shane frowned. He didn’t like being told what to do. Or what not to. He wasn’t sure if that’s what made him decide to approach her, or if he’d decided the second Aiden pointed her out. He felt his lips pull into a deeper frown.
He shouldn’t be considering it at all.
What are you waiting for?
And if you’ve already read it, well, read it again. You’ll need something to do while we wait for Evan’s book, right?
Can you believe it?
I get to go on a vacation!
Florida was lovely, and of course, I got to spend time with my author bestie, Shannon. But that was months ago, and since then I have written and edited Bringing Home the Bad Boy (have you read the complete first chapter yet???), written a first draft of Rescuing the Bad Boy, and started A Bad Boy for Christmas.
Yeah, it’s been a busy five months!
This time around, I’m not going to the ocean, but I am going to the water! A little island by the name of Put-in-Bay. The hubs chose this location because of the location of my bad boy books. You see, my bad boys live in a ficticious town called Evergreen Cove which is a wealthy lakeside town in northern Ohio. Going to this Great Lake is going to really help me finish out this series!
I am so excited!
Of course, I will keep you posted. In the meantime, tell me where you went on vacation last. Have you ever been to Put-in-Bay?
I have been on a quesadilla kick lately.
I think because they are easy, and often lunchtimes sneaks up on me. Whenever I’m in the middle of writing or editing, I tend to blow right through lunch, subsisting on whatever I had for breakfast and coffee in between. So by the time I make it to the kitchen, I am STARVING.
First I have to tell you about the tortillas I use. I gotta say, I am not loving the generic white flour tortillas. Often, you just end up with a gummy, chewy wrap for whatever filling you insert. I’m not into that.
On the other hand, if you can find these, Tortilla Land makes uncooked tortillas that cook in sixty seconds. If you are taking your lunch with you, like my husband does, you can simply cook the tortilla, let it cool, then put it in a large Ziploc bag for lunch. Since these are raw, they cook up fresh. I can’t tell you how much better these taste than the ones with nineteen preservatives in them. These guys have FIVE ingredients. You can feel good about that!
Once you’ve picked your tortilla, then you’ve got filling. Quesadillas, like burritos are a great place to house leftovers. I didn’t take any pictures but earlier in the week, I combined my refried beans with a leftover piece of tilapia, salsa, and a piece of Swiss cheese. Sounds weird, but I promise you, a dollop of sour cream on top and this was the most delicious thing!
The recipe I’m about to give you is equally awesome.
The quality of your ingredients should be high, and that is what is going to take this quesadilla over the top. For my salsa, I chose Private Selection from Kroger. They carry a Chipotle Chile Pepper salsa that is so smoky and delicious!
For your cheese, you can choose regular cheese or, as I did in this case, vegan cheese. I don’t always eat vegan cheese, but I actually love the taste of Daiya for a little something different.
Let’s get started.
That’s it! This is just a method. Any leftovers you have in your fridge can get layered into a tortilla, and grilled.
Hi, my name is Jessica and I used to be a vegan.
Weird that I feel the need to confess that, right?
Except when you make a food change as drastically as I did (in 2011, I ate a bacon cheeseburger on a Saturday and went vegan on a Sunday) people notice, want to talk about it, and for some reason, happily anticipate your inevitable “failure.” There’s only one problem.
I didn’t do it to win favor.
The land of Veganville is rife with politics bordering religion, and starts at an epically beautiful place: compassion. Compassion for animals, care for your own well-being, and an overall love for life.
Why did I go vegan?
Simple. I was sick ALL the time. My immune system is a weak beast as it is. Pile that on top of the fact I make terrible food choices (Bacon? Only if it’s on top of cheese fries!) and you have a recipe for one unhealthy human being.
Colds and flus were upon me like white on rice. I was sick four times a year–like laid up sick–and if someone sneezed around me, I knew I was in for it. I was also so terribly tired (having received the junkpile diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in my early twenties) and I knew drastic measures had to be taken.
Why did I stop?
Simple answer? Being on a super strict diet OF ANY KIND is hard. HARD.
It requires a ton of planning, a ton of thought, and more time than I was willing to give it. To be fair, I jokingly referred to myself as 98% vegan seven months after I caved and ordered a cheese pizza. Allowing cheese pizza on occasion for ease, and an egg at breakfast if I was out at a restaurant made my life less stressful. I was still a vegan at home where I could easily control the ingredients. No animal products, not even honey!
And let me tell you something. Vegan cooking? AMAZING. DELICIOUS. I’ve made it all. Cashew cream, seitan, tofu “crab” cakes, chickpea “tuna” salad… I’ve learned how to make quinoa and kale and OMG, please let me make you tempeh picatta sometime because it’s YUMMO.
That takes time. And when you don’t have time, you resort to what’s easy. Non-dairy cheese sandwiches and processed Tofurkey and peanut butter and jelly aren’t “bad” on occasion, but you can certainly do better on the health scale.
I lost 30 lbs. That’s three-zero, people. I’d done everything known to man to try to lose my post-baby weight (two miscarriages, no babies) and it finally fell off because I cut out fattening dairy and meat that wasn’t nourishing me. Because I was strict, I lost my taste for packaged cookies and a lot of cheaper sugars. (Most over-the-counter candy bars contain milk so I simply quit eating them.)
Then it quit working.
The panic attacks started in March of this year. Full on nervous breakdown stuff. I was trying to work through deadlines, trying to meet the demands of having several books contracted, trying to keep my diet perfect, and feeling horrible doing it all.
When I started inching back to center and added in eggs on a more regular basis, I dropped eight pounds out of nowhere. It appears somewhere along the way, vegan wasn’t working as well as it should. My fault. I was no longer spending hours upon hours in the kitchen or making healthful, clearly thought out choices.
It is a choice.
So, I chose to relieve myself of the anxiety of traveling ANYWHERE (know how hard it is to find vegan food at a conference in Kansas City?), and the daily stress of how many animals had to suffer for my sustenance, and just allowed EVERYTHING.
But, allowing everything didn’t mean I ate everything, but it did allow me the freedom to say “I do what I want!”, which as humans, I think we all need to say. (Apparently, human beings need to behave like three-year-olds sometimes.)
I also started eating fish, quickly learning a little goes a long way. I ate turkey and confirmed that while it kept me full for a while, it did mess with my digestion. I ate eggs and realized that while they are yummy, too many at 5g of fat each (eep!) and I begin to creep on the pounds. Along with cheese, which I rarely have in the house for the same reason.
Now I’m open and starting to implement both what I learned being vegan with what I knew to be healthful eating. Eating meat is not something I do often because it doesn’t make me feel very good. But if I want a bite of my husband’s chicken wings…okay, I ate the entire wing…I’m having it. And I’m not going to drag myself to vegan confessional because I did.
Like I said, I’m coming back to center, seeking balance and following no one’s rules. What you put in your mouth is your business (take that however you like…)
And that goes the same for mine.
I’m looking forward to revamping my Friday Feast section which sorta went quiet for a while and sharing my favorite tips and tricks from the kitchen. After all, if you’re gonna eat, it may as well be AMAZING.
That’s it for now,
The complete first chapter of Evan’s book is now UP!
He licked the side of his mouth…
…still tasting her there, his hands at his sides, chest heaving, hair probably a mess from her roaming fingers. She wouldn’t look at him, a study in casualness except for the one hand forced into a fist at her side. Trying to keep herself from fidgeting no doubt. She was the sexiest thing he’d ever seen. And she’d more than proven her point. If he wanted a partner to spar with, in bed or out, she was a worthy opponent, not some delicate flower he had to handle with care.
I just learned this morning I have a Fresh Fiction review! Even better? It’s very, very positive! YAY! Here’s what the reviewer has to say about Landon and Kimber. (I’ll put the link to the full review in the comments.)
“I have never had the pleasure of reading any of the novels from the talented Jessica Lemmon, but am totally in love with her story. THE MILLIONAIRE AFFAIR is definitely a “can’t-put- down” book until the very last page is turned. I was completely entertained by this witty, emotional and sexually hot story of two people finding forever love. I can’t wait to read more of her Love in the Balance novels.”
THANK YOU, FRESH FICTION! #TeamLandon
You can read the full review HERE.
It comes as no secret how big a fan I am of Sons of Anarchy. Ever since I caught up with the episodes on Netflix, I have been a committed, committed fan. There’s even a tie-in to one of my books, since Charlie Hunnam’s beautiful face fit Aiden so perfectly.
If you’ve never seen the show, I’m not going to lie–it’s brutal. Violent, frightening, and Jax Teller isn’t a character you always support. But, oh, the characters. They drag you in and make you CARE about them. Make you forgive them even when they’re being horrific.
This is the LAST SEASON of SOA, and I’m a combination of terrified and jittery with excitement to watch it. Looking forward to the night of the 90-minute premiere, I’m expecting to watch it the way I do a horror movie: between parted fingers covering my eyes.
…MAJOR SPOILER ALERT…
Skip to the next blue header if you’re not caught up!
Mainly because last season’s finale where Gemma did Tara in almost killed me. It was gut-wrenchingly REAL and sloppy, and just horrifying. (That being said, it was so epically memorable, I hid an Easter egg reference to it in my next book, so that’ll be fun for you superfans to find.)
…END SPOILER ALERT…
And Jax. OH JAX. When he cries… Seriously. HELP ME, RHONDA.
He’s going to be a hot mess this season, I just know it. And knowing the show’s creator, Kurt Sutter, has no problem reaching into my chest and tearing out my still-beating heart, I’m so very scared about what I might see.
What about you? Do you watch SOA? Are you watching the premiere on September 9? If so, buckle in for the 90-minute ride of your life. And if you haven’t seen the minute-long trailer, here it is. Watch at your own risk.