So, this happened again...

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 7.51.17 AMI wrote another book. It's still a bit rough around the edges, but there is something wonderful about hitting those two little words. Especially since it's been a fight to the finish with everything that's been going on since I started drafting last October. Even with the cross-country move and all that comes along with it, I was determined to have the first draft done by the end of June, and I hit the self-imposed deadline with only a few hours to spare. But I did it!

As I was packing and unpacking boxes, I spent a lot of time working out the chapters in my head, so when I finally sat down to write, it went pretty quickly. Yesterday, I compiled the entire draft from Scrivener to Word so I can get through the first round of formatting and revisions before sending it off for some second opinions and fresh eyes.

This project (Code name:HOH) marks the 6th book I've written that I feel comfortable calling "finished." I've been playing around with some music-inspired formatting, with an Intro, Midtro, and Outro bridging the main story segments. It's also the first time I've written an Asian-American character, so I've done my best to accurately and authentically portray him.

And I hope that someday, I'll be able to share HOH with the world.

Goodbye Garden, Hello Mint Syrup

This is the first year - in almost a decade- when I won't have a kitchen garden. My raised bed boxes are, perhaps, one of the things I'll miss most about our house, now that we're relocating. I'll also miss my mint garden. I planted the mint in a troublesome spot that grew more weeds than anything else, and I figured, mint is practically a weed, why not? The stuff spreads like wildfire and is almost impossible to control. It really should be relegated to pots because it will takeover a garden in a flash. It also holds its own against weeds, needs little-to-no tending, and provides an occasional flower for honey bees.

SONY DSC

This morning I gathered my last mint cuttings and decided it might be nice to try making a mint sauce for ice cream. What better way to say farewell to my plants than with a little sauce drizzled over a scoop of vanilla? The mint syrup turned out a bit thinner than I wanted, but the taste is divine. Here's the recipe I came up with, if you want to try it out yourself:

Mint Syrup

(Yield: ~ 1 1/2 cups)

Ingredients

1 cup sugar (or more, depending on how thick you want the syrup)

1 cup water

3/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves

Instructions

1. Mix sugar and water in a small pot, and heat to boiling while stirring. Once the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear, remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Sugar Syrup

2. Blanch mint leaves by boiling in water until bright green (~1 minute) and then immediately transfer to an ice bath. Drain leaves.

Boil leaves

Ice Bath

3. Add blanched mint leaves and sugar syrup to blender. Puree.

Puree

 4. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. Strain liquid and discard leafy bits. Enjoy!

Strain liquid

Note: I couldn't wait for ice cream, so I added a teaspoon of the mint syrup to a cup of hot black tea. Refreshing! I think this syrup would also work well in place of mint jelly for lamb or as a mix-in for a summery drink (think: spritzers or a mojito).

If you use this recipe to make mint sauce or have a different idea for how it can be used, I'd love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.