SQ Bakes Experimental Banana Bread!


SQ: the Mad Scientist Cook 

Call me a mad scientist-cook, but I decided to experiment with a recipe. Myren’s concerns about poisoning and his reference to Arsenic and old Lace not withstanding, I went ahead with my dangerous risky exciting baking experiment.

My Mission: To make Healthy Banana Bread

To accomplish this goal, I needed to change out some of the horrible killer deadly less than stellar ingredients for healthier options. Which ingredients are those, you ask? Flour, for one.

But flour is kind of a key ingredient, you say. (Myren said it. Many times. Loudly.)

I say–no worries. The usual bleached wheat flour can be replaced. I had a couple of options and I said what the heck (making Myren so nervous he threw up his hands and said why don’t I just blow up the kitchen), I’ll use both!

Instead of using 1 3/4 cups of bleached wheat flour, I only used 1 cup and 1/2 cup of coconut flour (yes, you read that right! COCONUT FLOUR) and a 1/4 cup of hazelnut flour (yes, the nut, hazelnut, can be pummeled into flour–but I didn’t do it myself. I bought it at the store. Pricey, but good and floury.)

My next substitution was for the sugar. (Myren moaned like an old Italian lady at a wake when he heard this.) Instead I used a half-and-half mixture of Truvia (a stevia plant based sweetener with virtually no calories) and the usual crap granulated sugar.

For my third and most ridiculous crazy challenging substitution, I had to find a replacement for the dreaded deadly tasty high-fat shortening. I searched around my kitchen for something with healthy fat and the right consistency, briefly skimming over Myren walking around and waving his hands and yelling for me to stop this nonsense. Then my gaze landed on…


I used half shortening and half mushed avocado to make up the 1/3 cup of mushy fatty substance I needed for the recipe.

Then I mixed all the ingredients together, baked it for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees and voila! [The banana bread pictured at the right is the authentic deal fresh from the oven.]*

Here’s a list of the recipe’s ingredients:

  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 1 3/4 cups flour (wheat, coconut & hazelnut combined)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (half Trivia, half granulated cane sugar)
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup half shortening-half avacado
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cups walnut pieces (or as many nuts as you want) (I used a lot.)

Good Luck and let me know how it goes with your experiment!

*I ate this banana bread and it was delicious and I suffered no ill effects (in spite of Myren’s dire warnings. He refused to try it.)

#MarchMadness Through the Eyes of a Writer #amreading #books

Hello & Welcome!

Three things come to mind when I think about the month of March: St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, Spring Break at the beach, and March Madness—the road to the Final Four!

Growing up in Southern Indiana, March was all about basketball. So I thought I’d have a little fun and fill out my brackets using a book to go along with each team. I put this together before the tournament started. These books have something to do with the state or region the basketball team is from. If watching college basketball isn’t really your thing, you can always dig into a good book. Here are a few of my favorites.


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Let’s take a closer look at each bracket…

Continue reading

Decisions, decisions!

If you’ve ever tried to find the best recipe for Shepard’s Pie, you’ll understand how much time it takes to find the right one for you and your family.



Some use ground beef, or a mixture or ground beef and lamb, while other recipes use roast beef.

Most of the ones I’ve found have different herbs and spices, so it’s a toss-up. Some use only mashed potatoes on top, others use a biscuit dough crust.

So…I’ve decided on the recipe using roast beef. For now. Once the family tries it, I may go back to the original which uses ground beef. Crust or no crust? Mashed potatoes seem to be the norm. Guess what I’ll try first?

It’s worth a shot since it’s a great comfort food dish.

Here’s one recipe I’ve found for Shepard’s Pie using ground beef. https://youtu.be/JTFAUoABDR4  

Here’s another using lamb. https://youtu.be/TsrTU3CJn2

If you have a good Shepard’s Pie recipe, would you care to share a link?

 In the meantime, I’m finishing up taxes and writing on my next Christmas novel. “The Christmas Stocking” involves loss of a child and what could happen if you rethink your life and open your heart. 

I know, I know. Taxes and Christmas don’t mix and Christmas is a long way off, but not when the story has to be written, edited and rewritten.

Please check out these links to my books, available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Smashwords. http://caroldevaney.weebly.com/my-books.html


I wish you Butterflies, Music and Love

How We Met

romantic kissFor a long time, I was embarrassed to admit how I met my husband. I thought the method I used to find a mate sounded desperate. But after nearly 20 years of marriage, what does it matter? It’s time to fess up. Now I am only bemused that we’ve known each other since before the advent of online dating. Back then, we used a telephone dating service.

I’d been single for a while when my married friend introduced me to Telepersonals. I wasn’t seriously hoping to meet my soul mate through this service, but it was free for women (only men had to pay) so I figured, why not?

The first guy I went out with turned out to be a jerk who wouldn’t let me out of his car before I kissed him goodnight. I intended to be more cautious before trying again. Then John’s greeting message grabbed me. His voice stood out from the rest, with his smooth English accent. He said he liked classical music, travel and international cuisine. I thought he sounded sophisticated. I was intrigued.

We exchanged a few messages and arranged to meet for drinks. I took my friend with me for safety. When I saw him, I thought he was cute, with his neat dark hair and kind hazel eyes. But at first I wasn’t sure we had any chemistry. He seemed to have more in common with my friend, whose parents came from England. They reminisced about Polo mints and Flake bars while I sat back shyly.

After that first meeting, he called me right away and said he’d like to see me again. I decided to give him another chance. We met at an Elvis-themed restaurant for dessert—alone this time. That’s when the sparks flew. Talking to him was easy, and he was gentle and interesting. He showed me pictures of his family. He loved cats and 1950s and 60s music, just like me. I was smitten. And the rest is history! We’ll celebrate our 20th anniversary this August.

How did you meet your significant other, and how long have you been together?

A New Novella ~ Raine English

I tend to get more writing done in winter than any other time of year. And this year has been no exception. Living in New England where it’s cold and snowy, who wants to go outside? Even my dogs want to stay snuggled up in their beds. Most of my time is spent in my office working on my books, and even though I feel like a hermit, I love what I do.

I recently finished FROM NOW ON, a sweet contemporary romance set in Atlanta. It’s available for pre-order and will release on April 24th.

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Who says love’s sweeter the second time around?

When Whitney Adams discovers her first love is back in Atlanta, she can’t help but wonder if they might have a second chance at love. But after she learns there’s more to his kisses than wanting to rekindle their romance, she isn’t about to let her heart rule.

Cash Galloway has never forgotten his high school sweetheart, so when he might have another chance with her, he’s elated. However, his happiness is short lived once he discovers his new dream job involves acquiring Atlanta Belles—Whitney’s popular salon and spa. Will Cash lose the perfect woman a second time, or will love prevail?

Preorder FROM NOW ON today at the following retailers for just $0.99:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MTFXQ2N

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/from-now-on-raine-english/1125582062

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/from-now-on-11

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1200596315


 USA Today bestselling author Raine English writes sweet small-town contemporary romance, along with paranormal and romantic suspense. She’s a Daphne du Maurier Award winner and a Golden Heart finalist.

St. Patrick Was a Scot

Like most epically wonderful things, St. Patrick was born in what we now refer to as Scotland in 387 A.D. Then, Scotland would have been known as Caledonia or Alba.


Patrick was taken when he was about 16 from his family estate by Irish pirates who took him to Ireland as a slave. He was put to work as a shepherd until he escaped 6 years later. It was during that time of isolation when he was said to have been visited by the voice of God.

Patrick spent the 15 years after his escape studying Christianity. He returned to Ireland as a priest, charged with tending the flock of Christians already in Ireland and converting those who practiced the native Irish earth-based religion.

Patrick is credited with incorporating and melding elements of that earth-based religion with Christianity. Recognizing the powerful symbol of the sun for native Irish people, he adopted that image, placed it on top of the Christian cross, and created what is known today as the “Celtic Cross”.imagesF4MPIOEP

Patrick was a vital missionary in Ireland for the next 40 years.

We celebrate the anniversary of his death on March 17, 460 A.D. as, “ST. PATRICK’S DAY”.


I’ll be spending mine in Toronto listening to the Irish rebel band, The Wolfe Tones, as I’ve done with my loved ones every year about this time, in celebration of all wonders of the CELTIC SOUL. St. Patrick~That wonderful Scot~had much to do with that.

Happy St.Patrick’s Day! May your Blessings by Many and your troubles be Few.




Out of the Box Book Selling Ideas


By the way, Cicero died in 43 BC. So even if he was concerned about his books being noticed, he must have been successful to have his words carry on throughout the centuries. Most of us don’t really care about being quoted 2000 years in the future, but those of us in the writing gig would like our books to get a little attention.

If everyone is writing a book and Amazon is swimming in free and nearly free books, how can anyone find your book baby? I’m beginning to think we writers and wannabe booksellers need to start thinking outside of the box.

Writer friends, I would love to hear your out of the box book-selling ideas. Leave an idea in the comments, and feel free to post a buy link and a two sentence blurb about your book.

Reader friends, how do you find books?

I’ll come back tomorrow with ideas. Hopefully, I’ll find a few. Stay tuned….Kristy

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