Posted in Diane Morasco, Fun Stuff, Holidays, Uncategorized, Vegan

Happy National Hot Chocolate Day! #GoVegan

Best-vegan-hot-chocolate-6-1-of-15 min
Prep Time

4 min
Cook Time

9 min
Total Time

INGREDIENTS

    • One 13.5 oz can “lite” coconut milk (this truly is the best milk to make hot chocolate, I would advise against subbing as others I’ve tried were not good. Lite leaves NO coconut taste!)
    • 2 tablespoons (12 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 3 heaping tablespoons (40 g) semi-sweet dairy-free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
    • 1-2 tablespoons (20 g) maple syrup, depending on your sweet-o-meter, I did 2
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground espresso or instant coffee (you can leave out if you want, but it makes the chocolate flavor stronger)
    • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • Optional: whipped cream, shaved chocolate, marshmallows, etc.
Note:
  • I recommend Thai Kitchen brand for the lite coconut milk. It is amazing and always so smooth and creamy, not watery. Many brands can be rather watery and not smooth.

Best-vegan-hot-chocolate-4-1-of-1INSTRUCTIONS

  1. If you have a Vitamix, then add all of the ingredients to the blender and blend for a few minutes on high until completely smooth and frothy. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, then add all of the ingredients, except the chocolate chips, to a blender or food processor and process until smooth and frothy. It will only get frothy on a high speed and after a few minutes.
  2. Add the mixture to a pot over medium heat and then add the chocolate chips. Once it begins to bubble, whisk continuously for about 4 minutes until well heated and has thickened just a bit. You don’t want to overcook it, or it will get too thick. I found this to be the perfect level of sweetness, but if you want yours a tad sweeter, add a little more maple syrup. Remove and pour into mugs and add whipped cream, shaved chocolate, marshmallows, cinnamon, etc. Enjoy!
  3. This makes enough for 2 mugs. If you are just wanting 1 serving, then place the rest in the fridge and when you are ready to use it, give it a good whisk and reheat on low.

    Click here to check out The Vegan 8.

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Posted in A Writer's Life, Diane Morasco, Productivity, The Craft and Business of Writing, Publishing and Self Publishing, Uncategorized

A Writer’s Life: 3 Writer Practices to Incorporate into your Writing Routine

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
-Stephen King, On Writing

writing-just-do-it-logo1
1. Write. Write. Write. Repeat.

You cannot become a writer by fantasizing about being one. You have to actually write. Some writers wait for that magic “moment’ when lightning strikes to write that perfect piece or for the light bulb to turn on for that brilliant idea to appear. Yes, inspiration does take root but you must write the words – all the words needed to pour the alphabet foundation and construct your creations.

2. Read. Read. Read.

When you are not writing, you must be reading.

3. To Market we go. 

You don’t have to knock back a few, kick back relax and socialize in a bar named Cheers in Boston, Massachusetts Where Everybody Knows Your Name to get your name out there. In order to get your name out there, you must get out there and be active IN REAL LIFE and on the internet, which means you have to break out of your hermit shell. Yep, you gotta slip off the introvert Slip-Ons and slip on the extrovert Lace-Ups. Attend book launches, signings, conferences, retreats, join writer’s clubs and groups, visit area bookstores and local libraries, be active on Goodreads, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Learn about finding your target audience, build your mailing list, interact with readers, and market your books.

© 2018 Diane Morasco

Posted in Uncategorized

Happy National Croissant Day!

vegan-croissants-pull-apart

INGREDIENTS

260ml water
14g fast-action yeast (2 sachets)
500g plain flour
10g salt
40g caster sugar
360g vegan butter (we used Miyokos, please read the post above for our recommendations)
Splash of non-dairy milk
Want photo instructions? You can download our photo recipe card with the form at the bottom of the recipe!

DIRECTIONS

STEP 1 In a large bowl, put your water, sugar and yeast and stir together
STEP 2 Add your flour, salt and 100g of vegan butter and knead until it all comes together (mix it in the bowl first before tipping out and kneading). If you have an electric whisk with a dough hook, you can use this
STEP 3 Cover the dough with cling film, place in the fridge, and leave for 8 hours or overnight
STEP 4 Once you’ve placed your dough in the fridge, take the remaining 260g of vegan butter and place between two pieces of parchment paper or into a sandwich bag
STEP 5 With a rolling pin, flatten the butter until it becomes a square shape that is roughly 7×7 inch (ideally, measure it with a tape measure to be sure). Wrap in cling film and place back in the fridge and leave until your dough is ready (you need to be working with the butter cold but not rock solid, so ensure it stays in the fridge until needed, and then work quickly)
STEP 6 Once your dough has been left for at least 8 hours, remove from the fridge and place on a lightly floured worktop
STEP 7 With a rolling pin, roll into a rectangle that is 14×7 inches in size
STEP 8 Take your slab of butter and place it in the middle of your dough
STEP 9 Fold the two ends of the dough to meet in the middle over the butter slab, and make sure the butter is sealed by pushing the dough together all around the edges
STEP 10 Turn the dough so that the join is now straight in front of you, not lengthways. Starting from the middle, roll your pastry out into a long rectangle, till it’s roughly 22×7 inches in size (do not roll back on yourself, always come back to the middle and roll out towards the edges)
STEP 11 Now it’s time for your first fold. Take one end of your dough and fold about two thirds of the way down, then take the other end, and fold it on top, so that you’ve folded the dough into thirds and you’re left with a rough square shape
STEP 12 Wrap your dough into cling film (make sure it’s well wrapped as this stops it from drying out) and put in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour
STEP 13 Remove from the fridge and place it so that the folded end of your dough (the part like the binding of a book) is on your left
STEP 14 Roll your dough again until it’s 22×7 inches (step 10), then repeat step 11 (the fold), wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Repeat this again (make sure fold is on left, roll and fold), wrap in cling film, but this time place in the fridge for 60 minutes
STEP 15 After your dough has been in the fridge for its third and final time, remove from the fridge and on a lightly floured surface, roll out to about 24×8 inches
STEP 16 Next, create yourself a template. Cut a piece of card or paper into a triangle shape. The base should be 4 inches wide and it should be 8 inches high
STEP 17 Place your template onto your dough and cut around it (use something sharp like a pizza cutter) to create 9 triangle shapes
STEP 18 Take a piece of dough and make a small slit in the middle of the base of your triangle with a knife
STEP 19 Roll your dough from the base to the end using your finger and thumb, turning by the corners so as to not crush the layersRoll your dough from the base to the end using your finger and thumb, turning by the corners so as to not crush the layers
STEP 20 Repeat for all pieces of dough
STEP 21 Place on a baking sheet with the pointed end at the bottom, then brush each croissant lightly with some non-dairy milk
STEP 22 Cover lightly with parchment paper and leave to rise for 1 hour. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees fan. Once heated, place in the oven for 20 minutes. If they look like they’re browning too quickly, cover with tin foil
STEP 23 Remove from the oven and allow to cool
STEP 24 Serve!

croissants-vegan-bakingCheck out the INCREDIBLE Vegan Lifestyle Blog, The Rose and Bean.

Posted in A Publisher's Life, A Writer's Life, Diane Morasco, The Craft and Business of Writing, Publishing and Self Publishing, Uncategorized

Kobo Announces Alliance with Walmart

Hero_Image_largeRakuten Kobo and Walmart announced Thursday in Tokyo they are joining forces in a strategic agreement, making Walmart the exclusive mass retail companion of the Kobo brand in the US.

This alliance will be Walmart’s first venture into digital books, offering a catalog of approximately six million eBooks with audiobooks rolling out later this year.

Digital content will be available via a desktop app, Kobo e-Readers, which will also be sold by Walmart starting as early as spring, and a Walmart/Kobo co-branded app on all Android and iOS devices.

© 2018 Diane Morasco