Sugar Cookies and Time Travel

from Sharon Ledwith

In the second book of The Last Timekeepers young adult time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Treena Mui attempts to soothe the time traveling troops’ appetites by baking them a batch of sugar cookies using her family’s secret recipe. The problem is she mistakenly used salt as the main ingredient instead of sugar. It really wasn’t her fault—all the jars were marked in Dutch. Poor Jordan is still trying to wash the taste out of his mouth!

So to correct this, I thought I’d share Treena Mui’s mouth-watering sugar cookie recipe to give you a taste of what the Timekeepers missed out on their undercover mission in Amsterdam during World War II. With a prep time of 20 minutes and cook time of 8 minutes, you don’t need to be a genius or a secret agent to figure out that it takes less than a half an hour to feed your own army!

Mui’s Mouth-Watering Sugar Cookies

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp. cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)

Over a large bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, sugar. Cut in butter and blend with a pastry blender until mixture resembles cornmeal. Stir in lightly beaten egg, cream, and vanilla. Blend well. Dough may be chilled, if desired.

On a floured surface, roll out dough to ⅛ inch thickness. Sprinkle with sugar; cut into desired shapes. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until delicately brown.

While you’re waiting for those cookies to cool, take a time out and give yourself a well-deserved break. So sit back, prop up your feet, and open a book you’ve been meaning to read. Why not pick up one of The Last Timekeepers adventures, and peruse the latest mission with Treena and her time traveling cohorts?

Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.

Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.

With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.

EXCERPT
“I wonder what else is down here.” Drake beamed his cell phone across the basement, hitting jars of jams, pickles, and relishes. His stomach growled.

Jordan pulled the cheese from his pocket and handed it to Drake. “Trade you for your phone.”

“Best. Trade. Ever.” Drake passed his phone to Jordan.

Jordan walked over and grabbed a jar of pickles off the dusty shelf. At least they wouldn’t arrive at the baron’s place hungry. He hoped his uncle had managed to stop Amanda’s bleeding. His hand tightened over the jar, the ridges of the lid cutting into his palm. A scrape from behind the shelves made Jordan jump.

“Hello?” he asked, pushing jars aside. He flashed the cell phone into the small, dark area.

“Who ya talking to, Jordan?” Drake asked with his mouth full of cheese.

“Shhh, Drake.” Jordan listened. Hearing nothing, he shrugged and turned back around.

“I thought I heard—” Jordan stopped and pointed the phone at Ravi. His jaw dropped. “A-Are you serious, Sharma?”

Drake spat out his cheese, snorting with laughter.

“Is there a problem?” Ravi asked, tying the bowtie of his tuxedo.

“You look like a penguin with attitude!” Drake slapped his knee.

“Say what you want, but I’m glad we didn’t hit the cleaners on the way to school now,” Ravi replied, pulling down his sleeves, “or else I wouldn’t have these dry clothes.”

Jordan chuckled. Suddenly, he heard a door creak open, followed by heavy footsteps squeaking down the stairs. Panicking, Jordan stuffed Drake’s phone in his track suit jacket’s pocket and waved Drake over by the shelves. Drake slipped behind Jordan just in time, before the small light bulb above the bottom of the stairs clicked on. Jordan swallowed hard. There, staring directly at Ravi was a portly man in a blood-stained apron. Tufts of blond hair sprouted from the sides of his balding head. His brown trousers were pulled up past his waist, making him resemble an evil garden gnome. In one of his hands, he held a huge butcher knife, its blade flecked with blood.

Wielding the knife, the man pointed at Ravi. “Who are you?”

Ravi licked his thick lips nervously. “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

BUY LINKS
Mirror World Publishing: PaperbackeBook

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Mirror World Publishing, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books.

End of Year Reflections

The end of the year always comes with some form of reflection. Have I done everything I sought out the year to do? What were my achievements? Downfalls? Setbacks?

I headed into 2016 with a list of resolutions, like so many people. A lot of what I resolved to do revolved around furthering my spiritual state of mind through meditation, yoga, clean- eating, fasting, and being present.

As the year comes to an end, I have not become the meditation guru I had dreamed to be. Sitting quiet and still, in one spot, for a designated amount of time may be attainable on the occasion, but committing to a daily meditation practice fell out out of my reach.

Not that I didn’t meditate. I did. But not every day, not nearly as much as I had intended. I’m no where close to where I thought, one year ago, I’d be today. On days I meditate, I do so in thirty-minute intervals. Anything longer, my mind strays. More training will fix that problem, but I need to put in the time.

I can’t imagine anything more freeing than sitting in one place, closing your eyes so you are blind to all that is around you, with nothing but your mind, body, and soul at your disposal, and completely losing yourself to your own self, for hours at a time.

This state may not be something one can plan, but rather, is attained naturally through practice done organically. I need to stop treating yoga and meditation as words I cross off a daily “to-do” list.

If I forget to make a list, do I forget my practice?

Yoga and meditation need to be felt. Once my body grows to crave the serenity, the state of missing nothing that yoga and meditation provide, I won’t need a list to remind me to do my daily practice. 

It will become who I am.

 

 

buddha

 

Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Republican’s HealthScare Plan

It’s been three weeks since the U.S Presidential election gave us Donald Trump as President. The shock that a man with no military or government experience will be leading the most powerful country in the world, hasn’t subsided much. And the sting of having such a hateful anti-gay man become the country’s Vice President-Elect, hurts as much today as it did the morning of Nov 9.

The last few weeks of hearing the announcements of Trump’s cabinet has been horrifying. I’m not going to run through them right now, rather, I think each person deserves their own blog devoted to them, because that’s how terrifying they are. A lot of space is needed to show just how scary these appointments are. So I’m not going to talk about Steve Bannon…yet.

The man I want to concentrate on right now is Tom Price. Trump has selected Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Price has been wanting to dismantle Obamacare since 2010, when the law was signed. Donald Trump talked a lot about getting rid of the Affordable Care Act, and it looks like he found the man to do it.

If you are sick, old, or poor you should be very afraid. I know I am. Although I am fairly young, I am also very-fairly sick. I undergo treatments that stabilize me, and they work very well, but they are expensive. I know I am not alone. Many people (too many) suffer from diseases and illnesses they need to rely on medicine/treatment to get along each day. That’s why, when our leaders talk about healthcare, I listen very carefully. And every word that has come out of a Republican’s mouth about healthcare has scared the shit out of me.

An article (click on link below) on http://www.msn.com about Price and the changes he wants to make to Obamacare is frightening. After reading this, I have to ask, why do Republicans hate old, sick, and poor people so much? Is it all Republicans, or just the politicians? I know many Republicans personally, and most are not like this, but this is the party they vote for.

Here are some pieces of the article:

“Just as is the case under Obamacare, people with pre-existing medical conditions or chronic illnesses couldn’t be denied coverage under Price’s approach — provided they had continuous insurance for 18 months before choosing a new policy.”

So Price will keep the no denial for pre-existing conditions because he, and most Republicans, know that people really like that. (Which bears noting we wouldn’t have that clause if not for Obama.) Why do we like that? Because we don’t want to fucking die!!!! If we get cancer or Parkinson’s or a fucking tumor, we want to know that an insurance company can’t deny us or charge us extra because they’re a bunch of dicks. (Pardon the explosion of curses. It’s what happens when you have a disease and politicians with cushy government-provided healthcare start talking about gutting healthcare for us minions.)

I have a huge problem with for-profit healthcare, but unfortunately with Republicans at the helm, restrictions Obama had placed with insurance companies are going to be void, which means less protections for the common people. You know, the ones Republicans don’t give a shit about.

Under Obamacare, it was pretty straight-forward that one could sign up for insurance, during open enrollment, and pick a plan, whether you had cancer or a hole in your head, you were covered without prejudice. But under Price’s plan, insurance companies will be able to deny you coverage, if you had no prior health coverage for the previous 18 months.

Get that? The continuous coverage clause bullshit. Lost your job and could only afford two of the three: rent, food, or insurance. And you choose to eat and have a bed to sleep in every night, but three months later you develop cancer, and now really need insurance. Screw you, Buddy. Pray away your cancer because Republicans just denied you access to healthcare because your insurance lapsed.

“In one of the biggest blows to poor and low-income Americans, Price would repeal the expanded Medicaid coverage in 32 states and the District of Columbia for able-bodied single people and leave those current beneficiaries to fend for themselves on the open market, using other tax credits and benefits.”

Yep, they really hate them poor people. But if that’s not enough:

“Finally, the Price proposals would foster an insurance market very welcoming to young, healthy and financially self-sufficient people but hostile to sicker and older people. For one thing, it would eliminate Obamacare-style mandates for insurers to include a standard package of benefits such as maternity services and pediatric care and allow them to offer cheaper, less comprehensive policies to younger people who are looking for a bargain.”

Price, like most Republican policies, favor wealthy people and big corporations over the working poor or middle class – no matter how much they try to spin being otherwise in their speeches. With Obamacare, insurance companies were mandated to offer basic services stated above for free or very little cost. Price will do away with that and give insurance companies the freedom to charge as they want without a mandate to offer even the basics of service.

Wow, that sounds really great for the people! (Shaking my head in disgust) I’m betting many of those who voted for Trump will soon realize they voted against their own self-interest. If you don’t have millions of dollars in the bank, you voted against yourself. If you’re sick, you voted against yourself. If you rely on any form of government assistance, or government programs, then yes, the fuck you did vote against yourself.

Big time.

The sad thing is, those of us who did vote for our own self-interest is going to suffer along with you because you guys didn’t do your homework. You believed the fake news sites that were overwhelmingly pro-Trump, because most people like their news spoon-fed to them. No one wants to look up facts anymore.

The only thing that gives me some solace is Hillary Clinton is winning the popular vote by over 2.4 millions votes so far. That’s unheard of in modern times.  I hope if Republicans, even with their new governmental powers, try to pass policy that hurt the most vulnerable of people, that we stand together and make a lot of noise.

Remember, there are more of us than there are of them.

Power to the People.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/healthcare/8-big-changes-under-tom-price%E2%80%99s-obamacare-replacement-plan/ar-AAkXhse?li=BBnb7Kz

 

donald-trump-thumbs-up

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net