Eating Right Gluten Free Carnitas Bake

A nice spicy change for #glutenfree diets – only $2.99 at Safeway! Got a bit of a bite to it. #carnitas

Gluten-Free Gusto Blog

BAKED CARNITAS IMG_3876I know what you’re thinking: what’s a Yankee with a sensitive palate doing eating a Carnitas Bake? Answer: living dangerously.

I have to say, this Carnitas Bake by Eating Right is a bit spicy, but I’m picking the green peppers out, so maybe that’s toning it down a bit. Okay, and I’m also picking out whatever looks like a red pepper.  I will be honest, I actually like this.

It does have a kick to it, but I don’t mind it. The overall flavor is pleasant and a bit on the sweet side. I guess that is balanced out by the peppers for most people. The consistency is fine – I cooked it for 5-1/2 minutes and just the very outside edges of the tortillas got a little hard and crispy. It probably could have gone for 5 instead. There is plenty of meat which is moist and not chewy.

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Author K.S. Brooks Interviews Character Special Agent Kathrin Night

This interview was originally published by The Plotline on September 30, 2011.

LustforDangerI created Special Agent Kathrin Night in 1986. She graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1994, and has worked for (officially and in some cases unofficially) MI6, Naval Intelligence, the FBI, CIA, NYPD and the BITA (investigative arm of the United Nations Security Council).

I could tell there was going to be trouble when I walked into the room. Her dark lashes gave her amber eyes a sort of otherworldly gleam. Maybe it was just the lighting. I studied her; as always, her hair was perfect, shiny, wavy, wild…looking touchable and seductive. Such smooth skin on her strong jaw…I couldn’t help but stare at my creation. Beautiful, tough, and complex: she was more like a warrior than anything else. I felt badly that I’d put her through everything I had in three books – with many more to come. Shattering her ankle and taking her out of active service now seemed cruel. I suddenly felt guilty.

“Special Agent Night,” I smiled, having a seat across from her.

“Author,” she replied.

“Author…” I repeated, sort of disappointed she’d been so impersonal.

“You don’t like that.”

“It’s not about what I like, really.”

“Well, you know I don’t care for doing interviews,” she said quite factually.

“I know. I appreciate that you came.”

“I didn’t think I had much of a choice.” She raised her right eyebrow.

That eyebrow told me everything I needed to know. She was now in control.

“So,” Agent Night said, cocking her head slightly to the left, “I have some questions.”

“Okay, shoot,” I replied, realizing shoot was not a wise word to say to a trigger-happy character. “I mean, go ahead…ask away.”

She took a moment…most likely to profile me: evaluating my jewelry, my make-up, and my posture before she spoke. “You don’t seem to have a confidence issue.”

“That’s not a question.”

“True.” A twinge of a smile appeared, then disappeared as quickly. “Do you feel threatened by me?”

“On the contrary. I have a great fondness for you.”

“Then why are you constantly beating the…daylights out of me in our books?”

“It’s not like that.”

“Come on – over the course of three books and a pending sequel, you’ve practically drowned me, thrown me out of an airplane, bashed my head into a concrete floor, tried to strangle me, had me standing on an improvised explosive device…you’ve left me in the desert to die, had me beaten and tortured and…”

I needed to slow her down. “Whoa…wait a minute…I don’t do anything to you that I know you can’t handle.”

“Handle? And then you send me to a shrink. What exactly is that all about? And the flashbacks…I almost forgot about those.” Her eyes were narrowed and fiery.

“Listen, I’m very careful about what I do to you. I have faith that no matter what I throw at you, you’ll find a way to rise above it. You haven’t let me down yet.” She still looked angry – more like ‘seemed’ angry since no one could ever see through her Poker face. “I actually try some of the things I do to you to make sure you can get out of them. I’ve had to tone down a couple because they were too dangerous.”

That eyebrow went up again. “Tone down? Really. Like what?”

“Like in the Nubian desert. I was going to have them tie your feet to your hands, then your hands to your neck, so that if you tried to get free, it would choke you.”

“You DID do that,” she interrupted.

“Right, but I was going to have them tie a plastic bag over your head as well.”

“I would have been dead.”

“I know that…now. I had thought you could tear the bag open with your teeth, until I tried it myself, that is. Having that bag tied over my head was terrifying…there was no way to grip it with my teeth, and I couldn’t get the rope untied before I’d run out of air.”

“I didn’t realize you’d tried that.”

“Yeah,” I nodded.

“What’s the deal with the Russian?” she asked without warning.

I couldn’t believe it. “The Russian? That’s what you call him?”

She reconsidered the reference to her lover. “Aleksey. What’s the deal?”

I shook my head. “He’s your partner. Domestic and otherwise. I’m not sure I understand your question.”

“You have a habit of taking away whatever you give me.” She paused. “I kind of like having him around.”

I smiled. It was her way of asking me not to kill him off. She was growing to love him, as I’d hoped. I was glad. I really did want her to be happy. “He’s good for you.” I could sense she was thinking about his bright smile, his turquoise eyes and his sculpted physique. At least I knew I was. He truly was a catch.

She moved on to the next subject like she had a list in her head. “How much do you and I have in common?”

“As time goes on,” I smiled, “not too much. We’ll both always believe in doing what’s right, in seeing justice served.” I tried to think of other things, but she was so much more than I could ever be. “I’m sorry if you thought I was beating you up. I have to make things realistic.”

“It’s part of the job.”

“Exactly.”

“I just wanted to understand your motivation behind it. I’d rather have things that way than be a coward.”

She was always strong, always determined, and I was proud of her. “I hope you can enjoy Aleksey. And I hope you can appreciate Doctor Scully.”

“Scully…” she sneered. “Why are you wasting my time by sending me to a shrink?”

“I’ve put you through a lot. You don’t even realize some of the things that happened to you in your childhood. Dr. Scully can help you with all of that, if you’ll let her.”

“You know I have trust issues.”

“Yeah, I know that. But I also know you’ll figure out who to trust when the time is right.”

She took a breath. “Falling from that cliff in Afghanistan…and shattering my ankle…those things happen in my line of work. The assailant won’t kill anyone else, and I’m walking better than anyone expected. Sometimes I can’t even tell I was injured. The pain doesn’t bother me. But not working…well, I have a hard time with that.”

“I understand. But sometimes things happen for a reason. Sometimes people get on the wrong track and they need something monumental to get them onto the right one.”

“How is fighting terrorism the ‘wrong track’?”

“It was starting to suck the life out of you,” I explained.

“Am I going to get my career back?” Before I could answer, she said, “I want to rephrase the question. Are you going to continue to dangle carrots in front of me or are you going to let me do what I’m made to do?”

“Yes.” I knew toying with her was dangerous. But for some strange reason, I couldn’t resist.

“To the latter?”

“Yes,” I smiled, finally giving her something. I owed her that.

“Thank you,” she actually smiled back. But I knew the smile wasn’t for me. It was because she was glad she was going to be fighting injustice again. It was, after all, her life.

“For the answer or for letting you get ‘back on track’?”

“Yes,” she said, and quite glibly at that. Then her face changed, a sort of satisfaction came over it. “I just thought of another way we’re alike. Neither one of us seems to ‘play well with others’.”

She was right about that. I got the feeling that the interview was almost over. I wanted to hug her, but that kind of thing would only make her feel awkward. And I’d already done enough to her. I wanted to tell her that I was always with her, but she didn’t need that kind of reinforcement – she’d probably roll her eyes at it. What could I say before we parted ways that would let her know how much I admired her? I was a big wuss, and she was a rock.

“Hey, writer lady,” she said with a single nod, “are we done here? I have a hockey game to get to.”

“You don’t have any other questions for me?”

She blinked. “Yes, one more actually.” A pause preceded, “Is your life as good as mine?”

I was flabbergasted: paralysed by so many thoughts that they morphed into blankness. “What?” I said with nearly a double-take.

“Other than my ankle, I’m in excellent physical condition, I do basically whatever I want, I’m extremely comfortable financially, I have a fantastic mountain home on the West Coast and my penthouse in New York City…and the only thing I really have to worry about is going back to work. Do you have it that well?”

“Why do you ask?” I really didn’t know what else to say, and that kind of popped out.

“Your shoes are quite worn which tells me that you can’t afford new ones. The skin on the tops of your hands looks dry, and your fingernails aren’t all the same length, indicating that you do chores, wash your hands a lot and don’t take the time to take care of them. Your eyelids have a tinge of yellow – so your liver isn’t as healthy as it should be. You look tired, and borderline anemic.” She cocked her head, and those waves of silken brown hair shone gold under the overhead lights.

She was an amazing profiler. Everything she said was spot on. “No. I don’t have quite the life you do.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” she replied after studying me for a moment longer. “Take care of that liver. I’ve got more for you to document.”

“That you do,” I smiled, knowing in her own indubitable way, what she was really trying to say. “Tell Aleksey I said hello.”

“I will. And please thank Rose for this opportunity to go one-on-one with you. I’d originally thought it was a bad idea, but it worked out.” She effortlessly pushed herself up from the chair and headed towards the door.

Although I constantly hear her voice in my head, seeing her in this way was so different. I wanted to say or do something…the ‘just right’ thing… more for me than for her. Her sophistication made me feel like a dork in comparison. “Special Agent Night,” I blurted as she opened the door.

She turned slightly and looked at me. I stood, straightening my posture as tall as I could, then gave her my best possible Navy salute. “It’s an honor to know you.”

“Likewise,” she said, saluting back. And then she was gone.

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Interview with Special Agent Kathrin Night

This interview originally appeared as part of the Authors on Xanga Series at http://seedsower.xanga.com/2011/09/24/authors-on-xanga-seriesksbrooks/. Here it is again, for your enjoyment.

special agent night face background

Today I’m here with Kathrin Night, the creation of novelist K. S. Brooks, introduced to the world back in 2001 in the action-adventure thriller Lust for Danger.  The former Special Agent has worked in the field with and for the FBI, CIA, MI6, NYPD, U.N. and Naval Intelligence.  The novels The Kiss of Night and Night Undone document her exploits since leaving that life in New York City behind back in 2009.

Seedsower:  Miss Night, thanks for being here today.

Night:  That’s AGENT Night, please.

Seedsower:  Okay, sorry about that.  But I thought you were retired.

Night:  Not really.  I’m just temporarily sidelined with an injury.

Seedsower:  That injury, you incurred that in the line of duty?

Night:  That’s correct.

Seedsower:  And that’s why you’ve relocated to the Pacific Northwest – to convalesce?

Night:  That’s correct.

Seedsower:  You’re not big on expounding, are you?

Night:  No.

Seedsower:  Okay then…  I’m familiar with your adventures in Lust for Danger The Kiss of Night, and  Night Undone. Can you tell me a little bit about those?

Night:  In Lust for Danger, I’m really just getting started as an agent with the B.I.T.A.

Seedsower:   B.I.T.A. – that’s the Bureau of International Trauma Analysts – right?

Night:  Correct.  They’re the research arm of the United Nations Security Council – they gather information on crisis situations around the globe and advise possible solutions.

Seedsower:   But you had a problem with just gathering information.

Night:  I have a problem with terrorists.

Seedsower:   Right – what I’m saying is, you had a tendency to engage them, not just report on them.

Night:  What’s your point?

Seedsower:    Well I could see how a peacekeeping organization might have an issue with that kind of…violence.

Night:  Let me ask you something– if you saw a terrorist preparing to launch an attack,
would you invite him to chat or would you stop him?

Seedsower:    Point taken.  But your use of deadly force has been labeled as excessive…

Night:  I was exonerated each time.

SeedsowerLust for Danger is the first book in the Adventure Series era of your life.
Tell me a little bit about this series.

Night:  The Agent Night Adventure Series follows me during the height of my career as an anti-terrorist agent, from the late 1990s through 2009.  I track down leads around the world, many to exotic locations.

Seedsower:    An example of those locations?

Night:  In Lust for Danger, I travel to the Amazon rain forest, the jungles of India, to Paris, Ethiopia, and my home base in New York City. In the sequel to Lust for Danger, my pursuit of justice takes me to the Nubbin Desert in the Sudan, London, Vienna, and the Falkland Islands, to name a few.

Seedsower:    In the “Cover Me” Series, you don’t travel as much.

Night:  The Cover Me Series presents different challenges for me. I’ve got to deal with my shattered ankle, and trying to revive my career.

Seedsower:    Aren’t you leaving something out?

Night:  As in?

Seedsower:    You know – that big Russian guy – former FSB Agent – your drop-dead gorgeous boyfriend?

Night:  Boyfriend?  I’m not 16.  Even when I was 16 I didn’t have a boyfriend.  Aleksey’s  my partner.

Seedsower:   Things didn’t start off so well for you two in The Kiss of Night.

Night:  It was to be expected.  I’m sure I would have resented being pulled out of active duty to bodyguard someone as an attempt to even up a debt.

Seedsower:   Even up a debt?

Night:  The Russian Minister of Defense had the FSB send Aleksey – their top agent – to protect me while I was still walking with a cane.  I think the Minister felt like he owed me since I’d saved his life a couple of years earlier.  I told them it wasn’t necessary – the last thing I wanted was an angry Russian goon following me around.

Seedsower:  Yes, I remember that.  A lot is revealed about your past in The Kiss of Night.  How do you feel about that?

Night:  I really don’t care for it.  I don’t like people knowing anything about my past.  My secrets are meant to stay buried.

Seedsower:   Is that why you have such a hard time talking to Dr. Scully in Night Undone?

Night:   I don’t need a shrink.  I need to get back to work.

Seedsower:   You don’t think talking to a psychiatrist would be helpful? 

Night:  No.

Seedsower:  But you go anyway.

Night:  I agreed to.  And I always keep my word.

Seedsower:  What does the future hold for you? 

Night:  The sequel to Lust for Danger recounts one of my assignments from 2005 – that should be going into editing by the end of this year – there’s a lot of hardcore action in that one.  It’s good stuff.  The sequel to Night Undone is brewing – the past year of my life has been…different.

Seedsower:   You sound annoyed with the latter.

Night:  I just want to get back to work.

Seedsower:  Correct me if I’m wrong– but wouldn’t you consider what you did in Night Undone at the Vancouver Winter Olympics “work”?

Night:  Theoretically or technically?

Seedsower:  You’re extremely literal.  Do you find that people have a problem with that?

Night:  It’s not my problem if they do.  I say what I mean.

Seedsower:  Do you think that’s why kids like you?

Night:  I don’t know why children like me.

Seedsower:  You don’t think it has something to do with the fact you read to them quite often at United Nations literacy events?

Night:  I don’t think about it.

Seedsower:    Then why do you do it?

Night:  Children don’t deserve to be victims.

Seedsower:    Victims?

Night:  Acts of terrorism, war, and violence – children often end up orphaned, wounded, or worse. If reading to them makes their lives better for even a few minutes, it’s worth doing.

Seedsower:   You’ve got a soft spot for kids, don’t you?

Night:  No.

Seedsower:   You built a school in Afghanistan .

Night.  I funded a school in Afghanistan.  Locals built it.

Seedsower:  Again with the literal…  Why fund a school?

Night:  Because I could.  The children in that village saved my life.  I wanted to give  something back to them.

Seedsower:   Would you fund another school somewhere else?

Night:   I’d like to.

Seedsower:  Why’s that?

Night:  Children are the future.  Hopefully kindness and education will help make the future a better place.

Seedsower:   But then people like you would be out of work.

Night:  Unfortunately, people like me will never be out of work.  But I like the thought.

Seedsower:   You smiled. 

Night:  So?

Seedsower:  Well your seriousness sort of makes interviewing you a little…awkward.

Night:  I’m a doer, not a talker, really.

Seedsower:   And you always do what’s right.

Night:  Yes.  Mostly.  Pretty much.

Seedsower:  Pretty much?

Night:  Sometimes the path to‘right’ isn’t a straight line.

Seedsower:  But you always get the job done.

Night:  I always give it my best.

Seedsower:    What’s your biggest fear?

Night:  That I won’t get there in time.

Seedsower:  In time for what?

Night:  To stop the bad thing that’s going to happen.

Seedsower:  Because?

Night:  Innocent people will suffer.

Seedsower:  I see.  There are clues in the Cover Me Series that there have been a few instances where you didn’t make it there in time.  You seem to carry the guilt from those.

Night:  Now you sound like my shrink.  Is there a question in there?

Seedsower:   Do you think that’s why you’re having the flashbacks?

Night:  This is why I don’t like that K. S. Brooks woman writing about me. My flashbacks are my business until I decide to reveal them.

Seedsower:  Don’t you think you should tell Dr. Scully about them?  She is a professional.

Night:  I haven’t decided that yet.

Seedsower:   You have a lot going on:  trying to get back into the industry, that bad ankle, flashbacks, having a new partner, the changing world of security– if you don’t talk about it, how do you deal with all this?

Night:  Shooting things almost always makes me feel better.

Seedsower:  Well, I think now would be a good time to conclude this interview. Thanks for being here, Agent Night.  

For more information on Special Agent Kathrin Night, visit her website at http://www.AgentNight.com.  For more information on author K. S. Brooks,
visit http://www.KSBrooks.com;or like her on facebook at
http://www.facebook.com/KSBrooksAuthor
and on twitter at @AuthorKSBrooks.

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KIND Oats & Honey Clusters

Some #glutenfree #granola by KIND – Meh. You might like it, you might not.

Gluten-Free Gusto Blog

144 kind oat and honey granolaThis 11 ounce bag of gluten-free, non-GMO, low glycemic granola was $4.99 (on sale for $4.49) at Safeway. It’s loaded with “super grains” including oats, millet, quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. Ah, the “Q” word. Loved by so many. Me, not so much. I just do not care for the funky, punky taste of quinoa. Nor do I care for the pronunciation of the word. That’s another story, though.

The overall taste of this granola is good. I do not taste any of the toasted coconut mentioned on the front of the package, probably because it is overpowered by the quinoa. Otherwise, I do get the occasional burst of honey flavor. The cereal is very hard, and needs to soak for a while in the yogurt before you eat it unless you want to be crunching on rock-like chunks. My jaw is tired.

So, I can see this being a favorite…

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LARABAR Cashew Cookie Bar

A quick, tasty snack for on-the-go. #glutenfree @larabar

Gluten-Free Gusto Blog

IMG_5670 lara bar cashew cookieIn my attempt to eat healthier, I decided to have a LARABAR Cashew Cookie bar instead of a serving of delicious tortilla chips. I wanted something not too sweet, and I figured the saltiness of cashews would do the trick. Eh. The consistency was decent – not the nasty sports bar consistency by any means. The flavor was extremely mild. Occasionally I would get a hint of cashews or dates, but otherwise, it was just a sort of bland but not unpleasant fruitish flavor. Interestingly, there are ONLY two ingredients in this LARABAR: non-gmo cashews and dates. I lucked out and got this on sale for 99 cents.

A bit higher in calories and fat than the tortillas, I hoped it would curb my in-between-meal snacking needs. I’ll let you know how that goes in about 20 minutes. 😉 Here are the stats:

230 calories; 13g fat; 23g carbs; 6g…

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Freschetta Gluten Free Pizza

This pizza is a winner. In a blind test, I bet you can’t tell it’s #glutenfree! Good job @Freschetta. Want to get married?

Gluten-Free Gusto Blog

IMG_5561 freschetta burnedHoly flipping pizza, Batman, this is amazing. Freschetta has hit the nail on the head when it comes to making really excellent gluten-free pizza. Wow. The taste is just awesome. And, it has plenty of cheese on it. Ooey, gooey cheese.

I grew up eating pizza in Boston and New York City. So I know what pizza is supposed to taste like. Amy’s is definitely not it. Udi’s is closer, but it’s one of those “good for gluten-free” deals. Freschetta’s tastes like realpizza. The kind the guy flips around in the window. *happy sigh*

I have two minor issues with this pizza.

#1 – You get four servings from the Freschetta pizza – that’s two okay size slices per serving. I don’t think so. This pizza is too good to just stop there. I usually (twice so far) eat three, which reduces it to 3 servings per pizza (at…

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All But Gluten Chocolate Snack Cakes

These things are good. Evil, but good. #glutenfree #chocolate #yum

Gluten-Free Gusto Blog

IMG_4652 gf ringding compI have seen the face of evil and I live to tell the tale. These All But Gluten Chocolate Snack Cakes are probably the “falling apart” equivalent of RingDings. (I mean, come on, we all know that GLUten means glue. So gluten-free stuff falls apart. A bit. Who cares as long as the consistency is good and it tastes awesome, right?) And my oh my are they good. Like evil good. Like no self control good.

Okay, I don’t normally eat this kind of thing, so maybe that is swaying my opinion here. I was in Safeway in Spokane and I had just bought like 100 cookies to thank the guys at Staples for fixing my computer and I was feeling like the kid who didn’t get picked to play on a team. So when I saw these, I was like “oh hell yeah.” (I know, you didn’t need to…

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