Not A Grain Breakfast Bars

Testing and reviewing the No Grain Breakfast Bars from the Against All Grain cookbook by Danielle Walker.

made from against all grains

Is breakfast a meal you’d rather skip? If so, the Not A Grain Breakfast Bars might be perfect for you. They aren’t difficult to make, take a minimum of ingredients and freeze well.

recipe page breakfast cookies

The recipe calls for blueberry preserves but I switched that out for cherry preserves.

Breakfast cookies Not A Grain Breakfast Bar

This is protein power packed breakfast  with almond and coconut flours.  Against All Grains Cookbook doesn’t list nutritional values which is a downside for me. I’d like to know how many calories, how much protein and sugars to enter into the MyFitnessPal app. All the recipes in the book are Paleo, gluten-free and dairy free. The recipes are easy to follow and what I’ve tried so far can’t be described using the word “lacking.” Walker’s recipes make you no longer care that your food has to be made differently.

If you need to eat gluten-free–even if you don’t, I’d recommend picking up this cookbook.

against all grain book


If you aren’t ready to commit to purchasing you can find this recipe on AgainstAllGrain’s website.



Goji Berries Benefits

Goji Berries benefits are huge but were never on my bucket list of foods to try. When Viva Labs contacted me about writing a review I had a weak moment and said, “Yes, I’d love to try them.”

They came and I approached them with caution. Did I mention I am a picky eater? goji berries in a bowl

They looked like red raisins, didn’t smell awful so I popped one into my mouth. Then another, and another. These things are seriously good and good for you! That’s a bonus, right? They aren’t real sweet and I thought they left a warm buttery flavor on my tongue.

So what kind of benefits can you get from Goji Berries? Nice skin, they are loaded with beta- carotene, they can boost your immune system and protect your eyes. They are a good source of vitamin C and can reduce cold symptoms. They also have a lot of antioxidants. But don’t eat them if you are on blood thinners or take blood pressure or diabetic medication at least that’s what WebMd says.

There are also claims of weight loss, better sleeping and feeling calmer. I don’t know if those are true but if you like them why not see what happens?

Need more information about Goji Berries?

They have over 20 trace minerals and 18 amino acids, Vitamin A and Vitamin C along with a rich supply of antioxidants. Plus they are a source of dietary fiber so don’t eat a whole bunch in one day!

goji berries Viva labs

Want to try them for yourself?

Fire Storm by Mackenzie Dare-Interview



Chatting with Mackenzie Dare

Diana: Hi Mackenzie, thanks for stopping by today. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Mackenzie: I don’t remember a conscious decision. I think that’s just the way the Lord made me. I’ve always loved writing and making stories up in my head for as long as I can remember.  Every once in a while, I’ll find a page of an ancient second or third grade short story and chuckle as I read it and try to decipher the context.

Diana:What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Mackenzie: Right now, I’m self-employed, so I can just flip-flop my schedule around to what works best.

Diana: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Mackenzie: Like I have any writing quirks…. 😉  Probably my most interesting one is the fact that my characters refuse to ever conform to my outline. Sure, I start out with a neat and detailed plan, but by mid-story, sometimes before, my characters are all running every which-a-way in their own directions. Sometimes the “good guys” turn into bad guys. Sometimes scenes from the end move up to the middle. Sometimes the wrong people fall in love, and even other times a deep, dark secret that I didn’t even know about will just pop up from somebody’s past. Surprises… that’s what makes writing so fun!

Diana:What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Mackenzie: I love life! One of my favorite things to do is to run outside, especially on a dew-glistening, bird-singing, apple-blossomed, spring morning… just to run toward a painted sunrise and feel absorbed in the beauty of God’s creation! I love riding my horse down the gravel road or through the cornfields. I love chilly fall days… a cool breeze floating in a slightly open window and feeling the warm apple-scented  steam as you slide a crusty, golden, apple pie out of the oven just as a drip of cinnamon syrup bubbles out and sizzles. I like a crisp, breezy walk through a pumpkin patch or a swim in a Wisconsin lake. I like camping in the North Woods or browsing souvenir shops. I’ve enjoyed climbing cliffs in the Blue Ridge and drivin’ by buffalo in Yellowstone.

I love findin’ deals at garage sales and hangin’ out with my family… cookout style or pizza and popcorn movie nights. My favorite time is Christmas… It’s A Wonderful Life in the DVD player, a fire crackling in the corner, the pop of popcorn, and the sweet aroma of hot chocolate as we hang ornaments and wrap lights around our Christmas tree and nativity scene. I love seeing the Lord work in my life and teach me new things. I love Him because He first loved me. He’s shown me His love sooo many times in my life! One of my favorite verses is “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” He’s the giver of life, the one who makes daffodils smile and the thunderclouds clap. I love life, love, loyalty, and laughter.

Diana: What does your family think of your writing?

Mackenzie: They are all very supportive and encouraging! I loved giving them my new book and hearing what they thought of it. I really appreciated their suggestions before I was satisfied with my final copy.

Diana: Do you have any suggestions to help readers interested in writing become better? If so, what are they?

Mackenzie: Always pray about your writing. You couldn’t get a better teacher.
Just keep writing. Progress can be amazing if you just keep practicing until you get the hang of it. Make it fun, and keep it fun. If you get bored with it or lose track of where you’re going, you’ll likely stop.

Start with an outline for structure, but then add some surprises to keep yourself guessing.

Diana: What do you think makes a good story?

Mackenzie: Action, a good plot, likeable and admirable characters, emotion, human interaction, purity of relationships, cleanness in language, mystery… but most of all, it needs to honor God. I loved writing this book, but it would always feel empty and useless to me if there wasn’t a higher purpose in writing it than making money. If you pray about it and are truly writing for Him, I believe He will cause everything else to fall into place.

Diana: For viewers who have not read, but are interested in your book, can you describe it please?

Mackenzie: Fire Storm is about a couple of young families living excessively normal lives in a small-town, farming community in Northern Illinois. Wade is a paramedic. His wife, Mellissa, works in a lawyer’s office, and they are expecting a baby very soon. Their best friends, Jim and Jessica, live on a small horse farm out in the country. Jim is a fireman. Jess is a stay-at-home mom with her recently born little girl. Life is fun and carefree till… Jess starts running into threats at every turn. Are they even threats or just accidents? The thought of a killer being after Jess just seems so ridiculous… though not so much… when she comes eye to eye with murder! Who and Why? What about Wade ‘n Mellissa? Will they remain safe in their young existence as they embark in the beginnings of life’s journey, or will the epidemic of murder spread? How far does it reach? What are the secrets?

Diana: How does God affect your writing?

Mackenzie: He gave me the talent to write. He gave me an imagination and a love for stories. He put me in a strongly Christian home where I received wisdom about spiritual things and knowledge of true love, sacrifice, and care. He saved me and gave me a reason to write. Fire Storm was written for Him and dedicated to Him, and by His grace, I pray that every book I write will always point heavenward and never downward toward worldly lusts.

Diana: Who is your favorite character in your book?

Mackenzie: That’s hard to say. I like all my characters. They are all different and unique.  I like variety. The world needs rich and poor, plain and fancy, strong and weak, dream-chasers and content daily laborers, business women and stay-at-home moms, flippant and flighty and rigid work-a-holics. If there was one “right” type of person or one perfect race, the world would be sooo dull. Everyone fiction or real has their very own story.

Diana: What was the hardest part to write in the book?

Mackenzie: The Salvation message. It carries the greatest responsibility.

Real fire storm Cover Mackenzie Dare

Thanks Mackenzie for sharing with us your author journey. You can click the link below to get Mackenzie Dare’s book.

It is an affiliate link. I think I’m supposed to tell you that.


Diana Lesire Brandmeyer

The Power of Reviews

Do you write reviews?

Do you read them before you buy a book or a product?

I do write them and it’s not always easy. If I love a book I give it a 5 star it’s the ones that I’m not so sureI love that I struggle with. If it’s a book I don’t leave a three star on Amazon because that’s as bad as a one star, those books I don’t post reviews.

Products? That’s a different story.



This past week  I left a one star on a product. I wanted to leave zero stars but it wasn’t possible.

If I had taken the time to read the reviews on this product I wouldn’t have bought it, but I didn’t think about it.

My cats go outside and I needed some flea protection for them. I was at Wal-Mart and usually I pick up Pet Armour. They were out so I snagged a package of Adam’s Top Spot.

Serious mistake. One of my cats, Wendell had a terrible reaction. He was shaking, staring off into space an his fun came out in chunks! I’m fortunate it wasn’t worse. After posting my review I read through the others on Amazon. Many cats have reacted to this product in even more dangerous ways, seizures and horrific sores.

wendell icecream

Wendell is fine now. This is an old shot of him feeling well– on top of the fridge.

He’s not quite back to normal but I’m hoping for a full recovery.

So do you write reviews?

Do you think it makes a difference when you post a negative review? In this case I hope my review protects someone else’s beloved cat.

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Wittemeyer Review

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Wittemeyer


It took me awhile to realize this was a sequel to Short-Straw Bride which I loved (see my review here).

Crockett Archer is on the adventure of his life, he’s all packed, sermon notes are ready all he has to do is ride the train all the way to Piney Woods of Texas. This is what God’s been preparing him for all his life. Then the train is stopped by outlaws and all they want is a preacher! Surely this wasn’t in God’s plan.

Joanna Robbins has requested a preacher for her birthday, she’s worn out from trying follow her mother’s dying wish—turn her father into a Christian. She didn’t expect him to deliver her present tethered to a horse.

I enjoyed reading the escapades of Crockett trying to win over Joanna’s father by showing him who Jesus is though his actions. There’s some delightful ‘girl shenanigans’ as well as one of the single women in the church decides she’d make a dandy preacher’s wife.

Watching Joanna–maybe I should say reading–  falling in love with Crockett but at the same time trying to let him focus on his reason for being at the ranch was touching. She

It’s a fast paced read and many layers of problems that made me wonder how they could be resolved in a way that would leave me happy.  Wittemeyer came through with this book.  Another winner and yet I’m wondering about golden hair Holly who clearly needs a husband and has no idea how to find one. Could she be the star in the next book?

reader holding book

What’s next for the Archer Brothers?

Gee I think I need more sleep! Thanks Karen Wittemeyer for writing such a good book to keep me company last night.


Link to purchase Stealing the Preacher  I’m not an affiliate seller.

Link to read about Karen Wittemeyer.

Congo Dawn by Jeanette Windle: a Review

Congo Dawn: A Review

Jeanette Windle  whisked me away to a place filled with heat, gun for hire ex-marines and a purpose. Congo Dawn left me breathless several times as the main character Robin Duncan heads into dangerous situations.

As a reader I came away with a new respect for those helping the Congolese people.

The spiritual thread in this book runs deep but it’s not intrusive. Robin has issues with trusting a God whom she feels has been absent in her life and had difficulty understanding how someone living in the Congo could feel so differently. The way this was handled made this a strong book.

Tuesday Jeanette Windle will be on my blog telling us how come she writes books like Congo Dawn.

Here’s the blurb:

Congo Dawn cover-websizeWhen a multinational corporation with unlimited funds hires on a private military company with unbridled power, how far might they be willing to go with the planet’s ultimate “conflict mineral” up for grabs?  Especially in a Congolese rainforest where governmental accountability is only too cheaply for sale.

A veteran in handling corruption and conspiracy, former Marine lieutenant Robin Duncan has never had any trouble  discerning good guys from bad. But when her security team is sent to track down an insurgent killer, Robin faces a man who broke her trust years ago and discovers that gray areas extend deeper into the jungle than she anticipated.

As a vicious global conspiracy emerges, run by brutal men who don’t leave witnesses alive, Robin must decide if there is anyone left she can trust. And where is God in the suffering and injustice? How is it possible followers of Yesu (Jesus) caught in the crossfire can still rejoice when everything they hold dear is ripped away?

Buy it

Tell me do you like books set in different countries or do you prefer to read stories about the country you live in?


The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias

What to do when sick!


It’s been a long miserable week with not being able to do anything because of a sinus infection,  so I spent it with comfort books. That’s why you’re getting 2 reviews from me today-that and freezing rain is falling so I may not have power later.

As promised–the review

The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias

If you want surprise endings, and to know more about Harriet Tubman this book is for you.

If you are looking for a book about quilts, this isn’t it. Though the Moses Quilt is an important piece of the story as a quilter I would have liked to know more about the other squares that were in it.  There is a small square on the cover and the quilt must be beautiful—much like the story of Mazie Hartford.

I enjoyed reading The Moses Quilt even though I expected something quite different. The history of Harriet Tubman is presented in an intriguing way and you want to know why this is so important to Mazie’s grandmother.

Macias has a way with piecing plot and storytelling  in an intricate way that makes a reader search his or her own heart while reading The Moses Quilt.

The Moses Quilt

When the Heart Heals by Ann Shorey Review

When the Heart Heals = Good read!


This is a tale of a nurse no longer needed after the Civil War, nor is she looked upon with respect. It’s her struggle to find the respect and remain independent at time when the world has changed, but wants the women in it to remain who they were before the war.

You know that satisfying ‘ah’ when you finish a good book? You get that when you turn the last page of When the Heart Heals. I found myself turning the pages slower and slower not wanting this engaging tale to end.
Shorey has written her best book ever with this one. Will she top it with the next one? I don’t know, but I’m sure I’ll preorder the book and find out.
Mystery, jealousy and misunderstandings are around every corner in Nobel Springs.  You won’t be disappointed with this love story.

Indie Author Book Marketing Success REVIEW

Marketing Success or Woes

As most of you know last week was all about marketing for me, was it a success or full of woe?

I feel that it was a success, I had two great authors Pam Hillman and Johnnie Alexander Donely also marketing at the same time since our books released at the same time.

Some of the ‘how to’ I learned from the Indie Author Book Marketing Success.

Indie Author Book Marketing Success: Proven 5-Star Marketing Techniques from Successful Authors and Book Marketing Experts

While the book may not be for a beginning author I know I would have read this back when I started writing. I’m the kind of person that wants to know everything when I get started–no harm in that.

I’m not an indie author, but I found a piece of gold in each chapter that I can apply to marketing a traditional book. It’s good to know what has worked for others so you have a less rocky road to travel.

Staci Stallings included a list of hashtags which is worth far more than the price of this book.
Face it even traditional authors are responsible for so much marketing this book is a huge help.

I want to thank you all for being so patient with me last week while Mind of Her Own was on sale. I hope you were able to get a copy along with Johnnie’s Where Treasure Hides and  Pam’s Claiming Mariah. It was a challenging week of learning how to write tweets and facebook posts. As a reader and before being published I didn’t realize how much extra work a writer must do to get books noticed…kind of like when you become a teacher and find out you need to also be the volleyball coach, take on car lane duty and be an art teacher!


Claiming Mariah a Review

Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman

Claiming Mariah is an action packed, romance sizzling on the wood stove, and a desire for settling a family wronged kind of book.  Claiming Mariah keeps your finger moving the pages as Mariah and Slade seem to connect then fall back into old patterns.

You’ll fall in love with Slade–he makes a grand hero, one who is stong but needs the love of a good woman.

Mariah is not a weak fussy help-me heroine. She does what needs to be done even though she’s hurting through and through.

This book has it all, from rustlers to the town drunk.

This is a book well worth reading and made me want to go back and read her other book, Stealing Jake.

Claming Mariah by Pam Hillman