Rebekah Lyn's Kitchen

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Excitement from diverse places February 6, 2018

For an author to be without words is never a good thing, but AND today I am struggling to find the right words to describe the emotions coursing through me.

 

It started this morning when I woke up grumpy. I’ve been fighting some type of sinus/cold virus for almost a month and I’m at my wits end. I wanted to whine, but didn’t want to subject anyone I love to that self-pity so I cocooned in my room, putting away laundry and trying to pray.

 

When my cell phone started chirping with text after text I grabbed it in frustration, then smiled. A dear friend was announcing the release of her first book. She’s been working on this for quite some time and I’m delighted it has all come together. The multiple texts from other members of our writers group showed all were just as happy. Reports of orders being placed on Amazon warmed my heart and energized me to get dressed and head out the door.

 

It was 10:15 and I wanted to see how many people were already in town for the much anticipated SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Growing up during the Space Shuttle program, I admit I grew jaded with the crowds that tromped into town for launch days. Cars clogged the roads and every empty field along the river. Families wandered into the road without looking and causing us locals to be extra vigilant as we went about our daily lives. This morning, though, I reveled in the cars parked along the side of the road and the visitors milling around. I ached to stick around and be a part of this historic day, but work called and I had to get home to get ready.

  

Early birds get the best views

The large building across the river is the Vehicle Assembly Building. Until December there was a boat from Hurricane Irma where this RV now is

Be careful, eager spectators crossing!

By the time I arrived at the office, the launch had been pushed from 1:30 to 2:20 due to upper level winds. I felt a selfish sense of hope that the launch would be scrubbed and rescheduled to tomorrow when I would be home to see it. When the next delay pushing back to 3:45 was announced, again that selfish spirit perked up.

 

As 3:00 approached, I prepared to access the SpaceX livestream. The minutes ticked down and there was no announcement of another delay or a scrub so I chose to hope that all would go well. My pulse quickened when we reached five minutes before launch. I focused on my work until we were just under two minutes then my eyes couldn’t be torn from the video. Steam billowed around the three rockets strapped together and I clasped my hands in front of my face, whispering words of encouragement as if the machine could hear me. 

 

With the last seconds my throat tightened and my breath caught. Would it fire? Would it rise off the ground? Would it explode on the spot or a few seconds into flight? Memories of Challenger gnawed at the back of my mind. The rocket rose higher and higher, three flames of fire blended into one. The excitement of the SpaceX team was tangible as each milestone was ticked off. I watched in awe, knowing how unheard of a successful test flight such as this is. I felt the tears gathering in my eyes and longed to share the excitement with a crowd of like-minded spectators. 

 

The adrenaline has faded away and I think about how long it has been since the American people had a hope for exploration beyond our own planet. We have sent machines to gather data, but we need to send people to experience the outer regions first hand, to provide information only a human can express. Today, was the first step toward sending humans beyond the International Space Station and I feel an excitement that I hope you all can share.

 

In case you missed the launch, you can watch a replay below.

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Bakingpalooza December 20, 2014

Filed under: Baking,Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 9:31 AM
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We’ve had almost two glorious weeks of cool weather here in Florida. I’ve enjoyed having the windows open and a fresh breeze drifting through the house. It was on one these lovely days last week that I decided to crank up the oven and do my Christmas baking. I had several recipes I wanted to get through so I started as soon as I finished my coffee and bagel.

 

My parents have been staying with me since Thanksgiving, so mom offered to run out to the store to pick up a couple of items I didn’t have on hand. While she was out, I made the easy cookies, the ones from a mix that didn’t require anything extra. I found a pumpkin spice cookie mix that I have fallen in love with and I decided to add some chocolate chips. They were the perfect addition and I tucked some of the cookies into a tin for my parents’ drive back to North Carolina.

 

The house quickly filled with the smells of fresh baked treats. By the time I turned off the oven I had five types of cookies, gingerbread cupcakes, and vanilla-sour cream tea loaves. My kitchen is tiny, so having more than one person working at a time can be tight, but toward the end of the day, mom, dad and I were all working together to clean up the dishes and put everything away.

 

I hope you have a wonderful Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year with those you love.

The first round of cookies

The first round of cookies

 

A Week of Celebration July 25, 2014

Now available from your favorite book retailer

Now available from your favorite book retailer

The past week has been exhilirating and exhausting. My new book, Jessie, launched on July 16, in honor of the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11. I was fortunate enough to secure a slot on the Indie Books Show for my release weekend and had a wonderful chat with the host Will Wilson. You can download it from the archives if you missed it. I also participated in a blog tour July 16-19 and visited so many blogs I lost count. It was fun to share excerpts and talk about the book to so many different people around the world.

 

My fabulous Assistant Publicist, Pam, came up with an idea to do a giveaway through some of our local restaurants the weekend of the launch. Pam called me in a panic when four of the restaurants she’d approached all called back and said they were interested only five days before the launch date. A flurry of emails flew back and forth as we designed posters, entry tickets, and menu inserts. We became regulars at our Staples copy center over the next couple of days. Many thanks to the owners of Caffe Chocolat, Dixie Crossroads, Louis’ BBQ Shack, and Shiloh’s Steak & Seafood for your wonderful support.

 

One of the most exciting and completely unexpected things that happened during this time though was an opportunity to be a part of #NASASocial, which is a program to provide opportunities for NASA’s social media followers to learn and share information about NASA’s missions, people, and programs.

 

On the evening of July 14 my mom sent me an email about an event being held at Kennedy Space Center to rename the Operations and Checkout Building in honor of Neil Armstrong, who passed away in 2012. I was already in bed, checking mail on my iPad, but I clicked the link and filled out the application. Almost exactly 48 hours later I received an email saying I’d made the first round of approvals. I then had to go through some more forms and several more layers of approvals. Then on July 18, after I finished my interview on the Indie Books Show, I checked my email and found I had officially been approved. I was estatic!

 

The event included Neil Armstrongs fellow astronauts from the Apollo 11 mission, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins as well as Jim Lovell of Apollo 13 fame, and two of Amstrongs sons, Mark & Rick. The event was held in one of the hangers originally used to prepare the Apollo capsules, which is now being used to prepare the new Orion capsule. Another section of the building is used for astronaut barracks, which I read a lot about in my research. The history in that building is inspiring. If only those walls could talk.

 

There were 23 other social media reporters along with me, and we snaked our way through the growing crowd closer and closer to the front of the room. We jostled with members of the traditional media for places where we could see past all of the NASA TV cameras. I was excited to see one of my friends from church working one of those cameras. Seeing a familiar face helped calm my racing heart.

 

Our @NASASocial leader, slowly moved us to better positions and I found myself pulled out of the tightening clutch of bodies and placed on a dias to the side of the stage with four or five others. I may not have had the front on view, but I was only ten or fifteen feet from three astronauts that I had come to respect in an entirely new way through all of my research. Of all the speakers, I think Michael Collins was my favorite. He was hilarious. If you have some free time, you can watch the entire ceremony here.

 

After the ceremony we had a break for lunch then went on a tour of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). The building is 524 feet tall and divided into four high bays and a transfer aisle. My dad worked in all four of the high bays at one time or another and I had a chance to visit one in 2008. Then the Space Shuttle Atlantis was in the bay being prepared for another launch. Now, three of the bays have been stripped down to their bare bones and all of the Apollo era offices are being demolished. On this visit I had a chance to go to the 35th and 16th floors for a view down into all four bays, and a closer look at the cranes used to lift the space craft from the processing bay to the transfer aisle so they could be rolled out to the launch pad. It never occurred to me that the vehicle needed to be lifted and moved from one side of the building to the center in order to exit through the tall doors.

 

I was sad to see the Space Shuttle program come to an end and believe it was put to rest too early, but I hope  we will continue to explore space. The support of the country during the early days of the space program was key in the incredible progress that was made. I hope my book will inspire a new generation to reach for the stars and seek to go even farther.

 

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The Joys of Spring March 17, 2014

Filed under: Fresh Foods,The Garden — itsrebekahlyn @ 9:23 AM
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Florida doesn’t usually see much spring. We tend to go from not terribly hot to disgustingly hot overnight. This year we’ve actually had some very pleasant days mixed in, with temperatures staying in the 60s and 70s. We even had a low in the 40s this past week. We don’t worry about frost too much down here when we start planting our gardens. (more…)

 

Winter Wonderland February 18, 2014

Filed under: Baking,Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 8:19 AM
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The first time I saw snow falling was on a high school band trip to Washington DC over Spring break. The cherry trees were in bloom and the weather was beautiful when we arrived. Two days later we awoke to flakes falling outside our windows and kids running down the hotel hallway shouting “It’s snowing! It’s snowing!” (more…)

 

Pumpkin Patch Delight October 25, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Cooking,Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:53 AM
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As I write this, I am drinking a cup of coffee, which honestly isn’t very good, and eating a pumpkin spice bagel with pumpkin spice cream cheese, which makes up for the terrible coffee. A couple of weeks ago the grocery stores were inundated with pumpkin of all kinds – cookies, bagels, milk, pies, cream cheese, and even actual pumpkins. I went a little crazy and bought one of everything and have been in pumpkin heaven ever since.

Pumpkin is one of my favorite things. It signals the changing of the season from the languid days of summer to fiery days of fall. For a girl who grew up in Florida and has only experienced fall for the briefest periods during vacations to cooler climates, it is kind of crazy for this to be my favorite time of year, but it is. All of my favorite colors take the forefront in fashion, home décor becomes more vibrant, and my favorite foods are in abundance. Even those things you can get year-round like turkey taste better in the fall than in the summer or spring.

Just thinking about fall now is making me smile and making me crave some of the comfort foods of the season.  There is a butternut squash soup I have been dying to try out, and the forecast looks a tad bit cooler this week. Looks like there may be soup in my near future. What foods do you think of with the arrival of fall?

 

Dad’s First Brownies October 19, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:55 AM
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It has been entirely too long since I last blogged, but I have been so involved with editing Winter’s End and working with my cover designer, there hasn’t been a free creative moment. However, when my dad announced the other night that he wanted to

The cover for Winter’s End compliments of Laura Wright LaRoache at LLPix.

bake a cake I knew I had to carve out some time to document this moment.  Let me set the scene. When I was a kid, my mom worked the night shift at the hospital and dad was responsible for making dinner at least a couple of those nights. While he was no chef by any means, I have fond memories of him standing three or four feet from the stove and tossing frozen shrimp into a pan of hot grease or pulling out a baking sheet that our frozen pot pies had bubbled over onto. Give the man a grill and he has more success, but he has never in his life tried to bake anything that I am aware of.

Fortunately, I keep a good stock of baking mixes in my pantry in case I need a quick fix without all of the scratch fuss.  I decided it might be better to start him off with something simple and pulled out a box of Ghirardelli brownie mix. He managed to locate the brownie pan with minimal instruction from me, then, he proceeded to ask if he could just mix everything up in the pan. At the time, this gave me quite the chuckle, but looking back it really is a reasonable question. I suppose if it wasn’t necessary to spray the pan so the brownies wouldn’t stick you could mix everything up in there.

Mom and I needed to run to the grocery for some other items and we left dad alone to make the brownies. Five minutes later, he was calling to see where my vegetable oil was. Turns out, the last had been used a couple of days earlier so we added that to our shopping list and returned home. Dad took the oil, finished mixing things up, and figured out how to set the timer on the oven. Forty-five minutes later the house smelled divine and we had gooey, hot brownies.

Dad’s First Brownies

I have to say I am rather proud of my dad for being willing to learn something new. Maybe I can get him to try out some of the recipes I found when writing Winter’s End. I will definitely be sharing some of those in the coming weeks, it just needs to get a little cooler here in Florida to inspire me to cook more.

 

 
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