Gail's Book Nook

Monday, April 23, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Nicole Odell Talks about The Embittered Ruby and Her Favorite Recipe and Bible Verse

What a fun time! Nicole’s sharing an award winning recipe and her favorite Bible verse. She’s also giving away a copy of her book. To enter to win the book, leave a comment with your email address. To receive a free recipe e-book, Novel Morsels, scroll below and follow Nicole’s directions.

Nourish the Body

Read an excerpt from Nicole’s book, The Embittered Ruby, and get Carmen Castillo’s recipe for award-winning chili. Carmen’s the main character in The Embittered Ruby. She’s loves to cook and plans to go to culinary school.
Nicole says, “When I put together Novel Morsels, a collaborative cookbook made up of 120 recipes that show up in books or favorites of our characters by 65 authors, Carmen decided to share her chili recipe.”
Nourish the Body: Excerpt and Recipe
Super-Secret, Award-Winning Chili
The Embittered Ruby, Barbour Publishing April, 2011 Nicole O’Dell
“Okay. There’s only so much a man can take.” Billy barged into his bedroom.
“What?” Carmen sat up. “You said I could nap on your bed. Did I sleep too long?”
“No, silly. I’m talking about that pot on the stove. What is in there, and when can I eat it?”
“That’s what this is about?” Carmen threw a pillow at Billy.
“Well, you’re going to share, aren’t you?”
“Of course I will. It’s almost done.”
“That pot’s been simmering for two days. What’s in it?”
Carmen wiggled her eyebrows. “You’re in for a pot of the greatest award-winning chili known to man.”
“Mmm. I’m such a chili fan. I’ve been waiting to taste some of that awesome cooking I’ve been hearing about.”
Speaking of the pot on the stove, it was time to stir. “Come on.” Carmen led the way to the kitchen. She backed up to the counter and hopped up onto it, her piggy slippers dangling. She took the lid off the stockpot and stirred the simmering brew, breathing in the heady aroma of chili powder, cinnamon, cloves, and red pepper. To die for.
Carmen blew on a spoonful. “Here. Taste.”
Billy leaned forward and slurped the chili from the spoon. He closed his eyes and rolled his tongue around his mouth. “I think that’s the best thing I’ve ever tasted. It’s amazing.”
“Thanks.” She ladled a big scoop into a bowl, dumped oyster crackers on top, sprinkled some shredded cheese, and added a dollop of sour cream. “Now that is a bowl of chili.” She handed it to Billy and then made one for herself.
Billy sat at the dinette with his untouched food in front of him.
Carmen slid into her seat and poised her spoon above her bowl. “Go ahead. Eat.”
“This will sound weird, but I can’t eat without praying. Do you mind?” He took her hand and began to pray. “Heavenly Father. . .” Carmen guessed she didn’t mind, but how strange. Billy sure didn’t seem to be living like someone who prayed over every meal.

1 lb ground beef
1 can (1lb 13oz) tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 lg onion, sliced
1 green pepper, chopped
1-2 Tbsp Chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1-2 bay leaves
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp paprika
2 to 3 cloves
1 lg cinnamon stick

(For my large family, and the guests with doggie bags, I usually do this recipe X 5.)
• brown beef, drain • add onion and green pepper • cook until onions and green peppers are translucent • add tomatoes and seasonings • Add cinnamon and cloves • simmer gently, at least two hours • add beans

Get ready for delicious smells to take over your house. Simmer it for as long as you can stand the wait! I don’t consider it ready until it sits in the fridge overnight and simmers for at least an hour the second day.

Ps, if you’d like your own free copy of the e-book, Novel Morsels, visit here and enter coupon code ‘nicoleodell’ at checkout!
Nourish the Soul: Nicole Shares her Favorite Bible Verse:
The one scripture that stands out to me all the time in reference to my own walk with the Lord, my parenting, and my work, is Philippians 1:6: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
It’s all about choices! We have the power to choose righteousness or sin when it comes to the way we live our lives. I believe in helping teens prepare to make good choices in advance of the pressure, and I work to help parents with that goal.
But, we’re told that the work isn’t complete. We aren’t perfected until we stand before Jesus. So, we will make mistakes. We’ll choose badly from time to time, our teens will mess up. When mistakes are made, the redemptive and restorative power of the blood of Jesus is sufficient to cover all sin even though there are natural consequences to choices.
The work will be finished. It’s a promise.
Those threads are pretty much an outline of each of the books in the Diamond Estates series.

About the series:
DIAMOND ESTATES. Three girls are on a journey to find hope and healing. Each coming to Diamond Estates seeking solace… Each with her own unique set of struggles… And each capturing hearts and challenging the faith of teen girls.
About The Embittered Ruby

Sixteen-year-old Carmen Castillo wonders what it would be like to have a pair of ruby slippers.
“There’s no place like home. . .”
“There’s no place like home. . .”
“There’s no place like home.”

But then reality sets in, and Carmen concludes that ruby slippers are mere fiction. Constant prayers that her parents will patch things up remain unanswered. . .and her hurtful world becomes too much for her to bear. Trapped by resentment and anger, Carmen lashes out the only way she knows how and soon finds herself at a crossroads.
Will Carmen find the path to ultimate peace and contentment that her heart longs for?
Or will her troubled soul remain forever embittered?

Nicole O'Dell, founder of Choose NOW Ministries and host of Choose NOW Radio: Parent Talk and Teen Talk, is a youth culture expert who writes and speaks to preteens, teenagers, and parents about how to prepare for life's tough choices. She’s author of YA fiction, including the popular Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction series and the Diamond Estates Series, and non-fiction for teens including Girl Talk, 2/1/12, which she wrote with her two daughters based on their popular advice column. Hot Buttons, O’Dell’s non-fiction series for parents helps pre-empt peer pressure by tackling tough issues. Visit for more info.


June Foster said...

Nicole, I love your scripture. I, too, hang onto that and claim it for my family and myself. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about choices. How important. June Foster

Miss Mae said...

Now who wouldn't want to grab this book, and the recipe for the chili? :)

Nice interview Gail and Nicole!

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

What a cute idea for a book! Love it!

Finbar said...

Truly a purpose driven life.. with good food as an extra... Thanks for sharing both the story and the chili pot.

Danielle Thorne said...

Thank you for the wonderful interview. I enjoyed checking out the chili recipe, too!

Nicole O'Dell said...

Thank you all so much for the sweet comments! And that you, Gail, for having me here! :)

Amy Campbell said...

Would love to read this book! Great interview.

Laurean Brooks said...

Wow, Nicole! How do you do it all? You are one busy lady. I love the excerpt and the chili recipe sounds delicious. When I read where you add a stick of cinnamon,it reminded me of the pot of chili I made a few months ago.

Harumphh...I accidentally grabbed the cinnamon bottle instead of chili powder. That pot of chili was the most fragrant thing we ever ate. Correction: "I" ever ate. Lol.

Still, it tasted pretty good with 3 TBSP of cinnamon.

May God continue to bless you, Nicole.

Denise Jordan said...

Thank you for offering your book to one of us. I cannot wait to read it : )

I'm going to try your chili recipe too!