Curious Sustenance Release Party – The Food Post!

November 21, 2013


Hello Dreamers! I’m back to share another taste of my new novella, Curious Sustenance.

In my first post I mentioned a dish that appears in the story and now I’m back to share the recipe. No, sorry, it’s not the triple layer cake with chocolate-bourbon filling. I haven’t made a decadent cake like that for years—but I’ve been tempted!

Ross’s story is as much about self-image as it is about boundaries—in the first scene he’s just become a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers after an eight-month struggle to lose 98 pounds. He never thought he had a bad self-image but it improved drastically during that time, and gets stronger throughout the story. So instead of the cake, I’m going to share a recipe I learned during my own Weight Watchers journey: Taco Soup.

The full name of the recipe is “Zero Point Taco Soup”—but depending on which ingredients you choose to include it may or may not live up to that name. This became one of my favorite cool-weather recipes because it’s so versatile, and because it’s comfort food (especially when I add refried beans).

Those of you familiar with Camp Stew will see a lot of similarities.

Get a big pasta pot (6 quart is large enough for a household or lots of leftovers!), if you want to you can sauté some onions, peppers, celery, garlic…clear out that crisper! I’ve even used leftover shredded carrots. Go ahead and do that first, until everything’s nice and limp—or caramelized if that’s your thing.

Now it gets fun! Add the following ingredients, or substitute what you have in the cupboard—this is a very forgiving recipe.


  • 4 cups/cans of fat free stock (chicken, beef, veggie—or use your own!)
  • 2 large cans tomatoes (12 oz., or whatever you have; whole, stewed, chopped, doesn’t matter)
  • Corn: 1 can or what’s left in a bag of the frozen kind
  • 1-4 cans of any kind of beans (but not green): garbanzo, kidney, pinto, black, refried—go nuts!
  • Seasoning: add salsa or pre-mixed taco seasoning, or you can toss in a ½ teaspoon each of cumin and chili powder (or more if you like it spicy, just keep the proportions the same) and salt & pepper to taste.
  • I like it with a bay leaf, when I have one.


It sounds strange, but adding a can of fat-free refried beans almost gives it the texture of a cream-style soup.

After it’s simmered for a good hour or so and warmed-up your entire home, ladle into bowls, add toppings of your choice, and voila! It’s soup.


  • Chopped cilantro
  • green onions
  • chopped tomatoes
  • salsa
  • sliced or chopped black olives
  • fat free sour cream
  • baked tortilla chips (it’s a great way to use the broken chips at the bottom of a bag!)
  • shredded cheese


This is a great way to feed a crowd too—the toppings are colorful laid-out buffet-style, and everyone can choose what they want.


Now here’s your part. I can’t make this every week or my daughter will stage a protest, so tell me your favorite cold-weather dish that’s comforting and won’t add to our padding (not too much, anyway :) ). Every comment is in the running for all three of my prizes: an ebook copy of Curious Sustenance, the penis chapstick cozy, and the Maneki-neko cell phone charm!


I wasn’t sure which excerpt to include here. A triple chocolate cake doesn’t have any calories if you’re only reading about it—but that part is on the DsP book page, and so is the Taco Soup mention. So here’s another bit featuring Ross’s brother and a quick mention of food. Food and family—can’t go wrong there, right?


It was a huge relief to get off the train at the Rose Garden and follow the burly security guard back to his brother’s dressing room. He grinned when he saw the sign on the door with his name in what Rune called a druidic script, surrounded by actual runes that he said symbolized power and destiny. Ross knew his brother didn’t really believe all that, but it sure looked cool on the door and on his website. The security guard knocked, and Janet grabbed Ross’ arm and squeezed a moment when they heard Rune’s, “Come in.”

“Sally!” Ross shouted.

Rune sped across the room with an easy grace Ross had always been a little jealous of and grabbed him in a hug. “Big brother.”

Ross laughed, barely ten months separated them, but Ross had more than six inches on him, and Ross was barely six-one. Okay, six feet and one quarter inch. Still, Rune had always been baby brother, even while he lifted Ross off the ground.

“Missed you at Christmas.” Ross made a choking sound as he was squeezed around the waist.

“Yeah, I missed it too. Couldn’t be helped, though. Dude in Toronto needed another tick in his loss column, and you know Mom can’t stand to watch me not eat.” Rune squeezed him again and then released him and stood back, smiling as he looked him over. He nodded his appreciation. The last time they were in the same room, Ross still had fifteen pounds to go.

Ross had had enough focused attention for the moment and was surprised he had to look around for Janet. She stood almost behind him. He pulled her forward and kept an arm around her shoulders so she couldn’t bolt, which for some strange reason she seemed about to do. Ross introduced them, and she murmured a hello as they shook.

“Wow, big brother, you never said she was beautiful.”

Ross squeezed her shoulder and told her, “That’s a lie.”

“Yeah, it is,” Rune grinned. “He says it all the time. Don’t let him hide behind you while I win tonight.”

Ross watched them flirt and had to smile at the chemistry. He couldn’t stifle a short laugh when Rune winked and her ears turned red. Shortly after that, he waved them out of his dressing room. Ross kept his arm draped around Janet’s shoulders as they made their way out into the arena, already trying to hide behind her.

“He looks taller on TV.”

Ross pulled her closer, and Janet rested her head against his shoulder.

“He’s almost five-six, but with muscles like that, it’s hard to tell.”

“Bleach his hair and you could be twins.”

Ross let that go. Growing up, he’d either heard they could be twins or looked nothing alike. That Janet was a twin person boded well for Rune. And for Janet.


Thanks for reading! I’ll be back in about an hour with a schedule for my “A Little Side of Kink” Blog Tour, and then the winners of today’s prizes! Still plenty of time to enter, please help me figure out what to cook for dinner tonight! *lol*



photo credit: RobynAnderson via photopin cc


12 Responses to “Curious Sustenance Release Party – The Food Post!”

  1. H.B. says:

    It’s not really a dish as it is a whole meal but my favorite thing to eat when it’s cold is hotpot.

  2. Andrea M says:

    My favorite is plain old homemade vegetable soup – tomatoes, beef broth, a little coffee, then whatever veggies I have in the freezer. I always make a lot and freeze most of it so it can just be heated on cold days. Here in Florida we don’t have a lot of them.

  3. Andrea M says:

    H.B. What is a hotpot? I sounds good.

  4. Andrea M says:

    Oops – left out the t.

  5. cdescoteaux says:

    I’d like to hear that too, H.B.! Hotpot sounds like hotdish, which makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
    Hmmm, maybe that’s also because it’s almost noon here! :)

  6. Carolyn says:

    Ooh, a nice, easy recipe, and it sounds delicious! We eat an easy-to-make black bean dish that’s definitely a staple, and I just love it. It’s two cans of black beans, juice and all (though kidney or others will work, too, of course), a bag of frozen pepper and onion blend, one can of diced tomatoes, one small can of diced green chiles (optional), 2Tb powdered broth (chicken, beef, veggie) or two cubes of bullion if you don’t have powdered broth, one Tb cumin and garlic powder (or 2 cloves of diced garlic), 1 tsp of black pepper, and 2 tsp of chile powder (or half for less spice). There’s always the option of adding rice to it to bulk it up some, which we use a half cup of instant and a full cup of water. Bring it to a boil, then cover it and bring it down to a simmer for about 45 ninutes. So, there’s our little “one-pot wonder.” Thanks for sharing yours with us and a nice little excerpt!

  7. cdescoteaux says:

    Sounds delicious, Carolyn! Thanks for sharing your recipe. :)

  8. Trix says:

    I like escarole and white bean soup.I bet hot and sour or egg drop soup could be low-cal, too. Dessert-wise, Alice Medrich has some fairly low-point options (depending on portion size) in some of her books, such as Albert’s Mousse (use the method with water, not milk or cream) and the Fallen Chocolate Souffle Torte in BITTERSWEET. (She’d even worked out the points for some of her cookies in her cookie book, but now that the program’s changed the values probably have too…)

  9. cdescoteaux says:

    Ooh, I’ll have to check out those cookbooks. Thanks for the rec, Trix!
    Now I’m getting hungry again! :)

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