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Monday, March 20, 2017

Homemade Soda Crackers (Saltines) | Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters

Homemade Soda Crackers (Saltines) | Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters
Homemade Soda Crackers (Saltines)
Welcome to the book tour stop for the latest book by Amy Rivers, Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters. I didn't realize until after I'd read this book that it was the second book in a trilogy. I may have originally been told, but if I was, I forgot. While I think it stands on its own just fine, there were a couple of instances where the main character, Gwen, referenced something that previously happened to/with her cousin and best friend, Val. That did make me wonder if I'd missed an earlier book, but I convinced myself this wasn't a series, and that was just the way it was written.

A fairly light, easy read, I finished this book centered around Gwen Marsh, the young new mayor of Cambria, in two couple-hour sessions in a single day. Gwen is struggling to find balance between her work, which includes her being a public figure, and her personal life, which includes her boyfriend Jason—both of which she loves.
Homemade Soda Crackers (Saltines) | Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters
Along with work and her love life, she's the maid of honor in Val's upcoming wedding, dealing with a possible stalker, and has developed stomach issues on top of everything. Her life has definitely become the perfect example of the phrase, "when it rains, it pours".

While there was nothing extremely profound about this story, I still found it enjoyable. Gwen is a strong woman trying to overcome a childhood that has made it hard for her to trust and commit to a loving relationship. And while I know nothing about being in city government, I found the workplace drama to be quite relatable, as well.
Homemade Soda Crackers (Saltines)
As far as food goes, while this wouldn't be considered a "foodie read", there's food mentioned throughout, and restaurants play a fairly major supporting role in both the social aspects of the book. When thinking about a recipe that would really represent Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters, I chose something simple, yet intrinsically connected to Gwen—homemade soda crackers.

I mentioned earlier that Gwen was suffering from stomach problems, and even after finding out the cause, she needed to baby herself a bit, which she would do by popping a ginger chew in her mouth, drinking Sprite or tea, or eating crackers.
Homemade Soda Crackers (Saltines)

In the morning, Gwen was surprised to find a mug of hot tea and a plate of crackers waiting on her bedside table.

Without giving any spoilers, I'd say that soda crackers are the perfect recipe to represent this book. And served alongside mint tea (or Sprite), they're the perfect way to settle an upset stomach.

Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters book cover

Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters

author: Amy Rivers
series: Cambria Trilogy (Book 2)
publisher: Wooden Pants Publishing (January 13, 2017)
genre: Women's Fiction > Contemporary Women

soft cover:236 pages

"foodie" read: no

opening sentence: Gwen Marsh nibbled a carrot stick without much enthusiasm and listened with increasing tension as her cousin, Val Shakely, went over the latest developments.

teaser: A year after she is elected mayor of a prosperous Colorado city, Gwen’s career and life are fully on track, all according to plan. So why is she in such a slump emotionally and physically? New conflicts keep boiling over in city government, and her earlier allies no longer support her. She and her boyfriend have an ideal relationship, which she finds inexplicably dissatisfying. Without telling her, he decides to take a new job that has him traveling out of state every week. Suddenly unexpected developments turn everything topsy-turvy, and Gwen is forced to re-examine her carefully-planned life.

about the author: Amy Rivers was born and raised in southern New Mexico and currently resides in Colorado with her husband, kids and cat. She has a Master’s degree with concentrations in Psychology and Politics, two topics she loves to incorporate into her personal essays and novels. Amy has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, Novelty Bride Magazine, and Splice Today. Her first novel, Wallflower Blooming, was published in August 2016. Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters is coming in January 2017.
Amy Rivers headshot

connect with the author: website | facebook | twitter

recipe inspired by the book: Homeade Saltines (Soda Crackers)


yield: 5 1/2 dozenprint recipe
Homemade Soda Crackers (Saltines)

Homemade Soda Crackers (Saltines)

prep time: 12 hour and 45 MINScook time: 12 MINStotal time: 12 hours and 57 mins
Make your own lightly salted, crispy soda crackers at home!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons barley malt flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Saf-Instant Yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into bits
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon cold water
  • kosher salt, to finish


  1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk until evenly distributed. Scatter the bits of shortening over the dry ingredients and cut in with a pastry blender or a large blending fork until you have small pebbles coated in flour. Add the cold water and use your hands to bring everything together into slightly tacky dough, kneading for a minute or two, until smooth.
  2. Form the dough into a ball and place in a medium bowl; cover bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, about 12 hours (the dough won't really rise, this is mostly for flavor development).
  3. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Divide the dough in half, and working with one half at a time, roll the dough out until you have a very thin sheet (as thin as you can get it without ripping through - no thicker than 1/8-inch). Use a pizza roller, fluted roller, or cutters to cut 2" square crackers. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
  5. soda cracker dough
  6. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the dough (a rolling docker would work perfectly - if you have one, use it before you cut into cracker shapes). Sprinkle with a little kosher salt.
  7. soda cracker dough ready to bake
  8. Slide tray into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden (if your crackers are thicker, you will have to cook them longer to get them crisp). Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and crisp up before eating.
  1. The thinner you roll the dough, the crisper the crackers will be. While it's hard to get these crackers to look exactly like store-bought Saltines (shape and color), the flavor is pretty spot-on.
Created using The Recipes Generator

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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