Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Quick Post

Writing has been cranking. Amen to that right? When the boy naps I am writing. Tonight though, I did a few small, but necessary changes to one scene and am taking a mental break. Sometimes it is nice to just sit back and read and not rush to work in the evening.

Made this delicious Bulgur Risotto with Corn and Shrimp. I used more bulgur because I wanted to make sure we have leftovers for lunch. If you read the reviewers comments, people modified the recipe in numerous ways so knock your socks off and have fun with it.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Must Have Chocolate

In honor of the internet becoming a place where too much information is the norm, let me share that I have my period. And when I get my lovely monthly menses, I want chocolate or salt. Today I want chocolate.


So, I instead of my normal yummy scones, I decided to look upon something that I will not eat in one sitting. You see, if I make eight scones that means 4 for me and 4 for the hubster. I will eat all 4 in one sitting. Yes, I am gross and a glutton and I make no apologies for that. Scones and tea are a wonderful combination and I am willing to work out harder at the gym to enjoy that indulgence. The funny thing is, I no longer care about desserts after dinner. I would rather have the delicious veggies and fish and whatnot instead of a piece of cake at the end. Go figure. I prefer my sweet sin in the morning. Oh yeah.

Right now, in my oven, a delicious looking Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Quick Bread is baking. I have no buttermilk so I am using soy milk and vinegar as the buttermilk replacement. I love how vinegar thickens up the milk. Simple, freaky science I was unaware of until a few years of ago and needed a buttermilk replacement. I would like to thank all those bakers that came before and figured our substitutes. I also cannot wait to eat a piece, or two, of this bread. My tea will need reheating, but such a small price to pay for a delectable morning treat.

My son has decided that emptying his water cup out on the floor and all over himself is the new favorite past time. He has also seems to enjoys wiping it up so I sort of win as long as I get a rag to him right away.

I am now using iAWriter for my newest novel. So far so good. You really do zone out while working which is exactly what I needed, but buyer beware. There are no bells and whistles to this program. No words correcting themselves as you type along, no fancy footnote,  Scrivener type stuff. Meh, I am fine with it and sort of feel like I am writing on a typewriter since it is so simplistic. It has some features, but if you were looking to get fancy schmancy stuff this ain't it. For 99 cents, I am not complaining one bit. Isn't that nice for a change?  :)


Friday, April 19, 2013

Just A Bunch of Stuff

Between the loss of life in Texas and Massachusetts this week and the ongoing search for the suspect in MA and for bodies in TX, life seems more fragile than usual. All those people and so much heartache. Overwhelming is such a small word at this time. Anger is a big one. For those of us who are merely bystanders to all this chaos, it is unsettling and outrageous, horrifying and baffling. While people send good vibes and prayers to those affected in both places, we all know Boston, MA and West, TX will have a long way to go in the healing process and I wish those cities and their residents the very best of intentions.

Hard to now veer onto less serious topics, but life does move forward in a sense.

Gardenista has an interesting post - 5 Delicious Ways to Eat Flowers  Everything looks so delicious and beautiful.

The Sweetest Vegan. She takes Paula Deen's recipes, "Hello, do you want butter with your butter?" and McDonald's recipes and vegetarainizes/veganizes them. I have to say the recipes look amazing and I cannot wait to make the fried avocado fries. Hey, I never said it had to be completely healthy. ;-)

A Coconut Lemonade recipe comes from Veggie Belly. Refreshing indeed.

I do not crochet, but wish I did. The Sweet Home Sweet pillow pattern at Purl Bee would be a nice project and would look so good on my couch.

We just lost power due to the rain storms and our generator is on so I must sign off before the internet goes. Have a great weekend.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Roasted Carrot Coins

We buy 5lb bags of organic carrots. Part of the reason is we use them in everything and the other is I like to send my hubby to work with some cut up carrots as a snack. I had been wanting to make some roasted carrots for our little one. It is funny how many recipes there are out there which is nice, but I settled on this one from Weelicious and it's quite tasty. I am currently out of paprika so I used curry powder instead. Enjoy!!

Roast Carrot Coins

A friend went to the Philadelphia Flower Show this year and picked up some seeds for me from the Hudson Valley Seed Library. So in my garden I have sown some Kaleidoscope carrots and I have my fingers crossed that they grow since this is my first shot with carrots. If successful, I can enjoy them raw and roasted all summer long :)


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Why I Hate Series Novels

After reading the second book, Drop Shot by Harlan Coben, I remembered why I hate series novels. The story was good, but the amount of rehashing makes my head spin. There is an assumption that the reader will forget these little details, which I find a touch condescending. Like, Win is a Tae Kwon Do expert or that Myron lives with his parents. The worst part is I am constantly being TOLD this not shown. In "Drop Shot" I get a full blown description of the restaurant they go to because they love it so much. You did this in the first novel already so PLEASE STOP.
Another thing I noticed with Drop Shot was the incredible amount of dialogue. Most everything I have ever read in regards to writing says to slim down the dialogue, show not tell, but damn if this book goes against all of that.  At one point I felt like I was looking at a screenplay. That does not mean it is a bad read. As an  aspiring writer you can get confused by all the "rules" of writing out there in internet land. I am very guilty of being a dialogue person more than a description writer, but I am not a screenwriter so I try to make sure every line count and work at trying to show things instead of just having my character ramble on. Actions do speak louder than words in a lot of cases and there were a few times as I was reading Drop Shot I was like, "Dude, all you had to do was have Myron do such and such and that would have said everything that took ten lines of dialogue!" Picky, picky I am.
This also occurred when I was reading the "In Death" series by Nora Roberts and the "Stephanie Plum" series by Janet Evanovich. I never finished either because I couldn't take the abuse anymore. If I had to read about "Eve's whiskey colored eyes" or "Stephanie's unruly hair" one more time I was going to email the authors and ask what the hell?? I gather this must be a requirement when it comes to writing said series, but I can't believe that is true. I mean, if it is a series, and someone decides to read book ten instead of book one, that's their problem. Number the damn things then because quite frankly, I have no desire to recount a character's looks and backgrounds every time I open a book. With "In Death" you are constantly reminded that Eve was abused. Look, if in every book you have to tell me this, though it is shown via nightmares now and then, there is an issue. Maybe by now she has gotten therapy, but I could care less. There has to be a series out there that just picks up where it left off and moves on with the story without the constant reminders. If anyone knows of any books like that, that is the series I want to read.

Now, I was reading "The Help" at the same time as "Drop Shot" and that may be why I have a stick up my butt. "The Help" was an excellent story. All the characters were interesting and at times, pathetic, with concise voices. Personally, I fell in love with Abilene, the maid, because she was the heart of it all in my opinion. I was engaged through most of the novel and let me say that if I was Minny, I would have done the same thing to that wretched Hilly Holbrook. Nasty, bigoted woman.

I do realize my dissecting of some authors makes makes me sound petty and not unlike a literary snob. I am not one. Really. Or maybe I am. My favorite book is "To Kill A Mockingbird", but there are many books I love and trust me, I love to read. Perhaps I am placing my own standards of what I expect of myself on these people and that is not fair. Like Nora gives a rat's behind that I hate Eve Dallas. God bless her as she laughs all the way to the bank, but then again, I am the customer and I want a product I can enjoy. For  those who love series novels, good for you. I wish I could join you in that pleasure, but until I find that elusive, well written, non-repetitive series, I cannot.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Roasted Cabbage Wedges

I came across an excellent blog called, Gimme Some Oven which is part of a group blog of food, life, reads and style. (I am excited to check out the other sections.) Thanks to me wanting to do something different with cabbage, I was searching for a delicious side dish to go with our salmon this evening and there it was -  Roasted Cabbage Wedges. I swear I could have eaten fifty of these they were so delicious and easy peasy to make. I squirted fresh lemon juice on them at the end and they were h-e-a-v-e-n.

Now I hope the CSA we joined has an abundance of cabbage because I know EXACTLY how I will be preparing it from now on. Yum, yum!


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Helpful Hints For All Areas of Living

ITS TACTICAL has a great post on what to do if God forbid, there is a fire or even a carbon dioxide issue in the home. Read it here.

Everyone needs extra storage, but not all of us live in a house that can accommodate a small country.  Lifehacker has some solutions that you may utilize already and some you may not have even though of doing.

The Ready Store has a blog filled with all sorts of goodies about survival and homesteading. How to grow and use herbs to how to tie certain knots or signal a plane for help, it is incredibly informative.

Knowledge Weighs Nothing has a printable sheet of chart that lists the shelf life of refrigerated foods.

Who knew you could make a candle out of an orange??

Since I do not partake in meat eating, I have not made these Sausage Apple Burgers,  but they will most likely be delicious and someone can make and enjoy them.

I think I made my knit cowl obsession clear, but this sewn one is pretty awesome and while I love scarves, I never tie them right or they become loose. This may be my solution :)

Have a fabulous weekend!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Mish Mash of Things

Apparently some people think putting a working chandelier over the tub is a good idea. How about no? Remodelaholic is a little more eloquent than I am on the matter.

Remodelaholic - Electricity and Bathroom Chandeliers

The other night I made this delicious dish using soy chorizo and threw in a few sundried tomatoes: White Beans with Chorizo

I have yet to make this, but the fact that I can make a vegetarian version of panna cotta is awesome.

Daily Bites blog has a great post about Brain Fuel: Food for Healthy Minds Ironically, my son eats most of these healthy snacks and me, only sometimes. I need to work on that apparently. :)

Let me end with a small rant. I get why gun control laws are a hot issue, but let's be honest, all the laws in the world will not help those that are just downright negligent. I have to believe more gun owners are responsible and know how to care for and store their firearms. For those that do not, well, unfortunately there are no stupidity clauses that we can add to any bill that will save anyone from serious accidents. (See Toms River NJ and Tennessee.) I will never understand who the hell keeps a loaded gun in their house, let alone assumes that everyone has taught their kids not to touch a gun or respect a gun. When it comes to firearms, it is better off thinking everyone would be careless than assume everyone is well versed in firearms and can handle one.
And yes, I do feel horrible for everyone involved and yes accidents do happen, but these two particular ones are tough because two small children are now scarred for life due to their actions.

Okay, maybe a rant is a bad way to end a post, let me do this instead. My husband did a version of this vertical wall planter next to our front door this weekend and it looks fabulous. Our lattice is narrower and I still have to get the dirt and flowers, but it adds such a nice touch to the porch. Thank you Cape 27 blog for such an awesome DIY project!


Monday, April 8, 2013

And it is finished!

My novel is now in the hands of my friend, after much technical difficulty. (Chromebook and Google Drive, you and I remain volatile friends.) I am so looking forward to his feedback, good and/or bad. I feel so accomplished. What most of you may not know is that I have finished two novels*, this one included this is the final edit I am ever doing to it, and both of them have been rejected. I find it invigorating. Why? Because I did something my father who wrote never did. I sent out my stories unafraid of criticism or rejection.
Do not misunderstand me, getting a rejection notice from an agent or publisher does suck. I mean, I am trying to make a living off my writing, but the fact that I even got that far only inspires me to keep trying and to keep getting better.
I am going to give myself a few days before I tackle my third novel. I did pick up the second Harlan Coben novel and look forward to starting that. It is nice to read with the pressure of a self imposed deadline to get a book edited and out. Of course, I know I am going to start getting antsy to get my angel story going. I doubt any writer every really gets out of their head for too long. Vacations and breaks happen, but I know for myself, everything around me can become a possible plot line or dimension to a character.
The biggest hurdle will be me transferring my third novel from Google Drive to iA Writer. The novel is done, but in a second rough draft versions kind of done. I have some serious plot changes swimming in my head so I will use this week to to hash them out, writing things down on actual paper like we used to in the old days.
I am also about to complete a short story to submit to Glimmer Train this month. I believe that if I  hone my short story skills it will most certainly help me in the long run. Especially if I get published in a reputable magazine like Glimmer Train, it will be good for me when I am shopping my full blown novels.

*For the record, my first novel that was rejected was a romance. When I re-read it last year I was horrified I even submitted the story. The writing was cheesy and lacked depth. I started more sentences with gerunds than one can find in the dictionary. I had submitted it to Carina Press, so confident they would love it. They didn't. I doubt I will rewrite that story. I can't see me as a romance novelist. My skills in that genre are clearly lacking. To use romance as part of a story sure, I can accomplish that. As a the main plot? I don't think so. Let's leave that to the Nora Roberts and Nicholas Sparks of this world.

Looks like it is going to be beautiful weather this week here in NJ, hope it is where you may be as well.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Potato Chip Zucchini Sticks with Lemon Mayo

Hope everyone had a nice holiday.

I made these over the weekend for a Seder we went to and it was delicious!

Friends of ours agreed to let us use their house to host the Seder and there were ten of us. There were only 3 people there that are or were practicing Jews as well as vegetarian so it made for a very entertaining event. The food was delicious, the company fun and the 4 kids under the age of 3 seemed to enjoy. Our Seder was VERY brief due to the children, but that was okay. I admit we failed to take out little man to Easter Mass this year, but I hope to do so next year. I would like to take him to Church a little more often, but I do not belong to one and well, I am not even sure which Church to hit up. I could go to the Lutheran one down the street which would be a whole new experience for us. I love Church of the Redeemer (Episcopal) in Morristown, but I would like to find something closer that has their energy. Oh well, I will figure it out at some point.

I have solved a serious plot point in my novel and have moved on from that horrific blockage. Whooo hoo! This means I should be done in the next few days and can send it off to my friend for feedback! This also means I will now return to the world of Angels and hunker down on that one. I am excited. The creative juices are flowing and I need to crank it all out. I am still trying to get it together to write short stories too, but I figure, take a step at a time, do what I can and it will sort itself out. At least I hope it will. Rock on.