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Sunday, October 19, 2014

So much to do...

and plenty of time! (Only because I'm bound and determined to make sure I can do all this, partly out of professionalism, and partly because I really want all this stuff to work out!!)

     I have had a request from a children's book editor for a non-fiction book I've been chipping away at; ever since I read that email I have been chopping away in earnest! I spent two hours on it today: the outline has been reworked, finished text revised, and the research continues. This is so much fun. I love doing research. (Sick, I know.)

     I have also had the AMAZING good fortune to be accepted to the Submissions Team for, a very cool website dedicated to all things fiction. All works that appear in all the magazine categories is reviewed and voted on by the Submissions Team, only then is it published in the magazines. You can buy a subscription on the website, or just visit and read some samples in the archives before making your choice. (New Realms has some epic fantasy work, though. If you're a fantasy fan, take a look!)

     My Cookbook Mania order has been put in at the library, and soon I will begin reading, reviewing, probably salivating, and testing recipes so I can give you all honest reviews of the content. While you wait for the pros, here's one of my recipes (all made up by me all by myself, lol)

Vegetable Soup with Rice

2 c chicken broth
1 c rice (uncooked) (I used medium grain white rice)

2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium to large onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves of garlic (diced)
2 stalks of celery, chopped
4 small or 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 c frozen cut green beans
2 Tbs dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
4 c chicken broth
1 medium zucchini, diced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

In a small saucepan, heat chicken broth to boiling; add 1 c rice and turn heat down to a low simmer, cover, and cook until rice is soft (but not mushy!), about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

In your soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add chopped onions and sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and celery, stir briefly, and let cook 5 minutes, until soft but garlic isn't browned.

Add carrots; cook until tender, 8 minutes. Add green beans and cook until thawed (5 minutes? Mine were precooked). Add thyme, bay, tomatoes and broth and cook 10 minutes. Finally, add zucchini, salt and pepper, and cook an additional 5 minutes or so, until zucchini are tender but not mushy. Stir the cooked rice into the pot, and voila! Vegetable soup with rice :) Serve with New York Extra-Sharp Cheddar and warm bread, or at least nice crusty bread.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Visit Salt Tree, my new favorite blog!!

Acorn to Birds Nest Ring

nest ring
Crafting from nature in the autumn season can yield some awesome projects.  From all the beautiful warm colours and all little gems that have fallen from the trees, crafting ideas are abundant and often, free.  I always wondered why people would buy a bag of pinecones, acorns or twigs from the decor department of a store, when you can pick them up for free outside?
I was walking my little guy a while ago and saw a bunch of acorn tops strewn across the grass and sidewalk. ‘I could do something with these’, I said to myself as I started stuffing them in the stroller pocket.  Which brings me tooo…. acorn week!  Yes, yes.  I was so inspired, all my posts this week will be acorn related.  It also means I went back to pick up more acorn tops lol.  A LOT more.

The first project I’m sharing with you is a sweet little birds nest ring.
Choose an acorn top.  Make sure that it has dried out (not green).
Find a few round things to use as eggs.  I found some beads in my craft supply stash.  The only problem, they weren’t the right colour.  I stuck them on toothpicks and painted them blue, then gave them a clear coat.  If you have clay, you could mould little eggs, or even use little stones.
Once my ‘eggs’ were dry, I glued them into the acorn cap with some E-6000.  I used it because it dries clear and well…it’s just awesome stuff.
Next, I took some craft moss I had on hand, and glued little bits around the eggs.  If you don’t have moss, you can raid the garden for little teeny tiny twigs.
Enter the ring base.  I snagged these handy dandy ring blanks from our favourite daily deals site, Pick Your Plum.
Using E-6000 again, I adhered the nest to the ring base.  I found the nest needed to be flatter on the bottom to glue it to the ring base, so I ‘sanded’ it using an emery board.
Time to show it off :)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Dinner Experiments.....

This is cooking as I type; I found the recipe on FB, and am REALLY interested in seeing how it works out. If it's an epic fail, I have black bean tacos as a rescue dinner. Wish me luck! (I'll post results after dinner.)

One-Pan Pasta

I am here to tell you about a recipe for pasta that you cook in one pan. One pan, people! Dried noodles, sauce ingredients, water—they all get thrown into a big pan and boiled for less than 10 minutes. You end up with a totally delicious dinner, and a party trick.
I know this recipe is making the rounds. I would even bet that it is blowing up in Pinterest (is it?). I imagine that anyone who saw this in Martha Stewart Living this month knew they needed to try it. It is such a simple idea that I am surprised we haven’t all been doing this the whole time.
I like the recipe because it allows you to get dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes. It is also fun for the cook. That first time you make it you wonder if it will all come together. Is this even possible? Then, the noodles begin to soften, the liquid reduces into a creamy sauce, and you know you’ve got a winner. The real brilliance of the recipe is that by cooking the noodles with the sauce, they absorb so much more flavor than a pot of salted water could ever provide.
Salt is your friend in this dish, don’t skimp! You need a big skillet, big enough for the linguine to lie flat across the bottom.
One-Pan Pasta (adapted slightly from Martha Stewart Living) The editors of MSL discovered the recipe while traveling in Puglia, so we have Italy to thank for another great pasta recipe!
  • 12 ounces linguine
  • 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2- 3/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • Lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with basil. Serve with oil and Parmesan.

UPDATE: Friday's dinner experiment went VERY well! I cooked it on medium, so it took closer to 15 minutes, and I probably will only use 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, but otherwise, it's a dinner-time KEEPER!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cookbook Mania!

Earlier today I promised you lovely people a list of the cookbooks I'm all about now. Not all of these are necessarily new titles, just new to me. Here we go:
The Forks Over Knives Plan : How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet by Alona Pulde, MD and Matthew Lederman, MD
I'm interested in it for new recipe ideas, mostly. But, being lactose-intolerant, this might prove to be a gem.
The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries by Ben Towill Phil Winser, Nick Wilber, with Julia Turshin (I loved the title)
Week in a Day by Rachael Ray
The Yummy Mummy Kitchen by Marina Delio (I've been following Marina's blog for a while now, and I want her to come be my personal chef.)
Weeknights With Giada by Giada De Laurentiis
Fresh From the Farm by Susie Middleton
(I have her Fast, Fresh and Green and The Fresh & Green Table and I LOVE them!)
The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson
The Family Cooks by Laurie David
There will be many, many more to follow as fall continues (especially when I find new-to-me soup and stew cookbooks! Oh! And anything to do with Tea Time....) but this is my current library wish list. Now I'm off to make risotto.