Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What to Do with Turkey Leftovers

After all the big chunks are devoured in sandwiches, use your small scraps in a Turkey Pot Pie.

3 cups diced turkey
4 cups water (add 4 tsp chicken broth)
1 onion chopped
1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups sliced carrots ( I put in a bag of whole petities)
5-6 peeled and diced potatoes
1 cup frozen peas (if desired)

Let boil together about twenty minutes until vegetables are soft but not mushy. Add 1 can cream of chicken soup. Take off heat and stir in roux (1 stick melted butter mixed with 1 cup flour). When roux is dissolved return pan to heat and bring to boil until thick. Pour turkey mixture in 9 x 13 pan, place on cookie sheet.

Mix biscuit dough:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
1 1/3 cups milk

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until mixture is coarse. Stir in milk only until mix is moistened. It will be lumpy. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until biscuits are light brown. Serves ten maybe more.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Morning Motivation--NaNoWriMo Day #28

NaNoWriMo Day #28  The Home Stretch

Word Count 45744

This has been an adventure to see what I could really do. It has been a love-hate relationship.  I like the goal setting and knowing what's possible, but I don't like the gulit of missing a day when life happens. My real life depends on me being able to roll with the punches. I love to see what emerges, how the story and characters take on lives of their own and evolve. I don't like going off willy-nilly. Next time, I will preapre better. I will develop my characters and background story along with the research a month in advance instead of a couple of days before.

Ah, the coulda, woulda, shouldas.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Thursday

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

We have so many things to be grateful for. So many, that I can't list them all here. Gratitude for my Savior and my family are at the top of my list, along with gratitude for all of the sacrifices of my ancestors, and our founding fathers.

One thing I have always had is a deep and abiding love for are days gone by and the simple ways. Maybe that's the reason I enjoy reading and writing historical fiction more than any other genre.

I'd like to share the lyrics from one of my favorite songs:
Simple Gifts
       by Elder Joseph Brackett

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.

May we always be thankful for the simple things in life--family and home and faith.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Herbed Turkey Breast

Herbed Turkey Breast

I roast a full turkey in the oven for Thanksgiving, and an extra breast in the crock-pot because most of the family wants white meat. Crock-pot turkey breast comes out so moist it melts in your mouth.

2 TBSP butter softened
1 TBSP sage
1 TBSP tarragon
1 garlic glove minced
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
4 lbs turkey breast (I cook 7-8 lbs--about 6 hours on high)

Thaw turkey breast. Remove skin and discard. Place turkey breast in crock-pot. Rub butter mixture all over breast. Cover. Cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-5 hours, until turkey is no longer pink in the center.

Monday, November 21, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day #21

NaNoWriMo day #21

Word Count 37309

This week went better. I think it has been a free-ing experience not to edit as I write, not to worry about convention, and grammar, and passive verbs that plague me. I had hoped to use this story but I'm not sure I want to do all of the revising necesasary. It would feel like I was the guy with the wheelbarrow and shovel after the parade.

Another thing I don't understand are the people who can write 9000- 10,000 words in one day. I'm lucky if I write 3000 words in a day. I am happy with that for now--slow and steady wins the race.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quote of the Day

"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."  ~Ben Williams

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Autumn Stuffing

Autumn Stuffing

3/4 cup toasted raisin bread crumbs
1/4 cup diced unpeeled apple
1/4 cup diced unpeeled pear
1 1/2 TBSP minced onion
1 TBSP finely chopped celery
1 TBSP butter or margarine melted
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
pinch of ground sage
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Toss, cover, microwave on high for 5 minutes.
This recipe works best if fresh apple and pear are used, but can use canned if you're in a pinch.

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day #14

NaNoWriMo Day #14

No excuses--I fell behind my goal of 25,000 words for the end of last week. I made it to 23,940 words.

My struggle this week was a lack of purpose. Why was I doing this? Is it just a writing exercise? Even as a first draft it's crap. It is less than crap. It is the dirt beneath crap.

Okay I can deal with revisions. I've been doing revisions on another WIP for the last eight months. Revisions are what we really write, but not during NaNoWriMo.

Then all of a sudden, while writing my blog post for Veteran's Day, my purpose became clear. It's funny, not funny ha ha, but funny strange or peculiar. That's what writing does for me. It brings me clarity of thought. It brings things that are out of focus into sharp focus, sharp enough to jump out at me sometimes.

So. . . armed with purpose I hope to kick things into gear this week. I'll be taking Tuesdays and Thursdays off until December 6.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quote of the Day

"There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can't. What you've got to do is turn around and say, 'watch me!'"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday Book Review--Austenland by Shannon Hale

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Jane Hayes is thirty-something and single with an obsession for Mr. Darcy and all things Austen. Not just any Mr. Darcy--Colin Firth's portrayal, to be specific. (Me personally, I've never met a Mr. Darcy I didn't like, anyway, let's just say I related well to Jane.)

Jane is intelligent and capable, yet she lacks confidence and has forgotten what joys her own life has to offer. She visits a wealthy great aunt who seems to be one of the few people who understand her. Six months later this aunt dies and bequeaths Jane an all-expense paid trip to Austenland, where women can escape their realities for the romance of a bygone era.

When Jane checks in she leaves her clothes, all of her belongings (almost all), and her identity behind. She is allowed few modern day conveniences but has to where the corsets, eat the food, and participate in the activites of Austen's time. Jane is finally in the middle of a Jane Austen book, and of course wants her old life back. She resists the false part of the story and is attracted to what she thinks is real.

Her journey through Austenland is a path of self-discovery. Like most of us, Jane really hasn't taken the time to figure out what it is she really wants. Eventually she is able to let go of old Jane as she finds new Jane.

That narrative is enchanting and the dialogue is clever--almost as good as Jane Austen, herself. I wasn't ready for the book to end when Jane's vacation came to a close. Luckily, there were a few surprises saved for the end.

One of my daughters thought it was too dramatic. That made it funny to me because I've worked with many drama queens. It's a farce. I thought it more understated and subtle. Basically, this story succeeded in entertaining me. It was a fun, romantic frolic. I give it 4.5 stars out of 5.

Austenland was made into a movie this last summer starring Keri Russell. Stephanie Meyer (Twilight author) is the producer. Midnight in Austenland, a companion book with a new heroine, is set to be released Jan 31, 2012. You can pre-order on B & N website. It sounds like another fun read with a little suspense thrown into the mix.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

You can roast your own pumpkin or used canned. I've done both. Roasting my own pumpkin makes it extra good, and you can find smaller pumpkins specially bred for pie-making. You will probably need to strain your pumpkin once it's roasted.

I used to make my own crust, but once I became a working mom I went to frozen pie crusts--not as good as my mom's, but it's better to have time with your family than time in the kitchen.

The best canned pumpkin, in my opinion, is Libby's.

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
(may use pumpkin spice about 1 tsp)
2 large eggs
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 unbaked deep-dish pie shell (if you need to use the shallow ones, use two).

Beat eggs in large bowl, stir in pumpkin and dry ingredients. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
Before I pour into the pie shell, I cover the edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil. Set the shell on a cookie sheet, then pour the pumpkin into the shell. The shell gets over full so be careful. Using the cookie sheet, place the pie in the oven (I use the bottom shelf). Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the pie crust guards, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 40-50 minutes longer or until knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool at room temperature for two hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Yummy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day #7

That's hot chocolate in my mug--
Stephen's Gourmet chocolate candy cane
Day #7 Progress Report as of 0500 this morning

word count =  10640

I'm finding my biggest difficulty is trying to shut off that internal editor. My second biggest problem is dealing with distractions.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday Book Review--Midnight Omen Deja Vu by Marti Melville

Midnight Omen Deja Vu by Marti Melville  5 out of 5 stars!

Katherine, an Emergency Room RN, suffers from day dreams during her workday. Are they day dreams or are they memories?

She is led back through a past life regression where she lived in a tiny seaside village near Wales. Kathryn's grandmother teaches her how to use their gift of healing. Not long after a moonlight omen, pirates kidnap Kathryn for their Captain. She is taken aboard their ship bound for the Caribbean.

Kathryn learns that her destiny is tied to protecting the men aboard The Revenge, especially the captain. They become essential to each other. It is a pirate tale of love and sacrifice.

The author seamlessly weaves her vast amount of research into the minutest of details of Kathryn's adventure. I was on board with her. I felt the rise and fall of the ship against the waves, I smelled the salty sea air, the fetid breath of rotting pirate teeth mixed with rum, and the months of unwashed pirates. I heard the gulls, the  crash of breakers against the shore, and the perfect piratese. I saw dolphins play alongside the ship.

While I don't go in for past life regression stuff, it was a vehicle to tell this tale. This is definitely the most fun I've read this summer, so much fun. I can hardly wait to read the next.

What started out as family history research has turned into a deal for the production of a pilot for a new television series. Check out Marti's website and watch the book trailer:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Turtle Pumpkin Pie

Turtle Pumpkin Pie
caramel drizzle
1 honey graham cracker pie crust
pecans, chopped
1 cup cold milk
2 (3.4 oz) pkgs jello vanilla pudding mix
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 (8 oz) tub cool whip

Drizzle caramel topping onto crust and sprinkle with pecans. Set aside.

Beat milk, pudding mixes, pumpkin and spices with whisk until blended. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cool whip. Spread into crust. Refigerate at least one hour. Top with remaining cool whip, caramel topping, and pecans.