Friday, January 23, 2009

Blueberry Crisps

Blueberry Crisp (I call it a crumble but everyone else seems to call it a crisp)

Thank you Alton Brown! The original recipe is here -Individual Berry Cups Below is the same basic recipe, with what I did and added.

The crisp topping recipe makes about double what you need for the actual crisp recipe, so if you double the recipe, you do not need to double the crisp topping. I don’t know how it would work if you cut this in half. I’m planning to make another one soon so I just made it as is.

You’ll need: Various measuring cups and a teaspoon. A medium mixing bowl, another medium mixing bowl, a mixing spoon, a sheet pan and 4 of the (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. I have two 7 oz ramekins so I just made two and saved the mixed to make again and the two I made are already gone. :D

For the Crisp Topping:
AP flour, 5 oz (about a cup)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ cup quick cook oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup chopped almonds
4 oz (1 stick) butter, cut up into cubes and chilled

For the Filling:
12 oz frozen blueberries (normal bag size)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 1/2 cups of the crisp topping mix

To make the crisp topping:

Place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nuts and crackers into a large mixing bowl and combine. This is when you nix the spoon and the fingers take over. Work the butter into the dry ingredients with your hands until it is crumbly. You really have to squish it together. It’s kind of fun actually. You can store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Use as topping for crisps, cobblers or grunts. (It’s also quite yummy mixed into oatmeal or other hot cereals) Measure out 2 ½ cups for the crisp below.

To make the Blueberry crisps

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the frozen berries, sugar, cornstarch and 1/2 cup of the crisp topping into a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine. Divide the mixture evenly between 4 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins (Here, I sprayed the dishes with cooking spray first).

Top each ramekin with 1/2 cup of the remaining crisp topping. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is browned (took 30 minutes in my oven). Allow the crisps to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Writing Lifestyle

Writers, whether it be novel writers, screenwriters, playwrights, or poets, have this historical stigma of being addicted to some variety of a bad habit. Whether it be alcohol, drugs, gambling or their 13 year old cousins. I like to think that is changing, and that it mostly applies to discussion of classic writers. Such as, *insert drum roll here* Edgar Allen Poe. Most of it is romanticizing writers I think. Some crazy class of people that only are able to do what they do because they were drunk or depressed while doing it.

Sometimes I do wonder how some authors come up with their ideas, say Stephen King. He says he dreams up a lot of them. That I can totally understand. Except he must have some crazy dreams. A dream of mine turned into an amazing plot twist. I’m not a drunk, I’m not a chronically depressed person, I’m not addicted to drugs or gambling. I’m pretty average with an above average imagination. If I don’t write, or jot down ideas pretty regularly, I start rambling on to my friends or husband about some wild possibility spurred by some random thing. I think the last one was when I couldn’t get a hold of one of my friends and I managed to envision this wild adventure she might be on and that’s why she wasn’t answering her phone.

Cowboys did make a small appearance. That is when I decided I needed to be writing while I’m still editing. I always carry a small little notebook with me, but honestly, it gets used for doodles more than notes. It is the notebook by my bed that gets all the ideas. It seems that just when I’m ready to lay down and sleep is when my imagination goes wild. It is also great for jotting down great ideas from dreams. Once, my handwriting was so horrible it took be about 30 minutes to decipher what I had written. That was the awesome plot twist. :)

I have a small binder full of pieces of paper with one or two sentences on them. At some point my organizational skills will take over and I’ll copy them all into a much neater pile. But for now it is a mess. Are any of you, my few, yet growing readers, super organized with all of your writing related stuff?

And I find deciding on a Title very hard sometimes.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Editing/Writing Combo meal

Editing, but not writing has started to fry my brain. I've decided to start my next project, while editing. I have no idea how well this will work. I've never tried before.

I shall post on my success or failure at this attempt. I'll be starting tomorrow as I need to sleep now.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekend Blogs

Most bloggers seem to see their blog as a M-F job. Rarely does a blog about writing in any level, post on the weekends. I get why most don’t. Agents and editors that have their own blogs, write during the work week and take the weekends with their families or whatever. I even get when people who write from home only post during the week. Their husband or wife works a normal job and is home on the weekend. For me, my husband doesn’t have a normal job. Probably why I’m willing to post on the weekends .:) I’m not saying no one posts on the weekends, just this morning The Blood-Red Pencil had a post. I’m just making a general observation.

I am not a professional anything. I’m not a published author, I’m not an award-winning cook. I’m just me. Tomorrow I have every intention of taking out my red pen and getting back to work on editing my novel. I have shadows of ideas that need to be molded into the light for my next work. Thing is, I have to decide which one I want to focus on.

I’ve never been good at writing two different projects at once. I do envy those that can. Not green-eyed, drive me crazy envy, just wistful envy. The same goes for people who are able to stick to routines and they actually work for them.

I’m sitting here typing this, watching football. I love football. My team sadly didn’t make the playoffs this year, but a couple other decent teams did. I really don’t like the halftime stuff except at the Superbowl. It’s just a bunch of guys sitting around talking. All of which I have no idea who they are. I bet though, in ten years, I’ll know some if them. Might as well just say it, I am a Patriots fan. I’m a New England girl through and through. Yes my thing says I live in Texas. That’s because I do. It’s where my husband is station. No, I will never convert to being a Dallas Cowboys fan. Ever.

And yes, I figured out how to add links properly.

Hopefully next weekend I’ll be attempting to make General Tso’s chicken. IT is so good. Thing is, down here I haven’t found a place that makes it the way I grew up liking it. Nice and spicy. So, going to be attempting to make it on my own. I made it once with my MIL back in 2006, it came out great, I just don’t have the recipe and she can’t find it. Yay trial and error to begin. If it comes out well, I’ll post it. I don’t think I’m trying any other new stuff this week.

I wish I like lemon meringue pie better. My husband loves it, his mother has a great recipe, she won’t share. She says she’ll give it to any kids we have. It’s a joke. But she really won’t give it to me. So I’ve had to try different recipes. I found one that was close, but the lemon part was ‘too custardy’ to quote my husband. I’d love to keep trying different ones while he’s deployed but I don’t want to make a pie just to try a bite then trash it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

English Muffins

Nope. This is not a recipe. Although English Muffins are delicious. I want to someday attempt to make my own English Muffins, but for now I’ll stick with the ones that come in a bag. I don’t know why I keep capitalizing it. I don’t think it is supposed to be.

I have no routine, I don’t do well with routines. I’ve tried, so many times to set a writing routine and it just fails horribly. So this year, no writing routines. I’ll just write when I want to. For how ever long I want to. So far it’s been going well. Haven’t written much as I am still in the planning stages and am still editing Ivory. I have set a goal for that. I want to be done the edit of Ivory by the end of the month.

I bribed myself with Crackerbarrel’s Sunday Chicken as a reward for finishing the edit. I’m a Northern girl. I had never had Southern fried chicken. It was so good. I think I could eat it everyday if I knew how to make it. Which I don’t. And I don’t ever want to learn. I’d rather be able to just enjoy it on occasion.

All I have for now, laters.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Third Draft?

Looks like Ivory will be getting a third overhaul. I'm getting some really awesome revisions in right now, but I know earlier chapters are severely lacking.

I'm going to finish this run-through and hope it will continue to go as smoothly as these last two chapters went. If I managed that, maybe a third time through will go VERY quickly as I will hopefully just have to go over the first few chapters.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Silly Blogger Phobia

I read a few blogs daily, or as daily as they post. Whenever I feel compelled to leave a comment, I never sign in to blogger first. I just post with a name, not even my actual name. As much as I want people to read my blog, I have this fear that they will hate it and compare mine to all these other awesome blogs that I love to read.

I think I'm near the point where I'll start posting comments signed in. The fact that I'm posting again is helpful. I doubt I will ever make a commitment to a certain number of posts a week or I'll post on certain days. I'll post when I have something I want to post about. I'm all for posting more than once a day, or not posting for two days. It does bother me when a blogger says they will post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but then don't post at all until Thursday. Almost every week. If you're not going to be able to stick to a commitment, don't make it.

I'm horrible at commitments. I'm doing great with my marriage, but time commitments. I can't say, 'oh I'll have that done by Wednesday.' I won't have it done until Friday, after I've come up with some excuse as to why it isn't done. I've gotten very good about not making commitments I know I won't keep. I used to agree to things all the time, because all I cared about was pleasing other people. I am not like that anymore. Finally clicked with me that you can't make everybody happy all the time. Just doesn't work.

And I'm out of steam. Laters.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pumpernickel Bread


This is the recipe I followed, with my own tweaks of course. And yes, I have not figured out how to properly insert links into one of these things.

You'll Need:

A bread machine. I know this can be tweaked for 'old fashioned' bread making, but I don't bake that way.
A baking pan to bake the bread on, I used out pizza stone. You can bake this in your bread machine, I just prefer making the round loaf and baking it like that.
  • 1 1/8 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seed (optional and I do not use)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten (optional and I do not use)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
Put all the ingredients into your bread machine per your machines directions. The normal seems to be, liquid first, then dry, then make a well in the dry for the yeast so it doesn't touch the water.

The way I set my machine is first the loaf size, this recipe is a 1.5 pounder. Then I select the dough setting. Press start. I also set my kitchen timer now for about 30 minutes. I want the machine to do the hard work of mixing everything together, and give the rise a head start with the heat. Once the machine has stopped to let the dough do its first rise, I unplug mine.

I leave the dough in there until its risen, about an hour. Then I remove the dough from the little pan thing and shape it into the round loaf. I usually sprinkle some corn meal on some parchment paper to do this. You aren't kneading it, just shaping it into a circle. Cover with a towel (keep it light) and let it rise for another good hour.

Once it looks like a nice loaf of pumpernickel, into the preheated 350 degree oven it goes for 45 minutes. You should be able to knock on the crust when it's done. Let it cool for a bit then enjoy. :D

Friday, January 2, 2009

Posting Often Totally Worked Out

Yeppers. I've been posting very often haven't I?


So this is my reasserantion of my desire to maintain a blog. Why? I have no idea. Maybe because my husband is deploying soon, maybe it is because getting a job is looking more and more less likely, or maybe it is because I just feel like it.

I've got a pumpernickel bread recipe in the works. I will be attempting it tomorrow so I'l lbe sure to take pictures.

As for writing, I finished the first draft of Ivory and am now working the the first edit. I know there will at least be a second edit. And most likely a third simply because this is my first novel completed. There are a lot of things I have learned already about how to write a first draft just from the first 130 pages of editing I've done. Making sure all the basic facts about the characters are correct is a good start. And not writing scenes out of order. Unless it's all flash back stuff and it makes sense.

I want to start heavy prepping on my next project, but I can't focus on it right now. Andy's leaving soon and I am able to focus on editing Ivory so I'm happy with that.

Ivory finished at 398 pages, double spaced 12 point Times New Roman. I don't remember the word count, but after I cut the crap at the end it was under 100k. But not by much.

All I have for now. Laters