Oct 212015
 

Updated for 2015…

NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words during the month of November. This can seem like a daunting and time-consuming task and when you have a house to run as well it can seem almost impossible. With some preparation, you can make November run more smoothly.

I’ve looked at a few prep lists for NaNo and noticed that mine was a little different. I decided to share it in hopes it might help someone else. I know this is a little late. I’ll try to repost the revised version of this list a little earlier next year.

  1. Plan all meals for the month of November. Make sure to keep #2 and #3 in mind while making your November menu and consider doing a search for quick meal ideas. I’ll try to post a few of my favorites during NaNo.
  2. Freeze leftovers for easy meals in November. My Food Saver is one of my best friends all year round, but it’s particularly helpful for stocking up meals for November.
  3. Dust off that crock pot. Your crock pot can be a time saver and is for more than just making roast. I’ll try to post a few more of my favorite crock pot recipes during NaNo.  I’ll post some one skillet/pan and one pot recipes, too. Jumping on the freezer meals bandwagon is helpful, too.
  4. Detail clean the house. I have spring-cleaning and then NaNo cleaning. If the house is freshly detailed, those quick room cleanups go even faster. Besides, a super clean house can make you feel more comfortable with putting things off for a day or two longer so you have more time to write.
  5. Schedule blog posts. If you have a blog, write a few blog posts in October and schedule them to post in November to squeeze out a little more writing time. Unless you’re doing NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) as well. I don’t know if scheduled posts are cheating, but it doesn’t seem sporting to me.
  6. Jot down notes or make an outline. While there are many people who can sit down to a blank screen and just start typing, I’m not always one of them. Faced with a deadline, I feel more comfortable with some kind of direction in mind. Doesn’t mean that my characters don’t wander off script and I wind up with a different story than I planned, but it helps keep me from running into that brick wall called writer’s block.
  7. Do any research needed ahead of time. Frantically researching while trying to finish NaNo can be a word count killer. I didn’t finish more than once because I didn’t get all my research done.
  8. Fill out your calendar with appointments and obligations. Make note of these. What days are you not going to be able to write? If there are five days in November that you cannot see a way to fit writing in for whatever reason, adjust your daily word count accordingly and aim for that.
  9. Let your friends and family know what you’re doing. They might scoff, but knowing ahead of time can ward off an explanation later. Listening to the scoffing while you’re doing NaNo not only takes time away from writing but could also damage your flow with negativity and drama you don’t need.
  10. Make a playlist. A playlist of music that fits your genre or in some way fosters your creativity can help drown distraction and get you in the mood to write. Use headphones for best results.

For those of you participating this year, write like the wind! I’d love to hear/read how you’re doing so feel free to comment on a post or drop me an email.  Feel free to add me as a friend on the NaNoWriMo website, too!

Oct 192015
 

Yet another family favorite! Sour-Creamed Pot Roast doesn’t last long around our house. Flavorful and creamy it’s a prefect blend of things we love but shouldn’t eat.

I’ve tried adding more vegetables to the recipe, but it’s just never as good so I serve veggies on the side. It pairs well with almost anything, but I usually serve it with Slow Cooker Green Beans with Bacon or Tomato Salad. I haven’t yet posted recipes for the other sides I often choose from.

Slow Cooker Sour-Creamed Pot Roast
Serves 6
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Cook Time
8 hr
Cook Time
8 hr
Ingredients
  1. 4 slices bacon
  2. 3 pound beef chuck roast
  3. 8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)
  4. 1 cup chopped onion
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 bay leaf
  7. 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  8. 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  9. 1/4 cup water
  10. 1/2 cup sour cream
  11. 3 Tablespoons flour
  12. 2 Tablespoons snipped parsley
  13. 1/2 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet or substitute browning sauce
  14. cooked egg noodles
Instructions
  1. Cook bacon in skillet or cast iron skillet until crisp. Remove from skillet to a paper towel covered plate to drain.
  2. Cut roast to fit in slow cooker. and brown on all sides in bacon grease. Place roast in slow cooker. Place mushrooms on top of roast.
  3. Stir together onions, salt, bay leaf, cumin, pepper and water. Pour mixture over meat.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
  5. Once cooled, crumble bacon and refrigerate for use later.
  6. Remove roast from slow cooker and discard bay leaf. Skim fat from the broth left in the slow cooker and pour broth into a saucepan. Return the roast to the slow cooker and turn to warm.
  7. Blend sour cream and flour. Stir into hot broth. Cook broth mixture over med-high heat until thickened. Do not boil. Stir in parsley and Kitchen Bouquet or browning substitute. Season gravy to taste.
  8. Serve meat over noodles with gravy and garnish with bacon.
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Slow Cooker Sour-Creamed Pot Roast

Oct 182015
 

Hide and Seek is a book about games. Reckless, dangerous games. Games you might even want to play yourself if you’re with the right people. But shouldn’t. Not ever. In a small Maine town, a group of thrill seeking college kids finds a game of hide and seek in an abandoned house turning into a reality of stark terror.

Summary from Amazon.com

Oct 122015
 

Several years ago, our doctor placed us on a low GI (glycemic index) diet. Strangely enough, I had just been researching GI and GL (glycemic load) so I already knew what he was talking about. I felt like a smarty pants! Hur, hur!

One of my biggest hurdles was pasta. I didn’t think I could live a life without pasta. I didn’t know about Dreamfields Pasta in the beginning, so I started looking for alternatives. With all the cost of some of the alternative choices, I decided to give zucchini pasta a reluctant try.

While zucchini pasta doesn’t taste like pasta and isn’t exactly the same texture as pasta, I found it worked beautifully as replacement in some dishes. I just didn’t think if it as a pasta dish anymore, but a new concoction. Spaghetti made with zucchini pasta is really good. It’s especially good when you add plenty of veggies like fresh mushrooms, peppers and onions. I tried calling it Zughetti, but it didn’t catch on.

So, if you’re looking to eat low GI or just healthier, give zucchini pasta a try. We found it works well with some things and not others. I think we tended to like it better with tomato sauces and we use Dreamfields for everything else.

Zucchini Pasta
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Ingredients
  1. Zucchini (amount depends on size of zucchini)
  2. Salt
Instructions
  1. With a knife or vegetable peeler, cut or peel strips of zucchini. Make them as wide or as narrow as you need depending on what type of pasta you're replacing. Wider strips for fettuccine or linguine and thinner for spaghetti. Stop when you get to the seeds in the center.
  2. Place zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt per 1 cup of zucchini strips. Toss to coat the zucchini with salt.
  3. Place a bowl under the colander and a small plate inside the colander on top of the zucchini strips to squeeze out the liquid. Place a weight on the plate. Several cans of canned goods work well as a weight.
  4. In 30 minutes, remove the weights, plate and stir the zucchini. Replace the plate and weights. Leave for another 30 minutes or longer if you want the strips to be more solid. I've never left them out for more than 12 hours, but you can leave them for up to 24 hours.
  5. Rinse off the salt and replace the plate. Press down to remove excess liquid.
  6. Do not cook the zucchini strips. They become mushy and do not resemble pasta anymore. You can heat them up a little, but I usually use the food I'm serving them with to eat up the strips.
Notes
  1. Zucchini pasta works well with low GI diets.
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
zucchini

I didn’t take pictures last time I made zucchini pasta, but I took pictures of the zucchini before I made them into pasta. Not sure why. I’ll try to remember to take pictures next time.

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