Saturday, November 30, 2013

Quick and Easy Turkey Salad

My favorite Thanksgiving leftover is definitely turkey salad. Quick and easy to prepare, and it will disappear just as quickly. Nothing is measured so just add in the quantities that sound good to you. I am not a cook and don't use a lot of spices or know which go well together for that matter, so I just picked a few from my cabinet and threw them in. Responses for my daughter and husband were "fine" and "fine." Which from them means pretty good. I thought is was yummy, and probably would have tasted even better if I had let it sit in the refrigerator to let everything blend together.

Turkey, chopped
Celery, chopped
Red Grapes, quartered
Sprinkle of oregano
Sprinkle of sage
Sprinkle of ground mustard
Sprinkle of salt

What do you do with your leftover turkey?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Healthy 5-Ingredient Granola Bars

I have been wanting to try homemade granola bars for a while, but somehow thought they would be hard to make. My general plan when searching for a recipe is to type it in a search engine and use one of the first few that pop up. Lucky for me this one was in the top four when searching "how to make homemade granola bars with oatmeal."

Only 5 ingredients? Awesome!

No bake? Double-awesome!

Don't these look yummy? Oh, they are. And I even got a thumbs up from my husband who seemed genuinely surprised when he agreed they were good.

You will need to go here for the recipe which I found on the Minimalist Baker blog. I have no doubt that I will be going back there to pick up a few more new recipes! What to expect at the Minimalist Baker: Simple recipes that even the novice cook can approach. Always delicious, often sweet, never complicated.

Here are a few more shots taken while I was making these.

 I wanted my oats toasted so I started them first.

I used my Pampered Chef food chopper on the roasted almonds.

I also used the food chopper on the dates. This was kind of tricky as I had to shake them to the bottom each time but worked pretty well. I followed that up with a knife on any leftover big pieces.

These are the last two of the 5-Ingredient Granola Bars.

Makes 8 bars.

This was my first time trying a date. I still can't say I know what one tastes like because they were mixed in with the other ingredients, but in the words of the lady who works in the natural/bulk section at Fred Meyer, they are "flipping delicious." I will have to take a bite before throwing them in the bowl next time!

Hope you give these a try... and come let me know how they turned out!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Do You NaNoWriMo?

What an interesting concept. Write a (50,000) word novel in a month.

Most of you visiting my blog will know what NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is, but for those of you who don't, here is the spiel from their website:

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.

I know a lady through scrapbooking who, when we were asked to list random facts about ourselves, said she completed NaNoWriMo. I was intrigued since I am in the process of getting better at writing and wanted to know more about her experience. I was kind of surprised when she said she did it just for fun!

Here is what she had to say.

1. How did you hear about NaNoWriMo, and why did you want to participate?
Yes, I did NaNoWriMo for fun in 2006. I heard about it from friends who had completed it the previous year. One of them has now had short stories published so they had more literary aims than me. I guess I've never thought of myself as being much good at creative writing, so fancied a challenge. 

2. Did you achieve the goal of writing 50,000 words in a month? Or did you have other goals?
At the time my daughter was 3 months old, and it gave me a focus beyond newborn duties. I was still getting used to not working, and this was something I could say I'd achieved. I knew I had to write an average of 1667 words each day, and would write longhand in a notebook while Amy was sleeping, then type it up in the evening. I stayed pretty much on track through the month and completed the 50,000 words in time. 

3. What do you plan to do with your completed manuscript?
I like my completed story, I know it has pretty massive plot holes, and would need a lot of edits, but I just did NaNoWriMo purely to see if I could. I'll probably dig it out at some point, polish it and let my daughter read it. NaNoWriMo was a lot of fun, and I'd recommend it to anyone. The support you can receive is so useful, and I asked a lot of questions on the forums, facts about the period in which my story was set.

I think this lady and I would be fabulous friends. She writes, she scrapbooks, she has a boy the same age as my youngest, she crochets, and is taking a keener interest in her fitness/health. Too bad she lives in Scotland! Hiya Chrissy! When I make a million dollars with my first novel (ha, ha!) I will come visit. :-) 

While I am not participating in NaNoWriMo I am planning on working on a MG verse manuscript. Since MG verse novels I have read so far fall in the 15,000 to 20,000 word range I would have to average about 600-800 words a day to finish. I am not making any guarantees.

Do you NaNoWriMo?

If you have, I would love to hear your experience in the comments!

Monday, November 4, 2013

MMGM: What We are Reading Now

This week for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, I thought I would do an installment of What We are Reading Now.

Son #1 (age 11) :
  • The Death Catchers by Jennifer Anne Kogler - He picked this one up from the school library but he has not told me what he thinks of it yet.
  • The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, Book 4) by Rick Riodan - He was so excited for this book to come out and read it very quickly. Out of the blue this past Saturday he said Book 3 (The Mark of Athena) had the horribilist (his word) cliff-hanger ending ever, and why did the author make him wait a whole year to find out what happens?? He devoured the book and yes, he liked it.
  • Exile: (Keeper of the Lost Cities) by Shannon Messenger - Note to Shannon from my son... "please give me the next book NOW." He did say please! :-)

Daughter (age 9) - She is working her way through some of the books on the WLMA (Washington Library and Media Association) Sasquatch Award nominee list.
  • Zita the Space Girl: Far From Home by Ben Hatke - This book was probably the first graphic novel she has read and she breezed through it. My advice to her was to study the pictures as they have equal play in the story as the captions/dialog. She thought the format was OK, but said she it was difficult to tell the emotions some of the time. She must have gotten the gist of it because she scored 100% on the AR test at school.

Me (not reveling my age!) :
  • A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff - picked this one up at the library b/c I had recently seen it on Barbara Watson's blog and the cover is just so eye-catching.
  • Doll Bones by Holly Black (recently finished) - While I enjoyed this book, I thought there were a lot of pieces of the story tied up a little too conveniently or not tied up entirely to my satisfaction.
  • Kepler's Dream by Juliet Bell (recently finished) - Grabbed this one at the library because I liked the cover (I pick a lot of MG books this way) and enjoyed the story and description of characters/scenery.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (MMGM) was created by Shannon Messenger. To find other bloggers participating in MMGM go to her blog for a list of links.