Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pre-Nano Jitters and a Recipe

Greetings all you fine people!
I have not forgotten about the long, epic-ly wordy post about our trip that was promised, but since I don't have it put together yet I figured dropping in a random post would be fun!

Nano-ing season is soon upon us! 3 days, 3 hours, and 23 minutes, 12 seconds, to be exact, or, you know, as exact as I can be, seeing as how this information will be untrue by the time I post this:)
  I am very pleased to announce that my novel this year is to be written on my beautiful, shiny, brand new laptop! My old one kind of bit the dust after I . . . . sorta tried to wipe it . . . . . in my defense, I did get every single thing wiped off the computer! . . . . but I think I also managed to somehow fry the graphics card and a few other rather necessary bits and pieces.
So I'm not a technology genius, I'll admit it.
I console myself with the fact that, in today's terms the laptop was practically ancient, had previous problems, and was most likely going to crash pretty soon anyway. As well as the fact that it is still useable . . . within reason. . . as long as you don't want to us CDs or anything like that . . . . 

   Being that November is soon upon us, I have eagerly been keeping an eye on the little countdown widget, letting Irish Rose and Chickadee know that we have such-and-such days left to come up with the rest of our plot points and characters - or, you know, avoid it at all costs until the day of, if you are a pantser like me:)  What is a Pantser? Oh yes, I had no knowledge of what it was either, but when I found out I felt rather consoled that I was not the only one. A lot of people go the planning route - putting loads and loads of careful, discerning thought into their plot-line; carefully crafting character sheets for every person that shows up in their novel; writing summaries for every chapter and plot-twist that is going to come along; and planning every speck of the novel down to what kind of shampoo your character uses.
A Pantser is in a completely separate class all their own, a very special, wacky, caffeine induced class that deals with it like this - "Three months until Nano? Great! I'm going out for icecream, anyone want to come?". . . One and a half months; "I just discovered the neatest new series! I'm going to read them all!"  . . . . . Two weeks; "My goodness, what a filthy floor . . . oooo, look! Pumpkins!" . . . A day: "Hmm, maybe I should come up with a title . . . nah."
So, you see, we Pantser's studiously ignore the fact that a novel is going to be written in November, going about our daily business happily oblivious to the certain insanity that will erupt the second November 1st comes along.
    I think it is because, being a Pantser, I can't get too sidetracked by planning out a novel, because then I'll get bored and toss it out, and besides, if I plan it out exactly how I want it I'm going to miss some of the brilliance that sometimes comes out of crazed write-or-die sessions. (I am serious, there are writing dares entitled that, I may explain later:) I've never done one before because, well, they involve the possibility of losing every speck of what you have just written, and I'd freak out if that happened!  But brilliance does happen when you are so desperate all you want to do is smack your head against your ten-foot-thick wall of Writer's Block. I have an entire novel of it. It may not be genius, or compelling, or even polished, but I can tell you it is insanely amusing, especially at 11 o'clock at night with a sugar-and-adrenaline rush.
Thankfully I do actually have an idea for Nano this year - I had a couple, actually,  but after narrowing down my favorites I decided to do one that popped up earlier this summer. I toyed with the idea of trying to plan it out, but after the disaster of the last attempted planning (it got shelved, never to be heard from again) I decided I wouldn't try mess with my methods.
I'm a Pantser, and I'm proud of it!

And, since it is fall, . . . or, you know, almost past fall at this point:), and we're trying to come up with our Nano supplies (aka, snacks:) I thought I'd drop in a favorite recipe.
 Pumpkins are at the peak and, as my sisters can tell you, I LOVE pumpkins and all the things you can make with them.
  Pumpkin pie is a favorite of mine, but sometimes a person doesn't want to have to eat an entire slice (the occasion is rare, but I'm sure someone has them:)
If you remember my Pear Grumble post I mentioned a book of fairy tales that had accompanying recipes. Today we are going to explore another recipe that I use once or twice a year.
Alas, I am not quite as inspired for this post as I was for the Pear Grumble, so I'm afraid it won't be quite as entertaining:)

Pumpkin Tartlets
1 15-oz can of pumpkin*
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. ground clove
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 cup ground walnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. cold butter

Now, before I go on to instructions - you may have noticed I did not mention crusts. This is because the recipe calls for pre-made; if you would like to use pre-made by all means go ahead, I have nothing against them but I am afraid I have been incredibly spoiled by the homemade crust my mother makes. For which I do not have a recipe handy. 
So, basically you can use any kind of pastry dough recipe or pre-made dough that you like.
Now, onto directions!

*First thing needed is to obtain beautiful, shiny orange pumpkins and render them into the cooked, smashed consistency needed for baking! Or you can use it from a can, wherein you will find the need for a can opener:)
(If you use freshly baked pumpkin you might want to drain some of the excess liquid off of it before using it, as extra moisture will affect cook time and consistency)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 

Measure all filling ingredients into a bowl and mix. Set aside.
Grind walnuts, add brown sugar, and butter that you have cut into small pieces. Grind until crumbly.

Taking a muffin tin butter the insides, or lightly sprayed with cooking spray if you prefer to use that.
Lay out your pie crust and cut into rounds by placing a cookie cutter or drinking glass upside down and pressing firmly. 
The recipe says you ought to get 10 tartlet shells from each pie shell, but the thickness of my pie crust when I roll it out varies, so I can't tell you if that is accurate or not. You may just end up with more or less.  (More isn't a bad thing, you can take all the extra strips, brush them with butter, sprinkle them with sugar, and toast them in the oven. Mmmm:)
Gently press your tartlet shells into the muffin tins.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling into each shell.
Sprinkle with aprox. 1 teaspon of the topping.
Repeat until you run out of shells or filling, then bake for 10 minutes.
With tartlets still in the oven, lower the temperature to 350 and cook for 12-15 more minutes or until a toothpick or thin knife can be stuck in and comes out clean.
Cool for 5-10 minutes before removing the tins. (If you can resist the smell:)

These are SO YUMMY! And like I said they are smaller than a piece of pie. (Which means you can eat more of them and not feel guilty!:) They are perfect for a quick snack along with a glass of milk or a pretty little treat to serve along with coffee or tea for visitors.

Friday, October 12, 2012

No Siblings and SNOW!!!!!

There's a title for you, huh :)

This last Tuesday my sisters Irish Rose and Sharpi boarded a plane - at an unearthly hour I might add - and started their adventure.  While I, the ever loving sister, kissed them goodbye, and went back to sleep:)
This adventure of theirs was off to......shall we call it "The Wedding".
And to those of you who do not know, "The Wedding" was neither of theirs.  If it was I WOULD HAVE BEEN WITH THEM!  Trust me.

They flew to the Beautiful Country to be part of this wonderful event and I, along with Mommy and Daddy started home on our own adventure:)
Somewhere along the way we stopped for a much needed restroom break.

Okay, I should tell you that Daddy had been in the back trying to get a little nap in, but it wasn't working.  When Mommy and I had gotten back, the car alarm was going off because we'd locked him in and he'd tried to unlock the doors from the inside.  I've done that before so little tip: if you lock your vehicle with the remote, unlock it with the remote too.  Even if you're in the car waiting for someone- as I was that one time.  (Sheepish look)What can I say, live and learn(shrug).

So we get the car to be quiet again and get in while Daddy runs in for a second.  When he comes back he couldn't get his door open.  Doesn't really sound like a problem does it.  Oh man but it was, the stink'in thing wouldn't unlock for nothin'!  Tried unlocking it with the remote, tried pushing the little lock nob open, tried pushing in closed, tried just opening the door from the inside(which in normal circumstances would have unlocked the door) but nope, not this time.  We could get in through all the other doors but that one seemed to have a mind of its own and wouldn't budge for anything.  So Daddy manuvered his way into the drivers seat by using some climbing-over-maneuvers and we were on the road again.
We stopped at Applebee's for a light lunch and Mommy brought the car manual plus iPad with her to see if there was anything we could do to get that door open.  'Cause I will tell you right here and now it can bug the-mmmmm-out of you not being able to get something to work and being afraid nothing you do WILL get it to work.
Searched, looked and finally found it.
It had something to do with the theft safety thingy.  All Daddy had to do was go out, there hit the panic button, then press it again to get the alarm to turn off and the door opened just fine.  Like there was nothing wrong in the first place.
I tell you, I think we enjoyed that meal better with all that behind us than we would have if that hadn't worked:)

I tell ya the joy of being able to sleep in your own bed after being away never gets that a really silly thing for me to say, of course it wouldn't get old, why would it!  Sorry:)
It's amazing isn't it that when you're the only one upstairs all the little noises a house makes at night seems to magnify.  It gets kind of creepy to tell the truth.

Next day we were told from our two adventurers that they visited a battle field memorial and that out there was absolutely beautiful and that one of them-I will not name names- wants to move there.

Back at the home front Mommy finished the tomato's and we picked the beets.
Then it snowed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Absolutely beautiful and gorgeous:)
Snowed for two days and then now it's almost all gone and looks like spring.  But I really loved to see the snow and I just get excited, it makes me think of Christmas and I just love it:)
I guess this mean's I'll be able to get 'White Christmas' soon, I love that movie:)


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Where We Disappeared To -

So, we disappeared again, though I'm sure you probably already figured that out:)
Anyway, Irish Rose and I (Sharpi) went off on a week and a half adventure. I won't do a long, epic post at the moment, but I will post a couple pictures to give you a sneak peak at where we went:)
Be prepared for fall colors and lots and lots of crooning about how much I loved the trees, colors, and water when I do get around to the epic post!

Any guesses? :)