Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Writers' Menu Recipes Day 13 and Day 18

It's time for the next two recipes for my November Writers' Menu. Follow the recipes, freeze the results, and you'll have the next two meals prepped and ready for November. You'll find the grocery lists here if you missed them. Remember, you can cook a double batch: one to eat now, and one to freeze for next month. We're halfway there!

The next two recipes are Day 13 Italian Unstuffed Shells and Day 18 Slow Cooker Pot Roast. I've shared printable docs here. 



Italian Unstuffed Shells
Ingredients
  • 2 cups medium pasta shells (uncooked)
  • 1/2 pound Italian bulk sausage or ground beef
  • 20 ounces pasta sauce
  • 3 ounces cream cheese spread
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (optional)*
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
* According to Martha Stewart, substitute 1/3 the amount of dried herbs for fresh. In this case, that would be 4 tsp dried Basil. I used only 2 tsp and was happy with the result.


Instructions (via OnceAMonthMeals)
  1. Cook pasta as directed on package, in salted boiling water. 
  2. Meanwhile, brown ground beef or sausage until no longer pink. Drain. 
  3. Add to pasta sauce. Set aside. 
  4. Whisk cream cheese spread, milk and Parmesan in large bowl until well blended. 
  5. Drain pasta. Add pasta and basil; stir gently until pasta is evenly coated. 
  6. Spread half the meat sauce onto bottom a greased 8×8 baking dishes. Cover with pasta mixture and remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella. 
  7. Cover with foil. 
  8. Label with the following directions and freeze.

    Thaw in fridge. Bake at 375 degrees F covered, 40 to 45 min. or until heated through, uncovering after 30 min.



Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pound chuck roast
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 ounce package of dry onion soup mix


On cooking day, throw in some chopped carrots, potatoes, and onion to make a complete meal.

Instructions (via Living Well Spending Less)
  1. In bowl, whisk together soups, soup mix, water, wine and broth.
  2. Using a Sharpie, label the bag with cooking directions:

  3. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. 
    Cook in crock pot on low for 8-9 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
    Add chopped carrots, red potatoes, and onion to the crock pot after 2 hours.

  4. Add roast and marinade to bag.
  5. Freeze.

Congratulations! Now go write something! Come back next Saturday for the next shopping list and Tuesday, October 28 to prep the last two frozen meals.
If you haven't prepped for Day 3 and Day 5, you'll find directions here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Patience + Passion = Success

"Success comes to people who work hard and study their craft, who are patient, passionate about what they do, willing to take risks, and persistent in revising and submitting their work."
_Mira Reisberg*

Museum Miasta bookplate by Gladys Munoz


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shopping List # 2

November means busy days are ahead. It's Picture Book Month, for starters, a time to celebrate kid lit and promote literacy.

Then for picture book authors, there's Picture Book Idea Month, a 30-day crash course in brainstorming and fostering ideas ideal for the 32 page story.

Writers of more hefty page counts can participate in National Novel Writing Month. 50,000 words in four weeks is the norm with this group.

For three years running, illustrator Linda Silvestri has hosted Sketch A Day Month. Artists of all skill levels sketch and post faithfully (or not) for the 30 days of November. (Just in case you needed more to do during the holiday season.)

So no matter which challenges you've set for yourself, you need a break from the kitchen to squeeze in a bit more writing time. That's why I've organized this Writers' Menu. No one should have to live on Ramen noodles and Frosted Flakes for 30 days straight.




Below you'll find the link to a Google doc shopping list for the week of October 20. It covers the ingredients for the next two make ahead-meals for November. Don't forget to check the list of basic kitchen staples found here. You'll need some of these for Tuesday's recipes.

Once A Month Meals Unstuffed Shells
On Tuesday, I'll post how to make and freeze these meals for the busy days of November. If you like, you can buy double the ingredients. You can make two batches: one to freeze for November, and one to eat now. Both recipes originally made enough for two meals. For the purposes of the Writers' Menu, I have cut them down to one.

The numbers in [] indicate which day the food will be used. That way, if you have eliminated any items from the Master Menu, you'll be able to cross those groceries off the list.


Shopping Prep, Oct 20
Shopping List

Dry Goods
2 cups medium pasta shells [12]
1 pkg dry onion soup mix [18]
Canned Goods
20 oz Spaghetti sauce [12]
1 can cream of celery soup [18]
1 can cream of mushroom soup [18]
1 cup chicken broth [18]
1 cup red cooking wine [18]
Produce
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (optional) [12]
Meats
1/2 pound Italian bulk sausage or ground beef [12]
3.5 lb chuck roast [18]
Dairy
3 oz Cream cheese spread [12]
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese [12]
3/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese [12]

Friday, October 17, 2014

PPBF: Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Founding Mothers, the picture book
Founding Mothers: 
Remembering the Ladies
Written by Cokie Roberts
Illustrated by Diane Goode
Harper Collins, 2014
non-fiction, grades 2-7
40 pp

Themes:
Non-fiction, Historical, Women

Opening of the first mini biography:
Eliza Lucas was only sixteen years old when her father went off to fight for England against Spain and left her in charge of three plantations in South Carolina.

and from the conclusion:

"The women here are taking a station in society which is not known elsewhere," wrote journalist Margaret Bayard Smith after she had lived in Washington for several years. She rejoiced in the fact that the new Capitol City was a place where women were taken seriously "in the court, in the representative hall, as well as in the drawing room."

Synopsis:
This non-fiction picture book contains a short timeline of events from 1765 to 1815 and 18 mini biographies highlighting the achievements of early American women. The text is engaging, drawing the reader in with fascinating tidbits from history. The witty illustrations evoke the style of the times. The book also includes excerpts of actual correspondence and valuable links for further research.

A spread about American poet, Phyllis Wheatley


What I Love:
Cokie Roberts has distilled the lives of these courageous women into bite-sized pieces, perfect for picture book audiences and beyond. Diane Goode has outdone herself with her  meticulous research, authentic penmanship, and colonial embellishments, even going so far as to reproduce the ladies' signatures. The endpapers alone are worth the cover price.


Bonus:

Have you been to the Library of Congress?
1. The Gettysburg Colonial Project has more information on what it meant to be a woman in the 18th Century.
2. I found a quiz among the Early American handwriting archives from the Reed Digital Collections.
3. Visit Colonial Williamsburg in person or online to learn more about our country's founding.
4. You'll find recipes for Johnny Cakes, Hobnob cookies, or succotash, plus Colonial games, crafts, and more at the teachers' site Kid Activities.
5. Delve into the many resources at the Library of Congress.
6. Look for these other Perfect Picture Books at your local library.


4 Founding Fathers,
Reviewed by Vivian
Another book by Diane 
The story of Ida Lewis
Reviewed by Jarm




Another biography
Women who effect change
Reviewed by Kelly



Revolutionary Americans
Reviewed by Julie



Founding Mothers,
Cokie's adult biography


















Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for October 17, 2014, available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Writers' Menu Recipes Day 3 and Day 5

Today you will find the first two recipes for my November Writers' Menu. Follow the recipes, freeze the results, and you'll have two meals prepped and ready for next month. You'll find the grocery lists here if you missed them. Remember, you can cook a double batch: one to eat now, and one to freeze for November. Aren't you organized!

The first two recipes are Day 3 Creamy Cheesy Broccoli Soup and Day 5 Grandmother's Basic Meatloaf. I've shared printable docs here.


There are two ways to make the broccoli soup ahead of time.
You can prepare the entire soup, then freeze, and reheat when needed. Sometimes cream soups come out of the freezer separated or grainy. This can be fixed with a little doctoring (Find recommendations for improving frozen cream soups on SoupChick.) If you want to go this route, go to HappyMoneySaver for the full Broccoli soup directions.
I prefer to freeze the base, then add the dairy ingredients on the day I defrost and eat. It makes for slightly more cooking time on the day you eat the soup, but I think it improves the texture and flavor. You'll find the directions I follow below. The dairy ingredients will be included in the November 1st shopping list so you'll have them on hand when it's time to reheat the soup.


Creamy Cheesy Broccoli Soup

Ingredients
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cups finely chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup chopped fresh broccoli, medium sized for texture
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste



Instructions
  1. Add the broccoli, onion, garlic, carrots, bay leaf and chicken broth to a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat simmering for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
  2. Remove the pot from heat. Let the soup sit for 20-30 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally to release more heat from the soup. 
  3. When the soup has reached room temperature, ladle into freezer bag.
  4. Using a Sharpie, label the bag with "Day 3" and cooking directions (Note: cooking directions will also be included on this blog in November):

  5. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Reheat. For cream sauce, melt 1/4 cup butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup flour. Whisk together while it cooks for 3-4 minutes. Slowly pour in just the liquid from the boiling vegetable soup base. Whisk quickly as soon as the liquid hits the butter/flour mixture. Cook briefly to thicken, add in the vegetables, 1 cup half n half and dash of garlic salt. Mix slowly until heated through. Remove from heat and add in 1 cup shredded Gouda cheese and ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

  6. To freeze soup, set the bags on a cookie sheet until frozen solid. Remove cookie sheet.


That's it. Congratulations! You've made your first no-fuss dinner.



Grandma's basic meatloaf
Ingredients

1.5 lbs ground beef
1 cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup diced onions
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Choose either the oven or slow cooker method.

Oven Directions (via 5DollarDinners)
  1. Line loaf pan with aluminum foil large enough to wrap entire meatloaf. 
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. 
  3. Shape into loaf . 
  4. Place loaf atop foil in pan. 
  5. Fold foil over meatloaf. Flash freeze. (Put pan in freezer for approx 2 hours.) 
  6. Remove foil-wrapped loaf from pan. Place foil-wrapped meatloaf  in Ziplock freezer bag. 
  7. Using a Sharpie, label the bag with cooking directions:

  8. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. 
    Top with ketchup or BBQ sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-75 minutes.
    To cook from frozen, Bake at 350 degrees approximately 1 hour 45 minutes.

  9. Return bag to the freezer.

Slowcooker Directions (via StockpilingMoms)
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. 
  2. Shape into loaf which fits your loaf pan. 
  3. Place loaf  in Ziplock freezer bag. 
  4. Using a Sharpie, label the bag with cooking directions:

  5. Remove from bag. Place in slow cooker and top with ketchup or BBQ sauce.
    Cook on low 9-10 hours. To reduce cooking  time, thaw in refrigerator overnight.

Ta-da! Now go write something! Come back next Saturday for the second shopping list and Tuesday, October 21 to prep two more frozen meals.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Selective Moments

"Telling a story with words and pictures is a little like watching a movie, then selecting the evocative moment like a still taken from a film. I need to capture the moment that has clarity and simplicity, invites empathy, and allows the reader to bring her own knowledge to that moment, to enrich it, and develop it according to her own life experiences."

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Shopping List for Oct Prep

Below you'll find the link to a Google doc shopping list for the week of October 13. It covers the ingredients for the first two make ahead-meals for November. Don't forget to check the list of basic kitchen staples found here. You'll need some of these for Tuesday's recipes.

On Tuesday, I'll post how to make and freeze these meals for the busy days of PiBoIdMo. If you like, you can buy double the ingredients. You can make two batches: one to freeze for November, and one to eat now. If you do, you'll have to add the dairy items to your shopping list. I normally don't add the dairy to the soup until the day we eat it.

The numbers in [] indicate which day the food will be used. That way, if you have eliminated any items from the Master Menu, you'll be able to cross those groceries off the list.


Shopping Prep, Oct 13
Shopping List
Week of Oct. 13

Note: The numbers in [brackets] correspond to the dates on the meal planning calendar.

Canned Goods
5 cups chicken broth [3]
Produce
2 onions [3,5]
2 carrots [3]
2 heads of fresh broccoli (4 cups) [3]
garlic [3]
Meats
1.5 lbs Hamburger [5] (to make an extra meatloaf, buy 3 lbs)

*Only buy the dairy items if you are making some soup for now and another batch to freeze. Do not double.
Dairy
1 cup half and half [3]
1 cup shredded Gouda cheese [3]
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese [3]


Day 3 Broccoli soup from Happy Money Saver
Day 5 My grandmother's basic meatloaf 











If you missed it, Here's
How To Starve During PiBoIdMo
How Not To Starve During PiBoIdMo

Make sense? Have questions? Contact me.