August 2013 Archive

Freezer Recipes–Forcing Cooking To Be My Friend

Most anyone who knows me well knows how little I enjoy cooking. Baking cookies and bread, on the other hand, is where my cooking talent lies. Unfortunately, a person can’t survive on cookies alone (though I’ve certainly tried). After moving in with my boyfriend almost five years ago (egads, has it really been that long?!), we quickly realized that having two people in the house who didn’t like to cook wasn’t going to work out. We struggled along eating lots of prepacked, boxed foods (yum?), until finally this past New Years I’d had enough. New Years resolution! Learn how to cook :)

Pinterest with its lovely recipe boards became my best friend. Now every two weeks, I gather recipes and grocery shop for those specific meals. So far, this change has done wonders.

But now onto the freezer recipes! I’ve heard of this (pre-making meals and freezing them), but have never taken the plunge, at least not until this week! And it was much easier than I had assumed. Again, I gathered recipes (potato soup, chicken teriyaki, pork chops, and a few others).

I labeled freezer bags with any necessary instructions.

I assembled the ingredients (forgetting to take a picture of the process) and dumped them into the freezer.

(sorry these pictures are so dark!)

And voila! I have dinner prepared for the next two weeks. Easy peasy. Also, just because I love my weekly calendar, I thought I’d include a picture of the chalk board my sister gave me for Christmas.

This gal sits beside my fridge. At the start of each week, boyfriend and I plan out dinners for each day (leftovers included!), which ends up being a big stress reliever for the both of us.

How do you plan your meals for the week? Do you have any favorite recipes you’d like to share?

Repetition in Writing- a writing exercise

I started out the day with a fun writing exercise that helps with repetition and learning to use it for effect. For me, I usually balk from repeating a word too many times. If you’re like me, you scour your paragraphs for repeated words and do word searches for writing-tics (particular favorites of mine are “moment”, “slip, and “jerk”). But today, rather than flee from the dreaded repeated word, try embracing it! This exercise takes only a few minutes, so I highly suggest giving it a shot! I’m reading the wonderful book The Writer’s Portable Mentor by Priscilla long, where I found this exercise.

  • Before you start, here are two helpful hints:
  1. When repeating words, three is the magic number.
  2. After you first use the word, repeat it again as soon as possible, even if it’s immediately after!

This exercise has two parts.

First, set your stopwatch for five minutes. Write about a person or setting (try using something that could geared toward your current WIP!) using hot-words, words that seem to fizzle or zing when you say them–crackle, slick, zipper are all great words.  After you finish writing, circle your hot-words and pick your favorite of the bunch.

Second, set your stopwatch for ten minutes. In this round, use your favorite hot-word as often as you can, at the very least repeat it once on every line. Not once per sentence, but once on every line. Sometimes, this means repeating your word two, three, or four times in one sentence. Write the full ten minutes, even if you can’t think of a single thing more to write. Your best sentences might very well be written at the nine minute mark.

Here’s an example of repeated words in a very lovely paragraph, used as an example in the Writer’s Portable Mentor:

“For now he was still stuck in this red earth country, in this red earth place, in the red sky world, far from home, far from life,  far from everything. On top of that he felt slightly worn. Slightly old now. More than slightly seasoned. And more than anything else, used up.” (Philip H. Red Eagle, Red Earth, 16-17).

What are some of your favorite writing exercises? Do you tend to avoid repeating words, or do you embrace it?