Sunday, November 30, 2008


I'm done. Finished.

Now on to the editing phase! (After a nice long nap...)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

make ahead gravy

We brine our Thanksgiving turkey, which produces a wonderful, juicy bird, but predictably nasty gravy. (Too salty.) A few years ago, I found this recipe and have made it every year since. It sounds time consuming, but it's not. If you're in the kitchen already, it's just in the background, roasting or boiling. And it produces delicious gravy every time. And the best part? When you're rushing around at the last minute getting all the food on the table, you're not making gravy. You're hitting buttons on the microwave to reheat it!

Making gravy before Thanksgiving totally works for me. Now head over to Shannon's for more great tips!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

4 turkey wings (about 3 lbs.) or 3 turkey legs
2 medium onions -- peeled and quartered
1 cup water
8 cups chicken broth (canned or homeade)
3/4 cup chopped carrot
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Have a large roasting pan ready. Arrange wings in single layer in pan. Scatter onions over top. Roast 1 1/4 hours or until wings are browned.

Put wings and onions into 5-6 quart pot. Add water to pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on bottom. Add to the pot. Add 6 cups broth (refrigerate remaining 2 cups), the carrot, and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Remove wings to a cutting board. When cool pull off skin and meat. Discard skin and save meat for another use.

Strain broth into 3 quart saucepan, pressing vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard veggies and skim fat off broth. Whisk flour into remaining 2 cups of broth until smooth. Bring broth in saucepan to a boil, slowly whisk in flour mixture, boil 3-4 minutes to thicken and remove floury taste. Stir in butter and pepper. Refrigerate up to one week or freeze up to three months.

Source: "Womans Day"

Yield: "8 cups"

Monday, November 17, 2008

day 17

Thirteen days until the end of NaNoWriMo. The writing is going well. I’m in a groove and just bumped my word count up over 35,000. At this point, I’m more afraid of finishing than not finishing.

(I know. Bizarre, isn’t it? This fear of success? One more thing to add to my list of Things to Bring Up in Therapy.)

What have I learned on this journey so far?

--At least half of doing something is simply believing you CAN do it.

--4:30 a.m. is really early.

--The Crock Pot is my friend.

--I cannot do it all. I just can’t. Letting go of certain things I think I should do enables me to do the things I really want to do. (And you know what? The earth doesn’t self destruct when I say “no.”)

--My husband is amazing. Still.

Thanks for following my progress! (And being patient while I totally neglect this blog...)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

week one

Well, I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo for exactly one week now. My word count hovers at just over 16,000 words.

I vacillate between loving my novel and hating it. One minute I think it’s great, and the next minute, I want to chuck it in the trash and start over with new, more interesting characters.

But I’m persevering.

And learning a bit about myself too.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

--I’m very competitive. I hate it when my “writing buddies” get too far ahead of me on the their word count, which compels me to write more. (Keep writing, Musing Mom! You’re a huge motivator for me.)

--I love chocolate. Having NaNoWriMo right after Halloween just seems cruel. Or wonderful. It all depends on how you look at it!

--I write more when I’m busy. On days when I only have an hour-and-a-half to write, I have no problem whipping out the word count. Give me three, and I’ll struggle. (Word Challenge is of the devil.)

--My husband is amazing. Seriously. His willingness to sacrifice his own time for me to do something I’ve always wanted to do makes me fall in love with him all over again.

That’s all for now. Back to Megan, my fifteen-year-old unreliable narrator who has gotten herself into quite a pickle. Oooh. Pickles sound good. Or maybe a twix bar. (Anyone want to join weight watchers with me in December?)

Monday, November 3, 2008

my inner critic

I roll over and squint at the clock perched on my nightstand. 4:32 a.m. A voice in my head tells me I’m crazy to get up this early. It’s cold. And dark. Besides, I’ll never finish a novel in a month, no matter how early I get up. Who am I kidding? And what if I do finish? It will probably be crap.

But I get out of bed anyway. I tell the voice in my head to shut up and I turn on the coffee pot and sit down at my laptop to read the last few pages of what I wrote yesterday. Some of is pretty crappy, but not all of it. I resist the urge to delete it all and just pick up where I left off.

My confidence level grows with each word, and after my hour-long writing session this morning, I’m at just over 7,000 words.

I can do this.

Which makes me wonder, what else could I do if I simply ignored that voice in my head? The one that says I’m not good enough? Not smart enough? Not deserving enough?

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I know. I’m crazy. But I’ve wanted to do this since I first heard about it and at the last minute, decided, “Oh, why not?”

November is National Novel Writing Month, and I’m joining thousands of other crazy writers around the world and writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. (It works out to 1667 words a day, not that I’m counting or anything.)

So far it’s going really well. I got up at 5, managed to avoid getting sucked into facebook (no, I do not want to be your friend), and wrote like the wind for fifteen minutes. 137 words down, only 49,873 to go.

And then my toddler woke up. Way too early. So I’ve been rocking him for the last thirty minutes, and now I’m listening to him yell into the monitor, “Mama! Up! Funny Show!” (He loves America’s Funniest Home Videos.)

So there you go. Day one and I’m off and running, in my own unique way.