November 13, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 - Day 13 Update

Today is day 13 which means I at the halfway mark for the month in 2 days. My goal was to be at 22,000 words by the end of writing today and I did it. Just barely, but I did. Week Two is notorious for slumps, doubts, and no inspiration and I had my share of all three. I feel better now than I did earlier in the week. I did a lot of research this week and worked on my outline. Now I just want to write. Do you think my boss will let me take the week off so I can finish my book? No, I don't think so either.

My goal for this time next week is 34,000. I'm looking forward to hitting 25k - the infamous halfway point. I'll probably get there by Monday or Tuesday.

Sundays in the Kitchen - Pecan Tarts

This weekend I made Pecan Tarts (or Pecan Tassies) for my husband's birthday. They are his favorite cookie and I only make them twice a year: his birthday and Christmas.

Whether you call then Pee-kens or Pee-cahns I'm sure you will love them too!

These cookies are not difficult but require time so it is important that the baker fuel up on caffeine first. My drink of choice today was a pumpkin spice latte in my RENT mug.

First, you have to make the dough. In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup of softened butter and 3 ounces of softened cream cheese.

Slowly add 1 cup of flour until it's all mixed in well and looks like dough.
Wrap it up (I use tin foil) and put in the refrigerator for one hour. Trust me. You will thank me later --probably in about an hour

After 45 minutes has passed, you can now make the filling. In a bowl, mix 1 egg, 3/4 cup pf packed brown sugar (I use light), and 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Mix it together until it becomes syrupy.

I, apparently, blacked out as I was taking this photo but this is all I have of what it should look like after you mix it. Add in 3/4 cup of coarsely chopped pecans.

Has it been an hour? Good. Grease a mini cupcake pan. Take your dough out of the fridge and pinch off a piece. Shape it into pan like mini pie crusts. Since you had the dough in the fridge for an hour it will be easier to shape and mold. Are you thanking me yet? Well, you should be because the fridge part is not in the recipe. I thought of that part myself!

This next part I also added in myself. Take a piece of pecan and place it in the bottom of each mini crust. It adds a little something when you bite into it.

Spoon your filling into each mini crust. You can fill them pretty full because they won't rise much. I fill it at about 95% full. If it's too full the filling will stick to the pan and make it a pain for you to get the tarts out after baking.

Put in the oven at 325 degrees for 25-30. Any more than 30 minutes and they dry out. After you take them out of the oven, allow them to cool until it's bearable for you to touch. Do not let them get cold.  Pop them out of  the tin and onto a cooling rack, or, if you are like me and don't have a cooling rack, then they go right onto a plate. Both work just as well.

Sprinkle powdered sugar onto the cookies while they are still warm. That makes for some extra goodness later.

Looks like I'm going to have to refill my cup before I get some pecan tarts. Yum! Yum!

November 6, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 - Day 6 Update

Today is Day 6 which means I am one-fifth of the way there for the month. My word count has shot through this week. I was hoping to be at 10,000 words by Day 6 but instead I am close to 13,000. I couldn't be happier with my progress so far. I hope I can keep it up another week. Week One tends to be the easiest because everyone is excited and super motivated. I have a set writing schedule through the week and spent most of the weekend writing to keep up this pace.

In one week - by this time next Sunday - I hope to be at 22,000. I'll write another update half-way through the week. Keep checking back to keep tabs on my progress and if you don't hear from me email me, call me, send rockets to my apartment because it is quite possible I have passed out in NaNoLand.

Sundays in the Kitchen - Taco Shells

I forgot to take photos of most of this but it's really easy.

Brown 1 pound of ground beef (or I use ground turkey). While that is browning, cook large shell pasta in boiling water. Cook until pasta is soft. Drain and rinse. Back to the meat: Drain the fat. Add in 3/4 cup of water, one packet of taco seasoning and some diced onion. I just added enough onion to our liking. You can add as much or as little as you like. Mix it altogether thoroughly and bring to a boil. Stir and simmer.

Allow pasta to cool enough so you can touch it. Open the shells and put 1 1/2 to 2 spoonfuls of taco meat into each shell. Place in a baking sheet. Once all the shells are filled, sprinkle shredded cheese over all the shells.

Now this I have a picture of.
Half of them are covered with cheese, half are uncovered. I put cheese on all of them but it was at this point that I realized I wasn't taking any photos.

Put in oven at 350* for 5-7 minutes - just until the cheese is melted.

Finished product! I added some sour cream to mine and YUM!

November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo Kick Off 2011!

NaNoWriMo has begun and hopefully it goes better for me than the failed warm-up prompts I had lined up. I was just so sick that I couldn't keep up.

After Day 1 though, things are looking up. My goal is to try to get to 2000 words each day. I met that goal today and could have gone on for more but I was feeling tired and thought it was best to rest so that I can make it through the rest of the 29 days.

I'm feeling confident and my head is swimming with ideas. It's been a long time since I've felt this creative.