Saturday, March 26, 2016

December Chalkboard Drawings

Minestrone Soup

2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 TBS olive oil or butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
32 ounces chicken or vegetable broth
1 16 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 16 oz. can white beans or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups chopped cabbage
1 tsp dried basil
1 TBS fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, saute the carrots, celery and onion in oil or butter until tender.

Add garlic and salt; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, beans, cabbage, basil, parsley, oregano and pepper.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the uncooked pasta and cook until the pasta is done about 12 minutes, serve right away.

(If you want to make this ahead, cook the pasta separately, and add it at the time you reheat the soup.)

Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheese.

Winter Vegetable Fritters

1 medium sweet potato or 3 peeled parsnips
3 broccoli stems or peeled kohlrabi bulbs
2-3 carrots
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 eggs
2 TBS oil

Peel and grate, the sweet potato, parsnips, kohlrabi, broccoli stems and carrots.

Combine everything in a large bowl and add the salt, pepper and eggs. Mix well to combine.

Heat a nonstick pan, over medium heat, add the oil and drop 1/4 cup of the vegetable mixture into the pan. Help it to spread out a little then repeat 2-3 more times, so you have 3-4 small pancakes.

Turn the heat down and allow them to cook for 8-9 minutes then turn the fritters over and cook for another 6-7 minutes. Remove them and cook another batch to use the remaining vegetables.

Enjoy right away, they are also great reheated.

**Rancho Piccolo newsletter recipe**

Spring Vegetable Pasta

2 TBS olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 fennel bulb, greens removed, diced
1/2 tsp salt
2 carrots, peeled and diced small of shredded
1 TBS dried oregano, chopped
1 bunch Portuguese kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
3-4 cups cooked bow-tie pasta or other small shape
1/2 cup water
1 TBS lemon juice
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

In a very large saute pan, over medium high heat add the olive oil and cook the onions and fennel for about 2 minutes, add te carrots and oregano, continue cooking for 2 minutes.

Add the kale and cook for another 2-3 minutes, checking the carrots for doneness.

Stir in the pasta and water, stir and cook until the water has evaporated.

Add the lemon juice and parmesan cheese, serve immediately.

Roasted Cauliflower and Fennel

4 cups cut Cauliflower florets
1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
1/2 tspsalt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tspdried oregano, crumbled
1-2 TBS olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cauliflower, fennel, oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the cauliflower and fennel in a single layer.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and drizzle on a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fall Chalkboard Drawings


The Thrushbeard King

The Golden Goose

The Water of Life

Container story for letters S and T

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Inspiration Behind Three Rules

The story behind THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC is pretty long and winding. It started out as a book with two grandmas who come back as guardian angels. That was inspired by my children having old ladies for imaginary friends. Creepy, but hey, that works for story inspiration sometimes.

But then I got feedback from my first mentor that pointed out that as it was, the grandma angels were distracting to the heart of the story about a girl and her depressed father. I either needed to give the angels more purpose or find a way to tell the story without them.

I tried at first just to make the grandmas more important, but then I started getting some ideas on how to tell the story without the angels. So I decided to JUST TRY. I sent the first few chapters to my CP and she raved. This was it. All that emotion from the last half of the book? It's now in the first part of the book, too. The part everyone told me was slow before.

But as I got to the first turning point, I knew I needed something. Something slightly magical. It's hard to go from paranormal to straight contemporary! I was on a cross-country car drive when it hit me. Not magic the way we think about it, but this idea of magic, and these three rules. I can still remember that moment of inspiration with absolute clarity. It changed the direction of my story while also deepening the original heart of all of it.

So that's it, really. Imaginary friends, hard feedback, and a cross country trip. That's all you need to write a book! ;)

Check out the other Mentees