Let the Food Adventures Begin!

So, I’m back after a long hiatus. My Master’s is done, I’m all “gradumutated,” and perhaps there will be a little more free time in my life now. (Hah.) I’ve decided for the New Year to have an adventure with food. My goal is to try a new recipe nearly every day of the year. Some of that I will be chronicling here. I’m especially interested in finding easy to prepare foods (especially those that families with young children could safely prepare together) and meals that bring nutrition, health, and healing (by the time spent together in the kitchen). But then again, I also just want some fun foods to make.

And so for today, I tried a for-kids-to-make recipe from a book I’ve had on my shelf that I bought at a thrift store years ago: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cooking with Kids. There was a fun and simple little “Oriental soup” recipe that I sampled. I worked it into something that is quick, easy, and variable on the seasonings. But the base idea came from that fun cookbook, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cooking with Kids, by Joan Cirillo. What follows is my own little variation.

Mock Oriental Egg Drop Soup

  • 3 – 14 oz. cans chicken broth (I used Swanson’s 100% fat free/no msg added/33% less sodium)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pkg ramen noodles
  • Garlic powder (to taste)
  • Celery flakes (to taste)
  • Celery seed (to taste)
  • Amena’s Organic herb salt (to taste)
  • Parsley to garnish
  1. Heat the chicken broth to a boil.
  2. Add a pinch or more (to taste) of the garlic powder, celery flakes, celery seed and the organic herb salt, and lower the heat to medium.
  3. Break the ramen noodles into bite-sized chunks and add to broth. Cook, stirring until noodles are al dente (or in other words, not yet soggy). This really only takes about 2 – 4 minutes.
  4. Periodically stir the broth, but while you are waiting, crack the egg into a bowl and whisk till blended.
  5. When the noodles are ready, turn off the heat.
  6. Gather your kids and let them watch the magic of the next part. Slowly drizzle a thin stream of whisked egg in circular motions into the broth. Kids will get a kick how the egg swiftly bakes and changes form as the heat of the broth cooks it.
  7. Stir the soup gently one last time and ladle it into the bowls. Allow the kids (after washing their hands) to add green “snow” to the soup by taking a pinch of parsley and sprinkling it on top.
  8. Serve with warmed bread sticks. (Yah, I know. Not very oriental. But my family’s weird like that. Actually, for this soup we just toasted some heels from a loaf of bread, buttered them, then sliced them into thin “sticks.” It’s my family’s favorite form of bread sticks.)

Of course, for some, this soup might be too bland. My kids really do not like spicy or salty foods. You may want to add salt and pepper to taste. That’s the joy of flexible seasonings.

Well, that was our food adventure for today. May your food be terrifically tasty and awesomely healing—whether from the food or the fun time spent together!

Bizarro Mundo

Remember George Orwell’s 1984? Prepare to step into that world just a bit by visiting this link. And once you’ve settled into that space, you can then begin imagining all kinds of plot lines in this now all-too-real-just-about-to-arrive totalitarian existence. Who is your hero? Who is your enemy? Can you flip the story both ways? What if the hero was really the one running the ultra-NSA spy place? Why would he or she be doing that? Who would be the enemy?

Or maybe your story line would be more traditional. Maybe it’s the really evil people who’ve designed this awful place with really bad plans in place for total domination. Who would be your hero then? What would be his hope to even win?

All kinds of story possibilities in this particular news story.

Ya Think?

A cashless society? Can you imagine? Sweden is trying it. Some like it; some don’t. But just imagine the possibilities for your novel. Why might you put in order a cashless society? Who would be for it? Who would be against it? Where could this take you for your newest story? (or perhaps it could throw an intriguing twist in one you’ve previously written)

The possibilities are endless. I’d love to hear your ideas!

Sarah Hinze’s Book, We Lived In Heaven

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I received a free copy of Sarah Hinze’s book, We Lived In Heaven, to consider for review. I have spent some time with this book and finished reading it this week. It brought tears to my eyes.

Here are the words from the back cover:

“This book is a remarkable collection of accounts of families who have had the opportunity to meet the souls of their sons and daughters before they were born. Read about the vivid memories of life in heaven by young children, and dramatic stories of prayers answered by guardian angels who watch over us. Discover:

  • A letter from a mother to her son, whom she gave up for adoption, telling him of the dream that guided her through that painful decision.
  • A kidnapped child who survived her ordeal by the guiding hand of the baby sister who would be born years later.
  • A little boy’s memory of being brought to earth by his grandfather–a man he never knew.
  • A woman’s vision of a child in a garden, and the powerful certainty that he was her son, waiting his turn to come into this world.

“Sarah Hinze’s own personal pre-birth experiences complete this inspiring collection, which radiates a universal sense of peace, joy, and hope that touches us all.”

Whether or not a person believes or does not believe in experiences like those shared by countless individuals in this book, the read itself is uplifting. There were several occasions, as I mentioned up above, where tears came to my eyes and peace to my heart as I read through the personal accounts of many people in this sweet volume.

In fact, when I finished reading the book, I didn’t want it to end. I sincerely hope that Ms. Hinze has another volume soon to come.

BOOK INFORMATION:

Paperback–137 pages

Publisher–Spring Creek Book Company, Nov 2006

Author’s Website–Sarah Hinze

Manipulating Morals

Ok, now here is something that 50 years ago would only have shown up in a sci-fi novel. Why not use it in your creative work today?

Pharmaceutical companies controlling your thoughts. Hmmmm. What kind of fictional world can you conjure up? What kind of story line? Who would be the good guys? The other guys? Sometimes truth IS stranger than fiction, but you can use it anyway to create your plot lines! Regardless of the facts of this story, you could probably come up with something to rival Tom Clancy or John Grisham. :0)

Just Got Really Real

Yes, yes, yes, I am always looking for intriguing stories. They help me keep up to date, but they also provide amazing fodder for novelists. Here is another wacky, yet jaw-dropping new technology. You might need some very powerful hairspray to keep your delicately-styled coif in place as this thing tears by! Just imagine.

Now here’s something interesting for your novel…

Yes, yes, the science world is a perfect place to study for a novelist. Why? Because of stories like this one. Japan has apparently invented a speech-jamming gun that is a true “tie the tongue” invention.

Now why would someone go and do something like that? Not sure. But it may be just the thing to stimulate your creative juices if you’ve reached a block in your sci-fi writing.