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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Thursday Recipe - German Potato Salad

Yes, I'm still on hiatus, but as I find recipes I've overlooked, I'll add them.

Thought I'd posted this one. It's a family favorite.

Hot potatoes, crisp bacon, sweet onions, all wrapped in a creamy, tangy vinegar sauce. How can you possibly pass it up? I get to, because I haven't found a good potato substitute and me and potatoes are no longer friends.


German Potato Salad

4 medium potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
4 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T. flour
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1/4 t. celery seed
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. vinegar

Put potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer for 20-25 minutes, until barely done.

Cook bacon in a large frying pan until well-done and crispy. Remove bacon and set aside.

Cook onion in bacon grease until tender. Stir in flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture gets all bubbly. Stir in water and vinegar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute. Remove from heat.

Crumble bacon into sauce, then slice warm potatoes and add to sauce. Put back on low heat. Stir gently just until potatoes are coated and everything turns into a nice, starchy mess.

Serve hot.

Gluten-Free version:
Follow all directions until you come to adding the flour.
Skip the flour. Stir 1 T. cornstarch into the water. Stir into the onion and spice mixture with the vinegar. Cook and stir until it thickens and comes to a boil.
Continue with the rest of the recipe.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Hiatus, Again

My apologies to the few regular readers of this blog. Life is overwhelming right now. I need to pare down the things I commit to, and unfortunately, this blog is not a priority right now. It takes time and effort to write posts, even weekly ones, and I think I've about run out of my go-to recipes to post.

I might pick it back up in a couple of months. And maybe not.

I'm thinking of putting the recipes together in a cookbook. Anyone interested in a paper copy? Please comment. Ebooks are easy to throw together so I'll probably do those, but paper ones mean I need to go through a cookbook publisher to get the spiral binding and coated paper which means I have to order a whole pile to get a decent per-book price which means boxes stacked in my garage which is not necessarily a good thing at this point. And that was a very long sentence.

So, please comment if you want a paper cookbook. Please comment if you want me to keep posting stuff. Please comment if you read this blog regularly.

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Thursday Recipe - Hibiscus Punch Take 2

Remember that hibiscus syrup recipe I posted a few weeks ago? I made punch out of it the other night. It was delicious - light, cool, refreshing, and a lovely shade of red. Try this instead of that kidney-stain punch mix next time you want a fun party drink.

Look for dried hibiscus flowers online or at a local Latino grocery store. They make a really fun syrup with a sweet floral flavor. If you want to make Hawaiian punch that tastes like the name brand, try the recipe with the Hibiscus Syrup Take 2. Or try this recipe. It's a lemon/lime/orange-ade with mint and hibiscus.

And here is another version of the punch.

Hibiscus Punch Take 2

2/3 c. hibiscus syrup (the kind made with ginger and lemon)
1 quart ice
1 quart cold water
2 cans lemon-lime soda

Mix everything. Serve immediately.

Makes about 3 quarts.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Writer's Block vs. Burnout

"Writers write! If you aren't writing, you must not be a real writer."

"The only cure for writer's block is butt-in-chair, hands-on-keyboard."

I understand the sentiment behind these statements. I really do. If you want writing to be your job, you have to treat it as a job. If you sit around waiting for inspiration to hit, you're going to be doing a lot of sitting and not much writing.

Writing is a creative pursuit, though. If your job is manning a cash register, it doesn't matter if you are inspired or not. If your job is to create worlds and characters and adventures, you can try to force it but that usually results in crap on the page that not even heavy editing can fix. Getting in the habit of channeling your inner muse is great advice. You can train yourself to be more receptive, to be in the habit of putting words down. That makes for a much more productive writer.

But sometimes it just isn't working.

If it's writer's block, that usually tells me that something is wrong with the story. Or I need to dig deeper into the characters. Or I need to re-read things. Or move to another project. Maybe it needs abandoned completely. But the desire to write is still there. It's just that particular story that isn't working for whatever reason.

Burnout is a totally different ball game.

If I push too hard for too long, if problems and crises suck all my energy, if stress and depression eat up everything I have and still want more, I have nothing left for writing.

Burnout means I need to curl up on the couch and nurse my inner muse. I need to feed it books and movies and tv shows. I need to give myself permission to just relax. I need to take a break. When the well is empty, you can't keep pulling up water. You need to give that well a chance to recover and fill up to overflowing again.

Sometimes I make the mistake of not giving myself enough time. A few days might work some times, but when the burnout is severe, it may be months or even years before I have enough to give those projects again.

I've put out very few new things the last few years. I've got some short stories out there, but the novels are taking too much focus and more creative juice than I've got. But I'm slowly regaining that desire to spin tales, to tell stories, to create new worlds and let my imagination loose.

And I still consider myself a REAL writer.

Please keep your memes and platitudes. If they inspire you and make you a better, more productive writer, good for you! But don't push them onto me. Don't judge me for my output or lack thereof. My journey is different from yours.

And at the end of the day, all that matters is that we're kind to each other and we support each other and that we celebrate the triumphs no matter how small. Some days, we cheer for finishing a novel. Others, we cheer because we got out of bed. Each day, we do the best we can and let go of the guilt if we don't do what we thought we should.

Plan for the future, learn from the past, but live in the present. Be kind to yourself and your muse.

And when the words start flowing again, chase that muse and write that story.