Friday, May 29, 2015

Quick and Easy Pizza Bagels

Hello readers!

I wanted to make something fast and delicious so I started grabbing things out of my pantry and fridge! Woot.

With only four ingredients this is an amazingly fast dinner (or light lunch) to put together.

I did not list nutrition information since you may be using different products than those I used.

Serves 2 adults (or 4 kids!)

What you need!

2 Bagels (I used Hy-Vee bakery Plain bagels)
4 TBSP pizza sauce (I used MID'S Family Style Pizza sauce)
20 slices turkey pepperioni (I used Hy-Vee brand)
8 TBSP pizza blend cheese (I used Hy-vee brand pizza mix)

What you do!

1. Split bagels and use your finger or a small spoon to pull some of the bread out of the middle. Toss the "guts".

 2. Toast them using the bagel setting if you have it.

3. In each bagel half layer:
      1 TBSP pizza sauce (spread as evenly as you can)
      5 slices of the pepperoni
      2 TBSP pizza blend cheese

4. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is brown and bubbly. OR you can also use your microwave for 20-30 second to melt the cheese.

Just Look at that Cheesy Pizza Goodness!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Productivity Goals Are Important!

Good morning, readers!
It is Thursday, 11:02 AM, and I am just getting around to starting my day. Well, not "starting my day", since I got up at 9, but I'm finally ready to leave the house and be productive!
Go me.

I decided earlier in the week that some productivity goals are in order. I have been working at home now for nearly a month, and sort of treated it like a semi-vacation for the first three weeks. But now, it's time to get down to the business of writing and doing the other things I decided I would do if I had more free time.

Writing Goals

I have to edit 10 pages per day AND write 1500 new words per day.

If I am not doing any editing, then I have to write 3500 new words per day.

If I am not doing any new writing, then  I have to edit 20 pages per day..

The idea is that I should be filling a significant chunk of my days with writing-related activities.  These goals will be tweaked as needed so that they remain a slight challenge, while also being realistic to reach.

Exercise Goals

I have to do 30-60 minutes of exercise every week day. If all I'm doing is cardio on the treadmill then I will aim for closer to 60. If I am doing a more intense work out then I will aim for between 30 and 60. 

I recently purchased a beginner level "10 Minute Solution: Kickboxing" DVD and plan to use this on alternating days.


Can't neglect house work, can we? I made a schedule of which chores need to be done and split them up so that I'm not spending any one complete date cleaning from top to bottom.  This is oddly the easiest one for me so far. I found that I actually kind of like cleaning the house, because at the end of it, I have a clean house that looks pretty fantastic.

Go me.

Have a shiny day, kids! 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Uncouth Haiku I

Uncouth Haiku is my own version of haiku-esque poetry using the acrostic form.
I love haiku, but sometimes the 5-7-5 format can be confining, so I decided to start writing some of my own contemplative poetry in this style.

Riot of color
Array of foliage
Iridescent hues

Never-ending field 
of Butter yellow, pink, and 
Orange marigolds
Wither at Summer's end.  

Loving of his craft
Orchestrating perfect imperfections

Finding The Wi-Fi

I went to three places today to find one that was A: open and B: has working Wi-Fi.
I persevered through light traffic and even lighter construction. The struggle was real.

So here I am at Coffeesmiths, sipping a white chocolate mocha and an ice water, typing my little fingers off, trying to make a nice, readable book for you all to read.
The struggle is real.

I downloaded a character sketch file to start using with my main and immediately supporting characters. Sometimes, if I leave a project too long, I have a hard time picking up the thread again with how my characters should be acting and reacting to things. So the character sketches, which I probably should have been using this entire time, will come in handy.

I also broke down and went back to Twitter. Not sure if anything will ever come of it, but there are some neat tweets to follow there. So there's a link for that on my home page as well as right here.
So far I'm following tons of people (including several people from "Firefly"), and have made probably 7 tweets, none of which hold any profound knowledge.

At least, not yet.

I am hoping to start posting some excerpts from one of my writing projects, so that will go there, at least 140 characters of it will! Har har.

 The weather is nice today; sky blue and clouds white and poofy like cotton candy. They are slowly drifting through the atmosphere, all nonchalant like clouds will be. The tree outside the window is very green, making a nice contrast against the blue and white.

Have a safe, shiny holiday folks!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Feisty Skirt and Blog Updates

The skirt is coming along. I'm not sure if it's coming along well or not, though.
Originally I had envisioned a wrap around skirt, and the fan portion of the pattern lent itself very well to this idea.

However, now that I've switched to the stitch I'm using on the upper half, the project seems to have naturally decreased itself so it's more trapezoidal shape. I had toyed with the idea of it being a side-seamed skirt and not a wrap around, but I couldn't figure out the equation/math to decide how much and when and where to decrease.  It seems to have done it for me, though!

So, I am not sure what the end product is going to look like entirely. I am crossing my fingers that I won't have to rip this current half out and rethink the waist band portion.

Guess we'll see!

I'm considering adding a page to my blog for my writing excerpts. I haven't decided if they warrant their own page yet, or if I should just add them in with the rest of the entries. Orrrr...if I should make a separate blog for them. Hrmm.

I will be working on editing my tags so they are more consistent on previous and future posts.

Additionally, I messed around with the layout a bit to try and make it a little more fun and inviting. I added a 'popular posts' section, and am going to add a photo section as well so I can rotate some of my pictures out. 

Stay shiny, everyone!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Chasing Skirts

The skirt pattern I am designing is being fussy. I wanted to try to add some decorative stitching to the waist band portion, but none of the stitching I've tried so far except the "wave" pattern has shown up well, and for that matter, the wave pattern only really shows up on the last row. It may be more appropriate for the edging, since it's a wrap around skirt and the wavy pattern will add some extra style.

I need close stitches for the waist band so that a slip is not necessary when waring the skirt, so perhaps doing showy stitching there is not a good idea anyway.  Maybe I'll look through my "101 Stitches to Crochet" set and see if there are any good stitches that will work for what I'm trying to accomplish.

In other news - I also need to research how to get a pattern published. I rarely if ever see plus-size patterns in the crochet magazines I read. And more often than not, it's a "regular" size pattern with up to 1 or 2 x options, but rarely along the lines of a 3 or 4 x size.

Mary Beth Temple has a book (or several?) on curvy girl crochet, but the only skirt pattern in that book uses sock yarn, which requires almost 3000 yards for my size AND sock yarn takes forever to crochet an entire garment.

In other, other news - I have five chapters of my Box of Buried Secrets book rough-edited. Now just waiting on beta readers to do their bit so I can get some constructive feedback and make some more changes. There are some spots I feel are a bit weak and could use tweaking, but sometimes if I try to hard to fiddle with the wording it just gets worse.

Today I started on Chapter 6 and am hoping to get through 7 and 8 tomorrow at least. Once I'm about half done with the rough edit, I am planning to start looking for an agent. So that means I have to figure out how to write a good blurb and a good query letter. Also, need to find 2014's version of the Writer's Market or whatever it's called.

Off to look up stitches for the skirt and do some research!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Loaded Protein Shake

Good afternoon, readers!

So I've been playing around with breakfast ideas for two reasons.
1: It keeps me from getting bored eating the same thing every day
2: It keeps me from going to the coffee shop for muffins and coffee every day.

Today I decided to make a protein shake since I was getting on the treadmill immediately after getting up, and didn't want to spend time cooking/baking/eating before I could get moving.  Plus, I have been wanting to dust off my single-serving blender anyway.

I am keeping myself at/below 2000 calories per day on days when I exercise. Days I don't exercise I get 1800 or less. I'm being stricter about this due to having fallen into a false sense of security where I "thought I was doing well" but the scale kept sneaking upwards anyway.

Anyway, here is what I came up with this morning when throwing things into the blender. It's not an original recipe, but I'm sharing it anyway because it's delicious.

1/3 c peanut butter
1 c plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp honey
1 small/med banana
1/8 c milk (to give some liquidity to these dense ingredients)

mix all but milk in the blender to start with. scrape down the sides, add the milk and pulse until well blended.

Nutrition data:

Calories: 583
Fat: 29
Carbohydrates: 26
Fiber: 5
Protein: 30

This thing is loaded with protein and good carbohydrates for an immediate energy source for my workout. If I was not getting on the treadmill right away, or if you are on a lower daily calorie allotment, then you can cut the peanut butter back to 3 TBSP instead of 5 which would cut the overall calories by 190.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Recipe Time! Baked Oatmeal

I found this recipe somewhere years ago, (I don't recall where), and it's very versatile. Use any fruit you like, and switch up the spices to make a sweet or savory breakfast dish.

Fat: 3.5g
Calories: 227
Carbohydrates: 44g (oatmeal / blueberries)
Fiber: 12g
Protein: 13g
WW Points + 3 points

Makes 1 serving

1/2 dry old fashioned oats (I have not tried quick cooking / not sure how it would work)

1 c water

3 egg whites

1/8 tsp baking powder (not soda!)

cinnamon to taste

fruit - can be fresh or frozen (I used 1/2 c frozen blueberries)

Note: There is an optional 1/2 scoop of protein powder in the original recipe which I leave out of mine, and therefore it is not counted in the nutrition information.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees

Mix all dry ingredients together,
Add the egg whites and water and mix well.
Pour into a pie plate or bread pan.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Drizzle with honey or sprinkle brown sugar (not counted in nutrition info) and enjoy!

Variation on a Theme: swap out fruit for 1/4 cup canned pumpkin and use allspice in addition to the cinnamon.

Day Two

My second day at home. It's currently 2:11pm.
I tried a variation of the oatmeal recipe I posted yesterday on my spark people blog.
(I'll repost it in a separate entry after this). I used 1/4 c canned pumpkin (not pie mix), and used allspice instead of cinnamon. I also drizzled honey on it and sprinkled a tsp or so of brown sugar.

Tasted a little like pumpkin pie, but not much. Maybe I should use pumpkin pie mix instead since all the seasonings are in there correctly. I liked the variation over all however as I tend to be a person who gets bored doing the same thing every day.

Tomorrow I'm going to try peanut butter and banana. Peanut butter is one of my favorite protein sources outside of bean burritos. nom nom.

As to the writing bit, I'm doing a free write each morning to warm up for my writing sessions and I'm writing in two- hour blocks. This way my eyes don't get mad at me for staring at a computer screen for too long, and I don't run out of steam so easily.

Currently I am working on "Box of Buried Secrets", editing the first few chapters so my beta readers can look at them. I of course think each and every word is a jewel of the first water.
emoticon My beta readers are there to keep me firmly tethered to the ground however and give me real feedback. Once I am about half way done with editing the book I will start looking seriously for an agent, and networking however I can to that end.
Fingers crossed.