NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month for those of you unfamiliar

Have you heard of National Novel Writing Month? Or NaNoWriMo for short? It’s where during the  month of November, you try to write 50,000, yes, that’s correct, 50,000 words in ONE MONTH. To keep you accountable, there is a website with writing buddies so you can see how you’re doing in relation to others. Nothing like a little competition to keep oneself motivated.

As many of you know I’m working on a book about green smoothies, Wicked Green Smoothies, of which the objective is trying to get most of us to simply eat another serving or two of fruit and veg. Well, what you may not know is that I’m also working on a novel, this one’s fiction, about ghosts. The idea’s been bouncing around in my head for a while and while I’ve started building the world, I’ve been a bit sidetracked lately.

Note: this is a very fun place to live and sometimes I forget there’s a real world out there, but I digress. So, I decided to sign up and declare my intent to reach the 50.000 milestone by the end of November. I am cheating a bit. To be an official winner, it has to be a brand new work no existing word count. My cheat, is I’m adding the 50,000 words onto the 30 some odd thousand words I already have. Hey whatever it takes to help get this finished, works for me. So I won’t submit for an “official” win – an informal one will do just fine as an additional 50,000 words will allow me to write “the end” – and then start revising, revising, revising..

Anyway, this is going to be the first book in a series so I better get cracking. I figured it would help keep me motivated and maybe feeling a bit competitive. Not to mention, when you speak your intent, the Universe listens and I hope conspires on my behalf.

Hey, I can use all the help I can get.

So stay tuned and I’ll follow-up with a status mid-month, and again at the end of the month with my final word count.

Cheers!

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What to do with pumpkin guts…

So you’ve carved your pumpkin into a very scary face and are wondering what to do with the “guts”?

How about roasted pumpkin seeds? They’re easy, good for you and super tasty

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Rinse the seeds in cold water, removing the gooky strings and seeds.
Spread the seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, stirring so they are coated (or use non-stick cooking spray)
Sprinkle with salt or other seasoning (try cinnamon or italian seasoning or garlic), bake at 325F until toasted – approx. 25 min., check them midway through and stir
cool and store in an airtight container – if you don’t eat them all right out of the oven!

Roasted Pumpkin
If you purchased a couple of those cute mini pumpkins, also called pie pumpkins, they are great roasted.
Cut in half and remove guts (roast those seeds, don’t waste them)
put 1/4 c. water in baking dish and place pumpkins cut side down
bake at 350F for 45-60 min. You’ll know they’re done when they are tender. you can tell by sticking them with a fork.
Add your favorite seasonings – butter, cinnamon, brown sugar or nothing at all.

Or make a delicious smoothie. You can use pumpkin pie filling if you don’t have any pumpkins lying around or don’t want to mess with cutting them up.

Pumpkin ‘licious
pinch of cinnamon
1/4 c. pumpkin pie filling (freeze it for a thicker smoothie)
1/2 c. almond or soy vanilla milk
2 tbsp vanilla yogurt
blend well. if you want to be decadent, crush up a few graham crackers and sprinkle on top.
P.S. feeling adventurous? add a couple of spinach leaves, up to a handful (you won’t even taste the spinach)

Happy Upcoming Halloween!

Fantasy place to live

I’ve been thinking about places it would be fun to live, assuming everything costs the same and of course fantasy is free, where is your ultimate place to live?

For me: a beautiful garden with different greenhouses (one for citrus, tropical, etc.) a place at the beach or some run down spooky castle in Europe in need of repair. Sigh, I think I’ll go think about more fun spots to live.

 

Happy Daydreaming!

Have you tried Eggplant lately?

Eggplant. Before you say “oh, no, way, gross”, hear me out. There’s a couple of ways to try this fruit (yes, it’s actually a fruit not a veggie) again that will have you googling eggplant recipes in no time.

For those of you who steer clear of anything resembling fruit or veggies; here are two ways to ease in. Not super crunchy granola healthy but, hey – it’s all about baby steps.

Pancake Eggplant (if you’re craving sweet)
Slice eggplant into thin slices, dip in pancake batter and fry – this could be a side dish or heck, eat a plateful for dinner.

Bread crumb Eggplant (if you’re craving savory)
Place small amount of oil in fry pan, slice eggplant into thin slices
Beat one egg and dip slices, then dip slices into panko breadcrumbs
and fry – again, great as a side or a meal.

Enjoy!

If you haven’t already, try some Kale

Fall is officially here! Kale is in season. It tastes sweeter after a frost and grows well into the winter. It’s one of my favorite dark leafy green to use in Wicked Green Smoothies. Kale has quickly become one of my favorite greens – if you had asked me a few years ago, I would have wrinkled my nose and said “ewwww”.

By the way, kale is a “super-green” as it’s very high in vitamin K, vitamin C, beta carotene and calcium. When you grind it up in a smoothie it releases sulforaphane which is a chemical with killer anti-cancer properties. Steaming, stir frying, microwaving, baking and grinding in smoothies keep the levels of this chemical high.  Boiling will decrease them. Have you tried kale sautéed w/a little olive oil and garlic? Before you say “yuck”, try it, it’s very tasty.

There is also a chemical in kale which helps boost DNA repair in cells and hey we all need to do everything we can to keep looking young, right?

Want the biggest bang for your buck in a nutritional sense? Kale is it. It scores 1000 (top score) on the ANDI score for nutritional density.

Here’s a few ways to make the most of Kale:

  • add a handful (after removing the thick stem) to a Wicked Green Smoothie (there are lots of recipes listed on my blog).
  • saute kale w/olive oil, minced garlic and almonds – yummy!
  • add chopped kale to pasta like spaghetti, lasagna, penne
  • mix up your favorite soup and sneak in some kale
  • add a few torn up pieces to your salad or put it on your sandwich in place of the old standby iceberg lettuce
  • craving chips? try Kale chips – pssst – there’s a recipe for them in one of my earlier posts

Happy Fall!

Farewell to Summer…Bye, Bye, Summer Wicked Green Smoothie

It’s a crisp, clear morning with the smell of Fall in the air.  I love this time of year. Fall is one of my favorite seasons although I still want new clothes come September….must be from when I started a new school year growing up.  Anyway, I made a great smoothie this morning to remind me of summer. Think I’ll make citrus based smoothies all week to bid summer adieu.

Bye bye Summer Wicked Green Smoothie
1/2 c greek yogurt – I used Fage 2% plain
1 c pineapple in its own juice or frozen (or fresh if you have it)
1 c OJ
1 tbsp wheat germ (optional)
1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
handful of ice if your pineapple isn’t frozen
one handful of spinach (one handful equals one loosely packed cup)
makes 16 – 24 oz.

Blend until smooth. It will be a beautiful mint green color and you won’t even taste the spinach. You’ll just taste pineapple and a slight bite from the yogurt.

P.S. I was craving popcorn last night but didn’t want to use the prepackaged stuff from the store. One, it’s pricey and Two, who knows what junk they add to the popcorn. So I made my own. It’s simple.

Easy and cheap popcorn
1/4 c popcorn (I bought a bag from Food Lion for a little over $2)
a paper sack like you used to pack your lunch in (I couldn’t find mine, so I used a bath and bodyworks paper sack)
fold the top of the bag over and pop for about 2 – 21/2 minutes. Listen for the popping to slow down so you don’t burn it.  Eat or add seasonings.  I admit, I added some butter, parmesan cheese and a bit of Old Bay Seasoning – that is a little piece of heaven!

Enjoy!

Help! I want crunchy, salty, chips…

Wait up there you Wicked Green Smoothie Warrior…back away from the bag of chips.  Put it down, better yet, dump it in the trash and then dump water or something else on the chips so you won’t be tempted to reach in the trash and eat them.  Come on, you know you’ve done it before, haven’t we all?

Here is a healthy alternative to satisfy that salty, crunchy craving. Also, I’ve listed a great way to eat an avocado. Try it, you’ll like it!

Crunchy Garbanzo Beans

One can of chickpeas (small or large) 1 tbsp. olive oil Seasoning (sea salt, old bay, garlic, etc)\

Directions; Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss chickpeas with olive oil and seasoning of your choice.  I love sea salt and old bay seasoning. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet or shallow pan and bake for one hour or until crispy.  They are a crunchy, delicious treat chock full of protein and is a great substitute when you are craving chips or something salty/crunchy.

Avocado All The Way Baby

Here are some ways to try an avocado if you haven’t tried them, well other than in guacamole.

  1. Slice open an avocado, scoop it out into a bowl, add balsamic vinegar and olive oil, yum!
  2. Slice open an avocado, scoop it out into a bowl, add honey and sea salt, enjoy!

Cheers!