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Fall is almost upon us and as much as I like the warmth of summer, I really enjoy a crisp sunny fall day. This morning when I looked out the kitchen window at the thermometer it was a cool 10 degrees Celsius in the shade. A little chilly but very invigorating.
Which brings to mind scrumptious comfort foods. I like quick and simple. A couple of my favourites are below.
1 ½lb ground beef or chicken/pork mixture
1 med onion
1 28 oz. can of tomatoes
2 cup water
3 cans French onion soup (I use water and add 3 Tbsp of tomato paste)
1 can tomato
1 bay leaf
3 sticks celery chopped
½ tsp thyme
8 Tbsp barley
pepper to taste
Brown the meat and onions. Drain well. Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Simmer covered at least 2 hours or all day. Serves 10. Freezes well.
HOME STYLE BEEF STEW with dumplings
2 lbs stew beef cubed
4 cups water
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ cup ketchup
1 tsp salt
1 tsp basil
2 cup sliced carrots
3 cup potatoes or half white potatoes and turnip
1 cup frozen peas
1 bay leaf (remove before adding peas)
flour or corn starch to thicken
Brown the meat. Add water, onions, Worcestershire, ketchup, salt and basil. Simmer covered for 1 ½ hours. Add carrots & potatoes/turnip. Cook for 15-20 minutes until tender. Add peas and cook another 5 minutes. Thicken with flour or corn starch.
I add the dumplings after I add the peas.
Dumplings (Dough Boys)
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup milk
Mix flour, salt and baking soda. Stir in milk. Drop over hot stew. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Don’t peak. Approximately 6 dumplings.
And for dessert a delicious apple crisp made with fall apples.
Cut apples into slices and place on bottom of lightly greased casserole dish (I use butter). Sprinkle with lemon juice and cinnamon. Mix flour, brown sugar, oats and butter until crumbly and spread over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
The hours of daylight are getting shorter and the wind is getting brisker. Even with the sun shining brightly the wind whips through you. It is time to hunker down and start hitting the keys.
It’s been a busy end to summer. School is back in, extracurricular activities for the kids are starting and scheduling is becoming an art form. It’s going to be a very busy year.
And now, finding the time to write and to relax is a nocturnal activity in itself. I’ve revisited the story I’ve been fretting away at these last months. It’s not going into the scrap heap but it’s going to get a major renovation.
I learned a lot this summer. Attending the RWA conference was a boon. Between sessions I attend and audio recordings I’ve listened to since, I’ve realized that there is much more to do.
One of the more informative sessions I attended was on world building. I took a lot away from this session. Listening to the panel discuss where they’ve been and what they would do the next time was extremely helpful. It was encouraging to learn the missteps they’ve made even with all their experience – there is hope for me. Whether it was discussing a bold new world based on fantasy or one based in a contemporary setting, there were still many things to consider.
For those built on fantasy, the rules you create for your world are the rules that restrained the progression of your story. They dictate what can and cannot happen and if you’re doing a series they will come back to haunt you.
For contemporary settings they can limit the number and way in which the characters interact and your ability to introduce new ones in a series. For example, an island only has so much room and limits ways for people to be drawn to that particular place.
The fantasy world whether it be earth-bound or in the stars, I took away, was easier if it was outlined. The panel talked about having a reference guide to their world where they logged the rules for ease of reference. That it was much easier to keep running notes as the story developed then having to go back at the end and pull the information out. They related that often the first few chapters were redone, to allow for more flexibility when a series was being contemplated. They were also quick to point out that fans remember everything, so you better get it right.
Which brings me back to my story. As I said I’m not scrapping it, I still hunger to write it, but I now know that I have to put a bit more effort into fleshing out my world and tagging those things that will limit where the story can go from its end if I want a series.
So back to the drawing board, to fill in those nooks and crannies. Make some decisions on where else I might want to go before my travel itinerary is unchangeable and my course is set.
It’s time to build my world. May you find your HEA between the pages.