slow cooker cheesy garlic herb mashed potatoes of first line anxiety

Things might not be going all that well here at the Jones-Farrar household. Between NaNoWriMo, remote schooling, COVID, being trapped with each other and not travelling for ten months?

I’ve got some writers block and a need for starch. Keto be damned. It’s almost Thanksgiving in the U.S.

How about you?

Print Recipe
slow cooker cheesy garlic herb mashed potatoes of first lines
Cooking With a Writer
Course side dish
Cuisine american
Servings
Ingredients
Course side dish
Cuisine american
Servings
Ingredients
Cooking With a Writer
Instructions
  1. Look writer, you need to get things started. It is almost Thanksgiving in the U.S. and you signed up for National Novel Writing Month, which means you have to write 50,000 words.
  2. You have written none.
  3. That’s because you can’t think of a first line.
  4. You are having first line anxiety. This is normal. This is very writer of you.
  5. So, be even more of a writer about this and procrastinate by cooking potatoes in a slow cooker.
  6. Put the potatoes, parmesan rind (if you have something that fancy) heavy cream, milk, garlic, and sage into the slow cooker.
  7. Um. Plug it in, honey. It needs electricity.
  8. Okay, now put the cover on and press the numbers for either high (4-5 hours) or low (6-8 hours).
  9. Stare at your computer’s blank document for all that time, trying to be all Hemingway and create the perfect sentence.
  10. Give up and check on the potatoes.
  11. Are they fork tender?
  12. If yes? Coolio. Turn the heat to warm. If not? Cook more and check again.
  13. Drain potatoes. Do not burn yourself. Do not drain the cream.
  14. Throw out the herbs and rind. Like adverbs, they have served their purpose in this first draft and you are CUT CUT CUTTING them out.
  15. Put the potatoes through a ricer or mash them.
  16. Put them back in the pot. If you go the mashing route, you can do this in the pot to make less dishes. Less dishes equals happier writers.
  17. Add that 1.5 cups of cream you didn’t toss. Add the butter.
  18. Does it not look right? Add more cream until it does. The potatoes are like a first sentence. You’ve got to revise it until it’s snazzy.
  19. Add salt and pepper to snaz it up.
  20. Now, enter the world of best sellers and add cheese. Look at you, you rock star! Stir it up. Put the cover on. Cook for 15 minutes. The cheese should be melted.
  21. They can stay this way for four hours.
  22. Eat them.
Recipe Notes

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cooking sites in the universe. The Half Baked Harvest. Head over there to see the recipe in non-writer (sane human) form and the variations for insta pot and stove.

EAT THE MASHED TURNIP IT IS DESPERATE TIMES, AUTHOR – COOKING WITH A WRITER

I am a potato fan. But all our potatoes lately have been – gasp – green. It’s desperate times, my friend, so I’m trying to convince the carnivores in the family that mashed turnips is an okay substitute.

EAT THE MASHED TURNIP IT IS DESPERATE TIMES, AUTHOR - COOKING WITH A WRITER

If you are trying to do this in your own home story, do not let the other cast of characters see the actual turnip before you mash the bugger.

Also, um, buy my books. 🙂

Carrie Jones Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

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EAT THE MASHED TURNIP IT IS DESPERATE TIMES, AUTHOR
This is adapted from THE SPRUCE EATS, one of my favorite recipe sites. https://www.thespruceeats.com/easy-delicious-mashed-turnips-2217302
Course side dish
Cuisine american
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people who aren't annoying about turnips
Ingredients
Course side dish
Cuisine american
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people who aren't annoying about turnips
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Find turnips out there somewhere. Do not judge them by their looks. Admire their looks. It's like an ombre.
  2. Give the turnips a bath like they were at Burning Man for weeks.
  3. Peel the turnips. Think about peeling back the layers of character motivation.
  4. Cut turnips into big pieces. Make those pieces the same size.
  5. Wonder why things must be the same size to cook evenly. It seems unfair. Try not to feel too much empathy for this cut up, peeled, and cleaned turnip pieces.
  6. Cry because you really wanted potatoes and you can't do this any longer.
  7. Why must everything be so hard?
  8. Cry more and go write a sonnet about hard times and turnips.
  9. Put turnips in a pot.
  10. Drown them with cold water.
  11. Recite your Turnip Sonnet Eulogy. Make sure to mention muses and potatoes and feeling like you're never good enough, darn it. Never!
  12. Cry and bring to a boil.
  13. Put salt in the water.
  14. Don't let the water boil over because that will be a starchy mess like your tear-stained face and sonnet.
  15. Cook those babies until fork tender. This takes around 10 to 15 minutes post boiling.
  16. Find another pan.
  17. Heat the milk in it over low heat.
  18. Add the butter. Let the butter melt into the milk. Take it off the heat. Convince yourself nobody will notice these are turnips and not potatoes just like nobody noticed that your erotic novel was a christian allegory.
  19. Drain the turnips.
  20. Put the turnips back in their pot.
  21. Shake it a lot for three minutes while singing that Taylor Swift song about shaking things off. Wonder if you can incorporate that into your turnip sonnet. Shake things for 2-3 minutes. Things mean turnips, pots, your bum.
  22. Mash the turnips.
  23. Add via stirring the milk and butter mix.
  24. Add salt. Salt is good. Salt should be in the sonnet.
Recipe Notes

Again, this comes from Molly Watson at The Spruce Eats and the link is here. 

Microwave Corn on the Cob for Young Adult Novelists

Things are dire, my friends. Elections are coming up. COVID-19 is surging.

It’s time to microwave corn while we still can and while corn still exists and is sort of cheap.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

Print Recipe
Microwave Corn on the Cob for Young Adult Novelists
Microwave Corn on the Cob for Young Adult Novelists Corn on the cob Paper towel Let’s face it. Times suck. Imprints are closing. Literary agents are having breakdowns. You’re trying to design course on Teachable. It’s the end times my friends. The stove doesn’t even work. It’s all up to you and the microwave. YA dystopian fiction is now.
Course side dish
Cuisine american
Prep Time 0 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Passive Time HAHAHA
Servings
YA novelist
Ingredients
Course side dish
Cuisine american
Prep Time 0 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Passive Time HAHAHA
Servings
YA novelist
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Find an ear of corn.
  2. Pray to it, but don’t make it a false god or anything because times are already bad.
  3. Tackle someone on the street for a paper towel.
  4. Wet that paper towel in a puddle. Wring it out (DO NOT REALLY PUT IT IN A STREET PUDDLE! THAT IS GROSS!).
  5. Wrap that paper towel around the corn.
  6. Put them on a dinner plate. You remember those, right? Back before they became weapons. Go find an unbroken one. Give thanks to the corn, the paper towel, the dinner plate.
  7. Put them in the microwave. Shut the door. You can’t lock a microwave so stop freaking out. Just shut the door.
  8. Cook it for five minutes.
  9. Take it out. Take the paper towel off. Eat it. Wish you’d paid more attention to survival techniques in dystopian literature.
  10. Enjoy?

Refried Beans of Revision Crockpot Style

Sometimes, you just have to refry things in a crockpot. Okay? Don’t judge. I’m from New England. We like our crockpots.

Also, please buy my baby novella.

NEW BOOK ALERT!

My little novella (It’s spare. It’s sad) is out and it’s just $1,99. It is a book of my heart and I am so worried about it, honestly.

There’s a bit more about it here.

Carrie Jones Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Print Recipe
Refried Beans of Revision Crockpot Style
Course side dish
Cuisine vegetarian
Servings
Ingredients
Course side dish
Cuisine vegetarian
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. See all that stuff? It's what makes your book -- I mean beans -- awesome.
  2. Admire the beans. They are characters. Admire the water that holds it all together.
  3. Put all those ingredients in the crockpot.
  4. Try not to think about it.
  5. Cook it in the crockpot on high.
  6. Think about people who have InstaPots. Judge them. Feel old school.
  7. Realize you aren't old school. You're just too poor to buy an InstaPot.
  8. Try not to care.
  9. Keep cooking. Ignore it just like you ignore all deadlines, plot holes, bad dialogue and your excessive use of the word "then."
  10. Check it at five hours. It looks cool.
  11. Check it at eight hours. It's mooshy! YAY!
  12. Put it in a blender if you're an overachiever.
  13. Put some in a skillet and fry in oil if you're a human.
  14. Adjust for salt and stuff.
  15. SMASH IT ALL IN YOUR MOUTH AND REJOICE!
Recipe Notes

I have been making a version of these from the Moosewood Cookbook ever since I got the Moosewood Cookbook in high school. 

This specific version is adapted from Courageous Joy, which adapted it from Moosewood. Here's the link. 

Baked Bean Quesadillas of Raymond Carver Minimalism–Vegetarian Recipes


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Baked Bean Quesadillas of Raymond Carver Minimalism--Vegetarian Recipes

Course Main Dish

Servings


Ingredients

Course Main Dish

Servings


Ingredients


Instructions
  1. Find a pan.

  2. "You probably need to eat something," you say to the pan. But no. The pan can't eat. You can though.

  3. Wonder if this is minimalism yet.

  4. Wonder if the act of wonder deletes the minimalism.

  5. Find a corn tortilla.

  6. Channel Raymond Carver. Offer it a drink.

  7. When it doesn't answer, put the tortilla in the pan.

  8. "How's that?" you say. "How do you feel being topped with beans?"

  9. Put the beans on top.

  10. Say, "Eating is a small, good thing in a time like this."

  11. Add, "So is mashing. But not too much."

  12. Find a spoon, flip it around and use it to mash the beans just a bit.

  13. "It’s good to eat something," you say to yourself, to the pan, to the beans mashed on the tortilla.

  14. Put on cheese.

  15. Put the heat on medium-high, and heat until the cheese begins to melt.

  16. While it melts, think of Carver, say "let's 'speak of loneliness, and of the sense of doubt and limitation that had come.'"

  17. Inhale.

  18. Put the other tortilla on top.

  19. Press down a bit like you are pushing down tears and loneliness and doubt and limitation.

  20. Flip that quesadilla over.

  21. Heat until cheese is totally melted.

  22. Put it on your plate.

  23. "Smell this," you say to your nose. "It's good to eat something."


Recipe Notes

This recipe is adapted from the NYT. It is much easier to follow there. 

Half the quotes are from Raymond Carver's "A Small Good Thing," which you can find an excerpt of and the whole PDF over on Pencake.  

And you can find out more about me here. 

THE PORTUGUESE KALE SOUP OF TENSION

It has happened, your agent has requested a revision of your epic love story of a gerbil and a unicorn and has asked for more tension.

Tension! Gasp!

You decide to make a Portuguese kale soup in honor of your family who were always terribly, terribly tense.

Print Recipe
THE PORTUGUESE KALE SOUP OF TENSION
Course soup
Servings
Ingredients
Course soup
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. First off, how dare your agent say your book needs more tension? The nerve! Imagine all sorts of tense situations your agent could be in. Move on. He's just trying to help. Right?
  2. Right.
  3. Be tense. Scrunch up your shoulders. Find a large stock pot.
  4. Put olive oil in the pot.
  5. Turn up the heat to medium-high.
  6. Cackle and say, "How does that feel, little olive oil?? Does that feel tense enough for you?"
  7. Wonder if all authors do this.
  8. Cackle more.
  9. Throw the garlic, onions, turnips and carrots into the pot.
  10. "Oh, what will this become? Will it cook? Will it burn? Will I forget to burn it?" Set a timer for 5 minutes. Do not imagine your Aunt Rose Marie leaning over your shoulder whispering, "Just have some wine and stir. It will be fine, little writer. It will be fine."
  11. Throw in the kale, fake chorizo, bay leaves, parsley and thyme and mix well.
  12. Imagine your Aunt Rose Marie gasping and grabbing your tense, scrunched up shoulders and shouting, "VEGAN CHORIZO! WHO ARE YOU?"
  13. Add the vegetable stock, the beans and the tomatoes.
  14. Realize that your Aunt Rose Mary in ghost or imaginary form is not going to approve of the vegetable stock. Try not to care.
  15. Tell her, "Wait until you taste it. That suspense will increase the tension."
  16. Listen to her harrumph while you bring the soup to boiling.
  17. Once it's boiling, turn the heat down to low.
  18. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes and simultaneously simmer the soup. Google "HOW TO BUILD IN TENSION IN A LOVE STORY ABOUT A GERBIL AND A UNICORN.
  19. Realize those search terms are a bit too specific.
  20. Google again.
  21. Give up and get a medium saucepan. Put a goodly amount of salt in the water that's enough to cover the diced potatoes.
  22. Once it boils, listen to Aunt Rose Marie approve because salted water is good water. Add the diced potatoes.
  23. Cook them 10 minutes or until they are happy and tender.
  24. Drain.
  25. Add potatoes to the soup.
  26. Take out the bay leaf unless you want to add to the tension by possibly choking on it.
  27. Eat it and be happy!
  28. Remove the bay leaves and serve hot. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

This lovely recipe reminds me of Aunt Rose Marie aka Aunt Rosie and is adapted from Sharon123 on Food. com. You can check out the link here. 

Good luck with the tension in your stories and your lives! 

The Cream of Tomato Soup of Romance Writing


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The Cream of Tomato Soup of Romance Writing

The man who lives here hates all things tomato (except spaghetti sauce and ketchup). We made this anyway. Romance is not dead. Is it?

Course soup
Cuisine american

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes

Servings


Ingredients

Course soup
Cuisine american

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes

Servings


Ingredients


Instructions
  1. Find a BIG saucepan. Think about writing romance. The word “BIG” always seems to be in romances.

  2. Imagine the saucepan is representative of all your future readers longing for a sexy, romantic book that you will give them. Feel good for a hot second before you realize that you’re just imagining.

  3. Put the saucepan over medium heat.

  4. Be impressed still. Look, you’re trying right? Prepublished is just published with a pre. Imagine the plot of your romance. Will there be a pirate? No. Too done. A female pirate? Maybe. A nonbinary pirate. That sounds pretty cool, actually.

  5. Melt butter. Put onions in butter. Saute it until the butter is wilty like your sexy pirate’s heart when they meet the naval official determined to stop their pillaging. Worry about the hostile overtones of words like ‘pillaging.’ Keep writing.

  6. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt, basil, thyme, oregano, and pepper; simmer for 10 minutes, stir it a bit. You could do so many sexy things with tomatoes, sugar, paste, and salt. Make your pirate a chef just like you. Pirate chefs are sexy.

  7. Add flour and 3/4 cup broth or water. How will you make the government official sexy? Decide this is hopeless as a love interest. Substitute in a merperson. Way better. Maybe a manatee sidekick?

  8. Mix that until it forms a smooth paste. Pretend that paste is a plot.

  9. Admire your work. It smells pretty sexy, doesn’t it?

  10. Stir that pasteyness sort of slowly into the tomato mixture.

  11. Put the rest of the broth in there, too. Sigh in a sort of seductive way as your soup sighs at you.

  12. Make that boil like the unbridled emotions inside of you and also inside of your pirate chef.

  13. Stir for two minutes, or until it gets thick like a sexy sexy pirate chef.

  14. Reduce heat.

  15. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes of will they or won’t they get together.

  16. When tomatoes are tender take it off the heat.

  17. Find the cream. Dump it in. Stir it up. Serve. Feel pretty satisfied.


Recipe Notes

Adapted from Taste of Home and my Grammy Barnard. https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/fresh-cream-of-tomato-soup/

Potato Cheddar Soup of Bad Dialogue

“Your dialogue is bad.”

Ugh.

It’s possibly the best most comforting soup and one of the most annoying criticisms an author can hear. Combined.

I hope you like it!

Print Recipe
Potato Cheddar Soup of Bad Dialogue
Cooking With a Writer - Cheddar Potato Soup of Bad Dialogue #writing #cooking
Course soup
Cuisine american
Servings
Ingredients
Course soup
Cuisine american
Servings
Ingredients
Cooking With a Writer - Cheddar Potato Soup of Bad Dialogue #writing #cooking
Instructions
  1. Boil the water.
  2. Ignore the agent's beta reader who said your dialogue was forced. HAS SHE EVER LEFT HER HOUSE? It's Covid-19 time. Everybody's dialogue is forced.
  3. Make sure you're boiling the water in the soup pot.
  4. Once the water is boiling (like your temper. Bad dialogue? Seriously), add potatoes, onions, salt and celery.
  5. Put a cover on that soup pot. Put it on medium heat because if things boil over it gets messy. (This includes your temper.)
  6. Leave it for 15 minutes.
  7. Write some dialogue. "I hate you with the passion of a thousand kitty mugs, Dirk." "And I love you, Karen, with the love of a thousand social media posts never gone viral."
  8. Find another pot, maybe a saucepan, the kind that holds two quarts.
  9. In that pot melt the butter. Make that a low heat. Butter burns just like criticism over dialogue.
  10. Add in a really slow way the cheese. Add flour next.
  11. Now slowly add the milk, spices, herbs and use a whisk.
  12. Practice dialogue on the whisk.
  13. "I love you with the love of a million political pundits," you tell the whisk.
  14. "And I you," says the whisk. "Which means I love you not at all."
  15. There! That was good, right?
  16. When it is all blended, add the cheese to the potatoes and onions in the big pot.
  17. Add tomatoes.
  18. Stir it all up.
  19. Put it on super low heat for fifteen minutes. This time do not have the cover on.
  20. Stir a lot because cheese, butter, and flour like to burn.
  21. Done!
  22. Go buy a book on writing effective dialogue and eat your pain away.
Recipe Notes

This is taken from my favorite vegetarian cookbook of my youth, Horn of the Moon Cookbook by Ginny Callan and it got me through many sad times. It's super comforting. 

TAHINI NOODLE BOWLS OF ELLIPSES FUN

Ellipses are these addictive little … that you see throughout people’s stories and social medias. But there are rules for how to use these little bad boys and sometimes when they are used all the time or used in the wrong way? Well, it can make even the calmest writer get a little ranty.

The noodles are delicious….

Print Recipe
TAHINI NOODLE BOWLS OF ELLIPSES FUN
Sometimes you just need a little ... in your life.
Instructions
  1. Okay. Are you ready? Maybe too ready...?
  2. You want to make the tahini sauce....
  3. You do not want to obsess about the social media post you just saw by your archnemesis, SHE WHO CANNOT USE THE ELLIPSES CORRECTLY BUT STILL HAS A MILLION DOLLAR BOOK DEAL.
  4. No. Do not obsess. Instead, combining tahini, soy sauce, sriracha, ginger paste, garlic, rice wine vinegar, agave, oil and water in a blender.
  5. Blend. It should all combine . . . .
  6. Put it aside. You'll use it later, just like you'll use the ellipses in your own social media post CORRECTLY later.
  7. Think about vengeance.
  8. Think about subtweeting.
  9. Wonder if you can just tweet LOOK, AUTHORS. THERE ARE EITHER THREE DOTS IN AN ELLIPSES OR FOUR NOT THIRTY-SEVEN, SWEET MOTHER OF SELTZER WATER, GET A CLUE.
  10. Worry that you have anger issues.
  11. Those rice noodles came in a package, right? Make them according to the package directions. Yes. Follow the directions just like you follow the simple rules of grammar.
  12. Spoiler: The simple rules of grammar say that an ellipses usually indicates a trailing off of thought. Use three if it's an incomplete sentence. Use four if it's a real sentence.
  13. Wonder if MILLION DOLLAR BOOK DEAL AUTHOR knows what a complete sentence is.
  14. Worry that you're being petty.
  15. Realize you are.
  16. But seriously...
  17. When the noodles are done cooking and you've stopped stewing and done some meditative and restorative chanting, rinse those noodles in running cold water.
  18. Set the burner to medium heat. Put oil in pan on top of the burner on medium heat. Warm oil up.
  19. Add noodles (cooked and floppy) to the pan and also add about 1-2 tablespoons of the tahini sauce you made.
  20. Sauté it up for 2 minutes.
  21. Delete your social media post about ellipses and feel badly that you were so full of anger. Writers are about empathy. Blah. Blah. Blah. It's no wonder you don't have a million-dollar book deal.
  22. Cool off noodles or don't. It's up to you.
  23. Combine noodles with your veggies. Toss them all together. They are one big writer family. . . . One big writer family that correctly knows how to use punctuation.
  24. Split it into four bowls (because we aren't really one big happy writer family).
  25. Put green onion, cilantro, sesame seeds, and tahini sauce on top.
Recipe Notes

NOTES * This dish is adapted from the Savory Vegan, which is a super good source of recipes. The name of this recipe over there is a bit weird because it seems to clump all Asian cuisine together, but the recipe is still yummy, I promise and there is a ton of good stuff on the site. 

Poppy Seed Lemon Summer Squash Bread of WRITER WEIRDNESS

Sometimes you have too much squash.

It’s like when you’re writing a book and you have too much of one element? Like there are forty-two pages of dialogue, just straight dialogue. Or maybe fifty-eight pages of description, and that description is all about a paper towel on your desk that’s been there since July to catch the condensation from your glasses.

So what do you do when that happens?

You mix it up and things and make something new. Balance is key. Or something… right? That’s what all the influencer gurus say at least.

Print Recipe
Poppy Seed Lemon Summer Squash Bread of WRITER WEIRDNESS
Course bread
Cuisine american
Keyword bread
Servings
Course bread
Cuisine american
Keyword bread
Servings
Instructions
  1. Find oven. It should be in the kitchen. Put it on 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Find something to grease things with.
  3. Make it butter or oil, actually.
  4. Grease two loaf pans. Now ignore those loaf pans like a bad subplot.
  5. Find a nice bowl. Imagine putting it on your head. Don't. Or do it. Take a photo. Put it on the gram. Imagine you'll rebrand yourself THE GOOFY AUTHOR OF GOOFINESS. Wonder if this would get you more than four readers.
  6. Put your melted butter, sugar, lemon juice and zest, almond flavor and vanilla extract in that mixing bowl once your head is out of the bowl and your photo is nicely filtered and on the gram.
  7. Wonder if calling Instagram, 'the gram,' without capitalizing is wrong.
  8. Decide that if it's wrong, you don't care. It's just part of your goofy new brand.
  9. Cream together all that stuff in the bowl and make it all fluffy and light in color, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  10. Add the eggs. Do this one at a time like they are characters. Let each egg get a nice introduction and fully incorporated into the mixture (aka scene) before adding another egg.
  11. Sprinkle the salt, baking soda, and baking powder over the top of the stuff in the bowl like it's setting and exposition on top of the character development and plot.
  12. Admire your work. Mix it all up until it's a beautiful seamless story, I mean, batter.
  13. Okay. Breathe. There is still a bit more to do. Add flour a 1/2 cup at a time.
  14. Like the eggs, mix it all in before you add more.
  15. Fold in the squash and poppy seeds. Think that this is weird.
  16. Decide that it's okay to be weird. EMBRACE YOUR WEIRD, AUTHOR!
  17. Remember your subplot loaf pans.
  18. Put the same amount of batter in each.
  19. Bake for 1 hour.
  20. LOOK AT YOU! SUCCESS!
Recipe Notes

While this recipe ABSOLUTELY WORKS, thank you very much. It is adapted from the brilliant and awesome Wanderlust Kitchen. Go give them some love! There are a lot of cool recipes there!