COOKING WITH A WRITER – Black Bean Soup of the Soul

It’s a cooking blog redone. Why? Because I’ve been working for over 12 hours and I’m not done.

Yes, folks. I’m dialing it in. My apologies!

 

So, I am a bit down lately, mostly because:

  1. I am a writer
  2. I live in the U.S.
  3. Politics

I gave up and am giving you all this – the Black Bean Soup that Reflects the State of My Inner Soul Right This Second Because I am DIRE.

Yeah.

 

Black Bean Soup Because The World Sucks

 

Sometimes the world sucks and you need a dark soup to match your feelings. Am I right? 

This is a new version of a black bean soup I wrote about before. You can never have enough black bean soup recipes. Can you?

 

  • 3 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 whole onions (chopped)
  • 6 whole garlic cloves (chopped/pressed)
  • 3 ribs celery (chopped)
  • 1 whole carrot (chopped)
  • 5 tsp cumin
  • .5 tsp red pepper flakes or hot sauce (to taste really)
  • 60 oz black beans (canned, drained)
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • .5 cup cilantro (optional, to taste)
  1. Heatolive oil in soup pot over medium heat. 

    Stare at it until it shimmers. 

    Remember when you used to shimmer.

    Sigh dramatically.

    Throw in the onions, celery and carrot.

    Sigh again because honestly? What is the point.

    Put in salt, blood pressure be damned.  

  2. Stir once in awhile. Eventually the vegetable will get soft.

    “Eventually” is 10 to 15 minutes. This is a much shorter ‘eventually’ than when waiting for your editor to return your email. But whatever. 

  3. Add in the smelly things –  garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes.

    Wonder if you’re a smelly thing? When did you last bathe? Was it before 2018? Join the club.

    Cook until things smell more than you do  – 30 seconds. 

  4. It’s time for the dark soul part of this soup. You are miserable, aren’t you? Yes, writer you are. 

    Add beans. Add broth.

    Put the heat on medium high and watch it simmer. Reduce it so it only simmers gently. If only YOU were simmering gently, but honestly? The state of the world makes you SIMMER INTO ROARING, doesn’t it? Yes. Yes. It does.

    Soup is not you though. So simmer GENTLY for 30 minutes, or else it will boil over and stick to the pot and believe me, you do not have the emotional reserves to deal with that mess. 

  5. Put about 4 cups into a blender (make sure not to overload your blender because it is hot and you will get burned and you probably don’t have the medical insurance to deal with that if you are an American writer). 

    Blend carefully.

    You can also use a hot-pink immersion blender if you are tired of the darkness of this soup, your soul, and this world. 

    JUST BE CAREFUL! 

  6. Put the blended stuff back in the soup pot. Mix. Add in  cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.

    Sigh.

    Eat it.

    Sigh more. 

 

Man Verdict – It tastes sad.

Dog Verdict – Isn’t this not good for dogs? 

My Verdict – Yep. Uh-huh. 

 

 

WRITING NEWS

ENHANCED, the follow-up to FLYING is here! And the books are out of this world. Please buy them and support a writer.

31702754 copy

The last TIME STOPPERS BOOK is out and I love it. You should buy it because it’s empowering and about friendship and bias and magic. Plus, dragons and elves.

Timestoppers3_005

How to Get Signed Copies: 

If you would like to purchase signed copies of my books, you can do so through the awesome Sherman’s Book Store in Bar Harbor, Maine or the amazing Briar Patch. The books are also available online at places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

For signed copies – email barharbor@shermans.com for Sherman’s or email info@briarpatchbooks.comand let them know the titles in which you are interested. There’s sometimes a waiting list, but they are the best option. Plus, you’re supporting an adorable local bookstore run by some really wonderful humans. But here’s the Amazon link, too!

Art Stuff

You can buy prints of my art here. Thank you so much for supporting my books and me and each other. I hope you have an amazing day.

A new episode of Dogs are Smarter Than People, the quirky podcast with writing tips, life tips and a random thought came out yesterday! Check it out, like and subscribe!

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No Stress Vegetarian Quesadillas

So, I’ve been super stressed out lately – not in an anxiety way, but more of a “Oh My Freaking Word I have no time” way.

Which is never fun. So I needed a really fast vegetarian recipe that didn’t have:

  1. Spinach
  2. Avocado
  3. Tomatoes

Why? Because Mr. Meat Lover hates those things. Me? I love them, but whatever.

So… I decided to make corn and black bean quesadillas. It’s quick.

The end.

 

Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas of No Stress

For the stressed-out writer with no time

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4 TBSP onion (diced)
  • 1 can black beans (15 oz or so, drained)
  • 1 can whole corn (drain this bad boy, too)
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar (yum)
  • .25 cup salsa (pretend salsa isn't made from tomatoes)
  • 2 TBSP butter (split in half)
  • 8 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1.5 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, jack or a mix)
  1. Writer, you have no time. I get it. Big breath. Get read to cook

  2. Get saucepan. Do not drop it because of nerves. It is okay. 

    Put burner on medium.

    Pour oil into saucepan.

    Step back.  

  3. You can do this. You have deadlines. You have kids. You have pets. You have yourself and life is moving too fast but it is totally okay, writer.

    Stir in onion.

    It takes about 2 minutes to soften.

    No. Two minutes is NOT too much time.

    Calm down.

  4. See? Two minutes have passed. 

    Stir in corn.

    Stir in beans.

    Stir in sugar, salsa, and pepper flakes if you feel like them. Like 1/4 tsp.

    Curse me out for not putting that in the directions.

    Cook for 3 minutes, which is how long it takes to heat.

    THREE MINUTES IS NOT TOO MUCH TIME! AUTHOR! CALM DOWN!

  5. Yes,  you’re write. Yelling at you doesn’t help. You have frayed nerves. You have emotion. You have deadlines. 

    Repeat after me, “It will all be okay. It will all be okay.”

    Get a big skillet. Put on medium heat. Melt a little of the butter in there. 

  6. Put a tortilla in the skillet.

    Sprinkle cheese over it.

    Top with bean mix from other pan.

    Put tortilla on top.

    Cook until it’s a nice gold, like a medal you will win for your writing. It is even round like a medallion! Wow quesadillas are awesome.

    Once it is gold on one side, flip it, cook until it is GOLD on both sides.

    Do this for all the tortillas. You may need more butter.

    But you did it, writer, no stress! 

 

Man Verdict: I love this. Salsa does not count as tomatoes

Dog Verdict: Yum

Carrie Verdict: Salsa is MADE of tomatoes usually.

WRITING NEWS

Yep, it’s the part of the blog where I talk about my books and projects because I am a writer for a living, which means I need people to review and buy my books or at least spread the word about them.

I’m super good at public image and marketing for nonprofits but I have a much harder time with marketing myself.

So, please buy one of my books. 🙂 The links about them are all up there in the header on top of the page on my website carriejonesbooks.blog.  There are young adult series, middle grade fantasy series, stand-alones for young adults and even picture book biographies.

Write! Submit! Support! Begins Again in July!

There is a quick webinar (free) on Tuesday about the Write! Submit! Support! class that was created at the Writing Barn in Austin. You can sign up for that here.

It’s not easy to create a thriving writing career in the children’s industry, but what if you didn’t have to do it alone? Write. Submit. Support is a six-month program designed by author and Writing Barn Founder Bethany Hegedus. Classes are led by top creatives in the children’s industry field; they’ll give you the tips and tools you need to take both your manuscripts and your developing career to the next level. Think of it as an MFA in craft with a certificate in discovering (or recovering) your writer joy! – Writing Barn 

And more about the class I specifically teach? It is right here.

Here is what current students are saying:

Carrie is all strengths. Seriously. She’s compassionate, funny, zesty, zany, insightful, honest, nurturing, sharp, and…Wow, that’s a lot of adjectives. But really, I couldn’t praise Carrie enough as a mentor. I’ve long respected her writing, but being talented at something doesn’t automatically mean you will be a great mentor. Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching. Aside from the specific feedback she offers, she also writes letters in response to the process letter and analyses. These letters have been so impactful for me as I writer that I plan to print them and hang them up. Creepy? Maybe. But they are so inspiring. And that, in the most long-winded way possible, is how I would summarize Carrie as a mentor—inspiring.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People

And finally, the podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE is still chugging along. Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of.

Black Bean Burgers and Murky Middles

One of my favorite things to get at one of our local restaurants has always been a black bean burger that they made on site.

It fell apart.

It was huge.

It was delicious heaven of black bean awesomeness and it was THE THING I always ordered whenever I got take-out. I looked forward to it SO MUCH.

So… yeah….

The restaurant stopped making it and replaced it with a quinoa burger.

I get it. Quinoa is trendy. It is happy. It is hipper than the black bean. These things happen and I could not buy enough black bean burgers to validate the restaurant keeping it on the menu. A woman can only eat so many black bean burgers.

But… but… it made a bit of a panic.

Because something I loved was just… it was just gone. And I don’t know about you all, but I tend to make the meals that everyone else around me like so much so that I almost have forgotten what food it is that I really like, you know? This black bean burger was the one thing that I would always order and love and enjoy for me.

And it was forever gone.

But the man is cool and he wanted to fix my despair because he is nice like that.

And the man now makes me black bean burgers. And he even doesn’t even complain that there is no meat inside them, which is really saying something, honestly.

Cooking with a Writer Black Bean Burger Recipe
Yum

Black Bean Burgers of Structure

  • 1 16-oz black beans (DRAIN THEM AND RINSE THEM)
  • 1/2 green pepper (ALL CUT IT UP 2-INCH PIECES)
  • 1/2 onion (ALL CUT INTO WEDGES)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 TBS cumin
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 2 TSP hot sauce, Thai sauce, wing sauce, whatever you like or have
  • 2 slices bread all crumbled
  • 1 /2 cup flour
  1. Be proud that you’ve cut the onion, pepper, and opened the black beans and have not harmed yourself with the sharp knives or can opener. 

    Wish that everyone would celebrate this success with you. 

    Get wine.  

  2. Oil a big piece of aluminum foil and put that on a cookie sheet. Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit/190 Celsius if you are going to cook these in the oven

    Be proud that you know the word Celsius. Writers need to know a lot of words. Celebrate your knowledge of words. 

  3. Dump those black beans into a bowl. Ponder the black beans. Think about how German poet Sarah Kirsch wrote an ode to black beans. Hate her for a second because you’re jealous. Then remember she’s dead and hate yourself instead. 

    Repeat the mantra: I celebrate other writers’ successes. I celebrate other writers’ successes. 

  4. Take a fork and mash those black beans up until they are sort of ‘thick and pasty.‘ Realize that this is a good character description – ‘thick and pasty.’ Go write that down so you don’t forget it! 

  5. Saute the onions in a little oil until soft. Watch them loose their structure just like your middle grade fantasy novel when you tried to write it in the point of view of the wizard’s toilet paper. 

    Realize that you sometimes make bad choices. Get more wine.

  6. Add onions, spices, green peppers, bread crumbs, and spices and sauce to the beans. Mix it up. Think it’s ugly. Feel badly about this. 

  7. This is the hard part. You know there’s always a hard part, right? Like the murky middle of every book where the end is in sight, but you aren’t sure how to get there. Yep. Hold on that’s where we are now, little writer friend.  

  8. Add the flour –  just a couple tablespoons at a time. You want to mix it each time. You want this ugly thing to look super thick. You will probably have to use your hands and get messy. I am so sorry.  The murky middle is an icky place. You get dirty. You dig deep. Blah. Blah. Blah. 

  9. Buddy! You did it!!! Shape it into a burger shape just like you shape your story into a story shape. 

  10. You have a choice here. I know! It’s like you’re in a love triangle and you have to choose between the cold vampire and the hot werewolf. 

    You can put the burgers on the sheet of aluminum foil and back 10 minutes per side in the oven. 

    You can grill on a real grill. Place the patties on foil first. Grill 8 minutes each side.

    You can fry it in the pan you used for the onions. Just put down a bit of oil, turn on the heat to medium-low, and cook for 3-4 minutes each side. 

  11. You are probably going to want burger rolls and condiments. That isn’t in the calorie count, but go for it, writer! You did this. You rock star. 

Dogs’ Verdict: We can only eat the bun because — flatulence.

Man Verdict: Can we put bacon on this?

Carrie Verdict: This is the best food ever created other than stuffing and sushi. The end.

FOR BACKGROUND IF YOU ARE NEW TO THIS PART OF MY BLOG:

Everyone always talks about writing being like cooking.

Clarification: By everyone, I mean writers. Writers like to talk about themselves.

Anyways, there are a million blogs about how writing is like cooking, but not really anything about cooking like a writer. So, our new Thursday segment is now COOKING LIKE A WRITER.

WRITING NEWS

Yep, it’s the part of the blog where I talk about my books and projects because I am a writer for a living, which means I need people to review and buy my books or at least spread the word about them.

I’m super good at public image and marketing for nonprofits but I have a much harder time with marketing myself.

So, please buy one of my books. 🙂 The links are all up there in the header on top of the page.  There are young adult series, middle grade fantasy series, stand-alones for young adults and even picture book biographies.

CARRIE’S APPEARANCES

I’ll be at Book Expo America in NYC on June 1 at 11:30 – 12 at the Lerner booth signing copies of the Spy Who Played Baseball. A week before that,

I’ll also be in NYC presenting to the Jewish Book Council . Come hang out with me!

I’ll be at Sherman’s Bookstore in Bar Harbor on April 28 from 1-2.

To find out more about my books, there are links in the header. And if you buy one? Thank you so much. Let me know if you want me to send you a bookplate.

PODCAST

The podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE is still chugging along with over 3,000 listens.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can.

 

THE CLASS AT THE WRITING BARN

The awesome six-month-long Writing Barn class that they’ve let me be in charge of!? It’s happening again in July. Write! Submit! Support! is a pretty awesome class. It’s a bit like a mini MFA but way more supportive and way less money. We’ll be having a Zoom class to learn more about it and I’ll share the details as soon as they are official.

Write Submit Support