Veggie Nachos, Baby

Why, hello. Yes, it is me, Carrie, a carb-loving writer on a quest to make her household (gasp) vegetarians.

Because I felt guilty about the kale and the tomatoes that I’ve been throwing at the man lately (Only after he threw them at me first), I’ve adopted a recipe that I think will not incite any sort of unhappy incidents.

Why?

Because they are nachos and nachos, my friend, are awesome.

Veggie Nachos, Baby

I like nachos. Nachos have carbs. I don't care. The end.

This recipe is taken and adapted (and also adopted) from the amazing blog, Cookie and Kate. The link to the true recipe is here: https://cookieandkate.com/2018/loaded-veggie-nachos-recipe/

Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, tex-mex
Keyword nacho
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 normal humans who aren't obsessed with nachos
Calories 530 kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 oz tortilla chips rugged ones
  • 1 can pinto bans
  • 4 oz cheddar shredded like it was at a really good book launch
  • 4 oz pepper jack shredded and hot like it was at a really good book launch somewhere warm (Hint; Not Chicago. I always get sent to Chicago. I like Chicago. Chicago is not warm)
  • 1 whole pepper green, red, orange - just dice it up
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese because I live in Maine and we have no cool Mexican cheese
  • 1/3 cup onions green or regular, diced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro You can blow this off if you hate poor Cilantro
  • some or whatever guacamole or avocado if you're into it
  • some or whatever salsa pre-made, homemade, it's up to youPreheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place handfuls of chips on the baking sheet and distribute evenly, minimizing the gaps between chips. Set aside.

Instructions

  1. Find your oven. It should be in the kitchen. It was there last time you looked and I don't think you're living in a T.C. Boyle or Vonnegut novel so it should still be there. Okay. Found it? Put it on 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  2. Find a baking sheet. Line it with parchment paper. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT EATING NACHOS! 

    If you are a writer who solely makes money from writing ignore the parchment paper and just spray the sheet. It's cheaper. 

    Put the chips all across the sheet. Try not to have gaps because stuff will leak through. NO LEAKING ALLOWED! 

  3. Okay. You have a nice bottom layer. It is the supporting structure of your nachos just like you have to have a supporting structure of your new story: A LOVE STORY: ONE WRITER AND HER QUEST FOR CONSTANT CARBS. 

    On top of that layer you want to put the beans. Spread them out nicely. Do the same with the cheeses, pepper, feta and any spicy things. 

  4. Put that party in the oven. Love it. Admire it. Obsess over it. The carbs. The cheese. The beauty. Bake until the cheese melts.

    This should be somewhere around 10 minutes. 

  5. Take it out of the oven. 

    I know you want to gobble it all up but refrain, my carb-loving friends, refrain. 


  6. Why, refrain? Because it isn't over yet, my friends. Wave bye to ketosis and dollop on the guacamole. Then sprinkle onions and cilantro on there.  

  7. And there. Eat it! Call it good. Forget about ketosis and whole-day-diet stuff of 30 things or whatever the heck they call it. Gobble up those nachos. It's one life, baby. Let's live it. 

 

Man Verdict: Thank God. You don’t hate me.

Doggy Verdict: Why must tortilla chips have salt? We can’t have these, can we? Why do you hate us, human?

My Verdict: Nachos have totally supplanted potatoes as my comfort food.

 

 

Flying

 

ENHANCED PAPERBACK RELEASE!

Carrie Jones, the New York Times bestselling author of Flying, presents another science fiction adventure of cheerleader-turned-alien-hunter Mana in Enhanced.

Seventeen-year-old Mana has found and rescued her mother, but her work isn’t done yet. Her mother may be out of alien hands, but she’s in a coma, unable to tell anyone what she knows.

Mana is ready to take action. The only problem? Nobody will let her. Lyle, her best friend and almost-boyfriend (for a minute there, anyway), seems to want nothing to do with hunting aliens, despite his love of Doctor Who. Bestie Seppie is so desperate to stay out of it, she’s actually leaving town. And her mom’s hot but arrogant alien-hunting partner, China, is ignoring Mana’s texts, cutting her out of the mission entirely.

They all know the alien threat won’t stay quiet for long. It’s up to Mana to fight her way back in.

“Witty dialogue and flawless action.”—VOYA

“YA readers, you’re in for a treat this week. Hilarious and action-packed, this novel is sure to be the perfect summer read.”—Bookish 

“Funny and playful, with a diverse cast of characters and a bit of romance and adventure, Flying is the perfect light summer read.”—BookPage

 

Our podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLEis still chugging along. Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of.

The Final Time Stoppers Book

What is it? It’s the third TIME STOPPERS book!

Time Stopper Annie’s newfound home, the enchanted town Aurora, is in danger. The vicious Raiff will stop at nothing to steal the town’s magic, and Annie is the only one who can defeat him–even though it’s prophesied that she’ll “fall with evil.”

Alongside her loyal band of friends Eva, Bloom, SalGoud, and Jamie, who still isn’t quite sure whether he’s a troll or not, Annie journeys deep into the Raiff’s realm, the Badlands. The group will face everything from ruthless monsters to their own deepest fears. Can Annie find the courage to confront the Raiff and save everyone, even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice?

What People are Saying About The Books:

An imaginative blend of fantasy, whimsy, and suspense, with a charming cast of underdog characters . . . This new fantasy series will entice younger fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.” –  School Library Journal

“The characters show welcome kindness and poignant insecurity, and the text sprinkles in humor . . . and an abundance of magical creatures.” – Kirkus Reviews 

“An imaginative blend of fantasy, whimsy, and suspense, with a charming cast of underdog characters . . . This new fantasy series will entice younger fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.” – School Library Journal 

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!

 

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Cooking With a Writer – Mujaddara

When I was a kid, my uncle Charlie was one of my favorite people. This was mostly because he was super mellow. His family was Lebanese and settled in Manchester, N.H. and married my aunt Rosie. Aunt Rosie was the best cook in our family, which annoyed my mom so much. SO MUCH!

My mom was the best baker though, which I have to say or her ghost will strike me down or something. Hopefully, Aunt Rosie’s ghost is holding her back.

Anyway, Charlie’s real name was Kalil, but I never knew that when I was a kid. I can’t imagine that was the easiest name to have in Manchester, N.H. back when he was alive.  He died when I was ten, but I have the best memories of him making me try food that nobody else made. It was pretty awesome. So was he.

In Charlie’s honor, I tried to make mujaddara, which is something I remember vaguely having when I was little. It’s cheap. It’s filling. I hope you like it.  And if you are Lebanese and you know a better recipe for this or tweaks? Please let me know.

 

Mujaddara

This calorie count is not exact. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American, lebanese, vegetarian
Keyword lentils Mujaddara
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 4 humans
Calories 300 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 onions yellow, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp allspice
  • .5 tsp cloves ground
  • 2.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup rice long grain, jasmine if you can
  • 1 cup lentils brown
  • 1 stick cinnamon if you have it
  • .5 tsp black pepper peppercorn if possible

Instructions

  1. Find a pot. Put lentils in pot. Cover with water that rises over it about one inch. 

    Bring to boil.

    Lower to simmer.

    Cook about 20 minutes.

  2. On another burner with another pot, put the temperature to medium-high heat .

    Add oil. Let oil warm for a minute.

    Add in cumin, pepper, allspice, cloves, and cook for 30 seconds to a minute. 

    Add all those onions. Think about how much you cried slicing those onions. Wow. That is how much you want people to cry when they read your book.

  3. Cook those onions for about 15 minutes until they are no longer white. 

    You want those onions to be a dark caramel brown. You will have to stir often.

    Good results, transforming characters, books and food that makes you cry? It requires effort. You've got this, writer. You're used to effort.


  4. Take out half the onions and set them aside. 

    It's okay. They are not gone forever. I promise. 

  5. Add in any more ground cumin, and add the cinnamon stick.

    Saute about 1 minute.

    Add the rice. Stir a lot.


  6. Add the cooked lentils, broth, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt; bring to a boil. 

    Turn the heat to low, simmer 30 minutes. 

    Turn it off and let it rest for 10 minutes.

    Do not take off the lid! NO LOOKING! SERIOUSLY.

    Okay. Take off the lid. Is there any water left? If so, simmer about 5 minutes.

  7. Fluff it up and make it pretty like editors at traditional publishing houses do to stories. 

    Put those saved onions on top.

    Eat! 

This is all part of my lifelong experiment to convince The Man (Shaun of the “Dogs are Smarter Than People” podcast to give up meat.

 

Man Verdict: I am okay with this.

Dog Verdict: WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO EAT THIS BECAUSE ONIONS! AND LENTILS! AND WHY DO YOU HATE US, HUMAN?

Carrie Verdict: It reminds me of Uncle Charlie so it’s a win.

Writing News

Carrie’s  super excited about the upcoming TIME STOPPERS book coming out this August.

This middle grade fantasy series happens in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine and it’s all about friendship and magic and kids saving their magical town.

An imaginative blend of fantasy, whimsy, and suspense, with a charming cast of underdog characters . . . This new fantasy series will entice younger fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.” –  School Library Journal 

“A wild and fresh take on fantasy with an intriguing cast of characters. Dangerous and scary and fun all rolled into one. In the words of Eva the dwarf, I freaking loved it!” –  Lisa McMann, New York Times bestselling author of The Unwanteds series

“Effervescent, funny, and genuine.” –  Kirkus Reviews

It’s quirky. It’s awesome. It’s full of heart. You should go by the first two books now. 🙂

 

 

 

CARRIE’S BOOKS

For a complete round-up of Carrie’s 16-or-so books, check out her website. And if you like us, or our podcast, or just want to support a writer, please buy one of those books, or leave a review on a site like Amazon. Those reviews help. It’s all some weird marketing algorhthym from hell, basically.

OUR PODCAST DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

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.

Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow.

My Post Copy-2

Cooking With a Writer – Migas (Portuguese style)

The Portuguese part of my family were great cooks. Brilliant cooks, honestly. And I think a reason for that was because for so long they had to learn to create goodness out of little; they had to feed many people out of not too much, right? And because they loved each other, they wanted what they shared to taste… Well, they wanted it to taste good. So, they developed ways to use up leftovers and ways to make simple things taste special.

You can compare this to my Nana Morse (totally not Portuguese) who had a tendency to put peanut butter inside a celery stick and call it good.  Sometimes she put in cream cheese instead. You avoided those sticks.

The family rule was to not eat anything Nana made if it had a dairy product in it because… Well, people in my family preferred not to vomit, basically.

Anyways, this recipe was cheap, filling, and its main ingredients were garlic, bread, and water. So… yeah… There you go!

 

Migas (Portuguese Style)

You have bread left. You're poor. You need to eat it. The calories are totally an estimate. Sorry. 

You can add paprika, or onions. 

There are a ton of variations. I have seen it with mushrooms. I have seen black-eyed peas thrown in, but this is the most basic version that I had as a kid, most likely because it's the cheapest. 🙂 

Course Breakfast, dinner
Cuisine portuguese, vegetarian
Keyword migas
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 normal people
Calories 290 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb crusty bread - old but not moldy because idk cut up or torn up
  • 6 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled, hole
  • 3.5 cups water - about, may need a bit more
  • 1 bunch coriander

Instructions

  1. Find a saucepan. Boil water in it.

    Water should always be free, shouldn't it? And clean? Think about how you are spending all your time writing blog posts instead of working for clean water. Feel guilt. 

  2. Find another saucepan. 

    Put oil in that saucepan on low heat. Put garlic in there, too. 

    Cook for three minutes, stirring it a bit. 

    Decide if you write about clean water needs you don't need to feel guilty that  don't have enough money to donate towards the cause. You're a writer. It's okay to write. Feel better.

  3. Add the bread to the second saucepan where the oil and garlic are hanging out.

    Imagine you're hanging out with famous political activists at a party where there is an announcement about free, clean water available all around the world because of your inspiring blog post. 

  4. Gradually pour in the boiling water from the first saucepan and into the second. Let it mix and be warm. When the bread starts getting mushy and the water's gone. You're done cooking.

    Mourn the water. Realize how important water really is. Feel guilty again.


  5. Add coriander or kale to the top. Add salt and pepper. 

Writing News

Carrie’s  super excited about the upcoming TIME STOPPERS book coming out this August.

This middle grade fantasy series happens in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine and it’s all about friendship and magic and kids saving their magical town.

An imaginative blend of fantasy, whimsy, and suspense, with a charming cast of underdog characters . . . This new fantasy series will entice younger fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.” –  School Library Journal 

“A wild and fresh take on fantasy with an intriguing cast of characters. Dangerous and scary and fun all rolled into one. In the words of Eva the dwarf, I freaking loved it!” –  Lisa McMann, New York Times bestselling author of The Unwanteds series

“Effervescent, funny, and genuine.” –  Kirkus Reviews

It’s quirky. It’s awesome. It’s full of heart. You should go by the first two books now. 🙂

 

 

 

CARRIE’S BOOKS

For a complete round-up of Carrie’s 16-or-so books, check out her website. And if you like us, or our podcast, or just want to support a writer, please buy one of those books, or leave a review on a site like Amazon. Those reviews help. It’s all some weird marketing algorhthym from hell, basically.

OUR PODCAST DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

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.

Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow.

My Post Copy-2

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

Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American, Mexican, tex-mex
Keyword black bean, corn, quesadilla
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 370 kcal

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Cooking With a Writer – RAH! MAN! Ramen with Miso and Roasted Vegetables

Sometimes, I have days when I want to scream, “RAH!!!” Today is like that.

This is for a bunch of reasons including someone saying, “Wow. You look tired.”

Me:

Me: Thanks? I am?

Anyway, as you know, I’m trying to convince the household to eat less meat. The household is stubborn.

Me: Hey! We’re having Ramen tonight.

The Man: RAH! MAN! RAH! I MAN! I EAT RAMEN!

Me: 

Dogs run off.

Man beats chest.

Me: Who even are you?

Man: I ate ramen forever. I was raised on ramen. I love ramen. Where are the spice packs?

Me: No! No! We aren’t using the spice packs. Those have animal byproducts.

Man: Why must you ruin all that is holy?

Ramen

I was sad when I was making this recipe. You can tell.

Course dinner
Cuisine vegetarian
Keyword miso, ramen, vegetables
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 4 Carrie people
Calories 80000 kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 TBSP vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 whole onion any color, but yellow is best here
  • 1 big leek
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped or minced
  • 1 3-inch ginger peeled, chopped
  • 1 oz dried mushrooms preferably shiitake
  • 1 lb sweet potato peeled, chopped
  • 1 whole head garlic NO VAMPIRES HERE, BABY
  • 1 lb shitake mushroom cleaned, sliced
  • soy or tamari sauce to taste
  • 1.5 lb ramen noodles fresh if possible
  • .25 cup miso white or yellow kind
  • 5 green onions chopped to look pretty

Instructions

  1. Find a large saucepan, empty it of your tears and put it on medium-high heat.

  2. Put 2 tablespoons of oil in that saucepan. Get it so it isn't cold, like the heart of villain.

  3. Realize it's really your heart that's cold. 

  4. Add the onions. Put some salt on top. DO NOT TOUCH THE ONIONS. Leave them there for 5 minutes until they are brown.

  5. Realize the onions are the book that you've been working on for 27 years and still doesn't feel done. Realize that tweaking your book is like stirring the onions. You can't resist. Wait for five minutes to pass.


  6. YOU CAN STIR THINGS NOW! Add leek, garlic, dried mushrooms, ginger, 6 cups of water. This will deglaze the pan if you stir and scrape up the bits. Do that. 

  7. Turn the heat down. It's too intense here, just like your plot. 

    Put the heat on medium-low. 

    Realize you feel medium low. 

    Partially cover the pan and let it be for an hour. A WHOLE HOUR! 

  8. Procrastinate for an hour. 

  9. Don't do any real work or revision or anything else. 

    Really.


  10. Preheat oven to 400 F. 

  11. Put sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle oil on them. Toss them so the oil is distributed. 

    Find a head of garlic. Cut off the top of its head. Imagine he's a writing expert telling you to kill your darlings. Drizzle oil on it and wrap it up in foil. Put it on the pan.

    Put the pan in the oven and close the door. Stir it once in awhile. Cook until it's tender. 

  12. BACK TO THE STOVE! An hour has passed! You've got this.

    Strain the broth through a sieve and get rid of all the solid bits. KEEP THE BROTH! 

    Realize this is like 'killing your darlings' like all those writing experts always say. Wonder if writing experts know that they are annoying.

  13. Find a blender. Free it of left over smoothie. Instead squeeze the garlic cloves into that bad boy.

    Add 1/3 cup of sweet potatoes.

    Add 1/2 cup broth that you saved.

    Puree until it's smooth.

    Add it to the big bunch of broth.


  14. Find a saucepan and put it on medium heat. 

    Add oil that's left.

    Add mushrooms. Cook them for about five minutes or until tender.

    Add broth.

    Season to your liking.

    Add tamari or soy sauce.

    Simmer.

    Reduce to low.

    Cover partially and cook until it's warm.

  15. Is it warm?

    Are you warm?

    Whisk in that miso of awesome.

  16. Take your noodles (cooked if dry!) Put them in bowls. Put the broth over it. 

    Top it with sweet potatoes. 

    Sprinkle with green onions.

    Breathe. 

    Marvel at your creation. 

    It wasn't that bad, was it? 

Recipe Notes

This is derived from a recipe from Cooking Light. 

Dog Verdict: WHERE IS THE BACON? We like sweet potato okay though. But… it’s not… you know… bacon.

Man Verdict: This would be better with bacon, honestly, or at least the spice packs full of MSG and other goodness.

Carrie Verdict: Writers need love. Ramen is love.

 

*P.S. My writer brain was too tired to do the actual math to count the calories for this. I am so sorry.

WRITING NEWS

I’ll be at Book Expo America on June 1 at the Lerner booth from 11:30-12.

There’s a free information and inspiration session from  Write! Submit! Support!, a six-month intensive program through the Writing Barn.

It’s a one-day only thing just to hang out and learn about the program. I swear! No weirdness involved at all. More info is here.

TIME STOPPERS THE MIDDLE GRADE SERIES OF AWESOME

Time Stoppers’s third book comes out this summer. It’s been called a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but with heart. It takes place in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. I need to think of awesome ways to promote it because this little book series is the book series of my own middle grade heart. Plus, I wrote it for the Emster. Plus, it is fun.

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.

Dogs are smarter than people - the podcast, writing tips, life tips, quirky humans, awesome dogs

Cooking With a Writer Squash Me Up Soup Recipe

In order to make a good book, a break-out novel, you have to have inherent conflict, opposing forces that both want something.

This is my house.

I want to not eat meat.

Everyone else wants to eat meat. I think it’s wasteful to make separate meals all the time (no-meat, meat).

So, like any good protagonist, I’m attempting to convince Shaun and the dogs to eat vegetarian meals. But, I am easily bored so I give the recipes a humorous writer-twist. And that brings us to this squishy squash soup recipe that I made this week. It was creamy and delightful and you can add things to it like cilantro!

Gabby hated it so much she resorted to eating licking the comforter.
Gabby hated it so much she resorted to eating licking the comforter.

Squash Me Up Soup Recipe

It's squash. It's soup. It's creamy. It's orange. That's got to be good, right? 

Course dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword recipe squash soup
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 13 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 Shauns
Calories 240 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP Unsalted butter
  • 1 Leek all chopped up
  • 1 Butternut Squash 3 - 4 pounds, cube it up
  • .25 tsp nutmeg
  • .5 tsp black petter
  • 4 tbsp sherry More if you just got rejected
  • 3 cup vegetarian stock
  • 1 cup milk the full-on fat kind because you are a starving writer
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • sherry vinegar to taste
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Find a medium stock pot and melt the butter in a medium stockpot. Turn it on medium-lowish heat. Feel like this is how your book feels - sort of mid-list, sort of squishy. Ponder with angst. 

  2. Once the butter is melted, stop staring at it and put the leeks in there.

    They have to sweat.

    So do you, right? Writing is sweat for the heart, grit for the soul, an endurance sport.

  3. Stir it once in a while. That's how your agent responds to you, right? Once in awhile. Stir until the leeks are soft but not brown.

    This takes about 5 minutes.

    This is much quicker than anything in the publishing world. 

    Except mean tweets.  Mean tweets are fast. 

  4. This looks kind of cool. Admire the leeks. How your book is like them. Good smelling, soft yet not burnt. 

  5. Add the squash, nutmeg, pepper, and some salt.

    Stir it around once in awhile for another 5 minutes. 

  6. Add the sherry.

    For the next 2-3 minutes let the sherry hang out in there. 

    If it is not against your religion, drink sherry straight from the bottle. That's just what happens when there is nobody helping you cook.

    Do not judge yourself. That's what reviewers are for.


  7. Add enough stock to barely cover the vegetables. 

    This is sort of like the publicity budget for your book - just enough to cover the basics.

    Drink more sherry. Wipe it off your chin. 

  8. Okay. It's breakout novel ... I mean ... soup... time. 

    Turn the heat to high. Make it boil.

    Feel satisfied. That's success right there. 

    Now reduce the heat to a simmer. Control that simmer like you control your readers' emotions and keep it there for 20 minutes.

    The squash should be fork tender like your readers' hearts. 

  9. Add milk.

    Add the 2 tablespoons cream. 

  10. Blend until smooth. 

    This is scary because it is hot so be careful. If you are using a regular blender and not an immersion blender DO NOT TRY TO DO IT ALL AT ONCE! This is like a manuscript. You can't just throw it all in there for two seconds and call it good. There are steps to blending just like there are steps to revision. 

  11. Add however much salt, pepper, sherry, and sherry vinegar you need to make it taste good.

    If it seems bland go raid the spice rack and add cumin or curry or open the fridge and squeeze some hot sauce in there - a TB or more to taste.

  12. Once it is in the bowl, put cream on top so it seems fancy. 

Dog Verdict: WHERE IS THE BACON?

Man Verdict: This would be better with bacon, honestly

Carrie Verdict: Cilantro is the new bacon!

https://carriejonesbooks.bloghttps://carriejonesbooks.blog
Cooking With a Writer

WRITING NEWS

I’m on WERU today, Thursday, at 10 a.m. EST. You can call in and ask me stuff. I’ll be talking about writing and books. The link is here. 

TIME STOPPERS THE MIDDLE GRADE SERIES OF AWESOME

Time Stoppers’s third book comes out this summer. It’s been called a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but with heart. It takes place in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. I need to think of awesome ways to promote it because this little book series is the book series of my own middle grade heart. Plus, I wrote it for the Emster. Plus, it is fun.

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.

Dogs are smarter than people - the podcast, writing tips, life tips, quirky humans, awesome dogs

Cooking With A Writer Pasta with Broccoli

Okay.

Let’s be honest.

I picked this recipe because I thought it might be cheap and I, my friends, am a writer and I used to be a journalist and we are almost always cheap.

What I failed to notice is that almonds are expensive.

I splurged and made it anyways.

As writers we’re always hoping to provide the right mix of elements in our story – a strong main character (protagonist), an awesome plot to hold it all together, a theme. And I was like – LOOK AT THIS RECIPE! Maybe the almonds are the surprise that will be the breakthrough element that makes this story/recipe fantastic! I will buy them. Look at me splurge!

The broccoli is totally meant to be the hero here and the pasta is the plot and the sauce, which isn’t actually a sauce, is like the theme, tiny bits of bread crumbs and almonds and olives holding it all together, making it all resonate.

But, it didn’t work that way for me.

It was like a not-quite-good story where all the elements are there, but… it just didn’t pop. Shaun, the husband, and star of the podcast “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” found this glee worthy.

Shaun: We are doing this because you are the former vegetarian trying to convince me, Captain Meat, that vegetarian cooking is awesome.

Me: Yeah. You just called yourself Captain Meat. You know that, right?

Shaun: Whatever. The point is that  you are the one who didn’t like the last two recipes and I loved them.

Me:

Shaun begins dancing merrily around the kitchen like a 6-6 hobbit.

Me: Um.

Shaun continues dancing.

Me: That means my plan is working, right. YOU are the one loving them.

Shaun: 

Me: 

Shaun: Oh.

Pasta with Broccoli

This is a modified recipe, heavily inspired by Truly Madly Pasta. The calorie count is TOTALLY an estimate. The portion size is for four Carries or two Shauns. Yes, Shaun is my husband's name. He eats a lot. 

Course entree
Cuisine vegetarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people or 2 Shauns
Calories 280 kcal

Ingredients

  • 14 oz short macaroni Ditali is its official name; it does not exist at my grocery store
  • 26 oz broccoli
  • 4 oz green olives that lack pits
  • 4 TBS olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic all chopped up
  • 2/3 cup almonds blanched and magically ground
  • 6 TBS bread crumbs toasted recently
  • whatever seriously parmesan cheese to taste is a nicer way to say 'whatever'
  • to taste agan olive oil extra virgin because it's getting sacrificed

Instructions

  1. Put a burner on HIGH heat. Put water in a big pot that can hold the pasta. Boil the water. Add pasta. Add salt to boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes or al dente. 

  2. Do not let the water boil over. This makes a big mess. Do not let anyone else be in charge of the boiling water. This is your story... I mean water. You own this. You get to be in charge. 

  3. Step away. Let someone else be in charge. Water boils over and makes a huge mess. Realize this is what it's like to give up control of your manuscript. Cry. Clean up the mess with your tears. 


  4. While you are crying and the pasta is boiling, steam broccoli for six minutes. Do this in a different pot! Sing the "Chopping Broccoli" song from old SNL. Feel a bit better. 

  5. Chop olives while all this other stuff is happening. Think about how good books come from having multiple elements weaving together. Decide that the pasta is the plot. The broccoli is the characters. The olives are... um.... What are olives, really? 

  6. Heat olive oil in pan, a frying pan. Add garlic. Cook one minute. DO THIS GENTLY! Add olives and ground olives. Add a TB or more of water randomly. Take it out of the pasta pot if you can. It is better for sticking, plus less wasting of water. 

  7. Feel good about how eco-friendly you are. Gloat. 

  8. Drain the pasta. Try not to think about the water. 

  9. Mix the pasta, the broccoli , the olive/almonds/garlic mix, the bread crumbs. Drizzle extra oil on top. Bring out the cheese. 

Dog Verdict: We liked it!

Man Verdict: I loved it!

Carrie Verdict: Um…. yeah…. Are there red pepper flakes anywhere?

https://carriejonesbooks.bloghttps://carriejonesbooks.blog
Cooking With a Writer

WRITING NEWS

TIME STOPPERS THE MIDDLE GRADE SERIES OF AWESOME

Time Stoppers’s third book comes out this summer. It’s been called a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but with heart. It takes place in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. I need to think of awesome ways to promote it because this little book series is the book series of my own middle grade heart. Plus, I wrote it for the Emster. Plus, it is fun.

 

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.

Dogs are smarter than people - the podcast, writing tips, life tips, quirky humans, awesome dogs

Chickpea Pasta Sauce and Imposter Syndrome – They Totally Go Together

Everyone!

I made a pasta sauce out of chickpeas. How wild is that? The recipe is inspired by Cooking Light and it doesn’t have a ton of ingredients. Do you know what that means?

It means even starving writers can eat it! I’m talking to you, poets. Seriously. This is super cheap. Yay!

https://carriejonesbooks.blog Cooking With a Writer

Imposter Syndrome

So, a lot of writers have imposter syndrome. We think we aren’t a ‘real’ writer. That we somehow magically got published and everyone will find out we are a fraud.

This is a real thing.

Almost every writer I know has this. I blogged about it here.

When I was making this recipe, I was thinking about the chickpeas and how they are maybe feeling a little impostery when paired with penne. In the United States, we do our pasta with tomato sauce most of the time. Or sometimes pesto, which costs so much money. An occasional purist will do the olive oil/parmesan/lemon thing, but they are few… Too few… And maybe chickpeas are thinking, “Hey… are you sure about this? I mean… Maybe I don’t belong here in this pasta. I’m not a tomato. I’m not basil. I’m just a little beige cutie.”

Which is sort of how a lot of writers feel about their place in the writing world.

Well, here’s the truth: Chickpeas totally are the real thing. And so are you.

Don’t let yourself tell you otherwise.

There are Chick Peas in my Pasta Sauce because Weird Choices are Good Choices

In writing, we always here that it's cool to surprise the reader with a nice, happy plot twist or quirky detail but it's NOT GOOD to surprise the reader with something too wild and unexpected unless you've built up to that somehow, which is why Shaun the Meat Eater has no clue that there are chickpeas in this pasta sauce. And we're going to keep it that way.


Also, the calories are for whole wheat pasta, but there was no way I was going to get that into the man's gullet, honestly. We used regular bad-for-you pasta. Rebels. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 humans
Calories 383 kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, all chopped up like my episodic story
  • 4 cloves of anti-vampire garlic
  • 1 cup carrot, all chopped up again because this recipe requires knives
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drain them first!!! Really. Drain them.
  • .75 cup water
  • .5 tsp pepper Did you ever notice salt comes before pepper always? What is up with that?
  • 1 tsp salt Behind pepper for once
  • 4 cups penne pasta, cook this and drain this too! If you keep .75 cups of water you can use it up there
  • .25 cup basic basil, fresh, chopped

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta in a big pot of water according to the directions on the pasta box. I always do this first because water takes FOREVER to boil and waiting for it to warm up reminds me of waiting for my agent or editor to email me back, which causes.... um... anxiety.


  2. On a totally separate place/burner/heating source, heat the olive oil on MEDIUM HEAT. 

    Medium heat sounds pretty bland. Halfway to hot. Halfway to cold. Worry that this is indicative of your muddy middle where the plot is just... it's boring and medium. Worry that you are boring and medium. 

     

  3. Cry


  4. Buck up, little camper. The oil is warm in a medium way and now you must add the minced garlic, the carrots, the onion. Add it. ADD IT, DAMN IT! Now! Right now! Get over yourself and cook this thing!


  5. Cook that mess for 8  minutes. Set the timer in case you get lost in a scintillating inner monologue about positivity and writing and how Oprah visualizes herself as awesome and that somehow works for her. 


  6. Try to create a good mantra like, I am an amazing writer that everyone loves and I make amazing books. 

    Decide you need to edit that mantra. Worry about what it means if you can't even make a mantra. 


  7. Realize you have imposter syndrome! Oh no! Not again! 


  8. Your eight minutes are up. Take the mixture and add the chickpeas and the pepper, salt and water and put it in a blender and mix it up there until it is smooth. 


  9. Look at you, mixing like a pro! Feel good about this. You did this! You are a cook! And a writer! And a human! Go you! 

  10. Toss the yummy penne pasta stuff (hopefully cooked and warm) and mix it with your amazing blender concoction. If you have enough money to buy fresh basil, sprinkle that on top like it's magic fairy dust or pixie glitter. 

  11. Eat! You deserve to eat! You do! You are not an imposter. You made a pasta sauce out of chickpeas like a freaking boss. You can get an agent and finish your novel and make a NYT bestseller list. Look at you! 

    Feel powerful. 

    You are. 

Dog Verdict: Pasta is delicious.

Man Verdict: I could eat this forever.

Carrie Verdict: This is so bland. I need to put gochujang in it. Oh my gosh, where is the left-over feta cheese. Okay… okay… now it’s worth the calories.

I actually did squirt gochujang into it because I thought it was too bland. And even then, it needed a zing, which is why I added a tiny bit of feta. This absolutely increases both calories and cost.

https://carriejonesbooks.blog Recipes with a Writer. Cooking With a Writer

WRITING NEWS AND STUFF

Okay. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this, but I earned out my picture book biography of Sara Emma Edmonds!!!!

This is such a huge thing for me that I can’t begin to tell you how cool it feels especially since it’s with this picture book. Sara was this cool woman who dressed like a man so she could fight in the U.S. Civil War, but then her superiors asked her to dress like a woman and spy on the other side. So, she was a woman dressed like a man dressed like a woman and taking names the entire time. So amazing. Thank you so much to everyone who bought it!

Unknown

 

THE CLASS AT THE WRITING BARN

The awesome 6-month-long Writing Barn classthat 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.

PRAISE FOR CARRIE JONES AND WRITE. SUBMIT. SUPPORT:

“Carrie has the fantastic gift as a mentor to give you honest feedback on what needs work in your manuscript without making you question your ability as a writer. She goes through the strengths and weaknesses of your submissions with thought, care and encouragement.”

I swear, I did not pay anyone to say that. I didn’t even ask them to say it. The Writing Barn just told me that the feedback had intensely kind things like that.

FLYING AND ENHANCED – THE YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION SERIES

These books are out there in the world thanks to Tor.

What books? Well, cross Buffy with Men in Black and you get… you get a friends-powered action adventure based in the real world, but with a science fiction twist. More about it is here. But these are fun, fast books that are about identity, being a hero, and saying to heck with being defined by other people’s expectations.

This quick, lighthearted romp is a perfect choice for readers who like their romance served with a side of alien butt-kicking actionSchool Library Journal

TIME STOPPERS THE MIDDLE GRADE SERIES OF AWESOME

Time Stoppers’s third book comes out this summer. It’s been called a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but with heart. It takes place in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. I need to think of awesome ways to promote it because this little book series is the book series of my own middle grade heart. Plus, I wrote it for the Emster. Plus, it is fun.

 

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.

Dogs are smarter than people - the podcast, writing tips, life tips, quirky humans, awesome dogs
The podcast of awesome

Cooking With A Writer – Dude, There’s a Burrito in my Spaghetti Squash

I convinced The Man and The Dogs to let me try another vegetarian recipe.

“It’s for the blog,” I said.

“Does the blog earn us any money?” The Man asked.

“Does this vegetarian recipe have bacon bits?” The Dogs asked. “Bacon bits do not count as meat.

“No,” I said. “And no. And yes… chopping meat into tiny bites and bits does not take away the qualities of meat.”

The Dogs decided to sleep through the recipe, which I understand. They’d had a hard day of barking at UPS drivers and squirrels, drooling on windows, and longing for meat products.

The Man did not sleep through the cooking.  He had questions, sort of like a copy editor or something… So many questions about every little detail.

“Does this mean you’re finally going to get rid of the gigantic spaghetti squash that’s been in our bread box for months?’ The Man asked. “Because then I am good with this recipe as long as we can go get pizza later.”

I have a lot to put up with here. Obviously.

carriejonesbooks.blog

This bad boy recipe is really loosely adapted from a much grander recipe from Cookie and Kate. You should check them out and applaud the beauty that is their website.

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.

https://carriejonesbooks.blog

What does this mean?

It means I’m going to share one recipe with you each Thursday and it’s not going to be shiny and pretty and slick. It’s going to be real, people, because writers of kidlit are authentic AF.

Here is your Thursday recipe. The hardest part is cutting the damn squash, honestly. It was so hard! I had to get help.

Burrito Bowl inside a Spaghetti Squash! Say What the What?

Writers! YOU CAN DO THIS! You can make a thought into a story. Of course you can make a squash into a burrito! 

Also, the calories are on the upper end of the scale because I'm imagining you're using a lot of toppings because writers are like that if we have other jobs. If you don't have another job, you probably won't use cheese, right? Because cheese is expensive! And maybe not as many beans? Then your count is going to be in the 250 range. 

Course dinner, entree
Cuisine American, Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 412 kcal

Ingredients

THESE ARE THE ROASTED SQUASH INGREDIENTS - ACT ONE

  • 2 squash - medium, take out its innards and seedy things.
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • salt - dash
  • pepper - a few dashes

THESE ARE THE SLAW INGREDIENTS - ACT TWO

  • 1 package cole slaw mexican salad mix OR two cups of green cabbage shredded
  • 1 can black beans, drain it because it's icky if you don't
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onion - all parts white and green, we love all parts here
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 3 TBSP lime juice

THESE ARE THE SALSA SAUCE INGREDIENTS - ACT THREE

  • 3/4 cup salsa verde
  • 1 avocado - make it ripe, dice it up
  • 1 TBSP lime juice - yes, again with the lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt - yes, again with the salt
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, you've got it, again with the cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic

Random garnishes if you are into that - cheese, more cilantro because we're trying to increase the livelihood of those who produce cilantro, I guess?

Instructions

  1. I am so sorry. But you have to cut the squash in half. I know! I know! This is hard. This requires muscles. Writers' only muscles are in our fingers. This is not enough to chop spaghetti squash in half. 

  2. Recruit help to cut the squash in half. This is like a beta reader. It's okay for a writer/cook to have back-up. Just make sure they are strong. 

  3. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees Fahrenheit because that's important. You can do this. This just requires finger muscles to set the degrees. You've got this, writer! 

  4. Spread the olive oil on the squash. Pretend it is the tears that have coalesced after rejection letters. Look at you! You're tears are making something delicious. 

    Add salt and pepper because why not, honestly? 

  5. Flip the squash over so that the inside parts are now down against the baking sheet. Think about how this is like your own inside parts, hidden inside your story. This is you, this squash! This is your heart and soul hidden from the reader but turning into something beautiful. 


  6. Put the pan in the oven! THIS IS IMPORTANT! Use those writing muscles and eat the time for 40 minutes, but it might take an hour. Squash like stories don't really follow perfect schedules and some take a little longer. It's done when a fork can pierce through the flesh.


  7. DO NOT MAKE THE SQUASH YOUR OBJECTIVE CORRELATIVE! I promise. It is not you. It is not your writer soul. You do not need to be pierced easily with a fork. You must remain intact. Take a moment to breathe. You've got this. 

  8. Okay. Are you okay? Make sure you're okay. Don't think about rejections or bad reviews. Take the slaw mix. Add black beans, the red pepper, the cilantro, the lime juice, the olive oil, the salt, the tears. Toss it around. Let it marinate. This is just like writing a book, isn't it? Leave it alone for a bit. Do not check it out. It's good. It's parts are mixing up and complimenting each other like plot and setting and action and voice and dialogue. Actually, maybe walk away from the kitchen and post an Instagram poem about squash and flesh and forks and marinating slaw. 

  9. Okay. It's salsa time! Do you feel happier? Did you write a poem? Did anyone like it? Find a blender. Borrow a blender if you don't have one. It's like borrowing a plot - totally not a big deal. Cough. Okay. So in the blender put the avocado, the salsa verde, the cilantro and lime juice. Add the garlic because this is not a YA novel set in Seattle. No sparkly vampires here, baby. 

  10. Writer. Um... I forgot to tell you to plug in the blender. Put the top on. Press BLEND. Watch things blend. Blend it till smooth. Marvel at how all these random bits come together to make something yummy. These bits are like your thoughts! Wow.... That's deep! 

  11. Dude. You are amazing. You have made three parts of something! IT IS LIKE THE OLD BORING THREE-ACT STRUCTURE OF A STORY! Whoah... Mind blown. Do a happy dance. You're amazing.

  12. Assemble it! Fluff the squash innards up. Put slaw into the hollowed out squash places. Put the salsa verde mix on top. Dang. Look at that. Garnish if you want. Eat your masterpiece! You did this, writer! You! 

https://carriejonesbooks.blog Recipes with a Writer. Cooking With a Writer

Man’s Verdict: That was surprisingly good actually and hearty. Probably because like you know the beans and the spaghetti squash has some density to it. The slaw is like a binder. Through some hot sauce in there.

Dog’s Verdict: Why do you hate us?

Carrie’s Verdict: This was pretty yummy, but cutting a spaghetti squash is so super hard. There must be an easier way to do that. Wait! I should check the internet for ways to do that.

Squash cutting
Squash cutting is serious, people

The ways are here, thanks to Trial and Eater.

Also, my middle grade fantasy series, TIME STOPPERS, is totally out there in the world thanks to the wonderful people at Bloomsbury.  It’s about two kids finding love and acceptance and friendship even though their lives have been super horrible. One of them was raised by trolls pretending to be people. Apparently, there are a lot of trolls out there.

Writing tips and help from NYT bestselling author Carrie Jones
Look, they made a pull quote!

It’s sort of Harry Potter crossed with Percy Jackson crossed with Inkheart, but set in Bar Harbor and Northeast Harbor, Maine and it’s full of magic and adventure, but mostly it’s full of friendship. Because friends? Friends matter.

To find out more about it, you can go here. I hope you all have an amazing day and eat yummy food and nobody torments you too much. Watch out for trolls.

 

 

Cooking With a Writer Potato Tacos of Awesome

Everyone always talks about writing being like cooking.

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

https://carriejonesbooks.blog Recipes with a Writer. Cooking With a Writer

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.

What does this mean?

It means I’m going to share one recipe with you each Thursday and it’s not going to be shiny and pretty and slick. It’s going to be real, people, because writers of kidlit are authentic AF.

https://carriejonesbooks.blog

It’s also going to be vegetarian because I’m not about death of animals even though EVERYONE else in my family is about animals as food. So part of this is my quest to convince them to go the vegetarian way. Not the vegan way. They are so not ready for that.

carriejonesbooks.blog
He did not really eat the potato! I promise!

I decided to start off easy with Crispy Potato Tacos. I found the recipe on shelikesfood.com, which is possibly the most authentic name of a website ever. I’m sort of jealous.

She said it was a ‘super and easy weeknight dinner that’s also really flavorful and delicious!’

She used an exclamation point. I was good to go. I’m a writer. I know all about punctuation and life and I want to live my life as an exclamation point. I changed the amounts of the ingredients, however, because we are a household that needs a lot of flavor. So. Much. Flavor. And also, I converted the instructions for ‘writers,’ because this is… um… about cooking with a writer.

https://carriejonesbooks.blog

Potato Tacos of Writer Awesomeness

This recipe is adapted from shelikesfood.com

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 Americans
Calories 250 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • optional toppings lettuce, tomato, salsa, onion, peppers, cilantro, tears

Instructions

  1. You need to find a knife. Do not think about suicidal confessional poets from the 1960s. Just find a knife.


  2. Use the knife to cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Don’t ponder about what ‘bite-sized’ means. Don’t riff on how different people have different mouth sizes and therefore different bite sizes. Just cut the potatoes. Cut them on a cutting board!


  3. Get a large pot. Put the cut-up potatoes in the pot. Fill the pot with water. Think about this. Are these the characters in your story, perculating under your subconscious? Ready to make something happen in your plot? Yes. Yes. They are.

  4. Boil those characters for 15-20 minutes. They should be fork tender. What does that even mean fork tender? Aren’t we all fork tender, us humans? So easily hurt.


  5. Cry.


  6. Drain the potatoes, those poor tender potatoes. Pause to write a poem. Make sure when you come back that those little sweet potatoes are pretty dry.


  7. Cast aside your feelings. It’s time to get serious. Find a skillet. Do not comtemplate the last time you used a skillet as a prop device in your murder-mystery staring your ex boss. Instead, turn the stove burner on to medium heat. Put that skillet on the burner. Yes, the same burner that you’ve turned on.


  8. In the skillet, put olive oil, potatoes, and spices. Double up the spices if you aren’t afraid. You want depth to your story. I mean recipe.


  9. Stir it up like it’s a good plot.

  10. Cook it for 3-5 minutes. Flip it. Cook it on that side for 3-5 more minutes. You want it crisp, but not burnt. Use your own judgement about what constitutes crisp. You can do it! I believe in you!


  11. Find the corn tortillas. Put potatoes in them. Put the other toppings in them. Hope for good reviews on Amazon and GoodReads. I mean, hope your family likes them.  

The Man’s Rating: This is not enough food for dinner but it is delicious. How many of these can I eat and not be a glutton.

My Rating: This is more than enough food for dinner, but I had to peel potatoes. I don’t like peeling potatoes.

Look! Potatoes were peeled.

The dogs were not impressed because there was no bacon involved. But look! Here it is! Note the giant man hand. Is it any wonder he was all, “NEED MORE FOOD?”

carreiejonesbooks.blog