Shelter and Write: 30 Journal Prompts for a COVID-19 Quarantine

Some good thoughts and writing prompts.

Lightning Droplets

I don’t know what quarantine has been like for you, but I have spent the last several weeks huddled under the covers, unable to look away from the news, and sanitizing my child like crazy. There has been a great grief, a great helplessness, and the overwhelming feeling that I should be doing something — anything — other than just staying home. I understand that I’m doing my part by hiding under the covers. But it also seems like I should be doing a lot more.

There have been a lot of tears. I might have gotten in a non-verbal argument with my toddler. And the things I say to my plants these days makes me wonder if they think I am crazy. The anxiety is real. And I know it would make me feel so much better to do something for others, to connect with others.

Are you feeling…

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Writerly Update: Earthbound Cover in Contest

 

Hi Folks!

It appears the cover for my book, Earthbound, ” is competing in the Creme dé la Cover contest at InD’tale!

(The prize for the weekly contest winner is a FREE 1/4 page ad in the next issue of InD’tale magazine and the winner then competes in the Creme dé la Creme Cover finals which are held in the last week of the month. The monthly winner receives a free FULL page ad in the magazine!)

This would be a HUGE help for me as a newbie, so could you please vote for my book’s cover? (It does require you sign up for a free account with InD’Tale. Sorry about that.) THANK YOU!

http://indtale.com/polls/creme-de-la-cover-contest

In other news, I’ve whittled a short story down to 5,300 words for a contest that would put my writing in front of paranormal romance fans. Still another 300 words to go to make it eligible. I can do this, but it’s getting harder. 🙂

Also, still working on Camp NaNoWriMo though it’s slow going this month. I will get this second novel drafted, but I’m not going to stress myself out doing it. I want it to stay fun so it reads fun.

#tirgearrtuesday #bookcover #paranormalromance #urbanfantasy #romanticfantasy

An Extra Recipe: Toasted Oat & Cranberry Scones

Toasted Oat & Cranberry Scones – smell AMAZING, taste even better! Recipe @ (creationsbykara.com/toasted-oatmea) Add 1/2 cup dried cranberries, soaked in 1/2 cup warmed OJ, then drain. Stir oats every 3 minutes when toasting. Do NOT over mix batter, just enough to bring it together. Enjoy!

Scones

Earthbound – Book Review

Yay! Thank you for the lovely 4-star review Rosie Wylor-Owen!

The Secret Library Book Blog

Title: Earthbound

Author: Melora Johnson

Genre: Urban fantasy/Christian fantasy

Rating: Four stars

** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **

** Also, spoilers! **

earthbound“Ally Reynolds is a veterinarian specializing in raptor rehabilitation in New Hampshire. Other than one horrific incident in her childhood and a little extra “spark” for healing in her hands, both of which she has kept secret from even her best friend, her life has been singularly boring. It has also been extremely lonely. Ally longs for someone to share her life with, but how can she trust someone with her secret?

Matthew Blake, an ornithologist at Cornell University, calls Ally, asking for her help with an injured raptor. Matthew grew up in New Zealand and has lived around the world. He has read about Ally’s high success rates in raptor rehabilitation and suspects there is more to…

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The Sunday Recipe: Easter Hot Cross Buns

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Mom’s Easter Buns a.k.a. Hot Cross Buns

These are traditional in our family for Easter so I wanted to make sure we had some ready. I made two tins so we could have one now and freeze one for Easter. The mashed potatoes and potato water make them incredibly soft and delicious. I used half whole wheat flour because that is what we had on hand, without changing the recipe, and they were delicious. I imagine plain water and instant mashed potatoes could work too. I’ve also seen raisins instead of currants used.

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Measure into a mixing bowl:

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast (or 2 packets)
  • 1/3 cup dried currants

Stir thoroughly with a whisk.

Beat in:

  • ½ cup warm potato water
  • ½ cup scalded and cooled whole milk
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm mashed potatoes
  • 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

*To scald milk, heat gently until a skin forms on top. In my microwave, that’s 50 seconds on high for ½ cup milk.

  • Beat in 3 eggs.
  • Add about 3 2/3 cups flour.
  • Mix and turn out onto a floured surface.
  • Knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Place in an oiled bowl and cover loosely.
  • Allow to rise in a draft free place for 1 ½ hours, until doubled.
  • Punch down.
  • Divide into 2 portions.
  • Shape each portion into 16 buns and place in two greased square tins.
  • Let rise until double, about 30 minutes.
  • Brush with an egg yolk glaze. (Blend 1 yolk with 2 tablespoons water.
  • Bake 25 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • Cool thoroughly.
  • If desired, cross or glaze the top with powdered sugar mixed with a little lemon juice.

 

The Sunday Recipe: Roasted Asparagus

 

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Maybe I have an odd child, but she LOVES roasted asparagus. It’s spring and I’ve been seeing it on sale in the stores here in New York State, probably brought from somewhere farther south. Next time you do a grocery run, or you have someone do one for you, grab a bunch and give it a try. When you bring it home, stand it upright in the fridge, in a mug with an inch of water, until ready to use.

Roasted Asparagus

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  1. Snap off the bottom end about an inch up. (You’re looking to eliminate the woody bit.)
  2. Break the rest of the spear into bit size pieces, about an inch in size.
  3. Rinse the pieces in water then drain.
  4. Lay the pieces out on a kitchen towel then pat dry to eliminate most water.
  5. Toss in a bowl with the olive oil and seasonings.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
  7. Enjoy!

The munchkin enjoyed them recently with leftover fried scallops from a local diner.

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The Friday Poem: Life Goes On

LifeGoesOn

The Sunday Recipe: Irish Soda Buns

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It is time to embrace cooking substitutions!

This past Tuesday was St. Patrick’s Day and that’s a traditional time for Irish Soda Bread. I was a little overwhelmed with everything going on to prepare for working from home, but I still wanted to make a special meal. I did a quick search for Irish Soda buns, which would bake faster. I found a great recipe from the New York Times cooking blog at https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014602-soda-bread-buns, but of course I didn’t have exactly what I needed so here come the substitutions.

This is a great recipe because it already uses some stuff that you might have on hand, and you can substitute for other things. I didn’t have yeast on hand so this was a perfect recipe for me because the leavening is a combination of baking soda, baking powder, and egg.

I didn’t have whole wheat pastry flour, so I used some whole wheat flour – it was fine. I didn’t have caraway seeds and I didn’t want them, so I left them out. I did have some older dried currants, a little out dated but they were fine too. Raisins would be great, or chopped dates, or whatever you like and have on hand. I had unsalted butter but if you just have regular butter or shortening or coconut oil – it’s all okay! Even vegetable oil can be mixed in instead.

Embrace substitutions.

If you don’t have buttermilk, substitute milk and vinegar or lemon juice. The ratio is 1 cup of milk to a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice then let it sour for fifteen minutes or so.

My recipe went like this.

Irish Soda Bread Buns

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup dried currants

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 and lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. Whisk together the fours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender or a couple knives.
  4. Stir the currants in.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. (If you’re using oil instead of butter, put it in here.)
  6. Stir wet ingredients into dry.
  7. Turn out onto a floured surface and, with floured hands shape into eight portions.
  8. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until firm.
  9. Enjoy!

The Friday Poem: New Growth

NewGrowth

The Sunday Recipe: Unstuffed Egg Roll

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Unstuffed Egg Roll

Ingredients

  • 1 small head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of onion chopped
  • 6 to 9 baby carrots or 1 large, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  1. Warm the olive oil in the pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and saute a few minutes.
  3. Add the carrot and saute until soft.
  4. Add the cabbage and cook for 5 minutes, stir, cook another five minutes.
  5. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil, stir and cook another five minutes.

Working with what I had on hand, I improvised this today based on the “Paleo Egg Roll in a Bowl” recipe from http://www.ancestral-nutrition.com. That recipe used 1 tablespoon coconut oil and 1/3 cup coconut aminos, which I didn’t have. You can also substitute a bag of shredded cabbage and carrots for a faster product.

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