Day 1 – 2015 Introduction

It almost seems odd to start a writing challenge without a prompt but according to the National Day Calendar, it’s National Author’s Day which is perhaps why the NaNoWriMo starts on this day?

I signed up for this year’s NaBloPoMo to kick start my writing again, and for many, I do ponder the timing when it seems to be such a busy time. However, I’m game and I have also coerced convinced at least one friend to blog along with me. I also do really enjoy meeting and greeting new bloggers and share encouragement (if only we could all read and comment on blogs full-time).  I also did sign up for Word Press Blogging U to give me a more structured experience as well as to review some of the WP blog basics.

Our first assignment is Introduce Yourself to the World.

I just reread my “About” section and feel it still rings true about the person I am and the background of how I chose my blog name and social media handles as well as the topics that the blog will cover – Food, Drink, Life. I do think that as time has passed, I may end up writing more posts that will be filed under the Life category:  bigger topics, longer posts that require research, and (deep breath) social commentary. I am one of many who often feel that what we think, feel or see wouldn’t be of interest to others.  It was timely to discover The Daily Post and in particular, the post written by Robyn titled You Are Enough.  Something that stood out to me:

The writers that I admire the most are those who can write about any topic, and draw me in with their exuberance. A writer’s moxie makes any story magnetic.

I am drawn in by their passion, not by their perfection.

Perhaps I am not as interesting as Robyn’s friend.  Perhaps my writing is rusty. What do I write about?

But perhaps I am.  And more writing will make it better. And I do have stories to tell.

One of the nicest compliments that really gives me the warm fuzzies is when someone tells me that I “light up” when I am talking about a topic that is important to me. I feel blessed that I can feel passionate about something, or rather many things, as the Life category will likely prove over time.

Writing will revive one of the big dreams I had as a child, and I’ve had a lot of ideas swirling in my mind these past months. I am also eager to try different styles of writing so I can develop a new portfolio of writing suitable for today’s media and audience. I’m a reforming English Literature major who was in the school of, “Why use one word when you can use 10?” Twitter has been a challenging teacher!

In any case, since we are all authors of our own blogs, Cheers to You, whether it is your first post or the first of post of the month of many months or years of writing.

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Happy Monthly Posting Challenge Eve!

Well here it is, Halloween Night, and the firecrackers and screechers are going off with abandon in the neighbourhood. While I will be happy when the pops and booms end, I’m glad it was a dry evening for the ghouls and goblins who were able to go trick or treating without wearing a garbage bag which often in typical of Raincouver Halloweens.

The 31st is also the eve of a rash of monthly posting challenges. One of the most famous of them all is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month – a challenge to write everyday for the month of November to end up with 50,000 words for the start of a novel.  That’s an average of 1,667 words per day. Seem too daunting? There are many other challenges, such as NaBloPoMoNational Blog Posting Month, which I have signed up for the second time to kick start my writing again. But if writing isn’t your thing, there are many other monthly challenges this month that may appeal to other creative outlets such as FMS Photo A Day or a new discovery for me, Tinkerlab‘s November Sketchbook Challenge. If you do a search, I’m sure you’ll be able to find one that suits you.

These challenges have a few things in common, the main things being committing your intent – and publicly  – by tweeting it, posting to Facebook or Instagram or any of your social media accounts, to hold yourself accountable, as well as the resources that are available to support you to succeed, from daily prompts, live twitter chats, workshops and events (I have seen some NaNoWriMo writing events at the local library) mentors and one of the most wonderful, the community around the challenge itself. It’s great to feel that you are not alone in the struggle sometimes to get something, anything,  posted for the day.

One of the new resources I have just discovered in a bit of a DOH! moment is WordPress’s own The Daily Post which contains daily prompts for writing and a photo challenge, as well as Blogging U. which offers monthly courses to get you up to speed in blogging, customisng WordPress to your specifications, writing and photography tips. Even though I have been working within WordPress for a couple of years now, I am self taught so I have signed up for Blogging 101 just to ensure I’ve got the basics down which may make my blogging life easier.

So whichever daily posting challenge you may sign up for – CHEERS to you for signing up and committing to it! I hope your creativity flourishes.

Have you signed up for a different daily posting challenge? Please list in comments below so I – and others – can discover them. Thank you! 

NaBloPoMo_1115_465x287_THEME

Savoury Sunday – Carmelised Onion, Mushroom & Gorgonzola Tart

Carmelised anything is good in my books. Onions? Love! Combined with sautéed mushrooms? And strong cheese? Count me in!

I’ve never done a formal analysis of the people I follow on twitter but I would say that “Food Tweeps” would be a significant part of it. I participate in a food twitter chat, #FNIchat – Foodies Night In,  on Monday whenever I am able and love being part of the community.  I also follow some of my favourite chefs, food magazines, and television shows as well as food loving people I have discovered on twitter from around the world.  With all these people, there is a constant stream of delicious food photos and recipes that appear in my twitter feed.

I saw this recipe in my twitter feed one day and knew I just had to make it. This recipe is based one from Alex Caspero – @delishknowledge  a Registered Dietician in California. from her site, Delicious Knowledge.

One of the things I was excited about is I feel like I am getting my cooking mojo back. When reading through the recipe, I was able to make some immediate adjustments to the recipe for the situation, e.g., no time or inclination to make crust, adjustment to my tastes in the type of mushrooms used, and for future versions. See notes below.


Carmelised Onion, Mushroom & Gorgonzola Tart

INGREDIENTSMOT-10-BakedTart
1 package of pie crust¹ – not a pre-formed pie shell because the tart is not that deep.
1 tsp. oil
1 onion, thinly sliced²
16 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced³
Sherry for sautéeing
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes (optional for an extra kick)
salt/pepper
¾ cup Gorgonzola cheese∞

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a large sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Stirring often, let the onions cook until reduced and browned, about 20 minutes. Remove the onions from the pan.
  • Add the mushrooms in a single layer. Cook the mushrooms over medium heat and cook until browned on both sides. Add in a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes (if using).
  • Follow instructions on package of pie crust. Unroll and press into a lightly greased tart pan
  • Sprinkle on ½ of the cheese and then layer in the onions and mushrooms and cover with remaining cheese
  • Place in a 400ºF degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden, hot and bubbly.
  • Serve warm or at warm temperature.

Notes:

  • Since one of my friends at this gathering is a vegetarian, I used olive oil. Otherwise, I would have used bacon fat to sautée the mushrooms and onions
  • Instead of using all white button mushrooms, I used a mix of white and Cremini mushrooms. I think next time, I’ll also add some Porcini mushrooms with strong nutty flavours to amp it up even more.
  • Another addition I would like to try is diced roasted garlic. This is when you take a bulb of garlic, slice off the tops, drizzle with olive oil and roast till soft. After cool, squeeze the garlic clove out of its papery skin.
  • I would put the cheese in the freezer for about an hour so it would crumble into smaller and more even pieces in order to be able to spread it evenly over the crust and topping the mushrooms and onions. More cheesy deliciousness in every bite!
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