Cranberry Salsa with Cream Cheese Recipe

First, I shall ramble for a while with thoughts on cooking. If you want to skip to the recipe, scroll down to “Cranberry Salsa Recipe.”

Rambling Thoughts on Cooking

Bursting with holiday flavor! BAM!

Bursting with holiday flavor! BAM!

If you know me in person at all, you’ve probably heard me express a certain level of dislike for cooking.

This is a strange paradox, because I love food, I love homecooked food, I consider myself a foodie. I took pictures of my food before it became uncool. Growing up in Europe and traveling a lot have given me ample opportunity to discover new-to-me foods, the recipes of which I’ve happily stockpiled in my kitchen.

I love them. I love having them. They warm the cockles of my gooey foodie heart. I just don’t seem to get around to using most of them.

Recently, I finally figured out that the main reason I don’t enjoy cooking is that it wears me out, and the main reason it wears me out is neurocardiogenic syncope. Even though standing in the kitchen for long periods of time doesn’t make me pass out, it does cause my blood pressure to drop, leaving me weak and sluggish and blah. A few weeks ago, I went through a phase where every evening after cooking, I’d have to skip most of supper and lie down for the rest of the evening. Meh.

(And yes, I would sit down while cooking, but we have a narrow kitchen and if I’m sitting, there’s no walking through it.)

On top of that, in the back of my mind is always the thought that the time I spend cooking, I could be spending playing with my daughter or writing or doing something else artsy. Yes, there is an artistry and creativity to food prep, but it’s not the primary means by which my creativity likes to burst or trickle or schlupp out of me. I do have fun cooking, but I don’t want to do it every day.

So. All of that to say this: I don’t always enjoy cooking, but I do have some favorite recipes. And one of them is the reason for this post.

The good news is, this one doesn’t require standing in the kitchen for a long time. BOOYA.

Lookit the yummies!!!

Lookit the yummies!!!

Cranberry Salsa with Cream Cheese Recipe

I’ve been using this recipe for years and have no idea where it came from. All I know is that it’s delicious. Like the tinkly laughter of small children. And the purrs of a hundred kittens. And like chocolate. Except that it’s salsa, not chocolate. Make of that what you will.

Mmmmm…chocolate….

*ahem*

This is really the only thing I ever “cook” that people actually ask me to make again.

So, without further ado or adon’t, here it is:

CRANBERRY SALSA RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

12 oz. or 3 cups fresh cranberries, finely chopped
1/4 cup minced green onions
2 tbsp minced jalapeños
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup minced cilantro
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
2 tbsp lemon juice
16 oz. cream cheese
crackers

DIRECTIONS

Mix all ingredients except cream cheese.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours so flavors develop.

Place cream cheese on a plate; form it into a ball-ish; cover with salsa.
Serve with crackers.
By all the gods of galvanized whisk lickers THAT’S GOOD.

VARIATIONS

I’ve experimented with this recipe and discovered the following:

Chop the cranberries by hand or use a food processor; food processor is easier.
You can use canned cranberries (gross), but the salsa won’t taste good.
You can use dried cranberries, but the salsa won’t taste as good.
Honey will work as a sugar substitute, but the salsa will be runny.
An additional 2 tbsp of lime juice adds yumminess, but more than that is too much.
If you have a cramazingly powerful blender or food processor, you can shove all the ingredients into it and process the blurglemamjufloobelschnitzen right out of that puppy.
Your best option is to come be my cook, and I will pay you in cranberry salsa. EVERYBODY WINS.

Dragon Vs. Turkey, Death by Hamster, and Writing Advice

Um. Hi?

I feel like I should be tiptoeing in here, and it’s my own blog. I’m sorry for the extreme silence lately, y’all. Honestly, the only thing I can tell you is that I’ve been pureeing pears and prunes. Seriously. Since the Itty Bitty started her foray into solid foods, I’ve felt as though I’ve been living in the kitchen.

Fortunately, I shall soon acquire a brilliant gadget unfortunately named “Babycook,” which shall do the cooking and pureeing for me and is, fortunately, not made from real babies.

Furthermore

My grand and good intention is to get back into blogging regularly — at least once a week. There won’t be another month-long hiatus if I can possibly help it (and I do think I can, Pauly). In the meantime, I’m also planning an updateish post to let you know what’s been happening in my writing world.

But that’s for later. Right now, I’m in the mood for silly, so silly is what you’re gonna get. Specifically, silly related to keyword searches.

You people are weird, and I love you for it.

Without further ado or adon’t, here are some of the keyword searches that, according to Google Analytics, have recently led y’all to my blog. And also my reactions to said keyword searches. BANGERANG.

1. would you please do me a favor

I never take requests unless asked, so yes!

2. what can be the misuses of having banana
common misuses of a banana

I take it back. You don’t get any favors. Sicko.

3. upside down scrambled cat

I don’t really understand, but okay….

scrambledcat

I didn’t know how to do the scrambled part, but perhaps this will suffice anyway.

4. what to do when your novel gets too complicated

SIMPLIFY.

No, really. Cut a character, erase a subplot or two, delete some scenes. If the novel’s too complicated, it means you’ve got too many cats in your frying pan. Toss a few of them out. You’ll end up overcooking them anyway.

5. sometimes a lady

…will have her cat cake and eat it, too.

6. should a writer listen to suggestions

For the love of all that’s good and true and writerly in this world, YES. Don’t be a precious snowflake.

7. scary hamster
hamster kiss
hamster suicide
dumb hamster
death by hamster
cool hamster

Okay, I can see why the hamsters might be kissing. Even furfaces like a little lip once in a while. And if a dumb hamster and a cool hamster are kissing, it might have entertainment value. Locking braces, awkward positions, AND SO FORTH.

But…but…why hamster suicide? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? And by Grabthar’s Hammer, what is death by hamster? Diana from “V” swallows one and chokes on it?

And why did these searches lead to my blog?!?

#whatisthatidonteven

8. novels — how long is too long

If you keep writing after the story is finished, then your novel is too long.

9. i have a bachelors in writing now what

Yes. Quite.

(READ: When I find out, I’ll let you know.)

10. dragon vs. turkey

dragonvsturkey

How to Burn a Pitiful Omelette

Burnt Omelette in 10 Easy Steps

Ingredients

2 eggs
1 tbsp canola oil
1 skillet
1 stove burner, heated

Directions

1. Place skillet on heated burner.

2. Crack both eggs into skillet. Add canola oil.

3. Scramble eggs (because scrambled eggs are what you intended to cook in the first place).

4. Walk away.

5. Sit down at computer and look at Twitter.

6. Smell something funny.

7. “Run” to kitchen (except that you can’t run because you’re 39 weeks pregnant and everything hurts).

8. Observe “pitiful omelette” smoking in skillet in place of scrambled eggs.

9. Scrape pitiful omelette into trash can.

10. Repeat from Step 1, omitting Steps 4-10.

German Rye Bread Recipe

If you follow me on Twitter (and if you don’t, you really should), you already know that yesterday was Bread-Baking Day.

I started baking my own bread about 3 years ago, when a two-fold realization struck me whap upside the noggin:

1. If I wanted to find good, dense, whole grain, healthy bread (read: not pasty-white-Wonderbread-ish-white-flour smooshiness), I was going to have to buy it at some kind of special bakery or something.

2. Buying bread at some kind of special bakery or something is expensive.

Thus: Woman, get thee to thy kitchen and start thee thy baking!

I’m not sure where I discovered the following recipe, so my apologies to the original baker for not attributing it here. But the fabulous and heart-warming Jennifer Bones (@JennyBBones) was so enthused about the breadal yumminess I posted on Twitter yesterday, I emailed her the recipe just a short while ago. And since I’d already typed it up, I thought ’twas a lovely opportunity to share it here, as well!

So, without further ado or adon’t, I give you:

German Rye Bread

INGREDIENTS

STEP ONE
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110-115ºF)
2 cups whole wheat or rye flour (I use rye.)

STEP TWO
6 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp sesame seeds (I will often add an additional 3 tbsp sunflower seeds or poppy seeds or nuts or all of the preceeding.)
2 tsp salt
5 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups warm water (110-115ºF)

1 egg

DIRECTIONS

STEP ONE
In a 4-quart (or 4-liter) bowl, dissolve yeast in 2 cups warm water. Whisk in 2 cups rye/wheat flour until smooth. Cover loosely with clean dishcloth and let stand in warm place for 4 hours or until dough falls about 1 inch and surface bubble activity lessens. (I pretty much go the 4 hours and call it done.) ; )

STEP TWO
Stir sugar, seeds, salt, 5 cups flour, and 2 cups warm water into prepared dough. Mix well. Add flour as needed to form a firm dough. Knead on floured surface for about 8 minutes (–> smooth, elastic consistency). Cover and let rest 15 minutes.

STEP THREE
Divide dough into 2 or 4 portions. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. (I just divide it in half.)

STEP FOUR
Shape portions into loaves. Grease two baking sheets with extra virgin olive oil; sprinkle each with corn meal. Place loaves on sheets. Cover and let rise 40-45 minutes. (I use two medium-sized loaf pans.)

STEP FIVE
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Brush loaves with lightly beaten egg. Sprinkle each loaf with more seeds (I use poppy, sesame, or sunflower.) Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating pans after 15 minutes or until browned. Cool on wire racks.

Store or refrigerate bread in airtight containers for 5-7 days or in airtight bags in freezer.

Makes spiffy sandwiches and tastes especially yummy warm with butter, cinnamon, and sweetness (I use Truvia.).

10 Free Blog Post Ideas to Use as Thou Wilt

Not only that, but I also got a great new profile pic from Julie V. Photography

Or: In Which I Have Way Too Much Fun Taking Screenshots of Twitter

Apparently, dear inklings, I am in listing mode. By which I do not mean that I am a boat. But I do mean that I’m currently (ha! ha!) about writing lists.

LISTS! YES! Give me list-ery, or give me death!

*ahem*

I don’t know what just happened.

Anyway. Last week, I listed 33 Questions. On Tuesday, I listed 10 Novel-Writing no-nos. (Don’t do those no-nos, or cute things all the way on the other side of the universe will die.) Yesterday on Unstressed Syllables, I listed a googolplex of writing inspirations.

Today, my luvs, I shall list 10 blog post titles. These titles are for you. You may use them however you like. It would mega-cramazing if, when you use them, you’d link back to me so I can come read what you wrote in response to my titles.

If you don’t link back to me, I will send my legion of Evil Elves to tattoo “I’m a nerd” on your forehead.

So here ya go. Have at it, and have fun!

10 Blog Post Ideas for My Readers

(That was the first one.)

The following two titles resulted from a Twittersation with one Dean Carlton (@DinoCarlton), which went something like this:

 
 
 
 
All of which inspired this post you’re reading right now and leads me to the next two blog post title ideas:

5 Ways to Edify the Twitter Kitchen

 

101 Ways to Wok the Twitter-Bird

 
Moving right along… 

The Blogging Habits of 13th-Century Monks

 

How to Please Everyone on the Internet (Even Your Mom)*

 

All Dressed Up and No Place to Blog

 

50 Ways to Leave Your Blogger

 

Why Grocery Shopping Is the 9th Circle of Hell

 

Fruit Flies Like a Banana

Subtitled: And Other Linguistic Shenanigans
 

When Good Velociraptors Go Bad

 

And there you got it, sugar. Ten blog post ideas to vex, befuddle, and inspire you. No substitutions, exchanges, or refunds. And please do let me know how you make use of these!

Ooooh! And if you have some fun blog post titles of your own to share, list ’em in the comments! ;oD

________________
*For the record, I don’t actually believe it’s possible to please everyone, on the Internet or otherwise. But I’d love to see a whopping sarcastic post to go with this title. ; )

Photo credit Julie V. Photography.