Monday, July 22, 2013

New NS Chef's Table Dishes

NutriSystem has added more dishes to their gourmet Chef's Table line. The entrees come frozen, while the popcorn is shelf-stable and ready to eat.  They've promised even more to come from this line through the end of August, and I'm looking forward to trying those.

Chef’s Table Grilled Chicken Sausage with Peppers.  Spicy, peppery goodness.  Three big pieces of chicken sausage with good flavor.  Green and red peppers and onions.  It was saucy enough that it would be wonderful over brown rice, but I just ate it alone.  Will order again.

Chef’s Table Spaghetti Primavera with Chicken Meatball.  The sauce and the veggie were okay, but I liked the meatball better.  Too bad there’s only one in the meal.  It was okay, not sure if I’ll order it again.

Chef’s Table Tilapia with Asparagus and Rice.  The fish was perfect, I was worried it would be a bit mushy, but it came out great.  The asparagus was good, tender.  The rice was definitely more “Minute Rice” than “Uncle Ben’s” and could have been better, though the herbed flavor was good.  Long grain wild rice would have been ideal.

Chef’s Table Whole Wheat Ricotta Crepes.  The flavor is very good, cheesy with a spicy marinara sauce.  The crepes, themselves, are slightly sweet, which I wasn’t expecting, but they’re very tasty.

White Cheddar Popcorn.  Nice amount.  I was afraid it would be a small bag and leave me wanting more, but it was just right.  It’s not overly cheesy, but it is yummy and tasted fresh.

More great news, I've passed the 40-pound-mark!  Another bear for me :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Camp Status and Short Stories

It's almost the middle of the month, and I have just over 6,800 words written so far, which I'm very happy about, as I set my challenge at 10k, though I'll keep plugging along after I reach that.  I'm really enjoying writing the short stories, although some of them are much longer than the 1,500 count I was expecting. 

Some of the stories are standalones, but there's a large group of interrelated stories that might end up in one book someday down the road, and I'm having fun being able to jump around and tell each character's story.  These are characters near and dear to my heart that I created years ago for an MMORPG, though the stories do not take place within the world of that MMORPG at all.  But now I have the pleasure of being able to have my characters interacting in the stories, which I could never do before.  I have a little concern as to how much of modern culture I want to include in the story, as it does include creatures like trolls and dragons, and the land is sparsely populated and based on an earth-like medieval-like landscape. 

I'm also looking forward to writing some poetry this month, it's always very relaxing for me, and I'm thinking of challenging myself to write in different poetic forms, which I haven't done a lot of before, so it will be fun.

The weight is still going down slowly, but I'm happy as long as it keeps heading in that direction.  NutriSystem just added some new gourmet frozen meals this month, and my next post will be a review of those once I've tried them.

I'm also trying to stay on top of my reading challenges for Goodreads.  During November's NaNo event, I don't do any reading at all, there just isn't enough time, but since my word count is more relaxed this month and because I'm better prepared for what I'm writing, I think I can stay on track with the reading.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Camp NaNoWriMo 2013 2nd Session has begun!

Camp has officially begun, and I'm ahead at the moment.  Didn't write a word yesterday (for Camp), but I was otherwise occupied and will be able to write today.  Working on short stories is very different than working on a novel.  I'm trying to keep the stories to 500-2000 words.  I'm currently working on one that is related to several of the other stories, so some continuity will happen that is a little unusual in short stories.  Some of these will be based on characters that I created and played in an rpg, but their personal stories were never told.  This will be fun, because I can finally have them interacting with each other, which was impossible before, and allow me total freedom to take them places they've never been.

I have already received the package from my swap partner and have sent hers off on Monday.  The eight postcards I wrote for the postcard swap went out in the mail on Saturday, and I'm hoping they get to their destinations without any trouble.  The swap events are always very fun, and I look forward to them during each NaNo.  

On the genealogy front -- I emailed two dioceses in Cuba on Saturday asking for birth information for my grandfather, Pedro Corpion, who was born on June 7, 1908 in either Bayamo or Cienfuegos (which is why I emailed two dioceses).  I think the name I have for his mother is incorrect, and the birth information will clarify that for me.

Books Read June 2013

Adams, Ellery
  • Pies and Prejudice 
Fiction.  Ella Mae returns home to Georgia after catching her husband cheating on her.  She moves into a guesthouse behind her mother’s house and is warmly embraces by the five women who raised her and who help her fulfill her dream of opening a pie shop.  An untimely threat to her childhood nemesis is mistakenly assumed to be toward the woman’s fiance...who ends up dead.  Ella Mae needs to clear her name and goes about trying to solve the murder.

Beck, K.K.
  • A Hopeless Case 
Fiction.  Jane has spent the last 20 years living in Europe, when she receives the news that her wealthy uncle has died.  She has inherited his house and his money...with a catch.  She must move back to Seattle and take over his foundation.  Her new job is to solve hopeless cases, cases where an injustice has been done and which can’t be solved through the normal channels.

Bevill, C.L.
  • Bubba and The Dead Woman 
Fiction.  One night while working at the gas station, Bubba looks out the window and sees a familiar face, someone he hasn’t seen in years.  When he arrives home, he finds that person dead from a gunshot in the back.  Can he solve the murder before they string him up for it?

Bretton, Barbara
  • Spells and Stitches 
Fiction.  4th in the Sugar Maple series about the half-human, half-Fae owner of a successful yarn shop who is married to a full-blooded human and lives in a magickal village.  Luke and Chloe have been trying to keep a distance between his overwhelming family and the magicks of Sugar Maple, but things come to a head when they discover that Chloe is pregnant, and the baby might be in trouble.

Canfield, Jack
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can’t Believe My Cat Did That! 
Non-fiction.  Collection of heartwarming tales of the peculiarities of cats and the owners who love them nevertheless.

Dams, Jeanne M.
  • Murder at the Castle 
Fiction.  13th in the Dorothy Martin series about a 60-something American woman who moves to England after the death of her husband.  She is remarried to an English ex-Chief Constable, and the two of them seem to keep finding themselves involved in murders.  In this book, they travel to Wales for a 10-day musical concert vacation that rapidly turns into a mystery.

Houston, Victoria
  • Dead Angler 
Fiction.  A retired dentist living in the small town of Loon Lake, Wisconsin spends his free time fishing the many lakes and streams around him.  When he takes up fly-fishing again, he’s drawn to the Chief of Police who is his fishing guide.  A murder brings them closer.

Wahlstrom, Ralph L.
  • The Tao of Writing 
Non-fiction.  Wonderful book more about the creativity of writing than the technique of writing.  Has lots of exercises in the back to get your creativity moving.