Friday, October 28, 2011

NaNoWriMo is almost here!

Call me crazy. Go ahead. It's ok...

Did you do it? Good.

Ok, so we've got that out of the way. And now... National Novel Writing Month. November. Every year. Except I had never heard of it until this spring, so now I'm committed. 50,000 words in 30 days of writing insanity - that's the minimum to "win". Theoretically you could write song lyrics, leave out contractions, have deaf characters that keep asking for things to be repeated. But [call me crazy again] I'm writing a novel. And I'm aiming for 100,000 words. With a plot.

Yeah. 3 days from now, it starts. One of two things will happen (ok, one of an incalculable multitude of things) - either I'll completely freak out and end up with 50,000 words of complete garbage (which is totally possible). Or I'll get a reasonably respectable first draft done.

Or I'll pretend to have amnesia and ignore November altogether.

This is me ignoring November. Because aside from NaNoWriMo, November is cold. So I might ignore it.

Nah. I'm going to get 50,000 words written, at the very least. That's my commitment to myself. My plan, my crazy goal, is to actually produce something worth editing and showing other people. Without losing my mind, yelling and flapping my arms around too much, and still performing at least basic personal hygiene and mom/wife functions (like making sure I have milk for the coffee and some cold beer...).

Heck, maybe I'll be so flush with creative energy I'll post all kinds of new recipes and witty blog posts, exercise every day, and take up knitting. OK, not knitting. But maybe I'll have a month of energy, which would be awesome (unless it is followed by a month of lethargy in December, which would be very not good...).

In short, I have NO IDEA what's going to happen. I know I'm excited. I'm nervous. I'm confident. I'm terrified. Whatever happens, it's going to be a heck of a month! I hope you'll be along for the ride... and that I have enough mental energy to post about it!

This is "our" owl. He looks smart. Even when he seems to be sleeping, he's watching. And his eyes are freaky. There's no reason he's on this blog, except this is what I see out the window of the sunroom sometimes, and that's where I write. So maybe he'll be there to inspire me... Or freak me out with his eyes. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Chip Bread

Fall has arrived, and as always, it's accompanied by an overwhelming need to bake. I don't bake much in general, not because I don't like to or don't like baked goods, but because I have a hard time getting over all the butter, oil, sugar, cream and other deliciousness (did I mention butter?). But sometimes you've just gotta do it, and early October is that time. (Maybe if I only clog my arteries one month a year, it won't count...)

So today I decided to make Sweet Potato Cinnamon Chip Bread. Now, I have a serious love of cinnamon... both to eat and to smell. And while I can't stand sweet potatoes on a plate, in a baked delight they are, well, delightful. So here's the recipe:

4 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups canned organic sweet potato
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
          3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups cinnamon chips


Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil in a large bowl until thoroughly blended.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, salt, and nutmeg into the pumpkin mixture.  
Fold in the cinnamon chips.
Divide the batter between 2 greased 8 x 4 x 2 inch pans.
Bake for 80 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (takes a long time - I finally put them on convection at 325, but it took at least 95 min total!)
 Here's what they looked like when they came out of the oven
Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes before removing from pan.
Cool completely before slicing.
 This is a good idea if your family is like mine and can't wait for things to cool...

Update - Just had a piece as a post dinner treat, and it is DE-licious! Moist. Spicy. Cinnamony. Crispy cinnamon chips on the edges... Wow.