A Month of Writing, Cooking and Blogging

Several yearly events begin  tomorrow,  November 1st.    A repeat for me is  National Novel  Writing Month. The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to write a  50,000 word novel  from scratch during the month of November.  If you are able to do it,  you “win.”  I “won”  in 2008  but never even got started last year.  I’m all revved up this year with a plot all set to go,  using the characters from the 2008  novel.    I re-read the  2008  book (which I had printed out and bound at Office Depot)  so I could reacquaint myself with the characters’  quirks.  At midnight tonight I’m going to write the first chapter!

The second event I’m participating in is a new one for me:  Vegan Month of Food.   I’m to blog about something veganish every day for the month.  This should be pretty easy because if I run out of steam I can just post what I had for dinner.   The links for both NaNoWriMo  and VegMoFo are on the sidebar to your left.

I will also continue updating my other, more serious blog,  Eating  Like  A Sparrow.  That”s the blog where I attribute American obesity (and other ailments) to animal welfare (or lack of animal welfare) and corporate greed.  And as we come to Thanksgiving and the beginning of the Advent Fast I hope to have some articles here on Xenia’s Garden about simplifying Christmas.   So, plenty to write about.


Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

My garden produced exactly two pumpkins this year,  both large and beautiful.   Here’ s a simple recipe for toasted pumpkin seeds:


-All the seeds you can scrape out of the pumpkin
-A small splash of olive oil
-A small splash of soy sauce
-A few drops of Tabasco
-A few shakes of garlic powder
-A sprinkle of salt if you don’t think the soy sauce was enough

Mix it all up and spread on a baking sheet in a single layer.   Bake at 450  till dark brown but not burnt,  maybe 15-20 minutes.

I’d show a photo except today’s batch was eaten before I could take the picture!


Years ago, when all five children lived at home,  I used to do what is called Once-A-Month Cooking.  It was very popular amongst us homeschooling moms.  I remember the publisher of Gentle Spirit magazine  used to print menus and recipes and I could hardly wait for my issue to come in the mail.  The idea is to do all your cooking one day out of the month- a big glorious messy exhausting cooking day- and to freeze the meals.   The plan wasn’t to cook 30 individual recipes but to cook five or six recipes, in large quantities,  like six pans of lasagna,  six freezer bags of chicken and rice casserole,  six pizzas,  etc.   I used to make up the menu,  collect my recipes,  make a shopping list and then, the day before the cooking day,  we’d go to Costco and buy the ingredients which would (in those days) include five or six chickens,  ten pounds of hamburger,  five pounds of cheese,  etc.  Shopping day was a lot of fun!   I’d bake the chickens that night and soak the beans.  On cooking day,  I would steadily work my way through all the recipes, stopping only to wash some pots and pans, until everything was stowed in the small chest freezer in the garage.  What a sense of accomplishment!   It was economical and efficient.  All I had to do for the rest of the month was thaw a meal and heat it up, maybe cook some fresh veggies and prepare a salad.  The meals were good and the family liked them.  Later on I added a separate baking day when I baked bread,  muffins and desserts.

As the kids grew up and left home I gradually abandoned Once-A-Month Cooking.  It was determined that the old chest freezer was an energy hog so we (sadly, on my part) took it to the dump.   Now that it’s just Eddie and me,  I realized that our refrigerator’s freezer was big enough for a month of our meals so I embarked on another happy day of cooking.  Eddie eats meat; I don’t.  I made veggie and meat versions of lasagna, stew,  chili beans and a stack of veggie burgers plus four bags of applesauce (from my neighbor’s trees) and six apple pies.  Also,  four loaves of WW bread and several varieties of quick bread.  (Not to mention a few containers of homemade dog food for Lilly.)  I did it on the spur of the moment and it wasn’t planned as well as it could have been.  I have more ambitious plans for next month!

I was thinking…. Now that Gentle Spirit is defunct, maybe I could post menus and recipes for the community,  especially veggie recipes.  Except I seldom use recipes….  Maybe just the menus, then.

A New Blog

Lately I’ve been working on a little research project.  The material doesn’t seem appropriate for Xenia’s Garden, which is a rather informal sort of a place with everything from dog cookie recipes to thoughts on the Christian life.   If you are interested in my project,  here’s the link:

Eating Like a Sparrow