Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Easter Eggs (yes, in June)

This is extraordinarily belated, but I wanted to post about how we decorated our Easter Eggs this year.  We used Kool Aid packets!

I saw the idea on Facebook and then searched online for more information.  It was very simple, we just emptied the packets of powder into a cup and added 1/2 cup cold water.  There was no need to add vinegar or anything else, because the packets contain citric acid, which is already an acid (or so it said online.)

An added bonus of this method was that the house smelled really good while we dipped our eggs

Another added bonus was that the color didn't come off on my hands later on, when peeling the eggs.  That, in itself, made this experiment worthwhile.

And with the very cheap cost of Kool Aid packets, especially the store brand, this was actually cheaper than buying a dye kit

Our eggs.  Notice the duck photobombing it

Most of the colors turned out really nice.  I had to make my own green by mixing lemonade and the blue one (blue raspberry?  I can't remember anymore and the flavor is cut off) and it wasn't particularly vibrant, but that's okay.  Grape didn't make for very purple eggs either, they came out closer to black.  And lastly, my online source said to add a bit of orange or red to your lemonade because yellow isn't very strong.  I used food coloring for that instead of another portion of a packet, and accidentally added way too much--so no yellow this year.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Bean Soup

Okay, I'm gonna be a foodie today.  I actually boiled a ham bone into soup recently.  (And by recently, I mean a few months ago, when it was still cold.)

I've kept the ham bone after every ham we've ever eaten, and usually forget to use it.  When I go to put a fresh one in the freezer, I pull out the old one and throw it away.  This year, I decided, would be different.

I loosely followed this recipe for the stock:

  • 1 ham bone
  • 1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
  • 2 carrots, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 celery ribs, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 3 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme, crumbled
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • water to cover
I let it boil for a few hours, and the house smelled really nice.  I liked using whole spices in it.  I've never done that with a soup before.

My bone still had a substantial amount of meat on it, and since I added beans to the actual soup, it packed a wallop of protein.  Here's what I did with my homemade stock:

Black Bean Soup (from McCall's Cooking School)
2 cups (1 lb) dried black beans
Cold water
1 leek
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cans condensed beef broth (this is where I used my ham stock instead)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tbsp butter or margarine
Chopped red, yellow and green onions (optional)
Tortilla chips (optional)

Soak the beans (overnight or quick-soak.)

Drain the soaked beans; discard soaking water.  Return drained beans to a Dutch oven and add fresh cold water to cover beans.  Bring beans and water to boiling over high heat; reduce heat, cover Dutch oven and simmer for 2 hours or until beans are tender.

Drain the cooked beans, reserving liquid.  Set beans and reserved liquid aside.

Trim leek:  Cut off root and and green stem.  (Leek should be about 5 inches long after trimming.)  wash leek thoroughly to remove dirt and sand.  Cut on diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Heat vegetable oil in Dutch oven over high heat.  When hot, add leek, onion and garlic.  Saute until vegetables are browned, about 5 minutes.

Add reserved bean liquid and, if necessary, water to the beef broth ham stock to make 6 cups liquid.

Add salt, brown sugar and beans to leek mixture.  Stir in ham stock mixture.  (I also added all the bite-size chunks of ham I pulled off the ham bone after making my stock.)  Bring to boiling over high heat; cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 10 minutes; stir in butter.  Serve soup topped with chopped onions and tortilla chips.  Makes 12 servings.

I don't even like beans, and I thought this was delicious!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

May Stat Check

During the month of May, I wrote/edited on all 31 days
I editied two picture books, one that I just wrote and another, much older, one, and I edited/rewrote two stories that I wrote sometime last year.
I made 0 submissions
I had 1 story shortlisted for publication
I received 3 rejections (including the previously-shortlisted one, phooey)
I have 12 stories in slush pile circulation
I made 2 blog posts
I took no days off

Solid writing this month.  I feel really good about the picture books, in particular.  Other than that, I'm quite tired and feel like I'm falling behind in the "life department."  More on another day.