Every year thousands of people with questionable sanity decide to spend the month of November writing a novel.  The project starts at on November 1 and ends at midnight November 30th and involves putting 50,000 at least semi-coherent words on the page.  This is about gonzo writing – forget fine editing and good writing, those are for another time.  NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is for writing that novel you’ve been talking about writing for years, or at least trying to.  Of course the possibility of finishing the ~175 pages in a month is related to how much time and mental energy you have available for writing.  I didn’t get very far last year – and my story was so bad even I didn’t want to read it.  But this year it’ll be all new.  It starts tonight at midnight – are you ready?  Are you writing?  For details and to register check out

Try one of these easy, quick, warming, filling, healthy recipes for inspiration, to keep your energy up, or just for fun. 

Coconut Curry with Turnips

  • 1 bunch turnips
    1 onion
    2 stalks celery
    1 large sweet potato
    2 medium white potatoes
    1 can coconut milk
    1 cup Jasmine rice
    1 cup lentils
    2 Tbs curry powder
    1/4 tsp cayenne powder
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp salt
    4 cups water

Cut turnips and peeled onion into chunks. Slice celery. Peel and cut potatoes into chunks the same size as the turnips and onions. Put all the vegetables into a large pot (this can also be done in a slow cooker or in a casserole in the oven.) Add coconut milk, rice, lentils, spices, and salt. Stir, then add the water. If you are cooking in a pot, cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and rice are cooked through. This should take about 1-2 hours. If you are using a slow cooker it will take considerably longer, same with making a casserole on low heat in the oven.

Garlic Kale with Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinegar

  •  1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh kale
  • 2-5 cloves garlic, depending on your taste
  • 1 large can chopped tomatoes, drained – save the juice
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (capers)

Wash but don’t dry the kale.  Rough chop it.  Peel and slice garlic.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil in sauté pan with a lid on medium high heat.  Add garlic to the hot oil and let cook for a minute or two until aromatic but not brown.  Add wet kale to pan, mix well then cover.  Cook for a couple of minutes, open lid, stir kale, add tomatoes then cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.  If the kale seems dry, add a little saved tomato juice as needed.  Add the vinegar, cook uncovered for another 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add capers, if you are using them.  Serve hot, either as a side dish or on top of polenta or pasta.

Turmeric Cucumbers with Romaine Lettuce

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 Tbs turmeric
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • several grinds of fresh black pepper
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups finely chopped Romaine lettuce

Peel cucumbers then cut in half lengthwise and slice.  Toss the cucumbers with the turmeric, salt, pepper, olive oil.  Let stand for at least an hour.  When ready to serve toss the cucumbers with the chopped lettuce.  Eat.  Turmeric is very good for the body – including as an anti-toxicant and anti-inflamatory.  Just what you need after eating a lot of Halloween candy and getting tired hands from writing.

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