Monday, August 31, 2015

Calling All Mystery/Thriller Writers!

Hey, guys! The super cool people over at Inkitt - a place for authors to help build their reader base and their full potential - are currently running a writing contest called Cult for all mystery/thrillers! There's no entry fee and no word limit (um, score), but your prize is site-based.

Inkitt says, “Submit your best original mystery and thriller stories. Have us biting our nails
over stories full of adrenaline and espionage. Keep us on the edge of our seats
with your best mystery and thriller stories. We want you to leave us breathless
with yours tales of unmatched suspense.”

 Their guidelines are super-simple, too:

* Authors will retain all rights to any and all works submitted in the contest.

* Original stories of any length are accepted.

* Entries must be posted on the Inkitt contest page to be considered eligible.

* The contest opens on August 17th and closes on September 17th.

* The contest is completely free to enter.

*The top 10% based on reader votes get the chance to be picked by the Inkitt

staff for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

*All entrants will have the chance to show their work to a rapidly growing

community of authors and readers hungry for high-quality fiction.

Think you've got what it takes? Go ENTER and good luck!!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Scrumptious Saturday #7 & My Tuna Casserole Recipe

Tuna casserole has always been a favorite of mine and when gluten and dairy had to go from my diet, I thought I'd never have it again. Luckily, I've had good luck recreating favorites with my restrictions and I finally nailed down a tuna casserole that is almost as good as the originial!

Of course, leave it to me to delete all the good photos because I thought they were backed up (nope), so forgive the phone shots of this.  

Gluten and Dairy Free Tuna Casserole

20 oz of gluten free noodles
2 cans of tuna
1/3 cup mayo
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
3/4 cup coconut milk

* Cook the noodles according to directions.
* Mix together tuna, mayo, nutritional yeast, and coconut milk
* Stir in the noodles
You could eat it now because the noodles will make the dish warm. But if you want to bake it like I usually do, stick it in the oven set at 350 F for 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle more nutritonal yeast on top and bake another 2 minutes. Keep the baking time short because gluten free noodles have a tendency to dry out quickly!

 Additional things you could add in are water chestnuts (my favorite for casseroles) or broccoli - you can add peas, but they're iffy on the Paleo list for some people and I don't eat them. 

This is SO quick and easy to make, and it's creamy, comforting, and everything a casserole should be!



Tom Kha Gai (with substitutes) [from HERE]

Tuna casserole (again), this butternut squash chicken casserole, avocado brownies, and crock-pot brisket.

Turkey Pot Pie [from HERE]

Crock Pot Brisket

When Everything Changes

This is part LDRBlog post and part vent, I guess. I couldn't, for the life of me, think of anything to write this week. I find myself running out of LDR material the longer Justin is here because I've shift from LDR to in person, so my content is kind of lacking.
But this week's prompt is 'Hopes' and I thought that was pretty fitting.
Justin and I have to move out around Halloween. We've been staying with my parents since he moved here so we could save money and also because of Emmy.
So, a lot is changing soon. I haven't ever officially moved out of my parents' house. Because of my health issues, it makes it really hard to work outside the home and the jobs that are from home are proving to be really hard to find. I'm trying some new ideas out but I know most of the income will be Justin's, which I hate. I was raised to make as much or more than the boys, and my dad always wanted me to be very financially independent. Then came the health issues and that made being financial independent a bit of a dream.
I definitely am feeling the pressure already and find myself withdrawing like crazy, like I tend to do when I'm this overwhelmed. There's so much to think about and consider.
House or apartment? One bedroom or two (three?)? Two bathrooms is the dream. Fenced in yard or not? Suburbs or city? Do we split rent? Does it have appliances? Is Emmy allowed? Is her pet fee going to be as much as rent? How do I pay for all my supplements? Insurance? Food? What color will I paint my cardboard box when I fail and have to live under the overpass?
You see?
It's all changing.
I know this has to happen, of course. I just wish I was more prepared financially and, let's be honest, mentally. I don't handle change well and I get overwhelmed really easily. Also having adrenal glands that barely function doesn't make handling stress an easy thing. I break down a lot of small stuff which makes me feel insane, but I can't help it with my hormone levels. So the next few weeks will be...intense, probably.
This is where the 'hope' comes in. I hope everything works out. I hope I find a job. I hope Emmy transitions. I hope I transition.
Part of me is excited for this next chapter of our lives but for now the majority of me is grieving the chapter that is ending. I keep thinking if I made more money that this would be easier, and it probably would be since money is my main stressor right now,  but deep down I know that's not true. I have been bingeing on Youtube and pinterest to psych myself up for decorating - hello redone garage sale/thrift store furniture loves, but there's no preparing yourself for huge changes like this. There's no preparing yourself for really growing up. There's no preparing yourself for life where the toilet seat may or may not be up when you go to pee at three a.m., and you may or may not fall in. I'll take the tree money grows on now, please.

Inspired by this LDR Writing Prompt: Hope

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Scrumptious Saturday #6

Paleo chocolate chip cookies with nice cream. 

Leftover beef stew over gluten free noodles.

Chicken broccoli casserole [from HERE]

Tuna casserole [recipe coming soon] 

Celery with almond butter and Enjoy Life chocolate chips.

Bison burger. 

This was a big week for casseroles. I ended up making two tuna casseroles until the recipe was right, plus we had leftover chicken salad so there were a lot of leftovers this week, too. I love me a good casserole!

Friday, August 21, 2015

3 Places to Get the Best LDR Gifts

Sending and receiving gifts is always fun in an LDR. Gifts are ways to express your love and getting them in the mail is always lovely because you know your SO thought of you and picked something out just for you. Sending can sometimes be more fun than receiving (I said sometimes) so here are a few ideas to send gifts in your LDR.

Amazon - I mean, duh. Amazon has everything. You can order your honey anything they want/need. Books, jewelry, shirts, chocolate, dirty things (bow chicka bow ow). I mean, the list goes on and on. You can have stuff gift wrapped, too, for a little extra special-ness. These mugsare so cute I'm thinking of getting them now even though we've closed the gap. These keychainsare also really cute in case you have a guy, like I do, that isn't into jewelry. Speaking of jewelry, this necklaceis so, so cute you don't have to be in an LDR to get it for someone you love (to the moon and back).

Local places. Florists and food delivery places are amazing when it comes to LDRs. I tried once to order Justin soup while he was sick and have it delivered to his front door but his mom ended up being home that day so I couldn't since she, at the time, didn't know we were still seeing each other.  But Justin used my local florist a lot to send me flowers. It's way cheaper than sites like 1800 flowers, the flowers will be fresh on delivery, and you're supporting a local business. Definitely the way to go for flowers.
Food is always nice, too. Not so easy for me with all my allergies, but ordering your SO a pizza or some other takeout and having it delivered is such a sweet gesture.
Also, there are a lot of places now that have online grocery ordering and delivery. If your SO can't leave the house or is craving something particular, you could order them a bag of groceries, too - just make sure to read the fine print with those sites because some have a $49 minimum when ordering!  Zazzle is a bit like Amazon but almost everything can be personalized so you can have your own message or inside joke on a number of items.

A couple other ideas : and - both have such cute ideas!

Of course, homemade gifts are the most amazing. Once I made cards for different occasions and sent them to Justin. Things like when he was sad, thirsty, lonely, etc. had different things in them like a Starbucks gift card or a laminated 'kiss' of mine (which he still carries in his wallet). Just little notes that had a small gift inside. I sent them with a few other things so it was a bit of a care package. It went over really well. Letters are also one of the best things you can send in an LDR. Mixed CDs are also great.
Or you can use Milktape which adds songs to a USB drive shaped like a cassette tape. Cute, right?

Note to guys: send your girl a shirt or hoodie to wear/sleep in. Sleep in it a couple nights, toss it in a ziplock and then mail it. When your girlfriend gets it it'll smell like you and, trust me, she'll love wearing it/sleeping in it.

Staying connected with gifts and gestures is easy, I promise but adding in some creativity will make them even more special for your SO.

Inspired by this LDR Writing Prompt: Amazing Advice

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Around My Yard

Yes, we have tadpoles. No, they were not planned. My mom is terrified of frogs so once these guys get a little bigger Justin and I are taking a creek road trip to release them.
Of course you need a laughing Buddha on your front porch. And a lion fountain. Necessities.
Also, how cute is that tiny mushroom? I mean.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Scrumptious Saturday #5

 Taco Salad

Turkey Burgers with Wild Sauce

 Bison Chili Fries

Au Gratin Sweet Potatoes

 Made my avocado brownies into a cake for my Grandma's 71st birthday. XO

Leftover Bison Chili on gluten free noodles


Salisbury Steak and Au Gratin Sweet Potatoes


My grandma that lives in Florida has been here visiting and it's been really great. She said she didn't care what I cooked/fixed while she was here so I just kept with a regular Paleo menu (if people are visiting and want, like, cheese-filled lasagna then we'll buy that for them. I'm all about pleasing guests - I'll just have my gf/df stuff as well) and she has loved everything so far. It's nice when someone outside of Paleo can taste what I make and know there's no grain, dairy, etc., in it and actually taste how good everything is. I never try to convert anyone; I do Paleo for my own health issues, but it was nice to have her compliment the food I made. Sometimes you get guests who hear 'gluten free' or 'dairy free' and automatically assume what you're serving is terrible. But it's not. And I enjoyed having my grandma taste everything without judgement - and she loved everything. It was refreshing.