A Writer Cooks in 2017

2017 is going to be the year of the blog. I have a lot of awesome stuff planned so here are some things to look forward to in the new year.

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Here is my new editorial calendar in my bullet journal for the blog. I plan on eventually putting up content every single weekday but for now I’m working on a minimum of three posts per week. As you can see, Mondays are going to be my Pinterest days. Right now I’m doing a Pinterest roundup weekly (except this week, oops) but in the future I might be doing something a little more in depth.

Wednesdays are book review days, I haven’t decided on what exactly is going up in January yet. But I have a very very large queue of books to be read, so hopefully we can work through that.

Fridays are for food, my goal is a recipe post every week but at least a food post every week, even if it’s just a picture and link to the original recipe.

Those are the main three posts a week that I’ve been doing for a while now (or trying to do). Introducing in 2017: Throwback Thursdays!

I know, it’s such a social media thing to do, but I think you’re going to like this. Below is my childhood:

My parents wanted some more room in their house, so I brought all of my old books to my house. We’re still working on getting a bookcase to house them all.

Inspired by some awesome blogs I’ve seen around, on Thursdays I’m going to read and review stuff from this giant pile of books. These include Boxcar Children, Babysitter’s Club, Princess Diaries, Thoroughbred, Marguerite Henry, Beverly Cleary, Nancy Drew, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Gail Carson Levine, all sorts of throwback goodies. I’m really excited to start this process. I don’t think I’m even going to make a dent in this if I do just one a week so we’ll see how it goes.

So that’s how we’re going to start 2017! If you have any ideas or suggestions for me, please let me know below!

My Bullet Journal Setup for 2017!

My 2017 Bullet Journal Setup -- A Writer Cooks

Are you looking forward to the new year? I know I am. And one of the things I’m looking forward to the most is using my brand new bullet journal! Here is a link to the post I made last year showing off my 2016 bullet journal!

The only thing I asked for from my parents for Christmas was a Leuchtturm notebook. It’s a bit more expensive than something I’d buy for myself. They came through and ordered me one in Emerald, it’s definitely more green in person than in this picture.

Definitely a cool thing about the Leuchtturm is the premade index pages and already numbered pages. I didn’t tend to use either too much in my old bullet journal but it’s definitely a nice feature.

Page number 1 has to be a title page. I’m not the most artistic or creative type so I went for more of a plain minimalist title. It was surprisingly hard trying to figure out spacing and stuff like slanted lines. Any more creative bullet journalers have tips?

I really loved this idea for future planning from PageFlutter. It combines the future planner with the basic monthly layout and makes planning in the future much more organized. This leaves so much more room on my monthly page for more interesting stuff, as you’ll see in the next picture.

Also, there’s a lot of showing through for darker lines like the title page, but luckily no bleeding through of ink.

For January, I went with a simple to-do list and habit tracker. I’ve done full page habit trackers before in my old journal but I thought I’d keep it simple to start out with, with half a page and only a few habits to track. I have room to add a couple more and as the year goes on I might track more habits and make it larger. For my to-do list I forgot about the bullet part of bullet journaling, hence the alignment mistake.

This goes with the next post I will be putting up about my blog in 2017. I’m planning on being a lot more organized and making it a point to keep up with blog posts, making a serious plan and doing a lot in advance. I only post on weekdays because my weekends are so random, so I made a small calendar only for Monday through Friday. We’ll see how it works out and I may keep or change it for February.

I still need to work on headers and straight lines. My one and only ruler went missing so I’ll need to figure something else out. I did do it in pencil first and that seemed to help a bit.

Unf*ck Your Habitat by Rachel Hoffman

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This book will be released on January 3, 2017. I received a copy through NetGalley.

Unf*ck Your Habitat is a bit different from the usual books I review, but I requested this as soon as I was aware of its existence. I’ve been following the blog for a long time now and adore it. It’s part motivational and part self help, inspiring many people to start cleaning up their homes. I love seeing the before and after pictures posted on the blog.

This book is the blog, condensed. It goes through affirmations that you’re not lazy if you have a messy house, especially if you have physical or mental limitations. It’s encouraging to everyone to only do as much as you can, whether it’s clearing off one single surface or doing a mad marathon clean when your landlord is coming. The book has a ton of awesome cleaning tips for that situation too.

As you can probably tell from the title, this is not a book for your grandmother (unless your grandmother swears a lot, I don’t know). It does have a liberal amount of naughty words but if that doesn’t bother you, great! It’s not a bleep every other sentence kind of thing, they’re just peppered throughout. If you have someone that would benefit from this book and appreciate the sentiment, I highly recommend it. Or just buy it for yourself if you need a small kick to get your habitat in order.

Click below to go to Amazon to buy the book. This is an affiliate link, so any purchases will go towards supporting this site. I was not compensated in any way to write this review besides receiving a review copy.

Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess

Also, click here to visit the blog!

DIY Italian Dressing Mix with Great Chicken Recipe

 

DIY Italian Dressing Mix with Chicken Recipe

When I first started learning to cook, prepackaged things like onion soup mix, Italian dressing mix and cream of soups were a godsend. They made dishes well seasoned and creamy with no extra work from me. That’s always a plus in my book.

However, as I started learning more about cooking and nutrition, I wanted to avoid all the extra sugar and ingredients found in those products. I’ve cut out some of them, like the cream of soups, and found homemade recipes for others, like spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, taco seasoning and Italian dressing mix.

This chicken recipe is one of my favorites. It was one of the first chicken dishes I ever cooked, and I still love it because it’s tasty and easy. The only problem was that it used a packet of Italian dressing mix. So, I figured out how to make my own through recipes online.

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I got these little jars as a wedding gift from a friend. They’re the perfect size for spice blends, I have my taco seasoning in one as well. I just label them for now with a piece of tape and a Sharpie, so I can change it if I need to.

Here are all of the ingredients you need. If you cook, you should have everything already, especially if you’re a spice hoarder like me. (Seriously, I should make a post about my spice collection sometime. It’s ridiculous.)

Here is everything all mixed up. One recipe fills up my little jar nicely, and it’s good for more than one dish.

This was a recent time I made this, I used chicken breast cutlets and simply folded them in half in the baking dish to make them thicker. I served them with baked potatoes

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This was with chicken thighs. As you can see, it’s versatile and can be used with chicken breasts, thighs, tenders, cutlets, legs, even pork chops!

Simply Great Chicken with DIY Italian Dressing Mix

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

4–6 pieces of chicken

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp Italian Dressing mix

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking dish with foil.
  2. Combine brown sugar and spice mix on a plate.
  3. Coat chicken with mixture. Place into baking dish, sprinkling on any extra coating.
  4. Bake for about 1 hour, less time for thinner pieces of meat.

DIY Italian Dressing Mix

2 Tbsp oregano

1 Tbsp parsley

1 Tbsp white sugar

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp basil

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp celery salt

1 pinch red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)

Directions

Place all ingredients into a small container and shake or stir well.

Weekly Pinterest Roundup

Welcome to my weekly Pinterest roundup, no images belong to me, only their respective owners. Click each picture to go to the link.

Pinterest is a huge help in my day-to-day life, I use stuff from it every single day from recipes to fitness routines to just cool lifestyle ideas. Every week I like to round up a few things that I really liked recently.

Inspirational:

I’ve been admiring a lot of bullet journals lately while thinking about the one I’m going to start in 2017. (Crossing my fingers I get a nice notebook that I asked for for Christmas!) I love how mostly minimal these three spreads are, but still have nice color.

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Food:

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Shrimp and Avocado Pasta. I made this last week using my brand new food processor for the first time. Try this recipe, you’ll love it! Just a couple tips, don’t use a whole pound of pasta, and do not overdo the lemon juice!

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I’ve never eaten a beet in my life, but I’m looking to try a bunch of new foods this coming year. This is a beet burger with chickpeas. Yum!

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Cabbage is another new food I haven’t tried. This looks like a nice and easy way to eat it.

Style:

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I adore gray. I love how simple and monochromatic this outfit is with a pop of red.

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I’ve been looking for cute duck boots forever, and these with my two favorite colors look amazing!

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I’m really not a pink person at all, but something about this shade really draws me in.

Easy Edamame Rice

Easy Edamame Rice - This is a great recipe for a quick side dish to go with any main dish. It's quick, easy and totally healthy!

 

Edamame, or soybeans, are a delicious addition to any meal. One cup contains more than half of your daily recommended amount of protein, and 287% of your daily recommended molybdenum. No idea what that is? I didn’t know either. Scientists are still studying it, but it is believed that it helps convert one form of sulfur into another in our bodies to keep it moving. Interesting, huh? This means molybdenum helps keep the sulfur in our bodies balanced in order to do things like keep the liver detoxified.

I love this simple side dish because it’s so delicious and could not be easier. Just two simple ingredients, cooked rice and edamame. You can leave off the cheese if you want and just season to taste with your desired herbs and spices. And if you cook the rice in chicken stock instead of water, you can flavor it that way too.

When I served it, I paired it with Slow Cooker Creamy Garlic Chicken. It was delicious, but a bit thin as you can see in the above picture. I’d keep adding your thickener (sour cream or cream cheese) until it thickens up more.

Easy Edamame Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

Ingredients


1 cup rice (parboiled works best)
2 cups water or chicken stock
1 cup frozen edamame
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Directions

  1. Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. When most of the liquid has been absorbed but it still looks wet, stir in frozen edamame.
  3. Continue to cook rice until done and edamame has thawed and warmed through.
  4. Stir in cheese.


Writer Style/A Writer Cooks WordPress.com Edition is Back!

2016 was a year of experimentation. I received free web hosting for a year through a course, so I decided to get my own domain and make a go at running a website for real, see if I could make any money from it like everyone on Pinterest seems to do. Big surprise, I got nothing, barely any views or clicks. The money is really not important though, I’ve discovered that I really don’t like the business side of blogging all that much. This coming year, I want to focus on making great content.

I really missed the WordPress.com platform with its easy reader and friendly community of people. Therefore, I will be back to blogging here, hopefully under my domain A Writer Cooks, if I can get it to work.

I have a lot of great blog posts planned, so if you’re not already, please subscribe. I’ll be posting a ton of book reviews and delicious recipes along with some lifestyle posts. 2017 is hopefully going to be a great year.