Creative Cooking

My daughter talked so much about her pressure cooker and how awesome it was, that I decided I needed to try it out myself.  I got this Power Cooker.

My first attempt was making soup.  I wasn’t sure how long to cook it, so I did it in 15 minute increments.  But after letting out the steam the first time, I forgot to close it the valve.  I didn’t realize it soon enough so that batch burnt.  I tried again and this time is was perfect!  After making soup a few times, I was curious to see what other creative things I could make with this new cooker.  The Power Cooker came with this recipe book and I remembered my Mom making all kinds of jams and doing canning. I decided to start by making the homemade applesauce.

              

I used honey crisp apples, a bit of cinnamon and sugar.  The house filled with this delicious apple-cinnamon aroma.  When it was done and I mashed the apples, I took a bowl of it right from the pot.  It was soooo good warm!  I thought it could use a scoop of vanilla ice cream though.  I will definitely be making this again and maybe adding a bit of nutmeg, more cinnamon, or blueberries!  Really anything I want because that’s what being creative is about.  Stepping out of my comfort zone, trying new things, even in the kitchen! Living a creative life and allowing the creativity flow through me, makes even really rough times seem less stressful.

So take my advice and find a way to connect with your creative self.  Life might just get a bit sweeter.

              

New Beginnings

I love starting a new project!

Right now, I have three new projects that I’ve started and I want to share them with you.  The first one is a quilt that I’m making for a special little girl.  I have more of it done, but I can’t give it away until I give it to her!

Another project I’m working on is a knitting project.  This is going to be a gift for someone, so shhhh, I don’t want to give away what this one is either! I’m using yarn and a kit from my favorite new website, We are Knitters.  They have this amazing Peruvian yarn that is so soft and warm.  Two weeks ago, my hubby was in the hospital and I brought the project with me.  I got it almost complete and it’s turning out beautifully.  Here’s a peek of it when I first started working on it!

And finally, my most favorite project is the continuation of my Keeper series.  I love how when I write, the characters tell me their story.  I think part of it is I’ve lived with these characters for years now and know them so well.  But as their stories unfold, I find myself surprised sometime with the direction or twist that they come  up with.  One big surprise in my last book, The Hollow, was Boon!  He just appeared as Sam was walking down the mountain.  He ended up being pivotal in the story.  I shared a different section on my Facebook page.  So, here’s the prologue.  Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know what you think!  And please like me on Facebook too.  https://www.facebook.com/ladeanwarnerauthor/

“Arlene, Arlene!  Get my shotgun and get out here!” Steve Jenkins yelled as he ran into the yard scattered chicken.  Arlene moved the curtain to the side as she looked out the kitchen window.  Her oldest daughter ran passed her and out the door.

“What’s wrong, Dad?” Arlene heard Sue asked as she ran toward the living room to get the gun from the front hall closet. She heard the frantic voice but couldn’t make out the words.

“Mom, what’s going on?” her younger daughter asked.

“I don’t know,” Arlene replied running back toward the kitchen with her husband’s gun.  The younger girl followed her mother out the back door.

“It’s right over there.  Don’t you see?” Steve asked pointing to the backfield.  Arlene squinted to see the dark figure her husband was pointing at.  She could hear the frantic naying of the stallion in the corral near the barn.

“Steve, what is it?” Arlene asked in a nervous whisper.

“Wolves,” he replied as he reached to take his shotgun.  A dark shadow moved near them behind the garage made Arlene gasp.  “What? What did you see?”

“Over there,” she pointed toward the garage which was only a few feet from them.

Steve lifted his shotgun to his shoulder.  The scream from his youngest daughter made the shot go high into the pine trees lining the garage.  The dark shadow near them turned.  Arlene froze as the creature turned toward them, growling.  In the growing dusk, its eyes glowed red.

“Run,” Steve said pushing his daughter behind him. “Get in the house, now!”

But Arlene stood frozen as the dark creature began to slowly creep toward her.  A howl ripped through the air and she turned toward the sound.  Dark shadows came running across the pasture toward them, their eyes glowing, the returning howls bounced off the mountains surrounding their farmland.  Steve physically pushed his wife toward the kitchen door, screaming at his daughter to run.  Arlene finally began to move terrified as she stumbled and almost fell.  Steve pushed her hard into the kitchen and slammed the door behind them.

Arlene stood gasping for air as her younger daughter wrapped her arms around her waist.  Steve opened the kitchen window and wildly sent gunfire ripping through the quiet country night.

My Creative Life

I thought about doing a blog for years.  I love to write so it makes sense that I’d want to blog.  But it took me a while to figure out what I had to say.

I thought my next book would have come out in 2014.  But 2013 I was caring for my elderly parents and then lost them both in early 2014.  I tried to get back into writing that fall by doing a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project.  I started writing a book that wasn’t a part of the Keeper series.  But I got hung up in the story when I couldn’t figure out how to get my main character of trouble.  I never seemed to have that problem with Meg, Jake or Sam.  So, I just put it away and thought my writing career was over.

In 2015, my daughter had a little girl and  I felt sad that she wouldn’t get one of Mom’s sweaters.  Mom was this amazingly creative person.  She won first place ribbons at the county fair in New Jersey where I grew up for quilts, sweaters, needlework pictures, anything she entered she won. Although I’m an author and Mom loved my books, I never thought I could measure up to her standards in these areas.  So while I always wanted to make a quilt, I never tried it.

I found that I started spending time in craft stores looking at fabric and yarns.  I got a few subscriptions to magazines Mom had and began to image all the beautiful things I could make.  Having spent several years in 4-H as a kid, I had learned how to knit and sew.  I picked up some yarn that I thought would make a cute sweater for Olivia.  I had to do watch a few Youtube videos to refresh my memory, but I did it.  It was just the start!  I’ve made three quilts for my other grandchildren.

All this creativity in other forms has sparked writing creativity.  I found that I want a life that is creative regardless of the art form.  The feel of the Peruvian wool in my knitting project, textures of material in the quilts, and the words on a white screen all enrich my life.  I’m enjoying this new rich creative life.

My blog is being built around my creative journey.   I always encouraged people to pursue their dreams.  I’m finally pursing a big one of my own.

My first quilt and my beautiful granddaughter, Eve.