Novel Links

Here's another round of novel links that have entertained me this week:  

Books and cooking! Here's a post about being inspired to cook by a great novel.

An interesting post about being an inaccessible author from Shannon Hale. They're not super heroes, people. They still have to do laundry and stuff.

Genius book marketing for John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. Thank goodness the preparedness kit includes tissues.

These introvert stories get me every time. It's like they can see inside my brain!

I recently saw the trailer for Le Week-End, and it looks like it has the potential to make me both laugh out loud and become a bit weepy. Definitely on my list to see.

I'm all about these simple wine tasting projects from The Kitchn.

And just because, baby elephants.

That's all, folks.

A Grilled Cheese Sandwich to Brighten Your Day

This has been a rough few days, people. With bombings in Boston, an explosion in West (a town I make frequent stops in on my drives to and from Dallas) and a bus crash that hit a little too close to home, both personally and professionally, I'm feeling emotionally drained. Combine that with long work days and a traveling husband, and you have one cranky writer who has to fend for herself for dinner. Not a pretty picture. After two nights of frozen chicken tamales, I wanted something different. In a sheer stroke of genius (and Googling), I scrambled together the following recipe, which I've now dubbed the most amazing sandwich I've ever made. This isn't gourmet by any means, but it certainly hit the spot.

Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese with Green Apple Serves 1

Ingredients: 1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced in half 1 tablespoon of butter, softened (or if you're like me, good ol' Country Crock) 2 slices of honey wheat bread 3-4 slices of smoked Gouda cheese Freshly ground black pepper 3-4 thin slices of green apple, sandwich-maker's choice (I think I used Granny Smith)

Method: Preheat skillet or frying pan over medium-low heat.

Rub one side of each slice of bread with the halved garlic, then thinly coat with softened butter.

Place the first slice of bread, butter side down, into the skillet. Top with enough cheese to cover the slice.

Top cheese with thinly sliced apples and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

Cover sliced apples with a second layer of cheese and top with second slice of bread, butter side up.

Grill sandwich until golden brown on each side, making sure the cheese is melted. If the cheese is being stubborn, cover the pan with a spare lid while cooking. If that doesn't work, pop the pan and sandwich in a 200 degree preheated oven.

Slice and enjoy!

Food, Again...

I like food. A lot. I eat out. A lot.

This gets very expensive on a young PR pro's salary. While breakfast is pretty straight forward each day (toast), I work near lots of neat restaurants that make bringing my lunch to work seem like a very sad idea. I also spend the majority of my day talking about restaurants, since we do a lot of restaurant PR. Suffice it to say, I'm not very good at bringing my lunch to work.

However, I admire people who have the discipline to make meal plans each week, like my high school friend Katy. Using people like her as an inspiration, I decided to attempt meal planning for one week. I kept it pretty simple, with sandwiches, pasta and salads. Pretty boring foods, I know, but I wanted to give myself the best odds for success.

And the verdict is...

Meal planning is great! For some reason, taking the mystery out of each meal made it much easier to stick to the plan. It also made grocery shopping much easier, since I already knew what I needed for every meal for a week. I spent $50 in groceries for the week, which is pretty good compared to the $35-40 a week I could spend on eating lunch out alone.

Eventually, I'll post recipes and photos from some of my favorite kitchen adventures, but for now I'm scouring the internet for good recipes to try. Some of my favorite sites so far are Pioneer Woman and Smitten Kitchen. Do you have any go-to recipe sites?