My Son Wants to Jerky the Turkey

A few months ago when we were preparing turkey for the holiday season, my son, who has taken up an interest in healthy food and cooking, considered experimenting with turkey jerky. It’s a great alternative to beef and would be interesting to try.

Curious, I went looking around for turkey jerky recipes. None of the three listed below require fancy dehydrators.

1. Turkey jerky made with sriracha chili sauce — probably one my son would try, since he’s a sriracha lover:

How to Make Turkey Jerky (recipe by Macheesmo, on tablespoon.com)

There’s also an Oven Beef Jerky recipe on this site.

2. Turkey jerky made with fresh ground black pepper:

Turkey Jerky (on food.com)

3. Turkey jerkysuper simple and pure.

How to Make Turkey Jerky (That’s Super Easy and Tastes Like Thanksgiving)
(on Mark’s Daily Apple, marksdailyapple.com)

There are many variations of turkey jerky recipes available online that use different spices and seasonings. If you should happen to try making turkey jerky before we do, drop me a comment on how it turned out!

And, of course, if the 18-year-old gourmet chef in this household makes the attempt, I will write another blog post.

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Comfort Food – Vegan Cabbage Rolls

True North Nomad

vegan, cabbage rolls, recipe, healthy, diet, weight loss

After hovering around 20°C (68°F) for the past few weeks, winter has decided to return.  And with a vengeance, I might add.  I’m over the snow and sick of winter cooking.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the season and all of what it brings.  But after a taste of spring, and for the duration of which we experienced it, I would just like winter to take a flying leap!

So on this cold, chilly March day, I sat thinking about what could we eat that was healthy, hasn’t been repeated a million times in the past few months, and will warm me ol’ belly and my heart towards these snowy days.  Obviously, my mind drifted to all sorts of comfort foods.

Comfort foods are universal.  They are found in all cultures, in all countries.  They’re only differing factors are what ingredients make them “comforting”.  They are a warm embrace…

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Three Words for Writers

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Stepping Off the Precipice: What If My Book Had Kept the Prologue I’d Intended?

After reading Prologues and Epilogues — Is There a Point to Them? (Helena Fairfax, A Writer’s Path), which I reblogged in the previous post (here), once again I am forced to revisit my writing process from many years ago, between 2006 and 2010, the early days when I was writing Beyond the Precipice.

Originally, the story had a prologue. But I was not yet a seasoned industry writer in those years, and expert advice from the world of publishing had been that using a prologue was “bad” and frowned upon in the industry, especially for a new author with a debut novel. The result was that the prologue was removed long before beta readers, critiquers, and editors ever saw the manuscript.

The alternative was to use embedded flashbacks, which are meant to flow seamlessly with the narrative, a worthy technique that I made work with Beyond the Precipice.

Ironically, I think if I had used a prologue for this particular book, I would have set the stage for intensity and mood, rendering the gravity of the protagonist’s situation for the readers early on, saving them what some have since described as a “slow start” where they were unsure of the conflict (which comes up several times in the first chapter, actually, but it’s subtle) or how the story was going to unfold. The intense parts came later, but a prologue would have put the premise of the book front and centre at the get-go.

Helena Fairfax writes:

“I intended to drop the backstory into the book gradually, because I’d had it drummed into me that prologues were a BAD THING by lots of writing experts. I read this passage aloud at my writers’ group and it didn’t go down well. It wasn’t obvious what was going on…

“So, after trying my best to avoid a prologue because ‘experts’ told me it was wrong, I tried writing a prologue to ‘establish context and give background details,’ as it says in Wikipedia. In the opening prologue to A Way from Heart to Heart as it has now been published, I describe how five years before the actual story begins the heroine’s husband dies in Afghanistan. In the prologue, she is brought the news by the hero.

“The reader immediately has sympathy for them both through this prologue (at least I hope so!), it’s full of action, and it sets up the entire premise of the novel – that the heroine is terrified of further loss for her son.”

Helena Fairfax’s story of her novel sounds eerily familiar.

Had I used a prologue in Beyond the Precipice, the reader would have known at once that the themes of the book were death, grief, guilt, and oppression from a life-altering incident that had occurred six years earlier, in Bret Killeen’s childhood. The external and internal conflicts that resulted, pitting Bret against his brother, Drake, and Bret against himself, would have been clear and palpable at the outset, drawing the reader into the heart of the story. Through this high-action prologue, the traits of the characters would have been defined early, and the premise for the novel set and underscored for the rest of the book.

The inciting incident for Beyond the Precipice is when Bret meets the cello player, Nicole, in chapter one. Her sudden presence in his life, along with his crossing of the threshold into adulthood, drive the story to its double climax. Bret’s past pushes its way to the forefront of his life, pressuring him to resolve the events and choices of six years ago.

I am left to wonder if–after careful consideration, of course–had I listened to my instincts and released the book with a prologue, it would have elicited more interest from the average reader.

As it is now, Beyond the Precipice is a deceptively smooth read with too light-hearted a beginning. Only readers with life experience, or who have witnessed death (and the effect of unresolved grief), oppression, or family abuse, are fully aware of the gravity of Bret’s situation as it steadily unfolds.

The idea to rewrite the novel by giving it back its prologue is so intriguing, in fact, that I am tempted–at some point in the very distant future–to try it. I strongly suspect the initial impact on readers would be stronger.

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Prologues and Epilogues – Is There a Point to Them?

“I intended to drop the backstory into the book gradually, because I’d had it drummed into me that prologues were a BAD THING by lots of writing experts. I read this passage aloud at my writers’ group and it didn’t go down well…

“So, after trying my best to avoid a prologue because ‘experts’ told me it was wrong, I tried writing a prologue to ‘establish context and give background details,’ as it says in Wikipedia. In the opening prologue to A Way from Heart to Heart as it has now been published, I describe how five years before the actual story begins the heroine’s husband dies in Afghanistan. In the prologue, she is brought the news by the hero.

“The reader immediately has sympathy for them both through this prologue (at least I hope so!), it’s full of action, and it sets up the entire premise of the novel – that the heroine is terrified of further loss for her son.”

Source: Helena Fairfax on A Writer’s Path

A refreshingly insightful article on the use of prologues and epilogues. Read the whole thing:

A Writer's Path

books

by Helena Fairfax

Prologue and Epilogue. Do they have a use? Should they be used? Can you have one without the other?

First of all, the Prologue. Oh, the dreaded question of the prologue for writers. How I’ve agonised over this at times.

According to my useful friend Wikipedia, a prologue is: an opening to a story that establishes the context and gives background details, often some earlier story that ties into the main one, and other miscellaneous information.

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St. Patrick Day River Hike in Northern Ontario

I have waited for over two months to reblog this article, with a reminder set in my calendar. The location, Ontario, is near and dear to my heart, since it is where I grew up. Lakes, camping, hiking, and scenic highway drives were a way of life.

Besides, I like the toast. Read it below in True North Nomad’s article. And check out the snowy photos.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

True North Nomad

Someone once asked me where “my people” were from.  I quickly turned around to check and see if a crowd of folks had taken up behind me.  No one was within 10 feet of me, so with a quizzical brow I glanced back and asked, “my people?”.  I was perplexed by the question, totally unaware I had people.  “Your family didn’t originate from Canada – where were they from?”  Ohhhhh…. “my people”… my heritage.

If you look at the bottom of the Canadian Coat of Arms you will find four plants.  A fleur-de-lis or lily flower for France, roses for England, thistles for Scotland and shamrocks for Ireland.  Each symbolizes the founding nations of Canada.  If your family has been in the “land of the free” for any good amount of time then you’re bound to have most if not all of these countries in your family lineage.  I am…

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Why Writing is Hard, and Why We Should Appreciate It

At the clinic where I work, one of the things we teach students of all ages and levels, adults and university students included, is how to write effectively.

At tonight’s in-house professional development workshop for our teachers, the presenters opened with this quotation, with which some of you may be familiar:

… all our experience of life: the actual substance of it, the material facts of it, embed themselves in us quite a long way from the world of words. It is when we set out to find words for some seemingly quite simple experience that we begin to realize what a  huge gap there is between our understanding of what happens around us and inside us, and the words we have at our command to say something about it.

Words are tools, learned late and laboriously and easily forgotten, with which we try to give some part of our experience a more or less permanent shape outside ourselves. They are unnatural, in a way, and far from being ideal for the job.

Source:

Hughes, Ted. “Words and Experience” in ESSAYS Thought and Style by Brian Kellow and John Krisak.

Ted Hughes is an English poet, playwright, editor, and writer.

This, I believe, encapsulates why writing is hard, and why the work of writers should not be diminished or devalued.

 

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“The Cold Was Just Sitting in Floating Blankets of Pure Brrr”

This is somewhat of a weird post. It may seem random, as I’m interconnecting my obsession with weather, brutal cold, photographs, and writing. However, if you happened to have read Wrapping Up a Successful 2016 (year in review) or A New Year for This Blog (what’s planned for us in 2017), or have been following my blog posts for some time, you will know that this post is completely in character.

My three daughters are writers. The first two are working on novels. Daughter number three by age rank, now in university, is not working on a fiction project, but has proven to have a spectacular way with words, particularly in essays and non-fiction reports. (My son, I predict, is going to make a noteworthy speaker.)

The interchange below takes place between daughter number two, Paula, age 26, and me on March 10th. My status line here is pretty typical stuff, but Paula’s eloquent response warranted this blog post because, of course, the eternal author in me was triggered.

“The cold was just sitting in floating blankets of pure brrr, and then the wind scattered it all.” ~Paula Hodgins

-18°C = -0.4°F and -28°C = -18.4°F. Facebook screenshot.

The aforementioned “Michael.”

According to AccuWeather, Edmonton’s historical average high for March 10th is +1°C (33.8°F) and low -8°C (17.6°F).

Instead, according to The Weather Network, Edmonton saw a high of -15.5°C (4.1°F) and a low of -18.7°C (-1.7°F) on that date.

Punishment, no doubt, for our record-breaking day on February 15, 2017 (+16.4°C/61.5°F) and other warm days experienced in January and February this year. Or is it just the law of averages?

Edmonton breaks 100-year-old temperature record articles with photos:

It doesn’t help that we have an unobstructed corridor with no protective shield of mountains leading all the way up to the Arctic. Its cold can slink down and pounce on us at any time, especially when the temperatures in the High Arctic look like this, and we end up on the wrong side of the jet stream.

Edmonton: March 10, 2017.

“Even the evergreens weren’t green.” ~Beyond the Precipice

Overnight March 10 to March 11, 2017. Photo: Weather Office app, Environment Canada.

Although we will continue to bear grey skies, snowfall, and high wind chills over the weekend, the good news is the hope of spring-like conditions arriving in the coming week. Temperatures in the Arctic — in Resolute, NU, and Yellowknife, NWT (I guess it’s NT now) — have risen substantially in the last few days, which is comforting. Resolute: -41°C (-41.8°F) to -24°C (-11.2°F). Yellowknife: up to -20°C (-4°F). So, while it is still -15°C (+5°F) here in Edmonton on March 11th, conditions are set to improve.

At sunset (6:30 p.m.) on March 11, 2017. Photos: The Weather Channel app.

Edmonton is supposed to experience “normal” temperatures starting March 13th or 14th, even rising above normal by mid-week. In other words, we’ll be riding the crazy temperature roller-coaster again, but at least Spring will come to visit and maybe stay for a while.

An eerie, white winter sun, with the height and luminosity of March.

A hare photographed by Paula Hodgins.

Related posts

Platinum Trees (The most beautiful hoarfrost I’ve ever seen — right here in Edmonton!)

“As the sun’s disc glowed through a veil of white, hoarfrost fell from trees in silent chunks, chipping away the platinum brilliance until only the drab of winter remained. Bret crossed a frozen stream, its surface churning with ice fog like a poisonous atmosphere on some distant planet.”
~Beyond the Precipice

Chillin’ & Cookin’

Well, This Isn’t Exactly Seasonal Either

Geek Strikes Again As Daylight Returns

No Words Needed

Another Weather Post — Jeez, When Will She Quit?

Harbinger of Winter Does Not Stop Festival City

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A Little Sunday Humour with Clips of Conversation

You might be a little tired and bleary-eyed if you forgot to account for Daylight Saving Time, the loss of a full hour of sleep as the clocks sprang forward overnight (Geek Strikes Again As Daylight Returns). So here is a light post — good grief, no pun intended, really! — with some humour for your Sunday reading.

Number 1

Autocorrect: there when you don’t need it, but not when you do!

I wrote this text to notify my daughter, living on her own at a different address, about a letter or bill that had arrived for her from her cell phone provider in my mailbox.

Photo: iPhone 4* screen shot.

Number 2

I’m dark blue here. This discussion was precipitated (yikes, another unintended pun) by a long stretch of early winter’s dark, dismal, cloudy days. When the sun came out fleetingly one morning, we feigned ignorance as to its identity. You forget what a sun looks like after such a long time, you know?

From: When Sunshine is Scarce, Creative People Create
Related: When Snow Gets You Down, Write Songs

Photo credit: iphonefaketext.com (The conversation is not fake, but it was too long for a screen shot, so I had to recreate it.)

__________

* You may be pleased to know that the iPhone 4 (not 4s) that I’d had since June 2012 has finally been replaced on March 7 by a new phone. I am now also on the Android system.

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I’m Curious: In What Format Do You Read the Blogs You Follow?

How do you read the blogs you follow?

Do you predominantly view them on a full computer screen? Or do you mostly use your smart phone?

I’m curious because I’d like to know what kind of display format people are viewing blog posts in.

Below is a survey form (poll). You can place your selection there or leave me a note in the comment section underneath.

I believe I set it correctly to allow multiple answers. (This is only the 3rd poll I’m trying, so I’m new at this.) If you use devices about equally, you can select more than one answer. If that doesn’t work, you can always leave a comment!

I’d love to hear from you!

You voted!

  • 44.44% of you read blog posts on a desktop
  • 44.44% of you read blog posts on a laptop or tablet
  • 11.12% of you read blog posts on your phone

Results as of March 25, 2017, compiled from poll and comments.

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