Yearly Archives: 2014

Writing and making babies


Dear readers,

wow. I’ve been MIA for way too long. To fill you in on why . . .

I’m pregnant!

And I wrote two and a half novels.

One, a cozy mystery, is probably destined to live on my hard drive for the rest of its existence. I began to write immediately (read: 3 days) after my ectopic pregnancy in June, and it was an incredible exercise in escapism that taught me I am actually capable of writing a novel from start to finish. I wrote lavish descriptions of the character’s bedroom and I could have sworn I actually spent a few hours leaned up against her tufted headboard and snoozing on her high thread-count sheets. It was like there was this magic in my brain that I could activate and–poof! I was in another world.

Enter novels #2 and #3: two young adult fantasy novels (meant to be a trilogy, eventually). I wrote the first one in September and October and I’m querying agencies like mad (querying = trying to find a literary agent who will pitch my project to a publisher). After two months of emailing agent after agent after agent and facing daily rejections (ugh), I still don’t have an agent–but I am at least in conversation with an agent about a potential revision, which is encouraging.

Back to the pregnancy bit: I am 15 weeks along, heard the heartbeat for the first time just the other week, and am coming out of the woods of the first trimester into the light of day.

It’s funny, because I have felt so sick, tired, despondent, and enamored with bedtime, that I thought ‘this is way worse than when I was pregnant with Alice.’ And then I actually went back and read some of my blog posts from that pregnancy, and I realized: no, it’s exactly the same.

Do exactly as I do. Exactly as I do.

(Sponge Bob? Coaching Patrick Star on how to open a jar? Anyone?)

Except that instead of wolfing down French fries (which I don’t have time to run out and purchase on a daily basis), I’m wolfing down box after box of Kraft macaroni and cheese. Orange . . . saucy . . . perfection.

Anyway, what a change from where I was in the summer. I’m suddenly a writer passionately pursuing publication, and having a second baby.

Oh, and my husband just successfully defended his dissertation.


God is good.


The Absentee Blogger that you may not remember, but I’ll jog your memory:

. . . and voila. Hmmmmm.

. . . and voila. Hmmmmm.

I’m the one with the underwear showing.

Porcupine Meatballs


It’s a rainy day outside (rare in southern Arizona), my babies are BOTH napping, I’ve got some relaxing classical piano music playing…. Just the right moment to throw together one of my favorite comfort foods for dinner later today, Porcupine Meatballs. My neighbor made these for us once, and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s a fabulous make-ahead meal, too, since it freezes well.


The flavors are rich and savory without being super intense, so it’s a great meal for all ages. And, from my own personal experience on the receiving end, it is the perfect meal to take to someone who is sick, just had a baby, or is in need of a helping hand. Let’s take the plunge! In about 40 minutes, including prep time, you can dig in to a deeply satisfying meal.



Porcupine Meatballs

For the meatballs:

1lb ground beef
1/3-1/2 c finely minced onion
¾ c instant brown rice, uncooked
1 tsp salt
¼ c condensed tomato soup
1 egg

For the sauce:

2 cans condensed tomato soup
1 can water
1 Tbsp mustard
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Thoroughly mix meat, onion, rice, salt, ¼ c soup, and egg.


Use a scoop or a spoon to make evenly sized meatballs. This little devil will make things so much easier!


Making meatballs and cookies before getting this scoop was a draaaaag, but now it’s a cinch. Bing bang cablammo!
Heat a skillet over medium heat with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in it.


I’m scooping my meatballs straight into the skillet, but you can always scoop them onto some wax paper or something.



This meal is great to freeze–just make extra and pop a bunch of meatballs on a lined cookie sheet, put it in the freezer till the meat is frozen, and then transfer them to a Ziploc bag. If you keep a can of tomato soup on hand, you can whip these babies up in no time on a day when you don’t feel like cooking. I’ve done this a couple of times and it is fantastic!

Once the meatballs start to brown, gently roll them over to start cooking the other side.


Before they are cooked through, remove them to a plate and cook up the next batch if you still have meatballs to cook. Cook, cook, cook. Otherwise, proceed!
In a bowl, combine the remaining whole and partial can (from which we stole ¼ c for the meat mixture) of condensed soup with the mustard and water.


Set aside for a moment.

Add a couple of minced cloves of garlic to the pan with the meatballs and gently stir, for about a minute.


We really don’t want that garlic to brown and get bitter.

Add in the tomato soup mixture . . .


cover, and let simmer for a good 20-25 min.


I usually let mine simmer longer (about an hour), because I like the sauce to be more reduced. Taste the sauce and add salt or pepper as you see fit. I generally don’t add any extra salt. since the soup has plenty on its own.
Your house will be filled with a delicious, homey, mouth-watering aroma.


Man, is this comforting! I like to serve this dish alongside a baked potato, salad, and with sour cream or plain greek yoghurt to dip the meatballs in- strange perhaps, but it takes them to a whole other level!


They may not be so beautiful to look at, but these little uggos will make your taste-buds throw a party. A happy, comforting, warm-soak-in-the-tub-on-a-cold-rainy-day sort of a party.

Hope you enjoy these, guys! Make ‘em tonight!

Click here for printer-friendly version: Porcupine Meatballs