Round 4 Begins

I didn’t blog last week because ROW80 was on break, and I just didn’t feel like it. I also had not met the goals I set for myself, so needed to adjust them. More on that below.

Among other things going on these past two weeks, I’ve been experimenting with freezer meals. I’m not good (as in consistent) about meal planning, and my husband refuses to do more than a couple dinners’ worth, when he goes grocery shopping. This has led to us eating out far too often, which is not only bad for the waistline and wallet, but takes too much time! Then I read about some crockpot freezer meals here. This is nothing new; I’ve heard about them before, but cooking is one area where I am Not Creative At All, nor am I organized. Without a system in place to organize and make the process easy, it would be nothing but a big, time-wasting, chaotic mess if I tried it. But breaking it down into shopping lists and sequential instructions? I can do that!

I picked a set of four recipes from this site, but only made one of each as I wanted to be sure DH and I liked them. We ate three of them over the next couple weeks, and all were delicious! We still have the vegetable soup, but with the arrival of cool weather, that will go in this week. The author has a set of three cookbooks out, so I’m planning to get them.

After that success, I wanted more. I found this site while cruising links, so downloaded the free sample menu they offered in exchange for a newsletter signup. The sample was five recipes, each doubled to make two meals of four servings. I went for it all, which took me about four hours to prep and assemble last Saturday. One recipe actually made three meals, so we had that the following night. It was delicious! So were the other two we’ve had so far (well, to me–DH didn’t like one of them, but would with less seasoning). They provide the meal plans, recipes, shopping lists, and labels for a monthly subscription. If I decide I want more than what’s in the cookbooks from above, I’ll definitely try out a full subscription. It is SO nice to have good food with little to no prep that night, and not to have that “what’re you hungry for?” conversation all the time.

What I read the past two weeks: two novels I really enjoyed, plus a nonfiction book that was just not for me.

ImperviousLast week, I read Impervious by Laura Kirwan. Of note: I found this book because the author had mentioned it in a comment on a blog I read (it was pertinent to the topic, so not blatant promo). I was intrigued about this contemporary fantasy featuring a 50-year-old heroine, so I checked it out. It was fantastic! I loved the take-no-crap heroine, plus the quirky people in her new small-town home, as well as the magical people. I will definitely get the next one!

FirstOneFreeThis past week, I read The First One’s Free, by T.S. Hottle. This is the first in a new science fiction series, and as the title notes, it’s free. 😀 The author is one of my writing friends and has published crime fiction under a pen name, which is evident in this novel as well: along with superb, detailed worldbuilding, this book is full of political machinations and people whose motives are uncertain. Game of Thrones in space, anyone?

warofartI also picked up The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. I’ve heard of this book many times, and a lot of authors find it really inspiring. I did not. It was on sale for $1.99, and I’m glad that’s all I paid for it. I found it to be full of empty platitudes and flowery feel-good stuff, and short on actual actions we can take to be more productive in our writing. It got so silly near the end that I didn’t even finish it. It may work for you; it just didn’t for me.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Round Four starts tomorrow. To that end, it’s time to state my fourth quarter goals. My primary focus is finishing the related novella that goes along with my new release, Time’s Best Friend. I also have some work to finish up for my publisher Mythical Press, and some promo tasks. I’ve already outlined and sketched in the WIP, so now I’m working on the first draft. About 1/4 done there, I would like to draft 4-5 more scenes this week. I also have a book interior to typeset for my publisher. Next weekend is going to be a busy one for me with some family stuff, so this is going to be a stretch.

What about you–if you’re in ROW80,  what are your goals this round? If not, what are some of your goals anyway, whether writing or otherwise? Have you ever tried freezer cooking? And have you read any good books lately? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.


9 Responses to \

  1. So, why do you have to thaw the pouch before cooking? Is it because it won’t fit otherwise? I’ve cooked frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot before and never had any problems with them.

    But using my crock pot is something to consider. I love the meals I get from them. It’s just the grocery shopping I’m not so fond of. Haha! 🙂

    No real goals this week. I’m starting a two-week on online class which I’m sure will take up some of my time. I would like to get my novella finished, though, but every time I think I’m done, I think of something else. To make it better. Yeah, gotta make it better. Right now I’m not so sure about it. 🙂

  2. I’m thrilled to hear you’re working on a novella to go with Time’s Best Friend. I finished it and I love it! Am reading it a second time! A time traveling dog is such a wonderful touch to this series, and I love the new characters and the history in both eras. And the plot twists! Well done, Jennette.

    I seldom cook anymore, but hubby does. Our crock pot broke so we need to buy a new one, but we use it often. Easy, healthy meals. I hope you find lots more recipes that you like. I’m taking a class to become a certified health and wellness coach, and eating out a lot does a lot of us in. I think you’re going to feel much better with the crockpot meals. Have a wonderful week!

  3. Stacy, I hate grocery shopping too. So lucky my husband does it! I think fit is probably one reason for the thawing, but good question…

    Lynn, thanks so much!!! Reading it again?? That made my day! Hope yours is as good as you just made mine. 😀

  4. I have fallen out of the habit of planning and fixing dinner with the purchase of the B & B. Seems like breakfast has taken center stage and by evening time, I’m all of out steam and ideas. If I don’t plan a day or so in advance, we usually don’t eat dinner or we go out. I’m trying to be better about planning dinners when I plan breakfasts, but it hasn’t “taken” yet. I’m a work in progress.

    Thanks for the tips about the crockpot meals. I’m going to give those a shot.

    Have a great week.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  5. I haven’t tried freezer meals, but those would be really helpful on those nights I just don’t want to cook. Hubby doesn’t like to cook, though he’ll make something simple on occasion. (He does help with clean-up, though!)Maybe I’ll take a weekend and make a few freezer meals. They would be especially handy on nights that I teach.

    My goals are to finish drafts of two novellas and a short story this round.

    Good luck this round!

  6. Thanks for the heads up about Mr. Pressfield’s book. That’s one that was recommended to me. I think I’ll pass. I have enough books at the moment. You know how that goes. Planning meals…That is not one of my strengths. But, hubby and I do like to eat healthy. So we don’t eat out much. I tend to not feel good after eating the food. But I am sensitive in that way. I/we like to eat as much organic as possible. I think the key thing is to keep it simple. One of our go to meals is Taco salad. We like it instead of using tortillas.(less carbs) We cook the meat and black beans and add it to the lettuce, tomatoes, onion and avocado. It’s fresh, easy and quick. It’s comfort food for us. Give it a try. You might like it! 🙂

  7. Patricia, I can’t imagine planning dinners on top of what you do! But the freezer meals really do help.

    Thanks, Caren!

    Denise, you can make just a few for those times. Only thing is, they need to be defrosted. Thanks!

    Karen, the freezer meals really do help. has menus for allergen-free, gluten/dairy free, and whole foods, among others. Taco salads are always good!

  8. I really like the idea of those freezer meals, Jennette! I like to cook, and I’m pretty creative too, but I also don’t always feel like standing around in the kitchen for an hour every day. I think I’ll start a new Pinterest board. 🙂

    Good luck this round!