Tag Archives: Ideas

Lucky Day

Lucky Day - Apple PanThis year is the 100th anniversary of the establishment of America’s National Park System!  I’ve been to a lot of national parks in all kinds of seasons.  Being an indoor/sit down writer, being outdoors in the fresh air and moving about gives me an appetite.  I was trying to think of my favorite (so far) park-related recipe.  It is the dish I never got to try!  During a winter’s day Revolutionary War encampment at Moore’s Creek National Military Park in North Carolina, I watched a woman bake an apple pan dowdy in a large black iron skillet.  As it bubbled over the campfire, my mouth watered.  I stuck around like a dog waiting on a hush puppy to be tossed, but she just kept saying it wasn’t done yet.  I think she meant that it was for the re-enactors, not the visitors.  Oh, well…I came home and made my own.  You can, too!  Make it with a kid or two and plan a trip to your favorite, or a new to you, national park this year.  I think I’ll pick one where they might be making, hmm…Brunswick Stew!

Boy, Howdy Apple Pan Dowdy

This is a simple recipe, easy for kids to help prepare.

If you have a wood-burning fireplace or a fire pit, and an iron skillet, you can give cooking it that way a try.  (Be safe!)  Or, use a baking dish and the oven. 

While any apples will work, sticking with the Revolutionary War theme, I prefer Northern Spys!  Wash them, core, peel if you wish, and cut into wedges.  4-5 large apples are plenty; about 4 cups.  Arrange the apples in your skillet or pan.  Cover them with ½ cup of apple cider; you can use an envelope of the apple cider mix.

In a small bowl, mix ½ teaspoon cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg with 1 cup of brown sugar.  Sprinkle over the apples.  Dot with ¼ cup of butter.

Make a homemade biscuit dough, or used canned biscuits, or frozen biscuits thawed.  Place them over the top of the apples until covered.  Bake at 350 degrees in an oven for about 30 minutes, or until the apples are tender.  For the skillet over a fire, well, just like in Revolutionary War days, you had to experiment, guess, and watch out for fire from kids and husbands who, like me that day at the military park, want some NOW!

Shortcut:  I think it works well to take your apple mixture and just go ahead and cook it on the stove in a boiler until the apples are tender.  Transfer them to your pan of choice and then add the biscuits.  This keeps the apples from being hard and/or the biscuits being overcooked.  Also, the hot, bubbling apples absorb the bottom of the biscuits to create a sort of sweet, delicious goo!  Bake until biscuits are done.  You can brush butter on the the hot biscuits and sprinkle with brown sugar.

Take a taste, don’t burn your tongue, and shout, “Boy, howdy, this is mighty good apple pandowdy!”

Are You A Designing Woman?

Blog_2-DesigningWomanI’m a designing woman!

People often ask me (as a writer), “Where do you get your ideas”

Where does anyone get ideas? Most just come to me, often at the most inconvenient times, such as when I have no paper or pencil or digital doodah on which to record them…my memory is not that good!

But ideas come to be because I seek them out. How? By inhaling, exhaling, looking, listening—so many ideas. I do not try to curate them at the time. How could I?! What, indeed, could the following have in common?:

  • A robin’s egg blue and dull brass French cooking range
  • A picture of a new navy blue and chrome Lexus Rx Hybrid car
  • A fire engine red and chrome ultra-chic door handle
  • A sea glass green and mosque blue invitation to a Casablanca Ball
  • A sailboat, listing to port, red sails billowing, and a woman at the helm

Now all these “ideas” came in the last 20 minutes. I put them in my brain crockpot to let them stew awhile, knowing full well that one day (sooner or later), I will write a novel, decorate a room, buy an outfit, design a logo or a catalog, etc. with some, if not all, of these components. It will not be a surprise to me at all. I will not have to struggle over “what to do.”

When I teach kids (who always say, “But I don’t have any ideas!”) to write, I say, “STOP! LOOK! LISTEN!” In a classroom setting, they are so startled that they do just that.

“Don’t you see,” I say, “that there is a secret panel up there on the ceiling?” “Can’t you tell?” I urge, “that your teacher used to be a spy?” “And can’t you hear,” I reprimand, “that haunting tune coming from the graveyard that used to be in the courtyard of your school?”

Inevitably, all eyes zip and dart from one thing to the other. Eyes go wide. Grins begin. And one pencil, then another, begin to audibly scratch on some form of paper.

It has begun. The magic of imagination. It is there everyday, all the time. Even when your eyes are closed. Even as you sleep.

What are YOU looking at right now?

Excuse me, please: I have a story to write!

CM