How to Properly Caramelize Onions

408_09.jpgHello loyal readers. It is time for yet another of my (soon to be) famous random informational posts! Last time we learned the basics of how to shoot a bow and arrow. Today we will be discussing something even cooler.

How to properly caramelize onions.

Now, just for the record, I can’t stand onions. They are slimy, smelly, weird tasting, and just generally unpleasant to find in your food. This is why I love to properly caramelize the daylights out of my onions. The more I do, the smaller and less visible they get. They also taste…not bad (really amazing) when caramelized properly.

Okay” you might be thinking. “Why is this worth my time? I just dice them up and put them in hot oil, right? Isn’t that okay?”

Well, when I went to my one and only Indian cooking class last summer, and the woman saw me tearfully dicing up the onions (I have absolutely no onion tolerance, it’s horrible) she kind of gave this restrained pterodactyl screech, then proceeded to tell me that I had pretty much almost ruined the entire meal with my heathen onions. What she showed me next changed my life.

  1. Do not dice the onions. Cut them in large, paper thin strips, like this, but even thinner:

onion slices.jpg2. Heat up the oil before you put the onions in. That way the onions don’t absorb the oil and get soggy and gross.

3. Now, here is the most challenging part. Put the heat on medium-low. Put the onion strips in. Then be patient.

You see, in order for the onions to properly caramelize, it must be cooked slowly, ideally over a period of 15 to 20 minutes. Although I won’t lie, I usually get impatient and turn the heat up a little. Don’t do that. It’s worth it to wait. Just make sure to give them a little stir every now and then.

If you sliced beautiful, paper thin onions, and slowly caramelized them over low heat, you should eventually get something like this:

PALEO-CARAMELIZED-ONIONS-RECIPE

I know, right? With these babies, you could make a killer curry, or marinara sauce, or a creamy mushroom potato soup, flavored by caramelized onions, with croutons and a light sprinkling of middle eastern yoghurt over the top. Or something.

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So what are you waiting for? Go and cook! And have an excellent Sunday.

Follow the Flow Chart to Find Your Next Book!

Tired of seeing the same old stories recommended on Goodreads? Desperately searching for a refreshing and engrossing novel so that you can be sucked away from boring reality for a day before being rudely thrust back in after the last page has been read, desperate for yet another fix? Well, boy, did I randomly create the flow chart for you!

Just answer the questions and make your way through the chart. I tried to mostly include books you likely haven’t read before, although there are a few popular novels in there that were just too good to resist. Start at the question about reading YA.

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The Very Basics of Archery (How Not To Suck, pt. 1)

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Today’s blog post will be on something completely not related to books, because it’s my blog and I can do whatever the hell I want.

Namely ARCHERY!!!!

Today’s informative post will be on how to shoot a bow like a badass, i.e. how not to do the stupid things you see actors doing in the movies and looking like an idiot. While there are many types of bows, each with slightly different shooting styles, today we shall focus on my favorite, the recurve bow:

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  1. Put the string on the bow the right way around.

 

There’s this lovely Facebook group called The Back to Front Archery Club , where they post hilarious pictures of people literally putting the string on the bow on the wrong side in movies, which looks stupid and will, quite literally, either cause the string to fly off the bow and hit you in the face (which would be hilarious) or just kind of make your arrow poop a few feet when you let go, as the bow is not supposed to bend in that direction, and just won’t bend very well in that direction.

 

Fig 1. The Wrong Way. i.e. That String Looks Like It’s Going to Fly Off And Hit Him in the Balls

wrong way bow

Fig 2. The Right Way i.e. Notice How The String itsn’t Going to Hit Her in the Balls If She Had Balls?

The right way

 

  1. Put your feet parallel to each other a shoulder’s width apart. If there was a stick at the end of your toes, they should be facing towards the target.

 

There are other ways to stand, but this is basically what you want to start with.

Fig 1. Like This.

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  1. Make the girl scout salute (Three fingers straight up) and place them right under your arrow when it’s clipped onto the string (without touching it). When you pull back the string, keep it on the tips of your fingers in a light grip. That way, when you let go and shoot, the bow won’t be jerked around, and you’ll be able to aim better.

 

While I prefer a different method to grip the string, this way is much better for beginners.

Fig. 1 Grip the String Like This (But don’t touch the arrow.)

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Fig. 2 No

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  1. When you pull back the arrow you want to pull it back to the same place each time, or else you might aim at the same spot, but each time you shoot, the arrow will go somewhere else. Therefore, when you pull your string back, put your hand below your jaw, with the string touching the tip of your nose. This way, when you shoot, you will be pulling the string back the same distance, in the same place, every time.

 

You may see archers pulling back to the corner of their mouth. This is not ideal for recurve bows, as “the corner of your mouth” isn’t a super accurate descriptor, whereas “below your jaw” stays the same each shot. This is because, if your hand is below your jaw and touching it, you physically can’t move your hand any higher. And, if you move your hand lower or to the side, you’ll no longer be touching your jaw, and you’ll know you done goofed.

 

Fig 1. The Right Way.

Note* She is gripping the arrow in the way that I shoot. While technically it is better, the way you grip your arrow really doesn’t matter until you get really good, and it’s too easy for beginners to screw up.

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Fig 2. The I Suck and/or Want To Loose an Eye Way

Notice how they are pulling the bow back in such a way that they probably can’t perfectly recreate? That’s why you want to pull it back to below your chin, hand touching the face, string touching your nose. Like fig. 1. Got it? Don’t be like Katniss and definitely don’t be like Ygritte.

 

  1. Brush your face when you release the bow. That way you won’t jerk the bow to the side. You keep shooting too far to one side? Probably because of this.

 

This sounds nitpicky but trust me, it’s super duper important.

 

Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwpVYV6QTKo at 24 seconds in.

 

Alrighty. This was fun! Now, when you go to that bachelorette party, over 40’s meetup, or drunken escapade with projectile weapons, you’ll be able to impress the shit out of everyone else. And not look like a jackass. Win win.

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P.S. Please do not aim at the sky like some sort of video game character. If you let go, the arrow is eventually going to come down, and impale someone’s face or, if we get lucky, your face, so….just don’t do that. Please. Or aim at your friends. Or…maybe just take an actual archery class. Don’t learn this shit off the Internet. Seriously. People on the Internet are bullshiters. Don’t trust anyone.

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The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold) Review

 

sea of ink mapfour stars

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

This book has a gorgeous type of imagery going for it. The series name is Sea of Ink and Gold which actually sort of makes sense, and isn’t one of those esoteric fancy shmancy series names that sound pretty, but make no sense. The cover is a satisfying mosaic of blues, and greens, and golds. The world inside the book is also rich, with pirates, and assassins, and a sea that may or may not reach to the end of the world.pirates.jpg

To read the full review, click here

The Book of Dust

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Publication Date: October 19, 2017

Author: Philip Pullman

Buy Now from Indiebound

 

The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman had so much potential. The world he had created decades ago with The Golden Compass was already fully fleshed out. He had a dedicated following of adults and teens who had grown up with his novels, and were just itching for this prequel to come out.

Sadly, I don’t think this book lived up to the hype. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t good. It was simply slow, and the characters mildly interesting. In fact, I only, truly got invested at the very end, and by then the story was over. Ironically so were the characters, because the next book in this series will be about Lyra, the protagonist from the author’s last series, set when she’s in her 20’s.

Okay, the good:

To read the full review, Click Here

The Immortal Rules

the imortal rules coverAllison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle.

Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for again.

 

First thing first, yes this is a vampire book. Yes 99 percent of vampire books created in the post-twilight vampire fetish “how the heck did this get published” cringe-worthy love triangle angsty “don’t love me, I’m a monster” era were absolute garbage, so much so that even the word vampire will get your book tossed out of the publishing house faster than you can say “sparkly vampire abs”, there are several things that put Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules above the rest.

To read the full review, Click Here

My Experiences (and Really Bad Advice) on NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo_logo_w_words.pngI won my first NaNoWriMo challenge when I was 13 years old. I also won my last NaNoWriMo challenge when I was 13 years old.

NaNoWriMo, or National November Writing Month, is a big global fiesta dedicated to getting reluctant or detail obsessed writers out of their ruts and into writing 50,000 words of pure garbage with the idea that actually getting your shit together and writing a novel is the hardest part of the process. And, as someone who is never quite ready to start, and who can never get past the first 10 pages because I’m always going back and fixing things, this is extremely true. Essentially, you are given one month to vomit out 50,000 words of a brand new novel. You go to nanowrimo.org, make a profile, join other struggling Wrimos in cafes and wine bars (we’re classy like that), to get together and write. It’s a super fun activity and quite the exercise in willpower and intention. There’s only one problem that I’ve had each and every year I participate.

November is busy as heck.

Midterms, finals, and holiday plans, all this has always fallen on November for me. After 8th grade (in which I was struggling with high school applications, so I really have no excuse for not completing the goal every year), I would make a heroic and valiant effort for the first two weeks before gradually falling behind in a rut of exam fueled misery.

However, all was not lost! Even though I didn’t win, I met up with some super cool writers, got inspiration from them, and now have 3 separate novels all started for a future date. In fact, I completed 30,000 words of my 2012 Wrimo novel, and gained a miniature following by posting it in sections online. Without Nanowrimo, there was no way that novel would ever have come into being.

This year, despite college hell, sleep deprivation, and a whole new group of Wrimos I’ve yet to meet, I have a solid plan to complete my 50,000 word goal. Here’s what I’ve gained from my many years’ experience in dismal failure:

  • Don’t stop at 1667 words a day. Write as much of the next week’s word count during the weekend as possible, because even one busy day can drastically and permanently throw you behind schedule.

 

  • Come up with at least the first quarter of the novel before you start. While I detest planning, as it limits the creativity that naturally comes out when you just shove words on paper without knowing what will come next, I always get to a point a week or two in where my novel doesn’t know where it’s going. My winning story in 8th grade, for example, was literally about two kids running around in a maze of alleys in San Francisco and meeting all these magical characters. There was no reason. It just happened. For 50,000 words. A masterpiece in the making.

 

  • Make Wrimo friends. The site allows you to see your friends’ word counts and them to see yours. Pride is a powerful motivator.

 

  • Don’t worry about plagiarism. This may sound like the worst advice ever, but it’s a fact of life. When writing that quickly you’ll inevitably find your story or characters sounding suspiciously like your favorite book or movie. Leave it alone. Just write. You can always go back in December and change your young wizard, Barry Lotter’s name.

 

  • If you’re not feeling the “muse” write boring gibberish anyway. Trust me. Better to write badly today and get it done then wait until you get inspiration. Because by then you will be rolling down hill of failure, your word count irredeemable in every way.

Most of all, have fun! The whole point of this is to do what you have never been able to do on your own. To create a solidly mediocre starting point from which to leap into success! Believe it or not, many published authors have started their books during this program, and many more will do so this year. However, if you find yourself drowning in work and responsibility, and the idea of forever being a NaNoWriMo winner (you get to wear the Winner’s Circle shirt and everything) is not enough to get you through, remember, there is always next year to try again.

And if you need a writing buddy to secretly judge you for your word count…you know, for your own good….. I am always down for more writing friends. My username is Secret Service (I was 13, I bet your usernames were worse). See you in November!