Hello, world! It’s me, Julia. It’s been awhile. How are you? What’s been going on?
I have meant to write a blog post for sooooooo many weeks. How many weeks exactly? Ever since the Wisconsin Highland Games over the Labor Day weekend. The Games were AMAZING like they are every year, and I had such a blast. I got to meet new readers, catch up with people who bought Seven Stones last year (and who are clamoring for a sequel. I hear you!), and revel in all the Scottishness around me. Best of all, I SOLD OUT OF BOOKS AGAIN! 2 zealous readers actually pre-ordered books from our fourth printing (which just came out a few weeks ago). How cool is that?!
RIGHT after Highland Games ended, my last semester in graduate school began. Hence the radio silence. I’m taking a Children’s Lit class that runs 8 weeks instead of 15 – which means I have a whole semester of reading, posting, and assignments crammed into half the time. In other words, my life has been an endless party since I last wrote. 😉
HOWEVER, an 8 week class means that it officially ends November 4th. And you know what November is, right? November is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a 50,000 word book in one month (you can check it out here if you’re interested), and that’s what I intend to do. I already have a good chunk of my novel written – if I can use November to finish the first draft of my sequel, I will be a happy author. Grad school owns me until the end of October. After that, I’m going to be working HARD on the sequel to Seven Stones. I cannot tell you how excited I am to be able to focus solely on my writing soon, but I am so incredibly excited to be getting my MLIS. Just a few weeks to go!!!
One other big highlight from the past month was the Minnesota Library Association annual conference in Duluth!!! As you know, I’m a big nerd. I LOVE GOING TO THE LIBRARY CONFERENCE. I full on nerd-out and come back super pumped about all things library. This year, the conference was even better because it was in Duluth (aka, one of the most beautiful cities in Minnesota…or quite possibly period). As part of the conference, us librarians got to tour the Glensheen Mansion. Pics below. Yes, you may drool. I won’t judge.
Last thing I want to share before I go back to homework is one of my favorite fall dinners: Warm Autumn Salad. Shane and I have never really done salads for dinner before because they never kept us full – we’d just eat popcorn or something worse after trying to be healthy. This salad recipe is not only filling, but amazingly delicious. The farmer’s market in Mankato has just been brimming with fresh, delicious produce and we put them all in this salad. If you’re into meat, add some local chicken or beef. Add/change/omit what you want and get some more green power in your diet with his scrumptious salad!
Warm Autumn Salad
Here’s What You Need:
1 cup wild rice (I like to make mine with stock instead of water for more flavor)
1 medium butternut squash, cut in half with seeds removed
5-6 beets, sliced into silver dollars
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts
Kale, or other local greens
Your favorite cheese, grated (we had cinnamon apple cheddar from home)
Your favorite salad dressing (Hilary’s Apple Fennel is FABULOUS on this salad)
Here’s What to Do:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Arrange squash cut side down on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Arrange the beet slices on another baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on some of your favorite herbs or seasoning salt, if desired. Roast for an hour or until browned and delicious.
- While your veggies are roasting, prepare the wild rice (usually 1 cup of wild rice to 3 cups of stock). Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low and let that simmer for about 45 minutes.
- Boom. All your warm stuff is warm. Hard part is over. Now all you have to do is plate. Get a big ol’ dinner plate and pile on a bed of greens.
- Spoon wild rice on top of that.
- Cube up your squash (or Shane just likes it scooped out like mashed potatoes) and put it on top of the wild rice.
- Snag some beets and drop fat beet (or several) on top of the squash.
- Add the cheese.
- Sprinkle on cranberries and walnuts.
- Drizzle with dressing.
- Serve with a nice red wine and some fresh local fruit! We’ve got DELICIOUS apples in season right now!
Eat Salad. Be satisfied. You’re welcome.