To the writers.

Here are some tools for any writers out there. They are helpful for any kind of creative writing. Hope they are useful to someone out there!

 

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Acing the interview

These days, a degree doesn’t seem to be worth much until you land a job. And that means job interviews. Plenty of job interviews. This is going to be me soon and I am hoping I get it right. There are lots of tips online and from people but personally I think it’s all about just getting out there and trying.

But it doesn’t hurt to learn the mistakes that can be made.

I found some helpful diagrams that point out the mistakes and offer hints on getting the job.

Gluten Free Brownies

There are a couple people in my family that can’t have gluten which is just the worst. But I’ve been looking into it and realizing that it really isn’t that good for you. The holidays can be hard for my family members but I am going to make these gluten free brownies so everyone can enjoy them!

Gluten Free Brownies | Cooking Classy

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced into 1 Tbsp pieces, plus more for baking dish
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt, set aside. Add chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl, top with butter and heat mixture in microwave on HIGH power in 20 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Stir in sugar, then mix vanilla and eggs one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Add dry mixture and stir until well blended and smooth, then mix in pecans. Pour batter into a well buttered 8 by 8-inch baking dish (you can also line the baking dish with parchment if desired, then pour batter over parchment) and spread into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 – 38 minutes. Allow to cool completely then cut into squares (I found mine cut cleaner after freezing for about 45 minutes – after cooling, if you can waiting any longer).

Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake

 

 

Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake (made in 3 minutes!)

Yield: 1 Mug Cake

Ingredients

    • 2 Tbsp applesauce
    • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 Tbsp buttermilk
    • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
    • 2 1/2 Tbsp packed light-brown sugar
    • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 dash ground nutmeg (optional)
    • 1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp (scant) salt
    • 1 Recipe Cream Cheese Icing, recipe follows
Cream Cheese Icing
  • 1 Tbsp Cream Cheese or Neufchatel Cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp milk

 

Directions

    • Prepare Cream Cheese Icing according to directions listed, set aside. Combine all ingredients (minus Cream Cheese Icing) in a mug then whisk together with a fork until combine and nearly smooth. Microwave mixture on high power for 1 minute then check cake for doneness. If it is not fully cooked microwave for an additional 15 seconds. Serve warm topped with Cream Cheese Icing.
Cream Cheese Icing
  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until smooth.

Life Hacks

Over time I’ve come across some “life hacks” that I use or have been meaning to try. Life hacks are simple little tricks that make daily life just a little bit easier.

It can be difficult drinking enough water. Marking them can help you develop the habit.

I used to send a lot of packages and I swear I spent more time fiddling with the tape than I did putting the package together.

It turns out that spaghetti is flammable!

This one is perfect for when you attempt to make a genuine Caesar salad.

I have always wanted to try this but I am terrified. Vacuums can be scary.

Living with the harsh Pullman winters, I have used this trick and it totally helps.

Best part about having an iPhone. I am always texting out my address and email and this speeds up the process a lot.

Walmart isn’t known to be very ‘nice’ in the public eye but they will never tow your car. If you have spare time, there is actually a very interesting story behind the reason why.

I am always on my phone. This trick is great. Airplane mode is also good for when you need a break from the world. And NO ADVERTISEMENTS!

Haven’t tried this one, but as a college student without an iron, I might give it a shot.

5 Clever Uses

Here are five clever uses for an ice cube tray.

Make coffee ice cubes for your iced coffee.

I love iced coffee but without an espresso maker, it is difficult to have iced coffee without it getting watered down. And who wants their coffee watered down??

Make delicious slushies that won't taste watered-down.

This also works for smoothies. Freeze juice in ice cube trays and throw them in your blender with other fruit.

Use your ice cube tray to portion out homemade cookie dough.

If you have a sweet tooth, putting leftover cookie dough in a tray can make it easy to only have a few at a time. Just grab them one or two out and throw them in the oven.

17 Inventive Ways To Use Your Ice Cube Trays!

Freeze lemon and vinegar to toss in your garbage disposal to help get that clean smell.

Ice cube tray office supplies

I have so many of these little trinkets. Putting them all in spots in the ice tray can really spruce up a drunk drawer.

Kielbasa Noodle Recipe

I don’t exactly know what to call it but it is delicious. I figured it out from messing around with ingredients and eventually got it down to this. It’s perfect for when you need to impress someone and want to make them dinner. Plus it is extremely hard to mess up.

Ingredients:

(Use a 3rd of the box) Spaghetti noodles

1 Polska Kielbasa

(Amount depends) 3 cheese Italian (or shredded Parmesan)

Stella 3 Cheese Italian Freshly Shredded Cheese, 5 oz

2 tbsp Italian Seasoning

1 tbsp Onion Powder

1 tbsp Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

3 tbsp of vegetable oil

Start by boiling the noodles with some salt. While that’s happening, slice the kielbasa and throw it in a pan by itself. This is precooked so you can cook it as much as you want. I prefer mine a little crispy on the edges.

Drain the noodles, add the vegetable oil, cheese, and spices. The more cheese you add, the better it tastes but a good medium is a 1/4th of a cup. Stir it up and throw in the meat and you are finished!

It’s really that easy and tastes awesome. You can also replace the kielbasa with bratwursts which is good too.

I like to pair it with either a spinach salad or steamed vegetables.

Expect to have leftovers. They heat up nicely and it tastes so good they probably won’t last long.

Getting Started

First off, when it comes to cooking, I’ve found a few tips that can improve flavor and make cooking easier. For my first post, I am going to share some tips that I have helped my cooking.

  • Have spices on hand. Some of my favorite spices are Italian seasoning, onion powder and garlic powder.
  • If you don’t have a pepper grinder for cracked pepper, invest in one because it will improve your cooking by a lot.

Spice of Life/Pepper Corns

  • Buy quality pans. If you buy cheap pans, most likely they won’t last long and then end up paying more replacing them.
  • Cook in bulk and save leftovers. You will save a lot of money this way.
  • Before I start cooking, I like to pour myself a glass of wine and put some oldies on. It makes it a little more fun.

White wine

  • Always read the entire recipe before you start cooking.
  • Don’t “over-handle” food. For instance, when it comes to burgers or pancakes people want to press down on them with a spatula, causing them to lose moisture and thickness.

  • Try not to rush through cooking, set aside time for it and plan ahead such as when it comes to thawing chicken.
  • Don’t take meat straight from the fridge to the grill because food will cook unevenly.

  • Crack eggs on a flat surface. It may go against what most of us have been taught over the years but it makes the break on the egg cleaner and less shards that could possibly go in your food.

fresh brown eggs in carton

  • When baking cookies, do a tester first. Put a single cookie on the sheet to see if your dough is right.
  • If you are cooking dinner for someone for the first time, make sure it’s not the first time you try the recipe. Try an old favorite.

  • When making cocktails, use larger ice cubes. Your drink won’t get watered down as fast because there is less surface area on the ice.
  • Avoid the microwave unless you absolutely have to use it. If you can use an oven or the stove top your food will taste much better.
  • Find a recipe you like? Keep a book and write recipes down in it with modifications or changes that went well.
  • When buying coffee, if you like your caffeine, go for a lighter roast. In the roasting process, they lose caffeine the more they are roasted.

Coffee beans

  • A foolproof way of seeing if your noodles are fully cooked is by throwing them on the ceiling. If they stick, they are finished. Note: Do not leave them there because that would be weird.

Cooking is a skill that can be tough to learn. I am always learning new things every time I try a new recipe. You will learn as you go and be surprised how easy some recipes can be.

Photos: FreeRangePhotos