Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Meet Me in St. Louis?

Yes, it's that time of year once again. American Christian Fiction Writer's annual conference is always the high point of my year. It's like a giant family reunion. I get to see so many friends. And there's nothing quite like spending a few days with like-minded people. Especially we're bonded by God and writing for His glory.

Can I get an amen?

Conference prep is always a busy time. So much to do. I have to make sure all my clothes are clean. Not that that's exciting. Laundry is never exciting. 
Something that is exciting this year, though, is that, along with making sure things are clean, I find myself having to make sure they fit. 
Virginia might chastise me for this, but I've discovered that many of the clothes I'd planned to take to conference are now too big. And while that's good, it's also frustrating.

However, getting ready for conference isn't just about packing. It's also about making sure those I leave at home have clean clothes, as well as a stocked pantry and fridge. Of course, it's all males that I'm leaving behind, so the latter two elements are much more important than the first.

All this busy work and ACK!

I still have to fix dinner.

Shrimp is one of my favorite things to use for a quick meal. I always keep a couple bags of frozen shrimp on hand, because all I have to do is dump them in a bowl of cold water and they're thawed in 15-20 minutes. (I usually change the water at least once)

So we're going to whip up some quick grilled shrimp that is full of flavor and very versatile.

As already stated, first you need to thaw your shrimp. Once thawed, peel those little babies and toss them in a large zip-top bag.

In a small bowl, add 1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 - 1/3 cup lemon juice, 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp. dried parsley, a dash or two of Old Bay Seasoning and red pepper flakes to taste. 
In my case, that was a couple shakes.

Whisk together and pour over shrimp.

Mush things around to make sure everything is coated and tuck the bag in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

This is a good time to fire up the grill.

Remove shrimp from fridge and drain.

Place on heated grill and cook for 3 minutes.

Turn them over.
And cook for another 3-4 minutes. The goal is to make sure they're opaque, but don't overcook them.

Now you can eat them however you like.
Of course, they're yummy right out of the bowl. Or, you could put them in a wrap or tortilla, maybe with some guacamole. You could toss them with pasta and add a little pesto sauce (LOVE this).
I put mine on a salad.
You can't go wrong, however you choose to eat them. 
Well, unless you opted for some chocolate sauce and then that would be just gross.

Your turn.

Will you be at this year's ACFW Conference?

If so, I'll see you in St. Louis. :)


  1. This author is staying home and writing her little heart out while taking care of sweet babies this week... and saving a boatload of money, to boot. I love getting together with folks, but I've found that conferences are like a bad cold. A week coming and a week going. That's too much time out of this working girl's schedule!

    A week of prep (unlike Robin Carroll's husband who shouted out to facebook that all he has to do is say "Pack!" and his things are all packed for him... ) We women don't have wives who jump on command, so the fun of providing for both sides of the trip like you said, the packing, planning, going, spending, then coming back, playing catch up.... Nope, not my cup of tea. So I'll go to conferences once in a while, but probably as an outsider in the lobby, chatting with folks and drinking Starbucks coffee. And as you establish your writing career with either traditional publishers and/or indie publishing, the positive return of conferences is minimized. From a business standpoint, then it's a more defined decision to make unless it's the social aspects that provide the draw, and that's an individual choice.

    What I do love, love, love is people!!!! Even if I'm just reaching out to them daily on facebook, Seekerville or here, I love people, I love helping other writers, I love chatting and praying with readers!!! That's a 24/7/365 part of my life, and it works well for me. So maybe it's just important for us all to find our right comfort zone... mine is definitely in the streets, with the race that knows Joseph!

    Losing two weeks of production time is a lot. We were talking about this in Seekerville yesterday, the ROI/Return of Investment. I've learned to take the writing business very seriously and Christian fiction even more so because it's a tight pool of opportunity. The plus side of that is how independent publishing has opened a new "Erie Canal" sideline so works that are a little risky or outside the box of traditional Christian publishing can still be published! How blessed are we to have that now??? And Virginia, you showed me the way on that one, I am ever in your debt. I was a CHICKEN until then, and who says you can't teach an old chicken new tricks???? And I'll be releasing a new independent novel in a few weeks, and then the Seeker holiday collections, and then a Love Inspired, so I've garnered huge blessings from my upstate writing cave! How blessed am I????

    I love working.... and writing.... and I love to hear great conference reports from all of youse who are going but I'm perfectly content to stay home and work and write and go to the grape festival next Sunday as my "perk" for staying the course. (A plus on that is that I'm setting a trilogy in that area so good food and fun and three wonderful women with me is also research!)

    The good thing about this business is that it allows for wonderful diversity! Yay!

    And the shrimp on the "bobby"???? Oh my stars, that looks marvelous, Mindy! I love to grill seafood and meat, I'm such a stinkin' carnivore!!! But I'm Irish too, so potatoes call my name DAILY..... Have a super time this week. I hope it's a wonderful experience!

    1. Ruthy, conference or no conference, you are phenomenal at what you do. Always upbeat, ever the encourager. And you have more energy than ten women. Oy!

      I need conferences to fill my tank. What I said about like-minded people. Conferences energize me. Even if I know there will be a large pile of laundry waiting for me when I get home. ;)

    2. I hope you guys have a great time. The fellowship of friends is a wonderful thing, Mindy! That part I totally get!

  2. Hahahaha! Oh my stars, that didn't look so LONG in the little box! Mindy! Forgive me for writing a stinkin' blog post!!!!! I'm running away now!!!!

  3. Yum! Yum! Yum! And I will see you in St. Loo!

  4. Have a wonderful trip!! I'll be staying behind this year. But I'll be there in spirit.

    Love the shrimp! But with my grate, I have to use a grill basket. Still, they're so tasty on the grill!

    1. Yeah, you definitely don't want them falling through the grate, Missy. That would be a bummer. :)

  5. I've gotta get a grill - it's just embarrassing to live in Texas and not have a grill...

    1. Susanna, this is the best time of year to get one. They're all on clearance! ;)

    2. Thanks for the reminder! MIne is rusted out now. Couldn't get it lit last time I tried.

    3. LOL! That's what I'm here for, Missy. ;)