One-pot harissa pasta

How many hours have you been staring at the computer today? Spring is so busy, and sometimes it’s hard to shake off the glow of our screens and step out of the tunnel of the Internet.

We’re doing just that in Greece for our honeymoon right now, and oh man, does it feel good. Fresh air, new scenery, SO much to eat. After an insanely busy past few weeks, Greece feels like breathing deep again.

I’m just so happy to be spending some time outside, away from the computer. A lot of folks think us book people are introverts who’d rather sit inside all day reading a book rather than socializing. Which is totally true. But I’m also willing to sit outside all day reading a book. I think that makes me adventurous.

If you also want to try something new tonight, and you’re bleary eyed from staring at your manuscript or the computer screen for hours, then come over here. Back away from the computer, tiptoe into the kitchen, and make this really, really slowly. Isn’t it nice to remember what unrushed cooking feels like?

harissa pasta skinnytaste recipe

This pasta is:

  1. Cozy, comforting, reassuring, and all those other words you want to come home to after a long day
  2. Excellent when paired with a book or ouzo
  3. Spicy, and just a little bit adventurous. Like reading outside.

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Read, Eat, Drink–Weekend Roundup


We have our Friendsgiving weekend in the hills of Virginia coming up, so here’s some light and fun reading looking. I so enjoyed this visual essay Medium published this week on How to Sell a Book–you can find it here. It’s by Sarah Lazavoric, who herself just released a book called A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy. I absolutely love the premise of her book–here’s a snippet from the back cover copy: “Like most people, Sarah Lazarovic covets beautiful things. But rather than give in to her impulse to spend and acquire, Sarah spent a year painting the objects she wanted to buy instead.” 

I really admire this idea of enjoying beautiful objects without having to purchase them, maintain them, and store them. I just wish I could paint at all, so I’d be able to do what Sarah did!

And here’s my favorite graphic she drew for the Medium essay. I want to deny this and pretend that I’m more multifaceted, but…it sounds about right.


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Read, Eat, Drink–Weekend Roundup

As much as agents do our best to try to help writers and offer insight into the wild, whacky world that is publishing, sometimes nothing resonates quite like hearing directly from other writers. So here’s my favorite author blog post of the week–Colleen Hoover’s incredible story of how writing changed her life. Three years ago, she was living in a trailer, working 12 hours a day, and barely making ends meet. She picked up writing in her spare time and self-published her first book. She sold about 30 copies in the first week, but she kept at it. Today, she’s the New York Times bestselling author of 6 books and has a lucrative book deal with Atria/Simon & Schuster. And the best part of it all? In her words:

Three years ago, my husband and I dreamed about the day we would be able to build a new house. Tomorrow, that’s going to happen. On the same land where we happily lived in our single-wide trailer, we will be breaking ground on the house we will spend the rest of our lives in, and I still can’t wrap my head around it.

I know this started with the fact that I wrote and finished a book, but that was as simple as putting a pen to paper. Nothing would have followed had it not been for the support of my readers. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the motivation. And remember-

Dreams are free, so make sure you have a shit-load of them.

And THAT right there is exactly why we’re all in this crazy, unpredictable, shaky business.

You can read Colleen’s full story here.

Raise your hand if you like bacon. Looks like…everyone on the planet. And the only thing better than bacon is bacon + pasta, especially when it’s Mario Batali’s Spaghetti Carbonara. This is (I think) the same recipe he uses at his restaurant Otto in New York, but you can make it yourself at home for, oh, a 95% discount.

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Weekend Roundup–Read, Eat, Drink

I happened to find myself completely book-free this week (due to a crappy packing job on my way to NYC). So I also found myself scanning a bookshelf for something to read on the train and at nights. And I found C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, his classic book that explores the underpinnings of all Christian faiths.


I read all seven books of The Chronicles of Narnia series as a kid, and I’m pretty sure Aslan is still the coolest talking lion I’ve ever read about. And The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is still one of my favorite titles of all time.

But Mere Christianity is nothing like those books (although, if you read deeper into Narnia it actually is, but I won’t get into that). Yet it’s every bit as wonderful as expected.

It’s a short read (just over 200 pages), and I love both how quaint and 1950s-esque his voice is, and how timeless and straight-talking it still remains. It’s a book for nonbelievers and believers alike—even if you don’t have a scrap of interest in any form religion, it’s an incredibly compelling philosophical exercise. And it’s just fascinating to watch him unwrap each little box of his argument, holding it up for you to inspect that it is good.

If you missed the Narnia boat (sorry, Dawn Treader pun!), pick up Mere Christianity. It’s a  great starting point into Lewis’s adult oeuvre and, considering that he’s known as the most important writer of the 20th century, it’s a must-read.

Confession: I’ve been neglecting my kitchen for the past two weeks! We’ve been moving and unpacking and traveling and shopping and working and adjusting to our new neighborhood, and I haven’t even been on a proper grocery run in weeks. I’m ashamed of myself. But even more, I’m just craving walking through the grocery aisles, meal planning for a normal, non-crazy week, and getting into my kitchen after a long day of work, with music and a glass of wine, to make something yummy.

And on top of it all, I’ve been having digestive issues, so  the past few days I’ve been cutting sugar, carbs, and dairy from my diet. So I don’t even know what to eat any more. But that hasn’t stopped me from fantasizing about food all day. As soon as I’m feeling better, this will be my dream, go-all-out, cook-like-a-maniac menu:

Muffaletta Pasta Salad.
All my dreams in life involve muffaletta. Just call me Muffaletta Maria. (Actually don’t, it sounds weird.) Recipe here.

Grilled Asian Sweet and Spicy Chicken Skewers.
Don’t tell me that picture doesn’t make you drool. Recipe here.

Pecan Pie Bars
Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars.
Everything amazing in the world, in one bar. Recipe here.

I’m calling in my personal mixologist for a drink this week. Here’s Jarrett with a recipe for a different kind of gin and tonic:

Gin and Tonic. Gin & Tonic. G&T. The first mixed drink I truly learned to love.

But there’s a new variable to the G&T game: gourmet tonic. The Jack Rudy Co. makes small batch tonic that’s nothing like the clear stuff you buy at the store.  This tonic is what tonic was always meant to be: slightly sweet, fragrant, with subtle lemongrass and orange peel flavors. All of this makes the drink taste less like pure gin in a glass.


G&T purists may be surprised by how different this tonic is, but I say they should find some room in their lineup for the Gin & Rudy Tonic. I have come to like this recipe way more than just a traditional G&T!

Gin & Rudy

  • Add ice to an on-the-rocks glass (a.k.a. an Old Fashioned glass)
  • 2 oz. of your preferred gin (I’ve recently been enjoying “Jack Pine Gin” from Northern Latitudes, a distillery in Northern Michigan)
  • .75 oz. of Jack Rudy Co. tonic
  • 4 oz. of soda water
  • A slice of lime

Combine ingredients and stir. If you want to get fancy, shave off a thin piece of the lime’s rind, heat it up with a lighter for a few seconds, and rub it on the rim of the glass before dropping it in the drink as a garnish.

If you do decide to try the Jack Rudy tonic, check out the Jack Rudy Co. website–they have a great list of drink recipes to make with their small batch tonic and grenadine.

Happy reading, eating, and drinking this weekend!