A Secret Recipe to Impress Your Family on Deadline Days

Yesterday I happened to mention on Twitter that I was happy to have met a writing deadline AND have an amazing dinner for my family — all in the same day!  I shouldn’t have been surprised when people wanted to now more about how I pulled it off.  But believe me, I was amazed, too.

So often, after hitting the “send” button on an important writing assignment, I look around to find my house in disarray, no decent food to be found, and (I’m not proud to admit) I’m sometimes wearing whatever I slept in the night before. So this week I took a different approach to the writing, to my sometimes-sub-par self-care, and to keeping things in good order at home.

The process involved three surprisingly simple steps:

1. I got my family to help me get the house nice and clean during the weekend before my deadline date.  Keeping things clean is so much easier than getting things clean!  Each day this week, if I got stuck on the writing I would get up from the computer and wash a few dishes or sweep up some crumbs while I thought through the next section of the article. This kept the house from falling apart while I labored over what to say and how to say it.

2.  I showered, dressed, put on make-up and even did my nails. (Miracles never cease.)  It just made me feel more alive.  It got me out of that, “I’m writing so leave me alone,” kind of slump. I think I wrote faster and I know I felt much better because I was taking care of myself.

3. On the day of my deadline – I call it “D-Day” – I pulled out the following recipe, which simmered all day and my family had a wonderful meal to look forward to after I hit the ‘send’ button!


Add the following ingredients to the crock pot at least 4-and-a-half hours before mealtime and simmer on high for at least 3 of those hours.

Beef tips (1 – 1.5 lbs for 4-6 servings — more if you are really into meat)


Mushrooms (if desired)


Beef broth (2 cans or 1 larger box – I buy the boxed organic beef broth from Super Target)

Then, about a half-hour before you serve the meal, add a package of wide egg noodles to the crock pot. Immediately mix approximately 10 ounces of water or milk with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (until the mixture is smooth, with no lumps) and add to the crock pot.  Turn the crock pot on low for that last 20-30 minutes and serve when the noodles are soft and the liquid has a nice “thick gravy” consistency.

A nice “steam in the microwave” type of vegetable and you’ve got a well-balance and very impressive-tasting meal that tells your family, “My deadline was important, but you’re even more important!”

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