Recipe: Chicken Fajitas with Crunchy Lime Cabbage and Avocado

Chicken Fajitas with Crunchy Lime Cabbage and Avocado
Possibly my most favorite recipe of those I've made to use CSA produce. Certainly my favorite cabbage recipe. I made it twice within a week. Original recipe source: Epicurious. From the CSA: cabbage.

Chicken Fajitas with Crunchy Lime Cabbage and Avocado

6 Tbsp olive oil
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1/3" thick pieces
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips
1 large onion, sliced into long strips

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 head of cabbage, cored and sliced into long strips
2 tsp. dried parsley (or fresh--use cilantro if you like it, which I don't)
Juice of 1 lime (about 3 Tbsp.)
zest of 1 lime

12 fajita-size flour tortillas*
1 avocado (could use yogurt or feta or Mexican cheese or a crema to fill the same purpose in the recipe, which is to add something creamy)

Chicken instructions
Whisk 6 Tbsp. olive oil, garlic, and chili powder in large bowl. Add chicken, bell pepper, and onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Let stand 1 hr. at room temp or chill up to 4 hrs. After marinating is done, saute chicken mixture until well cooked.

Cabbage instructions
Chop cabbage. In large bowl, toss with parsley, lime juice, lime zest, and 3 Tbsp olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate a little in the fridge.

Meanwhile, cook tortillas. Rinse tortillas under cold running water before cooking in a non-stick or greased skillet. Set aside in a place they can keep warm. Meanwhile, halve, pit, and slice avocado.

Roll your own fajitas. The ratio should be a little bit of chicken mixture and a lot of cabbage, with some avocado as the topping.

* A note on tortillas: For this recipe, what you want are the small, hand-sized, authentic corn tortillas, like those you would find in a mercado or tacqueria. Most grocery stores will also have them. Now, these will crisp up and not be foldable if you try and cook them like "regular" tortillas, so follow the weird instructions above.

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Recipe: The Best Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Notes: If you use a different frosting (perhaps a basic lemon powdered sugar frosting?), this recipe can be dairy-free. These were a big hit at the election day school bake sale ... and so I was too busy to get a picture of them! Instead, have a picture of the real hit of the day, the "I Voted" cookies (not by me).

  • 2 cup  + 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups grated carrots (use food processor to shred), can be flat or heaping
  • 1 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (1 pkg)
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate mixer bowl, combine the grated carrots and the oil. On low, add the flour mixture, stirring until just mixed. Add the beaten eggs and stir a few times.
  2. Use paper liners. Use a small ice cream scoop for the batter, filling each muffin tin about 1/2 way. Bake for 13 minutes, check how they’re doing, and add a few minutes if necessary. They should be golden at the edges and have slight cracks across the top when done.
  3. Allow the cupcakes to cool.
  4. For the frosting, blend the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. Put a first coat of frosting on using a knife, then use a piping tool (like a ketchup bottle with the tip cut off) to add more frosting patterns on top.
(Picture of not carrot cake cupcakes)
I Voted cookies

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Writing Market Notes!

Thoughts in Passing
(Do you have a writing question? Send it to me, either by replying to this email or by using the comment form on my website, and it may get answered in the next newsletter.)

Do you have so much stuff to do that just trying to decide where to start is exhausting? Gamify it! I recently discovered this little app called Tiny Decisions. You put in all your chores (or writing projects) and it creates a colorful wheel that you get to spin to find out what you work on next. Combine this with the Pomodoro Method of working intensely on something for 25 minutes and then taking a 5 minute break, and you have a new way to defeat choice paralysis!

What I've been up to lately, writing-wise:
Let's just say that sometimes writing this section of the newsletter has me looking back at what I wrote about *last* month and seeing that not much has gotten done in the meantime. ::facepalm::

I did finish the audio narration on a science fiction story for Escape Pod, so if you want to listen to me reading you a bedtime story and find out how I imitated a synthesized voice, you can download that here:

The whole newsletter is archived here:
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Recipe: Smoky Seiten Bacon Marinade

Since I can't eat pork, and maybe not even preserved meats*, I've been experimenting with bacon alternatives. Hence, recipe!

I used store-bought seitan bacon and marinaded it in this recipe for several hours. It added a lovely smoky-sweet-spicy-umami flavor to the otherwise bland "bacon."

Seitan Bacon and Egg Bagel Sandwich
Marinating Seitan Bacon


  • 4 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 6-8 drops liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder

Combine all marinade ingredients. Add seitan and flip a few times to make sure it is thoroughly coated. Let sit for at least 20 minutes and up to a couple of days.

Pat dry with paper towels. Fry in a nonstick skillet with a little oil. Enjoy anywhere you would normally put bacon.


* I have had bad reactions to "all-beef" hot dogs, which seems to indicate a problem with processed meats. Though it is also possible that they used a natural hog casing and I am just. that. sensitive. Who knows!?! Finding out (painfully) is part of the adventure!

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Submitting Seasonal Stories

A few thoughts from my writing markets newsletter! Permanent link to this newsletter in the archives:
Thoughts in Passing
I recently had a Valentine's Day-themed story accepted by Daily Science Fiction. Hurray! I submitted it in late October, it was accepted in early January, and it will likely be published mid-February. This is the sort of timeline that you're looking at when you consider submitting short stories that work well for a particular holiday. (Submitting around December adds a couple of weeks to the time, because most editors take time off around the winter holidays.) Also bear in mind that odds are good the first place you submit to is probably not going to be the one that publishes the story. So when should you start shopping around a seasonal story?
At least 3 months earlier.
So right now, you should be polishing up that St. Patrick's Day or Easter story and getting ready to send it out. Note that holiday stories don't have to take place on that named holiday, but every holiday comes with certain themes that make great story inspiration.
Chinese New Year - 1/1 - submit in early October
Valentine's Day - 2/14 - submit in late October
Mardi Gras - 2/25 - submit in early December
St. Patrick's Day - 3/17 - submit in early January
Easter - 4/12 - submit in January
Mother's Day - 5/10 - submit in early February
Juneteenth - 6/19 - submit in early March
Father's Day - 6/21 - submit in March
4th of July - 7/4 - submit in March
Halloween - 10/31 - submit in late July
Thanksgiving - 11/26 - submit in late August
Winter Holidays - 12/25 - submit in early September
New Year's Eve - 12/31 - submit in early September
(Do you have a writing question? Send it to me, either by replying to this email or by using the comment form on my website, and it may get answered in the next newsletter.)

What I've been up to lately, writing-wise:
Well, I didn't get that handwritten story typed up in time to submit (There's a lot of it! How long is this thing, anyway??), so I'm still working on that. And I've also got a couple of short stories, as well as my last novel, in the "gathering critiques" phase. And a few more that are in revisions. While I'm mentioning this, I'm also looking for a couple of specific readers to give feedback on a short story: a Deaf person, and a drag queen. If one of those is you, let me know! Compensation: the price of a cup of coffee, a developmental critique, and/or a 30-minute professional photoshoot (Minneapolis only). Originally posted at on

What's My Beef With Pork?

Documenting food/medical stuff.

So, I tried pork. It seemed to go fine. But the next day, I had an Episode for the first time in 2 weeks, eating foods that normally haven't caused problems (but the meal did have more grams of fat than I usually try to eat in a sitting, which is a theoretical issue, although I have *also* eaten higher fat content foods without a problem). So I am not so sure pork is okay after all. It could be a trigger A (inflammatory) + trigger B (high fat content) issue. And it's not necessarily immediate.

::scowls in the general direction of food::

On the plus side, I went to Phil's work's holiday party and banquet and apparently chose wisely in what I ate because everything was delicious and I was fine afterward.

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NaNoWriMo OhMyGahNoIMeanYesIDid

This year, I did NaNoWriMo for the first time, since I thought I would theoretically have the time to finish it this year. And I did!

...Sort of. I got my 50,000-word hot mess written, and I learned a lot from the experience, but I let a whole lot of other things slide. That included getting the writing markets newsletter out on schedule.

What I've been up to lately, writing-wise:
Recovering from the brain-burn of doing NaNoWriMo. I was seriously burnt out by the end. Now I have a story I want to submit before the end of the month to a themed anthology. But it is buried in the pages of two different notebooks that I had to hunt and hunt to find. Let that be a lesson to you ... if you write a story longhand, type it up once you're done or risk losing it forever! Or at least risk spending a whole lot of time trying to track it down in the future.

(Excerpt from Aswiebe's Market List. The personal bit. For the new submission calls and interesting links and whatnot, you can read the whole newsletter here:

... I think there's an article in there somewhere. "What a Pro Writer Learned From Trying NaNoWriMo For the First Time" or something like that. Worth a shot, I guess.
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Recipe: No-Onion, No-Garlic Spaghetti Sauce

Sadly, I'm on an elimination diet to try and see if I can control my abdominal pain (likely gallbladder-caused) that way. It really sucks. I am slowly adding foods back in. So far chocolate is on the nope list. Sob.


Today I tried tomatoes (low probability trigger), and so far, so good! This is my recipe for no-onion, no-garlic (high probability triggers) spaghetti sauce. It was delicious. Seriously, I'm making this again someday regardless.

olive oil
1/2 zucchini
2 fresh tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 Tbsp. dried basil


Quarter zucchini lengthwise, then slice quarters. Heat a little olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Add zucchini, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, tossing frequently, until zucchini are soft and beginning to brown. Take out the zucchini and set aside.

Using your food processor with the grating attachment (or a box grater) grate the fresh tomatoes. Add to pan. Add the can of diced tomatoes. Add sugar, basil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes have reduced to the thickness you like your sauce. Add zucchini back in and stir.

Serve over spaghetti.

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Secret Knowledge

(From my writing newsletter--the whole thing is here.)

Thoughts in Passing
I recently listened to the Odyssey Workshop podcast in which Elizabeth Hand discussed the idea of secret knowledge, and it makes a lot of sense to me in the context of my current short story work-in-progress. The idea is that each of us has "secret" knowledge, knowledge about the peculiarities and small details of a job, a hobby, or an experience. We may think this information is boring, but it is fascinating to a reader unfamiliar with it. This relates to the standard writing advice of making things more specific--instead of "shoe," say "blue sneaker" or "stiletto heel."

We all have secret knowledge. But we can also discover it through research. Including those everyday, how-things-work details adds realism and gives the reader the feeling of being in on a secret known only to a few. tl;dr I've spent quite a bit of time researching drag queen makeup and pest control techniques this week! Hopefully it will have the desired effect.

(Do you have a writing question? Send it to me, either by replying to this email or by using the comment form on my website, and it may get answered in the next newsletter.)

What I've been up to lately, writing-wise:
Writing short stories, collecting critiques on the rough draft of my novel-in-progress, and generally trying to straighten out the backlog of writing-related things. Oh! And an illustrated charity anthology of odd sayings and microfiction that I have a piece in, Beer-Battered Shrimp for Cognitive Ruminations, is running a Kickstarter.
Reminder! Today and next Friday, if you're in the Twin Cities you can see me perform at Cole Sarar's Scifi Reading Hour at Bryant-Lake Bowl. Facebook event link:

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