Friday, February 12, 2016

Book Themed Menus

Have you ever considered making a menu based on a book you've read? It can be a fun way to shake things up and try new recipes. This is especially true if you're reading a book set in another country or time period.

There are even cookbooks devoted to these types of menus and some authors have created cookbooks based on the foods prepared in their series.

The menu can be as normal or whimsical as you like. For example, you might make a goose dinner based on reading a Charles Dickens' novel or you might make a toffee pudding and butterbeer after reading Harry Potter. Or you might make a meatloaf and pistachio pudding cake after reading The Calamity Cafe, coming in June! :)

Share your ideas and menus in the comments below.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sharing a Classic

Until last week, my kids had never tried Shoney's hot fudge cake. I know...right..made me feel like a bad, neglectful mother! To ring in the beginning of softball season, I thought hot fudge cake would be a good, celebratory treat. Also, I was really craving the stuff! My kids absolutely loved it (along with the free cocoa for kids, a chicken tenders child's meal, a Junior Buffet & pineapple from my salad bar plate). Now, I've made a couple of new Shoney's fans and shared some memories. You see, I cannot pass a Shoney's without thinking of my youth. In high school, many a late-night craving for sweets was curbed by sharing a piece of hot fudge cake with my friends. Sometimes a snow day meant breakfast from Shoney's Breakfast bar. It was special to share such sweet food memories with my girls. And...I hope late night hot fudge cake runs are the wildest thing they do in high school!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Speedy #Vegan Soup

The soup is speedy, not the vegan. Well, the vegan is our #2 daughter, and she's speedy enough for all practical purposes, but I MEAN the soup is quickly fixed, okay?

Our daughter came to visit, and was here at lunchtime, so I banged this soup together.

Butterbean and Kale Soup

  • 1 can butterbeans, drained and rinsed.
  • 2 cups water
  • vegetable bouillon for 2 cups of water
  • chopped kale
  • salsa to taste
  • onion powder
Put it all together and simmer about 20 minutes, or until the kale is as soft as you want it. #2 Daughter and I like our soup spicier, so we put extra hot in ours at the table. I had been yearning for peanut butter soup, so I also added a tablespoon of peanut butter to mine.


Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, February 5, 2016

Smoothies That Taste Like Shakes

Image result for smoothie clip art

Okay, so it's a new year and you're trying to eat better, but miss those delicious milkshakes. What if
you could enjoy the same great flavor but drink something healthier? This smoothie is both delicious
and easy to make.

1 packet of vanilla instant breakfast mix
1 cup milk
1 cup of frozen strawberries mixed with bananas

1.Pour the instant breakfast mix and milk into a blender and blend until the mix is incorporated.
2.Add the frozen fruit and pulse until the smoothie reaches the desired consistency.


You can use any flavor of instant breakfast you like, any kind of frozen fruit, and any kind of milk
including almond or coconut milk. Play around with the flavors until you find something you love.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Non-Toxic Chopped Salad #vegan

Charlie and I bought a pre-packaged chopped salad and loved it. Then the chopped salads were recalled because of a Listeria outbreak in our area.

But it was really really good!

So I made my own.

This is lettuce, green cabbage, purple cabbage, and kale. I should have put green onions in it, but I forgot to buy any. I mixed equal amounts of peanut butter and spicy ginger vinaigrette to make a sort of Thai dressing for it.

And it didn't make anybody sick, either.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, January 29, 2016

5 Ways to Jazz Up Hot Cocoa Mix

Image result for hot cocoaWho doesn't love a mug of hot cocoa during the cold winter months? Of course, the same old cocoa can get a bit boring after a while. The good news is there are so many easy ways to boost the flavor.

1.      Candy bars – All you need to do for this flavor boost is to chop your favorite candy bar and place it in the bottom of your mug before pouring the hot cocoa. Then just stir so the candy melts and enjoy.
2.      Candy canes – Still have candy canes in the house? Put them to good use. Add a candy cane to your cup of hot cocoa and stir so that the candy cane slowly melts into the liquid.
3.      Cinnamon imperials – Valentine's Day is just around the corner and you can find little cinnamon hearts in most stores. These can be added to your hot cocoa to add a nice spicy, sweet flavor.
4.      Real cinnamon and cayenne – If you love things sweet and spicy, add freshly ground cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper to your hot cocoa.

5.      Sea salt and caramel – If you want to get really decadent, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and a couple grinds of sea salt to your hot chocolate. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sweet Blast from the Past

Recently, I recalled my mom baking Snsckin'Cake back in the 70's, when I was a kid. They were cakes that she mixed up and baked in a disposable pan. Yesterday, I found Duncan Hines Petfect Size cake mix. Just like the Snackin' Cakes of my youth, they bake in a disposable pan. Even better than Snsckin'Cake, frosting is included!