Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bracing Myself...Again

I am composing my post as I wait in the orthodontist's office. My Calli is getting braces put on for the second time (also known as Phase 2). For the next few days, Calli's diet will have to be easy to chew. Soups, ice cream, pasta and rice seem like good options. Any other ides?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Okay, stew. But we don't say "styew" around here, we say "stoo."

However you say it, this was a good 'un.

It's mushrooms, hominy, tomatoes, veg bouillon, black beans, green beans, and rice. I seasoned it with cumin and just a touch of chili powder.

Some people see soup as only a winter food, but it's quick and easy, doesn't heat up the kitchen much, and it can be as light as you care to make it.

My husband like the broth and I like the stuff, so we're a good pair. We're a good pair, anyway, but that helps.

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

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ollie's Spicy Gumbo by J.J. Cook

Ollie's Spicy Gumbo!

This recipe is from my first Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mystery, Death on Eat Street. The next book will be Fry Another Day, coming out in February 2015.

Ollie’s Spicy Gumbo

It took me a while watching Ollie make this so I could write it down. Here’s what I have.

1 pound dry red kidney beans
1 large onion, 1 large green pepper, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp. minced garlic
Fresh parsley (Ollie says you know how much parsley you like)
2 tsp. fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. dried sage or 1 tsp. fresh sage
½ tsp. paprika and oregano
2 stalks of celery
2 bay leaves
¼ cup chopped cayenne peppers
1 pound Andouille sausage (or spicy vegetarian sausage) cut into chunks
Salt and pepper to taste
6 cups of water

How to make it:
Rinse and then cook kidney beans after soaking overnight.
Sauté in large frying pan, onion, green pepper, garlic, celery in olive oil.
Add cooked kidney beans to 6 cups of water. Stir sautéed vegetables to beans. Add bay, cayenne, theme, sage, and parsley. Allow to come to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 2 hours.
Stir sausage into the mixture and continue simmering for another 30 minutes.
Make rice (if you like) according to directions on package. Serve the gumbo over rice.

You can also serve in biscuit bowls but use 3 cups of water in the gumbo instead of six!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Try as I Might, I can't get Organized When I Write

CREATIVE MINDS ARE RARELY TIDY. I once saw a sign with that quote on a teacher's desk. It is a quote that wholeheartedly applies to me. My newest attempt to get organized with my writing projects is an according file with labeled sections. Since my "office" is also my dining room table, I am constantly looking for things to keep my papers contained. I also need organizational options that are easy and quick to put away when the dining room table has to be cleared for company. If this folder works for me, I might be going back to Target for more! How do you stay organized?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Ogden Nash was one of my favorite humorous poets, but I disagree with him on some things. Parsley, among them.

Here is a poem he wrote about the wonderful herb:

Further Reflections on Parsley

by Ogden Nash

Is gharsley.

The opposite of gharsley.

See, I disagree with him, there. I like parsley very very much. I chop it and use it fresh, and I dry it for later. I mix it with butter and pour it over boiled new potatoes. I add it to pesto and green smoothies. I use it to make tabouli and couscous salad.

Do you use parsley as anything besides a garnish?

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

Friday, July 18, 2014

Chocolate Kahlua Cake with Salted Hazelnut Chocolate Buttercream

Chocolate Kahlua Cake with Salted Hazelnut Chocolate Buttercream

I found this yummy recipe on The Naptime Chef. Click the link above for the story behind the cake and the chef's notes!


1 ½cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½cups superfine sugar
3teaspoons instant espresso dissolved in ½ cup boiling water
2tablespoons kahlua
2tablespoons whole milk
3cups all-purpose flour
2tablespoons baking powder
1/3cup cocoa powder
1teaspoon kosher salt
For the Frosting:
12ounces semisweet chocolate
12ounces bittersweet chocolate
5large egg whites
1 ½cups superfine sugar
1pinch cream of tartar
2teaspoons kosher salt
1pound unsalted butter, room temperature
2teaspoons hazelnut extract
1cup lightly toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour 3 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
2. Beat the butter and sugar together for 10 minutes, until light and airy. Meanwhile, dissolve the espresso in the boiling water and set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt and set aside.
3. Once the butter is fluffy add the eggs and mix well. Then add the rum, milk and espresso and beat until incorporated.
4. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the flour mixture until just combined. The batter will be very fluffy. Evenly distribute it amongst the three baking pans and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for about 10 minutes in their pans, then remove them and place them on wire racks to cool completely.
5. To make the buttercream: Combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl and warm them over simmering water for about 6 minutes, or until warm to the touch. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate together in the microwave and stir together. Set aside.
6. Place the cooled egg whites in a mixing bowl and whip until they hold stiff peaks. Then beat it the butter in small pieces, followed by the salt, melted chocolate and hazelnut extract. The frosting should be fluffy and light!
7. Frost the cake between each layer and all along the outer edges and top. Then, scatter the hazelnuts all along the top of the cake and press them along the sides as well. Serve!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Subway to the Rescue!

My daughter was in a softball tournament last weekend. It was in the middle of nowhere and we had to be there for over 6 hours. Since going to a restaurant was just not an option, a team mom thought of an easy way to bring restaurant food with the team. We could choose between turkey or ham $5.00 foot longs from Subway. There was an option of white bread or wheat bread. Subway included trays of cheeses, tomatoes and shredded lettuce. All of the sandwiches were packed in a cooler. At lunchtime, the sandwiches were handed out. The sandwich toppings, chips, cookies, watermelon and a cooler of drinks rounded out the perfect ballpark picnic!