Saturday, September 29, 2012

Plan now for October 31!

We at Fatal Foodies are gearing up for a Trick-or-Treat event! Come by on October 31 to get a list of links to our sites/blogs where you can get recipes and/or craft ideas or enter giveaways for fun prizes, including Kindle downloads and autographed books!

If you're an author who would like to be an honorary Fatal Foodie for the day and submit a link where readers can Trick-or-Treat, simply send your information to

We'll look forward to celebrating with you! Costumes are optional. :-D

Friday, September 28, 2012

Apple Harvest Recipes

In southwest Virginia, it's time to harvest apples. Below are a few recipes I found.

Stuffed Cinnamon Apples
6 apples
2/3 cup red cinnamon candies
2 cups water
3 ounce package cream cheese
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/3 cup pitted dates, chopped
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Peel and core apples, mix candies and water. Cook until candies are dissolved. Add apples. Simmer, uncovered until tender, about 15 minutes. Chill in syrup for several hours. Blend cream cheese, milk, lemon juice, dates, pineapple and nuts. Drain apples on rack. Place apples on top of salad greens. Stuff center of apples with cream cheese mixture. Very pretty and delicious.
This next one is a new one on me--peanut butter and bacon! Sounds interesting....

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons minced crisp bacon
1 cup dairy sour cream
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
Sliced, unpeeled red eating apples
Combine peanut butter and bacon; beat in sour cream. Stir in horseradish. Serve as dip for red apple slices. Makes about 1-1/2 cups. Enough for 8 or more guests.
Apple and Sausage Pie

  • 1 basic pie dough recipe, rolled out and lining a 9 or 10-inch pie dish, or 8x8 baking dish, chilled (or one frozen pie crust)
  • 2 large tart Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped (about half a cup)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 lb sweet Italian sausage (bulk, or removed from casings)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups shredded fontina, provalone, and or asiago cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 Preheat oven to 425°F. Line the inside of a pie shell with heavy aluminum foil, pressing the dough against the side. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil, poke the bottom of the pie crust with the tines of a fork to create air vents. Return crust to oven, bake for an additional 4 minutes, or until the crust just begins to brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
2 Melt butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the apples, onions, and sugar, cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. In the last 30 seconds or so, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Transfer mixture to a separate bowl. Increase the heat to medium high and in the same skillet add the Italian sausage. Cook, stirring only infrequently, until sausage is browned on all sides and is cooked through. Remove from heat. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon to a dish lined with paper towels to absorb the excess fat.
3 In medium sized bowl, mix together the cheeses and beaten eggs.
4 Place sausage on bottom of pre-baked pie crust. Add the cooked apple onion mixture over the sausage. Pour the cheese egg mixture over the apple mixture and spread it so it evenly covers the pie.
5 Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 8.

Do you have any favorite apple recipes to share?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Till Next Week..

Sorry that I did not post today. I was traveling. Where did I go? Tell ya next Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

You Write Things, You Learn Something

I was looking for something to post about, so I typed food quotes into a search engine. I clicked on the fourth or fifth entry The Quotations Page, and went to the second page. There, I found this:

available from Amazon in print and for Kindle
When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone. Whether we know it or not, none of us is. We bring fathers and mothers and kitchen tables, and every meal we have ever eaten. Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be.

Molly Wizenberg, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, 2009
True, that.

My husband loves bean soup, cornbread and green onions, food he grew up on. I grew up on meat an' taters, but marriage to him and the influence of vegetarians/vegans in the family have taught me that meat is better if it's scarce, and veg are various and delish.

All our picky eaters have grown up and have developed wide-ranging tastes. I wonder if I ever walk into their kitchens with them? I like to think I do, and in a good way. :)

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Monday, September 24, 2012

Making pizza crust with a pizza chef, Christopher Lavene!

by Joyce Lavene
Buried By Buttercups
A New Peggy Lee Garden Mystery
October 2012

My son, Christopher Lavene, is a pizza chef. He's been making pizza since he was small - starting with Chef Boyardee pizzas. When he was a teenager, he started making gourmet pizzas at home for us.

Eventually, he went to work for various pizza restaurants. After a brief stint working for Microsoft (he's also a genius with computers), he decided that life wasn't for him and went back to his passion - making pizza.

Now he's the pizza chef for the Pizza and Beyond restaurants. His motto is that eating good pizza makes people happy and he loves making people happy with his pizza.

As a pizza chef, he experiments with different types of pizzas. He's made everything from black bean pizza to spicy chicken pizza and various types of dessert pizza.

Chris insists that it doesn't matter so much what you put on the TOP of a pizza. At the core of any good pizza is the crust.

His secret for perfect crust every time? "It's the flour. Pizza crust needs a high protein, wheat flour to rise up and stay firm. Most people make pizza crust with the same kind of flour they use for cakes. The flour should be more like bread flour."

Who can argue with success?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Peanut Butter Pizza

I was looking for after-school snacks, and I thought this would be a great one for your teenagers and their friends:

Peanut Butter Pizza

Makes: 12 servings
Prep:15 mins               
Bake: 350°F 20 mins to 23 mins               
Stand: 1 min to 2 mins

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter pieces
  • 3/4 cup tiny marshmallows
  • 2/3 cup peanuts
  • 1/2 cup miniature candy-coated semisweet chocolate pieces
1. In a bowl beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, and vanilla. Beat in the flour on low speed. Spread dough evenly in an ungreased 12- or 13-inch pizza pan.
2. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate and peanut butter pieces. Let stand for 1 to 2 minutes or until softened. With spatula, spread melted pieces over crust. Top with marshmallows, peanuts, and miniature candy pieces. Bake about 5 minutes more or until marshmallows are golden. Cool pan on wire rack. Makes 12 servings.
From the Test Kitchen
  • Make Ahead Tip Store cookie pizza in airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.
Nutrition Facts (Peanut Butter Pizza)
  • Servings Per Recipe 12,
  • Calories 380,
  • Protein (gm) 9,
  • Carbohydrate (gm) 39,
  • Fat, total (gm) 23,
  • Cholesterol (mg) 50,
  • Saturated fat (gm) 10,
  • Dietary Fiber, total (gm) 2,
  • Sodium (mg) 156,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

This will do you a Latte Good!

It is the time of year when every coffee shop around has some kind of tempting autumn treat. Lattes in flavors like pumpkin-spice and maple evoke images of brightly colored leaves and watching football games on cold nights. Unfortunaley, indulgent coffee drinks can also pack a punch on the waist-line and the wallet.
A simple, inexpensive way to get the same sort of flavor without adding lots of  calories is to add flavorings to your regular coffee. A bit of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon spooned right into the coffee basket before you brew will add a nice flavor and a wonderful fragrance. A few drops of maple syrup or vanilla extract blended into your brewed coffee will lend a special kind of sweetness.
If you like a froth of milk on top, skim milk that had been heated in the microwave will whip up into a nice foam. You can do it by hand, with a small whisk; or with some type of electric blender.
Try it. You'll like it a latte!     

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Farmers' Market Feast

Saturday was the Farmers' Market, and Charlie and I scored big. Two of the things we got were some beautiful green beans and a small but plump white eggplant. Here's what I did with them:

The Green Beans
I simmered them in salted water for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I toasted some sliced mushrooms in a dry pan. Then I took the mushrooms out. I put some garlic-flavored olive oil in and added some large fresh sage leaves and cooked those, turning when necessary, until they were crisp. Took them out to drain on a paper towel. Put the mushrooms and green beans back into the pan and cooked until the green beans were crisp-tender and a little blistered. Put them on a plate, topped with shredded Italian cheeses, garnished with the toasted sage leaves.

The Eggplant
Cut it in two, rubbed it with olive oil, sprinkled it with Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt, cooked it on a contact grill for about 10 minutes, tops, until it was blackened on the outside, tender on the inside.

A feast fit for Vegans Eat Pencil Shavings! (Well, except the cheese....)

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fall At last - Pumpkin Bread

Okay,so I know it's not really quite fall, but I get hopeful when the 90 degree weather is gone and those sweet September breezes start to blow. The leaves are turning yellow and red, the good apples are back and there are PUMPKINS!

I LOVE pumpkins! I love everything about them from the way they look to the way they taste. Maybe it's because I love fall so much. I don't know.

I am using pumpkin puree for this recipe. Fresh pumpkin isn't as good for this or pumpkin pie. Pumpkins are really bred to be Jack O Lanterns these days. You can buy what they call a 'pumpkin pie' pumpkin but they are very expensive. Pumpkin puree from the can has what I think of as a real pumpkin taste.

So here we go:

You'll need one and a half cups of flour, pinch of salt, one cup sugar or Splenda, one cup pumpkin puree, one teaspoon baking soda (unless you have self rising flour), one half cup shortening or oil, one quarter cup milk. Spices: one half teaspoon nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice OR three teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice. Two eggs. You can also add nuts and raisins to this, if you like.

Easy directions: Mix everything together in a big bowl by hand. Don't use a mixer. Grease a bread loaf pan. Pour all of it inside. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 or 50 minutes. Makes one loaf.


Look for our newest mystery in October! Buried By Buttercups is the next Peggy Lee Garden Mystery!

Joyce Lavene

Friday, September 14, 2012

2012 Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show!

It's almost that time again--time for one of the most prestigious cake-decorating competitions in the country: the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show. If you're a cake enthusiast and you've never been to the show, I encourage you to go if you get the chance.

This year's theme is "Headgear, Hats, and Headbands," and the festivities begin on September 28 and continue through September 30. Daily demonstrations will be provided by Celebrity Edible Art Stars, Martin Howard and Orlando Serrano.

Take a look at the video below comprised of photographs Gayle Trent took at the competition she attended in 2008. There's even a photo of Gayle with Food Network Challenge Judge and Master Sugar Artist Kerry Vincent!  Again, the show is scheduled for September 28-30 at the Tulsa State Fair's Quiktrip Building, Sugar Art Location No. 42 on Fair Map.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Crazy Good!

On Friday, I watched Crazy Heart. The book-turned-movie is adapted from a novel of the same name by Thomas Cobb.

This is not a feel-good flick. It is gritty, sometimes ugly and very real. Jeff Bridges plays a washed-up, over-the-hill, alcoholic, overweight, chain-smoking country music singer/songwriter. Bridges' character is on the road, playing to small crowds in sub-par venues and staying in cheap hotels,when he meets a pretty journalist played by Maggie Gyllenhaal.

The two form an instant connection that quikcly turns to love. Bridges character also strongly bonds with Gyllenhall's young son, who is in need of a male role-model. All does not goes smoothly as Gyllenhall discovers that an alcoholic is not easy to love, especially when you have an impressionable child.

The acting and writing are superb! Bridges and Gyllenhaal are multi-dimensional characters. They are both filled with pain, but hope for better tomorrows. In the end, both characters get their better tomorrow; but not without some loss along the way.   

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Food Rules

That sounds like a Yo statement, doesn't it? "Food rules, yo!" Actually, it's the title of a book by Michael Pollan which my husband is reading and is next on my TBR list.

The entire title is FOOD RULES: AN EATER'S MANUAL. It's a less formal treatment of Pollan's seven-word formula for healthy eating: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. This was the basis and mantra of his IN DEFENSE OF FOOD, but that book had all the scientific backup and this one has 83 rules distilled or quoted from traditional food knowledge.

Charlie said one of the grandmotherly "rules" was to save the water in which you cook vegetables and use it as a base for soup. I said, "Duh." He said, "How do you know that? You're not a grandmother!" I just looked at him. "Oh," he said, "yeah, you ARE a grandmother." I took it as a compliment. I takes 'em where I can gets 'em.

Here's one I like: "The banquet is in the first bite." I mean, really, isn't it? Anticipate that first bite. If it's as good as you imagine, there's the payoff. No other bite will be quite as big a payoff as that one. One bite may not satisfy your hunger, but one bite satisfies your anticipation.

The illustrations are by artist Maira Kalman. Her paintings look deceptively childish at first glance, but the more you study them, the more you appreciate the skill and talent in them. They're perfect for this book: Complexity disguised as simplicity.

There's a regular version, but the illustrated one would make a very nice gift for the mother, grandmother, and/or foodie on your list.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bread Bowls

Bread bowls are a fun way to eat food. At Renaissance Faires and festivals, they are usually served with hot chili or stew in them. The beauty of  a bread bowl is that you can eat the food inside then eat the bowl.

I like to break pieces off while I'm eating the stew or chili. You just have to be careful that you don't eat too much bowl!

They are also quite tasty with hot apple pie filling, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar or Splenda.

These can be baked into a bowl shape but since I usually don't think about it untl the last minute, here is a faster way to have your bowl  -  and eat it too!

You'll need a loaf of sourdough or Italian bread and a little olive oil. Look for slightly rounder loaves of bread. Thick bread is better than thin, in this case.

Cut the top off of the loaf with a good bread knife.

Hollow out the inside by removing the inner core. Be sure to leave enough so the sides and bottom are thick enough to hold what you put inside, usually about an inch or so.

Brush olive oil on the inside of the bowl. This will help seal it against leakage. Put the bread bowl on a cookie sheet and baste the top with olive oil for soups, stews or chili - butter for apples or other sweet fillings. I also like to add a little onion or garlic to the top before baking - sugar or Splenda if it's sweet.

Bake bread bowls for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. They should be golden brown and crispy on the inside. Fill and serve! Delicious!

Joyce Lavene
Treacherous Toys

Friday, September 7, 2012

Food and the Presidency

How much weight does food--specifically, the food eaten on the campaign trail--carry with American voters? According to Alice Hines in her article "Food Fight" for the Huffington Post, each food stop is "a set in the meticulously scripted theater of a modern presidential campaign."

Check out the article, and tell me what you think. Does seeing a candidate eating a burger or an ice cream cone make him more relatable to you?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Are you Ready for Some Football? How About Some Chocoate?

It's football time again! Around here, we just cannot get enough University of Tennessee themed items. Whether it is orange and white pasta or drink bottles with Tennessee colors; make it pertain to the Vols and folks will buy it.
Yesterday, in my grocery store, I found an orange and white box of Russell Stover chocolates. They have several collegiate boxes, which you may find  in your local store. The collegiate editions also sell on their site:             
                              For $9.99, you can get a fun treat for a football fan, a great dessert to pass while watching the game at home or a nice hostess gift for someone throwing a tailgate.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Brace Yourself

Our #4 daughter has braces on her teeth again because the orthodontist who did them the first time said pulling teeth first wouldn't do any good and then, when he took the braces off, said maybe he should have pulled some teeth first and now the only thing that would keep the teeth from moving back would be to break her jaw and she was like, "No, thank you."

So her new orthodontist had some teeth pulled and she's back in braces.

BUT THE POINT IS, she came to visit the other day, and she can't eat anything that isn't soft because it's still to difficult for her to chew with her new braces on. So we had this:
  • tomato and spinach fettuccine (slightly overcooked for softness) with home-made pesto
  • canned peas cooked with butter and freshly grated nutmeg, and then mashed
  • zucchini fritters
  • cucumbers finely chopped with onion salt mixed with homemade mayonnaise
We all liked it.

In case I haven't told you before, here is:

  • 1 zucchini, peeled and shredded or grated
  • grated onion to taste
  • 1 egg
  • self-rising flour
  • oil for frying
Mix the zucchini, onion and egg. Add enough flour to make a batter. Heat the oil. Add the batter in 1/4 cup batches. Fry, turning once, until nicely browned on both sides.

Even non-veggie lovers tend to like these.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Renaissance Feast!

During the time of the Renaissance, foods weren't so different than they are now. Probably the biggest difference was that many foods we eat every day were only to be had during weddings or other special occasions.

Weddings were very much the same as they are now. There would be well dressed guests and too much to eat and drink. There would be dancing and music. Sometimes a Renaissance wedding would last for days, if you were a nobleman or queen. For the peasants, it would end a little sooner because you had to get back to work. Guests would come from near and far. If they were wealthy, they would stay at a manor house. If not, they would probably spend the night on the ground or in a hayloft.

Food that would have been enjoyed during these joyous events included many courses of meat. Meat was scarce for most people so eating a lot of it meant the event would be remembered. Meals were served in courses between which there would be merriment, song and dance. There might be jugglers, sword swallowers and comedy.

A first course of a wedding feast might include salads, broth, chicken, pigeons, mutton roasts, veal, pastries and sweetened mustards. After this course, the guests would dance or simply parade to be seen at the event.

The second course might be venison, roasted capons, more salads (most of these would be wild vegetables and herbs), rabbits, quails, sausage, pheasant, ham, pate, leg of lamb, olives and roasted swan.

Between meals, beer and wine would be served. No one drank the water.

The dessert course might include mousse, apple, cherry, mixed berry tarts, cream flan, pears and other fresh fruits, waffles, cloved apples, walnuts, jelly, and cheese.

No one went away hungry from such a feast. It would be talked about for months and would be enough to make those who attended dream about the next wedding to come.

Joyce Lavene
Treacherous Toys
Renaissance Faire Mystery