Friday, November 29, 2013

Slow Cooker Breakfast

Here's a slow cooker breakfast you can put in the crockpot the night before to assure a speedy breakfast the next morning. The tutorial is from The Bargain Hound, and the casserole looks really good!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

 I am thankful for the snow we got last night. What a perfect day to make my Thanksgiving side-dishes I'm taking to relatives homes.
Here is one of the things I will be making today:
Cranberry Salad
1bag cranberries, chopped
3 apples, shredded
1-15oz can mandarin oranges (drained)
1-6 oz box cherry Jello
2 cups hot water
20 oz can crushed pineapple (drained)
1cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1cup sugar
1cup chopped celery

Combined all ingredients and chill till set

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What Can You Feed #Vegetarians?

Well, this, for one thing. We had this last night.

Pierogi stuffed with potato and cheddar (bought frozen), covered in peas, carrots, celery, and onion, and lavished with vegan margarine and chopped fresh parsley.

If you need it to be vegan, get potato and onion instead of potato and cheese.

Charlie, who seldom pays much attention to food, made a point of saying how much he liked it!

Please, omnivores, do me a favor and don't make your vegetarian/vegan relatives eat before they come, or graze on the garnishes, or wonder if the vegetables are cooked in animal fat. Make some delicious vegetarian/vegan dishes that are worthy of being main dishes, and let everyone know what's meaty and what isn't. As an omnivore with vegetarians/vegans I care about, I know how easy it is. 'Kay? Thanks!

Now, get out from between me and that turkey!

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Monday, November 25, 2013

'Tis the season - for sugar-free eggnog! By Joyce Lavene

Sugar-free Eggnog
By Joyce Lavene

When I was a kid, we never drank eggnog until New Year's Eve. Today, you can't get eggnog in the store after Christmas. I'm not sure what happened.

I recently found out that I am diabetic. It's borderline right now, but having two other diabetics - my Dad and my husband - in the family, I know what a challenge this is. I'm not going to push my luck.

So I've cut back on sugar. I'm trying to eat better, and I'm working out. I may even lose a few pounds - no guarantees on that!

But that bring me back to the eggnog.

I really enjoy a fresh, cold glass of eggnog this time of year. I was afraid I might have to give that up, but I found a very good recipe that has helped me through.

Sugar-free Eggnog

Mix 1/2 cup Eggbeaters with 1 cup of low fat milk. Add two tablespoons of sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix. Use 1/4 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice and a few packets of sweetener (your choice).

This is really good with one of those glasses with the top that you can shake things in, or you can use a whisk. Refrigerate for half an hour and enjoy!

Why eggbeaters? Because they’re pasteurized so you don’t have to cook the eggnog.

Can you add rum to this? By all means! But remember that a  lot of alcohol isn’t good for your glucose levels! You can add rum flavoring for the same taste (but not effect!)


Look for Murderous Matrimony, book 6 in the Renaissance Faire Mysteries. available now at Amazon. 

December 3rd: Hero's Journey from Berkley Prime Crime 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Turkey Cooking 101

Happy Auer gives us a turkey cooking lesson! :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fall For Food

I mean food for fall. Whatever.

Here is a delish fall meal we had recently:
That's coffee (naturally), lentil soup with onions, carrots, and celery, home made bread and baby Swiss cheese, and apple salad.

As for the Fatal part, I made plenty of soup so Charlie and I didn't have to have a knife fight over who got seconds.

I keep my knives sharp.

Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Monday, November 18, 2013

What do you think THESE guys eat at the Ren Faire?

What do you think THESE guys eat at the Ren Faire?
By Joyce Lavene
from Murderous Matrimony 

I spent about ten hours this past weekend signing books and chatting with authors and fans at the Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville, NC.

The weather wasn’t too bad. Kind of cloudy, but no rain. The festival was crowded with Dr. Who look-a-likes, weeping angels, pirates, elegant ladies and gentlemen.

And these two. They got me wondering.

Ren Faire food is a little strange. There are a lot of food on sticks – from roasted corn to chicken and steak. Most people seem to prefer the finger food.

There are also bread bowls filled with broccoli-cheese soup and chili (not together). I had one of these. It was very good.

On the side are huge pickles, pretzels on sticks, fudge, coffee and bakery sweets. It’s easy to imagine what it would have been like living in that time frame and smelling all those foods while walking around in the foggy morning.

Okay – maybe not ALL those foods. But some would have been possible.

Back to my original question. I think these two characters ate the huge turkey legs. You have to wonder where in the world they find turkeys with such big legs. I’ve never seen a Thanksgiving turkey with legs that big!

Someone suggested steroids, but that would hardly fit into the Ren Faire time. It’s possible though.

My Renaissance Faire Mysteries:

Come to the Renaissance Faire! My newest book, Murderous Matrimony is out now. It is the 6th book in the Ren Faire Mysteries, and contains the wedding of Jessie and Chase.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Turkey Cake Pop Tutorial

My Cupcake Addiction shows you how to make adorable turkey cake pops!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Preschool Author Visit...More Tips

In a continuation of last week's post, I offer more pointers for a preschool author visit:
1)  Many preschools have multiple ages. Begin your presentation by reading to all children. Save question and answer sessions, etc. for older children (ages 3 & 4)
2) Come up with some type of games, song, etc. to get children involved. My main character sneezes throughout my book. I divide kids into two groups (red group and purple group). When I say corresponding color, that group says "achoo, achoo."
3) Prepare for lots of hugs. Little kids love visiting authors!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Vegetable Porn

I know. It's so wrong. Looking at these pictures behind my husband's back makes me feel so dirty.

No it doesn't. It makes me feel hungry!

In that wonderful, serendipitous, time-hogging way it has, the interwebs slung me onto this site and into the middle of this recipe, which my husband would never want to eat in a million years and which has me drooling even as I ~slurrrrp~ type.

Even the title is to die for:

Sara's Laksa -- Big, Fragrant Malaysian Coconut Soup with Vegetables and Tofu

Marian Allen

Monday, November 11, 2013

Renaissance food for Christmas? By Joyce Lavene

Renaissance food for Christmas?
By Joyce Lavene
from Murderous Matrimony 

Christmas was an amazing time during the Renaissance, just as it is now. There were parties and feasting, excitement and happiness – and not just for the rich. Servants and peasants observed the holiday with extra food, parties, and even days off from their menial work.

Churches and houses were decorated with greenery which wasn't taken down until January. Gift-giving during this time was the New Year Gift, as it was improper to give a gift during the Christmas season.

There was dancing and music all during the day and night. Everyone would wear their best clothes and play sporting games, racing horses, and holding tournaments.

Of course, food played an important role in this merriment. Rich and poor alike had special dishes they made during the holiday season. There might be twenty courses to a meal! 

Roasted boar’s head was the main course for many wealthy people. The poor had to settle for a ham.

There were pastries made with various kinds of nuts and honey. Flavored custards were served, as eggs and milk were plentiful. Fruits were cooked with sugar and cinnamon, many times served whole on a plate. Hundreds of pies and cakes would grace the heaping tables.

Besides the boar’s heads and hams, there were dozens of various birds served – partridges, capons, pigeons turtledoves, pheasants, quails and peacocks.

A really special dish might include a roasted calf’s head
 covered in sugary almonds.

Another course might be a whole pig or a whole sheep. Chickens were roasted and served almost as snacks between the main courses.

Of course there would also be olives, carrots, peppers, cabbage, and other vegetables.

Fortunately, since there was so much food – these feasts would go on for days. 

Sometimes weddings were scheduled for these times simply because there was so much for everyone to enjoy!

 Come enjoy the wedding of Lady Jessie Morton and Bailiff Chase Manhattan on Friday, November 15th at 2 pm.

There will be gifts and merriment as the new Renaissance Faire Mystery – Murderous Matrimony – is released!

Friday, November 8, 2013

How to Make Modeling Chocolate

I thought this might be good to know if any of us decide to get creative with our holiday desserts! :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Preschool Author Visit

I have given tips on this blog for doing author visits to schools. Those tips are geared towards elemtary school visits.
If you are a children's author, visiting preschools can be very fun, but make your presentation entirely different than you would for elementary students.
Their attention span is next-to-nil. The younger, the child, the shorter the attention span.
Also, their understanding of concepts and language is still limited. Authors must be very careful to not talk over their heads.
Here are some tips:
1) Do not spend very long on your introduction. Begin reading right away.
2) Be very animated. It holds their attention.
3) Sit close to the children.
4) When a student distracts others, let preschool teachers deal with it. They know how to handle each child effectively.
More tips next week!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Grape Leaf in Louisville and Cincinnati Chili

"Mediterranean" can mean many things, when it comes to food. It can mean Italian. It can mean French. It can mean near Eastern.

When Louisville's The Grape Leaf restaurant says it, it means deeeelicious! My friend Jane and I ate there the other week, and I'm still happy.

A lot of Mediterranean restaurants which focus on the Turkish or Greek style of cooking will give you a nice gyros or a nice kabob, maybe some rice and lentils or a quinoa salad, a moussaka or a baba ganoush, and call it done. The Grape Leaf gives you a headful of flavors midwestern Americans don't generally experience.

That brings me to Cincinnati chili. Cincinnati style chili was concocted by a Greek immigrant, and is rich with spices like cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, vinegar, and cocoa! The waitress who gave me my first taste told me that people either love Cincinnati chili or hate it. I love it!

And those flavors that dance on my tongue in Cincinnati chili are those I found in the basmati rice with lentils at The Grape Leaf.

Oh, it was heavenly! One of these fine days, I'm going to try my hand at making rice with those flavors. I can hardly wait!

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Monday, November 4, 2013

Yummy Potato Pancakes! By Joyce Lavene

Potato Pancakes
By Joyce Lavene 

I’ve got a hankerin’ (yes, a handkerin’) for some potato pancakes! Yes, the lovely, crispy warm ones that I probably shouldn’t eat. I want potato pancakes with applesauce, the way my Mom used to make them.
And I’m probably going to have them!

Here’s my recipe:

4 cups mashed potatoes (day old is best, but do what you have to)
1/2 cup minced onions
1 egg
1/4 cup flour

Mix all ingredients. Use a tablespoon to scoop the mixture into a skillet that is hot and greased. Cook until each side is crispy and brown.
Easy-peasy! Potato pancakes in only a few minutes. Serve with applesauce. Beans are good with it too!

Watch for my new book on November 15th, Murderous Matrimony!

I'll have recipes from the Ren Faire wedding of Jessie Morton and Chase Manhattan.