Friday, May 30, 2014

Peanut Butter Butterfinger Pie

Wow....Is this a drool-worthy pie, or what?

Peanut Butter Butterfinger Pie

A no bake peanut butter cheesecake topped with Butterfinger bars in a baked Pillsbury pie crust.
1 refrigerated Pillsbury pie crust
1 package cream cheese, softened (8 oz.)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 1/2 cups Cool Whip, divided
1 1/2 crushed Butterfinger bars
  1. Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and let sit for 15 minutes on the counter. Gently unroll the pie crust and place in a 9 inch pie plate. Press firmly into the bottom. Crimp the edges. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the crust very well. Bake at 450* for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese. Add the sweetened condensed milk and sour cream and beat until creamy. Remove 2 cups of batter and set aside. Add the peanut butter and beat again. Spoon into the bottom of the cool pie crust.
  3. Fold 2 cups of Cool Whip into the saved cream cheese mixture. Spoon on top of the peanut butter layer. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to set.
  4. Cover the top of the pie with the crushed Butterfinger bars. Decorate the edges of the pie with the remaining Cool Whip. Makes 1 - 9 inch pie. Keep refrigerated.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Till Next Week...

I am on family vacation. Where am I? Easy guess if you know me, but I'll tell you next week!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Caek Of The Birfday Kind

One of us had a birthday, so I baked a cake. Since it was a birthday, it looked like this:
See, long ago, when Daughter #4 was very young, I decorated her cake with these plastic birds. Somehow, it became a tradition that EVERY BIRTHDAY CAKE WE HAD needed to have these birds on it.

Our poor little grandson went to his first external birthday party, saw their cake, and asked, "Where are the birds?"

Social trauma: it comes from unexpected sources, eh?

This cake, by the way, was chocolate. If you know me, you knew that already. When Daughter #4 was a teen and had a big crowd of friends over, one came in and asked what was in the oven. I said, "Cake." He said, "Chocolate?" I said, "I said it was cake, didn't I?" He nodded in approval. Like, yo.

Pop on over to my blog for the last Tuesday of Story A Day May.

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

Monday, May 26, 2014

Birthday Soup - By Joyce Lavene

Birthday Soup
By Joyce Lavene

My son, Christopher, and I read the Little Bear book Birthday Soup many times when he was growing up. I read it to him first and then he read it to me. We both loved all of author Else Holmelund Minarik's Little Bear books.

So now he always makes me soup for my birthday. I LOVE it!

This year he made me vegetarian hot and sour soup. It's his own recipe. He's a wonderful pizza chef, but he is equally talented with other foods.

My hot and sour soup was delicious, as always. Here is Christopher's recipe.

Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup

2 tsp. red pepper sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
2 eggs slightly beaten
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp cold water
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup bamboo shoots
1/4 cup sliced tofu
1/8 tsp ground ginger
4 cups vegetable broth
1-1/2 tbsp soy sauce
Two eggs,s lightly beaten

Heat broth, vinegar, and soy sauce
Stir in bamboo, mushrooms and tofu.
Heat to boiling, and then simmer five minutes.

Mix cornstarch with cold water.
Add to soup.

Add pepper, red pepper sauce, sesame oil, ginger and onion.
Bring to hard boil - IMPORTANT!

Slowly add eggs to soup, stirring constantly with a fork. This should form long threads.

Thanks for the birthday soup, Christopher! It was delicious!

Chris at his pizza oven.

My new book? LETHAL LILY - # 8 in the Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries.
Take a peek:

Friday, May 23, 2014

Chicken Alfredo Dip

When I spotted this recipe from Life With the Crust Cut Off, I knew I had to have it because my son absolutely loves chicken Alfredo. Every time we go to Olive Garden, he orders the chicken Alfredo pizza as an appetizer. Then for his entrée, he guessed it...chicken Alfredo. :)

Chicken Alfredo Dip
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 8oz block cream cheese, softened
1 jar alfredo sauce (14.5 oz or so)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
Boil the chicken and shred.
Mix the chicken with the cream cheese, alfredo sauce and 1 1/2 cups mozzarella.
Place into glass pie dish or 8x8 pyrex dish.
Top with remaining mozzarella and a sprinkling of Parmesan.
Bake in oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until bubbly.
Serve with crackers, pita chips, toasted baguette slices or veggies.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fridge/Freezer/Pantry Month

For me, summer means swimming, softball, vacation and a semi-hiatus from grocery shopping. Between out-of-town trips and a sporadic schedule, summer is the time of year when I do not cook dinner as often. Several years ago, I began mostly shopping for things like fresh produce, milk, bread and eggs in the month of June. Otherwise, I rely on what is already in my fridge, freezer and cabinets. It cuts down on things spoiling when we are gone, saves a bundle and forces my creative cooking skills! Last night, we ate the talapia filets I had in the freezer. Since, my kids are not fish fans, they had loaded baked potatoes and a salad topped with croutons (made from toasted burger buns) and frozen green peas. The only newly purchased ingredients that went into the meal were salad greens and a cucumber. As use up what we have, I toss out expired food. It is meal planning, cost cutting and cleaning all rolled into one!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Plates, Disposable And Edible

When we have a big get-together, we use disposable plates. 

Disposable plates are not a new invention--far from it. At one time in India, earthenware dishes had to be broken after use, so most people used plates made of coconut palm leaves. Even now, food cooked in or eaten from leaves is far from rare, and food served in edible "plates" like tortillas and buns can be found everywhere. 

Diners in the middle ages ate off trenchers: slices of stale wheat bread trimmed into squares or rectangles. Food from the common bowls and thick sauces for dipping meat were transferred to these. A poorer diner had to make do with one trencher for the whole meal, flipping it over when the first side got too messy. More favored guests might have several. One might wipe one's fingers on the trencher and throw it to the dogs, but table scraps and used trenchers were also collected and distributed to the poor. Yum.

While we're on the subject, do you know what I hate? "Plating the food." I don't glass the wine or bowl the soup, either.

Marian Allen, Author Lady (and part-time curmudgeon)

Friday, May 16, 2014

All You's Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Lose the bun and move shredded barbecue chicken onto a pizza crust for a tasty fusion of Italian and Tex-Mex flavors.
All You AUGUST 2007
  • Yield: 2 Servings
  • Cook time:20 Minutes
  • Prep time:15 Minutes
  • Cost Per Serving:$3.83


  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small skinless, boneless chicken breast half
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
  • 1 (11-inch) pizza crust (14 oz. package)
  • 1/2 cup grated smoked Gouda
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
  • 3 tablespoons sliced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


Warm oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once, 5 to 6 minutes per side, until just cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss chicken with 2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce in a bowl.
Position a rack in bottom of oven and preheat to 450°F. Place pizza crust on a large baking sheet and spread with remaining 1/2 cup barbecue sauce. Sprinkle with half of both cheeses, arrange chicken on top, and then add remaining cheese and onion.
Bake until cheese is melted and golden brown, 20 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro, cut into slices and serve hot.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 596
  • Fat: 41g
  • Saturated fat: 12g
  • Protein: 12g
  • Carbohydrate: 45g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 22mg
  • Sodium: 771mg

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Another Great Movie from a Book

AMERICAN HUSTLE is the film adaptation from the book pictured above. The movie is awesome, but the book sounds even better! The story is funny, quirky, complex and riveting. The twist is that the "good guy" is sometimes the most evil. The lesson is that getting involved with bad people who delve into crooked dealings will result in an almost certain demise.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Milk Soup

It isn't surprising to find out that this soup is known all over the world, since it's basically warm milk. What's surprising is the number of people (in the USA, at least) who think their families are the only people in the world who eat it, my family included. 

In researching this topic, I found soup made from all kinds of domesticated mammal milk, almond milk, soy milk and coconut milk. 

The kind my family makes is very common in Byelorussia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Poland--and probably many countries I've neglected to reference. Poland alone has a wealth of milk-based soups. My family probably got it from the German part of our ancestry.

Some milk soups contain ham or bacon and potatoes and onion, some have egg mixed in, some have bread or buttered toast stirred in or floating on top, some have noodles, some have rice, some have noodles AND rice, some are sweetened with sugar!

One that I plan to try has a batter of egg, flour and water that's poured slowly into the boiling milk to make instant noodles. 

My family just heats milk and butter and leftover spaghetti and serves it with salt, pepper and crumbled crackers. It's our go-to soup when we don't feel good, physically or otherwise; when we need comfort, this is soup is where the rubber meets the road.

Watch out, though--it makes you sleepy. Do not drive, handle heavy machinery, or sign important papers after consumption.

Marian Allen, Author Lady

Friday, May 9, 2014

Cool Kitchen Tricks!

In addition to the above, see nine additional Kitchen Tricks from Life as Mama! :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

All I Want is a Day Off!

I love to cook for my family! Most of the time, I think my family enjoys my cooking. Home-cooked meals are an integral part of our lives. As much as I love it, I want a break! For Mother's Day, all I want is a day off. On my Mother's Day wish list: 1) See my mom 2) spend time with my kids and husband 3) Go to church 4) Eat things that have been cooked by other people! It can be pizza, barbecue, a bucket of chicken or a restaurant meal. Just let someone else make it!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


The meat of wild goose and domestic goose are very different, just like wild and domestic turkey are different. While domestic goose is notorious for its fat, wild goose is very lean and muscular, and is best eaten while it is young. If, you know, at all.

The term "wild goose chase" is only metaphorically connected to geese: In the 1500s, a popular kind of horse race was a cross-country chase (or pursuit) of a lead horse, who could run in any direction, switching directions at the rider's whim, with all the other horses following its lead. That was a wild goose chase. 

The first recorded use of the phrase was by Shakespeare in 1592 in Romeo and Juliet, when Mercutio says, "Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose chase, I have done...." The current meaning of a hopeless pursuit came later.

Now, aren't you glad you got up and turned on the computer this morning?

I've posted a story over on my own blog called "Goose" for today's Story A Day in May.

Marian Allen, Author Lady

Monday, May 5, 2014

Good time require good food, right?

Good times require good food, right?
By Joyce Lavene

Nothing goes with good times like good food, right? I just got back from Malice Domestic, the mystery writers and readers conference in Bethesda, Maryland. There are huge dinners with all the trappings - and lots of wine. Some of us only get together once a year. There must be food!

I'm sure some sociologist could explain why people feel they should eat together. I don't know why, but I know it's fun and everyone does it.

Next time you are getting together with friends or family, suggest a no-food event. You'll begin to understand what I'm talking about!

My newest book is Lethal Lily - and yes! food is involved in this Peggy Lee Garden Mystery!
Lethal Lily Buy Link

Friday, May 2, 2014

Girl Scout Cookie Copycat Recipes

When I saw this blog post for seven DIY Girl Scout cookie recipes, I knew before I even read it that I needed to share it with you. Then I read the post and saw that these recipes have been deemed "easy, better-for-you recipes that don’t compromise on flavor or have any unnatural preservatives." DOUBLE YAY!

The recipes are from Life at Daily Burn (see the full post) and are for those who are "vegan, gluten-free or simply looking for a slimmed-down version of your favorite cookie." Recipes include Samoa Bars, Paleo Thin Mints, Coconut Oil Shortbread, Peanut Butter Patties, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies, and Paleo Chocolate Chunk Shortbread.

Get this: the Peanut Butter Patties (the Tagalong copycats) are under 50 calories per serving! I'll have two and a cup of coffee please. :)