Wednesday, December 31, 2014

1) Book-Movie 2) Movie-Book 3)Movie & Book?

Some time back, I contemplated on this blog. My contemplation was on whether to: 1) Read GONE GIRL before seeing the movie 2) See the movie before reading the book. I contemplated, got busy with Christmas prep and took no action. After getting the book as a Christmas present, I began reading. A day-or-so and several pages later, I saw the movie offered through ON DEMAND. So, I shook things up! I watched the movie before finishing the book. I like doing both at the same time! I have a deeper understanding of both the movie and the book because I am experiencing them simultaneously. Anyone ever do this; or have I broken a book/movie, movie/book rule?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Very Curry Christmas #Vegan

So often, our vegan daughter has to make do with nibbles at the edges of holiday meals, that I decided to make something she could eat. We have family pitch-ins for our holiday meals, so all the non-vegans would have plenty to eat.

Here's what I made:

Curried Vegetables

  • vegan margarine
  • 1 Tbs curry powder
  • chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • bay leaf
  • cauliflower florets
  • potato, peeled and cubed
  • bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
    OR fresh tomatoes
    OR 2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
  • tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • frozen peas
  • cashews, chopped
  • cooked rice (I used Jasmine)
  • sliced scallions (green onions, spring onions)
Heat margarine in a skillet. Add curry powder, onion, and peeled whole garlic cloves and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent and softened. Add bay leaf, cauliflower, potato, bell peppers, tomatoes (or sauce), and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are done. Add frozen peas and return to simmer. Add rice and cashews and cook, stirring, until the curry is thickened. Transfer to a serving dish, remove and discard garlic and bay leaves, and sprinkle the curry with scallions.

It looks like a lot of ingredients, which I usually don't countenance, but it isn't really all that bad. And you can use other veg if you prefer.

This was a VERY mild curry. Add more spice, if you like more spice.

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

Friday, December 26, 2014

Peanut Butter and Cream Cheese Frosted Chocolate Cake

  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 oz. semi sweet chocolate squares (coarsely chopped)
  • 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. unsalted butter (softened)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • For Frosting
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 TBLS butter (softened)
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3 - 3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • Decorations (optional)
  • Double the frosting recipe if you plan to pipe decorations on the cake
  • 7 peanut butter cups
  • chocolate sprinkles
    For the cake
  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9 inch round cake pans with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, place cocoa and chocolate and pour in boiling water and whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, place butter and mix until creamy. Add the sugar and eggs and mix after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, place flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until incorporated.
  5. To the bowl with the butter/sugar mixture, add the flour mixture, chocolate mixture, and butter milk incrementally, in two-three separate additions apiece and mix after each addition just until incorporated.
  6. When it is all mixed pour batter evenly into the two cake pans and place pans in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted, comes out clean and the top springs back when touched.
  7. Allow to cool on a cooling rack for at least thirty minutes. Use a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen before inverting the pans to pop out the cake.
  8. For frosting
  9. In a medium mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese, butter, peanut butter and vanilla together until well mixed and smooth. Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl and mix in three additions until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. This frosting recipe is enough to frost one two layered cake.
  10. For decorations (optional)
  11. Decorate the cake as desired. If Piping is desired, then double the frosting recipe. Use sprinkles on the side of the cake if desired. Coarsely chop 4 peanut butter cups and place them in center of the cake. Cut 3 peanut butter cups in half and place decoratively on top of the cake.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cornbread and Mushrooms #Vegetarian

So I made this:

Cornbread Souffle
In a 2-quart casserole dish mix the following:
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 can undrained whole kernel corn
  • 1 stick melted butter or margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
Bake at 350F for 1 hour.

But I used whole kernel corn with green and red peppers in, and I also chopped up some cooked broccoli and stirred that in.

While that was cooking, I cooked sliced mushrooms and onions in margarine until the onion was soft and the mushrooms were browning. Then I stirred in some flour, then some red wine, and topped the casserole with that.

Satisfactory, as Nero Wolfe would say.

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

Friday, December 19, 2014

Oreo Snowmen Pops

How cute (and easy!) are these Oreo Snowmen Pops?!

Just dip your Oreos in melted white chocolate and decorate. Click on the link above for the step-by-step tutorial from RedStarRecipe. These would be great to take to a potluck or for a school or office party.

So what's your go-to recipe for the holidays?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Cutest!

HOW TO GET A GIRLFRIEND is written by kindergarten students. This book of advice would be such a fun gift for any kids or single guy. It is the cutest book I have seen in a long time!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Artichoke ... Things #vegetarian

I guess these are quesadillas. We had stuff left over, so I made these ... things.

Those are halved artichoke hearts, seitan not-chicken bits, mushrooms, and an Italian 3-cheese mix between flour tortillas.

Very delicious. Looks kinda naughty, too, which is always a plus.

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

Friday, December 12, 2014

Caramel Hot Chocolate

caramel hot cocoa3

Caramel Hot Chocolate

Doesn't this look delicious? I could sure cuddle up with a mug of this. I got this recipe from Cooking Classy. To see the entire tutorial and read the story behind the recipe, click on the link to visit Jaclyn's blog.

In the meantime, here is the recipe:

Yield: 2 Servings (recipe can easily be doubled)
  • 2 cups milk, preferably whole
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I recommend Ghirardelli)*
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce, recipe link follows
  • Sweetened whipped cream or vanilla marshmallows
  • Grated chocolate for garnish, optional
  • Caramel Sauce, recipe and step by step tutorial HERE (just leave the salt out if you don't want salted)
  • Prepare caramel sauce according to directions listed and allow to cool slightly. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once milk is warm, stir in chocolate chips and caramel, and cook whisking constantly until chocolate has melted. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm topped, topped with sweetened whipped cream or miniature marshmallows, drizzle each serving with 1 Tbsp caramel sauce and garnish with grated chocolate if desired.
  • *For a richer hot chocolate, you can use up to 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips and mix in more caramel sauce as well if desired.
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Can't Wait!

If you loved this book as a kid, I have good news! It is going to be made into a Disney movie. For those who have not read A WRINKLE IN TIME, it is a time travel tale of two kids searching for their missing afather and his lab partner. I cannot wait to see it on screen! What childhood favorite would you like to see made into a movie?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Easy Peasy Broccy Cheesy #vegetarian

I wanted supper and I wanted it fast and I wanted it simple. We'd had a big lunch, so I also wanted it fairly light but, you know, not too light.

So I made this. 

I cut up some broccoli -- stems and florets, because we like the stems. Brought some salted water to boil, and dumped in the broccoli and some wide egg noodles and cooked them for eight minutes or so, then drained them. Stirred in some vegan margarine and 3-cheese Italian cheese blend until the cheese melted.

That's hominy on the side. WE LIKE HOMINY, OKAY?

It was ver' tasty.

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

Friday, December 5, 2014

Pizza Roll Ups

Pizza Roll Ups from @amandaformaro
Pizza Roll Ups

This recipe from Amanda's Cooking is so quick and easy! If you suddenly need to feed hungry kids or want a quick snack, you're good to go. (Click on the link above for step-by-step, photographed instructions.)

  • 1 can refrigerator pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasonings
  • garlic salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9x9 square baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Lightly flour work surface and remove pizza dough from can. Unroll to a rectangle and spread with pizza sauce. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and then with the Parmesan cheese.
  3. Starting from the long end, roll up dough and wrap in parchment. Place in freezer for 15 minutes to chill.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small bowl.
  5. Remove dough log from freezer and slice into 1 1/2″ discs. Place in prepared pan, slice side up. Brush tops with melted butter, then season lightly with garlic salt and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
  6. Place in oven and bake 22-27 minutes. Rolls are done when crust is lightly browned and cheese and sauce are bubbly.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Flavor of the Season

Pumpkin seemed to be the flavor for October and November. This month, peppermint seems to be all the rage. I have tried the peppermint Oreos. The verdict...yum! Imagine how great they will be in Oreo balls. what you need: 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened 40 OREO Cookies, finely crushed, divided 4 pkg. (4 oz. each) semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces, melted MIX cream cheese and 3 cups cookie crumbs until blended. SHAPE into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 min. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place in single layer in shallow waxed paper-lined pan. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs. REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Quesadilla non Queso OR #Vegan Triumph

Thanksgiving, 2014. Our vegan daughter was going to the family pitch-in, so I bought a rice salad packet to make and take. I chose the Southwestern Suddenly Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette rather than the Parmesan one because, being vegan, she doesn't eat cheese.

I made the salad and then I read the ingredients list. Seriously? Milk products? In vinaigrette?

So she wouldn't be able to eat that.

What could I make at the last minute?

I made this:

I pan-toasted some mushrooms and mixed them with vegetarian refried beans and some corn-and-black-bean salsa. I put that between flour tortillas and toasted them in the waffle maker, then cut them into fourths and piled them around the edge of a plate.

The un-cheese sauce is a spicy one from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, which I just got and had never used before. It's equal amounts of flour and nutritional yeast, plus spices, water, and a bit of miso.

I labeled it clearly as vegan, as you see, but non-vegans tried it and I had almost none to take home. They put the sauce on the quesadillas, and used it as dip for their raw veg and their chips. Our vegan daughter barely had any to take home with her!

Gonna make that stuff again!

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