Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Like Mother/Like Daughter

Shopping at Fresh Market is a special event for me. It is like a relaxing spa experience for my eyes, nose and imagination. Yesterday, the doctor suggested good honey to soothe the symptoms of my daughter's respiratory virus. We headed straight to Fresh Market. It was Calli's first fascinating, joyous trip to this foodie Nirvana. She loved it; and I loved watching her take it all in. Is there any food shopping place that makes you feel Zen?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Squash Martha Stewart #vegan

No, I am not advocating violence against my favorite homemaker. I love Martha Stewart!

This is a recipe for squash that MY HUSBAND tore out of Martha Stewart Living and suggested I make. I did, and we loved it!

There was no recipe, so I can't give you one, which is okay, because I don't usually do recipes anyway. I take some this and do that to it, and then this other thing, and eat it. That's the way this recipe was.

 So I cut a bit off the squash to depressurize it and I microwaved it for a few minutes to soften it up. Then I cut it into sections, leaving the skin on. I dipped it in softened vegan margarine and then into a mixture of whole cumin seeds, sesame seeds, salt, and ground coriander. Then I roasted them at about 400 until they started to brown.

Martha says, "Swap the add-ins for orange zest and sage, and you've spun it into a bright Mediterranean-style side. Switch it up with bacon and maple syrup, and you've got an all-American match for nearly anything roasted or grilled."

We loved the cumin version, but both thought I went too heavy on the cumin seed.

See what you think!

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

Friday, September 25, 2015

25-Minute Baked Ziti

Chad A Elick
25 Minute Baked Ziti Skillet *


1 lb hot Italian sausage, removed from casings
1 (14.5-oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
½ (6-oz) can tomato paste
1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
16 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
4 oz fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 lb dried pasta (ziti or penne are best)
3 cups water
1 (8-oz) package shredded Italian cheese blend
basil, for garnish


In a large (12-inch) skillet over high heat, brown sausage, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, sauce, paste, Italian seasoning, dried pasta, and water. Stir to combine, cover and bring to a boil. Boil until pasta is al dente (has a little bite to it).

Meanwhile; combine ricotta, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir until well incorporated.

Stir ricotta mixture into pasta. Preheat oven to broil. Top skillet with shredded cheese and place in oven. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Keep a close eye on it or you will have crispy cheese pretty quick.

Garnish with basil. Serve and enjoy!

* Visit Community Table for more information!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tried and True

I love to bake cakes! For my husband's birthday, I was willing to make whatever spectacular creation he chose. So, what was his pick? Todd wanted a simple yellow cake with chocolate frosting (from a box and a can). He did not even want a layer cake; opting for a rectangular cake baked in a glass pan. Nothing like a simple classic! What would you pick for your birthday cake if options were limitless?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Glazed Carrots #vegan

We had this the other night:
The stuff that isn't orange is baked penne and cheese, like macs and cheese only we were out of macs and used penne instead. The green bits in the penne is broccoli, which I boiled along with the penne, then baked with the penne and cheese and flour and milk. It's vegetarian, not vegan.

The orange stuff is glazed carrots. It IS vegan.

Our Glazed Carrots

  • baby carrots
  • water
  • salt
  • vegan margarine
  • Turbinado sugar
  • local honey
Put baby carrots into a deep skillet with enough water to cover them. Add salt to taste. Cover the skillet and cook the carrots until they're tender (about 20 minutes). Uncover the skillet. Add margarine, sugar, and honey, and turn up the heat, cooking until the water is evaporated and only the glaze is left. I like to add pepper, myself.

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

Friday, September 18, 2015

Lazy Girl's Ravioli Lasagna


    Lazy Girls Ravioli Lasagna via Iowa Girl Eats
  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • garlic salt
  • pepper
  • 24oz marinara sauce
  • 1-1/2lbs frozen mini cheese ravioli (Do not thaw. Could use normal sized ravioli)
  • 6oz shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat, seasoning with garlic salt and pepper, until no longer pink. Drain then return to the skillet and set aside.
  2. Spread 1/4 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish. Add 1/3 the frozen ravioli, ground beef, sauce, and cheese. Repeat layers two more times.
  3. Cover with a sheet of non-stick sprayed foil then bake for 1 hour. Remove foil then bake for 10 more minutes, or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
I love quick and easy recipes! Check this one out if you're a pasta lover! :) Visit Iowa Girl Eats for this recipe's tutorial as well as a lot of other fun stuff! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Sticky, Crunchy, Chewy Celebration

My oldest child got some great news yesterday. In a little more than a month, her braces are coming off! This is round 2 of having braces; so Calli has endured years of abstaining from peanuts, bubblegum, caramels and other treats that can wreak havoc on orthodontic appliances. Wonder what she will want to eat first? As luck would have it, this will happen in time for Halloween. Hope Calli doesn't go crazy and replaces braces with cavities!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Meatless Wings Not For #Vegans Who Don't Like Meat

I got a coupon for any Morningstar Farms product, so I decided to try out their Buffalo Wings. There aren't many in a package, but more than enough for us. We each had 240 calories worth:
The other item is a stir-fry of portabella mushrooms, broccoli, and leftover Jasmine rice.

It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad. It would definitely satisfy my meat-tooth in a pinch, but it would be too meaty for our vegan daughter who doesn't want anything that feels or tastes like meat.

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

Friday, September 11, 2015

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Broccoli Soup #vegetarian #GF

I didn't mean for this to be vegetarian OR gluten-free, but it is.
I had some broccoli, and I had a leftover baked potato. So this happened.

I cut the florets off the broccoli and chopped up some of the florets and some of the stem. I boiled that in salted water until it was tender and the water was reduced to just cover the veg. Then I scooped the innards out of the baked potato, added that and some onion powder, and mashed, leaving some chunks. I poured in some milk and vegan margarine and the rest of the florets and brought it up to heat. It didn't even need cheese, although cheese is never a bad thing.

Charlie likes his soup thin, so this was thin. If I had been making it to suit myself, I would have added the innards of another potato or maybe some potato flakes to thicken it up. It was still good.

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

Friday, September 4, 2015

Dorm-Room Gourmet? Yes!

Waffle Iron Grilled Cheese Recipe @fifteenspatulasI found an article on Brit + Co that I thought would be wonderful for the college students going back to school this month.  It's 25 Recipes You Can Make In Your Dorm Room using a waffle iron, a microwave, and a mug. I, for one, didn't realize you could make grilled cheese sandwiches using a waffle iron. I'll be trying out that one. How about you? Do you have any suggestions for college kids who don't want to eat cafeteria or fast foods all the time?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

No String Attached

Fatal Foodies, this is not your Gramdma's apron! Check out the No Strings Attached Apron. There are literally no strings. The apron slips on with the structured waist band. Laminated fabric means spills simply wipe off. The best part is all the cute patterns. Check out all the options on their website:

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Enchilada Deliciousness #vegetarian

I got some vegetarian "meat" crumbles, so I had to make something with them, right?

I began by making an enchilada sauce -- well, sort of an enchilada sauce. Since Charlie can't tolerate too much spice, I toned it way down for him.

Vegetarian Enchiladas
  • olive oil
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • flour
  • tomato sauce
  • onion powder
  • sticky rice
  • black beans
  • flour tortillas
  • salsa
  • shredded cheese
Heat some olive oil in a pan. Sprinkle in some chili powder and cumin and toast it. If you can eat onions, include chopped onions; otherwise, wait and add onion powder to the liquid when you add it.

Add a little flour, then tomato sauce and onion powder (if you're using onion powder). Stir it around until it thickens. Add the meatless crumbles and heat until ... you know ... hot.

Cook some sticky rice and heat up a can of black beans (preferably Southwestern spiced).

Warm some flour tortillas. Top each tortilla with a little rice, beans, salsa, and cheese. Roll it up, tucking in the ends.

Lightly oil a baking dish and spread some enchilada sauce on the bottom. Put the rolled-up tortillas in snugly. We're light eaters, so I only made two and put each one in a mini-dish. Pour enchilada sauce over the rolled-up tortillas. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 and top with cheese.
I'll tell you what, fellers: It was perty damn good.

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