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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Poundcake of Prevention

Having a Sara Lee Pound Cake in the freezer has saved my dessert woes on several occasions. This weekend we had people over to watch the Tennessee Vols play football. Wanting something bite-sized and different, I turned to the pound cake in my freezer. By modifying a recipe for pound cake petit fours, I came up with a simple, delicious recipe: Lemon-Berry Pound Cake Cubes Cut pound cake (horizontally) Spread top of each half with strawberry jam. Cut cake into cubes. Put a can of lemon frosting in microwave for 39-45 seconds. Spoon melted frosting over cubes. Now, I need to replace my emergency freezer poundcake!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Winner, Winner, Not-Chicken Dinner #vegetarian

I know it looks like it's chicken strips, but it's Meatless Griller Strips made out of wheat -- seitan.
I cooked them according to package directions, then stirred in some black bean and corn salsa, put it on a plate, doused it with queso blanco, and topped it with crumbled corn tortilla chips.

Co-starring in this production are lima beans cooked with dill weed and buttered jasmine rice.


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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"It's Here! It's Here!"

If you live with a tween girl, chances are she is excited about the debut of MOCKINGJAY PART 1. For my daughter and her friends, the Friday premier night was sizing up to be the social event of their 5th grade year. That is, until a school dance was scheduled for the same evening. Now, it looks like movie plans might be put on hold till next weekend. If you have not seen any films based on THE HUNGER GAMES series; they are excellent. In fact; I am a little disappointed that I am not seeing the newest installment this weekend with a few giggly tweens.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

#Vegetarian Deliciousness

I keep telling people I'm not vegetarian, but they keep thinking I am because I love my veg so much. Which is weird, since I was a carnivore all my life until various family members eased off eating meat.

Rather than make "regular" meals and expect them to live off the side dishes, I got interested in cooking non-meat food, and find it much more interesting than fiddling about with meats.

Here's what we had the other night:
The big section is whole wheat pasta cooked according to directions, then slightly browned in peppery garlic olive oil and topped with cheese. The carrots are glazed with vegan margarine, Turbinado sugar, and local honey. The mushrooms and onions are cooked in vegetarian margarine until the onions were soft and the mushrooms gave off some liquid, then I stirred in some flour, then some red wine and cooked that down into a sauce.

Oh. My. Goodness.

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

Friday, November 14, 2014

Oatmeal Pecan Pie

I'm sharing a recipe today from Holly Clegg's book, Eating Well To Fight Arthritis. The recipe is below with a link to the recipe on Holly's site. Please visit the site for more great recipes! :)

Oatmeal Pecan Pie

Pecan pie and oatmeal partner together for a melt-in-your-mouth divine pie. Crave chocolate, add about 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips.
Makes 8 – 10 servings


1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell


1. Preheat oven 325°F. (
2. In bowl, whisk together brown sugar, corn syrup, eggs, and vanilla.
3. Stir in oatmeal and pecans. Pour into pie shell. Bake 40-45 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely.

Food Facts

Calories 272, Calories from Fat 40%, Fat 13g, Saturated Fat 3g, Cholesterol 40mg, Sodium 139mg, Carbohydrates 39g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Total Sugars 16g, Protein 3g, Dietary Exchanges: 2 1/2 other carbohydrate, 3 fat
Terrific Tip: If using refrigerated pie crust, coat the pie plate with nonstick cooking spray first to easily remove pieces.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Something amazing happened in my house. I made soup; and everybody in my family got excited! Usually, soup is not such a hit with everyone. Most of my soup recipes have at least one hater. So, what was this magical, family-pleasing recipe? This is the good part. It is so souper-simple! Broccoli-Cheese Soup Boil about 2 cups of cut-up, fresh broccoli in about 3 cups of salted water. After the broccoli is tender, add a can of cream of chicken soup (do not drain water). Turn down to a simmer. Add about three cups of desired cheese. I have fun with the cheese! This time, I cleaned out the fridge. So, I used Velveeta, American, cheddar, Colby jack, feta, Parmesan and baby Swiss. Simmer till cheese is melted. Finally, I slurry it all together with an immersion blender and add about 3 dashes of hot sauce. Soup-erb!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Good For Cold Weather #Vegetarian

So it got cold. Well, cold-ISH. It's due to get cold this week. Still, it was cold enough for us to want something warm in our bellehs. So I made chili.
This is not the way I usually make it -- and don't ask me why the photo is so shakey -- it honestly was NOT that cold.

Into this concoction, I put garlic-infused olive oil, chili powder, cumin, chopped fresh parsley, onions, Great Northern beans, diced tomatoes with green chilis, water, tomato sauce, chopped Gardenburgers, and Not Chick'n vegetarian bouillon from Edward & Sons. True to my Ohio River Valley traditions, I served it over spaghetti, with shredded cheese on top.

Hit the spot!

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

Friday, November 7, 2014

Adorable (and Probably Delicious) Chicken Pot Pies

How cute is this chicken pot pie?! And very convenient if you're cooking for only one or two.

Quick and Easy Chicken Pot Pies


1 can (18.6 oz) Progresso™ Rich & Hearty chicken pot pie style soup
1 cup Green Giant™ Steamers™ Niblets® frozen corn
1 cup Green Giant™ Steamers™ frozen broccoli cuts
2 Pillsbury™ Grands!™ frozen buttermilk biscuits (from 25-oz bag)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley


Heat oven to 375°F. In medium microwavable bowl, microwave soup and vegetables uncovered on High about 5 minutes or until warm. Divide soup mixture between 2 ovenproof baking dishes (about 5 inches in diameter). Top each with 1 biscuit. Place dishes on cookie sheet with sides.
Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

For nutrition information, click on above link.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Candy, Candy, Candy....Help!

This photo is from our church's Trunk-or-Treat. That was the first night of our 3-night Halloween celebration. What happens after 3 nights of trick-or-treating? You have a tired family and an overwhelming amount of candy. Here is what I am doing to get rid of some candy: 1) My girls' school is having a Fall Festival this weekend. I am donating 2 gallons of candy to use for game prizes. 2) Our church enters a float in a Christmas parade on the first Saturday in December. My kids already have tons of candy to throw! 3) Chocolate candy will be chopped up and stirred into brownie batter and ice cream. 4) Lollipops will be inserted into sugar cookie dough for cookie pops. 5) Hard candies will be chopped up for a pretty stained glass effect on Christmas cookies. 6) My book signing table will be more appealing when I offer candy to passers-by!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Macs and Peas #vegetarian #food

What can vegetarians eat? Oh, such delicious things!

We had a cold snap here, and I craved some hearty comfort food. So I made macaroni and cheese and buttery peas and it was like stuffing my tummy with a flannel blanket. Only, you know, digestible.

This is whole wheat elbow macaroni. Okay, you cook and drain that. Butter a casserole. Put in a layer of macaroni. Sprinkle it liberally with flour. Conservatives, you can sprinkle it double-conservatively instead. Sprinkle on some salt. If you like pepper, sprinkle on some pepper. Cover that with a layer of shredded cheese; I used sharp cheddar and 3-cheese Italian blend. Do another layer of all those. Top it with a final layer of macaroni and cheese. Pour in some milk until you can spot the milk coming through the macaroni. Dot the top with butter or margarine. Cover with foil. Bake at 350F for about an hour. If you like crusty cheese, take the foil off and let the top toast.

Charlie doesn't like pepper, so I leave the pepper out and add it to my plate at the table. Oh, my goodness, that was good!

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

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Ready to go trick-or-treating with us?!

Let's go! Our first stop, of course, is the spooky old Victorian mansion where the librarian used to live. She haunts the place now, but, fortunately, she has wi-fi, so we can access this link to get a free tale (or two) of horror!

The wind is picking up a little as we wander on down the street to Mr. Food's house. "Hi, Mr. Food! Trick-or-Treat!"

He drops something into our bag and says, "Oooh, it's so good!"

What did he give us? A Halloween cookbook!

"Thank you, Mr. Food!"

We stumble a bit on the cobblestones as we hurry along to the home of Miss Demeanor, the retired, spinster school teacher. She gives us a list of links to Halloween printables. Red, yellow, and rust-colored leaves blow across our path as we yell our thanks over our shoulders to Miss Demeanor and make our way to the next house. We knock on the door and Professor Picklesby answers.

"Trick or treat, Professor! Do you have anything for us?"

"Of course, I do!" The professor smooths his bushy white mustache. "I have information for you! If you'll walk two blocks down and then take a right, you'll be at the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop. Since you're wearing costumes, you'll get a free doughnut!"

"Wow, Professor! Thanks!"

"That's not all. The kids can get free pancakes from the iHop across the street from the Krispy Kreme. In fact, lots of restaurants are offering free kids' meals!"

"Thanks again!"

When we get to Lisa Hall's door, she surprises us with THIS!

Yikes!!! We run to the  next house, where we see lights flickering in the basement. We slow our steps. Could this house be haunted? Nah, it's just Norman working on the computer. 

Before we ring the doorbell, he opens the door--he saw us on the surveillance camera--and hands us a sheet with a link to game downloads

"Enjoy," he says, as he closes the door. We hear his footsteps receding. 

We see that it's getting late, so we sprint to get our free doughnut before the shop closes. And when we get home, I think we should check out one of my favorite "horror" movies, Tucker and Dale Versus Evil on Netflix!

Happy Halloween!!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pretty and Not-so-Pretty Pumpkins

I made a pumpkin cake this weekend. Looks-wise, it was an epic fail. Taste-wise, it was a winner. On the other-hand, our real pumpkins look awesome! I have to confess; my husband is mostly responsible for the beautiful, real pumpkins. Maybe I should have him decorate my cakes!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Big Ugly Spud

I went to Magna cum Murder mystery festival in Indianapolis, Indiana this past weekend, and, as always, had a blast. Among other things, you get two lunches, a banquet, and a reception over the weekend.

BUT, you're on your own on Friday evening.

So my friend and I went to Dick's Bodacious Bar*B*Q. Yes, I fell off the turnip wagon. And it started out so well, too.

Have you ever heard of smoked potatoes? We never had, so we ordered them. Then we decided to go "Hoss" on 'em. Here's how that goes: They cook the potato in a smoker, then finish 'em up in the oven. Split 'em open and smother 'em in shredded cheese, ranch beans, sour cream and your choice of meat. T got brisket and I got pulled pork.

Highly recommended.

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

Friday, October 24, 2014

Trisha Yearwood's Crock Pot Chocolate Candy

 Crock Pot Chocolate Candy

2 lbs (36 oz) salted dry-roasted peanuts

4 oz (4 squares) German's sweet chocolate

1 12-oz package semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)

2½ lbs white almond bark

1. Put the peanuts in the bottom of a 4-quart slow-cooker. Layer the chocolate over the peanuts, beginning with the sweet chocolate, followed by the chocolate chips, and then the almond bark. Set the temperature on low and cook for 3 hours. Do not stir the mixture.

2. After 3 hours, stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth. Drop the candy into cupcake pan liners, using about 2 tablespoons per liner. Allow the candy to cool completely before removing the cupcake liners. Makes 30 to 40 pieces.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tail End of Summer #food

There's only one more week of the farmers' market in our town, and I'll be away, so last Saturday was my final foray. Pickings were mighty slim, but we had a nice doin's out of it anyway.
Green beans and red potatoes, boiled and buttered, and okra tossed in olive oil and seasoned salt and roasted until crispy.

OH, yeah!

Farewell, fresh food, farewell! I'll meet you again, my summer love, in May, same time, same place.

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

An International Event

Once a month, ladies meet at our church for an evening of fellowship, worship, support, and food. Last night our theme was " It's a Small World". There was food representing Mexico, Italy and America. Everyone signed up for food by country; so we had an equal representation of the various foods. Some of my favorites were: empanadas, bruschetta, and guacamole. Wouldn't this be a fun theme for a potluck, tailgate or children's party? What is your favorite international cuisine?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Stuffed With Chestnuts

Not a duck. Not a pig. US! Our #2 Daughter has chestnut trees, and she collected a bunch of the nuts and brought them to us.

We cut Xs in the shells and roasted them in the toaster oven at 450F for about 20 minutes.
YES, they were good!

We discovered, though, that not even we could gobble up a whole tray of them before they dried out.

So now we just do a few at a time by cutting the shells and putting them in the microwave for 30 seconds! In that last second, at least one of them will pop itself right out of its shell.

They're so good and sweet! If you've never had roast chestnuts (or boiled or microwaved), and you have the chance to have some, DO.

The only drawback is that insects lay eggs in the chestnut blossoms, so sometimes there's a worm inside a nut. It isn't much more appetizing cooked than it would be raw, so be sure to cut your chestnut open before you eat it, just to be sure. Unless, of course, you don't care. In that case, be my guest to just pop that baby in your mouth whole and damn the torpedoes.

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

Friday, October 10, 2014

Calling All Bloggers!

Tea Time
Do you love writing AND books? Is so, please consider joining Fatal Foodies as a blogger. We have several openings. There is no pay, but you have an opportunity to promote yourself and your writing. Plus, our annual trick-or-treat giveaway is coming up! If interested, please contact Gayle at for more information! Thanks!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Have the Tissues Ready!

I watched the book-turned-movie, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, with my daughter this weekend. This is a very "tween" movie. It is a little more mature than what my ten-year-old has seen. I think she thought the focus on romance was gross, but she thought story was good. The story centers around two terminally ill teens. A big part of the story is that they become obsessed with a book. Their persistence in trying to meet the book's author takes them on a journey to beautiful Amsterdam. To me, this trip was the highlight of the film. Their blissful vacation ends on a very bittersweet note. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is filled with both happiness and sadness. In the end, you will be crying!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sweet Potato Chips #food #recipe

Lookee what we had the other night.

Oh, yes, Lord! Here's what you do:

Slice a sweet potato very thin. I used a Mandolin -- the food slicer, not the musical instrument. Well, obvs.

Oil a microwave-safe plate and arrange the slices on it in a single layer, not touching each other.

Microwave for a minute. Check them. Microwave for another minute. Check them. Repeat until they start to dry out. Then check them every 30 seconds. Toward the end, they go very quickly from almost-done to OH NOES THAY HAZ TEH SCORTCHES!

Cool them on a wire rack. Oh, so delicious, even if they get a wee bit scorchy.

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

Friday, October 3, 2014

Maple & Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon

Maple & Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 Tablespoon real maple syrup
1/2 Tablespoon Tamari sauce
  1. Preheat the broiler to 500
  2. Place the salmon in an oven proof dish (cast iron works best) and brush it with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper
  3. Broil it for 10-12 min or until the fish flakes easily with a fork
  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat
  2. Add the sugar, syrup and Tamari sauce
  3. Let cool
  4. Brush over the salmon
My son loves salmon. I tried to make it once, but it wasn't very good. I think I could make this one!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Eye Candy

I am a big fan of candy-as-seasonal-decor. For this time of year, I love to fill glass containers with candy corn and buttercream pumpkins. Actually, I do not like the taste of candy corn or buttercream pumpkins. They are pretty to look at, but too sweet for me. So, this year I might try the special seasonal varieties of M&m's. They have the same great fall color scheme, and I might like to eat them too!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Harvest Tart

Made this last night.

Take a pizza crust, or make one yourself.

Slice some mushrooms and cook them in butter (margarine) until they've given off their moisture and are dry again. Dice some cooked sweet potato. Spread a little garlic-flavored olive oil on the pizza crust. Add the mushrooms and sweet potatoes, and top with Feta cheese. Bake at 400-450 until the crust is browned.

Was it good? Oh, my, yes!

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

Friday, September 26, 2014

Will You Make This For Me...Anyone?

Okay, so I found this cake on Pinterest, and it looks fabulous! But it also looks hard to make. Besides that, I'm the only one in my family who likes pistachios. So, if you know Irvin (this recipe came from his blog, Eat the Love), please ask him to invite me over (wherever "over" is) the next time he makes this...or if he'd prefer, he can simply make this and ship me a slice...or two.) Then again, LISA HALL is quite the little baker.... Just sayin'. :)

Chocolate Rolled Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream and Chopped Pistachios

Cake Batter
2 cups (280 g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 oz (85 g) bittersweet chocolate (preferably something over 65% cacao), chopped into 1/4 inch chunks
3/4 cup (170 g or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup (200 g) white granulated sugar, divided
3/4 cup (165 g) dark brown sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
Brown Sugar Buttercream
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup (165 g) dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (255 g or 2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cool but not cold
To assemble
3/4 cup (105 g) chopped unsalted pistachio nuts (if you can only find salted nuts, omit the salt in the buttercream)

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and spray a 12 x 17 rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper and spray the parchment paper with cooking spray too.
2. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a balloon whisk, vigorously stir the dry ingredients until they are well blended together. Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds on high. Stir and microwave again for 30 seconds. Stir until the chocolate is melted, heating the chocolate in additional 15 second intervals in the microwave if necessary.
3. Place the butter and 3/4 of the white sugar (reserving the other 1/4 for later) and all of the brown sugar in the bowl of standing mixer and cream until the butter is light and creamy (about 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the temperature of the butter). You may want to scrape down the side of the bowl in the middle. Scoop up two or three tablespoons of the whipped butter and fold it into the melted chocolate until incorporated. Scrape the chocolate into the butter and beat the mixture on low speed until the chocolate is incorporated. Add two egg yolks and beat to incorporate. Scrape down the sides and add the second two egg yolks and beat to incorporate. Add the vanilla and almond extract and beat to incorporate.
4. Add 1/2 cup of the buttermilk to the batter and beat to incorporate. Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients and beat to incorporate. Repeat with the remaining buttermilk and remaining dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between additions. In a clean bowl, whip the egg whites on medium high speed until they form soft peaks. Slowly pour the reserved 1/4 cup white sugar into the whipped egg whites until the whites become glossy and hold stiff peaks. Add half of the egg whites to the cake batter and fold gently to incorporate. Add the rest of the egg whites, folding to incorporate.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking sheet and spread evenly over the pan. Bake the cake for 22 to 27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cake feels firm to the touch. Let cool completely in the pan before assembly the cake.
6. Once the cake has cooled, make the buttercream frosting by placing the egg whites, brown sugar and salt in the metal bowl of a standing mixer. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk by hand the egg whites until the sugar and salt have dissolved and the temperature reaches 160˚F (warm to the touch). Pull the bowl off the water and place in the stand mixer fitted with a wire whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Reduce the speed to medium and beat for an additional 5 to 6 minutes until the egg whites have cooled and are fluffy. Switch out the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment and turn the speed to medium low. Add 2  tablespoon of the butter at a time, waiting for the butter to incorporate before adding more butter. Continue to beat all the butter into the frosting. Once the butter has all been added, reduce the speed to low and beat for an additional 2 to 3 minutes to smooth the buttercream and get rid of any air bubbles. If the buttercream looks like it is broken, turn the speed to medium high and beat for a minute or two to bring it back together.
7. Assemble the cake by first placing the cake with the long side facing you. First trim 1/2 inch off the edges on the left and right to make a proper rectangle. Cut the cake in half with a serrated knife, making two 12 x 8 inch rectangles. Further split each rectangle in half again, to make four 12 x 4 inch rectangles. Lift the cake up and cut the parchment paper underneath the cake, right where you cut the cake, so the parchment paper is also split with the cakes. Spread about half the buttercream over the cake and then sprinkle 1/2 cup of the chopped pistachios over the frosting evenly.
8. Roll the first strip of cake by tucking the cake into the roll and continuing to roll tightly, peeling the parchment paper as you tuck and roll. Place the rolled cake upright in the middle of the serving platter so you can see the roll on top. Then take the second strip of cake and wrap it around the first rolled piece of cake. Continue with the third and fourth piece, wrapping the cake around each other in a spiral pattern. You might have to trim some of the cake off to make it fit properly in the end, but don’t worry too much about it. Once you’ve rolled all the cake, frost the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting, making sure to leave the top of the cake exposed for everyone to see. If you want to get fancy you can use a cake comb around the outside of the cake but don’t feel like that’s necessary. Sprinkle some of the remaining chopped pistachios on top of the cake, where the frosting is, to help cover up some of the big holes and gaps in the cake roll, and then gently press the remaining chopped pistachios at the bottom of the cake about an inch up. Serve immediately or keep it in the fridge for up to three or four days, bringing to room temperature before serving.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What We Et

So we went to a convention, and the women I roomed with are as cheap as I am, so we took our own food.

I bought a small beef roast from a local farmer. Wait. That didn't sound right. The farmer is local, and he sold me a roast, but the roast CAME FROM a bovine. Okay, now that's clear.

I browned it and put it in a Dutch oven. I half-covered the roast in Burgundy wine, salted it, and tucked some braised onions, rosemary, and parsley around it.

I put a sheet of cooking parchment on top of the beef, then covered the Dutch oven. Baked it at 350 for 3 hours, then put some mushrooms in with it and cooked it for another 30 minutes. Yummmmmmmm.

No pictures, because you know why? WE ET IT ALL.

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

Friday, September 19, 2014

White Chicken Lasagna Rollups

White Chicken Lasagna Rollups

  • 8 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package instructions
  • 2 cups Alfredo sauce (store-bought or homemade)
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (rotisserie chicken works well)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese + ½ cup, divided
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: fresh parsley, finely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. Lay cooked lasagna noodles out in a single layer on a clean work surface ( for easy clean up use a baking sheet).
  3. In a bowl combine chicken, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, 1 cup parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
  4. Spread about ¼ cup of chicken mixture onto each of the lasagna noodles. Roll noodles up tightly.
  5. Pour 1 cup of Alfredo sauce into bottom of baking dish. Place each lasagna roll up side by side in the baking dish. Pour remaining Alfredo sauce over roll ups. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melty. Sprinkle with fresh parsley if desired and serve warm.
*recipe adapted from Cooking Classy

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Movie/Book or Book/Movie?

The movie trailer to GONE GIRL looks sooooo good! As usual, I am two steps behind in pop culture. In other words, I have not read the book. With the movie coming out October 3, do I read the book before the movie; or see the movie before reading the book?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#Vegetarian Reuben Sammich

Don't tell me it can't be a Reuben sandwich without the corned beef. Just don't, okay?


Most of the goodness of a sammich is in the trappings, I think, which I discovered the time I made a BLT and thought, "WOW! This is the best BLT ever!" and then discovered I had forgotten to put the bacon on it.

So, when I got a taste for a Reuben, I made this:
It's rye bread, homemade mayonnaise, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and spicy honey French dressing. Grilled, o' course.


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

Friday, September 12, 2014

Something Hot and Spicy

Bet THIS PIC woke you up! Now on to the recipe...which is slightly less hot and spicy than the yummy William Levy.

Spicy Chicken Spaghetti


1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts                            
1 lb  Velveeta cheese, regular or Mexican                            
1 can Rotel tomatoes, regular or hot                            
1 lb spaghetti pasta                            
1 stick butter                            
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted                            
medium onion, chopped                            
bell pepper, red or green, chopped                            
salt and pepper to taste


Boil chicken breasts in a large pot adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper to water.            
Remove chicken when completely done, about 10 to 12 minutes.            
Boil spaghetti pasta in remaining broth according to package directions. Drain pasta after done and discard water. Set aside the pasta...Do not rinse.
Melt the butter in that same (empty) pot and sauté the onion and bell pepper.
Add tomatoes, soup, cooked chicken (cut into bite-size pieces) and spaghetti to the sautéed onion mixture, one at a time, and gently mix together.            
Add cheese and stir together, mixing well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Heat until cheese is melted thoroughly, stirring occasionally to keep from scorching.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve with a salad and hot garlic bread.