Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Broccoli Salad YES AGAIN #Vegan This Time SO GOOD!

Okay, this one is:

Vegan Broccoli Salad
  • broccoli florets
  • dried cranberries
  • skillet-toasted almond slivers
  • fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • sesame oil
  • salt

Mix and knosh.


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

Friday, June 26, 2015

Lasagna Alfredo

I saw this dish at KitchMe, and I think it looks so good! What do you think?

Lasagna Alfredo

Ingredients Serves 8

1 package (16 ounce) lasagna noodles
1 package (10 ounce) chopped frozen spinach
3 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, halves, diced
2 jar (16 ounces each) alfredo sauce
4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 pt ricotta cheese
1 salt, to taste
1 ground black pepper, to taste


  • Prep 30 min
  • Cook 60 min
  • Ready 90 min
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Cook spinach according to package directions; drain.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine chicken and one jar of alfredo sauce, stir together. In a separate bowl, combine ricotta and drained, cooked spinach and stir.
  4. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, place one layer of lasagna noodles with the edges overlapping. Pour chicken and alfredo sauce mixture over noodle layer and spread evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded mozzarella over chicken mixture. Top with another layer of noodles. Spread spinach mixture evenly over noodles. Pour 1/2 of remaining jar of alfredo sauce over spinach mixture, spread evenly. Sprinkle another cup of mozzarella over sauce, lay on the final noodle layer and top with remaining 1/2 jar of alfredo sauce, 2 cups of mozzarella, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Bake 50 to 60 minutes until top is brown and bubbly.
Recipe originally inspired by AllRecipes with 5-star rating and 245 reviews.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Okay?/Not Okay?

When you buy a book as a gift for someone, is it okay to read it first? I don't do it because: 1) There is usually not enough time between purchase and gift-giving occasion. 2) I am too accident prone. More likely-than-not I would wind of spilling coffee, ripping a page, or sneezing (yuck!). What do you think? Is it okay to read a book before giving it as a gift?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Almost-Instant Broccoli Salad Again #vegetarian #recipe

I love this salad SO HARD! A fellow attendee at a NETWORK (New Energy To Work Out Racial Kinks) gathering gave it to me, and it's one of my go-to recipes.

Broccoli Salad

  • broccoli florets
  • raisins
  • nuts
  • mayonnaise
Mix and eat. Yum!

In this one, I used walnuts. I also chucked in some dried cranberries as well.

Since I make my own mayonnaise using our vegan daughter's pampered hens, even Vegan Daughter will eat this, though the egg in the mayo makes it non-absolute-vegan.

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

Friday, June 19, 2015

Peeling Hard Boiled Eggs

I found this great post on Num's the Word about the best way to make hard boiled eggs easier to peel. Check it out to see the four methods tested, but--spoiler alert--the best method found by the blogger was to prick the bottom of the uncooked egg once with a push pin. This made the egg not only easy to peel but made the outside of the egg more attractive once peeled to make for nicer deviled eggs.

Easy to Peel Eggs Test 3

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Having an Herbaceous Summer

My little pots of herbs make me happy! This year I have basil, mint and lavender. I will mix the fresh herbs in all kinds of foods and drink. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Gnocci Stir-Fry #vegan #food

I loves me some gnocci. I can make it, but I can also buy it, and that's what I did on this occasion.

Charlie managed to scavenge a few snow peas that had been overlooked by the birds, deer, possums, raccoons, skunks, rabbits, squirrels, and turtles who ate everything else.

And I made this:
World cuisine at its finest, right?

Gnocci Stir-Fry

  • gnocci, cooked according to package directions and drained
  • chopped mushrooms
  • snow peas
  • vegan margarine
In a dry non-stick pan, cook the mushrooms until they start to brown. Add snow peas. Add gnocci. Cook until gnocci start to toast a little.

OM nom nom nom nom!

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

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hot Chocolate French Toast?!

Best Ever Hot Chocolate French Toast | halfbakedharvest.com

Okay, normally, I would think anything with the words "hot chocolate" in the title would be a winter food. But, in this case, I'm willing to make an exception. Doesn't it look wonderful?

I got the recipe from Half-Baked Harvest, and you really should check it out on the site in order to fully appreciate the technique, the photographs, and the baker's comments.

Best Hot Chocolate French Toast


  • French Toast
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (may swap 2% or whole milk)
  • 2-4 tablespoons of your favorite hot cocoa mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter (may swap coconut oil, but I do think butter works just a tad better)
  • 8 rather thick slices of challah bread (or whatever your favorite french toast bread is!)
  • Hot Cocoa Ganache
  • 3/4 cup canned coconut milk (may sub heavy cream)
  • 9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or butter)
  • 2 teaspoons instant expresso powder
  • For topping
  • coconut whipped cream (or regular whipped cream)
  • marshmallows (homemade are best!)
  • toasted coconut


To make the ganache. In a microwave safe bowl add the cream, coconut oil and chocolate. Microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring after each until smooth. Stir in the instant coffee until dissolved and smooth. Place this in the freezer for 15 minutes or the fridge for 30 minutes, but no longer. You want the ganache to be spreadable or to be able to drizzle it.
To make the french toast. In a glass measuring cup or medium size microwave safe bowl add 1 cup of coconut milk. Microwave the milk for 2-3 minutes (depending on how powerful your microwave is) or until the coconut milk is hot. Stir in 3-4 tablespoons of hot cocoa mix. Let cool 5 minutes.
In the meantime grab a 9x13 inch pan and whisk together the eggs, vanilla, coconut extract (if using) and salt. Whisk in the hot chocolate.
Grab your ganache from the freezer (or fridge) and use a spoon to carefully spread the ganache over one side of all the slices of bread (You will not use all the ganache). Sandwich the slices together to make four sandwiches. Place the sandwiches in the hot cocoa egg mixture, cover the pan and place in the fridge for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes flip the sandwiches over so the other side of the sandwich is now in the egg mixture. Place back in the fridge for 15 minutes or let it sit overnight.
When ready to cook the french toast. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and coat generously with butter. When the skillet is hot, cook the french toast in batches (do not overcrowd) until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove and serve immediately with coconut whipped cream, marshmallows (you should toast them!!), toasted coconut and a good drizzle of more ganache. DEVOUR! :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

One of my COOLEST Mother's Day Gifts

As one who receives 100 pounds of beef per year (my husband farms). It is shocking that I got by without a deep freezer. After my most recent restocking of beef, one of my girls asked for a box of frozen teats in the store. I realized there was no room in my freezer for anything else. On top of that; everything was buried under packs of beef. So, for one of my Mother's Day gifts, I requested a deep freezer. I love it! As one who not only gets a huge supply of farm-raised beef, but also coupons, my freezer will save me money. I can stock up when things are priced right. Since we have a pool, it is also great to have a huge supply of Popsicles and ice cream for my children's friends As to why I did not get a deep freeze sooner...When I was a kid, I heard that they were murder on the electric bill. That might have been true at one time, but today's models are very efficient. So, if you gave been holding off like I did; go out and get a deep freeze!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Instant Dessert

The best part of summer is having lots of fresh food in the fridge. Ice cream helps.

So the other day, whatever we were having for supper looked a little thin, and I decided dessert was called for to round it out.

Fresh fruit, vanilla ice cream, crumbled cinnamon-toasty cereal = instant dessert!

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

Friday, June 5, 2015

Caramel Cream Pie

This delicious-looking recipe comes from SippitySup (isn't that a great name?)!

Caramel Cream Dulce de Leche Pie

By: Greg Henry

Caramel Cream PieCaramel Cream Pie


cream cheese crust (see notes on site)
3 (14oz) cans sweetened condensed milk
flour (as needed for rolling)
2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
semi-sweet chocolate (as needed for curls) optional


Prepare Cream Cheese Crust recipe (see notes). Divide dough in half, shape into 2 discs about 5-inches in diameter and 3/4-inch thick. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days), or freeze up to 1 month.

Remove the paper labels from the unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk. Place the cans in a large saucepan, add enough water to come half-way up the sides. Place the saucepan over medium to medium-high heat and bring to a low boil. Cook 1 ½ hours, adding more water as it evaporates. 

Using tongs invert the cans and continue to boil them in the sauce pan, monitoring the water level as necessary for another hour. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out one disc of chilled dough to a 12-inch round, a generous 1/8-inch thick. Carefully fold dough in half, and slide it onto the rolling pin. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Unfold the dough, easing it gently into the pie pan; do not stretch the dough. Fold the overhang under creating a double thick rim. Crimp the edge decoratively with your fingers; use a fork to prick the bottom of the dough in several spots. 

Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Save second disc of dough for another purpose.

Set oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Line chilled pie shell with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice. Bake in the heated oven for 15 minutes. Carefully remove weights and liner and bake until the bottom crust is a light golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Remove pie shell from oven and allow to cool completely.

Open the cans of the cooked and cooled sweetened condensed milk. It will have turned caramel in color and be as thick as pudding. Scrape the caramel into a fine mesh sieve, use the back of a wooden spoon to push the mixture through the sieve directly into the cooled pie shell, smoothing the top. Cover the pie with plastic wrap, pressing it in direct contact with the caramel to avoid forming a skin. Refrigerate at least ½ hour. The pie can also be made a day ahead to this point.

Meanwhile, pour the whipping cream into a mixing bowl, and beat until soft peaks form. Add the sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spoon the whipped cream over the chilled pie and garnish with chocolate curls (if using). Refrigerate 1 to 3 hours before serving.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

So Wonderfully Retro!

Last week was our yearly beach vacation. For my beach read I went totally reto. Agatha Christie's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE is everything I love in a mystery! The book is character-driven, intricate in plot and unfolds in an interesting sequence. There is a reason Christie is iconic! Now, I must see the film adaptation. Who do you read when you want to go retro?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Pimiento Cheese yum yum

I used to make this all the time when #2 Daughter lived at home, because she loved it. It features Velveeta -- YES, VELVEETA, don't judge!

Besides doing commercials with my imaginary blacksmith boyfriend played by David S. Lee, Velveeta is salty and melty and creamy and tangy and is the taste of Midwestern comfort food.

Pimiento Cheese
hard-boiled egg(s)
diced pimientos (drained)

Cut the Velveeta into small cubes. Continue to run a fork or two knives through the chunks to crumble them more finely. Peel and dice the egg(s), put that into the cheese, and continue to mish with the fork or knives. Add the mayonnaise and stir well, chopping some more, if necessary, until the mixture is as smooth as you like (we like it a bit chunky). Add the pimientos and stir some more.


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