Friday, July 31, 2015

Cake Mix Doughnuts - Yum!

great idea! you can use a cake mix to make quick & easy donuts in any flavor with this simple recipe. baked not fried!
I found this wonderful site called It's Always Autumn along with this terrific recipe. Please check out the blog post for a step-by-step tutorial. The blogger says all you need to make any flavor of baked, not fried, doughnuts are one dry cake mix, one egg, 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, and a cup of water. 
She includes a recipe for glaze and says that even making 10 dozen mini doughnuts using five different flavors of cake mix took her less than two hours. Sounds like a good bake sale product to me!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wingin' It!

Wing lovers unite! Today is National Wing day. Chicken wings are something I really prefer to have from a restaurant, rather than making them at home. I always try to make them healthier by baking/not frying. The results are not nearly as tasty. Another wing confession...I much prefer drumettes to wings. There is so much more meat to savor. My most shocking wing confession...sometimes I order boneless wings! You guys have any wing confessions/ opinions/ recipes? Whether your preference is Buffalo, honey barbecue, teriyaki, drumette, boneless, go out for a saucy celebration!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I Did NOT Serve Him Dryer Lint! #vegetarian

So Charlie came down to dinner and the plate looked like this.
He says, "What's that purple stuff? It looks like dryer lint."

I had to admit that, yes, it looks like dryer lint.

What it really is is mashed purple potatoes. The internet being the internet, it probably isn't surprising that there's a site called All About Potatoes, which tells, among other things, about purple potatoes. I happened to glom onto some in a $5.00 grab-bag basket at a local farm market. They taste like potatoes.

Tomorrow on my blog, I tell what the thing with white bits on is. The green things are green beans, duh. ;)

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Feast Just Happens to be #Vegan

So this happened.
Corn on the cob at 12 o'clock, sliced tomatoes at 6.

At 9 is yellow squash "cutlets". Slice thin lengthwise, dredge in seasoned flour and fry in oil or vegan margarine until brown and crisp on both sides.

At 3 is totally drool-worthy mushrooms in wine. Fry in oil or vegan margarine until the mushrooms begin to give off liquid (include onions, if you and your co-consumers can eat onions -- otherwise, use onion powder). Stir in some flour, salt and pepper (if you can eat pepper). Stir in some wine (I like red wine) and stir until thickened. OMG

I mean, seriously, I'm not even vegetarian, and I almost never miss eating meat. Veg is just so good and varied!

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wastin' Away with the Family

I am proud to say that my family wasted away one night last week. No, we did not indulge in a night of excess and debauchery. We stayed a night at Margaritaville Island Hotel in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Every room was stocked with a copy of Jimmy Buffett's book, TALES FROM MARGARITAVILLE. We had a couple of fun-filled, jam-packed days that did allow for much reading time. Our room had a deck, overlooking a river that was a perfect place to relax with a book. Guess I need to get wasted again in Magaritaville; so I can read the book! Buying a copy would be cheaper, but not half-as-much fun.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


I found a new-to-me product at the grocery and BOOM! bought it!

Kroger has this wild-caught salmon burger, and we thought we'd give it a whirl. It isn't particularly healthy or particularly natural, but it doesn't taste half bad. In fact, Charlie liked it very much. I like my salmon either fresh or from a can with all bones in, but Charlie liked these. Maybe he liked the firm texture.

As I say, it tasted okay. It would be a good base for a strong sauce or something. This is what we did, though:

Onna sandwich thin, with homemade mayo, some lettuce, and a sprinkling of capers. On the side is a stir-fry of shiitake mushrooms, peas, carrots, and Jasmine rice. Then there's a dish of cucumbers sprinkled with salt and fresh dill weed and a little white vinegar.

Oh, I grilled the salmon burgers on my handy-dandy indoor griller doo-dah.

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

Friday, July 10, 2015

Three-Ingredient Nutella Croissants

I found this recipe at Gimme Some Oven. Please check it out so you can see the step-by-mouth-watering-step tutorial! ;)


  • 1 package (2 sheets) store-bought puff pastry*, thawed but still cool
  • 3/4 cup Nutella
  • 1 egg (plus 1 tablespoon of water)


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or misting with cooking spray.
Sprinkle a cutting board or other flat surface lightly with flour. Then spread out the puff pastry sheet so that it is flat. Use a rolling pin to roll out the puff pastry until it is smooth and even. Use a pizza cutter or knife to then cut the puff pastry along the three folding lines into thirds. Then cut each long rectangle into two long triangles, making six triangles total.
Place a dollop (about 1 tablespoon) of Nutella on the wide end of the triangle, and use a spoon to spread it out just a bit over the triangle. (Try to leave at least a 1/2-inch border all the way around the edges of the triangle, though, so the Nutella does not seep out during baking.) Then, beginning with the wide end of the triangle, roll the dough up into a croissant shape. Place on a baking sheet, and turn in the edges of the dough slightly to make a "U" croissant shape.
Repeat with the remaining five triangles. Then repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and remaining Nutella.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and one tablespoon of water until combined. Then liberally brush the egg mixture onto the top of each croissant. (You can also use the egg wash to help seal the ends of the croissant, if they are not holding together.)
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the croissants are golden and flaky. Serve immediately or store in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

To make these vegan, I recommend using Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, melted vegan butter (instead of an egg), and vegan chocolate hazelnut spread.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Manus Christi -- A Sweet That Is Rich In More Ways Than One

When sugar and sugar recipes came to Europe from the Holy Land, sugar was considered a health food. Early confection recipes were found in medical books rather than cook books.

Manus Christi is something I found in a book on sweets my husband gave me, SWEETS: A HISTORY OF CANDY. Manus Christi dates from the Middle Ages and disappeared from use early in the 19th century. It means "the hand of Christ". Why it's called that, I do not know. It isn't shaped like a hand or even like a cross. Or a person, come to that.

There are various versions of this "life-saving" sweet, but it's usually a stick or a disc of hard candy flavored with cinnamon, violets or rosewater. Sometimes flakes of precious metals and powdered gemstones were added to medicinal sweets for extra goodness, and Manus Christi contained gold leaf and sometimes crushed pearls.

Sometimes the sweet was dissolved in liquid and taken as a cordial. It wasn't an emergency treatment, but was taken on general principles. England's Henry VIII kept stocked up on it.

Needless to say, it was used exclusively by the very wealthy. Poor people had to make do with less healthful foods, like whole-grain bread, fresh fruit and root vegetables boiled with herbs.

Marian Allen, Author Lady

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

An A-pealing way to go Bananas

I never knew frozen, chocolate-covered bananas could be made without having to melt chocolate. This weekend, I found out there is an easier way to do it. At a birthday party, my kids and I had the most delicious frozen bananas. The hostess shared her easy secret. Once the bananas are frozen, coat them in that stuff that hardens into a shell when squeezed over ice cream. Genius! Here's what you do: Cut banana into either 2 or 4 pieces. Insert sucker or popsicle stick into banana pieces. Freeze bananas. Coat frozen bananas in ice cream topping. Roll in sprinkles. Freeze coated bananas. I love keeping a freezer bag full of there for a cool, sweet, summertime treat!