Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Cottage Cheese Jello Salad Doesn't Look Like This

Charlie is waxing nostalgic for a Jell-O salad his mother used to make. Fortunately, I know where to go for such things: a church ladies cookbook. I found several in one my own church put out a few years ago, and mixed them up, depending on what ingredients I had in the pantry.

I made it, we ate it, we (and, more importantly, since I made it for him, Charlie) liked it.

When I took a picture of it, though, it came out looking yellow instead of pinky-orange, which it was, so I colored the picture.

It was a little unset, and I don't know why. Maybe it was the juice, which I drained, but maybe not enough? It was good, anyway.

Cottage Cheese Jell-O Salad All Messed Up

  • 3 oz package Jell-O (I used orange)
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (maybe I should have drained this)
  • can of fruit, drained (I used cocktail fruit mix)
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries, cut up (I used less, since there were some in the mix)
  • 1 container Cool Whip (I whipped cream, since I had some)
Put Jell-O and sugar in boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Set aside until cool. Add cottage cheese, fruit, nuts, and cherries. Stir in the whipped cream. Mix gently but well. Chill.

He asked for something similar for his upcoming birthday. When I complained about how sloppy it turned out, he quoted my grandfather: That don't hurt the eatin' of it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Another Soup for the Instant Pot -- Or Not

If the only thing you have to cook with is an Instant Pot, you can make this soup in it. If all you have is a heat-proof container and a heat source, you can still make this soup. It's soup, y'all. You know how soup cooks. It just does.

So mostly from the farmers market: potatoes, green beans, tomato. Also leftover hominy, tomato paste, and quick barley. Season to taste. Cook till done. The end.

I'm posting today at my own blog about sauerkraut. Which I made. From raw cabbage. My own self.

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

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Refreshing Summer Salad

This is not what you think it is. You think you know, but you don't.
Well, maybe you do know. How do I know what you think? Am I a mind reader? No, I tell you quite frankly, I am not.

ANYWAY, what it is is watermelon salad. YES, WATERMELON!

We had a version of this at an open house #4 Daughter, SIL, and I attended, where it was presented as a sort of watermelon pizza: wedges of seedless watermelon with the other ingredients on top. I think, but I'm not sure, it was drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

The salad above was made according to a reimagining by #4 Daughter, the amazing Sara Marian.

So I decided to make my own version of the watermelon salad we had at the wine tasting. SO GOOD! SO EASY! So flexible. I took this for lunch in the field yesterday and OMG it's the best field lunch.

Watermelon Salad 

  • 1-2 lbs. watermelon, cubed
  • 2-3 oz. crumbled goat cheese or feta
  • 0.5 - 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • ~1/4 cup crushed walnuts or roasted almonds
  • 1 lime
  • Sprinkle of salt & pepper
Mix everything except lime together. Cut lime in half and squeeze juice of at least one half onto salad. Toss. *If you use feta, don’t add any salt.
 I loved it! Even Charlie loved it, though he got tired of it quickly and I got to finish it up all by myself. He said he prefers his watermelon plain. Watermelon plain is hard to beat, but this salad is wonderfully complex and refreshing.

Oh, and when Sara says "in the field", she means digging shovel tests on an archaeological project. I told you she's amazing!

I'm posting on my own blog today about another thing we had at that open house that I made at home. Yay, us!

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

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Stuffed Tomato

The only time I buy fresh tomatoes is during the summer, when I can get them from the farmers market. I'll do canned in the winter, but not those red plastic things we get in the groceries around here.

One of my favorite summer meals is tomato stuffed with ... well ... stuff. Cottage cheese is a favorite, but so is tuna salad.

Lookit that parsley garnish. Ain't that cute? Backyard herbs FTW.

I make my tuna salad like so:

  • tuna canned in water, drained
  • diced celery
  • slivered water chestnuts
  • onion powder
  • salt
  • mayonnaise
I core the tomato and slice it almost through into wedges, the spread the wedges into a flower and plop the stuffing in. A little pepper, a little garnish for the eye, and NOM!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Veg and a Bit of Fish #Pescatarian

Charlie and I do like a bit of fish now and then.

So, in addition to storebought mushrooms and fresh green beans and potatoes, we had this:

I halved and parboiled the new red potatoes, tossed them in olive oil and salt, and roasted them in the toaster oven at 450F for about half an hour, until they browned and crisped on the outside.

Meanwhile, I parboiled the green beans for a few minutes while I fried the mushrooms in a dry pan.

I took the mushrooms out and drained the beans. Then I unwrapped a piece of frozen cod, slathered it with vegan margarine, salted it, and pressed Panko crumbs into the margarine. It goes, frozen, into the hot pan and cooks about 8 minutes on one side, then about 8 minutes on the other side. I put the beans and mushrooms in the same pan and seasoned everything with Jane's Crazy Mixed-Up Salt.

Charlie and I divided the piece of cod between us. When I said we like a bit of fish, I meant a bit of fish.

I'm posting today at my own blog about a dessert made from scraps.

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

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Benedictine Sammich #Vegetarian

If you think Benedictine is a green liqueur, you're not wrong. But it's also a cucumber-flavored sandwich spread invented by Louisville chef and caterer Jenny Benedict back in the day.

We love Benedictine around here.

Oh, and if you think Benedictine spread is a vile, bright green, you've probably only seen it or had it store-bought. Benedictine spread IS green, but its green is pale and delicate. BECAUSE YOU DON'T PUT FOOD COLORING IN IT TO MAKE IT GREEN, DUH. It's green from the cucumbers, duh.


Benedictine Spread

  • cucumber
  • onion juice or powder
  • salt
  • softened cream cheese
Cut the cucumber in half and scrape out the seeds. Some people peel the cucumber, but I like to leave the peel. Cut the cucumber into chunks or slices and put them into a colander with a bowl underneath. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for a while.

Rinse the cucumbers. Put all the ingredients into a food processor and process until it's as smooth as you like it. We like bits in. If the result isn't spreadable, add a little of that juice that drained off, but remember it'll be salty.

Miss Jenny only used cucumber JUICE, but everybody I know uses cucumbers.

I always end up leaving some of the cucumber's juicy pulp in, so my "spread" generally comes out more like dip, which is also good.

And I made this sammich:

Tomatoes from the farmers market and Benedictine on whole grain bread.


I'm posting today at my own blog about the refrigerator pickles I made with other cucumbers.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

A Pea Salad Among Many #NotVegetarian #NotKosher

We like pea salad. Pretty much any pea salad. So one night, we had this one:

I would rather have used frozen peas, but I didn't have any, so I used canned. Also: bacon bits, shredded Mexican-mix cheese, and mayonnaise. Easy peasy and om-nom-nom.

I'm posting today at my own blog about eggplant rolls. Vegetarian. Also om-nom-nom.

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

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A Sammich and Dessert

Heat waves mean cold food. So we had these. Not vegetarian, but you could make it so with vegan substitutes.

A sammich of cream cheese and summer sausage on a bagel.

And then we had this Jello salad. Charlie and I love Jello salad, even though we use a generic gelatin powder. They have vegan ones, but not out here in the boonies.


1 3-oz box of gelatin powder
1 cup boiling water
1 can of fruit with juice
handful of nuts (usually pecans)
non-dairy whipped topping, if desired

Dissolve the powder in the water. Stir in the rest. Cover, and refrigerate until firm.

This one is orange gelatin and whole cranberry sauce. We also like cherry and cherries, orange and mandarin oranges, and raspberry and peaches.

Summer's hot, y'all. Take care!

I'm blogging at my place today about a vegetarian feast and a pretty salad.

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

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Panzanella How I Do

Panzanella is Italian bread salad. There are many, many, many, many etc. ways to make it. Here's how I made it the other day.

Stale bread, leftover tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced mozzarella (string cheese), diced summer sausage, and Italian dressing.

Quick, easy, filling, and yummy, especially on a hot day.

I'm posting at my blog today about a gluten-free BLT salad/wrap. You could leave out the bacon, and it would still be good. I know--I've done it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Stuff Soup, Like I Do

Sometimes I make soup on the stove. Sometimes I make it in the Instant Pot. Sometimes I make it all over the kitchen and put it together in the bowl. The last is what I did this time.

First, I made magic eggs. How you do that is, you bring water to a boil in a pot. Ease an egg (or more than one) into the boiling water. Boil for EXACTLY six-and-a-half (6 1/2) minutes. Take the egg out and plunge it into ice water. The magic is, the egg will be cooked through with a little thick runniness (you know what I mean?) in the center of the yolk.


I fried fake beef and cabbage with sesame oil and five-spice powder. The fake beef is okay fried, but I found it doesn't do well added to liquid. So never again with the fake beef in soup.

I heated black beans in the microwave. I heated canned (yuck) mushrooms in the microwave.

I washed out the egg pot and boiled water and Not-Chick'n bouillon.

To serve, put the broth into a bowl. Spoon the different bits into the bowl, so they each show separately. Peel the egg and slice it in two, putting half in each bowl. If you like (and I like), drizzle with hot sauce and/or Hoisin sauce.

I like to make soup this way sometimes, because I find it visually interesting.

Today, I'm posting at my own blog about the easiest and best spaghetti squash ever!

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

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Multicultural Stuffed Peppers

See, we went to a farmers market, and I asked Charlie, "Would you like for me to make you a stuffed pepper?" I mean, I eat 'em, too, but I make them for him. You know how that is.

He said he would, and I said, "Good. I'll get this big pepper, and I already have some leftover Jasmine rice at home."

We got home, and I put the pepper on the counter and said, "We already have some leftover Jasmine rice in the refrigerator, so I'll make a stuffed green pepper for supper."

Guess what he ate for lunch. If you're married, you probably guessed it: The leftover rice I had just told him I was going to use for supper.

A few days later, I went to a Chinese restaurant and brought home most of my fried rice, because HUGE portions.

THEN I made that stuffed green pepper.

I took that leftover rice and added tomato sauce, cumin, and Mexican blend shredded cheese.

I halved and cored the pepper, rubbed it with olive oil, and roasted it at 450F until it was tender. Stuffed it with the rice and baked it at 350F for about half an hour.

It was really, really good!

I'm posting at my own blog today about a dessert I made for a party we didn't attend.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Rain Corn

I love to grill. I haven't grilled in years, since we eat so little meat and it doesn't seem worth it to fire up the grill for veg, but I 1) changed my mind and 2) scored some locally sourced brats at the farmers market.

NATURALLY, it decided to rain, but I've never let that stop me. I've been known to grill under an umbrella, but now we have an awning, which makes things easier.

I thought maybe my difficulty in getting a fire going was due to using charcoal rather than wood. So I got some hickory and some firestarters. Could NOT get that sucker good and hot, but things cooked, anyway. Just took a little longer.

Corn: Peel back the husks and remove the silk. Schmear with vegan margarine and sprinkle with salt, pepper, chili powder, and/or whatever and wrap the husks back on. Grill over indirect heat for about 20 minutes, or over direct heat if you like char.

The corn was positively succulent! The broccoli didn't fare well, IMO: The hickory smoke flavor was too intense.

I'm posting at my blog today about another grill event, this one during a tornado.

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

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Mushroom and Stuff Soup #Vegan

Charlie and I love soup. Silly boy bought two books of soup recipes. I'm like, "You only need two recipes: Whatever you got in the fridge, and whatever you got in the fridge plus milk gravy."

This one didn't have milk gravy.

Portobello mushrooms, leftover peas, carrots, celery. Onion powder, garlic powder, Penzeys Fines Herbes, water, and Not-Chick'N bouillon.

As always, I cooked the mushrooms in a dry pan to concentrate the flavor (in my Instant Pot on the Saute setting), added the water and bouillon until the bouillon dissolved, then added the rest of the ingredients, sealed the lid, and set it for Soup. Or you could use a regular pot on the stove and simmer it for a while.

I'm posting at my blog today about a casserole I made that wasn't as successful as I would have liked, and what I did with it.

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

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Two-Ingredient #GF Pancakes

So I saw this on the internet, and I thought I'd try it. Because everything you see on the internet is True and Good, right?


ANYWAY, this calls for three bananas and two eggs and we had three bananas about to go to Jesus, so I figured I might as well make use of them.

Mash that all together, blend it, cream it, turn it into a batter. Fry it in vegan margarine.

The first ones came out kind of droopy-floopy, but subsequent ones were marginally fluffier. I suspect that whirring the batter in a blender or with beaters instead of my feeble lick-and-a-promise would have resulted in a fluffier pancake.

I think it would have been better if the bananas hadn't been quite so far gone. Not a disaster, though, not by a long chalk.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Dog's Dinner and Asparagus

We didn't really eat the dog's dinner. We don't even have a dog. The first time Mom and I ever saw risotto, we thought it looked like the dog's dinner (a big mess o' Stuff), and that's what we called it ever since.

But it's risotto, and it's delicious.

Traditional Italian risotto. By Lundberg. 

ANYWAY, I made it. Not bad. Home made is better. I also made roast asparagus and fried tilapia.

Asparagus: break off the tough ends. You could save them and cook them to flavor a soup and then throw them away, or you could just throw them away. Meh. Toss the nice bits in olive oil and seasoned salt and put them in a baking pan in a single layer, separated from each other so they don't steam. Bake them at 350 for about 20 minutes, turning once. Cook them longer, if you like them crispier on the ends.

Tilapia: I don't always do Tilapia the same way. This time, I buttered one side of the frozen filet and put it in a pan of hot vegan margarine. sprinkled the top with salt and pressed crumbled celery and parsley on top. Cook at medium heat for 7 minutes, flip, and cook for another 7 minutes. This cooks it through from frozen, people! So convenient! So fast! So delicious!

Naturally, I put cheese on the asparagus, because dairy is my shameful addiction.

I'm posting at my own blog today about another meal with different rice, different protein, same asparagus.

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

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Roast Almonds a la Oregon

Charlie went to the grocery alone. I asked him to get me some almonds because blah blah blah, meaning roasted almonds, and he came back with raw almonds.

So I roasted them. Not difficult and WOW! SO GOOD!

Before I undertook what was, to me, a daunting task, I scoured the internet for directions. I was drawn to this one because it claimed it was easy AND good, and that was a good choice. So head on over to An Oregon Cottage and find out how it's done.
I only flavored them with salt, but it would be just as easy to mix in some sugar or honey or chili powder or whatever.

Seriously good! Thank you, Oregon!

I'm posting at my own blog today about some slow cooker ribs we had for Mother's Day.

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

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Pea Salad in a Hurry

Two of us went to the grocery and we, collectively and individually, forgot to get the lettuce.  It's been in the eighties here--WE WANT COLD SALAD!

And, you know, golly-gosh forbid that we should make a special trip to get some. Them mules will only hitch up to the buckboard a certain number of times a week. Them mules is unionized.

ANYWAY, I had some canned peas, and I had some old church recipe books, and I had my imagination, so I made this salad. If you don't eat meat, or specifically don't eat pork, leave the bacon bits out or substitute fake ones made from turkey or chemistry or something.
I was supposed to use frozen peas and cubes of cheddar cheese, but I had canned peas and Velveeta, so I went full-bore '50s Midwestern on it's ass. Peas, cubed cheese, bacon bits, onion powder, and Ranch dressing. I think it would have been even better with chopped hard-boiled egg, but I was in a hurry.

We both liked it, and it hit the spot that wanted some cold salad in it.

Today is grocery day, and what do you bet we remember the lettuce?

Today is also the last Tuesday of May, so it's the last Tuesday this year I'll write and post a free short story at my blog. Today's is "The Dessert that Failed".

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

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Lazybutt Pizzanated Cauliflower #Vegetarian could be #Vegan

This isn't cauliflower pizza: You don't make a "crust" out of cauliflower that you've thised and thated. This is honest-to-pete lazybutt cooking.

Yeah. So, cut the core and leaves from a head of cauliflower. John the Baptist it (put the head on a plate) and cover it with a bowl. Microwave it for 6 minutes on high. Let it cool under that bowl.

Cut off some florets and cut them in half or into slices. Put them, cut side down, onto a greased baking sheet. Spoon pizza sauce over them and put on whatever toppings you want. We used olives and cheese (would have used vegan cheese, if we could get it back here in gawd's cuhntry).

Bake until the cheese melts. If the cauliflower has been refrigerated, head the florets up before you top them and bake them.

Dang good!

I'm still doing Story A Day May, so there's a new story on my blog, as there is every day in May.

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Vegan Deliciousness

So, this happened:
I put some baby carrots and celery and onion powder ('cause I didn't have any onions) and vegetable bouillon in the Instant Pot and cooked 'em for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, I tossed Brussels sprout halves in olive oil and seasoned salt and roasted them at 425 until they browned up.

Was it good? I'll say! Would have been better with some sweet onions, but you can't have everything. Well, you can, but I couldn't, 'cause I didn't.

I'm posting a Story A Day May story at my blog today called "Chocolate."

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

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A Springtime Feast #Vegetarian Could Be #Vegan

The only thing that makes this non-vegan is the lumps of feta cheese on it, and those could be replaced by a vegan cheese, or just left off.

That's baked sweet potato and pan-roasted asparagus spears topped with toasted almonds and lumps of feta cheese. That's vegan margarine melting on the sweet potatoes.

Um, yum!

I'm doing Story A Day May again this year, and today's story is about The Strangest Food You've Ever Eaten.

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

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Leftovers On Leftovers

As I posted on my blog this morning, I made lazy day chicken pot pie out of a can of mixed veg and a can of cream of chicken soup. That made too much filling for our two personal pies, so I used it the next day, putting it over halves of leftover baked potato.
Plenty of pepper. Mmmmmmm.

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

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Arizona Casserole #GF #Vegan

This is what I took to Easter:

I peeled and cubed a sweet potato, tossed it with olive oil and Penzeys Arizona Dreaming seasoning, then roasted the cubes at 450F for about 45 minutes.

We had some frozen pearl onions and some leftover corn on the cob, so I cut the corn off the cob and threw them into a pot with the pearl onions and a can of black beans. We had some leftover Jasmine rice, so that went in, too. I dumped a can of pinto beans in the food processor and blended them good, and put that in for thickening.

I added a liberal amount of Arizona Dreaming and let it sit for a few hours, then baked it for an hour at 350F. 

If you aren't vegan, you could add some meat and/or cheese, but it was good as it was, especially with corn chips.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

French Goose Egg Omelette

Or, I suppose I should say, omelette oeuf d'oie. Which is, as you might imagine, French for goose egg omelette.

ANYWAY, I made one.

My friend Doris gave me some goose eggs because these geese wandered up a few years ago and made themselves at home and keep laying eggs and her family won't -- knowingly -- eat them. And Charlie and I will.

Okay, so much for the goose egg. What makes it French?

As I found out wasting time researching on YouTube, it's French if it's cooked slowly and rolled up instead of folded in half. Very tender and fluffish.

Yeah, so I started by frying some mushrooms in a dry pan. Meanwhile, I beat one goose egg with some sour cream, salt, and marjoram. When the mushrooms were done, I took them out and I added some vegan margarine to the pan, then the egg.

You pull that around a little until it starts to set, make sure the bottom of the pan is covered with the egg. I put some cheese and mushrooms on that and, when it was pretty much set, rolled it up and topped it with more cheese and mushrooms.

SO tender and creamy! VERY nice!

I'm posting at my own blog today about another kind of mushroom--wild morels!

MarianAllen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Roasted Squash #Vegan

This was delish to me. Charlie is off squash, so he didn't like it, which meant there was more for me me me!

This was acorn squash. Peel the squash and cut it into cubes. Toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper, and rosemary. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes or so, stirring it so it cooks evenly. Bakes faster spread on a pan, more slowly crowded up in a dish. Recipe thanks to SparkPeople.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Pozole My Way #Vegetarian or #NotVegetarian

Our friend Francisco made this for a party he had once, and we have our own version of it, every now and then.
This is decidedly NOT vegetarian, being liberally filled with leftover carnitas, but it would also be delicious without. It would be good with chicken or with baked tofu or with vegan "meat" or loaded with vegetables.

Basically, you start by heating oil and toasting chili powder and cumin, chopped onion and minced garlic. Then you add water, tomato sauce (and/or chopped tomatoes), and maybe some bouillon (veg, for vegans and vegetarians, chicken for meat-eaters). MUST HAVE HOMINY (unless you hate hominy, in which case regular corn will do).

We serve ours over lettuce and top it with sour cream, if we have any.

Comfort food!

The side dish is something else Francisco served: avocado sprinkled with lime juice, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.

I'm blogging today at my own site about quiche.

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Spag Squash and Mushrooms #Vegetarian could be #Vegan

I'm not a big fan of spaghetti squash, but I eat some every now and then on the chance that familiarity will increase my liking for it.

So far, I can take it or leave it. I think my main problem with it is that it isn't bad for me.

ANYWAY, we had this dish recently, of spaghetti squash with butter, salt, pepper, and grated cheese.

The side was more interesting to me: Mushrooms cooked in a dry pan to concentrate the flavor, then butter and flour and Penzeys Sunny Paris herb blend and just enough white wine to make a sauce. Put that over lettuce and sprinkle it with smoked paprika.

Charlie isn't as crazy about mushrooms as I am, but he liked this.

I'm posting at my own blog today about a chickpea chili that could have been spicier.

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

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

What Do You Call a Little Burrito? #vegetarian could be #Vegan

Burritoito? Burrito Pequeño?

ANYWAY, I made some.

I had some "street taco size" soft flour tortillas. I made some refried beans by emptying a can of mixed beans, including the liquid, into a skillet with salt, chili powder, and cumin; I mashed the beans to a paste and cooked the liquid down. DELICIOUS!

It was kind of hard to fold the tiny little burritos, but I managed by leaving one end open. I put two little 'uns into each of two single-serve baking dishes, since I like more hot that Charlie does. Doing them in two little dishes made it easy for me to slather mine with salsa and just brush his with a hint of it.

Served with "fiesta" corn (corn with red and green peppers) and topped with shredded cheese.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Make-Do Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Charlie was having a friend over for a wild movie night (they watched Bergman's WILD STRAWBERRIES), and he asked if I could make a dessert before I left for my meeting.

I had a box mix of pineapple cake, so I said sure, I'd make pineapple upside-down cake. He was happy.

Then I found that my pineapples were chunks, not rings, and I didn't have the box of vanilla pudding powder the recipe on the box asked for.

Nothing loath, as they used to say in the boys' adventure books I read as a young girl, I looked up enough internet recipes for DIY pudding to give 'er a shot.

So, to the cake mix, I added a cup of powdered milk, about half a cup of sugar, and a teaspoon of cornstarch. Prolly didn't need the cornstarch, but oh well.

Here's how it turned out:

Could be prettier, but, as my grandpa used to say, "That don't hurt the eatin' of it." And it was delicious! OMnomnomnomnom!

I'm posting at my blog today about my homemade bibambap. Also delicious.

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

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Barley Soup in the #InstantPot #Vegan

Y'all, I am just plain crazy about my Instant Pot for making soup. I'm one of those people who puts soup on to cook then goes away and forgets about it until it sets off the smoke alarm.

Smoke Alarm Soup is not good.

So the Instant Pot is a godsend for us, where soup is concerned.

The other day, I made this:

Mushrooms, hominy, diced carrots, shallots, vegetable bouillon, water (of course), and barley. Put it in the Instant Pot, seal it, hit the Soup button, and Bob's yer uncle.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Pimiento Cheese How the Kids Like It

Oh, my gosh, I 'most forgot to post here today!

Okay, when I met my husband, he was a widower with three little girls. Their blessed late mother (cancer--DAMN cancer) had spent hours, he told me, writing down her recipes so the girls would have them.

When we got married, I used those recipes to cook dishes the kids were familiar with. They had enough to deal with, losing their mother and being saddled with a Wicked Stepmother.

This is how their mother made pimiento cheese, so this is how I learned to make it.

Pimiento Cheese How the Kids Like It

  • Velveeta, or a comparable day-go orange, squishy, cheese-like substance
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • mayonnaise
  • pimientos
  • salt to taste

Cube the cheese. Dice the egg(s) and cut it and the cheese together (works best if the egg is still warm). Add mayonnaise and continue cutting until the mix is the consistency you like. The kids like it kind of chunky. Taste and season, if necessary.

Some don't use eggs, some use "real" cheese, some add Worchestershirecher sauce. This is how our kids like it.

I'm posting at my blog today about a book called What Does It Mean to Be American? Also, an American Indian bread recipe.

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Lentil and Wild Rice Soup in the #InstantPot #vegan

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about some almost-instant lentil soup I made with canned lentils. This week, I made soup from dried lentils and wild rice.

Now, when they tell you about the InstantPot, they tell you it cooks much more quickly. Well, sometimes it do and sometimes it don't. What they don't do when they're telling you the times is include the time it takes for the pot to heat up and get to pressure. Sometimes that makes it take longer than regular stovetop or oven cooking.

But wild rice is a bugger. Wild rice takes For. EV. Ver. Not in the InstantPot.

Besides, soup in the InstantPot is AMAZING. The flavors are so rich and deep, it's worth any little extra time. You just have to allow for it, that's all I'm sayin'.

Lentil and Wild Rice Soup in the InstantPot

  • olive oil
  • lentils
  • 4 times as much water as lentils
  • 1/4 cup wild rice
  • sliced carrots
  • diced onion
  • diced celery
  • vegetarian bouillon cubes
  • seasoning to taste

Turn the pot onto Saute, heat the oil, and cook the vegetables until the onion goes translucent. Add the water and bouillon cubes and continue on Saute until the cubes are dissolved. Cancel the Saute. Add the lentils, wild rice, and seasonings, put on the lid, set to pressure, not vent. Press Beans or else press Manual and set it for an 40 minutes.

Looked like this.
I might have some mushrooms in there, now that I look at the picture. I love mushrooms.


I'm posting at my own blog today about a vegetarian low-carb feast.

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

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Split Pea Soup in the #InstantPot #Vegan

Love my Instant Pot SO MUCH!

I had a hankerin' for split pea soup, so I hauled out the Pot and got to it. Here's how I made it. You make it the way you like it.

Split Pea Soup in the Instant Pot

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • chopped celery
  • thinly sliced carrots
  • pearl onions
  • smoked paprika
  • 1 cup dried split peas
  • 4 cups vegetable bouillon
  • bay leaf
  • herbs to taste 

I can't remember what herb blend I used, or if I just tossed in some thyme.

ANYWAY, turn the Pot to Saute and put in the vegetables (not the peas) and paprika and cook until the vegetables are a little tender: a few minutes. Press Cancel. Add the rest of the ingredients.

Put the lid on the pot and set the cock to seal. Press the Manual Button and select--Well, the recipe said 8 minutes, I did 10 minutes and some of the peas were still a bit crunchy, so next time I'll do 15.

Let the pressure come down by itself for 10 minutes, then vent it manually.

The soup will be a little thin at first (my husband, who likes broth, said it was thick), but it thickens as it cools. If you like your pea soup really thick, make it a day ahead of time.

I'm posting at my blog today about the tamales I made in my Instant Pot. NOT vegetarian, but could have been.

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

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Easy-peasy Lentil Soup #Vegan

It doesn't get any easier than this:

Did you know lentils come in cans? Well, they do! 

So I opened a can of lentils into a saucepan, added onion powder, garlic powder, water, marjoram, and vegetable bouillon, and BOOM! we had soup.

Hit the spot, and oh, so quick.

I'm posting today at my own blog about bean soup I made in my Instant Pot. Not quite as quick and easy as this, but purty durn quick and easy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Slightly Better BBQ

So Charlie and I went to a new Mexican restaurant in our little town, and ordered our usual: chicken flautas for him and carnitas for me. The flautas were meh, but the carnitas was (were?) spectacularly bad. Big chunks of dry meat, utterly devoid of flavor or savor.

I was going to abandon it, but Charlie encouraged me to bring it home and see if I could do something with it.

So I did.

I battled the chunks with a fork until I had wrestled them into shreds. I covered the shreds with ginger ale and put that into the refrigerator overnight. When I took it out the next night, the meat had absorbed almost all the ginger ale. I put the meat and its soda into a pan, added an equal amount of Sweet Baby Ray's spicy honey BBQ sauce and cooked it down.

Came out looking like this:

It was slightly better. At least it was edible. Carnitas is pork, but I use the ginger ale plus barbecue sauce combo for chicken and beef, too.

I'm told we must have been there on a bad day, so I might try it again sometime, but Charlie won't.

I'm posting at my own blog today about fish-ish dinner we had.

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Cheater's Lentil Soup #Vegan

It just doesn't get any easier than this.


  • One can of lentils
  • One cup of veg broth
  • Onion powder
  • Seasoning to taste
Combine and heat.

I flavored this with Penzeys Sunny Paris and Fines Herbes. If I had had some mirepoix mix, I would have put some of that in.

It was still pretty darned good, especially for something that took next to no time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

#Vegan #Pasta Dish SO GOOD!

So we went to a party and our vegan daughter was going to be there, so I made this because you KNOW vegans get sick of making a meal off side dishes.
This is tri-colored pasta plus tri-colored sweet bell peppers, baby spinach, olives, shallots, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and Italian herb blend. That topping is vegan "Parmesan cheese," as per The Uncheese Cookbook.


I'm posting today at my blog about a very non-vegan treat I took to church. YES, THEY LET ME IN CHURCH. I can't take communion, but I can attend. So there.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

it's All About The Toppings

I've made this before, but I put different toppings on it.

This is tilapia, a frozen filet sprinkled with Lawry's seasoned salt and lemon pepper and fried for 7 minutes a side in vegan margarine. Then I put Jasmine rice over a bed of lettuce and put the fish on that. This time, I topped it with Ranch dressing, shredded Italian blend cheese, and some leftover mixed olives.

We loved it!

I'm posting at my blog today about the biscotti I made us. For realz!

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

Friday, January 4, 2019

Slow Cooker Beef Chili

Warm the heart and soul with this slow-cooked beef chili recipe.


2 guajillo chiles
1 dried ancho chile
1 dried pasilla chile
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound boneless beef chuck, cut into ½" pieces
½ pound boneless beef short ribs, cut into ½" pieces
½ brisket, cut into ½" pieces
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped (optional)
1 12-ounce can lager
Sour cream, shredded cheddar, chopped red onion, cilantro leaves, and chips (for serving)


Toast guajillo, ancho, and pasilla chiles in a medium dry skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally and pressing down to help chiles make contact with the pan, until darkened in color and beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water; let sit 30 minutes to soften. Drain; discard seeds and stems. Working in batches if needed, purée chiles and broth in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute, and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Season chuck, short ribs, and brisket with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking until liquid accumulated in pot has evaporated, 8–10 minutes more. Transfer beef to a plate.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in same pot, then add onions and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onions are softened, 6–8 minutes. Onion juices should help loosen any bits of beef stuck to bottom of pot, but if the surface looks too brown, add a splash of water and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits. Add cumin, oregano, and chipotle, if using, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.

Transfer mixture to a 4–6-quart slow cooker. Add lager, reserved beef, and reserved chile purée, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cover and cook until meat is very tender, 7–8 hours on low or 4–5 hours on high. If liquid seems too thin, simmer until thickened to desired consistency.

Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve chili topped with sour cream, cheddar, red onion, cilantro leaves, and chips.

Do ahead: Chili can be made up to 4 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat gently over low heat, adding a splash of water to loosen, if needed.

*Get full details and mouth-watering photos at Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Bean Thing and Then Some - Could Be #Vegan

This is actually a recipe that is naturally vegan, but #4 Daughter was visiting, so I threw some meat on top. If the meat had been shredded chicken or beef, it would have been kosher, but the meat was pork carnitas, so it wasn't.

(We aren't Jewish, btw, but I'm aware.)

Bean Thing
  • garlic-infused olive oil
  • chopped onion
  • chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • cubed tomatoes, fresh from the garden
  • small can tomato sauce
  • 1 15-ounce can of white navy beans (beans, salt and water only -- no sugar)

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add thyme and paprika and stir for a couple of minutes to toast and release the flavors into the oil. Add vegetables and cook a couple more minutes. Add sauce and beans (with juice). Cover, reduce heat, simmer about 20 minutes.

The recipe I adapted this from says to serve it over rice, and I usually do. Charlie likes hot food over lettuce, so I usually do that, too.
Lettuce, rice, bean thing, carnitas (or not).


I'm posting today at my own blog about a fruit dessert I took to a party. It's also the first of the month, so I'll have a new micro-mini story.

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