Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Charlie's Sausage and Butterbean Soup

Charlie has taken over a lot of the cooking and all of the washing up since I’ve been so busy TCB (taking care of business) and TCM (taking care of Mom). Bless his li’l pea-pickin’ heart! Imma give him a great big squishy hug, right here on the interwebs! {{{{Charlie}}}}

ANYWAY, one day he made this soup. The marvelous Roy Ackerman won’t like it for obviously porkly reasons, but we found it belicious.

That’s butterbeans, onions, carrots, and locally sourced sausage. My, MY, it was tasty!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Charlie's Mess

Charlie has taken over a lot of the cooking and housework since I've been so busy writing and stuff, which I highly appreciate. He was always a good plain cook, and I enjoy what he fixes.

The other day, he cooked up some fresh green beans and pertaters from the farmers market. Then, he said, he decided to throw in the last of the black beans I'd cooked with onions, cumin, and chili powder. We each had a cup, topped with a bit of vegan margarine.

Looks kinda like a mess, but it was GOOD.

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

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

"I'll Make Lunch," He Said

When he said, "Okay, it's ready," this is what I came in to find.
So simple, and so good.

Toasted French bread, an egg from our daughter's chickens, over easy (just the way I like it), and cherry tomatoes from our garden fried along with the egg until they were warm and soft.

Yes, that's a Christmas plate. I use them all year, because I like them. They're cheery.

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

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

My New Favorite Restaurant, Alas!

It's "alas" because I don't have anybody to eat there with anymore.

I'll 'splain.

My church (yes, I go to church. no, the roof doesn't fall in when I enter) has a group called Food For The Soul, where anybody who wants to can meet once a month for lunch and fellowship. We usually stick to our town, but sometimes we go out of town (a bit) to a place one or more of the members recommend(s).

This month, we went to a hole-in-the-wall place we would never have found, if JD hadn't given us clear directions. The restaurant was behind another building; the sign for it on the road was a piece of cardboard with the name in four-inch letters. The parking lot was rough gravel.

Inside, the decor was plain, but everything was spotless, if a little time-worn.

The food? REAL. By that, I mean it was food I grew up with. Comfort food, every bit of it. Yeah, there was pizza. Yeah, there were hamburgers. But here's what I got.
That's country-fried steak, mashed potatoes with white gravy, and fried green tomatoes. Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about!

In case you don't know, country-fried steak (or chicken-fried steak) is steak that has been tenderized by pounding (or, sometimes, ground beef), breaded and fried and served with white gravy. It should be meltingly tender, and this was.

Time was, Mom and I would have haunted that place like Banquo's ghost. But Mom is on a feeding tube, and will never eat real food again. Alas.

Maybe I can talk Charlie into trying it. Probably not. ~sigh~ Alas.

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Our Secret Blueberries

Lookkee what we got.
We thought we weren't going to have any, because the raccoons and birds and turtles and such like marauders were ... well ... marauding, chomping up all the blueberries we planted RIGHT NEXT TO THE PORCH to discourage such ... maraudishment.

They missed these, though, Charlie having cunningly hidden them in the garden. So there is much joy in the Allen house, and many blueberries.

There will be pancakes.

Blueberry Pecan Pancakes

Mix pancake batter
Add blueberries
Also: pecans

Cook. Eat. Repeat.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, July 14, 2017

Grilled Tuna with Charred Corn and Watermelon Salsa

This Grilled Tuna with Charred Corn and Watermelon Salsa recipe is from Fine Cooking, and it looks delicious! Don't take my word for it--click on the link for a photo and for additional information.


2 medium ears corn, husked
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. minced jalapeño
1 small clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt
1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup small-diced seedless watermelon
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 Tbs. thinly sliced scallions
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
4 tuna steaks (about 5 oz. each)


Prepare a medium-high (400°F to 475°F) gas or charcoal grill fire. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until the kernels are charred in places and crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Cut the kernels from the cob.

In a medium bowl, combine the lime juice, jalapeño, garlic, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Whisk in 2 tsp. of the oil, and season generously with black pepper. Stir in the corn, watermelon, onion, scallions, and basil; set aside.

Brush the tuna with the remaining 1 Tbs. oil, and season generously with salt. Grill until done to your liking, 2 to 3 minutes per side for rare to medium rare. Serve with the salsa.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Nutty Buddies

I have a page on my Marian Allen, Author Lady blog called Recipals, which is a dozen recipes I got from friends. This was the December, 2008 entry. Jessica is the now the mother of our only great-grandchild. 
This treat is probably something Mrs. Brandt would have made for the kids at the Home where Mitch, the main character in my paranormal suspense novel, A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE, grew up.
My terrific granddaughter, Jessica, brought this recipe over and we made it together. Fun AND yum.

Muddy Buddies
  • 9 cups Chex cereal (any variety)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter (do not use soft spreads)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Measure cereal into a very large bowl (or use your largest pot). Heat chocolate chips, peanut butter and margarine in 1 quart saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until melted. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal in bowl. Stir until evenly coated. Pour into a large plastic food-storage bag; add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container.

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

Friday, July 7, 2017

Semifreddo with Honeyed Peaches

This Semifreddo with Honeyed Peaches recipe comes from Woman's Day. Find nutritional information and more by clicking the link.


8 oz. (about 1 c.) very cold crème fraîche or sour cream
1/4 c. confectioners' sugar
8 oz. very cold heavy cream
1/4 c. shelled unsalted pistachios, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. honey
4 ripe peaches, thinly sliced
1/4 c. small fresh mint leaves


Line an 8 1⁄2"-x-4 1⁄2" loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang on all four sides.

Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the crème fraîche until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar, whisking to combine.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in cream. Increase speed and beat until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.

Fold in pistachios, then transfer to the prepared pan. Freeze until set, at least 4 hours.

Ten minutes before serving, make the peach topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together lime juice and honey. Add peaches and toss to coat. Let sit, tossing occasionally, until peaches begin to release their liquid, at least 5 minutes.

Invert the semifreddo onto a serving platter and remove the plastic. Fold the mint into the peaches, then spoon the mixture and any juices over the semifreddo.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


There are only two of us at home, and sometimes I bake potatoes in the toaster oven (you have to wrap them in foil and turn them every so often), but sometimes I heat up the Real Oven and bake a butt-load of spuds at once.

Then we use the leftovers here and there, but my favorite thing is twice-baked.

Here is the prep.
Cut a potato in half (two, here, 'cause I done TOLE you there's two of us). Scoop its guts out with a spoon and mash it with butter (or vegan margarine) and cheese, salt and (unless you're a pepper-hater like Charlie) pepper. And, yes, you caught me, there is cooked bacon in there BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THAT, RIGHT?

Put the mashed yumminess back into the potato skins. Then you can heat it like that in the oven or toaster oven, you can microwave it, or you can (as I did) squoosh the halves together, rub the skin with butter (margarine), wrap it in foil, and bake it again. TWICE-BAKED, yeah?

VERY yummy.

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

Friday, June 30, 2017

Tomato and Goat-Cheese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

This Tomato and Goat-Cheese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette recipe is from Martha Stewart, so it has to be a good thing...right? Click on the link for more information.


1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 ounces fresh goat cheese
3 medium tomatoes, cored and sliced crosswise 1 inch thick


In a blender, combine basil, oil, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon water. Blend until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

With dental floss or a warm knife (wiped clean after each slice), thinly slice cheese. Arrange tomatoes and goat cheese on a serving plate; drizzle with dressing to taste. Serve garnished with basil leaves.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What the Heck is This?

My friend Jane and I were talking about saucers and cup plates, as the barista slopped the coffee out of Jane's cup into her saucer. Jane remarked that people used to "saucer their tea" or coffee, pouring from the cup into the saucer so the liquid would cool faster. We each remembered relatives who did that, and we each knew it was an old custom, reaching back at least as far as the Regency Romances we used to (and sometimes still) read.

Then Jane, as she so often does, added another trivia bullet to my Jeopardy arsenal: She said that place settings also had a cup plate, so you could put your cup down without leaving a mess while you drank from the saucer.

Then I thought: Is that what this little dish is?
I picked up about four of these little things when Mom's church cleaned out their kitchen cabinets. I use them for tiny salads, to hold small quantities of prepped ingredients, for hard-boiled eggs, for fruit -- small bits of lots of things. They are, as my grandpa used to say and we all say in his honor, handy little gadgets.

After talking to Jane, I thought they might be cup plates, but my research on cup plates shows them to be made of glass, so I think they're something else. Butter dishes?

Any guesses or, preferably, positive identification?

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

Black Forbidden Rice with Shrimp, Peaches, and Snap Peas

Why is black rice "forbidden"? Because in ancient China, the grain was served only to the Emperor. Black rice is called a super food because it's loaded with the antioxidant anthocyanin. If you don't have any black rice available, feel free to substitute white or brown rice in this Black Forbidden Rice with Shrimp, Peaches, and Snap Peas recipe from Health. Click the link for further information.


2 cups black rice (see note)
3 1/2 cups water
1 (1 1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons plus 1 tsp grapeseed oil, divided
1 1/4 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
2 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 peaches, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce


1. In medium saucepan, bring rice, water, ginger, and teaspoon salt to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender (30 minutes). Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and transfer to a large bowl.

2. Meanwhile, in large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and a pinch each salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until cooked through and opaque (4-5 minutes). Remove shrimp; wipe pan with paper towels.

3. In same pan, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add snap peas and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes. Add peaches and cook 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with rice.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, honey, and soy sauce until smooth; pour dressing over rice mixture, add shrimp, and toss.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lemonade, Regular and Pink

In the throes of the Russia investigation, my fellow old-timers will understand why I'm hesitant to post about anything pink. Nevertheless, I hereby step onto the wild side.

It's nearly summer here in the Midwestern USA, and thoughts turn to refreshing drinks. The Harrison County Fair is about to start, and that means lemonade.

Image courtesy of SweetClipArt
My mother asked me what makes pink lemonade pink, and I didn't know, so I found out. 

First, although I always associate lemonade with the turn of the 18/19th centuries, it's an ancient drink. Lemons, which originated in the Mediterranean area, were squeezed, diluted with water, sugared and cooled for the upper class, who could afford to bring ice down from the mountains. 

By the 17th century, lemonade had made its way to Europe, where it was a popular street vendor product. 

Lemonade came to the USA with European settlers. Where lemons couldn't be had, lemonade could be made with lemon syrup, which could be imported. The temperance movement, during the Victorian era, made lemonade the genteel drink of choice, and it was featured at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition. 

In 1872 or 1873, a 15-year-old boy who had run away from home to join the circus, Henry E. Allott, dropped some cinnamon candies into the lemonade he was mixing. The pink lemonade outsold the regular, and has been a staple of the circus concession stand ever since. Red fruit juice is sometimes added by home cooks to get the color, but cinnamon drops originally made the yellow drink pink.

So now we all know.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Blackberry Lime Cream Puffs

This Blackberry Lime Cream Puffs recipe is from CountryLiving. Click the link to learn more about the recipe's contributor, see the finished product, and more.


6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. fresh lime zest, plus more for serving
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
2 1/2 c. fresh blackberries, divided
1 c. heavy cream
24 (2-inch) store-bought profiterole shells
confectioners’ sugar, for garnish


Whisk cream cheese, sugar, lime zest, vanilla, salt, and 3/4 cup berries on medium speed with a mixer until creamy and berries are broken down, 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high, add cream, and beat until whipped, about 1 minute. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a medium-sized pastry tip or zip-top bag. Chill 2 hours or up to 1 day.

Snip a hole in the corner of the zip-top bag, if using. Split profiteroles and pipe blackberry filling on bottom halves, dividing evenly. Top with remaining 1 3/4 cups blackberries and lime zest. Sandwich with profiterole tops. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Another #Vegan Stir-Fry

Today's grocery day, so we cleaned out the refrigerator. That usually means 1) soup or 2) stir fry or 3) smorgasbord. This time, it was stir-fry.
That's onion, garlic cloves, the last bits of raw broccoli and carrot from a crudités plate, a couple of dry-ish mushrooms, a small, sad zucchini we got at the farmer's market because we felt sorry for it, and leftover rice. Fried it in sesame oil and sprinkled it with Five Spice Powder and soy sauce. I topped mine with Pad Thai sauce, but Charlie didn't.

After I put it on the table, I thought, "Oh! I should have put some cashews in!" So we sprinkled cashews on top and that was great.

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

Friday, June 9, 2017

Glazed Wings With Butter Lettuce Salad

This Glazed Wings With Butter Lettuce Salad recipe is from RealSimple. Click the link for nutritional information, tips, reviews, and yield.


1/4 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
kosher salt
3 1/2 pounds chicken wings (about 25)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 head butter lettuce, torn into pieces


Heat grill to medium-low. In a large bowl, combine the preserves, vinegar, ginger, cayenne, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Set aside ¼ cup of the mixture.

Add the chicken wings to the bowl and toss to coat.
Grill chicken, covered, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes, basting with reserved mixture in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the oil, pesto, and lemon juice.
Divide the lettuce among plates and drizzle with the pesto vinaigrette. Serve with the chicken wings.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Rescuing Leftover Blah #trayf

I made a dish for a cookout, which was a disappointment. The dish, not the cookout. It was potatoes and flat-leaf kale, boiled together and seasoned with salt and vegan margarine. Okay, all you non-vegan/vegetarians, I don't wanna hear it. Most vegan/vegetarian food is goo-ood, but this was kind of blah.

Part of it is that flat-leaf kale doesn't have any body to it, and seems (to me) to be milder in flavor than curly kale. I think pepper would have helped, or replacing the salt with some zesty Mrs. Dash, but Charlie doesn't like pepper and spice, so that was out.

ANYWAY, I had some left.

Since Charlie and I aren't vegetarian, we have some bacon, and I chopped some of that and fried it. When that was nearly done, I added the potatoes and kale and browned them. Meanwhile, I beat a few eggs with milk, salt, and marjoram. Poured that over the potatoes/kale/bacon. I covered it until it was set, then flipped it to brown the other side.
It worked! It was actually delicious!

From now on, though, I'm sticking with the curly kale.

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

Friday, June 2, 2017

So Simple Cowboy Caviar

The So Simple Cowboy Caviar recipe comes from Food.com. Visit the page for information about the contributor and for reviews, photos, nutrition facts, and tips.


1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar ( flavor of your choice)
1 (16 ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (7 ounce) cans white shoepeg corn, rinsed and drained
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced


In small saucepan, combine oil, sugar and vinegar.
Heat and boil 1 minute and then cool completely.
In large bowl, combine beans, peas, corn, peppers and onions.
Pour vinegar mixture over bean/pepper mixture and mix to thoroughly coat.
Cover and marinate overnight.
Drain for 2-3 hours before serving.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I Ate Three Eggplants In One Sitting and Lived to Tell the Tale

True story.

Okay, first, yeah, the eggplants were tiny. Like teeny tiny. They were literally the size of duck eggs, if they were even that big.

I saw them in the grocery, and I was like, "Oh! Look at those adowaboo li'l eggplants! I gotta get 'em!" #4 daughter was coming to dinner, so I got three. I said to my husband, "I know you don't care for eggplant, but these are so wee, you'll hardly know you're eating one, right?" He's like, "Whatever."

An additional attraction was the stickers they had on them.
Hard to see the name, but the sticker has a dragon on it, and the brand is Asian Pride. Asian Pride Indian Eggplant, product of Mexico. I ask you: Could I resist them? And Echo answers: No.

I cut each eggplant in half, smeared them with olive oil and Jane's Crazy Mixed-Up Salt, and put them in the George Foreman-style Rip-off Grill until they were blackened outside and creamy inside.

This is a wee li'l saucer. I should have put a dime in there,to show scale, but I di'n'.

And -- joy of joys! -- nobody else wanted theirs! Well, Charlie ate half of his, the dear man, but #4 Daughter, although a fan of Indian food, informed me that eggplant isn't a taste she cares for.


Today is the next-to-last day of Story A Day May. Feel free to hop over to my blog and read today's story and, indeed, all the many free stories posted there. You also have my permission to buy as many of my books and story collections you fancy. You're welcome. ;)

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

Friday, May 26, 2017

Refreshing Summertime Salad

This Refreshing Summertime Salad is from AllRecipes.com. Visit the page for tips and photos.


4 cups mixed baby greens
1/2 cup diced mango
1/2 cup cubed seeded watermelon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon frozen mango juice concentrate, thawed

Combine the baby greens, mango, watermelon, mint, feta cheese, and minced onion in a mixing bowl. Whisk the vinegar, olive oil, and mango juice concentrate together in a small bowl, and pour over the salad. Toss gently to evenly coat.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2017 Allrecipes.com

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

WHAT Kind of Salad??

I went to a Japanese steakhouse, and my friend ordered seaweed salad. So I did, too. Because I had never had that, and Adventure is my middle name. Actually, my middle name is Lois, but never mind.

It looked like this.
Yes, it really was that green.

How was it? The dressing, a light and delicate sweet-and-sour, was delicious. The seaweed was ... seaweedy. Really chewy, a little bit fishy, with little seeds all in. Not bad, but I'll never order it again, because a little goes a long way, and this was a hella lot of seaweed. Even though the bowl was mostly lettuce with a big hank of seaweed on top, I took half of it home and Charlie couldn't eat that much.

I'm really glad I ordered it and tried it, and I'd eat some again if there was only a couple of bites of it, but I would like it more as a garnish than as a dish.

Have you ever had seaweed salad? What did you think?

I'm still doing Story A Day May, so hop over to my blog and help yourself to some free stories.

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

Friday, May 19, 2017

Flank Steak Sandwiches With Blue Cheese

This Flank Steak Sandwiches With Blue Cheese recipe comes from MyRecipes.com. Click the link for reviews, photographs, yield, etc.


2 large sweet onions
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 red bell peppers
6 (2- to 3-oz.) ciabatta or deli rolls, split*
5 ounces soft ripened blue cheese
1 1/2 cups loosely packed arugula
Herb-Marinated Flank Steak
6 tablespoons mayonnaise

How to Make It
Preheat grill to 400° to 450° (high) heat. Cut onion into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Brush with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Cut bell peppers into 1-inch-wide strips. Place pepper strips in a large bowl, and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper; toss to coat.

Grill onion and bell pepper strips, covered with grill lid, over 400° to 450° (high) heat 7 to 10 minutes on each side or until lightly charred and tender.

Brush cut sides of rolls with remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and grill, cut sides down, without grill lid, over 400° to 450° (high) heat 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned and toasted.

Spread blue cheese on cut sides of roll bottoms; top with arugula, bell pepper strips, steak, and onion. Spread mayonnaise on cut sides of roll tops. Place roll tops, mayonnaise sides down, on top of onion, pressing lightly.

*French hamburger buns may be substituted. We tested with Publix French Hamburger Buns.

Note: We tested with Saga Classic Soft-Ripened Blue-Veined Cheese.

Flank Steak Sandwiches With Brie: Substitute 5 oz. Brie, rind removed, for blue cheese. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Herb Chicken Sandwiches: Substitute Herb-Marinated Chicken Breasts for flank steak. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Herb Chicken Sandwiches With Grilled Peaches: Reduce onions to 1 and red bell peppers to Cut 2 large peaches into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, cutting through stem and bottom ends. Proceed with recipe as directed, grilling peach slices, covered with grill lid, over 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear. Assemble sandwiches as directed, topping onion with peach slices. Prep: 20 min., Grill: 32 min., Stand: 10 min.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Boy Soup #NotVegetarian

This isn't boy soup because it's made of or from boys. It's called boy soup because it was made by my boy, aka my husband, aka Charlie. He makes soup a lot. He has pretty much the same recipe for soup that I do: boil stuff. His recipe usually includes putting the soup over lettuce, though.

So here's the soup he made the other day:
He diced carrots, celery, and potatoes, and cooked them in chicken bouillon. He tossed in some leftover peas, some chopped leftover cooked porkchop,and some egg noodles, and served it over lettuce.

Very satisfying.

I'm still doing Story A Day May on my blog. Hop over and browse this year's 16 (so far) stories, or do a sidebar search for the Story A Day May category and read many stories from this and previous years.

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

Friday, May 12, 2017

Quinoa Greek Salad

With the dog days of summer, social calendars are filled with activities, picnics, and of course, cookouts. Rookie and seasoned hosts alike can benefit from a go-to list of impressive food finds for even their most discernible guests. While the classics will always satisfy, it can be fun to shake things up with new ideas. Over the next ten weeks, I'll share recipes that run the gamut from simple summer salads to simply impressive picnic foods.

This Quinoa Greek Salad recipe comes from Food.com.


2 cups chicken stock
1 cup quinoa
1⁄2 cup red pepper, diced
1⁄2 cup green pepper, diced
1⁄2 cup cucumber, diced
1⁄4 cup green onion, diced
1⁄4 cup black olives
1⁄4 cup red onion, diced
3 ounces reduced-fat feta cheese


1⁄4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1⁄2 teaspoon basil
1⁄2 teaspoon oregano


In a saucepan, bring stock to a boil.
Stir in quinoa.
Reduce heat to med low and cover.
Cook 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
Transfer to a large bowl and cool.
Stir veggies and cheese into cooled quinoa.
Whisk together dressing ingredients.
Pour over quinoa mixture and toss.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cabbage and Mushroom Soup #Vegan and Very Good

Charlie and I love soup. We don't really have lots of recipes for soup; we just make all kinds of soup out of whatever sounds good. Yesterday, I made this:

Cabbage and Mushroom Soup

  • water
  • vegetarian bouillon
  • portobello mushrooms, sliced very thin
  • green onion (scallion, spring onion) sliced
  • cabbage, cut up into pieces
  • marjoram
  • barley

Bring water and bouillon to a boil. Add vegetables, marjoram and barley. Cook until the barley is done.


BOY, was it good!

I'm still doing Story A Day May. Hop on over to my blog to read today's story, Time Will Tell.

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

Friday, May 5, 2017

Simple Homemade Waffles

Here is a yummy homemade waffle recipe from Epicurious. Click on the link to visit Epicurious and read the reviews for this recipe.


2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs


1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. 2. Whisk the milk, vegetable oil, and eggs together well. 3. Gradually pour the milk mixture into the dry mixture. Stir until almost blended. There will be a few lumps. 4. Pour the batter into your waffle maker (about 1/3 cup)and cook according to instructions - approximately 4-6 minutes on medium high or until the waffle maker stops steaming. Optional: To make Blueberry Waffles, pour the batter onto the waffle maker, sprinkle fresh blueberries on top, and close the lid. Cook as usual according to the waffle maker instructions.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mozzarella Salad

We went to a book sale event this weekend. Because it's so hard to go get something to eat, we usually take our own food. One of my contributions was this mozzarella salad.
That's fresh mozzarella, walnuts, diced orange bell peppers, mushrooms, and pesto. It was very nice, and I didn't bring much of it home with me!

It's Story A Day May, and I'm attempting to write and post a story every day for 31 days. Come to my blog (link below) and see if I can do it, however poorly.

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

Friday, April 28, 2017

Candy Apple Jelly

This recipe is from Taste of Home. Visit the website to get a video for this recipe for reviews, tips, and even a video.


4 cups apple juice
1/2 cup Red Hots candy
1 package (1-3/4 ounces) powdered fruit pectin
4-1/2 cups sugar


1. In a large saucepan, combine the apple juice, candies and pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar; return to a full rolling boil. Boil and stir 1 minute.

2. Remove from heat; skim off foam. Ladle hot mixture into six hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw on bands until fingertip tight.

3. Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process for 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool. 

Yield: about 6 half-pints.

Editor's Note: The processing time listed is for altitudes of 1,000 feet or less. Add 1 minute to the processing time for each 1,000 feet of additional altitude.

© 2017 RDA Enthusiast Brands, LLC

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

After the Ice

No, this isn't a post about Spring. It's about a book. Steven Mithin's book, AFTER THE ICE: A GLOBAL HUMAN HISTORY 20,000 - 5,000 BC is part anthropology, part archaeology, and part informed fiction.

Why am I posting about it on Fatal Foodies? Because, my dears, one of the motives for murder, individual or group-wide, is competition for a desired object/person or resources.

Sometimes, the resources coveted are food/food-related. Stored grain. Domesticated livestock. Grazing lands. Rich fishing grounds. And always, in pre-history, everything was centered around hunting/gathering: just finding and preparing enough food to survive was the main occupation of everybody, all the time, every day.

Mithin gives the excavation evidence of foods, climate, ecosystems, social activities, folds in observational details from people living similar lives in similar climates and ecosystems in recent times, and extrapolates possible scenarios in pre-history. He never says, "It WAS this way," and he always cautions against assuming too much, but his recreations are compelling.

Whether you're writing a mystery set in pre-history or a modern hunter/gatherer society, or a science fiction/fantasy world with hunter/gatherers, or maybe have a survivalist character/group in your book, this book is a fascinating and useful read.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Nectarine-Ginger Preserves

This recipe is from Southern Living. Check it out here.


4 1/2 cups unpeeled and diced nectarines (about 2 1/2 lb.)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 (1.75-oz.) package powdered fruit pectin

How to Make It

Stir together all ingredients in a 4-qt. microwave-safe glass bowl.

Microwave at HIGH 8 minutes (mixture will boil). Stir mixture, and microwave at HIGH 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened. (You're going for the viscosity of pancake syrup here. The mixture will thicken to soft-set preserves after it cools and chills.) Cool mixture completely (about 2 hours). Serve immediately, or cover and chill preserves in an airtight container until ready to serve. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Risotto is SO GOOD! and #vegetarian!

I usually like the kind of rice you bung into the water and take off the heat when it's done BOOM! But sometimes I like to make risotto. Some people will tell you that you can make risotto the same way, just using Arborio rice, but it isn't the same. Just no. I mean, yeah, you can do it, but it isn't the same.

So this happened.
  • vegan margarine (or butter)
  • Arborio rice
  • four times as much liquid as rice (I used white wine and water)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • mushrooms, halved
  • flour
  • more white wine
  • peas, cooked
  1. Heat some margarine or butter in a skillet and in a saucepan. Put the mushrooms in the skillet and the rice in the pan. Add 1/4 of the liquid to the rice and cook on high medium, stirring almost constantly, until the liquid is absorbed. Add another 1/4 of the liquid and continue cooking and stirring until THAT liquid is absorbed. Continue until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Add salt, pepper, and Parmesan.
  2. Meanwhile, in between stirring, cook the mushrooms on medium heat until they start giving off liquid. Add enough flour so you can toss the mushrooms around in it and coat them. Cook until the flour browns a little. Add a little wine and cook until all the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Put some rice in a bowl or on a plate. Top it with mushrooms, then top that with peas. You can sprinkle it with chopped parsley and/or more cheese, if you want to.
It's a little fussier than I usually cook, but sometimes it soothes me to fuss over cooking. You could leave the cheese out, if you want to go vegan. Add a little ground cashew or some nutritional yeast. Still good.

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

Friday, April 14, 2017

Peach Preserves

Today's recipe also comes to you from All Recipes. Check out tips, photos, and reviews from the All Recipes Peach Preserves page.


12 fresh peaches, pitted and chopped
4 1/2 cups white sugar
1 (2 ounce) package dry pectin


Crush 1 cup chopped peaches in the bottom of a large saucepan. Add remaining peaches, and set pan over medium-low heat. Bring to a low boil, and cook for about 20 minutes or until peaches become liquid (my family likes a few bits of peach left).

Pour peaches into a bowl, and then measure 6 cups back into the pan. Add sugar, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Gradually stir in dry pectin, and boil for 1 minute.

Remove from heat after 1 minute, and transfer to sterilized jars. Process in hot water bath canner for 10 minutes. Let cool, and place on shelf.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2017 Allrecipes.com

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Baked Basghetti

Basghetti is what our particular children called spaghetti. So this is it, baked.

Baked Basghetti

  • leftover cooked spaghetti
  • tomato sauce
  • basil
  • oregano
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • olives, sliced
  • cheese, shredded
Mix the tomato sauce and herbs (and powders). Oil a casserole dish, and cover the bottom of the dish with some sauce. Spread about a third of the spaghetti on. Top with mushrooms, olives, cheese, and sauce. Add another layer of each, then a final layer of each. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for about half an hour. Remove the foil and top with more cheese. Broil until top cheese is melted or bubbly or browned, or however you like it.

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

Friday, April 7, 2017

Damson Plum Cardamom Jam

To celebrate the release of SILENCE OF THE JAMS this month (Tuesday, April 4), every Friday in April I'll be posting a jam or jelly recipe. Today's recipe comes from All Recipes. Check out photos, reviews, and tips here.


5 pounds fresh Damson or Damask plums
1 cup water
12 whole cardamom pods
4 cups white sugar
1/4 teaspoon butter


In a sink full of cool water, rinse and de-stem the plums. Place them in a thick-bottomed pan suitable for slow cooking and deep enough to allow frothing when the plums begin to boil. Add the water and cardamom pods and bring the mixture to a low boil over medium heat. Turn heat to low for a slow simmer and allow the fruit to cook down uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Allow the plums to cool.

To pit the plums, strain the cooled plums with a colander, pressing the juice out with your hands and collecting it in a large bowl. Pick up the pit-and-fruit slurry in the colander by small handfuls and squeeze the plum pulp and skins gently into the bowl with the syrup, retaining the pits in the palm of your hand and then discarding them.

Put the plums back into the original pot with the sugar and butter. Cook at a very low simmer until the mixture begins to thicken, about 4 hours. To test for adequate development of pectin, drop a spoonful of the jam on a plate and put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes: the mixture should be soft-set and no longer syrupy.

Ladle the hot jam into hot, sterile jars, wipe the rims clean, place sterile lids on, and tighten the screw caps. Allow the jars to cool to room temperature and check to be sure that each jar has sealed.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2017 Allrecipes.com

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Salmon and Pickles? Seriously?


Dill is sort of a traditional flavor with salmon around these parts, but I used up all my dill weed.

So I got out a frozen salmon filet. I minced a slice of my homemade garlic dill pickles and mixed it with mayonnaise. Then I slathered the frozen salmon with the pickle-and-mayonnaise and fried it in vegan margarine, seven minutes to a side.

That was just a tad long, but Charlie likes his fish dry. He's an odd duck.

We split that bad boy.
I served it with sides of buttered Jasmine rice and kale chips.


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

Friday, March 31, 2017


According to Bon Appetit (where this recipe is located), there are as many colcannon recipes as there are cooks in Ireland. This one uses softened and crunchy savoy cabbage, as well as garlic and leeks for extra depth.




5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1¾ pounds)
Kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, sliced in half lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups (packed) shredded savoy cabbage (from about ¼ large head), divided
1¼ cups milk
½ cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper


Cover potatoes with water in a small pot; season with salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until a paring knife slides easily through the flesh, 30–40 minutes. Drain, let cool slightly, and peel.

Meanwhile, melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft, 8–10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant and leeks are just beginning to brown around the edges, about 3 minutes longer. Add 1 cup cabbage and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted. Add milk and cream and bring to a simmer.

Add potatoes and remaining 1 cup cabbage, then coarsely mash with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer colcannon to a large serving bowl. Top with remaining 2 Tbsp. butter and sprinkle with scallion.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Imitation Canned Cream of Broccoli Soup

I made it for realz. I had half a head and all of a stalk of broccoli and some half-and-half I needed to get rid of -- er, I mean, I needed to make something delicious from.

First, I cut off the florets and set them aside. Then, I trimmed off the woody bits from the stalk and cut it into rounds. I put it, and some scallion, into salty water and cooked them until they were tender and most of the water was gone. While that was happening, I roasted a clove of garlic in the toaster oven -- 350F for about 15-25 minutes, until it was soft. The clove of garlic, not the toaster oven.

I sliced some mushrooms thinly and chopped up more scallions. I shredded some cheddar cheese.

Then, I mashed the now-soft scallion and broccoli stems. I put the broccoli florets, the peeled and mashed roast garlic, the sliced scallion, the cheese, and the half-and-half in the pan with the broccoli stems. I added some thyme leaves and some grated nutmeg and simmered it for about 20 minutes.

The result?

Honestly, I used too much salt in the cooking water, and the soup was WAY too salty! Otherwise, good.

The next day, I cooked some rotini without adding salt, drained it, and poured the leftover broccoli soup over it as a sauce. Much better.

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