Posted in Fiction Diner

Fiction Diner Chat

A Quick Update: I had started the Fiction Diner series as a way to document and share recipes as I challenged myself to try a new recipe every week of 2017. While I’m having loads of fun cooking up new food and sharing the results with you, I just don’t have the time to keep up with the blog series right now.
Besides trying to wrap up edits and publish my 3rd novel, finish the 1st draft of 4th novel, plot 3 additional novels, I also have 2 birthday parties and a wedding to provide cake for, a teenager in football and youth for the first time, 3 other active children, and a laundry pile–much like my reading pile–that never disappears. Lol
Needless to say, the additional work of the weekly Fiction Diner series is an added stress that I don’t need.

New Plans: However, I plan to bring it back later in the year. But it’ll most likely return as an occasional post instead of a weekly post.

FOOD CHAT!!!: But I didn’t just bring you here to listen to me whine about my workload, let’s talk food!!
Name a recipe that you’ve always wanted to try to make but haven’t done it yet?
How about a recipe that you’ve always wanted to master, but have been unsuccessful at so far?
As for me, I’ve always wanted to try to make Fried Ice Cream. Those words don’t even belong together so it MUST be good. Lol
And I’ve always wanted to master pie crust and biscuits, but so far my attempts aren’t worth bragging over.

Book Quote: It wouldn’t be Fiction Diner without a quote from a fiction novel. Enjoy this lovely graphic and beautiful words from Katie Ganshert’s latest release, Life After. 

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Posted in Fiction Diner

Fiction Diner: Cake Batter Mini Cheesecakes

I made these for a friend’s birthday, and, boy, were they a treat! You can read the original post from the author of the recipe by visiting Catch My Party.

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Is there anything more fun than mini cheesecakes? The addition of sprinkles only increases the fun. Throw on some whipped cream and a candle and you have yourself a party. Lol
I loved the idea of these cheesecakes. Mine didn’t come out near as white or as thick as the creator’s, but we still really enjoyed them.
I LOVED the crust. There isn’t any sugar in this crust. The pinch of salt and walnuts add a nice bite to the crust that helps balance out the filling. I’ll certainly add these to my personal recipe collection to make again.

Ingredients: 
Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (1 8oz packages)
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vanilla cake mix
  • 1/4 cup sprinkles

Crust:

  • 1/4 box graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons walnut pieces
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Melt the butter (about 30 seconds on high in the microwave). Put the graham crackers, walnuts, and salt into a food processor and pulse until broken down into crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse until combined. Spray the pan with some non stick spray. Place 2 teaspoons of graham cracker into each mini cheesecake container and pack firmly with a spoon.

In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, sour cream, and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Add the egg, mixing until incorporated. Mix in the sugar and cake batter, adding a few tablespoons at a time. You don’t want to over mix, you just want a smooth consistency.

Stir in the sprinkles, reserving a few pinches for garnish.

Pour the mixture into the mini cheesecake pan, about 1 1/2 tablespoons for each mini cheesecake.

Optional: Sprinkle the top of each cheesecake with sprinkles before baking.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Let it cool on the counter until you can handle the pan, pop out each cheesecake, and chill for an hour or two. They will fall a little while cooling.

Top with a dollop of whipped cream and add a few sprinkles. Aren’t they adorable and divine?!

Tips: 
There were a couple of questions that the author of the recipe left blank. I’ll tell you what I did.
In the ingredient list, she calls for cake mix and then in the directions she mentions adding batter. On her blog, someone asked whether it was dry mix or batter but she never replied back. I chose to use dry mix, and they came out great. So I suppose I chose right.
She also doesn’t tell how many cakes the recipe makes. Based on other recipes I saw that required 2 blocks of cream cheese, I didn’t expect the recipe to make very many. I doubled the recipe and barely scrapped out 24. I’m going to guess that the original recipe made about 10.
I doubled the recipe for both the filling and the crust. And I threw away half of the crust. I’m guessing 1 recipe of crust would have done just as well for double the filling.
My son complained about the salty crust. In hindsight, the full 1/4 teaspoon may have been a bit much. I’ll tone it down in the future by either using 1/8 teaspoon or just a pinch with my fingers instead.

202Novel Quote:

“So, you see, a man can love you, but only imperfectly. It is God alone who can be God.” – The Golden Braid

I simply love this quote. We can be so unbalanced in our expectations of love.

 

Posted in Fiction Diner

Fiction Diner: Crockpot Alcohol-free Irish Stew

I found the inspiration for this recipe while scrolling through Pinterest. After viewing a variety of recipes and crockpot directions, I developed this recipe for you. Let me just say that it tastes as good as it smells and it goes great with a tall glass of sweet tea! 🙂 

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Crockpot Alcohol-free Irish Stew: 

You can serve this stew over a mound of mashed potatoes as I did or chop the potatoes up and add them to the stew and enjoy in a bowl. It’s your call. For me, I was itching to try it out over a mound of mashed potatoes since this was a new idea for me.

Ingredients:
1-2 lbs of stew meat
4 Tb tomato sauce
3 Tb flour
drizzle of olive oil
4 large carrots
2 cans of beef stock
*1 can of peas

Directions: 
Coat meat in salt, pepper, and flour. Toss to coat evenly, adding another tablespoon of flour if needed for an even coat. Drizzle olive oil in a pan and sear the beef until it’s brown on all sides.
Peel and chop carrots.
Add beef stock, meat, tomato sauce, and carrots into crockpot. Season to taste. Cook on high for 4 hr or until meat is tender.
Add peas into the pot in the last hour.

Tips:
As mentioned this recipe can be served over mashed potatoes or you could add potatoes into the pot at the same time as the carrots.
The gravy didn’t thicken up as much as I would have liked, so if you have a preferred thickening method feel free to add that step to your process…and tell me about it so I can try it next time. 😉

Novel Quote:

85 Let me set the stage for this quote. We’re in Ireland in 1170 on the eve of battle. The faithful warrior enters in and informs our heroine of their plan to keep her safe. She thanks him, and he replies,

“You are my princess.” -The Distant Tide by Heather Day Gilbert, The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection. 

There’s something so beautiful and simplistic about that line that made me sigh every time I read it.

 

Posted in Fiction Diner

Fiction Diner: Irish Scones

In preparation for St. Patrick’s Day, I’m dusting off a recipe that I’ve always wanted to try. You can visit I Heart Naptime where I found this recipe. 

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Irish Scones: 

In case you’re unfamiliar with scones, they are almost biscuit-like in texture but are usually a bit more dense than your common biscuit. Irish Scones are on the bland side of the equation, making this taste more like a biscuit. They were really good, but you won’t want to skip the sugar dusting step since it’s what gives the scones that pop of flavor. You also may want to bring along your favorite jam, curd, or cream when enjoying these. I’m rating the recipe 9 stars. I’ll make it again, but I don’t foresee it becoming my favorite recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons sugar plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
  • 3 eggs divided
  • 3/4 cup milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 475*. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder with a fork. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a measuring cup, mix together eggs and milk. Add to dry mixture and mix until just combined. Turn out onto a floured counter or cutting board and knead lightly until it comes together.
Pat into a large rectangle about 1 inch thick (using a rolling pin if needed) and cut into twelve equal sized rectangles.
Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl and brush over each scone rectangle. Sprinkle with sugar and place on baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Cool and serve with fresh whipped cream and jam.

Tips:
*The 475 temperature alarmed me since I normally bake my scones between 375-425. I tested a couple out at the 475 temp, but found better results at 425.
I cut this recipe in half because I’ve made enough scones in my life to know that a recipe with 4 cups of flour would not fit comfortably in my food processor.
I also needed to add another splash or two of milk because the dough was too dry to form properly. So take note: if your dough is crumbly, add a splash of milk and try again.
Food Processor Directions: If you have a processor, you can take the tedious work out of scones by blending your dough from start to finish. I start with the flour and other powder ingredients. Do a quick pulse to mix things up. Add chunks of cold butter and blend until it looks more like cornmeal and you can’t see the individual chunks of butter. Then add your wet ingredients and blend just until fully incorporated. *Warning, this recipe may be too large to fit in your processor. All of the recipes I’ve used in the processor contained only 2 cups of flour…but mine may be smaller than yours.

117Novel Quote: 

“Don’t just jump willy-nilly into something because it feels right in the moment. Really, truly seek the Lord…” – Every Bride Needs a Groom

Don’t you just love it when you brush up against such sound wisdom while you’re reading?

Check Amazon!! This book just might be a FREEBIE today!! It was free the last time I looked. 

Posted in Fiction Diner

Fiction Diner Recipe: Chili Spaghetti

The story is, I had leftover chili and wanted to try something different. I remembered seeing spaghetti noodles topped with chili and cheese in various places. Sounded strange…but it was something new to try so I gave it a whirl.

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Chili Spaghetti:

I found it to be an interesting twist to two classic staples. I may make this again sometime. But it’s only getting 7 stars from me. At the end of the day, I prefer my spaghetti topped with tomato sauce and beef and I prefer my chili in a bowl or over a baked potato.

The recipe is as easy as it seems. Cook pasta and serve on plates. Top with warm chili and sprinkle with cheese. 🙂 Easy-peasy! 

Show of hands: Who has tried this before?  And who is wanting to?
What is your favorite way to eat chili? Frito pie? In a bowl? With crackers? On a baked potato? Or over spaghetti?

5Novel Quote: 

“You might spend the next four days working and striving, and it still won’t be good enough…but we can’t give up until it’s over. If we die on this field, we die as fighters, not quitters.” ~ Summer of Dreams by Elizabeth Camden
🙂 Now there’s a pep talk!! You’ll also find this novella for free on Amazon.