Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Fans of banana bread will find this recipe not only easy to prepare, but extra flavorful because of the addition of vanilla and cinnamon. Like last week’s Cream of Crab Soup in a Jiffy, Too Easy Banana Bread works well for a book club or readers’ group get-together, a luncheon, or any other fun gathering.

Too Easy Banana Bread

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spray 9” x 5” loaf pan with vegetable cooking spray (like Pam).


1/4 cup margarine (or butter), softened

3/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup banana, mashed

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (for real cinnamon lovers, you can add up to 1/2 teaspoon)

2 cups of baking mix (Jiffy or Bisquick or similar mix)

To make bread:

1) Cream together margarine and sugar.

2) Add eggs, then mix until blended.

3) Add vanilla, banana, and cinnamon, then mix until blended.

4) Add baking mix, then stir until well blended.

5) Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Then, place in oven and bake 55 minutes.

6) Cool slightly on a rack before removing Too Easy Banana Bread from pan.

7) Slice and serve warm, or store in refrigerator (or freezer) for later use.


If you love nuts, and you’re sure no one you’ll be serving the bread to has a nut allergy – you can stir in 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts at the end just before putting the bread in the oven.

Too Easy Banana Bread is easier to cut when it’s cool. To warm up – you can either toast it in a toaster or toaster oven, wrap the bread in aluminum foil and warm in the oven, or cover it with a paper towel and warm in the microwave.

Here’s a trick I use for the too-soft bananas at my house – when a banana (or part of one) becomes overly ripe, cut it in pieces, then smash. Place the smashed banana in a 1 cup container, put on a lid, label the container, then pop it into the freezer. (I use 1-cup soft margarine containers). Keep adding to the container until it’s full. When you’re ready to make Too Easy Banana Bread, get the frozen mashed banana out of the freezer. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator for several hours (or better yet, over night), then use it in the recipe. Don’t worry if it seems “watery,” it will work just fine.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from speculative author Cindy Young-Turner.

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Thanks to my sister, Jane, for this quick and easy cream of crab soup recipe. The recipe uses a Maryland standby, Old Bay Seasoning. For those who aren’t familiar with Old Bay, it’s a spicy, salty seafood seasoning. Like last week’s Easy Fudge Ribbon Cake, Cream of Crab Soup in a Jiffy works well for a book club or readers’ group get-together, a luncheon, or any other fun gathering.

Cream of Crab Soup in a Jiffy


1-pound of crab meat

3  cans of cream of celery soup (10.5 ounce size)

3 cans of milk

1/4 cup margarine (or butter)

1 to 2 Tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning

To make soup:

1) Empty cream of celery soup into a large pot.

2) Fill the empty cans with milk, then slowly pour milk into pot while stirring.

3) Add margarine and Old Bay Seasoning.

4) Warm over medium low heat, stirring occasionally.

5) Bring soup to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.

6) Serve hot and enjoy!

Notes: additional salt and pepper can be added to the soup to your taste, though I prefer it with just the Old Bay Seasoning. Fresh crab meat tastes the best, though I’ve bought crab meat when on sale, frozen it, and added it the soup a few weeks later when I was having folks over for lunch.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from author Shelby Patrick.

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This fancy-looking and delicious bundt cake is easy to make, because it begins with a prepared cake mix. Chocolate-lovers and fans of “black-bottom cupcakes” will especially enjoy it. Like last week’s Over-Night Shrimp Dip, Easy Fudge Ribbon Cake works well for a book club or readers’ group get-together or any other fun gathering.

Easy Fudge Ribbon Cake

1) Preheat oven to 350° F.

2) Grease & flour a 10” bundt cake pan. (Or spray pan generously with a vegetable-based cooking spray)

3) Make cake.

For cake:

1 package chocolate cake mix (2 layer size).

Ingredients listed on back of box for preparation of the cake mix.

Directions: Make cake according to directions on package. Pour into a prepared bundt cake pan.

4) Make filling.

For filling:

1- 8-ounce package of creamed cheese, softened

2 Tablespoons softened margarine (or butter)

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1- 14-ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: In a small bowl, beat creamed cheese, margarine, and cornstarch until fluffy. Gradually beat in milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour the creamy mixture evenly on top of cake batter.

5) Bake for 50-55 minutes.

6) Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on a rack.

7) Make glaze.

For glaze:

2 Tablespoons softened margarine (or butter)

3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Cup confectionery sugar

2 Tablespoons boiling water

Directions: Mix ingredients together, then beat until smooth.

8) Place cake on serving plate and glaze, beginning at the top and letting the chocolate dribble down the sides. Serve.

Notes: Seriously, no one will imagine you used a boxed cake mix. I’ve had more requests for this cake recipe after I’ve served it than any other. – Vonnie

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a “dark” guest post from author Ripley Patton.

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Debuting on Whimsical Words is a new feature: Readers and Writers Recipes. I’ll be posting a recipe per week from either my recipe files or the files of another writer or reader. Many of the recipes, like today’s Over-Night Shrimp Dip, work well for a book club or readers’ group get-together or any other fun gathering.

Over-Night Shrimp Dip

1) Mix well with a fork:

1 can tiny shrimp (drained weight 4 ounces)

8-ounces cream cheese (softened)

2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion

3 Tablespoons mayonnaise or mayo-like salad dressing

3 Tablespoons ketchup

2) Put in sealed container and chill over-night in the refrigerator.

3) Serve in a festive dish with either chips or fresh vegetables for dipping. Also works great as a delicious spread on crackers.

4) Notes: I use low-fat creamed cheese and low-fat “Miracle Whip” to reduce the calories. Left-overs can be stored in a sealed container and used within a week. I love to spread the left-over shrimp dip on crackers and eat with soup for a great lunch.

Remember book clubs and readers’ groups, I’d love to be a guest at one of your meetings if you’ve read one of my books. If I can’t get there “in-person,” I can always Skype! And let me know of any great recipes or book club ideas that have worked for your group. – Vonnie

Coming on Monday: a fabulous guest post from author L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright.

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