The Mounds of the Baskervilles Cooking Adventure

I know. You don’t have to tell me. I’m a horrible person.

I said (a while ago) that I’d have this cooking adventure up for all of you to enjoy and…well…it’s taken this long.

Earlier in February, I decided I was going to embark on a hobby of candy-making. I didn’t have just any candy in mind, though. I wanted to create a somewhat healthier (if that’s even possible) replica of the beloved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. And I succeeded. Ish. I made some lovely almond butter cups which were pretty popular with my coworkers, and some white chocolate almond butter cups which my family adored.

Eventually, I grew bored with the almond butter (I still have LOADS of it left) and decided to try a different filling. I happened to have a lovely bag of shredded coconut just waiting to be used. Combining it with some sweetened condensed milk created a nice textured filling for these sweet treats. They taste pretty similar to the Mounds candy, the one that I didn’t appreciate until I was much older. Believe me, once you try these decadent bites of coconut heaven, you’ll be howling for some of your own.

Check below for how to make these for yourself!

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Hello 2016! January Update!

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That’s right. We’re looking at you…

HAPPY NEW YEAR (a bit late) and welcome to the Monstrum Chronicles blog! Here’s hoping you all had a fun and festive holiday season and a wonderful start to the new year. 2016 promises to be an exciting year! I’m looking forward to making a few changes in my writing career as well as here at the blog and in my personal life as well.

First off, I would honestly like to be able to attend a few more shows this year in lieu of the fact that they are the best way to get my books into reader’s hands. 2nd, I’d like to focus on trying to market my books to a few more brick and mortar businesses here in Maine. I’ve been a salesperson for several years and yet it’s always so much harder when you are trying to sell something you’ve created yourself. This fear has made it difficult for me to take those steps forward. Not this year though. I’m going to give it my all here.

Read on to find out what 2016 has in store for the Monstrum Chronicles blog!

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The Cranberry Adventures of Robin Hood

Ooo-de-lally! We’re back for our final Literary Cooking Adventure of 2015. Embarking to the wilds of Sherwood Forest on this culinary tribute to Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, I decided to attempt a family recipe for a scrumptious cranberry coffee cake. It’s by far one of my favorite things to eat and by the end of the video, your mouth will be watering. You’ll want to try this one yourself!

Of course, this wouldn’t be a Cooking Adventure without some kind of catastrophe. Thankfully, there was nothing major. My only true aggravation came while trying to measure the baking soda. I lost my measuring spoon and resorted to using a regular spoon…which doesn’t fit into the baking soda box. Lots of cursing ensued and I ended up shaking the box like it was a maraca. As such, there might have been some extra baking soda and that might have made the cake a bit more solid than it was supposed to be. No matter.

It still tasted delicious!

Want to make this cranberry coffee cake for Christmas morning? Scroll down to see the magic!

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Fin City: A Dame to Grill For LITERARY Cooking Adventure

In the dark and winter-ruled city, I had grown mad from the snow, and the darkness and the cold. I needed to feel refreshed, needed some hint of spring to remind me that the world needn’t be constantly swept in shadows…

Ahem. Well…that is…I decided to leap into action and make some lovely grilled fish tacos on a dreary March day a few weeks ago and they were SUPERB! In a tribute to Frank Miller’s Sin City graphic novels, I donned some makeup, slicked my hair back, and got to work in the kitchen. I dealt with a rather unforgiving lime that was not in the mood to be juiced, some frozen fish trapped in a bag that wouldn’t open, and of course, battled the all powerful grill pan as it viciously spat oil at me.

All in a days work though. The fish tacos were wonderful.

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2015 and Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes Are Happenin’!

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2015 is here and the Monstrum Chronicles Blog is undergoing a Re-Vamp!

Well, I’m about fifteen days late for saying “Happy New Year” but I’m going to say it regardless. “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” It’s been a bit of a rough one for me as I’ve been recovering from a nasty kidney infection. I’m finally getting back into the swing of things and am diving right into my plans for 2015. As some of you may remember, I’ve dedicated 2015 to the pursuit of writing, blogging, and enjoying myself versus struggling to try and publish anything new. I’m standing by that assertion about 85% of the way, ha ha.

I have plans to release a paperback copy of “Memento Mori: Book 3 of the Monstrum Chronicles” which released for Amazon Kindle in December of 2014. I don’t have a release date on that at the moment but I’m hoping it should be out within the first quarter of the year (January-April). In addition to the release of a paperback Book 3, I’m currently working on a short story chronicling the adventures of a minor character from “Memento Mori”. This, too, has no release date but it will only be available as an e-book when it’s finished.

And now, for the blog! I will completely admit that I slacked off majorly during the last quarter of 2014. I was so busy trying to get that book published, and once the holidays set in, it left me with little to no time to write blogs. Therefore, since I have more time to have fun with the blog this year, I’m going to return to some blogs that I’m sure have been missed as well as some new ones…

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The Dry Fruit Trifecta

COOKING ADVENTURE #92: Blackened Salmon with Mango Avacado Salsa

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Let’s be clear: this winter didn’t want to end. It was/is clinging to Maine like a bug clings to the outside of a speeding car, air rushing against it. That’s how much we wanted winter to go. It’s like it was trying against all odds to stay and make us miserable. Now that I’ve made my point, I’ll also make the point that because of this weather, my diet has consisted primarily of delicious comfort food…lots of pizza, pasta, and of course, chocolate. And that has made several pair of my pants feel just a tad too tight for comfort. So, I decided that I was going to try and get back on a healthy track and start preparing some food that was better for me overall. On the list of foods that are fabulous for you: salmon, avacado, and mango. And wouldn’t you know it, I came across a recipe that utilizes all three. I was delighted. And admittedly, a little nervous. I hadn’t cooked fish in a long time. I hadn’t eaten salmon in practically five years. I wasn’t sure I was going to like this even if it turned out brilliantly. I like being surprised in a good way. Love it in fact.

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Carpe Saccharum

COOKING ADVENTURE #91: Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

And you were expecting Honey Cake. Hate to disappoint…¬†Yep. The edges are a tad blackened but honestly, how does one not immediately start salivating like a hungry hyena upon looking at that decadence? Simply one of the funnest and tastiest desserts I’ve had the pleasure of pulling off for Cooking Adventures. And while it took me close to two hours to prepare the entire thing and bake it, I’d happily do it again. I have a weakness for pie. While I’ve made many, many cakes here on Cooking Adventures, pie really is one of my favorite things, no matter what kind. So, I kind of wanted to step up the idea of just a basic apple pie and do something a bit more creative. Even if being “creative” means slaving over a hot stove for a half an hour waiting for sugar to melt. But it wasn’t just the caramel that made this pie “adventure” worthy. It was the crust. The damn basket-weave crust. I’m not a weaver of anything much less pie dough. So that…that made things interesting.

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Fry by Night

COOKING ADVENTURE #87: Asian Lemon Chicken Tenders

Asian Lemon Chicken Tenders

Anyone who is anyone can appreciate fried food in some shape or form. Usually, I prefer to think of fried goodies as “the lazy treat”, something that I can order out somewhere and enjoy without any cares in the world except for how said fried goodies will affect my skin. I was expecting the act of frying chicken tenders in my own kitchen to be somewhat of the same joyous feeling, a blissful extravaganza of fun eating and feeling as it I had not a care in the world. If only that were meant to be. Let’s be honest: frying food takes a lot more work than people make it sound. Unless you happen to own a deep fryer and have incredible disposable methods for all of that dirty oil, frying food at home is kind of a hassle. And for me, it took longer than it probably should have. Figures.

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Kumq-what?

COOKING ADVENTURE #84: Honey Mango Citrus Smoothie and Crockpot Balsamic Pork Roast

Mango Citrus SmoothieBalsamic Pot Roast

This week, I decided to kick it up a notch. I made a batch of cookies last week. I figured I could step it up and do not just one but TWO cooking adventures this week! Albeit one was more of a “cooking frolic” than the other (and NO, it’s not the one you think!) Never the less, I’ve discovered two incredible recipes that I intend to remember for the future. Plus, there was enough of each that I could eat/drink them for multiple meals. Score! Although, I will point out that this wonderful food (or any food for that matter) isn’t quite as enjoyable when you have a giant, stinging canker sore on the inside of your bottom lip…which I’m pretty sure was caused by the smoothie. Ulcers abound in my life, I swear…

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Brown Sugar Boulder-Up!

COOKING ADVENTURE # 82: White Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies

White Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies

Let’s admit it. In winter, especially one as bitterly cold as the one we’ve experienced in Maine, we instinctually gravitate toward foods that make us feel comfortable, warm, and wonderful. This tends to be things like tea, hot chocolate, cake, lasagna, and, of course, cookies. I found myself with a particular hankering for something different than the average chocolate chip or peanut butter styles. I had a bag of white chocolate chips just sitting on my shelf and an almost forgotten bottle of peppermint extract sitting high upon my spice shelf. I knew such combinations were bound to produce beautiful results. That is…until I looked at my brown sugar and discovered it wasn’t about to make anything easy for me.

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