Spicy Lentil Soup with Rice and Beer – Vegan Recipe

For days when you can't decide between rice and potatoes

Simple and easy dish to fight the cold weather, or if you’re where it’s hot, a dish to turn up the heat even more. SPICY!

Feel free to omit either the rice or the potatoes if you prefer one starch at a time. Also feel free to adjust the pepper to your tolerance level (I lean toward HOT and SPICY) and add other vegetables.*


6 cups Water

2 cup dry Lentils

2 cups diced starchy Potatoes

Olive Oil

2 cups chopped Onions

2 teaspoons Cumin Powder

1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder

1 teaspoon Black Pepper

2 teaspoons Sea Salt

4 cloves of Garlic, chopped

chopped fresh Cilantro

Lemon Juice

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes



Salted, Cooked Rice


I used a bean mix which included peas as well as lentils


1. Put the first 3 ingredients into a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil.

2. Cook according to lentil package directions, until tender. Remove pot from heat.

3. Put enough oil in a frying pan to easily coat the bottom, and turn to low. Add the cumin, turmeric, pepper, and salt. Stir constantly for a couple minutes. Do not scorch.

4. Add the onions and garlic to the frying pan and stir thoroughly.

5. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid, and let sit about 10 minutes. In the meantime, have a beer. Then scrape the spiced onions into the lentils and potatoes.

6. Sprinkle with lemon juice, cilantro and pepper flakes.

7. Serve with rice and beer.

*You can also add tomatoes, if you’d like.

Gooseberry Fool, an April Fools’ Day Recipe

Gooseberry (Cranberry Jelly) Fool

Here’s a super-duper easy recipe you can make for April Fools’ Day, Easter, Valentine’s Day, or even your birthday.

It’s a modern vegan version of the traditional English Gooseberry Fool. All you need are 4 containers of O’Soy Soygurt (vanilla flavor) and a can of gooseberries. Alternately, you can substitute a can of cranberries, or if you’re really in a bind, a can of cranberry jelly (which is what I did). You’ll also need a stove, a pan, a stirring tool, a large bowl, and serving glasses with spoons (those those last 2 items are optional).

Gooseberry Fool Ingredients

Dump the gooseberries or cranberries or cranberry jelly into the pan. You’ll probably have to scrape the insides of the can with the stirring tool to get most of the goop out. Look to see if you have whole berries in the pan. If you do, mash them with the stirring tool or your fist. Turn the stove on low, making sure the burner you turn on is the one under your pan. Stirring frequently, reduce the liquid in the pan (via heating) until you have something with the consistency of pudding. This could take up to an hour, depending on how liquidy your pan ingredient is. (I said this was easy, not necessarily quick.) Once your pan ingredient is pudding-like, let it cool completely. Then dump the soygurt and the berry stuff into a large bowl. Again, use the stirring tool to scrape the goop. Stir. Pour or spoon into the serving glasses.

And now I shall gift my loyal readers with a Tom Green video. Happy April Fools’ Day!

Still here? OK. This is me emerging from a long winter of hibernation, immediately before I made the faux Gooseberry Fool. Yikes. Don’t let this happen to you. Make the Gooseberry Fool – faux or otherwise –  before it’s too late!


Still haven’t had enough foolishness? Check out my last blog post and get in on the action! Contribute via the magic of the internet as much or as little as you like to an experimental collaborative mini movie!

Banana Bon Bombs

Here’s a fun and frozen end-of-summer tropical bomb-building recipe. The only tricky ingredient is coconut butter, but once you’ve located that, building the bombs is easy!



Coconut Butter

100% Cocoa Powder

Nuts, chopped

Dried Fruit, chopped

Agave Syrup

You’ll also need a small bowl, fork, butter knife, cutting board, wax paper, and a freezer.

Line the cutting board with wax paper. Peel some bananas, (compost the peels) and on the lined board, slice each into 16 discs. (Cut the bananas in half, then cut each half in half again, etc.) Sprinkle some of the nut and fruit pieces onto the tops of half of the slices, leaving the other slices bare. Add a couple drops of agave syrup to the tops of the nut-fruit slices (the stickiness will help hold the bombs together). Gently press each bare slice onto a nut-fruit slice (use caution, as the bombs will be live at this point).

Put the bomb-topped board in the freezer for at least 1 hour (freezing helps them to not explode prematurely). In the meantime, fill the small bowl with coconut butter, and fork-mix in enough cocoa powder to make it brown. You’re not going for dark brown here- medium brown is good.

Retrieve the bomb-topped board and coat each bomb with the cocoafied coconut butter. (This will be messy. Scoop and gently press the coating onto all sides, and work quickly, as the bananas will get mushy as they melt.) Put the bombs back on the board as you go. The coating should react with the coldness and form a hard candy shell. If this happens, the bombs are activated, and ready to pop into your mouth. If they’re still a bit sticky, or if you’re not ready to detonate them, just put them back in the freezer.

Note: These bombs, when left out, eventually do melt from the inside out. So store leftovers in the freezer.

0          0          0          0           0          0          0            0          0          0

Happy end of summer!

Concoct Some Easter Cocktails

Candy Arctic Kiss Cocktail AKA Easter Arctic Kiss Cocktail*

This is a plan-ahead recipe. It’s still easy, but read through first to get the idea. First, make sure you have your ingredients and utensils:

1 bag of Starburst (vegan) Jelly Beans (make sure the bag has different colors of jelly beans)

1 bottle of Vodka

1 bottle of Champagne

1 Lemon

1 Lime

1 Orange


Glass Jars with Lids

Measuring Cup



Cocktail Shaker (or just use one of the glass jars and the strainer)

Next, infuse your vodka:

Pick what colors of cocktails you would like. (I chose yellow, pink, orange, and green.) For each color, put 1/4 cup single-color jelly beans and 1/2 cup vodka in a glass jar. If all of one color is a bit less than 1/4 cup, just use what you have. Let the beans and spirits work their magic for a day or two . .  Then jar by jar, strain the jelly beans out of the vodka, keeping the liquids separate. If you’re unsqueamish, eat the gooey jelly bean remnants. (I composted mine.)

Finally, mix your cocktails per serving:

2 ounces jelly bean-infused vodka

3 ounces champagne

1 lemon or lime or orange disc as a garnish (mix and match colors)



Put the vodka and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake.

Add the champagne.

Strain into a glass.

Garnish with a disc.

Before drinking, squeeze the disc into the cocktail. Or if you’re civilized, simply float the disc on the cocktail.


*Recipe adapted from SheKnows.com.

Spring Green Smoothie

I’m getting way ahead of schedule here. International Green Smoothie Day is August 15. It’s only March 5. So what? I’m ahead of my time (or waaaay behind, but let’s not go there).

Info for the unfunkified: Smoothies don’t have to have bananas in them. They don’t even have to be sweet. They can even be GREEN. WOW!!

How long does it take you to eat a bunch of spinach, a bunch of parsley, a celery stick, a whole avocado, AND a whole cucumber? Too long to have all that for breakfast or lunch? Try drinking it!

Behold the Green Smoothie:

1 heaping handful baby Spinach

1 heaping handful Parsley

1 Celery stick (chopped)

1 Avocado (sans peel and pit)

1 Cucumber (peeled or unpeeled, and chopped)

1 teaspoon Lemon or Lime juice

up to 1 teaspoon Sea Salt (I like my Green Smoothie on the salty side, so you may want to use less)

enough Water to make the smoothie blender-whir-able (about 1/2 to 1 cup, depending on the volume of the other ingredients)

Put all that in a blender and whir.

Super quick, super easy, super healthful.

Quick, Easy, & Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipes

Cheers to the holidays! First, for motivational purposes, the Hanson Family was kind enough to provide an instructional video on how to drink the final product (screeching baby is optional).


Next, the recipes:

Basic Vegan Hot Chocolate for 2

2 cups store-bought Sweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (make sure it’s pre-sweetened)

2 ounces vegan cocoa (in bar form, but NOT a bar labeled “baking”)- alternately use 2 tablespoons of 100% cocoa powder

Heat almond milk in a pan over medium, stirring often, until steamy. Add cacao and stir until dissolved. Pour into mugs and serve immediately.


Hot Peppermint Chocolate

Basic Recipe + Add 4 ounces of Peppermint Schnapps to the almond milk before serving


Tame Hot Peppermint Chocolate

Basic Recipe + Add a few drops of Peppermint Oil


Hot Orange Chocolate

Basic Recipe + Add 4 ounces of Orange Schnapps to the almond milk before serving


Tame Hot Orange Chocolate

Basic Recipe + Add a few drops of Orange Oil


Hot Chocolate Kick

Basic Recipe + Add a scant pinch of Cayenne Powder


Hot Pumpkin Chocolate

Basic Recipe + Add a tablespoon of Pumpkin Purée plus a teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice


Hot Peppermint Chocolate Dream

Basic Recipe + Add 2 ounces of Peppermint Schnapps and 2 ounces of Kahlua to the almond milk before serving



Whoa. Need a break from all that sexy chocolate? Gather your alternative, forward-thinking ingredients, and toast the New Year here.

And now that you’re sloshed, (or soon will be) check out my latest flash fiction challenge– I extended the deadline!

Thanksgiving Salad Recipe- Goes with Everything

Dreading yet another turkey for Thanksgiving? No? All the more reason to try a Thanksgiving Salad, and break out of your avian-eating complacency! A Thanksgiving Salad takes a few simple, edible plants of fall, and combines them in a crunchy, sweet-savory, medley of yum. Mix and match grain, fruit, and vegetables to create your own Thanksgiving Salad. Or try my own:

1 cup cracked Bulgur Wheat

1 ¼ cup hot Water

 ¾ cup chopped, toasted Walnuts

¾ cup slivered Carrots

¾ cup slivered Purple Onions

¾ cup dried Cranberries

¾ cup fresh, chopped Parsley

2 tablespoons Olive or Walnut Oil

1 tablespoon Lemon / Lime juice

Crushed Mixed Peppercorns

Sea Salt

 Put the wheat in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit 2 hours, covered. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate overnight.



The beauty of vegan food is that anybody can eat it, even birds.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my feathered friends!



Cocoa Truffles Recipe

If you’ve put off making your Halloween candy run, check out my list of vegan supermarket candy and cookies (and prepare yourself for the coming zombie invasion while you’re at it). But if you’re already sick of the junky sweet stuff, but still want to indulge in something yummy for Halloween, try these Chocolate Salty Balls* Cocoa Truffles. They’re chocolatey, but not overly sweet. Plus they’re easy to make and super-duper nutritious!


Vegan, No-Bake Cocoa Truffles 

1/2 cup chopped Almonds

one 15-oz can Black Beans, drained

2/3 cup canned mashed Pumpkin

1/3 cup chopped Cranberries

1/2 cup toasted Wheat Germ

1/4 cup ground Flaxseed

1/2 cup unsweetened Cocoa powder

8 – 12 packets Stevia-blend powder packets (8 for less sweet, 12 for more sweet)

2 tsp Vanilla extract

*optional- pinch of Sea Salt

Mix all ingredients, except almonds, by hand or in a food processor (Mixture will be too thick for a regular blender.) Blend until uniform. Roll into balls. Roll balls in almonds. Chill. Store in refrigerator up to 3 days, or in freezer up to 1 month.


While you’re chilling your balls, check out my entry in my “Crypt Dwellers” flash fiction challenge– if you dare (inspired by a true story)!




Halloween / Zombie Survival Guide

photo by David Shankbone

If you’re reading this, congratulations, you survived the REAL, FINAL APOCALYPSE as predicted by Harold Camping. (Turns out Camping isn’t much of a math person.) Now you probably think you can enjoy Halloween without the nagging worry of undead, unraptured zombies stalking and infecting you. (As for me- I knew I would survive the non-apocalypse, because I’m already one of the undead.) But before you get too comfortable, I gotta tell you zombies are real . .

For any late-comers to my blog, take a gander at my 3-part story: I got the zombie spores in me.  Then the zombie spores turned me into a zombie. Did you know zombies can re-generate limbs? Yep. Lucky for me, or I wouldn’t be typing this now. And those already familiar with the above trilogy would do well to re-familiarize yourselves, because . .

If you still think my tales are safely in the sci-fi section . .

Think again.

And with all the catastrophic climate change, nuclear radiation, pesticides, and herbicides causing mutations in the already genetically engineered spores accidentally / on purposely released into the open fields, human zombie spores are just around the corner.

STILL don’t believe me? Then believe the USA government’s official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s real. All we can do is prepare ourselves for the inevitable zombie apocalypse and the resulting mob cruelty and mass disrespect.

And console ourselves with candy.

To stock up on good karma, here’s a list of the most cow-kind, most chicken-respectful (vegan)* cookies and candy** on the USA market, alphabetized by brand:


Airheads Taffy

Anna’s Almond Cinnamon Thins

Anna’s Ginger Thins


Back to Nature California Lemon Cookies

Back to Nature Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Big League Chew Gum

Brach’s Cinnamon Hard Candy

Brach’s Orange Slices

Brach’s Root Beer Barrels

Brach’s Star Brites

Bremner Wafers


Charms lollipops

Chew-ets Peanut Chews (Original)


Chocolove Cherries and Almonds Dark Chocolate Bar

Chocolove Crystallized Ginger Dark Chocolate Bar

Chocolove Orange Peel Dark Chocolate Bar

Chocolove Raspberry Dark Chocolate bar

Chocolove Dark Chocolate bar

Cracker Jacks

Cry Babies


Dem Bones


Dum Dums


Entenmann’s Fudge Delights Fudge & Mint Cookies

Everest Gum


Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Chocolate)

Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Oatmeal Macaroon)

Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Peanut Butter)

Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Vanilla)

Ferrara Wafer Swirls With Chocolate


Food Lion Animal Cookies

Food Lion Ginger Snaps

Food Lion Oatmeal Cookies

Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Assorted)

Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Chocolate Creme)

Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Chocolate Fudge)

Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Double Creme-O’s)

Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Duplex)

Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Mini Chocolate & Vanilla Cremes)

Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Peanut Butter)

Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Vanilla)

Food Lion Sugar Cookies

Fruit By the Foot


Ghirardelli Twilight Delight Intense Dark

Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Mix

Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews (Original)

Grandma’s Peanut Butter Sandwich Cremes


Hubba Bubba Bubblegum

Hubba Bubba Gum

Hunt’s Snack Pack Gel Snacks


Jolly Ranchers (lollipops and hard candy)




Keebler Vienna Fingers

Kool-Aid Gels

Kozy Shack Jammin’ Gels


Lance Choc-O Cookies

Lance Peanut Bar

Lance Sugar Wafers (Strawberry Creme)

Lance Sugar Wafers (Vanilla Creme)

Lance Van-O Lunch Cookies

Landgarten Pumpkin Seed Snack – Dark Chocolate




Mary Janes (Regular and Peanut Butter Kisses)

Mike and Ike

Mrs. Freshley’s Oatmeal Crème-filled Cookies

Murray Butter Cookies

Murray Cinnamon Grahams

Murray Coconut Bars

Murray Southern Kitchen Iced Oatmeal Cookies


Nabisco Double Delight Mint’n Creme Oreos

Nabisco Ginger Snaps

Nabisco Halloween Oreos

Nabisco Iced Oatmeal Cookies

Nabisco Nutter Butter Sandwich Cookies

Nabisco Oatmeal Cookies

Nabisco Oreo Chocolate Ice Cream Cones

Nabisco Oreo Cookies

Nabisco Oreo Thin Crisps

Nabisco Spiced Cinnamon Cookies

Nabisco Teddy Grahams (Chocolate and Cinnamon)

Nabisco Uh-oh Oreos, Spring Oreos, Chocolate Creme Oreos

Nature’s Path Deep Chocolate Cookies

Nature’s Path Ginger Spice Cookies

Nature’s Path Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

Nestle Double Chocolate Thin Mints

Now and Later

Nutter Butter Bites


Panda Licorice

Pure De-Lite Coconut Bars


Safeway Fudge Mint Fudge Covered Mint Cookies

Skittles’ Mints

Smarties (U.S. version only)

SunSpire Organic Dark Chocolate Almonds

Sour Patch Kids

Super Bubble

Swedish Fish

SweeTarts (regular)




VeganSweets marshmallows

Velamints Mints


Whole Foods Organic Chocolate Truffles



*List complied from PETA and PETAKIDS.

**May contain trace amount of animal-sourced ingredients.

Hopefully I’ve provided you with the resources and information you need to make it through Halloween alive . . or at least undead, thanks to a sugar OD . .




And here’s a creepy, campy, rockabilly bonus video for those who skimmed through to the bitter . . or rather, sugary end.

Have a Happy Halloween (while you can)!

Writers Get Their Drink On . . Plus Cock Tail Recipeeps

* * *

Ahem. We of the ivy-towered writerly persuasion are known to imbibe now and again as the occasion calls, to further fuel our fevered muses, do we not? So OBVIOUS is the highbrow calling of our spirit-quaffing that I really needn’t bother with placating the proletarian OR the bourgeois masses with the tapestretical subtleties- yea, the chakra-dwelling agni of the artist-muse conduit which is called . . er . .

oh hell, where’s my beer???

Found it.

So do writers tend to have addictive personalities? Or is that all hype and myth? Stephen King wrote the razor-sharp “Cujo” in 1981 in an alcohol- and drug-induced stupor, and barely remembers any of it. In 1987 his family emptied the contents of his trash can onto the floor: beer cans, NyQuil, Valium and Xanax bottles, and cocaine and marijuana baggies. So he sobered up. Some fans think King’s post-sobriety novels are notable for their comparative fluffiness.


What was I saying? Oh yeah . . Is writerly sobriety worth it?

You know, we writerly types aren’t fooling anyone. Whether it’s beer or wine, sangria or Everclear, we like to get our drink on. And it’s not to fuel our muses. It’s to make the loneliness of writing a tad more tolerable take the sting out of yet another thumb-nosed rejection slip drown the gut-wrenching, hand-wringing, teeth-gnashing despair OHMYMITHRAPLEASEHELPMEEEE

OK. Just had another beer. I feel better now. Where were we . .

You say you don’t drink? You’re not a writer. No way, no how. You say you have 20 published books and you’ve never touched a drop of alcohol? Well . . then you at least have tried apple cider at some point, right? Yes? Alright, we’re back in business. Apple cider counts as hard liquor on Mars. You squeak by as a Martian writer.

Anyway, whether you’re a writer from Mars, Earth, or Betelgeuse . .

Welcome to the Writers-Are-Drinkers-Club!

As a member, part of your welcome package is some dubious advice à la Hemingway and Bailey’s Bartending Guide to Great American Writers.

Of course, we won’t forget the biggest party favor.

Funny story about my first hard liquor drink- it was Wild Turkey. I must’ve been around 10. It was at my aunt and uncle’s house. The adults were chatting in the kitchen, and my cousins were in the playroom. I was sitting at the mini-bar in the front room, looking at a bottle, and wondering why the alcohol was called “Wild Turkey.” I also thought the drawing of the bird was interesting, and that a drink named “Wild Turkey” with a picture of a pretty bird must not be all that bad. Knowing it was a “grown-up” drink, I had to move quickly. I grabbed the bottle off the bar, unscrewed the cap, and took a swig without first smelling it (pretty fast, eh?). HOLY CRAP Lucky for me it was a small swig, and I managed to not retch or fall off the stool. And to this day I don’t know how Gonzo did it. And I’m still a lightweight. Whisky is my least favorite liquor. But I’m partial to rum and vodka cocktails. And wine. And beer. And wine and beer cocktails. I guess I’m partial to cocktails in general.

What was I saying? Oh yeah . .

Gronlund, this one’s for you:

Beastie Boys-Honored Brass Monkey

malt liquor (may substitute super-sized regular bottled beer if you’re a lightweight and don’t want to hurl after consuming)

OJ (the drink)

Drink malt liquor / beer to label.

Fill to top with OJ.


* * *

Oh my Mithra! I can’t believe I watched that video all the way through, and then actually posted it! What about my writerly reputation? Now somebody on Facebook Twitter G+ might not take me seriously as a writer anymore! . . only another Brass Monkey can console me know.

Ahhhh. I feel bebber. An at lease that video wasn’t funny Rebecca Black parody videoie.

OK thass mean, an I’m not mean drunk, so gonna make it up ta ya. Here go cleanse yer brain palate.

brain- get it? b-rain? beer-rain? mever nind.

An cheers!