Category Archives: Recipes

Free Food Secrets!

First of all…


Ahem… now that that’s out of the way…

The weather is changing, which means my cooking style is also changing. For those that know me, you know that I love to cook, and it’s fitting that this comes on my mother’s birthday. I learned my love of the kitchen from her.

I’m also one of those weird kitchen savants. Adventurous, fearless, and not afraid to use my family as guinea pigs. This is one of my favorite recipes…and one of the ones my husband absolutely cannot eat. He’s not good with spicy food, and he’s not a big fan of some of the ingredients.

There’s a reason why I chose this particular recipe. Some of you will be happy to know that I’m currently working on a sequel to Marked. This particular food features in the story, so it seemed a nice teaser.

I should probably warn you now that I cook for an army, so this recipe feeds 12. And a hungry 12 at that. Oh, and I like my food heavy, rich, and very spicy.

You’ve been warned.

Shrimp & Crawfish Etouffe

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 small green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 fresh medium-size tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • 2 pounds crawfish tails
  • 2 pounds small/medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Gradually stir in flour, keep stirring with a whisk until the mixture turns reddish-brown (15 or 20 minutes – this is a “roux” for those that don’t cook southern/cajun). *Note: This must be stirred constantly and watched carefully because if it burns you have to start over.
  2. Once the roux is browned, add the onions, celery, and bell pepper to the skillet. Cook until onions are opaque and soft, approximately 5 minutes. Keep stirring!
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and clam juice, and season with the Old Bay seasoning. Reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Season the sauce with hot pepper sauce and cayenne pepper, and add the crawfish and shrimp. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque.

Serve hot over white rice. And don’t forget to put the hot sauce on the table!

Recipe Notes:

– For a smoother base, blend or puree the mixture BEFORE adding shrimp and crawfish.
– This dish is EXTREMELY SPICY. If you aren’t used to heavy spice, leave out the cayenne pepper and cut the Tabasco back to 1 tablespoon. Taste it, and if you want more of a kick, add Tabasco by teaspoons. (Cooking for the hubby means no Tabasco or cayenne…the Old Bay is spice enough for him.)
– If you’re not a celery eater, substitute 2 tsp celery seed for the celery stalks. I personally don’t cook with celery because my husband doesn’t like the texture.
– If you don’t eat crawfish or it’s out of season, feel free to double up on the shrimp. It’s great either way. Also, if you aren’t a shellfish person, this works well with chicken or gator. Yes, Alligator. Yes, I eat it. It tastes like chicken. I’m serious.

If you decide to make it, let me know how it turns out. I’m always curious to see what others do with my recipes!



In honor of St. Patrick’s Day (and because of my Irish Heritage) I’d like to share with you my favorite Irish recipe AND a chance to win.

I’ll be unable to get to a computer today, but when I get home Sunday afternoon I’ll sift through the comments and one lucky commenter will get his or her choice from my backlist in PDF form. Just leave me an email address and your choice from THIS LIST.  Oh, and any Irish recipes you enjoy and would be willing to share would be a nice bonus for me. 🙂

In the meantime, bake up your very own slice of Ireland, and don’t forget the cold butter for when it comes out of the oven!

Irish Soda Bread

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an ‘X’ into the top of the loaf.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

It Was A Dark and Stormy NaNo…

Good morning, world!

It is officially 11/1/11, which means today is the kick-off for NaNoWriMo.  Which also means that I need to get my lazy butt in gear and actually get to writing.  See that shiny, purple progress bar to the left? That’s how I plan to keep up with my progress for the world to see.

Yeah, I haven’t gotten very far yet today, but I will be updating it on a daily basis.  And on the NaNo site, too, if I can ever figure out how to work it.

So this morning hasn’t exactly been the best introduction to November ever, but I’m doing my best to turn it around.  It’s been a busy morning in the real world at the real job, but even before that I managed an attempt at dismemberment – while tossing dinner in the crock pot this morning, I tried to cut my thumb off.  Luckily it’s a finger that isn’t used regularly in my typing rotation, since I only use one thumb on the space bar.  Lucky me, huh?

It’s not quite noon and I’m hungry, but I still have to wait until 1:00 to go to lunch.  Again, lucky for me that I have crackers and a laptop to keep myself entertained.

And because I’m feeling so generous today – and because I know many of you NaNoers don’t have the time to build a huge dinner and still get your word counts in, I’m going to share with you the recipe for my family’s dinner tonight:

Taco Soup

1 tbsp. oil
2 lb ground beef
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 can pinto beans (seasoned or not)
2 cans light red kidney beans
2 cans corn (any combination of whole kernel and creamed – I use one of each)
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans stewed tomatoes, chopped OR tomato sauce
1 can green chiles (optional)
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1 package dry taco seasoning

Tortilla or corn chips
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
Cornbread (cheat! use Jiffy corn muffin mix – recipe on the box)


Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until tender.  Add beef and brown, crumbling well.  Drain.

Mix together next 8 ingredients in a crock pot.  Add browned beef and onions.

Cook on low 8 hours, or on high 4-6 hours.  Soup can also be made in a pot on the stove – bring to a boil and simmer at least 1 hour before serving.

Serve with chips, cheese, sour cream, and cornbread.


*Note:  This recipe will FILL a 6-quart crock pot and will feed 8 people with leftovers.  And the leftovers are just as good reheated.

Recipes and Rewrites

Hey, Y’all!

So this weekend was a busy one.  I think everyone I know was out running around for some reason or other.  Rooster and I spent a good part of Saturday in Columbia looking around, shopping, and just being silly.  Sunday (Happy Mother’s Day, y’all!) was spent cooking and playing video games.  Tiring, but fun.

I also sat back down this weekend with my books on Nordic mythology and wikipedia.  I think I’ve come up with a game plan – mostly – for the rewrite of the novel (still called Loki’s Game at this point), and I’ll actually be able to salvage large portions of what’s already written.  I’m blaming Lexxx, Lucy, Tally, and Rooster. They took me to see Thor Friday night, and it turned my brain to mush.

But seeing that movie helped me to figure out exactly what’s wrong with the story.  It deals with the Old Gods, but we don’t get to see enough of them.  Plus the plot was a little on the contrived side.  So I have an outline to work from, I know what scenes I can save and edit, and what needs to completely go away.  I’m going to be leaning very heavily on the myths, but I promise I’m not just rehashing old news.

More to come on that when I actually start the rewrites.


Now… in honor of Mother’s Day, I’ll leave you all with my very own Peach Cobbler recipe. The crust is very cake-like, and the whole thing is really rich and really, really sweet.


Siobhan’s Southern Style Peach Cobbler

2 – 29-oz cans peaches (preferably raggedy-ripe) in Heavy Syrup, drained & syrup reserved
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
2 tsp corn starch
8 tbsp salted butter, cut into 8 pieces

2 c all-purpose flour
1 c white sugar
1 c packed light brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 tbsp salted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup peach syrup, warmed but not boiling
3 tb cinnamon
1 tsp sugar

1. Preheat oven to 450.  In a large bowl, mix together all filling ingredients EXCEPT THE BUTTER, then pour into a 4-quart baking dish.  Bake uncovered 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, mix together flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt.  Add 12 tbsp butter, and mix until crumbly (use your fingers or a pastry cutter).  Slowly stir in the warmed syrup, adding until mixture is moist, but can still hold its shape.  If you have any syrup left over, stir it into the warmed peaches.

3. Take 8 tbsp of butter and drop into the cooked peach mixture, making sure each slice is completely covered.  Drop teaspoonfuls of batter over the top of the warmed peaches, making sure to cover as much of them as possible.  (You can also flatten the dough on top of the peaches, but the syrup can’t get through this way and it takes longer to cook.)

4. Bake uncovered 15 minutes. Mix together cinnamon and sugar.  Set aside.

5. After 15 minutes, remove foil and sprinkle top of crust with cinnamon sugar.  Bake another 15-20 minutes, until browned and bubbly.    Let cool 10 minutes.

Serve hot with Vanilla Bean ice cream.