Scotti’s Favorite Cupcake Recipe

Can you spot the *secret* ingredient? If you want to check out the book you can go here.

Have a great weekend. 😀


Is it soup yet? Writing and eating a winning weekend combination


While I’ve been busy banging out the third book in my series, I haven’t paid much attention to anything else. I am actually starting to name the dust bunnies, that magically appear under the bed, in the corners of my room, the kitchen…I may have even seen one in the car (that reminds, must take car to car wash).

However, no matter how single-mindedly focused I am on finishing this dang book, I still have to eat. And since the weather in sunny California has gone from brain cell destruction hot to lovely fall weather I started hankering for soup.

Soup is good. Soup is fun. Soup is a meal in a pot. Plus you can eat it with one hand, while typing with the other. So between chapters I whipped up a giant pot of my Roast Beef Veggie Soup. Technically I used the crock pot because the oven is on the fritz but it came out great.

In case you’re hungry for soup, or just hungry, below is the recipe. I like to let it sit for 24 hours so that the flavors marry nicely, but last night I didn’t wait. It’s good no matter when you eat it.

Roast Beef Veggie Soup

1 – 3-5 lb roast (any type will do, although one with marbling, like chuck roast gives it more flavor)
1 – large bell pepper, chopped
1 – large yellow onion, chopped
3 – cloves of garlic minced
½ lb of sliced fresh mushrooms
3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or 2 tbsp dry)
3-4 sprigs fresh oregano (or 2 tbsp dry)
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1- large can of tomato sauce (29 ounces)
4- cups of water
1- small can of tomato paste (5 ounces)
1- bottle of cheap red wine (Trader Joe’s “2 Buck Chuck” works great)
1 can of beef broth (16 ounces) or 4 bullion cubes in 2 cups of hot water, dissolved
1- 2 lb bag of mixed vegetables
2 lbs of chopped seasonal vegetables of your choice (no potatoes)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Remove roast from wrapper, rinse and pat dry. Tear fresh oregano into small pieces, pull leaves of rosemary from stems and put in small bowl with garlic, olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper, mix well. Use this mixture as a rub and rub into roast thoroughly. Place roast in shallow roasting pan, top with chopped pepper, onion, mushrooms and any remaining rub mixture. Pour ½ to 3/4 of the bottle of red wine over roast and vegetables. Seal with aluminum foil and place on center rack. Roast in slow oven for 4-6 hours until fork tender. Note: do not check roast frequently, if at all as it will dry the roast out if you do. Once the aroma of the roast beef has filled the kitchen, it’s probably ready. Check with fork, if it cuts easily, it is ready, if not, reseal and cook for another 45 minutes and continue until roast reaches fork tender stage. (Note: you can also do this step using a crock pot but you won’t get the same caramelization on the roast and veggies.)

Once roast is done, remove from oven and remove aluminum foil. Let roast sit for 15-20 minutes. With a fork, shred beef and allow drippings and marinade to be absorbed by meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove beef from refrigerator, and set aside. In a large stock pot combine the remaining red wine, tomato sauce, tomato paste, beef broth and water. Bring to a simmer. Slowly add in roast, including all drippings, and savory vegetables it was prepared with. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Add frozen vegetables to broth, stir well and bring to a simmer. Add fresh vegetables to broth and bring to a simmer, stirring well. Adjust seasonings to your preferences, if broth is too thick, add water or more red wine to your consistency preference. Cook soup on very low heat for 4-5 hours. Once soup is done, I suggest you let it sit for at least 45 minutes so that the flavors marry. Ideally, you should let the soup sit for 24 hours (in the refrigerator), for the most flavorful results.
This soup is very hearty and needs only a good crusty bread or crisp green salad to make it a meal. I promise it is the best beef vegetable soup you’ve ever had.

Writer Chick

copyright 2014

The Accidental Meatloaf

It all started because there was a big sale on hamburger last week at the local grocery store. At $0.99 a pound I stocked up – since I’m a starving freelance writer and all… Anywhoo – I get it home and man, did I buy a lot and I started wondering what the heck I was going to do with all of it. A person can only eat so many lettuce wrapped hamburgers after all.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought I’d do some meatloaf. I’d make a lot and give some to Zelda who couldn’t cook her way out of a water boiling contest and maybe even roomie if he wasn’t a shit for a few days. all settled nicely in my mind and I forgot about it.

Then one day the urge for meatloaf rang through my head on a particularly overcast and gloomy day. Love to cook when the weather is sad. So I pulled out a good chunk of hamburger to thaw in the morning. Well, bite me and slap me on the fanny when I was ready to make the darn stuff, I didn’t have the usual accroutements that I throw in there. In fact, I had precious little to make the meatloaf and I was in no mood to go to the store. So, I improvised – worst case scenario the dog would get some yummy treats and I’d have a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter for dinner.

To my utter shock and amazement, it turned out to be the best meatloaf I ever made and I make some awesome meatloaf. So… I share the recipe with you. Try it, you’ll love it.

1 big old hunk of ground beef

1 large egg

3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro

8 ounces of tomato sauce

4 tablespoons of 1/2 & 1/2 or blue cheese dressing if you’re out of cream

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

2 stalks finely minced celery

1/2 small minced brown onion

salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, using your hands – making sure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Form into a loaf and bake in a loaf pan (or whatever you normally use) in a 400 degree oven for 1.25 – 1.5 hours. Let rest for ten minutes before slicing.

I’m telling you folks, this is super yummy and I really regretted giving any of it away. In fact, I’m making another one right now.

Oooh and while we’re on the topic – I have great recipe for beet greens. Yup, that’s right beet greens. While it may be no suprise to some of you – I had no idea you could eat beet greens. I had grown some beets in my garden which I had pulled and made but had all the tops left. I happened to check to see if there was a recipe to make them and found a really super one.

Mess of beet greens, double cleaned, dried and torn into bite size pieces (including stems)

8 slices of bacon – the smokier the better

1/4 onion – chopped fine

1 tsp butter

2 TBS apple cider vinegar

2 TBS sugar (or splenda if you can’t have sugar)

Cook the bacon until it is 2/3 cooked, toss in chopped onion, if not enough bacon fat, add a little bit of butter, cook until onions are soft, slowly add in the greens, turning to wilt them – keep doing this until you’ve gotten all the greens in there and sauteed to a nice wilt with the leaves still a pretty bright green. Remove to a bowl. Add vinegar and sugar to the pan (turn off heat) and stir mixture into remaining juices in pan, once mixed, return the greens to pan and turn and toss until coated with the vinegar/sugar mixture. Serve immediately. Delish! Try it. BTW, the stems should be included as well, when cooked they have a wonderful beety flavor.

Okay, so this concludes our cooking class for today. 😉 WC