Failed Recipe #3: Raisin Bread

Failed Recipes: Raisin Bread... mebbe

I’ve been clearing out blogs which have been in “drafts”for the last three millennia. Here’s one from 2013. I may have posted this under one of my killed-off pseudos but fortunately, none of you will (ok, a couple of you) remember/know/care. I wrote this back when someone had given me a bottle of Bailey’s for Christmas. Generally speaking, I’m not a drinker. But give me 1/8 of an ounce and it’s Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!

Failed Recipe #3: Raisin Bread

I know what you’re wondering: WHAT ON EARTH IS THAT? Surely not raisin bread.

Raisin Bread ExplosionClearly, a raisined-product of sorts.

If CSI were here, they’d run that diagnostic pretty quickly and observe there’s some C6H10O5 involved. That’s the incomplete formula for flour; but they will be looking for more. The lab will run more tests and find some lipids (fats & oils), maybe a pinch of NaCl. All this modern-day hokey-pokey science will tell them NOTHING. The ingredients are as they should be.

This failed recipe is for a 1.5 pound bread. Really. That was the plan.


1 bread maker OR

1 oven


Mixing bowl for mixer

Spatulas etc.

Measuring cups, spoons OR

Digital food scale


Yeah, you’re wondering now. I am all metric-European measuring until it comes to the little stuff so I’ll put both deets in.

1 1/4 cups of warm milk or water (306 grams if using milk)

1 1/2 TB melted lard or vegetable shortening (22.5 grams) (who am I kidding? I used butter)

2 tsp yeast

1 cup raisins (I go crazy on the raisins though)

3 cups all-purpose flour (or whatever makes you happy) (360 grams)

1 tsp salt

2 tsp of cinnamon (or to taste)

How To

Bread Machine

If you are using a bread machine, like I did, it’s easy-peasy squeeze a lemon. Unless you happen to be me, which you aren’t. Unlike making mixer drinkie-poos, the rule for bread machines is liquids before solids.

1. Warm your milk or water first. This will help the yeast. Use the microwave or heat over the stove top or right from the *shudder* tap. Throw the shortening, lard, (or oil if you prefer) on top while you do this. Time-deepening I call it.

2. Liquid into bread machine.

3. Into a bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, and salt together. I think this helps the distribution.

4. Solids into machine atop the liquid.

5. Make  little well in the flour mixture and spoon in the yeast.

6. Turn on your bread machine to whichever setting is, essentially, 1.5 pound loaf, basic.

7. Watch the magic appear in two hours.


This collateral damage won’t happen if you use your oven. I say bake around 350 or 400 for some 22 minutes or so. I dunno. I bake til I remember that I forgot to turn on the timer or I smell the carbon charring.


Failed Recipes: Raisin Bread... mebbe

Failed Recipes: Raisin Bread… mebbe

So What Went Wrong

Did you catch it? I didn’t tell you to put the paddle INTO the machine. You should have known to do it, as I should have as well. But I forgot. I was nipping an Irish Creme Yogurt Smoothie and wasn’t quite what I should have been:

A – L – E – R – T

There should be a warning on the Irish Creme bottle:

Do not use your bread machine while slurping contents of this bottle.

So what happens when you put the bread machine on and there’s no paddle? Nothing mixes. The mixture heats up, ferments, and bakes without being swirled and combined. And you end up with that hardened lump shown above.

The squirrels were ecstatic, by the way. Yeah, I feed the rodentia in my yard. Cat? Not so pleased.

Best Bet Going Forward

Put the paddle in.


Bread is yummy. Man may not live on bread alone, but I could.

Like Oprah, I have bread every day

Like Oprah, I have bread every day

What I’m Reading….

Gretchen Archer and Larissa Reinhart had books published recently (update: I started writing this blog in 2013… so Gretchen and Larissa STILL have books published recently.. but not these ones. These are both like #2 in their respective series and I think both series are now into Book 5 for Gretchen and or Book 6 for Larissa). Nonetheless, go get them, eh?

Double Whammy by Gretchen Archer.

Still Life in Brunswick Stew by Larissa Reinhart.



Failed Recipes # 2: Kale, Chia, Oatbran, and Chocolate Chip Pancakes


Don’t get excited. These were for the kids. 🙁


You may think the title of this blog alone tells the problem: my use of the Oxford comma. Some people will tell you straight up that where I went wrong here was the use of the Oxford comma. But there you’d be wrong. I did NOT use “oatbran and chocolate” chips in my recipe. Not to get all pendantic on you or anything but I’m pretty sure (hopeful) that there is no such gustatory beast.

Screenshot_2016-01-28-09-13-16I regret to inform you all that I added kale, chia, oatbran, and chocolate chips to my pancakes yesterday. In an effort to continue to enjoy pancakes in general despite being on my Weight Stagnation Journey, I took the leftover batter from what I made for my kids and I added some fibre, protein, and omega-3 goodness.

Then — probably while I was in the loo — Shrek came by and pooped in the batter, turning it a luscious and ogre-fouled green.

When I saw what he had done, I sent a message to my organic vegetarian hippie graphic designer friend Sophia of The Blessed Type (who has my birthday card greeting as her profile photo, which is kinda meta, kinda strange) for validation and consolation. I think I heard Sophia whimper a little bit, then change her phone number. She’s probably tired of my trying to understand hippies.

Contrariwise, my friend Irene who, along with Bueller (formerly known as “Melody” on this blog), introduced me to kale, … anyhoodle, Irene wanted the recipe (and probably will actually eat it, minus the chocolate chips because Irene actually despises chocolate) and suggested I could blog about it. Will do, Irene.


Failed Recipes # 2: Kale, Chia, Oatbran, and Chocolate Chip Pancakes

The recipe is all so simple, really. This should make about 6 human-body friendly pancakes, plus 2 Elven-quality green slabs of drywall.


Screenshot_2016-01-28-09-13-27135 grams (1 1/8 cups) of all-purpose flour (or whatever you find, seriously… this is a gluten-free friendly recipe because you can use GF flour and the hockey-puck texture remains the same).

1 egg (or substitute w/ ground flax seed, or 2 egg whites)

245 grams of whole milk (or water or soy hippie crap) LESS the volume of aforementioned egg/eggwhites. This means, drop the egg/egg whites in (if you’re using flax seed, figure it out… nah, kidding, use about 200 grams of liquid or about 7/8 of a cup)

2 TB oil or use applesauce (I kinda slop it in, frankly)

1 heaping teaspoon of baking powder (go a bit cray cray because it has calcium, yo)

1/2 tsp of salt

1 TB of either brown sugar (whatevs… ) or white-death sugar.

1 tsp of vanilla extract

random handfuls of chocolate chips

Surely you don’t need me to tell you… ok, I will: preheat griddle blah blah.
OK, these are for the kids… make about six pancakes for the ungrateful creatures. You should have some left over. Take the remaining stuff left over and brutalize it in the name of higher health add your other ingredients.

Here we go for the win:

IMAG5522At least…. (all measurements are imprecise because I’m a “thrower” when it comes to pancakülar cooking).

1 heaping TB ground chia seeds

1 heaping TB ground kale powder

at least 15 grams of plain oatbran

Stir it up and plop, friends. Then go clean the house because these will take a while.  How long?

Well, I let the cat in and out and in and out and in and out and in and out while they cooked, so that’s at least 10 minutes.

Have you ever sat back and wondered what kale pancakes taste like? Earthy. They taste earthy. Lawny is another good word. Lawny, earthy, broccoloid.

These two pancakes have a modicum of carbs, but a goodly bit of protein, fibre, and a whole buncha vitamin A and C, for those of you fearing scurvy.



Having said all this, the pucks pancakes were actually quite edible and if you eschew syrup and butter, they can be eaten in the hand like hardtack or biscuits. But perhaps not for company. They are an acquired taste and I will be making them again.

Chocolate chips are essential, though. Like you didn’t know.

The leftovers were donated to the local Elves in my backyard, in aid of their winter home reconstruction. It seems the Elves use kale and chia pancakes as an organic and renewable source of drywall. Who knew?


Send A Little Love | Romance Has A Heart

I’m very happy to be part of a group of romance authors (even if I’m NOT an author… yet) who have pulled together the following project: Send a little love.

Know someone who needs a little love for Valentine’s Day? Head over to find a lovely selection of complimentary romance novels available to send to your friend as a valentine.

Ordering starts February 1st and ends February 15th; but the site is live now (and I’m uploading some new titles and authors to it the moment I finish this blog which is in 5…4…3…2..).


Failed Recipe #1: Irish Cream Yogurt

Failed Recipe #1: Irish Cream Yogurt

Now that I’m on Weight Watchers…. 🙂


The first in a random series of recipes where I ALMOST got it right.


I know I know, what was I thinking, right? But I love Irish Cream. I’m just not a drinker. And I love yogurt.

And I make my own yogurt. I don’t, for the record, make my own Irish Cream. But I could. It just wouldn’t be the same as that famous name brand who’d probably sue me for using their name here because I’m so famous that I would degrade their brand. And for what it’s worth, I checked their site just in case they had a recipe for yogurt and was amused to see I had to provide my country of origin and age to prove I was old enough to be there. So there I am, a 59 year old Albanian, looking for Irish cream yogurt recipes. No luck. Guess the hippie mentality hasn’t got there yet.

So what failed? Not much really. It’s a bit goopy. Good with crushed ice. Actually, it was really good, hic hic hic. Just not quite what I was hoping for.

For those who’ve never made their own yogurt, I’ll tell you a little secret: it’s insanely easy and is virtually NO work. Really. And no, you don’t need a yogurt machine. I use Corning Ware and a hotplate. Worked since university and that’s sooo 80s.


  • Hotplate on which to cook (very low temp) the yogurt. Stovetop is too dicey because the temp you’ll be using is very low and you’ll be a-cooking for 8 hours.
  • Pot (and lid) to hold (and cover) yogurt (I usually make about 2 litres at a go, but you can do whatever suits). However much milk you put into the pot is how much yogurt will come out. A gallon of milk yields about a gallon of yogurt.
  • Candy or meat thermometer (ESSENTIAL).
  • Spatula or wooden spoon.
  • A few tea towels.  (for temp control).
  • Oven mitts
  • Microwave is best for heating the milk but if you are keen to stovetop it, g’head. Remember, milk scalds super easy-like.


  • Milk (whatever % turns your crank, and however much you wish to make.. see note above about yield)
  • Unflavoured yogurt as “stock”. About 2 or 3 teaspoons. If you only have flavoured, no big whup, it still works. In fact, forget the “unflavoured” part completely.
  • Irish cream (however much you think you can handle)
  • Cream (if you are feeling capricious with your fat intake.. makes the yogurt smoother but is NOT an essential ingredient)

How (not) To  Make Irish Cream Yogurt

  1. Heat the milk (and cream, if using) in a clean pot to 180 degrees F. This kills off the bad stuff. DO NOT put the thermometer into the microwave. If using the stovetop, watch carefully for scalding. If your milk scalds your yogurt will taste like bumcakes. Use the microwave and I suggest a few rounds of 5 or 7 minutes at HIGH. Make sure you have enough room in your pot for frothing and possibly boiling over.
  2. Once the milk’s reached 180, stop heating the milk.
  3. Cool the milk down to 105 – 110 degrees F. I suggest the kitchen sink, with cold water. Yes, keep it in the pot (that’s why Corning Ware rocks).
  4. Once the milk’s down to 105-110, add your yogurt stock. Don’t be neurotic about it. Use good unflavoured yogurt. Glop and stir. That’s the ONLY stirring you need. Really. Don’t stir again.
  5. Add the booze (oh wait, stir that in first, then don’t stir again, unless you’re a mouse).
  6. On your hotplate (or stovetop.. if you choose stovetop be SUPER careful) place the pot with milk/yogurt/hooch mixture. Place the thermometer into the pot so that you can easily read the temp as necessary throughout the next 8 hours. Keep the heat to as low as possible. You want to keep the heat in the pot between 105-110 because that’s the heat required for the bacteria to multiply.
  7. Cover the pot.
  8. You may find you will need to adjust the temp by placing the pot ON towels, or cover pot with towels.
  9. That’s pretty much it. DO NOT STIR.

Just check the heat randomly so keep it very very low.

No stirring (I know, I said that, but still.. people want to “do” something).

That is it. That is how you make yogurt. So easy. And despite the electricity costs, about 1/3 or 1/4 the cost of most yogurts.

Greek Style?

Yeah, about that. It’s just super-strained so more protein-rich etc. The end. Don’t get excited. Nothing fancy going on there. Make your own. Really. Once you get the trick of straining it, you’re good. Just don’t use Greek Style yogurt when a recipe calls for regular, especially when baking.

Want a Cheater-Pumpkin-Eater recipe for it? Here goes: buy skim milk powder and throw it into the mix before you add the starter yogurt. Yeah, that’s kinda it.

So What Went Wrong

Booze darlings. I put booze into the mix. Mmm fermenting boozy goodness of yogurt and Irish Cream. I thought the booze might cook out. Not entirely. And alcohol is a bit different than the rest of the mix. Put the booze in after? Breakdownage. Silly me. Bases and proteins and acids oh my.

Best Bet Going Forward

Make Greek yogurt (more protein, less sugar and liquid), let cool, whisk in Irish Cream. The yogurt will thin out and you will still have a nice bacteria buzz.

Have an ice cream maker? Throw in some Greek yogurt, Irish Cream, (and other required ingredients… rock salt, you’ll want that) and Bob’s your uncle.

Nota Bene

The recipe above for making regular yogurt still stands. It’s easy. It’s cheap. You can control what kind of milk, quantity, etc. It’s obscene what they charge for yogurt. We eat gallons of the stuff.


The bacteria, as it propagates, will nibble up the lactose in the milk. Unless you’re making it wrong, your yogurt will be completely or mostly lactose-free.

And if not, well, carry a lighter.

Speaking of Nanny State (which we weren’t)

I went to the BiC site because I wanted to find my favourite BiC commercial with the great line “This bar is dark but with a flick of my bic I can see you’re a hick.” I had to indicate I was of-age. Cheeky.

They have a trivia game and an app, for your concert-goers. Wish I had this when I saw Procol Haram.

For Vegans:

You can do this recipe with soy. You just need to add thickeners (cornstarch is good… unless you’re a Fruitarian).

Tip: Ask Googlia Child.

Long after I wrote this blog (ok, three weeks later… I forgot to press “Publish” on this, duhhhhh) I fell upon a yogurt machiney thing at Goodwill for 5 bucks. But since most people don’t have a machiney thing, I thought I’d keep the recipe as-is. But the machiney thing is fun. But seriously, find one secondhand. They’re way too expensive for what they are. If you buy new, don’t go over $20 USD or so.