Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Mushroom Ravioli, Stir Fry ala Swan, Charlie's Catch of The Day Crab Cakes, Time for Tea Cake Cookies, excerpts from Love at First Bite, by Gina Meyers

Love at First Bite Cookbook, something yummy to sink your teeth into.

Mushroom Ravioli

10 ounces mushroom ravioli or cheese-filled ravioli
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
4 ounces button (table) mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup brandy
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions: Prepare ravioli according to package directions; drain. Next, over medium heat, pour olive oil in a skillet and cook mushrooms until tender. Add garlic and brandy, and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly stir in heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. When cream has thickened, stir in 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Then, stir in cooked ravioli, and gently simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with parmesan, garlic bread, and salad. Makes 2 servings.

Bella left Charlie a note on the table explaining again where to find dinner.

Stir Fry ala Swan
½ Tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1 pound of lean hamburger
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium head of cabbage shredded or cut into slightly larger than bite size pieces.
1 can (10 ¾ ounces) of tomato soup
1 can (8 ounces) of tomato sauce
¼ cup of water
1 Tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of salt (optional)

Directions: In a skillet, over medium heat, add 1/2 Tablespoon of vegetable oil. Next, add 1 Tablespoon of sugar, the uncooked hamburger meat, diced onion, and minced garlic. With a spatula, break apart hamburger meat and cook uncovered over medium heat until hamburger meat is thoroughly cooked. Once the hamburger meat is browned, take off the stove top and remove the excess fat. Wash the skillet out with lukewarm water and place the cooked meat with garlic and onion back in the skillet and add the cabbage, tomato soup and tomato sauce (optional: may add salt and soy sauce). Cook covered over low heat until cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings and can be complemented with white or brown rice.

Helpful Hint: To remove excess oil from hamburger meat, scoop hamburger meat over a plate lined with paper towels, this will absorb the excess fat.

“Charlie came home with a large catch.”-Bella

Charlie’s Catch of the day Crab Cakes
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons of mayonnaise
4 teaspoons of lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of dried tarragon
1 Tablespoon of minced green onions
8 ounces of crabmeat
1 Tablespoon of butter
Round crackers, broken up into cracker crumbs

Directions: In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, tarragon, and green onions. Gently stir in the crabmeat, and mix in cracker crumbs, adding as much as desired. Next, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Form crab patties and place in the skillet brown both sides until the patties are golden brown. Depending upon the size of the patties, makes about four crab cakes.

Bite at Twilight (Desserts)

Time for Tea Cake Cookies
(a London pre-vampire Carlisle Cookie)
1/2 cup of margarine
3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/8 teaspoon of salt
Food coloring-optional
Chocolate pieces, peanut butter chips, nuts, cherries.

Mix together:
1 cup of confectioner’s sugar
3 1/2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Food coloring-optional

Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly mix together margarine, vanilla, sugar, and three drops of food coloring (any color). Add flour and salt and work until dough can hold together. Mold dough by Tablespoonfuls around a few chocolate pieces, nuts, or cherries. Place cookie dough on a baking sheet approximately 1 inch apart for 10 minutes or until light brown.
Once the cookies are cool, dip tops of cookies into Galaxy Icing. Decorate cookies with colored sugar, sprinkles, candies, or coconut. Yields 25 cookies.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Apple Oatmeal Bars, easy and sinfully delicious

Recently on an airplane leaving Charlotte, North Carolina, I met Dorothy Pfeiffer, a beautiful woman in her mid-seventies. She was heading to California to visit her niece to go to a bridal shower and camping! We immediately hit it off and ended up talking about being a Christian (she shared her love of the Lord and the awesome things he has done in her life), and FOOD, of course. We exchanged recipes, I conveniently had a copy of my Cook Like a Hot Italian Mama Cookbook Buy Today!  and she had this winner of a recipe, Apple Oatmeal Bars. She talked about how she made it for a church function one afternoon and how all of the people at the party were raving about this simple recipe. She also confided in me that the engaged couple had requested that each person coming to the bridal shower bring along a time treasured recipe. They were going to collect them and use them as staple recipes after the nuptials. Pretty cool I thought.
We graciously exchanged a recipe book for a recipe. :)

Apple Oatmeal Bars
1 cup of oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of butter (cube)
1 cup of flour (if gluten allergies, use gluten-free flour, such as rice flour)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 1/2 cups of chopped Gala Apples (3 medium sized apples)
1/2 cup of sugar (if diabetic, substitute for sugar for a sugar substitute like Truvia)
Directions: Combine first five ingredients and pat half into an 8-inch by 8-inch pan. Layer apples and sugar. Crumble remaining mixture on top. Bake for 35-45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cool, cut, and serve.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Eclipse Punch, excerpt from Love at First Bite, The Unofficial Twilight Cookbook, by, Gina Meyers

Monday, August 21st marks the first time since 1979 that we will be able to see a total solar eclipse in North America. The total Eclipse begins on the West Coast at 10:00 a.m. PT and ends on the East Coast a little before 3:00 p.m. ET. 

Enjoy this easy and yummy Eclipse Punch, excerpt found in my Love at First Bite, The Unofficial Twilight Cookbook, you can buy here for 99 cents. BUY The Twilight Cookbook Today on Kindle!


1 cup of black cherry soda

1 cup of cranberry juice

1 cup of ginger ale

splash of pineapple juice

Directions: Mix black cherry, cranberry juice, and ginger ale in a pitcher. Add a splash of pineapple juice, and serve over ice. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Nonie Julia's Anise Biscotti Cookies For Sale

Biscotti Cookie(s)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Twilight Inspired Cocktails

Give into your libation temptation and take a sip of these surely mouthwatering cocktails, to quench your human thirst. Breathless, Wicked Gin and Tonic, Bloody Mary, Never Die, Forkshattan, Bellaholm, are just a few tantalizing, tranquilizing  taste bud Twilight delights. 

For more ideas, Love at First Bite, The Unofficial Twilight Cookbook

Howl at Twilight
To quench your human thirst

Don’t you want to know if I drink blood?
—Edward talking to Bella

1/2 lime
1/2 ounce white crème de cacao
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce white Jamaica rum
Club Soda

Directions: Squeeze lime juice into a glass filled with ice cubes; save lime shell. Add to glass crème de cacao, Cointreau, and rum. Add club soda to fill glass. Stir. On the edge of the glass, decorate with a wedge of lime and fresh mint dusted with bar sugar.

Scotch and Water

Directions: Pour 1 to 1 1/2 ounces scotch over ice cubes in a 14-ounce highball glass. Serve a small pitcher of water alongside.

Bloody Mary
1 (46-ounce) bottle chilled tomato juice
3 tablespoons horseradish
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups vodka
Ice cubes
Lemon wedges (optional)
Celery (optional)

Directions: In a large pitcher, combine tomato juice, lemon juice, Tabasco, horseradish, Worcestershire, and vodka. Stir until well blended. Fill 8 to 10 glasses with mixture, adding ice and a lemon wedge or celery stalk. Sprinkle with pepper, if desired.

Never Die
1/2 ounce rum
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1/2 ounce gin
1/2 ounce sloe gin
1/2 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce whiskey
6 ounces of cola or fruit punch
Maraschino cherry
Pineapple or orange slice

Directions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, add the rum, dry vermouth, gin, sloe gin, triple sec, vodka, and whiskey and shake.  Strain. Add cola or fruit punch to a tall glass and garnish with a pineapple, orange and maraschino cherry on a spear/cocktail stick.  

Monday, May 16, 2016

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day recipe!

Yesterday was National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! In honor of this day, we have a recipe from Love at First Bite, The Unofficial Twilight Cookbook. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

1 cup of butter
1 tsp baking soda
¾ cup of granulated sugar
¾ cup of brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 ¼ cups of flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, mix sugars, baking soda, vanilla extract, room temperature eggs, and softened butter. Mix until creamy. Next, add flour and chocolate chips.
Drop by large tablespoons on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Serve warm or fully cooled. Store in air tight container to enjoy for a few days or wrap and freeze for later.

Makes about 2 dozen

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Why I wrote Love at First Bite, The Unofficial Twilight Cookbook

Why I wrote Love at First Bite, The Unofficial Twilight Cookbook
Gina Meyers

On November 21, 2008, my life changed. That was the night my friend had an extra ticket and invited me to the midnight showing of Twilight. Instantly, I  noticed how the movie premier was striking a chord with many different ages and generations, even men were at the premier donning Twilight inspired tee-shirts.  Before watching the movie, the only exposure to Twilight I had was knowing that my teenage stepdaughter had requested the entire collection of the Twilight Series of books by Stefanie Meyer and that they were in her closet on her bookshelf. I honestly thought the books were about vampires and werewolves, little did I know. After watching the movie, I saw it was a love story. Basically, I ran to my stepdaughters’ upstairs bedroom and took Twilight off her bookshelf and went to my bedroom and started to read it. It took me about three days to read Twilight.

While I was reading Twilight, it literally just came upon me, why not write a cookbook based upon the book? This thought didn’t seem odd in the slightest. While reading, I took notes every time there was a food reference. This took more time than the initial three days to read the book. For me, food is love and seven and a half years ago, I set a goal: to reignite a passion for cooking and getting people of all ages back together having meaningful conversations. This personal goal has continued to thrive in my life and the lives of others and still is my personal goal.

As a writer, I also realized that the Twilight series had a similar tone to what I like writing about, a love story with a twist.

The love story with a twist, is that we are all slightly different, but it is in the sacrifice where we can find true love and our true selves.

As I saw the story, a human girl, pasty and white, leaves her mom and stepdad to go hang out with her semi-recluse dad, Charlie Swan, Police Chief, in the rainiest place on the planet, Forks, Washington.

As the story goes, Stefanie Meyer had a brilliant dream which later became the Twilight book. She referenced the “rainiest place in the U.S.”  via the Google search engine to locate Forks. For me, a cookbook author, the name “Forks” couldn’t be more appetizing. The setting couldn’t be more appealing, the setting was chosen so the human, werewolves, and vampires could have a place to co-exist.

What about those vampires? Well, The Cullen Clan was a breed all their own, “vegetarian vampires”, preferring to consider themselves more civilized than the ordinary run of the mill blood sucking vampire, preferring to only suck the blood from animals. Well surely I wasn’t going to use real blood in my recipes, that’s totally disgusting and this wasn’t a “joke cookbook”, this was a “novelty cookbook” and so I opted to play upon the whole vegetarian vampire thing and made a slew of vegetarian inspired dishes. Some vegetarian dishes in Love at First Bite are:  Yellow Squash and Tomato Parmesan, Salad a la Cullen, Artichoke Cheese Squares. As for the werewolves, they feasted, so I did a hearty Wolfpack Waffles. During the holidays, my daughters’ Lauren and Makenna always made this dessert with Chex cereal, melted chocolate chips and peanut butter. I added powdered sugar to the concoction and renamed it Werewolf Chow.


Then I experimented with red velvet cakes and created some semi-homemade recipes. Charlie, Bella’s dad wasn’t much of a gourmand, he was a divorced bachelor. My mom used to joke that my dad only knew how to make a “dinner in a skillet”, which consisted of sliced hot dogs, sliced potatoes, and diced onion, so I renamed it, “Charlie’s Dinner In A Skillet”.

There was a reference to an apple to signify original sin how Eve tempted Adam in the Garden of Eden, so in keeping with the theme, I did “sinfully” delicious apple recipes. I also researched the different type of apples and there are many different varieties to choose from. The cookbook has a three fork designation as well. “Three Forks” recipes are the most difficult, “two forks” means they are “medium” level of difficulty and “one fork” are the easiest recipes in the cookbook. I also did a play upon Edward’s eyes being the color butterscotch, with “Butterscotch Eyes”, a butterscotch pudding recipe with teddy grahams.

On their first date, Bella orders Mushroom Ravioli, so there is a Mushroom Ravioli recipe. Bella, aka, Isabella Swan is Italian. So being part Italian myself, I utilized a lot of family recipes in the Chow Bella Italian Food Section, including Bell’s Lasagna, Chicken Cacciatore, Veal Scaloppini, Tallerina (my late Great Aunt Rose’s recipe) and many more. For the Biscotti dessert, I used my Grandma Julie’s Biscotti cookie recipe, a family favorite.

How I came up with the title Love at First Bite. It felt as if I instantly thought of it (and no, I hadn’t heard of the movie of the same moniker) , however, one day I was looking through the picture album of my daughters’ 3rd grade Halloween party. I was in charge of teaching the kids to make Monster Hands. You pop popcorn, use a clear clean plastic glove, take five or so candy corns and place the candy corns as fingernails in each slot of the plastic glove, then you add cooled popcorn and use a ribbon or twisty tie and it looks like a hand. Anyways, as I looked at the picture, I noticed that I was wearing a Halloween inspired Orange tee-shirt with the words, Love at First Bite in black.

Vampires are known to “suck” or “bite” us and we “chew,” and “bite” our food. No other title could have worked as well as Love at First Bite to me.

On this Twilight journey, I have had book signings all over the United States, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Memphis, Tennessee, Cleveland, Ohio, Fresno, California, San Jose, California, and many other wonderful cities. I have done live cooking demonstrations on TV all over the United States. In 2012, I was presented with The Gourmand International Award for Best Fundraising Cookbook in the World. While in Paris, France, I met a woman who was in charge of The Culinary Institute of America. She also was a Marketing Professor and she told me that she had utilized my book, Love at First Bite to show her student’s an example of an  innovator who took a great idea and ran with it.

Much to my delight, they mentioned my Twilight Cookbook on the hit TV Show, The Office. A pregnant Pam is talking with Kevin Malone and Kevin says, “I cooked my way through the Julia Child’s Cookbook, I am half way through the Twilight Cookbook, last night I  cooked Edward Cullen’s Cornflake Chicken.” The LA Times wrote an expose on my life and appeasing the haters. A dude on Amazon was starting a Twilight war stating my Team Edward Tacos caused his girlfriend to “break up with him”.  Fun stuff like that, I don’t have a Taco recipe in Love at First Bite. The Calgary Herald featured my Twilight Cookbook and many reporters came up with super fun titles for their articles: my personal favorite, “Running All The Way To The Bank, The Twilight franchise now has a Twilight Cookbook!”

The friends of the Visalia Library, cooked their way through my Twilight Cookbook and had a special evening with me. And, by far, the biggest compliment was when The Allan Carr Chatty Man TV Show (out of London, England) met up with the stars from Twilight, they featured my cookbook and served the stars of Twilight my Twilight Tribute Punch. Kellan Lutz, also known as Emmett Cullen went nuts over my Twilight Tribute Punch, secret ingredient, gummy worms. I modified my late Great Aunt Mildred’s punch recipe by adding the gummy worms.  Allan Carr agreed to pay me 1 pound which is equivalent to $1.00 U.S. dollar, I’m still waiting.  No worries, the experiences have been priceless.
Purchase The Twilight Cookbook