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Thursday, May 3, 2018


Today, my guest is Diana Stout, college professor, organizer, workshop leader, and the most recent recipient of Mid-Michigan RWA's Angel Award for outstanding service to writers and the chapter. She's also my friend.

Diana is here to share the background of her cookbook. Here's Diana Stout.

Behind the Scenes: The Inspiration of Why I Wrote the Book
Back in the late 70s, I discovered I was allergic to a number of foods that were pervasive throughout the majority of processed foods. One such food was onions, which gave me three-day migraines, and this was before Imitrex came on the market. I had no choice but to cook from scratch and to make my own mixes, such as chili and taco seasoning mixes.

I started keeping my recipes in a notebook. Over time, I included recipes that I couldn’t find in cookbooks: recipes from neighbors, from the back of boxes or in magazines, recipes I changed, and those I created from scratch.

In 2006, needing a meaningful but mindless easy task, I created a recipe template and spent the summer typing them all up. My two daughters and I proofed the recipes, which I then printed and put into notebooks for our use.

At the end of 2015, I retired and early in 2016, I set up my production company, Sharpened Pencils Productions, LLC. I began finishing and publishing various writing projects. In 2017, after publishing two more projects, I looked for my next project, wanting one that was close to being done. The cookbook was it. 

I discovered that there were lots of tiny details that had been overlooked.  For instance, in some places I used package and in others I used pkg. Uniformity was required, so I found myself in one week going through the cookbook no less than 46 times. Each read for just one specific purpose of correction. In one day alone, I had 14 drafts in 16 hours! To say I wanted the thing done was an understatement.

Finally finished, I uploaded it online for publication. Unfortunately, it would take another week and seven uploads because a small piece of coding--and from a different place every time--was getting stripped in the uploading process.

Definitely, the book became a challenge, but now that it’s finished, I’m quite proud of the result. My newest favorite recipes are Butterbeer, Diana’s Easy Lobster/Crab Fish Bisque, and Diana’s Pralines. When someone asks, Which one is your favorite? my response is that I can’t choose. There are so many favorites! 

The Super Simple Easy Basic Cookbook represents my all-time favorite recipes, and I’ve used them all at one time or another. Additionally, I’ve included comments—a history if remembered. The recipes are about simple foods, real foods, that can be assembled and cooked in a relatively short time to accommodate my busy life and even my not-so-busy life. The truth is, unlike so many other women I know, the kitchen is not my favorite room in the house.
That said, this cookbook is for everyone: those who do love to cook, those looking for something different, those who are beginners, and those who, like me, love to eat but hate to cook. My suggestion is to make it your book. Add ingredients you like, remove those you dislike. Experiment, substitute, and write in the margins.  After all, that’s how this cookbook evolved.
Excerpt - a recipe

My father and I loved the bread pudding made at Old Country Buffet, and after a few different experimentations, this recipe came pretty close to the pudding they served at the time.

7-9 slices of bread, torn into pieces
3-4 eggs, beaten lightly
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup raisins
1-2 tsp cinnamon, or to taste

Mix all ingredients in a casserole dish or 13x9” baking dish, gently.

Bake at 400° F for 1 hour.

Best when eaten warm but can be eaten cold.

Top with a frosting drizzle. To make mix a little milk with some confectionery sugar until a thick, but runny consistency. Drizzle onto of warm bread pudding once it comes out of the oven.

For variety:  add 2 c. chopped cored cooking apples (about 2 medium apples)


An award-winning writer, Diana Stout has written in multiple genres, fiction long & short, non-fiction, for adults & children, as a playwright, columnist, blogger, author, and screenwriter. She's served as an academic reviewer, contest judge for multiple writing organizations, and is a former English professor. Today, she's returned to her creative writing roots and is most proud of publishing her epic fantasy, Grendel’s Mother. Current projects include writing a novella series, publishing several scripts, plotting a historical drama, and reprinting some romances. She invites you to learn more through her Sharpened Pencils Productions website, which will lead you to her four blogs:
·         Only for the Brave - life of a writer
·         Behind the Scenes - business side of writing
·         Into the Core - her intuitive experiences
·         Behind the Scenes with Diana Stout & Featured Guests - interviews of those connected to the writing world

When she’s not writing, plotting, researching, or watching movies, she enjoys jigsaw puzzles, lunches with friends, filling her bird feeders, and listening to the sounds of nature as she sits in her little secluded garden patio.

Writing Secrets, Myths, & Truths - Diana’s new writers group 


  1. I'm so proud to have a signed copy! I've handed it over to the cook in the family, with a request to try one out soon. He's perusing it right now!

  2. I recently read an article about the difficulties of putting together a cookbook, and I applaud you! Wishing you many sales!

  3. My goodness, what a massive project. Congratulations!

  4. I can't wait to try my copy out this weekend! Yummo!!

  5. Enjoyed the post! Sounds like an amazing project! Wow!

  6. The recipe sounds delicious!

  7. sounds delicious!
    Good luck and God's blessings

  8. Oy, vey. 46 times?! Well, it paid off. It's a great cookbook, Diana!

  9. Congratulations to Diana on her cookbook. 46 editing trips through the manuscript in one week ~ That's dedication! I enjoyed this post and have bookmarked the page to try the bread pudding. Good luck!

  10. Can't wait to get my copy. I hate recipes that require specialized ingredients that I'll use that once and never again. I want simple, so this sounds perfect.

  11. Ooh! I love bread pudding and this recipe makes it simple to fix. Also, there are various food allergies in my family, including nuts and shellfish, so this cook book sounds like a winner for me.

  12. A neat idea and the book looks wonderful--so all the hard work paid off. Congrats and best of luck with it.

  13. It is good article thanks for sharing this blog it give lots of information


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