Friday, February 15, 2019


It's
Cozy Food Friday!

That means it's time to share a recipe from 
another great cozy mystery!
This week's recipe is from
A STEW TO A KILL
by Jenny Kales


The Halloween season is serving up more tricks than treats for thirty-something Greek-American foodie and business owner Calliope “Callie” Costas. Don't miss the 4th installment in this colorful culinary cozy mystery series!

When a new employee at a neighboring business, Tea for Two, is found dead, Callie is drawn into a murky brew of motives and murder suspects. It turns out that the seemingly mild-mannered victim might have a few skeletons in his closet. What’s more, the timing of the murder, just a day before Crystal Bay’s first annual Halloween Walk, has threatened to derail the town’s festive fall events, including a Halloween Gala benefiting the local food pantry, one of Callie’s favorite causes.

Callie’s already full plate is set to overflowing with the return of an old boyfriend who has his eye on developing a mall that will compete with and possibly destroy Crystal Bay’s small business scene. Could there be a tie between the mall and the murder?

Somebody has been stewing. Will Callie help find the unsavory killer before things reach the boiling point?


Includes delicious recipes from Callie's Kitchen!


Chai Spice Cake

 
Photo courtesy of Jenny Kales


Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch salt
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
4 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Chai spice mix:

1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cardamom
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
Pinch finely ground black pepper

Photo property of chaispicebundtcake.com

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a Bundt pan or tube pan with Pam baking spray with flour.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chai spice in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter and cream cheese with sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating until blended.

Add flour in thirds, alternating with the sour cream. Do not overbeat. Add the vanilla extract and mix until just blended.

Pour batter into Bundt pan and smooth the top. Bake for 38-40 minutes. Check for doneness by testing the center with a toothpick; it should come out clean.

Be careful not to overbake.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on a wire rack.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar, or drizzle with cream cheese glaze (see recipe below).

Serves 8.

Cream Cheese Glaze

1 tbsp. very soft cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
4-6 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Whisk ingredients together until the glaze is smooth and pourable. Add a little more milk if the mixture is too stiff. Drizzle over top of cake.

Serves 4

Photo property of BakingBites.com

Mmm...Mmm...Mmm!

A big thank to Jenny for sharing her recipe with us!


Jenny Kales is the author of The Callie's Kitchen Mystery Series, featuring Greek-American Calliope Costas, feisty food business owner and amateur sleuth, who lives in a scenic Wisconsin town with colorful characters -- and a high murder rate! Each book contains several delicious recipes, both Greek and American.

ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK is the debut book in the series, followed by SPICED AND ICED (A Christmas cozy mystery), SECRETS AND PIES, and a NEW BOXED SET. The Callie's Kitchen Cozy Mystery Series Boxed Set, which includes Books 1 - 3, is now available and free to read on Kindle Unlimited!

LATEST RELEASE: A STEW TO A KILL, Book 4 in the Callie's Kitchen Mystery series! This Halloween mystery is available for the Kindle and in paperback.

Jenny is an avid reader, cook and baker and she's addicted to reading and mystery TV, especially anything on Masterpiece Mystery or Acorn TV. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, two daughters and one cute but demanding Yorkshire terrier. She's hard at work on additional writing projects including more Callie's Kitchen Mysteries and a new series. 


Purchase Link A STEW TO A KILL:

My Facebook author page: 


Sign up for Jenny's newsletter (for news, exclusive recipes, giveaways and more): https://jennykales.wordpress.com/




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let me know what you think!

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Thursday, February 14, 2019


That's what they say isn't it?
Maybe that's true. The following series all ended after just three books, and as the saying goes, they were good. No, they were great! Among my very favorites ever. But I have no doubt if these series had gone beyond three books, we'd never settle for threes again.

These are in no certain order

READ 'EM AND EAT MYSTERIES
by Terrie Farley Moran


Nestled in the barrier islands of Florida’s Gulf Coast, Fort Myers Beach is home to Mary “Sassy” Cabot and Bridget Mayfield—owners of the bookstore caf矇, Read ’Em and Eat. But when they’re not dishing about books or serving up scones, Sassy and Bridgy are keeping tabs on hard-boiled murder.
 
Read ’Em and Eat is known for its delicious breakfast and lunch treats, along with quite a colorful clientele. If it’s not Rowena Gustavson loudly debating the merits of the current book club selection, it’s Miss Augusta Maddox lecturing tourists on rumors of sunken treasure among the islands. It’s no wonder Sassy’s favorite is Delia Batson, a regular at the Emily Dickinson table. Augusta’s cousin and best friend Delia is painfully shy—which makes the news of her murder all the more shocking.
 
No one is more distraught than Augusta, and Sassy wants to help any way she can. But Augusta doesn’t have time for sympathy. She wants Delia’s killer found—and she’s not taking no for an answer. Now Sassy is on the case, and she’d better act fast before there’s any more trouble in paradise.
 
Includes a buttermilk pie recipe!


Happy to help her fellow bibliophiles, Sassy visits the local library with book donations for their annual fundraising sale. Unfortunately, the welcoming readers’ haven is in turmoil as an argument erupts between an ornery patron and new staff member, Tanya Lipscombe—also known as “Tanya Trouble.” She may lack people skills, but everyone is shocked when she’s later found murdered in her own hot tub.

The man last seen arguing with Tanya is soon arrested. But Alan Mersky, a veteran with PTSD, happens to be the brother of Sassy’s former boss—and he’s no murderer. Now it’s up to Sassy and Bridgy to clear Alan’s name and make sure the real killer gets booked.

Includes a recipe for Miss Marple scones!


At their seaside Read ‘Em and Eat bookstore caf矇, Sassy Cabot and Bridgy Mayfield offer fresh scones, great books, and excellent detective work…
 
With their book club season wrapping up with The Florida Life of Thomas Edison, Sassy and Bridgy decide to take their group on a day trip to the beautiful Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Hiring driver Oscar Frieland, who’s known for his colorful stories  and love of the caf矇’s Robert Frost fruit tartlets, the bibliophiles set off for a day of sunshine and history.
 
After a lovely excursion, the club returns to the caf矇 for lunch and a book discussion, but the group falls silent after Oscar is found dead in his van. The sheriff’s deputies have some questions of their own for the group, and if the ladies don’t find some answers soon, the next book they read might be from a prison library.

DEEP FRIED MURDERS
by Linda Reilly


Talia Marby serves up delectable English deep fried fare in the heart of the Berkshires—but she soon discovers there’s something fishy going on…
 
Sometimes in this life, you have to fish or cut bait. After walking away from a miserable job and an even worse boyfriend, Talia Marby has no regrets. She’s returned to her hometown and is happy to help her dear friend Bea Lambert by working at Lambert’s Fish & Chips, a cornerstone of a charming shopping plaza designed to resemble an old English village.
 
But not all the shop owners are charming. Phil Turnbull has been pestering Bea to sign a petition against a new store opening up, and his constant badgering is enough to make her want to boil him in oil. When Talia and Bea stumble upon Turnbull murdered in his shop, the police suspect Bea. Now it’s up to Talia to fish around for clues and hook the real killer before her friend has to trade serving food for serving time…
 
Includes delicious recipes!


Revenge is set to sizzle in the tasty new Deep Fried Mystery from the author of Fillet of Murder.
 
For Talia Marby, the sweet smell of success is a lot like the pungent aroma of fried fish and vinegar. Her new business, Fry Me a Sliver, is rapidly expanding beyond fish and chips to become one of the best eateries in the Berkshires. But the nasty owner of a neighboring boutique is making a stink, baiting Talia in a very public fight at a community center fundraiser and nursing an inexplicable grudge.
 
When the boutique owner is found strangled with Talia’s scarf knotted around her neck, our favorite fish fryer finds herself in hot oil. Needing to clear her name, and fast, Talia’s investigation soon yields some shocking surprises as well as a sizzling suspicion: someone had good reason to want the victim dead—and it’s frying Talia’s nerves...

Includes delicious recipes!


A cooking contest becomes a fry to the finish in the new Deep Fried Mystery from the author of Out of the Dying Pan.

Fry another day.
 
The town of Wrensdale is abuzz with excitement when Steeltop Foods sponsors a cooking contest to promote its new product, the Flavor Dial. With a $25,000 prize at stake, all the contestants are on edge, including Talia Marby, owner of Fry Me A Sliver. She hopes her mini deep-fried apple pies will win her the money to pay off the renovations on her restaurant. But when Norma Ferguson wins with her flaky-top chicken stew, the tensions dial up even more.
 
After Norma is found dead at her cooking station, the police suspect a losing contestant got a little too hot under the collar. Now it’s crunch time as Talia works to catch the killer and clear her name before another cook gets burned.

Includes delicious recipes!

PICKLED & PRESERVED MYSTERIES
by Mary Ellen Hughes


After her dreams of romance are crushed, Piper Lamb decides to pursue her dream of opening her own shop of pickles and preserves, called Piper’s Picklings, in the idyllic small town of Cloverdale. But she isn’t in town long before she encounters a barrelful of trouble…
 
The Cloverdale fair offers Piper a sweet opportunity to promote her business. With her new assistant, Amy, she sets up a booth centered around an eye-catching display of the ever-popular dills in an old-fashioned barrel of brine.
 
But things soon turn sour when fairgoers witness a fight between Amy’s boyfriend, Nate, and town council blowhard—and bagpipe player—Alan Rosemont. When Rosemont is found floating in Piper’s barrel, Nate becomes the prime murder suspect. With Amy’s boyfriend in a pretty pickle, there’s no time to dillydally. But as Piper searches for the real killer, she needs to be careful to preserve her own life…or she may end up a pickled Piper herself.

INCLUDES RECIPES


Piper Lamb knows how to make fruits and vegetables keep for months. Unfortunately, it’s the people around her who are expiring too soon…

After her fianc矇 left her, Piper came to Cloverdale to rebuild her life and open up her shop, Piper’s Picklings, to sell pickles and preserves. When her ex decides to drop in for a visit—just as things are heating up between her and a local Christmas tree farmer—Piper finds herself in a jam.
But there are other visitors to worry about…

An Italian soccer team is set to play the Cloverdale All-Stars in an exhibition game. Their manager, Raffaele Conti, was a bitter rival of Piper’s dill supplier, local farmer Gerald Standley. After Conti is found dead in Standley’s field, Piper must work to clear Gerald’s name and find out who relished killing Raffaele before the town is soured by another death.

INCLUDES RECIPES!


Piper Lamb has to take a break from jarring her delicious pickles and preserves to blow the lid off a poisoner....
 
Business is booming at Piper’s Picklings in Cloverdale, New York. But not all is sweet in the life of Piper’s number one customer and friend, local caterer Sugar Heywood. Sugar is dating wealthy realtor Jeremy Porter, but his family doesn’t approve. After their unscrupulous accountant finds some dirt on Sugar, the family quickly urges Jeremy to throw her out like rotten fruit.
 
Things are further spoiled after the accountant is found poisoned, and all evidence points to Sugar’s son, Zach. With the Porter family determined to avoid scandal, it won’t be easy for Piper to preserve Zach’s innocence. And after someone falls victim to a poisoned jar of some of her brandied cherries, Piper’s got a peck of trouble to deal with herself…

BRIDAL BOUQUET SHOP MYSTERIES
Beverly Allen
aka Barbara Early


As the co-owner of The Rose in Bloom, Audrey Bloom creates magnificent flower arrangements for brides to be. Though helping to plan a wedding can be stressful, it’s nothing compared to the groom turning up dead. 

A designer of eye-catching bridal bouquets—many of them based on the Victorian meanings behind each flower—Audrey Bloom is used to celebrations that end with happily ever after. In fact, every couple she’s worked with is still together, living in wedded bliss. But her perfect record is about to be broken.

Her childhood friend Jenny Whitney has reeled in the most eligible bachelor in Ramble, Virginia, and she’s hired Audrey to design the bouquet. But before Jenny can walk down the aisle clutching her blend of anemone, scabious, and pussy willow (a floral disaster in Audrey’s mind), the groom is found dead—sprinkled with bits of a bouquet. This is bad for business—not to mention for Jenny, who has become the prime suspect. So Audrey decides to do a little digging herself, hoping she won’t be the next Ramble resident pushing up daisies…


Deadly thorns lurk among the roses in this Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery

Florist Audrey Bloom, co-owner of the Rose in Bloom, creates fragrant bouquets for brides. But when a wedding goes fatally wrong, it’s up to Audrey to sniff out a killer . . .

 
Everything is coming up roses for Audrey when her dazzling creations are picked to be featured on a wedding reality show. The hot series is filming an episode about a bride who’s bonkers for bells, and Audrey’s bouquets of campanulas, calla lilies, and Bells-of-Ireland are perfect for the bridal theme.
 
But Audrey’s debut quickly becomes a hothouse of trouble. Her ex, Brad, shows up as a crew member on the show, threatening her blossoming relationship with Nick the baker. To make matters worse, when one of the show’s hosts is found dead in the bell tower of a historic church, all the evidence points toward Brad.

Now Audrey needs to weed out the real killer before someone else’s chance at stardom is permanently nipped in the bud . . .


In the latest Bridal Bouquet Shop mystery, florist Audrey Bloom creates an arrangement for a one-of-a-kind wedding, but ends up pruning a one-of-a-kind criminal…

As the co-owner of the Rose in Bloom Flower Shop, Audrey knows how to put together unique wedding bouquets, but this one takes the cake. The daughter of a local historian is getting married in a medieval-themed, hand-fasting ceremony, and Audrey is responsible for providing period-accurate blooms. 

But making sure she gets her roses right turns out to be the least of Audrey’s problems. Shortly after the vows are exchanged, the father of the groom suddenly drops dead. When Audrey discovers the man’s death stems from monkshood poisoning, it’s a clear-cut case of murder. Now, faced with a suspect list that rivals the guest list, Audrey needs to root out the toxic killer…

SWEET NOTHINGS LINGERIE MYSTERIES
by Meg London
aka Peg Cochran


Sweet Nothings has it all: silk ribbon, Venetian lace, the best bra fitter in town…
and two unsolved murders.
Emma Taylor thought she knew what to expect when she abandoned life as a big-city fashionista to help her aunt, Arabella, breathe new style into Sweet Nothings, her waning lingerie boutique. As Emma settles back in to Paris, Tennessee—a world where pie is served with a parable and a pitcher of sweet tea is the cure for most of life’s ills—her escape seems smooth as silk.
But when the town acquires a touch of unneeded je ne sais quoi with the arrival of Emma’s philandering ex, an unseemly murder turns her world inside out. As the police’s top suspect, Emma is going to need more than fishnets to snare the real killer. And when she and Arabella refuse to let death threats wrapped in knifed nighties stall Sweet Nothings’ vintage lingerie fashion show, it becomes increasingly clear that any garter may hide a gun and that bullet bras might have to live up to their name…


You’re invited to the Sweet Nothings trunk show. See what the shop has to offer, taste some wonderful food, catch up with friends, and solve a murder…
 
Emma Taylor is happy to be drawing in customers at her aunt Arabella’s lingerie shop, Sweet Nothings, but replacing the store’s broken window is going to cost a small fortune. Hoping to hoist up their sagging profits, Arabella arranges to have a trunk show at the home of a local socialite who will invite all of her friends and take care of the catering. All Emma and Arabella have to do is show up and show off their wares. Seems simple enough…
 
A gorgeous spread is prepared for the event, including delicious cupcakes topped with edible flowers. But after one of the partygoers takes a bite and winds up dead, the guest list becomes a suspect list. Now Emma must separate facts from idle gossip before the killer gives the cops the slip…


From selling camisoles to solving crimes, the ladies of the Sweet Nothings lingerie shop in Paris, Tennessee, will make this Valentine’s a day to remember… 

For Valentine’s Day, Emma Taylor and her aunt Arabella have organized a special evening for men only to shop for their sweethearts in the Sweet Nothings lingerie shop, complete with champagne and hors d’oeuvres. But when a former valentine shows up, Aunt Arabella is not her usual bubbly self.

Art dealer Hugh Granger is still a charmer, though. He invites the women to a ball he’s having to celebrate his birthday and his return to Paris, Tennessee. But when Granger is pushed from the balcony, it paints a sinister picture for Aunt Arabella, who gets framed…for her old flame’s murder.

DECOUPAGE MYSTERIES
by Lucy Lawrence 
aka Jenn McKinlay


The picturesque town of Morse Point may be a small dot on the New England landscape, but the decoupage class at Vintage Papers is larger than life. With cutouts, glue, and varnish, members create eye-catching projects—and uncover clues to a killing.

For Brenna Miller, teaching the popular decoupage class is the only way to gloss over her painful past. But it hasn’t been easy making friends in a town that doesn’t warm up to outsiders. And it doesn’t help when the pushy mayor asks her to convince her enigmatic landlord, Nate Williams, to sell his lakefront property to land developers.

But just when Brenna thinks the mayor’s given up, his body is found stuffed in a trunk at Morse Point Lake. And a witness claims that Nate’s truck was at the docks on the night of the murder. Now Brenna needs to help prove Nate’s innocence before his fate is signed, sealed, and delivered.


A sticky situation in the second Decoupage mystery. 

Decoupage teacher Brenna Miller is in over her head when she finds bride-to-be Tara with her fiance's dead best friend-and Tara holding the murder weapon. It's up to Brenna to get to the truth before Tara's future turns to shreds. 


Autumn in New England brings out the changing leaves, and the leaves bring out the tourists. When Brenna Miller gets stuck as the tour guide for a group of leaf peepers, she tries to make the best of it. But it's hard to stay enthusiastic after the trial leads them straight to a dead body.


Most of these wonderful threes can still be found new in paperback. You may have to look second hand for a couple. Most (if not all) are also available in eBooks. Let me know if you pick up any for yourself.

Have you read any of these? 
I'd love to hear your thoughts about them!







As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

Follow my blog by submitting your email in 
upper right hand corner of this page
(on the side bar).

Reading from your phone? Scroll to the bottom of your page and click "View web version".
Then follow the above directions.