Friday, November 30, 2018


It's
Cozy Food Friday!

That means it's time to share a recipe from 
another great cozy mystery!
This week it's recipe is from
PREMEDITATED PEPPERMINT
by Amanda Flower


Someone’s sweet on revenge . . .
 
Christmas is Bailey King’s favorite time of year. For her first Yuletide in Harvest, Ohio, the former big-city chocolatier is recreating a cherished holiday treat: peppermint combined with molten white chocolate. But her sugar high plummets when her former boyfriend walks into the candy shop she now runs with her Amish grandmother. New York celebrity chef Eric Sharp and his TV crew have arrived to film an authentic Amish Christmas. Bailey’s not about to let her beloved town—and Swissmen Sweets—be turned into a sound bite. Unfortunately, she gets more publicity than she bargained for when Eric’s executive producer is found strangled to death—and Eric’s the prime suspect. 
 
With Bailey’s sheriff deputy boyfriend out to prove Eric’s guilt, her bad-boy ex tries to sweet-talk her into helping him clear his name . . . and rekindle their romance to boost ratings for his show. Now, between a surplus of suspects and a victim who wasn’t who she seemed, Bailey’s edging dangerously close to a killer who isn’t looking to bring joy to the world—or to Bailey—this deadly Noel . . .


BAILEY'S PEPPERMINT BARK

Photo property of lovestoeat.com
Photos  found via Google Images and or Pintrest, and their contributors, with many thanks. Your finished dish will vary in appearance.

Ingredients

½ pound of bitter dark chocolate, rough chopped
½ pound of semisweet dark chocolate, rough chopped
 1 pound of white chocolate, rough chopped
1 teaspoon peppermint extract, or to taste
20 hard peppermint candies, crushed

Photo property of dontsweattherecipe.com

Directions

1. Using parchment paper, line a 9 x 13 baking pan.

2. Using a sauce pan of steaming water and a glass bowl, create a double boiler. Don't let the bottom of the bowl touch the water in the pan. Stir both types of dark chocolate together continuously in the glass bowl until the chocolate is completely melted.

3. Pour the melted dark chocolate into the baking pan. Let cool for ten to fifteen minutes.

4. Following the second step, make a second double boiler and melt the white chocolate. As the chocolate melts, add the peppermint extract. 

5. Pour the melted white chocolate and extract mixture over the top of the dark chocolate.

6. Using a hammer, crush the peppermint candies. Liberally sprinkle them over the top of the white chocolate while the chocolate is still warm. 

7. Stick in the refrigerator to cool for twenty minutes.

8. Remove the peppermint bark and parchment paper from the pan. Cut or break the bark into pieces.

Photo property of spendwithpennies.com

I make peppermint bark every year for Christmas, but have only used the white chocolate. I'll be adding the dark chocolate this year!


Please keep reading to check out my 
installments of 
Book Beginnings on Fridays
and
The Friday 56

Both the BB and 56 are from


PREMEDITATED PEPPERMINT
by Amanda Flower

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader
Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading.

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice
Rules: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that's okay.) *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you. *Post it.

My Book Beginnings

Peppermint is much more than a Christmastime treat. It has thousands of uses. It has been used to freshen breath, flavor beverages, calm nerves, and even grow hair. But as far as I could tell, it did not have the power to repel ex-boyfriends.

My 56

I wrapped my arms around my waist and steeled myself for the sheriff's approach.


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let me know what you think!

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Thursday, November 29, 2018


WHAT'S COOKING?
Made from scratch treats!



Somewhere along the way to mass produced, pre-packaged foods – in particular cookies and cakes – a misconception was born. That is: baking from scratch is hard.

Baking from scratch is no more difficult than grabbing a preservative and artificial flavor laden mix from your local grocery store. It’s a simple formula: add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mix, and bake. Anyone can do it and when baking from scratch you can pick your ingredients and cut back on all those preservatives the food companies are so fond of.

The recipes in this book are easy enough for a novice baker to follow and easy for the kids in your life to follow. Grab some ingredients from the store, find the necessary tools that you probably already have in your kitchen, and get to baking memories. 

Filled with over 60 kid-friendly, easy to make and easy to customize recipes. Including: cookies, cakes, muffins, breads, frostings, and brownies. The stories behind each recipe are even included.

One thing learned while assembling this cookbook is that baking is by far easier than writing, assembling, and formatting an electronic version of a cookbook.



The title and cover of this book drew me in. MERRY MARY’S MARVELOUS MUNCHIES? Seriously, how do you pass that by? Easy. You don’t!

This book is from a small publisher, so to make it budget friendly for the buyer the inside is a little light on photos. And, the ones that are included are black and white. For once, I’m okay with that because this cookbook is packed with tasty treats, and helpful information such as Abbreviations, and Measurement and Temperature Conversion Cups.

Chapters include, Mary’s Baking Commandments, Cinn-fully Cinnamon, Chocolate Crush, Oatmeal Overload, Muffin Mania, Scone-ucopia, Cookie Jar and more. Recipes you’ll find are Snickerdoodle Cake, SuperGirl’s Chocolate Chip No-Bakes, Oatmeal Scotchies, Cranberry-Orange Muffins, Cherry Scones, Banana Nut Bread, Mom’s Brown Sugar Cookies, Zucchini Cake, Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting, and so many more!

Author Mary Matthews has made baking from scratch so easy, anyone can do it. I’m looking forward to trying these wonderful recipes for myself, and to giving them as gifts!


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

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Not every new feature I've tried on the blog has been a hit. This was one of my favorites
 that didn't make the cut.



Christmas is coming!

So many things come to mind when thinking of Christmas, and they all bring a smile to my face. 
One of the things that brings the biggest smile?

COOKIES!!!

Dessert, parties, cookie exchanges . . . 
Cookies play a big part in the holidays.

Every Tuesday, now until Christmas, I'll be sharing some amazing cookie recipes from some of your favorite cozy authors and books!  

ESPRESSO SHOT
by Cleo Coyle


I shared this recipe back in May of 2015, but I think it's worth repeating!

Anginetti 
(Glazed Lemon Cookies)


Makes 3 to 4 dozen, depending 
on size and shape of cookie

Cookie Ingredients

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract 
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (grated from rind) 
1/8 teaspoon salt (pinch or two) 
3 large eggs 
1/4 cup whole milk 
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (sifted) 
4 teaspoons baking powder


Lemon Glaze Ingredients 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
4 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons lemon extract 
2 cups confectioners' sugar (sifted) 


Make Cookies

   With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together with vanilla and lemon extract, lemon zest, and salt. 

   Add eggs and beat for a minute or two until light and fluffy. 

   Add in the flour and baking powder, blending well with the mixer until you have a dough (be careful not to overmix the dough or cookies will be tough). Dough should be soft and sticky. 

   Chill for at least an hour---could dough is easier to work with. 

   Preheat the oven to 350° F.

   Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone sheets or spray surface with cooking spray. 

   With well greased hands, shape bits of dough into small ropes (about the thickness of a woman's wedding ring finger), make a ring with the rope of dough about 2 inches in diameter, and press ends together on the baking sheet. Or for lemon drops, simply roll pieces of dough about 1 inch in size and place on baking sheet.  (If you really want to go rustic, then don't even bother chilling the dough. Simply drop teaspoonfuls of the sticky dough onto the baking sheet.) 

   Bake about 10 to 15 minutes. Don't over cook. Baking time may vary, depending on your oven. 

   Let the cookies cool before glazing and decorating. 


Make Glaze

   In a nonstick saucepan, place the butter, water, and lemon extract over low heat. Stir until butter melts. 

   Add confectioners' sugar, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Wait until sugar dissolves before adding more. Continue until all sugar has been added. Stir or whisk until your glaze is smooth. 

   Use pastry brush to glaze your cooled cookies. (Optional: If you wish to add decorations to your cookies, such as nonpareils or colored sugar, be sure to sprinkle while glaze is still warm. I (Cleo Coyle) actually prefer the cookies without decorations, just the lemon glaze.) 


I can smell the lemon. Yum! 

Perfect for a cookie exchange!

Check back next Tuesday for another yummy cookie recipe! 

返返返返返返返返返


COOKIE JAR TUESDAY 
was introduced 2 years ago. 
Does it have a place back on the blog?
I'd love to hear what you think about it.


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.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Take a look at all the amazing 
cozy releases out today!


Mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington is trying to keep her grandmother from spending her golden years in an orange jumpsuit . . . 
 
The small town of North Harbor, Michigan, is just not big enough for the two of them: flamboyant phony Maria Romanov and feisty Nana Jo. The insufferable Maria claims she's descended from Russian royalty and even had a fling with King Edward VIII back in the day. She’s not just a lousy liar, she's a bad actress, so when she nabs the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies—a part Nana Jo plays every year in their retirement village production—Nana Jo blows a gasket and reads her the riot act in front of everyone.
 
Of course, when Maria is silenced with a bullet to the head, Nana Jo lands the leading role on the suspects list. Sam’s been writing her newest mystery, set in England between the wars, with her intrepid heroine Lady Daphne drawn into murder and scandal in the household of Winston Churchill. But now she has to prove that Nana Jo’s been framed. With help from her grandmother's posse of rambunctious retirees, Sam shines a spotlight on Maria’s secrets, hoping to draw the real killer out of the shadows . . .


* Includes a knitting pattern *
  
A mysterious woman arrives in picturesque Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, and the Seaside Knitters welcome her into their cozy world of intricate patterns and colorful skeins. Unfortunately, nothing frays a warm introduction like cold-blooded murder . . .  
 
With her shy manner and baggy jeans, Rose Chopra becomes an unlikely superhero the night she stumbles into Izzy Perry’s shop and inadvertently saves a shipment of yarn from water damage. When the Seaside Knitters help the enigmatic handywoman settle into town and find work at a popular real estate company, Rose proves she can fix just about anything—until a potential homebuyer is killed and she becomes entangled in murder . . .
 
The moment controversial entrepreneur Spencer Paxton is found dead in a pricey ocean-side house, accusations fly at the last person on the property—Rose. But the Seaside Knitters have their doubts. After all, Spencer’s political aspirations as well as his company’s plans to pave over Sea Harbor’s historic art district with luxury apartments earned him some very real enemies . . . 
 
Now, Izzy, Birdie, Nell, and Cass must swap knitting for sleuthing as they struggle to move the needle on a twisted homicide case causing turmoil across town. As tensions build in the sleepy New England community and Rose’s secret past unravels, the ladies face an unsettling realization—true victims aren’t always the ones buried six feet under . . .


Includes A Front and Back Cover for You to Color!
 
Life is looking rosy for Florrie Fox, manager of the Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. She’s working on an adult coloring book of gardens, her romance with Sergeant Eric Jonquille has entered a new chapter, and the bookstore’s weekly coloring club is a source of friendship and entertainment. No member is more vibrant than Dolly Cavanaugh. Dolly likes to say she was blessed with beauty and cursed with lousy husbands, but at least she has a grown daughter and a stunning brownstone to show for it!
 
When Dolly’s love of garage sales results in her showing up at Color Me Read with a rare book in hand, Florrie is astounded. The Florist, the earliest known coloring book, was first published in 1760. An original copy would be worth a fortune—and someone else knows it. That same evening, Florrie finds Dolly dead on the floor of her apartment, a corner of a coloring book page clutched in her hand. As Florrie delves into Dolly’s past and her personal effects, she discovers a skeleton in the closet—literally—and a whole lot of shady suspects. One of them is an expert in the fine art of murder, but can Florrie draw the right conclusion?


Claire Weatherly and her beau, police detective Jakob Fisher, learn that when it comes to murder, evil can hide in plain sight in this all-new addition to the national bestselling Amish Mysteries.

Jakob and Claire have been enjoying more time together in lovely Heavenly, PA. With Claire's help, the detective is making slow progress reconnecting with the members of his Amish family who shunned him when he left to pursue a career in law enforcement. Jakob's mentor, Russ Granger, the long-retired police chief who inspired him to become a cop, is back in town. Claire has always wanted to meet the man who changed the course of Jakob's life. But not long after he arrives in Heavenly, Russ is murdered. 

Jakob can only imagine that his old friend must have been killed by someone outside of the Amish community. He and Claire soon find that things are not as they seem--and that Russ may have stumbled into something sinister before he was killed. The answers they uncover are closer to home and more shocking than they ever expected.


Blood red is the season’s hottest color . . . 
 
With her wedding day mere weeks away, home stager Caprice De Luca is busy arranging every last detail for the reception at Rambling Vines Winery—a stylish venue she redecorated two years earlier. But the closer the bride-to-be gets to saying, “I do,” the more a celebration at Rambling Vines seems like a terrible mistake. As financial mishaps and unhappy customers put the winery in the red, an unidentified criminal plots to sour the business’s already ailing reputation. Worst of all, a romance from co-owner Michelle Dodd’s past could leave a permanent stain on Caprice’s best friend’s current love life. When Michelle’s aloof husband is found stabbed to death on a chaise lounge in the tasting room, Caprice vows to name the calculating culprit and set things right before her dream nuptials dissolve into a deadly nightmare . . .


Who could object to a flower festival?  
 
Britta Johnston and her aunt Elin are delighted that their Portland floral boutique is part of the city’s Rose Festival, which draws thousands to the Pacific Northwest for dragon boat races, fireworks, and other attractions—capped off by a big parade. They’re building a float that’s sure to rock the judge’s boat . . . until a gang of angry protestors shows up. The group, who call themselves Dark Fusion, are decidedly not into flower power, and they want to take down the system . . . including the upcoming extravaganza.
 
Then their leader is strangled with a garland of violets—and Britta finds the body. With tensions running high and so much at stake, there are plenty of suspects, from the Grand Marshal to a longtime volunteer to a former Rose Queen. But before Britta and Elin can stem the violence, the case is going to get even more explosive . . .


Staying in character can be murder when Cat Latimer and the members of her writers’ retreat head for a ghost town . . . 
 
Cat and the members of her writers’ retreat have just arrived in Outlaw, Colorado, an “Old West” tourist town complete with inhabitants dressed up as famous figures from history. But this authentic slice of Americana takes a murderous turn when a college student masquerading as a 19th-century saloon girl becomes history herself.   

Was she the intended target? Or did she take a hit meant for someone else? With a cast of suspects to choose from—including some notorious gunslingers and the sleazy town founders—Cat must unhorse the real culprit before a real-life ghost story is given a killer twist . . .


Window of opportunity . . .
 
Most housecleaners don’t do windows, but Tallie Graver loves leaving a pane of glass streak-free and sparkling. After a dirty divorce from a filthy-rich jerk, she's started her own cleaning business to make ends meet. On her latest job, prepping a renovated bed and breakfast for a grand re-opening, she's standing outside on a ladder, wiping off a grimy pane, when she spies a man on a bed through the glass. But the B&B isn't open for business yet—and the man's not sleeping. Her family owns the Graver Funeral Home, so Tallie knows a corpse when she sees one.
 
The victim is a shady building inspector with a reputation for handing out passing grades for a greased palm. With the local police resistant, Tallie launches her own investigation, before she gets a rep as a town crank. But it's going to take more than a squirt bottle and a squeegee to clean up this mess. With the help of her gal pal Gina, Tallie searches for a killer's motive. But she'd better be careful, or it'll be curtains for this window cleaner . . .


The ladies of the Wine Club take a break from sipping their ros矇 to put a cork in murder. . .
 
Annie "Halsey" Hall could get used to this—sitting around the pool in her backyard in Southern California, savoring the latest wine flights with the ladies of the Rose Avenue Wine Club: her best friend Sally, frozen yogurt shop owner Aimee, widow Peggy, and their newest member, journalist Mary Anne. Even Bardot, Halsey’s yellow lab, is in attendance, eyeing the pool as if contemplating a dive.
 
But the peaceful pleasure of the afternoon is soon shattered by the boom of a small plane crash at nearby Santa Monica Airport. Sometime later, a sour-faced detective shows up, holding a package of illegal drugs found on the plane—with Sally's address on it! Being suspected of drug smuggling is bad enough, but when a young mechanic who works at the airport is found murdered, the club springs into action. To get their investigation off the ground, they're going to have to wing it, but they're determined to unmask a killer . . .


Welcome to River Bluffs, Indiana, a cozy small town populated with charming homes, close-knit families, and the occasional deadly secret. . .

House-flipper Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod have found their latest project. The property, formerly owned by the late Cal Juniper, is filled with debris that must be cleared before the real renovation begins. But a trip to the attic reveals something more disturbing than forgotten garbage--a skeleton wearing a locket and rings that Jazzi recognizes . . .



Tests confirm that the bones belong to Jazzi's aunt Lynda, who everyone assumed moved to New York years ago after breaking up with Cal. Soon enough, the whole family is involved, sifting through memories and rumors as they try to piece together what really happened to Lynda--and the baby she gave up for adoption. In between investigating and remodeling, Jazzi is falling for the old house's charms--and for her gorgeous contractor, Ansel. But with surprises lurking in every nook and cranny, a killer might be waiting to demolish her dreams for good . . .



A Christmas crime shocks the merchants of a quaint shopping district in this latest installment of The New York Times bestselling Victoria Square series.

It's Christmastime, but not everyone is jolly--especially not Vonne Barnett. Her dead body has been found in Victoria Square. Katie Bonner, the manager of Artisan's Alley, happens to be at the tea shop Vonne's mother, Francine, owns when the news is delivered. 

Vonne left a trail of men behind her so the suspects are many--but the clues are few. A broken teacup leads Katie to one of the suspects, but before she can investigate, she's attacked. Katie may be closing in on a murderer, but time is ticking because the murderer is definitely closing in on her.


New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams’ intriguing new Secret, Book, and Scone Society novel, Nora Pennington and her fiction loving friends in small-town Miracle Springs, North Carolina, encounter a young woman desperately in need of a new beginning . . .
 
Nora Pennington, owner of Miracle Books, believes that a well-chosen novel can bring healing and hope. But she and the other members of the Secret, Book, and Scone Society know that sometimes, practical help is needed too. Such is the case with the reed-thin girl hiding in the fiction section of Nora’s store, wearing a hospital ID and a patchwork of faded bruises. She calls herself Abilene, and though Nora and her friends offer work, shelter, and a supportive ear, their guest isn’t ready to divulge her secrets. But when a customer is found dead in an assumed suicide, Nora uncovers a connection that points to Abilene as either a 
suspect—or another target.
 
Summer’s end has brought other new arrivals to Miracle Springs too. Entrepreneur Griffin Kingsley opens Virtual Genie, a cyber business that unloads people’s unwanted goods for cash. With the town in an economic slump and folks hurting for money, Virtual Genie and its owner are both instantly popular. A patient listener, Griffin dispenses candy to children and strong coffee to adults, and seems like a bona fide gentleman. But Nora’s not inclined to judge a book by its cover. And when a second death hits town, Nora and her intrepid friends must help the new, greenhorn sheriff discern fact from fiction—and stop a killer intent on bringing another victim’s story to a close . . .


Some new residents don’t deserve welcome baskets.

Small towns can be notoriously cliquey. Dappled Hills, however, wasn’t usually such a town. The residents ordinarily welcomed newcomers with open arms. But when Annabelle Tremont moved to town, the usual cheery greetings became angry whispers. Annabelle could be difficult and it wasn’t a big surprise to anyone when she turned up dead.

Beatrice was surprised when Annabelle moved from Atlanta to Dappled Hills … but she wasn’t surprised when she made enemies. That’s because Beatrice knew Annabelle from her days as a museum curator. Now Beatrice must find the killer … and clear her own name.


Julia and Barker's wedding day is finally here, but will everything go to plan? There's murder afoot once again in Peridale, and this time all fingers seem to be pointing to members of the church choir!

AUDIO

Staying in character can be murder when Cat Latimer and the members of her writers’ retreat head for a ghost town . . . 
 
Cat and the members of her writers’ retreat have just arrived in Outlaw, Colorado, an “Old West” tourist town complete with inhabitants dressed up as famous figures from history. But this authentic slice of Americana takes a murderous turn when a college student masquerading as a 19th-century saloon girl becomes history herself.   

Was she the intended target? Or did she take a hit meant for someone else? With a cast of suspects to choose from—including some notorious gunslingers and the sleazy town founders—Cat must unhorse the real culprit before a real-life ghost story is given a killer twist . . .

AUDIO

A Christmas crime shocks the merchants of a quaint shopping district in this latest installment of The New York Times bestselling Victoria Square series.

It's Christmastime, but not everyone is jolly--especially not Vonne Barnett. Her dead body has been found in Victoria Square. Katie Bonner, the manager of Artisan's Alley, happens to be at the tea shop Vonne's mother, Francine, owns when the news is delivered. 

Vonne left a trail of men behind her so the suspects are many--but the clues are few. A broken teacup leads Katie to one of the suspects, but before she can investigate, she's attacked. Katie may be closing in on a murderer, but time is ticking because the murderer is definitely closing in on her.










How do you choose just one? Or two? Or there? Or . . . .


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.