Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to All Our Readers at Mystery Lovers Kitchen

We hope you're having a wonderful day filled with family and friends and turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy and stuffing and vegetables and pie--or whatever your favorite Thanksgiving traditions are! We are so grateful for your visits to our blog, for your comments, for reading our books, and for making our lives a little bit richer.

We thought it might be fun to share a few of our favorite foodie gifts--to make your mouth water while you're waiting for dinner. So if you're visiting this holiday season or want ideas for the elves in your lives, here are some ideas.

LUCY BURDETTE: For immediately edible treats, I'm mad for Nocciolato, an organic Nutella-like hazelnut spread that I use to make fudge (about $10.) I took the fudge when we were houseguests at our son’s prospective in-laws’ home—it was an instant sensation.

KRISTA DAVIS: I recommend Theo Pink Salted Caramels. Perfect caramels are enrobed in dark chocolate and sprinkled with exactly enough pink sea salt. About $7.50 for four little mouthwatering wonders. I added a box to our tip for the garbage collectors last Christmas, and our trash cans haven’t been tossed to the curb since.

SHEILA CONNOLLY: My grandmother used to arrive for Thanksgiving laden with foodie nibbles (since she lived in New York, they were pretty special): all kinds of nuts in the shell, dates, giant apples and grapes. Most of them I stuck up my nose at, but she also brought wonderful macaroons from what used to be Robert Day Dean's. I'm still hunting for any as good as those. Their decorated sugar and ginger cookies were also pretty spectacular. So if you're eating Thanksgiving with children: bring sweets (and if mom is worried about spoiling their appetites, just slip them a few tastes under the table).

aka AVERY AAMES: I love making a hot chocolate mix and putting it in a jar with a special spoon attached. I print out these directions. Dump all these things in a bowl: 2 cups powdered sugar; 1 cup cocoa; 2 1/2 cups powdered milk; 1 teaspoon salt; 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Stir. Put into jars. You can top with some marshmallows, but if you have a gluten-free recipient, don’t do that unless the marshmallows are gluten-free. FYI: Kraft Marshmallows are!  J Add a tag with directions to fill the mug half full with mix and then add steaming hot water. Stir and enjoy!

PEG COCHRAN: One of my favorite things to make and bring is a gift box (or bag) of homemade peanut brittle (recipe here).  Just add some fancy wrapping and you have a delicious hostess gift that can be nibbled after dinner or saved for another occasion (if you can resist the temptation!)

VICTORIA ABBOTT: Everyone we know is so busy.  We all want gifts that work for us. One gift that keeps on giving is a stash of refrigerator or freezer cookies. They'll be there the day or the week after when the busy hostess wants to put her feet up. She can slice off the exact number and enjoy cookies fresh from the oven without all the clean-up, with our without guests. We love to get them and this year we plan to give a brown sugar and almond version.  Or should it be the chocolate chip ones? Hmmm.

CLEO COYLE: For coffee lovers, a premium package of coffee makes a lovely gift. This year, Marc and I are excited to be giving our very own blend, "Billionaire's Blend," which was created by Holly O'Connor of One Good Woman Fine Coffees and Teas and her master roaster Shane in honor of our visit to their store in Eastern PA. The name of the blend is taken from our Coffeehouse Mystery, Billionaire Blend, and the customers liked it so much that Holly and Shane decided to keep roasting and selling it. Giving someone a gift with the word "Billionaire" in the title is a real hoot. And while this delicious blend is rich, the price is not (under $15.00 a pound, which is a good deal for premium, small-batch roasted coffee). To order it for yourself, simply call the toll free number at their shop 1-866-610-2872. Their staff is incredibly warm and friendly and they excel at fulfilling special orders. May you drink with joy!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cheese Popovers & Cheese Shop Book #Giveaway from @AveryAames

We've been having a special giveaway this past week for Thanksgiving. 

We now have over 2000 Facebook followers and a horde of regular viewers of our blog. 

To thank you all, we have been giving away a book a day, through tonight. Winners will be announced on Thanksgiving! Check back to see if you won!

I'm giving away a copy of your choice of  Cheese Shop Mysteries to celebrate the upcoming launch of AS GOUDA AS DEAD, which debuts February! Say cheese! If you already have all of the Cheese Shop Mysteries,  I'll even give you a choice of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries,  including STIRRING THE PLOT.

Leave a comment with your email so you can be entered to win!

* * *

And now, to savor the season, I'm offering a tasty treat.  One of my specialties on Thanksgiving. Cheese Popovers. For all you gluten-free people who cannot eat the stuffing, this is a great alternative. I've provided both versions of the recipe for regular eaters and celiacs! 

They pop up beautifully and satisfy any palate.

And they're so easy to make. I did purchase a special popover pan for them, but you can use a muffin pan and the yield will be 12 instead of 6. 

Cheese Popovers
Gluten-free OR Regular recipe
Read ahead to see the difference

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and divided

¼ cup milk (I've used both 1% and 2% milk)
¼ cup water
2 large eggs
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour 
[To make regular popovers; substitute out the GF flour for regular; omit the xanthan gum]
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon dried thyme

6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese (you'll need more if using cupcake pan)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide 2 tablespoons melted butter among the wells of a 6-cup popover pan, brushing each to coat. Place popover pan in oven to preheat. [If you're using regular cupcake pan, use a little more melted butter so they are all well lubed.]

In large bowl, whisk together the milk, water, and eggs. Gradually whisk in remaining tablespoon melted butter.

Add the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, salt, pepper, garlic salt, rosemary, and thyme. [As noted in the ingredients, to make regular popovers; substitute out the GF flour for regular; omit the xanthan gum]

Whisk until batter well combined. Carefully remove hot popover pan from the oven and ladel the batter evenly among the popover cups. (They’ll be about half full.)

Sprink each with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes until puffed and golden. Do not open the oven during baking time. Remove popovers from pan. Using a small knife, make a small slit in the side of each popover to release the steam. That will keep them from deflating. [Baking time if you're using cupcake pan is much shorter; 15-18 minutes.]

Serve immediately.

Remember, leave a comment and your email to enter to win a book!
Tell me what you most enjoy on the Thanksgiving table!


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STIRRING THE PLOT is available for order: order here.

AS GOUDA AS DEAD, February 2015, available for
preorder here.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

#Thanksgiving Cooking Advice from Captain Kirk and a Great Use for Leftover Turkey via Cleo Coyle

How do you like to use your Thanksgiving leftovers? Here's an idea for you, adapted from a real Fire Captain's firehouse kitchen: Fast Truck Turkey Casserole
But before I share the recipe with you, I have a rather entertaining fire safety warning from another sort of Captain.

Below is actor William Shatner with a new musical version of Eat, Fry, Love, a Turkey Fryer Safety Video he made for State Farm a few years back.

Take it away, Captain!

* * * * * * * * * * * 

Thanks, Bill, we love you!

If you do not see the video embedded
above, click here to watch it on YouTube.

Thanksgiving Day Giveaway!

We're celebrating Thanksgiving this week with
giveaways every day at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. 

I'm giving away my brand new Coffeehouse Mystery
in its beautiful 
first-edition hardcover format and a custom-designed 
Coffeehouse Mystery mug featuring 
one of Madame's favorite sayings.

Drawing at 12 Noon 
Thanksgiving Day

To enter my drawing,

Click Here and leave a comment
on my Perfect Turkey Gravy post
from last week.

(Marc and I are loving your comments!!)


If you leave a comment
on THIS POST, too,
you will have 2 entries.
Good luck and 
Happy Thanksgiving!

And now for today's recipe...

"Fast Truck" (Firehouse)
Turkey Casserole

Recipe Note from Captain Colston:

"When I first started as a firefighter, I still lived at home, like a lot of us firefighters did when we started out, so I could only cook things from a box. This is a real quick meal that we created from leftovers one night when we didn’t have a lot to spend. It’s a fast meal to make, which is nice when you’re busy at the station."

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.

Recipe Note from Cleo:

The recipe that follows is my adaption of the captain's recipe. Why did I have to "adapt" it? Because the captain's original portions were huge! The funny thing is, he claimed his original recipe would "Serve 4." Oh, sure, 4 firefighters maybe. For us mortals, however, the amounts were more like serves 12. I halved it and got a serving of 6, added a bit more detail, including oven temperatures and time, a tweak on the ingredients for better flavor, and quickie directions on cooking chicken breasts, if needed.

Serves 6


4 cups cooked turkey, chopped (or 2 chicken breasts cooked and chopped)
6 cups leftover stuffing or one 12-ounce box of turkey stuffing 
14-ounce can of chicken broth or 1-3/4 cups of fresh stock
1-2 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 slices cooked ham, quartered (or six slices of round breakfast ham or Canadian bacon)
8 ounces pepper jack cheese (deli slices or block cheese)*

*Note: If you don't care for spicy flavor, substitute any mild cheese that melts easily: e.g., Monterey Jack, Colby-Jack, mozzarella, or a young Provolone or Asiago.

Step 1 - You can use leftover turkey or chicken for this recipe; rotisserie chicken; or roast or grill your chicken breasts fresh. To roast raw chicken breasts, sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning; place them in a greased shallow pan; and cook them for about 45 minutes in an oven preheated to 325 degrees F. Do not overcook or your chicken will be dry. Chop up the cooked chicken and set aside.

Step 2 - Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a shallow 8 x 12-inch glass dish or casserole pan with butter or margarine. In a large bowl, mix together the stuffing and broth. If you roasted chicken specifically for this dish, I suggest adding the pan drippings to the stuffing bowl for even more good flavor. Pour the stuffing into the pan. Using the back of a large spoon, press it into an even layer, and bake until the top is crispy and brown, about 20 minutes.

Step 3 - Spread the cooked chicken evenly on top of the cooked stuffing. Arrange the ham slices on top of the chicken and return it to the hot oven for 10 minutes. Remove the pan once more and cover it evenly with the cheese slices (or shredded block cheese). Bake for 10 more minutes, until cheese is mostly melted. Finish under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly.

This turkey or chicken casserole is delicious served with sweet corn and a salad. May you eat it with joy.

F o o d i e


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
May you eat with bountiful joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about our books here.

On Sale
December 2nd!

Join coffeehouse manager
Clare Cosi as she solves the crime
against "Sleeping Beauty," opens
secret doors (uptown and down),
and investigates a cold case that's
been unsolved since the Cold War.

A Wicked Good
Murder Mystery

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clicking here.

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