Monday, July 14, 2014

It's Our Fifth Anniversary!

Can you believe that it has been five years? I can't! Mystery Lovers' Kitchen is celebrating our fifth anniversary this month. Our first post went live on July 25th, 2009.

It seems just yesterday that I pitched the idea of a recipe blog to Daryl. The two of us met Julie Hyzy at Malice Domestic in May of 2009 and instantly loved her. An invitation to join us was issued on the spot! We had heard rumors about an author who would be writing a barbecue series and hunted her down. Of course, that was Elizabeth Spann Craig! I asked my editor about other culinary mystery authors, and she recommended Cleo Coyle! And then there were more rumors about a cupcake series. Jenn McKinlay jumped on board, and we had the makings of a blog that we named Mystery Lovers' Kitchen.

Over the years we were sad to see some of our friends leave. But with each departure we gained wonderful new friends in Wendy Watson, Jennifer Stanley (Ellery Aames), Sheila Connolly, Mary Jane Maffini, Lucy Burdette, and Peg Cochran.

By my calculations, we have over 1,750 recipes. Just this morning, I was looking for a meatball recipe and found that we have five! The three original members still remaining, Cleo, Daryl, and I, are approaching 280 recipes each.

Of course, I can't forget all our wonderful guests on Sundays who share a little bit about themselves and their books with us. We have met a lot of people and made so many friends, especially our wonderful readers who come to see what we're cooking up each day.

In honor of our anniversary, we're throwing two contests! We're giving away a book every day from today until July 25th. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here and tell us with whom you shared the news of our contests or our anniversary. Help us celebrate by spreading the word! Did you tell your neighbor? Did you email your sister? Did you post on Facebook? Did you tweet? Be sure to leave a comment each day because there will twelve drawings. Leave a comment before midnight because after midnight, the next drawing starts!

You can find our photo contest here! Five lucky winners will receive a Mystery Lovers' Kitchen tote bag and seven paperback mysteries! Since we can't get away on vacation, we hope our books are having fun this summer. Take a picture of one of our books having fun! You can enter up to five times, once in each of these categories:

1) One of our books with a cat
2) One of our books with a dog
3) One of our books having summer fun
4) One of our books in a library
5) One of our books in a bookstore.

5 people will win our Mystery Lovers' Kitchen tote and 7 books!

We thought you'd like to know what the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen alums are doing these days. Each day this week, we'll bring you up to date on one of them, starting today with Elizabeth Spann Craig!

Elizabeth, what are you working on these days?

Shear Trouble (Southern Quilting mystery 4) comes out on August 5!

As the leaves begin to fall in idyllic Dappled Hills, someone puts too fine a point on a local ladies’ man. Fortunately, the detective skills of quilter Beatrice Coleman are a cut above the rest....

The Village Quilters of Dappled Hills, North Carolina, are desperate to finish their quilts before an upcoming show. To help, fellow member Posy has opened the back room of her shop, the Patchwork Cottage, for everyone to use. But the ladies are less than thrilled when Phyllis Stitt and Martha Helmsley—members of their rival quilting guild, the Cut-Ups—ask to join them.

Phyllis is hoping to leave the Cut-Ups and join up with the Village Quilters now that Martha’s dating her ex-fiancé, Jason Gore. She’s not pleased when he visits the shop and even more upset when her new shears disappear. After offering to search for them, Beatrice discovers Jason with the shears buried in his unfaithful heart. Now she must sharpen her sleuthing skills to find a killer before someone else’s life is cut short.…

What was your favorite recipe at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen?

That's a tough one!  I love my recipe for pimento cheese --mainly because it's a family recipe that involves happy memories for me.  Then I thought about the cheese tortellini pasta salad recipe.  The reason it's a favorite is because I have regular cravings for it that force me to dash out to pick up the ingredients.  I finally decided on my recipe for tomato pie.  The reason it's my favorite? Because it's summer and those red, ripe tomatoes are just like candy right now--I could eat one right after another. 

Any fond or not so fond memories you'd like to share?

My funniest memories of Mystery Lovers' Kitchen involve my combative relationship with whatever food was on haplessly sitting on a plate and the camera aimed at it.  It's difficult to believe that I'm actually a fairly decent photographer with fairly decent equipment--when I'm shooting people.  For some reason, the static nature of the food fondness for casseroles (which I contend are challenging for even the pros to capture on film !) combined to create truly difficult photo shoots...evident in nearly all of my posts.  

I loved my experience with Mystery Lovers' Kitchen and the talented and fun ladies involved with it!  

Thanks, Elizabeth! We're always happy to see you back here.

And now, because we post a recipe every day, I'm sharing a Strawberry Cake. It's sort of like a poke cake but not because it doesn't involve jello, and I made it with a yellow cake. 

Strawberry Cake

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mace
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature or softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs at room temperature
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and mace in a bowl and set aside. 

Cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in each egg. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk. Bake 25 - 30 minutes. It should be lightly golden on top and a cake tester should come out clean. While it bakes, prepare the strawberries.

1 pound strawberries
1 cup sugar

Hull and slice the strawberries. Combine with sugar in a pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for about five minutes. Remove about 1/3 cup of the liquid and save for frosting. While the cake is still warm, poke holes into it with a wooden skewer. Ladle the liquid over it slowly (if you do it too fast it will run off to the sides). Spread the cooked strawberries over the cake in an even layer. Cool and refrigerate an hour or two before frosting.

8 tablespoons butter, softened
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup of the reserved strawberry liquid
1-2 cups powdered sugar

Beat the butter with the cream and strawberry liquid. Beat in sugar until it reaches the desired consistency and flavor. Spoon it over the strawberries and gently spread with an offset spatula so you don't dislodge the strawberries. Refrigerate.

Cook strawberries and sugar.
Poke holes in the cake while warm.
Spread strawberries and liquid over cake.
Frost with creamy frosting.

Don't forget to enter our contests!
Click on the picture below to enter the photo contest. Have fun with it!

We're also giving away a book every day from today until July 25th. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here and tell us with whom you shared the news of our contests or our anniversary. Help us celebrate by spreading the word! Did you tell your neighbor? Did you email your sister? Did you post on Facebook? Did you tweet? TODAY??? Be sure to leave a comment each day because there will be twelve drawings. Leave a comment before midnight because after midnight, the next drawing starts! Today you could win a copy of THE DIVA WRAPS IT UP or MURDER, SHE BARKED. Your choice!

REMEMBER TO INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS so we can contact you if you won! 


  1. I share with my AAUW mystery book group.

  2. I share with my family and friends.

  3. Hi ladies, just wanted to say a huge HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. The original members of this group were instrumental in me dipping my foot into blogdom. It's been a thrilling adventure and I can't thank y'all enough for all the wonderful books and yummy recipes y'all have shared with us. Wishing you many, many more years of blogging, awesome books, great food and wonderful friendship.

    Thoughts in Progress

  4. I tried to post this once but I think Blogger ate my comment. It must have thought it was cake. Anyway...

    Congratulations on five years! I've gotten some really great recipes here over the years, and I'm looking forward to sharing one with you in the fall.

    I love the Bathing Beauties banner. Yinz guys look ma-a-h-h-velous!

  5. I shared with a couple of friends who like to read mysteries

  6. I shared on my facebook page.

  7. Congratulations!!! You ladies look marvelous!
    I always post your goodies on Facebook.
    I'm not sure how long ago I discovered your blog, but I'm SO glad I did!
    Here's to many, many more years of good eating, good reading, and good company.

  8. I'm excited to be a part of the anniversary this week! Thanks, y'all. And I absolutely love the bathing beauties terrific is that?!

    And now I'm going to have to buy some strawberries to make this amazing recipe that Krista posted. :)

    1. Elizabeth - Welcome back!!! I have to tell you that Marc and I still make and LOVE your famous pimento cheese recipe. It's the greatest - and so are you. Cheers and congrats on your upcoming release, too. Let's all raise a glass to good memories, good food, and good reading!

      ~ Cleo

  9. I am sharing with everyone. My B-day is the 25th, so I am excited to share the day with you guys, Happy Anniversary---Rae


  10. Happy Anniversary. I am sharing with friends and my sister. What a wonderful celebration. Best wishes. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  11. I shared on Twitter - this recipe looks yummy! I discovered the blog last year and I've really enjoyed all the recipes!

  12. I enjoy your blog very much, filled with delightful recipes, books and information. Happy Anniversary. I shared with friends, neighbors and on facebook. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  13. My reply earlier seems to have gone astray.
    LOVE the banner photo, you gorgeous girls, you!! So much fun, which is what this blog has always been. So happy to have been part of it. Happy Anniversary! Love you all!

    1. We love you, too, Julie! I'm looking forward to hosting your post tomorrow. Come on back, everyone, you'll love Julie's pick from her recipe archives. Cheers!

      ~ Cleo

  14. Happy anniversary! I shared on my FB page.


  15. Happy anniversary! I told my sister!

  16. I shared with my daughter...

    patucker54 at aol dot com

  17. Happy Anniversary! I shared with my golf foursome. Thanks for the contest.

  18. I shared on Facebook and with my family in person! Happy Anniversary!

  19. Krista, I am so proud to be a part of this blog. You are the inspiration and you continue to amaze me with your cheerleading abilities. And those legs!!! Yipes! :)

    Love and hugs,
    Daryl aka Avery (who was first Avery...and then Daryl...and then...) The madness continues.

  20. Happy anniversary! Told a friend

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  21. Happy Anniversary! I have shared with my aunt's on the phone and best friend. elisanabby at gmail dot com

  22. Happy anniversary! I told my son today. lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  23. Congratulations on 5 years. I shared on FB

  24. The black bean brownies are great! -

  25. I share with my daughter. She loves mysteries but doesn't care for my romance novels. Also share with some friends. I learning more and more of them like to read also.