Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Cheers to the holidays -- and a double #bookgiveaway


CHEERS!

My holiday gift to you: One lucky reader will win two signed copies of GUILTY AS CINNAMON---one to keep, and one to give away. Comment below for a chance to win.  

I like to joke that research for my books means eating. And that's kinda true. But when I was writing GUILTY AS CINNAMON, I knew I needed to understand more about the business of being a chef. So I devoured chef lit—memoirs and nonfiction about kitchen life. One fun discovery was BLOOD, BONES & BUTTER: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton, founder and chef of Prune in New York. I learned a lot about cooking and the business of running a restaurant, but also how freedom and weirdness are key ingredients. Chef Hamilton described a scam that worked its way into CINNAMON, after I finally figured it out!

And she made me crave the Negroni, a cocktail made with gin and Campari. Have I said, I don’t like gin? And Campari is too bitter for me. But this drink—wow.

Then we went to Seattle, for research. I-90 in central Washington was clogged with construction and we got to our hotel in the Pike-Pine corridor late, hungry, and thirsty. We walked a couple of blogs to the Odd Fellows Café in the old Odd Fellows Hall, two doors down from the great Elliott Bay Book Company, and two blocks from my alma mater, Seattle University.

Where I drank a Negroni sbaglatio, made with sparkling wine instead of gin. Wow. Plus you can drink two and still walk home.

(When we took these pictures, we hadn’t found the little tool for cutting the perfect orange peel. You don’t technically need it. But you know you want it.)

My version of the Negroni comes from Gary Regan, author of the Joy of Mixology, which Mr. Right found in said Elliott Bay Bookstore. Sandra’s spiced nuts are my variation of a recipe found in Vij’s Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine, by Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala, the husband-and-wife team who run Vij’s in Vancouver, B.C. Road trip!

Garam masala is an Indian spice blend that’s as individual as the cook. GUILTY AS CINNAMON includes the Seattle Spice Shop’s version, created by Sandra, the shop's master mixologist. Make your own, or use a commercial version, as I did for this batch. My house is redolent with cloves and cardamom. And the sweetness the mango adds is a nice complement to the cayenne.

The perfect pairing for your holiday entertaining, for a party of twenty or one. Just save some for me.

The Negroni 

For each drink:

1½ ounces Campari
1½ ounces sweet vermouth
1½ ounces gin
1 orange twist (a strip of peel, about 1/2 inch wide and 3 to 4 inches long, twisted to release the oils)


Pour the liquor into an ice-filled rocks glass, and add the peel.



Best drunk outdoors on a deck overlooking a freshly mowed meadow or water. Or anywhere, actually.


For a Negroni Sbagliato, substitute champagne or sparkling wine for the gin. Drink lore says a bartender created it by grabbing the wrong bottle; sbagliato means “mistaken” in Italian. An inexpensive sparkling wine, on the dry side, like Freixenet (pronounced “fresh-eh-net”) Brut from Spain or Yellow Tail from Australia, will do nicely. Plus the wine will add a touch of international flair! No need to worry about opening the bottle. Just uncrimp the wire cage and remove it, place one hand over the cork, and turn the bottle, not the cork, until you hear that satisfying pop.

Sandra’s Spiced Nuts

1 pound raw almonds or cashews, or a mix
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt or another crystal variety
1½ teaspoons amchur, or mango powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
1½ teaspoons ground cayenne


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together the nuts, oil, salt, and spices.



Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and roast about 10 minutes, stirring once to cook the nuts evenly. (If the edges of the nuts start to brown, pull them out to avoid burning.) Place the baking sheet on a rack; the nuts will continue to brown slightly as they cool.


Remember what Pepper says about spice blends: They take a few hours to marry and mellow, so these are best made ahead. They’ll keep several weeks if stored in a tightly sealed container.

Makes 1 pound.

Recipes from GUILTY AS CINNAMON (Berkley Prime Crime, December 2015)

Do you have a favorite holiday libation? 

Leave a comment, with your email address, to be entered for a chance to win two signed copies of GUILTY AS CINNAMON, the second installment in my Seattle Spice Shop mysteries---one for yourself and one to give a friend! Contest ends at midnight, Wednesday, December 16. 



Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website or on Facebook.



93 comments:

  1. I think that is one of the best parts of writing foodie fiction- playing with recipes in the kitchen (and eating them with a group of friends!) Love the cover on this book; looking forward to reading it!

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  2. I can't wait to read this! And I would love to share with a friend! Thanks for the chance!
    karen(dot)kenyon(at)rogers(dot)com

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  3. Love the stories behind the recipes; and of course would love to read the book (and share the other copy with a dear friend)! EMS591@aol.com

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  4. That drink sounds interesting...
    the3beersus@yahoo.com

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  5. Growing up my father was famous for his Tom&Jerry concoction served at holiday parties. I loved spoonfuls of the batter, but when I was old enough, adding bourbon was allowed. Nice! Now, I love egg nog with brandy, cranberry with champagne, and an old stand-by...Irish Coffee with a drizzle of mint syrup! kat8762@aol.com

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    1. Cranberry with champagne? Hand me one, would you, Kathleen?

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    2. Pat (patdupuy@yahoo.com)December 15, 2015 at 1:02 PM

      I used to love eggnog until I decided I really didn't need the calories. Now I think mulled wine or any kind of drink made with sparkling wine is good for the holidays.

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  6. Sandra’s Spiced Nuts sounds like a good recipe. Thank you for the giveaway.
    myrifraf(at)gmail(dot)com

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  7. I would love to win this for my sister and me. Thanks for the giveaway. poohwine1217@gmail.com

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  8. Thank you for sharing the recipes!!! Cannot wait to read! Dspinlexo@aol.com

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  9. My favorite has always been eggnog. We were allowed one little sip on Christmas Eve when I was little. I still make it the same way and trust that all that booze will kill anything that the raw eggs might be hiding.

    harbingerdc(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. Wow, 2 books! Thanks for the chance!

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  11. I like cinnamon nuts but haven't ever had them with this type of spice mixture.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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  12. I don't really like gin either but this might be one drink to try! And the spiced nuts sound tasty, very different from what I am used to but tasty. No favorite holiday drink especially, but wine or eggnog are always good. I do remember my mom mixing a special concoction every New Year's Eve and waiting until I was old enough to try it. No idea what it was, probably gin since she liked a sloe gin fizz, had egg in it (?), and she called it a "Yahootie." Weird but a fun memory of my very unusual mom.

    Thanks for the generous giveaway! Happy Holidays!
    sallycootie@gmail.com

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    1. Too funny -- a Yahootie sounds like what I blame when Yahoo isn't behaving!

      Cheers!

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  13. That's awesome!! Impatiently waiting inline for the book at my library! Hopefully it's under my tree too!!
    mygnomeshome@gmail.com

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  14. Indian spices add such a magical touch, whether purchased as a mix or mixed by you.
    Thanks for tasty sounding ideas.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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  15. Would love to win 2 copies. I always donate my books to the small town library and the wished I hadn't. I've fought hard to get cosies on the shelves. They admit library patron do read them.Ruth Nixon ruthenixon@sbcglobal.net

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  16. I like eggnog. Thanks for offering the books. I would give the second copy to the library for many others to enjoy!

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  17. I enjoy hot tea. Thanks for this great feature and giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  18. The book would be a real enjoyment. I would give the book as a gift. Many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  19. I like hot chocolate with brandy in it---but now I think I'll try your drink. Thanks for the contest.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  20. Oh I like cranberry margaritas and wassail. I think that is how you spell it. And any hot chocolate with peppermint!

    Thank you for the opportunity
    ejbs3s@yahoo.com

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  21. Thanks for the chance to win! ! Dnrocker@yahoo.com

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  22. Anything with Bailey's Irish Cream usually wins me over.
    Thanks for the chance.
    Lady.janel@hotmail.com

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  23. Oh happy holidays. I have a cat named Cinnamon. Her sister it Nutmeg. Thank you for the recipes.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, Lisa, love that! Are they a golden brown, or did you pick the names just for fun?

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  24. Sounds like you had fun while doing some research for the book,lol. Thanks for a chance to win one.
    rags6152@gmail.com

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  25. I don't drink very often, but I don't mind a little run in my egg nog at Christmas!

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  26. I can't drink due to the meds that i take for my nerve disease but my hubbys is Irish Baileys Creme he buys a little bottle. Now I love cinnamon i eat cinnamon toast every morning and love cozy mysteries have read and reviewed many would love to read this! ptclayton2@aol.com

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  27. I loved the recipes, can't wait to try them. My favorite holiday drink is Irish Coffee but must be enjoyed in front of the fireplace. Thank you for the chance to win 2 copies, one for me and one for my friend. scarletbegonia5858@gmail.com

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  28. Great recipes and giveaway! Thanks so much! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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  29. Thanks, all! This very day, one of my favorite food bloggers, David Lebovitz, is singing the praises of the Negroni! http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2013/09/negroni-cocktail-recipe-gin-vermouth-campari/

    (And other characters wonder why Pepper and Erin don't believe in coincidence!)

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  30. Thank you for the chance to win 2 books. Would like to win.
    angelbear19662000@yahoo.com

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  31. Love the cover on the book. Thanks for the giveaway. marlene.ezell@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. Isn't it great? I adore my cover artist's vision, for both series. And I promise, Arf the dog plays a big role in solving the mystery!

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  32. There was a spiked eggnog that a doctor made, when I worked in his office that was delicious! The other doctors would come for eggnog and treats but of course, as staff, we could have some too. Merry Christmas! dbahn@iw.net

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  33. Thank you for the recipes and the giveaway. J_A_M_5672@yahoo.com

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  34. I like the title of the book because I love cinnamon! Thank you for the chance to win two books. crossxjo@hotmail.com

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  35. I'm a die hard Pinot Grigio fan. No fancy drinks for me.
    cjreynolds52(at)comcast(dot)net

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  36. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!! And I would LOVE to win this. I just may have to pair that gift with the first in the series for a great friend I love to share cozies with. ;) Thanks so much for the chance to win!
    awilcox1182@gmail.com

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  37. Around the holidays I like a huge mug of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream!! Love the books on this site!! Thanks for the chance to win!! Happy holidays!! lindaherold999@gmail.com

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  38. Terrific Giveaway!!! Love the Recipes. My Mom Always made Wassail for Christmas Eve. I was allowed only a sip lol By the time I was old enough to drink it, she wasn't making it much anymore. I have never made it myself. My favorite mixed drink is a Sea Breeze-Cranberry juice, Grapefruit juice and Vodka. I don't drink alcohol anymore, so now I do the same drink just without the Vodka in the Summertime--Very Refreshing. In the cold months, I have Cranberry & Orange juice. I have a thing about Cranberries--YUMMM LOL

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  39. While I love to cook if I had a choice I'd be the taster, who wouldn't? I often think Anthony Bordain ought to retire and they ought to hire a couple of fun women to travel the world and taste great cuisine, since we know that's not going to happen I get to dream about it in culinary mysteries.

    P.S. I'd love to win.

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  40. Thanks for the giveaway. I have several friends who would love to read your book. The only time I drink eggnog is at Christmas, but I also like Wassail at this time of year. I love hot chocolate all winter long. elainehroberson at gmail.com

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  42. Great ideas for the Christmas season. A generous giveaway, I would love to read this book.

    cenya2 at Hotmail dot com

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  43. The Eggnog sounds great and wonderful before a roaring fire...thank you for the recipe and the chance to win a book for my Sister and I...we love our cozies..My Mom used to love and make a form of Eggnog but yours sounds really good too.
    Thanks for the contest.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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  44. I can't do gin so I'd go for the champagne. My two faves use it. Mimosas and bellinis.
    pmettert@yahoo.com

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    Replies
    1. Both yummy! Have you tried Kir Royale? Champagne with cassis, blackberry liquer. Tres French, tres yummy!

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  45. My fave libation is hot toddy with Scotch. Zeta@iwon.com

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  46. I'll skip the recipes this time but will enter for the books! Merry Christmas!!
    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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  47. Thank you for the opportunity to win! I don't drink but I love nuts! This is a great series and I'd love to read the new book! smmolloy1105@yahoo.com

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  48. I am not familiar with Campari but am intrigued by a drink that you are fond of even though the main components don't appeal to you as a rule.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

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    Replies
    1. Isn't that funny? No idea why it caught my attention or my taste, but it's a good example of the fun of trying new things!

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  49. Happy Holidays. Thanks for the recipes! Would love to win.

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  50. I'm not even sure where I'd look for mango powder, but they look interesting - lol! :-) nicolev.girldetective@gmail.com

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    1. I couldn't find it, either, even at the amazing World Spice, so I ground a piece of dried mango in our mini food processor. Loved the fruity sweetness it added! But I can't really think of a decent substitute.

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    2. A great idea, and very resourceful!!! :-)

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  51. The drink sounds interesting, usually gin makes me sick so I don't know if I will try it. I usually like to drink eggnog nog with Kahlua in it, or coffee with Kahlua and whipped cream. I just tried mulled wine this year and I have to say that quickly jumped to one of my favorites.
    momzillasteel at gmail dot com

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  52. We make St NIcholas punch, kids love it

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  53. Hey, for all you hot cocoa fans, Wms-Sonoma has a recipe roundup here:http://blog.williams-sonoma.com/frozen-hot-chocolate-party/ (Scroll down past the party ideas -- also fun!)

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  54. We generally keep a kettle of apple cider with a few cinnamon sticks warming on the stove. Great for guests and makes the whole house smell wonderful!

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  55. Thanks for sharing the recipes.
    My family likes hot chocolate the best so we have a lot of that during the holidays and when it gets really cold outside.
    jwisley(at)aol(dot)com

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  56. Leslie, I truly respect an author who does thorough research for their writings and still be able to walk home! LOL Seriously though, thank you for the chance to win!
    sxygrndma48{at}yahoo{dot}com

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    Replies
    1. Eating -- and drinking -- my way through Seattle, so you don't have to!

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  57. I don't drink but I like the blue bottle pictured. Hot chocolate sounds good or coffee with flavored creamer or the international instant coffees such as Café Francais. Sometimes I drink tea, too.
    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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  58. Eggnog is my favorite. dhazelton(at)myfairpoint(dot)net

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  59. Hi Leslie, when I finish a book I give it to a friend or donate to my local library. We have a little used book store inside the library and the money received there is used to help with library expenses (new books, computer expenses, etc). I have donated over 500 books the past few years. Great way to share a love of reading with others. Books just continue to enrich our lives, and authors like you continue to share your gift with us.
    Can't wait to try the spiced nuts. ksarginson@tampabay.rr.com

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    1. That is so wonderful, Kay --- keeping that circle moving!

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  60. I would love to win and read your books
    Cajunnanna452488@aol.com

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  61. I love Indian spices and Indisn food but have always been too chicken to try to make a dish. Maybe I'll start with the spiced nuts! Korinamoss@gmail.com

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  62. Love the recipes and would love to read the book. I would give the second book to my sister. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    diannekc8@gmail.com

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  63. Thank you for the chance to win and Happy Holidays! bmalic610@yahoo.com

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  64. I've always been more of a classic cocoa girl. Thanks for a chance to read your book. Merry Christmas! kozseys@yahoo.com

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  65. Della at deepotter@peoplepc.com We have to try the spice nuts. But for the salt I'll be using the Himalayan Pink Salt. Think I'll pass on the drink. Not my style. Besides. Prefer Eggnog with Southern comfort or hot choc. In this cold weather hot choc is a must. Thanks for this opportunity to get Guilty as Cinnamon

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    Replies
    1. Love Himalayan Pink Salt! (Plus it's fun to say!)

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  66. I do not drink alcohol so for the holidays, I drink different flavors of sparking juice. I also like sprite, cherry juice, and orange juice mixed together. Thank you for the chance!
    Moonbay7399@gmail.com

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  67. I would love to share your book. I'd also like to make Sandra’s Spiced Nuts for Christmas Eve.
    6186pep@msn.com

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  68. Those nuts may keep for a few weeks but I bet they don't last that long. I don't drink because I can't so I stick with my lemonade. Not very festive.
    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  69. I like Holiday Punches, Spiked or not.

    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

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  70. Peppermint Schnapps is a good drink for the holidays. Plain, mixed with vodka, mixed with hot cocoa, straight out of the bottle, straight up, on ice, in the morning, as a nightcap, whenever...

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com

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  71. Looking forward to reading Guilty as Cinnamon. You always learn something new from reading. anne.maceneaney@gmail.com

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  72. Thanks for all the lovely comments! The giveaway ends at midnight, Wednesday...

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  73. This nut recipe looks like one I need to make! I love peppermint schnapps hot cocoa. Thanks for the chance! foxyj00 at hotmail dot com

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  74. Looking forward to reading Guilty as Cinnamon and perhaps trying the nut recipe too. Thanks for the chance to win! rencw@verizon.net

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  75. I make sugared pecans, but have to say, this looks like an enticing recipe too! Thanks!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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  76. I can't wait to try these nuts! And this giveaway is a great Christmas gift!

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  77. Congratulations to KAREN KENYON, winner of TWO copies of GUILTY AS CINNAMON! Thanks to all of you for joining in the fun, and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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