Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from all of us at Mystery Lovers Kitchen!

What are your favorite all-time Christmas decorations?  

What foods are you enjoying this Christmas?

DARYL AKA AVERY: Personally I love my tree. That's the most important thing when it comes to decorations. All the rest matters, but I really love the tree. The lights. The scent. The memories that hang upon it. I also love my collection of David Frye Christmas "sculptures."  They're so playful.

And for dessert? I love a yule log (see my gluten-free yule log recipe here) and I love, love, love something cheesy - like a good cheese platter or a cheesecake.

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LUCY BURDETTE: My favorite Christmas decoration is the stocking my aunt knit for me when I was probably 4. Not sure you can tell, but Santa's beard is fuzzy:). (My childhood nickname was Bobbie. The other one I made for John when we were first married--not nearly as nice!)

As for what to serve, I'm throwing my hands up! We're having a big crowd and no one wants to spend a day in Key West cooking, so I'm making stuffed shells (red and green!), salad and good bread and lots of cookies.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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SHEILA CONNOLLY: I have a lot of ornaments that have survived countless moves, kids' sticky fingers, dogs and cats, but some of my favorites my grandmother bought in New York City, at a florist shop on Park Avenue called Irene Hayes (now Irene Hayes Wadley & Smythe LeMoult, founded in 1865 and yes, they're still in business, serving high-end customers!). The ornaments are opulent and still gorgeous, at more than a half-century old. Each year I bring them out reverently (as does my sister, since we shared the collection) and give them a place of honor on our tree.  Four generations!

Food? When I was growing up, for some reason that no one ever explained to me our traditional dessert was chocolate steamed pudding, which I presented on Mystery Lovers Kitchen all the way back in 2011. It has a wonderful flavor but it's still light, after a big Christmas dinner!

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PEG COCHRAN:  I have a lot of "favorite" ornaments! My late husband and I collected ornaments on our trips--from China, Bermuda, Portugal, Hong Kong, England, St. Thomas, etc.  I also have handmade ornaments from my late mother-in-law--a stuffed heart for each girl with "Baby's First Christmas" on the front and their birth date on the back.  One of my all-time favorites is actually one I bought myself--it's hand-crafted in copper by a local artist from Cape Cod and is a weather vane with a mermaid on top. It symbolizes all the wonderful vacations I've had there--one of my favorite places on earth.  Another favorite is a pair of Steuben crystal pine cones that were given to me to give to my girls by their godfather.  Steuben, and that great store on Fifth Avenue, are no longer sadly.  I will give these to my girls for their trees as soon as I can bear to part with them!

For dessert, we love Maida Hatter's Palm Beach Brownies!  Chocolate and peppermint--the perfect mix for Christmas.

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Favorite ornament? That's tough. I think I love them all! If I have to pick ones that I particularly cherish, they would be the Christmas items my mother embroidered. My favorite is the Santa advent calendar that hangs on the wall. It's always the first decoration that goes up. A piece of chocolate is tied to each of the dates. Not surprisingly, they have all been consumed in the photo!

Tablecloths and runners are up there with my favorites, too. I am blessed to still have my mom with me, but I cherish these beautiful items she made for me.

We'll be eating our traditional roast goose with German potato dumplings for dinner. It's a once a year treat for us. And it wouldn't be Christmas without our yule log!

 May your Christmas celebration be joyous, full of good food, good friends, and good times!

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VICTORIA ABBOTT aka Mary Jane and Victoria Maffini

We love Christmas and decorating.  Things are a bit different every year.  We always want to incorporate MJ's Mum's silver tray (a wedding gift. We're trying it with candles and roses. 

The big hit this year was chocolate gingerbread cake!  We can't keep it in the house. It's a variation of our chocolate gingerbread loaf from MLK. But on December 26th we'll show you our two no-bake two-ingredient desserts that make life easy.

Because it's a such a dark time of year, we are thrilled with our amaryllis. Last year, they bloomed at the end of January.  This time we're lucky to have that Christmas color. 

We always have bit of fun with pine cones and old ornaments too. 

 No snow, so we're enjoying the greenery outside.

And of course, it's all about the dogs!

Much love to you and yours from the Maffini family!  
Eat, drink and enjoy!  XO  MJ and Victoria

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LESLIE BUDEWITZAh, Elfie. He's been my favorite as long as I recall, on a tree full of favorites, and now Mr. Right adores him, too. My mother---who is 90 and no longer puts up a tree---gave me custody of him a few years ago. He's always been shy---no matter how carefully we put him on the tree, he would face backwards. Now that we hang him with a hook rather than using his string loop, we're a little more successful in getting Elfie to face out---but getting a decent picture was a challenge!

This is my first Christmas on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, and with a December release, I've been sharing recipes from the new book rather than family holiday favorites. But on Christmas morning, we'll be eating Omelet Muffins and Christmas Muffins, cranberry pumpkin, though they're already baked and waiting for us!

All the best to you and yours this festive season,
from Mystery Lovers' Kitchen! 

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CLEO COYLE: Because my husband and I dearly love each other—and love telling stories together—we look for little mementos that reflect the themes of every book we write. Lately those mementos have been Christmas miniatures that end up under our little tree. Two of our favorites include the ones pictured…

This little Food Truck reminded us of the “Muffin Muse” Coffee Truck that our amateur sleuth bought for her  shop in our 11th Coffeehouse Mystery (2012): A Brew to a Kill, possibly the first cozy to feature a food truck war! (Notice the little sign advertising Mocha Cupcakes—adorable.)

Okay, one more...

When Marc and I saw this little piano bar for sale in the Christmas Village display of our local Michael's store, we looked at each other and lunged for the very last one.

Why is this tiny piano bar so important to us? If you’ve read our latest mystery, then you know...

In Dead to the Last Drop, our amateur sleuth befriends a young jazz pianist who frequents the relaxed "Jazz Space" on the second floor of her new Washington coffeehouse. The young woman turns out to be the President's daughter, and the story progresses from there. That's why this miniature will always remind us of writing the book together. 

Just little mementos but they mean the world to us.

As for Christmas dinner, we're having a cozy, little Prime Rib, American-style au jus, and 30-Minute Dinner Rolls, exactly like the meal Clare makes for acting federal agent, Mike Quinn, in Dead to the Last Drop. You can find the recipes in the back of the book or click here to see the illustrated Recipe Guide.
Prime rib from Dead to the Last Drop.
Click here for the Recipe Guide.

May you eat with joy to the world! 
Love  and peace always ~ Cleo and Marc


From all of us at...

Mystery Lovers' Kitchen


  1. Such a wonderful post! Merry Christmas!

  2. Merry Christmas! Thanks for a wonderful year of caring, sharing and (most of all) BOOKS!

  3. Goose and German dumplings? Sounds divine!, peace-filled new year.

    You all have marvelous offerings here, as usual.
    Wishing you all the very best of Christmas times and a happy, healthy new year.

    You have all made my year enjoyable with your writings. (And wonderful recipes) Thank you so much!

  4. Goose and German dumplings? Sounds divine!, peace-filled new year.

    You all have marvelous offerings here, as usual.
    Wishing you all the very best of Christmas times and a happy, healthy,peace-filled new year.

    You have all made my year enjoyable with your writings. (And wonderful recipes) Thank you so much!

  5. Thanks to all of you lovely readers for sharing this space and your time with us!

  6. We hope everyone has a perfect and perfectly relaxing day today. Love and best wishes from MJ and Victoria!

  7. Merry Christmas! And to all a good night!