Showing posts with label 5th anniversary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 5th anniversary. Show all posts

Friday, July 18, 2014

Celebration Cheesecake!

by Sheila Connolly

Wow, time flies when you’re having fun! And clearly we here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen think cooking and sharing the results are fun, because we’ve been doing it for five years now.

To celebrate this milestone, this week and next we’re holding a contest: you can win one of five great MLK tote bags filled with copies of each of our books. All you need to do is to take a picture of one of our books in a fun setting—and there are five categories to choose from, and you can enter one photo in each! To enter, click HERE or go to our FaceBook page

But wait! There’s more! All this week each of us will be giving away one of our own books, and next week we’ll be giving away books from our blog alumnae. Just leave a comment on our post and tell us how you shared our contest or our anniversary news. You can enter each day, for each new post—that’s a total of twelve chances to win! Don’t forget to include your email address in your comment so we can find you.

I’m happy to offer a signed copy of the NYT bestselling Golden Malicious, the most recent Orchard Mystery (which just happens to take place during a hot summer).  Better read it soon: the next one in the series, Picked to Die, comes out this October! (If you already have this one, you can choose something else.)

So, readers, please spread the word about our MLK celebration, enter our contests, and continue to visit the blog and comment on our recipes.

Oh, right: I’m supposed to give you a new recipe today!

As you may have noticed this week, “celebrate” usually means dessert to us—and what a wonderful range we’ve found! Something for everyone—either seasonal fruit or chocolate. Or both, as in this recipe, which I shamelessly borrowed from a long-time friend (who also likes desserts!).

Raspberry Cheesecake


1-1/2 cups finely crushed Oreos
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease the bottom of a 9” spring-form pan.

Mix the two ingredients and press into the bottom of the pan.

Bake for seven minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees.

Berry filling and topping:

1-1/4 cup sugar
3 Tblsp cornstarch
1-1/2 cups ripe raspberries (you may use frozen, 
   and you may combine berries or add cranberries)
¾ cup cran-raspberry juice

In a saucepan, mix the sugar and the cornstarch. Add the berries and juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens. Put through a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Strain through a sieve or colander to remove any skins and seeds.

Cheesecake filling:

4 8-oz. packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sugar (taste your berry mixture first—you can
   cut down the sugar if the berries are sweet)
4 eggs
½ cup heavy cream

Beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just blended. Stir in the heavy cream.

Pour half of the filling mixture on top of the baked crust. Carefully spoon half of the sauce over the filling. CAREFULLY spoon the rest of the filling over the fruit mixture in the pan (oh, all right, if it gets mixed up, it’ll still taste good!).  Set aside the rest of the berry mixture.

Place a shallow pan half full of hot water on the lower oven rack (this is to humidify your oven). Put the cheesecake pan on a rack above this.

Bake for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours, until the edge of the cheesecake is set at least two inches from the edge of the pan. The center should still be jiggly.

Run a small metal spatula around the top edge of the pan to loosen the cheesecake and put it back in the oven. Turn the oven off and open the oven door a few inches. Let the cheesecake cool gradually in the oven, about half an hour (this should keep it from cracking).

Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a rack for another 30 minutes. Then place the cheesecake in the fridge and cool for at least six hours before serving (overnight is fine).

When you’re ready to serve, remove the outer ring of the spring-form pan, place the cheesecake on a serving plate, and spoon the remaining berry mixture over the top.

This week we’re also touching base with our alumnae, to see how they’ve kept busy since they “graduated”. Jennifer Stanley has more mystery series to her credit than I can count on one hand: the Hope Street Church Mysteries (under her own name), The Collectibles Mysteries (as J. B. Stanley), the Supper Club Mysteries (also as J. B. Stanley); and as Ellery Adams, the Books by the Bay Mysteries, the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries, and the new Book Retreat Mysteries—the first book, Murder in the Mystery Suite, is coming out next month!

Here’s what Jennifer Stanley says about it:
“Murder in the Mystery Suite is set at a resort for book lovers and will feature daily afternoon teas in the Agatha Christie Tea Room, decadent meals in the Madame Bovary Dining Room, and sandwiches in the Kipling Cafe. As usual, I'll be doing my best to come up with tempting food descriptions (as well as a few dead bodies).”

Jenn would be happy if you contacted her at to
get her thoughts on MLK and tell her about your favorite recipe. Here’s hers:

“My favorite recipe is probably my charmed pecan chocolate bourbon pie because it's so easy to make and the recipe produces two pies, so there's one for you and one for a friend. The recipe reminds me of MLK because it's basically a group of friends sharing recipes with other friends.”

Please come celebrate with us and enter our contests! You can see the entries HERE at the bottom of the page. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Join Our Blogiversary Party: 5 Delicious Years! + Enter Our Book-a-Day Giveaways #bookgiveaway

This month is our blog's fifth anniversary! Every day, for the next two weeks, we're giving away a book. We're also hearing from our wonderful MLK alums. Here is a fun update from the great and gracious author Julie Hyzy! 

Leave a comment today (answering my question) and enter to win her new release. More on that below. And now...

Take it away, Julie!

~ Cleo

What's new: I'm in the middle of writing the sixth Manor House Mystery - a new Grace book that is yet untitled. GRACE AGAINST THE CLOCK came out July 1st.

My favorite post for MLK was probably this one because I was able to use a few other MLKer's recipes for my party and share one of my go-to favorites as well: 
Puppy Chow (for humans). If you'd like that recipe, click here.

A Blast from our MLK Past...
Puppy Chow for Humans!

What a fun reminder, Julie.
Before you blogged this recipe,
I'd never heard of chocolate
"puppy chow," and I loved it!  
~ Cleo

For the recipe,
click here.

Scrolling through some of my old posts, I realized how much I learned during my time with MLK. And how much more I enjoy cooking and creating these days. 

My time in the kitchen (MLK) has truly enhanced my time in the kitchen here. I've gotten to be a much better cook and I've thoroughly embraced the cooking-as-entertainment mindset. So... thank you to MLK for getting me started down that path.

~ Julie Hyzy

Thank you, Julie, for such a gracious post and for the many fun and fascinating posts you left in our archives. Let's raise a glass together this week to good eating and good reading!

~ Cleo

To help our readers 
celebrate with us...

Don't miss our fun
Blogiversary Contest!

In honor of our fifth anniversary,
5 people will win our
Mystery Lovers' Kitchen tote and 7 books!

To enter our contest

It's a photo contest.
Have fun with it!

To enter TODAY'S daily book giveaway
drawing, answer this question for Cleo...

What is one (or more) of your favorite 
Mystery Lovers' Kitchen recipes?

You'll be letting other readers know about it, too,
and we cannot thank you enough for sharing and
liking our posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,
and other social media sites. And telling your
friends, co-workers, and family about MLK!

Today's prize is a copy of author
Julie Hyzy's fabulous new release... 

Grace Against the Clock

To be entered answer the question above
and don't forget to leave an email address
or link to a Facebook page so we can contact you. 

Answer the question before midnight because 
after midnight, the next drawing starts!

Cheers and
good luck, everyone!

~ Cleo

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!