Showing posts with label Agatha Award. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Agatha Award. Show all posts

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Welcome guest author Tracy Weber + book #giveaway!

Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series.  The first book in the series, Murder Strikes a Pose, won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel. 
A certified yoga therapist, Tracy is the owner of Whole Life Yoga, a Seattle yoga studio, as well as the creator and director of Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any way possible. 
Tracy and her husband Marc live in Seattle with their crazy new German shepherd pup, Ana. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, trying to corral Ana, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. 
Her most recent novel, A Fatal Twist, was released in January, 2017 by Midnight Ink. For more information on Tracy and the Downward Dog Mysteries, visit her author website:

“Aunt Marcia’s” Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m absolutely delighted to be here today on Mystery Lover’s Kitchen, surrounded by posts from many of my favorite authors. 

There’s only one problem:  I don’t cook.


I don’t cook.


I had a minor panic attack when Daryl Wood Gerber asked me if I wanted to contribute.  The answer was, of course, a resounding yes!  But how?

Then I remembered my mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies.  To be honest, her cookies were never my favorites, but I was in the minority.  Everyone who knew her loved her cookies. She gave them out by the dozens. Mom’s cookies were so adored that they were mentioned in the eulogy at her funeral.

There was only one problem:  I didn’t have the recipe. Thankfully, one of my cousins, Valarie, did, and I was able to get it from her.

Problem solved.  Right?

I told my husband that I was going to bake cookies.  He looked at me drolly and said, “That seems highly unlikely.” I rolled my eyes and made my plans, only to discover that I lacked most of the basics.  I didn’t have flour. Or sugar. Or baking soda. Eggs? Not in this vegetarian’s refrigerator.  Vanilla?  Nope. Margarine or butter?  Not that either.

Chocolate I could manage.  Score one for me.

Then I realized I didn’t have a mixer.  Or cookie sheets. Or the fabled Tupperware containers that made them so fresh.  I have a Viking oven, but I’m not allowed to use it without supervision.
Sheesh!  What’s  a  girl to do?

I came up with a brilliant solution. I hired one of my yoga students. Hollie made the mistake of volunteering in yoga teacher training that she had a fantastic mixer, which got my addled mind to thinking.  Maybe she could make the cookies for me?

A short negotiation later, you have the result of this blog article.  Soft, chewy, milk chocolate chip cookies that will make your mouth water.  If Mom’s fans were any indication, these cookies are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

If you make them, please let me know what you think.  Heck, send me a dozen!  Starving yoga teachers (and their husbands) appreciate good food….

Photo by Hollie

Aunt Marcia’s Cookies


1 1/3 cup Gold-n-Soft margarine
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 cups Flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
12 ounces milk chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, cream together Gold-n-Soft, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop rounded spoons of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes

Store in Tupperware container.

According to my cousin, the secret is to not over bake them and to store them in an air tight bowl as soon as they are cool.  Mom used to put a slice of white bread (Wonder bread, at the time) in with them, claiming it kept them fresher.

Photo by Hollie


I am offering a giveaway today. Any of the four in the Downward Dog Mysteries—winner’s choice. Leave your email and let me know if you’re a cook or if you do yoga?

In addition to my website, you can find me here:
Twitter: @TracyWeberTypes

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Aunt Adeline’s Texas Sheet Cake by Lucy Burdette

I'm pretty sure the last recipe I posted contained uber-healthy ingredients like kale and lentils. So I figured I was due up for something decadent. Something loaded with butter and sugar and chocolate...

My friend Peggy Antenucci is very, very popular at potlucks because she always brings this amazing chocolate cake. So I've reproduced it here, though I couldn't find the pan she called for so I used a regular rectangular glass pan. The only drawback with the smaller pan is thicker icing--and some folks wouldn't consider this a drawback at all. Peggy reports that she substituted yogurt and applesauce for another stick of butter--believe me it's plenty rich as is.

For the Cake:

1 stick of butter
1 cup water
4 heaping TBSP cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp soda
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup applesauce
½ cup plain no-fat yogurt (or sour cream if feeling decadent)
1 tsp vanilla

To make the cake, melt the stick of butter in a saucepan & add the water and cocoa powder.
Bring to a boil on stove and remove from heat.

Sift dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat the applesauce, the yogurt or sour cream, the vanilla, and the eggs in a second bowl. Then blend with dry ingredients. And finally, add in the cooled chocolate liquid from saucepan and mix thoroughly

Pour into a greased & floured 15 x 10 x 2 “jelly roll” pan or a 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 375 for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. The smaller pan will take longer to cook, as the cake batter is thicker--add 5 minutes and check with toothpick. Bake another five minutes if needed.
Make frosting five minutes before cake is done and spread on cake while still hot and then let cool.

For the frosting:

1 stick of butter
4 TBSP (or more for darker chocolate) cocoa powder (though I found 4 was plenty!)
6 TBSP milk

1 pound box powdered sugar (I used about 2/3 of the box as it tasted pretty darn sweet)
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter in saucepan with cocoa & milk but do not boil.  Remove from heat and beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Spread on hot cake, taking care that the hot frosting doesn't pool in the corners. That will mean the cook has to smooth off the overly-thick parts and eat them herself.

Then cut yourself a large square, pour a glass of milk, and settle in with a cozy culinary mystery.

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries including AN APPETITE FOR MURDER. She is very excited to be nominated for an Agatha Award for best short story along with fellow blogmates Krista Davis and Avery Aames. "The Itinerary", written as Roberta Isleib, can be found here.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bowl Games Quesadilla Recipe

Well, by now you all know that our sweet Elizabeth aka Riley is going to leave us. BOO-HOO!  We will miss her completely, but she will be back for guest appearances. Keep an eye open.

Note: I'll be moving to Wednesdays starting next week.

And for today...

Bowl games. So many it makes my head spin. Does it make yours spin? Do you have lots of folks coming over? Do you need food? I've got some.

Just so you know, snacks for bowl games aren't just for bowl games. They can be made all year long.

This recipe I discovered in the Los Angeles Times food section, and I loved it but tweaked to my satisfaction!

I love the smell of onions cooking. They perfume the kitchen air for days at a time. [On other days, trust me, I like the air perfumed with the aroma of cookies, cinnamon, etc.) But some days, it's that tang, that zip, that onions provide.

I happen to be traveling to a Bowl Game in New Orleans as we speak, and I hope to come back with some fabulous recipe to share in the coming weeks.

In the meantime...



1/3 cup minced onion
2 green onions, chopped
1 pound collard greens (or kale)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup feta [goat] cheese, cubed
8 corn tortillas
4 ounces Mozzarella, diced
Oil, as needed


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet. Add the onion and cook on medium low until the onion gets soft, about 3 to 5 minutes.

While the onion is cooking, cut the collard greens in thin strips and rinse in a colander.  Do NOT dry the greens. 

When the onion is cooked, add the greens, salt, paprika, garlic.  Cook on medium low for about 15 minutes, or until the greens are really tender.

Remove the greens from heat and stir in the feta.

On a medium hot griddle, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Use a spatula to spread the oil around.  Because you’re making 8 quesadillas, plan ahead.  This will take some time.  Set as many tortillas as you can on your griddle (flat) and cook the tortillas about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  Flip and put some of the feta/green mixture in the center.  Dot with Mozzarella, and fold with a spatula. Hold in place until the mixture “sticks.”

Cook until the quesadilla browns, about 2 to 3 minutes and flip again to cook the other side.  Repeat until you have 8 quesadillas.

Serve immediately or you can keep them warm in a warm oven (about 250 degrees).  These also reheat well in a toaster oven (at about 300 for 10 minutes). 

Remember to check out our new recipe collection - the appetizers section to fill out your Bowl Games menu!!

* * *
Also, please note that a bunch of my friends have new cozy  mysteries out this week!!!  Our very own Lucy Burdette (new to the blog) has AN APPETITE FOR MURDER. Yum! 

Our former MLK contributor, Julie Hyzy has AN AFFAIR OF STEAK. 

And please check out Heather Blake's IT TAKES A WITCH (the first in a new series) and Hannah Reed's PLAN BEE.

* * *
You can learn more about me, Avery, by clicking this link.

Chat with me on Facebook and Twitter.

And if you haven't done so, sign up for my mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

And watch for CLOBBERED BY CAMEMBERT, coming out February 2012.

* * * * * * * *

Friday, May 6, 2011

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

First of all, you'll have to forgive me for the lack of food photography this time.

Although I got back from Malice and the Festival of Mystery late on Tuesday, I was wiped from all that travel, then Wednesday I had to move my daughter out of her college dorm. As I write this, Thursday, I'm swarmed with men all over my house installing replacement windows. No chance of me getting into my kitchen for any length of time.

What does that mean for food today? Eating out, of course.

But I don't want to leave you without a fabulous recipe. And I have one to share. This one is from my first White House Chef mystery - State of the Onion - and I've made it several times. Is it great? Oh yeah! I served it at one of my launch parties and received so many compliments that I decided I needed to share it here.

And speaking of sharing. Before I get to the recipe, here are a couple more shots from Avery and MJ's exciting night. I posted these on Facebook, but in case you haven't seen them:

Congrats again to my lovely and wonderful blog-sisters! Woo-hoo!! So excited for you.

And further good news - MJ's short story has been nominated for the Arthur Ellis Award, a prestigious Canadian writing award.

And now, for today's recipe:

Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Fresh Berries

12 jumbo egg whites, or egg whites equal to 2 cups
4 T. Dutch processed cocoa powder
¼ cup boiling water
2 T. vanilla extract
2 C. sugar, divided use
1 cup cake flour, well sifted or pulsed in a food processor
½ t. salt
2 t. cream of tartar
Confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder for garnish
1 pint fresh berries, rinsed, drained, and chilled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine boiling water, vanilla, and coca powder. Stir until smooth and glossy. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, or in food processor bowl, whisk or pulse together cake flour, 1 cup sugar, and salt. Set aside.

In a large clean bowl (the slightest bit of fat will keep your egg whites from whipping properly), beat the egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar. Continue beating until egg whites form soft peaks. Gradually add 1C. sugar until stiff peaks form.

Remove1 C. of egg mixture from large bowl and fold gently into cocoa mixture bowl.

In large bowl, take remaining egg mixture and incorporate flour mixture into it by gently sifting 1/3 cup of the flour onto surface of beaten eggs, and folding them together. Don’t overwork this batter or it will loose its incorporated air. Work gently but efficiently and quickly.

Gently fold cocoa mixture into egg batter.

Spoon or pour batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan. Run a knife through the batter in a circular motion to eliminate any large air pockets. Smooth the top of the batter with a spatula.

Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes. Do not open oven door during the first thirty minutes of baking. Top of cake will crack—this is part of its charm. Cake is done when surface springs back when gently touched or toothpick inserted into middle of cake comes out clean.
Remove cake from oven and invert pan.

Let cool completely—at least two hours at room temperature.

Remove cake from pan by running a sharp knife around sides and center of tube pan to release from sides, then remove cake from pan. If cake has removable tube, run knife around bottom of cake pan before removing.

Dust cake and berries with confectioner’s sugar. To serve, place cake slice on individual plate dusted with coca powder and confectioner’s sugar. Heap berries to side of cake. Dust with more confectioner’s sugar. Serve.

I know you'll enjoy this one. It's truly fabulous. Just remember to slice with a serrated knife. Makes life so much easier.


And, don't forget! Grace Interrupted comes out in less than a month! I hope you're as excited as I am! I'm visiting several bookstores to launch my new Manor House mystery, and I'd love to meet you.

Please sign up for my newsletter to find out more!



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Killer Quiche to Celebrate the Release of Avery's LOST and FONDUE!

What a week! As most of you know by now, two of our Mystery Lovers' Kitchen cooks just won Agatha Awards.

Avery Aames won the Agatha for Best First Novel for her debut Cheese Shop Mystery THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE and Mary Jane Maffini won the Agatha for Best Short Story -- "So Much in Common," published by Ellery Queen magazine. Way to go, girlfriends!

Well, today we have an all new reason to celebrate because it's RELEASE DAY for Avery. Her second Cheese Shop Mystery LOST AND FONDUE is now officially on sale, so don't miss your chance to return to the picturesque town of Providence, Ohio, and visit with Charlotte in her charming Fromagerie Bessette. Of course, Charlotte has a brand new murder to solve, and it's one killer mystery.

For a review of Avery's new novel, check out Lesa Holstine's blog here. To read a sneak peek from the book, click here. And to view the book trailer, just click the arrow in the window below...

To help Avery celebrate the release of her new Cheese Shop Mystery, I wanted to make something very special today.

I asked Avery if she wouldn't mind my whipping up one of Charlotte's special quiches for you all. (Charlotte creates a new quiche every week for her cheese shop customers.)

Avery graciously shared one of Charlotte's recipes. I whipped it up for a Sunday brunch and my husband and I inhaled it. The quiche is absolutely delicious with fragrant layers of flavor that transcend the average fare. So here you go. A killer of quiche recipe courtesy of Avery Aames -- and her amateur sleuth, cheese shop owner Charlotte Bessette...

Avery Aames'
Vidalia Onion
and Bacon Quiche

To download a free PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.

Serves 6


1 pie shell, homemade, frozen, or pre-made such as Pillsbury
6 slices Smoked Bacon, cooked crisp
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 large Vidalia Onion, sliced thinly
3 green onions (scallions), chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon white pepper
4 ounces shredded Fontina cheese (or more, if desired, to taste)
1/4 cup arugula leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup cream
3/4 cup 1% or low-fat milk
4 extra large eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper


(1) Bake or sauté bacon until crisp. Remove from heat and cool on paper towels. Break into thirds.

(2) Sauté Vidalia onions and green onions in olive oil at medium heat until they turn limp and slightly brown/caramelized. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.

(3) Sprinkle (1/2 to 1) teaspoon of white pepper and 2 oz. shredded cheese on pie crust. Layer with finely chopped arugula.

(4) Lay onions on top of arugula. Lay bacon on top of onions.

(5) Mix milk, eggs, and seasonings together. Pour into pie crust. Sprinkle egg mixture with remaining cheese.

(6) Bake 35-40 minutes at 375 degrees F. until quiche is firm and lightly brown on top and crust.

*Note, if Gluten-free pie shell used, this recipe is Gluten-free.

Allow to cool for a few minutes
before cutting into slices and...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

And congrats again 
to Avery on the release of

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Amanda Flower

A note from Wendy ....

I honestly don't remember how, exactly, Amanda Flower and I came to be friends, but it happened ... and, yay for me! Amanda's a lovely person, and her India Hayes mysteries are a real treat for cozy fans.

Amanda's "Maid of Murder" is an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel. It's a wonderful book, well-deserving of this honor. I'm so happy to host Amanda and can't wait to see her at Malice Domestic in just a few weeks. So join me in welcoming Amanda to the Kitchen!


Thank you to Wendy and the other ladies on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen for allowing me to share a recipe with you today!

Just like my protagonist in Maid of Murder, India Hayes, I’m not much of a cook. India survives on cereal, ice cream, and dinner at her parents’ house. To give you an example of my complete lack of culinary skill, I once blew up an egg while trying to hard boil it. How I did this remains unclear. Another time, I made redskin dirt potatoes. Ummm… I didn’t know you were supposed to wash the potatoes before cooking them. Both of these are examples of times I regretted taking Electricity in middle school instead of Home Ec. The only thing I accomplished in electricity class was electrocuting my teacher. He was fine but a wee bit upset. I sat in the hall the rest of the period.

On the bright side, I am a fair baker. I can bake because baking has strict rules and step-by-step instructions. I can read directions pretty well. I’m not good with anything I have to watch while it’s on the stovetop or have to season. That takes way more culinary judgment than I have.

With permission, I’m sharing a recipe from my church’s cookbook. The cookbook is packed with tasty Midwestern treats and meals. This is the only one I’ve ever attempted. However since nothing exploded and dirt wasn’t involved, I might try another. Enjoy!

Chocolate-Covered Banana Cupcakes

(Adapted from Doris Smith’s Recipe for Banana Cake in the Goodyear Heights Presbyterian Church Cookbook)

  • 1 ½ c. sugar
  • ½ c. shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 1 c. sour milk or buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 ½ c. flour
  • Chocolate glaze*

Cream sugar and shortening; add eggs.

Add bananas and beat well.

Add sour milk and vanilla alternately with flour, baking soda and baking powder.

Insert cupcake cups into cupcake pan, and add batter. Makes 18 cupcakes.

Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes.

Place cupcakes on cooling rack. After they have cooled, dip tops of cupcakes into chocolate glaze.

* Note from Wendy: Amanda uses Duncan Hines chocolate glaze, which you can usually find with the canned frostings. They look so beautiful and glossy in the picture, I'd be inclined to do the same. However, if you must make your own, any chocolate ganache recipe would work. I'd suggest adding a tablespoon or so of shortening to your ganache to give the finished product that lovely shine.


Amanda Flower writes the India Hayes Mystery Series. The first novel in the series, Maid of Murder is an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. To learn more about Amanda and Maid of Murder visit her online at You can also follow Amanda on Facebook and The Little Blog of Murder.