Showing posts with label Amanda Cooper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amanda Cooper. Show all posts

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Dessert for Breakfast by Victoria Hamilton




A very warm welcome to Amanda Cooper, author of the Teapot Collector mystery series! You might know Amanda for something else, though. Yes, she does write cozy mysteries as Victoria Hamilton. But that's not it.

Amanda is one of the queens of cozy giveaways. In fact, today she has not one, but two special giveaways. Don't forget to enter!

 



Random Observation #1:
I have a raging sweet tooth. Seriously. I have to be strict with myself, or I’d be eating cookies for breakfast, brownies for lunch, and French Toast for dinner. But then, who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner?

Random Observation #2:
Recently I was reminiscing how much my mom LOVED bread pudding. Even in her mid eighties she’d make it for herself often. I suddenly thought, well, it takes bread, eggs and milk… isn’t that really French Toast in a casserole? And… if you ate it in the morning that would just be… dessert for breakfast? Or a breakfast dessert?

Random Observation #3
I occasionally buy raisin bread and Cinnabon bread, but I don’t eat a lot of bread these days, so I inevitably end up throwing half loaves in the freezer. Where they sit. Sometimes I’ll make French Toast out of them, but not often.

These random thoughts come together in today’s recipe. I have dragged out my bits of raisin and Cinnabon bread loaves, whipped up the other ingredients, and voila, dessert (bread pudding) for breakfast. Though it doesn’t need it, I’ve made a sugar free berry sauce to pour over it, just as if it was French Toast, using my Christmas gift, an immersion blender! If you don’t have one, you can use a blender or just leave the berry sauce chunky. The beauty of this recipe is, it’s readily scalable for however many folks you’re feeding, or however many ramekins you have!

Individual Bread Puddings
Yield: 2 Servings
Ingredients:
2 cups day-old bread cubes, preferably raisin bread, Cinnabon Bread, etc.
*I actually used four slices, 2 of Cinnabon bread and 2 Weight Watchers’ Raisin bread, and it was a little too much for 2 - 12 oz. ramekins. It would easily have made 3 servings.
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:
1 - Divide bread between two greased 12 oz. oven safe ramekins and set aside.
2 - Beat eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then pour equal amounts into each ramekin. Let the milk/egg mixture soak in for a few mintues.
3 - Bake uncovered, at 350° for 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool slightly.
4 – Serve warm with Sugarfree Fruit Sauce (recipe follows), custard sauce, whipped topping or on its own.

Sugar Free Fruit Sauce

Ingredients:
2 Cups Frozen Berries – I like Europe’s Best, which I use for my smoothies, as well.
2 Cups Water
2 tsp. lemon juice

Directions:
1 – Put berries and water in pan and turn to medium/low.
2 – Simmer until the berries break down, about 20 minutes, depending on the size of the berries, then using your immersion blender (or cool the mixture and use a blender, if you prefer) blend until the consistency you prefer. Simmer blended mix longer to reduce and thicken.
3 – Sweeten to your taste after you’re done cooking, if you’re using Stevia. If you’re using sugar, you must cook it with the berries. Don’t use too much Stevia because it is a powerful sweetener!
4 – Pour the fruit sauce into a glass jar once it’s cooled enough. Keep it in the fridge, but not for too long; this is not jam and will go bad. I would suggest it will keep for a few days.

  
Sauce Ingredients
Fruit Sauce

Bread Pudding Ingredients

Bread Pudding for Breakfast!


Giveaway!

You could win one of two fun prize packages:

First Prize: Vintage teacup and saucer, Auntie Rose’s Tea-rrific Tea blend, a signed copy of The Grim Steeper, bookmark and a Cozy Mystery book tote!



Second Prize: A signed copy of The Grim Steeper, tea, and a bookmark.




Open to US and Canadian addresses.

Leave a comment, with some form of your name and email address so we can contact the winner! Contest ends at 11:55 PM on Wednesday, February 10th, so don't delay.


~::~

About The Grim Steeper:
The national bestselling author of Shadow of a Spout invites readers back to the Finger Lakes town of Gracious Grove for more tea and murder...

Mid-October in the charming Finger Lakes town of Gracious Grove means it’s time for the annual Fall Fling Townwide Tea Party. The highlight of the festivities is a roaming tea-tasting, which includes a stop at Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House. Sophie Taylor would like to share her enjoyment of the event with her sort-of boyfriend, English teacher Jason Murphy, but Jason’s dean has accused him of falsifying grades to help an athlete at the local college. Steamed and stressed, Jason shows up the night of the party with bags under his eyes.

But the dean shows up under Sophie’s Japanese Maple later that night, murdered, and now Jason is suspected of far worse than fudging grade reports. It’s up to Sophie, her Nana, and their friends the Silver Spouts to pore over the clues to find out who really decided to teach the dean a lesson.



Social Media Links:
Amanda Cooper/Victoria Hamilton Mysteries: http://www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com
Amanda Cooper/Victoria Hamilton Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorVictoriaHamilton
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MysteryVictoria - or - @MysteryVictoria




Sunday, March 29, 2015

Welcome Amanda Cooper!


We're excited to have Amanda Cooper with us today. You might know her as Victoria Hamilton. As Amanda Cooper, she writes the Teapot Collector Mysteries. If you share her love for china (I know I do!) and all things related to tea time, check out her fabulous Pinterest board. But today she's having an inner struggle that I can relate to all too well. 

Don't miss her amazing giveaway at the end!

Here's Amanda!



I’ve been trying to eat better lately, but for someone who likes food and cooking, it’s not always easy. 




 

A conversation with myself goes like this:

Self: You should eat more fruit.
My other, brattier self: How about a big, fat raspberry?
Self: How about you grow up?
Bratty Self: Is jam fruit?
Self: No, jam can’t be considered fruit. Too much sugar.
Bratty Self: But fruit is booooring!
Self: What’s boring about a lovely juicy apple or a pear? Or a handful of grapes?
Bratty Self: Hmm… a couple of apples, a pear, a cup of grapes. Maybe some dried cranberries and pecans. Oooh, time for a fruit salad, but not a boring old fruit-only fruit salad, a super deluxe kick ass fruit salad. And I will call it…

Caramel Apple Salad
Makes: 4 – 6 Generous servings.

Ingredients

2 Honey Crisp or Royal Gala apples (or whatever kind you like best!)
1 pear, whatever type you prefer
1 – 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup seedless grapes (I used a mix of green and Sable Black seedless grapes.)
¼ cup dried cranberries (or raisins, or omit)
¼ cup chopped pecans (or walnuts, or omit)
½ cup fat free Greek yogurt
2 - 3 Tablespoons caramel topping, to taste
Cinnamon to taste, if you like.

Method:

1 – Blend the Greek yogurt and caramel topping together until smooth. Add cinnamon, if you’re using it. Set aside.
2 – Wash the fruit. Dice the apples and pears. The size of the dice is a personal thing; coarsely, but not big chunks.
3 – Sprinkle the apples and pears with lemon juice and toss, so they won’t brown.
4 – If you have very large green grapes like I did, you may want to slice them in half.
5 – Chop the nuts coarsely.
6 – Combine the fruits, nuts and dried cranberries or raisins, then coat well with the sauce.

And… done. It’s that easy. I just love the caramel apple flavor of this salad, but for a sweetening ingredient you could substitute honey, maple syrup, or even a fruit syrup. A blackberry syrup would be lovely! This will last in the fridge a day or two, but I doubt it will last that long!

Blend topping and dice fruit.



Combine fruit and nuts.

Even more elegant when served in a teacup!
~::~

Shadow of a Spout:
Avid teapot collector Rose Freemont takes a break from her Victorian tea house only to find a new mystery brewing elsewhere...

Leaving her home in Gracious Grove behind her, Rose is off to the annual convention of the International Teapot Collector’s Society. Her granddaughter Sophie is minding the tea house while she’s away. Rose is eager for tough cookie Zunia Pettigrew to appraise a prized antique teapot she believes may be a holy water vessel from China.

But when Zunia declares the pot a fake, Rose is really steamed. After Zunia’s found dead beside Rose’s dinged-in teapot, Sophie must rush to her grandmother’s aid and find the real killer—before Rose is steeped in any more trouble…

To learn more about Amanda Cooper and the Teapot Collector Mysteries see these pages:


Killer Characters – 21st of each month: http://www.killercharacters.com

Victoria Hamilton/Amanda Cooper on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorVictoriaHamilton



~::~

About Amanda Cooper:
Amanda Cooper is the pseudonym for bestselling mystery author Victoria Hamilton. She writes the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and the Merry Muffin Mysteries as Hamilton, in addition to the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper.
Cooper’s long time love of mystery novels started at age twelve when her mom handed her an Agatha Christie book and said ‘Read!’. Thousands of novels later Cooper is still reading. And writing.
But besides those two favorite pastimes, Cooper also enjoys collecting vintage kitchenalia, old books, teacups, teapots and other ephemera. Perfume is her secret addiction. She likes to cook, hates to clean, and enjoys time spent with friends chatting over wine or tea. She loves crafts, loathes boredom, and her guilty pleasure is ‘reality’ TV, which she knows is largely fake but enjoys anyway.
Cooper thinks that people are the most interesting study of all, and more than anything, she loves to hear from readers, not just about her books but about anything and everything.

Giveaway!
Open to US AND Canada Readers. Comment to enter to win a prize package including…
· Grace Teaware Teacup and Saucer
· English Tea Shop Tea
· Signed copy of Shadow of a Spout
· Cozy up to a good mystery! Tote Bag




Tuesday, June 3, 2014

World’s Best Coleslaw plus a fun #Giveaway by Amanda Cooper (aka Victoria Hamilton)

Tempest in a Teapot is the
first in a new mystery series.
Learn more by clicking here.

Three cheers to my fellow bloggers who have new releases this week in their popular cozy mystery series. Congratulations to both Krista Davis and Sheila Connolly

And more happy congrats to my special guest today, who is launching her terrific new Teapot Collector Mystery series with Tempest in a Teapot.

Please give a warm welcome to Amanda Cooper (aka author Victoria Hamilton) who is sharing a recipe and a fun comment-to-win giveaway. Take it away, Amanda!

~ Cleo Coyle



* * * * 





I hate titles like that, the "World’s Best" whatever. Who really knows what the ‘World’s Best’ anything is? That’s what individual taste is about. 

We all have our likes and dislikes, and that’s so very true of coleslaw: sweet or not, coarsely chopped or finely grated, creamy dressing or oil and vinegar. So all I can give you is my own method, and it’s not even a recipe.

To start with...I’m a gadget girl. LOVE gadgets, and I’m a sucker for trying out new gadgets in the kitchen. Everyone has a mandolin, right? Or, wait a minute...not a mandolin, a mandoline

A mandolin is a stringed instrument, while a mandoline is the thingie that you slide vegetables down over a blade to slice. 

A couple of years ago I bought my sister a nifty adjustable mandoline called a One Touch. It has a dial on it, and you can dial it from very fine to very coarse. It slices cucumber so thin you can see through the slices!

I’ve always sliced my cabbage for coleslaw just using a knife, which is time consuming. Last time I tried the mandoline and wow! Fine ribbons of cabbage in seconds!

So…to my coleslaw. First, the dressing; creamy for me, please and thank you.


 I use these ingredients:




Ingredients:

Mayonnaise

Miracle Whip

Milk (yes, milk!)

Vinegar and/or lemon juice

Celery salt

No set amounts, because that depends on how much slaw you’re making. I start with a couple of heaping tablespoons each of the mayo and Miracle Whip (MW provides a sweet tangy kick that I like) blended. I add a little vinegar and/or lemon juice, whatever I have, a scant sprinkle of celery salt, and then thin the mixture to a salad dressing consistency with the milk.


A note about vinegar: I’ve always used just plain old white vinegar in my slaw, but this last time I tried apple cider vinegar – because I had some around – and the kick to the taste was remarkable! My coleslaw went from Mmm! To Zowie! It does have a fruity taste, and that enhances the blend of veggies. My new go-to vinegar.

The veggies: Start with green cabbage, a firm, heavy head. I cut it into chunks and start slicing, or using the mandoline, until I have a nice pile of shredded cabbage, enough to two-thirds fill the container I’ll be using. Then I grate one carrot. 

Now about graters: I’ve tried a variety of graters, being gadget girl, but you just can’t do better than an old fashioned box grater. One small to medium carrot will probably be enough, unless you like LOTS of carrot. I shred it until just before I’ll graze my fingers – I’ve learned when that is by waiting too long and grating my fingers along with the carrot - then I eat the left over stub. What else are you going to do with it, throw it out? Heavens no! No food wastage.

Now for the simply blending: Pour the dressing over the cabbage and carrot and hope you have enough to coat it all. If you don’t, just make a little more dressing.

A note about sweetness: I like my coleslaw tangy, but with some sweetness. I’ll admit, I add a half teaspoon of sugar, or a half packet of sweetener to the dressing to get the taste that I like, but to each his own.


What do you like?

So what’s your preference, creamy or oil and vinegar dressing? Tangy, or sweet, or a little of both? Coarsely chopped, thinly sliced, or pulped to a fare-thee-well? Share your slaw stories!




 * * * * * 


Amanda Cooper is the pseudonym for bestselling mystery author Victoria Hamilton. She writes the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and the Merry Muffin Mysteries as Hamilton, in addition to the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper.

Cooper’s long time love of mystery novels started at age twelve when her mom handed her an Agatha Christie book and said ‘Read!’. Thousands of novels later Cooper is still reading. And writing.

But besides those two favorite pastimes, Cooper also enjoys collecting vintage kitchenalia, old books, teacups, teapots and other ephemera. Perfume is her secret addiction. She likes to cook, hates to clean, and enjoys time spent with friends chatting over wine or tea. She loves crafts, loathes boredom, and her guilty pleasure is ‘reality’ TV, which she knows is largely fake but enjoys anyway.

Cooper thinks that people are the most interesting study of all, and more than anything, she loves to hear from readers, not just about her books but about anything and everything.






About Tempest in a Teapot 
by Amanda Cooper

Sophie Freemont Taylor, failed restaurateur, chef and teapot collector, is at loose ends in Manhattan until she decides on the spur of the moment to return ‘home’ to Gracious Grove, a town in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Though not her real home town, it is where she finds respite at her grandmother’s establishment, the same place where Sophie fell in love with teapots, Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House. Her grandmother, Rose Freemont, aka ‘Nana’, welcomes her with open arms and twenty nine year old Sophie settles in to find her groove cooking again, even if it is ‘only’ tearoom fare. At the same time she reestablishes friendships with her childhood buddies Dana and Cissy, and her first love, Jason Murphy.

Life in Gracious Grove is never boring, but is not usually as spirited as it becomes when there is a murder at the tearoom next door, the establishment of cranky octogenarian Thelma Mae Earnshaw. Thelma has nursed a six decade long grudge against Nana, who she claims stole her beau, Harold Freemont, also known as Sophie’s grandfather and Nana’s late husband. But despite Thelma’s irascibility, Sophie feels compelled to help figure out who killed a local socialite with a baked goody at Thelma’s tearoom, Belle Époque. It’s unnerving that it occurred so close that Sophie heard the hubbub surrounding the murder by poison! Too soon the danger strikes close to home with an attack on her Nana, and Sophie races the clock to figure out what is going wrong in the pretty little town of Gracious Grove.


Facebook Page

For more on Tempest in a Teapot and the Teapot Collector Mysteries, visit the series’ Facebook page by clicking here.



Web Home
Learn more about Amanda Cooper, her alter ego Victoria Hamilton, and all her mystery series by clicking here.








Amanda's Giveaway!

This blog contest is now over.
Thanks to everyone for 
your wonderful comments!

The winner, selected by
Random Number Generator is...

Chèli from Olney, Maryland. 
Enjoy your wonderful prizes, Chèli:

* Amanda's Tempest in a Teapot mystery, 
* Cozy Mystery book tote, and 
* Cozy Mystery pen.