Showing posts with label Julie Hyzy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Julie Hyzy. Show all posts

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Apples & Chicken

It's apple week. We're celebrating apples. How fun is that? And in a minute, I'll turn to apples, but first I have to share that I was at Bouchercon Conference this past weekend where I was lucky enough to connect with librarians, booksellers, and lots of author pals and fans.

Some were bloggers and guest bloggers from Mystery Lovers Kitchen, like Lucy Burdette, Sheila Connolly, Mary Jane Maffini, Hannah Dennison, Rochelle Staab, and Julie Hyzy!

Authors: Tammy Kaehler & Lucy Burdette

Me, Julie Hyzy & Sheila Connolly

Rochelle Staab & Julie Hyzy
Myself, Mary Jane Maffini, Hannah Dennison & Gigi Pandian

By the way, Julie won the Anthony for best mass market paperback novel.  Woo-hoo to Julie.

Others were simply fabulous friends who happen to be fabulous authors.

Cleveland was an interesting city. It was blowy the first day, wet the next, but I still made it out to take pictures, which I've shared on my Facebook pages.  And the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was fabulous! We went there our opening night.

You can't "read" them all, but what an array of signatures on this "art" guitar!  Wow.

Now, I'm back and getting ready to crack down on my writing.

But first, back to APPLES!

Do you love them? I do - in all sorts of colors. Red, yellow, green, red-yellow, this list goes on.

I decided to make something really simple. Here's why. In A COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERY series (which comes out next July...9 months and counting), I'm writing a new character, Jenna Hart, who is an avid reader and admitted foodie, but she is not a cook. She's never had the confidence, never taken the time. When she moves home to Crystal Cove to help her aunt start up the Cookbook Nook and café, she needs to find herself and expand her likes and abilities. Cooking is one of those things. But simple is the best way to start for a new cook, don't you think? Here's what her aunt and chef-friend tell her: five items or less. Possible? Sure.

With apples and chicken, it was easy. This recipe turned out like baked apples. Warm, lovely. Not a lot of color after the apples were cooked, but homey and yummy.

I went to my local greengrocer, Tapia Brothers.  They have fabulous produce and boxes upon boxes of freshly picked apples. Yum.

Now, the interesting thing about apples is they're pretty going into the oven, but once baked, the color sort of drains out. Luckily not the flavor, and by simply adding a bright green vegetable, the plating becomes beautiful and inviting. Enjoy.


1 roasting chicken, cut up
1 large onion, sliced
3 apples (I used Gala), quartered, seeds removed (no need to take the skin off)
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons Bouquet Garni [Penzey's Spices is a combo of rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, dill, marjoram, sage and tarragon] If you don't have you can make a combination of any of the above.]

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

So pretty going into the oven
Line a 9 x 13 pan with enough foil that you can pull it over the chicken. Place the chicken on the foil. Season with spices. Add the onions and apples, already sliced or quartered.

Fold the foil over the chicken and seal with a crimp so no steam will escape.

Bake for at least one hour. I did not do the following, but if preferred, open the foil, remove the onions and apples, and turn the oven to broil. Broil the chicken for 5-10 minutes until chicken turns golden.

Plate chicken, onions, apples and add a vibrant green vegetable.

You're done.

[If you prefer your apples a little sweeter, before baking, sprinkle the dish with 3-4 tablespoons brown sugar. But these apples were so sweet, the dish didn't need it.]

After baking, the color from the apples disappears. They become "baked." But oh, so sweet!


REMINDER: To save this recipe (and any that are posted on MLK,  
click the Print Friendly button below 

(it looks like this but don't hit this one).  Choose PDF to print. 

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series: 

You can pre-order the book HERE. 

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 the mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

Also, you probably know about my alter ego.
Daryl's new series: A COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERY series
debuts July 2013

"Like" Daryl's page on Facebook and "follow" Daryl on Twitter.
"She" doesn't say all the same things "Avery" does. Promise.

Say cheese!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Welcome guest, Julie Hyzy!

YOU ALL KNOW JULIE! She used to be one of MLK's regulars.  She writes the fabulous White House Chef Mysteries and the Manor House Mysteries. You can find out more at her website: Julie Hyzy.

Welcome, Julie!

It is so great to be back here in the kitchen! I loved being part of this amazing blog and interacting daily with my wonderful friends here. I miss you all so much, but I do stop by often and I love all the recent changes and additions. Such a fabulous lineup! Thanks to Avery for inviting me and thank you to you all for allowing me to be a guest!

I’m here today to talk about my newest book, and … Chicken Giardiniera.

What says Christmas better than Chicken Giardiniera? Okay, lots of things but the nice red and green (and, cough…orange) vegetables decorating otherwise ordinary chicken breasts are what make this dish special. It’s super easy but good enough for company. Even better, it made a giardiniera lover out of me. Our favorite local restaurant offers a dish similar to this one. My husband orders it almost every time we go there, and when he made me sample a bite, I understood why. I also understood that I needed to learn how to make this dish at home!

As I type this post, I’m putting the finishing touches on the sixth White House Chef mystery, and I’m eagerly awaiting the release of number five, Affairs of Steak, which comes out in about two weeks, January 3rd. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this particular story. In Affairs, Ollie is stuck working with her nemesis, Peter Everett Sargeant. If you’ve read any of the White House Chef novels, you’ll understand what a trial Ollie is in for. There’s fun, there’s romance (NOT with Sargeant! Gak!), and I hope a little heart tugging.

Oh, and there are murders, too (natch). I hope you’ll consider picking it up.

Found in the pickles section!
Avery (who asked me to be a guest) knows that I had a little problem with pictures for this recipe. I’d taken photos about a month ago because I wanted to share this recipe with you, but the photos must have been deleted from the camera – a fact I wasn’t aware of until I sat down to pull it all together. Because I’m facing a deadline and my husband always provides dinner during the final week before a book is due (he doesn’t cook, he brings in), I’m not able to recreate it for picture-sake again. My apologies.

No worries, though. This one is easy. And if you happen to own The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, you’re halfway there. I used their recipe for pan-seared chicken, but came up with my own idea for a personal sauce. If you don’t particularly care for giardiniera, try one of the sauces they feature on p 322 – 323 (third edition).

Chicken Giardiniera

½ cup flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and pounded to uniform thickness (medium-thin)
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 jar prepared giardiniera
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 onion, chopped


Preheat oven to 200 F (warm)

After chicken is pounded to a relatively medium-thin thickness, pat dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper.

Place the ½ cup flour in a shallow dish then dredge chicken breasts (one at a time) through, shaking off the excess.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is just smoking. Add chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes each. Be sure to keep the chicken breasts separate in the skillet so that pieces don’t overlap as you cook. And keep in mind that you’re cooking the breasts all the way through, not just a partial cook. The first time I did this I made the mistake of pulling them off the heat too early.

Transfer the chicken to an oven-safe plate and place in warm oven. Do NOT clean skillet.

Add a scant bit of oil to the skillet, heat to medium-high again. Add chopped onions and sliced garlic. Sauté until soft, and until onions become translucent. Add about half a jar of giardiniera (we like to add more) and continue to sauté, and stir, scraping up the browned bits of chicken stuck in the bottom of the pan as you do so. When the sauce gets hot, pull the warming chicken from the oven. Juices have probably accumulated on the plate. Pour the juice into the skillet and continue over medium-high heat until just short of bubbling.

Place chicken on platter. Spoon mixture over chicken and serve.

* * *

Julie Hyzy will be making many appearances in January to promote AFFAIRS OF STEAK. Check out her blog here for the full schedule.

* * *

Thanks, Julie, for a delicious recipe ~Avery

Note: for those of you who can't find Giardineria in your grocery store (and I couldn't), here's a link to a recipe I found online, and it looks fabulous and not too hard to make:  from THE PARSLEY THEIF BLOG  You can click on that blog for a printable recipe.

* * * *

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, June 24, 2011

A Favorite and a Fond Farewell

Here's one of my family's go-to appetizer choices. A true favorite. I originally got this from Pampered Chef, but we've (you guessed it) adapted it just a little bit. It's absolutely delicious!

You'll need:

1 can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (I've used store brands and they just don't perform as well for this recipe. Too oozy. Pillsbury delivers consistent results.)
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp dillweed
Veggies, cut up. I used broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and a bit of onion (Onion only on half. Though my hubby loves onions, they don't love him.)

Pampered Chef tells you to bake this on one of their stones, but my last one broke years ago. I use insulated cookie sheets/jelly roll pans and have had great results.

Unroll the crescents onto baking pan and press/pinch together to form one big sheet. Actually, I think Pillsbury sells them in sheets like this now. They must have realized how many fun uses we've come up with for their crescent dough!

Bake this sheet in a 350 F oven according to package directions, or until it's slightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool.

While it's cooling, cut up your veggies into smaller than bite-sized pieces. Speaking of Pampered Chef, remember that crinkle cutter I told you about? The one I originally thought would be useless, but now love? Well, here it is in action:

Combine cream cheese, mayo, and dill. Spread on baked and cooled crust. Cover this with your cut up veggies. Refrigerate for best taste. Cut into small squares for serving.

Try this once and you'll make it for every event! Really!

That's one of my family favorites. Now it's time for the fond farewell...

It has been my great privilege to be part of this spectacular blog for the past two years. I've made some wonderful friends here, and I know I was the luckiest girl in the world when Krista and Avery approached me about participating.

The past two years have been full of fun and learning. Full of laughs and such a wonderful sharing of not only recipes, but milestones and successes. The reason this blog is so great though, is not just because those of us posting show up everyday to chat, but because of all of you... the readers, the community of Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. I cannot thank you all enough for cheering us on when we have new books released, for sharing your stories of personal triumphs and trials (both in the kitchen and out), and for simply being our friends. 

It is with sadness (though sadness warmed by memories!) that I'm leaving the blog. Today is my final post. Life has gotten busier rather than calmer. I know so many friends who are able to produce two books per year and still keep the homefires burning, but I'm finding it increasingly difficult to do so. I will miss you all. Very much. 

But who's taking over this Friday spot? That's the good news! Sheila and MJ will share Fridays and while Wendy will be here most Saturdays, we have a brand new chef joining the kitchen once a month. The funny and vivacious Ellery Adams is very excited to be sharing her wonderful recipes and stories with you. You're going to adore her. We do!

I hope to pop in from time to time, and maybe even guest post now and then. I truly love this sanctuary on the Internet. We sure have fun here, don't we?

Thank you all for all your wonderful support! I am forever grateful,


Friday, June 17, 2011

Scalloped Cauliflower

Still keeping those carbs away!

Here's a new family favorite. Mind you, we all love cauliflower and this works as a fabulous side for vegetarians and carnivores alike. What I love about this is that it's so easy. Super easy, and it can be prepared ahead of time and placed into the oven about a half hour before serving. I always love stuff like that!


You'll need:

1 head of cauliflower
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tsp wheat germ
3/4 cup shredded cheddar

Break cauliflower into bite-size pieces, and steam in saucepan or microwave until slightly tender. Drain and place in a bowl.

Melt butter in a small saucepan or skillet, use half to pour over the cauliflower in the bowl and toss so that it's all coated.

Add bread crumbs and wheat germ to the remaining butter. Mix well and keep over low heat until well combined.

Pour contents of bowl into an ovenproof casserole. I used a 10 x 13 glass pan. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture, then cheese over the top. Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes.

Serve with your favorite entree!

Now, isn't that easy?

Thank you so much for helping GRACE INTERRUPTED hit the B&N mass market paperback mystery bestseller list at #4. I am wildly excited!!


Happy eating and happy reading!
Best always,


Congratulations to Wendy Lyn Watson on the release of A Parfait Murderthe third in her Mystery A La Mode series.

Click here to read a review
from A Criminal Element.

Click here to purchase the book.

Click here to visit Wendy's Web site 

And congratulations to our friend Riley Adams (aka Elizabeth Spann Craig)
on the release of Finger Lickin' Dead,
the 2nd book in her Memphis BBQ Mystery series (and does it have great recipes!)
Click here to read a review of Finger Lickin' Dead from Mason Canyon's Thoughts in Progress. Click here to read Diane's review at the Book Resort.

Click here to purchase the book.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Black and Blue Burgers

First of all, thank you everyone for all the shout-outs and support for my new book, Grace Interrupted. I'm really excited to bring out Grace's newest adventure because I had such fun writing it. Thanks to my Blog sisters for all the boosts, and congrats again to Wendy and Elizabeth (Riley) on your new releases!!

Now... to food! Believe it or not, Avery and I didn't secretly coordinate posts. Last week, as you may recall, she posted a "Hooray for Barbecue Season," titled Barbecue and Blue. You can read it again here.

Sometimes I feel as though I'm not only "Blog sisters" with all these lovely ladies, but that I'm "Brain sisters" with them as well. (A frightening prospect for them; a reassurance for me!) because this week I'm here to talk about blue cheese stuffed burgers---and I'm betting that when Avery was grilling in the sunshine, I was making these little delights indoors, longing for a little warmth. Fortunately for us, our weather has taken a turn for the better. As I write this it's in the 90s. About time, I say!

Apologies to my vegetarian daughter, but my husband and I need to watch those carbs. We haven't been particularly diligent about that lately, but burgers like these certainly help.

I picked up this recipe from The Low Carb Bible Cookbook, but, as always, adapted it for our use.

Black and Blue Burgers

1 lb (plus or minus) ground beef. I chose a lower fat-percentage chuck they had on sale and I think I had one and a half pounds to work with
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 clove garlic, minced
Olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

Divide the ground beef in half, then half again, then one more time. You should have 8 small sections. Shape each into a patty. Set aside. I placed mine on aluminum foil, spread out like cookies on a cookie sheet.

Combine the cheeses, parsley, mustard, Worcestershire, and garlic. Toss gently, but make sure it's mixed well. Separate into four equal portions. Place a portion atop each of four of the beef patties. Top each of these with a plain patty and smash and seal the edges so that the cheese mixture is trapped inside.

Heat olive oil in skillet, add pepper strips and cook until the edges of the peppers begin to brown slightly.  Add salt, if you like (I didn't). Remove to a small plate.

Add the beef patties to the same skillet, cook on medium-high about 5 minutes. Turn each of them carefully so all the good stuff doesn't spill out.
Top with peppers and keep over heat until cooked through, about 5 more minutes.

Voila! Low-carb and delish! We served these atop a little lettuce. No bun required.

My husband and I liked them very much. One of our other daughters thought they were just okay, but she doesn't care for blue cheese at all. I think next time I might up the cheddar and lessen the blue, but that's just our personal taste. These were great and super easy!

Thanks again, everyone for giving Grace Interrupted such a wonderful launch! And, remember, if you're in the Chicago area Sunday, June 12th, please come by and say hello. I'm having a party and you're invited.

Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore
1:00 - 3:00
7419 W. Madison Street
Forest Park, IL 60131

I'd love to see you there!

* * * * *

Wendy Lyn Watson's new mystery A Parfait Murderfeatures a story line about the Lantana Round-Up Rodeo Queen Pageant. To celebrate, Wendy's giving away a little cowboy couture: a leather and rhinestone cuff, and a "rodeo queen" keychain. 

Eligibility: This contest is open to everyone living in the U.S. and Canada. One entry per person, please. 

How to Enter: Send proof of purchase of A Parfait Murder (either a receipt, or a picture of you holding the book), by e-mail to Put the words "Parfait Giveaway" in the subject line.

Entries must be received by 5:00 PM Central Standard Time on Friday, June 17. Wendy will randomly select one entry and announce the winner here on the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen blog on Saturday, June 18. She will contact the winner via e-mail. If she does not receive a response within 7 days, she will draw a new winning name. 

* * * * * * * * * * * 

Riley Adams (Elizabeth Spann Craig) is also running a contest to celebrate the release of Finger Lickin' Dead, her new Memphis BBQ Mystery. 

To learn how to enter Riley/Elizabeth's contest, click here and visit her blog Mystery Writing is Murder

Friday, June 3, 2011

Veggie Casserole

In my neverending quest to feed low-carb carnivores and high-carb vegetarians at the same dinner table, I have happened across some excellent recipes. I've also happened across some real duds. Today's offering falls right in the middle. It's not bad, but will require a bit of tweaking before I make it again.  The veggies weren't bad, but the breading was too much. Far too much. If I were to make this again, I'd halve the bread-y ingredients. Or perhaps cut it down to a third. I'll give you the recipe as I followed it, and leave you to make your own choice for how to adjust. We all have different tastes and variety (as we've seen from the myriad of recipes available on this blog) is the spice of life! 

(adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook)

3 - 4 cups of vegetables, cut up. I used zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, and onions
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup grated cheese.

Saute veggies in olive oil until tender. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly butter a 9 x 13 baking pan.
Combine flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add vegetable oil, milk, egg. Mix well.

Pour veggies into buttered pan. Sprinkle with cheese. Drop small spoonfuls of batter over the cheese/veggie mixture, trying to smooth it over the top, making it even.

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until top is golden and firm. Let stand for a few minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

As you can tell by the photo, there's quite a bit of bread. This was a heavy dish and we low-carb folks weren't too crazy about it. The taste was good, but the breading overwhelmed the wonderful vegetables.

But, I have to admit, I like the idea enough to give it another go. Next time, I'll eliminate the zucchini. We've discovered that we like zucchini, but we don't love it. I'll go heavier on the broccoli and cauliflower. Those are big, strong veggies that can hold their own against the powerful breading.

But it sure was pretty on the plate:

Note: Veggie daughter didn't partake of the ribeye... but you probably guessed that, didn't you?

* * *

Get ready because Tuesday is a crazy cozy day! Lots of books releasing on June 7th, including these three from Mystery Lovers' Kitchen authors:

don't forget about her giveaway

In honor of the June 7 release of A Parfait Murder (the third Mystery a la Mode), which features a story line about the Lantana Round-Up Rodeo Queen Pageant, Wendy is giving away a little cowboy couture:  a leather and rhinestone cuff, and a “rodeo queen” keychain. Eligibility:  This contest is open to everyone living in the U.S. and Canada.  One entry per person, please.
How to Enter:  Send proof of purchase of A Parfait Murder (either a receipt, or a picture of you holding the book, by e-mail to  Put the words “Parfait Giveaway” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by 5:00 PM Central Standard Time on Friday, June 17.  Wendy will randomly select one entry, announce the winner on MLK on Saturday, June 18, and contact that person via e-mail.  If she doesn't get a response within 7 days, she will draw another name. 

Elizabeth's FINGER LICKIN' DEAD (written as Riley Adams)...



And... if you're in the Chicago area this weekend, don't miss PRINTERS ROW! Also knows as the Chicago Tribune Lit Fest, it's a wonderful, fun, energetic, and exciting outdoor event. Over 100,000 people attend annually. It always rains at some point, but that never dampens anyone's spirits.

I'll be at the Mystery Writers of America tent all day tomorrow and Sunday, with two exceptions - when I'm on a panel (Murder Most Cozy) Saturday morning at the Harold Washington Library, along with J.B. Stanley (Ellery Adams), Betty Hechtman, and Joelle Charbonneau, and when I'm signing at Big Sleep Books (Saturday at 2:00).

PS - Even though it's before the actual release day, we'll have early copies of GRACE INTERRUPTED at the MWA tent!

Happy reading!