Showing posts with label beverage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beverage. Show all posts

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summer Strawberry Recipe from Victoria Hamilton

Muffin But Murder, 
goes on sale July 1st!
Learn more here.

Please welcome author Victoria Hamilton as our special guest today. 

Victoria is sharing a healthy recipe that's perfect for summer strawberry season. She also has a generous prize package and one lucky commenter will win it has won it! Learn more at the end of this post. Take it away, Victoria!

~ Cleo

It’s That Time of Year
by Victoria Hamilton

This blog post started with a friendly chat between neighbors. 

I live in a nice, working class urban neighborhood, and I have for many years. In fact, it’s the same neighborhood I grew up in, just a block away. The other day I spent a few minutes chatting with my across-the-street neighbor, just back from walking her dog. 

The next day I was coming back from shopping when my wonderful neighbor came over carrying a beautiful big container of strawberries, fresh from her garden! Well, it so happens that I am trying to eat healthier: lots of water, more fruits and vegetables, salad every day. In that attempt I have switched from toast for breakfast every morning to smoothies. 

There are lots of recipes out there, and I know this is super easy, barely a recipe at all, but I thought I’d share one of mine, and as a bonus, I can tell you how many Weight Watchers Points Plus™ it is.

This makes enough for two!


2 bananas, frozen or fresh 

2/3 cup vanilla fat-free no-sugar-added yogurt (I use a probiotic yogurt.)

1 Cup Strawberries, fresh or frozen

1 Cup unsweetened almond beverage

1 Tblsp. organic honey

Almond or vanilla extract, if desired. (I forgot to add it this time and it tasted just fine!)


All ingredients go into a blender and voila, you have breakfast for two at 2.5 Weight Watchers Points Plus™ each!

Some of my notes:

Frozen fruit will make a thicker, milkshake like consistency. I always have bananas in my freezer that I usually use for muffins or banana bread, but they work awesome in this. I let them thaw for an hour just to make it easier on my blender. You do have to let it blend for a while to break down all the chunks of banana.

I usually use regular 2% milk, but lately I have switched to unsweetened almond beverage for smoothies for the fat savings and health benefits. It’s great! I’m thinking of trying coconut water for a plain fruit smoothie.

So…I know a lot of you out there
 probably do the same. 

What do you use in YOUR
morning smoothie?


About Muffin but Murder

When Merry Wynter unexpectedly inherited a castle in the wilds of upstate New York, she took some time to adjust. After living in New York City it was culture shock to wind up in a castle a few miles away from small town Autumn Vale. However, far from being lonely, as she first feared, her best friends Shilo Dinnegan (a former model) and Pish Lincoln, (a retired financial advisor who now writes books on financial scams and con artists) have joined her at Wynter Castle.

It is clear that she can’t afford to keep such a huge building, even if it is her ancestral home. It must be sold! She has an upscale party to promote Wynter Castle to would-be buyers who may be able to take the place and turn it into a hotel or inn, but the post party clean-up reveals an awful discovery; one of her "guests" turns up dead in a most gruesome fashion. With Pish holding back secrets, her exasperated attraction to Virgil Grace, (the broodingly handsome sheriff of Autumn Vale) growing stronger, and a supposed cousin with a possible claim on the inheritance plaguing her daily, Merry has her hands full.

But murder comes first. Who killed the guest, and why? And how is she going to keep Virgil from arresting Pish?

*With recipes! There is one muffin recipe in Muffin but Murder for what I call "Fit For The King Muffins" and they are wonderful!

Bestselling mystery author Victoria Hamilton writes the Merry Muffin Mysteries and The Vintage Kitchen Mysteries. As Amanda Cooper, she also writes the Teapot Collector Mysteries.

Victoria'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, Victoria is still reading. And writing.

Besides those two favorite pastimes, Victoria 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 she enjoys it anyway.

Victoria 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.

Facebook Page

For more on Muffin But Murder and the Merry Muffin Mysteries, visit the series’ Facebook page by clicking here.

Web Home

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


Victoria's Giveaway

This wonderful contest is now over.
Thanks to everyone who left such
kind comments.

And our winner is...

Michelle of Brockton,

Michelle won the...

* Cozy Mystery Book Tote 

* Cozy Mystery Pen

* Muffin But Murder

* Tempest in a Teapot,
written by Victoria as
 Amanda Cooper

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How to Make a Coffee Egg Cream by Cleo Coyle #NYC #dairyfree #coffee #drink #recipe

Behold Cleo's "coffeehouse"
version of the New York egg cream.
The traditional New York egg cream is a tasty, refreshingly fizzy mix of chocolate syrup, milk, and carbonated water. You read that right. There is neither egg nor cream in a New York egg cream. 

Many stories exist about its origin, but food historians generally believe the drink is a simplified (and more affordable) version of a soda fountain beverage from the late 1800s that did use eggs and cream along with chocolate syrup and carbonated water. 

At one point, the cream was replaced with milk and the egg eliminated. By the 1920s, this simplified version was served throughout the city. Vanilla egg creams arrived in the 1950s along with (yes) coffee flavored ones. 

These days, there aren’t many places to sample an authentic New York egg cream. The easiest place to find one is Junior’s in Times Square (click here to virtually visit). They even serve it in glasses with the recipe printed on them, but... 

They only serve the chocolate version.

Today I’m sharing my "coffeehouse" take on this famous beverage along with a dairy-free version.

May you drink it with joy!

~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle, author of The
Coffeehouse Mysteries

and Haunted Bookshop

Cleo Coyle's
Egg Cream

My husband (and partner in crime-writing) is fond of coffee egg creams and so am I. 
There are many ways to make them with 
various ratios of syrup to milk to seltzer.
This is a version we enjoy. It’s a coffee soda extraordinaire, and if you like the flavor
of coffee, we think you’ll flip for this...

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


Coffee Syrup (recipe in directions below)
Milk (whole, 2%, or nut milk, such
       as almond or hazelnut - see note below**)
Seltzer (do not use club soda - see note below***)


**For a dairy-free version, use almond milk, hazelnut milk, or another nut milk.

***Seltzer has no sodium. It is simply carbonated water. Club soda, however, can have other ingredients added such as potassium bicarbonate, which is why it should not be substituted for seltzer in this recipe.

Directions: Into a tall, frosted glass, pour 1-inch of chilled coffee syrup. (For a less intense drink, simply reduce the amount of syrup.) 

To Make Your Own Coffee Syrup: Start by brewing very strong coffee. Place 1 cup of ground coffee (medium to fine grind) in the filter of your drip coffee maker. Place 2 cups of water in the reservoir and brew. This will yield about 1 cup of concentrated coffee. Place this coffee in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir in 1-1/4 cups of white, granulated sugar. Continue stirring and heating until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer. Do not allow mixture to boil! Continue stirring for about 15 minutes. The mixture will thicken somewhat as you continue to simmer it. While still warm, it will seem a bit watery but should coat the back of a spoon. Allow to cool and then chill the mixture in the refrigerator. When completely cool it will be much thicker, about the consistency of maple syrup (as shown above).

To purchase pre-made syrup, click here or try another brand.

Add cold milk (cow’s milk or nut milk) until the liquid line reaches 2-inches. 

Using a fork whisk together the coffee syrup and milk. Once the syrup is fully blended into the milk, continue whisking and slowly add cold seltzer until the fizzy, white head reaches the top.

Okay, I admit it. Sometimes this drink,
like life, 
goes over the top. And when that happens,
do not fret. Now is the time to...

Drink with joy!
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Billionaire Blend at One Good Woman coffee and tea shop.
Photo courtesy of Nancy and Lester Phillips

Thanks to everyone who came out over the weekend
for our book signing, talk, and coffee tasting of
the specially created Billionaire's Blend (pictured above).

We had a huge crowd and signed books for 90 minutes!
I'm playing catch up this week but hope to post photos
and more next week. 

Shout-out of thanks to two amazing
women who arranged it all:
Deb Beamer of Mechanicsburg Book Shop
and Holly O'Connor of One Good Woman!
And special thanks to Nancy and Les Phillips for
their wonderful support. Cheers!

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

Now a National
Bestseller in Hardcover

A Coffeehouse Mystery 

*Starred Review* -Kirkus

"Top Pick"  -RT Book Reviews

"...a highly satisfying mystery."
-Publishers Weekly

See the book's
Recipe Guide
by clicking here.

* * * 

Coffeehouse Mystery
Free Title Checklist
(with mini plot summaries)

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
13 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

Sign up for my newsletter!
Simply write an e-mail that says
"Sign me up" and send it to this address...


This will also enter you in my weekly
Free Coffee Drawings.
Every week, I give away a package of
premium coffee to a subscriber.

Good luck!

* * * 

Haunted Bookshop
Free Title Checklist, 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Minty Summer Drink Recipe

From Daryl aka Avery

Cheers! This week has been a whirlwind for me. FINAL SENTENCE came out last Tuesday. I've received some lovely reviews from Cozy Mystery Book Reviews and Melina the Readers' blogs.

I then went to Arizona (yes, it was hot! 116 in the shade!!  91 at 5:30 a.m. yipes!!). I went for a Cozy Conference sponsored by Poisoned Pen Bookstore, known as "The Pen." Great event. I was on a panel with the NYT authors Kate Carlisle and Jenn McKinlay (a former MLK'er).

Kate Carlisle, me, and Jenn McKinlay
 I also got to see a sweet friend, author Jane Cleland. She's holding her latest book, Lethal Treasure.
Jane Cleland and me
 We met a few Facebook friends who are AZ residents, including Elizabeth. Darling! And her husband Chris.

Jenn McKinlay with our lovely Facebook pal Elizabeth 

Then yesterday, I flew to New York for Thrillerfest, a conference for thriller writers and fans. [No pix yet!!  Next week.]

I go to this conference not only because I hope to have a thriller published someday but because my sweet son lives in New York. What a great excuse, right? I also get to see my editor. And this Friday, there will be a cocktail party where a couple of fans will attend, one of whom is the delightful Dru Ann love, a die-hard reader and fabulous reviewer on Cozy Chicks.

And then it's back home to write, write, write.

Oh, and I sent off the books to the winners for last week's giveaway. Congrats to NoraA and Linda R. 

Now...before heading for New York, I decided to enjoy the fruits of my garden in a new way. I planted an herb garden this year - just one pot, but it's packed. I wanted to see if the spot in the garden would help the garden thrive. Yes!!!

My mint especially.

I love mojitos. And I love mint in iced tea. But I wanted to see what else I could do with mint. I found this lovely mint drink recipe, non-alcoholic, and decided to try it. The recipe called for honey syrup, but I'd heard so many good things about agave that I decided to try using agave. Yes!

[According to All about Agave website, agave has a low glycemic index.  The glycemic index is a way of measuring the relative impact of foods on blood sugar levels.]

Here's a picture of a chart on the website. I hope they don't mind that I'm sharing, but I was intrigued. Agave has a lower glycemic index than an apple.

The drink is light and lovely and perfect for a summer barbecue.


Non-alcoholic Mint Cocktail

Makes 1 drink


1/4 cup mint leaves
2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup * RECIPE BELOW
2-3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
Chilled club soda or seltzer


Strip the mint of the stem. Mush the mint at a bottom of a 12-ounce glass with a muddler or spoon or the back of an ice cream scoop. Tip: Do you best not to crush the mint into tiny pieces. Just coax the essence out. Add the cooled syrup and lime or lemon juice. Stir. Add ice and fill to the brim with club soda or seltzer or even Pellegrino water.

Serve chilled.

HONEY or AGAVE SYRUP (for a lot of uses)


1 cup honey or agave syrup
1 cup water


Pour honey and water into a small pot. Bring to boil and stir until honey/agave is dissolved. Set aside to cool.

(If desired, you can add more syrup. If you really like it sweet, add one packet of a non-caloric sweetener.)


* * * * * * *

The first book in A Cookbook Nook Mystery series is out!! It's set in the fictional coastal town of Crystal Cove, California and features Jenna Hart, a former advertising exec who returns home to help her aunt open a culinary bookshop and cafe.

You can order the book HERE.

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series is out
You can order the book HERE. 

You can learn more about Daryl by clicking this LINK. "Like" my page on Facebook and "follow" me on TwitterAnd if you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

You can also follow and "like" Avery Aames the same way:  Facebook and Twitter.

or chat with my alter ego 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pineapple Crush

I saw this fun drink in a Sunset Magazine and had to try. With a little creativity in the kitchen, this is a great way to "wake up your water," as the article in Sunset said.

Pineapple Mint Crush

Put 1/3 cup pineapple chunks (chopped up fine) and 4 large mint leaves in a large cocktail shaker. Add 1 tbs. water. Mash well with a muddler. Stir in 2 cups cold sparkling or still water, then strain into an ice-filled glass.  Serves 1


Number one, I couldn't get my cocktail shaker to open. It's never been used. I gave it to my husband as a gag gift back when I gave him everything "James Bond" for a Christmas gift. Silly but fun. So I had to improvise. I used a measuring cup. 
I didn't have a muddler.  Don't even know what it is. But I figured it muddled something. So I tried a meat tenderizer. Didn't work. Too big and too flat. Then tried an ice cream scoop. Worked!

I used a sieve (since I couldn't use the strainer on the cocktail shaker). Worked fine.

I tasted the drink and it was nice, but I like my drinks sweet. So I added a Sweet 'n Lo. I'm sure you could add sugar or simple syrup.  

Here's a recipe for that.

3 parts water to 1 part sugar

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cold water and sugar to a boil. Turn the heat to low and stir, approximately three minutes.  Note: the longer you boil the mixture, the thicker the syrup will become.

Delish and refreshing. Any time of the year. And so pretty!

Now, what was really cool, is I still had some muddled pineapple and mint leftover. So I added it to some grilled salmon for dinner and it was fabulous!  How easy is that?!!!



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.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST...okay, maybe least...:)

I'm pleased to announce that my short story, PALACE ON THE LAKE, 
in Fish Tales: A Guppy Anthology has been nominated for both
the Anthony Award and Macavity Award. 
Go Sisters in Crime Guppies! 
Without the Guppies, my career would not be on the right track.
The group support is invaluable!
You can read PALACE ON THE LAKE by clicking on the title above. :)

Say cheese!