Showing posts with label orange. Show all posts
Showing posts with label orange. Show all posts

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Welcome Lisa Q. Mathews with Orange Sunshine-Frosted Cookies + Book and Mug #Giveaway!

by Lisa Q. Mathews

Lisa Q. Mathews is a terrific author who recently launched a sweet, funny, and highly entertaining new amateur sleuth mystery series called The Ladies Smythe and Westin.

Lisa is also a former editor of Nancy Drew (and, like most of us, she's a huge fan of the girl sleuth). So it's an extra special sleuthy honor to have her here today! 

In a generous gesture, Lisa is giving away the first book in her series (pictured right), as well as an adorable mug and spoon set, to one lucky person who comments on this post. 

This giveaway is now over. Thanks to everyone who left comments! The winning comment, by random number draw, is Donamae K.  of Wisconsin. Congrats, Donamae!

Now, take it away, Lisa!

~ Cleo Coyle 

Like my odd-couple co-sleuths Summer and Dorothy—aka the Ladies Smythe & Westin—I have a serious sweet tooth. I must also confess that the three of us have something else in common: We all love to eat, but don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen. For very good reasons, of course.

Dorothy, a seventy-something widow, used to cook, but since nightly, formal dinners are de rigueur in the Canyons dining room at the Hibiscus Pointe Senior Living Community in Milano, Florida, there is really not much point. 

Her twenty-something neighbor Summer, a semi-reformed party girl who’s camping in her late grandma’s condo, never learned to cook, because her family back in LA had a series of personal chefs. 

Summer usually grabs her food on the run, or from the free, Welcome buffets set out for prospective residents. She and Dorothy also treat themselves to bayside lunches and elegant dinners at the trendy downtown restaurants, especially when they’re working undercover on a murder investigation. And me? Well, let’s just say my husband feels it’s safest if he does most of the cooking at our house. 



Occasionally, too much sugar can get you into trouble, as the Ladies found out the hard way on their first case, CARDIAC ARREST. But not to worry, these easy-to-make orange cookies are delicious and packed with Floridian Vitamin C. They’re perfect for quick pick-me-ups, book club refreshments, late-night snacks, or even breakfast. And Summer got the recipe directly from Gregoire, the sous-chef at Hibiscus Pointe. (My mom-in-law Sylvia just happens to have the very same one in her arsenal.) 

A quick note re: shortening vs. butter: Dorothy wanted to use a traditional, brand-name vegetable shortening from a can, but Summer vetoed the thick, white stuff. They compromised by picking up a package of high-fat butter (Kerrygold) from the nearest Publix grocery store. 

If they’d gone the shortening route, as Dorothy suggested, the dough would have held together more and resulted in orange ball cookies, rather than the flatter ones pictured here. Also, Dorothy did put her foot down on the importance of sifting both the flour and confectionary sugar—definitely worth it, she insists. (So does my mom-in-law.) Enjoy! ~ Lisa

Serves 2 dozen

Prep Time: 30 mins. (or less, if you’re a pro baker!)

Cooking Time: 8-10 mins.


For Orange Cookies:

2/3 cup of shortening (Summer and Dorothy used 2/3 cup real butter)  

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice 

2 Tablespoons grated orange rind

2 cups self-rising flour* 

*Note: If you prefer all-purpose flour, add ½ teaspoon each of baking powder, baking soda, and salt

For Orange Butter Frosting:

2 ½ Tablespoons soft butter

1 ½ cups sifted confectioners sugar 

1 ½ Tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice 

2 Tablespoons grated orange rind

Shredded coconut (optional) 


For Orange Cookies: 

Mix shortening (or butter) with sugar and egg thoroughly. 

Stir in orange juice and rind. Measure flour by sifting. Stir dry ingredients, blending well. (If you're using all-purpose flour, don’t forget to add the ½ teaspoon each of baking powder, baking soda, and salt!) 

Drop rounded teaspoons of dough about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until lightly brown around edges.  Cool on wire rack.

For Orange Butter Frosting: While cookies are cooling, blend all ingredients well, until smooth. 

Frost cookies when completely cool. 

Top with coconut, if desired,
for an extra-tropical touch!

Lisa Q. Mathews was a lifeguard, a competitive figure skater, and a Nancy Drew editor before starting to write her own mysteries. She was also an executive editor at Random House Children’s Books and penned kids' series such as Mary-Kate and Ashley and The Lizzie McGuire Mysteries. Like her odd-couple co-sleuths in The Ladies Smythe & Westin series from Carina Press/Harlequin, Lisa loves swimming, rich desserts, romantic comedies, and above all a good mystery!

To learn more about Lisa and her books, please visit her website at

You can also join Lisa at:

Chicks on the Case (group blog)

When a guy drops at your feet, you’d better hope he’s not dead...

Twenty-something party girl Summer Smythe is starting over in the unlikeliest of places: Hibiscus Pointe, an upscale retirement community in glitzy Milano, Florida. Her new gig? Working for Dr. A, Milano’s much-loved cardiologist. But being in over her head is the least of Summer’s worries when her new boss drops dead…right in front of her. 

Longtime resident Dorothy Westin prefers to mind her own business. But when the young blonde already causing ripples through Hibiscus Pointe becomes a person of interest in Dr. A’s murder, Dorothy springs into action. Not only because the real killer is still on the loose, but because there’s simply no way her clueless-but-kind new friend could have poisoned someone. 

Dorothy and Summer soon discover that, despite his chosen specialty, Dr. A had quite a reputation for breaking hearts. And if the Ladies Smythe and Westin don’t identify the guilty party fast, Summer may end up in handcuffs…and Dorothy in a body bag. 

CARDIAC ARREST and the Ladies’ second case, PERMANENTLY BOOKED, are available wherever e-books are sold. And don’t forget to mark your engagement calendar for FASHIONABLY LATE, available September 5, 2016!


Leave a comment on this post
by Midnight, Tuesday, June 21,
and you are entered to win: 

This giveaway is now over. Thanks to everyone who left comments! The winning comment, by random number draw, is...

Donamae K.  of Wisconsin

Congrats, Donamae!

An e-book copy of CARDIAC ARREST with...
Matching mug and spoon set (pictured above). 

Open to US and Canadian readers.
Be sure to leave a way for us
to get in touch with you, and...

Good luck!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cinnamon Stick Tea for My Sore Throat, Cough, and (Yes!) Cognition from Cleo Coyle

Were you hit with the flu this year? A few weeks ago, it slammed into our house like an NFL linebacker. First Marc went down, and then I did (eesh). 

While we've both recovered from the worst of it (fever, chills, and upset stomachs), Marc is still battling residual blahs, and I'm plagued with a recurring cough and head congestion. That's where this wonderful tea comes in...

In traditional Chinese medicine, cinnamon is a cure for phlegmy coughs. I can testify that it works! Brewing up fresh cinnamon stick tea always gives me relief, and its spicy-sweet flavor is delicious, too. 

Yes, I know you can brew cinnamon tea from store-bought bags, but the flavor is not as powerfully good as fresh-brewed from sticks. AND there's an added benefit to brewing from sticks...

Boost Your Brain with
the Scent of Cinnamon

Fresh brewing cinnamon tea from sticks fills the house with the fragrance of cinnamon, a scent you can't get from brewing quickly in bags. And the scent of cinnamon has been linked to improving cognitive brain functions (attention span, recognition memory, response speed, and working memory).

Finally, cinnamon itself is packed with health benefits. Among other things, it's a potent antibacterial agent (great for that sore throat) and it is an anti-inflammatory partly thanks to cinnamaldehyde (a substance found in the spice). One recent study showed that cinnamon can reduce inflammation and muscle soreness.

So let's get that water on and start our tea brewing!

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.


As always, the quality of your results depends on the quality of your ingredients. Now I've made cinnamon tea from the less expensive "Cassia" cinnamon sticks, which are the most common found in grocery stores, and I've enjoyed the results. BUT if you want a better quality tea, use the better quality "Ceylon" cinnamon sticks. See more on the differences in the recipe below...

FYI - I get my Ceylon cinnamon from, click here to see the product page. One pound or 64 three-inch sticks cost around $18.00 plus a small fee for shipping, which, for me, breaks down to less than 50 cents per stick. 

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

Click here for free recipe PDF.

Cleo's Cinnamon Stick Tea

Makes 2 six-ounce cups of tea 


2-1/2 cups of water
*2-3 cinnamon sticks (see my note on types of cinnamon)
1 teaspoon raw, local honey (optional)
1 small orange (optional)

Directions: Place 2-1/2 cups of water into a saucepan with 2 to 3 cinnamon sticks (see my note below to help choose the amount). Bring water to a boil and turn heat down to a low boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the cinnamon sticks to continue steeping in the water for a final 10 minutes. Strain into a tea cup and enjoy!

**Note on types of cinnamon: The amount of cinnamon sticks you'll want to use for this recipe will vary, depending on the kind of cinnamon sticks you're using, as well as their freshness. Let's start with...

Cassia cinnamon (aka "Chinese cinnamon) sticks are the most common type found in grocery stores. These are hard sticks with a single layer of curl. Because of their hardness, I suggest using 3 Cassia cinnamon sticks to make this tea, rather than 2. Their time on store shelves also tends to make them less potent so that 3rd stick is usually needed to make a good cinnamon tea.

Ceylon cinnamon sticks are softer and also of higher quality and potency. You can recognize them by their many layers. Because they are primarily sold by spice merchants at a higher price point, they tend to be fresher and more powerful. AND they truly do have amazing flavor, well worth the price! I suggest using 2 Ceylon cinnamon sticks for this recipe.

Cleo’s Cinnamon-Orange Tea with Honey

After straining the cinnamon stick tea into your tea cup, stir in 1 teaspoon of raw, local honey until dissolved. Grate a small amount of orange zest into the cup (I use the zest of about half a small orange) OR squeeze the juice of one orange wedge into the cup. Then garnish by placing one cinnamon stick into the cup. If you like, slice a thin round of orange and slide it onto the tea cup's rim. Serve warm and may you drink with joy!


The “zest” of a citrus fruit is the grating of its peel with absolutely none of the white pith beneath—because the white pith is bitter and you don’t want that in your recipe! The best tool for this is a microplane zester. To learn more about this handy kitchen tool or purchase it, click here or here.


Check out a sushi chef's unique
way of cutting and serving an orange...

To see a slower version of "Chef Joe's"
orange-cutting video , click here.

Eat and drink with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of  
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

* * *

Don't miss our Spring 
Coffeehouse Mystery Newsletter
Going out this week with...

* Book News * 2 Contests
* Recipes and Fun Videos

Sign up to receive it 

* * * 

Our newest mystery is now

a bestselling hardcover!

Coffee. It can get a girl killed.

Amazon * B&N

A "Most Wanted" Mystery Guild Selection
A Baker & Taylor "Trends" Pick
Three "Best of Year" Reviewer Lists

Dead to the Last Drop 
is a culinary mystery with 
more than 25 delicious recipes!

See the free illustrated 
Recipe Guide by clicking here.

*  *  *

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



(with mini plot summaries)

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Get a free title checklist, 
with mini plot summaries, 

Or learn more about the 
books and meet Jack Shepard, 
our PI ghost by clicking here.

Friend Cleo Coyle on facebook here. 
Follow her on twitter here. * Learn about her books here

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Steak grilled with oranges #recipe plus book #giveaway

From Daryl aka Avery:

Well, I blew it. I had it on my calendar to give you a SUPER guest today, and my calendar ran off without alerting me. Yes, it's my calendar's fault. I'm sticking to that story.

So our SURPRISE guest will continue to be a surprise until I get her post up. Argh. Please tell me you make mistakes, too. I'd hate to be the only one.

Until then, I've got a super recipe that absolutely must be shared during the summer and a super giveaway.

Giveaway first: My next book, STIRRING THE PLOT, comes out in just a few weeks. September 30. Today, I'm going to give away two sets of the first two books in the series. That's right, FINAL SENTENCE and INHERIT THE WORD. If you already have them, you can always donate them to a library, family member or pal. And I'll throw in a Cookbook Nook/Cheese Shop mug to boot! So leave a comment and remember to leave your email, in case.

Now, for the recipe.

Do you love barbecue? I do! And I have to admit I'm a red meat eater on occasion. No more than once every couple of weeks, but there's something about a good juicy steak that makes me salivate. Also, I feel better the next day, so I'll bet my anemic blood cells need that boost. Again, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it! :)

I found this recipe...rather, my HUSBAND, found this recipe in the Food Network magazine. He loves that magazine! The pullout section they have with "50 ways" to do something...this time, beef...really appeals to him. He can read them out loud as if he's doing a poetry slam. Each of the "50" are about 50 words or less. Very cool.

So, here you have it. I would bet this recipe would work well with chicken breasts and pork, as well, so if you want to go leaner, try it!  I intend to.


Ala Food Network Magazine July 2014

4 rib-eye steaks
2 oranges
1 lime
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
½ teaspoon kosher salt
(extra oranges for grilling)

1 teaspoon each, salt and sugar, for reducing marinade (*see below)


Mix the juice of the oranges and lime with the oregano, garlic and salt. 

Set rib-eye steaks in a large pan (13 x 9) and drench with the marinade. Set aside for 20 minutes.

Remove the steaks and reserve the marinade.

Grill the steaks along with some orange wedges, about 2 per person! I like my steak medium rare. Depending on your grill, about 6 minutes a side.

*Meanwhile, boil the remaining marinade, and season with a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of sugar. Let cool slightly. Drizzle over cooked steaks.

What's your favorite meat or goodie on the barbie??

* * *

By the way, I've got more giveaways going. Make sure you're signed up for my newsletter and check out my Facebook page -- there's a HUGE giveaway on that up in the next 24 hours for about 10 days! No pictures required. Good luck!


Friend Daryl on Facebook
Friend Avery on Facebook
Follow Daryl on Twitter
Follow Avery on Twitter
Follow both of us on Pinterest
Check out our website.

Days of Wine and Roquefort 
is out!
order here

Inherit the Word
  is out!
                                    order here

STIRRING THE PLOT is available for preorder: order here.

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