Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Crockpot Pulled Pork #recipe ala The Recipe Rebel from author @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl:

A friend was talking about a pulled pork recipe using a jar of some sauce she got at Sur La Table, and she wasn't happy with the result.  Usually she adores all the Sur La Table jarred sauces.  Especially the curry.

Simply hearing about pulled pork put me in the mood and made me want to take a stab at it. I hadn't had good pulled pork since I left Charlotte, NC.  I'd never made it myself.

So I looked up recipes online and found this one from Recipe Rebel and was very  pleased with the result, as were all my guests, young and old. 

Also, I just have to share what the Recipe Rebel said, just in case you don't follow the above link.

From The Recipe Rebel
Reasons to love a crock pot pulled pork recipe:

Dump and go – no babysitting or adding things halfway through.
Melt-in-your-mouth tender and shreds so easily.
It’s got great flavor, thanks to the herb rub.
It makes a ton so you can include it in your weekend meal prep or save some in the freezer.
It’s just as good for a summer barbecue as it is for a cozy winter meal.

Things to do with it afterward:
Freeze it for up to 3-4 months.
Make pizza
Make tacos
Serve in a grilled cheese sandwich
Stir into pasta or soup.

As noted in his comments, this made a ton.  I served 3 adults and 3 kids at the first meal. The next night I served on a salad. And then two more frozen portions, ample for 4 people.

Pulled Pork Recipe (modified slightly re: herbs)

4 pounds boneless pork loin, trimmed if desired (I did not trim)
1 cup apple juice (or soda)
1 tablespoon seasoning salt (*made my own w/salt, paprika, and dash of chili powder)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (*used Penzey’s Beau herbs)
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder (*I didn’t have any on hand)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, cracked
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (*my addition because I didn’t have onion powder)
2 cups barbecue sauce, as desired, served after the pork is cooked

Place pork loin in a 4-6 quart crockpot and pour in apple juice.

In a small bowl, combine salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, dried mustard, onion powder, and black pepper (and whatever other spices you add). Sprinkle half over top of the pork loin and rub in. Flip the loin and sprinkle the other half and rub in.

Cover and cook on LOW until the meat is tender and falls apart. 8-10 hours.

Shred with two forks, discarding excess fat.  Toss in remaining juice and coat with barbecue sauce, as desired.

Serve on hamburger buns or deli buns.

Variations on the recipe, per the Recipe Rebel:

Change the liquid to Coca-Cola, Pepsi, or Dr. Pepper, or Cranberry Ginger ale. Try something new.

Try tossing it in a buffalo sauce.

Stir in honey garlic sauce instead of barbecue sauce and serve with rice or noodles.

The latest Cookbook Nook Mystery (#8), available in trade paperback and e-book.

What's it about?

Book clubs from all over have descended on Crystal Cove to celebrate the library’s Book Club Bonanza week, and Jenna Hart has packed the Cookbook Nook with juicy reads and tasty cookbooks. But she’s most excited about spending an evening with the Mystery Mavens and their moveable feast, when they will go from house to house to share different culinary treats and discuss the whodunit they’re all reading. It’s all good food and fun for the savvy armchair detectives, until one of the members of the group is found murdered at the last stop on the tour.

As if that weren’t enough to spoil her appetite, Jenna discovers that all the evidence points to her friend Pepper as being the guilty party. And with Pepper’s chief-of-police daughter too close to the case to be impartial, Jenna knows she’ll have to step in to help clear her friend’s name before a bitter injustice sends her to jail. Sifting through the clues, Jenna unearths any number of possible culprits, but she’ll have to cook up a new way to catch the killer before Pepper’s goose is cooked.

Includes tasty sweet and savory recipes!

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A SOUFFLÉ OF SUSPICION, the 2nd French Bistro Mystery.
Can Mimi prove her chef innocent before the chef gets dusted?
Click here to order.

A DEADLY ÉCLAIR, the 1st French Bistro Mysteries, in all formats.
Can Mimi clear her name before the killer turns up the heat?
Click here to order.

SIFTING THROUGH CLUES, the 8th Cookbook Nook Mystery.
Sifting through the clues, Jenna unearths any number of possible culprits, but she’ll have to cook up a new way to catch the killer before her friend Pepper’s goose is cooked. 
Click here to order

WREATH BETWEEN THE LINES, the 7th Cookbook Nook Mystery.
Jenna Hart is busy decking the halls and ducking a killer
Click here to order.

FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE, the 7th Cheese Shop Mystery by Avery Aames.
Finally there's going to be a cheese festival in Providence!
Click to order.

GIRL ON THE RUN, a stand-alone suspense.
When a fairytale fantasy night becomes a nightmare, Chessa Paxton must run for her life...but will the truth set her free?
Click to order

DAY OF SECRETS, a stand-alone suspense
A mother he thought was dead. A father he never knew. An enemy that wants them dead.
Click here to order

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Pepper's Perfect Spiced Chai -- CHAI ANOTHER DAY

LESLIE:  I could hardly write a book with “chai” in the title and not share a recipe for your own home brew, now could I?

In writing this book, I read quite a bit about the history of what we in the West call “chai”—“chai tea,” as it’s often called, is a misnomer from the get-go, since “chai” means “tea” in Hindi. The most likely explanation is that British colonials who ran factories in India added sugar and milk—typically buffalo milk—to the mid-day tea to give their works additional calories and energy.

The drink quickly became a staple of Indian life, and has spread throughout the world. The Indians added spices, or masala, which means "spice mix," and developed an astonishing variety of combinations—everything from black pepper to lemon grass. And yes, green tea “chai” is a thing in India, too. As Pepper and I discovered, this is a tradition with more traditions than you could shake a spoon at.

It took me a few tries to get a masala I thought was flavorful enough to taste through a good black tea. In my opinion, this version is nicely balanced, with a tiny bite. Great hot or cold. If you’ve got star anise, add a star or two.

After I wrote this post, I spent a couple of hours on a Saturday in June signing books at World Spice Merchants in Seattle, one of the inspirations for my fictional Seattle Spice shop. The staff served chai made in a French press, with no milk, and it was terrific. I've since tried it at home and it works beautifully. Start with equal amounts of the masala and tea -- say a rounded teaspoon of each in a single serving press -- and let it steep no more than 3-4 minutes; sweeten if you'd like. Adjust the strength to your own taste next time. This version lacks the richness of the flavor-steeped milk, but if you don't drink milk or don't want to stand at the stove and stir, it's an easy substitute.

Pepper’s Perfect Spiced Chai 

1 cup water
4 green cardamom pods
4 whole cloves
4 black peppercorns
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 slice fresh ginger, roughly an inch across and 1/4" thick; no need to peel it
1 heaping tablespoon loose-leaf black tea, such as Assam or Keemun
1/2 cup milk

honey or turbinado sugar, to taste

In a small saucepan, heat the water, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, and ginger. Bring to a rolling boil. Add the tea and boil 3 minutes. Add the milk and bring back to a boil; turn off the heat and allow to steep 2 minutes. Strain into a large mug and sweeten to taste.

To serve iced, strain and pour over ice in a large glass.

Serves one. You can increase the recipe and store in the fridge, covered, 2–3 days; serve cold or reheat.

Pepper and I wish you a long and flavorful life! 

From the cover of CHAI ANOTHER DAY, Spice Shop Mystery #4 (Seventh St. Books, June 2019): 

 Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece probes murder while juggling a troubled employee, her mother's house hunt, and a fisherman who's set his hook for her.

As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle's famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee's vintage home decor shop that ends in murder. 

Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend - and Pepper herself.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story; read it on her website. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Berry Bread Pudding

I'm often inspired by photos and recipes that I see somewhere.  I had some raspberries in the freezer and some blueberries waiting to be used, so when I saw a recipe for bread pudding, eureka! It all came together.

My grocery store hides the Challah. Just saying—in case you can't find this wonderful bread at your grocery store. Okay, they don't actually hide it. To keep it fresh, they keep it in the freezer in the bakery section. All I have to do is ask for it. But it took me years to figure that out. Sometimes it was on the shelf, but most often it was not. So don't be afraid to ask if they have any!

Note that I used both fresh and frozen berries! How daring was that? But the good news is that you can use either one. Whatever you have on hand. You do not have to thaw the fruit first if it is frozen.

The vanilla sauce is totally decadent. But if you're having a party, it's the way to go!

Berry Bread Pudding

1 loaf of Challah
3 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 cups 2%milk
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
roughly 2-3 cups of berries

In a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add the cream and milk and whisk. Add the salt and sugar and whisk again. Tear the Challah into bite-sized pieces and place in the milk mixture. Tamp them down a little bit with a spoon so they all soak. Let them stand for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Butter a 9x13 pan. Pour about 3/4 of the bread mixture into the pan and scatter the fruit over top. Add the rest of the Challah and liquid over the top.

Bake 35-40 minutes at 350. Turn the heat down to 275 and bake another 10 minutes until the sides  bubble and the center doesn't jiggle or look under-baked.

Vanilla Sauce

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the butter in a smallish pot. Add the flour and whisk into the butter. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring most of the time. When it begins to develop an aroma, add the cream, salt, and sugar. Turn the heat up slightly and cook at a simmer until it gets thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Serve hot over the Berry Bread Pudding.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Please welcome our guest Kay Finch! #Giveaway #GF

Kay Finch is joining us today and she's sharing her recipe for a healthy (!) cheesecake!

As I’m celebrating the June 11th release of The Black Cat Steps On A Crack, Bad Luck Cat Mystery #4, I should be busy writing the next adventure of Sabrina and Hitchcock. I get sidetracked easily, though, and when I came across my grandmother’s recipe notebook I stopped to page through it.
Today, it’s easy to capture an image of an interesting recipe. Not so quick in her time –she obviously spent many hours recopying recipes into this book. (Of the other treasures I kept from her kitchen, the strawberry dish is my favorite).  When I came across the “Quick Cheesecake” recipe, my mouth started watering. My husband and I both love cheesecake, and our wedding anniversary was yesterday – it’s not too late to celebrate with this treat. (I especially appreciate this recipe because it’s gluten-free and diabetic friendly, too!)
2 packages 8-oz. cream cheese
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice, divided
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat an 8-inch square pan w/ nonstick spray. Combine cream cheese and ½ cup sugar; beat well. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and ¼ teaspoon lemon juice. Spoon into dish and bake 40-45 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Do not turn off the oven.  Meanwhile, combine the sour cream with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla, and ¼ teaspoon lemon juice; mix well. Spread over top of cheesecake and bake for 10 minutes. Let cheesecake cool, then cover and chill for at least 4 hours. 

Sabrina Tate and her cat, Hitchcock, must sort through the clues when a librarian is killed and justice is overdue . . .
With construction on the town’s new library nearing completion, mystery writer Sabrina Tate is thrilled that local book lovers, and her own forthcoming novel, will soon have a fine new home. But tensions are rising at the site as the headstrong new librarian insists on telling the construction crew how to do their jobs, bringing work to a standstill. When Sabrina’s cat unearths the dead body of the librarian not long after—and a good friend’s husband is named as the main suspect—she finds herself being pulled into a murder investigation yet again.
While virtually all the workers at the site had a motive to commit the dark deed, Sabrina turns her attention to the victim’s background looking for clues, but hits a dead end when she can’t locate any of the woman’s family. As a string of planted evidence and a murky collection of malicious characters start to surface, Sabrina knows she and Hitchcock will have to tread carefully, before the library killer decides to check them out for good . . .

Kay Finch is the National Best-Selling author of the Bad Luck Cat Mysteries by Penguin Random House.  Though her character, Sabrina Tate, has left the paralegal profession behind to move to the Texas Hill Country, Kay still works as a paralegal at a Houston, Texas law firm. She resides in a Houston suburb with her husband and pets. Visit her at

**** GIVEAWAY! ****
Kay is giving away one copy of The Black Cat Steps on a Crack.  Leave a comment below to be entered to win.  (US only).