Saturday, October 24, 2020

#Egg Roll Bowl with Shrimp by Denise Swanson

Happy week before Halloween!

Truthfully, I don't really do holidays, or maybe I should say that I don't cook anything special for holidays.

I don't make cute cupcakes like these.

Or create scary trays like this one

Instead, on Halloween night, I make my husband a tasty dinner to prepare him for the evening. He is none too fond of the whole trick or treat experience, so I need to put him in a good mood for the endless doorbell ringing. LOL

Seeing as we've been on an Asian food kick, I've been searching for more healthy, easy, and tasty recipes. This one ticks all the boxes. It literally took us fifteen minutes to put it together with minimal chopping, which is a con with most Asian recipes.

5 cups of frozen cauliflower rice
2 tablespoons of canola oil
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
4 teaspoons of minced garlic
2 teaspoons of ginger paste (not pictured)
6 cups of coleslaw mix (not pictured)
1 sliced red pepper
½ cup of thinly slice green tail onions
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1-pound peeled shrimp (thaw if frozen)
Sesame seeds

Immediately steam cauliflower rice according to directions on package.

Meanwhile, warm large skillet over medium heat. Add oils, swirling to coat pan. Add garlic and ginger. Sauté until sizzling and golden brown.

Add coleslaw, bell pepper, and onions. Stir frequently until for about 3 minutes (until cabbage is wilted).

Sprinkle five spice over cabbage mixture and stir until blended.  Add soy sauce and vinegar. Stir until mixture is coated evenly.

Add shrimp and cook until done (about three minutes).

Divide rice between four plates. 

Top with shrimp/cabbage mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Chocolate, men, and magic. Who can turn down that inheritance?
     If life had gone as she planned, Lexie Green would have been teaching English at a prestigious university, not persuading spoiled, rich women to buy overpriced clothes they didn’t need and often looked ridiculous wearing. Can you say electric yellow see-through skirts and Torn jeans with unfinished hems?    
     Still, although this isn’t the life Lexie would have chosen, all is going well. At least until Lexie is fired and her deranged ex-boyfriend tries to kidnap her.
     Deciding that it’s better to accept a mysterious inheritance from a great aunt she’s never heard of rather than end up kept in a cage as her ex’s pet poodle, Lexie packs up and heads to Kansas. So, what if she has to go by a new name and live in a town that she can’t find on a map?
     Unfortunately, once she arrives in her new hometown, everyone there seems just a tad off-kilter and Lexie’s cousin insists that the citizens are magical. At least there are a couple of hot guys hanging around for eye candy.
     Even though Lexie doesn’t believe the nonsense about her being the Ravenscraft Shield, she does believe her father was murdered—a father she never knew existed, and she investigates his death.
     Too bad, whoever killed her father, now wants Lexie dead as well.    


There's something fishy just below the surface of Scumble River...

School psychologist Skye Denison-Boyd is getting ready to return to work from her maternity leave and hoping for a peaceful year in her job as a school psychologist. But when an elderly woman disappears on her first day back and a disgruntled parent threatens to sue the school, Skye realizes that her return will be anything but quiet.

When the parent suing Skye's school is found dead and with the missing woman's case is still unsolved, Skye suspects the crimes are somehow linked. With her chief of police husband, Wally, at her side, Skye dives into the investigations. But as tensions rise and Skye and Wally's suspect list lengthens, they start to wonder whether a member of their own tight-knit community could be behind it all...



In the small town of Normalton, IL, there aren't a lot of opportunities for small business owner Dani Sloan to cater big-ticket events. But that's about to change—a client named Yvette Joubert is marrying Franklin Whittaker, the richest guy around, and they want Dani to cater their engagement party! The swanky event is the perfect opportunity to put Dani on the map for wealthier clients.

But when a storm hits the party after guests arrive, it becomes clear that more than the dinner is ruined: Yvette is found dead beneath the marquee. Is her death a tragic accident, or a perfectly orchestrated murder? Then the case gets even juicier—it turns out that Yvette's ex-husband is Spencer Drake, Dani's almost-boyfriend, and the police start circling. Now Dani must follow an unending list of clues to save her business, her better half, and catch a criminal. Let's just hope they get their just desserts!

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Friday, October 23, 2020


Soul Cakes from @MaddieDayAuthor, plus #giveaway

MADDIE here, for my Halloween contribution. Hallowe'en, of course, means Hallows' Evening, the night before All Souls Day. According to Wikipedia, the tradition of giving soul cakes was celebrated in Britain or Ireland during the Middle Ages, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy.

These spice-filled little sweets are part scone and part cookie. Before baking, they are topped with the mark of a cross to signify that these were alms. They were traditionally set out with glasses of wine, an offering for the dead as in early Christian tradition. Either on All Hallows' Eve (Halloween), All Saints' Day, or All Souls' Day (November 2nd, this author's birthday...), children would go "souling", or ritually begging for cakes door to door.

Is a mini Baby Ruth a modern soul cake, or a handful of candy corn? I certainly didn't know about the holiday's origins when I was trick-or-treating, nor when my sons were,

My goddaughter Anna and my son Allan, Halloween, 1994

But it's never too late to enlarge our historical horizons

Soul Cakes

Note: The original recipe called for a bit of milk. I didn't need it but I'd already taken the ingredients photo!


3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar, plus more for dusting

2 eggs

3 cups unbleached white flour, plus more for rolling

1/2 teaspoon each allspice, cinnamon, powdered ginger, and nutmeg

1/2 cup golden raisins or currants


Pre-heat oven to 375F and either grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together and then beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Mix the spices into the flour. 

Stir it and the raisins into the mixture, making a soft dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter. Mark each cake with a cross, dust with sugar, and place them on the baking sheet.

Bake the cakes for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy with tea, or even a glass of wine.

Readers: What's your favorite Halloween tradition? I'll send one of you a signed copy of Candy Slain Murder (US only)!

My most recent book is Candy Slain Murder, the eighth Country Store mystery. You guessed it, the story takes place at Christmas. As with all my books written as Maddie Day, you'll find easy recipes in the back.

I hope you'll visit Edith Maxwell and me on our web site, sign up for our monthly newsletter, visit us on social media, and check our all our books and short stories.

Maddie Day (aka Edith Maxwell) is a talented amateur chef and holds a PhD in Linguistics from Indiana University. An Agatha Award-winning and bestselling author, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and also writes award-winning short crime fiction. She lives with her beau north of Boston, where she’s currently working on her next mystery when she isn’t cooking up something delectable in the kitchen.

Thursday, October 22, 2020


 by Mary Jane Maffini 

 #Halloween #Hallowiener #dogbiscuits #easydogtreats

We are getting close to the magic night of Halloween and it appears that it might not be a regular sort of celebration.  Around here, we love Halloween. We wear witches' hats, have cauldrons of candy bars (coincidentally our favorite kind) and love every ring of the bell, even though we don’t get a lot of children. The pooches wear costumes and love to race barking to the door.  (Well, fourteen year old Lily does not want to wear a costume any more.) This year we have been advised not to give out candies or take children out to trick our treat.  It takes more than that to take away our Halloween fun.

Whether or not little creatures will be trick or treating where you live this year, you can bet your pets will still be keen for a treat. 

Our three dachshunds and the three dogs visiting us all loved these cookies. Of course, they each got just a portion of a treat. The biscuits smelled great and the husband and the son-in-law both had to be persuaded not to eat any. Really.  The dogs pronounced them Hallow-awesome!  Or at least it sounded something like that.  Their mouths were full!



2/3 cup pumpkin purée (canned or fresh)  

1/4 cup peanut butter (I used smooth, but crunchy would probably work too - maybe add a bit more)


2 large eggs

2 ¼ - 2 ½  cups whole wheat flour

½ tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

With the paddle attachment,of an electric mixer beat pumpkin puree, peanut butter, cinnamon and eggs on medium-high until well mixed. 

Gradually add 2 cups of flour at low speed, beating just until incorporated. Add additional flour a bit at a time just until the dough is no longer sticky.  

Working on a lightly-floured surface, knead the dough until it comes together, then roll out.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. 

Cut out desired shapes and place onto the prepared baking sheet. 

I used pumpkin-shaped cookie cutters but made the eyes and mouths free-form with a sharp knife to add interest for any humans who might be around. 

 The dogs didn't give a hoot about the shape or the features, so naturally you could use any shape cookie cutters, but this was entertaining for me.

Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.

Let cool completely. Dogs might get a bit impatient but the cookies must be cool.

Have a bit of fun with your pets when the biscuits are ready because you will be under pressure.

If you know my books and Victoria Abbott's, then you also know that we're all about the fun and the dogs.  If you have a pet who loves treats (or doesn't) and enjoys Halloween  (or hates it), come on by and tell us about it!

Mary Jane Maffini is the author of three and a half mystery series: the Camilla Maffini mysteries, the Fiona Silk capers and the Charlotte Adams mysteries – number six coming soon!  The Charlotte Adams books have recently been optioned for television films. Details to come when they can be made public. With her daughter Victoria Maffini, MJ collaborated on The Book Collector Mysteries as Victoria Abbott. Victoria Abbott spent several happy years on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. MJ  is very glad to be back. 

Don't forget to check out MJ's Canadian books:  Camilla MacPhee features a fortyish widowed lawyer who runs an advocacy agency for victims of violet crime, in Ottawa, Canada's capital city. Life would be easier if she didn't have the world's worst office assistant, the world's bossiest sisters and, arguably, the world's greatest stubborn streak. If you like your mysteries a bit edgy with a side order of humor, these could be for you.  


Keep up on the news!  Sign up for MJ's newsletter HERE 





Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Happy #Halloween week - Ghost cupcakes #gluten-free #recipe + book #giveaway from author @DarylWoodGerber


From Daryl:

Non-spooky giveaway below!!  


I love making goodies that my grandsons can enjoy. I saw a picture of these cupcakes online and decided I had to make them. Using one of my favorite gluten-free cookbooks,