Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome, Mary Kennedy!

A very warm New Year's welcome to author Mary Kennedy. Mary writes the Talk Radio Mystery series, about Maggie Walsh, a psychologist who closes up her Manhattan practice and heads to sunny Florida to take a job as a radio talk show host.

Mary has generously offered to send a copy of her book to one winner today. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered in the drawing! Good luck!

In addition to everything else she does, Mary adopted the 389th Renegades, stationed in Iraq. Here's Mary with her wonderful story!

The soldiers in the photo are Lt. Colonel Lisa Schieferstein and Command Sergeant Major Eric Cooke. I wrote a piece for PW on my experiences called "Books on the Battlefield."

What kind of goodies would you send to 90 hungry American soldiers stationed at a remote desert outpost in Iraq? This was the problem I faced last summer, when I “adopted” the 389th Renegades, headed by Lt. Colonel Lisa Schieferstein, the garrison commander. There were 3 requirements; the goodies had to withstand extreme heat, had to travel well and had to be delicious. I had already sent 200 pounds of home-made brownies over the summer (which were a hit!) but now I wanted to add something new.

I turned to Martha Cheves, cookbook author extraordinaire, for advice. She gave me a recipe for Baked Cereal Squares from and it was a big hit! I made trays and trays of it during the summer months, packed them into empty two gallon pretzel jars and the troops loved it.


1 (16 oz.) pkg. cereal squares (rice, oats, corn, wheat)

2 cups whole pecans

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/4 (1/2 stick) butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Combine cereal and pecans in 9 x 13 baking dish. In a 2 cup microwavable bowl, mix corn syrup, brown sugar and butter. Microwave on high 1 1/2 minutes. Stir. Microwave on high for 1 minute more or until mixture is boiling. Stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour over cereal & nuts. Stir until evenly coated. Bake 1 hr. tossing every 20 minutes. Cool.

Makes about 2 qts.

It turns out the “Renegades” loved mysteries, so I sent plenty of paperback mysteries, including copies of DEAD AIR and REEL MURDER, from my Talk Radio Mysteries. The Renegades are all safely back home, now, and I mentioned them in the acknowledgment page of STAY TUNED FOR MURDER, my January 4th release. Hope you enjoy this wonderful snack!

Mary Kennedy is a licensed psychologist in private practice on the east coast and the author of The Talk Radio Mysteries from Penguin.


  1. What a wonderful thing to do 'adopting' the soldiers. Your recipe sounds delicious and I can see why it was a hit with them. Welcome to MLK and wishing you much success with your book. I have a copy of STAY TURNED FOR MURDER on my desk to read and am looking forward to it.

    Thoughts in Progress

  2. Thanks so much for supporting the troops--your series looks like fun, so I'm off to see if it's available for Kindle ;-)

  3. Welcome back to the *virtual* Kitchen, Mary! What a worthy and wonderful project. Our troops deserve our respect, our thanks, and our grateful support. Thanks to you and the other writers you've enlisted for giving them a little authorial TLC. Your series is a winner, btw, and I can't wait to read the latest entry. Congrats on its pub this week, and thanks to you (and Martha) for sharing the tasty recipe today.

    Cheers and Happy New Year!
    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. It warms my heart to read what you did for our troops. Not only goodies to share but books too! Great idea! I too am off to see if your series is available on Kindle, but I wouldn't mind winning one to hold in my hands to read!

  5. Great story! I am looking forward to reading the Talk Radio mystery series. I read the books by all the other authors in the mystery lover's kitchen and enjoy them. The talk radio series sounds interesting.

  6. I think this is a wonderful story and the treats look very tasty. Love seeing the kids smiling in the picture. This series is new to me, but it definitely sounds like something I would enjoy. I'll be on the lookout for it.

  7. Thank you so much for inviting me here today! I was thrilled when everyone in the 389th came home safely, that is the best gift anyone could have. And I am so grateful to Martha Cheves, author of Laugh, Stir, Repeat, it's a terrific cookbook and she always finds amazing recipes for me. The troops really loved this one!

  8. Wonderful to have sent 200 pounds of brownies! I'm sure they were a taste of home for our brave soldiers. How great that you adopted them and that you helped make the harsh conditions there a little bit brighter. This is a lovely post. Congrats on your new book coming out! Woo-hoo!! Looking forward to it!

  9. Mary, you already know how much I appreciate you and your support of the soldiers and it was my pleasure to supply you with a treat that I felt they would both love as well as one that would keep during it's journey. As for your books, I love them and have "Stay Tuned for Murder" sitting on my shelf ready to read. I feel sure that it will be as good or even better than "Reel Murder." Again, thank you for everything you do.
    Martha A. Cheves

  10. Welcome, Mary, and what a wonderful nobel cause. Great recipe and one that could be made gluten-free just by switching out the cereal. Love it.

    Good luck with your new book. Stay Tuned is on my TBR pile.



  11. What a wonderful way of supporting our troops.

    Best of luck on your upcoming release.

  12. Often, I end up having to buy my books used, or borrow them from the library. Your books will always be on my "to buy" list from now on--thank you so much for supporting the troops. My DH and I met when he was serving in the Persian Gulf in the Navy in 2003, and he's now in the National Guard. Thank you for all you do! :)

  13. Mary, you're an inspiration to all! Thanks for being so supportive of our troops.

  14. Welcome, Mary! What a wonderful thing you're doing for the troops!! I will be trying out your recipe and plan to nosh on it while reading Stay Tuned for Murder.

  15. Thank you so much for the kind words, being involved with the brave men and women in the 389th was a wonderful experience for me. I'm involved with local military groups, as well. I live in Delaware and am speaking on "How to Write a Mystery" at Language Arts night, Feb 2 at the Dover Air Force Base. I've spoken down there once before at the Middle School on the Base. I brought 400 homemade chocolate chip cookies and the kids treated me like a rock star. I stayed all day, speaking to various classes. The kids were incredibly well behaved and loads of fun. Elizabeth, please tell your husband "thank you" for his service! Military people are the best! I've made wonderful friends around the country.

  16. Mary, you are doing such an important thing. With the volunteer army, we forget that there are such wonderful people in harm's way doing things they were never properly trained for. i have a nephew in Afghanistan as we speak, it's been 3 weeks since we heard from him (not uncommon, but worrisome).

    Good luck with the new release on Tuesday. There can not be anything more exciting.

  17. Love your site. Great work Mary. Now, I'm looking forward to reading your new novel.

  18. What a wonderful story and thing to do for our troops. Thanks for posting this wonderful recipe, i am adding it to my collection of recipes.

  19. I have my two sweet granddaughters with me today and I do believe I have all those ingredients. I have a mission!

  20. This is such a wonderfully generous contribution to our troops. I'm going to post a link on my FB page. Thanks, Mary, and I can't wait to read your new book.

  21. Thank you so much for joining us today, Mary! I'm so impressed with your contributions to our troops. I can't imagine baking 200 pounds of brownies!

    ~ Krista

  22. The trick with the brownies (besides the Kahlua, I swear, it acted like a preservative!) was to make six batches, two at a time in the oven. I had it down to a system. And every two weeks, I would wrestle a BIG package to the post office. For those sending books and goodies to our soldiers, I guess you know that you only have to pay the "domestic" rate. You fill out a special customs form at the post office and sign it...for "A Year on the Grill", sending good thoughts and energy for your nephew. You're right, it is worriesome, here's hoping you hear from him very soon. The letters I received from the soldiers were so touching, I saved every one of them.

  23. Talk about cooking for a crowd! What a terrific thing to do, Mary.


  24. Welcome, Mary! What a wonderful story and a fantastic thing to do for our troops. Love the picture. :)

  25. Thank you for supporting our troops, Mary! Yummy snack recipe and books!!!

  26. What a great idea, Mary. I commend you for what you are doing for our troops.

    Both recipes sound wonderful, but the Chex one really got my attention. I know what I'll be serving at my Super Bowl party.

    Too bad my Cowboys won't be there!!

  27. A wonderful story. Mary is such a wonderful person to do such a thing. When I asked for goodies, Mary offered up a bounty of things to send to the soldiers! Good luck on the new release.