Sunday, August 3, 2014

Welcome Janet Cantrell!

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Janet Cantrell to Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. Daryl, Peg, and I go way back with Janet. All the way back to the days when we were hopeful that we might be published some day. So it's a special treat to announce that Janet is writing the Fat Cat Mysteries. The first book, FAT CAT AT LARGE, debuts September 2nd. 

And now, here's Janet!

Quincy and the Hula Bars

When Anna Larson, co-owner of the Bar None dessert bar shop, decides to invent a new recipe, Chase Oliver, the other co-owner, and Julie Larson, Anna’s granddaughter and Chase’s best friend, gather at Chase’s apartment above the shop to sample them.

Going by the ingredients, Anna called them Pineapple Walnut Dream Bars. All three agree they are delicious, but that the name is cumbersome. Sipping chamomile tea on the balcony after their dinner and dessert sampling, a new name is coined by Julie, the lawyer in the bunch: Hula Bars. It is accepted unanimously and Chase tells Julie to take the rest of them home with her.

However, Hula Bars have another big fan. Quincy, Chase’s butterscotch tabby cat. Quincy has been deemed overweight by Dr. Ramos, his new veterinarian. Consequently, he is on a restricted diet and hence always hungry!

Julie comes in from the balcony to find the boxed up leftovers on the floor and suspicious crumbs on Quincy’s long whiskers.

“What am I going to do with you, Fat Cat?” Chase says as she picks up the mangled treats and dumps them in the trash. She then makes sure to give Quincy a cuddle so he won’t feel too bad. After all, if she were on a strict diet, she’d be hungry all the time, too.

Later, Quincy’s ravenous appetite leads both him and Chase into a much worse adventure.

Here’s the recipe for Hula Bars, a taste of Hawaii, no matter where you are.


Oven: 375

Yield: 36 small dessert bar squares or 18 dessert bars



1/2 cup melted margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract


2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 1/3 cups (1 package) walnut chips
1/2 cup dried pineapple
1/2 cup coconut, lightly packed


1/4 cup powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).  Spray Pam on sides and bottom of 8x8 baking pan.

Melt the margarine. You can use a glass measuring cup and the microwave.

In a smallish to medium bowl, stir together brown sugar and flour. Stir in the margarine and extracts. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.

When the oven is preheated, bake the crust for 15 minutes.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until frothy.

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, baking powder, extracts, and salt. Stir this into the eggs.

Mix in the walnuts, pineapple, and coconut. Spoon this over the crust and return the pan to the oven.

Bake 20-25 more minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Cut into 36 bite-sized squares or 18 bars. Put them on a preparation plate and dust with powdered sugar. Transfer to serving plate or storage container.

Pre-order FAT CAT AT LARGE at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your favorite independent bookstore. You may also want to enter the Goodreads Giveaway and win one of the 25 copies available.

Better yet, you could win a copy by leaving a comment here today. Janet doesn't have the books in her hands yet, but she'll ship a copy of FAT CAT AT LARGE to one lucky person as soon as she has the books. Leave a comment with your email address to enter! (Krista's note: It has finally come to our attention that some of our subscribers don't see the posts until the following day. So please leave your comment by midnight Wednesday.)

Please check out Janet Cantrell’s website and blog: