Sunday, March 29, 2015

Welcome Amanda Cooper!

We're excited to have Amanda Cooper with us today. You might know her as Victoria Hamilton. As Amanda Cooper, she writes the Teapot Collector Mysteries. If you share her love for china (I know I do!) and all things related to tea time, check out her fabulous Pinterest board. But today she's having an inner struggle that I can relate to all too well. 

Don't miss her amazing giveaway at the end!

Here's Amanda!

I’ve been trying to eat better lately, but for someone who likes food and cooking, it’s not always easy. 


A conversation with myself goes like this:

Self: You should eat more fruit.
My other, brattier self: How about a big, fat raspberry?
Self: How about you grow up?
Bratty Self: Is jam fruit?
Self: No, jam can’t be considered fruit. Too much sugar.
Bratty Self: But fruit is booooring!
Self: What’s boring about a lovely juicy apple or a pear? Or a handful of grapes?
Bratty Self: Hmm… a couple of apples, a pear, a cup of grapes. Maybe some dried cranberries and pecans. Oooh, time for a fruit salad, but not a boring old fruit-only fruit salad, a super deluxe kick ass fruit salad. And I will call it…

Caramel Apple Salad
Makes: 4 – 6 Generous servings.


2 Honey Crisp or Royal Gala apples (or whatever kind you like best!)
1 pear, whatever type you prefer
1 – 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup seedless grapes (I used a mix of green and Sable Black seedless grapes.)
¼ cup dried cranberries (or raisins, or omit)
¼ cup chopped pecans (or walnuts, or omit)
½ cup fat free Greek yogurt
2 - 3 Tablespoons caramel topping, to taste
Cinnamon to taste, if you like.


1 – Blend the Greek yogurt and caramel topping together until smooth. Add cinnamon, if you’re using it. Set aside.
2 – Wash the fruit. Dice the apples and pears. The size of the dice is a personal thing; coarsely, but not big chunks.
3 – Sprinkle the apples and pears with lemon juice and toss, so they won’t brown.
4 – If you have very large green grapes like I did, you may want to slice them in half.
5 – Chop the nuts coarsely.
6 – Combine the fruits, nuts and dried cranberries or raisins, then coat well with the sauce.

And… done. It’s that easy. I just love the caramel apple flavor of this salad, but for a sweetening ingredient you could substitute honey, maple syrup, or even a fruit syrup. A blackberry syrup would be lovely! This will last in the fridge a day or two, but I doubt it will last that long!

Blend topping and dice fruit.

Combine fruit and nuts.

Even more elegant when served in a teacup!

Shadow of a Spout:
Avid teapot collector Rose Freemont takes a break from her Victorian tea house only to find a new mystery brewing elsewhere...

Leaving her home in Gracious Grove behind her, Rose is off to the annual convention of the International Teapot Collector’s Society. Her granddaughter Sophie is minding the tea house while she’s away. Rose is eager for tough cookie Zunia Pettigrew to appraise a prized antique teapot she believes may be a holy water vessel from China.

But when Zunia declares the pot a fake, Rose is really steamed. After Zunia’s found dead beside Rose’s dinged-in teapot, Sophie must rush to her grandmother’s aid and find the real killer—before Rose is steeped in any more trouble…

To learn more about Amanda Cooper and the Teapot Collector Mysteries see these pages:

Killer Characters – 21st of each month:

Victoria Hamilton/Amanda Cooper on Facebook:


About Amanda Cooper:
Amanda Cooper is the pseudonym for bestselling mystery author Victoria Hamilton. She writes the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and the Merry Muffin Mysteries as Hamilton, in addition to the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper.
Cooper’s long time love of mystery novels started at age twelve when her mom handed her an Agatha Christie book and said ‘Read!’. Thousands of novels later Cooper is still reading. And writing.
But besides those two favorite pastimes, Cooper also enjoys collecting vintage kitchenalia, old books, teacups, teapots and other ephemera. Perfume is her secret addiction. She likes to cook, hates to clean, and enjoys time spent with friends chatting over wine or tea. She loves crafts, loathes boredom, and her guilty pleasure is ‘reality’ TV, which she knows is largely fake but enjoys anyway.
Cooper thinks that people are the most interesting study of all, and more than anything, she loves to hear from readers, not just about her books but about anything and everything.

Open to US AND Canada Readers. Comment to enter to win a prize package including…
· Grace Teaware Teacup and Saucer
· English Tea Shop Tea
· Signed copy of Shadow of a Spout
· Cozy up to a good mystery! Tote Bag


  1. I love everything tea and am looking forward to reading this. Thank you for the giveaway!

  2. Thank you, Amanda, for the caramel aplle salad idea! As much as love caramel apples I should have thought of this. Love tea in afternoon and evening; but, more of coffee in the morning gal. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway. I'm looking forward to reading Shadow of a Spout!

  3. Welcome, Amanda! Love the recipe; and I collect tea sets, so this prize sounds so awesome!

  4. I love your Caramel Apple Salad Recipe! This will be good now and SO refreshing in the warm months to come. I love my coffee in the a.m., but I love to try all the new tea flavors too,especially the relaxing ones for night, like white pear! I have been collecting teapots with and for my Mom forever and I really like your Tea wear in the post and giveaway. Definitely want to read this series, and I don't think that Rose's teapot is so fake after all..Thank you for a wonderful giveaway Amanda!!

  5. I made a version of this salad earlier today using honey. Never thought about caramel - have to try that. I have a hard time eating just a plain, old piece of fruit. What a terrific giveaway package. Thanks.

  6. Thank you for the caramel apple salad recipe. It looks delicious. The giveaway is amazing! Thank you for a chance to win.

  7. The Apple salad looks and sou.David delicious. I appreciate the giveaway opportunity. The gist package is lovely.

  8. I like the grandmother/granddaughter combo for a mystery novel. What a lovely idea! Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

  9. Great recipe and great series.

  10. Wonderful sounding recipe , will try it soon thank you. Beautiful giveaway, I love that tea cup and love all things tea, it is all I drink . Looking forward to reading this book, is now on my TRL

  11. I love reading, I love tea, and I love caramel!!!! Can't wait to try your salad - it will go well with our Easter Dinner. Thanks for the giveaway and I can't wait to read your book.

  12. My pantry has at least 4 kinds of tea in it at all times... our favorite is English Breakfast tea. We also enjoy tea stories and I'd love to win this lovely package.

  13. awesome recipes and giveways

  14. Oh I am going to make this salad it sounds so good. It would be great as a dessert or side dish. We like in the summer to have a cold dinner with salads cheese this would be great. Love your books too. I collect tea pots and sets too

  15. Your salad looks fabulous as does your book. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  16. Oh I am going to make this salad it sounds so good. It would be great as a dessert or side dish. We like in the summer to have a cold dinner with salads cheese this would be great. Love your books too. I collect tea pots and sets too

  17. I just love England and all teas and cozying up with all your books! What a great site here with recipes too! You girls out do yourselves! Thankyou and do hope i win this time!

  18. I have to tell you, you are my cup of tea! I have pinned, liked and shared the giveaway !
    I love the teacup and do collect teacups and pots, tho my collection is rather thin one might say! Have a blessed Easter and wish me luck.

  19. The recipe sounds so good, will have to see if I have what is in it to try it out. Thanks for the chance to win such a nice prize.

  20. Loved the first book and can't wait to read the next one.

  21. Joyce, I love tea and tea parties. I am having a 'guy' tea for my husband. Looking forward to the new book.

  22. Love Davis. Love Abbott. Love so many of the authors on this page. And would love the prize package.

  23. I love teacups, an afternoon cup of tea and a cosy mystery!

  24. This looks so much healthier and better than similar recipes. I'm going to try it.

  25. Serving a scrumptious fruit mix on a teacup - what a neat presentation. Your books are pretty neat, too. Thank you for the hours of enjoyment! H.H.

  26. Salad looks heavenly and I love the idea of serving it in a teacup!

  27. Lovely gift package! I'm a big fan of all your series. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

  28. I enjoy teas and love looking at teapots. I can wait to read this book, it looks like a fun one. Thank you for sharing. griperang at embarqmail dot com

  29. This mystery sounds like just my cup of tea!

  30. This recipe looks to be delicious, and I was so glad to see that it employed the use of Greek yogurt rather than the ersatz Cool Whip that I see used in so many recipes of this type. Served in a lovely teacup makes it look extra special.

    1. Looking forward to reading this one! The salad looks delicious. .and served in a teacup. .how clever!

  31. This is my favorite blend, a cozy mystery, beautiful tea cup and saucer! What more could this cozy lover want? Thank you for the opportunity!!!

  32. I started reading Tempest in a Teapot, so enjoyable. Thanks for the opportunity I love giveaways!

  33. I can't wait to make the salad for our family Easter celebration. Great giveaway gifts too! Thank you!

  34. What a wonderful prize! I am really looking forward to this book.

  35. I love that recipe---I just went on a diet a couple weeks ago and it's sooooo hard to stay away from baked goods----this will be a perfect dessert for me. Thanks for the contest, I'd love to win.

  36. Wonderful recipe, although my smart aleck self kept saying where are the marshmallows, where is the extra sugar, come on you can do it. We will see who wins if I make this great recipe!! Thanks for the contest.

  37. That salad sounds yummy. I drink tea and would love a good mystery to go with it. As a teacher I can never have too many tote bags.

  38. That fruit and nut salad looks divine. Love this great giveaway opportunity that contains many of my favorite things!!
    Lauigl [at] carolina [dot] rr [dot] com