Sunday, July 16, 2017

Guest Post and Giveaway! Welcome Kathy Kaminski, Blogger and Sisters in Crime Chapter President

Please welcome former police officer and current mystery maven, Kathy Kaminski! To honor her longtime support of mystery writers, we're sharing a giveaway to inspire your mystery reading. Congrats to the winners of our two gift cards. Scroll down to find out who won! Now...take it away, Kathy! 
~ Cleo

I’ve been a fan and follower of Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen for years, so you can imagine my delight when Cleo Coyle invited me to join you today. For those who may not know, I’m the Kathy behind the cozy mystery blog, Cozy Up With Kathy. I’m also the President of Murder on Ice, the Western and Central New York Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

This is a very special year as Sisters in Crime is celebrating its 30th birthday. Dedicated to promoting female crime writers, SinC is an amazing organization. It’s not just for writers either. While Sisters in Crime provides tremendous support for both published as well as aspiring authors, it also welcomes other members of the publishing and book community-and that includes fans. If you enjoy mysteries, I encourage you to seek out a local chapter and join in the fun. If you live in or near Western or Central New York, I hope you’ll consider coming to one of our meetings or events. I’d love to meet you in person!

Now for the food. 

From watching Wok with Yan on PBS as a kid to being a devotee of the Great British Baking Show now, I consider myself a bit of a foodie, but, when contemplating a recipe to share I came across a dilemma. I consider myself a good cook, but I take after my Grandma Gertie. When it comes to dishes I’ve developed, I use a bit of this and some of that. 

"How much chicken?" 
As much as you’re going to eat. 

"How much parsley do you add?" 
Keep putting it in until it looks right.

I admit, not so helpful. My other recipes, which have actual amounts written down, are more autumnal and holiday based, and I wanted to share more summery fare. Then it dawned on me. While Grandma Gertie never wrote down her recipes, my other grandmother, Lucy, did.

Once my mom was married and out of the house, her mom started making a recipe that once she shared everyone requested. Having a party? Ask Lucy to bring her pineapple squares! 

Lucy’s Pineapple Squares

A note on this recipe: I went to my mom’s house and the two of us made her mother’s recipe (this very one!) for the first time. We hadn’t eaten it in over 20 years, and since neither of us ever saw her make it, we had to make a few educated guesses and may make some changes in future efforts. My mom wasn’t happy with the filling and thought we didn’t use the tapioca correctly. She found another way to make the filling, so I’m including both versions, the first is from the original recipe. --Kathy

For the Crust:

4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
1-¾ cup butter
¾ cup cold milk

Directions: Work dough as for pie. Divide dough in half. Put one half in the bottom of sided cookie sheet.

For the Original Filling (version 1):

2 medium size cans crushed pineapple 
7 Tablespoons tapioca 
1 cup sugar 

Directions: Mix and spoon into pie crust. Top with remaining rolled out dough. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes.


For An Updated (Improved) Filling (version#2)

2 cans (20 oz each) crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Directions: Combine the first 4 ingredients and cook until thickened and clear (3-5 minutes). Stir in butter and lemon juice. Cool slightly. Spoon into pie crust. Top with remaining rolled out dough. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes.

For the Topping:

Small package of cream cheese (We actually used half of a large package, which is slightly more, and that worked perfectly.)
2 Tablespoons softened butter
1-½ cups confectioners’ sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla (We estimated.)
milk "small amount to get spreading consistency" (Mom and I didn’t need any.)
Walnut pieces, crushed (1/2 cup or so)

Directions: Beat together the cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla. If the frosting is too thick, add a little milk until it has a good spreading consistency. (Mom and I didn't need to add any milk in our version.) When the pineapple pie is completely cool, then frost. Sprinkle the frosting with crushed walnuts if desired. Cut into squares. 

Thanks so much for joining me today! I love passing down recipes from the past. I hope you give my grandmother’s pineapple squares a try-and please, let me know if you make changes and how it all worked out! I'd also like to know...


Kathleen J. Kaminski is a bookworm with a myriad of interests including art deco architecture and Victorian funerary art, not to mention mid-19th century Utopian societies.

As a former police officer who currently works on the forensic unit of a psychiatric center, Kathy is naturally drawn to mysteries. She’s the Kathy behind the blog Cozy Up With Kathy which features author interviews, reviews, and other mysterious topics. Although the focus of the blog is cozy mysteries, Kathy is a voracious reader and welcomes all genres to her library and her blog.

Kathy lives in Western New York amid piles of books, five cats, two rats, and an off track thoroughbred named Harley. She currently serves as President of Murder on Ice, the Western and Central New York Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Visit Kathy's Blog Cozy Up With Kathy
Join Kathy on Facebook 
Follow Kathy on Twitter: @KatreaderKJK 

Learn more about
Sisters in Crime by clicking here. 

Learn more about Kathy's
SinC Chapter "Murder on Ice,"
by clicking here.

Thank you so much
for joining us today, Kathy! 


Answer Kathy's question - DO YOU HAVE FAMILY RECIPES? -- in the comments below, and you will be entered in our random drawing for two $10.00 gift cards (to Amazon or Barnes &, your choice). 

The contest is now over.

Congratulations to our two winners:



BECKY (@ Becky's Place)


  1. My mother snipped a Sunshine Pasta recipe from a woman's magazine in the 80s and made it every few weeks in the summer, because it seemed never-ending. She made changes but never wrote them down, so I make it as best I can and go by smell/taste (except for leaving out the bell peppers, which I'm allergic to). When I make it, my nephews close their eyes and sigh happily because it brings up taste memories for them.

    1. Taste memories are the best, though it can be so difficult to recapture them exactly!

  2. I have a cookie recipe from my Aunt for molasses cookies. I asked my cousin for it as they were my Dad's favourites when he was young. We made them for him and it brought a smile to his face.
    And I love Kathy's blog!!

    1. Thanks so much. I'm glad you stopped by. I love a good molasses cookie!

  3. Yes we had a biscuit and a roll recipe that was in the family and my Grandmother made both to perfection. Unfortunately I did not inherit that talent. My Sister does though.

  4. My grandmother died when I was 2 and my mom hated to cook so I became the cook in the family and now I'm the one passing down recipes some that I have made up and some I've taken from a published recipe and changed it up to my liking.

    1. It's fun making standard recipes your own.

  5. Aunt Effies Devil's Food cake is from my Mom's family . and is amazing. It is actually better the 2nd and 3rd day. When it makes it to t b e 3rd day which is rare.

    1. LOL. When my grandmother made these pineapple squares there were never any leftovers!

  6. We have 4 recipes in particular that we like and have passed down. The newest since 70's which is post roast & dummplings, a deluxe sugar cookie recipe and frosting "paint" for detailed decorating, from the late 50's. A peanut butter fudge recipe from the 40's And My grandmothers potato salad that her mom always made. They migrated to the States just before the Great War. And that recipe came with a side recipe for using left over mashed potatoes to make candy. Della at deepotter [at] peoplepc [dot] com.

    1. What great recipes. I'm curious about the mashed potato candy!

  7. Yes, my mom's Swedish pancakes and Swedish coffee bread. The coffee bread is an especially family favorite at Christmas

  8. Welcome, Kathy! I have a family recipe from my paternal grandmother - her special Pineapple Upside Down Cake. It's a tradition to serve the cake for family birthday celebrations, in her honor.

    1. Thanks for the welcome! What a nice tradition. My Grandma Lucy loved pineapple-there are a bunch of pineapple recipes in her cook book journals.

  9. Kathy - Thanks again for being our guest at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen! Marc and I loved hearing about your grandmothers (both of them), and we can see why Lucy's Pineapple Squares were such a hit. They look amazing! As for your question, both Marc and I grew up in families that cooked plenty. We didn't have much money, but we ate great! Some of my favorite recipes were the Italian cookies (holiday and wedding cookies). My late mother and Aunt Mary were both born in Italy, and they left us with plenty of beautiful memories--and recipes. Thanks again for sharing with us today, and good luck to everyone in the drawing!

    ~ Cleo

    1. Thanks so much for inviting me and allowing me to share Lucy's pineapple squares.

  10. Some of the things my mother made have been lost,since they were never written down. But, I have her original Betty Crocker cookbook; I just look for the pages with spatters that show the ones she made most often. patwalkerp(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. I have that cook book too! And so does my mom. LOL.

  11. No recipes, so I wish I had paid attention when my mother cooked. Some favorites that I would like to replicate.