Sunday, March 22, 2020

Welcome Elizabeth Spann Craig with Guest Post and #Giveaway

(Click to learn more.)

Please join me in giving a warm welcome back to Elizabeth Spann Craig!

Elizabeth is a talented author of multiple bestselling (and absolutely delightful) mystery series, a busy mother of two, and a dedicated blogger who has offered online fellowship to the writing community for years. (Her Twitter feed is a marvel, and I encourage you all to follow her!) 

Elizabeth is also a beloved alumna of Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, and we're thrilled that she's returned for a visit. Take it away, Elizabeth! 

~ Cleo 

Thanks to Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen for hosting me on the blog today! It’s good to be back. 

One fun thing about being on the blog is that I get to fall into a rabbit hole by looking to see all the recent delicious recipes that have been posted lately.  I like to make sure no one posted one just like mine recently...and then, the next thing you know, I’ve spent over an hour on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen and my Evernote recipe folder is filled to the brim! 

I thought I’d share my grandmother’s recipe for vegetable sandwich spread. If you’re from the South and you’re of a particular age, you’ll remember vegetable sandwiches. They’re crustless on platters at funerals, on trays at weddings and other special occasions, and may even be allowed at home with no event taking place at all (although, in my experience, that was sadly rare).

A food processor makes the chopping for this dish non-existent. Maybe everyone would have enjoyed this spread on a daily and casual basis with a food processor in their kitchen. 

I will admit that some traditional Southern recipes are a little formidable or may not really be suited to today’s more sophisticated palate. I grew up with a lot of tomato aspic. Desserts were frequently a sliced canned pear with a dab of mayonnaise and shredded cheese...and a cherry on top, if it was a fancy occasion. I’m not sharing those recipes with you today (you’re welcome, ha!)  Today’s recipe does have some plain Knox gelatin in it, but I’m sure the other ingredients will seem refreshingly normal. And you won’t taste the gelatin at all. 😊 

Not to start a debate in the comments, but I’m using Miracle Whip in the recipe instead of Hellmann’s or Duke’s. That’s only because that’s the way the recipe had it and I don’t want to be haunted by any of my Southern forebears. 
Also, if you’d prefer, you can use this veggie mixture as a dip.  

So here we are...

Southern Veggie Sandwiches


2 tomatoes, cut very fine
1 large bell pepper, seeded, cut very fine
1 large cucumber, cut very fine
1 medium onion, finely cut
2 envelopes of Knox gelatin
1 pt. Miracle Whip
3 T water
½ cup boiling water 


After chopping the vegetables, put them in a colander to drain a bit. Put a few tablespoons of cold water on the gelatin mix to soften it, about a minute. Then add ½ cup boiling water. When gelled, let cool and combine all ingredients. Put in fridge to cool and set. Spread thickly on bread. Sandwiches are better if spread hours before eating and then refrigerated. 

Here’s all you need to get started (minus the boiling water):

Drain your veggies to personal taste (I don’t mind a fairly juicy sandwich, but tastes vary!). If you’re making a dip, you may want it to drain less than if you have it in a sandwich. 

After putting the gelatin together, mix all in a large bowl and put in the fridge for a bit to set. 

You may end up with folks in the kitchen who don’t want to wait for the mixture to set. 

When you’re done, enjoy some yummy sandwiches. A dollop of potato salad goes well on the side.  

Enjoy!  And, I’m curious to know…what are some of your favorite family recipes? 

For more Southern life, cooking (and murder, of course), I hope you’ll take a chance on one of my books. I’m currently writing three series (The Myrtle Clover Mysteries, The Southern Quilting Mysteries, and The Village Library Mysteries) and am also the author (as Riley Adams) of the Memphis Barbeque Series

Elizabeth's Giveaway!

Today, I’m giving away a copy of the first book of my newest series, Checked Out. If you like libraries, cats, and murder, you’ve come to the right place. 😊

(Click the cover to learn more.)

Thanks again to Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen!

Elizabeth is the bestselling cozy mystery author of the Southern Quilting mysteries, the Myrtle Clover Cozy Mysteries, the Village Library Mysteries, and Memphis Barbeque mysteries for Penguin Random House, Midnight Ink, and independently.  

Find her at her website:  She lives in Matthews, North Carolina with her husband and is the mother of two. 

Thank you, Elizabeth!

Leave a comment on this post with
your email address and you'll be entered
to win the first book in
Elizabeth's charming
Village Library Mysteries: 
Checked Out

This contest is now over.

Congrats to the winning comment,
selected by random number draw...


Those who entered answered
Elizabeth's question:

"What are some of your
favorite family recipes?"


  1. My favorite family recipe is my Grandmother's recipe for applesauce cake with homemade caramel icing. Yum!

    jdzchaotickittie (at) yahoo (dot) com

    1. Oh my gosh, applesauce cake with caramel icing sounds amazing!

  2. Thanks so much for having me here today! Hope everyone is doing well and has a great week this week. :)

    1. Welcome back, Elizabeth! I so enjoyed your post. You've cheered us up. Thank you so much for your return visit to the Kitchen. We've missed you! xoxo

      ~ Cleo

  3. Definitely a southern gal. Born in Arkansas as an Army brat. My Dad retired to Arkansas and I've lived there 90% of the time since. :) So I know this recipe very well from my childhood. Haven't had it in a LONG time and you've done went and made my mouth water this early Sunday morning. I can see Southern Veggie Sandwiches in our future real soon. Thanks for the memory jog and recipe!

    Appreciate the chance to win a copy of "Checked Out". I most definitely "checked it out" and it's now on my TBR list. Shared and hoping to be the very fortunate one selected.

    Have a blessed Sunday. Stay safe and healthy my friend.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. I was born at Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA. :) This recipe has definitely made the rounds in the South!

      Hugs and health to you!

  4. I enjoyed your Memphis series. What fun characters. suefoster109 at gmail dot com

    1. Thanks so much for this, Sue! And for coming by the Kitchen today. :)

  5. I love your Myrtle Clover series. Very pleased that you have a new series - looking forward to reading it. rmmoss2(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. I love your Southern Quilting Mysteries. I need to catch up and I guess now is a good time to do it. I think I will really enjoy this new series I love libraries and cats. Thank you so much for this chance! pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

  7. It's such a good time to read, isn't it? I've got a bunch of books at home to dive into. :) Thanks for coming by!

  8. Thanks for the looks easy enough even for me to make it. I love your Southern Quilting series, and I’m looking forward to your new series. cking78503(at)aol(dot)com

    1. Thanks, Chris! It's pretty easy...throw it all in the food processor, ha! Hope you have a great week!

  9. Thankbyou for the recipe, it is something I've never had before. I am not a very good cook, I do try, but some of my attempts end up epic fails. My sister got my kids to like grilled Munster cheese and strawberry rhubarb sandwiches. I know it sounds kind of gross but there is something about it that is soooo yummy.
    Thank you for the chance. I look forward to learning more about your series. lilyanngill56(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. I wouldn't call this recipe totally foolproof, but it's pretty close...I'm a distracted cook and I have no problems with this one, ha. I'm kind of fascinated by your Munster cheese and strawberry rhubarb! I'm going to have to give that a go.

  10. Checked Out sounds like a good book to read in these troubled times and your recipe sounds tasty.

  11. Wow! You're one busy lady! I wasn't familiar with your books, but have added your name to my'check it out' list.

    1. Thank you! Yes, I've gotten pretty good at writing two books at once, ha. It was tricky at first!

  12. Elizabeth, lovely to see your smiling face on our blog again. Good luck with the new series. You are a marvel. ~ Daryl

    1. *You're* a marvel, Daryl! So good to "see" you today. :)

  13. Libraries, cats, and murder? Sign me up! nancyleedwinell at gmail

  14. Cooking is not my forte. But I do love to eat.

  15. My great grandmothers recipe for chicken and noodles

  16. I love libraries and cats. Murder? Just im my cozies please. :)

    1. Exactly, ha! The nice thing is that everything is tidied up neatly at the end of the book. :) Very comforting, in a way!

  17. My favorites would be my mom’s banana pudding, her chocolate cobbler, chocolate pie, pizza lasagna, and chicken stew as well as her dressing recipe! She makes the best everything! I would love to win this book and have it sent to her! She loves cozy mysteries, and especially libraries and cats! I look forward to trying your vegetable spread sandwiches this week! My email address is ctlele @