Sunday, December 6, 2020

Welcome Bethany Blake with Pantry Magic Recipe + Prize Package #Giveaway

Please join me in welcoming a terrific author back to the Kitchen with a clever "pantry magic" recipe and a generous giveaway, including two books from her charming Lucky Paws Petsitting Mysteries, plus a secret bonus prize, and the very first book in her brand new series: A Brushstroke with Death. 

Take it away, Bethany Blake

~ Cleo Coyle 

There are good surprises. And then there’s the call you get from your kid’s school, sharing bad news about a classmate’s cough.

The upshot? My whole family is under quarantine for two weeks.

Happily, everyone’s health is holding up and the classmate is doing great. But, as supplies dwindle, we’re getting pretty creative with pantry items.

If I was Willow Bellamy, the artistic witch in my book A Brushstroke with Death, maybe I’d try to harness one of the spells in her family’s old, misfiring spell book to conjure up some groceries. (Not that it would probably work for Willow, either.)

Instead, lacking powers (and living in a place with no grocery delivery), I’m going to try to do some magic with ingredients in my pantry. And what better place to start than the most mysterious cabinet, where the terrors of baking lurk?

Here’s what I spied when I tentatively opened the door to this scary realm. (Can you tell I don’t bake much?)

It looks grim. No one should have so many marshmallows! It’s just wrong!

But upon closer inspection… there’s some stuff to work with here. Including the ingredients to make chocolate pudding from a box and vanilla pudding from scratch. Believe it or not, I’ve never made pudding that didn’t come in a packet. So, you are all basically along on this parfait adventure with me.

This is happening in real time, people. None of us will know the outcome until the final photo, which won’t be some perfectly staged plate. It will be The. Real. Deal.

Let’s get started!!

Here are the assembled ingredients. The sourdough pretzels were a gift from a friend, who just left them on the porch. They are only here to sustain me.

Step 1 – Whisk together 2¼ cups milk, 3 Tbs of corn starch, two egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar. Heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it starts to get bubbly and thick in about 6 minutes.

Step 2 – I suffer a moment of panic as I check a text and come back to a bubbling cauldron! I grab it off the stove and whisk in 2 tsp of vanilla and 1 Tbs of butter. It smells fantastic!

Step 3
– Make chocolate pudding according to box mix instructions. I’ve totally got this!! (I added a few bittersweet chocolate chips, just to jazz things up. Also, 2 percent milk in pudding? I think not.) 

Step 4 – Now I’m toasting some almonds. I mean… why wouldn’t I?

Step 5 – Assembly. Lacking any fancy “trifle dishes” – which may or may not be a thing – I grab some Mason jars, wine glasses and a glass… thingy. Then I crumble some graham crackers in the bottom, add vanilla pudding, then more graham crackers. I think we can already see that this is not what anyone imagined.

Step 6 – Next comes a layer of cherry pie filling, then chocolate pudding and whipped topping I found in the freezer, followed by the toasted almonds. Here’s the final product, which I placed in front of a small Leaning Tower of Pisa, in hopes of making my parfaits look “elegantly European.” I think we can all agree that wasn’t a good idea.

What happened to the layers?? Shouldn’t someone water those poor plants??

The good news is, these things are DELICIOUS. I would totally make them again, but probably hide the layers in a baking dish.

In the meantime, which presentation do you find the least offensive?

Wine glass?  * Mason jar? * Glass…thingy?

Vote now in the comments! 

Bethany Blake is the author of the Owl & Crescent Mysteries and the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery Series. She lives in a small, quaint town in rural Pennsylvania with her husband, three daughters, a fearsome feline, an attack cardinal, a blind goldfish and a soulful dog with a discerning palate. Please visit Bethany online at

*Keep in touch with Bethany!

Visit her website:

Like her on Facebook  by clicking here

Follow her on Twitter by clicking here

Bethany's Prize Package Giveaway:

🔍 Super surprise secret bonus item!


Leave a comment for Bethany 
with your email address and you 
will be entered in a drawing to win her 
generous prize package.
Good luck!


  1. Being a good old southern gal, the mason jar would be high class living and quite acceptable. Plus every kitchen has a few glass thingies so that would work well too. Not being one to care for wine, to me I'd have to say the wine glass would be last choice. Although pretty, the smaller top doesn't make for the smooth spoon sliding up the side as it grabs some of all the goodness as it comes up from the bottom.

    It is true that necessity is the mother of invention - or of making do. I'm grateful for my Mom telling me over and over - and over some more - the importance of a well-stocked pantry. Having gone through several ice storms when we lived in the southern part of the state, drove this home to me when I was younger.

    With hubby and I both loving to bake, ingredients for making desserts have always seemed to take priority on the grocery list. Although the box mixes are faster and tasty too most times, after making pudding from scratch and smelling it's yumminess may have changed your mind about it as well. Thank you for the great dessert idea proving you can make something out of what you have on hand.

    Praying for you family as well as the classmate for good results. Hoping this together time will bring you all closer and time pass by swiftly.

    Thank you for the fabulous chance to win your awesome prize package! Shared and hoping to be the very fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. I think either a mason jar or a WIDE glass thingy (lol) is best to scoop out the yummy eats.
    grace dot koshida at gmail dot com

  3. Looking for a new author to try! Thanks for the chance to win!
    Debbie M. Main3(at)att(dot)net

  4. Have not read any of these titles, but they look like a wonderful read! Thank you! Biszemom(at)gmail(dot)com.

  5. I like the wine glasses or the mason jars. Who can resist pudding, graham crackers, and toasted almonds! Thanks for the chance! cking78503(at)aol(dot)com

  6. The mason jars are so perfect. This recipe is delectable and the books wonderful. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  7. Pudding is such a soothing and yummy dessert which we used to have when I was a young girl. Loved it. Mason jars are great. Thanks for your recipe and the books are delightful. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. I can cook almost anything and do it pretty well.
    But pudding and I have a challenging relationship. A box mix will usually work just fine.
    Making it from scratch, however, is another matter. My pudding does not "pud". It never properly thickens.
    The same is true if I try to make real Welsh Rarebit. I end up with cheesy "soup" on toast. It tastes great but looks not so great.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

  9. I like the mason jar. very cute book cover. Thanks for the chance.

  10. I think I'm more partial to the mason jars. I'm from Texas and pretty laid back and casual, so that works for me.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Partial to mason jars.

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

  13. Whether the treat is in a mason jar or a glass thingy doesn’t matter to me just as long as the treat delicious that is all that matters to me.
    Kitten143 (at) Verizon (dot) net

  14. What a cool cover! Wishing you a healthy & happy Holliday. I like the idea of the mason jars.

  15. Thank you for sharing the recipe, and this chance! I'm not fussy, I will eat that delicious dessert out of any way it is presented to me! areewekidding(at)yahoo(dot)com

  16. The treat looks amazing in the wine glass. I can't wait to read your new book.

  17. Good for you, flexing your culinary creativity. Can’t save all those creative juices just for writing! I guess I’d choose the glass “ thingy”, as it looks vaguely bowl-like. In a larger container like that, you get more chance to see what’s in all the layers, and get your mouth watering in anticipation. Thanks for sharing. gnluciow ( at ) gmail (dot) com

    1. Congrats Neena, your comment was randomly selected to win Bethany's generous prize package. Check your email and reply with your address to confirm. Thank you and thanks to everyone for your comments.

  18. I like the wine glass. It looks a little more elegant and we don't do much in the way of elegance here (it's not my husband's way!) Recipe looks good too!
    seabreeze2681 at yahoo dot com Thanks!

  19. Maybe the wide mouth thingy. Thank you for sharing the recipe and the chance to win.

  20. This was funny & I think they look quite tasty. I think it looks best in the mason jar.
    turtle6422 at gmail dot com

  21. Great post! Thanks for including us real time. Your glass thingy looks very much like a trifle dish to me. Sure, they can be fancy, but this one is down to earth just like your recipe. Best of luck with the new book!

  22. Glass thingy looks great! At our beach house full time now and always searching for delicious recipes for when guests arrive unexpectedly. Yours will be at the top of the list now!
    Your books look positively delightful as well! I am completely new to the "cozy mystery" genre and excited about the possibility to win. That said here's how to reach me:
    itsmecindymarie at g m a i l ° c o m

  23. Love mason jars to put desserts in. Going to try the recipe. Thanks for the chance!

  24. I guess it looks best in the mason jar but, I would go for the taste, not the look. I wouldn't be able to come up with a full matching set to make something like that either.
    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  25. I think the mason jars are really cute and fit the 'rusticness' of your dessert!
    Thanks for for the chance to win.

  26. Ohhhhh. These books look really good! I haven’t read these before. And thank you for the recipe. It looks amazing!!!

  27. It looks pretty in the glass but I'm more about the taste and it looks delicious. By the way, don't worry about the marshmallows. I have an embarrassing amount due to the time my work was trying to get rid of some extras they got. And by extra, I mean caseloads.

  28. I love the mason jars. Thanks for the chance to windone of your books.

  29. I like the wine glass. I am also impressed with your improvisational abilities. That does sound delish. Thanks for the recipe and Happy Holidays! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

  30. Your are a new author to me. I really like the covers on your books and they sound like books i would really enjoy reading. Thanks for the chance.

  31. Love the wineglass look! I just found your books on the shelf at Barnes and Noble and love the look of those covers, so I'll be trying them soon! (Sooner if I get what's on my Christmas list, lol.)

  32. I like the mason jar. I've made pudding from scratch once in my life, in 7th grade. A pencil could stand upright in it and it tasted like an eraser. It was awful! My friend ate it, but I'm not sure why.

  33. Just dropping in to thank everyone for your comments and to thank Bethany especially for being such a good sport and coming through with such a fun and generous guest post for us, even with a family quarantine in place! Marc and I send you and your family our very best. Be well, stay safe, and may you and your family have a peaceful, joyful, and blessed holiday.

    ~ Cleo

  34. I would love to check out your books adding to wish list

  35. Looking forward to trying this - thanks for the step by step instructions.

  36. I have fond memories of Mason Jars as my mother canned every year when I was young. Thanks for showing me some new series to check out. Egoehner(at)roadrunner(dot)com

  37. Due to Covid-19 and being quarantine, my house hold has also gotten very creative with food items in our refrigerator and pantry.

    I would have to say a wide wine glass or glass bowl. It seem easier to eat out of.

    As for your books, I have not read any of them but would really love to. They sound awesome. Thank you for the opportunity and giveaway.

  38. I think that your dessert in the stemless wine glass looks very elegant!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  39. Mason jars are the only things I have enough if I wanted to be matching, but I do have some assorted glass dishes of various sizes. A trifle is a great way to use a little of this and that

  40. I love the mason jars and other glass thingy. I would probably break tne wine glass 'cause I'm a horrible klutz. Recipe looks delicious.


  41. Karen B
    I pick the wine glass! Thanks for the fun and generous giveaway!

  42. Mason Jars. cheetahthecat1986ATgmailDOTcom

  43. I believe each parfait looks great in its own container ,a mason jar is a well liked treat by most any child, a thingy is exceptional late at night for any other half because well hello parfait, stemless wine glass after the dinner party says thank you so much for coming. Each glassware is perfect in i'ts own way. 🙄😊

  44. I vote for the wine glass for presentation/plating of your sweet treat! I also need to say how much I LOVE the Lucky Paws Petsitting, mysteries, Socrates is a great character and Daphne's treatment of hi. like an equal is endearing and humorous. I look forward to staring your paranormal cozy soon! Thank you for the contest, it would be awesome to win!