Garlic, Tomato, Basil Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Thoughts Before Cooking:

Who loves grilled cheese sandwiches?

Of course you do, everyone does! It is one of the ultimate comfort foods.

Well this is a little twist on the classic sandwich. I came up with this after making Eggplant Tomato Bites

Ingredients:

  • Bread
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, Halved
  • Cheese of Choice (I did Gouda)
  • Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup of Fresh Basil
  • Butter

Directions:

  1. Place a tablespoon of butter in frying pan and melt.
  2. Brush the bread with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill bread until lightly browned, one to two minutes, remove, and rub with garlic.
  4. Grill tomatoes, turning occasionally, until tender, about 6-8 minutes.
  5. Place the mozzarella, tomato, and basil leaves on a slice of bread, cover with another slice of bread and grill until it is warm and cheese is beginning to melt.

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was absolutely delicious.

It was soo good, we forgot to take pics!

For more sandwich recipes, go to Chicken Cashew Wrap

For more basil recipes, go to Green Goddess Salad Dressing

For more recipes, go to Fries Quatro Queso Dos Fritos

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High Sea Adventure

High Sea Adventure (Barbie and Friends Book Club) by Rita Balducci

This story takes place in the 1700s, with Barbie and Midge traveling with Midge’s father, a doctor, to deliver medicine to the Caribbean islands.

Hmm…

They stop at the Cayman Islands, where the girls meet Teresa Rivera, a young lady who is studying to be a nurse and who’s home they will be staying at while Midge’s father gets the hospital up and running.

The island is beautiful, and both Midge and Barbie see it as a paradise. However, this paradise has one bad snake-a pirate called Red Beard. He has been scavenging the locals exports, such as Teresa’s family’s sugarcane; along with stealing shipments of medicine. They hope the Navy captures him soon and ends his terrorizing of the seas. But even if they do, will they ever recover the things he stole?

Teresa shows them around the island when Midge spots a map shop. Hoping to find the perfect gift for her father, Midge goes inside. As she looks at maps she overhears men who look like pirates talking to the owner.

“Tell Red Beak the trade is made…Go to the mouth of the Little Bear.”

Afterwards, Midge tells Teresa and Barbie what she heard. They try to figure out what the message means, but no luck. Later that night, Midge is looking at the stars-trying to remember the names of the all the constellations when she spots Ursa Minor, the Little Dipper or Little Bear.

This strikes a cord with her and she pulls out the map she purchased earlier. There are a series of islands that line up just like that particular constellation. The mouth of the Little Bear the Pirates were talking about must be the cave that lines up with the “mouth” of the stars.

Immediately Midge runs to wake her friends. They go to tell Midge’s father so he can relay the information to the navy. But they are too late, he has already left to search for the pirate ship.

The girls decide it is up to them and they set out on one of Teresa’s family’s boats to test their theory. Will they find the pirate treasure? Or will this be a wild goose chase? Will they stop the pirate? Or be captured by them?

Thoughts After Reading:

This was always one of my favorites as a kid as it had pirates, adventure, and just a lot of fun.

I also loved how the girls save the day.

This is actually one of the better books in the series. In fact all the mysteries are.

For more Barbie books, go to The Silver Deer

For more pirate mysteries, go to Little Betty & Veronica: The Buried Treasure Mystery

For more Children’s books, go to The Turquoise Trail Mystery

For more historical fiction, go to The Butterfly and the Violin

The Butterfly and the Violin

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The Butterfly and the Violin (A Hidden Masterpiece Novel) by Kristy Cambron

This book is two stories intertwining that connect by the end of the novel.

He’s cute!

First we have Adele Von Bron concert violinist and Austria’s sweetheart, living in pre-World War II Europe. She is the daughter of a high ranking Nazi official, but doesn’t agree with his politics as they go against her Christian faith.

She is part of the Philharmonic, where she meets the son of an average man, but the one she falls in love with is, Vladamir.

Everything in her world is changed when she is caught trying to help a Jewish family flee Austria. She is caught and her punishment to be sent to Auschwitz to work in the camps.

But when she gets there, she is set to join Auschwitz’s Women’s Orchestra. There she goes through all kinds of troubles and problems, doing her best to stay alive.

The second half of the book is about Sera James, art gallery owner. She was left at the altar two years ago, and has been completely brokenhearted.

Since then she has focused all her attention on trying to find this painting of Adele Von Bron, one that was created while they were in Auschwitz.

Her research has reached a dead end and Sera is at a loss for the next step until she discovers a a copy of the painting behind an object up for auction at an estate sale. She emails the owner and then receives a plane ticket and request from millionaire and businessman Will Hanover.

She flies out to meet him and finds out that Will Hanover is in a tough spot. His grandfather died recently and left all the money, assets, and business to the owner of the painting of Adele.

He has been searching for the owner when he heard from Sera. He infuriates Sera when he accuses her of trying to steal his family’s fortune.

He returns and asks for forgiveness. The two then begin searching and Sera starts falling for Will. But does Will feel the same way? Or is he just using her to get the painting?

Hmm…

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Thoughts After Reading:

The book wasn’t that good.

The author suffered from trying to do too much with the two story lines that it caused her to fall into overdone clichés and have a lack of character development. The book was rushed too fast to reach a conclusion, and to quote Wayne’s World they made it a “super happy ending”.

I hate it

I didn’t care for it and thought it would be better if it had been focused on either storyline of Adele or the search of the painting instead of stretching the author with these two pairings. Adele’s journey is told in half points with a quick summary of what happened next, and Sera’s search barely anything as the painting felt like it was instantly discovered after the two “joined” forces.

That’s it?

Like Will’s grandpa just choose to leave it to the girl so Will could become a minister instead of taking the mantle of the business. Well that’s fine for him but what about everybody else? Did you even think how that would affect them all?

And what qualifications does that woman have to run a business? I mean really? All he knows of her was what happened in WWII. How do you know she won’t run everything down to the ground?

For more historical fiction, go to Whistling in the Dark

For more books that take place in World War II, go to The Hyde Park Murder

For more Christian books, go to The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

For more bible verses, go to Everybody Called Her a Saint

Punishment Without Crime

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“Punishment Without Crime” from Long After Midnight by Ray Bradbury

“You wish to kill your wife?”

George Hill wants his wife dead, yet he doesn’t want her dead. He’s asked a dozen questions about her and gives a photo.

He loves his wife Katherine, but she does not love him. No she has been having an affair with Leonard Phelps, of all people.

When he awakes from his fits and sleep he is brought into a room with KATHERINE!!!

But how can it be? Magic?

No science. Marionettes Inc. has created an android of his wife, a perfect vision. George wants to kill his wife, but not actually kill her, instead having an android created.

But killing an android is illegal. At first George doesn’t want to do it, He wants to take this new wife, new Katherine and live with her. But then she starts talking about Leonard and he does it. Bang shot.

He faints and the next day he awakes. He walks out satisfied, but then he is arrested. He and all the others involved with the plot are sentenced to death.

Even though he  didn’t actually kill her, he will pay for the crime. Katherine comes to see him, going off with Leonard, and winning.

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Thoughts After Reading:

It was sad but it made me think of Blade Runner. I really wish that George life didn’t have to go out that way.

For more short stories, go to The Tell-Tale Heart

For more Ray Bradbury stories, go to The Veldt

For more stories from Long After Midnight, go to The Utterly Perfect Murder

For more stories where the husband wishes to murder his wife, go to The October Game

Fries Quatro Queso Dos Fritos

Thoughts Before Cooking:

So who here loves the show Psych?

I love this show. I love the mystery, comedy, parody, and looking at all the yummy food they eat.

One particular thing they mention on the show that has gained a lot of buzz was Fries Quatro Queso Dos Fritos.

This is from season three, episode fourteen Truer Lies. After it aired it caused quite a stir as it sounded so good people wanted to try it for themselves.

Unfortunately, there is no recipe for it.

But that didn’t stop me and my friend. We wanted to make it and watch the Psych film, so we decided to try out the recipe from Binging with Babish. However, Babish doesn’t cover everything so Genius Kitchen and The Kitchn had to help me fill in the blanks. He also cubes his cheese, but I’ve discovered that shredded works out much better

Ingredients:

  • 3 Russet Potatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Bacon
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 3 Eggs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Flour
  • 1.5 Cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1.5 Cup of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1.5 Cup of Shredded Smoked Gouda
  • 1.5 Cup of Shredded Monterey Jack
  • Bread Crumbs
  • 1.5 Cup of Sour Cream
  • Ancho Chile Powder to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Scrub the potatoes clean and remove any blemishes.
  3. Rub the potatoes with olive oil and use a fork to prick them with holes.
  4. Cook for 50-60 minutes, turning them over every 20 minutes. When potatoes are finished remove pan from oven. (Potatoes are done when the skins are dry and the insides feel completely soft when pierced.)
  5. We want as little moisture as possible, so as soon as you remove the potatoes slice them in half and let cool for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.
  7. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and lay out a few strips of bacon.
  8. Bake the bacon for 15-20 minutes, or until crispy. Remove from oven, drain on paper towels, and set aside.
  9. Run them through a potato ricer. If you do not have a potato ricer, scoop the insides of the potatoes into a bowl, add 2-3 tablespoons of butter, and use a potato masher.
  10. Add an egg and sprinkle with salt. Mix together. If mixture is too soft to handle, add some flour to firm it up.
  11. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 mins.
  12. Mix cheeses into one bowl.
  13. Lay out three bowls. In the first place one cup of flour, in the second two eggs, and in the third one cup of bread crumbs.
  14. Take the mashed potato mixture and firm into a ball. Fill it with the cheese mixture.
  15. Roll ball into flour, then eggs, and then bread crumbs.
  16. Repeat until all the potato mixture is used.
  17. Deep fry at 350 degrees F for 5-7 minutes.
  18. Sprinkle the Fries Quatro Queso Dos Fritos with salt.
  19. Scoop out the sour cream and place in a bowl.
  20. Add the chile powder and stir it in.
  21. Pour the chile powder and sour cream mixture on a plate.
  22. Chop bacon into small pieces and sprinkle on the chile powder and sour cream.
  23. Stack Fries Quatro Queso Dos Fritos on top of each other.
  24. Eat, dipping potatoes in the sour cream mixture.

Thoughts Before Cooking:

It was delicious!

The only thing I would change is, as I said earlier, doing shredded cheese over cubed. It makes sure you get the most out of it. Other wise I loved them!

For more potato recipes, go to Baked Potato Soup

For more recipes, go to Pão de Queijo

Everybody Called Her a Saint

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Everybody Called Her a Saint (Everybody’s a Suspect #3) by Cecil Murphy

Twila Belk is everybody’s favorite person, called a saint for her kindness and generosity.
In fact, she has decided to take a troupe of her best friends and clients on an Alaskan cruise.
Meanwhile, since the last book Dr. Julie West has given her heart to Christ and Pastor James Burton.
However, when Pastor Burton revealed a secret from his past, she broke up with him.
Not wanting to see him at all, she finds herself stuck with him in near proximity as he too has been invited to join the cruise.

When Twila is found murdered, the two will have to put their feelings aside and help solve which of their “friends” is a killer.

Thoughts After Reading:

I did not like it.
The characters are poorly written, their interactions horrible; it just was a bad read all around.

For more Everybody’s a Suspect Mysteries, go to Everybody Wanted Room 623
For more cruise mysteries, go to Decked
For more bible verses, go to The Utterly Perfect Murder
For more mysteries, go to Iced

Iced

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Iced (Regan Reilly Mysteries #3) by Carol Higgins Clark

So I read Laced and thought it was okay, but then I read this one and thought it was bad.

I didn’t want to keep reading the series, but knew I had to before I could post this one. I read Decked and Snagged; and loved them.

So what went wrong?

Plot Synopsis:

P.I. Regan Reilly is invited to join her family and their friends on an Aspen vacation. But when they arrive things are not as they expected.

The place is a total mess and Eben Bean, the caretaker is missing!

He’s not the only thing missing, the family’s priceless artwork have been stolen.

Eben has a record, could he have decided the straight and narrow is too boring and returned to his life of crime.

Thoughts After Reading:

This was boring.

They give the whole mystery away in the beginning when they show that Eben is kidnapped by art thieves.

That’s it?

Eben and the maid Bessie interactions were dumb as well.

And they turn out to be long lost twins. Really? Where you running out of ideas?

Boring, boring, boring, Not worth your time-I’d skip it.

For more Regan Reilly Mysteries, go to Snagged

For more by Carol Higgins Clark, go to Decked

For more mysteries with private detectives, go to This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies

For more mysteries with female private investigators, go to Secrets Can Kill

For more kidnapping mysteries, go to Run Run As Fast As You Can

For more mysteries that take place in Aspen, go to Catering to Nobody

Pão de Queijo

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Happy New Year!

I hope you all have a blessed year!

breakfast

So it is time for our tradition of New Year’s Day breakfast food recipe!

Thoughts Before Baking:

My friend Quinn loves to try out all kinds of new recipes whenever we get together. She is also a world traveler so I wasn’t surprised that she wanted to make a Brazilian dish. This recipe comes from Olivia’s Cuisine

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups tapioca flour (We couldn’t fine it so we used regular flour)
  • 1¼ cups milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 tablespoons oil
  • 1½ cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees with a rack in the middle.
  2. Combine the milk, water, oil and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  3. Add the flour to the bowl of a stand mixer and, once the milk mixture boils, pour it over the flour. Turn the mixer on and mix it well.
  4. With the mixer still on, add the eggs, one at a time.
  5. Once the eggs are incorporated, add the cheese, a little at a time, until fully incorporated.
  6. The dough is supposed to be soft and sticky. However, if you’re worried it’s too liquidy, add some more flour.
  7. To shape the balls, wet your hands with cold water and, using a spoon, scoop some of the dough to shape balls that are a little smaller than golf-sized.
  8. Place the balls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  9. Top with shredded cheese.
  10. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden and puffed.
  11. Serve them warm! 🙂

Thoughts After Baking:

These were really good. I wasn’t sure what to expect but they came out a cheesy and delicious biscuit.

For more breakfast recipes, go to Flæskeæggekage

For more New Year’s Day posts, go to Potato Chip Omelet

For more holiday posts, go to Festive Pink Lemonade

In other news, let’s have a quick year review.

So last year I published 109 posts!

Out of those 109 posts, I’ve reviewed 73 mysteries. Which you should definitely check out.

Abby Sinclair and Tess McCallum Series (1 book), Bess Crawford Mystery (1 book),  Carter House Girls (1 book), The Cats and Curios Mysteries (1 book), The Cat Who…(3 books), Eleanor Roosevelt Investigates (2 books), Emilie Adventures (2 books), Emma Frost Mysteries (3 books), Everybody’s a Suspect (2 books),Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery (1 book), Hannah Swensen Mysteries (2 books), Inspector Alan Grant Mysteries (1 book), Jane Jeffry (1 book), Kinsey Millhone Mysteries (1 book), Kovac and Liska Mysteries (1 book), Laurel McKay Mysteries (1 book), The Lightkeepers (2 books), Nancy Drew Files (1 book), Potluck Catering Club (1 book), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (1 book), Psycho (1 book), Reed Ferguson Mystery (1 book), Sam the Cat Mystery (1 book), Sherlock Holmes Mystery (1 book), The Society of Steam (1 book), Southern Sewing Circle (1 book), Steven Wade Mystery (1 book), Stoney Ridge Seasons (1 book), Sunset Reads (2 books), Texas Dreams (1 book), and Up2u Adventures (1 book).

And the following stand alone mysteries: The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane AustenThe Disappearance of Edwin DroodDracula (Graphic Novel), The Madwoman UpstairsThe Manchurian Candidate, Murder at Oklahoma, The OathWhistling in the DarkThe Undoing of Saint Silvanusand The Yellow Room

And the following non-fiction: Ghost of the Hardy Boys, The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower, and High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

And the following short stories: The Murders in Rue MorgueThe Red Headed LeagueA Scandal in BohemiaThe Tell-Tale Heart, The Utterly Perfect Murder, and The Veldt

And the following Children’s books: Binky Brothers, Detectives, The Chocolate Chip Mystery, The Secret of the Three Teardrops, The Silver Deer and The Turquoise Trail Mystery

And the following little extras: Archie Andrews: A Real Foul BallBetty and Veronica: Stranger Than Fiction 11 Famous Murder Riddles, and Little Betty & Veronica: The Buried Treasure Mystery

With cooking I reviewed 36 different recipes:

Breakfast: FlæskeæggekageHerbed Eggs with Sour CreamPotato Chip Omelet, and Twin Sun Toast

Drinks: Blackberry Mint Infused WaterBlueberry Spinach Smoothie, Festive Pink Lemonade, London FogNature’s Own Cocktail, Power Smoothie, Strawberry MilkshakeTriple Green Protein Smoothie, and Yoda Soda

Salads: Arugula Salad with Olive Oil, Lemon, and Parmesan Cheese and Spinach Pasta Salad

Entrees: Baked Potato SoupChicken Cashew WrapCrazy Cantina ChiliEggplant Tomato Bites, Ham and Cheese Monte CristosKielbasa Bowtie Pasta, Spanakopita Penne BakeToo Easy HotdishTwo-Cheese Roasted-Veggie Pasta

Desserts: Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea CakesBlueberry Sour Cream Pie, Cherry-Pistachio Tea CakesChocolate Oat Crackles, French StrawberriesIrish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce, REESE’S PIECES Peanut Butter CookiesRice Krispies CookiesVanilla Crackle

Extras: CrostiniGreen Goddess Salad Dressing, and Healthy Caesar Salad Dressing.

This blog was viewed 6,251 times last year.

 

The busiest day of the year was June 3rd with 79 views and the post Eggplant Tomato Bites

The top five posts of this year were:

5) Apple Orchard Bars from Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

4) Italian Flavor Fused Popcorn

3) Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

2) Miss Polly Had a Dolly by Willow Rose

1) “The Tell-Tale Heart” from Ten Great Mysteries by Edgar Allen Poe

So what will the next year hold? You’ll just have to follow me to find out!

Festive Pink Lemonade

"Times Square's New Years Eve Ball - 1978 Technicians eye the new improved New Years ball. This version, which had halogen lamps for higher visibility, replaced a six-foot ball that had ordinary light bulbs. The lowering of the ball, which takes one minute, is down a 77-foot flagpole on top of One Times Square. (Photo by Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times Photo Archives)"

“Times Square’s New Years Eve Ball – 1978

So I’ve decided to start the tradition of always posting on New Year’s Eve, and including one tasty drink recipe.

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So here we go!

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Thoughts Before Cooking:

So this recipe comes from my sister blog theCatWhoWroteaBlog.wordpress.comNow my big sister blog TheCatWhoWroteaBlog usually does this with all the recipes in one post. I prefer doing one at a time so I won’t be reposting the whole thing.

However if you are interested in all the recipes pulled from the second book, The Cat Who Turned On and Off, just follow this link.

Ingredients:

  • 8 Cups Water
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Cup of Maraschino Cherry Juice

Directions:

  1. Bring two cups of water to a boil.
  2. Add sugar to the water and stir over a medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the lemon and maraschino cherry juice to the sugar-water.
  4. Pour juice mixture and remaining water into a pitcher.
  5. Stir and chill.
  6. Serves 10-12.

Thoughts After Reading:

This was really good lemonade.

I can’t wait to make it again.

For more The Cat Who…Cookbook Recipes, go to French Strawberries

For more drinks, go to Triple Green Protein Smoothie

For more New Year’s Eve posts, go to B is for Blueberry Smoothie

For more holiday posts, go to Crazy Cantina Chili

French Strawberries

Thoughts Before Cooking:

So this recipe comes from my sister blog theCatWhoWroteaBlog.wordpress.comNow my big sister blog TheCatWhoWroteaBlog usually does this with all the recipes in one post. I prefer doing one at a time so I won’t be reposting the whole thing.

However if you are interested in all the recipes pulled from the second book, The Cat Who Turned On and Off, just follow this link.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups of Halved Strawberries
  • 3 Tablespoons of Orange Juice Concentrate
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 Pint of Whipping Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Sour Cream
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8- 1/4 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle strawberries with orange juice concentrate and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar; stir.
  2. Refrigerate about 90 minutes. Whip cream until soft peaks form.
  3. Stir in 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
  4. Fold chilled strawberries into whipped cream mixture. Serves 4-6.

Thoughts after Cooking:

These strawberries were to die for!

I recommend them to anyone. I wish I had more, I would eat them right now.

For more The Cat Who…Cookbook recipes, go to Baked Potato Soup

For more dessert recipes, go to Chocolate Crinkles

For more strawberry recipes, go to Strawberry Milkshake

The Cat Who Turned On and Off

Merry Christmas! Let’s celebrate with our final Christmas Mystery!

CatWhoWroteABlog

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“Why don’t you go ahead, Qwill, and do a Christmas series on antiquing?’ ‘I hate antiques [Qwill said]…Look, Arch, I wanted to write something with guts! What can I do with antiques?” (pgs. 13-14)

Book three picks up several months after The Cat Who Ate Danish ModernQwill’s family has extended to include a a female feline friend for Koko, Yum Yum. The trio have moved out of the VV, as they were only watching Harry’s place for a month, and Qwill is currently searching for an apartment as the motel he is living in isn’t the best place for him and his animals. It is almost Christmas and Qwill is a little depressed ar his prospects as Cokey broke up with him for an engineer. Qwill now has no date for the Christmas Eve party, he is still writing about interior design, his ex’s parents are begging him…

View original post 4,188 more words

Chocolate Crinkles

Thoughts Before Baking:

Christmas is coming and there were three families on my list who I wanted to give a gift to and thought what better way than by baking cookies!

I thought that instead of making three dozen of one cookie, I would do three different cookies. That way I would be sure to have something everyone would love. So I decided to do the Regency Ginger Cookie, as it was sweeter than gingerbread but still a Christmas-y cookie.

Then I thought I would do the Rice Krispies Cookies, as everyone loves chocolate chip.

But the third cookie I was stumped. I decided to look in my The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion: The Essential Cookie Cookbook and settled in Chocolate Crinkles.

From the Cookbook: “This classic cookie is beautiful. With its Appaloosa coating of confectioner’s sugar, the cracks that form the surface as it bakes, makes it a miniature work of art. Nevertheless, the true reward comes in the eating. Just barely a crisp at the edges, soft and almost brownie-like in the center, these cookies are sure to make a lasting impression.

Chocolate crinkles, a seeming standard in the cookie baker’s repertoire, actually don’t appear to have a long history. Though it feels as if they have been around forever, the earliest mention we find of them in any cookbook is 1965. This cookie is quick and easy to put together, and forgiving in the oven. If you want a crispier version, bake a few extra minutes. For a fudgier center, go with a shorter baking time.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Cups of Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1.5 Cups of Sugar
  • 1.5 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 6 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 Cup of Cocoa Powder, natural or Dutch
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 Cup of Confectioner’s Sugar (Powdered Sugar), for coating the cookies

Directions:

  1. Preheat the Oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease two baking sheets.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Combine the melted butter with the cocoa in a medium-sized bowl and stir until the mixture is smooth. Cool to lukewarm.
  5. Once cooled, add the eggs and the vanilla-stirring to combine.
  6. Add the wet to the dry mixture. The dough will seem dry at first, but keep mixing until it becomes the consistency of stiff brownie batter.
  7. Scoop the dough by tablespoonful and roll into balls.
  8. Roll in confectioner’s sugar to coat.
  9. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes.
  10. The cookies will spread out and form cracks, the insides looking a little wet.
  11. Remove cookies from oven and cool for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack.

Thoughts After Baking:

What did I think?

You should defintely make them yourself.

For more cookies from the King Arthur Cookbook, go to 1-2-3-4 Peanut Butter Cookies

For more cookie recipes, go to REESE’S PIECES Peanut Butter Cookies

For more dessert recipes, go to Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

For more recipes, go to Crostini

 

The Disappearance of Edwin Drood

Ready for our next Christmas mystery?

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The Disappearance of Edwin Drood by Peter Rowland

Background:

So you might recall me reviewing the classic, unsolved mystery, The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens two years ago. This book is one author’s attempt at trying to finish the unsolved mystery.

In 1870, Charles Dickens wrote the book The Mystery of Edwin Drood which involved the disappearance of a young man Edwin Drood. Before Dickens could finish his work, he succumbed to illness and died. This created an unsolvable mystery that has driven many people crazy.

AAAAHHHHH

  • In 1870, Robert Henry Newell published his version of the story, transporting the tale to America and more a parody than anything else.
  • 1871-1872, John Jasper’s Secret: The Sequel to Charles Dicken’s Mystery of Edwin Drood, was published by Henry Morford.
  • In 1873, Thomas Jane wrote his version of the ending and was praised as the “true version” for a long period of time as many believed him when he said that he had channeled Dickens’ actual spirit in writing.

Very suspicious

  • In 1935, Universal came out with the film Mystery of Edwin Drood, starring Claude Rains as John Jasper and David Manners as Edwin Drood.
  • In 1980, The Mystery of Edwin Drood was published by Leon Garfield. In his book every loose end is wrapped up by his introduction of several new characters.
  • In 1985 the musical Drood, aka The Mystery of Edwin Drood, came out. In this the audience is able to vote on who they think the killer should be. It was revived in 2012.
  • In 1992, Peter Rowland wrote The Disappearance of Edwin Drood, in which years after the incident a very old John Jasper asks Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to solve the case.

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  • In 1993 The D. Case or the Truth About the Mystery of Edwin Drood by Carlo Fruttero and Franco Lucentini was published with the most famous literary detectives attempting to solve the mystery. It features Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown, and more.
  • In 1993, A&E distributed the film The Mystery of Edwin Drood, starring Robert Powell as John Jasper and Jonathan Phillips as Edwin Drood.
  • In 2005, the Doctor Who episode, The Unquiet Dead, has Dickens and the Doctor fighting aliens, causing him to end the novel with the Gelth being the murderer.
  • In 2012, The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Part II, The Solution, by David Saunders was published. He believes that not only is John Jasper a red herring, but that there is another murder that has been overlooked.
  • In 2012, BBC produced a two episode mini-series that took a lot of liberties with the book in it’s portrayal. It made John Jasper secretly Edwin’s brother not uncle, and Ned & Helen the half siblings of both Edwin and John Jasper.

So we can see that lots of people try, but let’s see how Rowland did.

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Thoughts Before Reading:

I picked this book up at a library book sale as it sounded interesting. Charles Dickens meets Sherlock Holmes?

Seriously?

Sherlock Holmes solving an unsolvable mystery?

It sounded perfect, but let’s see how it turned out?

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Synopsis:

This book takes place during The Return of Sherlock Holmes, after “The Adventure of the Empty House.” Sherlock Holmes has been recalled to life after the Reichenbach Falls episode.

So Sherlock Holmes has been sent quite a bit of correspondence from a man who is searching for his missing nephew.  This man is John Jasper, the one from The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

There is one thing that is very important to look at. The Mystery of Edwin Drood came out in 1870, while The Return of Sherlock Holmes, came out in 1905, that is a 35 year difference.

Hmm…

With 35 years this means it is a “cold case” or “murder in retrospect”. But don’t worry, Holmes can handle anything with his masters of observation.

Holmes and Dr. Watson head off to meet John Jasper and hear the case. John relates what happened in the original book. Edwin “Ned” Drood was his nephew who he raised after his father and mother; and later grandparents died. Edwin was engaged to a Rosa Bud, but secretly broke off the engagement.

Hmm…

Two siblings came to live in the area, Neville and his twin sister Helena. Edwin and Neville had gotten into an argument over Rosa. They supposedly patched up over their Christmas dinner, but then Edwin and Neville took off to look at the storm.

That night Ned was never seen again. Many believed that Neville did something to him but there is no proof. Jasper cannot stand  not knowing and asks Holmes to find the body.

Holmes agrees to take the case, but notices something that will make things harder; Jasper has Alzheimer’s.

As Holmes and Watson head off to Cloisterham, only to hear that that Jasper has also disappeared. Now they have to find the missing nephew and uncle.

Holmes and Watson look into Jasper’s old home and find his diary of which he wrote of the incident that Neville and Edwin fought and his fears of what might happen next between them.

They also read about Jasper’s secret love for Rosa and that whole love triangle.

The two are invited to the Deanery for Christmas dinner, where they meet the Crisparkles. After living with the family as a ward, Mr. Crisparkle and Helena fell in love and have been married this past 30 years. Her brother ended up much unhappier. He had to leave the area as he was always seen in suspicion, Rosa refused his advances, and he died alone and unhappy.

How sad

Sherlock Holmes tracks down Mr. Grewgious, Rosa’s lawyer, and found out that Jasper is not in a home, but is residing in an asylum. He escaped to find Holmes, but has been found and put back.

They also find out that Rosa married Lt. Jack Tarter; YES! what I wanted!

Before Holmes can set out to research more on this case he has to solve “The Adventure of the Dancing Men” and “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist”.

After those two cases, Holmes and Watson continue their investigation and discover some beautiful paintings by the painter, Edmond Dupont.

It was so obvious here what happened. Edwin took off either faking his death or didn’t realize everyone thought he was dead and changed his name to Edmond Dupont, to become a painter instead of his parent’s dream of engineer.

In the end it turned out that I was correct; Edwin became Edmound and was unaware of what happened with Neville. He later met up with Rosa after the death of her husband, and the two fell in love. I did not like that as I hated Rosa.

Ugh

Jasper had been planning on killing Edwin when he drugged the stonecutter, but Edwin took off before he put the plan into effect. His guilt and drug induced state made him think he killed Edwin and he has been feeling guilty ever since.

The mysterious stranger Datchery that everyone has wondered who he was, turned out to be a friend of the lawyer.

That’s it?

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Thoughts After Reading:

It was okay as it was a fan novel and tried to give you what he thought the fans wanted.

Giving a happy ending, no murder, certain characters together you wished; etc.

I hate it

But it was just okay. Cute, a one time read, but not more than that.

And Rosa and Edwin getting together in the end was a disappointment as I hated Rosa.

For more on Edwin Drood, go to The Unsolvable Mystery: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

For more Sherlock Holmes, go to The Red Headed League

For more altered classics, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

For more Christmas mysteries, go to A Farewell To Yarns

For more retrograde mysteries, go to A Duty to the Dead

For more missing persons mysteries, go to Emilie and the Sky World

For more not-in-a-series mysteries, go to The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

Crostini

Thoughts Before Cooking:

So I have been wanting to make this tortellini soup recipe for quite some time now. I actually have two pinned on pinterest, and chose one of them.

I picked one and then went to pick up all the ingredients, not realizing that the recipe also included the side dish crostini. But since I had everything, I made them too. This recipe comes from The Yellow Bliss Road blog.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Baguette
  • Butter
  • Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Slice baguette into 1/2 inch thick slices.
  2. Butter one side and place butter side down in a hot skillet until golden brown.
  3. Flip bread slices over and sprinkle with Parmesan while the other side gets golden brown.
  4. Transfer to a plate and immediately cover loosely with foil if cheese has not completely melted.

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Spinach Pasta Salad

For more bread recipes, go to Caraway Rye Bread

For more recipes, go to Triple Green Protein Smoothie