Hole in One

thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!!

I know I usually post on Fridays, but I thought I would change today to be a part of the holiday mood. Now I know that you were probably expecting something on a side dish for Thanksgiving or what to do with the leftovers, but no. I decided to do something much different, something that you can eat the morning of before you start cooking up a storm. Or something you can eat tomorrow, before you go out shopping.

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This recipe comes from Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swenson Mystery #5)

Fudge Cupcake Murder

Hole in One

Thoughts Prior to Cooking:

So when I first saw this recipe I immediately wanted to make it. You see this same dish is made in one of my favorite movies, V for Vendetta. V for Vendetta is a dystopian future film. In the film the rebel, vigalante, V saves a young girl, Evie, from being raped by policeman. The next day she goes to work at the television studio, in which at the same time V comes, making the stations play his message. When they try to take him, Evie assists him, as she doesn’t want the man who saved her hurt. When Evie is knocked out, V takes her with him, and the next morning prepares “A Hole in One” (they call it a different name), for her. The way Evie enjoys it, always made me want to try it.

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Ingredients:

  • Non-stick Cooking Spray or Butter
  • One Slice of Bread (Any Kind)
  • One Egg
  • Butter
  • Biscuit Cutter or juice glass
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • Italian Seasoning (optional)

Directions:

  1. Spray a frying pan with non-stick cooking spray or put in a pat of butter.
  2. Butter one side of a slice of bread. Put it butter-side-down in the frying pan. Butter the top side.
  3. With a biscuit cutter or the rim of a juice glass, stamp a hole in the center of the bread slice.
  4. Put the cut circle next to the bread slice in the pan.
  5. Put the pan on medium heat and wait until the bread begins to fry. Then crack an egg and drop it in the hole. Add salt, pepper, and the italian seasoning.
  6. When the egg has cooked on the bottom, flip the whole thing. Also flip the cutout piece of bread.
  7. Fry until egg is cooked the way you like it.

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Hole in One

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Thoughts After Cooking:

I thought this was really good and pretty easy to make. I’m not really a fried egg person, but I loved this as it is the perfect blend. The only thing that I would warn you about, is flipping the bread and egg over can be hard. I only did it once perfectly.

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For more Hannah Swensen recipes, go to Regency Ginger Cookies

For more breakfast recipes, go to Pumpkin French Toast

For more holiday recipes, go to With the 4th of July Comes Apple Pie

For more recipes, go to Lemon Meringue Chiffon Cake

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Fudge Cupcake Murder

Fudge Cupcake Murder

Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swenson #5)

So I know you guy think I just like to hate on Joanne Fluke.

Hate her that's so raven

But that’s not true.

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I just don’t like subpar writing. When it’s bad, I’m going to call you out on it. When it’s good, I will also point that out. And while I haven’t liked the first four mysteries, I actually enjoyed this.

likeit

So back in Blueberry Muffin Murder, Hannah Swensen discussed having a Lake Eden cookbook full of recipes only known to them. Well in this book, the Lake Eden Cookbook is in the middle of becoming a reality.

Besides The Cookie Jar, Hannah has taken on a temporary side job teaching cooking at the community college. As Lake Eden is getting ready to create a cookbook of family recipes, Hannah feels that there is no better opportunity than to have the class prepare the submitted recipes.

cookingfood

And there is no time like the present. It is days from Halloween, but all recipes must be typed, tested, photographed, etc.; in time for the cookbook to be completed and ready to be sold at Christmas.

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Hannah is enjoying her new jobs as cooking teacher and head of the cookbook, when she is approached by her friend Beatrice. Beatrice asks her to include the Fudge Cupcakes that her mother-in-law was famous for. Only one problem, there is a secret ingredient, and with the mother-in-law dead, no one knows what it could possibly be.

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

Well, Hannah likes solving mysteries, and at least this one doesn’t have a dead body in it, so she begins working on trying to find the missing piece to the puzzle.

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In other news, Hannah’s sister Andrea is pregnant and her husband Bill is running for Sheriff. Sheriff Grant has been running the town for years, and when polls come out with him in the low numbers, he starts to pick up his game to get more support.  He approaches Hannah outside the center, and she gives him a cupcake, along with a promise that Bill will win.

Smirkity smirk smirk

Smirkity smirk smirk

Hannah then goes on to a productive day in class. The group cooks up a whole mess of recipes and solve some elusive handwriting. Hannah still doesn’t know the ingredient for the cupcakes, but hasn’t given up yet.

gotthis

That night, Mike picks her up for dinner, helping her clean up the kitchen first. She goes out to the dumpster to throw away the garbage and discovers a body. And not just any body, but Sheriff Grant.

AAAAHHHHH

Now Bill is suspended as he is the prime suspect and Hannah finds herself on the case.

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This proves to be difficult, as Sheriff Grant was a hated man, hated almost by EVERYONE. Could he have been killed by a deputy for having stolen their “prime cases” in election years? Could he have been killed by someone he wrote up for absolutely nothing? Could it have been connected to the death of his son? Or could be for some other reason? And most importantly, what is the secret ingredient in the fudge cupcakes?!

urkelgif interesting hmm

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Thought After Reading:

So let’s start with the cupcake mystery. I first thought it was going to be annoying and distracting. Not to mention cruel to have Fluke make us wait so long to find out the answer, but it actually added to the story. It made you read more as you wanted to know what the ingredient is. And the cupcake sounds so good, I will be making them in the future.

chocolate-cupcake

Now I do hate the Mike storyline. Mike is the worst detective ever. He actually thinks that Bill, Bill who couldn’t plan his way out of a paper bag could murder Sheriff Grant? Bill is stupid, but honest. The only way he would murder anyone was on accident, turning himself in. Come on Mike, get your head out of your butt.

seriously

I mean they act like Mike is such a great detective, but he’s as dumb as rocks.

Icannotstandmorons_Laura

And it is clear that Hannah and Mike would not work long term as in every book she gets incredibly angry at him. Just break up already and get with Norman.

seriously

Shawna Lee Quinn comes to town, a recent plant and old friend of Mike. She is eager to be a new friend and is further proof that Mike is not right for Hannah. Dump that chump!

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Once again they also make Tracey act way too old.  And there is not enough Norman in here.

But on a whole I enjoyed the book. The mystery was easily solvable, once you were given all the clues, but it was a pretty good story.

likeit

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For more Hannah Swensen mysteries, go to Lemon Meringue Pie Murder

For more mysteries, go to The Princess Plot

Lemon Meringue Chiffon Cake

lemon

So the title recipe of this book is Lemon Meringue Pie, something I was planning on making. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to do that recipe or any other from Lemon Meringue Pie Murderso instead I decided to use this delicious recipe.

Thoughts Before Baking:

This recipe comes from a 1971 Betty Crocker cookbook. One year my sister and I made dinner and dessert for my mother’s birthday, and when I asked what cake she wanted, she said this one.

lemoncake

The picture looked great, and as I love lemon cake too, I thought this would be a winner.

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Ingredients:

Cake:

  • Betty Crocker Lemon Cake Mix

Lemon Filling:

  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons of Cornstarch
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Can (6 oz) Frozen Lemonade Concentrate, Thawed
  • 4 Egg Yolks, slightly Beaten

Meringue

  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Grated Lemon Peel
  • 1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice

Directions:

Cake:

  1. Bake the lemon cake according to package directions.
  2. Split the batter to make three layers.

Filling:

  1. In a medium saucepan mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
  2. Add enough water to the lemonade concentrate to measure 2 cups.
  3. Gradually stir the lemonade into the sugar mixture.
  4. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute.
  5. Gradually stir at least half of the hot mixture into the egg yolks. Stir the remaining half into the hot mixture in saucepan.
  6. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
  7. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat; and cool completely.
  8. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the lemon filling, setting it aside.
  9. Use the rest of the lemon filling to fill the layers.

Meringue:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Beat the 4 egg whites until foamy.
  3. Beat in 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time as you continue to beat until stiff and glossy. Do not under beat
  4. Fold in 1 teaspoon of grated lemon peel and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
  5. Frost the sides and top of cake with the meringue.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light brown.
  7. Thin reserved filling with hot water, and spoon over cake allowing some to drizzle down the side.

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Thoughts After Baking:

This recipe is long, complicated, hot, and quite a lot of work. But you know what? It is all worth it. This cake is so delicious, once a piece passes your lips you will forget how tired you are. And how many dishes you need to wash.

eatingcake

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For more cakes, go to Strawberry Shortcake

For more desserts, go to Pumpkin Rice Krispies

For more recipes, go to Dinomite’s Fluffy Bites

Lemon Meringue Pie Murder

Lemon Meringue Pie Murder

Lemon Meringue Murder (Hannah Swenson #4) by Joanne Fluke

So before I even start reviewing this piece, I thought I would point out something I noticed on the back cover:

In her third top-of-the line culinary cozy…” –Publishers Weekly

Third? Third? I guess Publishers Weekly doesn’t know how to count. This is the fourth book. It goes 1)Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

1.5) Candy for Christmas

2) Strawberry Shortcake Murder

3) Blueberry Muffin Murder

4) Lemon Meringue Murder

BacktothefutureThinkMcFlyStupid

So now to the review!

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So the winter blues have been kissed good-bye, as we now enter the summer months with the upcoming 4th of July.

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Hannah is getting ready to wear her summer slacks, when she finds out that she cannot fit in them.

thisisbad

That means only one thing, a DIET

Diet

In happier news, Norman calls to let Hannah know that he bought a house! Or rather he bought the perfect land from Rhonda Scharf to build their dream house.

Wedding

While Norman is building the house they designed together, he doesn’t ask her to marry him. This tiny nugget becomes a huge part of the plot as Hannah wonders why Norman hasn’t asked her, but yet at the same time doesn’t want to be asked as she doesn’t want to get married. You know what I have to say on that?

movingOnsherlocknotinterested

Come on Hannah, Norman knows you better than you know yourself and can tell you would say no. Hearing you go on and on about it is completely boring.

blahblah

In fact I find the whole Norman-Hannah-Mike love triangle completely dumb and am over it. Please end it. I mean it is clear that Hannah and Mike are only physical and won’t work long term; just choose Norman and put us readers out of their misery.

Ijustwantittostop

Later Jed and Freddy stop by Hannah’s shop. Freddy is a developmentally disabled adult and Jed is his cousin. Freddy’s parents died and Jed has been helping take care of him ever since. The two form a handyman service, one of their regular customers being The Cookie Jar. Along with being paid, Hannah always gives them some treats.

cookies

Hannah notices that Jed seems to be spending quite a bit lately. Wonder where he is getting all the dough?

HMMM

The next day Mike returns from a trip and is mad that Norman is building a house for Hannah and that Norman proposed. All I can say Mike, if you weren’t such a rover maybe you would have the sense to ask Hannah yourself.

But the problem is, you just can’t give up other girls. But Hannah still likes this dude, and assures him she is engagement free. Mike is pleased and tells her “I don’t want to change anything. Everything’s great just the way it is.” Great for who? You. And with that attitude you can’t blame Norman for being a man and trying to move the relationship forward. But enough on that stupid drama.

movingOnsherlocknotinterested

Oh yeah, so in this mystery Hannah says that her pies are something she changes up every week. Pie? Funny that was never mentioned in the previous books. And it won’t be mentioned again, until Key Lime Murder.

coincidenceithinknot

So Norman, Delores Swenson (Hannah’s mom), and Hannah head out to the Rhonda’s house so Delores can pick over any pieces she wants for her antique shop before the wrecking balls destroy it.

When they get into the house they discover one of Hannah’s pies covered in ants. She also notices two takeout containers with osso buco. And inside the house are two wineglasses and a Chianti bottle. Sounds like someone had a party.

While Hannah and Norman are clearing things upstairs, Delores heads down to the basement and discovers a dead body, Rhonda’s.

AAAAHHHHH

So Hannah reassures everyone that she will not be investigating.

notbelievingyouyeahright

Whatever Hannah, you know you can’t help but put your nose into everything.

So while Hannah is “determined” to stay out of it, Delores wants to investigate, and urges Hannah to join her team.

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Hannah tracks down who purchased her pies, three going to Claire who owns the boutique next to The Cookie Jar. There she discovers that Claire gave Rhonda one of her pies, and that Claire is dating the Reverend.

movingOnsherlocknotinterested

Later, after catering and other duties, Hannah returns to The Cookie Jar where she runs into Jed and Freddy, looking to get paid for their hard work. Through some very clunky, (and bad), exposition, we find out that Jed used to be in prison. He was supposedly only an outside contractor, and received a huge check which allows him to buy all these things he has been purchasing lately.

coincidenceithinknot

Hannah and Mike meet up that evening for dinner. They talk about the case which then leads into a discussion on Freddy and Jed. Hannah doesn’t like Jed as he introduces “ideas Freddy can’t handle.” Like buying a new truck or getting interested in girls.

Oh no Hannah, the horror! Freddy likes a new truck and will be riding around in it. Next thing you know he will be getting involved in drugs and end up in jail.

seriously

 And girls? Developmentally disabled people can get married and do regularly. Obviously Fluke doesn’t know anyone developmentally disabled. Although we really know why this is introduced, Fluke wants to establish Jed as the villian and killer.

seriously

SPOILER, you say? As soon as they announced Jed used to be in jail it is clear that he is being set up as the murderer. Totally obvious.

its-so-obvious-captain-obvious

Hannah then goes on the trail of the osso buco, trying to find out who Rhonda’s boyfriend was. One person who ordered take out was the Reverend, Hannah goes over to talk to Claire and finds out that he brought dinner for their night out. She also is told by Claire that Claire wants to be the Reverend’s wife. The only thing stopping her? She doesn’t know how to read sheet music or play the organ.

really?

Now it is things like this that really makes me question whether Fluke is living in the present time. This book is published in 2003, not 1962. Most churches do not have an organ anymore, they have switched to pianos or keyboards. And if they do have an organist, they hire someone. It is not a requirement for a minister’s wife. And how should I know such things? From experience, I’m a minister’s daughter.

Icannotstandmorons_Laura

Hannah does manage to track down Rhonda’s boyfriend, figuring out that it is the high school principal. He apparently went there to break it off, not staying very long and Rhonda very much alive when he left. So it it wasn’t the boyfriend? Then who is the murderer.

Freddy comes by The Cookie Jar the next day. He drops off a surprise for Jed, that he “lost” in the trash. Hannah agrees to hold it, once again being clunky thrown in.

its-so-obvious-captain-obvious

As Hannah is investigating, another mystery crops up. Old bills from a bank robbery about 30 years ago have resurfaced. Who could be behind it? Is it connected to Rhonda’s death?

Hannah returns to Rhonda’s old house and takes some photographs in the basement. When they look at them again they discover that there is something wrong with the jam jars. They are not organized as they should be, with the jam on the wrong shelves. That means someone was over there and there must be something important there.

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

There is also this moment when Andrea is planning on making red, white, & blue jello; but in the end can’t as they don’t make blue jello. I distinctly remember eating it when I was a child, and when I looked it up blue jello was invented in 1992. Andrea totally should have been able to buy it.

doesn'tmakesense

Hannah gets caught up in a storm and finds herself at Beatrice’s and Ted’s apartment complex, the place that Rhonda rented from. Hannah comes in to call and let her family know she is safe. Beatrice offers to give her Rhonda’s clothes. Hannah uses that time to snoop and discovers a letter to Rhonda’s great-aunt.

The letter is from a prison inmate, Speedy. He talks about a treasure hunt they would go on and her peach jam.

suspicious Hmm

The 4th of July comes and everything seems great. That is until they find a bludgeoned Freddy. Luckily they get him to the hospital in time. There Freddy is in a coma, but will be brought out. Jed is disheartened, and Hannah tries to cheer him up telling him about Freddy’s surprise.

Hannah heads to the bakery the next morning to work on some dough. As she does she starts thinking about the note, Rhonda, etc and puts it all together. Speedy hid the money in Rhonda’s house, the one that used to belong to her aunt. Rhonda found it when she was cleaning things out. From there Jed found it and is the murderer as he he is spending a ton of money.

gotthis

To me that seems like an awfully big leap.

thatwasclose

Jed comes to get the “surprise”, but Hannah manages to beat him to it. He then locks her in her cooler. He admits it all, just as Hannah figured it out. Hannah tries to get out, becoming some super electrician and figuring the right wire to cut that will make someone investigate. How does she know such complex things?

What?

At least when Nancy Drew did it, she always explained where she got such knowledge from, and how she has done it before. Not just a casual conversation with her father 20 years ago.

seriously

In the end Lisa and Herb get engaged and Hannah discovers she switched pants with Andrea. She never had to diet after all.

oopsmybad

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Thoughts After Reading:

As you can tell I didn’t really care for this mystery. There were a lot of plot pieces left out, such as how Jed figured out about the money. And some things didn’t make any sense. To be completely honest, to me it seemed like a slapped together, overly complicated mystery.

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For more Hannah Swenson mysteries, go to Blueberry Muffin Murder

For more midwestern mysteries, go to Thorns of Rosewood

For more reviews, go to The Princess Plot

 

Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats

fridaythe13th

Don’t worry guys. I have it covered!

gotthis

Here is a cute and delicious treat to make your day great!

Thoughts Before Cooking:

So I was looking for a recipe to do with my nieces and found this from Food.comThe idea of pumpkin Krispie Treats seemed delicious, adorable, and easy for kids to do.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Butter + Extra Butter
  • 4 Cups of Miniature Marshmallows
  • 6 Cups of Rice Krispies
  • Orange Food Coloring
  • Sour Punch Straws, cut into pieces

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan melt the butter.
  2. Add the marshmallows and stir until completely melted.
  3. Remove from heat and add food coloring, making it as orange as you like.
  4. Add the Rice Krispies to the melted marshmallows. Stir until well coated.
  5. Take butter and rub it on your hands until they are coated. Grab the rice krispies and marshmallows, making a ball.
  6. Place the ball on a wax paper covered plate or pan.
  7. Place a sour punch straw piece in the center to be the pumpkin stem.
  8. Enjoy!

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Pumpkinricekrispies

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Thoughts After Cooking:

These were easy to make, delicious and cute. I only wish I had taken a shot before they were all gobbled up.

joker-yum

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For more pumpkin themed recipes, go to Pumpkin French Toast

For more desserts, go to Dinomite’s Fluffy Bites

For more recipes, go to Regency Ginger Cookies

 

The Princess Plot

Princess Plot

The Princess Plot (Scandia #1) by Kristen Boie

Jenna is an average girl. She goes to school, comes home, and hangs out at her best friend’s house. The only thing that sets her apart os the fact that her mother is extremely protective. She hardly ever lets her do anything or go anywhere.

I never get to do anything fun.

I never get to do anything fun.

One day, Jenna and her best friend are approached by a man handing out fliers. His company is making a princess movie and need someone to fill a secondary part. He gives them the fliers and hopes that they will come to the auditions.

Very_Interesting250

On one hand Jenna really to try out, but on the other: she knows her mother would be dead set against it. After a lot of hemming and hawing, she decides to go for it. When she arrives at the audition, she turns in her backpack and phone to the coat check and waits in line. With so many other beautiful girls there, Jenna is convinced she won’t be chosen.

I never get to do anything fun.

To her surprise, Jenna is picked and asked to immediately fly out to the country of Scandia, the place where the movie will be filmed.

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Jenna tries to turn them down, as she knows her mother will say no way, but it turns out they already spoke to her mother and was given approval. They return her phone with a text from her mother, telling her it is okay and that she hopes she has fun. Texting will be the only way they will be able to communicate from now on as they have limited satellites.

Very suspicious

Very suspicious

Jenna is quickly whisked away to a castle in Scandia where she discoverd everything has been a huge, fat, lie.

What?

It turns out that there is no movie.

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

Instead the crown princess is very ill and can’t make any public appearances. Her father just died, and her uncle has been named Regent. They all thought that not having the princess around might look as if the regent is taking over or give credence to the rumors that he murdered/kidnapped the king. So on they went to find a girl that closely resembles the princess, enough that with a few minor changes, no one would think it wasn’t her.

perfectplan

At first Jenna goes along but then finds things weirder. No one will talk about the princess. Her phone can’t send messages to anyone other than her mom. And the Regent acts very weird around her. It unsettles her more and more.

IDon'tlikeit

She overhears that the princess is not missing, but has run away. She then goes on to discover that she is to be here indefinitely, her mother has no idea where she is, and that the country is in the midst of a rebellion. What’s a girl to do?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I have to admit this was waaaay better than I thought it would be.

wow

It had a great plot and doesn’t fall into the usual young adult cliches.

fantastic

It was also nice to read a YA novel that isn’t all about finding a boyfriend, but one of espionage, rebels,  inequality, etc.

dangermiddlenameaustinpowers

The only thing I didn’t like about this book, was how dense Jenna was. Really? You think your super protective mom who doesn’t let you spend the night at a friend’s house, someone you’ve known all your life; and you actually believe she will let you go to an entirely different country with strangers?

I don't think so.

I don’t think so.

And you don’t find it odd that you can never talk to your mom? And that she didn’t call to say good-bye?

Very suspicious

Very suspicious

Otherwise it was a pretty good YA book.

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For more young adult mysteries, go to The Dollhouse Murders

For more reviews, go to Blueberry Muffin Murder

 

Dinomite’s Fluffy Bites

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So as I just reviewed Blueberry Muffin Murder, I was going to do my favorite recipe for blueberry muffins. I wasn’t going to use the one in the book as I didn’t like it. It was too sweet and sugary.

Unfortunately, just as I was getting ready to post my recipe, I couldn’t find it anywhere.

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So I’m going to do a fun cookie recipe instead.

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This is a cute dinosaur head shaped cookie filled with marshmallow. I made this recipe for a challenge, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

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Ingredients:

  • 7-8 Marshmallows cut into thirds
  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 2/3 Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Crisco
  • 2 Unbeaten Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Cup of sugar to roll the dough in
  • Almond slivers

Directions:

  1. Cut the marshmallows into thirds and place them in the freezer.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Sift together with a whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a  large, separate, bowl; cream together sugar, brown sugar, and crisco.
  5. Blend the two unbeaten eggs and vanilla into the sugar and crisco mixture.
  6. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  7. Take the marshmallows out of the freezer
  8. Take 1-2 tablespoons of dough and flatten it in your hand.
  9. Place a marshmallow third into the center of the dough. Roll the dough around the marshmallow, creating a ball.
  10. Take that ball of dough and role it into an oval. On one side of the oval, pinch it with your fingers to create the snout of the T-Rex head.
  11. Fill a bowl with 1/4 cup of sugar and roll the T-Rex head dough in it.
  12. Place it on the baking sheet. Put an almond sliver on it for an eye.
  13. Bake for 5-7 minutes.
  14. Let the cookies cool. When they have cooled, cut a triangle out the pinched side so that the T-Rex has an open mouth.
  15. Eat & enjoy!

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DinomiteCookiesbite

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Thoughts After Baking:

So these are fantastic. I have never been a fan of “stuffed” cookies, but these definitely changed all that.

This is perfect for anyone who loves dinosaurs or marshmallows.

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For more cookie recipes, go to Regency Ginger Cookies

For more desserts, go to Dark Choco Almond Butter Cookies

For more recipes, go to Pumpkin French Toast

Blueberry Muffin Murder

BlueberryMuffinMurder

Blueberry Muffin Murder (Hannah Swenson Mystery #3) by Joanne Fluke

This is the third book in the series following Hannah Swenson, ex-English Literature major and now owner of cookie shop, The Cookie Jar, in Lake Eden, Minnesota. She accidentally runs into dead bodies, or people ask her to investigate, causing her to solve crimes before the police even have a smidgen of a clue.

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It’s late February and things are pretty slow. Christmas and News Years? Parties galore and business is booming. With Valentine’s Day, another flurry of activity. But once that’s over it’s dead. Snow, cold, and nothing until Easter.

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So this year, the city decided to do something different to bring in tourist and boost the economy. This year marked the first annual Lake Eden Winter Carnival.

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The Jordan High School shop class redid old sleighs to give sleigh rides. Hannah’s mother Delores helped the Historical Society create a full-scale replica of the first mayor’s house, Ezekiel Jordan. And of course Hannah, is one of the many people who has a booth for her business.

Lordoftherings LifeisGood

As she is heading out to her shop, a guy attacks her from behind warning her to get against the wall or else she will be killed!!!!

Ahh-1

It turns out to be an old friend, Greg Canfield. Greg had moved back a few years ago and opened an import store at the Tri-County Mall. His store closed down recently, and after he sold his house he moved in with his grandmother (who lives in the same condo building as Hannah). He was out that morning and thought he’d pull a prank on his old pal. Greg leaves to get back to his stock trading, he’s making a bundle on the company Redlines and Hannah heads over to her shop.

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Hannah’s friend Lisa, has recently become her partner, and has been busy at work baking and dressing the window for the Winter Carnival.

It turns out that the Winter Carnival is going to bring much more to town. Connie MacIntyre, the star of the hit cooking show Cooking With Connie Mac, has come to town. She has numerous books, a string of kitchen boutique stores, a monthly magazine, etc.

With Connie Mac, comes Janie Burkholtz, Connie’s personal assistant, and Hannah’s sister Andrea’s very best friend. Looks like the Winter Carnival is going to be loads of fun.

wrong

The Mayor asks Hannah to drive Connie Mac around town and Hannah agrees as she figures it will be fun.

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Andrea comes over to speak to Hannah and when she hears all about Hannah giving the tour, and of course invites herself along. Hannah agrees as she thinks it will make a boring situation more interesting.

The girls reach the inn where Connie Mac is staying and meet a grade-A jerk.

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She is rude, cruel and picky about how everything has to be. From her salad to pressing of her clothes, nothing is ever quite right and must have a thousand details done to it.

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The first stop is the library, where Connie will be signing her cookbooks, along with raising awareness for the library and the programs offered there. However, Connie doesn’t care about the library, all she wants is the money and publicity and she sure doesn’t want to be at the back of the building, but in the lobby.

Then she decides the best sleigh shouldn’t be used for the Winter Royalty, but what she should ride in on.

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I guess that is correct, as she is a royal pain.

Sorry, had to do it.

Sorry, had to do it.

After they iron out that detail they go on to the school kitchen to talk about the big banquet they are going to have. Connie manipulates people to get what she wants, and succeeds every time. She wants her cake to be on the pedestals reserved for the crown of the Winter Prince & Princess. Edna, the school cook, is very against it, until Connie promises to gift them a dinner set for 200, including glassware, silver, and tablecloths.

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Hannah can see right through everything and thinks Connie is just plan rude. She also thinks that her show is nothing special, as it seems presentation heavy over tasty.

Hannah leaves Andrea with Connie and heads back to the The Cookie Jar. There she makes some blueberry muffins, using frozen berries instead of real ones as Minnesota in February, there is no way she is getting fresh. That’s one great thing about living on the West Coast, fresh fruit all year long.

That afternoon Hannah receives a frantic call from Janie. It turns out that the van carrying Connie Mac’s Winter Carnival Cake was ruined when the car went into a ditch. And she needs a place to to cook a replacement. They want to use The Cookie Jar.

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Hannah does not want Connie Mac in her kitchen, and suggests other places; but it turns out none are available, the only place it can happen in is Hannah’s.

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Against her better judgement, Hannah agrees.

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Besides cooking there, Norman will be taking Connie Mac’s picture as well. So it can be immortalized forever that Connie Mac cooked at the Cookie Jar.

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That night as everyone is bringing stuff in for Connie Mac, Hannah tells Lisa to take the morning off. Before Hannah leaves, she lets Janie know that there are blueberry muffins in the pantry. Janie wants some, but Connie Mac has forbidden her to have sweets as she “needs to lose 20 pounds”. She doesn’t really need to, but Connie is rude and a jerk.

Norman and Hannah both leave and Norman is just as angry at Connie as Hannah. Connie is clearly super at making enemies. You all know what that means.

Murder

Norman invites Hannah to dinner, but she refuses, wanting to rest. Unfortunately, Bill is working late, and since Janie can no longer meet her and with Andrea all alone; Hannah is convinced to go out. It turns out Bill does come and brings Mike. The perfect set-up.

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The next day Hannah goes to her shop and finds it a huge mess.

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The door is open. Flour is everywhere! Mixing bowls are filled with dry batter. Sticky spoons, beaters, and other utensils spatter the kitchen. Burning cake in the oven!

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Her shop is a total mess and could have burnt to the ground!!!! What is Connie Mac’s deal? How could she have done this?!!!

As Hannah begins cleaning, she spots Connie’s handbag. Along with her coat. Janie was gone, her car, coat, etc. So….

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Connie must never have left. As Hannah looks in the store she finds her. Dead by a blow to the head, mid muffin bite.

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And a blow on the back of a head means only one thing:

Murder

Mike and Bill come and close off Hannah’s shop. Indefinitely, until the murderer is caught. This becomes a huge part of the storyline as Hannah is angry with Mike for being so stubborn and not letting her come back. Now this really bothers me, as can the police really do that? It seems in shows that they don’t keep a place of business or residence forever.

So I looked it up, and it turns out that the police can keep a place as long as they want, however they choose to revert it back to the owner as soon as possible. So there you go, Mike is just a big ol’ jerk and I hate him.

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Moving on. Not only is Hannah locked out from her own kitchen, but she is forbidden to speak to any Connie Mac employee as Mike doesn’t want her meddling. They suspect Janie as being the murderer, but Mike knows that Hannah will refuse to accept that and try to find who she believes the “real murderer is.”

And of course Hannah does not listen.

See ya Mike

See ya Mike

She goes to the Inn and talks to Sally. There she finds out that EVERYONE hated Connie and all have reasons to kill her. All the maids at the Inn hate her; Connie fired the delivery truck driver;  she threatened to fire her long-time lawyer, Alan Carpenter; Paul, her husband, was cheating on her; he keeps postponing her book, and Kurt Howe, her publisher, is looking at getting fired if he can get her to commit; etc. Plus there is always money, the Connie Mac empire is enormous, and whoever inherits will be getting a lot of moolah.

WhoDoneIt?

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Thoughts after reading:

This was an okay book. I thought the mystery was so-so and the investigation kind of blah.

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At one point Mike is convinced Norman killed Connie because she made a difficult photo shoot. Really? Really?

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This was dumb. Come on, Mike. Get your head out of your butt. Dumb. Why are the two cops so stupid in this series? I mean really. Come on son.

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And they spend a long time talking about ice fishing. Really? Really?

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And it turns out the reason Paul, Connie’s husband, was trying to get close to Janie is that he is secretly her biological father. It was pretty obvious and overdramatic.

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So not horrible, but not fantastic. Just okay.

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For more Hannah Swenson Mysteries, go to Strawberry Shortcake Murder

For more Midwestern Mysteries, go to Thorns of Rosewood

For more reviews, go to The Barter