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.

funny-drinking-alcohol-gif-25

So here we go!

vector-clip-art-of-a-borderbanner-of-blue-coffee-cups-on-white-by-prawny-629cupsglassesdrinks

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

Advertisements

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 Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

“The Blue Carbuncle” from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

It’s Christmas time in London and for Sherlock Holmes.

A priceless jewel, the blue carbuncle, has been stolen and John Horner, a former felon and current plumber, is arrested for the theft. The only issue, no jewel has been found.

Hmm…

The day after Christmas Dr. Watson visits Sherlock and finds him staring at an old hat. Commissionaire Peterson dropped it off after a scuffle made someone lose their hat and a goose. The goose had a name on it, Henry Baker, but it is so popular a name they have no clue where to find him. Peterson took the goose and Sherlock kept the hat.

Hmm…

After Sherlock relates it all to Watson, Peterson comes running in with the missing blue carbuncle.

Holmes works hard to find Henry deducing many things about him but is uncertain whether or not Henry stole the jewel. He places ads in the newspaper, and Henry Baker arrives at his doorstep. Holmes tells him that they cooked the goose and ate it. Henry doesn’t care, he accepts a replacement and goes on his way.

Hmm…

So obviously, he didn’t steal the jewel and had no knowledge that the jewel even exists. So how did it get in the goose? Holmes is on the case!

Thoughts After Reading:

I love this mystery, it is fantastic!

Check it out!

For more Sherlock Holmes, go to The Disappearance of Edwin Drood

For more from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, go to The Red Headed League

For more Christmas stories, go to The Cat Who Turned On and Off

For more mysteries with stolen jewels, go to The Secret of the Three Teardrops

 

 

The Cat Who Turned On and Off

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

CatWhoWroteABlog

133880-cover

“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?

The_Disappearance_of_Edwin_Drood

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.

theGamesAfoot-680x383

  • 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.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

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?

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

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?

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

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

A Farewell To Yarns

It’s beginning to look like out next holiday mystery!

A Farewell to Yarns (Jane Jeffry #2) by Jill Churchill

Thoughts Before Reading:

It has been a while since we have reviewed a Jane Jeffry book. Let’s give a little background. Jane Jeffry is a widow with two sons, one daughter, a dog, and a cat. She lives in suburbia as housewife…er housemom? I’m not sure what the correct term would be. Anyways, her husband was head of the family company and she receives enough that she doesn’t have to worry about work but can focus on her children. In the previous book she was caught up in mystery when her cleaning lady was killed…only to turn out that the murderer killed the wrong woman.

What?!

As you might have guessed, all the books in the series are reworking of famous films/literature. This one is of A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Christmas is coming and Jane is extremely stressed out. Not only does she have to deal with the usual end of the year Christmas/Winter recitals and parties for her children, she is in charge of the Church Christmas Bazaar, and has to finish an afghan in only a few days.

She doesn’t need anything else to add to it, but what do you know? That’s life. It turns out Phyllis Wagner, Jane’s old friend, has finally decided to take her up on one of her halfhearted invitations to visit. Jane doesn’t really want her to visit but is stuck.

Ugh

Shelley drives her to pick Phyllis up from the airport, to give Jane time to knit her blanket, and she gets the shock of her life. Phyllis has arrived with her son! A son? When did she have a child?

It turns out that when Phyllis was in high school she ran off with a classmate and got married. The parents tracked them down and paid for an annulment, but Phyllis discovered afterwards that she was pregnant.

Her parents not wanting the child and Phyllis not believing she could take care of it, went to stay with an aunt, had the baby, and put it up for adoption. Afterwards she met Chet and married the much older, divorced father of two; them living in the same apartments as Jane and her husband.

Phyllis and Chet couldn’t have any children, and after a terrible near death experience, Phyllis revealed her secret. Chet searched for her son and found him, Bobby.

How sweet!

Bobby came to live on the island Chet set up as home and soon became a bad note in the symphony of their lives. Bobby is a major jerk, but Phyllis dotes in him and fulfills his every whim as she feels guilty for giving him up and sad about missing everything from his early life.

This is not good

Pretty soon Chet couldn’t stand another second with him and gave the ultimatum, him or Bobby. Phyllis choose Bobby and headed back to the States to visit Jane and find a place to live.

Jane is shocked about what has happened, and upset with Phyllis and Bobby. She happily leaves her home to go to Fiona Divine’s house, the widow of the famous and deceased singer Richie Divine, the one hosting the bazaar. Phyllis wants to come too and after they discuss details, Fiona relays that the house next door is for sale.

Phyllis is extremely interested and Fiona forces her second husband, Albert, to take Phyllis on a tour. By the time Jane and Phyllis head home; Phyllis is renting the house and in the process of buying it, has had one of Chet’s people purchase everything needed, and packed up all her belongings to send them to the house; vacating Jane’s home.

Yay!

Jane finds this unbelievable, but is thrilled to have the house back to the family only.

The next day, Jane receives a call from Fiona that the police are at Phyllis’ new home. Jane rushes right over and into her sometimes date/interested party Detective Mel VanDyne of the homicide division. Yes, it turns out that Phyllis was murdered.

All Jane wants to do is stay out of this, but finds herself caught up in the case. Will she figure out who the killer is before they strike again?

FoodBorderbanner

Thoughts After Reading:

I did not like this book at all.

Jane was horrible and cruel to her friend; making fun of her so much that it was a terrible read. Why did she hate her so much? The was never really revealed.

The mystery’s solution was so obvious as well. As soon as the character entered the picture and Phyllis gave her backstory it was so easy to figure out and boring!

I can’t believe that Grime and Punishment was so good, and this book was an incredible stinker. It does not bode well for the next book.

For more Jane Jeffry mysteries, go to Grime and Punishment

For more Christmas mysteries, go to The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

For more mystery reviews, go to The Lesson

Image

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

Are we ready for our first Christmas Countdown mystery? Let’s celebrate 20 days until Christmas with:

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus: A Novel by Beth Moore

Thoughts Before Reading:

This is Beth Moore’s first novel after years of nonfiction. It was something new, but something she had been thinking about doing for a while.

It was suggested by my sister blog after she read it for book club. It isn’t a Christmas centered mystery, but does have important scenes that take place at Christmas, so I thought I would set it out for our first review.

Jillian Slater is living in San Francisco in an controlling and very bad relationship. But when she discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her she is hit hard and unsure of what to do.

Then she receives a call that her long estranged father is dead.

And that her grandmother, the ice queen, who she also hasn’t seen in over twenty years is offering to pay her way to New Orleans so she could attend the funeral.

As her life is currently in shambles, Jillian decides to take it.

However, there is a lot that was kept from her. It turns out that the housekeeper, Adella Atwater, came up with the idea for a family reunion, not her grandmother, Olivia.

It also turns out that she lives in an church turned boarding house-full of all kinds of characters. There is David a forty-year old bachelor and music teacher; Carrie a student in medical school and always studying or working; and an elderly dementia suffering woman.

With no money, no reason to go back to San Francisco, and not sure what to do…she remains in the house.

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Police Department have been looking into the murder of Jillian’s father, Raphael. But while they try to uncover a killer, a lot of other strange things start happening. Baby things are left outside the house, someone tries to break into the house, things go missing, etc. The NOPD spend a lot of time coming to the house trying to figure out what does this all mean? A sentiment shared by the rest of the residents.

Besides that Saint Silvanus holds a secret from its first beginning as a church. Will it be revealed?

Will Jillian ever learn the truth about her fathers death? Will she grow to enjoy living in Saint Silvanus? Will her family rifts be mended? Or torn further apart?

Through in a life changing Christmas concert and last supper, and this book has everything.

Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t love this book.

Jillian bugged me, a LOT. First she is unsure what to do when she comes across the homeless. She has never had to deal with such things and finds the “sour smells” of the city unbearable. Come on now. I am from California and have been to San Francisco many times. I have been everywhere from the high price areas to the touristy ones and there are homeless EVERYWHERE. They hide in bushes and jump out to surprise you; walk out into traffic; are on every street corner along with “sour” smells. I don’t know what San Francisco Moore encountered but that sounds nothing like the one in California. Jillian should have experienced this numerous times and know how to deal with it.

And what happened with the church?

So throughout the novel, Moore has the story of the church’s beginning and the first pastor intersecting with the story of Jillian. But she never really says why this matters to the characters as they have no connection to each other and they never say who killed the minister. Was it suicide or murder?

There were also a lot of little details missing as Moore doesn’t always describe her characters. For instance she calls Jillian “dark”. Dark hair? Dark skin? Mexican? African-American? Greek? Spanish? Italian? Black hair? Brown? Chestnut? I know it is her first time writing a “novel” so it makes sense there are a few kinks.

The mystery also isn’t very mysterious. I knew as soon as the character entered the picture. It was extremely obvious the way they acted was not normal.

But there was something I did like: the characters.

The characters were amazing! I loved every single one and each felt extremely lifelike and ones you would meet in real life.

They all had their own hangups, issues, and backgrounds that were relatable-either to you or reminded you of someone you know. They made the book interesting, a page turner, and had you feel at home in Saint Silvanus.

This in itself made the book worth reading.

For more Christmas mysteries, go to Gingerbread Cookie Murder

For more mysteries not in a series, go to The Manchurian Candidate

For more Christian mysteries, go to Everbody Loved Roger Harlan

For more mysteries set in New Orleans, go to Triple Six