Holiday Recipes from the Ladies of Mystery

Since this is the 5th Monday of the month and we don’t have a person scheduled, we decided to make the 5th Monday or Thursday of a month a day when we gather and give you recipes, talk about our lives, or what is happening that you might be interested in as a group.

Today, because of the holidays approaching a few of us are giving you recipes. These are in the order in which they arrived in my inbox.

CANDIED SWEET POTATOES

Warning, I never measure.

As many sweet potatoes (the lighter yellow ones, not yams) as you think you’re family or guests will eat. Put this in pot and cover with water. Boil until easily pierced with a fork—but you don’t want them mushy. When cool enough, peel, and slice into half or quarters depending upon how large they are. Layer in a baking dish. On each layer put several pats of butter and sprinkle with brown sugar. Be generous. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. If you prepare ahead of time and refrigerate, bake for 45 minutes.

My recipe is something I always fix for Thanksgiving. I like these way better than the canned yams with marshmallows so many serve. My aunt always made these for our Thanksgiving feasts all during my childhood and brought them when I became the host for the big dinner. She is no longer with us, but having them brings back memories of my aunt.

–Marilyn Meredith


From the recipe box of my character Shandra Higheagle

Shandra’s Sixty-minute Cinnamon Rolls

3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 TBSP sugar

1 tsp salt

2 packages Active Dry yeast

1 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup butter

Brown sugar to cover the dough

Cinnamon to cover the brown sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

In a large bowl thoroughly mix 11/2 cups flour, sugar, sale, and undissolved yeast.

Combine milk, water, and butter in a saucepan. Heat over low heat until liquids are very warm (120-130 degrees F) ( I use the microwave and a pyrex measuring cup) butter does not need to melt. Gradually add this to the dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1/2 cup flour. Beat at high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.  Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; place in warm (98 degree F) to rise for 15 minutes.

Turn dough out on floured board and roll into a large rectangle. Spread with melted butter, cover with brown sugar, and sprinkle with cinnamon. roll up long side and cut in 1-11/2 inch slices depending on if you want fewer but larger rolls or more rolls. Place cut side down in a buttered 9″ x 13″ pan. Let rise in  in a warm, free from draft area for 15 minutes. ( I usually fill my small sink with hot water, place a cooling rack over it and set the pan on that with a towel over the top. My daughter uses the warming oven)

Bake at 425 degrees F, for 15 minutes or until done. Drizzle with a milk and powdered sugar glaze.

–Paty Jager


CARAMELIZED VIDALIA ONION DIP

2 T. butter or margarine

3 large Vidalia or other sweet onions, sliced thin

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened (can use light)

1 8 oz. pkg. Swiss cheese, shredded (can use reduced fat)

1 C. grated Parmesan cheese

1 C. mayonnaise (can use light)

Vegetable Chips (I use Terra)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onions and cook, stirring often (30-40 minutes) or until onions are caramel colored (scrape the bits from the bottom). Combine all the cheeses and mayo in a large bowl and add and mix the cooked onions. Spoon into a baking dish and bake about 30 minutes or until the top is browned and bubbly. Serve with the veggie chips.

Make ahead: You can make and assemble the dip the day before, put into the baking dish, cover and refrigerate. Bake as instructed above but for 45-50 minutes instead of 30 minutes.

–Karen Shughart

Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery and soon-to-be released Wheel of Death,  a mystery by 22 authors.

photo source: canstock

Holiday Reads or Not? by Paty Jager

paty shadow (1)I’m not one of those people who has to buy every romance or mystery book that deals with a holiday. In fact, over the 50+ years that I’ve been a reader,  I’ve had one Nora Roberts set of romance books that were Christmas books that I read every year in December, but I didn’t read any other Christmas books. Then a friend wrote a Thanksgiving novella. I pull that out and read it in November. But that’s about it for reading holiday themed books.

And yet, I seem to write a lot of holiday themed books. In my romance books I’ve written three Christmas Stories, a 4th of July, New Year’s, Halloween, and Valentine story.

In my mysteries, I’ve now written a Christmas and a Halloween story. Last November I put out Yuletide Slaying with Sheba the pony-sized mutt as the character who discovered the dead body.

And this month, going with the theme of an animal finding the body in the holiday stories, Lewis, Crazy Lil’s orange cat, finds the body in Haunting Corpse, book 9 of my Shandra Higheagle Mystery series.

I found while planning this book, I didn’t really think about the holiday. My mind was focused on the murder and who could have done it. The Halloween party was merely used as a means to gather information for Shandra and Ryan and the reader. But I had fun writing the party, the costumes, and the conversations.

Do you find as a reader that you like to read between the lines of the conversation and character’s actions, to try and discover the murderer? Or do you just let yourself go with the flow of the story and be surprised at the end?  Writer’s do you try to make your characters’ conversations relevant to giving clues or do you just write what comes to mind and drop a hint here or there?

Here is the blurb and cover of my newest Shandra Higheagle Mystery.

Haunting Corpse 5x8Desertion…Wrath…Murder

A runaway bride, murder, and arson has Shandra Higheagle sleuthing again. Sorting through the debris of her best friend’s childhood, Shandra believes she must solve the murder before her friend becomes the next victim.

Stumbling upon a dead body, Detective Ryan Greer is determined to bring the killer to justice before Shandra becomes too entangled in her friend’s dysfunctional past. He hopes he’s not too late. Her deceased grandmother has already visited her dreams, putting Shandra in the middle of his investigation and danger.

Universal Link – https://www.books2read.com/u/3J0ZWX

 

higheagle-book-banner

 

Christmas is Coming

by Janis Patterson

For once I’m way ahead of a deadline. It’s a situation that doesn’t happen very often, and I’m going to enjoy every bit of it!

A couple of months ago a couple of mystery writer friends and I were having lunch and somehow the subject of holiday anthologies came up. They seem to be a popular genre and – as all of us are always interested in upping our sales – the idea of us doing a Christmas anthology of murder mystery stories appeared (sorry, gang – I don’t remember whose idea it originally was) and everyone loved it.

My mind – like most writer’s – is a strange and fearsome place. Immediately a story began forming in the swirling and dangerous depths of my imagination and in spite of a looming book deadline, a much-looked-forward-to and lengthy trip to Atlanta to the NRA convention coming up and a vicious case of food poisoning (the worst I’ve ever had) I started writing immediately, much to the detriment of my current work in progress. Some stories just need to be told immediately.

Christmas is supposed to be such a happy time of family and presents and religious devotion, but it seems like I remember reading somewhere that more people commit suicide at Christmas than any other time of the year, which is horrifically sad. Even though I can’t call up the statistics, it seems I also remember there is always a jump in murders and assaults during the holidays as well – which is sad too, but it makes the season a natural for tales of murder and dark deeds.

I have always believed that stories should be just as long as they need be to tell the story. Our group had decided on novellas rather than full novels, and as novellas go, mine is short – truly a novelette (does anyone use that term any more?) at just over 15,000 words. But the story is a very small slice of time and a very concentrated tale with a sparse cast of characters, so that’s all it needed. I could of course pad the word count, but that would dilute the story.
The story? It’s a delicious mix of a family Christmas in a snowbound mansion and a horrible relative who is found dead on Christmas morning. He has been stabbed… and garroted… and poisoned. I have always believed in overkill. The title is, appropriately enough, KILLING HARVEY.

Anyway, the story was finished before we left for the NRA convention – for which I’m glad, as the convention gave me so much information and so many story ideas that my head is about to explode.

If all goes as planned, our anthology should be for sale online sometime mid to late November. If the project falls apart, I’ll release the story by myself. So – be warned : either way KILLING HARVEY will be available, so please plan to buy lots of copies. It will be the perfect virtual stocking-stuffer.

Now as my original deadline approaches with the speed and grace of a runaway train, I must get back to my work in process.