Tuesday, October 10, 2017

#183 The Case of Camomile Tea

Do you wish you could drink in the peace and gentleness of this photo?

This is soothing camomile and you can!

My romance novelist friend Kathleen grows these tiny, cheerful, daisy-like flowers in her garden.

Here's how to make tea from fresh flower heads:

Heat water to boiling in a kettle.

Pour hot tap water into a 2-cup teapot and top with the lid to heat the pot.

When the outside of the teapot feels warm to the touch, empty the water then drop a tablespoon of camomile flower heads into the pot and fill the pot with boiling water.

Steep for 3 min.

Pour into teacups through a tea strainer.

Serves 2.

Plus it's easy to dry camomile flower heads for use over the non-growing season.

Spread them on a cookie sheet and let them air dry out of the light for several days.

They're ready to store in a mason jar when they are very crumbly between your fingers.

Here's how to make tea from dried camomile:

Heat water to boiling in a kettle.

Pour hot tap water into a 2-cup teapot and top with the lid to heat the pot.

When the outside of the teapot feels warm to the touch, empty the water then drop a half tablespoon of dried camomile into the pot and fill the pot with boiling water.

Steep for 3 min.

Pour into teacups through a tea strainer.

Serves 2.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

#182 The Case of Corn Cake Tacos

1 cup masa harina
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup hot water
1 ear fresh corn in kernels or about 1 cup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pack Yves Original Veggie Ground Round
1 envelope taco seasoning mix (Old El Paso is nice)
3/4 cup salsa
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
1 cup shredded Daiya Medium Cheddar Style Block
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Stir together the masa harina and salt.
Gradually add the hot water, stirring until well combined.
Incorporate the corn kernels.
Cover and set aside for 10 min.
In the meantime, in an ovenproof pan, make the taco seasoning mix according to directions. Mix in the Veggie Ground Round, cover and heat in the oven.
Prepare 16 approximately 7-1/2" X 7-1/2" squares of parchment paper.
When the corn cake dough is ready, divide it in 8. With your hands, roll the dough into 8 balls. Flatten each ball to a 1/4" disk between two pieces of parchment paper.
Heat the oil to high in a non-stick pan. Peel off the parchment paper and fry the corn cakes, covered, for about 3 min. on each side until golden.
Transfer the corn cakes to two plates. Top each cake with heated, seasoned Veggie Ground Round, salsa, lettuce and shredded "Cheddar".  
Serves 2.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

#181 The Case of Minted Pea Soup

Welcome the colour and flavour of summer!

1/4 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 potato, chopped
4 cups water
2 rounded teaspoons (for 2 cups) vegetable bouillon powder
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 cups snow peas
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
fresh chives (optional)

Sauté the onion in the olive oil for 2 min.

Add the potato, water and vegetable bouillon powder, and simmer covered for 15 min. or until the potato is tender.

Add the peas and snow peas, and bring back to a boil.

Stir in the mint leaves.


Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I serve my bowls of soup topped with chopped, fresh chives.

Serves 4.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

#180 The Case of Celebrate #Canada150 with Imajin Books

banner to http://www.imajinbooks.com/ibic
To celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, Imajin Books will be giving away 150 ebooks to Canadian residents and 150 ebooks to international residents. To enter, you only need to subscribe to Imajin Books Inner Circle (IBIC newsletter) http://www.imajinbooks.com/ibic.

This event runs July 1-31. Winners will be selected from subscribers and will be able to choose their ebook prize. Hey, you could win one of the mysteries I'm in—A PURSE TO DIE FOR or A KILLER NECKLACE! :-)


PS Good luck!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

#179 The Case of Happy Canada 150 Plus Imajin Books Summer Sizzles eBook Sale

Happy 150th birthday, Canada!
Booklover friends, click on the poster to see all the great #SummerReading books available for $2.99 or less, starting July 1st, Canada Day!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

#178 The Case of Do You Crave Chocolate Vegetarian, Vegan or Raw?

"Shoot, wouldn't you know it," Cynthia said, "I left out a whole paragraph! There's no way I'm doing this over!"

What my favourite author Cynthia left out of her podcast:

Moreover, it’s possible to adopt a vegetarian, vegan and/or raw diet as seldom or frequently as you wish. Have you heard of the Meatless Monday movement, which encourages people to eat meat-free just one day a week?

Links to the chocolate recipes she talks about:

Chocolate Cupcakes
Red Wine Butterycream Frosting
Creamy Chocolate Pudding


Monday, May 1, 2017

#177 The Case of Red Wine Butterycream Frosting

1/2 cup red wine plus 3 more tablespoons, divided
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegan baking sticks, softened
1-1/2 cups icing sugar

In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the 1/2 cup red wine and sugar, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the syrup is reduced to about 1-1/2 tablespoons.


Beat the vegan baking sticks and start beating in the icing sugar gradually. Once almost all the icing sugar is incorporated and you've got a frosting consistency, gradually beat in the red wine reduction and the 3 tablespoons wine. Then beat in the remaining icing sugar until the frosting is light and smooth and creamy.

Frost your cupcakes.

Decorate with sprinkles.

This recipe makes enough Red Wine Butterycream Frosting for 12 cupcakes.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

#176 The Case of Ch-ch-ch-chia Cereal

Chia seed is hot, hot, hot right now. Hotter, I think, than when Chia Pets were all the rage. Do you remember Chia Pets? Clay figurines that, if spread with chia seeds and kept moist, sprouted "fur". Those little beasties rocketed to popularity in 1982 to the TV commercial ditty that many of us (tragically) can still repeat: "Ch-ch-ch-chia!".

The big difference between chia seed popularity then and now is, today we eat the darn things. The seeds I mean. Not the pets.

Check out my recipe for a tasty, quick-as-a-flash, healthy oatmeal alternative on Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers, a lovely mystery-related blog where I'm so pleased to have guested last month: http://anastasiapollack.blogspot.ca/2017/03/cooking-with-clorisguest-character.html.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

#175 The Case of Chocolate Cupcakes

My vegan cupcakes puff up in the oven due to the same chemical reaction as in kids' volcano science fair projects!
1-1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cacao
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, measured in liquid form
1 tablespoon instant decaffeinated coffee granules
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
vegan frosting
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Line a 12-cup muffin tin with baking cups.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cacao, baking soda, salt and sugar.
In another bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, instant coffee granules, coconut milk, water and vanilla.
Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined.
With a spatula, quickly stir in the vinegar until incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups (about 1/3 cup per cupcake).
Bake until the tops spring back when lightly touched, about 18 min.
Cool them for 5 min. in the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles.
Serves 12.
PS Baking soda and vinegar, baby!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

#174 The Case of Saturday Morning Scramble

1 lb medium tofu, drained and squeezed
2-1/4 teaspoons Scramble Seasoning (see below)
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
2 small handfuls fresh spinach
1/4 cup vegan mozzarella, cubed

Crumble the tofu into a bowl and combine well with the Scramble Seasoning.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the mushrooms and the tofu.

Add the roasted red peppers and continue to sauté.

When the scramble is hot enough, toss in the spinach and the vegan mozzarella.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Plate when the spinach is mostly wilted and the cheese is soft. 

Serves 2 but multiplies and divides well.

Scramble Seasoning

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric

Measure all the ingredients into a sieve over a bowl and stir, forcing the seasoning through into the bowl beneath.

Stir again then store in an airtight container in your cupboard.

Makes enough for 8 lbs of tofu or 16 servings.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

#173 The Case of Gina's Family Tree

(Click on picture to enlarge.)
A cheat sheet for A PURSE TO DIE FOR and A KILLER NECKLACE, the first two books in our Fashionation with Mystery series.