Monthly Archives: March 2012

Jim Aylesworth’s Recipe Collection

Picture book author Jim Aylesworth has several retellings of traditional tales, all illustrated by Barbara McClintock.  The two also produced a picture book biography of Abraham Lincoln based on an old campaign song sung to the tune of “The Old Gray Mare.”

All of these books, in addition to telling wonderful stories, have a recipe on the back cover.  According to his website (, the sugar cookie recipe on the back of The Tale of the Tricky Fox is  adapted from Aylesworth’s great-grandmother’s sugar cookie recipe.

Any of these stories would make for a great activity with your children: read the story, make the recipe, eat the results.

Aunt Pitty Patty’s Piggy Aunt Pitty Patty’s Old-Fashioned Cornbread
Gingerbread Man Gingerbread Cookies
Goldilocks and the Three Bears Mama Bear’s Porridge Cookies
Our Abe Lincoln Mary Todd Lincoln’s Vanilla Almond Cake
The Mitten Hot Cocoa
The Tale of the Tricky Fox Tricky Fox’s Eat-Your-Hat Cookies (sugar cookies)

Happy reading and happy eating!


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Tea and Scones

The Tea Shop Girls c. 2008
The Secret Ingredient c. 2011
by Laura Schaefer

Two stories about Annie Green, her grandmother and her grandmother’s tea shop in Madison, Wisconsin.  Having grown up as a Green and a Midwestern girl myself, I just had to like Annie; it was like meeting a long-lost younger cousin.

In the first title, grandma’s tea shop is not doing well.  Business has been hard hit by the corporate competitor down the street.  Annie and her friends help grandma save the tea shop.  In the sequel, Annie experiments with various scone recipes to enter into a baking contest.

In addition to recipes for tea and other tea time treats, The Tea Shop Girls has scrapbook pages of tea lore and vintage tea ads.

Blueberry Scones, Plain Scones, Toffee Apple Scones

I tried three different scone recipes:  Louisa’s Very Best Spiced Blueberry Scones (Tea Shop Girls), Plain Scones (Secret Ingredient) and Toffee Apple Tea Scones (Secret Ingredient).  All the recipes called for specific brand-name ingredients, which I did not have. I just used the generic brand items I had on hand.

The directions for all three recipes called for rolling out the dough, but I don’t know if I measured wrong or what, but none of the doughs were stiff enough to roll out.  They were all very wet and sticky so I just patted them down into a pan and scored the dough before baking.  The Toffee Apple Tea Scones turned out more cake than biscuit-like.

All the recipes from The Secret Ingredient contained a small amount of tea leaf (the secret ingredient!).  I was a little leery about adding tea leaves, but went ahead using my favorite Earl Gray, which added a lovely scent to the Plain Scones and was not really noticeable in the Toffee Apple Scones.

All the scones got a thumbs up from my family.

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Filed under J Fiction

2012 Cozy Themes Reading Challenge

I have been a member of Goodreads ( for several years, but after an initial burst of activity, I let my participation fall away.  This year, I have resolved to become more active, to post my reads and participate in some discussions.  Therefore I have taken on a Cozy Mysteries reading challenge.  The goal is to read ten books by July 31.  Each book must fit a particular category/theme. The themes are

#1 British – English – Books that take place in the United Kingdom countries of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
#2 Historical/Period – Any book that takes place prior to 1940.
#3 Animals – Any book with an animal as a main character, subject of the book, book takes place in a pet shop, stable, etc.
#4 Culinary/Cooking – Food themed mysteries.
#5 Paranormal – Anything centered around the occult, witches, vampires, werewolves, Psychics, ghosts, etc.
#6 Vacation Mysteries/Exotic Locations – Any book that takes place outside the United States and/or outside the country in which you live.
#7 Holidays – Any holiday themed mystery.
#8 Hobbies – Any mystery that centers around a hobby, craft, sport, etc.
#9 Professions/Careers/Jobs/Occupations – Any mystery that centers on or highlights a particular job. Doesn’t matter if the job is that of the person murdered, or that of the amateur slueth.
#10 Senior Slueths – Read a mystery where the sleuth is 50 or older.

My personal challenge is to see how many books I can find that fit not only the challenge theme, but my personal theme of mysteries with recipes.  Some will be easy as I already am aware of a series that does both.  For example, Maggie Sefton’s knitting series covers the hobbies theme and includes a recipe.

Feel free to play along.

Happy reading and happy eating!


Filed under Cozy Mysteries