Monthly Archives: April 2012

Bacon and Salad

Cooking up Murder by Miranda Bliss is the first in the Cooking Class Mystery Series which featured stereotypical characters: a pretty, dumb blond and her smart, but plain best friend who stumble upon a dying man in the parking lot after their first cooking class and get involved in trying to figure out “who done it.”  Stereotypes aside, I enjoyed the story and the recipes and have read all five books in the series.

I tried two recipes: a tasty artery clogger with bacon and cream cheese balanced by a nice, healthy salad.

Annie’s Bacon Pinwheels were far and away the favorite; everybody wanted the recipe.  Only four ingredients; very easy to make.  I thought the cream cheese would be spread pretty thick with only 8 slices of bread, but actually it worked out just right.  I prepared the recipe half-way the night before and just had to roll the bacon and grill the next day.  I did need to cut the bacon both vertically and horizontally to prevent a lot of overhang.  I took them out at the suggested time; I felt the bacon was not quite done, but I like my bacon crispy.  My husband thought they were perfect as they were.  After he ate several, I put the rest back in the oven to crisp up.  They went so quickly, I forgot to get a picture, which just gave me an excuse to make these little cholesterol bombs again!  The second time I made these my friends were all over them.  They burned their mouths on the second batch because they would not even wait for them too cool off.

Jim’s Mandarin Salad is a very simple salad composed of romaine, mandarin oranges and strawberries.  But a better name might have been Jim’s Strawberry Salad because there were definitely more strawberries than oranges.  A sixteen ounce carton of strawberries versus an 11 oz. can of oranges.  The recipe called for a sprinkling of glazed almonds, but I substituted pecans for almonds because I like pecans and I don’t like almonds.  The dressing gave an option of either apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar; I used balsamic.  Very tasty.

I admit I tend to douse my salads in a lot of ranch dressing, but with this salad a few dribbles of dressing was all that was needed.  Much healthier than all that ranch. Instead of tossing the salad with all the dressing, I let people dress their own salad.  And that way, I was able to save the leftovers for my lunch the next day.  That’s when I added some chicken strips and made it more of a main dish salad. Also very yummy.

Happy reading and happy eating!



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Death by Rhubarb

Not everyone likes rhubarb, but I do and I look forward to it every year.  Around here, it is usually ready to pick around Mother’s Day, but this year with the crazy warm spring we’ve had it is already turning red.  There was enough ready today that I was able to pick some and will be serving  strawberry rhubarb gelatin with Easter dinner.

In honor of this tart, but delicious plant I offer Death by Rhubarb by Lou Jane Temple, the first of the Heaven Lee series.  Heaven is a sassy, street-smart restaurant owner/caterer who turns to sleuthing when a customer drops dead in her restaurant.  Anxious to clear her name and keep her restaurant in business, Heaven heads out to the streets of Kansas City to track down a murderer.

Sadly, no rhubarb recipes are included, but there are a number of others:

Blue Heaven Salad
Raspberry Dressing
Risotto with Mushrooms and Asparagus
Jicama Waldorf Salad
Heartland Grain Salad
Ginger Cheese Filled Won Ton Wrappers
Russian Cabbage Filled Won Ton Wrappers
Pumpkin Picadillo Filled Won Ton Wrappers
Pearl’s Gingerbread Upside-Down Cake
Artichoke Hummus
Tortilla Espanola

I haven’t tried any of these recipes, but am interested in trying both the Ginger Cheese Won Tons and the Gingerbread Cake.

Happy reading and happy eating!

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