This Calls for Comfort Food

It’s cold outside. There’s white stuff swirling in the air and falling on the ground. Inside, everyone has colds.

This means comfort food. Soup. Grilled cheese sandwiches. Mashed potatoes.

Creamy, creamy pudding.

Tapioca pudding, to be exact.

Aside from flipping sort-of-meat patties on a Burger Buster grill, Marti Mickkleson isn’t much of a cook—but even she could make this old-fashioned tapioca pudding just like Mrs. Partridge used to make.

Warning: No matter how tempting it is, do not spit, flick, or otherwise attack your sister with the tapioca pearls. It will only get you in trouble with both Grandma Bertie and Mrs. Partridge. It doesn’t exactly please RachelAnne either. Marti says, “Trust me on this one.”

Mrs. Partridge’s Tapioca Pudding


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup seed or small pearl tapioca (not instant or minute tapioca)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup half & half 1
  • scant ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

  1. Place the tapioca in a medium saucepan, add 1 cup of the milk and stir to combine. Let the pearls soak at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
  2. In a bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk or fork. Add remaining 1 cup of milk, half & half, sugar, and salt. Beat until combined. Add to the mixture in the saucepan and stir well.
  3. Cook over medium heat 2, stirring frequently 3, until the mixture just comes to a simmer, about 10 minutes. (Don’t let it boil!)
  4. Reduce the heat to low 4 and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to thicken and the tapioca pearls are softened and translucent, about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.
  6. Pour into a bowl, let cool for 5 minutes, then give it a good stir. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to keep a skin from forming and cool until ready to serve. The pudding will thicken as it cools. May be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled (let cool until room temperature before chilling.) Refrigerate any left overs.

Notes:

  1. You can use 3 cups whole milk, but don’t try to use skim. It just doesn’t work.
  2. Barely medium. The low side of medium. Like, medium is in sight but you’re not quite there yet.
  3. Frequently. You don’t have to stir it constantly, like some recipes say, but don’t neglect it. At this stage, be sure to get the bottom and corners of the pan. The tapioca collects there. Tapioca should never be allowed to congregate.
  4. Keep a close eye on it. Even at low heat, it will want to boil. Don’t let it! You know what’s good for it, even if it doesn’t.

Enjoy!

Recipe by Kay Charles/Patricia Lillie: https://kaycharles.com/2017/12/07/this-calls-for-comfort-food/

The Kindle edition of Ghosts in Glass Houses, the first Marti Mickkleson Mystery, is currently on sale for 99 cents! 
Read a sample.

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Halloween Giveaway!

It’s the most magical time of the year!

Halloween–the night you don’t need to be Marti Mickkleson to see ghosts! To celebrate, I’m  giving away a Kindle copy of Ghosts in Glass Houses!

To enter,  go to my Facebook page and post your Halloween Name in the comments on the first post a chance to win.  (Note: Please follow the link and comment on Kay’s page. I’ll try to make sure everyone who comments is entered and don’t want to miss anyone who commented elsewhere.)

Good Luck and Happy Haunting.

US residents only (sorry). Comment by 11:59 pm ET, Sunday October 29th. Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on my Facebook page on Monday, October 30th.

Click here to read a free sample of Ghosts in Glass Houses.

New Cozies from V.M. Burns!

My friend and fellow Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction alumna V.M.Burns has two brand new cozy mysteries up for pre-order!

Having been lucky enough to read an early draft of The Plot is Murder and the first half of the first draft of Read Herring Hunt (can’t wait to find out who dunnit), I can tell you they have everything a cozy fan could want. A spunky heroine. A team of hilarious sleuthing seniors. A wonderful small town. A delightful bookstore. Scones. Poodles with yummy names. And best of all, not one but two mysteries—one set in present day North Harbor, Michigan and one set in a 1930’s British country manor.

Don’t trust me? Here’s what others are saying about V.M. Burns and The Plot Is Murder:
“You’ll love this delightful debut mystery with its charming and wacky cast of characters and a mystery within a mystery just to keep things interesting.”
—Victoria Thompson, bestselling author of Murder in Morningside Heights

“A charming read—with murder, romance and lots of mouthwatering desserts.”
—Laura Levine, author of Death of a Bachelorette

About The Plot is Murder

Samantha Washington has dreamed of owning her own mystery bookstore for as long as she can remember. And as she prepares for the store’s grand opening, she’s also realizing another dream—penning a cozy mystery set in England between the wars. While Samantha hires employees and fills the shelves with the latest mysteries, quick-witted Lady Penelope Marsh, long-overshadowed by her beautiful sister Daphne, refuses to lose the besotted Victor Carlston to her sibling’s charms. When one of Daphne’s suitors is murdered in a maze, Penelope steps in to solve the labyrinthine puzzle and win Victor.

But as Samantha indulges her imagination, the unimaginable happens in real life. A shady realtor turns up dead in her backyard, and the police suspect her—after all, the owner of a mystery bookstore might know a thing or two about murder. Aided by her feisty grandmother and an enthusiastic ensemble of colorful retirees, Samantha is determined to close the case before she opens her store. But will she live to conclude her own story when the killer has a revised ending in mind for her?

Pre-order The Plot is Murder

 

About Read Herring Hunt

To the town of North Harbor, Michigan, MISU quarterback Dawson Alexander is a local hero. To Samantha Washington, owner of the Market Street Mysteries Bookstore, Dawson is more than a tenant—he’s like an adopted son. But to the police, he is their prime suspect after his ex-girlfriend is found murdered. It’s more than enough real-life drama for Sam to tackle, but her role as a mystery writer also calls. Returning to the English countryside between the wars, she finds Lady Penelope Marsh in quite the quandary. Someone has tried to murder the scandalous American divorcée Wallis Simpson, for whom Edward VIII so recently abdicated his throne. It seems finding a suspect is no small challenge when most of England has a motive . . .

While Sam’s lawyer sister Jenna rushes in to build Dawson’s defense, Sam and her lively grandmother, Nana Jo, huddle up to solve the mystery and blow the whistle on the real killer. With the tenacious members of the Sleuthing Senior Book Club eager to come off the sidelines, Sam and her team just might stop a killer from completing another deadly play . . .

Pre-Order Read Herring Hunt

Get ready to become addicted to a new cozy series—or three. The Plot is Murder and Read Herring Hunt are due to be followed by The Novel Art of Murder and two more Mystery Bookshop mysteries from Kensington. Valerie is also hard at work on a new series for Kensington’s Lyrical Underground imprint. In the Dog House, the first of the Dog House Mysteries is scheduled to arrive in August, 2018. If that’s not enough, Travellin’ Shoes, the first book in her R.J. Franklin and Mama Bee series is due out from Camel next year.

What are you waiting for? Check out The Plot is Murder and Read Herring Hunt now!

Coming Soon from Kindle Press

The Gilmore Girls and Stephanie Plum meet Aunt Dimity in small-town America.

UPDATE: Coming September 5, 2017 from Kindle Press.
Pre-order now!

I’m pleased to announce that Ghosts in Glass Houses, my cozy-ish mystery novel, has been selected for publication by Kindle Press. The contract is for digital only, and the ebook will only be available for Kindle (including any device running the Kindle app) and through Amazon. But, I will be making a trade paperback available through all of the usual online sources. Publication date is not yet set, but I’m guessing late Summer.

A little about the book:

Marti Mickkleson sees ghosts. No one believes her except her great-grandmother. Since Grandma Bertie died the day Marti was born, her support isn’t worth much in the world of the living.

Ten years ago, Marti ran away from her wealthy family and the small town where she was known as “Marti Cray-Cray.” When she wakes up in a compromising position and sees her father standing over her, she thinks he owes her a big apology. After all, he’s dead and talking to her—and she talks back.

He doesn’t apologize. Instead, he claims he was murdered and demands she go home and do something about it. If she does, he’ll move on to the afterlife and leave her alone. If not, he’ll haunt her forever. With her life going downhill fast and nothing to lose, she agrees.

In Bicklesburg, she finds her once formidable mother in the throes of dementia, her perfect-prom-queen sister now a lawyer married to a not-so-perfect man, and her bad-boy high school boyfriend a private security guard watching over the family fortress.

Before Marti can decide if staying is worth it, her mother wanders away and is found cradling a bloodstained garden gnome. Marti is the only one who sees the ghost of her father’s former girlfriend hovering beside Mom, but it’s not long before the body is discovered.

With the help of Grandma Bertie, Marti must make peace with her family, deal with old friends and enemies and new scandals—and uncover a murderer without ending up a ghost herself.