Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Adding a bit of light and sparkle to my life, a great thrift store find! Silver Teapot and Coffee Pot Lamps!



There is a few thrift stores I frequent where I live and each is special to me for a different reason. I often will go to the thrift store when the "spirit moves me" or when I get a few stolen moments.  I get a thrill when I find a treasure, often an inexpensive tea cup and saucer, small knick knack  and I don't often spend more than a few dollars, however it is my birthday month and well the find I got last week had me going over my thrift store budget but I think you can see why I simply had to have these and you may want to make your own! I found both a Silver coffee pot and tea pot that had been turned into lamps!!!

Other than having to polish these beauties I could not believe a reason someone would want to get rid of these treasures but I am very glad they did! At $25 each, these working lamps truly spoke to me.
With a tiny bit of silver polish and cloth I made short work and brought these beauties back to life. They are now in my bed room and the perfect bedside reading lamps. The hospital thrift store I purchased them from benefited from my purchase and whomever thought to give these a new life, certainly brightened mine.
If you would like to learn how to make your own I found this youtube video that might get you inspired to try making your own.

Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a great thrift store find!
I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Monday, April 8, 2019

Karen's White Bean and Spinach Soup A Left Coast Crime Gala Dinner Copycat Recipe


I am still honestly in awe from the Left Coast Crime Conference that was held in Vancouver last month at the Hyatt. I was as impressed with the venue as I was with the amazing talented room of writers I shared the evening meal with on the Saturday evening.  The gala dinner and lefty awards were hosted in the ballroom of the Hyatt and the 4 course meal was outstanding. I had the vegetarian meal and it was something I am still dreaming about.

The sit down meal I fully enjoyed and the dinner conversation as well. One of the items that stood out most for me was the soup that was served to us upon sitting. I asked what it was and was told it was a white bean cream soup.

It was the oddest shade of green, buy something I fell in love with as soon as it hit my tongue. I regret not asking for another bowl! I found it hard to concentrate on the conversation at the table as I was trying to deconstruct the soup in my mind so I could make it again. This past Saturday I did just that, in my own way. I am sharing the recipe with you on the chance you might also enjoy it as well. I know I will make this soup again.

Karen's White Bean and Spinach Soup
2 cans of 19 oz white kidney beans
1/2 a frozen package of chopped spinach
1 lt of Chicken Stock
1 cup of water
1/2 a large white onion
2 stalks of celery
2 tsp garlic
2 tablespoons of butter
Salt and Pepper to taste (I added Slap yo Mama Spice instead)
1 tsp thyme
*1/2 cup sour cream (I used lactose free) as a garnish or blend in the soup

In a large pot, with 2 tbsp of butter melting over medium heat place 1/2 of a finely chopped onion and 2 chopped stalks of celery.  Saute over medium heat three to 4 minutes until the onions and celery start to turn translucent. Add your 2 tsp of chopped garlic and stir until evenly distributed and continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes. Add your chicken stock and water, Bringing the broth upto a boil, add your 1/2 package of frozen spinach. Boil over medium heat until all the spinach is combined, stirring and breaking up the spinach as you go. Turn off heat and use an immersion blender (or regular blender)   once the beans, broth and spinach are combined spoon into bowls and serve with a dollop of sour cream.
I loved making and eating this soup, I hope you will too.
I even used my childhood bunnykins bowl to eat from.

Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a recipe today I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Karen's Easter Potatoes and a bit of family history and mystery...

It is just a month since my father passed away and like all survivors, those of us left behind have the responsibility to go through the material items that are left behind. If you are new to my blog my dad passed away in March and my mother before him in September of 2010.

My sister and I were going through his worldly possessions and this overwhelming task was made somehow a bit lighter in finding one of the many notes my father would leave my mother everyday of their marriage.  My father would often leave before my mother and leave her a quick note in the most beautiful handwriting, on the table beside her book so that it would be the first thing she saw when she sat down. These were sometimes scribbled on scrap paper, the back of receipts or envelopes and often discarded at the end of the day, so how in the midst of my sadness and grieving this one particular love note survived not only the passing of my mother, but also my father and ended up in a box of photos destined for my place.  As I flipped through the old family photos this one particular note caught my attention, I smiled at the memory of note, and as I unfolded it I found a recipe of mine, in my mother's handwriting on the back for Easter Potatoes.  I don't think I had made them since 2005 when the recipe was copied down by my mother after a telephone call we had.
Having this once loved recipe was a particularly exciting find, how it ended up in the box is a mystery but one I am happy to have stumbled on. So I made it again and thought I would share with all of you....
 Karen's Baked Easter Potatoes

1 package of thawed frozen shoestring potatoes (I used two boxes of dried that I got a costco and rehydrated them)
1/2 a white onion
1 cup cream cheese
2 cups sour cream
2 cups of grated medium cheddar
1 can of cream of chicken soup
2 cups of corn flakes
1/4 cup Butter
Salt and Pepper (*I have since discovered Slap ya Mama spice so I used that instead)

Method:
Preheat oven to 375
Thaw or rehydrate your hashbrowns and add to a large metal bowl. Use a box grater to grate half a large white onion and add that to the bowl. Use a spatula to add and combine cream cheese and sour cream. Mix well until evenly distributed. Add one cup of the cheese and combine. *Add some of salt and peper Open the can of cream of chicken soup and stir that into your mix.  In a 9X13 baking dish that has been sprayed or greased spread out your potato mixture. 
In a medium sized bowl place your cornflakes and the remaining cheese. Melt the butter in the microwave and add to your cheese and cornflake mixture. Stir until combined and place on top of the potato mixture and spread evenly. 
Place your baking dish into the oven and bake one hour or until the potato mixture is golden and bubbly. 

Thank you for joining me today for a cup of tea and a recipe. I look forward to sharing more with you again soon. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

May Day Murder by Jennifer David Hesse


I read May Day Murder in January and with all that had been going on in my life I realized only this morning that I had yet to review it. Jennifer David Hesse, is one of my most favorite Paranormal Cozy authors. The Wiccan Wheel Mystery Series Main character is Attorney Keli who tries hard not to announce her religious faith to the world, preferring the life and freedom of an solitary witch, yet somehow no matter what seems to happen it is her faith that she calls upon or is called into question to help solve murder mysteries. In May Day, Keli is put to the test almost immediately and when Keli is made a person of interest the web gets more and more tangled. Keli finds herself questioning everything including her faith. This is a great read and one I know that many of you will truly enjoy.



Spring is in the air, but for Edindale, Illinois, attorney Keli Milanni, murder is the only thing blooming . . .  Keli’s looking forward to Beltane, the time-honored Wiccan holiday that celebrates life with feasting, ceremonial dancing, and ancient Celtic rituals. But since recently leaving her law firm and opening her own practice, Keli has more on her plate than simple abundance. Still, she always has time for a friend. Erik, a Druid from a neighboring town, has had a run of bad luck he blames on a curse cast by his ex-girlfriend Denise, a practicing witch whose expertise in the dark arts can’t save her from her own deadly end. When Keli finds herself a person of interest in the investigation, she begins to wonder if she herself might be cursed. With a little help from her friends, including her devoted boyfriend Wes, Keli aims to find out who poisoned Denise. What she uncovers is a witch’s brew of spells, hexes, and black magic that raises questions about her own Wiccan worldview. As the community gathers for the May Day festivities, it’s up to Keli to stop a killer from springing ahead to another murder . . .

This Kensington release is out now and waiting for you to pick up and enjoy. I am not an Amazon affiliate, and you can find it on Amazon by clicking here. 

Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Sunday, March 31, 2019

A Report From Left Coast Crime and A Lesson In Gratitude...


They say you should never meet your heroes, and after this weekend I cannot fathom why! I had the most amazing opportunity to attend Left Coast Crime here in Vancouver this weekend and I got to meet some of the most amazing people in the writing world, many who I have long respected, read and cherished, I got to see in the flesh. I was in complete awe, had many "fangirl" moments and very much inspired to return to work.

 Working on something that gives me a huge creative outlet, a great escape and the opportunity for joy is what writing, reading and blogging gives me. As readers of my blog you may already know that the last year has been very difficult for me as I have been trying to navigate my way through one of life's hardships and reflections. It has not even been a month yet since my father's passing and while I have taken quite a bit of time to mourn and process, and struggling with the realization that I am an orphan, I feel reborn and I have found that like spring I am feeling inspired to bloom again.

This past weekend I met, laughed, shared, ate and learned from some of the best in the business. I made memories I hope I never lose. I found a sense of not just belonging but acceptance in who I am, what I do and what I love. It was truly magical.


On Friday, I had an opportunity to share what I know and what I love with two people I have respected, and whom I have looked up too. Their books I have read and taken to heart and to whom I had a chance to entertain in a reciprocal way. 
The gracious nature of these literary heroes was not at all lost on me.
Posing for photos, waves and winks, hugs and handshakes, in that personal connection, not only did I get the opportunity to meet the authors but I got a chance to connect with the characters they created.
The words of encouragement, the engaging discussions, the professionalism and the perfect moments, kept coming and coming all weekend long.
It was an opportunity I can honestly say I never could have imagined and getting to share space and time with these amazing people, their positive energy, their creative mindsets and a chance to let them know just what a profound effect that their work has on readers like me was second to none.
It took a bit of courage on my part, placing anxiety and self doubt aside, to connect with and chat with and even get photos with those authors I so look up too and admire, boy am I glad I did. 
From the book room to the banquet hall gratitude, carried and overroad social anxiety.

Sometimes you leap and you fall, sometimes you leap and the net catches you, sometimes you leap and you are inspired. . .

Sometimes you leap and find the courage and then your hair fails you... Excitement over vanity...
Autographs and opportunities...
And a truly amazing time had by all. 

Thank you all for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy look back at Left Coast Crime 2019. Thank you to all my sisters in crime for making this happen! I look forward to reading, reviewing and continuing writing. 
May you all take that chance, to meet your heroes. 
I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Kathleen Bridge's Murder By The Sea

This May the third book in the By The Sea mystery series will be released and I got an advanced copy to read and review from Netgalley. This is a treat for me as I have been a fan of the series since book one and could not wait to see what would happen next.  In Murder by the Sea, main character Liz finds herself finally settling back into familiar patterns and enjoying herself at a New Year's Eve Costume Party, only to be accosted by her ex on her families hotel property. Not the start to the year she is expecting when her ex turns up found dead the next morning. With so many suspects and the blame shifting in her direction, the situation feels quite dire, the twists and turns in this one, in the end the twist I did not see coming but truly enjoyed. This is a book not to be missed!


It's been quite a year for novelist Liz Holt. She's overcome a lot and is finally feeling at peace with her new life at her family's hotel, the Indialantic by the Sea, on the beautiful barrier island of Melbourne Beach, Florida. She's exactly where she needs to be to ring in the New Year at the Florida Writes Literary Masquerade Ball. But when her ex-boyfriend surprises her at the ball, she can't disguise her anger, and the two engage in a very public argument. Naturally, after her ex is found dead on the hotel grounds, shot through the heart, Liz tops the suspect list. With the help of family and friends, she needs to clear her name before the real killer waltzes away scot-free . . .
You can find Murder By the Sea on Amazon by clicking here... (I am not an Amazon affiliate)
Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery review I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Carol J. Perry's Final Exam

Over the weekend I finished Carol J. Perry's Final Exam. This Witch City Mystery is out now from Kensington and is a great paranormal mystery read. I fell in love with this series from book one and get more excited with each mystery instalment. I love the relationships in this book, main character Lee is easy to like and understand, her relationship with her aunt and her back store is endearing. In this book we learn a little more about Lee's aunt, and about the reason why perhaps her aunt never married. I could not put this book down and am so excited that it is out and you can read it now.


 Life at the house on Winter Street is abuzz with preparations for Aunt Ibby’s 45th high school reunion, and Lee Barrett is happy to pitch in, tracking down addresses and licking envelopes. But as a field reporter for Salem’s WICH-TV, her priority is to be on top of the town’s latest news before anyone else.
 When the local police dredge up a vintage sports car containing human remains, Lee is thrilled to be the first reporter on the scene. Once she learns the car is connected to the cold case her boyfriend Pete happens to be working on, her powers of investigation are quickly alerted. But it’s her Aunt Ibby’s emotional reaction to Lee’s TV report that puts her on the case. With the help of O’Ryan, her psychic feline sidekick, she’ll have to unravel a tangled past of secrets and promises to stop a killer from making history again . . .   


Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery review I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com