I just released BOOK 2 in The Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries, (SPICED AND ICED) but I’ve been working on plotting and writing BOOK 3 — no title as of yet, but I’ve got a few ideas!
One thing I do know is that, unlike the frigid cold and troublesome snow in SPICED AND ICED, BOOK 3 will take place in warmer temps. It’s fun to think ahead to balmier days — and Callie’s latest adventure.
Many of you may know that the setting of fictional Crystal Bay, Wisconsin, is inspired by the Geneva Lakes area of Wisconsin, specifically Lake Geneva, a popular tourist spot for Wisconsin and Illinois residents.
Lake Geneva is home to spectacular and massive mansions that were built along the lakefront. You can take a boat tour to view them — many of the mansions were built decades ago by famous titans of Chicago industry (the Wrigleys, for example) as vacation homes.
A few “lesser” homes also survived (still pretty spectacular), near the water but close to the downtown area. Here you can see me pictured with one of these homes — The Baker House. This Victorian-style home now houses hotel rooms, a restaurant and a bar with a 1920s theme. Doesn’t it look like the perfect spot for a mystery? Its “sister home,” known as The Maxwell Mansion, is also used as a hotel and events space and also with a 20s theme.
I won’t give anything away, but let’s just say both of these places have given me a LOT of inspiration for my new cozy mystery.
In my travels through the Geneva Lakes, I also came across a spot called The Coffee Mill, run by a mother and her adult son. They reminded me quite a bit of Callie and Max! The barista (the son), of course serves your latte with a little heart on top. I could see Max doing that — maybe I’ll include that in my next book.
Besides great coffee, this small coffeehouse serves delicious pastries and a blockbuster breakfast specialty: oatmeal in a mug. You would not believe the number of people who line up to buy this — to the point that they’ve sold out! Yeah, it’s that good.
Since January is Oatmeal Month (no really, it is!)– I decided to feature an oatmeal in a mug recipe. The recipe below is very similar to what I was served at the cafe in Fontana, Wisconsin. I didn’t ask them for the recipe, but I think I came pretty close. It’s good any time of year but especially on a cold day. P.S. It’s really hot when it comes out of the microwave, so be careful. 🙂 Also, be sure to use a large mug — that way the ingredients won’t overflow.
Baked Oatmeal in a Mug
½ cup oats, quick-cooking or old-fashioned
½ cup milk – can be dairy milk or soy, etc.
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ of an apple or ¼ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen, raisins, Craisins or whatever you want. I wouldn’t say no to chocolate chips.
2 tsp honey or brown sugar
Add oats, egg and milk in a mug. Stir well with a fork. Add cinnamon, your fruit of choice and honey or brown sugar. Stir again until fully combined. Cook in microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Stir in a little extra milk, if the oatmeal looks too dry and/or top with cold vanilla Greek yogurt. If you really want to have it “Greek style,” use plain Greek yogurt and drizzle with honey to taste. Let the oatmeal “set” a little bit before eating.
A quick note! Thank you all for your support of my Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries! If you’ve enjoyed my books, please tell your friends and consider writing a short Amazon review. You can also “follow” me on Amazon — simply visit my Amazon page. The more people who follow me, the more Amazon will “show” my books to potential readers. Both of my books have been Amazon Hot New Releases and bestsellers in the culinary cozy mystery category — all thanks to readers like you. Your support means the world and it keeps me writing! THANK YOU!
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