Karen’s Killer Fixin’s
with HEATHER HAVEN!
Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, HEATHER HAVEN, and her favorite recipe for BLACK FOREST CHRISTMAS TRIFLE!!
Snow Lake Romantic Suspense Novels Book 1
BY HEATHER HAVEN
When chefs Charly and Cliff Harding divorce, she gets custody of their upscale restaurant and its namesake, Felix, the cat. He gets custody of their dog, Oscar. What they both still have custody of, though, is each other’s heart, but they’re the only two people in the small ski resort town of Snow Lake, Nevada, who don’t seem to know it. Cliff opens his own restaurant in direct competition with Charly and bad things begin to happen. Death threats, accidents, and murder are now on the menu. Their ‘if-you-can’t-take-the-heat-then-get-out-of-the-kitchen’ battles are backfiring on them. But can they find their way back to each other? Or will they spend the rest of their lives in prison unjustly accused of murder?
“Ah, François, this really isn’t a good time,” Charly said, then looked down at Felix moving closer to the threshold. She saw the cat’s attention was drawn to something across the street, something in the bushes. She bent down to pick the cat up but before she could, he shot out the door, down the steps, and onto the sidewalk.
“Felix,” she yelled, looking past François. The sous-chef in turn, looked at the disappearing cat, wondering what all the fuss what about. After all, don’t animals, especially cats, belong outside?
Charly snatched at her coat, threw it on, and dashed out the door, closing it behind her. She tore off after the cat and ran down the icy sidewalk, wearing nothing but her thin slippers. “Ow, ow, cold, cold,” she added, as each foot hit the frosty cement.
“Sacré bleu,” uttered the Frenchman, still standing on the stoop and watching Charly in amazement.
Felix dashed across the street and disappeared behind a clump of bushes. Charly followed. She could hear a dog whining with happiness.
“Felix!” She caught Felix winding himself around a dog’s legs, and in surprise, noticed the dog was Oscar.
“Oscar!” She dropped to her knees in the snow, hugging the dog and burying her face in his fur. “Merry Christmas, you sweet thing. What are you doing here?”
She took hold of the dog’s lead, followed it, and saw Cliff on the other side of the bushes. In his crouched position, it was obvious he was trying not to be seen. Indignant, she stood and gave the leash as strong a yank as she could.
Cliff, thrown off balance, fell down in the snow. He rose, brushed snow from his coat, and strolled out as casually as possible. It was a stare-off moment and then Cliff became self-righteous again.
“You know, you really shouldn’t let Felix run across the street like that. He could get hit by a car.”
“I didn’t let him,” Charly retorted. “He saw Oscar. You know they’re like magnets –“ Realizing she’d been distracted into defending herself, her tone became as self–righteous as his. “Never mind that. Just what are you doing here?”
“I might ask you the same question.”
“Me? What are you talking about? I live here…ah…there.” Feet cold, she hopped from one foot to the other while pointing to her house. Charly noticed François standing on the front stoop, watching them intently. She gave him a tentative wave. He waved back with a heartiness that surprised her.
“A–ha!” The accusation in Cliff’s voice was loud and clear.
“What do you mean, ‘a–ha’?” She wrapped her coat around her indignantly, forgetting her half–frozen feet. “How dare you ‘a–ha’ me. You take that ‘a–ha’ back.” She had a flash understanding. “Wait a minute. Are you spying on me?”
“Spying on you?” Cliff sputtered. “Spying on you? Certainly not. I was taking the dog out for a walk. How would I know where you lived? You’re the one that took up a separate, new residence while I was off trying to build us a future.”
“’Trying to build us a future’? I can’t believe you just said that.”
“That’s right. Trying to build us a future.”
“You know what I have to say to you? Liar, liar, pants on fire. Read the divorce papers. You deserted me, you big ham, going off and doing that stupid show for a year. That’s all you care about, Mr. Restaurant Guru.”
“Did you just call me a ham?”
“I did. Hormel’s finest.” She drew herself up to her full height, stood on tippy-toes, and put her nose to his before adding, “And on top of that you’re a philanderer.”
Felix and Oscar sat side–by–side staring up at the fighting couple, looking from one to the other. Cliff, clearly shocked by her accusation, lost his grandiose attitude for the moment.
“What do you mean I’m ‘a philanderer’? I never philandered in my life.”
“So you can ‘hah’ me but I can’t ‘a–ha’ you? And who told you I cheated on you? How could you believe I would do such a thing?” he added, in a wounded tone.
“Oh, puleese.” Charly bent down and picked up the cat, hugging him to her. “I am done talking to you,” she said in her best dismissive tone. “Anything more you have to say to me you can say through my lawyer. And tomorrow I am calling him to have you served with a restraining order, so you can never pull a stunt like you did last night at my restaurant again.”
“Oh, really? Maybe I’ll call my lawyers to make sure you don’t call the reporters like you did last night so they can take a photo of me.”
Completely confused, Charly paused for a moment. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
It was Charly’s turn for a snappy rejoinder, but thinking better of it, she merely tucked the cat under one arm, stomped across the street, and back to her house. Cliff stared after her. Charly marched up the steps and beamed at François.
“François,” she said in a crooning voice, but loud enough for Cliff to hear, “would you like to come inside?”
François returned the smile, eager to be invited in. “Oui, oui. It is cold out here. How you stand the weather in this town, I will never know. Snow, snow, always the snow.”
“Well, it’s much warmer inside,” she said suggestively, looking at Cliff across the street. Charly opened the door and strolled inside, followed by François.
Cliff watched this display with disgust. “Come, Oscar,” he said in a loud voice. “I see who the cheat is. Let’s go home.”
He gave the leash a little jerk. Oscar refused to move and turned to stare at the door Charly and Felix had disappeared into.
“Come on, boy,” Cliff said, before sneezing. Reaching inside his pocket for a handkerchief, he turned around, ready to stalk off.
“Oscar, now I mean it. Come on.”
Oscar paused, looking at the home across the street. Then he turned to his master and finally loped behind.
Heather Haven has penned four mystery series: the Alvarez Family, Persephone Cole Vintage, Love Can Be Murder, and her latest, The Snow Lake Romantic Suspense Novels,of which Christmas Trifle, Book One, debuted September 2019. Her docu-fiction, Murder under the Big Top, and anthology, Corliss and Other Award-Winning Stories,round out her work. Heather and her husband are allowed to live in the foothills of San Jose with their two precocious…er…ah…precious cats, Ellie and Yulie.
Links to Heather’s website, blog, books, etc.
I hope you enjoy the recipe Heather is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 437 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right-hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
Clear glass bowl, approx. 96 oz.
1 box chocolate cake mix that doesn’t require oil (You can also either purchase chocolate pound cake without icing or bake your own.)
32 oz. bag frozen dark sweet cherries
1/4-1/2 cup brandy (optional)
5.1 oz. box JELL-O Vanilla Instant Pudding & Pie Filling Mix
Red and green food coloring
4 oz. almonds, blanched and slivered
12 oz. black cherry preserves
12 oz. Cool Whip or stabilized whipped cream*
Sprig of mint (optional)
The Night Before:
Bake chocolate cake divided into two pans. Allow to cool overnight.
Defrost the cherries. Add optional brandy. Mix well. Let sit in the fridge overnight.
The Day of:
Make your pudding according to directions but use 3 cups of milk minus 1 T. Divide evenly into 3 bowls. Add to one bowl 1/2 tsp. almond extract. Add to the second bowl 3/4 tsp. cherry extract and 3 drops red food coloring. Add to the third bowl 1/2 tsp. mint extract and 3 drops green food coloring.
Drain cherries, reserving the liquid to use elsewhere, such as over vanilla ice cream.
Cut cake into bite-size pieces.
If using whipped cream instead of Cool Whip, make the stabilized whipped cream:
Build the Trifle:
(Note: For a perfect appearance, if you splatter some of the ingredients as you’re layering your trifle, wipe inside of glass with a clean cloth as you work.)
To the bottom of the glass bowl add 1/4 of the chocolate cake spread in an even layer. Add 1/4 of the cherries scattered around.
Add the almond/vanilla pudding, spread evenly. Sprinkle the almond slivers evenly on top of pudding.
Add 1/4 of the chocolate cake in another even layer. Scatter another 1/4 of the cherries over the cake. Add dollops of cherry jam. Spread cherry pudding evenly on top.
Add 1/2 the whipped cream, spreading evenly, then another 1/4 of the chocolate cake and another 1/4 of the cherries. Spread mint pudding evenly over cherries and add more dollops of jam.
Spread the remainder of the whipped cream evenly over the cherries and jam. Cover with remaining cherries. Add a sprig of mint to the top.
Refrigerate several hours before serving.
* To make stabilized whipped cream, combine 2 T. sugar and 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar. Whip 2 cups heavy cream at high speed to form soft peaks. Add in your sugar/cream of tartar and 2 tsp. vanilla. Continue whipping to form firm peaks.
Thanks, Heather, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!