The Perfect March Madness Dish – Crock Pot Meatballs

March Madness marks one of my favorite times of year.  No; it’s not football.  But it’s college hoops at its finest!  It never matters which two teams are facing off against each other… it could be a Cinderella (a team that was lucky to receive an invitation to The Big Dance as it’s called) versus one of the top ranked teams expected to win it all… the games are fantastic.  Rarely is there a blowout; often times there’s a buzzer beater; and there’s almost always a handful of upsets, making the first weekend of the tournament a truly exciting time for any sports enthusiast.

So, what goes great with March Madness?

Meatballs!!

Sweet & Tangy Meatball Ingredients

First, what’s needed:

1 – bag of frozen Swedish meatballs (we used a 2lb bag of Great Value meatballs)
2 – 12 oz bottles of chili sauce
1 – large jar of grape jelly

Now let’s cook:

Dump in the crock pot.  Yep!  Dump all three ingredients and stir until the meatballs are completely covered.

Cook on high for two hours or low for four.

Sweet & Tangy Crock Pot Meatballs

This is some serious yum here, folks.  I know the combination of ingredients sounds funky, but we didn’t have one single meatball left last time we made this.

Enjoy!

What do you think?  Is this recipe worth a try?  Have any other easy meatball recipes to share?  I’d love to hear from you!

Original recipe found on this site:

http://www.stockpilingmoms.com/2011/12/crockpot-meatballs/

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

 

Football Foods – Crock Pot Buffalo Wings

Football is here!!

This means it’s not only time to watch our favorite teams kick off, but also time for those special foods that we make specifically for football games.

But first… baby feet in football shoes!

Baby Football Feet

Now onto the food…

Buffalo Wings!!

Crock Pot/Baked Buffalo Wings

I’ve posted this recipe before, but it’s worth the share again.  Especially since my guy and I love these wings so much we’ve made them the past two weekends for Texas Tech football!

I first found this recipe via AllRecipes.com for the Super Bowl, and luckily my wings were a much bigger hit than the game itself this year…

My guy and I aren’t big on frying foods.  We’ll eat ‘em when we go out on occasion, but we tend to stay away from making fried foods in our house.  Which is why this recipe was very intriguing to us both.  It’s not fried AND it uses the crock pot!  I do love my crock pot…

First, what’s needed:

1 – 4 lb bag of frozen chicken wings, thawed
2 – 12 oz bottles of wing sauce (we used Frank’s Red Hot)
1 cup of melted butter
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
2 teaspoons of onion powder
2 teaspoons of garlic powder

Now let’s cook:

In a saucepan, combine one of the 12-oz bottles of wing sauce, ½ cup of melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Heat sauce over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.

Place chicken wings in the crock pot and pour the sauce mixture over them.

Cook on high for two hours.

Reduce heat to low and cook for another two hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Grease a large baking sheet.  We sprayed with Olive Oil Cooking Spray.

Spread the wings onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven until the wings are crisp and brown (for about thirty minutes).

Meanwhile, melt the other ½ cup of butter with the other 12-oz bottle of wing sauce in a small saucepan and simmer until thickened (about twenty minutes).

Brush sauce onto wings before serving.

Also serve with ranch and/or blue cheese.

This is some serious yum here, folks.  The meat just falls off the bone.

My pan after ten minutes... all wings gone!

And before anyone says, “But I like crispy wings…”  These slow-cooked and baked wings are crispy!!  We don’t always have to fry for the crisp.  Just sayin’.

Enjoy!

What do you think?  Is this recipe worth a try?  Have any other easy wing recipes to share?  I’d love to hear from you!

Original recipe found on this site:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/awesome-slow-cooker-buffalo-wings/

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Freezer Meals – Mediterranean Pork

Freezer Meal Time!

I’ve mentioned in my last few posts that these adorable monkey feet and adjusting to parenthood have made it very difficult for me to stand in the kitchen and prepare a nice and healthy meal each night.

I mean, c’mon…

Adorable FeetSock Monkey FeetObviously, I’d much rather enjoy every moment I can with my little guy (and take pictures of his feet!). Enter the freezer meal…

Today – Mediterranean Pork.

Freezer Meals – Mediterranean Pork What’s a freezer meal?

A meal that is prepped and frozen prior to cooking all day in the crock pot. Pretty simple, right?

Well, without a doubt, they are lifesavers! But are they any good? Round one (pot roast) proved successful! So let’s move on to the next one…

First, the supplies:

Large Freezer Bags (gallon)
Marker (permanent wouldn’t hurt)
Vacuum Seal (not necessary, but definitely an added bonus. We LOVE ours and use it all the time)

Next, the ingredients:

6-8 Pork chops
1 Sweet potato (although we used two the first time and three large sweet potatoes the second time)
½ Cup of olive oil
2 Cups of chicken Stock (we used three to four, unmeasured because of the extra sweet potatoes to ensure we had enough liquid)
4 Cloves of garlic, chopped (we always tend to use extra here too because we love the stuff)
2 Tablespoons of paprika
2 Tablespoons of chicken seasoning (we used Montreal Chicken)
2 Tablespoons of dried oregano
2 Tablespoons of dried basil (we used fresh basil because we grow it out back)

Before we begin:

Write the name of the dish and all of the ingredients on the freezer bag/s in permanent marker. Include the cooking instructions. Don’t assume you will remember later on. We may *think* we’ll remember later, but probably not.

Prep Instructions:

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes. Chop or slice the garlic cloves.

Mix the sweet potatoes, garlic, olive oil and all the seasonings together in a large bowl.

And finally, bag the food. If necessary, use two separate freezer bags… one for the sweet potato mixture and one for the pork.   I didn’t add the chicken stock until I was ready to cook.

Cooking Instructions:

Thaw the pork and sweet potatoes overnight in the fridge. The next day, dump everything in the crock pot (I love crock pot dishes!!). Pour in the chicken stock. I like to add a little of the stock before I put the food in and then pour the rest over the top, but people say I’m weird.

Cook on low for eight hours.

But is it any good?

Delicious! We’ve already made this dish twice. And I have a feeling we’ll have it again soon…

Enjoy!

What do you think?  Is this recipe worth a try?  I’d love to hear from you!

Original Pinterest recipe found on this site:

http://kleinsis.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/its-nearly-time-lets-pepare/

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

 

Freezer Meals – Pot Roast

Adjusting to parenthood is not easy.  But it’s wonderful. Really. I’m totally in love. How could one not be? Just look at these feet… toe curls!

Baby O Toe CurlsHowever, if I thought time moved fast before the baby was born, I was sadly mistaken.  The past six weeks have FLOWN by (yet have been the longest six weeks of my life). Every time I turn around, the day is gone and I’ve accomplished nothing besides feeding and entertaining the baby… with the occasional completion of a load of laundry. Heck, I’m lucky if I take a shower. Correction—my guy is lucky if I take a shower. Hahahaha.

But seriously…

If we didn’t have pre-prepared foods right now, my guy and I might starve half the time. After all, feeding the baby comes first… right?

So in order to ensure we had meals in the house that didn’t require a lot of time out of my day, I found some freezer meals via Pinterest to check out. That, and our fabulous friends and family have kept us well fed… (thanks, everyone!!).

But for the sake of today’s post (and a few future posts), I’m focusing on the frozen meals.

Today – pot roast.

Freezer Meals - Pot RoastWhat’s a freezer meal?

A meal that is prepped and frozen prior to cooking all day in the crock pot. Pretty simple, right?

Well, without a doubt, they are lifesavers! Since the baby, I barely have enough time to brush my teeth on some days, let alone stand in the kitchen and cut vegetables for a nice and healthy dinner. So after seeing some freezer meals on Pinterest, I thought it surely wouldn’t hurt to give them a try—and my guy agreed.

First, the supplies:

Large Freezer Bags (gallon)
Marker (permanent wouldn’t hurt)
Vacuum Seal (not necessary, but definitely an added bonus. We LOVE ours and use it all the time)

Next, the ingredients:

1 Eye of Round Roast
1 Packet of Dry Pot Roast Seasoning
1 Bag of Mini Carrots (I LIVED on these things during my pregnancy…)
4-5 (Russet) Potatoes, Peeled and Chopped
1 Onion, Quartered/Chopped in Chunks

Before we begin:

Write the name of the dish and all of the ingredients on the freezer bag/s in permanent marker. Include the cooking instructions. Don’t assume you will remember later on. We may *think* we’ll remember later, but probably not.

Prep Instructions:

Wash and dry the carrots. Peel and chop the potatoes. Cut the onion.

And finally, bag the food. If necessary, use two separate freezer bags… one for the veggies and one for the roast.  I sprinkled the dry roast seasoning all over the veggies, but you can also add later when you are ready to cook.

Cooking Instructions:

Thaw the roast and veggies overnight in the fridge. The next day, dump the roast and veggies in the crock pot (I love crock pot dishes!!). Fill the crock pot about ½ way with water. If you didn’t already sprinkle the dry roast seasoning over the veggies before freezing, do so now.

Cook on high for 4-6 hours.

But is it any good?

We thought so! Only next time, we’re adding chunks of chopped celery. We both agreed that would make the dinner taste even better!

Enjoy!

What do you think?  Is this recipe worth a try?  I’d love to hear from you!

Original Pinterest recipe found on this site:

http://freebies2deals.com/2012/08/frozen-crock-pot-meals-save-money-and-save-time.html

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

 

Summer Book Crush 2014 – 80 Titles, 99 Cents!

It’s time for Summer Book Crush 2014!!

SBC2014 FB banner

We have over 80 titles priced at 99¢… and Football Sweetheart is one of them!

If you are looking for a bad boy, a guy with bite, a brooding and complicated guy, the perfect gentleman, a sizzling hero, a jock-a-licious dude, the boy next door, or that hottie with a sexy foreign accent, look no further!  Summer Book Crush 2014 is for you.

Simply visit here and navigate your way through the website to find your next summer crush.

* HAPPY READING * HAPPY SUMMER *

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

 

Not Just a St. Patty’s Day Food – Corned Beef and Cabbage

St. Patrick’s Day means a couple of things in our house… it’s a day to wear green or get pinched, a lot; it’s a day to treat ourselves to a green beer or two, or maybe a Guinness; and it’s a day to enjoy one of our favorite Irish dishes—Corned Beef and Cabbage.

Corned Beef and CabbageActually, tons of families eat this popular dinner to celebrate St. Patty’s Day… but why limit ourselves with this delish dish only once a year? Corned Beef and Cabbage is not only yummy, but it’s easy to make and it is actually very healthy for us… not to mention, it makes a ton, perfect for leftovers. And who doesn’t like leftovers?

Now, I’m sure there are multiple ways to make Corned Beef and Cabbage, but here’s how we do it:

First, what’s needed:

Corned Beef Roast, prepackaged with a seasoning packet (any size, depends on how much you want)
2-4 Cans of beer (any flavor, we usually use whatever domestic is in the fridge… like Miller Lite)
Bag of baby carrots, washed and dried
Bag of red potatoes, washed, quartered, and punctured with a fork
Head of cabbage
Extra pickling spice

Now let’s cook:

First, you’ll need a roaster. It can be a disposable foil roaster, a heavy-duty oven roaster, or a countertop roaster oven.   Thanks to my parents, we use a GE countertop roaster oven. It’s amazing how much cooler my kitchen is when cooking a dish all day in the countertop oven versus using my gas oven for hours…

Pour the beer in the roaster oven until the bottom is covered. The quantity of beer will depend on the size of the roaster.

Place the Corned Beef Roast—fat down—in the oven with a tiny bit of the natural juice from the package.

Sprinkle the packaged seasoning over the meat and then add some extra pickling spice as desired.

Pour another beer or two over the meat. The meat doesn’t need to be covered, but we usually want the beer level to be about half an inch up on all sides of the roast. If the liquid dissolves while cooking, add water. But in using so much beer, we rarely (if ever) have to add water while cooking.

Corned BeefCover with foil (if using a foil roaster) or lid and cook at 350 degrees for a couple of hours… usually thirty minutes per pound works great.

Sprinkle in the carrots and potatoes in the juice surrounding the roast after about two hours. Cover again with the foil or the lid and cook for another hour or two.

Corned Beef, Carrots, and PotatoesTurn the heat down to 250 degrees. At this point, I usually puncture the carrots and potatoes with a fork.  If hard, obviously they need to cook longer.

About an hour before you’re ready to eat, core the cabbage and cover the entire meal with the cabbage. Season with pepper, cover, and cook.

Corned Beef and CabbageServe with toasted pumpernickel bread and butter. This is some serious yum here, folks.

Enjoy!

What do you think?  Is this recipe worth a try?  Have any other holiday recipes that are good year-round to share?  I’d love to hear from you!

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

 

 

The Perfect March Madness Dish – Slow-Cooked Buffalo Wings

March Madness marks one of my favorite times of year.  No; it’s not football.  But it’s college hoops at its finest!  It never matters which two teams are facing off against each other… it could be a Cinderella (a team that was lucky to receive an invitation to The Big Dance as it’s called) versus one of the top ranked teams expected to win it all… the games are fantastic.  Rarely is there a blowout; often times there’s a buzzer beater; and there’s almost always a handful of upsets, making the first weekend of the tournament a truly exciting time for any sports enthusiast.

So, what goes great with March Madness?

Buffalo Wings!!

Crock Pot/Baked Buffalo Wings
The finished product…

I first found this recipe via AllRecipes.com for the Super Bowl, and luckily my wings were a much bigger hit than the game itself this year…

Now, my guy and I aren’t big on frying foods.  We’ll eat ‘em when we go out on occasion, but we tend to stay away from making fried foods in our house.  Which is why this recipe was very intriguing to us both.  It’s not fried AND it uses the crock pot!  I do love my crock pot…

First, what’s needed:

1 – 4 lb bag of frozen chicken wings, thawed
2 – 12 oz bottles of wing sauce (we used Frank’s Red Hot)
1 cup of melted butter
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
2 teaspoons of onion powder
2 teaspoons of garlic powder

Now let’s cook:

In a saucepan, combine one of the 12-oz bottles of wing sauce, ½ cup of melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Heat sauce over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.

Place chicken wings in the crock pot and pour the sauce mixture over them.

Cook on high for two hours.

Reduce heat to low and cook for another two hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Grease a large baking sheet.  We sprayed with Olive Oil Cooking Spray.

Spread the wings onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven until the wings are crisp and brown (for about thirty minutes).

Meanwhile, melt the other ½ cup of butter with the other 12-oz bottle of wing sauce in a small saucepan and simmer until thickened (about twenty minutes).

Brush sauce onto wings before serving.

Also serve with ranch and/or blue cheese.

This is some serious yum here, folks.  The meat just falls off the bone.

My pan after ten minutes... all wings gone!
My pan after ten minutes… all wings gone!

And before anyone says, “But I like crispy wings…”  These slow-cooked and baked wings are crispy!!  We don’t always have to fry for the crisp.  Just sayin’.

Enjoy!

What do you think?  Is this recipe worth a try?  Have any other easy wing recipes to share?  I’d love to hear from you!

Original recipe found on this site:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/awesome-slow-cooker-buffalo-wings/

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Original vs. Remake – Romeo + Juliet

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and me to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  Returning to our usual ways, Catie reviews the original and I take on the 1996 remake.  This month we tackle the classic, Romeo and Juliet (or in my case, Romeo + Juliet).

Usually I jump right into Catie’s homemade summary at this point; but she didn’t write one this month.  However, I will borrow her words because as usual they are spot-on: if you don’t know the basic plot of “Romeo and Juliet,” this blog post will probably be lost on you anyway. 

So, let’s just go straight to the trailer:

Before I begin my review, let’s talk briefly about Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet.

One of Shakespeare’s most popular works, Romeo and Juliet may be the most tragic love story ever told.  Many people have complained about reading Shakespeare, but I personally feel that his brilliant use of unrhymed iambic pentameter throughout Romeo and Juliet sends the reader back in time to the intended period and setting.  Shakespeare also connects with audiences of all generations with the universal themes of love and fate, and the destruction of the star-crossed lovers.

For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
~ William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

As Catie discusses on her blog today, Shakespeare’s tragedy was depicted into a motion picture in 1968. Sir Laurence Olivier narrated the film, while Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey played the young lovers.  The music composed by Nino Rota still gives me goose bumps when I hear it today.

The classic love story was adapted again in 1996, starring two of Hollywood’s biggest young stars (at the time) – Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.  This time titled, Romeo + Juliet, Shakespeare’s story is modernized (for example, using guns instead of swords) while the cast still uses Shakespearean dialogue.  One might ask, a modernized Shakespearean play with traditional Shakespearean dialogue?  Yes!  It’s simply wonderful… and creative… a great way to attract the youth of today… and masterfully performed by all involved.  And the cast is extensive: Brian Dennehy, Paul Sorvino, John Leguizamo, Dash Mihok, Jamie Kennedy, and Paul Rudd to just name a few.

But let’s talk about Leo for a second. Yes, I call him Leo.  Although his portrayal of Romeo came early in what we now know to be a very long and fruitful career, his performance was still impeccable.  But it wasn’t until Romeo + Juliet that I truly fell head-over-heels for him (and again in Titanic… and again in the 2013 version of The Great Gatsby).   However, celebrity crushes aside, rarely do I watch him in a film where he does not nail whatever role he is playing; and I firmly believe he will be remembered as one of the greatest actors of my generation.  And for the purpose of this post?  He can be my Romeo anytime.

And while I wasn’t thrilled about Claire Danes playing Juliet, I still weep pretty much uncontrollably every time I  watch this film (even though I know the ending… and very well at that).  To me, this makes Romeo + Juliet a classic.  I honestly believe it will live throughout the decades.  Shakespeare’s story will be told and adapted countless times in the years to come; but there is just something about this film that will survive the test of time.  Baz Luhrmann’s (writer, director, and producer) creation is unique and it will take some sort of new and fresh creative genius to top this particular rendition of the classic tragedy/love story.

Oh, and before I forget, the soundtrack is amazing.  Despite the fact it’s pushing almost twenty years old, I still listen to this disc on almost every road trip.  This ‘90s fun/blast from the past features Garbage, Everclear, Des’ree, Butthole Surfers, The Cardigans, and Radiohead.

So, overall, is the 1996 version worth a watch?  Yes!  I think so.

Does it compare to the original film?  Absolutely.  It its own right.

Should people forget about the original version?  No.  It’s a classic and originals should never be forgotten.

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog to see what she thought of the 1968 classic.

What do you think?  Have you seen either the 1968 or the 1996 version of Shakespeare’s classic love story?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Author K.B. Owen on One of Her Favorite TV Detectives – Columbo

Like most of the other writers I adore today, I first met Kathy “K.B.” Owen on social media back in 2011.  We hit it off… talking about writing and pop culture, particularly Survivor.

Author K.B. Owen
Author K.B. Owen

But Kathy and I share something greater than our minor obsession for the popular “Outwit, Outlast, Outplay” reality television program—we both LOVE mysteries.  I keep an eye on Kathy’s blog because I know I can count on her publishing some fabOoolous posts, featuring some of the literary and television sleuths I grew up reading and watching… like Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Perry Mason, and even Scooby Dooby Doo.  She has also introduced me to a few 19th century historical facts, from clothing, to holiday celebrations, to true crime.  I’ve never been one who’s big on the past, but the stories Kathy shares are fascinating!

However, Survivor, mysteries, and 19th century facts aside, Kathy is also a wife and mother, who squeezes in gardening where she can between writing and taking care of her beautiful family.  She’s one of the most genuine and supportive people I have met and I’m lucky to call her a friend.

Since it’s technically Tele-Tuesday here at The Ooo Factor, Kathy is here to talk about one of her favorite TV detectives of all-time (and one of my dad’s) – Columbo.

But Kathy is also here to share a tad about her latest release, Unseemly Pursuits.

Before we jump into Kathy’s TV guest post, check out the blurb for her latest historical mystery:

A deadly secret that won’t stay buried…

UnseemlyPursuitsCover 266x400It is the fall of 1896, and Miss Concordia Wells is hip-deep in the usual tumult of a lady professor’s life: classes, clubs, student pranks, and the unending drama generated by the girls she lives with on campus.  Complicating this normality is the new Lady Principal, whom the students have nicknamed “the Ogre.”  The woman seems bent on making Concordia’s life miserable.

And then there’s the exotic spirit medium, Madame Durand, who has befriended Concordia’s mother and has started a “Spirit Club” on campus.  Madame’s prognostications of doom are at first only mildly irritating – until events take a sobering turn.  An ancient Egyptian amulet donated to the college mysteriously disappears, the donor is found murdered, and his daughter – Concordia’s best friend – confesses to killing him.

Desperate for answers, Concordia unravels a 20-year-old secret, closely guarded by men now dead.  But such secrets can be dangerous for the daughters left behind, including Concordia herself.  Can she make sense of the mystery that has bound together their fates, before it’s too late?

*****

Hi Tiffany, thanks for having me! I’m so glad you asked me to talk about one of my favorite tv detectives:

Columbo

Publicity photo 1973, Margie Korshak Associates. Wikimedia Commons.
Publicity photo 1973, Margie Korshak Associates. Wikimedia Commons.

Some interesting facts about Peter Falk and the Columbo series:

1.  Bing Crosby was first offered the role of Columbo, but he didn’t want to commit to a series.  He joked that it would interfere with his golfing.

2.  In 1968, the first 90-minute pilot (Prescription: Murder) aired, co-starring Gene Barry. The regular tv series ran from 1971 to 1978, and was part of the NBC Mystery Movie anthology, which included McCloud and McMillan and Wife.  Columbo was brought back in 1989 (this time for ABC) for 5 more continuous seasons.  The 13th and final season aired 5 episodes between 1998 and 2003.  It has won multiple Edgars, Emmys, and Golden Globes. There were 69 episodes in all, directed and written by different talent over the years.

3. The first regular episode was directed by a young Steven Spielberg. As Peter Falk later told Spielberg’s biographer:

Let’s face it, we had some good fortune at the beginning. Our debut episode, in 1971, was directed by this young kid named Steven Spielberg. I told the producers, Link and Levinson: “This guy is too good for Columbo” … Steven was shooting me with a long lens from across the street. That wasn’t common twenty years ago. The comfort level it gave me as an actor, besides its great look artistically — well, it told you that this wasn’t any ordinary director.

4.  William Link and Richard Levinson, the show’s creators, did something that was unusual for the time in a mystery series:  instead of a “whodunnit” format, where the progress of the episode moves towards the revelation of the murderer, it was a “how’s-he-gonna-catch-em,” where we see right away, in the opening scene, who did it, why he did it, and how, and then the rest of the episode is the detective hounding, questioning, and drawing the net tighter and tighter around the murderer, until he cannot escape.

5.  One of the cool things about the series is the star-studded guest-murderer cast.  Here are a few of the well-known names:  William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy (they were in separate episodes), Robert Conrad, Johnny Cash, Eddie Albert, Anne Baxter, Dick Van Dyke, Dabney Coleman, Faye Dunaway, Janet Leigh, Ricardo Montalban, Roddy MacDowall.

photo from Wikimedia.org, according to Creative Commons licensing
photo from Wikimedia.org, according to Creative Commons licensing

Columbo’s appeal:

1.  The suit: It looked like it was purchased from a thrift shop, and then perpetually slept in.

2.  The car: It certainly stood out among the Mercedes, BMWs, Cadillacs and Ferraris that typified the wealthy and famous of southern California (which seemed to be the demographic Columbo perpetually found himself working with). Columbo’s car was always breaking down, making a clatter when it did run, and had various parts breaking off.

It took me a while to figure out that it was a Peugeot. According to http://www.columbo-site.freeuk.com, Columbo drove a 1959 Peugeot 403 convertible. And Peugeot only made 504 of that body style in 1959. So when Columbo called his wife’s car “just transportation” – implying that his car is special – he was right!

Columbo’s car, via MSNautos
Columbo’s car, via MSNautos

3.  The “dog”:  Of course Columbo had to have a bassett hound, one of the best sniffer dogs out there.  But it wasn’t your typical bassett hound. “Dog” was a shuffling collection of neuroses and odd behaviors.

4.  The cigar:  It rarely seemed to be lit, did it? Columbo certainly chewed on and spoke around it, though.

5.  The game:  Ah, the wonderful cat-and-mouse interaction that goes on between Columbo and the murder suspect.  The persistence, the squirming, the murderer’s initial coolness and control inevitably giving way to exasperation, rage, and mistake(s) that will prove his undoing.  Masterful!

6.  The humor:  Who doesn’t love those odd little personal side-tracks and idiosyncrasies that peek out when Columbo works a case?  The lethargic “Dog”  (yep, that’s his name, “Dog”) Columbo feeds his ice cream cone to; the never-seen but always-talked-about wife and her personal habits;  the expired driver’s license, which requires Columbo to take another road test with a DMV examiner (hilarious!); the police gun certification that requires him to go back to the shooting range (even though he never carries his gun); his car always breaking down…the list goes on and on.

Oh, there’s just one more thing….

Columbo’s demeanor:  fumbling (does the man ever have a writing implement on his person?), self-effacing, overly-polite, rambling off-topic.  These characteristics make an effective smoke screen (to the murderer…not us, of course) for his sharp mind and keen attention to detail.

Here’s a short clip, just for fun:

Are you familiar with the Columbo series? Do you have a favorite episode or feature from the series? Tiffany and I would love to hear from you!

*****

About K.B.

K.B. Owen taught college English at universities in Connecticut and Washington, DC and holds a doctorate in 19th century British literature.  A long-time mystery lover, she drew upon her teaching experiences to create her amateur sleuth, Professor Concordia Wells.

Unseemly Pursuits is the second book of the series.  The first book, Dangerous and Unseemly, was published in early 2013.

K.B. currently lives in Virginia with her husband and sons, and is busily planning the lady professor’s next adventure.

An Unseemly Giveaway

The Unseemly Swag Kit
The Unseemly Swag Kit

During K.B.’s Unseemly Pursuits book tour, which goes through the first week of March, there’s a giveaway at each blog stop (including here!).  The winner, randomly drawn from the commenters at each stop, will get a free ebook copy of Unseemly Pursuits.  At the end of the tour, she’ll hold another random drawing from among the ebook winners for the final prize: a special Concordia Wells series swag package! It includes customized mug, keychain, JellyBelly mini-tin, and signed paperback copies of the first two mysteries: Dangerous and Unseemly and Unseemly Pursuits. You can read, sip your coffee, and snack on candy in unseemly style. Check the sidebar on the home page of kbowenmysteries.com for the full tour schedule and other info.

But if you can’t wait to win, here’s where to buy Unseemly Pursuits:

Kindle

Paperback

Nook

Smashwords

Kobo

iBooks

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Tasty Breakfast Recipe – Blueberry Croissant Puff

My in-laws visited earlier this month and I wanted a breakfast that we could just pull out of the fridge and warm up.  For one, I’m lazy and anything easy I’m all for.  But also, we like to sleep in and realize that our guests don’t always keep the same sleeping schedule as we do.

Enter Pinterest.

Blueberry Croissant PuffI saw this Blueberry Croissant Puff recipe a while ago and had been waiting for the perfect opportunity to make it.  And man, I’m glad I did!

First, what’s needed:

3 large croissants, cut up into bite size pieces (about 5 – 5 ½ cups)
* I bought the Great Value Wal-Mart brand croissants and baked them up before tearing them apart.
** Plus I used all of it, making a double batch.
1 cup of fresh (or frozen) blueberries
* I didn’t measure; I just used an entire (large) container of blueberries.
1 package (8 oz.) of cream cheese, softened
* I doubled up.
2/3 cup of sugar
* I did NOT double up here.  It seemed like it would be too much sugar if I did.
**Turns out, it worked just fine with only ½ of the required sugar…
2 eggs
* I doubled up.
1 teaspoon of vanilla
* guess what?  I doubled up.
1 cup of milk
* I doubled up.  Surprise!

Now let’s cook:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place croissant pieces in a 9X13 baking pan.  If not doubling up on everything like I did, go ahead and use a 9-inch square pan.

Sprinkle with blueberries.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla with an electric mixer until well blended.

Gradually add the milk, beating well along the way.

Pour evenly over the croissant pieces and blueberries.

Let stand 20 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until set in the center and golden brown.  Cover it with foil the last 10 minutes if the tops are getting too browned.

Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Although, we skipped the powdered sugar bit…

What do you think?  Is this recipe worth a try?  Have any other easy breakfast recipes to share?  I’d love to hear from you!

Original Pinterest recipe found on this site:

http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2013/02/blueberry-croissant-puff.html

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.