by HL Carpenter
We have a confession to make. Sometimes…sometimes here in Carpenter Country we are not actually sitting at our computers all day working diligently on our next book. That's right. Sometimes we…we go OUTSIDE! Into the SUNSHINE!
One of those special occasions took place in early May when we headed out to the u-pick field. Because we are serious blueberry pickers, we brought home enough berries to enjoy a few bowls fresh-from-the-field, to put a couple of handfuls on top of cereal, and to make biscuits, bread, buckles, cheesecake, coffee cake, crumbles, cobblers, donuts, muffins, pies, pancakes, scones, and ICE CREAM!
Are you screaming yet for blueberry ice cream? Us too. In fact, we're going to take a break and sample a bowl. Here's the recipe in case you want a break from your own busy day. You will need an ice cream maker (ours makes about 1½ quarts)and a blender or food processor for this recipe.
HOMEMADE BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM
1½ cups fresh blueberries, washed, and dried (slightly less than a pint of fresh, or you can use frozen berries if you drain them well)
1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk (whole or reduced fat, your choice - coconut milk is a delicious substitute)
½ cup sugar (more or less to suit your own sweet tooth -- or teeth)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Place rinsed blueberries in the blender or food processor and process for a minute or less.
Add the whipping cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to the pureed blueberries in the blender.
Process 10-20 seconds, just until mixed - not too long, or you’ll have whipped cream.
Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 20 minutes.
If you like soft, milkshake-type ice cream, pass out the spoons and dig in. For firmer ice cream, scoop the ice cream into a container and freeze two hours.
Okay, break's over – back to work!
We invite you to enjoy an excerpt from our cozy mystery, A Cause for Murder.
Septuagenarian sleuth Emma Twiggs thinks her neighbor’s death was an accident – until her friend Arnie says he suspects murder.
Arnie is convinced he knows the killer’s identity. He wants Emma to prove it.
Is Arnie right? And is he right in his belief that Emma’s best friend is the killer’s next target?
As Emma navigates madcap mayhem, multiple mysteries, and murderous motives, she discovers more than one person is hiding deadly secrets.
The question is, who has a cause for murder?
It wasn’t the food. Happy Haven Retirement Community’s chef prepared delicious, artistically plated roast beef and mashed potatoes every Sunday evening.
Emma Twiggs set down her fork. No, the food wasn’t the problem.
It wasn’t the chatter or the whispers in the dining room, or the sidelong glances of other Happy Haven residents. Happy Haven was a hotbed of gossip and rumors. Being the topic du jour was familiar territory.
It certainly wasn’t her dinner companion. Arnie Bracken was always charming, kind, and intelligent, no matter what her best friend Olli thought.
No, food, chatter, and Arnie, combined or singular, were not the cause of her uneasiness.
The problem –
"I know what you’re thinking, Em," Arnie said.
"Do you?" She picked up a glass of lemon-spritzed water and tried to swallow past the tightness in her throat. She could only hope he had no idea of what she was thinking.
"Sure." He leaned forward and lowered his voice. "You’re wondering how someone as fit as Jo accidentally drowned in the swimming pool."
Emma froze. Her fingers tightened on the glass. The chatter in the room faded into muted background noise. She had deliberately not been thinking about Jo. She would not think about Jo. How did Arnie know she'd been thinking about Jo?
"I’ll tell you how," he said. "Jo was murdered, and Cahan murdered her."
"I am not thinking about – Murdered?" The lump in her throat expanded to the size of the Brussels sprouts on her plate. "By Todd?"
"Murdered. By Cahan. And we need to prove he did the deed."
"Arnie." Emma set the glass on the table and uncurled her fingers from it. She coughed to clear the non-existent Brussels sprout from her throat. "The paramedics told us Jo’s death was accidental. An accidental drowning."
"Yeah, I know all the euphemisms they used."
Emma did too. The headline in Harmony Notes, the local daily, had read TRAGIC ACCIDENT AT HAPPY HAVEN. Unfortunate was the word murmured most frequently at the funeral service, followed closely by regrettable.
She said, "Harmony’s police department and the district medical examiner agreed with the paramedics."
A trickle of condensation wept down the side of the glass and puddled into a teardrop on the table. All the words used to describe Jo’s death were wrong. Wrong and inadequate. Words were inadequate now too.
Because this was the problem she had been avoiding.
Her role in Jo’s death.
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