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Interview: Thanksgiving Memories with Author Cleo Coyle

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Cleo Coyle launched her Coffeehouse Mystery series in September 2003 with On What Grounds.  The twelfth installment, Murder by Mocha, was released in August.  Cleo Coyle also writes the Haunted Book Shop series under the pen name  Alice Kimberly. However, The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller will be released January 3, 2012 with the name Cleo Coyle on the cover.  All I can say is, it’s about time.  

Cleo was kind enough to share some Thanksgiving moments with us. Enjoy! 

What are you most grateful for?

My dear husband, Marc. A girl couldn’t ask for a better partner — in writing or life.

Favorite Thanksgiving tradition, and most memorable Thanksgiving memory?

Eating a bowl of freshly made stuffing for breakfast. As a little girl, I always rose at the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving to help my mother and aunt prepare the giant turkey for roasting. I still get up early to make the stuffing – -and nom a little bowl for breakfast! Mom and Aunt Mary are gone now, but I always think of them as I prepare the Thanksgiving meal and say a little prayer of thanks for the abundant love they gave me.

What do you do the eve before Thanksgiving?

Bake cookies for the family — usually chocolate chip. I did this as a little girl, too, and the tradition continues! For a fun, tasty, “urban legend” chocolate chip cookie recipe, courtesy of Neiman Marcus.

What’s your number one splurge food?

See the previous question!

What do you prefer, sweet or salty?

Despite my previous two answers: salty. And I really enjoy a salty-sweet combo. Caramels with sea salt; chocolate-covered pretzels; buttermilk biscuits with jam…hungry yet? :)

Which food and drink combo says it’s the holiday season to you?
   

When I see egg nog and fresh cranberries in the grocery store, I know the holiday season is here! BTW, if you’re looking for a fun leftover cranberry sauce recipe, I’ve got you covered. CLICK HERE for my easy Mini Holiday Berry Pastries. 

What are the five tools you must have in the kitchen for Thanksgiving dinner?

(1) Roasting Pan (2) Chestnut cutter (3) Rolling pin (4) Oven (5) Cat treats for hungry felines driven insane for hours by smell of giant turkey cooking!

Please share a favorite Thanksgiving recipe. 

 I have three for you! 

1. Last year, one of my Coffeehouse Mystery readers shared a classic Thanksgiving comfort food recipe with me: Sweet Potato Casserole with Brown Sugar and Pecans. I made it, photographed it, and uploaded it to the worldwide Foodbuzz community. On Thanksgiving Day it was voted a “Top-9″ favorite out of more than 5,000 blog posts. To download Pam’s side dish recipe, that tastes more like (I swear) an upside down sweet potato pie, CLICK HERE.

2. Given the importance of maize at the first Thanksgiving, I like to include corn on my menu. This year is my favorite creamy, cheesy Corn Casserole. It’s made with frozen corn so you can enjoy it all winter, and it’s versatile. You can swap in other cheeses, use different veggie blends, even add legumes. The recipe also includes instructions on making a classic French cheese sauce.

3. My Pumpkin-Maple “Surprise Swirl” Bundt Cake is a guaranteed hit for Thanksgiving weekend. The “surprise swirl” inside the cake is made of sweetened cream cheese, the perfect flavor pairing for a spice cake; and with so many kitchen pantries stocked up with canned pumpkin, this recipe is especially handy. Serve it as a brunch treat with a light dusting of powdered sugar or dress it up with an easy glaze for a lovely holiday dessert.

If you could have a dream Thanksgiving dinner party, who would you invite?

My late mother and Aunt Mary would be first on the list. Others would not be famous or powerful people but beloved friends who have been too scattered around the country to come together for one dinner at one time. What a joy it would be to have them all around a single table at Thanksgiving. 

What’s the one Thanksgiving dish your family can’t live without?

(As you may have guessed already) Stuffing! I layer it with plenty of flavor before it goes into the bird and after it roasts in the Turkey for several hours, absorbing even more flavor, it’s just so good!

What do you do after the meal is finished? Play football? Watch football? Movies?

Movies! Especially something nostalgic like Miracle on 34th Street or Die Hard. :)

Pumpkin, Pecan or Apple?

The Great Pumpkin, baby! (Growing up with Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving TV special may have had something to do with that.)

Are you up early the next morning to kick off your holiday shopping?

Black Friday means only one thing at our house (no, not shopping) — leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast! We also kick off the leftover recipe parade with our favorite: Easy Leftover Turkey Pot Pie with Cheddar Cheese Crust.

 Thank you so much for this warm Thanksgiving memory.

Happy Thanksgiving from my house to yours! Thanksgiving wishes from the Blogcritics team.

I am on the hunt for food… no, not that type of  hunt, silly goose!

Cleo’s Halloween Fright Bites.

Cleo’s website and blog.

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About Diane Morasco