Yummy Yum Trifle by Linda Reilly

After a seemingly endless winter where I live in southern New Hampshire, the first signs of summer are beginning to emerge. It makes me think of cool, palate-tempting recipes–in particular, desserts. Last year I had to bring a pot luck dish to the annual barbecue at our apartment community. I wanted something simple, eye-pleasing, but also refreshing for a hot summer day. After poring over online recipes, I found the perfect contribution: a strawberry/banana trifle. The ingredients are basic (as are my skills in the kitchen), but the fun part is layering them in a trifle bowl.

The trifle I made for the barbecue was, I’m pleased to say, a huge hit. Before I had even finished my burger, the residents had pillaged the trifle–it was nearly gone!

One thing about a standard trifle is that it typically serves at least a dozen. Could I make a smaller version for my husband and me to enjoy at home? I decided to trim the recipe to fit into a smaller dish. I purchased a clear bowl from the dollar store for…yup, one dollar. Here’s my pared down version of this light, yummy dessert:

  • One 3.4-ounce package of vanilla pudding mix, prepared with milk according to directions
  • Angel food cake, cut into cubes (I used about half of a 10-ounce cake)
  • 1 large banana or two small bananas, sliced thin
  • 10-ounce package frozen strawberries, thawed and cut into pieces
  • 8-ounce container of Cool Whip, thawed

Layer half the angel cake pieces, half the pudding, half the banana slices, half the strawberries, and half the Cool Whip. Repeat. Garnish with a few strawberry bits. Chill for at least four hours before enjoying. On a broiling hot day, this easy dessert will be a sure winner!

In a way, preparing a trifle is not so different from layering the components of a murder mystery. First layer: introduce the characters. Which one could be the killer? Who can be trusted, and who can’t? In the next layer show the conflicts–who had a grudge against whom? Who had a motive to murder? And remember to sprinkle red herrings throughout each layer–those delectable tidbits of misdirection disguised as clues. The creamy top layer is the solution–the sleuth has solved the crime and brought justice to her village! As for the bits of strawberry garnish on top–a hint of romance, perhaps?

What types of desserts do you like to prepare during the sweltering summer months?

In my second Cat Lady Mystery, CLAWS OF DEATH, watercolor artist Lara Caphart is having a crazy busy summer. Between caring for felines at the High Cliff Shelter for Cats, helping a legendary actress get her new kittens settled in, and trying to solve a murder, Lara is almost too busy to spend time with handsome attorney Gideon Halley. Luckily, they manage to snag a few romantic moments together, all while catching a killer. You can read all about it at: https://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/36380

The meow of death . . .

Whisker Jog, New Hampshire, is a long way from Hollywood, but it’s the place legendary actress Deanna Daltry wants to call home. Taking up residence in a stone mansion off Cemetery Hill, the retired, yet still glamorous, septuagenarian has adopted two kittens from Lara Caphart’s High Cliff Shelter for Cats. With help from her Aunt Fran, Lara makes sure the kitties settle in safely with their new celebrity mom.

But not everyone in town is a fan of the fading star. Deanna was in Whisker Jog when she was younger, earning a reputation for pussyfooting around, and someone is using that knowledge against her. After being frightened by some nasty pranks, Deanna finds herself the prime murder suspect when the body of a local teacher is found on her property. Now, it’s up to Lara, Aunt Fran, and the blue-eyed Ragdoll mystery cat Lara recently encountered to collar a killer before another victim is pounced upon . . .

Praise for Linda Reilly’s Deep Fried Mysteries

“I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzler of a mystery. Reilly cooks up a perfect recipe of murder and mayhem in this charming cozy.” —Jenn McKinlay, New York Times bestselling author of the Hat Shop Mysteries

“Smart, sassy, and a little bit scary. Everything a good cozy should be!” —Laura Childs, New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries