Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Teeny Bit of Trouble

On April 10, 2012,
Teeny Templeton returns in a follow-up to
Gone With a Handsomer Man.

It’s a recipe for disaster…

After Charleston pastry chef Teeny Templeton witnesses a murder, she discovers that her lawyer-boyfriend, Coop O’Malley, has been keeping secrets.  And then even more trouble comes knocking at her door—trouble in the form of a precocious ten-year-old girl who might just be Coop’s daughter.   As more lies explode, Teeny finds herself trapped in Bonaventure, Georgia, a zany “little Savannah,” where she must gather DNA from a child genius, as she tries to outwit a stalker, decode an encrypted diary, and fend off the advances of an ex-beau.

That calls for Anything-You-Say-Can-Be-Used-Against-You Quiche
And just when she thinks her life can’t get any more complicated, a series of not-so-teeny troubles arise, including an uneasy love triangle, a gossip-mongering tarantula breeder, a wise-cracking Southern Belle with early Alzheimer’s, Coop’s loveable Chihuahua-toting granny, and clues that point to something truly deadly going down in this charming southern town.

Served with You-Have-The-Right-To-Remain-Silent Salsa
But when a suspect is arrested and the bodies keep piling up anyway, Teeny doesn’t know who to trust. As the murderers close in, Teeny unearths a revelation that threatens to flip her whole world upside-down.

With Teeny Templeton, you’ll want to save room for dessert!

LIBRARY JOURNAL – March 1 reviews (starred review)
West, Michael Lee. A Teeny Bit of Trouble. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780312571238. $24.99. M
Hallelujah! Teeny Templeton (Gone with a Handsomer Man) has returned, and she’s been served another plateful of crazy to boot. Cooper O’Malley’s high school girlfriend, Barb Philpot, draws Teeny into trouble with an outrageous lie: Coop, who is now Teeny’s beau, is fooling around with Barb behind Teeny’s back. Teeny’s attempt at surveillance goes horribly wrong when she is spotted by Barb and, worse, when she witnesses Barb being strangled by a masked man. Before her death, Barb ditched her ten-year-old daughter Emerson on Coop. Returning the girl to her legal father in Bonaventure, GA, Teeny’s hometown, brings more than bad memories for Teeny; there, she finds coded messages sent from the grave and discovers a black market of human parts. Verdict West’s second mystery rises to the occasion by following a surefire recipe for adventure: a dash of quirky heroine, a pinch of deadly secrets, and a lovely dollop of sweet romance, all carefully folded into a story of clever twists, turns, and red herrings. Readers already under Teeny’s spell will be relieved to find everything they were hoping for and more; newcomers will be racing back to the first book to discover what they’ve missed. [See Prepub Alert, 11/11/11.]—Stacey Hayman, Rocky River P. L., OH

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY – February 13 reviews
In West’s madcap second novel featuring Charleston, S.C., baker Teeny Templeton (after 2011’s Gone with a Handsomer Man), Teeny is certain—well, almost certain—she witnessed the murder of Barb Philpot, an old high school frenemy. Barb’s body disappears, surfacing much later in the guise of a suicide victim. Meanwhile, Barb’s now motherless 10-year-old daughter might be the long-lost offspring of Coop O’Malley, who’s currently engaged to, that’s right, Teeny. Only a DNA test will tell what Coop’s been keeping secret. As for the killer, could Barb’s less than broken-up widower, pharmacist Lester Philpot, have been the man in the Bill Clinton mask Teeny saw strangle Barb? Or maybe it was Lester’s shifty brother, who may or may not be involved in illegal human organ harvesting? The plot continues to thicken as West tosses one red herring after another into an already deliciously roiling stew of blind alleys. Author tour. Agent: Ellen Levine, Trident Media Group. (Apr.)


On Sale April 10th
A Teeny Bit of Trouble is the second book in the Teeny Templeton mystery series. For more information about A Teeny Bit of Trouble and Gone With a Handsomer Man, visit MichaelLeeWest.com.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings for Exhausted Cooks

Teeny Templeton's
Chicken and Dumplings for Exhausted Cooks
                                                             Serves 6-8

3 or 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 cup sliced carrots
Chicken stock (1 large box)
1 can cream of chicken soup
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and pepper
2 frozen deep dish pie crusts

Place chicken, onions, celery, and carrots in a Dutch oven or deep soup pot. Cook on low flame until chicken and carrots are cooked and tender. Remove chicken and set aside.
Thaw pie crusts.
While chicken cools and crusts thaw, add cream of chicken soup to the Dutch oven. (The soup blends better if you lightly whisk the mixture; or put soup in a bowl, add broth, whisk, and pour into Dutch oven.)
Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and add the bits to the Dutch oven. Stir.
You'll need to check the onion-carrots-celery broth. If it gets to thick, add more chicken stock. You don't want a watery consistency, but you don't want it thick like ice cream, either!
Now is a good time to make a pot of white rice.
While it cooks, let's make the dumplings.
Turn up the mixture to medium flame (med heat).
Sprinkle flour onto a cutting board. Place 1 pie crust on the floury board. Cut the crust into 1-inch strips. Set the strips on top of the bubbling onion/celery mixture. As Aunt Bluette used to say, the strips will "sink down."
Repeat the procedure with the second pie crust.
Cook about 10-15 more minutes (you don't want the dumplings to be "raw").

Serve your chicken and dumplings over white, long-grained rice. Cornbread is a nice compliment.


If you have leftovers, you can make:
Chicken 'n Dumplings Pot Pie

Heat dumplings. You will need to add another can of cream of chicken soup and more chicken stock.
Microwave a bag of green peas and a bag of sliced carrots. (Actually, add any frozen vegetable you wish--it's your pie!)
Add vegetables to the dumpling mixture.
Thaw two sheets of puff pastry. Sprinkle sheets with flour. Using a rolling pin, gently roll out the sheets. Place one sheet in the bottom of a baking pan. Add the dumpling- vegetable mixture.

Place second puff pastry sheet on top of the dumpling mixture. Brush with egg wash.
Gather the puff pastry scraps and roll out. Crimp the edges of both crusts.
Take your favorite cookie cutter (I used an autumn leaf cutter) and cut out shapes. Place the shapes on top of the crust. Brush pieces with the egg wash.
Bake 350 degree oven about 25-45 minutes (depending on your oven) or until crust is brown and poofy. You might need to place tin foil around the edges if the crust browns unevenly.
Serves 4- 6.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Teeny's Favorite Halloween Cupcakes

 What's your favorite Halloween dessert?
I love beribbened cupcakes.


  Halloween is a time for whimsy, and I love whimsy.

Some folks might buy dresses.
Me, I buy cupcake wrappers and toppers.

I love making chocolate cobwebs, too. Look at this
adorable chocolate spider.

What are you cooking up this Halloween?