A romantic seven-day cruise is the perfect start to bakery owner Hannah Swensen’s marriage. However, with a murder mystery heating up in Lake Eden, Minnesota, it seems the newlywed’s homecoming won’t be as sweet as she anticipated . . .

After an extravagant honeymoon, Hannah’s eager to settle down in Lake Eden and turn domestic daydreams into reality. But when her mother’s neighbor is discovered murdered in the condo downstairs, reality becomes a nightmarish investigation. Victoria Bascomb, once a renowned stage actress, was active in the theater community during her brief appearance in town . . . and made throngs of enemies along the way. Did a random intruder murder the woman as police claim, or was a deadlier scheme at play? As Hannah peels through countless suspects and some new troubles of her own, solving this crime—and living to tell about it—might prove trickier than mixing up the ultimate banana cream pie . . .

 

SPECIAL CORN CHOWDER

(Made on the stovetop)
1 cup whipping cream
2 chicken bouillon cubes (or enough dry bouillon crystals or beads to make 2 cups of chicken broth)
1⁄2 stick (2 ounces, 14 cup, 18 pound) salted butter
10-ounce bag frozen whole kernel corn
2 sixteen-ounce cans cream style corn
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon grated nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
1⁄2 teaspoon onion salt
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Hot sauce to taste (I used Slap Ya Mama)
1⁄4 cup instant potato flakes (if needed to thicken the chowder)
One jar of jalapeño jelly
1 package microwave buttered popcorn

On the stovetop, using a 3 to 4 quart saucepan over LOW heat, warm the cup of whipping cream with the chicken bouillon cubes and the salted butter. Stir constantly. You don’t want the cream to scorch.

Continue to heat andstir until the bouillon cubes and the butter have dissolved.

Add the bag of frozen corn kernels and stir until the corn has cooked. This will take about 6 minutes.

Add the cans of cream-style corn and stir them in.

Add the Tablespoon of brown sugar and the grated nutmeg.

Mix well.

Add the onion salt, garlic salt, black pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Heat everything until your Special Corn Chowder is piping hot.

Check the chowder to see if it’s thick enough. If it’s too thick, add a little more whipping cream. If it’s too thin, sprinkle in a few of the instant potato flakes until it’s the right consistency.

Add more salt, pepper, or hot sauce to suit the tastes of your family.

Hannah’s 1st Note: Careful if you decide to add more hot sauce. Don’t forget that you’ll be topping each bowl with a teaspoon of jalapeño jelly, which will add its own “heat” to the dish.

Turn the stovetop burner down to SIMMER and prepare your jalapeño jelly and popcorn for serving.

Place approximately 3 Tablespoons of jalapeño jelly in a small, microwave-safe bowl.

Heat the jelly on HIGH for 20 seconds to melt it. Stir to see if it’s melted and if not, give it another 10 to 15 seconds on HIGH in the microwave.

Set the melted jelly on the counter.

Follow the package directions to pop your buttered popcorn in the microwave. When it’s popped, and after it’s cooled enough so that you won’t burn yourself, open the bag and pour the popcorn into a bowl.

Give your Special Corn Chowder another stir and ladle it into bowls.

Top each bowl with a teaspoon of melted jalapeño jelly placed in the center of the bowl. It will spread out in a little puddle.

Top the jalapeño jelly with a half-dozen or so perfect pieces of hot popcorn and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 generous bowls of Special Corn Chowder that everyone will enjoy. Almost everyone who tries it will never be satisfied with regular corn chowder again!

 Hannah’s 2nd Note: Save the rest of the popcorn for later and give the bowl to the kids after they’ve done their homework.

Michelle’s Note: When I was little, Hannah used to make microwave popcorn for Andrea and me. She always poured it into a bowl, picked out the unpopped kernels so we wouldn’t bite down on one and hurt our teeth, and mixed the popcorn with M&Ms. It was a real treat to have the salted popcorn with the sweet, chocolate candy even though Andrea always made me eat the brown ones. She told me that the colored ones weren’t good for me because I was too young. Of course I didn’t believe that, but I never told her I didn’t mind because I counted a whole bag of M&Ms once when she was at cheerleading practice, and I discovered that there were a lot more brown M&Ms than colored ones!

 

A romantic seven-day cruise is the perfect start to bakery owner Hannah Swensen’s marriage. However, with a murder mystery heating up in Lake Eden, Minnesota, it seems the newlywed’s homecoming won’t be as sweet as she anticipated . . .

After an extravagant honeymoon, Hannah’s eager to settle down in Lake Eden and turn domestic daydreams into reality. But when her mother’s neighbor is discovered murdered in the condo downstairs, reality becomes a nightmarish investigation. Victoria Bascomb, once a renowned stage actress, was active in the theater community during her brief appearance in town . . . and made throngs of enemies along the way. Did a random intruder murder the woman as police claim, or was a deadlier scheme at play? As Hannah peels through countless suspects and some new troubles of her own, solving this crime—and living to tell about it—might prove trickier than mixing up the ultimate banana cream pie . . .

Indulge In Joanne Fluke’s Criminally Delicious Hannah Swensen Mysteries!

 

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