Happy 2016! Lady Sleuth Cocktails: Honey West Martini, The Emma Peel, The Nancy Drew

Let's raise our glasses and toast the new year with some lady sleuth cocktails, starting with the Honey West Martini.

Anne Francis as Honey West with her ocelot, Bruce (image is in the public domain)

Anne Francis as Honey West with her ocelot, Bruce (image is in the public domain)

The Honey West Martini

Honey West liked her martinis simple and strong: Gin, vermouth, on the rocks. 

For more Honey West and other cocktails, check out the offerings at the Honey West restaurant and lounge in Burlington, Canada by clicking here.

The Nancy Drew

At A Crimson Kiss blog, the author adapted this cocktail recipe from Post Prohibition’s The Lady Detective, omitting the coconut foam, to create The Nancy Drew:

2 oz aged rum

1 oz ginger syrup

3/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 oz coconut cream

Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice; shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with a few dashes of Angostura bitters.

The Emma Peel

Sweet and tart with a kick, like its namesake, this drink is a mix of fruits and champagne.

1 measure cherry brandy
1  measure pineapple juice
Top it off with champagne

In Honor of the First Female PI Kate Warne: The Pinkerton Cocktail

Only possible photograph of Kate Warne (standing in background - image is in public domain)

Only possible photograph of Kate Warne (standing in background - image is in public domain)

Kate Warne kept such a low profile, there is only one possible photo of her (see photo on left — many believe the “man” behind Pinkerton is actually Kate Warne dressed undercover as a soldier). When she died at 36, her boss Allan Pinkerton, and some believe also her lover, was at her side. She is buried in his family plot, next to him.

In honor of Kate, here’s the Pinkerton cocktail from Dishbase:

3 oz. apple juice
10 oz. ice
2 oz. strawberries
1/2 apple
2 oz. gin

Shake well, strain over ice and enjoy.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and successful 2016!


The above article was adapted from my site TheZenMan.com. All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Any use of the content requires specific, written authority. Please do not copy or distribute any images noted as copyrighted or licensed. However, any images noted as being in the public domain are yours to freely use.

Christmas Day Fun for Homebodies, from Mel Brooks Movies to Decadent Desserts

What are you doing for Christmas? My husband and I plan to be homebodies and take it easy. Watch movies. Read. Eat Christmas Eve leftovers (that's our big holiday blow-out meal). I have a book due February 1, so I'll probably spend a few hours writing, too.

For any fellow homebodies, below are some fun things to watch/read/bake on Christmas Day

Mel Brooks Movie Marathon

TCM is throwing a Mel Brooks movie party on Christmas evening and will be showing five of his movies in a row, starting with High Anxiety (1977), which starred Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman and Harvey Korman. Check out the movies at the below link:

Mel Brooks movie schedule

Ever Wonder Who First Realized that No Two Snowflakes are Alike?

The GIF on the right side of this screen is comprised of hundreds of snowflakes that were photographed by a self-educated farmer named Wilson Bentley who combined his camera with a microscope to take the first picture of a snowflake in 1885.

Ever hear the comment that no two snowflakes are alike? That stems from a report by Bentley who noted that "Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost." Scientists of his time didn't take Bentley seriously, and his father thought his study of snowflakes was silly, but today he is recognized as breaking new ground in meteorology and microscopic photography.

Story link: The Snowflake Man of Vermont

Radio Detective Story Hour

This old-time radio show podcast is the Christmas-themed "Broadway Is My Beat."  Click here to download the podcast.

Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

Christmas is a time for festive meals...and decadent, delicious desserts. The creator of this dessert, Ashton, is the owner/author of Something Swanky Desserts and Designs, and swears that this recipe is phenomenal (italics are hers). Check it out here: Pecan Pie Bread Pudding.

Sarah Millican Hosts Twitter #joinin on Xmas Day

For the fourth year, writer/comedian Sarah Millican is hosting an all-day drop-in chat-a-thon on Christmas for those in need of company. She was tweeting and retweeting so many messages last year at her #joinin, that Twitter blocked her account (they thought it was some kind of spam, but this year they're aware that she's hosting a Christmas Twitter party,and are wholeheartedly supporting it). Click here to read an article about how she started #joinin.

Merry Christmas, everyone! Colleen

I love this GIF, which I call "Deadline Dog." Lillie Le Dorre, who hails from Wellington, New Zealand, created the GIF from a 1919 postcard. 

Thanksgiving Recipes: 7 Potato Dishes, from Mashed to Hasselback

potato HiRes.jpg

Before we launch into the world of potatoes, I had a lovely surprise today on Facebook when I read the below post by Book Reviews, Blogs and Amazon Links:

This is one lady who is multi talented and does some pretty interesting blog posts and newsletter. I seriously am excited when my email beeps and it is Colleen's newsletter. Not to mention she's such a great person. She's one of a few who are actual Facebook Friends that I enjoy being in contact with.

Colleen Collins https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=482863458501779

Thank you, Book Reviews, Blogs and Amazon Links! If I had known you were going to surprise me with such a laudatory post, I would have written about something other than potatoes :)

But since I did, below is the post...enjoy!

Years ago, I used to love spending several hours preparing special meals. These days I like my time in the kitchen to be fun, short and easy. Which is probably why I started cooking potatoes more often. Dinner with hubby is sometimes baked potatoes with butter or sour cream with a side of chopped tomatoes.

For Thanksgiving, though, I'll break out of my mold and test-drive a few recipes ahead of time. Below is a sampling of 7 potato recipes, all of them easy to make, starting with mashed potatoes with goat cheese to 6 Hasselback potato recipes (also called accordion potatoes). Hasselback potatoes are especially nice for special meals because they look so darn impressive!

Now, onto the recipes...

Mashed Potatoes with Goat Cheese

If you want to try an alternative to loading up mashed potatoes with butter, try loading them up with goat cheese instead. 


2 pounds potatoes  (I like to keep the skins on, but peel if you prefer) and cut into chunks

1 clove chopped garlic

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup goat cheese

salt & pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions

  1. Boil potato chunks: Place in a pot with enough water to cover potatoes, add salt, bring to a boil.
  2. Cook for approximately 15 minutes (I stick a sharp knife or fork into potatoes -- if the knife/fork easily slides in, they're done cooking)
  3. Drain water, return potatoes to pot and mash lightly with a potato masher. (Don't overdo mashing -- leave some "chunk" in the potatoes.)
  4. Mix in milk, goat cheese, salt and pepper and serve (again, don't overdo it or the mashed potatoes will go "flat").

    (You can also mix in some washed & chopped kale or steamed broccoli -- approximately 1/2 cup -- along with the milk and goat cheese)

Hasselback Potato Recipes

Hasselback potatoes are the Swedish version of our baked potatoes, named after the Hasselbacken Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. Basically, a Hasselback potato is a white potato (such as Yukon Gold, Russet, or red potato) with the skin left on, with a series of cuts made into the potato (like an accordion). You can simply drizzle with olive oil and salt, then roast in the oven for an hour (same amount of time that you bake a potato). Or you can fill each "slash" with something tasty, such as bay leaves or crumbled parmesan cheese before roasting in the oven.

As the potato cooks, the slices fan open, creating a striking presentation. Hasselback potatoes should be served immediately to keep their crispiness.

Hasselback Potato Recipes

Bacon Hasselback Potatoes (Food Network)

Bacon Cheddar Hasselback Potatoes (The Slow Roasted Italian)

Rosemary Hasselback Potatoes (The Novice Chef)

Hasselback Potatoes with Spinach Cashew Pesto (Joy the Baker)

Scalloped Hasselback Potatoes (Look Who's Cookin' Now)

Garlicky Hasselback Potatoes (Around the Table. Loving Food in RI and Beyond)