Posts Tagged ‘Miniatures’

LoCal Hamburgers

I mean very low calorie. Try these miniature “hamburger” cookies. How perfect for your Labor Day Cookout/in!

Note the spoon for scale.

Gerry Porter and her 11-year-old granddaughter, Maddie, love all things mini. The two stars of  Margaret Grace’s Miniature Mysteries were playing around in the kitchen one Saturday, unable to choose between vanilla and chocolate cookies. They came up with a new recipe that combined the best of both. Using two soft vanilla cookies and one soft chocolate cookie, they created a mini hamburger. After their day of creative play, and adding embellishments, here’s  the result!

NO BAKE MINI “HAMBURGER” COOKIES

TIME TO PREPARE: about 15 minutes

YIELD: 12 mini hamburgers

INGREDIENTS:

I box vanilla wafers

1 box soft chocolate cookies (SnackWells or the equivalent)

1 tube green frosting

1 tube red frosting

1 tube yellow frosting

1/8 cup sesame seeds (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Arrange 12 vanilla wafers, flat side up, on a tray or platter. These are the bottoms of the “hamburger buns.”

2. Using the green frosting tube, squirt a ring around the edge of each wafer. Using your finger or a toothpick, rough up the frosting so it resembles ragged lettuce.

3. Place 1 chocolate cookie (the meat!) on top of each green-ringed wafer.

4. Using the red frosting tube (ketchup!), squirt a ring around the flat edges of a dozen additional wafers (the tops of the “hamburger buns).

5. Using the yellow frosting tube (mustard!), squirt a yellow ring over the red ring of Step 4, allowing the two colors to mix in places.

6. Place each newly ringed wafer, flat side down (top of the bun!), on top of a chocolate cookie/wafer.

DONE!  You now have 12 hamburgers, with lettuce, ketchup, and mustard.

7. (optional) Dot the top of each “burger” with egg white, and use as adhesive for a few sesame seeds.

Other options: add a smooth ring of white frosting for an onion, a square of orange frosting for cheese, or smooth the red ring so it looks more like tomato.

Maddie Porter: A Day in the Life

Preteen Maddie Porter, of the Miniature Mysteries by Margaret Grace, often steals the show in the 9 novels of the series. Here’s the inside scoop on a typical day, in her own words.

The newest adventure of Maddie Porter

A Day in my Life with Grandma Gerry Porter

I’m Maddie Porter. I’m 11 and 3/4, and my grandma is Gerry Porter.

People are asking Grandma to talk about a day in her life. But she’s very shy when it comes to talking about herself. She taught high school for years and years, but she claims that’s different. She knows a lot about English—that means all kinds of reading and writing, like, even old stuff, Shakespeare, and all—and she loves to pass it on, she says. But if it’s about her personal life, she keeps it quiet.

So it’s up to me to do it for her. Talk about her day, I mean.

When I was a kid, I didn’t spend as much time with Grandma and Grandpa because I lived far away in Los Angeles. But now I live in Palo Alto, California, which is very close to Lincoln Point and I have my own bedroom in Grandma’s house. Grandpa was sick for a long time and then he died but I still remember a little bit about him. He was an architect and that’s what I might want to be. Either that, or I’ll get a job building dollhouses because that’s my favorite thing to do with Grandma. She has lots of friends and they come over and work on projects that they give away. Like to kids in shelters. I guess that means that they can’t afford real homes. The kids, I mean.

I’m very lucky that I have 2 homes, almost. My best friend in Lincoln Point is Taylor. Taylor’s grandpa, Henry, and my grandma are going to get married soon.

Or else, I might be a cop, like my first-cousin-once-removed Skip, but I can tell nobody wants me to do that, because . . .

Uh-oh, I think I’m doing that unfocused thing my teachers are always ragging on me about. I’m supposed to be talking about a day in Grandma’s life. But I only know about the days I’m with her, so what can I do?

Maybe I’ll just tell you about last Saturday, even though it was the worst day of my life. I did something really stupid and Grandma got mad at me. And she never gets mad, even when my ‘rents are really mad at me, so you know it must have been bad.

I’ll try to explain why it happened. I was at soccer practice with Taylor and when Henry took us back to Grandma’s house she was all upset. The place where their wedding was going to be, I forget her name, called and said someone died in their pool! Then it turned out the dead person was Grandma’s friend Mr. Templeton’s wife! He’s part of Grandma’s group that comes and builds dollhouses with us.

The second best thing I like to do, well maybe it’s the first, is help my cousin Skip solve cases like this. I know a lot about computers and I might be a computer specialist when I get to college. It’s hard to decide.

So, everyone’s trying to figure out why Mrs. Templeton, the dead lady, was even at the place where Grandma and Henry were going to get married, plus who pushed her into the pool? It’s like a hotel but they call it Bee and Bee, I think. I don’t know why.

Why Grandma was mad at me: I had an idea for how to find out something about one of the suspects. I was only trying to help, but it turned out to be not a good idea because I could have gotten hurt and some other people might have gotten hurt, too.

I don’t have time to explain it all, but I just wanted to tell you about that one day in Grandma’s life when I thought she didn’t love me anymore. Everything’s okay now, though. The end.

[Note from Gerry: Maddie wants me to correct her essay before she submits it, but I'm leaving it as is. I'm not even going to read it. I hope she didn't reveal too many family secrets!]

[Note from Margaret Grace: For the full story of Maddie's misbehavior, read Matrimony in Miniature, released September 9, 2016!]

M is for Mini

Here’s a slightly tweaked blog that appeared on Chris Verstraete’s site a couple of months ago.

What’s in a name? Could mine have predisposed me to a life-long miniatures hobby and a string of mystery novels about a miniaturist? It makes as much sense as anything.

I don’t remember how long it took me to learn to spell my name—in my day, kids entered first grade with virtually a clean slate. We were lucky to be able to count to 10 (on our fingers) and know the way to the corner store. There were no public kindergartens, let alone pre-schools, pre-pre-schools, and so on. Our mothers didn’t read to us, explain the world to us constantly, or teach us anything but to be seen and not heard. At least, that’s how it was in my neighborhood.

So it might have taken a couple of grades for me to master CAMILLE MINICHINO, the 16 letters that make up my name.

Meanwhile, I played with the one “toy” I had, which was a dollhouse my father built for me. Along with my favorite cousin, I turned everything into minis. We cut up old greeting cards and “framed” a bird or a flower or a bicycle to decorate the walls of my mini house. We sliced pieces of straw from a broom and made spaghetti. We covered sponges with scraps of fabric and made beds and easy chairs.

Corner of mini post office. Marker for scale.

We had a whole life in miniature.

I kept that hobby through my adult years. At one time or other, nearly everyone I know has received a miniature “something.” A small sewing scene for my quilt-making friend, a tiny cluttered dorm room for one stepdaughter, a miniature stable for another. In my home I have a post office, a 6-level museum, and a funeral parlor, all in miniature. My embalming room and post office are pictured here.

Mini embalming room. For scale: the orange waste container was a pill container.

To give my hobby even wider distribution, I created Geraldine Porter and her granddaughter, Maddie (there’s that M again) and set them free to make minis and solve murders in a slew of mysteries—nine novels and one short story so far. That meant I had to come up enough M’s for the titles: Murder, Mayhem, Malice, Mourning, Monster, Mix-up, Madness, Majesty, and Manhattan are out in paper and e-book formats. Matrimony in Miniature will be released in September 2016.

Anyone have an M for the next one?

Maddie speaks out

At last, Maddie Porter, age 11, has her say. She’s the sidekick in the Miniature Mysteries series by Margaret Grace.

Wow, after all the drills in school, we finally had a real earthquake where I live in California. I wasn’t scared. Not too much, anyway. It was only a 3.1, but everything quaked! I was in my Grandma’s house with her and her BFF. I think they’re going to get married soon. I hope so, because Uncle Henry—that’s what I call him—his granddaughter, Taylor, is my BFF! So that would be so cool. Me and Taylor would be, like, cousins or something.

Back to that earthquake, it’s a good thing I remembered Drop, Cover, and Hold On! from our drills in school, and made sure Grandma and Uncle Henry came under the dining room table with me and held on even though it moved a little. I think a vase in grandma’s house broke, but the big thing is that downtown in the new, giant crafts store, some pottery fell off a high-up shelf, and someone died from being hit over the head. The man was a boss of the new crafts company. He came to our town from New York, and my grandma thinks maybe it wasn’t the earthquake’s fault that he died. She’s probably right, and if she is, then we’ll have a Case to work on.

I love helping Grandma and Uncle Skip (he’s not old like Uncle Henry) who’s a police detective. This time I made up a data chart so we could have an easy way to see where everyone was when the earthquake hit. That’s called an alibi, and when we looked at all the alibis it helped us figure out how the man from New York was killed.

Grandma and I work on dollhouses together, and that’s almost as much fun as police work. When I grow up (I’m almost there—I’m eleven years old), I think I want to be a detective like Uncle Skip. Or just make miniatures all day. Or maybe work in an ice cream shop, or maybe live in New York. That’s where my dad was born when Grandma and Grandpa were living there. At least I want to visit New York and see the Rockettes. Maybe Grandma will take me some day.


GIVEAWAY ALERT: go to Dru’s Musings where this blog first appeared and make a comment by MIDNIGHT APRIL 17 for a chance to win a copy of MADNESS IN MINIATURE, the 7th in the series.