I know! I know! I should spend more time reading my beloved Cozy Mysteries! However, every October (for the last several years) I have looked forward to spending time watching seasonal non-mystery shows on TV.
As I have mentioned before (a nice way to say “complained about” before…) we don’t have the four seasons here in San Antonio. I have missed fall and winter ever since we moved here. It’s either hot and muggy, or cool down here. (This is the main reason I am so devoted to cold-weather holiday Cozies.)
So, every year at this time, I anticipate watching some of my favorite Food Network shows. That’s right, I have made no pretense about enjoying cooking/baking but I get a vicarious enjoyment out of watching other people performing those tasks.
Here are some Food Network channel holiday show I think you may enjoy:
1) Halloween Baking Championship: I have particularly enjoyed the last two seasons of this show because the host (John Henson from “Talk Soup”) and the three judges (Carla Hall, Lorraine Pascale, and Zac Young) seem to get along so well, often playing off of each other. The show has two competitive baking rounds, with someone being eliminated after the second. These competitors can bake!
2) Halloween Wars: This show is quite different than the previous in that it features teams consisting of a sugar specialist, a cake decorator, and a pumpkin carver. Like the previous show, there are two rounds. The teams are “artificially” put together so they aren’t made up of friends. It can sometimes get pretty brutal between the competitors. Still, it is absolutely amazing to watch what they create.
Not to worry, once Halloween is over, I then start watching the holiday themed (ie Christmas etc.) competitions.
3) Holiday Baking Championship: This Christmas-themed baking competition is also played in two rounds. The judges are Duff Goldman (from “Ace of Cakes”), Lorraine Pascale (gorgeous model/cook), and Nancy Fuller (from “Farmhouse Rules”). These three judges are absolutely terrific together! If you haven’t already seen this show, you will be amazed at the winter holiday creations the bakers make!
4) Christmas Cookie Challenge: I’m not sure if this show will be on again this year, but I already have it on my Tivo favorites list – just in case. It features bakers who specialize in cookie-baking, so it isn’t as professional seeming as the previous baking competitions. A real bright spot it had going for it last year is that Ree Drummond (“Pioneer Woman”) was one of the judges.
5) Chopped-holiday editions: I’ve already discussed Chopped before, but my husband and I especially enjoy the shows that feature Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas themes.
That about wraps up my winter holiday cooking/baking shows. Oh, and let me mention one more holiday show: The Spring Baking Championship. Bring on the Easter bunnies!
How about you? Are there any holiday shows you look forward to watching (other than the Hallmark movies)? Please leave a comment below. Thank you!
PS: Both Halloween Baking Championship and Halloween Wars began recently. However you may be able to catch the earlier episodes – as the Food Network re-airs them several times.
November won’t be big for new Cozy Mystery series, but it will have a fair share of holiday themed Cozy mysteries, all of them Christmas themed!
First, Bethany Blake will be releasing A Midwinter’s Tail, the fourth in her Petsitting Mystery Series. Pet sitter Daphne Templeton is looking forward to the holiday season in Sylvan Creek, Pennsylvania, and the entire community is celebrating the visit of Celeste “CeeCee” French, the founder of a national pet care franchise, but the celebrations are about to come to a premature end when CeeCee is found dead under the town’s Christmas tree.
Next, Rita Mae Brown will be releasing the 11th in her Sister Jane Mystery Series, Homeward Hound. Sister Jane is preparing for the holiday season by arranging the annual Christmas run, a parade of hunters through the local woods. Unfortunately, the event itself is interrupted by a blizzard, and one horse returns without a rider… and when the missing rider is found, all clues point towards murder. Rita Mae Brown also writes the Mrs. Murphy Mystery Series, starring Mrs. Murphy and her talking pets.
Lynn Cahoon will be releasing Santa Puppy, a novella in her Tourist Trap Mystery Series. Jill Gardner has volunteered her “Coffee, Books, and More” shop for a Christmas adopt-a-pet party. Jill decides to try to hunt down the identity of one of the pets former owners, but has very few clues to go on. Lynn Cahoon is also the author of the Cat Latimer Mystery Series and the Farm-to-Fork Mystery Series.
Next up, Jacqueline Frost will be releasing ‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas, the 2nd in the Christmas Tree Farm Mystery Series. A corpse has turned up in the giant candy bowl filled with peppermints in the town square, and Christmas tree farm worker Holly’s best friend seems like the most likely suspect. Now, as the holiday season fast approaches and with it the most busy time of the year for the farm, Holly will need to juggle personal time and work time to find the true killer and make sure her friend has a happy holiday. Jacqueline Frost also writes the Kitty Couture Mystery Series under the name Julie Chase, and the Geek Girl Mystery Series, Patience Price Mystery Series, and Protectors of Cade County Mystery Series under the name Julie Anne Lindsey.
Finally, Daryl Wood Gerber will be releasing Wreath Between the Lines, the 7th in the Cookbook Nook Mystery Series. Cookbook store owner Jenna Hart is preparing for the holiday season when she’ll need to balance work and arriving family (in the form of her imperious sister), when she hears from her father’s good friend Jake that one of his own friends has turned up dead, wrapped in lights and impaled on a Christmas star. Concerned for Jake, Jenna will need to hunt down the killer to keep the Christmas season a jolly one.
If you’re interested in looking for more Christmas themed Cozies, be sure to visit the theme page on my site: Christmas Themed Cozies
November will be a bit slow for new Cozy Mystery Series, with only one new entry coming out by established site authors.
Diane A. S. Stuckart will be releasing Fool’s Moon, the first in her new Tarot Cats Mystery Series. Ruby Sparks is a tarot card reader caring for her half-sister’s New Age shop and menagerie of pets, including Ophelia and Brandon, a pair of tarot-card reading cats! Still, when a client comes in hoping to divine the meaning behind a murder, she’s hesitant – at least, until it becomes clear that she’ll need to solve the murder in order keep herself safe as well! Diane A. S. Stuckart also writes the Leonardo da Vinci Historical Mystery Series, as well as the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery Series under the name Ali Brandon.
For more upcoming Cozy Mystery Series, check out the New Cozy Mystery Book Series page on the site.