9 True Crime Podcasts

A round up of the most disturbing, morbid, dynamic, and obsession-worthy true crime podcasts!

While I've always been interested in true crime stories, this has become a full-blown obsession lately. I'm not sure if it's the preponderance of true crime stories at every turn (see: The Case Of: JonBenet Ramsey, American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson, Making a Murderer, Amanda Knox, etc.), or if it's just this time of year that gets my interest piqued in the dark and dreary, but it's gotten to the point that I end up forcing myself to seek out lighter, fluffier, non-true crime stories just to keep myself in check. For me, the more morbid, the spookier, the scarier, the more disturbing and twisted, the better. I don't know what that says about me, but it is what it is. I've rounded up some of my favorite true crime podcasts of late. Some are super dark (Casefile gives me nightmares), some are disturbing in their lightness and joviality in discussing such horrible subject matter (looking at you Last Podcast) and some are just truly mesmerizing in that can't get enough style (Serial). In no particular order, here's what I'm digging lately in the true crime genre.

Accused: When Elizabeth Andes was found murdered in her Ohio apartment in 1978, police and prosecutors decided within hours it was an open-and-shut case. Two juries disagreed. The Cincinnati Enquirer investigates: Was the right guy charged, or did a killer walk free?
It's the new podcast obsession sweeping the nation. This story follows the unsolved murder of Beth Andes, a young woman who was brutally murdered in her apartment in 1978. Her then-boyfriend was charged and later acquitted, and no other suspects were ever charged. The podcast investigates who else could have been responsible for the murder and what happens when you are accused.

Casefile: Fact is scarier than fiction. Casefile, a true crime podcast. Each episode explores a new case. The shocking, the terrifying, the strange, the unsolved.
This is by far the scariest of the bunch. Each episode follows a different case as the narrator tells the tale from start to finish. Eerie music and the narrator's deep and ominous voice coupled with truly horrifying crimes makes this one that will have you sleeping with the lights on.

Real Crime Profile: Jim Clemente, Laura Richards and Lisa Zambetti profile behavior from real criminal cases.
My friend Allie turned me into this months ago and it quickly became appointment listening each week. An all-star team of FBI profiler Jim Clemente and New Scotland Yard behavioral analyst Laura Richards makes this an insightful, engaging and often unsettling listen. They really go deep on each case they tackle (like just when you thought you knew everything there is to know about the OJ Simpson case, they manage to unearth even more details). Also I kind of have a crush on them. They've covered OJ, Steven Avery, Oscar Pistorious and most recently JonBenet Ramsey. They truly make a compelling case for each investigation.

My Favorite Murder: Ready yourself for a murder adventure hosted by two lifelong fans of true crime stories. Each episode the girls tell each other their favorite tales of murder, and hear hometown crime stories from friends and fans. Check your anxiety at the door, 'cause Karen & Georgia are dying to discuss death.
I recently learned about My Favorite Murder after reading about it on Cupcakes & Cashmere. First of all, is this not the most perfect title of a podcast, ever?! I love this lighter take on true crime wrap-ups. Georgia and Karen are hilarious and fun, and remind me of sitting around with friends, dishing dirty disgusting details, but somehow laughing through it.

Crime Writers On: The show is called Crime Writers On... and it all came together when we got some fellow writers together discuss the blockbuster podcast Serial. It's since morphed into a broader conversation about true crime, journalism, and pop culture.
This is a new one in my playlist. It's light and smart, and a nice change of perspective on well-known criminal cases. Yesterday I listened to the JonBenet wrap up, and found myself shaking my head in agreement throughout the episode.

Serial, season 1: A high-school senior named Hae Min Lee disappeared one day after school in 1999, in Baltimore County, Maryland. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She'd been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death.
The holy grail of true crime podcasts and a must in any podcast starter pack. Like so many other people, this is the first podcast I ever listened to and I was not only hooked from the first few minutes, but it launched a full-blown podcast obsession. At the urging of a colleague, Podcast maven Sarah Koenig takes the listener on a dynamic investigation of Adnan Syed, a man convicted of murdering his high school girlfriend 18 years ago. But did he really do it?

Sword & ScaleSword and Scale coverd the dark underworld of crime and the criminal justice system’s response to it. Everything from 911 calls to court testimony, interviews with victims and sometimes with perpetrators give listeners a 360 degree look at the entire story.  
This is a new one in my podcast collection. Sword & Scale investigates real crimes in more of a documentary style, featuring interviews with those involved in the case, from victims to law enforcement. 

In the DarkChild abductions are rare crimes. And they're typically solved. For 27 years, the investigation into the abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota yielded no answers. APM Reports and reporter Madeleine Baran reveal how law enforcement mishandled one of the most notorious child abductions in the country and how those failures fueled national anxiety about stranger danger, changed how adults parent their kids and led to the nation's sex-offender registries.
Like Accused, this one is also on the hot list right now. It's incredibly well-produced and has that same Serial-esque quality that I love. It's a terrible, disturbing story and every parent's worst nightmare, but it's an interesting look into investigation protocols.

Last Podcast on the Left: Every week Ben Kissel, Henry Zebrowski, and Marcus Parks explore the horrors of the world both imagined and real.
I found Last Podcast on the Left from My Favorite Murder as the hosts are big fans of the show and mention it often. I decided to give it a whirl...it's a totally different sort of podcast than all the others, though not so far off from MFM. It's a comedy first, true crime podcast second. If you are offended by comedians making fun of those departed and the crimes that put them there, then this is not for you. I'm still on the fence.

So there you have it. My not so short-winded attempt to bring you all of the true crime podcasts I'm digging lately. Do you like true crime? Any other podcasts to add to this list?

Strawberry Marshmallow Cake (and a Birthday Party)

Dreamy strawberry marshmallow frosting that's filled with marshmallow fluff and sweet fresh strawberries!

A few weeks ago, on a Sunday evening just about 30 minutes out from bedtime, P told me that it was her babydoll's birthday.

Her babydoll has been her baby for years. And when P received her from her grandma, we just started calling her 'babydoll.' Since then, she has become Babydoll, with a capital B. Whenever someone asks Penelope what her baby's name is, Penelope responds Babydoll. And when the other person says, yes I know, but what is her name? Penelope looks all confused like, didn't I just tell you her name?

Pillars of creativity, we are.

In any event, Penelope informed me that it was Babydoll's birthday and asked if we could make a strawberry cake for the occasion. I apologized to Penelope for my oversight about Babydoll's birthday and for being completely unprepared for such an event. We decided to celebrate the following weekend and make a real cake for the party.

During the week, I found a recipe for a mini cake and started thinking about how we could make this strawberry cake. Then, Penelope threw a wrench into the equation when she let me know that actually, Babydoll wanted a strawberry marshmallow cake. I had never really heard of such a thing, but who am I to object to Babydoll's choice of cake, amiright?

Penelope and I baked a little yellow cake for the occasion and invited her best friend over for the party. The girls got Babydoll all set up in her chair and everything, all on their own, and I just about died from the cuteness.

But let's talk about the dreamy strawberry marshmallow part.

I used this recipe from Dessert for Two for the little cake (minus the funfetti) and it was perfect for this occasion. We needed a tiny cake for a tiny party and this was simple and delicious. And the frosting? I started with a basic buttercream, and then added in some chopped fresh strawberries and marshmallow creme. The marshmallow made the frosting extra fluffy, while the fresh strawberries gave a nice burst of brightness as well as a pretty, naturally-pink color.

I'm no cake decorator, as you know, but we did the best we could with some strawberries and mini marshmallows on top. The girls, and Babydoll, loved it. And Shaun and I thought it was pretty glorious as well.

We had a little party on the terrace on one of the last gorgeous days of the season. I think the party, and the cake, was a hit!

Strawberry Marshmallow Buttercream
*makes frosting for 1 small round cake
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1 C confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C marshmallow creme
3 Tbsp chopped strawberries

In a mixing bowl, blend together the butter and confectioners sugar. Add in the vanilla and beat together until smooth and fluffy. Add the strawberries and mix until completely combined and you have a pretty pink frosting with small bits of strawberries. Fold in the marshmallow creme. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to frost the cake. Frost cake and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

Coconut Almond Peach Crumble

This end-of-summer peach crumble is free of refined sugars and is gluten-free! Great for those moments when you're trying to stay healthy but really want a sweet treat. 

One of the things I have a real love/hate relationship with in dieting is that I obviously hate having to give up indulgent desserts, but I also have a weird love for testing out new recipes that sort of cheat the system. I don't know that I'd go so far as to call this recipe 'healthy', however it's certainly a lightened up treat to satisfy that sweet craving, especially when there's an overabundance of drool-worthy, decadent desserts on social media this time of year.

Talk about feeling left out.

I had some peaches that were free-falling into use it or lose it territory (I HATE losing it), and so I thought it would be fun to play around with baking them up with a gluten-free topping. On a whim, I purchased almond flour a couple of weeks ago but hadn't really had a reason to use it. Well, I found a GREAT spot for it...right in this crumble! 

I also had some unsweetened coconut on hand which added a little oomph to the recipe, breaking up the almond flour in both taste and texture. I can't wait to try this recipe with fall fruits like apples...and maybe even a pumpkin crunch version? Stay tuned!

Coconut Almond Peach Crumble
*serves 4
3 peaches, very ripe, sliced
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
3/4 C almond flour
1/8 C unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 C butter, cold & cut into cubes
1 Tbsp baking sweetener (ex: Splenda baking blend)*
non-stick cooking spray
Greek yogurt & ground cinnamon, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a small baking dish with non-stick spray. Toss the sliced peaches in the baking dish with the maple syrup.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, coconut and sweetener (if desired). Cut the butter into the mixture, using a pastry cutter or 2 butter knives, until the butter is incorporated and crumbly. Sprinkle over the peaches.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until browned and bubbly. Let cool slightly and serve with a scoop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon (or ice cream! or whipped cream!)

Enjoy while it's warm! It also keeps in the refrigerator and reheats nicely in the microwave.

*I used Splenda baking blend which made the crumble topping very sweet (which I don't hate). For a less sweet version, which I'm sure would also be amazingly delicious, just use less or eliminate all together

All About Downtown Street Fair in Jersey City

Recapping our fun Saturday out at the All About Downtown Street Fair in Jersey City!

On Saturday, we had so much going on, including dr's appointments. a Verizon visit, ladies evening out (for me!) and the annual All About Downtown Street Fair in Jersey City! This is one of my favorite annual festivals. Put on by HSID, the fair spans for about 1/2 mile and includes just about every food and entertainment vendor in Jersey City. We hopped on the Path over to Grove Street and spent a couple of hours eating our way through the crowds. Here are some pics if you'd like to see!

I was obsessed with this stand selling homemade jewelry.

LITM had both fried mac & cheese, and rice balls with goat cheese. Since mixing and matching wasn't an option, I went with the rice balls. They were sooooo good. Also, I'm a rice ball snob.

While P and I devoured the rice balls, Shaun chose a taylor ham (pork roll!) and cheese pinwheel pastry from Grandma Downtown. Also amazing.

For you Stranger Things fans, we really got a kick out of this tee.

Need I say more? All the bacon. It looked and smelled amazing. Shaun went with a bacon-wrapped hot dog, which I happily shared.

Kath's Catering had one non-bacon item on the menu and it was an enormous cup of freshly cut watermelon for $5. We snapped one up for P and she devoured it. So refreshing.

It wouldn't be a JC street fair without Milk Sugar Love, the beloved JC creamery, serving up organic ice cream in the most incredible flavors. 

Penelope went with a cup of their vanilla bean (seriously, the best vanilla ice cream I've ever had!) while I couldn't say no to their Fruity Pebble Mac Daddy. It's an ice cream sandwich made with 2 fruity pebble macarons as the sandwich ends and filled with ice cream, then rolled in fruit pebbles. You guys. Even the man in the truck who sold it to me was excited for me, exclaiming 'Yes!' when I placed my order. And for scale:

There were even a few little rides set up for the kids. We ran into friends from our building, which was so fun for P to have a friend to ride with.

Tiny Greenhouse had some little crafts set up for the kiddos.

One of my favorite things about Jersey City is the art scene. Incredible murals are painted all over the city by local artists.

We closed out the day with some cotton candy to go. If you follow me on snapchat (rkcannon), you may have seen P talking all about it.

It was such a fun afternoon and I just really love doing things around our city. We headed home to rest and shower up, because Mama had a big night out with the ladies that evening! Thanks to everyone who participated in the All About Downtown Street Fair and for making it so awesome!