Our Christmas Tree Tradition

TWRP 25 Days BannerThe Wild Rose Press is giving away 25 $25 gift certificates this December. That’s a lot of books! All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter at The Wild Rose Press blog. Each day there are entertaining posts about all things Christmas.

Today is my day and I’m talking about Christmas trees. Come over and join me and enter to win.

I love Christmas trees and I put up two of them each year. One real tree and one artificial tree. I display my ornament collection on the real tree and my kids creative talents on the other tree. All the ornaments they’ve ever made hang there. So many wonderful memories.

Halloween and Xmas Decorations 2013 006

Halloween and Xmas Decorations 2013 008

Halloween and Xmas Decorations 2013 009

Halloween and Xmas Decorations 2013 010

Halloween and Xmas Decorations 2013 011

Halloween and Xmas Decorations 2013 012

You can also win here on my blog. I’m giving away a digital copy of my romantic suspense, Backlash.

Backlash_w6440_300

So head on over and enter to win! Also comment here for a chance to win Backlash. Do you have a real tree or prefer an artificial one? Or no tree?

If you feel like sharing...

Tuesday’s Table Welcomes Andrea Downing

Thanks so much for having me here today, Karyn—I love any chance to discuss food.  And of course, any chance to discuss my book!  When I was writing Loveland, I had to create one scene in which Lady Alexandra, my English heroine, was hosting a dinner party.  There she is, out in the middle of the Colorado prairie, with none of the modern conveniences of grocery shopping.  Since I do my own grocery shopping on-line and get it all delivered to my door, it was quite a comparison to think of poor Lady Alex whose only ‘delivery to her door’ was a freshly shot animal on the hoof.  Talk about Fresh Direct…Alex, however, was better off than most; she had a cook who would have been thrilled at the opportunity to display her culinary skills for the gathered company.  And that cook, most certainly, would have owned a copy of Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, published in 1861.

The book starts by saying it comprises information for “the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-Maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and Under House-maids, Lady’s Maid, Maid-of-all-work, Laundry-maid…” Well, you get the picture.  Although very few of us now run the sort of household that this encompasses (certainly coachmen are rather sparse on the ground), when I emigrated to Britain in the early ’70’s Mrs. Beeton’s book was still a standard tome in most households—at least the reprinted recipes were.  It is to Mrs. Beeton that we owe the standard form of recipes with ingredients listed first, before directions.  Mrs. Beeton was also full of good advice, such as the fact that cherry laurel, more commonly known in cookery as bay leaves, when acted upon by water develops prussic acid—more commonly known as a form of cyanide!

Mrs. Beeton’s recipes were, of course, very much geared to the foods commonly available and consumed in the Britain of 1800s.  Grouse, hare, partridge, green geese, leverets, plovers, rabbits, wheatears, snipe, pheasant, capon, larks, teal, widgeon, blackcock (don’t ask), and venison all receive positively lyrical treatment.  Of venison Mrs. Beeton wrote, “Far, far away in ages past, our fathers loved the chase, and what it brought, and it is usually imagined that when Isaac ordered his son Esau to go out with his weapons, his quiver and his bow, and to prepare for him savoury meat, such as he loved, that it was venison he desired.”  I did have Lady Alex and her guests sit down to venison, a meat we still enjoy today, although I doubt she or anyone else ever considered Isaac and Esau in her menu-planning.

Desserts, on the other hand, are more translatable to the modern age.  With Christmas coming I thought back to my early days in Britain and a few of the Christmases spent there.  Christmas Pudding would not go down well with the Americans not raised on it.  Of a somewhat sticky consistency, it is, in any case, mixed months in advance with a great deal of fruit, boiled or steamed on the day, and then set on fire with a good dousing of Brandy.  The well known pudding, Trifle, was another idea but I figured that was far too complicated, if made correctly, with so much else going on.  It necessitates cake fingers, a proper custard often called crème anglaise, candied fruits, and whipped cream.  While in Britain cooks often take shortcuts such as buying pre-baked cake fingers and using custard powder to mix for the sauce, the results are never as tasty as when a proper custard of eggs and cream is made.

So then I remembered Syllabub.

Syllabub originated in Tudor times, an era when the word ‘cholesterol’ was completely unknown! The alternative spelling of ‘sillabub’ may indicate a relation to the French town of Sille where champagne is made.  I had often heard that Syllabub was, indeed, made with champagne but have never found a recipe to include this.  Mrs. Beeton uses white wine or a combination of sherry and brandy.  I’m not sure that the actual alcohol one chooses is of importance as long as it is relatively sweet, and preferably fortified.  My own choice is for Madeira.  One thing, however, is consistent:  Syllabub, which was originally served in champagne glasses, is still generally served in a glass dish.  Enjoy!

SYLLABUB

1pint heavy cream

¼ pint Madeira

1 good tsp. cinnamon or nutmeg, or to taste

Juice & grated peel of 1 lemon and 1 orange

3 oz. superfine sugar

Lightly whip the cream.  Add remaining ingredients as you continue whipping until cream stands in peaks.  Fill glasses, perhaps decorating with an extra grating of lemon and orange peel or a berry or glacé cherry to make it festive. Chill.  Makes approx. 6-8 servings depending on size of your glass.

My thanks to my sister-in-law, Robin Wachtel, for the loan of her very elegant table and dishes to display my Syllabub. Photograph of Annabelle Wachtel taken by Catherine Megret Wachtel, with thanks.

If you’d like to know a bit more about Loveland, here’s the blurb.  For now, thanks once again for having me, Karyn.

When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society –and become independent of men. That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life…

Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.

Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?

AND
AND
If you feel like sharing...

Sultry Suspense Showcase

I’m guest blogging about why I love romantic suspense at Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews! There’s a chance to win a copy of Backlash.

“Everyone Deserves a Guilty Pleasure. Reviews by every day women, for every day women.”

If you feel like sharing...

Inspired By History

I’m guest blogging today at the Regency World of Author Lesley-Anne McLeod today and having a blast. Even though I’m a contemporary writer, I love history. Stop by and check the history of the area that was the inspiration for my fictional town, Aspen Lake. Hear about fox hunts and cricket matches on the wild, barren 19th century barely civilized prairies.

Lesley-Anne is also a co-collaborator on The Storytellers’ Bouquet which you can download for free here. It includes four free short stories, including mine titled Waiting for Mason.

If you feel like sharing...

Tuesday’s Table Welcomes Author Joanne Brothwell

Hi Karyn! Thanks for inviting me to share my favourite recipe on your blog! I’ve chosen a dish that best represents the relationship between Sarah and Evan, the main characters in my book, Stealing Breath.

Sex in a pan.

Joanne: I’ve chosen a photo that isn’t actually the recipe, but a very interesting photo, nonetheless, because it is so damn hilarious to me. This is a cake baked by a local book club, celebrating their first meeting of the season. Gee, do you think they like the book, Fifty Shades of Grey? So funny.

Karyn: I”ll have to pass this photo on to my book club’s September host because we just happen to be reading Fifty Shades. I think either cake would be the perfect dessert: the cover in cake form or Sex in a Pan. I wonder if Judy (our host) could make a table center piece of Christian Grey out of modeling chocolate?

So, without further ado, here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Sex In A Pan Ingredients

1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
4 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups milk
1 (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate, melted

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
To Make Crust: In a medium bowl, mix together margarine, pecans and graham cracker crumbs. Pat into a 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned; allow to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and confectioners sugar until smooth. Fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping. Spoon mixture into graham cracker crust.
Prepare chocolate and vanilla puddings with milk as per package directions. Allow pudding to set before pouring on top of the cream cheese layer. Spread remaining 3 cups of whipped topping over pudding layer; swirl melted chocolate throughout whipped topping.

Cover and refrigerate for about an hour. For leftover pie, keep frozen in a tightly covered container. When ready to eat, just cut off a piece and allow to thaw; keep rest frozen.

Nutritional Information  (Even though it’s sometimes best not to know)
Amount Per Serving  Calories: 463 | Total Fat: 30.6g | Cholesterol: 25mg

Recipe from All Recipes http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sex-in-a-pan-iii/

Karyn: Well, that’s pretty self-explanatory! Thanks for stopping by, Joanne! What recipe or meal or drink best represents your favorite hero and heroine?

Author Joanne Brothwell

 

 

Joanne Brothwell 

Facebook

Twitter @JoanneBrothwell

An ancient evil has resurfaced, the soul of the Indigo Child is at stake. Beware those with the Stealing Breath…

By Joanne Brothwell

Deep in the backwoods of North Dakota, twenty-one year old Sarah Ross is searching for a missing child when she is attacked by a glowing-eyed, transparent… creature. Sarah survives, destroying the monster by using mysterious abilities she didn’t even know she had.

Bloody and bruised, Sarah flees the scene and runs directly into Evan Valente, a handsome, charismatic stranger who helps her back to safety. But what is Evan doing out in the forest at five in the morning?

Turning to a healer, Sarah is shocked to learn her eyes bear the mark of the Indigo Child—an evolved human with the ability to feel the emotions of others. But her indigo aura also makes her an easy target for those who wish to consume her powerful essence.

Soon, Sarah is falling deeply in love with Evan and wants nothing more than to follow her heart and trust that he is the man he says he is. But she can’t ignore the lingering feeling that Evan is hiding a terrible secret. The deeper she digs, the more danger she faces, leading her on a course that will force her to face the darkest, innermost parts of her soul.

If you feel like sharing...

Book Club Friends

You can find me guest blogging today at the home of Silver James. I’m talking about my book club and giving away an ebook copy of Backlash!

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” Albert Schweitzer

you can learn a bit about Silver James and her Moonstruck Series on Amazon starting with Blood Moon.

On Sunday I’ll be attending Word On The Street, Saskatoon. It’s a Canadian magazine and book fair that is taking place in several major cities. Here’s the link in case you happen to live in one of those cities.

If you feel like sharing...

Tuesday’s Table Welcomes Author Kate Austin

I’m very happy to be hosting the lovely Kate Austin. A wonderful writer, she also happens to be a fellow Canadian, but from an entirely different part of the country.

I live on the ocean, write women’s fiction, love to read so much that it’s an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it’s a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.  Kate Austin

I’m a foodie so this is a tough blog for me to write. I love good food, whether I’m cooking a meal at home for friends, eating out at one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants (I live in downtown Vancouver so my neighborhood has more restaurants than you can count), or when I’m traveling. But meals for me–the great ones–are all about companions. A bowl of rice and vegetables with a good friend I haven’t seen for a while is a great one; a burger and a beer with a couple of pals is a great one; crackers and cheese and a bottle of wine while talking on the phone with my best friend (who now lives right across the country) is one of the best, although seeing her in person is even better.

So I could talk or write (my books are often about food and meals with friends) about food and great meals forever–the one I had in Rye, England after three weeks of miserable weather and food, or the pizza I had in Bellagio on Lake Como, or the best ever food and service I had in a small hotel in Calais–but I don’t want this blog to on forever (which it could), so I’ll tell you about the nicest meal I’ve had in the past couple of weeks.

Our friend Patrick–my partner also works in the hospitality industry–works at one of my favorite places to go. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Vancouver (which is really saying something) – the Cascades Lounge at the Pan Pacific Hotel. Here’s a picture of the view from the window.

And here’s a picture of the amazing meal we split –

The meal was fennel and lavender dusted halibut (and I love halibut), with corn succotash and asparagus. It was full of flavor, each taste–sweet and salty and tangy–complementing the others perfectly. Add to that the gorgeous basket of bread we also ate, chatting with a good friend, and looking out at the amazing view (and, oh, did I mention the Prosecco and Rolling Rock we drank?), it was one of those perfect meals.

I love evenings like that. How about you?

Kate

You can find Kate at:

http://kateaustin.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/KateAVancouver

http://www.kateaustin.ca/

If you feel like sharing...

It’s Friday!

And today I’m guest blogging at Kate Austin’s blog. She’s a fellow Canadian residing in Vancouver who writes great books. I’m answering questions about setting, my favorite book, and the book I’ll probably never write. Hop on over and say hi!

It’s also time for things to get back to normal here on the blog. So, starting next week things will be picking up.

Something new to start the week off. Tuesday’s Table will kick off on September 11th with it’s first installment. Guest bloggers will be talking about food. It could  be anything to do with food: favorite recipes, worst meals. excellent dining experiences, what they discuss around the kitchen table, etc. They’ll also be sharing information about their books.

Wednesday’s will be devoted to anything and everything.

We’re Back!

 

 

On Thursday, September 13th we’re back with our Carnivalesque: The Travelling Blog Show. We’re doing a wrap up of our summer reading challenge of Jane Eyre at Hayley Lavik’s blog. Just what did we think about Jane, did we root for her? And Mr. Rochester? Like him, love him, hate him. There’s so much to discuss. I can’t wait to share my thoughts.

 

 

How about you? Does the advent of fall see you setting goals and settling back into normal?

If you feel like sharing...

Last Day of My Virtual Book Tour

 

 

It has been an amazing two weeks. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of great people and enthusiastic readers. I have one last stop. Today I’m at Kacey’s Konnections with a couple of thoughts. It’s your last chance to enter to win the $25 GC to Amazon so stop in and say hi!

 

 

 

What he’s sworn to protect, she’s willing to sacrifice to save those she loves…

Backlash is available from: The Wild Rose Press ,  Amazon – Print ,  Amazon – Ebook ,  Barnes and Noble ,  Bookstrand ,  All Romance Ebooks

If you feel like sharing...

Virtual Book Tour Day 9

I’m at it again and this time I’m talking about the plot inspiration for Backlash at The Caffeinated Diva Reads! I’m offering a giveaway with this tour, a chance to win a $25 GC to Amazon. Stop on by and say hello! Tour ends Friday.

If you feel like sharing...