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
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Tuesday’s Table Welcomes Author Jana Richards

I am so excited to be hosted Jana Richards today. Not only is she an incredibly talented storyteller but she’s a friend. She’s here to share her latest release, Home Fires, and talk about her love of baking.

Easy as Pie

I’ve always liked to bake. I remember as a teenager learning to make chocolate chiffon cake. It was the size and shape of an angel food cake, and had a light, airy texture that melted in the mouth and left a nice chocolate buzz. Brownies were also a favorite of mine to bake. I guess I had a thing for chocolate. Still do.

These days I don’t bake much, due to a busy schedule and a concern for my expanding waistline. But one thing I still love to make is pie, especially for guests. Pie crust can be a tricky thing to master, and  honestly, my crusts don’t always turn out as flakey as I would like. The perfect pie crust requires exact balance. Adding a little too much or too little of any of the ingredients can result in frustration and sometimes disaster. At least it does for me.

So when I was looking for a challenging dish for my heroine to master in my novel “Welcome to Paradise”, I had her learn to make pies. Bridget is a talented chef who calls herself the “Queen of the Cocktail Party” because of her expertise with appetizers, but she has little experience with pie. The people of her small North Dakota hometown rally around to teach her. It takes a village not only to raise a child, but also to teach Bridget to bake!

Here’s the recipe for pie crust I taught to Bridget:

Fruit Pie Pastry

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 cup shortening (removed from fridge about an hour before using)

8 tbsp. ice water (approximately)

2 tbsp. milk

Place oven rack on lowest level and preheat oven to 450 F. Sift flour, then measure into a bowl that will accommodate it but isn’t too big. Add salt. Add shortening to flour and use a knife to cut into dice-sized pieces. Then using a wide-bladed pastry blender, quickly combine shortening and flour until fully integrated and there’s no loose flour in bowl.

Add ice water one tablespoon at a time in different parts of the bowl. Use a table fork to quickly stir mixture. If it doesn’t start to form a ball, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons ice water and continue stirring vigorously.

When dough starts to come together in a ball, remove it from the bowl, shape it into a more uniform ball and cut in half. Generously flour a plastic pastry sheet or large wax paper. Place one of the dough halves in the centre and flatten slightly with your hand. Place a large piece of waxed paper on top and use a rolling pin on top of the waxed paper to work dough into a large, fairly thin circle that is large enough to cover the pie plate.

Remove waxed paper and gently fold circle of dough in half. Gently place it over the pie plate, unfold it and use your fingers to work it down to the bottom, against the sides and over the rim.

Repeat process with second ball of dough. Put prepared filling into pie crust. Moisten your fingers and dampen the edges of the bottom crust. Then put the folded upper crust over the filling and press the edges of the upper and lower crust together to form a seal.

Use a sharp knife to trim pastry along outside edge of pie plate, then use your fingers to crimp the edge to make a nice finish. Baste top crust, but not the crimped edge, with milk, then use a sharp knife to cut a pattern of vents in the top crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake pie on lowest rack of preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 450 F and then reduce temperature to 350 F for 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool somewhat before serving.

And here’s one of my favorite pie fillings. I got this recipe from my mom, and since we grow rhubarb in the garden, it’s one I make often.

Rhubarb Pie Filling

2 ½ cups rhubarb

1 cup raisins (optional)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

¼ tsp. salt

½ cup sweet heavy cream or whipping cream

1 egg

Combine all ingredients and pour into pie crust. Makes one pie.

With practice, Bridget eventually learns to master the pie crust, and eventually learns that baking, and love, is as easy as pie.

Do you bake pie? Do you have a favorite kind of pie?

Thanks, Jana. Home Fires is a delightful read and I highly recommend it!

Anne Wakefield travels halfway around the world for love. But when she arrives in Canada from England at the end of World War Two, she discovers the handsome Canadian pilot she’d fallen in love with has married someone else. Heartbroken, she prepares to return to London, though she has nothing left there to return to. Her former fiancé’s mother makes a suggestion: marriage to her other son.

Badly wounded and scarred during the war, Erik Gustafson thinks he’s a poor substitute for his brother. Although he loves Anne almost from the first time he sees her, he cannot believe she would ever be able to love him as he is – especially as he might be after another operation on his bad leg.  Anne sees the beauty of his heart. The cold prairie winter may test her courage, but can she prove to Erik that her love for him is real?

Jana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length paranormal suspense and romantic comedy.  She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side.  She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.

When not writing up a storm, working at her day job as an Office Administrator, or dealing with ever present mountains of laundry, Jana can be found on the local golf course pursuing her newest hobby.

Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren, and a highly spoiled Pug/Terrier cross named Lou. You can reach her through her website at http://www.janarichards.net

Follow the Links:

Website:  http://www.janarichards.net

To read an excerpt from Home Fires:  http://www.janarichards.net/ExcerptreviewsHomeFires.html

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/JanaRichardsAuthor

Buy Link for Home Fires:   http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_145&products_id=4902

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/author/janarichards

Blog:  http://janarichards.blogspot.com

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Tuesday’s Table Welcomes Author Vonnie Davis

Thank you so much for visiting today, Vonnie! What a wonderful glimpse of Paris you’ve given us. 

Karyn, thanks for hosting me today. I’ve been looking forward to our visit, so I could talk about food found in my favorite city. I often say that Paris is a feast for the senses. The beauty of the architecture, the smell of freshly baked breads, the hiss of espresso machines and popping of champagne corks, and the rich taste of French food. They do have a love affair with butter…and wine…and cheeses.

One of our favorite markets is along rue Moufftard on the Left Bank. Vendors set up their tables, artfully displaying their fresh fares early in the morning. By two o’clock in the afternoon, they are gone and the street is swept clean. French women with a net bag or a canvas shopping bag make their rounds. With small kitchens and refrigerators that often fit under the counters, storage room is next to nil.

Along with outside vendors, there are little shops barely larger than one’s bedroom here in the States. When you enter these butcher shops, bakeries, cheese stores, florists, wine shops and seafood stores, you are greeted with a lyrical, “Bonjour, Monsieurs, Madames.”

For a great bowl of French Onion Soup, or oignon soupe, we often go to Café Séverin on Boulevard Saint Michel. The restaurant is across the street from Place Saint Michel with a large statue and fountain, a meeting place for Sorbonne students. We often sit there for hours, writing and watching passersby.

 

Unlike in America, where you are expected to move on once you eat, in Paris the price of a cup of coffee entitles you to a seat for as long as you want it. Tipping is different there, too. If the bill says the tip is included, then nothing more is left on the table. In fact, the French look down on Americans for over-tipping and consider it bourgeois, or a middle class person trying to make an impression.

Since onion soup is our favorite, I’m sharing my recipe with you today:

 

SOUPE À L’OIGNON.

The onions for this soup need a long, slow cooking in butter and oil, then a long, slow simmering in stock for them to develop the deep, rich flavor.

 

1 ½ pounds or about 5 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions.

3 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. cooking oil (I use virgin olive oil)

Cook the onions slowly in the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart covered saucepan for 15 minutes, using low heat. Uncover, raise heat to moderate/medium and stir in a teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of sugar, which helps the onions to brown. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions have turned a deep, golden brown.

Sprinkle in 3 Tablespoons of flour and stir for 3 minutes. Turn off heat.

2 quarts boiling brown stock, canned beef bouillon, or 1 quart water and 1 quart of beef stock.

½ cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of parsley

 Blend the boiling liquid into the pan of browned onions. Add the wine, and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside uncovered until ready to serve. Then reheat to simmer.

3 Tbsp. cognac (optional, I’ve found)

Rounds of hard-toasted French bread

2 Cups grated Swiss cheese

 Just before serving, stir in the cognac. Pour into soup cups over the rounds of toasted bread. Top each bowl/soup cups with grated cheese and place under broiler for a minute or two until cheese is brown in spots. Serve right away.

I often bake a roast the day before to get some of the broth. I also save a few slices of roast beef and cut it into tiny pieces while onions are cooking. I add the beef after adding the broth to produce a heartier soup.

I’d like to share some information about my recently released romantic suspense set in Paris. Writing it was fun since it gave me a chance to visit so many of our haunts while visiting there. Here’s the back cover blurb:

Gwen,

You won’t believe this email. I’m sitting in a French safe house, eating caviar and drinking champagne with a handsome government agent, Niko Reynard. He’s wearing nothing but silk pajama bottoms and mega doses of sex appeal. I’m in big trouble, little sister. He’s kissed me several times and given me a foot massage that nearly caused spontaneous combustion. I’m feeling strangely virginal compared to the sexual prowess this thirty-year-old man exudes.

When I came to Paris for a bit of adventure, I never imagined I’d foil a bombing attempt, karate-kick two men, and run from terrorists while wearing a new pair of stilettos. I’ve met a German musician, a gay poet from Australia, and the most delightful older French woman.

Don’t worry. I’m safe–the jury’s still out on yummy Niko, though. The more champagne I drink, the less reserved I feel. What an unforgettable fortieth birthday!

Alyson

View the Book Trailer: http://bit.ly/MonaTrailer

BUY LINKS:

THE WILD ROSE PRESS (digital) — http://bit.ly/MonaLisaDigital

THE WILD ROSE PRESS (paperback) — http://bit.ly/MonaLisasRoom

AMAZON (paperback) — http://amzn.to/QQZGyD

AMAZON (eBook) — http://bit.ly/MonaLisasRoomeBook

FIND ME ONLINE AT http://www.vonniedavis.com

 I, too, have a love affair with butter, wine and cheese. But I’ll happily settle for Niko and reading Mona Lisa’s Room. And I’ll remember to take my time as well as sip, and savor as I do!

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Tuesday Table Welcomes Author Debra St. John

Welcome Debra! It’s wonderful to have you hear talking about Thanksgiving and sharing a wonderful recipe from your upcoming holiday release, An Unexpected Blessing.

While I was growing up, we always hosted Thanksgiving at our house. I think that’s why it’s my favorite holiday. There’s nothing better than waking up to the smell of succulent turkey in the oven.

One of the best parts of getting ready was setting the table. Usually we had a crowd of at least twenty, so that meant putting all of the leaves in the dining room table, plus adding additional tables at the end. The little card table at the way end was always the “kids’ table”. Eventually each of the older cousins made it to the “big people” table. Until they had kids of their own and wound up right back at the end. All told the extended table stretched out of the dining room, through the archway, and into the living room. Chairs were gathered from all over the house: dining, kitchen, folding, and sometimes even patio. Fancy white linen table cloths (freshly ironed) gave everything a uniform look.

I still remember how exciting it was to get out the cozies with Mom’s good china. Each plate was carefully removed from the stack and placed in precisely the right spot on the table. Serving dishes went in the middle, waiting to be filled with creamy mashed potatoes, sweet corn, gravy, and homemade stuffing. Next came the good silverware. Each utensil had its own stack in the padded compartment of the brown chest. Place cards were the final touch so everyone knew where to sit.

Just as exciting was waiting by the window waiting for all of the grandmas, aunts, uncles, and cousins to arrive. A flurry of hugs and kisses greeted each new arrival. While the relatives enjoyed appetizers, snacks, and drinks in the family room, Mom, my sister, and I (and usually a grandma or an aunt or two) put the final touches on the meal in the kitchen. Eating the ‘schnibbles’ as the turkey was carved was the best part. We’d load up the table with the enticing dishes, and then finally announce that dinner was ready. Everyone scurried to find their spots. After plates were filled and the prayer recited, we dug in. Chatter and laughter provided the backdrop as oodles of food was consumed, until one of the uncles would toss down his napkin and say, “I’m so full I can’t eat another bite.” Groans of agreement always echoed the sentiment.

And then we served dessert. And of course everyone ate it.

Those days are long gone. Not only are the cousins all grown, but their kids are all grown too. The grandmas have passed. Mom and Dad are snowbirds and spend the holiday in Florida. But the memories will live on forever in our hearts. This year my hubby and I are hosting Thanksgiving at our house for the first time. It will be a small affair. Just us, our sisters, and his parents. But I can’t wait.

So of course it wasn’t a huge stretch at all to write a story focusing on Thanksgiving. An Unexpected Blessing is coming November 21 and incorporates all the best things about the day.

Single Mom Katy Roth thinks life can’t get any worse. In the past six months she’s been let go at work, had to move back home with her parents, and found out her ex is cutting his child support payment. As Thanksgiving approaches, she finds little to be thankful for in a life that is quickly spinning out of control.

Joe Mason is the town’s bad boy. Literally. He’s just returned from a four year stint in prison. He wants nothing more than to put the past behind him and get on with his life. He’s had a secret crush on Katy since grade school, but when Katy’s parents hire him to be their handyman, she’s less than thrilled to have him around.

But soon, through her young son’s eyes, Katy discovers the good in Joe. As their feelings for one another deepen, small town gossip and prejudice threaten to ruin everything. Will Joe’s past come between them, or will they be able to get beyond it and hold onto a love neither expected?

And a recipe from the book:

Kyle’s Favorite Pumpkin Cookies

Ingredients:

1 c brown sugar

1 c cooked or canned pumpkin

½ c oil

1 t vanilla

2 c flour

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

½ t salt

½ t cinnamon

½ t nutmeg

½ t ginger

1½ – 2 c chocolate chips*

Directions:

Beat sugar, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla. Sift together remaining dry ingredients. Add to pumpkin mix and stir until smooth. Add chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

*Can substitute raisins and/or chopped nuts if preferred.

 

 

Bio: Debra St.John writes spicy romance with sexy heroes and spunky heroines for The Wild Rose Press. An Unexpected Blessing is her fifth release. Although she’s a country girl at heart, she lives in a suburb of Chicago with her husband, who is her real life hero. You can find her at www.debrastjohnromance.com or blogging at http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com, http://heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com, or www.authorsbymoonlight.com.

Thanks so much for guest blogging today, Debra. I’m more than willing to read a book that combines romance and recipes! What’s the largest gathering you’ve hosted? Feel free to share a Thanksgiving tale.

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Tuesday’s Table with Grace Hood and Autumn Cravings

I love this time of year, and always have. Not only is it back-to-school time (I loved school when I was a child), but I have a September birthday so I equate autumn with presents. Personal greed aside, the cooler days and crisp nights are refreshing after the heat of summer. I can’t wait until it’s cold enough to dig my favourite sweaters out of storage.

My food cravings change this time of year. I wonder how much of that has been programmed, you know, that whole nature vs. nurture debate. Regardless of the cause, the effect is that I search for recipes that use apples, pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger. On the savoury side, I’m cooking a lot of root vegetables and have retired my salad spinner until spring. Supper this evening was a hash consisting of potatoes, turnips, carrots, kohlrabi, shallots and bacon. A side dish of steamed broccoli, the last few stalks from our garden, completed the plate of comfort food.

The recipe I want to share is one I always look forward to baking once the weather cools. It’s one of my all-time favourite cookies, second only to the half-dozen types of holiday cookies I bake every December. Can you tell I like to bake?

Iced Pumpkin Cookies (adapted from Allrecipes)

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour                              1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon baking powder                             1 egg

1 teaspoon baking soda                                  1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cloves                              3 cups icing sugar

¼ teaspoon ground ginger                              5 tablespoons milk (+/- )

½ teaspoon salt                                               2 tablespoons melted butter

½ cup butter, softened                                    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups white sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, ground ginger and salt. Set aside.
  2. In bowl of mixer, cream together the ½ cup butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop by tablespoonfuls on cookie sheet (I line my cookie sheets with parchment paper).
  3. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes (my oven takes 17 minutes) until bottom of cookie is golden. Cool on sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. To make icing, combine icing sugar, melted butter, vanilla and enough milk to achieve smooth, fluffy consistency. Spread on completely cooled cookies.

Notice that this recipe leaves half a can of pumpkin puree left over. Perfect for making another batch of these cookies, because you may find these tend to disappear.

Career-minded Lara doesn’t find forty all that fabulous. Her carefully plotted path to success is on target and she isn’t about to let romance derail her. Except the hot, new advertising whiz steers her libido into overdrive.

Ryan lives to shake companies up and do whatever it takes to meet his goals. But the saucy affirmation-chanting minx challenging him awakens a more carnal desire.

A battle of wills may be what she wants, but he intends to push her boundaries until her inhibitions come undone.

 

Coming Undone – The Wild Rose Press – Amazon – Barnes and Noble

Grace Hood has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. As soon as she discovered, and devoured, her grandmother’s stash of medical romance novels, all plots had to lead to a happily-ever-after.

Grace writes full time, concentrating on sexy, steamy contemporary romance, hot paranormal romance, and spicy historical romance.

Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Grace now lives in Maine with her dear husband, two teenagers, two cats, one budgie, one surviving gold fish, and six hens. When she’s not torturing her heroes and heroines, she can be found either in her kitchen whipping up something chocolate, or in her yard chasing the chickens out of the garden.

Find more about Grace Hood and her books at her website.

 

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Tuesday’s Table: Mimi Barbour’s Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

Thank you so much for inviting me to be on your blog, Karyn. I’m really happy to share my story and cookie recipe with your readers.

Author of The Vicarage Bench Series, Angels with Attitude Series, and a hot, new romantic suspense series called Vegas. Mimi Barbour lives on Vancouver Island and writes her romances with tongue in cheek and a mad glint in her eye. “If I can steal a book lover’s attention away from their every-day grind, absorb them into a love story, and make them care about the ending, then I’ve done my job.”

I once won a cookie contest with my Cranberry Shortbread Cookies.

I had decided to enter into the Chatelaine contest, because my recipe had such a great history that I thought to share it with the readers. To my astonished delight, my cookies were picked, if I remember correctly, as winner #3. I still have the coffee pot, blender and various baking ware as proof.

All 10 winners were printed in the Chatelaine magazine for the entire world to see, and I’ll admit to walking around with a puffed up chest for a few days. Now that I remember, I do believe it was the first time I’d ever seen anything I wrote in print!

The story goes that as a new bride, I had moved to northern Canada, to a place called Stewart, B.C. It was within a few miles of the Alaska border so it was pretty isolated. In those days (and unfortunately still today) the best meal I could produce was a killer peanut-butter and banana sandwich. Needless to say, my husband is our chef and has been since the beginning. My little contribution to our meals is the dessert.

Understandable, as a new bride, I had very few recipes and the holiday season was approaching. So at a bingo game with some other ladies I lamented my terrible lack. An older Scottish woman, who I thought a real sweetheart, said, “Lassie, I will give you a true Scottish shortbread recipe handed down from my mother and hers before her. I’ve kept this to myself for that many years, but I like you. Since you’re a new bride, I’ll share.”

So saying, she took a napkin from the table and wrote her shortbread recipe on it. I quickly rewrote it once I got home and have used the basis of this recipe for many others

The variety that won the contest has ½ cup of dried cranberries and ½ cup of pecan pieces added.

To this day, I get so many compliments on my wonderful cookies that it truly isn’t Christmas for my family without a plateful of these decorating the table.

**A sequel to this story is that the woman’s daughter, who was a young girl back then, called me a few weeks after reading the magazine. She asked me if these were her mother’s cookies. When I said yes she laughed and told me that many years ago her mother had slowly faded with Alzheimer’s without ever having written her precious recipe down. By the time her daughter’s had realized they had no copies, she couldn’t help them. Now they were finally able to have the cookies they had grown up eating.

Contacts for Mimi:

I do enjoy meeting readers so please drop me a line at mimi@mimibarbour.com

 Amazon Page: http://amzn.to/SUv0yv

http://www.mimibarbour.com/

http://mimibarbour.blogspot.com

Twitter @mimibarbour

Facebook 

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Tuesday’s Table: Zucchini, A Proposal, and Sandra Dailey

Let me tell you the history behind my Zucchini Boats.

Until five years ago, my husband was a farmer. His main crops were a variety of tomatoes, and occasionally, bell peppers, watermelon or cantaloupe, depending on the time of year and market value. We live in Florida, which is a two crop zone. That means you go through the whole process twice a year yielding crops in the spring and fall.

On a few acres, he would also grow a large garden for our family, tractor drivers, and field crew. The garden would help feed at least twenty families.

Our kids loved their veggies, but would get tired of having the same thing too often. It was a challenge to find new ways of cooking the large amounts of some types.

When I threw together my Zucchini Boats one day, my husband and kids were hooked.

It only requires three main ingredients;

  • 4 med. – Zucchinis
  • 1 lb. – ground sausage
  • 1 cup – bread stuffing (not cornbread)

Crumble, cook, and drain the sausage. I use ordinary breakfast sausage. The spice level is up to you. Mix into the prepared stuffing.

Wash, tip, and split each zucchini from end to end. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Lay them out in an oblong cooking pan with the cut sides up. Fill with the stuffing mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.

Lastly, top with cheese if desired. My crew likes cheddar, but mozzarella and parmesan are excellent choices as well.

I like to serve it with fresh tomatoes or salad and red wine or sweet tea.

CAUTION: This recipe feeds four adults.

Be sure to check out my debut eBook – ‘The Chief’s Proposal’

Blurb: Ginny Dearing has finally realized her goal of teaching, but finding a position is proving impossible. After exhausting all possibilities, an Internet ad is her only hope. In a small town hundreds of miles away there is a job with one huge string attached…a husband.

Burned by love once, Brett Silverfeather finds his bachelor life more than satisfying. He’s facing re-election for sheriff, but this time the voters are looking for a family man. Brett finds himself pursuing a marriage he doesn’t want.

Ginny and Brett are opposite in every way, but opposites do attract. Can Brett protect his heart as well as he does his town? Can Ginny hide a secret past that could possibly destroy her future?

Available at:

The Wild Rose Press http://bit.ly/PSiSNR

Amazon http://amzn.to/MCNbDU

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/RTDJ01

I’m still living in Florida with my former-farmer husband, but the kids have moved out.

You can find me at:

http://www.sandradailey.blogspot.com

http://www.sandradailey.com

http://www.facebook.com/sandradailey.author

Thanks so much for visiting and leaving us with this great recipe! I don’t think there’s any better feeling than knowing all your hard work is helping feed people. I’ll definitely try this recipe as my daughter LOVES veggies. Any other veggie lovers out there?

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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 

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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.

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