Food=love in my books…especially around the holidays.
Today’s contribution is from my friend Kim Boykin. I spotted this recipe on the Tule Author’s Holiday Facebook Party and I knew I had to share on my blog.
Take it away, Kim:
Nobody does Christmas like Miranda Hamilton, and now that she finally has her chance to chair Magnolia Bay’s tree lighting and the cotillion, which benefits her late mother’s breast cancer foundation, this Christmas is shaping up to be the best ever. That is until her childhood nemesis Logan Mauldin buys his way on her committee and starts making plans of his own.
Logan Mauldin loves to get under Miranda’s very sexy skin, and it’s only fair. She’s been getting under his since long before their first kiss at 13. Logan’s the last man interested in co-chairing a Christmas committee or participating in a sexy bachelor auction, but since that night he interrupted Miranda on a date and cornered her under the mistletoe, he can’t stop thinking about her. Or vying for her attention and bugging the hell out of her.
Christmas cheer isn’t the only thing that heats up between the Miranda and Logan, but, thanks to a lie that is as much her fault as it is his, he loses the woman he’s loved since forever. Logan will need a Christmas miracle for Miranda to forgive him. A grand gesture to melt her heart and win her back just in time for Christmas.
- Magnolia Bay Red Velvet Pancakes
- 1 can cream cheese frosting
- 1 cup whole pecans toasted
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons red food coloring
- Whisk the flour, white sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt together in a bowl until evenly blended; set aside. Beat the eggs in a separate mixing bowl until smooth. Whisk in 1/4 cup milk with the buttermilk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, vinegar, and food coloring. Stir in the flour mixture until moistened. Drizzle in the melted butter, and stir until the butter has incorporated and small lumps of flour remain.
- Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium-high heat. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto the griddle, and cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry. Flip, and cook until browned on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter. Top with syrup and pecans (and an optional dollop cream cheese icing) to serve.
JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS
“Everyone. Wonderful to see y’all. Logan.” Miranda should have slapped herself silly for gawking at him.
“You can’t imagine my surprise when Logan here, nabbed me Saturday night at Crusoe’s,” the mayor said, like the man was the second coming. The sexy smirk on his face wasn’t helping Miranda at all. “Put a great big donation to your mother’s foundation in my hand and said he had some fabulous ideas for our little Christmas events. Even asked if he could co-chair. Of course, knowing you wouldn’t mind, I said yes.”
Miranda nodded. She’d been at Crusoe’s Saturday night and had seen the mayor and her husband. Miranda had been on a date with John Jackson, a yummy attorney from Charleston whom she recently met at one of the gallery crawls there. He had talked her into taking a break from decorating the house, and she was glad she had. The food and the wine had been as good as his company.
Although there hadn’t been any real sparks at dinner, they were just getting to know each other and the night was young. After a lovely dinner, John had asked Miranda if she wanted to take a walk on the docks the restaurant overlooked.
When she’d stood to leave, she’d noticed Logan coming into the restaurant with a friend. Miranda had rushed past him but then suddenly remembered she’d forgotten her wrap. When she’d turned around to retrieve it, she’d run smack into a wall of hard muscle. Logan. Adrenaline shot through her and her heart beat faster than it had at any point during the evening.
“I’m sorry,” she said. He’d been smiling down at her, holding her in place. Until she came to her senses. “Excuse me.” She’d tried to pull away, but couldn’t budge.
“No Problem,” he said leaning in close enough to whisper. “But I believe you owe me a kiss.”
“What?” she’d hissed. “I do not owe you anything, Logan, not to mention that I’m on a date.”
Logan had glanced at the door where John looked extremely curious as to what was going on. “He looks like a nice guy, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.”
“You’re nuts,” she’d snapped. But maybe she was nuts because her body was humming with anticipation, and it wasn’t for John.
“And you’re standing under the mistletoe; it’s tradition.”
“Good. Night. Logan.” She threw on her wrap and rejoined her date, but she’d felt the loss of the connection long after she pulled away from Logan.
And now he was here at her committee meeting, trying to upend things in the ninth hour. Usual sexy smirk. A big fat donation with strings attached. What did that mean? That he was definitely nuts? They were oil and water. This would never work.
“Miranda.” He extended his hand. “Always a pleasure.”
She sat in the only available seat beside him, determined to get down to business. When she gave his hand a firm shake, her heat fluttered.
Happy reading…and eating, my friends. And don’t forget to stock up on great holiday reads to last the whole year! Celebrate Romance is still only $.99. You can read a Hanukkah story AND a Christmas story for under fifty cents apiece.
5 heartwarming holiday romances for just $.99
Food=love in my books. And it’s my great pleasure to welcome back, Lilian Darcy. She’s one of my auto-buy authors, and she just completed a wonderful series of connected stories for Tule Publishing. She’s also a great cook. So, what do you do with all those left over pumpkins? Scones, you say? I believe I will, thank you. Take it away, Lilian.
Or maybe there isn’t, but I would argue that pumpkin and all its close relatives are well worth the purchase at any time of the year.
Here in Australia, we call pretty much any of those hard, orange-fleshed vegetables pumpkin. There’s Butternut, Grey, Kent, Jap, and Queensland Blue, and probably more. I think we must eat a lot of these various pumpkin varieties in Australia, as the internet tells me the country grows 114,417 metric tonnes of it per year, for a population of 23 million. Per person, that’s… no, I’m not going to try to work it out.
Here’s one of my favorite recipes, which you can make with any variety of hard orange pumpkin or squash.
Note that they’re savoury rather than sweet. If you want sweet, then you can find my women’s fiction novel The Sweetest Thing free on major ebook platforms, but you’ll probably want to have some chocolate on hand while you’re reading it.
- 2 cups plain flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 oz butter, chopped into small pieces
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2/3 cup cooked and mashed butternut pumpkin
- Preheat oven to 400F/200C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, add butter and rub in or cut with a pastry cutter until mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
- Make a well in the center of the mixture and add buttermilk and pumpkin.
- Mix with a spoon or your hands until it forms a dough.
- Knead lightly on a floured surface until smooth.
- With a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough until it’s an inch thick, and use a cookie cutter of your desired size and shape to cut out the scones.
- Re-form the dough and cut until it is all used.
- Place the scones on your tray and brush with buttermilk, then bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until risen and golden.
- Serve with plain or herb butter, and/or cheese.
Tully Morgan hasn’t been back to Marietta for more than a few brief visits since the night of the 1996 senior prom eighteen years ago, when the chance exposure of a long-held family secret sent her running to her uncle in California in shock. She stood up her date Ren Fletcherthat night, and she hasn’t seen him since.
Now she’s here for an extended stay, to help take care of her seriously ill mother. It’s an edgy reconciliation, the first time that Tully, Patty and Sugar Morgan have been together since that long ago prom night. Tully has had so much anger toward Sugar… can she ever forgive her?
And Sugar still has one more secret that needs to be dealt with, one that needs Ren Fletcher’s help. Has he forgiven Tully for leaving him in the lurch on prom night? And is there any chance that he and Tully can rekindle what they might once have had, when he’s still tied to someone else?
Happy reading…and eating, my friends. Enjoy!
Food=love in my books.
Who loves unique books that break molds…and melt-in-your-mouth flank steak?
I do! I do! So, it pleases me to no end to share this Tuesday’s guest blogger with you: Dana Marton, who will tell you about her new book, Forced Disappearance AND introduce you to the national dish of Venezuela.
Thank you so much for having me as a guest! Today is my running-around-like-a-headless-chicken day. I have a brand new release out, and I’m so excited about this book! I was lucky to have an absolutely superb editor who didn’t blink an eye that FORCED DISAPPEARANCE doesn’t follow the usual romance conventions. For one, it’s the heroine who saves the hero. Miranda is nobody’s damsel in distress.
Did you know that the Army has a special unit, Personnel Recovery, that looks for missing DoD personnel (military and defense contractor) if they disappear in a foreign country? Did you know that there’s no such thing for ordinary Americans who are kidnapped/disappear abroad? One of the great things about being an author is that I get to fix things in my books, so I invented the Civilian Personnel Recovery Unit where Miranda Soto ends up as a new investigator after a shattered military career.
Her first assignment is to locate and rescue wealthy American businessman Glenn Danning, a man who’d once been her best friend and first lover. These two were stars at MIT during their college years, so be prepared for some geeky humor. (Waiving to fans of The Big Bang Theory.)
Keep reading for a quick snippet. Miranda and Glenn are fleeing from the Venezuelan secret service, hiding in the jungle, and they’d just stolen some supplies from a group of botanists who are on a guided tour.
- You will need:
- 2-pound piece flank steak
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cut flank steak into a handful of pieces. Mix the minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, paprika and half of the jalapeño into a paste, and coat the meat with it, then refrigerate for an hour or two.
- Sauté half the onions and the green pepper in olive oil, then add steak and caramelize on both sides, then add 8 cups of water and boil under cover until the meat is falling apart (3-4 hrs).
- Remove steak from water and, cool, then shred by hand.
- Toss the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining onion, green pepper and jalapeño into a pan and sauté. Add shredded beef, cook until crisp, then sprinkle with with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with white rice, black beans, and fried plantains. Enjoy!
by Dana Marton
After the great snack heist, they spent the rest of the afternoon searching for water to refill their old-fashioned aluminum canteens; then they boiled the water back at their campsite to sterilize it. They had food, water, and shelter—better than nothing.
Glenn picked through their newfound toiletry bag while Miranda put fresh leaves on their sleeping platform since last night’s bedding was full of bugs that had moved in during the day. The pink plastic bag held one bar of soap in a matching pink plastic case, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a razor, a comb, nail clippers, a handful of cotton balls, and a six-pack of flavored condoms—strawberry.
Okay, that brought back some college memories of discovering sex and really, really liking it, liking it more than engineering.
They might have been inexperienced, but both he and Miranda had curious minds, which turned out to be as much as an advantage in bed as it’d been in the class room. When faced with something unknown, they both believed in extensive experimenting and testing. Including nearly the entire contents of an X-rated novelty store one semester.
He held up the pack. “Somebody was hoping to get lucky while on vacation.”
She rolled her eyes. “Botanists. They’re all floozies.”
He grinned at the old college joke. A couple of girls in the dorm room next to Miranda’s had used the botany department lab to mix up herbal aphrodisiacs. They successfully sold a whole variety of love potions on the campus black market. But not as successfully as some of the guys in the department, who were always mixing things that could be smoked.
Miranda scanned the six-pack. “Those could come in handy. We used to get them in our army emergency pack. You can collect and transport water in them. Close to half a gallon, actually. Or use one to hold a wound dressing in place, keep dirt out, and make the dressing waterproof.”
He cocked an eyebrow. “Okay. I have to say, my mind went to a different place entirely.”
She snorted as she shook her head, a half smile twisting her full lips. “One of those will keep your tinder and matches dry in a place like this, or if you have to wade through water.” She went back to working on their bed. “And condoms burn if you have no tinder. A onetime use, so preferably to be avoided. You can use them to make a slingshot and hunt. You can use them to prevent moisture or sand from getting into the barrel of your weapon.” She finished with the bamboo leaf bedding and wiped her hands on her pants as she turned toward him.
Happy reading…and eating, my friends. Enjoy!
Food=love in my books.
ARE YOU READY TO JOIN US AT THE BIG MARIETTA FAIR?
I hope so, because the first book in this wonderful 6-part series opens Friday, July 11, with Beauty and the Cowboy by today’s guest contributor, Nancy Robards Thompson.
I’m so excited to welcome my new friend and Fair cohort, Nancy, who won RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart award right out of the box in 2002 and never looked back. Now, some 23 books later, Nancy brings her deft romantic touch to the Big Marietta Fair.
Beauty and the Cowboy is a friends-to-lovers story. Here’s the blurb:
It started with a ring that pinched and Charlotte Morgan didn’t like but her long-term boyfriend ignored her preference for another ring before he left on another business trip vaguely promising that they would look at other rings sometime. So was she engaged or not? And did she want to be? Charlotte feels uneasy, and her almost fiancé has stopped returning her texts and calls, but Charlotte doesn’t have too much time to ponder her relationship quandary. She was too busy preparing for the annual Marietta Fair with her childhood friend and fairgrounds manager Jesse Guthrie, whom she can’t stop noticing in a way that has nothing to do with their long standing friendship and everything to do with sexual chemistry that starts humming through her veins every time he walks into a room.
Former rodeo star Jesse returned home to Marietta Montana after an injury derailed his career. He has harbored a series crush on Charlotte since her beauty pageant and high school days, but she was always unavailable, and now that her relationship status just might be single, he intends to hang onto this chance and ride to the end of the bell.
Nancy’s recipe, Salted Caramel Popcorn, is the kind of wonderful fair food you can make at home. It’s similar to a recipe my mom made and my family loves. I can’t wait to try Nancy’s version. Pecans! OMG!
- 10 cups oil-popped popcorn (air-popped and microwavable popcorn don’t work as well) — Pop 1/3 cup of kernels in 1 tablespoon of oil.
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped or crushed pecan halves or pieces, toasted in a 350-degree oven for 7 minutes
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Put the popcorn and pecans into a large mixing bowl.
- In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the brown sugar and syrup, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from the heat and add the vanilla, baking soda, and salt, and stir vigorously. (The mixture will get very foamy and light.) Pour it over the popcorn and pecans, and use a wooden spoon to stir it quickly and gently, mixing well.
- Spread the coated popcorn mixture out on a pair of large, rimmed baking sheets, and heat it in a 200-degree oven until it feels dry to the touch, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Cool completely before packaging, about 20 minutes.
Now, enjoy this taste of “Beauty and the Cowboy”!!
“Where’s the ring?” Mattie Guthrie demanded when Charlotte Morgan walked into the Marietta Fairgrounds offices.
No preamble. No greeting.
Just the breathless, starry-eyed demand of a teenage girl who was more interested in getting the jump on the gossip than doing her summer receptionist job. Clearly, Mattie expected a look at the ring before she would grant Charlotte admittance to the meeting she’d scheduled with Mattie’s brother, Jesse, the fairgrounds manager.
Charlotte stopped a safe distance from the reception desk. Reflexively, her thumb found the base of her bare ring finger. She shoved her naked left hand into the safety of her linen jacket pocket.
The air conditioning that had felt so refreshing when she’d closed the door on the muggy July morning suddenly felt icy and inhospitable. It hummed conspiratorially, as if supporting the stink-eye Mattie was now shooting her.
“Come on, Charlie, let me see.” The girl’s pitch went up an octave as she reached across the desk, palm up, wiggling her fingers in a give-it-up gesture. “We’re like family and I haven’t even seen the ring yet.”
Charlotte fisted her hand in her pocket.
True, she and Tom had gone ring shopping in Bozeman last weekend. It hadn’t taken long for word to get around Marietta: After all these years, Charlotte Morgan and Tom Tucker were finally getting engaged. The only problem was, they hadn’t bought a ring and when Tom had kissed her goodbye before heading off to his next competition on the Professional Bull Riders circuit, Charlotte certainly hadn’t felt as if she’d been proposed to. Not properly, anyway.
Now, it seemed as if the entire town of Marietta was wagering: were they or weren’t they engaged?
The fact that she didn’t have a ring on her finger should’ve said it all. However, a tiny tidbit not many people knew was it wasn’t Tom’s fault that they’d walked out of that jewelry store empty-handed. Charlotte had been the ambivalent one. Tom had gravitated toward a gorgeous two carat bundle of bling so big and bright it could blind a person from fifty paces. She’d desperately wanted to love the marquise he wanted for her. But when she put it on and held up her hand to look at it, the bottom point of the setting dug into the base of her finger. Then every time she moved the ring seemed to bite her. She’d even tried a larger size, but that just made the ring slide off her finger when she put her hand down at her side.
So she’d pointed out a modest emerald cut, which she’d actually preferred to the marquise, but Tom hadn’t been very enthusiastic. For a split second, Charlotte had wondered if his lack of gusto held a deeper meaning. Because for a moment it almost seemed like they were both just going through the motions. Then she looked around at all the gorgeous rings, sparkling in the cases as if to celebrate the occasion that she, Charlotte Morgan was finally making the big commitment.
And she wanted to run.
Here’s the Amazon Buy link: KINDLE.
Thanks for following my blog. Happy reading and see you at the Fair!
Welcome to my first ever My Sexy Saturday blog.
This is part of a Bog Hop. That means my blog is one of many, connected by a common link so you can read and read and read…and discover new authors. Each other has the option of sharing 7 words, 7 sentences or 7 paragraphs they deem sexy.
Here’s the link to check out other super fun, super sexy blogs. MySexySaturday
And since my 4-book Screw Senility features a 54-year old heroine, looking for love in some unexpected places, I thought I’d give you a peek at Judy Banger’s love life. Warning: it’s complicated. And naughty.
In this scene Judy Banger is seducing the contractor who came to remodel her bedroom and chase away the bad ju-ju after her last sexual partner kicked the bucket during/after coitus. Her new lover is nine years her junior. But who’s counting…?
“What the f*!# is that?”
“A French tickler.”
He let out a low guffaw. “I know what it is. I’ve just never seen one shaped like a devil’s head.” He picked it up, gingerly, examining the garish red, grinning horned figure, even waggling its protruding tongue back and forth. “It’s freaky. Where’d you get it?”
A stocking stuffer three years earlier from Pru sounded far too weird to share, so she shrugged. “A friend.”
She shook her head. “No. I’ve had it for a while. Been waiting for the right partner.”
He handed it back. Then, with a wide grin belying the devilish arch of his brow, he pointed to his groin. “Well, slap it on, darlin’. I’m your go-to guy.”