Tasty Tuesday: Ham and Cheese #breakfast #casserole #recipe from #romance #author Kathryn Jane

I so enjoy a hot casserole for breakfast, one chock full of ham, eggs, and cheese! Kathryn Jane shares her recipe and her stories today. Welcome, Kat!


The Meyers Security family is huge, and because their headquarters is the main house on the family ranch, there will often be upwards of ten people for a meal, and everyone pitches in.

One such morning Angie—a helicopter pilot and not exactly the domestic type—shows up early in the kitchen to give Consuelo a hand.

“How can I help?”

“Fill that big blue dish with ham and bread cubes, pour in a dozen eggs whipped with three-quarters of a cup of whole milk, then cover the top with grated cheese and—” Consuelo hesitated. “Better leave off the jalapeno bread crumbs, just in case the little ones want some.”

Angie laughed. “No self-respecting kid will touch a casserole when they know there’s sugar-coated cereal in the cupboard.”

HERE’S THE BASE RECIPE:

  1. Butter a casserole dish
  2. Cube enough ham to completely cover the bottom
  3. Add a generous layer of bread cubes
  4. Beat together enough eggs and whole milk to fill the dish one inch from the top. Add pepper to taste. The ham should provide adequate salt. (about 1/3 cup of milk to 6 large eggs for the average casserole dish)
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the dish and stir to make sure all the bread is soaked.
  6. Top with lots of shredded cheese and squish it down so the milk and egg mixture soaks up through the cheese.
  7. Bake until set and browned.

VARIATIONS:

  • Add jalapenos, cooked onion, green peppers, hot peppers, a variety of cheeses, spinach, corn, tomatoes, or anything else you can think of.

  • For convenience, you can cube your ham and bread the night before in an airtight container.

  • Put three casserole dishes on the counter and build three different varieties so you have something for everyone’s taste.

head-shot-from-rwa14Author Kathryn Jane is definitely not a domestic goddess, and her go-to food is toast, so this recipe is one she’s had to rely on a time or two and it’s always a hit with company.

More comfortable either outdoors walking alongside her beloved ocean, or hard at work in her writing cave, Kat has just completed a special project—a collection of short stories about stray and feral cats—and is currently working on book #8 of the Intrepid Women series.

These are full-length, stand-alone novels about women who step up and do what has to be done, even when it takes them far beyond their comfort zone. Kickass women and the men who dare to love them.

kathrynjane_dancewithme_2500pxDANCE WITH ME, book #7 in the series is very special as it is James and Julia’s story. They’re the oldest generation of the family, have been together for over forty years, and are fighting tooth and nail to get back together in spite of a rogue FBI agent and other crazy complications. It’s a great story, and I just love the cover! Find out more about my books at my Website:  http://kathrynjane.com/.


That’s an easy and delicious casserole recipe! I love base recipes that you can alter on a whim and with regards to what’s in the fridge or pantry. Thanks, Kat! Anyone want to share their favorite casserole dish?

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. As a special treat to my fans, I’m sharing a new novella exclusively to my subscribers one chapter each month through 2017 so you can read it before it goes on sale next December. I’ll be sending out the first chapter very soon, so sign up now!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Also, grab your copy of Undying Love while it’s discounted for only $1.99 before it releases on January 10. Here’s more about the first story in my new Secrets of Roseville series.

undying_love_600x900When architect Meredith Reed inherits her family’s plantation after the devastating loss of her own family, she must choose how to move on with her life. Keep the plantation? Not a good idea. Sell it? Better. Turn it into a memorial park? Better yet. But can she go against her family traditions and the hunky but irate lawyer?

Max Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He’s due a promotion once his legislation to protect the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman. If only the talented, attractive, aloof Meredith didn’t want to destroy the very property he cherishes.

While Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and future, will she learn a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue in time to save both her family and home from destruction?

B&N: http://bit.ly/2fF4QTf

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fnRyHK

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2fOyEdQ

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2eYDp5w

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2eYzWUS

iTunes: http://apple.co/2fF4mfT

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Tasty Tuesday: Swedish Ginger Snaps #cookie #recipe from #romance #author Rebecca Hunter

Anybody else getting excited for Christmas? The anticipation around here is high. The smell of cookies baking evokes many happy memories and now I have a new recipe to add to my arsenal. Help me welcome Rebecca Hunter and her tempting ginger snap cookie recipe along with several holiday romances!


Thanks for hosting me, Betty! I’m Rebecca Hunter, I write the steamy contemporary romance series Stockholm Diaries.

Since it’s December, I thought I’d share a holiday cookie recipe. In my Stockholm Diaries series, North American women travel to Sweden and find romance, adventure… and new foods, of course. The heroines try everything from cinnamon rolls to sandwiches with hard-boiled eggs and caviar paste!

rebeccahunter_stockholmdiariescaroline-cvr2_800pxStockholm Diaries, Alice is the next set of stories in the series (coming in early 2017). It’s a set of four novelettes and in the last one, New Years in Stockholm, Jonas offers Alice the classic Swedish treat ginger snaps. Here’s a sneak peek at the family recipe we use in our house to make these cookies every December. It was handed down from my husband’s grandmother – his “farmor” – which is where the name of this recipe comes from.

Here in the U.S., most gingerbread recipes feature molasses. However, Swedish recipes use a beet sugar extract called sirap instead. Outside of Scandinavia, you probably won’t find this ingredient in your local grocery store, but you can easily order it on Amazon under the brand name Dansukker. It’s worth the extra step, since sirap gives these ginger snaps a delicate, distinctly Scandinavian taste.

Farmor’s Swedish Ginger Snaps

125 grams (1/2 cup) sugar

125 grams (1/3 cup) sirap*

1/2 egg

125 grams (9 T) butter

3/4 deciliter (1/3 cups) whipping cream

1/2 T cinnamon

1/2 T ginger

1/2 t nutmeg

1 t baking soda

350 grams (2 3/4 cups) flour

* Sirap in Scandinavia is made of beet sugar, which gives these cookies a distinct taste. If you can’t find it, use “golden syrup” instead.

  1. Mix flour and baking soda. Cut butter into flour mixture.

  2. Whip up whipping cream until it forms stiff peaks Add sugar, syrup, spices and the (half) whipped egg.

  3. Work flour mixture into the wet ingredients and work it all into a smooth, even dough. Wrap tightly and let the dough stand in the refrigerator until the following day.

  4. To bake: Preheat oven to 350F. Flour a workspace and work the dough until it’s smooth. Roll out the dough very thin and cut into shapes. Bake on a greased cookie sheet until they are golden brown. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet before you remove them.

About the author:

rebecca-hunter630x800Award-winning author of sensual, emotional adventures of the heart.

Rebecca Hunter is a writer, editor and translator who has always loved to read and travel. Though she earned a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in English Education, most of what she learned about writing romance has come from other sources.

Over the years, Rebecca has called many places home, including Michigan, where she grew up, New York City, San Francisco, and, of course, Stockholm, Sweden. After their most recent move from Sweden back to the San Francisco Bay Area, she and her husband assured each other they’ll never move again. Well, probably not.

To sign up for news, sneak peeks and free stories, go to Rebecca’s website at http://www.rebeccahunterwriter.com.

Her first book, Stockholm Diaries, Caroline won the 2016 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.


So tempting! The stories and the cookies, truth be told. Baking cookies is a long-time tradition around my house, beginning when I was a child growing up. What’s your favorite cookie?

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. As a special treat to my fans, I’m sharing a new novella exclusively to my subscribers one chapter each month through 2017 so you can read it before it goes on sale next December. I’ll be sending out the first chapter very soon, so sign up now!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Also, grab your copy of Undying Love while it’s discounted at only $1.99 before it releases on January 10. Here’s more about the first story in my new Secrets of Roseville series.

undying_love_600x900When architect Meredith Reed inherits her family’s plantation after the devastating loss of her own family, she must choose how to move on with her life. Keep the plantation? Not a good idea. Sell it? Better. Turn it into a memorial park? Better yet. But can she go against her family traditions and the hunky but irate lawyer?

Max Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He’s due a promotion once his legislation to protect the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman. If only the talented, attractive, aloof Meredith didn’t want to destroy the very property he cherishes.

While Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and future, will she learn a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue in time to save both her family and home from destruction?

B&N: http://bit.ly/2fF4QTf

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fnRyHK

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2fOyEdQ

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2eYDp5w

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2eYzWUS

iTunes: http://apple.co/2fF4mfT

Crafting Christmas Letters #writerslife #holidaycheer #amwriting

 

2012-xmas-tree
Our tree in 2012. We used to cut our own when the kids lived at home.

It’s only a few days until Christmas and I’m so excited! After all the years I’ve celebrated, the anticipation of watching my family and friends receive their gifts still brings joy to my heart. One of the many annual tasks to prepare for the holidays is writing the letter to accompany our Christmas cards. It’s mainly been my task, since I’m the writer in the house, for the nearly thirty years I’ve been married to my loving hubby. He does the lights, after all, so I can handle perusing our year’s highlights and challenges and choosing which to share and which to skip or summarize. Then he’ll add his two cents and off it goes!

 

Some years are easier than others to write. My goal is to make it informative without being depressing (everybody has issues we must work through, right?) and yet not overly Pollyanna either. In fact, one friend wrote to us that after reading our letters over the years, when he’s faced with a challenge of his own he wonders to himself “what would Chris do?” to resolve the issue. Yep, we’ve most definitely faced our fair share of troubles and problems, but I always look for the positive outcome. Thus my desire to not sugarcoat the letter.

Not everyone receives the letter, either. I have to go through the list and decide who would want to know about our year, both accomplishments and adventures. I can only hope that I make the choice correctly since I don’t want to bother friends with our family and personal insights.

I thought I’d share a few lines from past years to see what you all think of them. To show the kinds of details I include in order to reach out and connect with family and certain close friends.

From 2012:

After a 4-day writers’ conference in Atlanta that Betty attended in early October, we left to journey back to Massanutten on October 12, taking a roundabout way through Athens, GA, to visit [our daughter], then across South Carolina, stopping at The Cowpens Battlefield and Brattonsville, both American Revolution historic sites for Betty’s research. We were excited to welcome Betty’s lifetime best friend and her husband to visit with us at Massanutten for a night there.

The day after we came home, the second edition of Hometown Heroines, with a new cover and subtitle (True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Adventure), was released as an ebook. As we write this, the paperback version is days away from being available as well.

From 2013:

Meanwhile, September brought more doctor appointments and diagnostic tests for [my father-in-law] as he continued to feel worse over the summer. Finally it was decided he should have heart valve repair surgery, which they did robotically in Birmingham the end of October after we got home from Massanutten. We stayed at the hospital’s guest suites while he had surgery and during his longer than expected recovery: two weeks instead of the expected one week. He is recovering, after a couple setbacks and adjustments.

While we were “on the road” for three weeks, [our son] stayed at the house and took care of the animals and plants, brought in the mail and the newspaper, and ate our food <grin>. We had to make a couple of trips home to get clean clothes and more books to read, but we felt it necessary to remain with Phil and advocate for his welfare as long as he was admitted.

From 2014:

Holiday greetings to you and yours! As the year winds down, we hope you’ll take some time to reflect on the joys and positive moments you’ve enjoyed since last Christmas. Our year has been filled with beginnings and setbacks, but through it all we’ve been healthy & safe.

Our first setback occurred just before last Christmas when Chris’s dad had a stroke. He was in the hospital for 9 days before being released to skilled care. Chris has been very busy this year, juggling his job, a myriad of chores and tasks around the house, and caring for [hid dad]. Some of the burden around the house stemmed from a water pipe bursting in the pool house in January that we didn’t notice for 2 days, which meant totally redoing the interior of the building. New wallboard, molding, flooring, and heating system had to be put in, but Chris had to oversee what the contractors were doing. Thankfully, the home owners insurance covered most of the cost.

From 2015:

Betty continues to research and write historical fiction stories, both women’s fiction and romances. She signed with a literary agent in January, which will hopefully facilitate the sale and publication of many books to come. The 3rd book in the A More Perfect Union series and her 5th novel, Samantha’s Secret, released in April. The 4th and last book in the series, Evelyn’s Promise, will release in February 2016. The children’s Literary Classics organization presented Betty with a gold medal for best gender specific young adult book for Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Adventure in Las Vegas in October in conjunction with the Vegas Valley Book Festival. What a great and humbling experience, too.

Just a few snippets to share as this year winds down. I hope you have a very happy holiday season and enjoy time with family and friends, or doing what brings joy into your heart. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Remember to grab your copy of my next release while it’s only $1.99! Only a few more weeks until it releases on January 10 and then the price will go up to $3.99.

undying_love_600x900When architect Meredith Reed inherits her family’s plantation after the devastating loss of her own family, she must choose how to move on with her life. Keep the plantation? Not a good idea. Sell it? Better. Turn it into a memorial park? Better yet. But can she go against her family traditions and the hunky but irate lawyer?

Max Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He’s due a promotion once his legislation to protect the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman. If only the talented, attractive, aloof Meredith didn’t want to destroy the very property he cherishes.

While Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and future, will she learn a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue in time to save both her family and home from destruction?

B&N: http://bit.ly/2fF4QTf

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fnRyHK

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2fOyEdQ

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2eYDp5w

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2eYzWUS

iTunes: http://apple.co/2fF4mfT

Tasty Tuesday: Zucchini Chicken #dinner #recipe by #romance #author MJ Compton

I love zucchini, but it’s not my hubby’s favorite vegetable. But MJ Compton is sharing her Zucchini Solution recipe which I think even my hubby will enjoy.


zucchini-solution-finalMasks of October­ is the first of three novellas featuring caterer Skye Schuyler. Skye’s trademark is healthy eating, and her biggest client is the local Major League Baseball team. Gone are the days when Babe Ruth couldn’t play because he (allegedly) ate too many hot dogs. Clubhouse meals have gotten much healthier as trainers and athletes better understand the connection between proper nutrition and peak performance. The challenge for the clubhouse caterers is to make the meals not only healthy, but tasty and appealing. And so one of Skye’s signature dishes in Masks of October is a zucchini and chicken dish that she serves to the team during the World Series.

I personally prefer winter squashes to summer squashes, but my husband is just the opposite. I came up with The Zucchini Solution to appease him, but to make the squash palatable to me. Skye’s dish in Masks of October is a simpler versions of The Zucchini Solution.

THE ZUCCHINI SOLUTION

©mj compton herwood

Pour about a quarter inch of olive oil in a large skillet (can use ½ c fat free low sodium chicken broth)

Add boneless skinless chicken breast that has been cut into bite sized pieces.

Season heavily with McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Chicken seasoning.

Cook over medium heat.

When the chicken is done, add chopped onion and garlic—I use a lot of chopped garlic—to the pan.

Cook for a few minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Add two medium zucchini, thinly sliced and 2 medium summer squash, thinly sliced.

Season heavily with Mrs. Dash Grilling Blends for Chicken

When squash is thoroughly cooked (15-20 minutes, stirring often) add 1 14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes.

Cook for several minutes.

zucchini-05Drizzle in some balsamic vinegar.

Cook for several more minutes.

Transfer to glass baking dish (I use a round quiche pan)

Top with shredded mozzarella (I use 2%)

Microwave for 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.zucchini-solution-final

masks-of-october-coverThe last thing caterer Skye Schuyler needs is for her crush on sexy baseball catcher Tag Gentry to develop into something more. She craves stability and a home base. Falling for a guy who thrives on road trips will only lead to heartache. But fate isn’t following her line-up. When his team hires Skye to feed him while he recuperates from a severe leg injury, Skye struggles to remain out of play for him.

Tag’s World Series dream is shattered along with his leg and possibly his career. His only pleasure comes from flirting with Skye. He’s the one who usually calls the plays, but he can’t tell if she’s shaking him off or going for the pitch.

When Tag learns Skye is catering a Halloween party for the team’s notoriously sketchy owner, he steps up to the plate to keep Skye’s involvement from going foul. He doesn’t like batting clean-up, but he goes for the assist because sometimes a player has to sacrifice for the good of the team. And he and Skye have formed a team.

The trick now is convincing the sexy caterer hooking up can be a treat.

mj-compton-author-photoMJ Compton grew up near Cardiff, New York, a place best known for its giant, which inspired her to create her own fiction.

Although her 30-year career in local television included such highlights as being bitten by a lion, preempting a US President for a college basketball game, giving a three-time world champion boxer a few black eyes, a mention in the Drudge Report, and meeting her husband, MJ never lost her dream of writing her own stories.

MJ still lives in upstate New York with her husband. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Central New York Romance Writers. Music and cooking are two of her passions, and she enjoys baseball and college basketball, but she’s primarily focused on wine . . . and writing. Find out more about her books at www.comptonplations.com


See what I mean about a really delicious sounding recipe? I’m going to have to try this one. What do you think? Do you like squash and zucchini?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

 

undying_love_600x900
Releases January 10, 2017!

Be sure to pre-order my latest release, Undying Love, while it’s only $1.99!

 

When architect Meredith Reed inherits her family’s plantation after the devastating loss of her own family, she must choose how to move on with her life. Keep the plantation? Not a good idea. Sell it? Better. Turn it into a memorial park? Better yet. But can she go against her family traditions and the hunky but irate lawyer?

Max Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He’s due a promotion once his legislation to protect the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman. If only the talented, attractive, aloof Meredith didn’t want to destroy the very property he cherishes.

While Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and future, will she learn a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue in time to save both her family and home from destruction?

B&N: http://bit.ly/2fF4QTf

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fnRyHK

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2fOyEdQ

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2eYDp5w

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2eYzWUS

iTunes: http://apple.co/2fF4mfT

Between the Lines: Stumbling Upon the Unexpected #research #history #amwriting #histfic

 

250px-SpesutieIslandMD.jpg
Spesutie Island, Maryland Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Sometimes I stumble upon information that surprises me when I’m researching an entirely different subject or trying to track down the answer to a question related to my stories. One of the most recent examples of this kind of Easter egg in my research is “discovering” Spesutie Island in Maryland.

 

Never heard of it? Don’t feel bad. I grew up in Maryland and had never heard of it! My father-in-law had never heard of it and he had been stationed at Aberdeen Proving Grounds which now incorporates the island within its boundaries.

5734dfd78d4fd.image.jpg
Cecil Daily, courtesy of NSHSA

 

How did I stumble on this? I was trying to figure out what kind of house a ball in the 1800s would have been held in and who would have attended it. What did the island look like at that time? I wanted to be able to describe how a lady would travel to the house where the dance was held, so knowing the possible travel options was necessary. I was fortunate to find this article that included a map of the island. I was amazed to learn of the history of the island and then wondered why I had never heard of it. With its significance during the War of 1812 it should have been mentioned at least during history classes. But I do not recall ever hearing the name. I suppose, though, that much of the specifics of any location’s past are glossed over unless you do dig into them.

That’s one reason I like to visit historic sites and homes because of the details shared in those places that you do not find online or in books. Letters and journals of the people who lived in them, or visited them, include enlightening experiences and perspectives so the people who have access to the primary sources are a wealth of information.

What about you? Have you ever stumbled upon new to you places in your hometown?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Remember to grab your copy of my next release while it’s only $1.99!

undying_love_600x900When architect Meredith Reed inherits her family’s plantation after the devastating loss of her own family, she must choose how to move on with her life. Keep the plantation? Not a good idea. Sell it? Better. Turn it into a memorial park? Better yet. But can she go against her family traditions and the hunky but irate lawyer?

Max Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He’s due a promotion once his legislation to protect the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman. If only the talented, attractive, aloof Meredith didn’t want to destroy the very property he cherishes.

While Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and future, will she learn a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue in time to save both her family and home from destruction?

B&N: http://bit.ly/2fF4QTf

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fnRyHK

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2fOyEdQ

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2eYDp5w

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2eYzWUS

iTunes: http://apple.co/2fF4mfT

Tasty Tuesday: Crown Jewel Tart #dessert #recipe from #historical #romance #author Rachel Miles

Tasty Tuesday is here, bringing a delicious recipe for a tart that features both pineapple and cranberries. Rachel Miles is known for her scrumptious historical romances, and now you get to taste one of the fabulous treats highlighted in her novel, Tempting the Earl. Take it away, Rachel!


In Tempting the Earl, a long separated married couple must discover whether their relationship is worth saving, while they work together to identify a spy. Because it’s the holiday season, food plays an important role, both in teaching the couple about each other and in bringing them to their happily ever after.

When crafty Olivia Levesford, Lady Walgrave, discovers a way out of her marriage, her husband Harrison returns to his estate after an absence of six years. Though Olivia has been an able estate manager, if she is not his wife, then one of his first obligations will be to learn how to manage his properties.

Harrison’s first mistake seems like an innocuous one. He changes the menu for the week’s meals, eliminating something called a Crown Jewel Tart because it uses pineapple—a very expensive ingredient during the period.

But Olivia’s mad chef brooks no control, and Harrison must very humbly apologize or (Olivia threatens) risk having to cook all the meals himself.

Here’s a snippet from that scene:

   “Have I told you, dear ones, about the day I first wore a hat?” The chef—Gilbert Douglas Stanley III—waved his arms, a spatula in one hand. “It was unfortunately cold that day in Queen Catherine’s court when I was called upon to make my famous Crown Jewel Tart. I could only find a straw hat—because of course one must keep one’s head covered to avoid the cold that causes consumption. We knew it was the cold that killed the poor footman—God rest his soul—so untimely a death, it was.”

Harrison watched the chef with a sort of morbid awe. Stanley had wrapped a wool throw around his head, making him look like a mad peasant escaped from bedlam.

Harrison felt the heat of the kitchen, but the chef seemed unfazed, warming his hands in front of the oven door. When he saw Olivia, the man twisted, jumped, then pounced as if he were a giant predator waiting for a mouse.

“Mr. Stanley, I must apologize.” Olivia approached Stanley slowly, as one would a rabid dog or a lion in the wild. “I had no intention of altering your menu in the slightest. You are, as always, our impresario of taste.”

“Then how did it come to be changed?” One edge of the wool flopped in front of his left eye, but he didn’t move it, merely tilted his head to regard her with his right. He looked like a giant, ill-dressed, one-eyed owl.

“My friend wrote on the menu, because he was imagining how his own cook might prepare a menu close to yours. He made alterations because his cook is less skilled and his audience is less adventurous. But he didn’t realize the menu as he adapted it would be returned to you.”

“Is that true?” Stanley pointed at Harrison with one crooked finger.

“Lady Walgrave is far too generous.” Harrison held his hands out apologetically. “I might have hoped my cook could approximate your dishes, but the truth is no one who is not a master of the culinary arts could even hope to approach the originality of your design.”

For a moment Harrison feared he might have misstepped. The tall man, scowling, turned away from Harrison and Olivia in a slow circle, his arms outstretched above his head. But then when his back was fully toward them, he leapt to face them again, smiling madly. “Apology accepted! Now to make my famous Crown Jewel Tart!”

Running across the kitchen, the chef grabbed a bowl of flour from the arms of one of the kitchen maids and held it out of her reach. “No, no, no. My dear, you cannot simply throw the butter and the flour together. The marriage of the ingredients must be harmonious, or my famous Crown Jewel Tart cannot be delightful. No, my dears, we must compose it happily of happy ingredients!” He wagged a long finger at a maid who stifled her laughter behind her apron.

“Do we know that the chickens were happy when they laid these eggs, dear ones? And were Eliza and Beth happy when they churned the butter?”

“Yes.” The maids spoke in a giggly chorus.

“But what do we know of the mill? Was the grain crushed with the appropriate weight? Was the grinding of the grain evenly fine? No?” Stanley’s voice was melodic. “My dears, listen: For my famous Crown Jewel Tart, you must use only the flour that has been milled in the morning by a fresh horse, and one who has been fed an apple before he begins so that he starts his work with a sweet taste in his mouth.”

Harrison leaned into Olivia’s ear. “Is he mad?”

“Quite,” she whispered back.

The Recipe

The Crown Jewel Tart was created with period-appropriate ingredients for Tempting the Earl by my dear friend (and master chef) Paul Wackym of Wackym’s Kitchen.

Ingredients

¾ cup whole milk

1 cup coarse ground cornmeal

4 ounces unsalted butter

8 ounces (approx. 1 cup) dark brown sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon orange zest

1/3 cup chopped black walnuts, toasted

12 ounces fresh fen berries (cranberries)

1 pineapple, cored, sliced about as thick as your thumb

4 ¾ ounces (approx. 1 cup) all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

5 ¾ ounces (approx. ¾ cup) sugar

3 whole eggs

½ cup rapeseed (canola) oil

Instructions

Boil (but do not scald) milk.

Stir in cornmeal.

Set aside for 30 minutes

 

In a 12” iron skillet, melt the butter.

Add dark brown sugar, salt, orange juice, and orange zest.

Simmer until the crystals melt.

Sprinkle with the walnuts, then top with the fenberries.

Place pineapple rings attractively atop the nuts and berries.

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt

In a second bowl, whisk briskly the sugar and eggs, then add the oil

Add in mixture of cornmeal and milk

Slowly add dry ingredients until blended into a batter.

Warm oven to 350*

Pour the batter over the fruit in the skillet.

Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes in the skillet.

Set a platter on top of the skillet and carefully invert the cake. Serve.

ann-1-dsc_7961-copyRachael Miles writes witty, sexy romance novels set in the British Regency. Her latest book–Tempting the Earl–was named one of Amazon’s Editor’s Best Books for November 2016 as well as an RT Book Reviews Top Pick.

Miles’ debut series The Muses’ Salon (published with Kensington Zebra Shout) has been praised in Publisher’s Weekly, RT Book Reviews, and Booklist. “Impeccably researched and beautifully crafted,” Miles’ ‘cozily scrumptious historical’ novels have been compared to those of Jo Beverley and Mary Jo Putney.

A native Texan transplanted to upstate NY, Miles (a former professor of book history and nineteenth-century literature) lives in the woods with her indulgent husband, three rescued dogs, an ancient cat, and a herd of deer who love her vegetable garden.

For more information on Rachael or for links to buy her books, check out her website – rachaelmiles.com

rm-tempting-coverTempting the Earl

A double life…

Olivia Walgrave is finished with being a countess. Writing under a pen name, her controversial column for the scandal sheets provides her with some income and far more excitement than managing a country estate. Besides, in the three years since the wars have ended, her dashing husband hasn’t spent one night under their roof. So Olivia has prepared a plan, and an annulment. All she needs is his consent…

Lord Harrison Walgrave let his father coerce him into marriage—but his devotion is to his Parliamentary career—and his secret work for the Home Office. Yet now, with freedom in his grasp, he finds he cannot so easily release his wife. Seeing her stirs a hunger no other woman has reached. A distraction now, when he is a breath away from revealing a ring of traitors, could be deadly. Still, wherever his investigations lead, the thought of Olivia lingers. It might be obsession. It might be treason. But the only way to escape the temptation is to succumb…

ISBN-13: 978-1420140903


Wow to both the story and the tart! Both sound wonderful. Thanks, Rachel, for sharing your scrumptious recipe with us! Maybe a special holiday treat for some of you?

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

On Being Flexible and Caring #WritersLife #FamilyFirst #amwriting #books #romance #histfic

There’s a saying that humans make plans and God laughs. He is probably in hysterics then, if that’s the case. I always make plans, but I know that they are subject to change with little or no notice. But having made the plan, I know where to adjust. To be flexible and adaptable. That’s the key for me.

business-planI’m very fortunate to have the kind of career that allows me to work wherever I am. (There are also drawbacks but that’s a different story…) I’ve posted before about creating my business plan to have an idea of when things need to be done. I’ve been working to that plan for several months and am on track to meet my goals.

But when my brother’s wife suffered a life-threatening situation that landed her in Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, I knew it was a matter of time before I made a trip back to Maryland. To be there to bolster my brother’s morale and do what I could to help them during this crisis. Automatically, I started contemplating whether I could flex my plans to accommodate a possible trip. I determined I could but kept to my plan until I knew for certain.

“Suddenly” then on the Saturday evening after Thanksgiving, I found myself packing for the 800+ mile one-way drive to my home state. Naturally, my laptop and manuscript I’m working on were added to the pile of clothes and books I took with me. I planned to arrive on Monday, stay a couple of days, then be home by Thursday. I contacted my dearest friend to see if I could stay with her and her family while in town, but their schedule was too crammed. So I made a reservation to stay at a hotel instead. Having my own space would allow me to work when not needed by my brother, too.

I arrived at my brother’s late Monday afternoon and dragged him out to dinner that evening. Where he could tell me what was going on. He didn’t know much except how worried he was about his wife’s condition and the uncertainty of her and their future together. She is his third wife; the second died from breast cancer so he was even more concerned.

We made plans to meet up in the morning and go see my sister-in-law. I wondered if his confusion was warranted due to lack of communication or if he wasn’t understanding the technical aspects of the treatment plan. But the situation was far more unsettled and unclear than I had anticipated. One thing I’m good at is asking questions and getting things done as a result. I quickly discovered they didn’t know what the nurses/doctors were actually doing to treat her condition, nor did they know what the treatment plan was. Before too long, we had answers to those questions. Trust me on that!

That’s when I found out a delicate, “difficult” procedure was planned to fix the “huge” hemorrhage caused by a brain aneurysm for Thursday afternoon. Which ended up being scheduled for 6 p.m. (really? that late?) and would last about 3 hours. Well, I couldn’t leave on Wednesday knowing that my brother would be waiting, alone, for hours while his wife had this surgery. So I extended my stay. Thankfully, my friend’s schedule allowed for me to stay with them, which was a nice bonus for making the trip.

working-at-dennys-westminster-2016Wednesday, after visiting my sister-in-law for several hours and dropping my brother off at his apartment, I snuck away from everyone for a couple hours at the Denny’s in Westminster. Amidst the chatter of the waitstaff and the few other mid-afternoon customers, I worked on the final revisions to Haunted Melody which will release next year. I kept my phone handy in case my brother should need me but focused on the story’s characters and interactions. Once my friend’s errands had been completed, I went to her house for the evening.

working-at-westminster-ag-center-2016On Thursday, I didn’t need to pick my brother up until 2 p.m., and my friend had errands to run, so I spent a couple hours at the local public library working and then after I had a quick stop at Subway for my lunch, stopped at the Ag Center to work for about 45 minutes before I needed to drive down to get my brother and go spend the rest of the day at the hospital. (I also slipped in a stop at Hoffman’s Ice Cream for a crave-worthy homemade raspberry scoop! Yum!)

Unfortunately, the procedure that evening did not happen – I feel for the patient who had complications requiring the surgeon’s continued attention. They were going to reschedule but there was no way to know when so late in the evening (it was 9 p.m. when we found out) on a Thursday. If they didn’t do it the next day, it would be the following week most likely. I couldn’t stay that long. So I reluctantly decided to head home the next day. But my brother kept me posted as to when she went into surgery at about 6 p.m. Friday evening and on Saturday morning called to tell me that everything went well even though she was in surgery for 6 hours instead of 3-4 hours.

While I was only able to stay four days with my brother, I feel like I did help him through the toughest part when she had been in the hospital for a week and had no clue as to how long she’d stay and what was going on. From my perspective, it made me feel good to be able to be there for my brother and his wife. To demonstrate through my actions, not just my words, that I love and care about them.

Family first is the motto that I live by and is a characteristic that I instill in my characters as well. Our ties to family are important. It saddens me that I have very tenuous ties to my eldest brother, but his service in Viet Nam really changed him in ways I don’t really understand. I rarely “speak” to him but at least I know he’s alive. (Thank goodness for Facebook messages!) I’m grateful to have contact with my two sisters and of course my other brother. As well as my hubby’s family and my cousins (I got to see one of them on my way home for a few minutes). Knowing where we come from is why I’m a genealogy fan, too. And why I did the research and paperwork necessary to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

Now it’s your turn. How do you stay in touch with your family? Is there someone you wish you could be more in contact with than you are now?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

By the way, Emily’s Vow is currently on 99 pennies for the ebook. Now’s your chance to get your copy at a discount it if you haven’t already!

Emily's Vow Finalist SealEmily Sullivan’s greatest fear is dying in childbirth, as did her twin sister and their mother. Despite her half-hearted protests, her father insists Frank Thomson is the perfect man for both her protection from the vengeful British and as a husband. Frank always loved Emily despite her refusal to return his affections. A patriot spy posing as a loyalist officer, when Frank learns Emily’s been imprisoned for her father’s privateering, he risks his own neck to free his love.

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