Tasty Tuesday: Teacakes by #romance #author Jannette Spann #cookies #recipe #amreading #mustread #fiction

Tasty Tuesday welcomes a real classy lady and her Mama’s Teacakes recipe. Contemporary romance author Jannette Spann shares the inspiration for her novel, Right Time for Love, and makes me hungry at the same time! Take it away, Jannette!


Thank you for having me on Tasty Tuesday, Betty, and for allowing me to share a favorite recipe of mine. One of the questions I get asked the most is, “Where do I get the inspiration for the books I write?” Truthfully, some come from thin air, but Right Time for Love came from old-fashioned teacakes.

There were eleven kids in my family, and we grew up on a farm in the country where we raised most of what we ate, both meat and vegetable. We got electricity in our home when I was four-years-old, but I was eleven when Mama bought her first electric stove. Before then, she cooked on a large, old-fashioned wood-burning stove. As kids, our job in the afternoon was to remove the ashes and bring in stove wood. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term ‘stove wood’, it’s split firewood, only shorter and smaller.

Although money was scarce, it didn’t stop Mama from being a wonderful cook. Very seldom did she know how many kids would be at our table, only that she would have a lot of hungry mouths to feed…our friends were always welcome. It wasn’t often that we had sweets, but when we did, you can bet there were never any leftovers.

My favorite—without a doubt—was her teacakes. It wasn’t unheard of for me to beg for those. When she had the time, energy, and right ingredients, she would make a big batch of teacakes for all of us. If you’ve never ‘swiped’ cookie dough as a kid, then you’ve missed one of the joys of childhood. Today we’re told not to eat anything with raw eggs, but I still eat teacake dough.

If you’re wondering how this relates to my latest book, it’s simple… eating is one of my favorite things to do. When I began to plot Right Time for Love, I had a sweet craving and thought about my mama’s teacakes. That’s when I decided to make teacakes the central theme of the story.

Brandy Wyne, my heroine, needed a way to introduce herself and her mother to their new neighborhood. Why couldn’t Brandy’s mom bake the best old-fashioned teacakes in the world?

After all, who can resist a plate of fresh baked homemade cookies? Each time they gave cookies as a gift, a new character was introduced to the story.

Got a problem? Reach for the cookie jar.

Need a disaster? Mix a batch of cookie dough and have things go haywire.

Need to catch Mr. Right? Give him a cookie.

Thanks to the teacakes, Right Time for Love was so much fun to write, it practically wrote itself.

DSCN2168MAMA’S TEACAKES

1 cup margarine, softened

2 ½ cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla flavoring

3 cups self-rising flour

Cream margarine & sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs & vanilla, beat until well blended. Stir in flour 1 cup at a time until all 3 cups have been worked into dough. Cover and refrigerate dough for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 355 degrees. Roll out dough on lightly floured board or pastry cloth to 1/8″ thickness. (I roll it out in small batches.) Cut out cookies and bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 10 to 13 minutes or until lightly browned. (For richer cookies, use real butter.) Enjoy!

RightTimeForLove_453x680Brandy Wyne’s future includes an old house with plumbing problems, a new job, and caring for her mother who has suffered a stroke.

Gavin Wilkin has increased his Grandpa’s plumbing business to twice its original worth, but the old man’s got a hot lady friend with greedy hands. How can he convince his grandpa of what she’s after without hurting him? Added to his problems is the responsibility of caring for his seven-year-old niece for the summer.

Brandy can’t afford the plumbing repairs she needs, and Gavin can’t find a sitter for his niece. Ever heard of the barter system?

 

AMAZON   http://www.amazon.com/Right-Time-Love-Jannette-Spann-ebook/dp/B00U6NBWJY/ref=pd_sim_351_1

BARNES & NOBLE   http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/right-time-for-love-jannette-spann/1121320610?ean=2940151603751

KOBO   https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/right-time-for-love

SMASHWORDS   https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/524597

ITUNES    https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/right-time-for-love/id973246621?mt=11&uo=4

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom the first reading of “Camp Fire Girls” to her 4th-grade class, Jannette Spann knew she wanted to be an author. She admits her aspirations were almost shattered when English grammar proved to be her toughest subject in school. As it so often happens, her childhood dreams were pushed aside as life led her in other directions. The dream faded, but never went away.

In the early nineties, she began writing short stores for her grandchildren and the dream of being an author sprang to life again. After completing a creative writing course, she wrote her first full-length novel which to this day remains in the back of her closet.

More stories came to life in her imagination and in December of 2012 she decided the time had come to get serious if she wanted to fulfill her childhood dream. In August of 2013 she published her first full-length Inspirational Romance Novel Hidden Hills, with Astraea Press. Two years later she released her 2nd novel with the same publisher entitled Right Time for Love. Both books are available for purchase on line in e-book and paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Jannette is a member of Heart of Dixie, the North Alabama Chapter of Romance Writers of America. She believes when God gives you a dream for your future, you should go for it. Chances are He’s given you the ability to succeed, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.

Get to know her better at http://www.jannettespann.com/


The teacakes sound absolutely wonderful, Jannette! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe and a bit about your childhood memories.

Ready to share some teacakes with your neighbors? Or maybe stir up some recipe competition with your friends? What do you think?

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.

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Tasty Tuesday: Angel Food Waldorf #Cake #dessert #recipe #paranormal #romance #PNR #mustread #fiction

Today’s cake recipe is more an assembly project than a straight up recipe. It’s called an Angel Food Waldorf cake and it really is divine! I recently made it for myself and hubby. I’ll tell you a little secret about that at the end, so bear with me!

I discovered this recipe when I was a teenager and really big into cake decorating. You know, the buttercream icing and pastry bags, designs and letters in various colors on the smoothly frosted cake surface. I even competed at the county 4-H fair, though I don’t recall any awards… But that’s another matter, right?

My family loves this cake. When I told my daughter I was going to make it, she was miffed because she lives in another state and so couldn’t pop in for a slice. It’s good, but worth crossing an entire state for? Probably not.

Because it’s one of my favorites, I decided to include it for the big Thanksgiving dinner in my latest paranormal romance, The Touchstone of Raven Hollow. Tara has a hard time in the kitchen for reasons she is slow to discover for herself. But by the time the family feast comes around she’s sorted things out well enough to pull this delight together. Here’s a snippet from the story to set the mood:

Tara wiped her hands on a towel and grinned at him. “That finishes the pies, and the cake is baked and ready for the final construction.”

“Are we building something?” Grant loved her quirky little smile at his question.

“You could say that. We need to slice off the top of the cake, then cut out a tunnel in the bottom and pull out the center part of the cake.” She motioned with her hands to show him what she meant. “Then we fill the tunnel with whipped cream, sliced strawberries, and slivered almonds.”

“Yum.” She was so cute when she wrinkled her brow in thought. “Then what?”

“Put the top on and smother the whole thing in more whipped cream.” She pointed to a second box of strawberries. “Some of those get spaced on top as decoration.”

“Double yum.” He gazed at his woman, drinking in her features and enjoying her animated motions with her hands. “What happens to the cake you pull out?”

She wiggled her brows with a grin aimed his direction. “That’s the best part. You get to eat it.”

“I’m in.”

 

With no further ado, here’s a little more detail on how to build this confection.

 

Betty’s Angel Food Waldorf

Ingredients

Angel Food Cake, prepared as directed

1 large container Cool Whip

1 cup cut up strawberries

½ cup slivered almonds

½ cup miniature marshmallows

8 medium strawberries, approximately the same size and capped

Instructions

Bake an angel food cake per box instructions (or buy one, if you prefer); cool completely

Place cake upside down on a plate. Slice off entire top of cake about 1 inch down; set aside.

Make cuts down into the cake 1 inch from the outer edge and 1 inch from the edge of the hole in the center, leaving substantial walls on each side. Remove cake within the cuts, leaving a 1 inch thick base.

IMG_0565In a medium chilled bowl, mix 5 cups Cool Whip with the strawberries, marshmallows, and nuts until well blended. Press the mixture firmly into the cavity to avoid holes in cut slices. Replace top of cake and press down gently.

Use remaining Cool Whip to frost the cake. Place 8 remaining strawberries point side up at regular intervals on top of the cake. If desired, sprinkle more slivered almonds around the top.

Chill at least 4 hours before serving.

Makes 12-16 servings.

IMG_0567

Ready for the little secret about the last one I made? Shhh! We’ve never done this before, but hubby and I ate the whole thing in 3 days! My intention had been to have him take whatever we didn’t eat to work with him on Monday, but it didn’t last that long. Talk about yummy! But not something I expect to repeat, either. (Soon, at least.)

What do you think? Are you up for putting together this light and delicious treat for your family and friends? What other berries do you think would taste good instead of, or perhaps in addition to, the strawberries?

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.

The_Touchstone_of_Raven_Hollow_600x900Tara Golden has hidden her healing power all her life. But occasionally, she uses her abilities on people passing through town, sure they’d never figure out what saved them. Now a tall, sexy geologist is asking questions she doesn’t want to face, and he isn’t going to take no for an answer. There’s no way she would reveal her abilities and her gifted sisters for a fling.

The latest medical tests divulge geologist Grant Markel’s fatal condition is cured, but the scientist within him won’t accept it’s a miracle. When he meets the sexy, mystical witch who may hold the answer to his quest, he’s determined to prove she’s full of smoke and mirrors despite their mutual attraction.

When they are trapped in an enchanted valley, Tara must choose between her magical truth or his scientific beliefs. Can she step from the shadows to claim her true powers before it’s too late?

Amazon: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-kindle

B&N: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-BN

Kobo: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Kobo

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Amazon-AU

Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Amazon-CA

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Amazon-UK

iBooks: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-iBooks

Google: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-GoogleBks

Tasty Tuesday: Romantic Risotto alla Milanese by #histrom #author Carmela Martino #dinner #recipe #Italian

So, I need to pay close attention to today’s Tasty Tuesday recipe since I am challenged when it comes to cooking rice! Carmela Martino has done her research for this Risotto alla Milanese recipe based on her historical romance, Playing by Heart. I’m going to pull out a notepad and pencil and follow along closely. Ready to hear about her amazing story of lady musicians as well as this very tempting dish? You’re up, Carmela!


My historical romance, Playing by Heart (Vinspire Publishing), is inspired by two amazing women who lived in 18th-century Milan—composer Maria Teresa Agnesi and her older sister, linguist and mathematician Maria Gaetana Agnesi. I changed their names for the novel, but I included actual historical people and events to make the story feel more authentic. That authenticity carries over into the food and drinks mentioned. Getting those details right required significant research. I scoured historical cookbooks as well as references on the history of food in Italy. In the process, learned that the classic rice dish I’ll be sharing today, Risotto alla Milanese—Milanese Risotto, probably wasn’t developed until the 1800s. But, since it’s probably similar to the risotto my characters eat in the novel, I figured Risotto alla Milanese would be a fun recipe to share with you for Valentine’s Day. Even the name sounds romantic!

My main character is the naturally gifted musician Emilia Salvini. Because she is a teen in the story, Playing by Heart is categorized as young adult fiction. However, many adult readers and reviewers have commented that the story straddles the YA/adult genre. In the novel, Emilia dreams of marrying a man who loves music as much as she does, but as the “second sister,” she fears she’ll be sent to a convent instead. Her only hope is to prove her musical talents crucial to her father’s quest for nobility. Her first test comes when she must perform at a reception welcoming a new governor to Milan. Risotto is mentioned in Chapter 3 to highlight the dinner-table tension when Emilia’s parents disagree over whether Emilia and her sister should have new gowns for the event. The lavish reception, which is held at the palazzo of an influential count, is where Emilia meets the violinist who becomes her love interest.

My parents were born in central Italy, so I’ve eaten and prepared a variety of Italian rice dishes. However, since Italian food is very regional, Risotto alla Milanese wasn’t one of them. When I decided to make it for myself, I turned to my brother for advice. He’s the family foodie and loves to cook. He sent me to a recipe on the Food & Wine website that is basically how he prepares it. I’ve adapted the recipe as follows.

Carmela’s Risotto alla Milanese

Ingredients

5 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 TBLS extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup chopped leeks (the original recipe calls for onion, which I can’t eat)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

Pinch of saffron threads*

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 TBL unsalted butter

2 TBLS chopped Italian parsley (I forgot to buy fresh parsley, so I used a teaspoon of dried parsley instead.)

*Note: Saffron is expensive, but you need very little for this dish. I bought a small container of saffron online, but my brother tells me it’s available at Trader Joe’s, too. The saffron is what gives this dish its distinctive golden hue.

Instructions

Risotto bubblingIn a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a simmer and keep warm. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the leeks, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, over medium heat, until soft. This took me maybe 4-5 minutes. Add the rice and cook about 1 minute, stirring to coat with the oil. Crumble the saffron into the wine. I wasn’t exactly sure how much a “pinch” of saffron is. I aimed for about 1/8-1/4 teaspoon, but I had a hard time measuring the fine threads.

Risotto adding butter almost doneAdd the wine to the rice and cook, stirring, until the wine is absorbed. Add about 1 cup of the warm broth to the rice and continuing cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until nearly all the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until it is nearly absorbed between additions. The risotto is done when the rice is al dente, literally “tender to the tooth” and suspended in a thick, creamy sauce. It took me about 20-25 minutes from first adding the broth to get to this point. Stir in the cheese, butter, and parsley. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Risotto finished productThis recipe is a little labor-intensive, but I enjoyed making it. The kitchen smelled marvelous and the result tasted delicious, especially with a little extra parmigiana sprinkled on top. If you enjoy background music while dining, you could cue up a piece composed by Maria Teresa Agnesi herself, such as the one here. If you’d like to read more about the two sisters who inspired Playing by Heart, visit the website I created.

I’m pleased that Playing by Heart has received some lovely reviews, including one from Booklist that said, “Martino’s romantic read features lovable characters and is vibrant in setting and detail.” For more about the novel, and additional review excerpts, see the book’s page on my website.

PR BW portraitCarmela Martino is an author, speaker, and writing teacher. She wrote the middle-grade novel, Rosa, Sola (Candlewick Press), while working on her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College. The novel was a Booklist “Top Ten First Novel for Youth.” Her second novel, the historical romance Playing by Heart (Vinspire Publishing), took first place in the Young Adult category of the 2013 Windy City RWA Four Seasons Romance Writing Contest. Carmela’s credits for teens and tweens also include short stories and poems in magazines and anthologies. Her articles for adults have appeared in such publications as the Chicago Tribune, Catholic Parent, and multiple editions of the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market. Carmela has taught writing workshops for children and adults since 1998, and she blogs about teaching and writing at www.TeachingAuthors.com

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That sounds absolutely delicious, Carmela! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, and I can’t wait to read Playing by Heart. I love books about musicians and combined with the historical aspects makes it all the more tempting for me.

Do you enjoy rice with fun and intriguing ingredients like cheese and saffron? What other ways have you dressed up rice?

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.

Tasty Tuesday: #Squash #Casserole amid A Sister’s Quandary by #author Rachel Jones #recipe #whatsfordinner #mustread #fiction

For today’s Tasty Tuesday, how about a delicious pair of squash casserole and a poignant sister’s story about forgiveness and healing? Author Rachel Jones has just the thing for us.


Hi everyone! My first attempt at writing women’s fiction — I usually write full-length contemporary romance novels — debuted in a short story anthology last November. One of the details was to include the mention of a prepared dish that we would share with readers at the end of our stories. I chose a squash casserole recipe that I concocted a few years into my marriage while developing my culinary skills (we will be married 40 years next month). I’ve passed this recipe to family members throughout the years and decided it was the perfect recipe to include in my story about family love.

In A Sister’s Quandary, a life-threatening diagnosis triggers forgiveness between two estranged sisters. Brooke and Sophie spend weeks together as they recover from kidney donor and recipient surgery. While reminiscing, they talk about many things. Among them, the first dish Nana taught them to cook — squash casserole — because Gramps’ garden produced a bumper crop that year. When Betty offered a spot on Tasty Tuesday, I knew this was the dish I wanted to highlight.

Rachel’s Summer Squash Casserole

Ingredients

Serving-IMG_06452 lbs. yellow squash, sliced and cooked

Salt and pepper to taste

1 small onion, chopped

½ cup butter

1 carrot, grated

8 oz. sour cream

10.5 oz. can cream of chicken soup

2 cups cornbread stuffing

1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions

In a large pot, cover squash with water. Add salt and pepper. Cook until tender. Drain and mash.

Sauté onion in butter. Add all other ingredients except cheese.

Mix well and pour into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle cheese over mixture.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Squash Casserole-IMG_0639

Love Around the TableA Sister’s Quandary

A life threatening diagnosis triggers forgiveness and healing between two estranged sisters.

Sophie needs a kidney and Brooke wants to provide her with one. But the past is keeping Sophie from accepting her twin’s gift and a chance for a healthy future.

Love Around the Table

Six Southern authors share six great short stories of friendship, family, and romance. Each narrative includes a recipe that the author divulges for readers at the conclusion of her story.

Love Around the Table is an extraordinary book. 100% of the eBook sales go directly to the Ronald McDonald House in Atlanta.

Your purchase of this eBook will help make life easier for a child and their family. Ronald McDonald houses provide a home away from home when a child is receiving medical care for a life-threatening condition. There is no charge to the family.

Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Love-Around-Table-Linda-Joyce-ebook/dp/B076C1BVHN/ref=

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-around-the-table-rachel-jones/1127226486?ean=2940154578049

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/749147

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/love-around-the-table/id1293461228?mt=11

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-around-the-table

Rachel Jones-IMG_7587-Edit_previewAward-winning author Rachel Jones is a writer by day and a Labor & Delivery RN by night. A clarinetist for fifty-four years, Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Berry College and taught music in public and privates schools for ten years. Changing her career path in 1991, she received her Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing from Kennesaw State University. For the past twenty-seven years, she has cared for high-risk OB and laboring patients in the hospital setting.

Rachel’s love of reading romance novels prompted her at age fifty-seven to write her first contemporary romance manuscript. She loves composing stories about strong women and sweet romance. Her books reflect her love of the performing arts and a twenty-seven-year career in healthcare has influenced the threads of medical drama woven into her storylines.

When she’s not writing or working, Rachel loves traveling, sewing and the music enthusiast in her still believes in practicing her clarinet and piano. She lives in Kennesaw, Georgia with her husband of thirty-nine years. They have three adult children and one spoiled Labrador retriever.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

http://rachelwjones.com

https://www.facebook.com/RachelJonesAuthor/?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/rjonesauthor


Squash, both yellow and zucchini, are favorites of mine. This casserole sounds delicious to me! And the story is intriguing as well. Sisters do not always get along, do they? Maybe most of the time, but not always… Do you recall the Sisters number in White Christmas, the one that Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye pretend to sing dressed up like the original sisters in the movie? What a great scene, and the song itself is right on target. I hope you enjoy the recipe and the story!

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.