Tasty Tuesday & Haunted Melody! Oatmeal #cookie #recipe #newrelease #paranormal #romance #mustread #fiction

It’s here! The release of Haunted Melody! I feel like celebrating! So I am happy to share Paulette and Zak’s story with you along with a favorite recipe I got from my mother.

I love to bake, therefore it’s only natural that one of the characters in my story also bakes. The housekeeper, Meg, is a county fair award-winning baker, no less. She makes chocolate chip cookies to die for and cinnamon rolls that melt in your mouth in addition to fixing scrumptious meals.

In honor of Meg’s accomplishments, I thought I’d share my oatmeal cookie recipe with you. My mother loved to bake as well, and taught me most everything I know on the subject. It’s very possible she inherited it from her mother, but I don’t for sure. Grandmother Reed’s sugar cookie recipe is an annual favorite at Christmastime, but only after I cut it down to one-third the original recipe which made a LOT of cookies!

These little gems are chockfull of oats. If desired, you could add your favorite dried fruit, such as raisins or cranberries. My hubby loves these and hoards them for himself rather than sharing with others. I hope you enjoy them as well. Cheers!

Betty’s Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons soft butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2 Tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups Quaker Oats

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.

  2. Beat butter, sugars, egg, water, and vanilla together until creamy.

  3. Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda.

  4. Add to creamed mixture; blend well.

  5. Stir in oats (and any additional fruit desired).

  6. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes.

haunted_melody_600x900Paulette O’Connell needs to build her home decorating business in order to give her unborn child a stable home. While exploring the mysterious attic of the antebellum plantation where she lives, she accidentally summons her grandfather’s ghost. But he won’t leave until she figures out why she needed him in the first place, putting her plans in serious jeopardy.

Zak Markel has been searching for the last ingredient to create the Elixir of Life he hopes will save his brother’s eyesight. But he discovers the woman of his dreams in the smart and beautiful Paulette, distracting him from his focus at the worst possible time, even though she staunchly refuses to allow him past her defenses.

Can he convince Paulette to open her mind to possibilities and follow her heart to true happiness before it’s too late?

(Updated and revised edition; originally published in 2014 as Remnants.)

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

Kobo: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-K

Amazon: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody

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

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

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

iBooks: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-iTunes

Thanks for helping me celebrate the release of Haunted Melody! In a couple more months, I’ll be releasing the third book in the Secrets of Roseville series, The Touchstone of Raven Hollow. I so cannot wait to share Tara and Grant’s story with you! I had fun writing their story, let me tell you. Happy reading!

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.

Tasty Tuesday: Regency Ratafia #cocktail #recipe from #romance #author Alicia Rasley #beverage #research

We’re in for an historic treat today on Tasty Tuesday! Romance author Alicia Rasley is sharing the recipe for a Regency-era cocktail that sounds quite potent indeed. Introducing Ratafia, the Regency lady’s indulgence. Indeed! Welcome, Alicia!


Thanks, Betty, for inviting me to participate in your blog! Remind me next time not to read your posts when I am hungry. Now I’m famished. Just as well I decided to write about drink rather than food.

Those of us who read and write Regency-set historical novels (set in the early 19th Century Britain) are often presented with food riddles. What is jugged hare? And how about scotch collops? Not to mention spotted dick!

We also notice that the Regency era offered a variety of different drink options, from the innocuous (tea and coffee) to the potent (Napoleon brandy and “blue ruin” gin).  You never read about people drinking water, probably because it wasn’t safe. Boiling and fermenting would do a lot of decontamination… so you can see how the Regency characters could talk themselves into thinking of brandy as an aid to good health.

A photo by Roberta Sorge. unsplash.com/photos/kp9UVn-PUacOne drink that seemed particularly popular with the ladies was “ratafia” (pronounced rah-tuh-fee-uh, all syllables equally accented). In Regency novels, ladies of quality sip this drink all day long, while the gentlemen are downing brandy and whisky. I once assumed ratafia was some kind of mild cordial, sweet and only slightly alcoholic, as befitted a pious lady of a good family.

Then a friend of mine, another Regency novelist, embarked on an experiment. Lynn Kerstan decided to make ratafia as Christmas gift for her writer friends. When the little bottle arrived in the mail, I promptly took a swig. That’s when I realized that the proper Regency ladies were quite deceptive when they pretended this was some innocent sweet cordial.

It was probably 90 proof. Seriously.

When I pointed this out, Lynn sent me the recipe she’d used:

Regency Ratafia

1 quart of brandy

½ bottle champagne

1/2 cup of gin

¼ cup of sugar

2 oranges

2 cups of cherries, pitted and squashed

2 cups of blackberries

Dash of cinnamon

Dash of nutmeg

1 teaspoon powdered rosemary

Three cloves (bruised)

¼ cup crushed almonds

Mix in a gallon glass jar. Cap jar and shake. Store in dark cupboard for three weeks, removing once a week to shake jar. After three weeks, strain liquid through a cheesecloth, pressing down on solids to release their liquid. Distribute and store in several pint jars or tightly corked wine bottles.

Notice that the recipe starts with brandy, and then adds champagne and gin! The orange and cherry provides the cordial-ish taste, while the herbs and spices add a depth of flavor.  And the sugar, well, that doesn’t just make it sweeter. I think the purpose of storing this concoction for weeks and stirring it occasionally is to ferment it even further.  (I found another recipe that primly suggested an addition to stop fermentation—vodka. Yep, that’ll take care of that intoxication problem.)

With the brandy base, Lynn’s version was most similar to those created in the Regency. I’ve found less potent variations, some which are basically a long-refrigerated sangria (red wine, fruit, sugar, and three weeks in the fridge). Italian ratafia starts with Montepulciano red wine and adds only cherries as the fruit. A French variation uses a variety of berries, including gooseberries. The Catalan version has unripe (green) walnuts soaked in the liquor before the fruit is added. I even found one that deepened the flavor with peach and cherry pits (which are poisonous if opened).  Each of these adds both a spice like cinnamon and a savory herb (usually rosemary).

Ever after, I imagined those Regency ladies primly sipping their ratafia at the afternoon al fresco musicales, and then as an after-supper liqueur, and finally as a nightcap, then stumbling off to bed in a stupor, and waking up with a hangover. Ratafia is not for sissies!

Here’s a less potent variation that we can enjoy this summer without too much guilt. I devised it myself after testing a few recipes. (The extreme measures I take for research!) I decided to follow Lynn’s example and stir it once a week. I didn’t have any cheesecloth, so I just strained it through a wire mesh colander.

Alicia’s Less Potent but Still Classy Ratafia

Into a large capped glass jar, like the kind you use for sun tea, mix:

1 bottle of dry but fruity red wine (Italian and Spanish wines are best, I think)

1 pound of mixed and then crushed berries—your choice, but make half cherries for deepest flavor, and you can leave in the pits in for that dangerous thrill

½ pound of peach slices

2 oranges peeled and sectioned (I once tried tossing in the peels too, but that was a bit bitter. Next time I might just try the zest of the oranges)

I/4 cup of white sugar

A vanilla bean, sliced, or a half-teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, ground rosemary

¼ teaspoon of ginger and anise

A few crushed almonds

Close the jar and shake to distribute. Then put it away in a dark cupboard or the refrigerator (my choice) for three weeks. Once a week, shake the jar to re-distribute.

After three weeks, strain it through cheesecloth or a fine mesh. Then pour it into bottles or smaller jars.

Now try it out.  I’m a wimp and add water at this point, but if you’re made of stronger stuff, you can drink it straight. Keep it tightly capped and refrigerated. It goes great with barbecued meats on a summer night.

And don’t forget to wear your lacy gloves and sip primly from tiny cordial glasses!

Tryst at Brighton-coverIt’s a decade after Napoleon’s defeat, but the war still haunts even the victors. Linked by family and by grief, divided by social class, Russian émigré Natasha and ship’s doctor Matthew have lived for years in mutual distrust. But when she’s suspected of killing a man from her past, she reaches out to Sir Matthew for help. It takes both his medical training and her intuition to solve the mystery of the murder at the Brighton Inn—and the secret of her own troubled past.

 

 

 

 

alicia by dmac croppedAlicia Rasley lives in Regency England… well, only in her imagination. She is the RITA-award winning author of eight Regency romances, along with a best-selling family saga and a contemporary mystery novel. She lives in the Midwest until she can invent a time-travel machine! She teaches writing at a state university and in workshops around the country and online. Sign up for the email newsletter and get a free novella!

If you’re interested in writing as well as reading stories, sign up for my writing newsletter and get a free plotting article!


So now I need to mix up a batch of this to try. Should be quite an experiment. Anyone else interested in trying it?

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.

Tasty Tuesday: Cou-Cou #sidedish #recipe from #romance #author Sandra Masters

Tasty Tuesday has arrived along with a savory side dish recipe from Barbados by author Sandra Masters. Take it away, Sandra!


This recipe is mentioned by Thorn Wick, bastard son of the Duke of Althorn, where he and his mother lived on the island of Barbados. THORN, SON OF A DUKE, by SANDRA MASTERS is a 15,000-word prequel to Book Four, THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD.

cou-cou-dishThorn’s mother used to make this dish for him when he arrived home from working on the Scotsman Plantation owned by Sir Donegal. Unfortunately, Thorn’s mother dies under mysterious circumstances and it’s not until he comes back after three years in England, on a mission for his father, that he discovers she was murdered with poison! He is faced with seeking justice for his mother.

Cou cou, served with flying fish is the national dish of Barbados. Somewhat similar to polenta or grits, Cou-cou is made with corn meal and okra.

Cou-Cou

Ingredients

8oz corn meal

3oz okras

1 medium onion (chopped)

3 tbsp butter

water

salt to taste

Directions

In a bowl, combine the cornmeal with sufficient water to cover the meal. Set aside.
Cut the tops and bottoms off the okras and slice into rings. Place the sliced okras in a saucepan with water, chopped onion and salt. Bring to a medium boil for a few minutes until the okras soften.

Strain the okras into a bowl, setting aside the liquid.

Add about a quarter of the okra liquid back into the saucepan and add the soaked meal.

You’ll need a whisk or wooden stick to stir the cou cou as it cooks. In Barbados we use a flat wooden spoon known as a ‘cou cou stick’. Stir constantly to avoid lumping.

Add more of the okra liquid gradually. You can tell you’re nearly finished when the cou cou starts to bubble gently at the surface. At this point add in the cooked okra slices and continue stirring for another 2-3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.

thorn-cover-ok-use-thisAt the age of seventeen, Thorn Wick made a promise to his dying mother that sends him sailing from Barbados to England to meet the man who sired him, the aristocratic Duke of Althorn, who never knew of his son’s existence.

Alicia Montgomery, ward of the Duke, develops a deep affection for the Anglo Indian who protects her from advances by other men. She wants him to acknowledge his feelings for her, but he insists on ignoring the chemistry between them.

Despite the intrigue, revelations, and revenge, will their passion and love for each other conquer all?

 

sandra-masters-author-picFall in love with Romance all over again with author Sandra Masters

From a humble beginning in Newark, New Jersey, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, N.J. at the age of fourteen, Sandra Masters retired from a fantastic career for a play broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, and settled in the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park with her husband, Ron, and two dogs, Silky and Sophie. She traded in the Board Rooms for the Ballrooms of the Regency Era and never looked back.

She wrote her first book at the age of thirteen and since then she’s always traveled with pen and notebook for her writing experiences. It’s been the journey of ten thousand miles with a few steps left to go. She deemed it a pleasure to leave the corporate world behind decades later.

Nothing she expected, but everything she desired. Her business card lists her occupation as Living The Dream.

Get to know her and her stories at www.authorsandramasters.com


Sounds good to me! Did you find that recipe as tempting as I do? Thanks again, Sandra, for sharing your amazing recipe with us!

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: Crepes #recipe from #romance #author SherrieLea Morgan #breakfast #dessert

It’s Tasty Tuesday once again! Author SherrieLea Morgan has brought us a special treat. How to make and enjoy crepes, those thin pancake-like delicacies that offer up such joy to taste buds everywhere. Take it away, Sherrie!


With the season change coming upon us, I’m reminded of an article I once read, advising that our taste buds change every five to seven years with a transitional period of about six months. It’s at those times, we are encouraged to try new flavors and foods. Food we once detested could be a mandatory item in our next favorite meal. When my daughter completed her training to become a Pastry Chef, she oftentimes would bring home various desserts asking for our opinion. Which, I’m sure you can agree, was one of the horrible duties I took on, in support of her education. I am her mother and I planned to support her 100% of the time.

crepesSo, when she brought home crepes, I did my duty and ate a serving. Mind you, up to this point in my life, I never cared for crepes. Thin, flat, hardly “there” pastry. Why would I? She included an orange and wine reduction syrup and plated it up. For those of you who love crepes, I’m sure you can appreciate my trip to taste bud heaven that day. Since then, she has shown me how to make them. They weren’t as difficult as I thought they’d be. Now, crepes are among our possible morning meals (along with waffles, bacon/eggs, etc.). The best part is your filling doesn’t have to be anything fancy (like a wine reduction). You can use jelly, jams, sauces, peanut butter, and even eat them plain with pancake syrup and powdered sugar. Like writing…it’s all up to your imagination!

Give it a try, I think you’ll enjoy!

CREPES

Bread Flour                                                     4 oz.

Cake Flour (All-purpose works too)         4 oz.

Sugar                                                               1 oz.

Salt                                                                  .25 oz.

Eggs                                                                 6 oz. or two LARGE

Milk                                                                 16 oz.

Oil                                                                   2.5 oz.

Mixing: Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add eggs and enough water to make a paste like batter until all lumps are gone. Gradually add remaining milk and oil. Cover and let set 2 hours.

Frying: Rub pan/skillet with oil. Place over moderate heat until pan is very hot. Remove pan and pour in about 3–4 Tablespoons of mixture, tipping pan to cover the bottom with a thin layer of mixture. Return to heat for about 1–1½ minutes until bottom is lightly brown. Carefully run thin spatula around edge to loosen, lift and flip and brown. Then serve with your favorite or a new flavored filling!

WARNING: First and second crepes never turn out. Don’t give up. Go for the third and remaining crepes!

GHOSTDRUMS

Can a contingent of ghosts, a Marine Veteran, and a beautiful landlord overcome a murderer before it’s too late?

perf5.000x8.000.inddMarine Veteran, Marcus Lincoln, returns home after almost being blown to bits. His physical injuries are nothing compared to his mental state. He now sees the ghost of his best friend. In need of R & R he rents rooms from a landowner in small town Georgia. However, the landlord looks nothing like he imagined. Victoria Silvershade is a spirit seeker. She wants to start a foundation that will allow her to help spirits who have not crossed over. And it just so happens, she has her own troupe of ghosts residing in her home. To bring in money, she rents out part of her house to Marcus, but fails to tell him his new landlord is a woman. When her foundation sponsors begin to turn up dead, Victoria, Marcus, and their combined ghost family try to find the killer. But will they succeed before they become deceased themselves?

Amazon    Wild Rose Press

View More: http://laurenlopezportrait.pass.us/mamaminisession2014Sherrie Lea Morgan is an active member of Romance Writers of America and her local chapter Georgia Romance Writers. She lives north of Atlanta, GA with her twin sister, two dogs, and two cats. When not working her current manuscripts, she enjoys spending time with her sister, daughter, and son. Although her children refuse to join her paranormal movie thrills, they are supportive in her obsession of all things scary. Sherrie writes paranormal romance with a twist of mystery. She says: “One of my goals while writing my stories is to encourage readers to see ghosts differently. I love to add in other elements into my stories, as well.” Please feel free to visit her at her website: http://www.sherrieleamorgan.com.


Yum! I may have to talk my hubby into trying these soon. My mom once got on a crepes kick and we enjoyed all kinds of fun fillings – apple or cherry pie filling, for example – on various weekend mornings. Thanks for the reminder, SherrieLea!

So what do you think? Want to try making this delicious variation on a pancake? And read her intriguing story? I know I do!

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.

Tasty Tuesday: Creamy Chicken Enchiladas from #romance #author Amy Lillard #dinner #recipe #TexMex

Tasty Tuesday comes with a deliciously spicy recipe for chicken enchiladas from romance author Amy Lillard. Throw in the heat from her Texas couple fighting their attraction to each other, and you’ve got a winner. I’ll let Amy tell you more about the meal and the story. Take it away, Amy!


Enchiladas SuizasOne of the most fun things about writing is creating a situation, dreaming up characters, and then turning them loose and watching what happens next. Most often this results in a couple of characters who are completely unexpected and adorably lovable, but also fill the story with rich humor and wisdom that might not have otherwise made its way onto the page. Grandma Esther Langston is one of these characters.

I’ve known that Esther would be a part of the Cattle Creek stories from the very, very beginning. Even in those early stages when I hadn’t even figured out everyone’s name, she was there. What I hadn’t planned on was her spunk, her candid remarks, and the comic relief that she brings to the series. She’s worked hard to reach her golden years and feels it’s her God-given right to say what’s on her mind. She loves her family fiercely and would do anything to protect her grandsons and her great-granddaughter. And like most Texas/southern women, she shows this love in the kitchen. One of her family’s favorite meals is chicken enchiladas. They are the favorite for celebrations, birthdays, and pick-me-ups. After all, nothing says I love you like gooey, cheesy Tex-Mex. The best part of all? They are very easy and extremely tasty. But don’t take my word for it, try them for yourself!

Grandma Esther’s Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

3 cups chopped cooked chicken

8 oz pkg Monterey Jack Cheese

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ cup chopped onion

1 cup sour cream

1 jalapeno pepper finely chopped

Mix well and roll up into flour tortillas. Makes 10-12. Place seam side down in a sprayed casserole dish. Cover with sauce (recipe below) and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with extra cheese and cilantro if desired.

Sauce:

1 can chicken broth

¼ cup flour

¼ cup butter

1 cup sour cream

1 can chopped green chilies.

Melt butter in sauce pan. Stir in flour until smooth. Add chicken broth and cook until thickened. Stir in sour cream and chilies.

healing-a-heart-coverAs cowboys, the Langston brothers of Cattle Creek, Texas, know it’s easy to mend a fence. Mending a broken heart, however, takes time…
 
Rancher Jake Langston prides himself on being the sensible type. But five years after the loss of his wife left him to raise their daughter alone, he indulges in a one-night stand with a sexy stranger. He thought he’d never see the woman again. Four months later, though, she’s standing in his drive with a big surprise.

Bryn Talbot wants nothing from the hunky cowboy who got her pregnant, but her Southern nature demands she at least tell him about it. When Jake’s family persuades her to stay for a while, she’s soon won over by their charms—and by Jake. But with the losses the two of them have suffered in the past, neither is sure if they’re ready to take the leap to forever…

Want more? Read an excerpt here.

amy-in-green-shirt-1Amy loves nothing more than a good book. Except for her family…and maybe homemade tacos…and nail polish. But reading and writing are definitely way up on the list.

Born and bred in Mississippi, Amy is a transplanted Southern Belle who now lives in Oklahoma with her deputy husband, their genius son, two spoiled cats, and one very lazy beagle. Oh, and don’t forget the stray kitty that has taken up residence on her front porch. ^..^

When she’s not creating happy endings, she’s chauffeuring her teen prodigy to guitar lessons and practice for whatever sport he’s into this week She has a variety of hobbies, but her favorite is whatever gets her out of housework.

Amy is an award winning author with more than thirty novels and novellas in print. She is a member of RWA, ACFW, NINC, and the Author’s Guild. She loves to hear from readers. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Get to know more about her and her books at her website.


What did I tell you? Both the enchiladas and the book sound tempting! I think I’d substitute parsley for the cilantro, since I’m not fond of it, but other than that slight modification, I’m in! Thanks so much for sharing both with us, Amy!

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite Tex-Mex food? Will you try this one?

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.

Tasty Tuesday: White Chocolate, Mascarpone Cheese & Raspberry Panini #dessert #recipe from #romance #author Amy Rivers #ValentinesDay

Tasty Tuesday brings you a special Valentine’s Day treat from romance author Amy Rivers. Just the title will make your mouth water. White Chocolate, Mascarpone Cheese, and Raspberry Panini combine to be the Language of Love to share with your special someone. Tell us more about it, Amy.


It’s funny how little things can make such a big impression in our minds. When my husband and I were dating, he was continually surprising me with romantic gestures, despite his claim of being unromantic. Once, he made me heart-shaped biscuits from scratch. And I often walk into my office to discover my favorite Trader Joe’s chocolate bar on my keyboard, just because.

f8a2e9a9edee44c288e2208272a0eb1eOne of my favorite memories involves paninis. My husband loves paninis. He bought himself a Panini press, and though I gave him a hard time about his one-use appliance, secretly I craved his paninis. So, one morning he surprised me with these scrumptious white chocolate and raspberry paninis with mascarpone cheese. I can’t even begin to describe how decadent and delicious those paninis were. When I think of romantic gestures, it’s often with visions of ooey gooey chocolate in mind.

White Chocolate, Marscapone Cheese, and Raspberry Paninis

Ingredients

1/3 cup mascarpone cheese

1 oz high quality white chocolate bar

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened

4 slices challah bread

2 teaspoons seedless raspberry preserves

12 fresh red raspberries

For garnish: powdered sugar, fresh mint, fresh raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries

Directions

  1. Blend mascarpone cheese, white chocolate and vanilla in a bowl. Refrigerate until needed.
  2. Preheat Panini grill pan.
  3. Evenly butter one side of each challah slice and lay butter side down on a working surface.
  4. Spread cheese mixture evenly on two pieces of bread. Spread raspberry preserves evenly over cheese mixture.
  5. Place remaining slices of bread on top to create two sandwiches.
  6. Grill until bread is golden brown and filing is warm (about 2 minutes).
  7. Cut into halves or quarters.
  8. Garnish with powdered sugar, mint leaves and fresh raspberries.

Serve warm and with love!

amyriversAmy Rivers was born and raised in southern New Mexico and currently resides in Colorado with her husband and kids. She has a Master’s degree with concentrations in Psychology and Politics, two topics she loves to incorporate into her personal essays and novels. Amy has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, Novelty Bride Magazine, ESME.com and Splice Today. Her first novel, Wallflower Blooming, was published in August 2016. Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters, the second book in the Cambria series, was released in January 2017.

www.amyrivers.com

Follow me on: Facebook   Twitter   Goodreads   Amazon

bestlaidplansBest Laid Plans & Other Disasters

A year after she is elected mayor of a prosperous Colorado city, Gwen Marsh’s career and life are fully on track, all according to plan. So why is she in such a slump emotionally and physically? New conflicts keep boiling over in city government, and her earlier allies no longer support her. She and her boyfriend have an ideal relationship, which she finds inexplicably dissatisfying. Without telling her, he decides to take a new job that has him traveling out of state every week. Suddenly unexpected developments turn everything topsy-turvy, and Gwen is forced to re-examine her carefully-planned life.

Get your copy today at Amazon!


Sounds divine to me! Thanks for stopping by and sharing such a delectable dessert recipe, Amy. Happy Valentine’s Day, 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. 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.

Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Potato #Muffin #recipe from #romance #author Michelle Stegman

Ready for another Tasty Tuesday featuring a tempting muffin recipe by author Michele Stegman? I love sweet potatoes, so I’m going to have to try this one. Take it away, Michele!


Thank you so much, Betty, for letting me return for a second blog on your site! I love cooking and baking and it is so much fun to share recipes and history with your readers!

Food is an integral part of just about any romance, modern or historic. In Fortune’s Foe, the hero and heroine meet over a pan of sweet potato muffins.

The time is 1740, and the place is Spanish St. Augustine, just after the English attack on the city. Mariette has come to rescue her twin brother who was captured in the battle. The hero, Alexandro, is charged with keeping the English prisoners safe or he will forfeit his life. Disguised as a Mestizo, she is selling sweet potato muffins in the market hoping to find enough information to help her save her brother.

Alexandro is enthralled with the muffins, as well as this lovely woman, and hires her as his maid and cook. She is thrilled to get the job because it will give her a way to find out what she needs to know. Only one problem. A friend made those muffins. Mariette is a disaster in the kitchen.

As I was writing this story, I wondered what Mariette could be selling in the market that would lure the hero to her side. I decided on sweet potato muffins because they would have been a food eaten at the time. I love to cook and bake, but I must confess, I’ve never made sweet potato muffins. But I did get the recipe at Colonial Williamsburg, from Christina Campbell’s tavern so it should be authentic. You can find the recipe at either of these sites, or just Google Christiana Campbell’s Sweet Potato Muffins.

Sweets to Impress – Sweet Potato Muffins

Food.com – Christiana Campbell’s Tavern’s Sweet Potato Muffins

As for Fortune’s Foe, Mariette finds some help in the kitchen from a woman who ends up as the heroine in the next book in the series, Fortune’s Pride. You can find both books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other sites. To check out my other books and to read excerpts, go to my website: www.MicheleStegman.com or connect with me on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/MicheleStegmanAuthor.

fortunes_foe_hiresFortune’s Foe

In the midst of a raging war, Mariette Fortune is torn between saving the life of her brother or the enemy Spaniard she has come to love.

Mariette Fortune knows her brother will die if she doesn’t rescue him–especially if the Spanish discover they hold captive the son of the infamous privateer, Sean Fortune. But she didn’t count on fallin in love with the man whose life depends on keeping the English prisoners from escaping. Now she has to choose between them.

Alejandro de Silva knows there is more to the lovely Mestiza woman he has hired to keep his house…more than she will admit. Regardless, he cannot help that he is falling in love with her. But he never dreams she is an English spy and that her presence in Spanish St. Augustine will put both their lives in deadly peril.

Visit www.MicheleStegman.com for information on her other books and to read excerpts. Or connect with her on Twitter or on Facebook.


Sweet potatoes are so good for you, too. I think I’ll be doing some baking soon. How about you? Do you have a favorite muffin recipe? Are you going to try these?

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: Quinoa & Vegetable Pilaf #sidedish #dinner #recipe from #paranormal #romance #author Lynn Crandall #shifters

Tasty Tuesday brings a healthy side dish to enjoy for dinner, Quinoa and Vegetable Pilaf, by Lynn Crandall. Enjoy!


Thank you, Betty, for having me on your fun blog for Tasty Tuesday!

Probabilities, Book 4 in my Fierce Hearts series, is included in a new Crimson Romance bundle, Hot for Teacher. It’s a fun set of 10 couples, 10 authors, and 10 romances. Probabilities follows the story of two were-lynxes, Tizzy Sands and Quinn Arons, who belong to a colony of shifters.

What I especially enjoyed writing about this couple is that these characters featured contrasting personalities. While teacher Tizzy is a vivacious, outgoing party girl, Quinn is a reserved brainiac with several PhDs. As a genius, Quinn has lived a life of rejection. I like featuring his genius as a problem because I have geniuses in my life and though I enjoy them, sometimes they feel misunderstood and challenged to connect with others. It can be a lonely situation. Our society tends to be so prone to criticizing, some very nice individuals who have something different about them, suffer. For highly intelligent people, their genius doesn’t protect them, it singles them out.

2015-03-29-16-39-51Though Quinn respects Tizzy for her social skills and her vitality, he expects her to reject him as anything more than a friend and co-colony member. But she’s perky, not shallow. They find things they each enjoy and share them, thereby expanding their individual worlds. For instance, Quinn is an environmentalist and practices a number of conservation measures. Tizzy likes to set an appealing table with different, healthy kinds of foods, and incorporates nice touches to the setting. She’d be the one to drape twinkly lights around a room for a romantic atmosphere and Quinn would be the one to contribute fresh asparagus and herbs from his organic garden to the meal. The healthy side dish could be Quinoa and Vegetable Pilaf. Here’s the recipe. I hope you enjoy it.

Quinoa and Vegetable Pilaf

Ingredients

1 ¾ chicken broth

1 cup of quinoa

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 c diced orange bell pepper

1 c diced green pepper

½ c sliced fresh mushrooms

1 cup chopped asparagus

1 c diced zucchini

½ crumbled feta

2 tsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp lemon juice

 

  1. In a saucepan, bring broth (or water instead) to a boil. Add quinoa, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with fork.

  2. While quinoa cooks, heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add garlic, peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, and zucchini. Sauté until tender, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add cooked quinoa (there shouldn’t be any water because the quinoa absorbed it.), lemon juice, and feta. Serve.

hot-teacher-bundle-coverBubbly were-lynx Tizzy Sands thought she knew the path of her life: teaching kindergartners, eventually marrying, and starting a family. But when cancer stole her dream of having children, she fell into a dark place where she believes her life would be too short and too empty to engage in a lifelong relationship. As a member of a were-lynx colony that faces constant danger from nefarious The Nexus Group, she focuses on helping the colony defeat them and tunes out any developing feelings for colony mate Quinn Arons.

With his genius IQ, Quinn isn’t the most socially skilled were-lynx in the colony, and can’t imagine party girl Tizzy could give him a place in her heart. Though his past of molestation as a boy and alcoholism as a young adult haunts him, he cares deeply for Tizzy and can’t accept her attitude that cancer will return and claim her life soon. Instead of persuading her she’s wrong, he patiently shows her life is what you make it.

When working as partners to prevent powerful TNG from launching its Project Powering and changing the world, Tizzy and Quinn begin to wonder whether their individual paths lead them together or send them apart.

Excerpt:

“I still have nightmares and want to douse them with alcohol. That’s when I turn to Lara and her healing touch. But times when I’m keenly aware I’m different, I’m back in my childhood when being different made me a target.”

His shoulders hunched over, he still stared at the table, his head in his hands, as he seemed to struggle with regaining his composure.

Tizzy let down her walls and felt the entire room, the whole house, vibrate with energy. It streamed through her, grounding her in the moment alone with Quinn and his pain.

Gently, she touched Quinn’s shoulder. “You’ve been through so much and still you’ve been so very successful at remaining true to yourself. I’m proud of you, Quinn.” She took his hand and pulled him to his feet, then tenderly cupped his face in her hands. “You bring so much good to the world. You’re beautiful.”

Love, the kind that can bear anything, powered through her. Slowly, she leaned up to his face and placed a soft kiss to his lips. She stood back, breathless, and sought his eyes.

Bright and clear, his eyes welcomed her in. Tizzy lifted her lips to his, and he pressed them to hers, hard and needy.

Her legs got weak, but she wanted more of him. Leaning against him for support, she ran her fingers through his hair and savored his presence, so strong yet vulnerable.

my-best-author-picLynn Crandall lives in the Midwest and writes in the company of her cat. She has been a reader and a writer all her life. Her background is in journalism, but whether writing a magazine or newspaper story or creating a romance, she loves the power stories hold to transport, inspire, and uplift. In her romances, she focuses on vulnerable, embraceable characters who don’t back down.

Amazon http://a.co/8RIQpS9

http://lynn-crandall.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrandallAuthor/

https://twitter.com/lcrandallwriter @lcrandallwriter


I love healthy recipes, so thanks for sharing that one, Lynn! And the story is intriguing, as well. Although I’m not a fan of quinoa despite its healthy qualities. It may be the one time I tried it, it wasn’t cooked right. It seemed tough to chew to me, at least. Anyway, the sautéed veggies sound really yummy. Is there another healthy substitute for quinoa?

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.

Tasty Tuesday: Lane Cake #recipe by #contemporary#romance #author Alicia Hunter Pace #dessert #cake

Tasty Tuesday brings us a divine cake fit for any celebration, including the holidays, from author Alicia Hunter Pace. Actually, you’re getting two authors for the price of one since she is two writing partners. But I’ll let her tell you more about that later. Take it away, Alicia!


If you have read any of our books, you know about Lou Anne’s Diner. It first popped up in our first book, Sweet Gone South, and since has been the setting for first dates, black moments, public shamings, and reconciliations. With her iced tea pitcher in hand and a pot of chicken and dumplings on the stove, Lou Anne dispenses advice along with the some of the best comfort food in Merritt, Alabama.

In our latest book, Mistletoed in Merritt, Lou Anne has the Christmas spirit and our hero, Bennett Watkins, couldn’t be happier about how she expresses it. He loves to eat. Here, Bennett and Hélène-Louise Soileau pass the time of day outside the diner with Brantley and Lucy Kincaid, the beloved hero and heroine from Simple Gone South.

From Mistletoed in Merritt:

“We need to get in there and order our secret Christmas cake,” Bennett said. “It’s already after one. I’m afraid we might have already missed out.”

“Secret Christmas cake?” Hélène-Louise said. “What’s that?”

As a New Orleans native, she knew about king cake, of course—a yeasty confection with a plastic baby inside. Whoever found the baby brought the cake to the next party. She and her mother had made dozens of those cakes for Bennett’s mother’s parties during carnival season.

“That’s the thing. It’s secret Christmas cake.” Brantley brought her back to the present. “You have to guess, though today it’s lane cake—you know, with the raisins and the whiskey and the icing that tastes like divinity. I was hoping for Japanese fruitcake, but lane is almost as good.”

Lucy said, “It’s this little eccentric thing Lou Anne does at Christmastime. Starting December first, she makes a different traditional Christmas cake every day—German chocolate, red velvet, fresh coconut, Lady Baltimore. But she won’t tell in advance what the next day’s cake will be.”

Brantley took Lucy’s hand. “We’d better let these folks get to their cake-eating. It might already be too late.”

Lucy put a hand up in mock horror. “That would be terrible.” She met Hélène-Louise’s eyes. “Brantley is very devoted to cake, but even more so pumpkin pie. See you soon.”

So, Christmas is over, but who says you can’t have “Christmas” cake anytime? After all, Valentine’s Day is coming. I might whip up this special cake for the the people I love in my house. I won’t lie. It’s a little trouble to make, but aren’t they worth it? Lou Anne would say they are! 

Lane Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 egg whites
  • Lane Cake Filling
  • 1/2 7-Minute Frosting

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.
  2. Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of egg whites into batter; fold in remaining egg whites. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
  3. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool 1 hour or until completely cool.
  4. Spread Lane Cake Filling between layers and on top of cake. Prepare 7-Minute Frosting; spread onto sides of cake.

Lane Cake Filling

  • 12 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Pour water to depth  of 1½ inches into a 3½-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer.

  2. Beat egg yolks at medium speed with an electric mixer 3 minutes; gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Beat 3 minutes. Gradually add butter, beating at low speed until blended.

  3. Transfer mixture to a 3-qt. heatproof bowl. Place bowl over simmering water. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and an instant-read thermometer registers 170° (about 30 to 35 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in pecans and remaining ingredients. Cool  1 hour.

Just as it’s always the right time for a Christmas cake, it’s always the right time for a Christmas story. We’d love for you to get to know Bennett and Hélène-Louise!

mistletoedcoverBennett Pontellier Watkins and Helene-Louise Soileau had a secret, youthful love affair – until their mothers found out. Helene-Louise, the housekeeper’s daughter, was sent to France to study lacemaking while a bereft Bennett drowned his sorrows on the beach with beer and sorority girls.

Eight years later, Helene-Louise, now a master craftsman, owns a shop in Beauford, Tennessee, and teaches a series of workshops at the Cultural Arts Center in Merritt, where Bennett is the director. It isn’t long before they fall into each other’s arms once more.

But old patterns begin to re-emerge, and despite Bennett’s declarations of love, it’s clear to Helene-Louise that he still has no intention of coming clean with his upper-crust parents about their relationship. Is she willing to give up everything she’s built for herself in Beauford for a man who may never see her as more than the hired help’s daughter?

Or will Christmastime in Merritt reveal love to be the greatest present of all?

About the Author

Alicia Hunter Pace is the pseudonym for the writing team, Jean Hovey and Stephanie Jones. They are USA Today best-selling authors who live in North Alabama and share a love of old houses, football, and writing stories with a happily ever after. Get to know them and their stories at www.aliciahunterpace.com.


Wow, what an amazing cake recipe that will make dessert an experience! And I know their books are fun reads! These ladies really know how to work together to give readers a fun and moving tale set in the South. So be sure to pop over to their website and choose one of their many books to add to your to-be-read pile!

Thanks for stopping by!

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, each month in 2017 I’ll be sharing one chapter 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.

Tasty Tuesday & Undying Love Book Birthday! Southern #Cornbread #recipe #paranormal #romance #mustread #fiction

It’s here! The release of Undying Love! I feel like celebrating! So I am happy to share Meredith and Max’s story with you along with a favorite recipe from my childhood that is included in the story. Southern cornbread features crisp bacon for added savory flavor. Everything is better with bacon, right?

Cornbread was one of my dad’s favorite breads. He used to grease the pan with bacon grease and add some cooked corn kernels and of course crumbled bacon to the batter. Sometimes he’d toss in chopped pimento for added color. Here’s a typical recipe from Betty Crocker that you can use to tinker with to suit your taste.

Here’s what Undying Love is about:

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

And here’s a short excerpt:

“What is it you do again?” Max aimed mirrored sunglasses in her direction.

“I’m an architect.” She slid her purse strap more securely onto her shoulder. She snatched the manila folder off the hood of the vehicle, a file Max had handed to her at his office. Inside were copies of the legal papers he’d reviewed with her across his massive mahogany desk. “Why?”

“Your grandmother said you were the perfect heir for this property.” He let his gaze drift away from her to scan the hundreds of acres of fields and trees, across the lake, and on to the various outbuildings surrounding the plantation house.

A circle of trees nearly hid the old gazebo from view, but they couldn’t stop the surge of memories of afternoons spent with her sister playing under its roof. Glimpses of white painted boards and black wrought-iron trim appeared through the dense branches and limbs sprouting with new growth.

Meredith dropped her attention to the folder, severing the thread of the past, and turned a page without reading it. Why did Max care what she did? She slanted a questioning glance his way. “I enjoy designing beautiful yet useful buildings.”

“Listen, I hate to rush this,” Max said, his words clipped, “but I have a client to meet in an hour. Let me show you around.” He indicated for her to lead up the steps.

Bristling at his tone, Meredith pinned him with a stare. “Look, you don’t need to. It’s been a while, true, but I have been here before. I know the layout. We can go.” Then she wouldn’t have to go inside and relive the happy, carefree days of her childhood through the weary eyes of an adult while Max watched.

He shook his head, his dark chocolate hair touched with gray sweeping his collar, watching her. “Things have changed. You may be surprised by what you find inside.” He tapped a hand against one thigh and cocked his head to gaze at her for a long moment. “Either way, you should take stock of what you’ve inherited.”

He didn’t appear much like a lawyer, truth be told. Didn’t lawyers wear prescription glasses and look nerdy? Not that she believed in stereotypes, but all that studying must make their eyes weak. Max was the other end of the spectrum. Perhaps her grandmother had a need for eye candy when she chose him as her estate planner.

He was delicious to contemplate, that’s for sure. Probably a couple inches taller than a cornstalk with a soccer player’s physique, Max could double for a cover model. She appreciated his classic good looks, straight nose, and strong jaw. Dressed in khakis and a deep red polo shirt, he seemed more ready for a round of golf than a client meeting. He represented the unattainable type of man for her. The kind embodying something too smart, too handsome, too much for her taste. Even if she were in the market for a man, which she was not. None of that mattered since she would be staying in the area for a short while. Despite her hard shell of indifference to the opposite sex, she couldn’t help a moment of succumbing to the temptation of drinking her fill of his appearance. But only for an instant. If she let her guard down, her personal destruction would soon follow.

Thanks so much for sharing in my happy release day! Hubby is bringing home Chinese takeout for our celebratory dinner this evening. A real treat indeed! Happy reading!

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.