Tasty Tuesday: Making Broth for Soup & Gravy #colonial #recipe #howtomake #broth #soup

It’s Tasty Tuesday time again! One of the basic ingredients for many of the meat and made-dish receipts, or recipes, Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy is a broth to use as a base for soup or gravy. This proved to be one of my first real challenges to adapt because the ingredients needed to be interpreted and then located. Or at least find something that was a close approximation so I could make something with a similar taste and consistency.

Here’s what Mrs. Glasse tells the 18th-century cooks to do:

Art of CookeryTo make strong Broth for Soup and Gravy

Take a shin of beef, a knuckle of veal, and a scrag of mutton, put them in five gallons of water; then let it boil up, skim it clean, and season it with six large onions, four good leaks, four heads of celery, two carrots, two turnips, a bundle of sweet herbs, six cloves, a dozen corns of all-spice, and some salt; skim it very clean, and let it stew gently for six hours; then strain it off, and put it by for use.

So the first thing I had to do was understand what a “shin,” a “knuckle” and a “scrag” meant. Also what constitutes a “head” of celery. Thank goodness for the internet! A shin is the same thing as a shank today. A knuckle refers to the lower inside back leg (who knew?). The scrag is the lean end of the neck. A head of celery is the entire thing with all its stalks.

Last week I talked here about the assumed knowledge Mrs. Glasse expected of her cooks. This recipe is a good example of that belief in her reader. The specific terms for these cuts of meat have changed since the 1800s. Or at least, I had never heard of them. She also gives little direction as to what to do with the vegetables before adding them to the pot. Leave them whole or cut them up? I suppose that since she was making 5 gallons of broth, she likely was using one of the big kettles so you wouldn’t need to cut up the vegetables to add them. But of course, I was not going to make 5 gallons of broth. First, I don’t have a pot that big. Second, what would I do with so much broth? Especially in the spring when we don’t consume as much soup.

It became quite apparent that I’d need to reduce the quantities and adjust the amount of each ingredient. So let’s take a look at what I ended up with.

A shank of beef at my local grocery store weighed probably 8 pounds or more. I asked the butcher to give me about one pound. I figured I’d never find a neck of a sheep, lean or not, so I bought one shank of lamb to serve the purpose of flavoring the broth. They did not sell veal, so I had to go to a Whole Foods store to pick up organic, pasture-raised veal slices that weighed less than half a pound and cost ten dollars. I decided I needed to find some way to use the meats after they flavored my broth; I wasn’t going to waste them. More on what I did later.

For the quantity of water, I added enough to the pot to about an inch below the top, which ended up being 12 cups total.


Meats in pot
Meats in the pot before covering with water

I roughly reduced the quantity of vegetables to about one-third to one-fourth. Note that I didn’t use nearly as much onion because my hubby isn’t a huge fan of it, and I want to add onion and garlic to the recipes I make with the broth. You can adjust to suit your taste when you try this adaptation.


I forgot to add in any carrots or the herbs! Something I realized as I’m writing this post. I should have put in half a whole carrot, or four baby carrots. I’ll be sure to add them and other herbs when I make soup or stews with the broth. I’ll include it in the ingredients here so you don’t forget to put them in yours…

The 6 cloves became 2; the 12 corns of allspice was a little trickier to figure out. 5 whole corns equals 1 tsp ground allspice. So 12 corns would be about 2½ tsp, so I used ½ tsp.


Veggies and spices for the broth – don’t forget your carrots and herbs!

See what you think…


Broth finishedBetty’s Strong Broth for Soup and Gravy


~1 pound beef shank

~½ pound (I used .4) veal slices

1 lamb shank

12 cups water

1 large yellow onion, cut into large pieces

1 leek, cut into pieces, green leaves discarded

1 head of celery, cut into large pieces

½ whole carrot, or 4 baby carrots

2 whole cloves

Herbs to taste

½ tsp ground allspice (or 3 whole corns)


Place the meats in a large pot. Add water and bring to a boil.

When the meat is cooked through, remove it from the pot and skim the water. I used a handheld tea strainer to swish gently through the water and remove the bits and pieces that came off the meats.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2½ hours.

Remove the vegetables and skim the broth again to remove any stray bits and pieces.

Pour broth into a container and refrigerate until needed.

Note: If you’re not going to use the broth for a while, you can do like I did. I divided it into 1-quart Ziploc bags, 2 cups per bag, and stood them up in the freezer to keep until needed. Once frozen, then you can lay them flat for more compact storage.

StewThe resulting broth really smelled yummy! I couldn’t wait to use it to make something like soup or gravy for one of the upcoming recipes I’ll share with you. What I ended up doing is taking four cups of the broth, adding in some garlic and carrots (right?!) and some of the stewed savory veggies. I let that simmer while I diced the lamb, beef, and veal and set it aside. Then I peeled and diced two baking potatoes and added them to the stew. Tossed in a bay leaf or two, some Italian herb seasoning and let it all simmer for about 45 minutes. So very good! Hubby and I both enjoyed dinner that night. And I had enough to spoon into two quart-sized Ziploc bags to freeze for later.

Now that I have the basic broth to use, next week’s recipe is something I’m curious to try: oyster sauce. I may even have it with grilled steak. Sound good to you?

I think if I make the broth again, I will leave out the veal because it is very expensive. What do you think might be a good substitute for the sweet flavor of the veal? A bit of pork chop perhaps? Or increase the amount of beef shank to keep the flavor in the same family of meats?

Thanks for swinging in and helping me figure out these new ways of cooking. I’m having a blast and I hope you’re enjoying the results as well.


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.

The third story in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series reveals what Samantha has been keeping from her friends and the world at large.

SamanthsSecretCOVERMidwife and healer, Samantha McAlester returns from the front lines to find Charles Town under British siege and the town’s new doctor at war with its citizens.

Dr. Trent Cunningham intends to build a hospital staffed solely with educated doctors. What he doesn’t need is a raven-haired charlatan spooning out herbs and false promises to his patients, while tempting him at every turn.

Then a mutual friend develops a mysterious infection. Trenton is stumped. Samantha suspects the cure but knows treatment will expose her long-guarded secret, risking all she holds dear… including Trenton.

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Tasty Tuesday: Cucumber Sandwiches by #contemporary #romance #author Lesia Flynn #sandwich #recipe

Tasty Tuesday time! Fun and fresh cucumber sandwiches by the fun-loving and humorous romance author Lesia Flynn! You’ll love this lady’s recipe almost as much as her light-hearted romances. Help me welcome my dear friend, Lesia!

Thank you, Betty, for inviting me to post on today’s Tasty Tuesday Blog. I am thrilled to be here and meet all of you!

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I can’t help but think of romance and proposals. Happily-ever-afters usually come with weddings to plan and prepare, too. Book world is no different. I’ve planned so many weddings in real life, it goes without saying that I love to plan book weddings, even if they never make the printed page. . . there’s no manual labor, after all.

In my latest book, Remembering Skyline, Skyline Mountain Book 3, Ben has lost his mind, thanks to Dicker, the local pain in everyone’s arse. Of course, in the end, Ben finds his heart and the love of his life. But whoa! Is it a fast-paced ride to get there!

cucumber-sandwiches-depositphotos-english-cream-cheese-and-cucumber-sandwichesI loved writing these characters because they are crazy, zany fun!  And who doesn’t love a Scottish tale? While it is tempting to offer you the recipe for Ben’s not-so-favorite drink (Glenlivit, straight from the bottle…or was it Cassidy’s hangover remedy?), instead I give you one of my go-to recipes for any event, whether a wedding, a shower, or even a ladies luncheon. Cucumber Sandwiches are always a hit and easy-peasy to make. I have no idea where I gathered this recipe from or when I started making this particular yum, but it’s a mainstay in my household for any kind of celebration.

Cucumber Sandwich Spread


2-3 large cucumbers, peeled and seeded

1 medium sweet onion (or less as the onion can overpower the flavor of the cucumbers)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened (Neufchatel)

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon of salt

A dash of cayenne pepper


Peel, seed, and chop cucumbers and onions finely (I use the food processor).  Drain the mixture well, squeezing out the liquid through cheese cloth or a fine colander. You won’t need the liquid. Combine the cucumber and onion mixture with the remaining ingredients.

Spread over bread for sandwiches or use as a dip for crackers, chips or vegetables.  You can also add thin slices of cucumber on top of the spread for additional Yum! Use heart shaped cookie cutters to make finger sandwiches even more spectacular fun!



A dash of cayenne can be a great thing. It often adds that unexpected little zing without burning down the house. Try a small hint of it to add that little something extra. I even add it to my hot cocoa mix for the warmth it yields to the chocolate yum!

Are you a wedding planner, too? Do you have occasions on the horizon to make these yum-ilicious sandwiches?

remembering-skyline-cover-ben-and-cassidy-3Remembering Skyline, Skyline Mountain Book 3

Benjamin Murray has everything a man could want on Skyline Mountain . . . land, business, and all the adventure his heart desires. But, after an unfortunate accident leaves him with no memory of his previous life, Ben mistakenly assumes he’s Scottish. Off he goes, swaggering his sexy Highland self about town, on an adventure to discover his identity.

Cassidy Spencer has had enough and Benjamin Murray is at the top of her list. All she wants this post-Christmas season is a winter getaway to revise her happily-ever-after-plan, one without Ben and his stubborn disinterest in anything beyond business. But before she can hightail it out of town, life takes an unexpected turn. Now Cassidy can’t get away from Ben or his randy affections, and he doesn’t even remember his own name.

lesia-flynn-bioLesia Flynn first fell for romance when her mother gave her a paperback novel. One book later and she was hooked on love. It wasn’t until she had children that she realized she wanted to write stories of love, romance, and happily ever afters.

Lesia was born and raised in Louisiana. She studied Graphic Design at Louisiana Tech University. She currently lives in Alabama with her husband, children, and a rescue cat who believes his mission in life is to keep Lesia safe and out of harm’s way. She loves libraries, gardening, travel, art of all kinds, and playing some really bad guitar for her neighbor’s cows.

Lesia is an active member of the Heart of Dixie Chapter of Romance Writers of America. She writes fun, contemporary romance.

Connect with Lesia Flynn at www.LesiaFlynn.com, Facebook, Pinterest, and @LesiaFlynn.

See, what did I tell you? If you’ve haven’t read any of Lesia’s stories, take a moment and pop over here  and pick one up. You won’t regret it! And don’t her cucumber sandwiches sound divine?

Thanks for visiting with us today, and I hope you have a tasty day ahead!


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: 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


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.


“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



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!


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: Saffron-Scented #Seafood #dinner #recipe from #romance #author Rose C. Carole

It’s Tasty Tuesday again and this week’s recipe is brought to you by author Rose C. Carole. She’s sharing her character’s steamed seafood dinner, the one intended to seduce her man. Take it away, Rose!

Food provides nourishment for the soul as well as the body. And nowhere is food more an expression of love than when it is made for that special person in your life. Sharing food you can eat with your hands, that you can feed each other, and that bombards the senses of smell and taste with exquisite pleasure are as much foreplay as any touch can be. In my book Catering to His Needs Rebecca is the owner of a catering company. She goes away for the weekend with Ethan and makes this wonderful dish of Saffron-Scented Seafood, which she hopes will entice him in more ways than one. It works.

Rebecca’s Saffron-Scented Seafood

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 small shallot, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme

1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes

Pinch saffron

4 oz. chicken stock

1 dozen clams, cleaned

1 small pkg. mussels (about 20-30 mussels), cleaned

½ lb. 26/30-size shrimp, peeled and deveined

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute shallot and garlic 1-2 minutes until soft. Add thyme, tomatoes, saffron and chicken stock. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add clams and mussels and cook for 4 minutes. Add shrimp and cook till clams and mussels open and shrimp becomes opaque, about 4 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice or linguine.

Rose C. Carole has been an avid reader all her life and pursued that obsession into the publishing business, where she worked in both production and editorial for books and magazines. When her son went off to college, she decided to fulfill another dream and went to culinary school, thinking she would write a cookbook but loving the cooking so much she became a caterer. But her love for books is ever present, and she finally decided it was time to reconnect with her own creative muse and write the kinds of books she enjoys reading. She hopes her readers enjoy them as well. Find out more about her and her books at her website.

catering-to-his-needs-coverCatering to His Needs by Rose C. Carole

Book 1 of the Kitchen Confessions series

Published by Totally Bound

Ethan is at his wit’s end. Gina, his brother’s ex-wife, has threatened to reveal that Ethan is a member of the Playground, an exclusive BDSM club, unless she gets more alimony from the family trust fund. The scandal that would arise from such a revelation must be avoided at all costs–not only for the sake of Ethan’s reputation, but for the future of his relationship with his treasured sub, Rebecca.

Rebecca is a single mother working hard to expand her catering business. The only peace she finds from her building stress is in the handcuffs of her strong Dom, Ethan. But Rebecca’s life is not her own. Her teenage son is not handling Rebecca’s divorce well, and Rebecca feels the responsibility for her son’s happiness like a weight on her shoulders. Between her business and her son, she has little time for herself–or the growing emotional demands from her Dom.

Ethan is determined to take their relationship to the next level, and Rebecca is equally determined not to upset her son further by revealing that she has a new man in her life. Fortunately, Ethan is a Dom with a passionate interest in seeing that his sub is happy–even if he has to whip some sense into her. He’s making progress until suddenly his own problems take a turn for the worse. His brother Zach has gone missing under suspicious circumstances and now it’s all Ethan can do just to keep himself out of jail. The cat, as they say, is out of the bag.

As their lives spiral out of control, will Ethan and Rebecca be able to find a way back into each other’s arms?

Seafood is one of my favorite foods! Blue crab, shrimp, and lobster in particular. Thanks, Rose, for sharing this delectable recipe and I think the book sounds like a real treat, too! What about you? Do you have a favorite seafood? Do you enjoy reading novels with food preparation and eating as a main course?


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’ve already started sharing, 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?

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Tasty Tuesday: Traditional Lamb Stew #dinner #recipe from #romance #author Cara Marsi

Last week I talked about how I learned I enjoy eating lamb. This week, Cara Marsi is going to share how her character fell in love over lamb stew.


Thanks, Betty! In A Catered Romance, when Mary Beth explains to Tom that the lamb stew is for an engagement party for a couple who’d had lamb stew on their first date, Tom says that’s romantic. Mary Beth answers that she no longer believes in romance. Since Tom broke her heart once, this helps set up some of the conflict.

Traditional Lamb Stew

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 10 min. Cook: 1 hour

MAKES: 4 servings


1-1/2 pounds lamb stew meat

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 large onions, quartered

3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

1-1/2 teaspoons minced chives

½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme


In a Dutch oven, brown meat in 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Remove with a slotted spoon; set aside. Add the onions, carrots and remaining oil to pan. Cook for 5 minutes or until onions are tender, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes, broth, salt, pepper and lamb; Bring to a boil.

Remove from the heat. Cover and bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until meat and vegetables are tender.

With a slotted spoon, remove meat and vegetables to a large bowl; set aside and keep warm. Pour pan juices into another bowl; set aside.

In the Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in pan juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the parsley, chives, thyme, and meat and vegetables; heat through. Yield: 4 servings.

a-catered-romace-resized-for-sw-goodIn A Catered Romance, Mary Beth tells Tom she likes to roast the lamb first. You can do that if you want. Roast the lamb with some of the broth for about an hour, either the full roast or the cut-up pieces. Season as you like. Let the lamb cool before you cut it up. Follow the rest of the instructions. Also, you’ll probably want to double the broth and double the spices. I find that recipes are never quite spicy enough for me, and the amount of broth used in this recipe isn’t enough. Experiment. That’s what I do.

For more on my books and to sign up for my newsletter, visit my website. Thanks!

I love to experiment with recipes, adapting them to our tastes. Thanks for sharing that amazing recipe for lamb stew, Cara! I’m always up for a new tempting lamb recipe, especially one so integral to a romance story. After all, we all have to eat, right?


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: Conkies #dessert #recipe from #romance #author Sandra Masters

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

sandra_2014-50-percent-picturea-3Many thanks to Betty Bolte for offering me the opportunity to post on this blog. Many of my books feature recipes relevant for either my hero or heroine.

In this case, the Conkies are a favorite of my hero, Thorn Wick, THORN, SON OF A DUKE, as a young West Indies native who finds himself summoned to England to meet his father, The Duke of Althorn.

This 15,000-word prequel teaser is Book Three in The Duke Series. This story covers the hard life Thorn, and his mother has on the island of Barbados, where he’s considered a half-breed, even though his mother is descendent of the royalty of the Taino Tribe. She dies in his arms and tells him of his heritage and swears him to promise he will visit his father, the Duke of Althorn, who never knew of his existence.

The story covers Thorn’s trip from Barbados to London, England, and the rather large chip on his shoulder at the stunning revelation that he is a son of a prominent Duke. His father’s best friend, Sir Tomas, transports him and explains that the Duke never knew of his son’s existence, but that he wants him now that he knows.

A short excerpt:

“Sir Tomas, how long did you say you resided in Barbados when you first came?”

“About four months.”

“Just enough time to get a taste of our food?”

“Yes, my favorite was Cou Cou, Cornmeal, and Okra.”

Thorn smiled. “I especially like Conkies. It is a favorite treat.”….The thought of his beloved island rained over him. He closed his eyes for a moment and then relaxed. “What does my father look like?” he asked.

“Very much like you, but with a lighter skin color. You both have the same eyes. I’d know you anywhere in the world.”

thorn-cover-ok-use-thisThe last chapter of this prequel fast-forwards three years where Thorn meets the Duke’s ward, Alicia, and the twenty-one-year-old hero admires her from afar. The chemistry sizzles. Her fire, His ice, Collision bound.

Alicia’s and Thorn’s multi-cultural story continues in Book Four, THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD by Sandra Masters, with a release date of November 4, 2016. Available at Amazon for pre-order now.

I include recipes in most of my books and those recipes can be found on my website. http://sandramastersauthor.com. If you’re worried about carbohydrates, you might skip this recipe, but it sounds decadently delicious.

Recipe for Conkies (Barbados)


2 cups corn flour                                                                                            1 egg (beaten)

1 cup plain flour                                                                                             ¾ lb brown sugar

I cup grated coconut                                                                                      4 ozs raisins

¾ lb grated pumpkin                                                                                    1 tsp spice

½ lb grated sweet potato                                                                             1 tsp almond essence

6 oz melted butter or margarine                                                                1 tsp grated nutmeg

1 cup whole milk                                                                                              1 tsp salt

Fresh banana leaves

Substitutions: The Banana leaves can be substituted with wax paper or foil.

Mix the coconut, pumpkin, sweet potato, sugar, spices, raisins, flour, corn flour, and salt together in a large bowl.

Add the beaten egg, melted butter/margarine, and milk. Mix thoroughly by hand to combine. You should have a thick mixture that drops slowly from a spoon. Add more flour if the mixture is not thick enough. Add a bit more milk, if it is too thick

Fresh green Banana leaves are traditionally used to wrap the Conkie mixture. If you have these, strip leaves from the stalk with a sharp knife, then briefly singe them over an open flame to make them more pliable. Cut the leaves into individual 8” squares.  Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture into the center of the banana leaf. Fold the leaf around the mixture, taking care not to rip the leaf.

Steam the Conies on a rack over boiling water in a large saucepan for 1 hour or until they are firm.

Unwrap and enjoy!

Recipe Compliments of Barbados.Org

Wow to both the story and the Conkies! Did you find that recipe as tempting as I do? Thanks again, Sandra, for sharing your amazing recipe with us! I think I put on weight just reading the list of ingredients!


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Between the Lines: She wrote what? #American #women #history #research

Ann Frobel CW DiaryThe inspiration for the A More Perfect Union series of historical romances came from reading early American literature. An essay by Judith Sargent Murray, specifically, in which she argued for equal education for girls, and argued against the mistaken notion that females would become sick with too much education. Looking back on how our understanding of human capabilities has morphed over time, it’s difficult to imagine anyone would believe the brain couldn’t learn without making the person—female, that is—ill.

One symptom of this idea is the denial of women to write for publication without being criticized for “manly” behavior. But by the end of the American Revolution women had started to write for publication. Even young slave Phillis Wheatley wrote poems and had them published.

One thing I’ve noticed in my research is the expansion of available written materials for women’s lives over the last 240 years of our country’s existence. What’s interesting to me is that the earliest written record is usually in the form of letters between women and their friends and family. Few colonial women had the time, the materials, or perhaps even the interest in documenting their day-to-day existence in a diary. I can think of one that is famous for the very fact that it was written by a lady in South Carolina during the Revolution. Add to the dearth of materials available the fact that these women often had a sense of privacy they held dear. Which often led women to burn their letters before they died, like Martha Washington is known to have done. (Sadly…)

Mary Chesnut CW DiaryBy the time of the Civil War, however, it’s easier to find the histories of women. For example, both Mary Chesnut, wife of a Confederate general, and Anne Frobel, a Virginia lady, kept diaries specifically to document their lives during the conflict, recognizing that others may actually want to know what they had to endure after the fact. Which they were indeed correct to presume!

I found myself pondering the expansion of women writers of all kinds over the centuries. From writing letters, to keeping diaries, to writing essays and novels and nonfiction books, to the vast array of writing we enjoy today. Even this blog is an example of a woman voicing her thoughts to others. I think all this stems from women having more education, less manual labor around the house, more “leisure” time as a result. (Note that although I’m calling it leisure time, we all know that most people fill every waking hour with something to do!) And of course, the materials are always at hand, whether it’s paper and pen or some form of keyboard. But also because women are people who have a voice and thoughts worth sharing.

So I thank those courageous women like Judith Sargent Murray who stood up to be counted and helped to open the door to the world of writing I enjoy today.

Thanks for stopping by!


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!

My American Revolution series of romances begins with Emily’s Vow, which was a finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards contest. The stories each feature a strong woman who declares her own independence for a variety of reasons, but ultimately they each find and fall in love with their soul mate. You can purchase the 4-book series for Kindle, or for Nook. They are also available in paperback if you prefer. Happy reading!

AMPU Covers-4

Between the Lines: Sermon with a View #romance #research #churches

IMG_1508Last week I shared about the pulpit in St. Michael’s Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Today, I’d like to share the description of the chancel and nave in the church, and then let you see it through Emily’s eyes, as I wrote it in Emily’s Vow. Like I mentioned last time, George W. Williams wrote and published a bicentennial account of the history of the church, complete with descriptions and, even better, pictures. I’m going to refer to his pages again.

Each of us notices different aspects of the world around us. So I had to “become” Emily when I wrote her story, to show what she’d focus on in the church while listening to the dreaded loyalist rector’s sermon. All she really wanted was to leave the church, but her father would never allow such disrespect on the Sabbath. So she sits still, with an effort, and endures the lesson.

I’ll touch on the history of the interior of the church, for your information, and then I’ll share the description I used in the book, so you can see how I worked in the details from Emily’s perspective.

IMG_1527According to Mr. Williams, the chancel is “Architecturally as well as devotionally the focus of attention” in the church. Thus, the design and decoration of the space received the most attention. In 1772, Corinthian pilasters and a wrought iron rail were added to the area at the front of the church. The chancel is described in great detail in the pages of Mr. Williams’ book.

From St. Michael’s, Charleston, 1751-1951:

“The Chancel is handsome, and is ornamented in a neat and appropriate manner. It is a paneled wainscot, with four Corinthian Pilasters supporting the proper cornice. The usual Tables of the Decalogue, Lord’s Prayer, and Apostles’ Creed, are placed between them.”

And then:

“It seems that then or later the wainscot, the pilasters, and the entablature may have been painted a dark brown against a solid plaster wall, quite possibly blue. The tablets, two to each side in a unit, were in gilded frames with gilt lettering. Decorating the head of each frame was a golden cherub’s head and wings. The half-dome was a thing of simplicity and beauty. It was blue, representing the firmament, with clouds floating in it. At the peak was a ‘glory,’ a golden sun with golden beams radiating into the dome. The entire aspect must have been at once handsome and harmonious.”

The details of this description informed what Emily notices as she gazes about the church. But there are changes that have been made to the church in the years since my story took place, which Mr. Williams notes.

Again from Williams:

“A dwelling immediately to the east of the chancel offered the constant threat of fire to the church, and in 1788 the dignified Palladian window was ‘shut in with brick.’ The large blank area in the chancel thus produced was painted over a dark brown to resemble a curtain and draperies with gilt tassels and fringe.”

Over the years, other changes occurred, such as repainting and regilding, and repairs had to be made after the Civil War when “damage inflicted by Shells” had to be corrected, but the interior was restored “in keeping with the original design.” Then in 1866, the central window was reopened and “filled with colored glass of hexagonal panes with a curling ivy-leaf design.” Not to belabor my point, I’m sharing these details on the changes to show how having the historical description of what the chancel and nave looked like originally and in 1782-83, the years of my A More Perfect Union series, allowed me to accurately reflect on their appearance.

With that detailed description in mind, let’s look at how Emily viewed the chancel and nave in Emily’s Vow:

“She let her eyes stray to the white plaster ceiling with its intricately carved border known as the Wall of Troy, with its four double roses centered on each of four sides of the rectangle above her. She tried projecting the piety of the other women surrounding her though she only wanted to move, to be outside in the sunshine, to dissipate the energy agitating her. The nave felt cool in the dim light. The sun shone through the Palladian glass window at the rear of the chancel, situated some twenty feet behind the pulpit, and brightened the dark blue walls as well as the four brown Corinthian pilaster columns. The half dome above was blue to represent the firmament with white clouds floating on it and a “glory” at the peak, a golden sun with radiating beams spreading across the dome. Two tablets hung on either side of the window containing the words of the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles Creed in gilt lettering in gilded frames with a golden cherub’s head and wings at the top. She appreciated the simple elegance of the chancel, but today she had no patience. None.

Outside, the sun shone warmly on the churchyard with its tombstones covered by fallen leaves, and she imagined birds hopped among them searching for dinner. But she remained trapped inside yet again, albeit in a different place.”

Poor Emily! She wants to enjoy the service, but simply misses the familiar rector who fled when the British occupied the city. But don’t worry. She’ll once again go willingly to church, after the enemy departs America’s shores in December 1782.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!


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Between the Lines: Word Search in History #research #wordplay #amwriting

I was talking with a friend about my love of word play, including checking on the etymology of words in my stories to make sure they are not anachronisms for my characters. See, when writing in close point of view, either first or third person, the characters thoughts and speech must adhere to the language in use at the time period of the story. For example, words like mesmerize or trampoline were unknown in the 18th century, the time of my historical romance series.

This discussion reminded me of when I was researching the history of the bells of St. Michael’s Church in Charleston, South Carolina, for Emily’s Vow. During my reading, I came across the fact that the bells had been taken down and shipped to England as war prizes by the British in October 1782 (which was a story problem I had to correct, by the way). But also that the bells were returned the following fall on a ship that also carried two thoroughbred horses. Nothing too unusual about that fact, right? Except! The word thoroughbred was used to refer to a person with good breeding up until 1796, when it was then applied to horses. My story takes place in 1782, so while my historical reference on the history of the bells could use that word, I could not include it in any of my stories set in this time period.

FireproofpicWhat to do? How did people of the day refer to what we know today as Thoroughbreds? I needed to see the newspaper account from 1783 to find out what terminology the contemporary writer used. So while I was in Charleston, hubby and I visited the Fireproof Building that houses The South Carolina Historical Society. Armed with the citation of the exact newspaper publication information, the wonderful librarians there helped me locate the article. My heart raced with anticipation as I scanned the column of text. The search for a tidbit of history such as this is thrilling to me, which is why I write historicals.


The Darley Arabian – Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Finally, I found the sentence referring to “thorough bred horses.” Two words! Awesome! That meant I could use the 1782 term and modern readers would still understand the meaning. Ultimately, the reader’s enjoyment of the story outweighs other considerations, but if I can use the language of the day that my character would use, all the better.


What do you think? Does it matter how authentic the language is as long as the story is entertaining? Or do you prefer to experience the subtle distinctions in time and place that language can create?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!


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!

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Between the Lines: Breastfeeding in the 18th century #research #history #motherhood

Often it’s the smallest details that take the most time to research. Evelyn has an infant son whom she is breastfeeding. But my question was, how did she dress in order to do so? I mean, women wore a chemise and stays or a bodice of some sort. There were several layers of fabric to contend with. Today, we have blouses with buttons, specialized bras, and other options for making nursing our children convenient and discreet. But then? What did they wear?

motherhood_thumbIt took some searching, but I finally found what I was looking for. Again, at the Colonial Williamsburg website, one of my go-to sites for 18th-century research. Not only did they include the description of stays with flaps on the breast to make access possible, but they also revealed how they handled diapering – and pinning – the cloth diapers on their babies. There is most definitely a reason why safety pins were invented! I think the most

motherhood1-Colonial Williamsburg
A pin cushion with straight pins was a common new baby gift. Image courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg.

creative idea was sewing on ties so they could fasten the cloth diaper without any pins. And the addition of a pad made of more absorbent material for the night to augment the natural absorbency of the soft cotton.


So, in Evelyn’s Promise, I had Evelyn become creative and sewed flaps onto her gown so she could discreetly feed her son. I was also heartened to read that women in this time period were engaged in feeding their own children unlike subsequent eras when they employed wet nurses instead, not just to fill in from time to time.

Being able to share the details of how women cared for their children and themselves helps me more accurately tell the stories about life in America’s past.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!


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!

Evelyn's PromiseIf you’re interested in buying your own copy of Evelyn’s Promise, you can find her story at the following links. Thanks!

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