Saturday, December 15, 2012

                December 2012/January 2013
Holiday Recipes
Jello Cookie Gems
1 package of Cream Cheese, room tempature (8 oz. package)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1 pkg. (3 ounce) Jello-any flavor
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1) In large bowl, beat cream cheese butter until smooth. Add in sugar and vanilla, brating until mixed. In a small bowl add the flour, dry jello, baking soda and mix lightly then slowly add it to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2) Heat oven at 325 degrees and roll into dough balls (1 inch) and place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets sprayed with cooking spray or on parchment paper.
3) Bake 9-11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on wire rack.
4) Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.
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Pecan tarts
Pastry shell
1 cup butter
6 ozs cream cheese
2 cups flour
4 Tablespoons melted butter
1 pinch of salt
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
cup chopped pecans
3 cups packed brown sugar
·       To make shell, cream softened butter and cream cheese together. Add flour and mix well. Make into 48 balls and place one each into mini tart pan. No need to oil pan.
·       To make filling, break eggs, don't beat. Add sugar, melted butter, salt, vanilla, and pecans. Mix well. Fill shells leaving room for expansion. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until delicately browned.
·       I made them in cupcake liners and pan since I intended to us them in gift packages--half the number of dough balls. Baking time was about the same. These can also be made ahead of time and frozen.
Tried this one for the first time today. All I can say is yum. I thought to take just one bite to see how they'd turned out. It led to....I expect to gain weight this holiday season.
Fair warning, they aren't very pretty, but as I said, yum.
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Quick And Easy Fruit Pie
Frozen pie crust (regular, not deep)
1 frozen pack of a combo of all the berries, plus 1/2 pack of frozen blueberries.
(Use the pie shell still frozen)
Dump in all the berries.
First topping--mix:
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
The mix:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter (which is half a stick. )
·       Several generous shakes of cinnamon.
·       Mix the butter well into the flour and sugar combination.
·       Drop the result evenly on top of the first mixture over the berries.
·       Bake for 45 to 50 minutes on cookie sheet at 400 degrees. (I recommend checking at 45 minutes because mine is always done by then.)
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Easy Peasy Beautiful Candy Bark
·       Looking for a last-second stunning gift or impressive treat to share?
·       Candied White Chocolate Bark is perfect.
·       Buy a block of that white bark stuff at the grocery store, and whatever hard candy you like – any flavor candycanes or hard candy; have some waxed or parchment paper spread out on a counter or baking sheet.
·       Melt the bark in a double boiler or microwave (just watch it carefully in the nuker – it will burn easily or get hard and gooey if cooked too long).
·       Crush up the candy (I like to use an old plastic bread bag and a rolling pin), leaving some fingernail sized pieces.
·       Dump the candy into the melted bark and spread on waxed or parchment paper and let cool a couple of hours.
·       Break into chunks – voila! looks cool, and if you can resuse some of those metal containers or get some cheap cute ones at the dollar store, your giftee will be delighted.
·       Pair it with a good romantic book, Like Meander Scar (or an Amazon or Barnes and Noble e-gift copy), a cup of Christmas tea, and a box of kleenex, and it’s a perfect gift... ;) Just sayin’.
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Lorna and Larry Collins wrote about both of these in our book, 31 Months in Japan.
Auntie Wanda’s Pumpkin Pie
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 can (29 oz.) pumpkin
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 cup undiluted evaporated milk
2/3 cup half & half
1 Tbsp. molasses
2 9” unbaked pie shells
Combine ingredients in order given. Pour into pie crusts. Bake in preheated 425˚ oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350˚. Bake 40-50 minutes more or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool. Serve topped with whipped cream.
The first Thanksgiving Lorna and Larry were in Japan, Lorna wanted to bake this pie but the ingredients were impossible to find. (Read about it in the Holidays chapter of 31 Months in Japan: the Building of a Theme Park.) In subsequent years, she planned ahead and this was one of the favorites of our Japanese friends. On that first Thanksgiving of 1998, however, Lorna made Aunt Muriel’s Pumpkin Chiffon Pie instead. For Christmas of 2000, Auntie Wanda’s Pumpkin Pie was a big hit. Lorna probably baked at least half a dozen of them.
Aunt Muriel’s Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
1 pkg. dream Whip
½ cup milk
½ tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup milk
Instant vanilla pudding
1 cup canned pumpkin
¾ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Baked pie shell or graham cracker crust
Prepare Dream Whip with ½ cup milk and vanilla. Combine 1 cup with instant pudding. Add 2/3 cup of milk, pumpkin and spices. Beat thoroughly. Mix about 1 min. Put in pie shell. Cool for two hours and serve topped with remaining Dream Whip.
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This is easy and yummy. If you have a group and enough mugs, everyone can enjoy making their own cake. It's a wonderful way to entertain kids. (If children are making it, leave out the coffee and add one more tablespoon of milk.)
Henry King's Cake in a Mug
Serves 1
4 T flour
4 T sugar
2 T cocoa (the unsweetened kind)
Tiny shake of salt
1 egg
2 T milk
1 T strong coffee
3 T vegetable oil
Small splash vanilla extract
1 large microwave-safe coffee mug
·       Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well.
·       Add egg. Mix well again
·       Pour in milk, coffee, oil, and vanilla extract and stir until blended.
·       Put mug in microwave and cook for three minutes on high setting
·       Don't be alarmed! Cake will rise over top of mug.
·       Allow to cool a little; tip onto plate if desired, or eat directly from mug.
Note: Radine Trees Nehring’s editor wanted to delete this recipe from the book because he tried it with self-rising flour and ended up with a microwave mess. The recipe calls for plain flour, and it didn't occur to me to mention this. We sorted things out and the recipe remained in the novel.
A Regency Christmas

Pemberton Hall, England - 1814

The hall is ablaze with lights as servants bustle about. The Duke and Duchess of Pemberton are positively famous for their Annual Christmas Ball. Bedrooms have been aired and dusted for arriving guests. The ballroom and other public rooms are festooned with greenery. The kitchens are a hive of activity as dishes of every variety are prepared.
A secured invitation ensures one's position in the ton for the upcoming season. The noblest of England’s finest families vie for the honor to attend—most especially those with daughters of a marriageable age. As the Christmas Ball fills with guests ranging from scandalous rogues to men of good heart, all of whom dance attendance on the lovely ladies of the beau monde, a happily ever after affords the most wondrous Christmas of all.
Please join the Wild Okie Writers as they present the *free* serial Regency romance, My True Love Gave to Me.
Chapter 1: A Partridge in a Pear Tree
Chapter 2: Two Turtle Doves
Chapter 3: Three French Hens
Chapter 4: Four Calling Birds
Chapter 5: Five Golden Rings
Chapter 6: Six Geese A Laying
Chapter 7: Seven Swans A Swimming
Chapter 8: Eight Maids A Milking
Chapter 9: Nine Ladies Dancing
Chapter 10: Ten Lords A Leaping
Chapter 11: Eleven Pipers Piping
Chapter 12: Twelve Drummers Drumming
New Releases

The Pilot
(An Outer Rim Novel: Book 1)
There's no place like home and he just stole hers. Cargo hauler, risk taker Celera d'Enfaden must work with rule-bound Administrator Trevarr Jovano to save her brother from a galactic gangster.
~ ~ ~ ~
Cross of Death
Coming soon to Secret Cravings Publishing Jan 11
When the sun dawns, Princess Fayahstella has disappeared, Garran is a prisoner on his way to Caslock’s torture chambers, refusing to say where she has gone, and fractions of an ancient religion struggled to fulfill the prophecy, one to save him and another to kill.
~ ~ ~ ~
Taming April
Cowboy Fever Series, Book 4
Return to cowboy country in Fever, Texas, where the heat isn't the only thing causing a fever! See if you can find the heirloom wedding band!
Shawn Jacobs, co-owner of Triple Aces Ranch, is the ultimate ladies’ man. But, as his best friends find the women of their dreams and get hitched one by one, he wonders what he’s missing.
Once a classmate of Shawn’s and the daughter of a hard-working ranch hand who never had enough money to buy her a dress, let alone move out of the filthy hovel they’d lived in together after her mother’s death, April St. Clair is a high-powered lawyer. She’s left the dirty, dusty, stinking life of cattle ranching as far behind her as she can get. The men she dates are dressed to the nine’s, and their hands are as soft as their hearts. Unfortunately, she hasn’t come home once since she left for college. When her father dies—alone—she’s devastated. The only thing he left behind is a young mare that he’d wanted Shawn Jacobs and no other to train.
When the beautiful, snotty, green-eyed blond shows up at Triple Aces in treacherous high heels and designer clothing, asking him to train her father’s horse, Shawn’s amusement quickly turns to annoyance—and more. April infuriates him even as she turns him on. He knows it isn’t just the wild horse that needs to be tamed. April resists him at every turn, but even she isn’t immune to cowboy fever.


  Losing Santa
I've always loved Christmas, but in 1954, the holiday changed forever.
That February, I returned from second grade to the news that my father had died. He went to work and was gone. Since he left us only enough money for his to burial, Mom became the sole support for our family at a time when women didn't work.
My grandmother insisted we (Mom, my 4-year-old brother and I) spend Christmas at her house.
Christmas morning, we awoke to presents under the tree. However, later I discovered all the boxes and discovered Santa's real identity, and my childhood ended.
Lorna and Larry Collins
Exclusive to Romancing the Heart Interviews
*"Christmas" photo provided by Danio Rizzuti,

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