25 November 2014

Release Event & Giveaway: Diamonds and Dust (Lonesome Point, Texas #3) by Jessie Evans



Diamonds and Dust (Lonesome Point, Texas #3)
by Jessie Evans.
Audience/Genre: Contemporary Romance.
Publication: November 30th 2014 by Self Taught Ninja.
A sexy second chance romance from NYT and USA Today Bestselling author Jessie Evans.

The home run neither of them expected…

Pike Sherman is a legend in Lonesome Point, a hometown boy who made it to the big leagues. Literally. Professional baseball acquired one hell of a pitching arm and its latest celebrity bad boy when the gifted Pike was drafted seven years ago. Pike’s broken heart came along for the ride, too, but he kept that private, and since leaving Lonesome Point has kept his distance from his hometown. But when Pike’s little sister, Mia, begs him to be the Dude of Honor at her wedding, he can’t refuse. He takes advantage of a break in the season and returns home to find himself thrown together with the one woman he never wanted to see again.

Tulsi Hearst is on the verge of losing her Equine Therapy business, and letting down all the kids she’s come to love. After a mix-up with the grant board, she needs to concentrate on finding more funding, not dealing with Pike Sherman, the boy she sacrificed so much for, and the one person she’s ever lied to. And what a lie it is… Pike would hate her if he found out. She knows she should stay far away from the brooding man her summer love has become, but Tulsi can’t resist a slow dance with the only boy who ever made her blood rush.

After just a few days back in Lonesome Point, Pike can’t imagine life without the girl he left behind, but when Tulsi’s secret is revealed, his heart is broken all over again. The only thing worse than losing Tulsi, is losing six years with the daughter he didn’t know he had.

Who's your favorite cowboy? Me... I like Tim McGraw.I mean, he's easy on the eyes. He has the voice and a great family. Sigh!

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jessie Evans, gave up a career as an international woman of mystery to write the sexy, contemporary romances she loves to read.

She's married to the man of her dreams, and together they're raising a few adorable, mischievous children in a cottage in the jungle. She grew up in rural Arkansas, spending summers running wild, being chewed by chiggers, and now appreciates her home in a chigger-free part of the world even more.

When she's not writing, Jessie enjoys playing her dulcimer (badly), sewing the worlds ugliest quilts to give to her friends, going for bike rides with her house full of boys, and drifting in and out on the waves, feeling thankful for sun, surf, and lovely people to share them with.



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Release Day Book Blitz & Giveaway: Hemlock Veils by Jennie Davenport



Hemlock Veils
by Jennie Davenport.
Audience/Genre: Paranormal, New Adult, Retellings.
Publication: November 25, 2014 by Swoon Romance.
When Elizabeth Ashton escapes her damaging city life and finds herself in the remote town of Hemlock Veils, Oregon, she is smitten by its quaint mystery; but the surrounding forest holds an enchantment she didn’t think existed, and worse, a most terrifying monster. The town claims it vicious and evil, but Elizabeth suspects something is amiss. Even with its enormous, hairy frame, gruesome claws, and knifelike teeth, the monster’s eyes speak to her: wolf-like and ringed with gold, yet holding an awareness that can only be human. That’s when Elizabeth knows she is the only one who can see the struggling soul trapped inside, the soul to which she is moved.

Secretly, Elizabeth befriends the beast at night, discovering there’s more to his story and that the rising of the sun transforms him into a human more complex than his beastly self. Elizabeth eventually learns that his curse is unlike any other and that a single murderous act is all that stands between him and his freedom. Though love is not enough to break his curse, it may be the only means by which the unimaginable can be done: sacrifice a beauty for the beast.



Excerpt
Another howl lifted from the forest and for the briefest instant a light flashed deep within the trees, their dancing shadows backlit by the panicked beam. Tightening her drenched strap around her shoulder, she crossed the asphalt and stopped in the mud at the other side. This forest was different than the rest, even different from its companion across the highway. Something lingered here. Someone, maybe. And if someone was here—a Good Samaritan, perhaps—it might save her the three-mile trek to Rhododendron. Taking just a half-step closer, she peered into the trees.
“Hello!” she called, trying to make her voice boom, but rainfall swallowed the sound. Her teeth chattered and water poured from the rim of her hood, impairing her vision. “Anyone there? My car broke down and—” She cut herself off. I’m a helpless woman, she may as well be shouting. Alone, with only my father’s rusty pocket knife to defend myself!
The forest didn’t respond, and she should have been relieved. Turning, she folded her free arm over herself and walked the slick shoulder, heading in a westerly direction and trying to avoid the largest puddles. A bend in the highway lay just ahead. Surely she would find something beyond its curve, maybe some sign of civilization.
Vegetation rustled behind her. Heavy heels scraped on the gritty, wet road.
She twisted, readying her stance—wishing her pocket knife wasn’t buried inside her bag—but what the beam of her flashlight caught wasn’t what she expected. A slender, elderly man with a coarse, whitish beard that came to his waist shielded his eyes from her light. His skin hung with wrinkles almost as pale as his beard. A large spotlight dangled from his neck, amidst the bristly facial hair, and lit his black leather boots. He wore a flannel shirt beneath fishing waders, an open yellow slicker, and a yellow sou’wester hat, the large rim falling down the back of his neck. He looked like a fisherman taken right off the Pacific Ocean and planted in the middle of Mt. Hood National Forest.
His hand still shielded his red-rimmed eyes, but it wasn’t until he cursed that she realized her light blinded him.
“I’m sorry,” she said, dropping the beam.
“Do you have any idea what you just did?” His vocal cords sounded compressed, perhaps from old age, making his voice thin and high. He took an irate step to-ward her.
Elizabeth stepped back. “I’m sorry?”
Drawing his decrepit thumb and index finger together, he grumbled, “I was this close!” The double-barreled shotgun in his dropped hand—why didn’t she notice this sooner?—now swung.
“Whoa,” she said, lifting a hand. With the current events of her life, she shouldn’t have been surprised to run into a nut job in the middle of the forest.
“I had it right in my sights! I could’ve changed everything for our town if you hadn’t scared it away!” He exhaled, clouding the air with an angry burst.
“My car broke down and I saw your light in the forest … ”
Wiping a hand down his face, he looked in the direction he’d come—through the forest—then in the direction she’d been headed—west—then finally at her broken-down car across the road. His breath puffed at a measured rate. He wasn’t crazy, just irritated. With a tone of defeat, he said, “There’s nothing I can do for you out here, ma’am.”
“Thanks for your time anyway.” She tried not to sound too deflated.
When she resumed her steps, he called from behind, “Not sure if you know this, but it’s a three-mile walk to Rhododendron.”
She turned back, adjusting her leather bag in the hope its contents weren’t completely soaked through. “It’s better than six miles back to Government Camp.”
“You know the area?”
She shrugged.
His eyes narrowed, and his beard dripped. “Walking alone isn’t a smart idea,” he said in that thin, almostbackwoods-sounding tone. “Not through these parts, ma’am, not at this time of night. You have any idea what’s out here?”
“More old men in fishing gear?”
He raised a brow then chuckled, and though she hardly saw it through his beard, his smile was warm. “Much worse, ma’am.” Her eyes followed his, but she saw nothing. His jaw rolled rigorously as he chewed, then he spat to the side, leaving specks of brown in his beard; they washed away quickly. Finally, with a twinge of regret, he said, “A town’s one mile south of here, right through these trees.” He motioned to his left, into the forest he’d emerged from. It seemed his admittance of this town was the result of some internal battle being lost.
“A town is … through there?”
“My town: Hemlock Veils. We call it Oregon’s best kept secret.” He spat again, giving a proud half-smile. “You feel like a midnight hike?”




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Though Jennie Davenport was raised throughout the Midwest, she now lives in the little desert mining town of Bagdad, Arizona, where six guys beg for her constant attention: a husband, three young, blond sons, a German shepherd with a name much mightier than his disposition (Zeus), and a black cat named Mouse. When she isn’t trying to run her home with as little casualties as possible, Jennie loves snuggling with her family, laughing with her friends, delving into brilliant entertainment of any vein, and playing outside. Despite the way being a writer is in her blood, and the wheels of her writerly mind are constantly turning, Jennie likes to think that in another life, she would have been a Broadway star. Or an American Idol finalist.

Jennie lives for the fall, and not just because of her adoration for the NFL (Go Broncos!). In her perfect world, she would have the springs, summers, and falls of Colorado, and the winters of Arizona—someplace where the climate and weather would allow her to go on a trail run all year round. But even though she prefers the pines and mountains, she is a devoted fan of all nature, from sandy beaches to woodsy cabins, and all are her greatest inspiration. She believes nature is one of the best healing remedies, with a magic all its own.


Jennie’s passion for writing is the way she survives, and is as vital to her sanity as oxygen, caffeine, food, and music. Even before she began writing it, well-told, original, and character-driven romance was always her weak spot. Add the paranormal or magical realism element and she may never make it back to reality.





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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Anomaly (Schrodinger's Consortium #1) by Tonya Kuper



Come back tomorrow for my review and more...


ANOMALY (Schrodinger's Consortium #1)
by Tonya Kuper.
Audience/Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi.
Publication: 11/25/14 by Entangled Publishing.
Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it…


Worst. Birthday. Ever.
My first boyfriend dumped me – happy birthday, Josie!- my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening…
Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it.
When hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother. Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…


Guest Post: Random Facts About Tonya Kuper
Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I’m excited to be here! I thought instead of me answering the usual author question, readers may enjoy some absolute randomness.
So here is a list of random facts about me:
* I taught yoga for over three years. I haven’t practiced, let alone taught, in years.
* I once partied with Keith Urban’s band and road crew until four in the morning. Keith was in his room but his bald guitar player said I had the sexiest hair he’d ever seen. So that was…coo/interesting/weird.
* My kids have life threatening food allergies. My oldest son went into anaphylaxis when he was just over a year old and was gray by the time we got the ER. It seemed as if people came from the walls, appearing out of nowhere to save his life. Scariest day of my life.
* I have a reaction to a stomach medication that makes my brain think I have Parkinson’s Disease. Yeah, I found that out the hard way. My speech is slurred, my tongue presses to the roof of my mouth, my bottom jaw slides to the side. It’s pretty crazy.
* There was a movie, a biographical drama, in 2000 called The Perfect Storm, staring George Clooney and Mark Walberg and nominated for two Academy Awards. I sat next to the friend of the crew members lost at sea that served as one of the consultants for the film on the sailing/fishing elements. It was the most interesting plane ride!
* Anyone watch 24 starring Keifer Sutherland? Well, my friend and I were in NYC in 2011 and ended up at the same bar as him and Jason Patrick (his co-star in a play and Lost Boys, the vampire movie from the 80’s). And Keifer mooned us. Like, ten feet from us.
* I’m obsessed with accents. Southern drawl, East coast, Canadian, English, Irish, Scottish, whatever. So…cute men + accents = automatic points from me. It’s probably because I grew in rural Illinois then moved to Omaha, Nebraska after college, which is the call center of America because we have such a flat accent, basically no accent. It’s very…generic American.
* My family, between all four of us, is allergic to almost every mammal on Earth, therefore we have no hairy pets. We literally can’t be enclosed with most mammal dander. It’s so bad, we can’t even have the “hypo-allergenic” dogs. We had fish. They died. And they were boring. My boys wanted to interact with something – so we got a leopard gecko, a desert dweller. I had no idea they were so cute and have such personalities! I post pics and videos of Mo (short for Mo’o, the Hawaiin word for lizard/gecko) on my Instagram account every once in while.

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Tonya Kuper's debut, ANOMALY, the first in the Schrodinger's Consortium young adult scifi trilogy, releases November 2014 by Entangled Teen. She lives in Omaha, NE with her two rad boys and husband, is a music junkie, and a chocolate addict. Star Wars & Sherlock fan.






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Release Day Launch: The Journey Home by



The Journey Home
by Kelly Elliott.
Audience/Genre: Contemporary Romance.
Publication: November 25th 2014.
Fate has a way of stepping in and righting itself when we least expect it.

Maddison Powers has been regretting the biggest mistake of her life when she walked away from the only man who has ever sparked something deep inside her. After comparing every guy she dates to Cale Blackwood, she finally gives up all hope of ever finding him.

One dare by Maddison throws Cale back into her life...and into the arms of her best friend.

Cale Blackwood thought he had found the woman of his dreams, until she walked away from him one night and didn't look back. Attempting to find love again, Cale finds himself in a relationship built on one lie after another. Forced to take on the biggest challenge of his life, Cale must seek help from the woman who walked away from him and broke his heart.

Sometimes it takes more than one journey in life to truly be home.

An Excerpt...
Maddie's POV

“Cale, you need to go home.”
He closed his eyes and shook his head. “You’re doing it again. You’re pushing me away. I’m tired of it, Maddie. I’m so tired of it.”
I swallowed hard and turned to find my phone. I needed Jack to come pick up Cale.
I was about to dial my phone when Cale grabbed me. He turned me around and backed me up until I hit the living room wall.
His eyes were filled with lust. That look had my panties soaked in seconds.
He lifted up my dress and, in one quick movement, he ripped my panties from my body. I wanted to cry out yes. I wanted to let him take me, but I couldn’t.
“Cale,” I said. “Don’t do this.”
He kissed my neck and I started to give in. When his hand touched my inner thigh, I startled. His lips moved to mine and I moaned, desperately, into his mouth as he lifted my leg.
“Oh God,” I whispered. I tried to come to my senses. “Cale, please don’t do this. We can’t do this.”
He moved his lips to my jaw line as he kissed around to my ear. “Are you turned on by me? Or by him?”
The moment he asked, I felt like a whore. I dropped my leg and pushed him back.
I wiped the tears from my eyes.
“Jesus. I didn’t mean that Maddie. I just—”
“Get out,” I said. “Get out of my house and don’t you dare set foot near me again. I hate you, Cale.”

Copyright 2014 The Journey Home Kelly Elliott








Kelly Elliott is married to a wonderful Texas cowboy who has a knack for making her laugh almost daily and supports her crazy ideas and dreams for some unknown reason...he claims it's because he loves her!
She’s also a mom to an amazing daughter who is constantly asking for something to eat while her fingers move like mad on her cell phone sending out what is sure to be another very important text message.
In her spare time she loves to sit in her small corner overlooking the Texas hill country and write.
One of her favorite things to do is go for hikes around her property with Gus....her chocolate lab and the other man in her life, and Rose, her golden retriever. When Kelly is not outside helping the hubby haul brush, move rocks or whatever fun chore he has in store for her that day, you’ll find her inside reading, writing or watching HGTV.





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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Love, Laughter, and Merrily Ever Afters Collection



Love, Laughter, and Merrily Ever Afters Collection by ten New York Times & USA Today bestselling authors.
Audience/Genre: Romance.
Publication: November 25th 2014.
TEN fun, romantic holiday novellas by ten New York Times & USA Today bestselling authors

An all-star gathering of some of today's most popular NYT and USA Today bestselling romance authors in a fun-filled collection...holiday style! With the overwhelming response to the chart-topping summer boxed set, we've brought together even MORE of your favorite authors for a winter compilation, and this time, we've giftwrapped TEN stories for you all. From the funny & sweet, to the STEAMY & heartfelt, each novella is packed with a whole lot of romance, and hand-picked to infuse perfectly-portioned holiday cheer into your busy days this season...along with hot bursts of holiday steam for those winter nights.

And at just ***99 CENTS USD*** that's a huge savings of over 95% off retail for the individual books sold separately! This is an extremely limited edition bundle available for just 5 weeks so get your copy today!

THE BOXED SET INCLUDES:

IF I RETURN -- by USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett
WILD IRISH CHRISTMAS -- by New York Times bestselling author Mari Carr
SEDUCING SANTA -- by New York Times bestselling author Janelle Denison (aka Erika Wilde)
DECKING DREW -- by New York Times bestselling author Violet Duke
FAIRIES & WISHES -- by USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson (aka Monica Murphy)
TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS -- by New York Times bestselling author Jessie Evans (aka J. Evans)
HOLIDAY SPIRIT -- by New York Times bestselling author Cathryn Fox
UNWRAPPED -- by New York Times bestselling author Melody Grace
A CHRISTMAS HEAT WAVE -- by New York Times bestselling author Alannah Lynne
HIS CHRISTMAS WISH -- by New York Times bestselling author Marquita Valentine

THE BOXED SET INCLUDES:
IF I RETURN by Sawyer Bennett 
Hope Camden is relentlessly serious, awkwardly shy, and in complete need of a walk on the wilder side. At least, that's what her sister tells her when she drags her off on an impromptu Christmas getaway in the mountains, where Hope meets gorgeous, enigmatic Army helicopter pilot Jack Freeman...who's headed off to war in a week. 

SEDUCING SANTA by Janelle Denison (aka Erika Wilde) 
All Faith Roberts wants for Christmas is one sexy night with Matthew Carlton, the hot, gorgeous pediatric surgeon posing as Santa for a visit to the children's ward where she volunteers. While Matthew is more than willing to fulfill her naughty wishes, he's determined to show Faith that he's the kind of gift that keeps on giving. 

TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS by Jessie Evans (aka J. Evans) 
When Lula Jo refused Carter's proposal one dark December night--unwilling to abandon her hometown to live the dangerous life of a treasure hunter's wife--the holiday lights went out in her heart. She vowed to keep her distance from dangerous men and untamed cowboys. But now Carter is back and hoping for a holiday miracle to reunite him with his first and only love. 

DECKING DREW by Violet Duke 
If anyone can make Drew Lawson believe in the magic of Christmas, of course the universe would pick the addictively sweet, mind-wreckingly beautiful Skylar Sullivan to try. She's only the girl-next-door of his dreams he'd classified as completely off-limits two years ago...the same one now standing on his doorstep on Christmas eve. 

FAIRIES & WISHES by Karen Erickson (aka Monica Murphy) 
Lily the holiday fairy is given a new assignment this Christmas season--teach a lonely doctor how to love again. But all Lily knows how to do is gently coerce people into embracing the Christmas spirit; she doesn't have a clue what love really is. So imagine her surprise when she falls madly in love--and lust--with the good doctor in the process. 

WILD IRISH CHRISTMAS by Mari Carr 
It's Christmas Eve, and all seven of the Collins siblings have gathered together to give their father Patrick a precious gift. Gather 'round the tree and join the Collins family as they pass a bottle of Jameson, and Patrick shares the story of how he won the heart of Sunday, his true love, his soul mate...and the mother of his seven Wild Irish. 

UNWRAPPED by Melody Grace 
Lacey James is wild, spontaneous, and up for anything. Daniel Sullivan is careful, sensible, and mending his broken heart. When the unlikely pair get stranded together on the way home for the holidays, Lacey finds her long-term crush impossible to ignore. And as a game of truth or dare spins out of control, Daniel discovers the one girl he truly wants is the last person he expected. 

HIS CHRISTMAS WISH by Marquita Valentine 
War hero Joaquin Morales is back in Holland Springs for the first time in years. His mission? To convince his wife that they have a future together. But falling in love with her husband for the second time is not a part of Sage Caswell's plans this holiday Season. With the help of a little Christmas magic (and a well-timed snowstorm), can Joaquin and Sage's dreams come true? 

HOLIDAY SPIRIT by Cathryn Fox 
What's a girl to do when she finds herself held captive in a bedroom--with the man she's been lusting after for months--by a voyeuristic spirit on Christmas Eve? Give it what it wants, of course. If a holiday romp with her sexy co-worker is what it'll take for Elly Watson to solve her latest Paranormal Task Force case, she's up for the challenge...over and over again if need be. 

A CHRISTMAS HEAT WAVE by Alannah Lynne 
All Samantha Mazze wants for Christmas is to create the perfect Christmas Eve celebration for her friends and family. The house is decorated, the meal has been prepared, the guests are arriving...what could possibly go wrong? Come spend the holidays with your friends from the Heat Wave series, and meet a few new additions.


Mouth Watering Author's Favorite Holiday Recipes...
Alannah’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

Pineapple Cookies

2 Cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Few grains salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup butter/margarine
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Drain pineapple well, reserving liquid for icing. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Dissolve baking soda in pineapple. Mash butter until smooth, add sugar – blend well. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Gradually add sifted ingredients – mixing after each addition. Blend in pineapple
Bake 6-8 minutes at 375

Icing:
2 Cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons pineapple juice

Mixed together powdered sugar and pineapple juice and glaze cookies.




Cathryn’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
This is a family recipe that has been handed down from generation to generation. It’s so easy and a family favourite.

Peanut Butter Squares
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup graham wafer crumbs
2 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons of milk
Put all ingredients together and spread in 9 by 9 inch greased pan.
Melt one half a package of chocolate chips (1cup) with one teaspoon of peanut butter and spread on top. Let set, but cut before firm.





Janelle’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (super easy and SO yummy!)

Ingredients:

1 (18-24 count) package of miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped
1 (18 ounce) package Pillsbury refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Before starting, unwrap peanut butter cups and place in freezer.
2. Using miniature muffin tins, place a 1-inch ball of dough in each cup.
3. Bake for 5 minutes (less than package instructions of 7-8 minutes)
4. Remove from oven and leave cookies in pan.
5. Remove candy from freezer and carefully press one into each cookie.
6. Remove from tins after they have cooled, and cool completely on a rack.





Jessie’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

This is one of my favorite holiday recipes!
(From Chef Andrew Sprugin link: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/brussels-sprouts-chestnuts-bacon)

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Bacon (From Sunset Nov 2012)
Yield: Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients
12 ounces canned or vacuum-packed shelled chestnuts, large pieces cut in half (or about 1 lb. fresh, if available)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, halved
6 slices (8 oz.) thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-in. pieces
1 large shallot, sliced thinly
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Toss chestnuts in oil and put on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, turning often, until slightly toasted but not dry, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add brussels sprouts and cook until bright green and just tender, about 6 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
3. Cook bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat, stirring often, until almost crisp. Drain bacon in a strainer, reserving fat in a bowl.
4. Wipe out pan and add 3 tbsp. reserved bacon fat. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until softened and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add drained brussels sprouts and cook, stirring often and adding more fat if needed, until browned and starting to crisp, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and lemon juice, stirring to combine.
5. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with reserved bacon and chestnuts.






Karen’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

Okay, I'm a total cheater. When I make sugar cookies with my kids, I use the Betty Crocker sugar cookie pouches. It's just so much easier! We can bust those cookies out in no time. But I do make homemade frosting and the secret I learned from my grandma to make the frosting taste extra delicious? Include a splash of coffee. Yes, coffee! Sadly, she doesn't make sugar cookies during the holidays anymore but I do. Trying to keep up the tradition!

Frosting recipe:

2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick salted butter
1-2 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Splash of coffee

Stir until desired thickness/consistency. Taste test to make sure it's sweet enough to your liking! Then get to frosting all those cookies. ;)

Here's a link to a photo from a couple of years ago - me making all the cookies and various holiday goodies and the mess I leave behind (note the diet Coke in the photo, too funny): http://karenwritesromance.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/misc-010.jpg







Mari’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

Cream of Crab Soup

Ingredients
¾ cup butter
¾ cup flour
2 chicken bouillon cubes (crushed)
dash of white pepper
salt to taste
1 tablespoon Old Bay
1 quart whole white milk
1 quart half and half
1 pound back fin crabmeat

Directions
1. Remove cartilage from crabmeat.
2. In a Dutch oven, melt butter. Blend in flour, pepper, and Old Bay. Stir and simmer over low heat 2-3 minutes.
3. Add milk, half and half, and bouillon. Simmer and stir constantly until bouillon is absorbed and the mixture thickens enough to coat a metal spoon.
4. Salt to taste, then add crabmeat. Heat through; do NOT boil.
Note: You can simply double recipe for a bigger amount.





Marquita’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

So, I’m not much of a cook, but Hot Builder (my husband) is and he makes the most delicious chocolate tarts. Every one loves them, especially me!

Chocolate Tarts

Ingredients:

8 ounces of semi-sweet dark chocolate, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup of milk
¾ cup of heavy whipping cream
1 package of individual small pie shells
1 tub of cool whip

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350
Place pie shells on baking sheet
Combine heavy whipping cream and milk in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until hot. Don’t forget to stir! Add chocolate, stirring until blended. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Whisk in egg. Pour mixture into pie shells and bake for about 23 minutes. Allow to cool for fifteen minutes. Place tarts upside down on plate and add dollop (or two or three) of cool whip on top. Serves six, unless you like to share. I don’t.




Melody’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
One of my favorite fall/festive recipes is ‘Mom’s Apple Cake’ from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. It’s a delicious, buttery cake that’s perfect for get-togethers: just add whipped cream or ice-cream, or even eat some for breakfast like I do. (recipe courtesy of the Smitten Kitchen)

Mom’s Apple Cake

6 apples, Mom uses McIntosh apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter.





Violet’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

Aunty Pam's Cornbread Recipe
This recipe is near and dear to my heart. I’ve always loved cornbread. Always. However, growing up in Hawai‘i with immigrant parents from Japan, it wasn’t exactly a staple of my diet. Luckily, my dad was a fan also. The first time I tasted really good cornbread, I was hooked. When I was younger, we didn’t have much money and I used to shop for books in thrift stores (yes, a book addict even then). I found an old local cookbook circa faded brown paper and basic clipart for images and just a few colors on the cover. I distinctly remember the cornbread recipe in it – “Aunty Pam’s Cornbread” it was called. Even though I lost the book after we moved years later, I never did forget how good that cornbread was. Fast forward a few decades after my marriage to the love of my life. I met a good friend of my husband’s parents, like an extended aunty for him through most of his life, who was well-known for the fabulous cornbread she always makes for parties – almost cakey and just scrumptious. The woman’s name? Aunty Pam. The Aunty Pam. Living on a small island, things like this happen all the time. And my taste buds sure are thankful! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
2 cups Bisquick mix
1 cup Sugar
2 sticks of Butter
2 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/8 cup Cornmeal

Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients together well.
2. Pour into a 9" x 13" pan.
3. Bake at 350ยบ for 1/2 hour.
4. Let cool before cutting.

P.S. I know that’s a lot of butter (I just close my eyes and throw the sticks in). That’s why I only make this during the holidays. LOL! Here’s the link to another cornbreadk recipe I like with less butter! ^_^
http://www.food.com/recipe/copycat-marie-callenders-cornbread-62571






Sawyer’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

This one’s my absolute favorite holiday recipe!

Pumpkin Roll

Ingredients

3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling
Two 3-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 17 1/2- by 12 1/2-inch jellyroll pan.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice until smooth. Sift together the flour, ginger, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add the sifted ingredients to the egg mixture and blend until fully combined. Spread the batter in the jellyroll pan. Sprinkle the dough with the chopped pecans. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Invert the cake onto a wire rack. Sprinkle some of the confectioner' sugar on a large tea towel and carefully transfer the warm cake to the towel, folding the sides of the towel over the cake. Roll the cake up in the towel and cool in the refrigerator thoroughly for about 45 minutes.

With an electric mixer, combine the confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat until smooth. Carefully unroll the cooled cake and spread the mixture on top of the cake. Gently re-roll the cake up and refrigerate it until you're ready to slice and serve. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.












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