December 31, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Blacked-eyed Peas

Let's ring out the year with a recipe party....post your must have dish or recipe for New Year's Day. I'll pull names for periodic winners during the day AND one lucky winner will receive the grand prize - a virtual book bag full of Roses of Houston's electronic romances.* I'll draw the grand prize winner after I ring in the new year, so don't delay in getting your recipe up!

"Many parts of the U.S. celebrate the new year by consuming black-eyed peas. These legumes are typically accompanied by either hog jowls or ham. Black-eyed peas and other legumes have been considered good luck in many cultures. The hog, and thus its meat, is considered lucky because it symbolizes prosperity. Cabbage is another "good luck" vegetable that is consumed on New Year's Day by many. Cabbage leaves are also considered a sign of prosperity, being representative of paper currency. In some regions, rice is a lucky food that is eaten on New Year's Day. "~ From the website Wilstar.com. Learn more about our New Year's tradtions at Wilstar.com.



Southern Blacked-eyed Peas

Ingredients


1 1-pound pkg dried black-eyed peas
2 quarts water
1 onion, chopped
¼ green pepper, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
Ham bone, piece of salt pork or
several slices of bacon

Directions

Wash the peas; soak overnight or at least five hours in fresh, cold water. Drain off soaking water; put peas in a large pot containing at least 2 quarts of fresh water. Add onions, green pepper, celery and ham bone or bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook about 2 hours or until peas are tender to mash easily. Add water as needed while cooking.

Serve will freshly cooked rice and cornbread.

*The vitural bookbag will contain an electronic copy of: His Ship, Her Fantasy by Emma Lai, Spell of the Killing Moon by Skhye Moncrief, Her Reluctant Rancher by Anne Marie Novark, Learning to Let Go by Elizabeth Pina, and The Priceless Gift by Anna Kathryn Lanier.

Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. ~Hal Borland

December 30, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Mexican Pinwheels and Osyter Cracker Snack

I couldn't decide between these two recipes, so you get them both.

Mexican Pinwheels

Ingredients

8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz sour cream
8 0z cheddar cheese, grated
1 small can chopped black olives
1 small can chopped green chilies
Garlic and seasoned salt to taste
1 pkg large flour tortillas
Picante sauce

Directions


Combine all ingredients. Spread evenly on tortillas and roll up. Place in refrigerator, covered, overnight. When ready to serve, slice into 1-inch sections and served with picante sauce.

Oyster Cracker Snack

Ingredients


1 large box oyster crackers
1 pkg Ranch dressing
1 cup oil
1 tsp garlic salt

Directions

Mix all ingredients and place in a 13x9 baking dish. Bake at 450° until all oil evaporates, about 5-10 mins, stirring occasionally.

Tomorrow's recipe: Black-eyed Peas

The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time. All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months! ~Edward Payson Powell

December 29, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Weekly Winner

Congratulations to weekly winner Joan M. Joan won a copy of Texas Morning Glory: Memorable Breakfast Recipes from Lone Star Bed and Breakfast Inns and a Smart Women Read Romance t-shirt.

This week's prize is a Mary Balogh Bookbag....ARCs of the last three of her Huxtable series and mass market copy of the first in the series. Just leave a comment between now and Midnight New Year's Eve (including the during the all day Ring Out the New Year Event on the 31st....commenting for that party of prizes will still make you eligible for Mary's set).

You can still enter to win a DVD of Jewel of the Nile on my website. Just go to my guestbook and answer the question the by Dec. 31st. The link to my guestbook is at the bottom of my HOME page. http://www.aklanier.com/

Anna Kathryn Lanier
http://www.aklanier.com/

Holiday Cheer - Angels on Horseback

In A COWBOY'S DREAM, Leah hosts an annual Christmas party for her friends. One of the items she serves is Angels on Horseback.


A Cowboy’s Dream
Excerpt

Hot cider simmered on the stove filling Leah’s condo with its spicy scent. A crescendo of voices nearly drowned out the orchestrated Christmas music filtering through her stereo speakers as Leah glanced into her living room and smiled.
Nearly a dozen of her friends milled around, waiting to help her decorate her home for the Twelve Days of Christmas. She watched her friends mingle, delighted that the tradition, started several years ago, continued. Though it had sprung up because she and several girlfriends discovered they’d be alone for Christmas Eve, the gathering had grown to include boyfriends and husbands.
The timer on the oven went off and Leah removed the Angels on Horseback. She put the oysters wrapped in bacon on toasted bread, then carried the platter to her dinning room table, already laden with an array of food.
“Leah,” Betsy called. “When do we get to exchange the gifts?”
She grinned at the short, plump brunette who was impatient when it came to the gift opening.
“You know we don’t do that until the tree is decorated.” Leah glanced at the still bare evergreen. “And if you want to get to the good stuff before midnight, I suggest you get the guys busy putting on the lights.”
Betsy grinned and hurried back to the group of men, who inevitably congregated together to talk sports and cars.
Tessa, a good friend since their freshman year of college, filled a plate with food and stopped beside Leah. “You’ve been pretty quiet tonight. What’s up?”
She knew Leah better than anyone, so it wasn’t surprising she couldn’t hide her upset over Marcus from Tessa. Still, she straightened the forks on the table to delay her reply. “I haven’t had time to tell you, but I had dinner with Marcus Slade the other night.”
Her friend’s plate of food tipped and a couple of olives rolled onto the floor. “What? Oh my God! You’ve been trying to snag a date with him for a year now. What happened?”
Leah glanced around to see if anyone was listening. Satisfied they wouldn’t be overheard, she gave a quick run down of the disastrous evening. When finished, Tessa gripped her by the arm and dragged her into the relative quiet of the kitchen.
“What the hell do you mean he stopped because of your body?”
Leah gave her a scathing look. “Come on, you’ve seen pictures in the society pages of the women he’s dated. Well, I saw several of them up close and personal. I’m not built like they are and he was reminded of that when he, uh, felt me up. That’s when he stopped the seduction.” She felt the heat of a humiliation brush over her as she remembered how he’d pulled away from her less than perfect body.
Tessa put her untouched plate of food on the counter top. “So, you think he stopped seducing you because he was reminded that, what is it you always say, ‘your IQ is bigger than your bra size?’”
“Why else? My gosh, if he’d asked me, I’d have invited him into my bed right then and there. But he didn’t, he pulled away and told me we had to stop. With the constant reminders of his other dates, can you blame him?”
“You’re saying, he just wants to be friends?” Tessa pulled a glass and bottle of wine off the granite bar and poured a drink.
Leah didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “So it seems. You know guys, it’s sex or friendship...no mixing.”
She grabbed the drink out of Tessa’s hand and gulped half of the Charbonneau down.
“That was for me,” Tessa said dryly.
“I needed it more.”
“Yeah, you may be right there.”

Buy A COWBOY'S DREAM here.

A COWBOY'S DREAM is part of The Wild Rose Press' Miniature Bundle. Six holiday romances at 33% the regular price. A Cinderella Christmas by Stacy Dawn (Sweetheart); A Cowboy's Dream by Anna Kathryn Lanier (Yellow); Dragonfly Dreams by Stacey Joy Netzel (Champagne); Home For Christmas by Pam Champagne (Champagne); I Love You a Latte by Bronwyn Storm (Last Rose of Summer); Lighting The Tree by Carol Ann Erhardt (Last Rose of Summer)


Angels on Horseback

Ingredients


1/2 cup dry white wine
1 garlic clove minced
salt and pepper
12 shucked oysters, washed and dried
6 slices lean bacon

Directions

Mix the white wine, garlic, salt and pepper together. Add the oysters and marinate 10 to 20 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Cut each bacon slice in half, and wrap each oyster with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Broil on both sides until the bacon is crisp.Keep warm on a heating tray.

Tomorrow's Recipe: Mexican Pinwheels and Oyster Cracker Snack

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~Oprah Winfrey

December 28, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Shrimp Sandwiches

Today's the last day to enter to win a Smart Women Read Romance T-shirt and TEXAS MORNING GLORY: Memorable Breakfast Recipes from Lone Star Bed and Breakfast Inns. To enter, all you need to do is leave comment. I'll draw for a winner tomorrow.

Shrimp Sandwiches

Ingredients


1 8-oz cans shrimp pieces
or ½ pound fresh boiled shrimp
8-oz package Swiss cheese, shredded
1 medium onion, minced
Salt and black pepper to taste
Mayonnaise to blend
26 pieces of bread

Directions

Chop shrimp, Swiss cheese and onion. Add seasonings and mix well. Add mayonnaise to spreading consistency. Spread on bread to make sandwiches. May also be spread on crackers and dusted with paprika.

Tomorrow's recipe: Angels on Horseback

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. ~Author Unknown

December 27, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Honey-Glazed Chicken Wings

Now through December 30th, I'm going to post 'appetizers' so that you'll have a nice list of recipes for your New Year's Eve Party.

CONTEST: On December 31st, I'll post my favorite black-eyed peas recipe. Pull out your own special 'must have' New Year's Day dish for a special contest (wait until December 31st to post though!!!) Post the dish or the recipe--either one--to be eligible. Just tell us what you have to have for New Year's Day. I'll draw names throughout the day for periodic prizes and one lucky person will win a virtual book bag full of Roses of Houston electronic books.

Honey-Glazed Chicken Wings

Ingredients


3 lb chicken wings
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp chili sauce or ketchup or barbecue sauce
¼ cup honey
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp garlic powder or 1 clove garlic minced
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Directions

Separate wings at joints and put into a glass pan or plastic baggie. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour (or overnight) turning occasionally to coat all chicken.

Heat oven to 375°. Drain chicken, reserving marinade. Place chicken on rack in foil-lined broiler pan. Bake 30 minutes. Brush chicken with reserved marinade and turn chicken. Bake for another 30 minutes.

Tomorrow's recipe: Shrimp Sandwiches

Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to. ~Bill Vaughn

December 26, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Cocoons

Cocoons

Ingredients


1 ¼ stick butter
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 ½ cups flour
1 tbsp water
¾ cup chopped nuts
1 tsp vanilla

Directions

Preheat oven 275° (Yes, two hundred seventy-five). Thoroughly mix all ingredients. Shape cookies like a cocoon. Place on cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake 1 hour 40 minutes. When cool, roll in additional powdered sugar.

Tomorrow's recipe: Honey-Glazed Chicken Wings

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~Benjamin Franklin

December 25, 2009

Holiday Cheer- Cracker Jack Cookies


Cracker Jack Cookies

Ingredients


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup coconut
2 cups Rice Krispies


Directions

Preheat oven 350° and grease cookie sheets, if needed.

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla together. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add to butter mixture. Stir in oatmeal, coconut and Rice Krispies. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until nicely browned.

Tomorrow's recipe: Cocoon Cookies

Behold, a virgin shall be with child,
and shall bring forth a son,
and they shall call his name Imman'u-el,
which being interpreted is, God with us.

Matthew 1:23

December 24, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Sparkling Cranberry Punch and Texas Ranger Baked Eggs

Today, you get two recipes, one for Christmas Eve and one for Christmas Morning. Merry Christmas!



Here's something for your Christmas Eve get-together. Okay, I haven't made this before, but it looked good and different. Anyone who makes it, needs to let me know how it turned out!





Sparkling Cranberry Punch

Ingredients


1 1-lb can jellied cranberry sauce
2 ¼ cup hot water
½ cup sugar
½ cup lemon juice
1 tsp lemon extract
1 ½ cup ginger ale
Fresh mint
Clove studded lemon circles

Fresh cranberries

Directions

Heat cranberry sauce and water until sauce is melted. Add sugar and allow to cool. Stir in lemon juice, extract and one cup ginger ale. When ready to serve, add remaining ginger ale. Garnish with mint, clove studded lemon circles and fresh cranberries.


And for your Christmas morning brunch: Texas Ranger Baked Eggs

Texas Ranger Baked Eggs
From Mariposa Ranch Bed and Breakfast
Brenham, TX

Ingredients

7 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tsp sugar
4 oz cream cheese, cut into small pieces
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
¼ cup green bell pepper
2/3 cup butter, melted
½ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
Dash paprika
Dash ground mustard

Directions
The night before: In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, and sugar together. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Spray a three-quart baking dish with vegetable oil and pour mixture in. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven 350°. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Serves 12.

Tomorrow's recipe: Cracker Jack Cookies

It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air. ~W.T. Ellis

December 23, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Cinnamon Pan Cookies



Cinnamon Pan Cookies


Ingredients

2 sticks butter, melted
1 cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg yolk
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup chopped nuts
1 egg yolk
Powdered sugar

Directions


Preheat oven 350°. Mix butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon egg yolk, flour and nuts (in order). Batter will be very dry. Pat into an 11x15-inch cookie pan. Beat egg white until foamy and spread thinly over batter. Brown in oven 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and cut cookies while still hot.

Tomorrow's recipe: Sparkling Cranberry Punch

Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas. ~
Dale Evans

December 22, 2009

Weekly Prize Winner

Congrats to Lynn R. for winner this week's prize: The Wild Rose Press's Holiday Miniature Bundle:

A Cinderella Christmas by Stacy Dawn
A Cowboy's Dream by Anna Kathryn Lanier
Dragonfly Dreams by Stacey Joy Netzel
Home For Christmas by Pam Champagne
I Love You a Latte by Bronwyn Storm
Lighting The Tree by Carol Ann Erhardt

If you didn't win, you can still get these six holiday romance at a 33% discount from The Wild Rose Press. Buy The Bundle here.

For my next weekly prize I'll give away a Smart Women Read Romance T-shirt and TEXAS MORNING GLORY: Memorable Breakfast Recipes from Lone Star Bed and Breakfast Inns. To enter, all you need to do is leave comment on any post from today's through Monday's, December 28.

Also, On my website this month, you can win a DVD of The Jewel of The Nile starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. Just leave a comment in my guest book telling about your favorite Christmas/Holiday ornament or decoration. The link to my guest book as at the bottom of my Home page.

Anna Kathryn
http://www.aklanier.com/

Holiday Cheer - Cherry Christmas Cookies

Cherry Christmas Cookies

Make dough one day ahead—needs to be refrigerated overnight.


Sexy Comments & Profile Graphics

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup sliced almonds
½ cup red cherries, whole, drained
½ cup green cherries, whole, drained

Directions

Cream butter; add sugar and then vanilla, salt, and flour. Mix well. Add almonds and cherries. Spread dough onto counter and form into a roll. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven 375°. Slice roll into thin slices with sharp knife and bake on a greased baking sheet for 10 minutes.






Tomorrow's recipe: Cinnamon Pan Cookies

“Now Christmas comes, 'tis fit that we
should feast and sing, and merry be:
Keep open house, let fidlers play.
A fig for cold, sing care away;
And may they who thereat repine,
On brown bread and on small beer dine.”
~from the 1766 Virginia Almanack

December 21, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Chocolate Chip Pie

I've made this pie in the past and it's really good.

Chocolate Chip Pie

Ingredients

1 pie shell
2 large eggs
½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 sticks butter, melted and cooled
6 oz chocolate chips
½ cup chopped nuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°. Cook pie shell until lightly brown. Beat eggs until foamy. Add flour, sugar, brown sugar and mix well. Blend in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into pie shell and bake one hour.

Tomorrow's recipe: Cherry Christmas Cookies

Heap on the wood!-the wind is chill;
But let it whistle as it will,
We'll keep our Christmas merry still.
~
Sir Walter Scott

December 20, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Pecan Fingers

Here's another non-chocolate recipe that looks delicious.

Pecan Fingers

Crust Ingredients


½ cup margarine or butter
¼ cup shortening
¾ cup powered sugar
1 ½ cup flour

Filling Ingredients:

1 cup light or brown sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp baking powder
1 tbls flour
½ tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Preheat oven 350°.

Crust: Blend margarine and shortening until creamy; add powdered sugar and mix well. Add flour, mix well. Press dough evenly in bottom of ungreased 9x13-in pan, half an inch up the sides. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light brown. Remove from oven.

Filling: In medium bowl, stir filling ingredients together very gently with fork until well mixed. Pour filling over hot crust, spread evenly. Bake 20 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

Tomorrow's recipe: Chocolate Chip Pie (chocolate is back!)

The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing other's loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas. ~W. C. Jones

December 19, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Easy Cinnamon Rolls

On Christmas morning, I usually cook some of Pillsbury's cinnamon rolls, but I may have to go with these this year. Won't the little ones enjoy rolling them in the sugar and cinnamon mixture?

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients

1 can of refrigerator biscuits
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

Directions

Roll uncooked biscuits in melted butter, then coat with mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Tomorrow's recipe: Pecan Fingers

Do give books - religious or otherwise - for Christmas. They're never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal. ~Lenore Hershey

Win a The Wild Rose Gift Certificate

Today is the last day to enter to win a $10 The Wild Rose Press gift certificate. Follow this link to the blog post that explains how to enter. Entries must be received by midnight CST to be eligible. Also on this post is information on how to win a $50 TWRP gift certificate from Sky Purington....you have until December 25th to enter Sky's contest.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
www.aklanier.com

December 18, 2009

Join Me!


I'm on Emma Lai's Blog today, talking about A COWBOY'S DREAM (part of The Wild Rose Press's Miniature Holiday Bundle special - 6 short stories for the low price of $12.00 - that's a 33% discount) and my writing style. Stop by and say hi, ask a question, or just wave. Anyone leaving a comment will be eligible for a drawing to win a copy of A COWBOY'S DREAM.
Anna Kathryn Lanier

Holiday Cheer - Reindeer Chow

Well, I just can't seem to get away from 'chocolate' or 'peanut butter.' LOL. Here's another recipe with both! I haven't made it yet, but it looks like it would be very tasty and once again, something the kiddies can do.

Reindeer Chow

Ingredients

1 stick butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
7 cups Rice Chex cereal
2 cups powdered sugar

Directions

Melt the butter, chocolate chips, and peanut butter in a pan over medium; stirring to blend. Put cereal in a large bowl and add mixture. Mix well. Add powdered sugar and stir until well coated. Keep in a sealed container.

December 17, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Laura's Peach Cobbler

In my novella SALVATION BRIDE, Laura is a mail order bride with a secret and David is a lawman with a wounded past. Forced to marry hours after meeting, Laura takes up household on David's homestead. In one scene, she makes peach cobbler for dessert (excerpt below). This isn't really Laura's peach cobbler. She lived in 1873 and lived in a small Texas town. She would not have used Bisquick, though she may have used canned peaches. Still, this is a great recipe and an alternative to all the chocolate and cookies I've been posting of late!



Laura’s Peach Cobbler

Ingredients

1 cup Bisquick Mix
1 cup milk
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 29-oz can sliced peaches, drained

Directions

Hat oven 375°. Stir together Bisquick, milk and cinnamon in an ungreased 8x8xx2 pan. Blend in butter. In a bowl, blend peaches and sugar; spoon over batter. Bake 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.

Blurb:

The hot dusty town of Salvation, Texas has more than its share of secrets in 1873 when Laura Ashton's stage rolls into town. Sheriff David Slade has no idea what baggage his mail-order bride is bringing into his life. Throw in the nightmares from his Civil War days and he's got more than courting to contend with. Laura's a woman ahead of her time, a woman trained in medicine. And she's got a will that could move mountains. Unfortunately, the only mountains in Salvation are in Sheriff Slade's memory. Can the determined doctor heal his pain, or will the dark secret in her past turn up to steal his Salvation Bride?


What People are Saying About
SALVATION BRIDE


Four Spurs from Love Western Romances

"With compelling characters and surprising secrets this is a story that will grab your interest and keep through the end." ~ Carol
Read Carol's entire review here.

"SALVATION BRIDE carried me away for an afternoon and I loved every word. From the beautifully written love scenes to the emotional turmoil each character experienced, I felt each and every sensation. This truly is a wonderful book."
~ Natasha at Romance Junkies, a Four Ribbon Review
Read Natasha's full review here.

Five Book Review by Lilac at The Long and Short of it Reviews:
"Salvation Bride" is a wonderful story that I would definitely recommend!


Excerpt:

Laura tried to twist free, but he increased the pressure. She wasn’t going to turn her back on him again.
“Don’t think I’m not grateful to be here, David. I am. This is a better place than what I left. I could have come here or anywhere for that matter, on my own, but my uncle didn’t want that. I didn’t want that, but this is not the marriage I envisioned.”
He clamped his jaw tight. He knew what she meant, what she wasn’t saying. Maybe wooing her wouldn’t be as hard as he thought. “What sort of marriage had you envisioned?”
She blinked rapidly and shook her head. “It doesn’t matter.”
“Yes, it does! It damn well does matter.”
He pulled her into his arms and his lips crushed hers. For a few moments, she struggled and he had flashes of Angie, but he wouldn’t let Laura go. He softened the kiss, holding her close to him, one hand splayed across her back, the other burrowing into her hair. He tasted her lips, running his tongue over the seam, willing her to open her mouth.
She softened in his arms, her body falling flush against his. Her mouth opened and he stifled a groan. He ran his tongue over her lips and teeth. She tasted of cinnamon from the cobbler they’d had for dessert.
His hand slipped down to her backside to cup her buttocks, holding her tight against his erection. She knocked his hat off as her fingers swept through his hair. Lust shot through his body, pooling painfully in his groin.
He scattered kisses along her jaw, nuzzling the crook of her neck as his hand palmed her breast. She mewed softly in his ear.
He lifted his head and looked into the face of his wife. The falling darkness made it difficult to see the confusion and passion clouding her eyes.
He hadn’t meant to kiss her, not yet. He thought to ease into the situation, even though his need for her had grown over the past two weeks. He’d lay in bed nightly, thinking of her soft curves, warm smile and expressive eyes. He dreamed of her until he was hard with wanting. Once, he’d resorted to what he’d done more than he cared to remember when married to Angie—he brought himself to his own release, but it was not what he desired. What he desired stood dazed and wanting in front of him. Who was he to deny her?
He lowered his head to kiss her again. Laura twisted out of his arms and his hands gripped air.
“What was that all about?” she demanded.
“Don’t tell me you didn’t enjoy it. I know otherwise.” He’d be damned if he’d let this wife put up a wall he couldn’t chisel through.
“I didn’t say that. I asked what it was all about. You said you wouldn’t bed me.” She glanced toward Angie’s grave, then narrowed eyes on him.
“Do you really expect us to live the rest of our lives without bedding each other?” he asked.
She hugged herself and glared at him. “No, but you said—”
“I was stupid.” He ran his hand through his hair. “No, it was the circumstance, Laura. We had to marry the same day we met. I couldn’t expect you to lay with me when we didn’t even know each other. I wanted to put your mind at ease, to make you realize I wasn’t a lecher.”
He couldn’t see her now that darkness had fallen, but he heard her exhale. “I don’t know, David. It doesn’t seem right. We still don’t know each other and right now, I’d say there are too many grave issues between us to allow intimacy.” She turned toward the house and walked away from him.
His erection deflated. He picked his hat off the ground and crushed it in his hands. He’d spend another night sleeping alone.

Purchase SALVATION BRIDE here

Tomorrow's recipe: Reindeer Chow

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

Holiday Party!

HOLIDAY PARTY!
Boomerang Books
Saturday, Dec 19
12:00 - 4:00


Anna Kathryn Lanier
Skhye Moncrief
Anne-Marie Novak
Emma Lai
Elizabeth Pina

http://rosesofhouston.blogspot.com/

Lots of Prizes -
drawings every 30 mintues
Treats and Drinks
1/2 off all used Romance
Fun, Fun, Fun
Come join us!

Boomerang Books
907 W Main St
League City, TX 77573
281-316-1404
www.myspace.com/boomerangbooks


December 16, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Chocolate Pound Cake

Here's something other than cookies for you to make this holiday season.

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

Ingredients

1 box Butter Yellow or Yellow Cake Mix
1 large box of instant chocolate instant pudding
½ cup oil
½ cup water
4 eggs
1 (8 oz) carton sour cream
1 (12 0z ) package semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
Combine cake mix with pudding mix, oil, water, eggs and sour cream. Beat until well blended, about two minutes. Blend in chocolate chips. Pour batter into a greased Bundt or angel food cake pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until done.






Tomorrow's recipe: Laura's Peach Cobbler

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. ~Agnes M. Pharo

December 15, 2009

Guest Blogging

Today I'm guest blogging at Pamela S. Thibodeaux's blog about my holiday short story THE PRICELESS GIFT. A lucky commenter will win a copy of this number one best seller from The Wild Rose Press.

Will Gavin and Christina really get what they want for Christmas? Each other?

Anna Kathryn Lanier
www.aklanier.com

Holiday Cheer - Peanut Butter Kisses

WEEKLY WINNER - the winner of my weekly Holiday Cheer drawing (and a Bath and Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar lotion and bath gel set) is LuAnn! Congratulations. Next week's prize will be The Wild Rose Press's Holiday Miniature Bundle, featuring my short story A COWBOY'S DREAM. See left for the other five stories included in this Holiday Edition.

Peanut Butter Kisses

Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup all-vegetable shortening
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
3 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 (11-oz) package Hershey Kisses



Directions

Preheat oven 375°. Cream together sugars, shortening and peanut butter. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and beat well.

Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to peanut butter mixture. Beat well. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in additional granulated sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press Kiss into center of each warm cookie. Return to oven and bake 3 minutes longer.

Tomorrow's recipe: Chocolate Chip Pound Cake



Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

December 14, 2009

Blogging at Roses of Houston

Join me today as I blog about Goals, Motivation and Conflict over at Roses of Houston.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
www.aklanier.com

Can flawed heroes and tragedy still lead to HEA?

I grew up in Sunday school, and inevitably the teacher would ask, what was our favorite biblical story. The other students would say, "Christ's birth," "The Three Wise Men" or "Noah and the Flood," but I would always say, "David and Bathsheba."

Even at 10, I had a heart for flawed heroes and tragic consequences.

AEDAN ap OWEN, the hero of my current book TIES THAT BIND, is most definitely not perfect, not even close. He idles at angry, tends to act-out rather than think through his actions, and misuses his magical abilities for his own gain.

Yet, I have a soft spot for him. Despite his character flaws, he has a big heart—and what he wants most is to protect and be with those he loves. Of all my heroes, I think he needs his happy ending the most.

But as I wrote his story, there were times I wondered if he would get it. Each time he fails to think through his actions, the reactions pull him deeper into a quagmire of treason and murder. I wasn’t sure that even I had the ability to save him.

So I didn’t. I let him endure the consequences of his choices. Like my favorite biblical king, Aedan suffers because of his own faults—and grows because of it. Here’s a quick, edited excerpt of when that growth begins:


The tension spilling from Aedan was enough to make her skin prickle, and Tess wondered which emotions were hers and which were his.


"He would use her to bend me to his will," she said softly.

“The dead use no one."

In the silence that followed, he didn’t move, barely breathed, yet he shifted to become someone else. The change was slight, no more noticeable than if the wind had adjusted a curl, yet it consumed him. Gone was the mocking minstrel with an inconsiderate air.

In its place was a man radiating tense energy that cut as keenly as his sword. His skin seemed to glow and his mouth drew into a hard, thin line. But the change in his eyes was most pronounced. No longer blue-gray or glinting, they were ocean-dark against his skin and just as treacherous. He wore his otherness as a second skin. It should have made him vulnerable, but the effect was opposite.

He radiated power and magic and authority. In another world, Aedan would be king.


Aedan’s mixed, yet more-sweet-than-bitter HEA leads me to my question for you: When it comes to happy endings, do you find it more or less satisfying if there's a touch of realism in it?

Everyone who submits a comment will be entered into a drawing for an e-copy of TIES THAT BIND.

Keena Kincaid is the author of three historical romance novels with The Wild Rose Press. TIES THAT BIND, the second of her Druids of Duncarnoch series, is available from TWRP, as well as Amazon and other bookstores. Also, you can find her on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and http://www.keenakincaid.com/.



Holiday Cheer - Chocolate Peanut Drops

This easy, no-bake recipe makes a great little cookie. Aside from the melting of the butter, there's no cooking. Although my granddaughter couldn't help with the mixing of ingredients, she could help drop the cookies on to the pan.



Chocolate Peanut Drops


Ingredients


1 stick butter or margarine
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1½ cups quick-cooking oats
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chopped peanuts
½ cup peanut butter

Directions

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Stir in cocoa and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in oats, sweetened condensed milk, peanuts and peanut butter. Mix well.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper-lined baking sheets. Chill 2 hours or until set. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.


Note: I didn't have any peanuts in the house, but I did have cashews; so I used those instead and they worked just fine.

Leave a comment to be eligible for the weekly drawing. This week's prize is Warm Vanilla Sugar lotion and shower gel from Bath and Body Works.

Tomorrow's recipe: Peanut Butter Kisses

At Christmas play and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year. - Thomas Tusser "The Farmer's Daily Diet"

Anna Kathryn Lanier

December 13, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Sugar and Spice Pecans

A quick and easy, delicious addition to a party. Or you can put them in a decorative container and give them as a gift.



Sugar and Spice Pecans

Ingredients

1 egg white
1 cup sugar
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp water
1 lb pecan halves

Directions


Beat egg white until frothy, but not stiff. Stir in sugar, salt, cinnamon and water. Add pecans and stir until all pecans are coated. Spread pecans on large cookie sheet. Bake at 200° for 45 minutes, stirring pecans every 15 minutes until dry and toasty. Be careful not to overcook and burn. Let cool and seal in airtight container.

December 12, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Gum Drop Cookies

I have never made these, but they sound like fun and I may well make them soon.

Gum Drop Cookies

Ingredients

2 eggs
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
8 oz sour cream
½ cup shortening
2 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups gumdrops, chopped

Directions

Cream eggs and brown sugar together. Add sour cream and shortening. Mix well. Combine dry ingredients together and blend into cream mixture. Fold in gumdrops. Drop by tablespoon 2 inches apart on greased and floured cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Remove from pan immediately to cool on wire racks.
Tomorrow's recipe: Sugar and Spice Pecans
May love and light fill your home and heart at Hanukkah. ~Author Unknown

December 11, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Cookies in a Jar


Need a quick gift for a teacher, neighbor or co-worker? Here's a couple of easy to fix cookie recipes. Quart canning jars work well for these, though when I found some fancy jars at a dollar store a couple of years ago I used them instead. If you want to add a bit more 'gift', attach a set of measuring spoons, cookie cutters or a mixing spoon to the jar with a ribbon.

Cookies in a Jar


Chocolate Chip

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix the salt and baking soda in with the flour, then layer the ingredients a quart-size jar in the order listed, with the chocolate chips on top. Use scissors to cut a 9 inch-diameter circle from calico. Place over lid and secure with rubber band. Tie on a raffia or ribbon bow to cover rubber band.

Enclose a card with the following mixing and baking directions:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Note: Store this jar in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months before using.

Contents of this jar
1 cup unsalted butter or margarine
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Sift dry ingredients through a colander to separate the chocolate chips from other ingredients. Beat butter in a medium bowl until creamy. Beat sifted ingredients into butter until blended. In a small bowl, beat egg with vanilla. Mix beaten egg mixture into butter mixture until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop teaspoonfuls of batter, spaced well apart, onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 4 dozen.

Cranberry Biscotti

3/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries
3/4 cup pecans
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup sugar

Layer ingredients in order inside a clean 1 quart jar. Tap gently on the counter top to settle each layer before adding the next. Add additional cranberries or pecans to top off the jar.

Attach these directions to the jar:

Cranberry Biscotti

Contents of Jar
1/3 cup butter
2 eggs

Beat 1/3 cup butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add 2 eggs and beat on medium until well combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir in contents of jar just until combined. Divide into 2 loaves on cookie sheet, chilling if necessary to make dough easier to handle. Each loaf should be about 9 inches long and 2 inches wide. Bake at 375°F for 25-30 min or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on sheet for 1 hour. Cut each loaf diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices using a serrated (bread) knife. Place slices on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 325°F for 8 minutes, then turn over and bake for 8-10 minutes more or until dry and crisp. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Makes 32 cookies.

Tomorrow's recipe: Gum Drop Cookies

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. ~ Harlan Miller

December 10, 2009

Win a $50 Gift Certificate

Author and friend Sky Purington is hosting a contest this month and the winner will recieve a $50 The Wild Rose Press gift certificate. She is featuring me and five other authors in her contest......she asks questions about information found on the home page of our websites. So check out all the details and the questions at her 2009 Christmas Contest.

Oh, and I'll give away a $10 TWRP gift certificate to someone who posts a comment here naming all 6 of the authors Sky is featuring in her contest......I'll draw a name on Saturday, December 19th.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
http://www.aklanier.com/

JOIN ME - Booksigning Dec. 19th

It's a Party!
Saturday, Dec 19
12 - 4


1/2 off all used Romance all day

Door Prizes every 30 minutes
(courtesy of authors)

Grand Prize Christmas Gift Basket
(courtesy of authors)

Treats and Drinks
(courtesy of authors and Boomerang Books)

5 Outstanding Authors

Elizabeth Pina - Learning to Let Go
Skhye Moncrief - Time Gaurdians Series
Anne Marie Novark - Her Reluctant Rancher
Emma Lai - The Gaurdians Series
Anna Kathryn Lanier - A Cowboys Dream, etc.

must be present to win prizes

Boomerang Books
907 W Main St (518)
League City, TX 77573

281-316-1404
Mon - Sat 10 - 6
Sun Closed
www.myspace.com/boomerangbooks
Now on Facebook, too! Search Boomerang Books

Holiday Cheer - Blondies

Here's a different kind of 'brownie' for your next holiday gathering.

BLONDIES

Ingredients
2 cups (12 oz) white chocolate chips, divided
¼ cup ( ½ stick) of butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 13X9 baking pan.
In a large saucepan over low heat, milt 1 cup of white chocolate chips and butter. Remove from heat. Stir in the flour and baking powder until blended. Add sweetened condensed milk, egg and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in pecans and remaining white chocolate chips until blended. Spoon into greased baking pan.


Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cool. Lightly dust with powdered sugar. Makes 2 dozen.

Tomorrow's recipe: Cookies in a Jar


There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child. ~ Erma Bombeck, I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression

December 9, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Pumpkin Bread

I like to include recipes with my stories, and I did with two of them I have published with The Wild Rose Press. One of them, the recipe was forgotten (by me, I mean, I forgot to include it on the final draft of the story). In The Priceless Gift, Christina Scott carries on a family tradition of baking goodies for Christmas. One item she makes is Grandma Scott's Pumpkin Bread. This is a great recipe, because it makes multiple loaves. You'll get three 2-pound loaves and if you make 1-pound loaves, you'll get six loaves, great for gift giving to co-workers, neighbors, teachers and friends.

What kind of bread do you like best? Leave a comment - TWO lucky winners will receive a copy of THE PRICELESS GIFT.

Blurb:

The last thing Christina Scott expects Santa to bring her is a sexy—and very familiar—cowboy. Gavin Holloway’s just as shocked to discover she’s the woman he’s sent to pick up from the airport for a Christmas visit with her brother. They'd spent one hot week together months ago—a week where they both left their identities and individual problems behind. Neither ever expected a reunion.

Little do they know, Santa's elf has more than coal up his sleeve. Ho ho ho and a badgering we'll go before reindeer two-step on their rooftop and deliver THE PRICELESS GIFT that will leave their snowy days sizzling.


Unedited Excerpt


THE PRICELESS GIFT

Gavin Holloway was a leg man and the legs standing beside the information desk had more than his attention on alert. A short skirt showed off nearly all of her sexy, lightly tanned legs and molded the cutest ass he’d seen in quite a while…not since he’d been with Lynn on that cruise in June.

He adjusted the Stetson on his head and stepped further into the small municipal airport waiting room. He was fifteen minutes late and hoped Jacob’s sister didn’t mind the delay.

Michael Martin Murphey sang Two Step 'Round The Christmas Tree through the overhead speakers as Gavin scanned the waiting area decorated with holiday greenery. The other six occupants were either male or too old to be the woman he’d been sent to pick up. His eyes landed on the long-legged blonde. She had to be Christina Scott.

His boots pounded out a tattoo as he crossed the concrete floor. The attendant behind the information desk turned his way, an appreciative look in her eyes. Gavin tipped his hat but turned his attention to the blonde. The familiar scent of lilac swirled around him. He closed his eyes briefly and thought of Lynn. Shaking his head, he pushed away the memories and concentrated on the present.

“Christina Scott?” he asked a moment later. She turned and his back stiffened. It couldn’t be. “Lynn?”

Hazel eyes widened in surprise. “Oh, my God. Paul?” She threw her arms around his neck and hugged—tight. He wrapped his around her waist and held her close, the feel of her body against his awaking memories he’d relived many a night in the past six months.

Her lips brushed his neck, then she pulled back to look into his face. “What on earth are you doing here?”

Holding a dream.

What the hell was she doing here? Reality crashed in and he stepped out of the embrace.

“Are you Christina Scott?”

“Yes.”

Scalding rage swept through him. What was Jacob about?

He glanced up and noted the girl behind the desk watched with avid interest. He gripped Lynn by the arm and pulled her across the room. He might’ve had the best sex ever in his life with this woman. He might’ve even tried to find her after they’d gone their separate ways when the ship docked. Yet, he never thought he’d run into her at a municipal airport in the middle of nowhere Montana. Nor did he ever imagine to discover she was his friend’s sister.

Grandma Scott’s Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients

3 C sugar
1 C oil
4 eggs, beaten
2 C cooked pumpkin (16-oz can)
3 ½ C flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
¾ C water
1-1 ½ C chopped nuts

Directions


1) Combine sugar, oil and eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in pumpkin.
2) In another bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir into pumpkin mixture.
3) Add water and nuts.
4) Spoon batter into well greased and floured pans (2-3, depending on size*).
5) Bake at 350ยบ for 60-70 minutes.

*If making 1 pound loaves, you can make 6 loaves with one batch.

Tomorrow's recipe: Blondies

As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December's bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.


- Donald E. Westlake

December 8, 2009

Making Seven Layer Cookies

I haven't been good about making the goodies I'm posting recipes for. The pumpkin bread picture is one I made (over the weekend for a Christmas Party). But on Monday night, my granddaughter and I made Seven Layer Cookies. Lacey just turned 2, so it's such an EASY recipe, even a toddler can do it.












Holiday Cheer - Hot Apple Cider & Hot Cocoa

Well, we've had a week of goodies, so here's a couple of beverage recipes to go with them, Hot Apple Cider, curtesy of Leah Smith of A Cowboy's Dream and Hot Chocolate from Christina Scott of The Priceless Gift. ENJOY!

Leah's Hot Apple Cider

Ingredients

6 cups apple cider
¼ cup real maple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
1 orange peel, cut into strips
1 lemon peel, cut into strips

Directions


Pour the apple cider and maple syrup into a large stainless steel saucepan. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, orange peel and lemon peel in a washed square of cheesecloth and fold up the sides to enclose the spices. Tie with a length of string. Drop the spice bundle into the cider mixture. Heat over moderate heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until hot, but not boiling. Remove the cider from the heat and discard the spice bundle. Ladle cider into mugs and add a cinnamon stick to each if desired.

Christina's Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring to an easy boil while stirring. Continue to stir as mixture simmers for 2 mins. Watch that it doesn't scorch. Stir in milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs and add half-and-half to cool to drinking temperature.

This week's prize will is Warm Vanilla Sugar lotion and shower gel from Bath and Body Works. So be sure and leave a comment! I'll draw on Monday night, Dec. 14th.

Cate Masters won the $10 The Wild Rose Press gift certificate.

Tomorrow's recipe: Pumpkin Bread

Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. ~Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby

December 7, 2009

Guest Blogger - Toni V. Sweeney: Lost Toys

Today, I’m going to do a change-of-pace, change-of-face blog. I’ve always promoted my books or written some highly sensation something-or-other, but today, I’m going to reveal my soft, sentimental side (snicker softly, if you wish)…with the story of Shaggles and Clifford:

They were two stuffed animals…a dog and a cat, though most people thought the cat was a cream-colored bear because he was so shaggy. Never mind the fact that he had long whiskers and pointed ears and a long tail. He looked like a bear so he must be a bear.

The dog was found on a low concrete wall at a playground. Some child had left him there.

I saw him while watching by granddaughter celebrate her fourth birthday—climbing up the ladder, sliding down the slide, landing on her knees in the sandbox—again and again. I’m a sucker for lost animals, living or toy, but I ignored this one. “Someone will be back for him,” I told myself. “That child will be wanting his doggie.” So, after the party was over I went on my way.

But I didn’t forget that little stuffed dog.

That night it rained.

The next afternoon, I returned to the park. The dog still lay there, now a sodden mass of curly cloth. So. No one came back. No one searched for him. Or missed him. I picked him up. “Okay, buddy, want to go home with me?”

I gave him a bath, tossed him in the dryer, examined his sales tag. He was a Ty, Inc. creation. Not a beanie-baby, but manufactured by the same company. I named him Clifford, after a certain Big Red Dog. My granddaughter welcomed him with open arms though he stayed with me when she wasn’t around. When my son traveled back to Nebraska, it was asked—Does Clifford go or stay? I made a choice. Clifford flew to Lincoln inside my son’s suitcase along with Shaggles.

That’s my segue to talk about Shaggles. The cat-who-looks-like-a-bear. He was discovered at one of those Sidewalk Sales held by stores after a holiday, to get rid of the inventory they couldn’t sell during the season. I saw him lying face-down in a bin with candles and Christmas ornaments, went on my way, looking in other stores at other items. What did I need with a stuffed cat, anyway?

At closing time, I came back.

“I knew you wanted him,” the man with me, my beloved, stated.
“How?” I asked.
“Because you picked him up and patted him. You always do that.”

I looked at the tag. Shaggles. $35.00 marked down to $15.00, marked down to $5.00. How embarrassing.

He bought Shaggles for me.

Two days later, I had written the short story Sidewalk Sale, with Shaggles as the star of a piece about an unwanted toy and a woman who survived a deathcamp to find him. A few years later, Amazon bought it for their Amazon Shorts feature. Even later, I gave him up to let him accompany Clifford to Nebraska to live with my granddaughter.

Shaggles and Clifford are back now, reunited in the room I share with my granddaughter. A lot worse for wear but happy perhaps because—the lost dog and the cat who became the subject of a short story—are doing what they were created to do.

Be a child’s pets.

Toni V. Sweeney
http://www.tonivsweeney.com/
...where the Willing Suspension of Disbelief Reigns Supreme...
when the Condor Returned, from Lyrical Press
Bargain with Lucifer, from Class Act Books
Dark God Descending, from sams dot publishing

Holiday Cheer - Cherry Nut Balls

Cherry Nut Balls
An easy NO-BAKE cookie!

Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup maraschino cherries (drained and chopped)
3/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
2 cups quick cooking oats
Nuts ground fine to roll balls in


Directions
Beat sugar, butter, vanilla, cherries and coconut. Mix in rolled oats. Refrigerate for 3 hours. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls, and then roll the balls in the chopped nuts. Store airtight in the refrigerator.


What's your favorite fruit? Leave a comment to be eligible for a $10 The Wild Rose Press gift certificate.

Tomorrow's recipe: Hot Apple Cider and Hot Chocolate

Remember
This December,
That love weighs more than gold!
~Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon

December 6, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Santa Squares

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas. Several countries celebrates, some known as "Little Christmas" and exchange gifts with friends and families. Here's a site on St. Nicholas for more information. I also found this great site, The St. Nicholas Center. It has activies, history, recipes and more.

Do you still believe in Santa? Leave a comment to be eligible for the weekly prize - a $10 The Wild Rose Press gift certificate.

Santa Squares

Ingredients


9 graham cracker squares
1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pecans)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan. Heat butter and brown sugar to boiling. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. Pour liquid over crackers and spread evenly. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake about 10 minutes, until bubbly. Remove from oven, cool slightly, and cut into 1 inch squares.
Makes about 3 dozen squares.

Tomorrow's Recipe: Cherry Nut Balls

Alas! How dreary would be the world if there was no Santa Claus!... There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.
~ FRANCIS P. CHURCH, New York Sun, Sep. 21, 1897

December 5, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Pumpkin Muffins

Today, I have a good friend sharing her recipe for Pumpkin Muffins (I'm keeping quiet about the 'gluten-free,' part....I want ya'll come check out the post at least...lol). Please welcome Skhye Moncrief, who is also sharing information about her HUGE DECEMBER PRIZE BASKET:

Thanks for having me swing by, Anna K. I'm a big tweaker of recipes. Probably because I am picky and/or don't mind chemistry in the kitchen. But before I reveal the muffin that will win you praise this holiday, I'd like to invite everyone to enter to win my huge prize...

1 box GOOD MEDICINE Native American herbal tea (in honor of the Native-American
hero of my novel FORBIDDEN ETERNITY)

2 vials cinnamon oil (flavoring guaranteed to spice up baked goods that's
reminiscent of a Time Guardian Ring Master, i.e. dragon's breath. Use with
caution.)

1 Voodoo Doll Little Wizard keychain (Little Wizard can help acheive a goal in
school or work. He can help dreams come true, but only for someone else. He can
not help his owner. HE OF THE FIERY SWORD's King Arthur could have used one!)

1 AN ENGLISH LADYMASS: MEDIEVAL CHANT AND POLYPHONY album by Anonymous 4 (for the medieval period feel)

1 SCOTTISH TEATIME RECIPES (To reproduce a bit of SWORDSONG ambiance; ISBN:
1-898935-18-9)

The wee-est scrimshaw sailing-ship pendant (For those Time-Guardian wannabes
like Twila Deeds in SACRIFICIAL HEARTS yearning for a journey through time and
across space...)

Join me at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/skhyemoncrief/ to enter. ;) Now to win you some attention at your holiday gatherings.

This is a recipe I found at Karina's Kitchen, http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2007/11/pumpkin-berry-muffins.html. As always, I do things my way. Sometimes I think I should just shoot myself for being so hard-headed. But my thoughts paid off on this venture after I was informed I needed to ditch wheat products to attempt to heal my fibromyalgia. So, this is my modified version of Karina's recipe:

GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN MUFFINS

Mix in a bowl:
1 c. veg. oil
1 can pumpkin
1/2 c. molasses
1 1/2 c. brown sugar (don't pack it)
2 t. vanilla
1 t. nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger, and pumpkin pie spice
2 t. cinnamon
8-9 T. apple juice

Mix in another bowl:
1 c.. brown rice flour
1 c. cornstarch
1 c. soy flour
1 t. salt
5 t. baking powder
2 T. milled flaxseed

Slowly blend the dry stuff into the wet stuff.

Add 1/8th c. cornmeal + enough oats to equal one cup
1/2 c. dried cranberries.
1/2 cup walnuts

Spoon batter into muffin tins with liners. Batter should not quite reach the top of each liner. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Nobody will know you're feeding them a vegetable, Omega-3s, fiber, and fruit! Note, I always double the spices in any pumpkin recipe or add a few to get the flavor or our family friend's pumpkin bread baked in those large coffee cans... ;) ~Skhye

Tomorrow's Recipe: Santa Squares

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love! ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

December 4, 2009

Snow in Houston

Well, it doesn't happen often....only two other times in the eight years I've lived here, and this is the earliest it's ever snowed here. I live southeast of Houston, and am closer to the gulf than other places....so when it does snow, we don't usually get hit. Not so today. Today, we got it worse than the north (at least up unitl now). Here's a few pictures:

Lacey and Holly








Lacey and Holly
To show what the weather has been like.....these are Easter Lilies that decided to sprout.



Making a snow angel:

Holiday Cheer - Candy Cane Cookies

I made these one time, back when my oldest daughter was in kindergarden. I made them for her class party. I don't know why I haven't made them since (22 years), they weren't that hard and they were good. The kids and the teacher were impressed by them.

What memory do you have from a holiday party, a class party or otherwise? Leave a comment to be eligible for the weekly prize - a $10 The Wild Rose Press gift certificate, and the daily prize - "An Affair Beofre Christmas" by Eloisa James.


Candy Cane Cookies

Ingredients
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely crushed candy cane mixed with 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring

Directions
Mix all ingredients. Split dough into equal portions. Color one portion of the dough red. Refrigerate the dough long enough to be able to easily work with it. Break off one piece (approx. one teaspoon of each color) and roll by hand into four to five inch tubes. Twist the two pieces together and bend forming a candy cane. Sprinkle the top with the candy cane/sugar mixture. Be careful when removing from the cookie sheet, they will break easily. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-9 minutes.

Tomorrow's recipe: Pumpkin Muffins.

Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles. ~Author Unknown

December 3, 2009

Holiday Cheer - Peanut Butter Pie

Going to a pot luck party? Take along this easy, delicious pie recipe. Don't forget to leave a message to be eligible for the weekly drawing.....

Peanut Butter Pie

Ingredients
1 8oz pkg. Cream Cheese (softened)
1 8oz Tub Cool Whip (thawed)
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1 Pie Shell Graham Cracker Pie Shell (Already Made)
Mini Chocolate Chips

Directions
Mix sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla extract together until smooth and creamy. Add peanut butter and blend until creamy and smooth. Fold in whip cream a little at a time until all mixture is completely smooth and blended together. Pour batter into your already made Graham Cracker crust and smooth over until mixture is even in the pie shell. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top. Chill in freezer for one hour or until ready to serve. Pie needs to be thawed for a half hour before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Tomorrow's recipe: Candy Cane Cookies.

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. ~Charles Dickens

December 1, 2009

Wednesday's Chow - Shrimp Spread

This is the time of the year for parties and more often than not, pot luck parties....so here's a quick appetizer to take along as your contribution.

Shrimp Spread

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
4 1/2 oz. canned shrimp (rinsed and drained)
1/3 cup minced onion
1/8 tsp. garlic salt

Combine cream cheese and Miracle Whip and mix until blended smoothly. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and chill overnight. Serve with crackers. Makes 2 cups.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
Where Tumbleweeds Hang Their Hats
http://www.aklanier.com/

A Cowboy's Dream - Holiday Story on Sale

My publisher is offering a special bundle of six stories including A COWBOY'S DREAM. For $12 you get six wonderful, heartwarming, holiday stories--that's a 33% discount from buying them all separate:

A Cinderella Christmas by Stacy Dawn (Sweetheart)
A Cowboy's Dream by Anna Kathryn Lanier (Yellow)
Dragonfly Dreams by Stacey Joy Netzel (Champagne)
Home For Christmas by Pam Champagne (Champagne)
I Love You a Latte by Bronwyn Storm (Last Rose of Summer)
Lighting The Tree by Carol Ann Erhardt (Last Rose of Summer)

Buy The Bundle here.

A COWBOY’S DREAM
By Anna Kathryn Lanier

Author Leah Smith has fantasized about her neighbor, Houston’s pro baseball player Marcus Slade, for years, but thinks it’s unlikely she’d catch the cowboy’s interest since her IQ is bigger than her bra size. Having already been hurt by a man who wanted size over substance, she’s not in a hurry to play in that ball field again. When an unexpected opportunity gets Marcus inside his favorite author’s apartment, he’s not about to let a second chance at love pass him by. Their attraction is quick and electric and has him instantly thinking about something more long-term. But when a woman from his past intrudes, his hopes of a cozy Christmas with Leah are buried beneath her cold shoulder. Risking a strikeout, Marcus has one chance left...go for the grand slam of his life and crash Leah's annual Christmas Eve party in hopes of convincing her she’s this Cowboy’s Dream.



Unedited excerpt:

The mouthwatering scents of seared steak wafted around Leah as Marcus escorted her into the world famous Kemah Boardwalk Steak House. Her stomach grumbled, a reminder she hadn’t eaten since early morning.

The hostess greeted Marcus by name and smiled warmly at her. Leah glanced at him, wondering how often he came to the restaurant. Celebration dinners should be rare, not weekly—unless you found an excuse to celebrate every little thing. But what made them special then?

She slid into the booth and mentally shook her head. No matter what Marcus did in the past, this was her celebratory dinner. She smiled as he sat opposite her and determined to enjoy his company for as long as she had it.

The hostess handed them menus. “Would you like something from the bar, Mr. Slade?”
Marcus placed his Stetson beside him on the booth cushion and raised a brow at her.
“Whatever they have on tap will be fine,” she said.

He grinned and nodded. “Two beers, please.”

Glancing at his “celebration clothing,” she was glad she’d summed him up right. She’d nearly put on the $900 designer gown she planned to wear to next month’s charity fund raiser and made her look hot as hell, but at the last minute went over what she knew about pro ball player Marcus Slade. Celebrity though he may be, he was obviously still a cowboy at heart. Instead of the silk and satin confection, she pulled on blue jeans and simple blouse. She matched his jeans and western-styled shirt quite well.

Leah opened the menu and looked it over. “You’re a man after my own heart. There’s nothing better to celebrate with than a beer and a good steak.”

He jerked back as if surprised. “You mean to say you’ll actually order a steak?”

“Well, of course.” She laughed, brushing her hair behind her ear. “What’s the point of going to a steak house and not ordering a steak?”

He opened his mouth, but then shut it for a moment before uttering, “Truth be told, most of the women I know don’t eat much meat.”

That was no surprise. Most of the women she’d seen him with were the size of twigs—except in the bosom area—and probably ate weeds.

“Well, I hope you brought along your charge card, because I haven’t eaten much today and I’m starving. I plan to get a really big steak with all the fixings to celebrate.”

Marcus laughed. “Honey, the day I can’t afford to buy a pretty lady a steak is the day I’ll hang it up for good.”

Her heart fluttered at the endearment. Sure, it was common enough for Texans to drop honey and darling like hello and good-bye, but still, hearing it from Marcus made her insides quiver.

He wagged his brows, then glanced down to study his menu. She released a small sigh. Since she was a Roughrider’s fan and had held season tickets for years, she’d known who Marcus was before he moved into The Towers. To say she had a crush on him was probably an understatement, but she’d never suffered from delusions, either. Leah Smith, plain, average daughter of nomad archeologists just wasn’t the type of woman the major league outfielder dated. As much as she wished differently, she shouldn’t read more into this ‘date’ than what it was—a friendly, celebratory meal.

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Holiday Cheer - M&M Cookies

M & M Cookies

Ingredients
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. soda
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup shortening
1 medium package M&Ms



Directions
Using mixer, blend eggs with soda, salt, water, vanilla, shortening. Add white and brown sugar. Then add flour and stir well. Fold in M&Ms. Use tablespoon to drop dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 350° F 8 TO 10 minutes. Should be light golden brown. Makes 4 dozen.

What's your favorite color of M&M's? Leave a comment to be eligible for this week's drawing....a $10 The Wild Rose Gift Certificate. Drawing will be held next Tuesday, December 8.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale