November 26, 2012

Holiday Memories - Ornaments

By Anne Marie Novark

Several years ago, I bought a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I don't put up a large tree any longer, not since the kids have grown up and moved away. But this little tree is my idea of the perfect tree. I've been collecting Christmas ornaments for the past thirty-five years, and I wanted something to display my very favorites. The little tree is ideal and it gives me a warm fuzzy every time I look at it. I love warm fuzzies . . . especially during the holiday season.

Speaking of warm fuzzies . . .

Here's a recipe for the most delicious, most decadent, most luscious chocolate cake you'll ever put in your mouth. This cake has played a role in several of my books. Chocolate and romance go hand in hand, right? This was one of my grandmother's signature cakes, and she called it a Texas Hot Cocoa Cake. I've since found out that it's also called a Sheet Cake or Sheath Cake. No matter what you call it, it's DELICIOUS!!!

Go ahead!  Indulge yourself!!!

Texas Hot Cocoa Cake

1 stick oleo
½ c. shortening
1 c. water

Mix these in a small pot and bring to a boil.

¼ c. sour cream
¼ c. milk
1 tsp. baking soda

Mix these together and let sit.

2 c. flour, 2 c. sugar, 4 heaping T. cocoa, pinch of salt.

Mix these in a mixing bowl.  Pour hot liquid over and mix.
Add 2 beaten eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla and milk mixture, beat
all until smooth.  Pour onto a greased 18X12 cookie sheet.
Bake 20 minutes at 375 F.  Or until toothpick comes out
almost clean.

Hot Cocoa Icing

1 stick oleo
4 heaping T. cocoa
6 T milk

Melt these in a sauce pan; do not boil.

1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. chopped pecans (optional)

Combine these with the hot liquid
and beat until smooth; pour hot icing
over hot cake.



Here's something else you might enjoy:

If you're looking for something to read during the hectic holidays, maybe during some downtime or on your lunch hour, check out my Texas Two Steps Christmas short story. It's the perfect length to read when you're rushed for time. I'll be giving three stories away today. Just post a comment and you will be automatically entered in the give-away.


Blake Chambers is the president of the Lone Star Cattle Ranchers Association, and it's time for the Annual Christmas Ball. Blake doesn't know the first thing about organizing a holiday dance. Lucky for him, Melanie Woods does. The sexy Meeting/Events Manager at the Coyote Lake Resort Hotel takes charge and all goes smoothly . . . until Blake's date cancels at the last minute. Melanie can't believe it when the ruggedly handsome rancher asks her to step in and be his escort for the night. In the spirit of the holidays, how can she refuse?


"Then how about it?" Blake asked. "Go with me tonight and be my date. We've worked hard together organizing the dance. You should be there."

It was tempting, but wouldn't going with Blake be mixing business with pleasure? Professional with personal? "I don't have anything to wear," Melanie said, stalling for time.

He held her away from him, keeping his hands on her shoulders, and looked her up and down. Admiration and desire gleamed in his oh-so-blue eyes. "You look great," he said after looking his fill. "Just wear what you've got on."

"No way," she said with a flustered laugh. "The Christmas Ball is a formal affair. I can't wear my work clothes."

"You look beautiful to me." He pulled her against him again and stared down into her eyes. "But then again, you always do." Bending his head, he kissed her.

What could a girl say to such an honest declaration as that? And how long had she dreamed of this moment? Melanie gave it up, draped her arms around his neck and kissed him back.

To order a digital copy:

Amazon UK 
  Do you have a favorite ornament, present or past? How do you display it?

Happy Holidays to one and all!!! 

Anne Marie  :)


Caroline Clemmons said...

Anne Marie, lovely post and your story sounds intriguing.

Anna Kathryn, what a lovely blog header. I'm decorating my tree today, and probably most of the week a little at a time. Your header sure puts me in the Christmas mood.

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Hi, Anne Marie. Thanks for being my guest today. I hope to get the tree up this weekend. We have to rearrange the living room some. I was tying to think of my favorite ornament, but I don't know if I can choose just one. My mother gave me one that we've had since I was real little.

AnneMarie Novark said...

Thank you, Caroline. BTW, my daughter is named Caroline; Carrie for short.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Anna K.

I have so many ornaments, it's very difficult to choose which ones to hang on my little tree each year.

Becky said...

Great post! I'm going to give the Texas Hot Cocoa Cake a try hopefully next weekend. It sounds delicious!
Texas Two Steps sounds like a very interesting story. I'm going to have to get myself a copy of it.

Carla Buchinger said...

I collect Ornaments from all my trips. I started it about 30 years ago. I try to buy at least One Special Ornament every year. I have always given each of my boys an dated Ornament every year as well.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Great post! I'm going to give the Texas Hot Cocoa Cake a try. I love anything chocolate. It sounds delicious!

Texas Two Steps sounds like a very interesting story. I wish you the best with it!!

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