Saturday, October 25, 2014

Upside Down Pecan-Apple Pie straight out of my new book! AND GIVEAWAY!

Hello, everybody! I know the rafflecopter is still going for the $25 Amazon gift card but I wanted to share this fun recipe. 
So, when I was researching my new series set in Natchitoches, Louisiana, I needed a good cookbook. I asked my facebook friends and apparently this is THE cookbook for Louisiana. It's like the JOY OF COOKING down there. Everybody's got one, usually handed down. It was originally published in the 1950's and now you can buy it on Amazon. Love that!                                          
Poor me, I had SO MUCH RESEARCH to do. And by research I meant cooking and eating. I decided not to include this recipe in the back of the first book in the series, but it caught my eye and I wanted to try it out. Upside down apple-pecan pie sounds interesting, doesn't it??
(Shameless book plug: The Pepper in the Gumbo which is up for preorder now! I really LOVED writing this book. Sort of You've Got Mail and 84, Charring Cross Road- with lots of Southern cooking and romance!)
 Then this box showed up at my door and I got to hold my latest Austen Takes the South book in my hands!  Isn't she pretty!!!??? Releasing Nov. 11th! I have three of these to give away (my sister will beat me over the head if I don't save one for her and the other is for me). Enter in the rafflecopter at the bottom but first... check out this PIE! I had to celebrate!

Bake at 350F for an hour.
4TBS butter
2/3 brown sugar
2/3 cup pecans
2 unbaked pie crusts
6 cups sliced apples
1 tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 TB flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
 There's Mr. Tin Pie Plate! We've missed you!!
 So combine the brown sugar and the butter and press into the bottom of the pan. This will melt and make a caramel under your pie.
 Press the pecans into the mix and you can make it fancy if you want.
Put the bottom crust over the mix, leaving a few inches over the sides.
 Like so.
 Put in the apple mixture. Mmmmmm....
By the way, these pies (I actually made two) come from the apples from our own trees. But these are special trees. We have a compost pile where we throw veggies and peels and such. My husband noticed a few seedlings had sprouted so he transplanted them into the corner of the yard. I didn't really pay attention to them. I think I noticed them a few times a year. Scrawny branches, tiny little stunted apples, the trees were no taller than my youngest child for years. And then this year, the apples grew BIGGER. I was so surprised! It took seven years for a little seed to give back another apple and even though I'd completely forgotten about those little trees, they were working hard the whole time. I imagine them saying to me now, "How you like THEM apples??" lol
 Put on the top layer an pinch closed the edge. This was a very juicy pie (and actually set off the fire alarm twice) so be sure to set something underneath to catch the drips.
 OK, here's the first pie and it smells AMAZING. But I'm not completely sold on it yet.
I'm going to attempt to turn over the pie into this deep dish. The entire family has crowded around to watch. (Mostly because I set off the fire alarm and they're huddled together for warmth while the smoke leaves the house.)
 Here's the second pie and although it doesn't look fantastically pretty, there's nothing like hot aple pie right from the oven.
 OK. It actually wasn't that hard to flip. I'm wondering if the caramel burned. I'm skeptical.
 Moment of truth, with lots of caramel sauce drizzled on it.
And some whipped topping. The verdict was..... *drum roll* The family declares this THE BEST PIE EVER.
And since I usually post a kid pic but they were all outside playing by the time I sat down to write this, I'll put this one here...
My oldest always reads to the younger kids every night and this photo really made me laugh. At first I thought of Cerberus, the three headed dog. And then someone said it looked like Huginn and Muninn, the Norse mythological crows that perched on Odin's shoulders. Lol.
 So there you go! I hope you're all having a wonderful and productive fall!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New releases!!

Hello everybody!!

  I'm sorry for the lapse there, but I've been BUSY! I just had a new book release, called A Home for Her Family and I'm sooo glad to see this book finally out and on the shelves!

And then....

  I also just finished a NEW Mary Jane Hathaway book and I love it SO MUCH! (To be released on the 28th of October!) It's probably my favoritest book EVAH. It's packed full of rare books, poetry, cats, Southern food, books, Creole speakers, books and a hunky, hi-tech hero.  *sigh*
Did you catch that it was a romance written around BOOKS??
Here's the blurb:

  "Alice Augustine runs the oldest bookstore in the historic district of Natchitoches and believes technology is the root of most problems. If only more people would  turn off the Tv and shut down the computer, the world wouldn't be in the mess it's in. If only she can get the teens she loves to step away from the screens and hold on to their Creole culture.

    Paul Olivier comes back to his home town determined to show the people of Cane River that he's not the poor, nerdy kid he once was. He's made a fortune designing video games and opening a giant electronics store right in the snooty historic district will be the crowning glory of his career.

   Alice and Paul clash from the start, but nothing is ever quite as it seems. When secrets are revealed, will there be a second chance- for both of them?

   A romance that brings the humor of You've Got Mail and the deep friendships of 84, Charring Cross Road, this story will touch the classic literature lover in everyone."

I loved writing this story because I've always wanted to write a modern secret identity story(I've written one in my historical, Purple Like the West).
You know, like You've Got Mail? But set in the South with lots of good food! As always, the book includes recipes (Natchitoches Meat Pies and Gumbo) and lots of ROMANCE. It's not up on Amazon yet but you can add it to your 'want to read' list here!

So, to celebrate this almost-very-soon release, I'm giving away one $25 Amazon gift card because I know you all need more BOOKS! To enter you can leave a comment and let me know you added it to your goodreads 'want to read' list, OR you can share this post!  (It shows up under the "invent your own option" but you know what I mean. And thank you for helping me celebrate!)

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Food, family and a giveaway!

Hello everybody! I'm taking a break from writing a new contemporary and all the craziness that summer brings.
 First, there's this!
On August 12th, a boxed set of historical fiction is releasing and I'm so excited to be part of it! It's been quite the learning curve and I feel so very blessed to have found this great group of historical authors. Everyone has pitched in with marketing, digital art, reaching out to reviewers/ bloggers/ magazines, etc. Instead of doing everything on our own, we divided and conquered! So, keep an eye out for TIMELESS, coming to an ereader near you!

But while getting this ready, we had another celebration.
When most of my kids were little, we had this MAGICAL babysitter, Cassey? She came over to the cafe to help me make artisan savory pumpkin rolls way back in October 2012. 
Well, she had a baby (here she is, chillin') and Julianne is such a hoot!
Here's Robert, being the best big brother ever...
He's got mad skills at making the baby giggle.
 They asked us to be godparents and we were so thrilled! Here is Julianne in her baptismal gown. It was made by her great aunt and I searched her out at the reception so I could ask about it. She said it took her ten months and 25 yards of cotton batiste. The petal pattern is her own creation, and it has pintucks, lace inserts, smocking, and tiny pearl button. It was amazing!
I think is my favorite picture. Sure, the dress looks pretty but look at those CHUBBY BABY ARMS.
Robert was baptized, too, and it was so inspiring to see the entire family welcomed into the Christian tradition.
 Here's my husband holding Julianne over the font. (I spy a chubby foot!)
And of course, she started crying! (Looks like Fr. Dave is crying, too!)The water couldn't have been cold. It was about 105F in that little country church! It was way out in the farmland of Dayton, Wa. I'd show you a picture but there's really nothing much there but wheat and farmers and vineyards...
 And peaches! (See what I did there? haha) So, I had these peaches and wasn't sure what to do with them so I went to the source of all wisdom... facebook. I asked my friends what I should make and I got some amazing recipes! But one appealed to my almost (two days away) thirteen year old. So, peach pot pie it was!
This recipe is from Laura Weimer, and it is DELICIOUS. I'm just going to cut and paste her directions because I did it exactly as she said... which is really rare for me.

Peach Pot Pie 
Peach filling 
1 1/4 cups sugar 
1/2 cup cornstarch 
1/4 tsp. salt 
6 lbs ripe peaches (about 16-20 medium), 
peeled, pitted, and sliced 1/2 inch thick 
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice 
2 TBSP butter or margarine cut up 
 Biscuit Crust 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 cup plus 
1 TBSP sugar 
4 TBSP butter cut up 
1 large egg, 
beaten 2/3 cup plus 2 TBSP heavy or whipping cream 
 Prepare Peach Filling: In large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add peaches and lemon juice; toss to coat well. Spoon peach mixture into 13" by 9" glass baking dish and dot with butter; set aside. 
 Preheat oven to 400 degree F. 
Prepare Biscuit Crust: In medium bowl, with fork stir together flour, baking powder, salt and 1/4 cup sugar. With pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (Or to make it easier, like me, put the flour, bp, sugar, and salt in a food processor and mix; add the butter (cut into small pieces) a few at a time and pulse while adding. Make sure the butter is COLD. turn on or pulse for about 5 more seconds, then continue.
(For some reason I have no pictures of this!)
Stir egg and 2/3 cup cream with fork and add to flour mixture. (do this outside the processor) The dough will seem like it is not wet enough, but keep working it together with your hands and lightly knead it and it will all begin to come together and that way it remains flaky. Once it is all together in a dough, divide this into 12 pieces and flatten each one into a roundish shape and place on top of peaches. 
 They will expand as they cook, so don't worry about them covering the whole thing. Brush dough with remaining 2 TBSP cream, and sprinkle with remaining 1 TBSP sugar. Place sheet of foil under baking dish to catch any overflow.
 Here's the biscuit dough sprinkled with sugar and brushed with cream. It's actually more like a scone, I think.
 Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until peaches are tender when pierced with knife, filling is bubbly, and crust is golden. IMPORTANT: You will need to cover the dish with foil about 1/2-3/4 of the way through to prevent the biscuit from over browning.
 Here they are, half-way done. My house smelled so good I could have sold tickets.
 Cool for 1 hour but is best served warm with whip cream or ice cream!
Each serving: 385 calories/ 13 g. total fat 8 g. saturated 66 g carbs.
 I put on the whipped cream but of course I didn't really let the peach pot pie cool down so it started to melt right away. Just imagine it fluffy and light!
It tasted sooo good. Like fresh scones with peach pie filling. 
I hope you're all having a wonderful August and enjoying the sweetness of friends, family, faith and the bounty around you!

To celebrate the summer, I'm giving away two copies of Emma, Mr. Knightley and Chili-Slaw Dogs! I wish I could send you peach pot pie... but sadly, I think books would be easier. Enter below for a chance to win. What are you all up to this summer? More importantly, what's cooking??
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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Finally, I'm BACK! Just an update and a taste of what is coming...

Hi everybody!

 Well, that was a nice little break. I went on vacation, wrote some words, cooked some food, wrote some more words, and I'm finally feeling human again!
Here are a few vacation pictures from the Oregon coast. Rocky, windy, sunny, and not particularly warm. :)
 Devil's Punchbowl.
A nice stretch of beach you really can't reach unless you jump off a cliff.
And although it's about 190F here, it's blueberry season and we've been picking until we just can't pink no more. Yesterday we picked 45 pounds! YES.... most go into the freezer so that in January we can make blueberry pie and pretend it's July.
Also, I caught a bad cold and since it's a Washington State LAW that a person can't go out in public with a cold, I had to stay home. By myself. And whine. *sniffle* But I'm much better now and am excited to announce a new project...
A boxed set with some other historical authors! This will be out mid-August. :) Stay tuned.
And saving the best for last..... AUTHOR COPIES OF Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs!! Whoohoo! These will be a giveaway in a few days. Shhhh, this was a sneak peek!
And this is coming very, very soon! October is only a few months away. I feel like I've waited for this book for ages and ages.

So, that's the update for now! You can always hop over to Yankee Belle Café and see what I've been cooking. I'm on the weekend crew and I love company.
Check out this weekend's post, including the low(er) fat Mocha Mudslide Milkshakes!

 Until later, my friends!