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To all those fast readers out there, I’m in awe of you. I’m not one of you. I hope I don’t sound jealous, but I would like to know how you do it. I know many people who have full-time jobs, houses to run, kids to care for and write on the side. And after all that, they have time to read.

Please tell me your secret? Do you skim? Skip pages? Read the first line of each paragraph? I’ve tried those methods and end up going back and rereading again!

I met a fifteen year old girl who read 2 books in less than four hours and was already on her third. She told me she skims over certain words like a, an, the. I could see myself hunting these words down instead. She said there’s a test on line to see how fast you can read. I’m too afraid to take it.

Book reviewers, I don‘t know how you do it. You read and review countless books. If I read two a month, I’m ecstatic!

If anyone wants to share your secret, I’m open to suggestions. I want to read more. I really do. Except when it takes up the better part of my day. I want to have time to write. I have to squeeze all the chores in. In fact, I should be grocery shopping right now. How do you do it?

I guess I should accept I’ll always be a slow reader. But to those of you who aren’t and demolish book after book you have my admiration. So many books, so little time. I guess I better get started.

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It’s the end of February and I hope the end to this cold weather. Hopefully March will come in like a lamb. But since the weather’s still cold I have more recipes up my sleeve!

Today I welcome Marilyn Gardiner to my blog. Here’s her recipe for chicken stew!

BARBI’S “STEWP”

Cook chicken thighs until done – take off the bone.   (I buy a whole chicken at the market, already roasted.) Cut into bite sized pieces.

Layer in crock pot in order:

Quartered and peeled large sweet onion

8 Chicken thighs

1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced

1 bunch celery, sliced

3 chicken boullion cubes

Fill with water until contents are covered

Cook on low for 6-8 hours if chicken is still on bone.  4-6 if boneless.

That’s all there is to this wonderful bitter-cold winter night recipe.

Delicious!

Marilyn Gardiner. Author of:

marilyn
Windmere Series
Flight of Angels, Golden Wings Award
 Window on Windmere, Golden Wings Award
Comanche Moon, EPIC Winner
FROZEN, A Winter Romance Anthology

Frozen2

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bbq venison

Today I invited my author friend, Val Clarizio to share her favorite comfort food. Thanks for joining us, Val!

Hello everyone! Below you’ll find my warm-me-up winter meal!

This week has been horrendously cold up here in northeast Wisconsin.  Our temperatures have ranged from 13 below zero to a balmy 9 above zero, and that’s without the wind chill factor which actually reached 35 below zero this week.  These are the days I nearly run from the car into the house so my nose doesn’t freeze.  There’s nothing better than entering the house to the wonderful aroma of a venison roast that’s been cooking in the crockpot all day long.  First it warms my nostrils and then it satisfies my tummy. BBQ venison roast is one of my favorite warm-me-up winter meals.  Below is my famous BBQ venison roast recipe:

1/2 C Ketchup

1/2 C Water

2 TBL Brown Sugar

Dash Vinegar

Dash Lemon Juice

Dash Worcestershire Sauce

1 LB Shredded venison

My husband’s favorite way to eat this is served over rice, I’m more of a mashed potato person so I rotate to be fair. 🙂

When not working and forging out in the cold to enjoy winter activities such as snowmobiling, I’ve been known to pen a few tales.  I write romantic suspense and contemporary romances.  You can find out more about me and my books here:

valeriejclarizio

Website/Blog: http://valclarizio.wordpress.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Valerie.Clarizio

Twitter: VClarizio

Thank you, Nancy, for allowing me visit your wonderful blog.  Keep warm!

2CravingVengeance  Buy at Amazon1CovertExposure Buy at Amazon

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Cold winter day. Need a new recipe? Today we hear from Frozen- The Anthology author, Christina Kirby!

As soon as the weather gets cold, I can’t wait to make this recipe. If you like potato-cheese soup, you’ll like this. Stay warm!

If you try it and like it, I’d love to hear from you: @CKirbyWriter

Cheesy Ham Chowder

10 bacon strips, diced

1 large onion, chopped

1 cup diced carrots

3 Tbs flour

3 cups milk

1 1/2 cups water

2 1/2 cups cubed potatoes (roughly 2 cans)

1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn, drained

2 tsp chicken bouillon granules

pepper to taste

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups cubed fully cooked ham

In a large soup kettle or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels, to drain. In the drippings, sauté onion and carrots until tender. Stir in flour and then gradually add milk and water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the potatoes, corn, bouillon and pepper. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add cheese and ham; heat until cheese is melted. Stir in bacon. Makes roughly 10 servings.

Find Christina here:

Satin Romance                                 Frozen2

http://christinakirbybooks.com/

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malva pudding

Frozen. It was a popular word last year. So popular that my publisher wanted to name a winter anthology after it. The theme of the book is winter and that’s what gave me the idea to ask some of the authors of Frozen-the Anthology for their best winter comfort food.

We’ve had a giant snowstorm sweep across the U.S. in the past few days. People from Chicago all the way to New York City are affected. It could be a great time to make the following comfort dessert as sent in by my author friend, Charmaine Pauls.

Charmaine wanted to share her comfort food recipe even as she enjoys the summer weather in the southern hemisphere. She is a fellow Melange author and also one of the authors of Frozen: The Anthology. You may want to whip up some pudding and curl up with a short story from Frozen.

I will turn the blog over to Charmaine now.


Malva Pudding – a traditional South African dessert

Every South African knows Malva pudding. It’s a traditional dessert served warm with custard or ice cream. My grandmother used to make this on Sundays, and it’s still a favorite of my mom. I like to serve it after a winter meal to our Chilean friends. Everyone who tastes this, always asks for the recipe. You can read more about this and other South African food favorites in the humorous historical short story, The Grayton Christmas Supper Contest, in the anthology, A Holiday to Remember.

Jakoba’s Malva Pudding (serves 6)

250ml cake flour

250ml sugar

20ml butter

1 egg

20ml apricot jam

250ml milk

5ml bicarbonate of soda

5ml apple cider vinegar

Cream butter and sugar until light and mix with egg and apricot jam. Sift dry ingredients together. Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in vinegar. Mix egg and vinegar mixture with dry ingredients, adding milk little by little. Add salt. Pour into an oven dish and bake 35 minutes at 360°F. In the meantime, prepare the syrup.

250ml cream

5ml vanilla essence

125ml butter

250ml water

500ml sugar

Boil everything together, and pour over pudding as soon as it is removed from the oven. Prick the pudding with a toothpick before sauce is poured over for better absorption. Serve with vanilla ice cream while warm.

Charmaine 009

Book link:

Frozen Anthology

http://bit.ly/holiday2remember

Other links:

www.charmainepauls.com 

Follow me on Facebook

http://bit.ly/Charmaine-Pauls-Facebook

Follow me on Amazon

http://bit.ly/Charmaine-Pauls-Amazon

Follow me on Goodreads

http://bit.ly/Charmaine-Pauls-Goodreads

Follow me on Twitter

https://twitter.com/CharmainePauls

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Winter storms are headed for the Eastern coast of the U.S. Two feet of snow are predicted. I hope my good author friend, Tara Fox Hall, is making her favorite comfort food recipe in preparation for the bad weather!

Salt-Rising Bread, Tara-Fox-Hall-style

Step 1:

  • Cook 12-20 potatoes in a large pot in unsalted water until tender. Use the potatoes to make something else, like potato salad or mashed potatoes. What you want is the potato water.
  • Measure out how much you have into measuring cups. Don’t worry about potato-y remnants floating in the water – that’s a good thing. For each recipe of bread you will make, you will need 5 cups of potato water, total. You can add some plain water to make additional recipes (like adding two cups if you have only eight, so you can do a double recipe). You can also freeze this water if you need the potatoes now but don’t have time to make the bread.

Ingredient list:

5 C potato water (see Step #1 above)

2 packages active dry yeast or equivalent                              2 Tb + 1/2 C sugar

7-8 ½ C flour                                                                                  ¼ cup cooking oil

2 tsp salt

Step 2:

  • Combine 1 C of the potato water, the yeast, the 2Tb sugar, and ½ cup flour in a bowl and let stand covered. Within a half hour, the mixture should be bubbly and have a nice “head” on it, like a mug of beer. This step depends on how many potatoes you use.*
  • Stir in the rest of the potato water (4 C) and ½ C sugar. Let stand again for another half hour, until the same thing happens – a nice head of foamy yeastiness.
  • Mix oil, flour, and salt ingredients together with yeast mixture to make a moderately stiff dough.
  • Let rise until double, but be careful it does not spill over the edges!.
  • Punch dough down. Pour into bread loaf pans or a cake pan, or whatever is handy (original recipe says to use a large 12 x 5 ½” metal dishpan. I have tried all ways, including making rolls, and it does not affect the taste – its up to you how you intend to serve it!)
  • Bake 50-55 min. at 375 deg. or until done (this is for normal bread pans – please adjust depending on what container you are using. Rolls will be more like 20 min, and a huge pan more like 6-70 min.) .
  • 1 recipe will make 4-5 med. loaves. This bread will freeze well, also.

*This is a variation on the original recipe, as I neither like to wait 24 hrs. for the dough’s initial rise, nor feel the need to keep starter in the fridge J But this bread can be made with only 4 potatoes, just bear in mind that the resulting potato water will be much less rich, and need to rise with the yeast overnight, minimum.

tarafoxhall Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, erotica, horror, suspense, action-adventure, children’s stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice. All of her published children’s stories to date are free reads on www.childrens-stories.net.

Find Tara here – Melange Books

And here new short story – AmazonThe Oath - Caroline

I thought Tara’s bread would go great with my “Light” Pumpkin Soup recipe.

Gingered Pumpkin Soup

Yield: 8 servings
Recipe adapted from Midwest Living

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp light butter
  • 2 (15 oz) cans pumpkin
  • 2 (14 oz) cans low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Pepitas and brown sugar, as garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir in pumpkin, chicken broth, milk, maple syrup and ginger.
  2. Bring pumpkin mixture just to a boil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Garnish with pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and a sprinkling of brown sugar, enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Serving Size: 1 cup • Calories: 85 • Fat: 0.9 g • Carbs: 16.6 g • Fiber: 3.5 g • Protein: 1.9 g • WW Points+: 2 pts

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Love historical romance? This stand alone Waiting for Dusk novel is soon to be released.

Release day – January 29. Preorder now!

Amazon

Fire and Ice

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Tired of the same old recipes? Welcome to Comfort Food 101! We will warm you up and share new dishes.

I chatted with my author friend, Joanne Rawson, and she suggested we team up to do something together. She has a food blog so it was a no brainer. I said, “Let’s do comfort food.” She immediately was on board.

Most of us are enjoying winter weather. It’s a great time to try our new recipes. Starting today, Jo and I will share comfort food recipes from fellow authors on our blogs. Our friends are near and far so hopefully we’ll have a variety of recipes.

First author up is Joanne Rawson. Jo spends her time between England, Goa and Malaysia. She’s definitely had food experiences. Let me turn the blog over to her.

When Nancy asked me to take part in the Comfort Food blog, I found myself stuck for a choice.

Casseroles are my favourite food, especially when cooked in a slow cooker.  The log cooking brings out all the flavours, and the meat so tender it almost melts in your mouth. I also think casseroles are brilliant for entertaining, quick and easy to make and now messing around in the kitchen when the hostess needs to be entertaining her guests.

Jo’s Slow cooked Beef and Aubergine Stew

This is an ideal casserole to cook for a dinner party served with pan-fried rosemary vegetables.  (If you want to make the serving size smaller for 3-4 then half the quantities given)

Serves 6-8

2lbs/ 900g lean stewing beef

2 medium onion thinly sliced

2 clove garlic crushed or 1/2 teaspoon garlic puree

¼ cup olive oil

2 large aubergine (eggplant) or 8 Japanese eggplants

1 cup beef stock

1lb/ 450g tin or carton of tomato puree

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

3/4 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

¼ cup minced parsley

  1. Wash the aubergines, and with their skins on cut into 1 inch thick cubes
  2. In a large frying pan or skillet, heat the oil and brown the beef, onions, garlic and aubergines.
  3. Remove with a slotted spoon and put into the slow cooker, leaving the meat juices behind.
  4. In the pan with the meat juices add the beef stock, puree, wine vinegar and the rest of the ingredients bring to boil then pour over the meat and aubergines, giving a gently stir.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 8- 10 hours. You can cook on high for 4-5 hours but the meat is not as tender and the flavour is not the same.

image005www.authorjoannerawson.blogspot.com

www.authorjoannerawsongoaandbeyond.blogspot.com

Melange Books   Facebook   Twitter   LinkedIn  Amazon

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A little plug for Jo. If you love light-hearted romance her book, Zoe North, is for you! Read my review of her novella here: Goodreads zoenorth

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Binge-watching, a new way of watching shows. This activity wasn’t available in the “old days” unless a TV station ran a marathon. And if they did, it was called exactly that—a marathon.

I looked up the word and there are a few meanings. In this case, it’s used as a verb so I’ll give you the two main definitions of the verb form.

  1. Eat too much.
  2. Be self-indulgent with something. Example given: Stay in all day and binge on old movies.
    The dictionary is already behind the times!

Netflix is feeding the binge-watching addiction. They release a whole series on the first day. A person can watch one episode or devour them all in one sitting. If you have the time. Or you’re part of the younger generation.  I understand it’s the new way to watch a series. Trust me, I have firsthand knowledge. My son has binged-watched many a series.

Not too long ago the family went to New York City for vacation. Little did I know, Netflix was releasing Arrested Development while we were there. Somehow he managed to squeeze in 14 episodes in two days. Don’t ask me how.

Well, actually do ask me how. It’s really not that hard. Just start with the first show and immediately go on to the next. When that one’s over, start up the next. Pretty simple. You may pause for snack and bathroom breaks when needed. And if on vacation, set your phone aside to look at the sights.

I wouldn’t mind binge watching a series I liked. I have no idea how far I’d get, but it would be fun to try. In this family, there’s only one master binge-watcher. It’d take a lot to dethrone him, as you will see in the conversation below. Recently this took place in my kitchen.

Husband to son: We’ve been binge watching Mad Men and The Newsroom.
Me to son (Smiling and maybe an eye roll thrown in):Two in a row.
Son: Dad, that’s not binge watching, that’s just watching television.

I’d like to start a new movement. How about binge reading? I remember coming home from the library with a pile of books. When I finished one, I reached for the next one on the stack. And books can go everywhere you go, too. It’s an amazing concept.

Do we really need to binge on anything? In this fast paced world I think it would be nice to slow down once in awhile. Instant gratification is becoming common place.

Next time you’re set to hit the play button, stop and think.  Is there something else I could do? Read a book, write a poem, kick a ball around the backyard, go for a walk, call a friend?

It might be fun to binge every now and then.  I’m not against it. Just take time to smell the roses. You may find you like the slower pace of the real world.

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I want to start the new year out, not with a resolution, but with a thank you. I want to thank all of you who take the time out of your busy day to read my blog. I am grateful for my 198 readers, each and every one of you.

When I started the blog, I had no idea what would happen. I begged friends and family to read and follow the blog so it didn’t look so forlorn–the little blog with no friends. Then it became the little blog that could. Each week I gained a follower or two, sometimes even more than that. People I didn’t know now followed the blog.

When the number of followers went over 100, I was thrilled, even impressed. I know there are blogs out there with thousands of readers. They get likes and comments galore. I’m happy for five likes and one comment. Is that wrong? Am I striving too low?

The answer is “no”. I’m not an expert at blogging. I don’t know the ins and outs of getting followers. I learned to tag and use categories, so I’m pretty proud of myself. I am grateful to anyone who decides to click that Follow button.

If and when I finally go over 200, I will be happy, thrilled in fact. So thanks for sticking with me. Happy New Year.

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Nancy Pennick wrote the young adult series, Waiting for Dusk, and is now working on her exciting new series, 29.

Learn more about Nancy

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