Sunday, November 27, 2011

Memories & Recipes

Well the Turkey is gone and so too the leftovers and relatives! The house for a few moments was devastatingly quiet..but after a time, hubby, "Garfield and Odie"(Norman, the black lab and Wrigley the obnoxious, adorable cat)  and I settled back into that, "well, its just us again" phase...at least for a few weeks;) It's not so bad, I've decided, though I wouldn't trade the chaos of everyone home for anything-its good to know that they've refueled, refurbished and headed back into the world to build their futures.

It seems only fitting as I sit in the wake of relative removal to consider a glass of wine, a nice lager or perhaps just a cup of egg nog with a sprinkle of nutmeg and reflect on the holiday--and make that list of stuff to get done this week...

Meantime, here is another lovely holiday refreshment from the gifted in many ways--Sahara Kelly,  who is not only talented in her writing, but an officiado of the technilogical world as well an artist in graphic and costume design!! (I try not to hate her;)) She's a joy truly and I am proud to call her friend!

Here is her recipe and editorial on MULLED WINE

Perfect for those icy winter evenings, or for after a few hours of carolling for your neighbors in Victorian attire. (Er, that would be you, not the neighbors. Victorian attire links available upon request, or for ideas, see any Dickensian Christmas greeting card.)

MULLED WINE INGREDIENTS:

•The wine is your choice...most often a full-bodied red wine is recommended, as this stands up to the spices and complements them, but a white is acceptable, as is a good rich apple cider for those who prefer to avoid alcohol completely.

•NOTE: DO NOT USE AN ALUMINUM PAN. Preferably use a non-stick one.

•For spice pak: Any combination of cloves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, vanilla bean, bay leaf, anise, and citrus zest (orange and/or lemon). Other spices as desired.
•A smattering of brown sugar as desired if you like a slightly sweeter beverage.

PREPARATION:

•Pour the bottle of wine into saucepan and add the spices and brown sugar if you’re using it. Warm gently for around 6-8 minutes, being careful to WARM the wine, not boil it. The spices need to infuse into the liquid, but too high a heat and the alcohol will evaporate. The results are not pretty. Or tasty in any way.

•Once the liquid is infused (mulled), ladle into warmed mugs and enjoy. (This also happens to make a wonderful smell in the kitchen. Stop and sniff now and again. Then resume singing Holiday songs!)

**pic to left; Sahara and I at Lora Leighs RAW 2011-Rocky Gap Maryland

A note about spices: Fresh spices are almost always best and this recipe requires them to be in some kind of solid form, since powdered spices tend to glomp messily and not infuse well. Some people like to assemble little muslin bags of mulling spices, and keep their wine strictly liquid. Others like to serve this wine with the spices floating/mixed in. Star anise is an attractive decoration. Sliced oranges can be used as well, and this entire recipe should be adjusted to the taste of those enjoying the wine. There are few, if any, hard and fast rules to this entire process.

**grab hold of Sahara's brilliant books!! Here is her latest, in her signature mix of humor and steam! Dragons, Dames & Video Games!



Mulled wine is one of those “old family” recipes...ingredients change with the generations, but the result is the same – happiness and cuddles in a mug. We recommend spending a couple of weekends testing spice combinations prior to actually serving this wine to guests. If you can run a test at the same time you’re decorating your Christmas tree, so much the better, since apparently tree-decorating releases some kind of primeval hormone which can result in assault and battery charges if you’re not careful. Not sure why, but it does. Mulled wine, however, will mellow the spirits and remove the threat of family garrotting by tinsel.

Happy Holidays,
Sahara Kelly
(All charges pertaining to the incident with the tree-topper and the nutcracker have been withdrawn and the case has been closed.)


What did I tell you? ;)
Happy holidays!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Memories & Recipes

Support your local food banks and family crisis shelters year round!


Our recipe today comes from good friend and author, Patricia Walters-Fischer, RN--a warm and wonderful woman with a heart the size of Texas! She is also an editor and is preparing to launch a new site called SMART COOKIE PARENTS *www.smartcookieparents.com -launching January 2012!

She shares this decadent and delightful recipe for a Cinnamonly sinful" dessert perfect for topping off any holiday feast!!

Sin-namon Chocolate Cake

For CAKE:
1. Mix together in a bowl:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
½ tsp salt
4 Tbs cocoa (heaping)

2. Put in pan and bring to a boil:
1 stick margarine
½ cup cooking oil
1 cup water

3. Mix together and add:
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix well. Bake in ungreased pan 400° for 25 minutes

For ICING:
1. Sift:
1 box powered sugar
2/3 cup cocoa

2. Melt:
1 stick oleo
6 tablespoons milk
Bring to a rapid boil and pour over sugar and cocoa
3. Add:
1 tsp vanilla

4: Spread:
On warm cake and enjoy!!!!!

Here are some more Holiday traditions! Maybe you will find one that will become one of yours!

Vicki writes; I would say our holiday tradition, weather permitting, is I get up and start cooking and my husband takes our 2 boys and goes fishing while I cook. They love it and it makes it a lot easier on me without them bugging me, lol.

Tia writes; From Christmas Eve to the day after Christmas one of our local radio stations plays nothing but Christmas songs and we keep the radio tuned in for the entire run. That is one of my favorite holiday activities. 


Melissa writes;  My favorite holiday tradition is spending Thanksgiving at home with my immediate family. We go to dinner at a local winery, put up Christmas decorations, bake, and spend technology free time together playing games, doing crafts, etc. It is a great way to reconnect


How do you or your family and friends re-connect at holiday time?





Friday, November 18, 2011

Memories & Recipes

Support your local food banks and family shelters year round!




The holidays hold special memories for each of us--whether poignant or laugh til you cry funny, each is a treasured gem. I encourage you to write down your memories, just like your recipes, and pass them on to your friends and family. Here is a grand memory from reader Sherry,who shares this light-hearted view of the holidays;


Sherry writes; Our Thanksgiving traditions include the usual and the not so usual.


Mom and Aunt used to set the table with Gram's good china while Gram scowled and winced with each piece. You see they didn't just set the table like ordinary folks (but then we were never ordinary ;-). One would stand on one side of the dining room and the other would stand on the other side and they would throw Gram's precious china hurtling through the air for the other to catch and put in it's place on the table.

(*editor insert- is anyone seeing a Ringling Brothers theme, here?)

With each throw you would hear a big Hiyah! Everyone got a kick out of this even Gram, though she would never admit it. In 20+ years, not one china piece was broke.

Friends who were with us for the first time during the holiday get togethers, learned fast how to ask for things. Don't ever say "pass" the butter unless you are prepared to catch flying stick of butter, no dish, just the butter. The proper way to ask was Please hand me the dish of butter. It didn't matter whether it was butter, mashed potatoes, what have you - you had better ask the proper way or be ready for a true "pass".

Of course there were the fights over who gets the heart, liver and tail of dear ole' Tom. And many many fights for the wishbone and don't think it was just the kids either.

Throughout the day there would be much catching up, many hugs and happy tears shared. After dinner we would take walks through the woods to enjoy the beauty of nature and sometimes catch sight of deer, fox or other critters. Then it was back to the house for coffee, cocoa and pie. Afterwards we would play games, cards, boggle, etc.

Some of our favorite recipes are Gram's Cracklin's, Gram's Lemon Sponge Pie, Mom's pumpkin pie and my "Poop" cookies. They are actually Pumpkin cookies but one year my nephew called them poop cookies and it has stuck ever since. To this day nephew all grown up still asks for a big order of Poop cookies all his own.

My pumpkin cookies are such a hit with everyone that I make probably near to 50 dozen and there's still never enough. Recipe included below.  Aaaahhh, time with family and friends, good food, lottsa love , great memories..... Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane.

(*Editors note: Thank you, Sherry! I will think of you and your story as I set my holiday table this year! LOL It so fits in the "zoo" theme of our house during the holidays;))

Poop (Pumpkin) Cookies

3/4 c shortening
3/4 c sugar
2eggs
1c pumpkin
2c sifted flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Cream shortening and sugar, beat in eggs. Add vanilla and pumpkin. Blend in dry ingredients. Drop by spoonful or cookie dough scoop onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees 12-13 minutes. These are cake-like cookies and are scrumptious warm or room temperature.

Sherry Notes: I have tried both the canned and fresh pumpkin, most preferred the canned but some liked both. I have also found that cooking on parchment paper changed the taste of the cookies and they didn't go over as well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November -Sharing recipes & Holiday memories

Variety they say, is the Spice of Life! Never is that more true than in this wonderfully diverse country of ours Today we're sharing recipes that celebrate the beauty of our diversity! These come from a long-time subscriber (thank you!) and former Home Economics teacher (Teachers rock!!)

HOMEMADE TAMALES from Joy!
The making of the tamale is briefly spreading a prepared corn husk with the masa dough, putting the filling in the center, then folding the husk around the food to make a little packet. Stack the packets in a tamale steamer and cook until firm. (For step by step photos of how-to consult any Mexican food recipe book).


What makes our tamales unique is that we put brown sugar in the dough. They are sweeter than original ones.

FILLING
In a hot skillet with 2 T lard (substitue with cooking oil) saute 1 medium chopped onion. Blend in 2 C cooked shredded turkey (lean pork can be used) 1 small can diced green chilies/3 T raisins/ 2 T chopped black olives and 2/3 C red chili sauce (substitute with enchilida sauce). Simmer for 30 minutes while you are preparing the dough.

DOUGH
1 1/3 (2/3 #) lard
4 C Masa Harina (Do not substitute-must use this type of flour)
2 tsp salt
2 2/3 C warm poultry broth (or substitute with water)

Whip the lard until fluffy. Blend in the masa flour, salt, and broth until the dough holds together well.

Makes 6 C for 40 tamales.
 
*Can I get a YUM!!!???
 
 
And top these off with this refreshing and easy desert!
 
MARGARITA PIE RECIPE (via Joy)

Blend together 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 5 T tequilla, 5 T. Triple Sec, and 1/2 C fresh lime juice.

Fold in 2 C heavy cream, beaten stiff and the zest of 1 lime. Pour into a Graham cracker crust. Freeze 4 hours. Serve with thin lime slices or if served at Christmas time put in a couple of drops of green food coloring while blending and top with a couple of red maraschino cherries.
 
*(Note: I never had my students make this-you can see why) Is very rich and yummy
 
Delighted however, you chose to share it with us! It sounds amazing!
Happy holidays, Joy to you and yours this season!!
 
Amanda
 
 

Monday, November 14, 2011

November Holiday Memories & Recipes

The array of recipes I've received recently could fill a cookbook! Here is an exquisite soup for a chilly day alone with salad and bread, or served as an appetizer to your holiday meal! It's sent by the very funny, very personable, and very talented author and full-time mom,  Renee Bernard, who I am utterly delighted to call my friend.

Her Jaded Gentleman series are fast-paced and wonderfully written reads!! If you need a good story to occupy your holidays--follow this series! The release of PASSION WEARS PEARLS, is slated for March 2012 release!

Sherried Carrot Soup
On a cold night and for holiday season special occasions, I love to make sherried carrot soup. It's a creamy carrot bisque kind of thing and the color is nice on a Thanksgiving table--or any table!!...and then I toast and slice french bread to go with it to try to avoid having to use your fingers or lick the bowl ;-) It's a very decadent
dish but Super Easy to Make.

As with all Bernard signature recipes, measurements are simply guidelines. Have fun and make it your own!

Sherried Carrot Soup
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons of butter
8 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 and 1/2 cups of chicken broth (or water with chicken buillon to taste in a pinch ;-)
1/2 cup medium dry sherry
1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
white pepper
chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

In a kettle, cook the onion in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring until the onion is softened. Add the carrots, the ginger and the cinnamon, and cook the mixture, stirring for one minute (to coat the carrots in the flavor and let them know what's about to happen).

Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20-30 minutes or until the carrots are very tender. (Here's where it gets tricky.) In a blender or food processor puree the mixture in batches and transfer it back into the
kettle as it's pureed. Add the sherry and the cream. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Then season with salt and white pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and Enjoy!


More Holiday traditions!
Nothing seems more traditional at the holidays than pumpkin pie! Here are a few memories of that time-honored treat!

Jackie writes;   "My favorite tradition at Thanksgiving time is to bake home-made pumpkin pies. Most of my family would rather eat other foods besides a turkey and all the trrimmings....except...pumpkin pie...they do love the ones I bake. It is a recipe that my grandmother passed down to my mom and then down to my sister and me.
"
Joanne writes; Pumpkin pie with cool whip a must, cranberrys, sweet pot's, apple cider!!!!!!!!!!! And family and friends!!!!!!!!!

Olga writes; "Here in Canada we have Thanksgiving earlier than the States. One of my new traditions stems from a loss that we suffered this past August. My sister's mother-in-law (who everyone loved) passed away. It had been a long tough year, and we all miss her greatly. She was always the one who brought pie to Thanksgiving dinner; blueberry, apple and pumpkin. My youngest niece and nephew's favourite was pumpkin - and this year I made them pumpkin pie, and I got a wonderful compliment, because it was "almost as good as Nana's".





Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude Begins at Home

My dad was a WWII veteran in the Army, my older brother in the Navy and then a medic in the Marines. In my extended family are many who have served in the air and on the ground overseas in the past decade or more and to each of them and to those that stand in wait for them on the homefront--thank you is not nearly adequate for all that you do, but it comes from a grateful heart.

This month as we share special recipes and cherished holiday memories, I wanted to feature this one in particular on Veterans Day. There is so much we can do to support our Veterans of War and those still standing in the fray of battle, holding fast the belief that freedom is not free.

GREAT MILITARY SUPPPORT BLOG:  SOS ALOHA is a great blog to find ways of supporting our troops and their families through networking with readers and authors--check out Kim's blog at SOS ALOHA!


Laurie's email touched me in such a profound way, and I hope it does the same for you. It might even inspire you to begin a similar tradtion of your own---

Laurie writes; "For the last 10 years our family tradition is to invite single military airmen over for Thanksgiving dinner. There is a sign up sheet at the base requesting families to sign up and have an airmen come over for Thanksgiving.

My husband was in the military for 25 years and our son for 10 so I know just how lonely it can get when the holiday time is here and you are so far away from home. We bought our very first home 10 years ago here in Biloxi right after our son was sent to Afghanistan. The home and holiday felt so lonely so I decided that we should sign up for the program.

This year we expect 10 young airmen to come. I have already found out what their favorites are so I am going to make a dish that each one really likes as well as the dishes I make each year. I love feeling as if I am making their holiday a little bit brighter and hopefully a little less homesick."

My thanks to Laurie and her husband for sharing the warmth of home & family in this way. May it inspire us all to be as gracious.



More holiday tradtions from readers!
*Note from Amanda-I love that while I've receveid so many diverse tradtions, that some aspects reamin the same...family, community, gratitude, enjoying each other's company--

Carol writes;  For Thanksgiving we now get together at my sisters house where we visit and eat. For as long as I can remember we have always had the same food. We have turkey, dressing (we use Bell's Seasoning), cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, turnips, small white onions with butter, and lots of gravy. We always finish the meal with my grandmothers pumpkin pie. My sister cooks an extra turkey so we can all take some home to enjoy later. I hadn't been thinking about Thanksgiving yet, but now you have my mouth watering for Thanksgiving dinner.

Lisa shares; Our Holiday Traditions just center around eating the best foods, cornbread dressing, fudge, lemon icebox pie, candided yams, and yummy banana pudding. Then we play cards or games and watch football and lie around in the floor and moan because we are all so full. Then playing in the yard with the kids, maybe kickball or dodgeball or flag football. Love it."


Rosie writes; " Every year my family and my uncle's family gets together. All the cousins band together to help cook a huge meal that consists of both American, Vietnamese-style American, and Vietnamese dishes. We eat together, and the next day the boys head to Black Friday to nab deals on electronics. A few weeks prior my brother (who leads the group as head chef) starts a group e-mail training with the menu, and we all put in our two cents"
 
With Gratitude
 
 
 
 



Thursday, November 10, 2011

November -Sharing recipes & Holiday memories

Forgive the brief delay in the blog post. Yesterday my house beckoned, pleading "Clean me!" And I figure with the holidays creeping up on me, I had better listen:)

So now on with the recipes and memories!! With the influx of great traditions and recipes being shared by readers and authors, I'm going to have to double my efforts to post them in order to get everyone in this month, which I think is awesome!;)

Here is a sweet treat from a talented friend of mine, author Faith Smith, who swears this is a non-caloric snack!!!! (Not!) Ignore the strange name its given, the proof as they say...is delish and has absoultely nothing to do with the gorgeous six-pack on her Immortal Justice bookcover!!;))


Christmas Crack Recipe
Courtesy of Amy Moon Ware

1.5 sleeves of saltine crackers

1 stick (4 oz) butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips

Preparation:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Arrange the crackers in a single layer on the baking sheet so that there are no empty spaces in between them. Crush any remaining crackers into small crumbs and set aside for now.

3. Place the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir while the butter melts, and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Once boiling, carefully pour the sugar-butter mixture over the crackers on the baking sheet in an even layer, trying to cover most of the crackers. If you miss some spots, don’t worry as the toffee will spread in the oven.

4. Bake the toffee crackers at 350 degrees for five minutes, until the toffee is bubbling all over. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for one minute.

5. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the hot toffee, and allow them to sit for one minute to soften and melt. Once softened, use an offset spatula or knife to spread the melted chocolate over the entire surface of the toffee in an even layer. While the chocolate is still sticky, sprinkle



More Holiday Traditions: I love these ideas!

Barbara writes; "We have everyone write something that they are thankful for about another person and read them out during dinner. And it's all anonymous so it's more of a game to guess who said it!"

Marguerite writes;  "When I was a child, every Thanksgiving morning saw all the guys head out for some quail hunting, while all the gals stayed at the house, watched the Macy's parade on TV and cooked Thanksgiving dinner.

As an adult, Thanksgiving traditions have changed from time to time as my parents aged and the duties of preparing the meal fell onto my generation's shoulders. Now with my children grown and gone from home, traditions have once again changed. 

The one thing that remains constant is the gathering of family & friends and the sharing of a wonderful meal and the fellowship of good company! Memories in the making!"

Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories and recipes here at the house of muse! Feel free to leave a comment, or post your favorite recipes or traditions!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November -Sharing recipes & Holiday memories

Talented author, Genella deGrey shares a special recipe that is as "saucy" as Miss G's writing! Known for her vivid, humorous (and sexy) historicals, I invite you to check out The Trouser Game!









This yummy side dish would go well with many a main entree!

Sautéed Squash - from the recipes of Genella deGrey

2 med zucchini
2 med yellow squash3/4 teaspoon dill
Pinch or two ground sea salt3/4 teaspoon or so olive oil

Wash and cube zucchini & squash then place in bowel
Pre-heat pan to a medium-high temp
Add dill, salt and olive oil to veggies and toss
Pour into hot pan and sauté, stirring constantly until lightly browned (not very long, about 2 min.)
Remove from heat and place into serving dish - you don't want your squash mushy.

Serve over pasta or alone as a side dish.

Holiday Traditions:
Nancy shares this holiday memory that is wonderfully familiar to many! "When I was little, I would sit with my mom and watch the Thanksgiving Day Parades, then help with the dinner fixings (I got to tear up bread to go in the stuffing). When I got older, I made the pies. Now that I have grandchildren, I gather them together and we watch the parades (and football) while their parents cook and get things done-sort of the babysitter/referee to keep the peace. But it is always family fun, and we have been doing things together for over forty years now."

I can't think of a better way to spend a Thanksgiving, Nancy! Thank you for sharing this and Thanks to Miss G for sharing her recipe!!

What are some of your favorite holiday tradtions?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Making Memories and Recipes!

Todays recipe is perfect for a chilly evening after a sumptuous holiday meal! Whether watching your fav team on television or sitting around visiting in front of the fire-this rich & decadent recipe will be the hit of the evening!

Cynthia from Georgia writes that she was raised with cooking tradiotional Puerto Rican favorites with their holiday dinners--this traditional family recipe is "sooooo good!"  Just reading it made my mouth water!! Thanks, Cynthia!

BREAD PUDDING

•1 cup water

•2 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
•15 whole cloves
•1 teaspoon anise seed
•2 tablespoons water
•1/2 cup white sugar

•1 (1 pound) loaf day-old bread
•4 cups evaporated milk
•4 eggs
•1 1/2 cups white sugar
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•3/4 teaspoon salt
•1/4 cup butter, melted

1.Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and anise seeds. Cover, and set aside to steep for 15 minutes.


2.Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons water with 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar completely, but stop stirring once the mixture comes to a boil. Stay near the stove to monitor the color, swirling the pan gently to redistribute the caramel as the sugar begins to darken. Cook to about 310 degrees F (160 degrees C), or until the sugar turns light golden brown, then pour into a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Set aside to allow the caramel to harden.

3.Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

4.Remove the crusts from the day-old bread, tear the bread into cubes, and place into a large mixing bowl. Strain the spice tea through a fine mesh sieve to remove the spices. Add to the bread along with the evaporated milk. Stir to evenly moisten, and set aside for 10 minutes. Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl along with 1 1/2 cups of sugar, the vanilla extract, salt, and melted butter. Stir in the moistened bread mixture until evenly mixed. Pour into the loaf pan over the caramel.

5.Line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place the loaf pan on the towel, inside roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the loaf pan.

6.Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in the pan for about an hour, then refrigerate until cold, 2 hours more. When ready, invert the budin onto a serving plate. The caramel will have turned to a syrup and will cover the bread pudding like a sauce.

Holiday traditions:
Patricia writes; We always fix a big Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family.

Our family stuffing recipe has evolved over the years and we like it the way it is now.
Seasoned bread stuffing (I use Pepperidge farms) Cans of chicken broth and stick of margarine per the recipe on the bag. I saute chopped onion, cook sage sausage into small chunks, and add. I add craisins and diced dried apricots. I have been known to throw other things in - diced roasted chestnuts, or even pecans or whatever else I may have on hand and feel like adding. It is nice to have a stuffing that is a bit different and is good as leftovers.  Hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

Thanks to Cynthia and Patricia for sharing their time-honored memories with us!
Amanda

Saturday, November 5, 2011

November- Making Memories

Along with my talented readers and the delectable recipes you will see all month here at the House of Muse, I've invited a few other talented friends to share their holiday recipes as well as there gifts to YOU this holiday season! With all the new E-readers out there, there has never been a better time (or selection of books!) to choose from in electronic , print or audio formats! Give the gift of a book this year. Its the gift that keeps on giving!

Few of us can deny the passion for chocolate and this recipe answers that call "big time!" My thanks to the talented Comic book and romance writer, Anne Elizabeth for this decadent holiday treat!


DARK CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES-Anne Elizabeth
My mother and I would often make this recipe together right before Christmas. Then on that special day, we would pull out these succulent treats to share with family and friends. I can still hear my mother laughing as my brother stole a few chocolate chips as we were cooking or when she discovered he snuck down during the night to devour a few of these yummy morsels. My father likes the ones covered in nuts. One giant WARNING, do not inhale as you are eating the powdered-sugar ones or you’ll be coughing up a storm. Enjoy these tasty treats!


Yield: 30 Truffles


1 3/4 cup(s) 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

1/3 cup(s) Unsweetened Cocoa

1/3 cup(s) heavy whipping cream

6 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the chocolate chips. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and pour into a shallow bowl. Cool, cover, and refrigerate the mixture until firm, at least 2 hours.

Using a melon baller or small spoon, roll the mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the cocoa, OR YOU CAN ADD A TOPPING OR COATING SUCH AS CHOPPED NUTS, CEREAL, CHIPS, or POWDERED SUGAR. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Find this and more recipes at the GHIRARDELLI wesbite!

Friday, November 4, 2011

November-Making Memories

In my newsletter this month, I asked my readers to share with me their favorite holiday traditions. For many of us, that includes special recipes that evoke memories of holidays past, our childhood, going to grandmas house, or starting your own time-honored traditions! What I'm grateful for this holiday is my gracious readers and talented friends who inspire me daily to do what I do and who so willingly share these fabulous recipes with all of you!

From gluten-free to serious butter-laden recipes that would make Paula Deen smile--please enjoy these mouth-watering recipes and bask in the warm glo of shared holiday memories!!

Linda sends in this organic pumpkin pudding recipe from a site she likes called "The Whole Gang"

Gluten and Dairy Free Pumpkin Pudding

Ingredients:
2 Large Eggs, 3 if they are the small organic ones
1/3 cup agave
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 15 ounce can of organic pumpkin
1 13 ounce can of organic coconut milk


Directions:

In a bowl mix together your eggs, agave and spices with a whip. Next incorporate your pumpkin.  Now add in your coconut milk and mix. (thoroughly) Now it’s ready to be poured into your pie pan.


Bake at 35o degrees for 50-60 minutes. Start checking around 45 minutes to see if it’s done. I put a knife in the middle to see if it came out clean. It never totally did but I think that’s because I needed more eggs like I mentioned before. It was done and ready to come out of the oven. Let it cool for 15-30 minutes. Scoop it out and serve it however you like.




Substitutes:

Now if you eat dairy and want to go the more traditional route, you can use that can of evaporated milk.

You can bake off a sugar pie pumpkin and use that for the pumpkin pudding. One pumpkin usually yields around 2 cups of cooked pumpkin. A can of pumpkin is about 1 3/4 cup so using 2 cups of pumpkin should be fine.

If you don’t have agave and use sugar, 1/2 cup should work.

Thanks Linda, for sharing this yummy recipe!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Value of Face Time

This week I've returned from my first ever RAW weekend. For those not familiar with the term, it is the title given to Lora Leighs sponsored Reader Appreciation weekend. This year was her 5th such weekend and I have to tell you I was won over! The schedule was perfect for a three day weekend, lending itself to quality time spect in conversations with readers and other authors. Something that is rare for a bigger conference to achieve based on sheer numbers. I discovered some great new friends in both readers and authors and established an even greater respect and admiration for both.


**Lora Leighs Race Car with all the RAW 2011 authors on the side! How cool is that!












From the warmth of the Rocky Gap resort to the unexpected gift of a first, magical snowfall-RAW 2011 was a delightful experience that I look forward again in 2012!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tis the Season...

This month in my newsletter, my question to readers was sharing a fond or funny (or both!) memory of Halloween with me. One lucky reader will win a lovely prize (there can be only one!) but you'll have to join my newsletter in order to find out what that monthly prize may be!

Meantime, I'd like to know what your fav Halloween or Samahin reads or movies may be?

Two exciting bits that I've seen in the news in recent days includes the sequel to my all time fav Stephen King novel, "The Shining." This new book, its reported, features the son, Danny, all grown up and a doctor of sorts, who helps people with his special gift. Can't wait for this book!

The other truly exciting release on the horizon is the new Tim Burton/Johnny Depp film collaboration of the 70's hit gothic soap opera, "Dark Shadows." Its slated for next spring, but here is a pic of the new cast. My only question is where are Quentin and Angelique?



As the season of Samhain approaches may you enjoy the many blessings and gifts of the earth , your family and friends~

Amanda

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Newsletter update: full length version of Wild & Unruly releases today !

Hello dear readers!
This is by far, my favorite time of year! A cool autumn chill is in the air , fall decor is starting to show up in the store aisles and I've seen the tips of some of our trees just beginning to turn! My thoughts turn to gathering around our firepit with s'mores, watching our kids marching their college band on Saturday game days, and spending time with friends and family! But there's so much to talk about! Lets' get started!
~*~

DEBUT TIME-TRAVEL OUT NOW:
My new full-length Time travel western romance debuts today at Barnes & Noble and Amazon, and will be available soon at Books-A-Million. It is also available in ebook through All Romance E-books. Wild & Unruly, Book One in the Tales of the Sweet Magnolia, was in its original novella form, a CAPA nominee and Highly recommended read! So many readers loved the heat and humor between Sheriff Jake and Miss Lilly, so I've added never before published scenes and added a few twists and turns to create a brand new, full length version, chock full of these two characters and added a few more secondary characters to the mix that you're liable to see in future Tales of the Sweet Magnolia! Exclusive to Decadent Publishing, WILD & UNRULY has all the elements of a fast and fabulous read, that will make you fall in love with its characters all over again!

"A charming tale with intriguing twists and a hero who's as noble as he is sizzling hot-you'll fall in love!" ~Eden Bradley, 2010 Holt Medallion author of Pleasure's Edge

~*~
Some of you may have heard that Harlequin Spice has closed its line, but all Spice titles are still available in print and ebook at all the same venues! Unique stories and settings, heat with romance, unforgettable characters! Indulge yours reading appetite with one of these fine books from best-selling author, Amanda McIntyre; The Master & the Muses, Tortured, The Diary of Cozette, Winter's Desire anthology, The Pleasure Garden anthology. All books available in Italian translation.
Complete works collection click here...

~*~
I had the wonderful experience of visiting New Orleans this past Labor Day Weekend at Heather Graham's Writers for New Orleans--a project Heather began six years ago to gather the writing community together in an effort to help rebuild the amazing resilient city of New Orleans after Katrina. Even with Tropical storm Lee could not dampen the spirit of the weekend! It is a beautiful, historic city with friendly folks, amazing music and food, and a tenacity and belief in their city that truly exemplifies the heart of the American spirit! I highly recommend this annual event, held each year at the Hotel Monteleone, in the heart of the French Quarter! For readers and writers alike, it's a fabulous weekend!
~*~
Hope to see many readers at Lora Leighs Reader Appreciation Weekend (RAW) this October 27-30 at the beautiful Rocky Gap Resort in Flintstone, Maryland. Aside from the Thurday night bonfire (with s'mores! Yum!) you can meet and chat with twenty of your fav authors, enjoy a PJ party and masquerade party and get your books signed at the Sunday bookfair! Registrationis still open, so come join us for this relaxing and fun weekend!
~*~
Congratulations to Sandi, who won a $25 kindle gift card through my monthly newsletter contest! If YOU would like to subscribe to my newsletter, I promise your name will not be given out to any third party. You can subscribe by the link located on my blog home page!
~*~
Until next time,
Be well~
Amanda

Friday, August 26, 2011

Titles available for E-Readers!

I've decided it might be fun to feature some of my backlist titles now available for Kindle . For those who may wish to sample my various works in paranormal, contemporary and historical as well as fantasy, I invite you to enjoy some of my earlier works~

First a romantic historical fantasy tale between human and fae...

Tirnan'Oge                             

"Come oh human child,

To the waters and the wild,
With a faery hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping
Than you can understand."
-WB Yeats

In the ancient spirit of storytellin' comes a tale of sensuality, wit, and most of all the passion that is Ireland~

In Tirnanogue, meet a man who dedicates his entire life to the love of one woman- a beautiful Sighoge fae, whose very existence relies on his belief in her world

Order now for Kindle...click here


Sunday, July 24, 2011

First Year Anniversary Celebration !!

Celebrating their first year anniversary,  Decadent Publishing wants to give YOU, our readers, a special gift starting this week--August 24--at Smashwords!!

Special 1/2 prices of specially marked Decadent books!!
If you've been curious to catch some fresh innovative stories, then check out DP's stock!! Make your e-reader happy!



On Sale next week...starting August 24, 2011:

A Christmas Promise
Widowed Irishman, Brady McCormick made a promise to his young wife the day she died--to bring their son to America and begin a new life in the land of opportunity. Living in charity with a distant uncle in New York, barely scraping by, Brady is unsure he will be able to uphold the promise, much less quell the loneliness, until an angel appears at the docks, Saran Reichardt.


 
 
 
By The Light of the Silvery Moon
Can infatuation lead to love or just a howling good time? Jerome Hinkle has had his eye on pert little Shelly Bane since the days he lusted after her in high school. Now Shelly's all grown up and Jerome has returned to Landon where his passion for her is rekindled just as Shelly discovers a family secret that could take a bite out of their relationship.


 
 
 
Check out the fantastic anniversary specials this week at Smashwords !!
 
 Happy Anniversary Decadent Publishing!
 
 
 

Friday, July 15, 2011

RAW 2011 (Reader Appreciation Weekend!)

An All Hallows Eve Weekend!!

A perfect Autumn weekend getaway for readers and authors!!

Join up to 15 of your favorite authors and 300 incredible readers for the 5th anniversary of the Reader’s Appreciation Weekend, All Hallow’s Eve, A Fantasy Ball hosted by Lora Leigh.

An event filled four days, October 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th, 2011 in Flintstone Maryland at the Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort

Join us for a special weekend of fun,books,  crisp autumn nights and gorgeous surroundings! Schedule and registration click here...
 
 
See you in October with the return of Lil and Sheriff Jake in a newly revised time-travel western, Wild & Unruly!
 
Amanda

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

L.A. BANKS AUCTION IS LIVE !


You won't believe the fantastic items up for auction at ebay!!

And for a good cause--place your bid, don't delay!

It's all about Sharing the Love...with L.A.!

Bid to win 6 of my books from Spice!! But thats not all!!
The winner will be named as a character in my upcoming Celtic Spice novella!!  BID here...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Special Auction for Author L. A. Banks !!



Several authors, editors and agents have banned together in recent days to put together a spectacular auction for our beloved friend and peer, L. A. Banks. We have recieved sad news that L.A. has become gravely ill and to help defray rising medical costs this very special auction is taking place  for TEN DAYS ONLY on EBAY.
Here are the details and the official website for all support for Leslie Banks. Please help in any way you can.

The SHARE YOUR HEART auction for LA Banks begins today on Tuesday, June 21st at 9PM EST and runs for ten days ending on Friday, July 1st at 9PM EST due to eBay rules.

Please feel free to share news of the event:  http://www.labanksauction.org/ .

The official list of items is there and there is a link to the eBay site, which will go active at 9PM.


To tweet, please use the hash mark: #labanksauction (You start it yourself by typing the number sign # followed by whatever you want to say (no spaces) from your twitter page and then add your news...).

Thank you for helping us spread the word!

Please keep L.A. and her family in your prayers.

Thank you~
Amanda

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer reading!

Let's talk for a moment about what's in our TBR piles for the summer!

First though, let me tell you that I am giving you a chance to add to your summer reads by checking out my contest running at Fresh Fiction all through June! Starts June 1!

I just finished HUSH by Cherrry Adair and if you like steamy heat, fabulous characters and exotic locale you do not want to miss this book!!

On tap- I hear Robyn Carr has another in her Virgin River series coming out soon. One of the only series on my buy witout thinking list;)  The woman has created a fictional place where the characters are so real, their trials and tribulations, emotions and daily lives are so well done!

Some others on the TBR this summer:
Princesses Gone Wild (Decadent Publishing) Sahara Kelly & SL Carpenter
Pahntom Evil Heather Graham
Book of Shadows Alexandra Sokoloff

I'd like to find out how many of you have purchased some type of E-reader in the past year, and if so what kind do you have and what makes it the best in your eyes?

Let me know what you're reading this summer! Recommendations welcome! And what you're reading on!

Until next time~
Amanda

New Perspectives!

Though I understand that reviews are subjective (I started out as a reviewer before taking the step into writing full time) like all things I am always amazed how people view things differently. The variety of elements that resonate with a reader are soemtimes similar, yet sometimes offer even the writer a new perspective of their work. Such is the case with this most humbling and well-written review that I received on my medieval book,"Tortured." The reviewer has given me permission to post it here and you can also find this and her other reviews at Amazon, eHarlequin and Goodreads.

My humble thanks to Virginia Campbell, author of this review.     

Tortured" by Amanda McIntyre will stay with me for a long, long time. I couldn't have picked a better time than Memorial Day to read this book. "Tortured" is about loss of personal freedom, survival instinct, and the timeless hunger for omnipotence in those humans who live to dominate others. The story takes place in a time when Christianity, hedonism, and superstition were at war with each other, and mankind was the prize. However, it is also an unforgettable love story. Dryston is a wounded warrior whose gentle touch and loving passion bring back to life a young woman who willed so much of herself into submissive oblivion. It is the unconquerable spirit dwelling deep within Sierra which captivates her captive. All she loved was taken from her as a girl, as her mother was hung before her eyes and her young brother dragged away to be killed. Nothing was left for her to keep. Even her long hair was chopped off. She was forced to dress as a boy and become the apprentice to a master executioner. Together, Sierra and Dryston form a bold plan of escape, heading toward their predetermined fate. This is a vivid, well-told tale of the rawness and uncertain times of the Dark Ages. Would we have acted in the same manner as Sierra and Dryston and others around them? Amanda McIntyre places us right in the middle of the story line, making us see how human spirituality and physicality become twisted under ceaseless torment and cruelty. Although the setting of the story goes back in time more than fifteen hundred years, humans still act in much the same way. There will always be those who quest for dominance, but mercifully, there will always be love and lovers to offer hope for mankind.

Keep on reading and I'll keep on writing!

Amanda

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

RT BOOKlovers convention in Los Angeles

Well, the lists are dwindling (at least for now) which means I must be close to being ready to fly out to LA for this year RT Booklover convention! It has been years since I've been to California, but I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones!
This year Sahara Kelly and I embark on our first year as reigning Faery Court Queens (affectionately  the QE and QEII) as we call ourselves...its going to be a lovely evening as we whisk attendees back to the opulence of a Venetian Masquerade Ball! Mystery, decadence, glitz and glamour await our guests this year!!

 Bigger and better this year is the Faery Ball Literacy raffle with "bling" that will make your mouth water!!  All proceeds going to the National Coalition for Literacy!!

Special too this year is the sales of the anthology, Twice Upon a Time, a group of faery tales with a moderne day twist put together especially to help our sister fae, Tina Gerow with medical expenses incurred from a dangerous medical condition called,  Arteriovenous Malformation. Gratefully, Tina has been through a lot, but is a trooper and continues to improve with each day and is our inspiration!

There is so much going on, but if you are in the area on Saturday for the giant book fair, I will have this year--my story of my Pre-Raphaelite bad boy and his muses--The Master and the Muses as well as a couple of anthologies, The Pleasure Garden and Naughty Bits, Vol III. Stop on by, I'd love to see you!

Until next time, please keep the people of Japan in your thoughts and do what you can to help the American Red Cross providing assistance overseas.

Happy April! and that's no joke!!

Amanda

Monday, March 14, 2011

News! Dark Seduction...

I couldn't wait to share with you the gorgeous cover for my upcoming release
()  finally-The Dark Seduction of Miss Jane!




An American woman seeking to make her mark in the world of investigative journalism finds herself drawn into the dark seduction of 1887 London, where decadent secrets entice and murder lurks in the shadows...

This is my first ever full smoking hot, victorian gothic mystery and because I am a visual writer I couldn't have asked for a better representation of this story!

Watch for more in the days to come!!

Amanda



Thursday, March 10, 2011

SOS AMERICA GIVEAWAY!

Win signed copies of your fav authors over at SOS AMERICA's ALHOA blog!!

Read about the  Saucy Sirens Through History event happening at RT this year!


See you in Los Angeles!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Inspirations

Boy, its been a roller coaster month, hasn't it?

 If you subscribe to my newsletter, you'll see that I've started a new section I call "INSPIRATIONS"--each month I share some of my "inspirations for writing or things that have touched my life in a special way. And I invite my readers to share their "inspirations " each month with me. I try to respond to each one, but time is a jealous wench, and I don't always get around to it as fast as I would like!

The stories you've sent have been such an inspiration to me! It gives me such joy and satisfaction to know there are so many amazing folks out there that are living  extraordinary lives! And that is the center of the type of character I enjoy most writing about--the ordinary person stepping up to face  and  overcome extraordinary circumstances.

My heart and prayers go out to the extraordinary people in New Zealand this week, as they begin the task of rebuilding their lives after the devastating earthquake. Read how you can help here....

***

In my current WIP, my heroine is an American woman in the late 1800's who travels to London  to pursue her dream of becoming an investigative journalist. She finds herself a target of an anonymous admirer, who sends her notes expressing his affection toward her. When body parts begin washing shore from the Thames and the notes begin to get more menacing, Jane must turn to the aid of London's Criminal Investigations team, a man carrying dark secrets of his own.

This story was inspired by a number of events and people in the summer of 1887 (this was approximately a year prior to the 1888 brutal terror of Jack the Ripper in London) Inspired by the first American woman investigative reporter, by the unsolved "embankment murders" in London and my love for Victorian Gothic mystery, this has been one fabulously fun story to write!  I will keep you posted  to its progress!

What I love about this story are the characters. Most very ordinary folks who are given by events and circumstances , the choice to fade into the woodwork, or step up to the plate to embrace what is dear to them. To face the challenges, despite the risk.

So , consider this an invitation to those of you who have not yet joined my newsletter! Each month I will feature an email sent in for my INSPIRATIONS section and that person wins a $25 gift card from someplace fun! Sorry, you must subscribe first to my newsletter to be eligible. See the area in the upper right corner of my blog to sign up today!  And tell me--WHAT INSPIRES YOU!

Amanda
***

Available March 1, MIRROR, MIRROR in Naughty Bits, Vol 3.

Contemporary Erotic Mystery:
    Charlie lives a charmed life. Young and exceptionally beautiful, she is used to getting what she wants, when she wants it. To her good fortune, so she thinks, she marries a wealthy older man with no one else but her to spend his money on. But when a freak boating accident leaves him crippled, she discovers the truth about how far you'd go for someone you love.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Just out : new sci-fi fantasy romance! TREASONS HEART

I haven't been around much , and I apologize. In part because of my mother's health and in part because I have been busy coming up with finishing up my current  Gothic WIP and working on some ideas for contemporary romantic /paranormal series. I will let you know how those are progressing...but in the interim, I'd like to make note of a new author to sci-fi romance and adventure that I'd like to invite you to check out!

Robin Geoffrey's new book-TREASONS HEART, is heating up Kindle Readers everywhere!!! If you don't believe me, check out the fabulous video done by none other than Circle of Seven Productions...

ENJOY!!
Amanda

Monday, January 31, 2011

CONTESTS O' PLENTY!!

Fun news, cuz it's always fun to win prizes, right?


February 1-ALL DAY LONG with DECADENT PUBLISHING!


Come visit with the authors, read excerpts, chat with editors and find out how you can win a brand new kindle already loaded with SIX Decadent titles!



And visit my contest at FRESH FICTION
runs to February 7th!

The ART of ROMANCE



Win an autographed copy of the book RT BOOKreviews gave 4.5 stars and called  "a special reading experience," plus a gift card to pamper yourself from Bed, Bath & Beyond!

While its chilly outside, you can be inside chatting, reading and winning!!


See you at Bring in the New Year with Books and Coffee Time Romance & More tomorrow and maybe have another surprise or two awaiting you!

Be well~
Amanda