Events, Appearances, Sales, Contests, and Giveaways
I’d love to visit your book club, women’s group, or community group! Visit my Speaking Page to learn more about the topics and how we can connect.
I had a delightful conversation with Terri Gillespie at the Author 2 Author show. We talked about The Legacy of Longdale Manor, traveling to England, and writing dual-time novels.
I always enjoy talking to Chautona Havig at the Because Fiction Podcast. Her questions get to the heart of the story, and her laughter and thoughtful comments make it a fun and meaningful conversation. I hope you’ll tune in.
Jaime Jo Wright hosts the MadLit Musings Podcast, and I enjoyed my visit with her so much! Jaime Jo and I both write for Bethany House, so that gives us a special bond and made for a great conversation! Listen in at this link.
Did you miss our Night of Hope Zoom presentation? We recorded it and would love to share some hope and encouragement with you. Just follow this link and you’ll hear Tessa Afshar, Cathy Gohlke, Carrie Turansky, and Heidi Chiavaroli share where they find hope in challenging times and how they weave that hope into their latest novels.
Grasmere Ginger Bread (From The Legacy of Longdale Manor)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cup (1 cube) of butter at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the 8-inch square cake pan by lining it with a parchment paper that covers the bottom and extends slightly over on both sides, allowing for easier removal of the gingerbread after baking. Apply a thin layer butter and evenly coat the bottom and corners of the parchment paper in the pan.
Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and rub the butter into the mixture until it is the consistency of breadcrumbs. This is best done in a food processor or blender. The dough won’t come together as with other cookie doughs – it will remain as crumbs. Set aside 2½ oz (70 grams) of the crumb mixture. Press the remaining crumb mixture into the pan, pushing the crumbs down firmly with a piece of parchment paper. Spoon the reserved crumbs over the top and press very lightly to distribute the crumbs over the surface of the dough.
Lightly score the top of the gingerbread, first dividing it into squares and then dividing each square in half. Bake the gingerbread for 25 minutes, then remove it from the oven. Cut the gingerbread into portions along the marked lines while it is still hot. Enjoy!
Lemon Blueberry Scones (from The Governess of Highland Hall)
- 2 ¼ Cup Flour
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Baking soda
- 4 Tbs Sugar
- ½ Cup (1 cube) Cold Butter
- ¾ Cup Buttermilk
- 1 Egg
- ¾ Cup Blueberries
- Grated zest from lemon
- ¼ Cup Rolled oats
- ¼ Cup Brown sugar
- 1 Tbs Butter, melted
- 1 Tbs Flour
- ½ Cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 Cup Confectioner’s sugar
- 1Tbs Butter, melted
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the dry ingredients of the scone into a food processor. Cut the cold butter into cubes and put into bowl of food processor with the lemon zest. Pulse the mixture until the butter is the size of peas. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, add the blueberries and toss with the flour. Mix together the buttermilk and egg and add to the dry ingredients. Fold mixture together gently, being careful not to break the berries. Press dough into a large circle on a flour surface. Cut out dough with a biscuit cutter. Sprinkle streusel on top of them and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake the scones for 18 -20 minutes until golden.
Mix together the glaze, adding as much powdered sugar as it takes to make the consistency you want. Let scones cool a bit before drizzling with the lemon glaze. Serve while warm and fresh. Scones may be re-warmed in a 350 F. oven for 5 min.
If you try this recipe and bake some scones, be sure to let me know how you liked them. Happy baking!
This recipe is adapted from Terri Bender’s Book Bound Blog.
Annie's Seven-Layer Salad (from Snowflake Sweethearts)
- Romaine Lettuce – 1/2 medium head, thinly sliced
- 2 Cups Baby Spinach
- Red Cabbage – small wedge, thinly sliced
- 1 Can Water Chestnuts, sliced
- 1 Small Red Onion, thinly sliced
- 4 Ounces Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- 1 Pkg. Frozen Petite Green Peas, defrosted and well drained
- 1 Red Pepper, for decoration
- 1 Green Pepper, for decoration
- 1 Yellow Pepper, for decoration
- Fresh Parsley
- 1 Cup Light Mayonnaise
- 1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt, Plain and Non-fat
- 1/2 tsp Curry Power
Place the sliced Romaine in the bottom of large clear glass bowl. Add a layer of baby spinach, then add sliced cabbage, water chestnuts, red onion, cheese and peas in layers. Mix the dressing in a separate bowl. Spread it over the salad, covering it completely. Decorate the top with a design made from pieces of red, yellow, and green pepper, and parsley. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until time to serve. This salad can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time.
Annie's Gingersnap Cookies (from Snowflake Sweethearts)
- 2 1/4 cup flour (I use half whole wheat)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 3/4 teaspoon ginger
- 11/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup white sugar (to roll the cookies in before baking)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream brown sugar and butter. Add the egg and mix. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until thoroughly blended. Pinch off small amounts of dough and roll into 1 inch diameter balls. Roll each ball in sugar and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, or until tolls are rounded and slightly cracked. Makes 5 dozen cookies.
Terry's Pumpkin Fluff (from Snowflake Sweethearts)
- 1 – 26 oz Container of Frozen Whipped Topping, thawed
- 1 – 5 oz Package Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
- 1 – 15 oz Can Solid Pack Pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
In a large bowl, mix together pudding mix, pumpkin, and spice. Fold in thawed whipped topping. Chill until time to serve. Great with ginger snap cookies or graham cracker sticks.
Adrie's Kenyan Chai (from A Man to Trust)
Our family spent a year in Kenya as missionaries. While we were there we enjoyed the local custom of chai time each day at 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. This is the recipe we used to make Kenyan chai.
- 2 Cups milk
- 2 Cups water
- 4 Heaping Tsp. Sugar, or more to taste
- 4 Tsp. loose Kenyan tea leaves
Simmer together on the stove for five minutes. Strain into cups. Makes four servings. Enjoy!
Irene's Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies (from A Man to Trust)
This is a delicious recipe we borrowed from The Best of the Best and More Cookbook – one of my favorites! These drop cookies taste a lot like brownies, crispy around the edge but still a little chewy in the center.
- 1 ¾ Cups Flour
- ¾ Tsp. Baking Soda
- 1 Cup Butter
- 1 Tsp. Vanilla
- 1 Cup Sugar
- ½ Cup Brown Sugar, packed
- 1 egg
- 1/3 Cup Cocoa powder
- 2 Tbsp. Milk
- 1 Cup Walnuts, chopped
- ¾ Cup Milk Chocolate Chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degress. Stir together flour and baking soda. Set aside. In a barge bowl, cream together butter, vanilla, and sugars. Beat until fluffy. Beat in egg, then cocoa, then milk. Min in Flour until just blended. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Cool slightly before removing from the cookie sheet. Makes 3 dozen delicious cookies!
Peppermint Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting (From Moonlight Over Manhattan)
Prep Time: 25 minutes, Cook Time: 11 minutes, Yield: 15 bakery size cookies
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting work surface
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup all vegetable shortening (unflavored), at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- Crushed candy canes, for topping
Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, then whisk it just a few times, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, on medium speed, whip together butter, shortening and sugar until very pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in egg and mix until combine, then add egg white, vanilla and peppermint extract and mix until combine. With mixer running, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combine. Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375 during the last 10 minutes of refrigeration.
Scoop dough out about 3 Tbsp at a time and roll into a ball. Place dough ball on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle top lightly with flour, then using something flat and smooth (such as the storage container lid), press and evenly flatten dough to 1/2″ thick. Transfer flattened dough to a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet and repeat process with remaining dough (you’ll have to use 2 cookie sheets). Bake in preheated oven 9 – 11 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely then frost with Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
For the frosting:
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese and butter until pale and fluffy. Add peppermint extract and powdered sugar and mix until pale and fluffy.
Recipe source: Cooking Classy
Adrie's Homemade Pizza (from A Man to Trust)
When we lived in Kenya we had to make most of our recipes from scratch. Homemade pizza took several hours since we had to make the crust and sauce ourselves. Finding cheese was also a challenge, so we were only able to have this once in a while, but when we did, it was a real treat.
- 4 Cups Flour
- 2 Tbsp. Granulated Dry Yeast
- ¼ Cup Sugar
- 1 Tsp. Salt
- 2 Cups Warm Water (About 100 degrees)
Combine the dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add warm water and stir to mix well. Cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm place like on top of the stove for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle flour on the counter or cutting board and knead the dough about 10 times. Let it rise in a covered bowl for about 20 – 30 minutes. Turn it out onto floured surface and press by hand into the desired shape. Place prepared dough on an oiled baking sheet or pizza pan and top with sauce, veggies, meats, and cheese as desired. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the crust is crispy brown around the edge. Enjoy!
St. Lucia Day Bun Recipe (from Christmas Mail-Order Brides)
from King Arthur Flour Company
St. Lucia’s Day is celebrated in Sweden on December 13. According to legend, Lucia died a martyr’s death and was later made a saint. Today, a small girl dresses as St. (Santa) Lucia during town celebrations and joins the singing ceremonies of the day. The key figure in the celebration, St. Lucia dresses in a white gown, and wears a crown of candles on her head — sometimes the candles are real, sometime battery-operated, for obvious reasons. St. Lucia symbolizes the promise of the sun’s return to bring Sweden from its wintry darkness.
In Swedish homes on Lucia’s day, young girls in the family dress as St. Lucia and present their parents with breakfast in bed. That breakfast tray usually includes a pot of tea, some milk, and some St. Lucia Buns or Lussekatter (Lucia Cats). The yeasted saffron buns get their names from the whimsical shapes they take while being made: figure-eight shaped “cats,” “S” shapes, for saffron, or pretzels.
- 1 cup (8 ounces) milk
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) butter
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast (SAF Gold or Fermipan Brown, if you have it)
- 4 1/2 cups (19 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) potato flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups glazing sugar or confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 to 3 tablespoons water OR 4 to 5 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) toasted slivered almonds
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, heat the milk and saffron to a simmer; remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Set the mixture aside to allow the butter to melt, and for it to cool to lukewarm.
MANUAL/MIXER METHOD: In a large bowl or the bowl of a mixer, whisk together the yeast, flours, salt and sugar. Separate one egg, and set the white aside. Pour the lukewarm milk and butter mixture over the dry ingredients, and mix well. Beat in 2 eggs, the extra yolk and the vanilla or Creme Bouquet Flavoring. Beat for 10 to 15 minutes. The dough will be quite soft, but should lose its stickiness and become shiny as it’s being beaten. This is hard to accomplish by hand, but easily done in a stand mixer or bread machine.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn to coat, then cover and let rise for 1 hour. For ease of handling, and to develop flavor, refrigerate the dough for 2 or more hours (overnight is fine).
BREAD MACHINE METHOD: Place all of the dough ingredients, including the lukewarm milk mixture, and the butter, into the pan of your machine. Program the machine for Manual or Dough, and press Start. Take a look at the dough about 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, and adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, as necessary, to produce a smooth, supple dough. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.
SHAPING: Remove the dough from the refrigerator (if it’s been chilled). Knead it briefly to expel excess carbon dioxide, and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a thin strip about 12 inches long; shape the strips into pretzels, or the shape of your choice.
Place the shaped rolls on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets; cover them lightly, then let them rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, till they’re quite puffy. (If your kitchen or house is colder than normal, the rising may take up to 3 hours. Don’t despair!)
Beat the reserved egg white with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush it over the rolls; if you choose not to use the glaze after baking, a sprinkling of pearl sugar atop this egg white wash is very nice.
BAKING: Bake the rolls in a preheated 375°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, just until they’re very lightly browned. Remove them from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool.
GLAZE: Near the end of the baking time, prepare the glaze by mixing together the sugar, vanilla and water or heavy cream. Brush the rolls with the glaze, and and sprinkle with the almonds. Yield: 12 buns.
Nutrition information per serving (1 bun, 122g): 386 cal, 12g fat, 9g protein, 39g complex carbohydrates, 23g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 75mg cholesterol, 296mg sodium, 221mg potassium, 107RE vitamin A, 1mg vitamin C, 3mg iron, 48mg calcium, 129mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XII, No. 1, Holiday 2000 issue.
Rachel's Cinnamon Rolls (from Seeking His Love)
- 4 1/4 Cup Bread Flour
- 1 1/4 Cup water
- 1/2 Cup sugar
- 1/2 Cup butter softened
- 1 Egg
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 Packets Active Dry Yeast
- 1/4 Cup Butter, melted
- 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Tbs. Cinnamon
Powder Sugar Glaze:
- 1 1/4 Cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
- 2 Tbs. Light cream or milk – just enough to make a drizzling consistency.
Add ingredients to the baking pan and follow Bread machine directions for dough setting. When the dough is ready, roll it out on a floured piece of waxed paper, creating a rectangle about 10 x 18 inches. Spread the melted butter over the dough. Spread the brown sugar over the butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Roll up jellyroll style and pinch the edges to seal. Slice into 12 rolls about 1 1/2 inches each. Arrange dough pieces, cut side up, in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Cover loosely with a towel and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 – 35 minutes or until light brown. Drizzle with glaze and serve warm. Makes 12 rolls.
Tilley's Apple Walnut Muffins (from Along Came Love)
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 golden delicious apple peeled and shredded , or 1/2 cup apple sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour (Or you can use 1 cup of white and 1 cup of whole wheat)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cup peeled and chopped golden delicious apple, about 1 large
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the oil, shredded apple, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix just until the dry ingredients are wet. Add the chopped apple, raisins, and walnuts and fold in. Don’t over mix. Pour into muffin tin sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or use paper liners. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clan. Cool and enjoy!
Tilley's Chicken Enchiladas (from Along Came Love)
- 1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Cream of Chicken OR 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup
- 1 container (8 oz.) light sour cream
- 1/2 cup mild or medium salsa
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 – 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 1 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 10 Fajita Size Flour Tortillas, warmed
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1 green onion, sliced
Mix soup, sour cream, broth, and salsa to make sauce. Mix 1 cup sauce mixture, chicken and 1 cup of the cheese. Spread about 1/4 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam-side down in 3-qt. shallow baking dish. Pour remaining sauce mixture over enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes. Top with tomato and onion before serving.
Bill's Maple Baked Beans (from Along Came Love)
- 1 1/2 pounds of dry white navy beans
- 1 cup real maple syrup
- 4 oz. salt pork, cubed (or 3 slices of bacon cut into pieces)
- 1/4 cup chili sauce
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
Place beans in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered for 1 hour. Drain, reserving liquid.
In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, chili sauce, chopped onion, salt, and mustard. Place half the beans in a 1 quart casserole dish, top with diced salt pork or bacon, then add remaining beans. Pour maple syrup mixture over beans. Then add 1 1/2 cups of reserved bean liquid. Cover and bake at 300 degrees about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Add more reserved liquid as needed to keep beans moist. Serves 6-8.
Tilley's Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (from Along Came Love)
(Actually, this is my mother-in-law, Shirley Turansky’s, recipe. She has baked them for the delight of her husband, children, and grandchildren for about fifty years.)
- 1 cup butter or margarine
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups rolled oats (I use old fashioned)
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add the eggs and mix in. In a separate bowl mix together the four, soda, and salt. Add to the first mixture and combine. Add the oats, nuts and chocolate chips and mix. Spoon out onto cookie sheet and bake 9 – 12 minutes until golden around the edges. Don’t over bake. Let them stay on the pan for 2 –3 minutes before you transfer them to a rack to cool. Makes about 6 dozen.