Comfort Food 106

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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

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Comfort Food 103

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

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www.charmainepauls.com 

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Comfort Food 102

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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

BrokenDreamsFINAL3

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

Frozen

Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t seen the movie Frozen and don’t want any clues to the movie…don’t read beyond this! Although you probably know how it ends, even if you haven’t seen it.

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I think Elsa has taken over the world. Yeah, that Elsa…Princess of Arendelle. She possesses the magical ability to create ice and snow. Her powers grew out of control and she turned her land into constant winter.

Princess Elsa unleashed everlasting winter on her kingdom. Maybe she didn’t mean to, but she did. She had her reasons, it’s an uncontrollable power.

Somehow she left her own country and descended upon us. There are no signs of spring. The forsythias show no signs of yellow, no daffodils are peeking their heads out of the ground, no crocuses dot the landscape. We had one more snowstorm this weekend, turning everything white…again.

I don’t know if her sister, Anna, is available but I may make the trek myself to find the princess. Enough of winter weather, Elsa! Please. I know you can’t help yourself but I can’t take it anymore. I’ve had enough of winter.

P. S. Thanks in advance and send my regards to Olaf.

 

If you’ve read this far I’d like to extend an invitation join me for a day of fun and prizes in celebration of my book release. Just follow this link on Thursday, April 3 any time from 4-9 pm EST.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1416549545269775/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Dead of Winter

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In my “Closing of the Pool” post, I said I’d look for one thing to love during the dreaded winter season. Well, I found it. The days start getting longer after the winter solstice. It happens slowly but by the end of January we get almost an extra hour of daylight. So that’s it.

After rereading that, I decided I could do better. So I’m going to make a list. Things you can to do to help you while-away the cold winter days. Please feel free to add to it. The only rule is your suggestions have to cost little to nothing.

If you’re a homebody-

1. Light candles throughout the house as soon as evening comes.

2. Read a good book in front of the fireplace or any other cozy spot in the house.

3. Play with your pet/pets. If you don’t have one, go on-line and look at cute puppy/kitten pictures. I highly recommend lovebird sites. They’re the cutest things! Also am a little prejudice…Love you, PJ!

4. When you feel down, make a steaming hot cup of tea, cocoa, flavored coffee.

5. Bake! Fill your home with wonderful smells.

6. Eat those baked goods. Freeze some for the next time you need a winter lift.

7. Background music – Make a playlist that can be played quietly and fill the house with music.

8. Organize one thing. Pick a closet, drawer or cluttered spot. Focus only on that. When you finish, relish in your accomplishment.

9. Look for new recipes. Magazines were always my go-to, but with Pinterest and recipe sites on-line you can have a field day. If you don’t have a Pinterest account, create one. Save all your recipes there.

10. Make grilled cheese and tomato soup. An old favorite!

11. Make sure you have a great pair of slippers. Snuggle in some flannel pajamas.

12. Write or journal or start a blog.

If you’re adventurous and willing to head out in the cold and snow

1. Visit your library. Stay awhile and skim through a pile of books. Pick some out to take home so you can do #2 in the group above.

2. This might also involve a trip to the library but it’s a great idea. Reread a favorite book from childhood.

3. Walk a mile or two at your local mall. No shopping allowed.

4. Visit the closest park. Take in winter nature, even if you do it from the window of your car.

5.  Anything to do with snow. Build a snowman, make a snow angel or just tromp through it.

6. Go outside on a clear night and count the stars.

7. Drink hot chocolate outside.

8. Take a walk under the full moon.

9. Visit the closest lake, river, or pond and take in the winter scene.

10. Go outside and blow bubbles. I read they turn into ice bubbles!

And remember! Feed the birds.

Closing of the Pool

 

four-seasons

An end of the summer chore—the closing of the pool. Always get a little tug of the heartstrings, a funny feeling in the pit of the stomach as I watch it happen. If you live wherever there are four seasons, you know what I mean.

People have their favorite seasons and I, like Kate in my series, like summer the best. Our reasons, though, are vastly different. Mine always signaled the end of a school year and some time to reflect before starting another. It was a gift I never took for granted. Hers indicated another year was to begin. Her life in 1927 was about to start again.

Funny how people look at the seasons differently. Some long for winter and the outdoor sports that come with it. Not me. Sledding was as far as I ever went that time of year. Fall is a favorite because of the beauty it represents. Some people drive miles to gaze at autumn foliage or plan vacations around it. Spring hints at new beginnings. The buds slowly appear on the branches and flowering trees burst on the scene.

When your favorite season ends, do you get that little tug? It’s over and you have to wait almost another year until it begins again. You have those three “other” seasons to get through.

This year I’ve made a pact with myself. Find something to love about each one. It’s not too hard with fall and spring given the reasons above. Those are my favorite parts. I don’t want to say the holidays for winter as I know many of you are thinking, because there’s a lot more days ahead after they end. I’m going to try hard to come up with something and when I do, I’ll let you know. It may not be until the dead of winter and I won’t be a happy camper.

For now, I’m going out on the deck and stare at the pool, covered over and waiting for winter. Probably dreading it just like I am.