Looks like I’m late again. Sorry about that. I have plenty of excuses, but they’re not worth listing. Well, maybe one or two.
I had every intention of publishing Forever Love or Abducted, (same story, I just haven’t decided on the title yet.). Anyway, as most of you know, the story is a complete rewrite of When the Past Came Back. It was edited by an editor and published at The Wild Rose Press. It is now out of print. The editing marks are on the final draft of that book cannot be removed. I’ve tried to save the rewrite and publish the new version, but the marks keep showing up and CreateSpace won’t accept it.
Bottom line, I’m retyping the story. As of now, I’m on Chapter 9, and I think there are 37 chapters. I’ll get it done. It just takes time. Seems like every time I start typing, I get sleepy and start making mistakes. On the good side of that coin, I’ve found a few mistakes that I can correct, and I’ve made more changes. I hope for the better. But, you be the judge of that. And another reason is I have no idea what I want the book cover to look like. With all of my other books, I knew exactly what I wanted the cover to look like. With this one, I am totally lost.
I’m also working on Hidden Secrets. It is getting so exciting. I believe there is a hurricane about to hit the coast of Texas. It could impact Weber, Texas which sits about seventy-five miles south of Dallas and a hundred miles west of the Louisiana line. What’s the worst that can happen?
We only planted English peas and onions in our garden this year. Our neighbor planted the rest of the plot with corn. I have two rows of sweet corn and the rest is field corn. I still have plenty of beans, peas, and squash in the freezer. The only thing I’m going to miss is tomatoes. I love my salsa, Rotel, and canned tomatoes. They just make anything I cook taste so much better. We’ll plant them next year. No jalapenos this year, either. Bummer.
We are planning a major trip this year. It will be a great adventure for the kids. I think we’ll enjoy it too. It will be our first time at Disney World in Orlando. A very good friend of mine is making all the arrangements, scheduling the reservations, and booking the place we will lay our heads. I think I made a mistake, though. I should have us coming in one day earlier, but I’m not changing anything now.
The recipe I have for you this month looks so great. This is one I haven’t tried yet, but I plan to in the near future. If you cook it before I do, please let me know how it turns out.
It looks like it takes some time, and that is one of the reasons I haven’t tried it yet. The other reason is, it’s loaded with calories, and I’ve cut back on those so I can drop a few pounds before our trip.
Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cake
FOR THE CARROT CAKE LAYERS
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 cup canola oil
• 4 large eggs
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp kosher salt
• 2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 2 cups shredded carrots
FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER
• 2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 tsp kosher salt
• 2 large eggs
• 1/4 cup sour cream
• 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
FOR THE FROSTING
• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup heavy cream
• 4 cups powdered sugar
• 1 cup chopped pecans
FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER
Prepare the cheesecake layer first. This can be done early in the day, or the night before. If freezing the cheesecake, can be stored 1-2 weeks in the freezer.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a large roasting pan, add 1 inch of water to the pan. Place it on the lower 2/3 of the oven! Allow it to preheat in the oven.
Prepare 9-inch springform pan by wrapping bottom of pan (outside) with a double layer of foil. Line bottom (inside) with a circle of parchment paper.
Beat cream cheese with granulated sugar for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Add in salt and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in sour cream and heavy cream, until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Pour into prepared 9-inch springform pan. Place pan in center of preheated roasting pan in the oven, making sure to be careful not to spill water.
Bake cheesecake for 45 minutes. Turn oven off and let cheesecake sit in oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a counter.
When cooled, remove outside portion of the springform pan and place into the freezer for several hours or overnight. I put it in the freezer for about 2 hours. If using within 24 hours, feel free to just refrigerate cheesecake!
FOR THE CARROT CAKE LAYERS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. I use Wilton Bake Even Strips to ensure nice, even cakes. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil, and eggs until blended. Add in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Beat for about 2 minutes. Add in shredded carrots. Pour into prepared cake pans.
Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack for ten minutes. The remove from pans and cool completely.
FOR THE FROSTING
In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Beat with whisk attachment for 3 minutes. Add in sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream. Beat for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Fold in chopped pecans.
To assemble the cake, layer one layer of carrot cake. Add the cheesecake then top with second layer of carrot cake. Spread on the frosting, first on sides, then on top!
Store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.
Here we are in March. An uneventful month for most, but some of us are working toward a two-book release. I would like to have both out by the end of April. Not sure that is going to happen.
On the bright side, March has St. Patrick’s Day. I found this article about St. Patrick on Catholic Online and found it interesting:
"10. March 17th is when Patrick died. Saint Patrick is a saint of the Catholic Church, and his holy day is the day of his death, and subsequent entrance to heaven, rather than the day of his physical birth. After spending most of his adult life converting the pagans of Ireland to Christianity, St. Patrick went to his reward on March 17, 461 AD.
9. St. Patrick wasn't Irish. St. Patrick wasn't Irish, and he wasn't born in Ireland. Patrick's parents were Roman citizens living in modern-day England, or more precisely in Scotland or Wales (scholars cannot agree on which). He was born in 385 AD. By that time, most Romans were Christians and the Christian religion was spreading rapidly across Europe.
8. St. Patrick was a slave. At the age of 16, Patrick had the misfortune of being kidnapped by Irish raiders who took him away and sold him as a slave. He spent several years in Ireland herding sheep and learning about the people there. At the age of 22, he managed to escape. He made his way to a monastery in England where he spent 12 years growing closer to God.
7. St. Patrick used the shamrock to preach about the Trinity. Many claim the shamrock represents faith, hope, and love, or any number of other things but it was actually used by Patrick to teach the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and how three things, the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit could be separate entities, yet one in the same. Obviously, the pagan rulers of Ireland found Patrick to be convincing because they quickly converted to Christianity.
6. Legend says St. Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland. According to legend, St. Patrick drove all the snakes, or in some translations, "toads," out of Ireland. In reality, this probably did not occur, as there is no evidence that snakes have ever existed in Ireland, the climate being too cool for them to thrive. Despite that, scholars suggest that the term "snakes" may be figurative and refer to pagan religious beliefs and practices rather than reptiles or amphibians.
5. Patrick's color is blue. The original color associated with St. Patrick is blue, not green as commonly believed. In several artworks depicting the saint, he is shown wearing blue vestments. King Henry VIII used the Irish harp in gold on a blue flag to represent the country. Since that time, and possibly before, blue has been a popular color to represent the country on flags, coats-of-arms, and even sports jerseys.
Green was associated with the country later, presumably because of the greenness of the countryside, which is so because Ireland receives plentiful rainfall. Today, the country is also referred to as the "Emerald Isle."
4. The Shamrock is not the symbol of Ireland. The shamrock is a popular Irish symbol, but it is not the symbol of Ireland. As early as the medieval period, the harp has appeared on Irish gravestones and manuscripts. However, it is certain that the harp was popular in Irish legend and culture even well before that period.
Since the medieval period, the harp has represented the nation. King Henry VIII used the harp on coins as early as 1534. Later, the harp was used on Irish flags and Irish coats of arms. The harp was also used as a symbol of the Irish people during their long struggle for freedom. Starting in 1642 the harp appeared on flags during rebellions against English rule. When Ireland became an independent country in 1921, it adopted the harp as the national symbol.
3. There are more Irish in the USA than Ireland. Well, sort of. An estimated 34 million Americans have Irish ancestry. Some are pure-blood Irish, meaning they or their parents came from Ireland, but many more have mixed ancestry today. By contrast, there are 4.2 million people living in Ireland. This peculiarity has a lot to do with the troubled history of Ireland. During the potato famine in Ireland, millions of Irish left the country for the US. This diaspora of Irish continued throughout much of the 19th century. Great numbers of Irish immigrants filled factories, served as railroad laborers --and even joined the military, sometimes immediately upon stepping foot on American soil! During the US Civil War, entire regiments of troops were comprised exclusively of Irish immigrants. It wasn't until the economic boom of the 1990s that more Irish stayed in their native country than traveled abroad searching for better opportunities.
2. St. Patrick's Day in the US has a strong political history. In the mid-19th century, the Irish faced discrimination much like that faced by African Americans. In a few rare instances, prejudice against the Irish was even more fierce! The Irish were culturally unique, Catholic, and because of deplorable conditions in Ireland, flooded into the US in large numbers. They were perceived as a potentially disloyal and were treated harshly. To combat this, the American Irish began to organize themselves politically. By the end of the 19th century, St. Patrick's Day was a large holiday for the Irish and an occasion for them to demonstrate their collective political and social might. While the political emphasis has faded along with the discrimination, the holiday remains ever popular as an opportunity for festivity regardless of one's cultural background.
1. St. Patrick's was a dry holiday in Ireland until 1970. Aside from the color green, the activity most associated with St. Patrick's Day is drinking. However, Irish law, from 1903 to 1970, declared St. Patrick's Day a religious observance for the entire country meaning that all pubs were shut down for the day. That meant no beer, not even the green kind, for public celebrants. The law was overturned in 1970, when St. Patrick's was reclassified as a national holiday - allowing the taps to flow freely once again.
Bonus Fact: Your odds of finding a four-leaf clover are: About 1 in 10,000."
And on that note, my grandson found two four-leaf clovers this past week. He put them on the bar, and they shriveled up. When I told him, he didn’t seem to be upset, he said, “I’ll find some more.” I bet he does.
As far as the two books go, I’m getting there. I made a mistake, though. I ordered a book by one of my favorite authors and, of course, I had to read it. Because I get lost in her books, I read it in two days. So, now, I’m back to working on my books. I’ll be glad when I finish one of them. I really don’t care which one as long as it’s finished.
The kiddos are on spring break this week. They think that’s a good thing; adults think it’s a curse.
The last thing I can say about March, fall back. I have to get up an hour early. I know, I get to go to bed earlier, also. But that isn’t the case. My body objects. I wish they would do away with Daylight Savings Time. I expect it will disappear in the near future.
This month’s recipe is an exceptional one. I looked up the recipe when I watched The Pioneer Woman make it. A luscious, thin, round steak with a wonderful filling wrapped inside. Mmm. Just thinking about it makes me hungry. Of course, I changed the recipe up a bit, because I didn’t have the ingredients. I hope you try this one and let me know how you feel about it.
8 slices beef braciole, beef very thinly sliced
(I used round steak and pounded it thin.)
• Coarse salt and black pepper
• 8 slices prosciutto (I used ham)
• 1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs,
• 1/2 cup milk
• 2/3 cup Parmigiana-Reggiano (3 handfuls)
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• Plain round toothpicks
• 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (2 turns of the pan)
• 2 cloves garlic, cracked away from skin
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 12 cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 1 cup beef broth
• Package of egg noodles
• 2 Jars of spaghetti sauce (I used my homemade)
Season meat with salt and pepper. Top each slice of meat with a slice of prosciutto. In a medium bowl, moisten bread crumbs with milk. Add grated cheese, salt and pepper to the crumbs and combine well. Heat oil in deep dish saucepan. Add mushrooms, garlic, and onions. Cook until they are wilted. Add to the bread mixture in the bowl. Spread a layer of stuffing down the center of each beef slice and roll tightly. Fasten rolled meat with plain toothpicks. Cook egg noodles according to package directions.
In the same pan, the onions were cooked in melt butter. Set meat into pan and brown on all sides, 6 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan. Add flour to the pan and cook 2 minutes. Whisk wine into the flour and scrape up pan drippings. Reduce wine 1 minute, then whisk in beef broth and spaghetti sauce. Set meat back into the sauce and reduce heat to low. Partially cover the pan with a lid left ajar an inch. Simmer meat in sauce for at least an hour. Pour drained noodles on a platter and transfer beef rolls on top. removing toothpicks. Pour pan gravy down over the beef rolls and serve.
Here we are in February, and I am struggling with several things. First, and most important, is keeping my family healthy.
I have recently been introduced to doTerra Essential Oils thanks to my good friend, Tiffany Guess. Of course, I have a limited supply, and some of the oils I need I don’t have on hand and must order. So far, I’ve been spared from major illness. Well, except for a couple of days of a stomach virus, and my great-grandson gave that to me.
Today, my hubby got up with a sore throat and a cough. He might have had a slight fever. It didn’t stop him, though. You can’t keep that man down.
Another thing that drives me nuts this time of year is getting our taxes ready to go to our accountant. It wouldn’t be so bad if I could get hubby to bring me his receipts. I find them everywhere. In a shirt pocket, stuffed in his overalls, in the car, you name it, I’ve found them. Some I find after they’ve been washed and are now useless.
I sure could use another dependent. Preferably under the age of 18. I’ll get it done. It might take me a couple of days to get it all on paper for them. I don’t take the receipts to the accountant, I go through them and write it all down on different pages. We have three accounts to file on. Last year it was 5, but hubby didn’t go to Kentucky again. Thank you, Lord.
I’ll get it, in time, but it is a pain. I pray every time I finish up and take them in. I never know if we’ll have to pay in or not.
The third dilemma pertains to the two books I’m working on. The book I’m re-writing had track changes. I thought I got rid of them, but obviously, I didn’t. I deleted a lot of text that I needed back. When I tried to recover those marked out words, the computer said, “cannot recover the deleted text.” My editor helped me get some corrected, but not all.
It has been a nightmare. I’m not sure it’s worth it. However, my critique partners have enjoyed it so far. They just don’t know the problems I’m having with this story. But I’ll keep on plugging away.
On a better note, it’s almost Valentine’s. For the recipe this month, I should have a main dish. I try for a dessert, a main dish, dessert, etc. Since Valentine’s reminds me of chocolate, strawberries, cheesecake, and anything else sweet, I thought we needed something sweet and yummy. So, I found this recipe with cherries and make-believe cheesecake. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s one I’ll probably make in the future.
Hope you enjoy.
Cherry Cheesecake Surprise
2 packages shortbread cakes (or 1 Angel food cake)
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened (can use fat-free)
1 (16 oz.) container sour cream (can use low-fat)
2 small boxes vanilla pudding (can use fat-free/ sugar-free)
1 large can cherry pie filling
1. Make pudding as directed on box, chill.
2. In a separate large bowl, blend cream cheese and sour cream until smooth.
3. Fold in the pudding, blend on low until smooth.
4. Cut bread into 1/2 inch pieces and cover bottom of 9x13 pan.
5. Pour cream mixture over bread, smooth out evenly.
6. Top with spoonfuls of cherry pie filling. Use a knife to swirl it through the cream filling.
7. Refrigerate for one hour. Enjoy!!
I think I’m on time. It’s the 10th of January, and I’m being lazy again. My body freezes up in the winter, and I want to hibernate. I may have been a bear in a previous life.
Speaking of, how far back in your life can you remember? I have four things I remember, and I wasn't in pre-school. Maybe three to five years old.
In my day, they didn’t have pre-kindergarten or kindergarten. I went into the first grade in September after I turned six the previous January. So I was almost seven.
Anyway, one of my pre-school incidences happened when Mother and I were at my cousin Danny’s house. It was winter time, and they had a new litter of puppies. I wanted to see them, so mom put my coat on and sent me outside. I guess I thought they needed a bath. I ran water, took off my coat, and proceeded to give those little, black and white buggers a bath. I just remember getting my coat wet and washing the puppies. I don’t remember the outcome. That’s called selective memory, I think.
Another incidence I remember is crawling under a big tub we had outside, and when Mother called, I didn’t answer. I have no idea how long I was under the tub. Again, selective memory.
The last one happened when we lived in the ‘bottoms’ as we called it. My grandparents lived deep in the woods where a large lake is now. I played with my favorite cousin, Pat. He was born in December, and I was born one month later, so we were close. The only thing I had against him was years later he could climb to the top of the sycamore tree, and I couldn’t. Back to my adolescent experience, Pat and I took a walk down the sandy road into the woods. I told him I thought we were lost and maybe we should turn around.
He said, “We’ve all ready been that way.” He kept walking.
We finally heard someone calling us, and we turned around and ran back up the road. I don’t think we got spanked, but I might have shut that out, too. Below is a picture of my cousin and I, back in my topless days.
Now for some serious stuff. I’m re-writing a book and writing a new one at the same time. That’s not easy. I want to finish them both this month. Forever Love is going to be a re-write of When the Past Came Back. The other is the third book in my Weber, Texas series. It is so intense it makes me shiver. I can’t wait for you guys to read it, but you are going to have to wait. I don’t want to hurry the book. It’s way too juicy.
Speaking of juicy, this month’s recipe is called Banana Split Lush. No, it’s not one of my other two Banana Split Cake recipes. It’s a different one and ooooohhhhh so good. It would probably taste better in the hot summer, but, hey, save it for later or make it now.
Banana Split Lush
2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, divided
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup butter, melted
2  oz cream cheese
1¼ cup powdered sugar
1  oz can crushed pineapple, drained
4 medium bananas, sliced
2 [3.4] oz white chocolate instant pudding
3 cup milk
1  oz whipped topping or 4 cups fresh whipped cream, divided
hot fudge sauce, slightly warmed
16 maraschino cherries with stems
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread ½ cup walnut pieces in a single layer and toast for 6-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Spritz the bottom only of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
In a medium mixing bowl mix together the graham cracker crumbs, remaining ½ cup chopped walnuts, granulated sugar, and melted butter. Press firmly onto the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden and set. Cool completely.
Whip together the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, drained pineapple, and 1 cup whipped topping. Whip for 2 minutes until fluffy and evenly combined. Spread evenly over the crust.
Top with a layer of banana slices.
Whip together both boxes of instant white chocolate pudding with 3 cups of cold milk for 2-3 minutes until thickened but still pourable. Pour over the bananas.
Frost the top with the remaining whipped topping. Drizzle with chocolate fudge, and garnish with the remaining toasted walnuts and maraschino cherries. Decorate as desired.
Chill for at least 4 hours before cutting to allow the layers to set.
The cold weather has finally arrived. December is here, and it came in with a bang. But my ‘Bad Month’ started in November. Let me explain.
Before I could put up the Christmas decorations, I had to move the LEGO’s from my coffee table and living room. In order to have a place to put them, I needed a table upstairs. I couldn’t have a table without chairs. So, here I go to Wally World to buy a table and chairs. On the way, the truck stopped moving. I called my granddaughter to go tell hubby. He came, took the truck, and left me the Saturn. I went on to Wally World, got the table and chairs, and Nicholas and I moved all the LEGO’s and toys upstairs.
It cost $400.00 to get the truck fixed. But I sure didn’t want to take off to Florida and have the truck quit on us.
I have Verizon Wi-Fi and phones. When I get low on my internet data, they send me a note that goes kinda like this, “You have used 50% of your minutes.” Usually, I don’t go over my limit, but I’ve learned that streaming videos will use up those minutes in a hurry.
Steve had started giving Nicholas the phone anytime we get in the car. I did, too. That seven-year-old watched videos to the tune of $200.00 over my regular $200.00 bill. Now Nicholas almost cries every time we get in the car. I guess he’ll eventually get used to it.
Because I was without my computer for almost two weeks, (I had to turn it off so I wouldn’t run up anymore on my bill) I didn’t get any Christmas shopping done. I buy almost everything online. The day I got the computer back, I ordered all of Christmas.
The next bad news is my dryer started making an awful sound. Hubby took it apart, and there were enough nails in the back to build a small house. He doesn’t empty his pockets very well. Even after the nails, screws, and drill-bits were removed, it still sounds like a jet taking off in my utility room
I had to go online and order a new dryer. They are delivering it this Friday. That’s another $600.00 I wasn’t expecting.
You would think since I didn’t have an internet I’d write more. Wrong. I didn’t write a word. Guess that’s why I’m so late with this newsletter.
On another note, my daughter has another puppy. She is the sister of the female she already has. These puppies weigh about three pounds soaking wet. One is black, with a few white spots, and the other one is white, with one black eye and some more black spots. They are the cutest little girls you have ever seen. I want one so bad but hubby probably won’t give in. I’ll work on that.
Now for the recipe of the month. I don’t have a picture because I made it up. And of course, I didn’t measure anything, so I’m going to give you a guess-ta-mation. I have used low amounts. You may want to add more or less of any of the ingredients.
Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas