Hungry Hearts Holiday Cookie Hop

Happy Holidays!

It’s that’s time again, to hop along with some of the hottest, food lovin’ romance authors around. ‘Tis the season for joy and hope and giving, no matter which holiday you celebrate. For me, it’s Christmas. I love baking all times of the year, but at this time of year, it’s extra special. I love baking for friends and family, for anyone who enjoys receiving and indulging on delicious treats.

As the title says, we’re having a cookie hop. Each blog will feature a favorite holiday cookie and each blog will have a rafflecopter form for you to fill out to be entered to win a variety of prizes: Harry and David Truffles, books, gift cards, and Hungry Hearts Holiday Author swag.

In addition to the Hungry Heart Holiday Hop prizes, the incredible Amanda Usen will be featuring Hungry Hearts authors n her site and giving their books away to lucky winners. Visit Writer.Chef.Romantic to get in on the fun.

The dates and authors are:
Ava Miles: Tuesday, December 3
Christi Barth: Wednesday, December 4
Kimberly Kincaid: Thursday, December 5
Lissa Matthews: Friday, December 6

This has been such a fun hop to be part of and I was so excited to be asked if I wanted to participate. I love food, love being in the kitchen, love baking and cooking. I find everything about it delicious and fun and to be able to incorporate that love into writing romance… It’s such a blessing.

Now, cookies are not my strong suit, but these cookies, these big, soft molasses cookies? They. Are. Awesome. And I didn’t screw them up! I’ve so far made two batches and both are gone. I won’t deny that I had a few, but with two teenagers in the house… ‘Nuff said.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup molasses

4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup coarse sugar, decorating sugar, or granulated sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Fold in pecans. Shape into 2-in. balls and roll in coarse sugar. Place 2-1/2-in. apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake 13-15 minutes or until tops are cracked. Cool on pan for 2 minutes before placing on wire racks to finish cooling. Yield: 2 dozen.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

Now, don’t forget to visit the Hungry Hearts Holiday Hop’s Facebook Event page and don’t forget to fill out the Rafflecopter form below to be entered to win…

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jackson Dawson had known only one way of life: ranching. That is, until he went to college in the city. There, he was introduced to a whole new world of people, food, and way of life. He never dared to imagine that he could do or be anything other than a rancher’s son, but with his mother’s words ringing in his ears and his sister’s encouragement, he took a chance. And in the process, found himself and met the woman of his dreams.

Pastry Chef Cass Jamieson’s only desire had been to own a bakery. After a stint in pastry school, she quickly learned that trying to make your dreams come true wasn’t easy. She was dejected when her bakery closed and soon returned to the classroom as a teacher to eager young bakers with the same stars in their eyes that had once been in hers.

So, when the stubborn, determined, and hot as summer in Texas cowboy walked into Cass’s pastry kitchen, it turned her life and libido upside down. When he seeks her out for heated kisses and her thoughts on his cake bakery idea, she gives in to the lust, but gives cautious business advice born of experience, only Jackson didn’t see it that way.

Who will bend first in this battle of wills involving sugar and spice and everything naughty and nice? Come take a ride with The Cupcake Cowboy and find out…

Warning: Uses of frosting that frosting was never intended for. A dirt road showdown. A lesson in milking cows. A whole truck full of mouthwatering cupcakes (some with liquor). A little family drama. And dreams on their way to coming true…

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | All Romance eBooks

Hungry Hearts Holiday Hop – Thanksgiving

InTheKitchen…Well, you’re in the kitchen with me, Lissa Matthews, and a whole host of other fabulous foodie romance authors! I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to be asked to join in!

This is definitely a different type of hop than what most of us are used to participating in and maybe different than what most of you may be used to hopping along to…

This hop is full of author swag which will be given away at the end of each day during the hop, holiday recipes, author spotlights, foodie romance excerpts, and a grand prize drawings for yummy gift baskets from Harry and David, which will be announced on author Amanda Usen‘s blog at the end of each hop!

As I  mentioned, this is a different type of hop. There are 3, week long hops: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year…

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To be entered for the Grand Prize, fill out the Rafflecopter giveaway form at the bottom of the post.

So, how ’bout we get on with the food. I know that’s what you’re here for… Don’t even try to deny it!

Sausage and Cheese Balls.

Yes, you read that right. I thought about giving up my Peanut Butter Pie recipe, or my Broccoli Casserole recipe, or the recipe for Apple Pie in a Pan (several recipes into one… this hasn’t been tested yet…). But Sausage and Cheese Balls are a tradition at Thanksgiving in our house. I’m usually the designated cook, that being passed down from my grandma, so how I cook it, if I cook it at all, is entirely within my discretion and power.

Of course, if things go wrong… *shudder* Luckily, nothing ever has.

I usually make 3-4 batches of Sausage and Cheese Balls, but they must last from appetizer on Thanksgiving Day, to snack times on Black Friday, and on thru game time of the Florida/Florida State football game on Saturday. It is imperative that we not run out of these savory devils.

I also, steer away from the official Jimmy Dean recipe. Nothing against it, I simply add to and take away as my taste dictates.

Sausage and Cheese Balls (the recipe is easily halved)

2 pkgs. Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage Rolls (I use the one flavored with sage, but you can use whichever makes you happy)
3-4 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese (I use sharp)
2oz Cream Cheese (for creaminess)
1-1 1/2 cups Bisquick (or other all purpose baking mix)
up to 1/4 cup Buttermilk (for moisture)

This is a messy recipe too. No mixers, food processors, blenders, or forks. Get your hands dirty, people! The only thing I use a utensil for with these, is a 1″ or 1 1/2″ cookie scoop, and that’s only for uniformity. We don’t want odd size balls. (Get your minds out of the gutters people! And that includes you *points* in the corner… I KNOW what you’re thinking…)

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

Once cool, I plate them in the proper dish and we dig in.

Of course, in our house, the serving dish or dishes is just as important as the sausage balls themselves.

This is the set I use (because yes, Thanksgiving weekend is the prelude to football on Saturday):

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They basically look like meatballs, but can taste like a sausage and cheese biscuit. We mostly eat them plain, but mustard works really well as a dip.

They’re easy, messy, and delicious. We’ve been making them in our family for as long as I can remember and they’re as important in our Thanksgiving celebrations as the turkey and pies are.

This recipe has nothing to do with any of my books. It’s a personal tradition for my family and no one I’ve written in yet. But, because this is not only for delicious recipes, but for us to get our books in front of possible new readers. I write books with coffee and cakes and cookies. None, however are set around Thanksgiving. The best I can do at this point, is my latest release (which came out Wednesday). Here’s the cover and the blurb:

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Once Brax traded in his suit and law degree for part ownership in his best friend’s tattoo parlor, Love and Tattoos, he never looked back. Inked from head to toe, full of business smarts, and an affinity for classical music and hard sex, he’s got life right where he wants it.

Until the woman he can’t stop craving comes home. She’s full of luscious curves, looks a little unsure of herself, and has taken to acting a little odd around him. Brax can’t help but wonder why.

The corporate advertising firm in Philadelphia that Annie buttoned up her carefree personality for has laid her off. Now, back in North Carolina, she’s trying to find her sparks again. Her career is changing direction, her sex life is nearly dead, and the one thing worth having in the midst of it all is supposedly off limits.

Brax’s cockiness and Annie’s own desire to for the tattoo artist, dares her to believe he might know her better than she thinks he does. And when he promises that he can help her find what’s missing in her life, she agrees to his little after-hours game.

The challenge he lays out comes with a few strings, the suggestion of stripping, confessions, and the temptation of ink. But, they’ve never been that close, so how could she possibly lose?

Here are the Spotlight Authors for the Thanksgiving portion of the Hungry Hearts Holiday Hop. They are being hosted on Amanda Usen’s blog! :

Meg Lacey – 11/1
Gina Gordon – 11/2
Rachel Harris – 11/3
Christine Warner – 11/4
Kate Meader – 11/5
Karen Stivali – 11/6
Liz Everly – 11/7

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