Happy Thanksgiving!

inthekitchen320If you are in the United States, I hope you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with family and friend. If you’re not in the US, I hope you’re having a wonderful Thursday!

I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen the last couple days and it doesn’t look to be ending until sometime tomorrow after I get done baking some cookies. I am in the mood for some giant molasses cookies. Or maybe some sugar cookies. Chocolate chip? See, I haven’t decided yet. And yes, even though I have 3 different pies in the house right now, I have a hankering to bake cookies. It’s kind of a transition between Thanksgiving and Christmas for me, I guess.

On the topic of Thanksgiving…

There are only 4 of us in the house so a whole turkey didn’t make sense in a lot of ways. For a few years now, I’ve done turkey breasts. Once, I roasted it in the oven, but last year and this year I cooked it overnight in the slow cooker. Oh. My. Goodness. Yum city! There are a variety of websites and blogs that have slow cooker turkey breast recipes, but the one I used this year is from Six Sisters Stuff(more…)

Music Monday – Santa’s Got A Brand New Bag

I’m breaking with tradition for a bit. See, I usually don’t start the Christmas music until the week of Thanksgiving, but I’ve started a little early. One of my favorite Christmas albums is by SheDAISY, Brand New Year. I love them, all their albums and one day they’ll have a new one, but for now, at this time of year, I wear the hell out of their Christmas one.

Santa’s Got A Brand New Bag is on the soundtrack of The Santa Clause 2 and I love it. The movie and the song… So, thought I’d share it with you.

 

The holidays are about love and togetherness and we don’t see our families much. My husband doesn’t get the days surrounding the holidays off very often and money is tight for every one lately. Facebook and phone calls and video chats just aren’t the same as a hug or late night conversations eating left over holiday pie. Times change and family and friends move… And while it’s my favorite time of year, it’s also at times a very lonely one when you’re missing parents, grandparents, siblings. If yours are close by, be Thankful. One of the things I love about SheDAISY is that they’re sisters and I think that’s wonderful, to be close like that.

Oh and in case you weren’t aware, and this is vitally important information, the classic television special Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer is on CBS next Tuesday, before Thanksgiving. I don’t remember the last it was on in November. It’s a tradition in our house. It’s campy and sometimes ridiculous, but it’s part of my memories as a child, so, I’ll be tuned in promptly at 8pm.

Have a great week, y’all. And don’t forget my new release, The Cupcake Cowboy comes out Friday, the 22nd.

~lissa

Thankful Tuesday

LissaLogoYellow_reasonably_smallI know Tuesday’s are usually the days I tempt you with snippets, however November is the month we generally take to give and be thankful and I thought I’d take the remaining Tuesdays to make a list of things I’m thankful for…

Life. I am thankful for life. There are many who fight for theirs every day due to illness, war, meanness of others, natural disasters. The Philippines are experiencing such a huge loss of life and seeing it in the news, all over the internet, just makes me more and more thankful to be alive.

Freedom. Veteran’s Day was yesterday and I am thankful for the men and women who make it their life’s work to ensure the freedom of others. They sacrifice everything, even their lives, time with their families, to make it so the rest of us can have ours.

Health. I have mine. I am overweight, yes. I like food, yes. I hate exercise, yes. But I’m healthy. The blood work says so. 🙂 I walk, I do yoga and stretch and I do leg lifts and squats and whatever else is possible while I’m cooking. I stand to write about 50% of the time. And I’m not stressing about weight anymore. That’s a big thing. I’m not stressing about much anymore. And I smile.

Family. I have a good one. Good, intelligent, kind-hearted kids. Good husband (he doesn’t wait on me hand and foot, he doesn’t do things unless I ask, he doesn’t even know how to make my coffee, but he goes to work every day and he mows the grass). I have a good and supportive mom. A hard working sister. A brother I’m glad found me. And a grandmother I can’t imagine life without. I have extended family too and family that isn’t family by blood but rather by love and devotion.

Friends. I have a few who I count as friends. I have more acquaintances than I can shake a stick at. I am thankful for them too, but my friends? I don’t know how I’d make it through some days without them. There are the ones who text me at just the right moment. The ones who send me instant messages and emails just to say hello, I’m thinking about you. The ones who know what I’m thinking even before I do and who know me at times better than I know myself. The ones who get my sarcasm and don’t judge me for my addiction to coffee. There are friends I’ve lost and friends who’ve just stopped talking one day and while that makes me sad, I am thankful for the friendship that once existed.

Readers. I am thankful for those who read my books. They may like them. They may hate them. But I am thankful for them all (though I do wish the ones who hated my books would be a little kinder in saying so…). I am thankful that I can make a reader happy with a book. I am thankful for the friendships that have developed with some of my readers. I am thankful for the support, the patience, the understanding, the interaction, the desire for more… Without readers, I would still write, but with them, writing is a lot more fun.

Feel free to use the comments section to say what you may be thankful for today.

~lissa

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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Thanksgiving and More…

I seem to be doing that a lot lately, huh? Adding ‘and More…’ to my blog posts. But, I have so much I want to say and unless I write 2 or 3 posts in one day, it’s just easier to do it all at once.

So, first of all, to my American friends and counterparts, Happy Thanksgiving.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. Family, friends, readers, health (minus the sinus infection I can’t get rid of), writing, a home, freedom… There’s a lot of hardship in our country and in the world and we need to remember the things we do have, the people we do have that enrich our lives and help share our burdens because there are many who don’t have anything or anyone.Be thankful for what and who you have…

If you are not celebrating Thanksgiving today, well, Happy Thursday! smiles…

Onto the more part of my post… Tomorrow I will be participating in a Black Friday blog hop. Myself and 19 or so other authors have gotten together to talk about Black Friday and any deals or shopping tips we may know of. We’re also giving away a Kindle Fire, and most of us if not all of us are giving copies of books and other such prizes. Click here for the details…

There’s also a HUGE holiday party happening over at Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews. A lot of authors with a lot of gifts being given and sharing holiday traditions, memories, recipes, etc… It’s a fun time and it’s going on through the end of December. You should check it out! Click the graphic below if you want see what it’s all about. I’ll be there on November 29th and on December 19th.

I have been writing, but not as much. One of these days, years actually, I’m going to learn that November and NaNoWriMo and I don’t really go well together. I need to stop. I’m not that kind of writer. I wish I were, but I’m not. I want to be, but I’m not sure I ever will be. It’s too much pressure for me. I write differently. Sometimes a lot in a short amount of time and sometimes a little in a very long period of time. It’s gets done. Maybe not on my timetable or your timetable but it does get done.

I will be concentrating in December on finishing up Trouble in the Making for a January release. I had wanted next weekend, but it’s just not going to happen and as I get into December, I want to concentrate on the release of Twisted Up. I am planning a little 10 day party and will give details as they come to me.

Revealed has done well and I’m thrilled beyond imagination at how many of you have written and commented that you want another story in the series. I have a feeling, y’all will keep wanting more as long as I’m willing to keep writing them. 😉 I don’t have a title and I don’t have a cover concept yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll let you know and I’ll get started on it soon.

I will be reworking Sugar Rush soon as well for re-release. I’ve missed cowboy surfer Graham and snarky Jane and look forward to revisiting them. I am still working on Drive Shaft. I’m concerned about some of the business end of it and so while I’ll mull it over, what I want to do with it, what I think is best for you, my readers, I am still writing it. I love it so far… Alli is really out of her element at the moment.

That’s all on the update front for now. I need to get back to cooking… Have a great day, y’all!

~lissa