Family Recipes

From my aunt Eleanor:

Onions Eclaste

Two large white onions
2 tbs butter
Swiss cheese slices
Cream of celery soup
1 cup of milk
Bread (you can use french bread or just plain sandwich bread, sliced and with the crusts removed–I make my own homemade bread the day before and use that. It’s amazing!)

Slice onions into rings and saute in the butter.  When the onions are soft and translucent, transfer to a casserole and place the cheese atop them.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat the soup and milk, blending together.  When it’s thick and bubbly, pour over the onions and cheese in the casserole.

Top with slices of bread and bake in 400 degree oven until bread is toasted and sauce is hot and bubbly. YUM!! (This is great as a leftover, too. I love it better the next day.)

From my mom:

Kalua Cake

1 Devil’s food cake mix
2 cups sour cream
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup Kahlua
1 cup chocolate chips
Mix cake mix, sour cream and eggs together. Pour in oil and Kahlua until well-mixed. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into well-greased bundt pan and bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes. Great with powdered sugar on top. Even better with fresh made whipped cream!!
and

Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce

1.5 cups flour

3/4 tsp ginger

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup shortening

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup boiling water

Grease a square baking pan. Combine the first six ingredients. In a mixer bowl, beat shortening about 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg and molasses; beat one minute. Add dry ingredients and water alternately to beaten mixture, beating after each addition. Turn into prepared pan, baking 30 minutes at 350.

LEMON SAUCE

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine sugar, cornstarch and sale in sauce pan. Stir boiling water into mixture and return to boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat and simmer, stirring, until sauce is thickened and clear. Stir in butter, lemon rind and juice. Pour over warm gingerbread.

From my Auntie Harr

Chinese Chicken Salad

1 head of lettuce (I used romaine, but I think my mom always used iceberg)

3-4 green onions chopped fine

2 chicken breasts, shredded (I usually boil mine and then shred it with a fork)

Asian noodles

Mandarin Orange Segments

Toasted sesame seeds

Dressing:  1/3 cup sugar (I used honey and it was just as good–and better for you!)

1/3 cup sesame oil

1/3 cup red wine vinegar (or you can use apple cider vinegar)

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Wash and prepare lettuce–toss with green onions, chicken breasts, asian noodles, orange segments and sesame seeds.  Mix dressing ingredients in the blender, then toss with salad.

Romance is . . . more than a day.

I’m going to say something fairly outrageous here. Are you ready?

My wedding day was not the most romantic day of my life.

I bet lots of you feel the same way, especially if your wedding involved months of planning, a fancy dress, lots of people invited, and family.

When I think about my wedding day, I remember a lot of running behind as we were getting ready. I remember tons of people in my house, my parents being anxious, my father forgetting to get gas in the van that was meant to transport the bridesmaids and me to the church (and then sending out my cousin to gas it up and the subsequent misplacement of Daddy’s credit card). I remember being worried about my cousin who had just had a baby by caesarian section ten days before. I remember finding out we were SUPER late to start the ceremony. I remember they misspelled the word CONGRATULATIONS on the sign at the reception. I remember that my new husband lost his glasses at the park where we went to have pictures taken.

I don’t remember gazing fondly at my groom. I don’t remember seeing his face when he first spotted me in my gown. I don’t remember our first dance or the toasts or speeches or anything else.

(Later, my father would admit that he was getting misty-eyed as he began to walk me down the aisle, remembering that he had carried me down this same aisle the day I was christened. Apparently, I merely looked at him and said, “Remember to start with the right foot.” Yeah, that sounds like me.)

No, I don’t remember that day as particularly romantic.

But no worries–I’ve had lots of romantic days since. Are you ready?

On our third anniversary, my husband was on field training exercises about half an hour from where we lived on Wheeler Air Force Base. That meant he was out in the field all week, and we’d be apart for our anniversary. Imagine my surprise when on the big day, he showed up at the back door around dinner time. Turned out he’d driven a tent peg through his hand and had to come back to post to get stitches, and while he was there, he’d gotten permission to stop to eat with me. I remember our romantic dinner (I have NO idea what I made) with the baby asleep in the other room and Clint’s driver sitting outside in the truck.

I remember eating dinner with my mom on our 19th anniversary. My dad was in the hospital, not doing well–he’d pass away three days later. My mother was understandably sad and alone and worried about my dad, so we invited her to join us that night. My husband was always close to my mother; having her at our romantic dinner didn’t faze him at all.

On our 23rd anniversary, my husband drove the kids and me and our best friends to Georgia so we could be at our other friend’s 40th birthday party. We drove through the night, through some really scary parts of Georgia. Not exactly roses and champagne, but we made memories!

On our 24th anniversary, about two weeks before our oldest daughter’s wedding, we went to Savannah and St. Augustine. It was crazy to take a trip like that so close to her big day, but we had so much fun . . .

And on our 31st anniversary, my husband said good-bye to me as I drove to Cinncinati to be part of Lori Foster’s Reader and Author Get Together. I spent that day with my friend Violet Howe, driving, but it was still romantic, because my sweetheart supports my career, 100%. He didn’t even blink that I was leaving him that day–I knew he had my back.

Romance isn’t just a day. If you’re counting on your wedding day to be the epitome of romance . . . you’re liable to be disappointed. But if your focus is on the life you’re creating instead of putting pressure on one 24 hour period . . . you just might find romance is in the most unexpected places.

INTENSIVE CARE Cover Reveal!

Coming August 4th:

The compelling third book of the

Diagnosis: Love Trilogy!

Preorder here!

If Grey’s Anatomy makes your heart flutter, this series is for you.

He’s science and tradition. I’m nature and new age. We clash at every turn. 

Emma

I don’t know who I am anymore.

I broke the heart of someone dear to me because I couldn’t love him the way he deserves. I threw away a chance of happiness because I can’t stop wanting a man who has proven that he doesn’t know how to love me.

When it comes to my patients, I’m an eternal optimist. Maybe that’s why I’m determined to try one more time with Deacon.

As long as there’s life, there’s hope. And hope is all I have.

Deacon

I don’t know what to do.

I thought I’d lost the woman who haunts me, body and soul. I was sure that she was in love with someone else. I was prepared for the pain, again. I was braced for the hurt. But I was wrong.

I have one last chance with her. If I screw it up this time, I’ll lose her forever, and if that happens, I know I’ll also lose my only hope for happiness.

I never give up on a patient. And I’m not giving up on us.

Coming August 4th:

The compelling third book of the

Diagnosis: Love Trilogy!

Preorder here!

 

Meghan and Sam . . . The Last One (Six Years Later!)

{Sam and Meghan’s story begins in The Last One, where they find their happily-ever-after. It continues through The First One, The Only One, The Always One, The Hard One and The Forever One  . . . and the pair are even mentioned a few times in some Crystal Cove Romances, too! But wait, there’s more! I have two previously shared extra epilogues . . . and now a new update on the pair right here.You might want to read the other two first. Enjoy!}

–Meghan and Sam at the Beach

–Fourth of July . . . Small Town Style

The peaceful quiet of my late-afternoon was pierced by a wail coming through the baby monitor that perched on the kitchen table, next to the bowl of green beans I was in the middle of popping for dinner. I grimaced, waiting for the inevitable, and I wasn’t disappointed: a second voice joined the first complaints.

I groaned and rested my forehead against my hand. It wasn’t that I didn’t love my sweet babies–I did, so much. But this time of day was tough for all of us. My mother had sympathetically called it the witching hour when I’d described how between the end of their last nap and the beginning of dinner,  nothing seemed to make the little ones happy.

The misery was compounded this time of year, too, because Sam was so busy, he didn’t get in from the fields until much later. During the winter, I loved that he was at the house so much. I’d gotten positively spoiled by having a second parent around to help me corral the kidlets. But right now, he was up to his neck in onions, tomatoes, and peaches.

The noise level from upstairs rose another decibel, and I pushed back my chair to comfort the twins before things got worse.

***

Twenty minutes later, we were all back in the kitchen. Daniella, my chestnut-haired daughter, was busy on the floor with a metal pot and a wooden spoon, while her red-haired brother Justin was in the high chair finishing his second banana. I’d learned from hard experience that not letting their hunger get ahead of me was key to survival.

I’d just settled back at the table with my beans when I heard a knock on the kitchen door, which was followed in short order by the knob turning as my sister-in-law’s face appeared.

“Yoohoo! Anyone home?”

Both of the twins stopped what they were doing, their attention arrested, and then in unison, they broke into squeals of delight. Aunt Ali was a favorite among my little brood. Happily for all of us, she and her husband, Flynn, along with their two children, had just moved back to Burton to live here full-time after years of dividing their time between New York City and the little house they’d built here on the farm. Ali had told me privately that she was sick of big-city living, but their official reason for making the move was that they were expecting their third baby and wanted to be closer to family.

I watched with a smile as Ali scooped up Daniella and loved on her before turning to Justin to blow raspberries in his neck. When she’d pulled out a chair and plunked down with Dani in her lap, I cocked an eyebrow.

“Were you in the neighborhood, or are you just here to check on my sanity?”

Ali laughed. “Both. I just left the stand in the capable hands of Matt Westin. He’s doing a terrific job over there, which is awesome because I don’t feel like waddling around this fall when I’m huge.” She patted the tiny bump behind my daughter. “But I’m here for a reason. I’m kidnapping your babies.”

I frowned. “What? Why?”

“Because I know what it’s like to have a toddler, and I can only imagine that two is double the . . . fun.” She winked.

“Did your brother put you up to this?” I narrowed my eyes.

“He told me that you’ve been worn out, and he was worried because he feels like he can’t be in two places at once. So . . . I offered to come take these little cherubs home with me for the night.”

“Are you sure?” I was dubious. “It’s not like you don’t have your own hands full.”

“Ah, but the difference is that I have Bridget. Never underestimate the value of a fourteeen-year-old girl who loves babies.”

That was true. My niece was wonderful with the twins.

“So go get the kids’ stuff . . . and then take a nap before my brother gets home.”

I suddenly had a burst of energy at the prospect of an evening alone with my sexy husband. “Just give me five minutes!”

I heard Ali giggling, but I was too busy taking the steps two at a time to care.

***

An hour and a half later, I was a new woman. I’d taken a long and leisurely bath, taking the time to shave all the interesting parts of my body that had been recently neglected. Over my smooth and sleek skin, I’d pulled on a floaty sundress . . . and nothing else.

Back down in the kitchen, I cleaned up Dani’s pots and spoons and Justin’s messy high chair. I was just rinsing my hands when I glanced out the window at a very arresting sight.

My husband stood in his usual position at the outside sink in the shed. He’d shucked off his T-shirt and was letting the water run over his hands, splashing it onto his sculpted chest.

With a wide grin, I dashed out the kitchen door and danced across the grass, slipping behind him to wrap my arms around his middle and press my cheek into his muscled back.

I was fairly certain that he hadn’t heard me, but he wasn’t surprised by my touch. His hands, still wet, covered mine.

“Who could this be?” His voice, teasing and low, rumbled against my ear. “Careful, my wife might be around somewhere.”

“Ah, don’t worry about your wife. She’s a mess. I’m much more fun. I’m the hot college student who’s just here for the summer. The one who’s been teasing you and flirting with you for weeks. The one who keeps you up at night, making you wonder what she’s wearing under her dresses.”

“Oh, really?” Sam turned in my arms, drawing me against him. His eyes, hot and wanting, bore into mine. “And have you been watching me out here?”

“Every. Single. Day.” I punctuated the words with open-mouthed kisses to his chest.

“Hmmmm.” He threaded his fingers into my hair. “You smell damn good, too. Good enough for me to scoop up and carry upstairs to my bedroom . . . where I fully intend to do dirty things to you all night long.”

I shivered in delight and hooked my arms around his neck. “I hope that’s a promise.”

“It is.” Angling his head, Sam lowered his mouth to mine, his lips and tongues giving me a tantalizing preview of exactly what to expect.

When he came up for air, he pressed his forehead to mine. “By the way . . . even though it was that sexy, teasing college girl I fell in love with, it’s my much sexier and even hotter wife who keeps me in love.” His hand framed my face.

I sighed, kissing his jaw. “Sometimes I forget that.”

Sam’s lips curved into a smile that was brimming with love and promise. “Then let me spend tonight reminding you, darlin’.”

And let me tell you . . . he did.