Thursday, November 22, 2012

"It's all in the dressing!"

The secret to delicious turkey and dressing is great dressing!  Here’s my Cornbread-Pumpkin Dressing recipe that is a favorite in (and outside) my house.


8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium celery ribs w/ leaves, chopped
10 cups cornbread (large pan or 2 9-inch pie pans)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
3 cups canned chicken broth
**2 teaspoons homemade poultry seasoning (recipe below)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 small pumpkin (halved, seeded, rub with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper in cavity, face down on a baking sheet, roast in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes), peel and dice

**Homemade Poultry Seasoning:
                        1 teaspoon crumbled Rosemary
                        1 teaspoon dried Sage
                        1 teaspoon dried Thyme
                        1 teaspoon dried Marjoram
                        1 teaspoon Celery Salt
                        ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery.  Cook, stirring often, until the onion is golden, about 10 minutes.

Scrape the vegetables and butter into a large bowl.  Add the cornbread, diced pumpkin and parsley.  Stir in enough stock to moisten the stuffing, about 2 ½ cups, season with the poultry seasoning, if desired, and salt and pepper to taste.  Place in a buttered baking dish, drizzle with an additional ½ cup stock, cover and bake as a side dish. (375 degree oven for 45 minutes) 

Yield: 10 cups 

(Note: If you can't find a pumpkin, you can substitute by using a butternut squash instead.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

One of My Family's Favorites!

Traditional Sweet Potato Pie


Here is my fool-proof Sweet Potato Pie recipe.  It comes out truly delicious every time. I use frozen already-prepared piecrusts, which makes this recipe stress free and so easy!

2 Frozen already prepared 9-inch deep-dish piecrusts (pre-bake for 5 minutes; let cool before filling)

1 can (40oz.) Bruce’s Yams, (2 ½ cups) pureed
1 ½ cans (12oz.) evaporated milk
4 eggs
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat the pureed yams and remaining ingredients until well mixed. Pour filling into piecrusts. Bake for 55 minutes, till knife inserted comes out clean. Cool to room temperature. Serve with your favorite whipped topping.

Monday, November 5, 2012

"NaNoWriMo 2012!!"

Well, it’s National-Novel-Writing-Month time again and I’m beginning the works of another romance novel. This one is called “Love’s Own”. The original title was, “The Pharaoh’s Own”, but decided that the title gave too much away, so I changed it to something a little less telling.  This was a brief writing I started during one of the ‘Book-In-A-Week’ write-ins and had a couple of critiques done on it to see if there was a potential [full-length] novel in the making.  The feedback I received was invaluable (thanks to the Denver Writer’s Workshop and also the Denver Romance Writers meet-up members) and I decided that there is indeed [hopefully] an interesting story to make into a novel. So here goes!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Father's Daughter

This exercise for the Denver Writers’ Workshop comes from Gary. Write a first-person story from a completely different perspective than your own. They must be the opposite sex, at least 25 years different from your age, another race, and from another country. Without stating any of the above, write a 500 - 1,000 word story that conveys all of it.
A Father’s Daughter
It was an odd day for Gerald Adolf Heinkin. Today was his 75th birthday. There was really nothing out of place in the small European café this morning. He was drinking his usual cup of strong coffee, heavily laced with sugar and cream; sitting next to the cup on a china plate was a slice of crusty dark brown bread, thickly slathered with creamery butter; a perfect compliment to the strong sweet drink. He had refolded the newspaper he had been reading and laid it on his lap. There was nothing unusual, except for the presence of a young black woman with light caramel skin and tendrils of dark brown hair surrounding her beautiful face. She was sitting alone at a table on the other side of the café. She seemed to be waiting nervously for someone. Perhaps she was visiting someone or waiting for a boyfriend.
He caught her looking at him… staring. She seemed to become more nervous and began fidgeting with some crumbs that were left on the table in front of her. When she looked away, he continued to look at her… staring. There was something about her; something vaguely familiar – like he had known her. He was drawn to her, but not in a romantic way. He was probably old enough to be her father. She reminded him of someone from long ago… his past… perhaps a past love?
She seemed to have made up her mind about whatever was causing her nervousness. She looked at him and caught his eye. This time she didn’t look away. She picked up her purse, arose from her seat and started to make her way across the room. She was walking right towards him. She stood before him, steadily looking at him. He returned her stare. Saying nothing. She looked like someone he once knew…
She opened her mouth to speak. “Are you Gerald Adolf Heinkin?”
How did she know his name? “I am.” He said in heavily accented English. His chest felt tight and suddenly recognition dawned…
“I am Geraldine Heinkin-Walker, and you are my father.”

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"The Prompt"

(Here is another writing exercise I did at the Denver Writer’s Workshop. This gave me a chance to really try my hand at a short romance love story. The challenge was incorporating the three elements they wanted to use: A LEPRECHAUN RIDING A ONE-EYED CAT. They said we could use the elements anyway we wanted, so this is what I came up with.)

“I love you”, Rachel thought to herself as she moved the curtain aside and looked out the window. The uninvited thought nearly sent her to her knees. She looked out at the dimly lit street below from her third floor apartment. She had loved him forever and if she ever got up the guts to just tell him, this was going to change everything.

“Jim… do you believe in love for a lifetime?” she asked softly.

“Yeah, right… and I just saw a leprechaun riding a one-eyed cat.” Jim said, trying to make light of the question. Yeah, I do believe in love, he thought. But he was supposed to be her friend. Just being around her, he knew he didn’t want just a platonic friendship. He wanted her. He had never wanted anyone the way he wanted her. He had kept his silence for five long years. If she had the slightest inkling of how he felt about her, he was sure she’d run for the hills. They had been close friends for years. They had seen each other through good and bad times while each of them were in other relationships, but either of them had never committed themselves. Sure, he had had his fill of one-night-stands, while Rachel had moaned and groaned over whatever knucklehead she was infatuated with at the time, and then moved on to the next one after that. He knew she hadn’t slept with any of them – actually he was glad of it… otherwise she would have told him – after all, they were best friends. Didn’t she have any idea about how he felt about her? Did she even wonder about the way he looked at her, when she caught him staring?

Rachel could feel the heavy tension in the room. Maybe it was her imagination, but she could swear she could feel him staring at her. Which she had caught him doing quite a lot lately.


“Yeah?” It was so easy for his attention to be drawn to her lips. She had a mouth that begged to be kissed.

“Are you hungry?” she asked.

“Sure.” He said. He was staring at her.

“What do you want for dinner?” She asked nervously and acting unusually cheerful.

You, he thought. “It doesn’t matter,” he said.

“In that case, I’ll just order a pizza. Is there anything special you’d like for dessert?”

The same thing I’d like for dinner, he thought. “No,” he said fighting down the instant, roaring demands of his body.

“You’re awfully agreeable this evening”, she replied. Jim seemed distracted and had been looking at her oddly. She watched him… wishing she knew what he was thinking. She flipped open her cell phone and speed dialed the pizza delivery number she had already programmed into the address book. Jim was looking the other way just then… she watched him… he was gorgeous and she wanted him with every fiber of her being… The frustration of not being able to tell him how she felt was growing more and more every day.

She heard a voice on the other end of the receiver, “Pizza Bug… will that be delivery or pickup?”

“Pickup-” Rachel had looked back in Jim’s direction. He had gotten up from the sofa and was standing looking at her.

“Rachel… put down the phone,” Jim said achingly, “come here.”

“I… I was about to order the pizza…” she looked at him wide-eyed.

“Just put down the phone and come here,” he repeated hoarsely.

The raw emotion in his voice finally registered on Rachel. “O... okay...” Rachel closed the phone and set it down on the table… It seemed like it took forever for her to walk the few steps it took to stand in front of him. “Jim… is there something wrong?” she was holding her breath, thinking that what she was feeling and what was finally happening couldn’t be true. Maybe she was getting the messages mixed up… or, after all these years, he’s like every other guy… a jerk.


Rachel walked slowly forward and found herself wrapped in a crushing embrace. His mouth opened over hers, slanting back and forth in a fierce, wildly arousing kiss that sent heat racing through her. She felt the intimate, rising pressure of his body against hers as his hands stroked possessively over her back, down her sides and near her breasts, igniting the flames of need wherever he touched her.

“Rachel,” he breathed in a ragged whisper, sliding his lips down her neck sending shivers of delight up her spine. “Rachel, I love you,” he repeated achingly and buried his lips on hers again. He kissed her slowly, deeply, and then with urgent hunger, running his hands down her sides, cupping her bottom and pulling her tightly against his hard arousal, wringing a moan of pure, primitive desire from her.

“I love you too.”