Sunday, November 18, 2018

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon #Thanksgiving #sidedish by @Denise Swanson

My family is full of great cooks. We celebrate Thanksgiving with my father's side and there is definitely a hierarchy of who gets to make what dish. The pies and other desserts go to the most senior chefs. Next comes the turkey and homemade rolls. The sides and appetizers go us young whipper snappers--those of us not yet collecting social security.

This year, I'm bringing Brussels sprouts with bacon. I know not everyone likes Brussels sprouts but my husband and I love this recipe so I thought I'd give it a try. Wish me luck or next year, I might be assigned to bring the paper goods.  😉

2 pounds large Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon  ground black pepper
6 slices bacon 
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat oven to 400 degrees . On a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, toss sprouts with oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Roast about 35 min.

Meanwhile, lay bacon on a rack set in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast 18 to 20 min. Let cool slightly; crumble.

Toss sprouts with 2/3 of the bacon. Top with remaining bacon and drizzle with balsamic glaze.



The chips are down in Scumble River

School psychologist Skye Denison-Boyd had hoped that her maternity leave would be at least a little relaxing, but when she and her husband, Wally, meet with the priest to discuss their newborn twins' christening, an explosion at the nearby bowling alley rocks the rectory. And although the business was closed at the time of the blast, there's a body inside.

As police chief, Wally is inevitably drawn into the investigation, which seems to indicate that foul play is afoot again in Scumble River, and Skye can't help but do a bit of her own sleuthing. But the clues come fast and furious, ranging from an odd new stranger in town to animosity toward the gambling machines that had recently been installed at the bowling alley, and Skye finds herself wondering if this could be the puzzle that stumps her for good.

New York Times bestselling author Denise Swanson has penned another hit for cozy fans with Die Me a River, the latest installment in her beloved Welcome Back to Scumble River mystery series.


Right when Dani thinks she's hit a dead-end in her career, she unexpectedly inherits an enormous old house in a quaint college town. This gives her the perfect opportunity to pursue her true passion―cooking! So Dani opens Chef-to-Go, preparing delicious, ready-made meals for hungry students attending the nearby university, as well as providing personal chef services and catering events for the local community. To help support her new business, she opens her home to a few students, renting them rooms and becoming almost like a big sister figure in their lives.

But just as Dani is relishing her sweet new life, the friend of one of her boarders is murdered, and Dani becomes one of the primary suspects! She'll have to scramble to clear her name and save her business before the killer reappears―perhaps to silence the new chef forever.

Enjoy the occasional romance?


Take one dedicated wildlife veterinarian who treats her animals as if they were her babies, add an impossibly handsome nightclub manager who’s determined to open the hottest spot in Las Vegas, and what do you have? A sweet, sexy romance that proves that no matter how much a man and woman may snarl at the idea of a relationship, love always wins.

* * *

Marco Thorne was hired by Club Wilde’s owner to open up the newest, most outrageous venue yet. He is absolutely certain that he can handle all the competition Las Vegas has to offer until his overbearing boss contracts with Lions and Tigers and More sanctuary to have live exotic animals present in the jungle-themed club. Still, he has no choice but to go along with his boss’s idiotic scheme, even if he thinks it’s the worst idea he’s ever heard.

Dr. Sage DeSantis’s entire life is devoted to keeping the animals under her care in the sanctuary healthy and happy. After the sanctuary’s owner announces that he’s renting out some of Sage’s babies to Club Wilde, she’s sickened that they will once again be exploited.

When Marco and Sage meet, the chemistry between them nearly knocks them off their feet. Although they both have experiences in their past that make them leery of love, and Sage is determined to guard her heart, Marco is all in. But will Marco be able to convince Sage to give them a chance?

* * *

Publisher’s warning: This book contains sensual consummated love scenes.

Series description:

Second in Denise Swanson’s new Delicious contemporary romance series. All books are complete with no cliffhangers and a guaranteed HEA!

Sinfully Delicious is available now!

Undeniably Delicious is coming in 2019!

For more information, please visit
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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Pumpkin Crisp with Streusel Topping #Recipe @PegCochran #Thanksgiving #Dinner

It's almost Thanksgiving!  I can already taste the turkey, gravy, stuffing...what's your favorite part of the feast?

If you love pumpkin but want a twist on the same old, same old pumpkin pie (or you don't feel like making a pie crust), this recipe, which I found on Novice Chef, gives you that great pumpkin pie taste but with a streusel topping.  As you will see from my pictures, I made this in a casserole type dish. I'm not sure if the timing would be different in a cast iron skillet.  


1 (15-oz.) canned pumpkin purée (pure pumpkin)
1 ½ cups sugar  
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup heavy cream

Streusel Topping

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Butter a 12-inch cast iron skillet or a medium casserole dish or spray with nonstick cooking spray.  

Whisk together pumpkin, sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and vanilla extract. Whisk in heavy cream until smooth. Pour into prepared skillet or casserole dish.

Whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add melted butter and stir with a fork until crumbly or beat with a hand mixer.

Spread cinnamon streusel topping on top of pumpkin pie mixture in an even layer.

Bake until the filling is set and the top is golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes.


Barnes & Noble

A Park Avenue princess discovers the dark side of 1930s New York when a debutante ball turns deadly in this gripping historical mystery for readers of Victoria Thompson, Anne Perry, and Rhys Bowen.

Manhattan, 1938. Tired of being trapped in the gilded cage of her family’s expectations, Elizabeth Adams has done what no self-respecting socialite would think to do: She’s gotten herself a job. Although Elizabeth’s dream is to one day see her photographs on the front page of the Daily Trumpet, for now she’s working her way up as the newsroom’s gal Friday.

But fetching coffee isn’t exactly her idea of fun, so when veteran reporter Ralph Kaminsky needs a photographer to fill in for a last-minute assignment, Elizabeth jumps at the chance. At the Waldorf Hotel, Elizabeth is tasked with tracking down the season’s “It girl,” Gloria DeWitt, who will be making her society debut. Working her own connections to New York’s upper crust, Elizabeth manages to land an exclusive interview with Gloria.

Then Gloria’s stepmother is shot dead in a Waldorf bathroom, placing Elizabeth at the scene of a headline-worthy scandal: “Murder of a Society Dame.” Now Elizabeth will have to get the scoop on the killer before her good name gets dragged through the gossip columns—or worse. . . .

From a Goodreads Review:

"What absolute fun! Penned with wit, humor and style, MURDER, SHE REPORTED gets my definite, “Yes!”

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Cranberry Pie

Thanksgiving is looming, and since I live in Massachusetts, that means cranberries. I think I mentioned I live only a mile or two from the nearest bog, and it’s hard to go anywhere around here (including toward Cape Cod) without passing more of them.

Luckily cranberries work well in a wide range of recipes. They’re both tart and sweet, so you can use them in either sweet or savory recipes. And it’s really hard to mess them up.

I was happy to find a very impressive four-page color spread for holiday pies in this past weekend’s New York Times. Not only do the recipes sound tasty, but they’re beautiful to look at (if you’re cooking for a crowd, plan ahead because they do take a bit of time to assemble!). 

I’ve always been pie crust challenged (despite the fact that I own several rolling pins). I bought my first food processor years ago when I was living in student housing, mainly because I came home on a bus listening to two people discussing how using one had changed their attitude toward pie crusts. I’ll admit it made a real difference mostly in terms of texture, since most recipes share the same short list of ingredients: flour, salt, butter and ice water. I think you can guess what the steps are. And if you don’t have the time or patience to make your own crust, the frozen pre-made ones aren’t bad.

But it was the cranberry pie filling that drew me in. Start with making a crust recipe large enough for a top and bottom, that will cover the lovely red filling so that just a bit of color peeks through.

Cranberry Pie Filling (adapted from the recipe by Erin Jeanne McDowell, who wrote The Fearless Baker

Note: once again I made a half-recipe, since I didn’t want to eat cranberry pie for a week straight.


2-1/2 pounds cranberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
pinch of salt
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract


Prepare the pie crust of your choice and chill while you’re making the filling. I used a crust recipe I’ve had for years, which has a bit of sugar in it to offset the tartness of the cranberries.

In a medium-size pot over medium heat, combine the cranberries, orange zest and juice, sugar, spices and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries soften, about 10-15 minutes.

Blend the mixture with an immersion blender (which I just happen to have because I bought one at a neighbor’s yard sale for three dollars, and I have used it regularly), or in a regular blender or food processor (do not overblend). Return to the heat and cook, stirring regularly, until the mixture thickens (about 8-10 minutes).  Add the vanilla and almond extracts, mix, and let cool.

Pour into a prepared crust, and add the top crust (with some perforations). Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until the top crust is golden. I have a large collection of cookie cutters (including a lovely cow) but alas, none of them are suitable for Thanksgiving, so I used small maple and oak leaves instead, for an autumn theme. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

And coming soon--a holiday novella! Watch for further information.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Pimento Cheddar Scones #recipe #Thanksgiving @Lucyburdette

LUCY BURDETTE: As soon as the crisp days of fall arrived, I developed a craving for pimento cheddar scones. We all know that cravings are best indulged--lightly that is! 

I decided that these would be a perfect addition to a Thanksgiving menu, but they'd also go well with turkey soup for an easy supper after the holiday. They freeze well, too--what are you waiting for?


3/4 cup all-purpose flour (can substitute white whole wheat)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 and 1/4 tsp baking powder (I use low sodium)
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ tsp. cayenne or to taste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons chopped pimentos, drained

Preheat the oven to 425. Mix together the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or your food processor until it resembles coarse meal. Blend or pulse in the cheese. Stir together the egg and milk and add this to the other ingredients. Mix until combined. Pulse the pimentos lightly into the dough, just enough to spread them around. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead for a minute until everything holds together.