What Christmas means to me #2giveaways @DivinePromotions #Bloghop

1a98fab7-4658-4798-9e96-5d2933ae518e

What Christmas means to me.

 

Hi everyone welcomes to Divine Promotions Christmas Blog Hop. This is a hop designed to lift Christmas spirit and be fun. There is a grand prize, and most participants will be offering a prize as well.

What Christmas means to me.

Christmas used to be a time of happiness and cheer. A time when our families all got together on one day and celebrated with a big dinner, decorations, laughter, and joy. Yes, there was gifts, but what I loved most were the music and laughter of all the kids and family members. It was a happy time.

But we all grow up. Family members move, and some pass on. Things changed a lot with the loss of my mom several years ago, my dad and brother moving five hours away and me and both sisters being disabled now.  It is hard to get all the family members together with job schedules and other family obligations.

This is supposed to be a post to boost spirit, and that’s what I hope to do. Just because situations change and traditions fall to the wayside, money is tight, whatever the reason doesn’t mean you can’t have a joy-filled holiday season.

Is it too expensive or your health doesn’t allow you to decorate to the nines like you used to? Pick something that makes you happy. Add one or two small things. Get inexpensive, small tree ,add a few dollar store decorations.  or just popcorn garland. Get one Poinsetta for color, Use just one of your old favorites you have in storage. You don’t have to spend a lot or put up a  lot of lights that drag on utilities.

Is it the holiday music you love and miss? Turn on the radio, pop in an old cassette, find the holiday music station on your tv and listen to one or two a day or while you cook.

Do you love to bake or make candy but not able to stand on your feet for extended periods of time anymore, or have a limited income? Pick one or two of your favorite recipes. You don’t have to make fifty kinds of candy.  Did you used to make big baskets for your neighbors and coworkers but no longer can afford it or feel like it. Again pick one or two kinds, put in smaller tins or wrap in lovely saran wrap. You don’t have to take everyone a full batch.  A piece or two per person will put a smile on someone’s face, especially f they don’t make candy or get any gifts. You don’t have to buy brand name products either. Shop big box stores for bulk or do as I do and go to an Aldis or no name brand store; I save a ton, and people love my candy. I got more compliments one year for my fudge than the year before with the off brand chocolate chips and peanut butter.  This time of year there is sales stock up, clip coupons online. But whatever you do, don’t go overboard. Make it fun not overwhelming. You don’t want to work all day then bake till midnight.

my cookie Jars

Gifts, I don’t have an answer. We shop for immediate family only these days as a family has grown so large.  You could always draw names for extended family if that works for you. Homemade gifts are lovely too. Maybe a gift of time. Offer to take someone to an appointment or shopping.

One of my favorite things about the Holidays is sending cards. It’s funny because I normally am not big on cards. For Christmas, though I can send a card with a small gift or just a wish to people talk to online or are far away.  I send out anywhere for 50 to 100. So far this year I am at 65 I think. I gather my list after Thanksgiving update each year, buy stamps, make my return labels, figure out what to put in which cards and set aside a couple of hours a night to work on them. I like to listen to Christmas music while I do this. This is my happy place and if I can only choose one thing for the Holidays this will be it.

I am going to put up my tree this weekend, I have three poinsettias and will get out my holiday dishes as well.

 

My menu will be simple.  Ham, beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes in orange sauce, cranberry relish, and rolls. I will make some pies most likely pecan and apple or berry and there will be an array of fudge and cookies depending on how I feel.

Everyone loves my fudge both peanut butter and Chocolate I use the same recipe for both.

I will share my favorite fudge recipe with you. It is inexpensive and easy.

Prepare a sheet pan with lots of thins pieces or a cake pan for thicker ones. I use a 9 x 15 and get a good amount. I line with foil or parchment and spray with buttery cooking spray let the edge of the liner hang over each end for easy lifting.

2/3 can of evaporated milk

1 jar of marshmallow fluff

1 package of your choice of chips(peanut butter—chocolate (milk, bittersweet or semi(I use semi) or white chocolate

3/4 stick of butter

3 cups of sugar

Vanilla

Nuts optional

Bring butter sugar and milk to a full rolling boil. Add vanilla. I sometimes use other extracts such as Raspberry. Stir continuously for 5 minutes remove from heat add chocolate and marshmallow and stir. Add in nuts. Stir until thoroughly blended Pour quickly into prepared pan and let sit several hours to cool.  Be sure to use heavy tall pan and long-handled utensils for stirring I with a wooden spoon. Do not use plastic I boiled one, one year. Another tip if you have arthritis or weak hands I found after removing from stove I could put in a very deep bowl over my fluff and chips and use a mixer. I have a deep kitchen aid that works well. Warning: go at very low speed and stay back, so you don’t get burned.

I hope these tips help you make fudge if you got to where the stirring was too much. Cut into smaller pieces as a little can go a long way.

Another thing I love about Christmas is the ugly sweaters, I don’t have one, but I do have my Santa hats. When I worked, I wore one every day at work beginning Black Friday. It became such a tradition that sometimes people gifted me new ones with crazy sayings.  I haven’t been able to work for over 5 years now, my hats sit in a box upstairs. I pull one out, but that is usually it. This year I think my  new tradition will be to hang up my Ho Ho Hats ( that’s what everyone called them)

15424519_10154311221845345_529367215_n

I also wore Christmas earrings. I thought this year my prize will be this adorable pair of Cat Christmas earrings.

15403100_10154307966850345_755391481_n

 

 

I  will pick one winner after the hop is over. Be sure to leave your email so you can be contacted.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Hop Grand Prize

Ebook of your choice from Author Grein Murray

Swag donated by Author Grein Murray (only available

to those living in the USA)

Ebook of your choice from Author Sean Kerr (from his series Dead Camp)

Ebook – The Hard Boys: Alien Abduction (Case #1) from Ian Cadena

Grand Prizes for this blog hop

3D fun face Charms Bracelet – 3 pieces (image attached)

18 K Gold Filled Crystal Pearls Heart Party Dress Jewelry Set (image attached)

$10 Amazon Gift Card from RAM PA Group

5 Days Promo Tour from Divine Promotions

Dreamspinner Press Vouchers

$5 gift voucher from Pride Publishing

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To enter the Grand blog prize all you have to do is go to DivinePromotions Blog  and leave a comment on their post, telling what your favorite part of Christmas is.

 

Don’t forget to check out all the other blog hops. For more Christmas spirit and chances for great prizes.

🎅🏻 IrishdaisylovesRomance – https://dawn84blog.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/🎄-christmas-blog-hop-2016-🎄/
🎅🏻 Tempeste O’Riley – http://tempesteoriley.com/blog

However you choose to celebrate may your holiday be merry and bright!  Hugs and best Wishes!

#foodie friday~~Happy Good Friday~~Easter feast~~Bunnies, chicks and lots of cheese

HAPPY GOOD FRIDAY!

Happy Good Friday. Spring is in the air. I can’t believe Easter is here so soon. I have had a bit of spring fever though I do envy those that are getting snow. We are planning our garden. I have started in my Rose Garden, and hubby bought four new apple trees.  He came home with three flats of strawberries as well.  I put several in a planter that I like to have them in, and he is making a large patch next to the planned garden.

I have a bunch of bulbs to plant very soon, and we have lots of raspberries blackberries, blueberries, and even grapes my hubby bought. I will enjoy the rewards, but I am leaving the planting to him. LOL. I have some seeds I plan to try to start for my veggies and flowers but will buy some tomatoes and peppers after getting this all planted..hopefully, in the next few days if it quits raining.

For Easter, I am hoping the kids come over. I haven’t seen Daenerys in months except on the internet. My daughter, of course, keeps posting awesome pictures!

Instead of ham this year, I think I am going to make an applewood and cracked pepper wrapped Pork Loin, Corn fritters or cauliflower poppers, broccoli casserole scalloped potatoes, bunny shaped cheesy bread,  Deviled Easter eggs. Strawberry cupcakes and berry fluff for dessert.

 

I don’t have any pictures since I haven’t cooked this yet.

For the Pork Loin, you need pork loin( I am cooking 4 lbs) I am feeding at least 9 or 10 people

pork loin( I am cooking 4 lbs)

One package bacon ( I like a thick slice)

Cracked pepper

Salt

Applewood seasoning.

Toothpicks or twine

Rince loin, season with salt and applewood seasoning. Wrap with bacon slices securing the ends with toothpicks (be sure to remove before serving.) Season the bacon with the pepper go light if you have several kids eating, it does get hot if you use very much.  Roast in a pre-heated oven at 4 25 degrees for 25 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 155degrees. Change temperature to broil.  Broil, turning until bacon is crisp all around.  Take out of the oven, wrap in foil and let rest for about 10 minutes or until the thermometer is at  160 degrees.

 

Scalloped or as we call them cheesy baked potato slices.

Approximately 4-5 pounds of potatoes I generally gauge a large potato per person then toss in one extra.I rather have more than enough than not enough.

Four tablespoons butter,

4 tbsp cornstarch

1 and a half cups milk

1 8 ounces block of Colby jack cheese and one-half block mozzarella cheese. Shredded

Onion powder, garlic powder,  salt, and pepper

Prepare a large casserole dish with either butter or spray( I use the cooking spray) Preheat of to 375.

Wash potatoes peel if you wish ( I do unless they are a thin skin red.) Slice thinly. I have a mandolin  I use. I also sometimes use the food processor. 4- 5 cups is a good amount.

When I don’t have kids eating, I thinly slice red onion as well. This week I will leave out the onion.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan with cornstarch ( flour can be substituted)  a TSP of Garlic and a TSP of onion powder.  Slowly add milk whisking. Cook until slightly thickened add all the mozzarella and ¾ of the Colby jack. Stir until smooth.

Pour a small amount into the casserole dish add a layer of potatoes half the remaining sauce, another layer of potatoes add the rest of sauce cook  45 minutes or until potatoes are tender, and the sauce is bubbly. Right before serving add remaining cheese and put back in oven long enough to bake.

For more recipes with better measurements check out food .com, Food Network and Allrecipes are some of my favorites.

 

Broccoli casserole

Two bags froze broccoli

3 TBS butter plus another three more.

3 TBS of cornstarch ( or flour)

I 8 oz block of cheddar shredded (or Colby) for a bit of a zing use pepper jack. ( I may make to 8x eight dishes one with the cheddar one with pepper jack. ( if so divide the other ingredients in half one for each recipe ( make the sauce up to  adding cheese then divide)

Salt, pepper, onion powder( I use this in place of onions when I have kids over that don’t like the onions)

One can even milk plus ¼ cup milk

2 sleeves buttery round crackers

This one I have to say I cheat and use bagged broccoli. My bags are small, so I am using two.  I toss in the microwave for about 2 minutes just long enough to defrost and lightly steam.

Prepare dishes with cooking spray Preheat oven to 350.

Melt  3 TBS of butter in a heavy saucepan add salt pepper and onion salt, add the cornstarch and cook until thickened but not brown add in the milk and even milk whisking as you add. Whisk and cook until thickened. Remove from heat add cheese stir until smooth add broccoli and pour into dish. Melt the other three TBS of butter. Add crushed crackers. Spread on top of the casserole and bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

 

Corn fritters

This was a treat when mom made them.

One can cream style corn

One can of whole kernel or 1 bag of frozen.

2 eggs

Salt

Pepper

Enough flour to thicken ( about ¼ cup) I have switched to corn starch it makes them lighter)

Mix all ingredients. They should be like a thick pancake batter drop by spoonfuls in a hot deep fryer fry until they float (  or golden brown)  remove to a platter with platter towels to drain.

 

Deviled Easter egg chicks. I am combining two things I saw on Pinterest.One where the egg is colored the other, they look like chicks.

One dozen ( or 2 depending on the size of gathering)  hard boiled eggs. I now back mine in a muffin tin..fill cups half full of water bake at 350 for 25 minutes then let sit in ice bath for 10 minutes. Perfect eggs every time.

Cut eggs vertically in a zigzag pattern instead of in half about ¾. Scoop out center, mix it with mayo salt pepper and about 1/8th tsp dijon mustard. Dip the whites in dishes of food grade(edible) egg die)  I am doing mostly yellow, so they look like chicks.  Let dry ( cut a small slice off the bottom so they will stand. Fill the bottom wth yolk mixture keeping it up a bit. Place top on but make sure you can see some yellow. It will look like a chick peeking out of a broken shell.

Here you can see  one on  Pinterest

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/268667933998728821/

The deviled chick All Recipes (my go-to place for good recipes that are usually easy) http://allrecipes.com/recipe/237339/easter-chick-deviled-eggs/

 

Here is the Pinterest board for The Cheesy Bunny Bread the recipe is at Betty Crocker.com.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/26599454028115319/

 

The cupcakes will from a box ( I may make carrot cake too or instead)

What are you having for Easter? Do you have a favorite go-to dish or trying something new?

If you can Dream it~~You can do it!

The Cat’s Meow ~~#Reviews that purrr~~6 day to get Lucky~~By LE Franks

Hi Y’all! We are still doing our Lucky in love month here on the Cat’s Meow. This week I have L.E. Franks sharing 6 days to Get Lucky and I am including a review for 6 days to Valentines since they do need read in order. Read on! LE has a special giveaway at the end!

I asked L.E. If she had any superstitions.

Thank you so much for including me, Cathy. In answer to your question, I only have one superstition: I have to hold someone’s hand on takeoff and landing when I’m traveling by plane. Funny I know. Like I’m going to prevent it from falling out of the sky or from running over the underpaid baggage handler on the tarmac. You never know, I always do and so far it’s worked.  Everyone who’s on the flight with me should thank me!

Wishing you all a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Keep it green. – LE

6 days to luck

 

6 Days to Get Lucky

by LE Franks

Release date: 2 March 2016

Series: 6 Days / Loves a Holiday Book No. 2 (continuation of the story after 6 Days to Valentine)

Category: Gay Romance

Sub-Genre: Comedy, Contemporary, Holiday, Series

Number of words: 72,093

Number of Pages: 226

Heat level: 3

About the book:

Mixologist Nick Valentine never thought love was in the cards, but after a scorching Valentine’s Day kiss from bouncer Davis “FatBoy” Newman, he’s beginning to think it’s possible. After four weeks of dry spell, Nick’s losing patience—it’s time FatBoy stop acting the gentleman and just throw him over the bar or Nick may just change his mind.

All FatBoy wants is a shot at winning Nick’s heart. As long as meddling bosses, an Irish hurling team and a bar riot don’t ruin his chances forever, he might just get lucky and take the man of his dreams, home.

MY Review

In order to know who the characters are and how the relationship is like it is with Fatboy and Valentine you need to read 6 Days to Valentine:

I give it a 5 meow and 3 purrs(moderate heat)

Nick is a mixologist and basically a manwhore. He gets hs kicks in the back room, most of the time with his backup Juan. He realizes he wants more from life than backroom one-offs. His bouncer he calls Fat-boy because of his linebacker size keeps trying to hook him up with his cousin, but Nick has an idea to assure that Fatboy quit harassing him and also be his servant for a day. Nick had no idea how this could backfire on him.

I loved Nick, and this story introduces us to Nick, Fatboy, and several other characters. I felt it was a great heartfelt set-up leading to the next book.
6 days to Valentine is fast-paced, funny, sweet with some romance and leaves you wanting more.
*I was gifted a copy of this story for an honest review*

Review for 6-days to Lucky

5 meows 4 purrs( some explicit man-sex)

6 Das to Lucky is the sequel or next installment of 6 days to Valentine. We pick up with Nick still not having been having sex with Fatboy. He is frustrated both sexually and for the fact that Fatboy is hiding deep in the closet and he is out and proud. We meet many new characters in this book. It is longer with a lot of action and some new possibilities of interest for Nick. Will he wait for Fat boy to decide or will he go with one of the new options?
We get more Nick, more angst, more Fatboy and his angst and more storyline. I loved it. The story keeps you on your toes, has humor and nail-biting suspense and we get some hot man-sex.
I want more! More Nick and more Fatboy!!!Please!

I was gifted a copy for an honest review

A Little more 6 days to Get Lucky:

Reaching across the empty bed next to me, I rode out the last waves of my dream alone. I could still feel his phantom kiss on my lips and the sensation of a hand stroking along my thigh.

The rest of it was just a blur of emotions and sticky residue on my sheets—though I could guess at it without much effort. FatBoy Newman had been a specter haunting me at work so it was no great leap to assume he’d shouldered his way into my dreams as well.

In fact, he was at the root of my problem: I’d been having a hell of a dry spell.

Four weeks of near misses had done nothing but stoke my bad mood and turn my balls a lovely shade of indigo that matched my jeans…

Four weeks of dashed hopes…

Four weeks since the most romantic kiss of my life…

Four weeks of nothing.

Fuck the South and its mythology of the Southern Gentleman—if FatBoy Newman didn’t stop treating me like a delicate flower and throw me up against a wall soon, I was going to explode.

It was six days until St. Patrick’s Day, and FatBoy had until then to make his move, or I was moving on.

Where to Buy:

WIldeCity Press

Amazon

ARe

Kobo

B&N

 

Meet LE:

 

LE

LE Franks lives in the SF Bay area and writes M/M Romance in a unique mix of humor and drama with enough suspense to produce fast paced stories filled with emotion and passion and featuring characters that are quirky and complicated and sometimes a little bit dark. Her books have hit the best-selling lists and she was a finalist for 2013 & 2014 Rainbow Awards. Her titles are available through her publishers at MLR Press, Dreamspinner Press and Wilde City Press and Pride Publishing and the usual ebook sellers.

You can Stalk-oops—follow LE online on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, twitter and Tumblr or by email at [email protected]. Her website is http://www.lefranks.com

 

One Lucky commenter will win a e-copy of 6 days to Valentines.  Nick is a Mixologist so in keeping with that tell LE and me your favorite mixed drink… doesn’t have to be alcoholic. I love Peach Tea!

Follow

Follow this blog

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.

Email address

%d bloggers like this: