Food Trends Gone Wild

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Pumpkin you either love it and can’t live without it, or it’s not even a blip on your radar.  For some, pumpkin is a fruit, yes I said fruit, and others it shall remain nameless.  A pumpkin is not a vegetable; it’s a fruit! In fact, it’s a berry. Pumpkins belong to the family Cucurbitaceae, which includes cucumbers, melons, squash, and gourds. Within this family is the genus Cucurbita which includes gourds, winter and summer squash, and all varieties of pumpkin. There are four species that are considered “pumpkins,” but only one is the species most people would recognize as the traditional pumpkin used for carving jack-o-lanterns and baking pies.”  

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I have to say when I was younger I liked the smell of the pumpkin spices more than the pumpkin itself. When you smelled that aroma in the farm house, you knew Thanksgiving was not far behind and family and friends would be coming to celebrate.    I was the kid who preferred chocolate cream pie for dessert and to make others happy I would have a little pumpkin pie with lots and lots of whip cream.  At Thanksgiving you would find pumpkin cookies with maple icing, pumpkin pie, apple cake, and Texas sheet cake.  These are the dessert items my mom would make for Thanksgiving.  We would only have them at this time of year, which made them not only a tradition but a favorite treat.

As I got older, I had a better appreciation for this fruit but I’m still a chocoholic at heart.  Don’t get me wrong, I was caught up in the whole pumpkin trend that consisted of a couple  beers and lattes.  They would come out around the middle of October and last until Thanksgiving.  But sad to say, this fruit has taken on a life of its own thanks to over marketing.  I truly believe this is a case of less is more.  Now there are more types of pumpkin beer every year, and they keep coming out earlier and earlier.  This year they hit the market the end of July. The owner of my local beer distributor said get it now because it won’t be here by Thanksgiving.  Then Starbucks, I think it was the end of August or the beginning of September, gave out a secret code to get your pumpkin latte early.  We rush through everything and nothing is special anymore.  To make my point further, I was in the drive through getting a non pumpkin coffee (lol), and the menu said hurry and try our fall items before they are gone.  The date was September 25, 2015.  Fall officially started two days prior on September 23rd, and Fall does not officially end until December 21.  Sometimes I feel we live such a rat race that we are missing out and loosing family traditions along with recipes and making memories with family and friends.

Below you will find pictures of products I found in the store this year, and others, satire making fun of this trend.

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Theses are the two new items that caught my eye. You also can have pumpkin spiced ravioli, tortellini, pumpkin sauce, pumpkin Ice Cream, pumpkin pancakes, waffles, crepes, pumpkin granola (that is artificial flavored?) pumpkin coffee, pumpkin vodka, pumpkin soda, pumpkin brûlée, pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, doughnuts & scones, pumpkin scented  candles, soaps, body sprays, lotions and shampoo.

These Items started to appear before the first chill in the air was felt and before the trees started to be tipped in color.  Sorry to feel so jaded, but from food to sports nothing has a season any longer. its all about marketing and money.

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I still love fall, and as a chef/baker I do bake pumpkin goodies with spices and love.  I will be sharing a few of my family favorites.  I have to admit that  the “Pumpkin Roll” I have not made for a while.   It was Levi’s,my nephew, favorite.  I would bake extra just for him.  Levi will be gone four years this November.  I think this may be the year to make it again.

Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling (Yields 10 servings)  From the Kitchen of Karen’s Karousel of Delights

Cake ingredients:

Powder Sugar

3/4 cup Bread Flour ( you can use all purpose flour)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground clove

1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

3 large eggs (at room temperature)

1 cup of granulated sugar

2/3 cup 100% pure Pumpkin ( I use “LIBBY”S brand)

1 cup dark mini chocolate chips (OPTIONAL)

1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (OPTIONAL)

Filling Ingredients:

1 package 8oz cream cheese, soften (I use “Philadelphia” brand)

1 cup sifted powder sugar

6 tablespoons butter, soften (unsalted)

1 teaspoon Vanilla

Procedure:

Cake: Preheat oven to 375 F or 190 C. Grease 15X10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax or parchment paper. Grease and flour the paper. Sprinkle  heavily a 100% cotton towel (it is also known as Flour Sack 100% cotton and white) with powder sugar.

Combine: Flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl.  Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bow until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. (now is the time to sprinkle with the chips or nuts or both; if you choose to)

Bake: for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully pull off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

For Filling: 

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Re-roll cake, without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powder sugar before serving.

Notes: 1 large can of pumpkin will make 5 Rolls and you need 2 cups of filling per roll.  Also this freezes very well, double wrap in plastic wrap and then freezer paper.     IMG_1300

Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake: Yields 10 to 12 servings. from the kitchen of Karen’s Karousel of Delights

Crust:

1 1/2 cups of Chocolate graham crackers crushed into crumbs (approximately 1 1/2 Packages)

1/3 cup of butter melted

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Filling:

3 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese soften (I use regular “Philadelphia” brand cream cheese)

1 1/4 cups of Sugar in the Raw (make sure it’s the real deal;  option if you cannot find Sugar in the raw you can use 1cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup of light brown sugar) 

2 large eggs (room temperature)

1 15oz can of Pure Pumpkin (my preference is “LIBBY’S”)

2/3 cup of Evaporated Milk (my preference is “NESTLE” CARNATION”)

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

2 cups of dark or milk chocolate chips divided and melted

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C

For Crust:

Combined graham cracker crumbs, butter and granulated sugar in medium bowl.  Press onto bottom and 1inch up side of

9-inch springform pan. Bake 6-8 minutes (do not over bake). Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

For Filling:

Beat cream cheese, sugar in large mixer bowl until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, pumpkin and evaporated milk. Add cornstarch, and spices; beat well. Pour into crust. Now take 1 cup of the melted chocolate and spoon onto the top of the cheese cake; then take a butter knife and swirl the chocolate to make a marbling effect.

Bake: for 55 to 60 minutes or until edge is set but center still giggles slightly. Baking the cheese cake in a water bath is optional and your choice. This can be done two ways; first place the cheese cake in a shallow pan, place on oven rack and pour hot water half way up or you can place a pan directly underneath the cheese cake fill with hot water and bake.  My cheese cakes have cracked with or without a water bath.   Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or over night. Before serving remove sides of spring form pan; melt the remaining chocolate chips and drizzle over the top of the cheese cake. Cut and serve.

Note: If you don’t like chocolate use regular graham crackers for the crust and omit the 2 cups of chocolate chips.

I hope you try these recipes and they become your family favorites too. Thank you for your support and Enjoy! ❤ KK

Breast Cancer Awareness “MOUTH” a steamy Anthology

Dear Followers, todays blog I am helping out a group of talented writers who have come together to not only raise awareness by also join the fight against Breast Cancer.   Below you will find information about this box set how and where to pre-order your copy if you are interested. You will also find Bio for each of the participating authors.  Thank you for your patients and time and please spread the word about this box set.  

I will be coming to you soon with our regular scheduled program of stories and wonderful recipes from my kitchen.

Thank you for all your support.   Karen L Komarinski

Full Wrap-2

Title: Mouth: A Steamy Anthology
Authors: Carter Ashby, Josie Bordeaux, M.C. Cerny, Christy Dilg, S.M. Donaldson, L.B. Dunbar, Roxie Elms, Mary Catherine Gebhard, Cassie Graham, Danielle Jamie, Lorraine Loveit, Kristen Hope Mazzola, Scarlett Metal, Katherine Rhodes, t. h. snyder, Kandi Steiner, Layla Stevens, Madison Street, E.A. Sutton, and Dawne Walters
Release Date: Oct 30, 2015
Find on Goodreads – http://bit.ly/1M4vIFq

Landscape portrait of young beautiful stylish couple sensual and having fun outdoor. Film effect

Including:

20 authors bring you 20 brand new, steamy romances to help raise money for breast cancer awareness.

The Dark, Hot Night – Carter Ashby
Faking Love – Josie Bordeaux
Angel – M.C. Cerny
Vampire Escapade – Christy Dilg
Lesson for Lox – S.M. Donaldson
Paradise Tempted – L.B. Dunbar
Cherry Pop – Roxie Elms
In Session – Mary Catherine Gebhard
The Trouble with Cowboys – Cassie Graham
Scandalous – Danielle Jamie
A Singer and a Solider – Lorraine Loveit
Rough & Tumble – Kristen Hope Mazzola
Second Chances – Scarlett Metal
Lessons – Katherine Rhodes
Lost Soul – t. h. snyder
Tag Catcher – Kandi Steiner
Tonight Only – Layla Stevens
Sea of Flames – Madison Street
Sirens – E.A. Sutton
Commander’s Wife – Dawne Walters
Pre-Order Links:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1NeQLa0
Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/1Grcqnz
Kobo – http://bit.ly/1PYORbb
iTunes – http://apple.co/1PYONbm
About Mouth:

Mouth Karaoke Bar and Grill was founded by Christy Dilg in 2013 in the Forbidden Series. Christy decided to have an auction event supporting breast cancer awareness and donating the funds raised to the cause after the fans expressed their interest. The Mouth Rocks for the Cause Facebook event went so well that Christy decided to continue the event every year and to add Mouth in all of her upcoming books and donate portions of her book sales to the charity in that story. Writing has always been about making a difference to Christy and Mouth is sure to add to that.

This year Mouth Rocks for the Cause will hold its third annual Facebook auction supporting breast cancer in October. The event will last a week but Mouth will be doing other things during the month to raise for the cause such as this wonderful collection “Mouth, A steamy anthology” which will feature almost twenty amazing authors together in a box set of novellas. The proceeds will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Author Info:

Carter Ashby – Carter Ashby is a hardworking housewife and homeschool mother by day, and a romance reader and writer by night. She lives in rural Missouri with her husband, three children, and two dogs.

Josie Bordeaux – Josie Bordeaux is the author of the Alluring Promises series. Her romance novels revolve around friendships, sizzling attraction and steamy sex scenes. Lust, passion and love are all entwined with a lot of drama and fun-filled friendships. Josie lives in the sunshine state with her best friend (AKA – husband) and two sweet, and very creative daughters.

When she’s not driving her kids around town, she’s usually clicking her fingernails on her keyboard or down at the beach where her eyes are glued to her kindle app reading.

M.C. Cerny – M.C. Cerny first fell in love with books after experiencing her first real ugly cry reading, Where The Red Fern Grows. Her debut romantic suspense novel, Flashpoint was written in a series of post-it-note ramblings that would likely make her idol Tom Clancy blush. She is a post graduate of NYU, working fulltime, and calls rural NJ home with her menagerie of human and feline fur-babies. When M.C. is not writing, you’ll find her lurking in Starbucks, running marathons, singing Disney show tunes, and searching out the perfect shade of pink nail polish.

Christy Dilg – Christy Dilg is a erotica romance author and also a full-time medical biller/assistant. When she’s not writing she spends her time with her husband and teenage daughter. She is also known as Radiation Girl after beating thyroid cancer and finally living life the correct way and embracing her glow.

S.M. Donaldson – S.M. Donaldson is a born and raised Southern girl. She grew up in a small rural town on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the kind of place where everyone knows your business before you do, especially when your Daddy is a cop and your Mom works for the school system. She married one of her best friends at the age of 20 and has one son. She is a proud military wife, has always had a soft spot for a good story, and is known to have a potty mouth. At the age of 31, she decided there was no time like the present to attempt her first book. Sam’s Choice was born and she hasn’t stopped since. If you are looking for a good, steamy, Southern set romance with true Southern dialect, she’s your girl.

L.B. Dunbar – I’d love to say I’ve written for 10,000 hours, and that makes me a pro. But I can’t say that. What I can say is I had a story in my head that wouldn’t go away. I thought typing it in my computer would be the end of things, but it only led to another story and another. I love reading, so characters in my head isn’t something new. What is new is my creation of them. Hope you enjoy my favorites as much as I do. Happy reading!

Roxie Elms – I’m a wild girl. I write about that. Sexy, steamy reads to enjoy at your leisure. I’m a world traveler from the UK and I’ve been everywhere. My mother was a Personal Assistant to a big star and it was an awesome life traveling with her. My stories will thrill, leave chills, intoxicate and bring you to pleasure.

Join me. It’s a wild world to savor.

Mary Catherine Gebhard – Mary Catherine Gebhard bites off more than she can chew and sometimes calls herself Eva Natsumi. She’s lived in Salt Lake City, Utah her entire life, but occasionally goes on vacation from reality. Don’t worry, she sends postcards.

Cassie Graham – Cassie Graham is first and foremost, a wife and mother. She has one crazy daughter and a just as nutters husband that she loves dearly. She lives in sunny–all be it, scorching Arizona, where the summers are ridiculously hot and the winters are perfection. She’d pick winter any day. Obviously. 😉

Cassie has always loved to write and is so thankful that she’s able to do it full-time. She’s very lucky to have a husband who works his booty off working so she can live out her dream.

Danielle Jamie – Danielle Jamie is a contemporary romance author who loves getting lost in a good book or writing a memorable love story. Her most popular works are her Bestselling Savannah Series, her heart wrenching standalone Tempt my Heart and her steamy new taboo novellas in her Stepbrother Series!

She lives in Upstate NY with her husband, two daughters and son. She loves traveling and seeing the world all the while meeting her fans along the way at Author Events.

Lorraine Loveit – Even though Ms Loveit has a very busy life (wife, mother and secretary) she still manages to devote time to her passion for writing, and of course, reading.

Ms Loveit’s current story came to her in a dream and it just grew from there. It is an erotic relationship theme with bdsm elements. She started writing it just to “get it out of my head.” Lorraine has many more stories “in her head” just waiting for her to finish her current series. She also intends writing more short erotic stories.

She lives in the south west of Western Australia. When on holidays enjoys camping with her family and two dogs; always making sure she has plenty of reading material and, since she started writing, her laptop is the first thing packed.

Kristen Hope Mazzola – I am just an average twenty-something following my dreams. I have a full time “day job” and by night I am an author. I guess you could say that writing is like my super power (I always wanted one of those). I am the lover of wine, sushi, football and the ocean; that is when I am not wrapped up in the literary world.
Please feel free to contact me to chat about my writing, books you think I’d like or just to shoot the, well you know.

A portion of all my royalties are donated to The Marcie Mazzola Foundation.

Scarlett Metal – Scarlett lives in the Midwest with her family. When she’s not busy writing steamy stories, she can be found reading, camping, or looking for an adventure. She loves Diet Coke, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and 80’s hair bands.

Katherine Rhodes – Author of erotica, light BDSM erotica and paranormal erotica. Expert in the profundities of bad movies and awful literature. Armed with her Bachelors of English, Literature she has set her mind to writing erotic romances which are kinky, dirty, and fun. A lackadaisical laundry goddess, Katherine resides in Philadelphia with her husband, three cats and a betta named Fishtian Grey.

t. h. snyder – I was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania Sept 1979. For nine years I worked in the field of higher education while earning my Bachelor and Master Degrees in Management from University of Phoenix. I’m a single mother to two amazing children that are my world. I became an avid reader in spring of 2012 and since has read over 300 books. My genre of interest ranges from Romance to thrilling Paranormal.

This is more than just a hobby for me, it’s a passion to read the words of great authors and bring life to their stories with my reviews and character castings.
I started writing my first novel in June of 2013 and anxious to see where this journey takes me!

Kandi Steiner – Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer.

Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).

When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.

Layla Stevens – I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma but moved to Pensacola, Florida in 1996. I have a huge family who I shocked them when I told them I was writing my first book. I have had a love a reading since I was young. Reading has always been my escape. I can read and be a princess or a warrior. Reading for me was always something magical. And I hope to pass that on to you all.

I am blessed to be the mom of a little girl named Sage who is the light of my life. {I call her Olga, and she hates it} I did not give birth to her but I choose her.

Madison Street – Madison Street was born in New York City and was raised in the Bronx, where she resided until she was 17 years old. After 9/11, Madison joined the United States Navy to serve her country.

During the deployments, Madison constantly wrote short stories and she discovered her passion for writing. You will find Madison always on the computer, whether she’s on Facebook, designing websites, messing with Photoshop, or writing for her blog.

Besides writing, her second passion is music and dance. Even though she’s a terrible singer, she’ll still belt it out in the shower, especially if the song is her jam! She currently resides in Virginia with her husband of 8 years, 2 children, a dog, and a cat. She is so excited to start this amazing journey and is honored to be part of such a compassionate and loving community.

E.A. Sutton – LINKS

Dawne Walters – I started writing in journals when I was seven or eight when I lived in Europe. Little short stories that were inspired by the many castles and historic places that evoke the imagination. I also kept a journal while deployed to ‘escape’. I would write short stories about military romance. So, some of those will become full length novels…some with a happy and not so happy ending! Be prepared.

I never started out to be an author. I always wanted to be a nurse practitioner. I’ll get there maybe, one day…

My hobbies are photography (yes, I have done weddings, a few CD covers , lots of family and couples sittings). My favorite band is Thirty Seconds to Mars…Give them a listen!

– The Trials of Guinevere DeGrance by L.B. Dunbar

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                                                                   Releases September 14,2015

The final chapter in the Legendary Rock Stars has come to a close with Book 5 The trials of Guinevere Degrance

Come along on this journey to see how Camelot ends for not only Guinevere and Arturo but  also for the band of bothers that we have met along the way.  If you have not yet been introduced to the band, all 5 books are available in the Legendary Rock Stars starting today, and the best thing is you don’t have to wait to find out what happens, for you can just go from the  beginning  starting with the legend of Arturo King and ending with the trials of Guinevere Degrance.  If you love Rock Stars, romance, and a modern twist on Camelot, don’t pass up the legendary Rock Stars Series.  Below will contain ordering information for all the books and a bio on L.B. Dunbar.  I have also have included my review on the trials of Guinevere Degrance.  I also have 2 other blog post that discuss this series along with L.B. Dunbar’s Sensation Series.  I am looking for more to come from L.B. Dunbar.

The Trials of Guinevere DeGrance Ebook Cover

RELEASE BLITZ
Title: The Trials of Guinevere DeGrance
Series: Legendary Rock Stars #4
Author: L.B. Dunbar
Genre: Rock Star Romance
Release Date: September 14, 2015

BLURB
Don’t judge me. I know you want to, but let’s get some facts straight in my defense.
1. I love Arturo King
2. Arturo left me behind.
3. I was lonely.
4. Lansing was an old friend.
5. I love Arturo King.
Did you burn the fictional damsel in distress that cuddled and kissed her best friend when her fantastical boyfriend disappeared for months? No, you didn’t. You sympathized with her loneliness before you read ahead to make sure the boyfriend was coming back to her. Loneliness is not a crime. It’s cruel to be alone, but not a crime, the last I knew. If it is a crime, I’ll light the match to ignite myself for what I’ve done. Goodness knows, I’m burning up with guilt as it is. In my defense, I want my story to be told before I’m judged too harshly. Arturo King might be a rock legend, but he and I are human. We make mistakes. We made mistakes. Do we need to suffer for all of eternity because of them? I hope not. The jury still seems to be out, though. The greater question is: Is it possible to rekindle our love, when the past could burn us all?

GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25775789-the-trials-of-guinevere-degrance
PURCHASE LINKS

US: http://amzn.to/1FDZ2vO
UK: http://amzn.to/1J4KHJb
B&N: http://bit.ly/1Q8T9MX
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1M470U3
iBooks: http://apple.co/1EUfJIM

ALSO AVAILABLE IN THE LEGENDARY ROCK STARS SERIES       TLOAK Ebook Cover
#1 The Legend of Arturo King
US: http://amzn.to/1SHlxpK
UK: http://amzn.to/1LF2WvB
B&N: http://bit.ly/1D154L1
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1gbhR3K
iBooks: http://apple.co/1JELYY8

#2 The Story of Lansing Lotte     TSOLL Ebook Cover

US: http://amzn.to/1OsjEfp
UK: http://amzn.to/1JELbGS
B&N: http://bit.ly/1IksFCF
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1gUMGtC

#3 The Quest of Perkins Vale      TQOPV Ebook Cover
US: http://amzn.to/1OsjHYC
UK: http://amzn.to/1LJQMjE
B&N: http://bit.ly/1LJRFsl
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1ftTWeX
iBooks: http://apple.co/1IksV4C

#4 The Truth of Tristan Lyons          TTOTL Ebook Cover

US: http://amzn.to/1JEL0eu
UK: http://amzn.to/1LJQKbl
B&N: http://bit.ly/1Dd0OIx
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1fL9VVZ
iBooks: http://apple.co/1JTPTAy
EXCERPT HoldTighter

Prologue
Guinevere
If I ever wondered what the pits of hell felt like, I sensed my current position was similar to being in the fiery depths. The orange-yellow glow danced before me; blinding me to the man I knew was on the other side of the flames. His face was melting, fading in the fumes that surrounded and flowed from the heat. I sensed the wooden walls of the barn structure were crackling and eventually would crumble, but I continued to stand as if frozen. There would be no chance to freeze under the circumstances. If anything, I should be melting slowly to form a puddle on the floor. My skin felt as if it would peel off of me, one droplet of sweat at a time.
The blaze started in an attempt to gain Arturo’s attention. The boy wanted to impress his father: a rock god who stubbornly ignored his son, as he had done over a year ago in this same barn. The Barn. The place of inspiration for Arturo King and his band, The Nights. The place where they performed their magic through music. The place that marked where history was made.
I continued to stare through the flames that separated us. I could see that his lips were moving; calling or shouting out to me, but I couldn’t hear over the roar of the fire. His face was warped in my vision, drifting with the bright light that framed his head filled with dark waves and a jaw covered thicker than before. His brown eyes looked black as they stared back at me. I was trapped. The flames formed a wall between me and my beloved; a man I loved more than anyone. A man who I hurt more than I ever intended. A man who hurt me with his mysterious disappearance and lack of communication.
I didn’t move. Allowing the heat to consume me, I decided this might be my fate. Death by fire was how the adulteress was punished in ancient times. Of course, in romance novels a hero comes to the aid of the persecuted. My mind flashed to another man. He had been a hero to a little girl trapped within a burning building. He had been my hero, as well, when I was kidnapped in a drugged induced haze. He was someone I should not have been thinking of.
I continued to watch the movement of Arturo’s mouth. The roar of the flames was all that I heard. It made music to my ears, drowning out the accusations.
How could I do it? How could I be with another man?
The world seemed to stop as I struggled to give my answers. In contrast, it came alive in an orange glow that spread rapidly along the old wooden floor. My back was now against the warmth of the stones behind me. It was almost like I imagined a brick oven would feel. The ancient fieldstones were absorbing the heat and reflecting it back within the cramped space. Wood crackled above my head. The ripping sound only assured me that my end was eminent. The walls were catching and the barn was doomed to collapse.
Suddenly, I heard my name. The voice that screamed to me was clear, familiar, and not the voice that should have called for me.
“Guinie, turn around and reach up your hand,” he shouted down to me. It was like an angel spoke to me from the heavens. I couldn’t break my gaze on Arturo, but he was gesturing above me. His expression showed he clearly recognized who was over me, who was calling me. His eyes found mine through the flames and he nodded once. Then he looked away and I quickly spun reaching upward blindly. My eyes were dry, boiled orbs within their sockets. The smoke so thick, I confused it for fog. Stretching, my fingers connected with those reaching down for me. One hand was clasped, the opposite wrist encircled, and up I went into the freshness of the cool summer afternoon air. The scent of pine and lake water burned my smoke encrusted nose and I gasped for more oxygen. It was like I’d been drowning. A brief sensation I’d had a year ago in the water of that lake below.
My mind was clouded, but a passing image flashed of Arturo and me spinning in the blue water. He’d kissed me for the first time on that day then rolled us off the boat into the water in distraction. We were playful then. Not today. I heard his voice ringing in my head; his words enflamed with his bitterness.
How could I do it? Didn’t I love him?
I balanced on hands and knees in the dry earth near the burning barn. My throat was hoarse from gassy fumes and screams. I called out his name one more time, and then the inevitable happened. The wooden structure collapsed.

MY Review: 5 Stars  I was given an ARC of The Trials of Guinevere DeGrance, in exchange for an honest review. This is book five in the Legendary Rock Stars series. I just want it to be known I have been a fan of this series since Book 1 The Legend of Arturo King and I have been a Fan of L. B. Dunbar since I accidentally found her and the Sensation series. I am so glad that I came across such a talented author and story teller. Back to the book, OMG what a roller coaster ride. I am emotionally spent. I loved every minute of it. I don’t think I ever talked back to the characters in a book like I did with Guinevere DeGrance, i even cracked myself up with yelling at the book. Thank goodness i really don’t have neighbors close by. In the Trials of Guinevere DeGrance we not only find out if her and Arturo find their way back to one another, but it the band of brothers survived this long separation. Be ready for lots of twist and turns for them all.
I’m sad to see this series end for now. Congratulations L.B. for an amazing story, ending and series. If you have not yet read any of the books from the Legendary Rock Star Series get on board now, you will find two of the books on sale for a limited time and The Trials of Guinevere DeGrance comes out on 9/14/2015. This is a must read series you will not be disappointed. 
Karen Komarinski

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AUTHOR BIO
L.B. Dunbar loves the original legend of King Arthur. Inspired by this classic tale, she pulled over to the side of the road to take notes when it hit her that if King Arthur lived today, he’d be a rock star. A lover of fairy tales, myths, legends, and anything with happily ever after, she loves to read and write contemporary romance. Her Legendary Rock Stars series is complete with the final tale: The Trials fo Guinevere DeGrance, but the story began with The Legend of Arturo King. She also wrote The Sensations Collection, which includes five stand alones based on the five senses in a small town setting near Lake Michigan. Raised on one side of that lake, she grew up in Michigan, but now lives on the other side, in Chicago. Mother to four, wife to the one and only, and teacher to hundreds of former students, she looks forward to sharing more stories in the future.

AUTHOR LINKS
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lbdunbarauthor
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/lbdunbar
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bjUJpf
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lbdunbarwrites
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lbdunbar/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8195738.L_B_Dunbar
Website: http://www.lbdunbar.com/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/lbdunbarwrites/

GIVEAWAY
There is a giveaway for one signed paperback of each book in the series (US only):
The Legend of Arturo King
The Story of Lansing Lotte
The Quest of Perkins Vale
The Truth of Tristan Lyons
The Trials of Guinevere DeGrance
+ a complete ebook set of The Legendary Rock Stars series (all 5 books) – in kindle format (International)

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Doughnuts Part One

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I am very excited to come to you today with the my first recipe request “Doughnuts”.   They are everyone’s guilty pleasure and coffee’s perfect mate.  We all have our favorite types and how and when we like to enjoy them. There are so many choices, from yeast, cake, filled, iced, glazed, fried or bake. I think they are the most perfect comfort food.  In one bite they can release stress and transport you back to memories from long ago.  For me it is the special Sundays after church when we would stop at the local family owned markets Little Russia’s and Delbane’s.  One sold iced cake and filled doughnuts and the other sold glazed and cinnamon doughnuts with maple icing that we as children referred to as cow plops. (It’s a farm child’s imagination gone wild)

We have so many to thank for these tasty treats, every culture has their version.  At the 1934 Worlds Fair in Chicago they billed the doughnut “ The Food hit of the Century of Progress” and at 5 cents they were in reach of most depression victims.  Clark Gable made the Dunk and Doughnut hole popular in the 1934 film “It Happened One Night,  rugged news paper man “Clark Gable” teaches a runaway heiress “Claudette Colbert how to dunk.

dunkin_donut_2In today’s society a “dunker” would be considered stale.  But in the 30’s nothing was wasted, so marriage of the dunker and coffee was born.  And the relationship between doughnuts and coffee remains strong.

Today’s focus is on the yeast doughnut!  It takes some time, but the end product is so worth effort!  It initially takes two days for the perfect yeast doughnut, but within those two days you can set yourself up to have fresh delicious doughnuts at your finger tips with little effort.

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I’ve been working hard to come up with what I think is the best sweet yeast dough recipe.  I have broken it down and tested it to make small batches.

Plain yeast Doughnut: yield 6 medium size doughnuts or 12 small doughnuts or 24 doughnut holes

1 package of Active Dry yeast                               1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 ounce of warm water                                           1/2 cup hot milk

1/4 cup sugar                                                           1 large egg room temperature

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)                         1 tablespoon of real Vanilla or favorite flavoring (optional)

1/2 teaspoon Salt                                                    3 cups of Bread Flour (I use King Arthur)

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Chocolate  yeast Doughnut: yield 6 medium size doughnuts or 12 small doughnuts or 24 doughnut holes

1 package of Active Dry yeast                                1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 ounce of warm water                                           1/2 cup hot milk

1/4 cup sugar                                                           1 large egg room temperature

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)                         1/2 tablespoon of real Vanilla or favorite flavoring (optional)

1/2 teaspoon Salt                                                 3 cups of Bread Flour (I use King Arthur)

1/4 cup +1 tablespoon Premium baking Cocoa 100% unsweetened (I like Ghirardelli or Hershey’s special dark)

1/2 tablespoon of strong coffee (optional)

Procedure for both doughs:

Soften yeast in water for 5 minutes then stir until blended. In a large bowl, add the sugar, salt, butter, nutmeg, and flavoring of choice.  Then add hot milk and stir until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Make sure your mixture is lukewarm and add the yeast and one beaten egg.  Now it’s time to add the flour one cup at a time, stir with a wooden spoon.  Dough should start to form a ball. It is time to turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed for about two minutes giving the dough a quarter turn every time you  pull it into itself.  The dough should be springy and little sticky, but not so much it sticks to your hands.  Place dough into an oiled bowl flip the dough around so all sides are coated with oil.  Now cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it on the counter until morning. Make sure the bowl is double the size of the dough ball so it has room to rise.

The next morning, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently roll it out to 1/2 to 1 inch thickness and cut out the doughnut. If you want to fill the doughnuts don’t cut the whole out in the middle. Place the doughnuts on a sheet tray covered in parchment paper. Let rise 30 minutes to an hour, you want them to double in size.  Then it is time to fry.  Be careful and don’t fry the tips of your fingers as you gently lay the doughnuts in the oil to fry. (like I did and do…lol)

“No need for a special cutter, just use a water glass or a biscuit cutter if you have one. Also a shot glass is perfect for cutting out the hole in the middle.”

Approximately 1 inch of oil for frying: grape seed oil, sun flower oil or combination of both.  Heat oil to 350-360 F or 177-180 C in a deep Dutch oven or cast iron skillet to fry. Fry 1-2 minutes on each side (no more than 3). Remove from oil and place on a cooling rack that is sitting on a sheet tray covered with parchment paper. Cool slightly before tossing in powder sugar, or cinnamon sugar. Cool until warm and dip in your favorite icing, glaze or fill with you favorite fillings.

“ you may be thinking to yourself that you feel this dough will not be sweet enough, I like to build flavors and I tend to make my confections more like European desserts, not as sweet as most people are accustom to.  So go ahead and increase your sugar to 1/2c if you like things on the sweet sweet side, it won’t hurt the dough at all.”

Easy fillings, frosting and Glazes

Basic Glaze

1 cup of sifted powder sugar

1 tablespoon of vanilla

1-2 tablespoons of water

when the glaze falls of the spoon like a ribbon its at the correct consistency to dip your doughnuts

To make the glaze chocolate add 2 tablespoons of Cocoa to the basic recipe

For maple, add 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup or Maple Flavoring to the basic recipe

Be creative:

Chocolate Ganache/Frosting

1/2 cup scalded heavy cream, turn off heat add 1lb. of semisweet or bitter dark chocolate, stir until melted then dip or ice the doughnuts.

Fillings

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon powder sugar

mix until stiff peeks   put in piping bag with a large tip and stick into the side of the doughnut and fill.

Cream cheese filling:

8 ounce of soften cream cheese

1/2 cup of your favorite jelly or jam

whip until light and fluffy

other flavor options 1/2 cup Nutella or melted chocolate, the possibilities are endless

be creative and experiment.

Toss your doughnuts in equal parts sugar and cinnamon

Note at the beginning I told you I would explain how you can have homemade doughnuts at your finger tips at all times.  Make up a double batch of dough cut them out place on your parchment lined cookie sheet and put them in the freezer before the second rise. Once completely frozen, place in a freezer bag in a single layer. When you have a craving for fresh doughnuts, pull out as many you want to make.  Place on parchment paper.  Within 30 to 60 minutes, they will be thawed and doubled in size and ready to fry.

Once you have tried these amazing doughnuts you will want nothing else.  Don’t feel you have to make filled doughnut, I just provided you with options for you to create.  Me, I like death by chocolate…chocolate doughnut with chocolate icing.  And I like simple….a basic glazed or cinnamon and sugar.

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IMG_1196I want to send a special thank you out to SR for requesting doughnuts.  Please forgive me for taking so long with the answer to your request, but I was perfected the recipe.  I hope everyone found this helpful and informative and it inspires you to make doughnuts.  I look forward to more requests and/or feedback.  The next doughnut post we will tackle the perfect cake doughnut.

Thank you and Enjoy KK 🙂

Sharing The Shadow Excerpt

The Shadow

The Big Day is finally hear, as promised Sylvain Reynard is sharing a long teaser from the highly anticipated book The Shadow.   I was honored to be able to share the cover reveal with you and now the teaser. I don’t know about you all but February 2,2016 is going to be an awful long wait, but totally worth it!!  Below you will not only find the Swoon and I need a cold shower after a read this teaser, but the links on how to reserve your copy of The Shadow and where you can follow Sylvan Reynard.  You will also find the other two books from the Florentine series on these links.

Prince1           USTR         The Shadow


http://www.sylvainreynard.com/

@sylvainreynard

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-shadow-sylvain-reynard/1121863842?ean=9781101616673

http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Florentine-Sylvain-Reynard/dp/0425266508/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-raven/id888019240?mt=11

Raven watched as William efficiently disrobed, neatly folding every article of black clothing (with the exception of underwear, which he never wore), and placing it on the vanity.

She brushed imaginary lint from her dress as he stood in front of her, naked.

He was under six feet in height, his body lean and strong. Raven took a moment to appreciate the definition of his muscled chest and abdomen, and the strong cast to his thighs. Not even a statue carved by the most talented sculptor could create a being with so much perfection.

His face put her in mind of an angel with intense, gray eyes that now looked at her expectantly.

She hid her face. “You said you loved me.”

“I did. What’s more, I meant it.”

“Love is a peculiar thing. I’ve seen it. I’ve even cheered for it. But I never believed it was for me.”

“Why shouldn’t a beautiful, fierce young woman hope for love?”

“Because, as you put it, human beings are shallow.”

“Love is deep.” His rich voice echoed in the bathroom.

“Love is having the power to destroy another person.”

William stepped closer. “Are you afraid of being destroyed?”

“Destroyed, consumed, betrayed.” She fidgeted with the neckline of her gown.

William placed his hand over hers, stilling it. “Love creates; it doesn’t destroy.”

His lips found the place where her neck met her shoulder. He kissed her leisurely, tracing the path of her bared collarbone with his mouth.

His fingers brushed her zipper. “Let me.”

He undid her dress, dropping it to the marble tiles.

Her bra followed. She was as naked as he.

His eyes roved her body appraisingly. His pale fingers caressed her cheek, her mouth, and her neck. His strong hands cupped her breasts, her abdomen, and her hips.

His gray eyes met hers.

“The power you describe is the power you have here.” He touched her forehead before moving his hand to cover her heart. “And here. It’s the power you have over me. Power I haven’t yielded to another since I was human.”

He brought his lips to her ear. “Your fears are shared.”

With a slow kiss on her neck, he led her into the shower, standing behind her underneath a tropical rainfall showerhead.

Raven closed her eyes and lifted her face, like a flower following the sun. The warm water soaked her hair and streamed down the generous curves of her body.

“I’ve never showered with another person. What happens next?” William rested his hands on her shoulders.

She wiped the water from her face.

“Whatever you want. Just don’t let me fall.”

William’s gaze dropped to her right leg, which she was favoring.

“Is the pain terrible?”

“It’s worse after I’ve been lying down. Sometimes I topple over.”

William spread his arm around her waist, drawing her back to his chest. “Then I must be sure to catch you.”

She kissed him, reaching up to run her fingers through his wet hair as the water poured down their shoulders.

Her motions were fraught with an eagerness born of love and affection and the relief of remembering she hadn’t lost him.

He was hers.

Even now, naked, with a myriad of flaws few men overlooked, he embraced her. He embraced her imperfections.

He loved her.

His cool hands scorched her skin, splaying fingers wide over her abdomen and bringing her backside into contact with what rose between his hips.

She gave him her weight and he held firm, nipping and licking at her lips before enticing her to enter his mouth.

He entertained the intrusion for a moment or two then, with a growl, he spun her around, pressing their chests together.

Raven looked up into blazing gray eyes.

“Are you certain?”

She nodded.

“I need the words, Raven. I need to know you want this.”

“I want you.”

He took her mouth, his tongue alternately penetrating and retreating in a sensual rhythm.

She tilted her head, welcoming him, as the water continued to rain down.

Hands roamed over slick skin as their lower bodies came into alignment. She touched his neck, his shoulders, his biceps, holding them tightly in an effort to remain upright.

William was not a tame lover.

In his arms, she sensed his control, his desire, and the war that waged between the two. But he’d never harmed her and had always focused his attention on giving pleasure before taking it. Usually more than once.

“You’re a dream,” she sighed. “A dream of love I never thought I’d have.”

His eyes burned into hers.

Without warning, he lifted her, tugging her thighs around his hips.

He lowered his mouth to her breasts, tasting and teasing before sucking droplets of water from her eager flesh.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, feeling him eager between her legs.

He lifted her higher, hands beneath her backside, making sure he was correctly aligned.

“Breathe,” he commanded, his eyes boring in to hers.

Here was the vampyre, proud and powerful, teetering on the edge of control. He bared his teeth as if on instinct and his chest rumbled.

“Just don’t break me,” she whispered, pushing a lock of blond hair from his forehead.

William’s expression grew even more fierce.

“I won’t break you. Whatever harm I bring to you I vow to heal.”

He swallowed her reply with his kiss. Then with a single thrust, he entered her.

His kisses were as fierce as his movements as he pushed inside and withdrew, over and over. His grip on her backside tightened as he lifted and moved her in concert with his own motion.

Raven clung to him, her hand trailing to his lower back so she could urge him deeper.

Not that he needed the encouragement.

Her breasts brushed against his chest, the friction teasing and arousing.

She ignored the warm spray of the water, the scent of soap and William, and the nagging discomfort in her leg and ankle. Her focus was on feeling as he brought her swiftly to the brink of orgasm.

Before she could signal how close she was, she climaxed, her hand clutching his neck as she threw her head back.

William continued his pace until she’d finished, his mouth dropping to her breasts, drawing one of them into his mouth.

When she opened her eyes, she found him staring at her hungrily.

“I have only begun,” he rasped. “Breathe.”

I hope you have enjoyed this teaser as much I have 😉

Thank You SR for sharing!

P.S. I promise the Doughnuts are coming

❤ KK

The Dinner Party

This journey started over a year ago when my sister, Judy, approached me and asked if I would be interested, with her help, in donating a gourmet dinner for six to be auctioned off at the First Annual Jaime Vick-Moran Golf Outing.  Without hesitation, I said I would be glad to.  Well, nerves did not set in until we arrived at the outing in 2014 and saw how many people attended and were interested in a gourmet dinner.   A lovely couple, Barb and Mark Turner, won the dinner.  They are from Oakdale Pa, about an hour from where I live.  So the adventure begins.  We arrived at the Turner’s on September 14, 2014.  The dinner was a huge success and everyone, including my sister and I, enjoyed the evening.  We arrived as strangers, were welcomed as friends, and left that evening as family.  Fast forward to 2015.  We were asked again to donate a dinner for six to the auction, and again, without hesitation, Judy and I said yes.  I could not attend the event this year because I was in a cast up to my knee.  So Judy went to represent us both and to support the outing.  Before Judy left to go to the outing, I jokingly said to her, wouldn’t it be great if the Turner’s won it again.  She laughed at me and replied “I just had the same thought.”  Later that evening, Judy called me from the outing and says “you’ll never believe it, the Turner’s won again!” So on August 14, 2015, we found ourselves in Oakdale cooking for the same group of people plus 3.  We were home again.

Second Annual Golf Outing Oval 2015http://www.jaimestrong.org/

Last year’s menu was Land and Sea.  It contained dishes that I had learned to cook while on a culinary tour of Italy along with a few I never made before that night.  Crazy. I know.  Especially when you arrive at the house to prepare the meal, and the host informs you that there will be a retired chef attending the party lol, NO Fear!

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The first course was a Tomato Basil Tart.  This is great to make a day ahead and is served at room temperature.  The tart was followed by a butter lettuce salad with a citrus lime vinaigrette.  The fish I had never made before that night. It was a recipe for Black Cod, but I substituted Wild Alaskan Flounder for the cod.   The Filletto Alle Nespole was a dish I learned to cook while at the Hotel Majestic-Sorrento.  This was accompanied by homemade Potato Gnocchi tossed in a brown butter sauce.  The main course was followed with an assortment of imported cheeses and fruit.  Dessert was a homemade Tiramisu.   No one went away hungry.   Before the guest arrived, Barb asked if I would mind serving the entree family style, and I replied “not a problem”.  She smiled and said “thank God you’re not formal and stuffy.”  We all had a great laugh. She and her husband, Mark, stayed in the kitchen and talked to Judy and I while we cooked.  The Turner’s and their friends were so welcoming that we felt like we were at home with old friends.

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Please Note that the following recipes are a bit unorthadox. I was taught how to make these dishes when I was on  a School Culinary Tour of  Italy.

Filletto alle Nespole: for 6

6  1/2 in thick beef filet’s (room temperature and patted dry)

Slice  (4) nestles (sugar pears) or  (2)peaches (Note:  I have used a combination of peaches and sugar pears in the recipe, also if you cannot find sugar pears, you can sub Bosc pear.)

Dredge beef filet in flour seasoned with kosher salt and fresh crack pepper and brown in about 2 tablespoons of Olive oil. While browning you will add to the skillet 3 cloves, couple sprigs of thyme, salt and pepper. This will take about 3 minutes per side, make sure the skillet is nice and hot to insure a good sear.  When you turn the filet over to brown the second side, this is when you will add the spices.  Next, deglaze the filet with white wine and beef broth, about 1 cup of each, add the nespoles or peaches.  Cover and simmer until beef is medium done, around  7 minutes give or take.  Total cook time is about 13 minute.

Tiramisu: makes 10 servings

2 quart round soufflé dish.

3/4 cup Espresso coffee, brewed fresh ( you may use instant if you must..lol)

3 tablespoons of Dark Rum or Amaretto

2 large organic  eggs (room temperature)

1 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

1 16 oz container  mascarpone cheese (soften)

2 tablespoons of heavy cream

18 Savoy biscuits (Savoiardi) about 3/4  7oz package, or regular ladyfingers

1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, grated, about 1/3 cup, plus additional for serving, optional.

In small bowl combine espresso and liquor of your choosing; set aside. In a medium size metal bowl combine eggs, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the espresso mixture.  Using a hand held mixture at low speed, beat mixture for 5 to 7 minutes, add vanilla to the mixture; increase speed to high. Beat about 7 minutes or until mixture has doubled in volume and is glossy and slightly thickened.  With mixer at low speed beat in mascarpone just until blended. Using rubber spatula, gently stir in heavy cream just to blend.   Arrange half of Savoy biscuits of bottom of 2-quart round soufflé dish. Cutting to fit if necessary. Brush with half of the reserved espresso mixture: spoon half of mascarpone mixture on top; sprinkle with half of grated chocolate. Repeat layers, using remaining biscuits, mascarpone mixture, and grated chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours or over night to allow biscuits to soften and flavors to blend.  Spoon into dessert glasses to serve, sprinkling with additional grated chocolate, if desired. Makes 10 servings.  I have doubled the recipe and prepared it in a 9×13 pan.  Note:  I know some people can be weirded out by using raw eggs; if this concerns you two things can be done.  1. Use  pasteurized eggs. 2. Place your mixture of eggs and sugar over simmering water, you will beat this mixture for 5 -12 minutes or until the instant read thermometer registers 160 f or 71 c. Add the vanilla to mixture; increase mixing speed to high. Beat about 7 minutes or until mixture has doubled in volume and is glossy and slightly thick. Remove bowl from the double boiler; cool slightly. With mixer on low incorporate the mascarpone just until blended. Gently stir in heavy cream and proceed as instructed above putting the tiramisu together.  If you are going to use the double boiler method, be very carful not to scramble the egg mixture

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Dinner Party Friday, August 14, 2015:  We are back at the home of Barb and Mark Turner.  I was so excited that they won this auction item again this year.  It was like coming home.  But the comfort I felt cooking and being with people I truly admired and loved disappeared as panic set in – how in the world was I going to top last years dinner?  No one else had worries except me.  I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to believing in myself and my talent.  I had over a month to think about a menu because I was still in my cast.  I decided to go big!  I came up with an original appetizer, did a twist on veal Osso Buco, created a cold potato leak with arugula soup, made saffron polenta with Gruyere cheese, and sautéed baby green beans with garlic, lemon and olive oil.  We once again served assorted imported cheeses and fruit and then for dessert an Italian Limoncello cheese cake.    They all took a walk around the neighborhood between the cheese course and dessert.   The evening was a blast.  The diners enjoyed everything, and the most touching thing was when Barb asked if I would mind if they prayed for me and ask for healing of my foot.  It was also decided that this Dinner Party would be a annual event regardless if they win the auction or not.  I am truly blessed with family and friends and the best sous chef, my sister, Judy.

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Chicken Osso Buco

Dutch Oven or deep electric skillet

9 bone in skin on organic chicken thighs

1 cup of diced celery

1 cup of diced carrots

1 large sweet onion diced

1 red bell pepper diced

8oz package of mushrooms diced

1 smashed clove of garlic

seasoned flour ( equal parts bread flour and parmesan cheese, salt and pepper )

2 cups or half a bottle of a dry white wine

1 box of organic chicken broth

1 can diced tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of Olive oil

1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken thighs and dredge in the season flour; place and brown in the heated pan. Remove the chicken from the pan, turn down the heat slightly and add the vegetables starting with celery, carrots, onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic.  Sauté until vegetables start to soften; then deglaze with the wine. Place chicken on top of the vegetables, add the chicken broth and the can of diced tomatoes; cover with lid and simmer.  If using an electric skillet set your temperature to 250 f or 130 c, if using a Dutch over turn the heat down to medium-low for a gentle simmer.  Cook for a minimum of 45 minutes, but the longer you cook it the more the flavors will meld together and the chicken will fall off the bone.  I served this over saffron and cheese polenta and garnished the chicken with an Italian Sofrito made with parsley,lemon juice, lemon zest,white wine, garlic and extra virgin olive oil

My Italian Sofrito

1 bunch of flat leaf or Italian Parsley

juice of one lemon

1 clove of garlic

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Put Everything in the  food processor, pules  you don’t won’t it to be to smooth, you want to see bits of parsley and lemon zest.

Limoncello  Italian Cheese Cake  Serves 12

Bake at 350 f or 180 c for 1 hour and 15 mn

8 inch spring form pan

1 tablespoon of soften unsalted butter

1 tablespoon of sugar mixed with 3 tablespoons of plain dried bread crumbs

32 oz of whole milk ricotta cheese (place in a strainer for 30 minutes

16 oz of cream cheese cut into chunks and soften

2 large eggs ( room temperature slightly beaten)

2 tablespoons of unsalted Matzo Meal

1/2 cup of Sugar ( I use sugar in the Raw)

1 1/2 tablespoon of Limoncello ( I used  VILLA MASSA  PIANO De SORRENTO  ITALY)

1/2 Tablespoon of real vanilla extract

2 tablespoons of lemon zest

1/8 teaspoon of salt

powder sugar for dusting (optional)

Coat the spring form pan with the tablespoon of soften butter, then add the sugar and bread crumb mixture. Make sure the whole pan is coated and dump out the excess and set aside.  In a food processor puree the ricotta cheese for 15 seconds, scrape sides down and puree until smooth. Add the cream cheese, puree until smooth; scrape down the sides.  Add the remaining ingredients pulse, scrape down the sides and puree for 30 sec; pour mixture into prepared spring form pan. Bake at 350 f or 180 c for an 1 hour 15 min. It will be giggly.  Note I placed a cake pan underneath with water when baking.  Remove from oven cool completely before refrigerating.  Serve chilled.  Dust with powder sugar top with your favorite fruit and enjoy.  I served mine with a cold fresh blue berry sauce.

Enjoy!  Stay tuned for my next blog, I had my first special request regarding Doughnuts

KK

Cover Reveal For Book 5 of L. B. Dunbar’s Legendary Rock Stars Series

The Trials of Guinevere DeGrance is Coming September 14,2015! 

To learn more about this series and LB other wonderful books, Check out my Blog Post Camelot on July 23 2015

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The Trials of Guinevere DeGrance
The epic tale concludes…9.14.15
Don’t judge me. I know you want to, but let’s get some facts straight in my defense.
1. I love Arturo King
2. Arturo left me behind.
3. I was lonely.
4. Lansing was an old friend.
5. I love Arturo King.
Did you burn the fictional damsel in distress that cuddled and kissed her best friend when her fantastical boyfriend disappeared for months? No, you didn’t. You sympathized with her loneliness before you read ahead to make sure the boyfriend was coming back to her. Loneliness is not a crime. It’s cruel to be alone, but not a crime, the last I knew. If it is a crime, I’ll light the match to ignite myself for what I’ve done. Goodness knows, I’m burning up with guilt as it is. In my defense, I want my story to be told before I’m judged too harshly. Arturo King might be a rock legend, but he and I are human. We make mistakes. Wemade mistakes. Do we need to suffer for all of eternity because of them? I hope not. The jury still seems to be out, though. The greater question is: Is it possible to rekindle our love, when the past could burn us all?
https://www.goodreads.com/…/25775789-the-trials-of-guinever…
LB Dunbar’s photo.

Summer Fun…….

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Are you asking yourself the question what does white paint, wooden fence, and Frosty & Karen have in common?  Well, they all came together on a hot summer day over forty years ago,  Our two older brothers were told to paint the fence on the farm and that they could have their two younger siblings help them, and I emphasize the word help . What was supposed to happen is Matt and I were to start at one end of the fence and Dan and Mike at the other and meet in the middle.  The older brothers were suppose to help because no parent in their right mind would arm an 8 year old and 11 year old with white oil based paint unsupervised. LOL

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Mike and I were set up to paint, but instead of letting us be on the same side of the fence, the older brothers were convinced that it would be much quicker if we were on opposite sides.  Dan and Matt left Mike and I to paint.  It was hot and we were board so the mischief began.   Mike dipped his paint brush and brought it up to the fence and mimics and informercial “Watch it, that’s a freshly dipped paint brush” then splat. I got splattered with paint, giggled, and at the same time whined “Mike stop it!” and he replies, it’s only paint.   My sister Sandy was at the kitchen window monitoring the situation, but when she saw us go back to painting she thought all was well….After awhile she heard through the window “Mike stop it, Mike please stop!” And then she heard my frustrated drawn out MIKE……she knew she had to separate us.   Seeing me covered in paint she came running out of the house, but then stopped in her tracks as she watched me paint my brother while singing Frosty The Snowman”  I sang the entire song……

Sandy grabbed both of us, took us to the cellar where there was a shower, stripped us to our underwear and scrubbed the paint off of us as quickly as possible.  While trying to reprimand us, she laughed at the same time.  We did not get in any other trouble for my parents felt the scrubbing with the turpentine and soap was enough punishment.  Though my mom did tell my sister, Sandy, to get us both out of the house before my dad got home from work.  We were given a long lecture about the dangers of oil based paint on skin…:) Sadly no one thought to take a picture of us covered in paint.

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Yes, we were back painting the fence the next day, but no-more “Frosty or Watch it, thats a freshly dipped paint brush”.   Mike and I would get into spats, but he was my best friend and we had many adventures together on the farm.  And his charm usually kept us out of trouble.  I never told him this before, but his love and friendship made high school bearable for me by letting me hang out with him and his friends.

Growing up, one of the things Mike and I did together was to make chocolate chip cookies.  My mom would smile, God bless her, because out of a recipe that made 3 dz cookies, we would get maybe 18.  Mike liked to make them big for two reasons, it took less time and eating one cookie was like having three at once.

Since I have already posted my chocolate chip cookies recipe, I’m going to share one of Mike’s favorite desserts, Chocolate Torte.  This recipe comes from my very first cookbook “Hershey’s Make it Chocolate“. I put a couple recipes together to make my chocolate torte. I will give you the original recipe first and at the bottom I tell you how I altered it.

IMG_1073Fudgey Pecan Torte

Ingredients heat oven 350 F or 180 C baking time is 45 mn

1 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 large eggs, separated and at room temperature

2/3 cup Hershey’s Cocoa

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I prefer to use bread flour)

3 tablespoons water

3/4 cups of chopped pecans (optional for those with nut allergies)

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

1/8 tsp salt

Royal Glaze: In a small sauce pan combine 1 1/3 cups of Hershey’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and 1/2 cup whipping cream. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until chips are melted and mixture begins to thicken.

Procedure: Line bottom of 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil; butter foil and side of pan.  Heat oven to 350 f or 180 c. In large mixer bowl combine melted butter, sugar and vanilla; beat well.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in cocoa, flour and water; beat well. Stir in nuts.  In a small mixer bowl beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until stiff peaks form; carefully fold into chocolate mixture.  Pour into prepared pan. Bake 45 min or until top begins to crack slightly. Cool 1 hour. Cover; chill until firm.  Remove side of pan. Pour Royal Glaze over cake, allowing glaze to run down the side. Spread glaze evenly on top and side. Allow to set. Garnish with pecan halves, if desired. Serves 10 to 12

My kicked up version because I was young and fearless: Follow the recipe as is except if you are going to use pecans in the batter make sure they are finely chopped. Once the torte is cooled and chilled; sides removed, split the torte into four equal parts.  Place the first slice on a cake plater; spread chocolate mouse almost to the edge, repeat the process.  With the last slice flip it on top and peel away the foil.  Then pour the Royal Glaze on top, spreading evenly on top and side.  Allow to set. enjoy

Chocolate Mousse: recipe makes four 1/2 cup servings *Double the recipe for the Torte

Ingredients

1 Teaspoon unflavored gelatin

1 Tablespoon cold water

2 Tablespoons of boiling water

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa

1 cup chilled Whipping Cream

1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract

In small bowl sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand 1 minute to soften. Add boiling water;stir until gelatin in completely dissolved and mixture is clear.  Cool slightly. In small cold mixer bowl stir together sugar and cocoa; add whipping cream and vanilla. Beat at medium speed scraping bottom of bowl occasionally, until stiff peaks form; pour in gelatin mixture and  beat until well blended.  Use as a filling or place in individual serving bowls. Note: when doubling recipe you will use 1 entire envelope of gelatin/ double remaining ingredients. Follow the above directions and use a large chilled bowl.

Hope you have enjoyed this story and recipe. Until next time; KK

Camelot

That little word holds so many different memories for several generations

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Images of President Kennedy, Disney’s Sword and the Stone, Monty Pythons Holy Grail  and one’s favorite musical or movie rendition of the life of King Arthur .

Lets face it when we hear the word Camelot or the Name of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, a smile comes to our face’s for they represent something or someone special and magical and we all want to be a part of it.

At this moment and time, I think of the Legendary Rock Stars Series written by one  of my new favorite Author’s

LB Dunbar.

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Author of the Sensations Collection and the Legendary Rock Stars series. Contemporary New Adult Romance. http://www.lbdunbar.com

This Series is a modern day twist on the Story of King Arthur

The first book is called The Legend of Arturo King, he is a musician, who’s band is called the Nights.

images I could not put it down and I used a lot of kleenex. You immediately connect with all the characters and you know the Knights are more than just a rock band, they are brothers. Everyone has secrets and regrets but at the same time they would die for one another. The love story between Arturo and Guinevere is intense, beautiful, and tragic at the same time.

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I won an advance copy of The Story of Lansing Lotte, and was so excited.  I had just finished The Legend of Arturo King and wanted more. This book is worth waiting for, but I am glad i did not have to wait until its release on April 28th. Arturo is mentioned and so is the chaos the Knights and it members are going through.   But don’t be mistaken, this is Lansing’s story and journey. He learns about forgiveness, love, and that missed opportunities are not always meant to be recaptured. He is made to realize that his time with Guinevere has passed even though Arturo has disappeared.  Lansing would always be number #2 and he deserved to be someones #1. He is taught to forgive himself and except that he has someone waiting to save and love him. With the help of his best friend Galehaut, he see’s that Lila is there to save him and it is ok to let someone love you! Lansing has made some huge mistakes, and he takes full responsibility for them, but struggles through the darkness. In the end, he finds his way to the light, which not only helps him but also the Knights as they wait for Arturo’s return. I can’t wait to meet all the members of the Knights and learn their individual story’s. But most of all I’ll be waiting to find out how Arturo and Guinevere story ends. I want to take time and thank L.B. Dunbar for sharing this story and her talent.

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I am so lucky that I won an Arc copy of The Quest of Perkins Vale in return for an honest review. This is book three in the legendary Rocks stars by L.B. Dunbar, and it does not disappoint. It’s starts off at that fateful night when Perkins with the help of Arturo saves Hollister, the girl he’s been looking for for 12 yrs. We live through Arturo’s accident, but it’s told through other’s perspective.  We see how each of them felt and how they were there for each other. I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone, but you are going fall head over heals for Perkins Vale. He had contact with Arturo twice, and he tells Perkins to hold to Hollister no matter what.  We find out so much about the past through Perkins flash back of their youth and how the became a band of brothers.  I can’t wait for the band of brothers to come back together.   I’m really looking forward to Tristan’s story.   L.B. Dunbar, thanks again for writing & sharing another great story.

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The Truth of Tristan Lyons Book 4 goes live on July 27, 2015  your can find and place your pre-order  For Tristan Lyons at Amazon.com

If it wasn’t for the fact that I needed sleep I would of finished Tristan’s story in one day! I was given an Arc to read before the it’s release July 27 2015 for an honest review. I love this series and each story gets better & better. Each book not only tells the individual band members story.  Not who the media plays them out to be, but who they really are and how they became apart of the band. Yes I do know this is only a story..with that said, with everyone’s story you learn more about the Knights & how the guys are more than band mates but brothers. I don’t want to give anything away or spoil the story, but you are in for some big surprises & still left with many questions. Once again, great read & story! You will fall in love with Tristan and Ireland’s story 🙂 Add Tristan or any of the Knights to your TBR List on Goodreads www.goodreads.com

Below is the Sensation Collection by LB Dunbar, I accidentally stumbled upon a release party that was introducing this new author, what a find since that day I have read every book that she has written and published to date

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This is a beautiful story of love, Life, healing and destiny. Emily returns to her childhood summer home, to find her grandmother who raised her very frail and the house in much need of repairs. Emily could of never imagined the path her life was going to take when making that weekend trip. I met LB Dunbar the other night at a online Book Event & I won her flash contest & received The updated edition of Sound Advice, so very happy and I recommend this book as a must read.

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Taste Test is book two of the Sensations Collection, but I have to admit I read after books, 1, 4, and 3. That is what is so great about this collection each book stands on it own, but after reading each story you see the close connection between the Scott and Carter family. You also fall in love with the small town of Elk Rapids. Taste Test is a modern on Beauty and the beast, but it has its own special story to tell. Ethan Scott comes back home after loosing his scholarship to finish his last year of college. He feels lost and is struggling with fact that he is stuck on the cherry farm, the one place he was trying to get away from. He wants to be a chef and his father wants him to take over the family farm, since his brother Gavin never came back after college. Ethan takes a mystery job and cannot tell anyone who and where he works. We find out his employer is Jacob Vincent famous author who needed a cook and someone for protection, but we find out the protection is not for him. All the secrecy puts an even bigger strain on Ethan’s relationship with his father Jack Scott. We meet Ella Vincentia, Jacob’s niece. She hides because of scares on her face and is skittish around strangers, she has been through a traumatic event in her life. Ella is not very happy with Ethan or Jacob at first, but things soon change between her and Ethan. Ella has dreams of going and studying in NY to become a fashion designer, since her scars took her dream of being a model away. In the story we are introduced to Pam Cater and her connection with Jacob and Ella, along with Sara Scott, Ethan’s mother who is battling cancer for the second time. You must read the story to see if Ethan takes Jack and Sara’s advice and follow his heart. I am so thankful that I was lucky enough to win Sound Advice and meet L. B. Dunbar on Facebook back in March. I am excited to read the final book of this collection Sight Words, but at the same time sad to say goodbye to the Scott and Carter Families and Elk Rapids. Thank you L. B. Dunbar for sharing your talent and stories.

imagesI love this town and how these families connect with each other. Pam and Jacob are two souls tortured by their past. Pam feels she will never be the person that is asked to get married and Jacob feels he deserves only suffering. Through their struggles during their professional/friendship they push each other to change their own destinies. But through doubts, miscommunications, and fears they almost lose each other. With the help of family and friends, they not only open Pam and Jacobs eyes, they give them the push they need to come together. I am so grateful that I found this series and L.D. Dunbar

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Loved this book.  If this story and characters don’t effect you and touch your heart, I don’t know what will. I first became familiar with LB Dunbar when I won  a copy of Sound Advice, I immediately had a connection with the characters & the story.  During a cover reveal party ,I won a copy of Touch Screen. Gavin goes off to college in California to follow his dream of becoming a screen writer, but that meant leaving the family farm and disappointing the family.  When he returns home for a film festival, where his film is debuted, he reconnects with his first love.  Read this book, you won’t be sorry.  I need to go back and read TasteTest and Fragrance Free & look forward to not only to Sight Words.  Thank you again for sharing your Talent!

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Once again we are reunited with the Carter and Scott family, Sight Words is Tricia’s story. She has recently broken up with her long time boyfriend Trent Walker. We will find out later in the story that Trent was not the sweet home town boy everyone thought he was and Tricia was better off without him. Tricia’s life is turned upside down when a stranger arrives in town with his two young sisters. Leon Ramirez is hot and dangerous. He and his family is befriended by the Carter Family, Jess helps him out by giving a job. There is a strong attraction between Tricia and Leon, but both their past and secrets are holding them back. I don’t want to give to much away, but Leon has to go back to Chicago and seek permission to be released from the gang he was apart of during his youth. Before he leaves Elk Rapids, Leon breaks Tricia’s heart in order to protect her from being destroyed by his past. You’ll have to read the Story to find out if he wins Tricia’s heart back when he returns to Elk Rapids, but he must get past her brothers Jess and Tom first. I have really enjoyed the Sensations Collection and sad to say good bye to the Carter and Scott Family’s and the Town of Elk Rapids. Thank you so much for sharing their stories with us, L. B. you are a very talented story teller.

If you are in need of a good story I highly suggest you looking into the works of Author LB Dunbar

I hope you enjoyed todays post and I will be back soon with more family stories and recipes!

Thanks KK

Sunday’s Family Time and Supper

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Thinking back I realize how truly lucky my siblings and I were being raised on a small family farm with the unconditional love of our parents.  The luckiest thing of all is we are very close, and with the age differences we never felt like two families.

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Sunday always started with going to church.  We usually attended 8 am mass. Polkas would play on the car radio to and from church.  To a kid it felt like punishment, but all kidding aside, it was happy music.  My dad would make us laugh when slowing down the car for a traffic light pumping the breaks in time with the music.  Manny things would happen on Sunday.  After mass, we would stop at one of two neighborhood stores,  Little Russias’s or Delbane’s Market, and get doughnuts.  The doughnuts would be hot and fresh.  We all loved what we as kids called cow plops. (they were a huge cinnamon roll doughnut with maple icing) It was little Russia’s specialty.  Delbane’s Market had the best cake and filled doughnuts.  In the summer time, if we went to 11 am mass, we would stop at the Isaly’s store.  Sometimes would get chipped ham(which is known and famous around the Pittsburgh area) to make BBQ sandwiches for Sunday lunch and Dad would surprise us with Ice cream, a gallon of TAF(toasted almond fudge).  He would also get a gallon of Vanilla for those crazy people in my family who did not like chocolate. LOL 🙂

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You could always count on certain things happening on Sunday, besides the normal chores. Polkas playing on the radio and watching The Paul Shannon Adventure Hour, a local TV program out of New Castle PA that showed old cartoons and the Three Stooges skits.  Our neighbor Mr. Sanderbeck, who we referred to as Grandpap Sanderbeck, would come and play Pinochle with my dad and uncles.  Sometimes we would get a surprise visit from other family and friends.  In the summertime, we would play outside or get into some kind of mischief.  In the winter, if there was snow, you could find us sledding or building snow forts or snowmen.  If it was too cold, we would be inside playing Monopoly, conquering the world with Risk or just a simple card game.

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Sunday Dinner was a great ending to the day.  Our favorite was when mom would make pot roast with carrots and potatoes.  You could smell it cooking all day in a Dutch oven low and slow.  The potatoes would be brown from the beautiful juices, the carrots would be soft and the meat would just melt in your mouth.  Sunday dinner would end with dessert.  It could be cake, pie or simply ice cream.

We were so very blessed to not only to grow up on a farm, but to have a family that was supportive and gave unconditional love.  Don’t get me wrong we had our sibling rivalries, but in the end we had each other’s back and it is still like that today.

Mom’s Sunday Roast            e41792f33f90a040d440e301f0ae989e

Cuts of meats that can be used: Grass fed chuck or shoulder roast.
Plan for a 3-4oz serving of meat per person. A 3 pound roast would be great for 8 people. We had a large family so mom cooked 5-10 pounds, sometimes larger….lol

6 large carrots peeled and cut into 1” chunks (now you can use ready to eat baby carrots)
2 large sweet or Spanish onions, peeled and quartered
3 pounds of Idaho or Yukon potatoes, peeled and quartered
8 ounces of water
Note: You can use a combination of broth and red wine, but mom just used water.
Salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
Garlic 2-3 Cloves sliced
1 Tbsp of dried Oregano (use fresh if you have it)
2 bay leaves

Let the meat come to room temperature, pat dry. Cut several slits into the roast and set in slices of garlic. (how much to use is totally your personal preference). Season the meat with Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Brown the roast on all sides and place in a Dutch oven. Add the oregano and bay leaves and top with carrots, onions, and potatoes. Add a small pinch of salt and pepper to the vetables. Add the liquid, cover and place in the oven. Cook at 375 F or 190 C for 4-5 hours. Check the roast every 30 minutes or so and add liquid ad needed. You want the roast to go almost dry, but don’t burn it. By letting your roast go almost dry, you are developing those rich, flavorful juices. At the end of the cooking process, you will have the most delicious roast, juices and vegetables. Serve with your favorite hot dinner rolls so you can mop up and enjoy all the flavors.

Note: You can thicken the cooking juices into a gravy, but mom always left them thin.

Enjoy!!!!!!