Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Very Changeling Christmas Contest

We're just a LITTLE excited about Christmas -- and we should be! This is our FIFTH Changeling Christmas!(Which means Februarys is our fifth BIRTHDAY! Woohoo!)

Our Fifth Annual Very Changeling Christmas Contest begins December 1st
with the first of 12 Gingersnaps:

Gingersnaps: Santa Paws Lena Austin
Gingersnaps: Canine Cop BJ McCall
Gingersnaps: Serendipity 5A Dawn Montgomery
Gingersnaps: Christmas Knight Alecia Monaco
Gingersnaps: Another Chance L. Shannon
Gingersnaps: Cupid Sierra Dafoe
Gingersnaps: Serendipity 7C Lexxie Couper
Gingersnaps: Sophie’s Present Anne Kane
Gingersnaps: Summoning Leila Brown
Gingersnaps: Sugar Plums Kate Hill
Gingersnaps: Pole Serpent Renee George
Gingersnaps: Christmas Party Moira Rogers

12 Changeling Gingersnaps, 12 Chances to Win!

Grand Prize: Free E-Books For a Year(All Changeling 2009 e-book releases)
Five First Place Winners will each receive free E-books for a month (All Changeling January 2009 e-book releases)
10 runners-up will receive Five Free Downloads of their choice.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Post-Mortem

Dante and I always do a post-mortem on the feast the next day. We do have a few notes.

1. Doing a brine rocks! We modified Aton Brown's Roast Turkey brine by using leftover turkey broth we had frozen, but the results were well worth the effort. The turkey was so moist, you could cut it with a fork. Halfway through the cooking time we had to stop and remove some of the broth from the roaster for fear the turkey was boiling, not roasting.

The reserved broth was the perfect stuff to make the gravy, since it had time to sit on the counter and the fat rose to the top to be removed. We didn't need to save it because we had a little sage butter left from when we put some under and in the turkey, so it formed the basis of our roux for the gravy rather than plain old turkey fat.

2. I'm adding a note that next year we make the Roasted Asparagus and Leeks the day before to allow the vinegar and flavors to infuse into the veggies. The huge amount we cooked just could not get done while the turkey rested, and the flavors hadn't really worked their way into the veggies. Today, however, they're delicious.

3. Making some of the recipes ahead worked beautifully. After a small flurry of activity in the morning while we got the turkey out of the brine and put the sage butter "coins" under the skin, we were able to enjoy our guests as they arrived, offer them beverages, show them the munchies, and yak out on the porch. When the timer went off, Dante and I excused ourselves to baste or whatever, but other than that we were relaxed and sociable. That alone is a miracle in our tiny "two butt" kitchen. (Insider joke: The kitchen is so small, two butts rub together and three is real intimacy.)

Other than these minor additions, all the recipes go into the book with no changes. Most are tried and true recipes, so they need no new notes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Recipe: Exquisite Egg Nog

I know! I know! How dare I serve a raw egg eggnog? Well, I do dare, dammit. Y'all can spend your time and money making those cooked custard type eggnogs, but I'll take this every time. We don't add the bourbon or brandy. It's just not in us to spike the eggnog. For added safety, you can use pasteurized eggs if you're feeling nervous.

Our tradition is to serve the eggnog in the evening with the Snowballs (Yes, I'll post that recipe too.) and toast the beginning of the winter holidays. Why the Snowballs? Come back tomorrow and find out.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Recipe: Sweet Potato Pie

Yes, I'm from the South. They'd take away my Southern Belle ID card if I didn't include Sweet Potato Pie!
I use the food processor for the finest blend possible. Butter Pecan or Pralines and Cream work best for the ice cream.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Recipe: Peanut Butter Balls

Yes, I know it's faint. That's what happens to recipes that are close to forty years old.

2 cups of peanut butter

1 lb margarine, softened

2 tsp. vanilla

2 boxes confectioner's sugar

Blend all ingredients together. Roll into small balls. Dip into chocolate Candy Melts, if desired. (This is a change from what Cindy wrote. Candy Melts are a modern alternative to her recipe.)

Candy Melts are the easy way to get chocolate dips and candy. Go here:

I love candy melts! They come in a variety of colors and flavors for creativity with little effort. Candymaking becomes a snap with Candy Melts. You can really be impressive for next to no effort with Candy Melts.

Update: I found some Candy Melts at Wal-Mart, JoAnn's Fabrics, and Michael's Crafts.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Recipe: Indian Corn

I posted this recipe on another one of my blogs, but it's worth repeating. IMHO, it's better than a rice krispies treat. I don't bother with the sticks. Let's face it, not many of my cookies and desserts last long enough to get fancy. This one is colorful and seasonally appropriate as is.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Mystery Solved-- Roast Turkey with Sage Butter Recipe found!

I've been looking for this recipe for years. We found it in Bon Appetit magazine back in the '90's and have been winging it ever since we lost it in a move.

I'm so happy! Dante's attempts to reproduce this delicious recipe have been successful, but it's nice to have the original back. Hooray!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Recipe: Pumpkin Cheesecake

Okay, I cheat. I subsititute a pre-made store-bought graham cracker crust and use Cool Whip Free on top, but the general recipe is delicious!
This recipe came to me from during the early days when Leanne gave away the holiday menus. I can't stress enough how wonderful Leanne and her site are. There's nothing so priceless as time, and getting the menu mailer is worth every cent you pay. If you struggle every week with what to serve that fits you and your family, then is for you! They can even handle most special needs like low carb, diabetic, vegetarian, and gluten-free to give you just a few examples. Best of all, the grocery list is included. Try it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Get Rich Slowly-- The Blog

OMG! Did I just find the coolest blog for these economically challenging times:

I love the self-warranty idea especially. Since I buy appliances on a cash basis, declining the extended warranty and putting the money I would have spent into my emergency fund makes a lot of sense. Then I get the interest instead of some company that puts up too many restrictions on my being able to collect on the warranty later.

Recipe: Impossible Pecan Pie with New Variations

This requires explanations, obviously. Spread the pecans in the sprayed pie plate. Whirl up the rest of the ingredients in the blender or food processor until smooth. Pour over the nuts. Bake at 350F for 50-55 min. Cool for 5 minutes.
Nut Pie: Prepare as above, but substitute coarsely chopped peanuts, macadamia nuts, or cashews for the pecans. (Mix and match works too.)
Coconut Oatmeal Pie: Prepare as above but subsitute 3/4 cup coconut and 1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats (oatmeal) for the pecans.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Want to Hear Me on BlogTalkRadio?

Do you know BlogTalkRadio? Want to hear my infamous "whiskey and cream" voice? I chatted with Stella Price LIVE the other day on her BlogTalkRadioShow.

Here's the address:

Just turn up your speakers!


Recipe: Sensational Double Layer Pumpkin Pie

Every year, we experiment with one or two new recipes. In 2008, this is one of our new recipes to try.
We'll do as much as we can, such as substituting Cool Whip Free and Sugar Free pudding, but this one is too new to mess with too much. I'll let you know.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Danger Zone Recipe: Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding

There are some things worth the guilt and indulgence. This is one of them. You can reduce the impact by substituting 2% milk, Sugar Free French Vanilla pudding, Neufactel (sp) cream cheese, low fat sweetened condensed milk, and Cool Whip Free.
However, don't kid yourself. This is a major sin. Good thing the holidays only come once a year, or we'd all look like sofa cushions.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Recipe: Mashed Rutabagas

After the rutabagas have cooked until they are soft, I run them through the food processor for a smooth as silk mash. While they're whirling around, I add the milk, butter, lemon, and seasonings. Now I admit, I add about a half cup of Splenda to mine for a sweeter taste. That's personal, and adds no extra carbs.
Considering mashed potatoes are at least 23g of carbs per serving, this is a significant savings on a day when you *know* you're going to be naughty. Don't give up and be a pig! Save where you can.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recipe: Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Imagine my shock when I found out some people didn't know how to do this and spent extra money on those canned versions. Baby, wake up and taste the difference! I do recommend wearing an apron when making this a day or two before the feast. When those skins start to pop, you are going to get drops on you. Be wise and be prepared, or someone will think you've developed chicken pox.
I always make this in advance since it stores well in the refrigerator and tastes even better for the chilling. Just let it cool and store in a well-sealed container.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Recipe: Stuffin Muffins

For those families who love that crunchy bit of stuffing, this is the answer. You avoid the possibility of food poisoning by never having the stuffing near the bird, and there's more crunchy bits to go around without fist fights.

You can see I made a note about going lighter on the onions. Ours came out too "oniony" and I personally blame the onion being cut too chunky. This year, I'll be using an onion in several recipes, so I'll chop up a couple in the food processor and scoop out what I need from a ziploc bag.

I just got the "I Love Your Blog Award!"

Did you see the cute little icon? Yes, Sloane Taylor ( awarded me this little darling.

I like this idea so much, I'm going to award it to a few of my friends.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Recipe: Green Beans with Apple Cider

If you time this recipe correctly, it's ready in a snap while the turkey rests before carving. Fast and easy! Even better, it uses bags of frozen beans.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Recipe: Praline Yams * * * *

This recipe has been in my holiday file for many years now. I got it off the back of a can of cut yams, so hence the specification of a brand. You can ignore it if you wish.
If your family has a sweet tooth like mine, I suggest you double this. Works fine in a crock pot, but spray the sides well with cooking spray or you'll still be scrubbing a week later. Better yet, use a crock pot liner.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Recipe: Oven Roasted Asparagus and Leeks

Don't you dare turn your nose up at this until you try it. I don't give out four stars to just any old recipe, thank you!

Do wash those lovely green leeks thoroughly. Blasted things get so sandy.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Recipe: Autumn Potato Gratin

Then again, there are those who can have all the carbs they want. For my beloved DH, this is his potatoes. Perhaps it's a good thing my son-in-law Phil is 2000 miles away, or there would be a battle royal!

This easy gratin is a snap to make and darn near irresistible. I'm glad my DH runs off with this dish to the porch for a pig out as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Recipe: Fauxtatoes Deluxe Low Carb!

For those of us on low carb diets, missing the mashed potatoes at holidays is pure torture. This recipe makes the pain a lot less.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Recipe: Roast Turkey and Pan Gravy

This is the easiest and most detailed explanation on how to roast a turkey with a minimum of fuss.
I've had this tiny booklet since 1990, and I've depended upon it for all these eighteen years.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Welcome to the Age of Repression. Please strip bare.

I cut and pasted this from They said it better than I can. I'm sorry to say Ammendment 2 passed. Welcome to the Age of Repression. I wouldn't be surprised if another Burning Times is around the corner.

"Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."

Consequences: Similar amendments in other states are being used to take away benefits from public employees (Kentucky, for instance), and dissolve domestic partnership registries used to provide health care benefits and pensions (in Michigan).Broward and Palm Beach Counties and the cities of Tampa, Gainesville and Miami Beach, among others, offer Domestic Partnership Registries. Most Florida universities and more than half of Fortune 500 companies offer Domestic Partnership benefits. These benefits would be placed at risk, if not outright abolished, if this amendment passes.Every unmarried Floridian will be impacted by this amendment - especially divorced or widowed seniors and public employees who, under existing programs, can share some benefits such as hospital visitation privileges and health care coverage without being married.

Hurting Seniors Amendment 2 could force seniors to choose between important benefits like sharing health care and important government benefits.

"Gay Marriage" Bait & Switch Amendment 2 claims to ban "gay marriage" but Florida already has multiple laws banning same-sex marriage.

Massive Government Intrusion Amendment 2 puts the government where it doesn't belong - regulating the personal relationships of Floridians. Hey, Governor! Keep your laws off my body and your nose out of my bedroom!

Hiring Expensive Lawyers Amendment 2 could force unmarried Floridians to hire expensive private lawyers just to protect their basic legal rights. Here I think is the real crux of why this legislation even made it to the ballots. The lawyers can now charge outrageous fees as unmarried domestic partners must come to them in hopes of protecting communal property and giving each other the hope of having the one they live with and who knows them best some rights.

Dramatic Consequences Amendment 2 could take away job benefits from university employees and be used as a defense to domestic violence - as in other states which passed similar amendments. Why am I not surprised?

Recipe: Chocolate Pleasers

These delicious bites satisfy a sweet tooth without completely ruining the appetite.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Recipe: Crunchy Minglers

This Ranch flavored mix is an alternative without nuts. It's quick and stores well. Make this days ahead and hide it well.
I use the Range-top directions.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

JERR Reviewed Spaceport: Time Bomb

Wow!! Thank you Tallyn!

Title: Spaceport: Time Bomb

Author: Lena Austin

Publisher: Changeling Press

Reviewer: Tallyn Porter

Rating: 4 Stars

Heat level: H

Captain Pepper Corstorphine of the spaceship Tor is a salvager and a pirate. Traveling alongside her is her cyborg friend and ally Kade Starke. They need a lucrative find to set them for a lifetime, but when they finally hit the jackpot with a 21st Century Earth ship called the Louvre, their dreams of the future are put on hold. Other salvagers and pirates want not only the valuables within the Louvre for themselves but the most priceless item in cryo-stasis named Dr. Logan MacDonald, whose eidetic memory is all that is left of Earth’s cultural treasures which has been long since destroyed.

Time Bomb is an exciting, emotional and romantic futuristic tale about hope within two people and the society they live in. Pepper is scared physically and emotionally, which has made her weary of men. While Logan maybe from another era, he’s a true gentleman whose kind soul helps Pepper to deal with her past experiences. The atmosphere is dark and wonderfully realistic. I love the meticulous details Ms. Austin has incorporated within the story. I believe that the reader doesn’t have to be a science fiction fanatic to understand the gadgets of this time period. I found the chemistry between Pepper and Logan quite passionate, which includes a very memorable “waking up from stasis” interlude, m/f/m, and oral stimulation. I find Pepper, Logan and Kade such likeable characters. Pepper and Kade may have been brought up in a savage and free for all up bringing, but in meeting Logan, the glimmer of humanity within Pepper and Kade surfaces. I quite enjoyed the various secondary characters that are either friends or foes yet help Pepper and Logan with their adventure. Ms. Austin has created a wonderful and enjoyable tale that I couldn’t put down. I look forward to reading future stories. Thanks!

Tallyn Porter

Just Erotic Romance Reviews

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Recipe: Onion Blossom Appetizer

This dependable do-ahead is one that always makes the men happy and keeps them out of my already tiny kitchen.
I can even hand the boys the Fry Daddy and the pepared onion. Warning!! Dry that onion thoroughly after the ice bath. Turn it over and be patient. Water in your frying oil engenders a very painful lesson --water makes oil pop.
The ranch-style dressing on the side is perfect. The guys are happy to do the frying, and the snacks keep them from hovering like vultures.

Lena's Thanksgiving Recipe Collection-- A chat with Sloane Taylor

My friend Sloane Taylor wrote:

Tell those young pups the world deserves to know good recipes. They're hard to come by.

Sloane TaylorSweet as Honey...Hotter than Hell

Darn right. Even my mother admits she was dubious about the Roasted Asparagus and Leeks until she tried it. I'm tripling that recipe this year. I already have to triple most of the recipes in my collection, or everyone complains bitterly. The only one Dante and I alone will share in all likelihood is the Fauxtatoes Deluxe. That's a low-carb alternative to the mashed potatoes and Autumn Potato Gratin. I may even make the Gratin in a low-carb version, just so I don't feel deprived too much.

The worst irony of the story of the Roast Turkey with Sage Butter recipe is the same as the Snowball recipe. Everyone loved them so much, we put the recipes "in a safe place" and promptly lost them! I found most of my other recipes over the years, but those two I mentioned remained lost until just this year. Two years ago I designated a special binder for my holiday recipes and put sheet protectors inside. When I found one of my "specials" I dumped it in the sheet protectors to preserve it. I found the Snowballs recipe this past summer, and now finally the last-- Roast Turkey with Sage Butter. The collection of the best of the best is nearly complete.

There are a few Christmas recipes yet to fulfill, such as the Blonde Fruitcake my grandmother made. I have her recipe books, but I've not had the ability or energy to make all those fruitcakes to find which one it was. This year, I may give a few a try. One of them has got to be the one my grandmother and mother made in the fall and doused with good Kentucky bourbon or dark rum, wrapped in cheesecloth, shut in a tin, and hid in the linen closet until Christmas. Mom doesn't remember the recipe, except it came out of one of the cookbooks I inherited. (Frustrated scream)

My grandmother died when I was only twelve, so all her secret recipes were lost. My mother, bless her, is an unenthusiastic cook at best. All I have are the cookbooks and a few scribbled notes on the sides of some of the pages. Some of those notes helped me identify a few almost-lost recipes, like the Red Velvet Cake that is completely from scratch. There's a secret ingredient that elevates it from "chocolate caked dyed red" to a sublime confection. I took the cake decorating class with Red Velvet Cake and my White Chocolate Cake with Cherry Liqueur Filling in mind. Those have to be perfect layer cakes, or it's just not worth doing. I'm still scouring thrift stores for the right cake display tiers. (I will not pay those exorbitant rates for the things in kitchen stores! My last name is not Rockefeller!)


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Thanks for popping by! Don't sit on the whipping horse unless you want to find out how it's used. I speak my mind and annoy many people, but all of it is meant in good spirit. Feel free to argue with me. I like it.

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