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Recipe: Mom's Best Pumpkin Bars

Mon, 2017-10-30 19:02 -- Jocelyn Green
It's pumpkin season! That means there is no reason not to make these delicious bars. This version is an adaptation of three of my mom's pumpkin bar recipes. It's the best from each! You can add raisins and/or walnuts if you like, but since my children are opposed to finding "debris" in their bars, these are simple and still so delicious. This recipe makes a LOT of bars, so it's great to share with others. OR make a pan, frost them, and freeze as many as you want to! I experimented with this, myself, since you all know my love of making food ahead and freezing it. I was going to wait two months to see if the bars were just as good after thawing, but alas, I only lasted one month before I had to eat them again. Yes, they were just as good as when they were fresh. Here you go: 2 cups sugar 1 can (15 oz) solid-pack pumpkin 1 cup vegetable oil 4 eggs 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon cloves FROSTING: 1/3 cup butter, softened 1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened 1 tablespoon milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, pumpkin, oil and eggs. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and all the spices and salt. Gradually add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. For the frosting, combing butter, cream cheese, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Spread over bars. Store in refrigerator, or freeze. Enjoy!

Recipe: White Bean Chicken Chili

Tue, 2017-09-26 08:21 -- Jocelyn Green
In the next few weeks, I'll be ducking into my writing cave, hammering out a rough draft of the novel that will release in early 2019. That means I'm not going to want to spend much time in the kitchen every day, so I'm "nesting" by cooking up a storm and stuffing my freezer full of meals. One of my go-to meals is White Bean Chicken Chili. I usually cook it in the crockpot one day, save some to have for leftovers the next day, and then ladle the rest into a gallon-size freezer bag to add to my stash. It's easy and delicious! See for yourself: 1 Rotisserie chicken, pulled apart in pieces OR two or three chicken breasts, cooked and shredded 1 14 ½ oz. can chicken broth 1 48 oz. jar of white beans 1 16 oz. jar mild salsa 16 oz. Monterey Jack cheese 2 tsp. cumin. Mix it all up in a crockpot. Cook 4-6 hours on low. Ta-da! It’s even better with a dollop of sour cream on top when you serve it. *The bread you see in the picture above was baked in a bundt pan. It's called Sally Lunn bread, and comes from an eighteenth-century recipe in the City Tavern cookbook I brought home from my research trip to Philadelphia. If you enjoy cooking, or the eighteenth-century, or both, I highly recommend this beautiful cookbook! Several of the recipes also appear in the fictional Philadelphia tavern in my upcoming novel, A Refuge Assured.  

FREE Download + 5-Book Give-away

Thu, 2017-01-19 13:26 -- Jocelyn Green
Short and sweet update for you today--very sweet, in fact! First, I've got two French recipes to share with you in this easy-to-print PDF file. Here you'll find directions to make Classic French Palmiers, and Crepes, along with pictures of how mine turned out! I experimented with these recipes with book club treats in mind for those of you planning to use The Mark of the King, but these are just fun and delicious to make at any time, for any reason. Enjoy! Second: Litfuse Publicity is currently running a 5-book give-away for The Mark of the King. It's open from now until Feb. 6. Enter here! Speaking of give-aways, there's still time to enter the drawing for my French New Orleans-themed give-away too! It's open until Feb. 16. Check it out over here.    

Recipe: Classic French Palmiers

Sat, 2016-11-26 09:20 -- Jocelyn Green
It's hard to believe we only have a little more than a month to go before The Mark of the King releases! To start getting ready for the launch, I've been experimenting with French recipes that would be perfect for you to make and enjoy as you read this story about French colonial New Orleans--or if you host a book club group, these would be wonderful to serve with tea or coffee! The recipe is so simple, and the results so impressive, you're going to love it. Ingredients Puff pastry, either home made or storebought, which is what I used. (I used Pepperidge Farm brand, but if you can find a brand such as DuFour, that uses only butter, not shortening or vegetable oil, the taste will be even better.) Sugar. (I used demerara because of its coarse texture--and it's also not as sweet as white or brown sugar--but you can use whichever kind you want.) Instructions Thaw the puff pastry, if frozen, either in the refrigerator overnight, or on the counter for about half an hour or so. When it's pliable, but still cool, it's ready. Roll out the puff pastry to even out the seams. Sprinkle sugar in an even layer over the surface of the dough. Roll over it lightly with a rolling pin to press the sugar into the dough. Fold the left and the right sides of the dough inward so they meet in the middle. Your rectangle should now be half the width it was when you started. Sprinkle sugar over the dough again, and roll over the dough lightly to press in the sugar. Fold the left side of your rectangle over the right side. Now you should have a very long, flat length of dough. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes, to make them easier to cut. This step will also help them puff better in the oven. Heat the oven to 425°F.  After chilling, slice the log across into cookies roughly 1-inch wide. Transfer cookies to parchment-lined baking sheet, cut side up. (Psst: I didn't have parchment paper when I made these, so I just put them on baking stones, and they turned out just fine.) Sprinkle the cookies with more sugar, if desired. Give the palmiers plenty of space to puff up in the oven. On a baking sheet that I normally use for a dozen cookies, I placed three rows of two palmiers, and that was perfect. If you bake in batches, keep the un-baked cookies in the fridge until it's their turn to bake. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until dark golden.  Cool and eat! Let the palmiers cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Palmiers are best the day they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container for several days.  Variations to try, instead of sugar, would be shredded cheese, minced lemon peel, or finely chopped dried fruit.  I was so delighted with my beautiful Palmiers, I gave the first batch to my neighbor (who was quite impressed with the heart-shaped pastries) and made a second batch for my family. It's a perfect, light treat to accompany cider, coffee, or tea--and of course, a good book! Enjoy!  

From Our Table to Yours! Two Easy Thanksgiving Recipes

Fri, 2014-11-14 08:27 -- Jocelyn Green
Happy Thanksgiving! Today I'd like to share a couple of our traditional family recipes with you. We use these at Christmas, too, and sometimes even in between. They are not that hard to make, and soooo yummy. This photo of our spread (below) was taken before the turkey made its appearance. ALSO--and this is very important--that glare you see on the front edge of the tablecloth is a reflection off my favorite meal-time stress-reducer. I buy two square yards of clear plastic/vinyl from Hobby Lobby and cover the real tablecloth with it. Kids spill? No problem! Buttery knife falls off the plate? No problem! I LOVE this stuff. Cheap. Worth it. Bravo. Now let's get cooking. Fluffy Cranberry Salad [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"988", "attributes":{"class":"media-image alignright size-medium wp-image-1750", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"300", "height":"290", "alt":"cranberry salad"}}]] 3 cups fresh cranberries (one 12 oz bag might do it, but I usually buy two in case there are a lot of squishy berries to discard) 1/2 cup sugar 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained 2 cups miniature marshmallows 2 cups heavy whipping cream (1 pint) Chop cranberries in half. Yes, sit down at the table and chop each berry in half individually. We tried putting them through the grinder once to save time and the recipe was just not the same. Put on some nice Christmas music (I recommend Handel's Messiah or Charlie Brown's Christmas) and get comfy. Add next three ingredients to chopped berries. Chill overnight. Drain excess juice from the bowl. Whip the cream in a blender, adding sugar to taste. Fold in the whipped cream to the rest of the bowl. (Note: you may not want to add ALL the whipped cream to your salad. You will probably have some leftover to put on your pie later. :) ) Spinach Salad [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"989", "attributes":{"class":"media-image \u0026quot;alignright", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"300", "height":"238", "alt":"spinach salad"}}]] 10 oz. fresh spinach  slices crisp bacon, crumbled 1 bunch sliced scallions (green onions) 1/4 lb. sliced, raw mushrooms. Don't use canned mushrooms, they're gross. Dressing:  T. lemon juice 5 T. olive oil 3/4 t. salt 1/8 t. pepper 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 t. dry mustard 1/4 t. sugar 1 egg yolk Assemble salad. Mix and chill dressing. Pour dressing on salad just before serving. I won't even tell you to enjoy it because I know you will without being reminded to. It's drool-worthy. Truly. Happy, happy Thanksgiving everyone!  

Kathleen Maher's Irish Stew

Mon, 2013-05-20 14:17 -- Jocelyn Green
UPDATE: The winner, using, is Laurel! Congrats! Today I am so excited to have Kathleen L. Maher with us to share her family recipe for Irish stew. She is also graciously giving away a $15 gift card to Amazon to one lucky commenter! But first, allow me to tell you about her new Civil War novella, Bachelor Buttons. Here's the blurb: The daughter of immigrants who fled the Irish Potato Famine, Rose Meehan longs for a better life than the tenements of New York City. Courted by two men--a young doctor who represents material security, and a poor violin instructor who has captured her heart--she must choose between a life of advantage-grabbing or a life of faith. When Manhattan explodes in mob rule following Lincoln's unpopular draft, the heroic action of one suitor brings provision for those she loves, and reveals God's plan. I knew I would like this novella even before I opened it because it dares to set the story against a very tumultuous piece of American history: the New York City draft riots of 1863. That's why I started reading it in the first place. But what kept me reading--and what made me LOVE it--was Kathleen Maher's commitment to history (even the parts we're not proud of), and the sweet romance that  unfolded against the backdrop of war. Having researched this time and place myself, I found myself nodding and mentally applauding the author for capturing cultural nuances and delivering them to us in such an intriguing package. I can't wait to read more from Kathleen Maher. Even more delightful: the romance in this story is based on the true courtship story of Kathleen's Irish immigrant great-great-grandmother. Now for her recipe! I'll let her take over from here... Irish Stew Irish immigrants like my great, great grandmother were often poor and had to make due with whatever they might have had from their gardens and in their larders. Stew was a perfect fallback meal, utilizing what was on hand with room for embellishment. For my stew, I like to use the same plain staples like carrots, onions, potatoes and meat that most kitchens would have had handy 150 years ago. Simple, easy, and hearty enough for the coldest New York winter day. [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"872", "attributes":{"class":"media-image alignright size-full wp-image-1452", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"300", "height":"252", "alt":"stew"}}]]Ingredients for “shanty” Irish stew 2-3lb roast or stew meat—bite sized squares 1 large onion—chopped in 1-inch chunks 3-4 cups water 1-2lb carrots, peeled coins or baby carrots 5 lb potatoes peeled, 1 ½ inch chunks 3-4 Tablespoons flour 1 cup milk Salt and pepper to taste Optional extras for “lace curtain” Irish stew: 1lb lamb, cut into chunks 1  tbsp Garlic 2 Celery stalks, chopped into ½ inch crescents ½ cup peas beef broth in lieu of water Cut meat (chuck roast, and optional lamb) into bite sized squares, sear in Dutch oven or sauce pot on high heat with 3 Tablespoons oil. Add onion (and garlic), caramelize on medium heat.   Add water (or broth), , cover and simmer for 1 hour on low. Add potatoes, carrots, (celery) and simmer for another half hour. Separate juices into medium saucepan: measure flour into mason jar and add 1 cup warm juices, seal jar and shake vigorously together (for fewer lumps in gravy), return to pan of juices on low heat, stirring until bubbling, add milk, then salt and pepper to taste. Combine gravy with meat and potatoes and serve! Yield: Enough for one large Irish Catholic family The Give-Away To enter the drawing for the $15 Amazon gift card, simply leave a comment answering the following question: What's your ethnic heritage? We know Kathleen's is Irish, and I can tell you mine is Swedish and Norwegian. Now it's your turn! A winner will be selected using on Friday, May 24. HINT: Bachelor Buttons is only 99 cents at Amazon through the month of May! So regardless of whether you win the gift card, hopefully those of you who are interested can treat yourselves to a great summertime read! [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"771", "attributes":{"class":"media-image alignright size-full wp-image-891", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"125", "height":"193", "alt":"Widow cover 3 125"}}]]Bonus Give-away This week on her blog, History Repeats Itself, Kathleen shares why she was skeptical of my novel Widow of Gettysburg before she read it, what she thought afterwards, AND she's giving away a copy of Widow as well as a copy of her novella Bachelor Buttons. Hop on over to enter her drawing-it closes on Friday May 24! [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"955", "attributes":{"class":"media-image alignleft wp-image-1454", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"138", "height":"180", "alt":"meatDanswedding_zpsadd38b2d"}}]]About Kathleen: Kathleen L. Maher’s novella Bachelor Buttons releases through Helping Hands Press in May, 2013 as part of a Civil War sesquicentennial collection. Her Civil War manuscript won the historical category of ACFW’s Genesis contest in 2012. She has finaled in several writing contests since 2009. Represented by Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency, Kathleen blogs about New York State history and enjoys reading and writing reviews for historical CBA releases.  She and her husband live in a 100-year-old farmhouse in upstate NY with their three children, two rescued Newfoundland dogs and a tuxedo cat.

Civil War Recipes: Gingerbread, Switchel, Beef Tea

Wed, 2012-08-01 08:45 -- Jocelyn Green
Last week, I shared three Civil War recipes for your Wedded to War book club--or just for your own enjoyment at home. Today I'd like to share three more. 4. Alice Carlisle’s Gingerbread Gingerbread was popular among soldiers in both the North and South. Wives like Alice Carlisle often baked and sent loaves of this spicy bread to their husbands in camp, and when hospitals had the ingredients, they baked this for the patients who could eat it. Ingredients: 1 TB butter 2 1/2 cups flour 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/2 cup butter 1 1/4 cups molasses 1 egg 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1 1/2 tsp. allspice 1 cup very hot water Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9″ square baking pan with the butter. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, soda and spices, and cut in softened butter to the flour mixture with a fork. Combine molasses, egg and water in a small mixing bowl. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir well. Pour the batter into a baking pan and bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Makes 9 servings. *Recipe courtesy of Total Gettysburg 5. Fanny Hatch’s Switchel “Make some switchel, I says, and she uses too much vinegar, not enough ginger. Dust it, I says, and she leaves rims of the fuzzy grey filth on the edge of the mantelpiece.” Fanny threw up her hands in a state of helplessness, and Phineas murmured his sympathies. ~Wedded to War Switchel was a refreshing drink to quench summertime thirst, also known as Haymaker’s Punch. There are countless variations on the recipe, as it depends on the person’s taste. Here is one version you can make at home. Ingredients: 9 cups water, divided 1/4 cup minced fresh ginger 1/4 cup honey or pure maple syrup 1/4 cup molasses 3/4 cup lemon juice 1/4 cup cider vinegar Fresh berries, mint sprigs or lemon slices for garnish 1. Combine 3 cups water with ginger in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let infuse for 15 minutes. 2. Strain the ginger-infused water into a pitcher, pressing on the ginger solids to extract all the liquid. Add honey (or maple syrup) and molasses; stir until dissolved. Stir in lemon juice, vinegar and the remaining 6 cups water. Chill until very cold, at least 2 hours or overnight. 3. Stir the punch and serve in tall glasses over ice cubes. Garnish with berries, mint sprigs or lemon slices, if desired. 6. Charlotte Waverly’s Beef Tea Soon the Daniel Webster would be full of living, pulsing cargo, men needing beef tea and brandy, milk toast and gruel. Charlotte wouldn’t get a moment’s sleep until they were all washed, bedded, fed, and cared for. She would snatch back to life men teetering on the brink of death. Fever patients would rage in their madness, and she would not rest until they were consoled. Charlotte couldn’t wait. ~Wedded to War Beef tea is mentioned several times in Wedded to War, as one of the staples of the “special diet” intended to revive and restore health to patients with typho-malarial fever. Here are two variations on the recipe, from Outlines of the Chief Camp Diseases, by Joseph Janvier Woodward, published in 1863.   Recipe 1 for Beef Tea A pound of lean beef should be cut into small dice, a little salt and a quart of water added; simmer very gently for two hours, then bring to a boil, and remove from the fire; skim off the fat, and give a wineglassful every two hours. Pepper in moderate quantities is not objectionable, if it makes the tea more agreeable to the patient. Recipe 2 for Beef Tea Cut 3 lbs. of beef into pieces the size of walnuts, and chop up the bones, if any; put it into a convenient sized kettle, with ½ lb. of mixed vegetables, such as onions, leeks, celery, turnips, carrots (or one or two of these if all are not to be obtained), 1 oz. of salt, a little pepper, 1 teaspoonful of sugar, 2 oz. of butter, and a half pint of water. Set it on a sharp fire for ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, stirring now and then with a spoon, till it forms a rather thick gravy at the bottom, but not brown; then add 7 pints of hot or cold water, but hot is preferable; when boiling let it simmer gently for an hour; skim off all the fat, strain it through a sieve, and serve. 

Civil War Recipes: Tea Cakes, Hardtack, Camp Potatoes

Wed, 2012-07-25 08:31 -- Jocelyn Green
Of course no book club is complete without food, and what better way to add flavor to your experience than to sample some of the foods eaten by characters in the novel? Below you’ll find recipes for Civil War foods enjoyed by characters in Wedded to War. Some of these have been modernized so you can try them at home, and some are taken straight from cookbooks published during the Civil War. 1. Charlotte Waverly’s Tea Time Sighing, Charlotte reached for the Blue Willow teacup on the walnut table next to her, and breathed in the fragrance of orange and cloves. She picked up the New York Times and froze. Without taking her eyes off the paper, she rattled the cup back on its saucer. ~Wedded to War  Afternoon tea was a regular routine in the Waverly household. Try these Tea Cakes with Charlotte’s favorite tea—orange spice—or her sister Alice’s favorite—raspberry. Ingredients: 5 cups flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg 1 cup butter 1 cup buttermilk 2 large eggs 2 cups sugar Heat the oven to 375 F. Grease the cookie sheets with butter. Combine flour, soda, and nutmeg together in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 Cup milk, 2 eggs, and sugar. Pour into dry ingredients. Stir well. Wash hands and lightly coat your fingertips with butter. Shape the dough into 1 inch round bowls. Place the balls on baking sheets. Dip a fork in flour and use it to flatten the balls in a criss/cross pattern like you might do for peanut butter cookies. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 5 dozen. *Recipe courtesy of Total Gettysburg 2. Dr. Caleb Lansing’s Hardtack Wiping his glistening forehead with the back of his hand, Caleb looked through the haze of smoke at the rest of the camp. The men sat on the ground or overturned barrels, unwrapping small bundles of hardtack from their haversacks. He pulled out his own, placed it on a flat rock, and rammed a Sharp rifle butt onto it, breaking it into pieces. ~Wedded to War Hardtack was a staple food in the Union soldier’s diet, but notorious for being either rock hard or full of weevils. Imagine drilling and marching for miles with very little but hardtack to eat! Ingredients: butter for greasing the baking pan 5 cups all-purpose flour 1 TB baking powder 1 TB salt 1 2/3 cups water Preheat the oven to 450 F. Grease the baking sheet. In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and water. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon. With freshly washed hands, squeeze the flour mixture with your fingers, this will be a very stiff dough. Flatten the dough to about 1/2 inch into a large rectangle. Using a knife, lightly trace lines into the dough to divide the pieces into 3 X 3″ square pieces. Use a toothpick to prick holes across the entire surface in neat rows 3/4 of an inch apart. Be sure the holes go all the way through the dough to the baking sheet. Bake the dough about 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool 10 minutes. Remove the hardtack from the baking sheet with a metal spatula. Makes about 9 hard crackers. *Recipe courtesy of Total Gettysburg 3. Matthew O’Flannery’s Camp Potatoes We don’t get to see Matthew eating his camp potatoes with his fellow soldiers in New York’s 69th regiment in the novel, but as an Irishman, you can bet he was eating these as a welcome break from hardtack whenever potatoes were available. This recipe is a simple one, from Camp Fires and Camp Cooking, or Culinary Hints for the Soldier, by Capt. James M. Sanderson (1862): “Cut the vegetable into thin slices and throw them into cold water for half an hour; then put them into fat hissing hot and fry them until they acquire a golden hue. Some persons cut them only into quarters, but they are not near so crisp and nice.” Which Civil War recipe would you like to try? What food would you not want to live without during wartime?   Find three more Civil War recipes to try here.
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