Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Recipe Tuesday: Banana Pudding with Patricia Preston

Today author Patricia Preston is sharing a recipe with us. I love that this recipe plays such an important role in her novel Everything His Heart Desires, part of her Love Heals All series. Welcome Patricia!

Thanks, Jana, for having me on your blog today. My recipe is for old-fashion banana pudding. The reason I’m sharing this recipe is that in my new release, Everything His Heart Desires, banana pudding plays a role beginning back when the hero, Brett, and heroine, Natalie, were in high school. Needless to say, they were not on good terms.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 1 where Natalie and Brett have been reunited after 15 years and they are at a meeting at the local hospital where Brett is now a cardiologist.

Growing edgy, Brett decided he would have a donut with his coffee. He was struggling to feel normal in a surreal situation. 
As he reached in the box, Natalie said, “They didn’t have any banana pudding.” 
He glanced up at her deadpan face. “Too bad.” He dumped the donut on a paper plate. Obviously, she remembered the cafeteria food fight back in the day.

He had actually started it by managing to fling a chunk of hot dog across the aisle and down her blouse. It was a lucky shot, and watching her fish it out of her bra had been hysterical. 
Then she had walked over to the table where he sat with two of his buddies, both grinning, and a new girlfriend, who had her hand over her face. The cafeteria was quiet. All eyes were on Natalie. She put the piece of hot dog on his plate.
“I think you lost this.”
“No, Slacker, I didn’t lose it.”
“Well, Brett,” she leaned in close. Way too close for his comfort. “I didn’t lose this either.” She snatched up the bowl of banana pudding that was on his tray and dumped it, bowl and all, on top of his head. 
He swore as a piece of banana slid down his forehead, and on the other side of the cafeteria, Josiah, the tallest player on the basketball team, stood up and yelled, “Food fight!”
Chaos and a two-week detention had followed. 
“I know you must be wondering why I called this meeting,” Sheldon said, and Brett shook off the recollection of washing dried banana pudding out of his hair. He’d never eaten banana pudding again…

Needless to say, during the course of the story, thanks to Natalie, Brett has to eat her great-aunt Clara’s classic homemade banana pudding and it becomes one of his favorites.

So here how Clara makes her classic banana pudding:

First, preheat oven to 350. A clear glass baking dish is preferred. That is Clara’s standard dish for making banana pudding. Using an 8-inch diameter and 3 inches deep dish, this recipe will make 4-6 servings. You can double the recipe for a large 2-layer pudding.

For pudding, you’ll need
Vanilla wafers
½ cup sugar (you can add more when cooking if you want a sweeter pudding)
1/8 cup plus a tablespoon of flour
1 cup milk
2 egg yolks
1 tsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional Meringue
2 egg whites
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar if desired

Get an egg separator and separate the yolks from the white. Set aside egg whites for meringue.

Put a saucepan on the stove, low heat and put butter in it to melt.

Mix flour and sugar. Add ½ cup milk to flour and sugar. Mix. Pour in saucepan with melted butter. Use fork to blend egg yolks. Add to pudding mix and whisk. Add remaining milk to pudding. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly. After a few minutes, the pudding will thicken. Note: you can add more flour to make pudding thicker, more milk to make it thinner, and more sugar to make it sweeter if you want.

 Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Whisk.

Cover bottom of baking dish with vanilla wafers. Use as many or as little as you like.
Next layer banana slices on top of wafers. You can put as much banana as you like.

While your pudding mix is hot, pour over bananas and wafers. If you are doing a large pudding, only pour half of the mix over the bottom layer. Then add another layer of wafers and banana and use the other half of the mix over the second layer.

Note: This is an optional topping but it's required if you want the old-fashioned pudding, which Clara wouldn’t serve without meringue on top.

Put egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar in large mixer bowl. Mix. (You can make it with just egg whites and sugar) Use electric mixer on the highest speed and gradually add sugar about a tablespoon at a time. Whites should foam and then start to get fluffy. When it forms peaks, it is ready.

You can circle the baking dish with vanilla wafers. Then cover the top of the pudding with the meringue. Put in oven to brown peaks of meringue. About 8 minutes. Be sure to check frequently so to not overcook. Remove from oven when peaks are light golden brown. Set aside to cool and enjoy!

Author Bio: 

Patricia Preston is the author of the “Love Heals All” series comprised of single title contemporary romance novels that are filled with family, friends, drama and fun, set in the picturesque town of Lafayette Falls, south of Nashville.  She has historical romances, filled with adventure and passion, available, and she has also written Amazon best sellers in comic short stories. You can find all her titles on her Amazon page.  Her favorite place to hang out is her writing cave where must-haves are iced tea and epic music. She also enjoys photography, movies, and research trips to New Orleans.

For info on new releases and contests, sign up for her newsletter

Check out her Blog  Follow her on Twitter  Facebook  Amazon Author Page


The man most likely to drive her crazy…

Growing up in Lafayette Falls, senator’s daughter Natalie Layton hid her sorrows behind a bright smile that charmed everyone in high school—except Brett Harris. Hardworking and highly motivated, Brett dismissed Natalie as a slacker. Instead, she’s become an acclaimed photographer. And when Brett, now a successful cardiologist, needs her family’s help to secure a coveted position, Natalie’s more than happy to prescribe a little payback…

Hailing from the wrong side of the tracks, Brett believed he could never win the school’s popular princess. Now he’s intrigued by the complex and compassionate woman Natalie’s become. Gaining her grandmother’s goodwill is the key to becoming chief cardiologist—and Natalie has no intention of making it easy. But as mutual mistrust gives way to pure chemistry, there’s more at stake than either ever expected—and much more to learn about matters of the heart…

Buy Links:  Amazon   Nook   Kobo  Google Play  iTunes

Monday, January 23, 2017

Secondary Monday with Rachel Brimble!

I love secondary characters, in my own work and in the books I read. A good secondary character can be funny, wise, or a bit of a villain. They can say and do things the main characters may not be able to. I'm very happy to welcome Rachel Brimble to my blog today. She's here to talk about a secondary character from her Templeton Cove series. Take it away, Rachel!

Secondary Character Monday – Introducing Marian Cohen – the matriarch of Templeton Cove

When I started writing Finding Justice, the first book in my ongoing romance series with Harlequin Superromance, Marian quickly pushed herself forward as Templeton Cove’s “boss”. She’s in her sixties, funny, wise, a little bit naughty and very, very astute.

And an absolute joy to write!

So much so, I am pretty sure she has appeared in six of the seven books I have written so far.
She is the glue that holds Templeton’s community together – the oracle to whom the residents, young and old, come for advice…even if the advice they receive isn’t always welcomed at first.

Marian came to the Cove under a cloud of speculation about five years before the first book opens. A stranger to the Templeton, she arrived with long-standing resident George and they soon married. No one knows much about her background and no one dare ask! She’s loving, attentive and a bulldog to anyone who upsets her brood…in other words, anyone she cares for in the Cove.

It’s a dream come true that I’m writing a series that so many readers enjoy and are still asking for more stories. The Templeton Cove Stories are a mix of mainstream romance and romantic suspense stories that link existing characters and also new characters I introduce, as and when.

I am currently writing book 8 which is really Marian’s story – I have finally discovered her past and think it’s time I filled in the blanks for the devoted fans of the series. I am so excited for this book’s release but, unfortunately, it won’t be out until February 2018.

In the meantime, why not catch up with Marian and all her fabulous antics in the first six books in the series (Book 7 out in August 2017). You going to love her as much as me – promise!

Author Bio:

Rachel Brimble lives near the famous city of Bath in England with her husband of 18 years, their two teenage daughters and mad chocolate lab, Tyler. When Rachel’s not writing, you can find her reading, knitting or watching far too much TV.

All her books, including the Templeton Cove series, can be found at her website & be sure to follow her on social media. She loves connecting with readers!

Social Media Links:


Saturday, January 21, 2017

At Word Wranglers this week...

My fellow Word Wranglers have been talking about reading lately and they've inspired me to commit to and hopefully increase my reading in 2017. Read all about about at http://wordwranglers.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-reading-has-begun.html

Thursday, January 19, 2017

In the Spotlight - Author Adam Mann

Today my guest is author Mike Lord, who also writes romance as Adam Mann. Mike says he only writes about places he knows, but since he lived and worked in Africa, Asia and Europe, he has a good chunk of the world to set his stories in. Mike wants you to know that the word "boondocks" originated as military slang used by American soldiers engaging guerrillas in the Philippines before World War II, from Tagalog bundok, mountain, from Proto-Malayo-Polynesian *bunduk, or elevated ground.  The word has since been used by many others to denote a remote and wild area in any country. Thanks for being here today, Mike!

Love in the Boondocks – a novel by Adam Mann.

Kim has just been divorced by an uncaring husband who was more interested in her money than herself.  She finds work as a Primary School teacher in several remote villages, where she meets Dave who is working with farmer families in some of the same villages.  She finds him attractive and “sets her cap” at him.

Fortunately she speaks English so she manages to meet Dave in several locations before meeting him one evening in his small cottage, on the pretext of getting a lift to a village.

You, the reader, will have to find out what happens next…

Love in the Boondocks – excerpt:

Dave held her hand as they walked into a gold and silver shop, and the lady shopkeeper smiled at them. It wasn’t until a tray of engagements rings was placed on the counter in front of her that ‘the penny dropped’, and she put her hand to her mouth in alarm.

“Ask her for a sapphire with small diamonds, darling,” he told her.

Kim’s mind was in a whirl, this was all so sudden, but she took a deep breath and translated exactly what Dave had asked.

Another tray of rings was put on the counter, and it was Dave who pointed at one.

The shopkeeper took it out of the tray and quickly polished the ring with a yellow cloth, and offered it to Kim.

Kim took a deep breath and looked at Dave, who nodded.

She put the ring on her engagement finger, and looked at the back of her hand.

There was a blue sapphire in the centre with five small diamonds all around it, and it sparkled on the back of her golden hand.

She didn’t look for any other rings, but nodded at Dave, and just couldn’t stop smiling as she held his arm with her right hand for support.

Dave paid with a Visa card, and wouldn’t let Kim see the price. It took a few minutes for Visa approval, and then the paperwork with the description and weight of the stones in the ring and the gold band, all in Kim’s name.

“Can I kiss him in here?” she wondered, but did not hesitate and kissed Dave with her arms around his neck. The shopkeeper smiled, and the staff in the back of the shop clapped.

Back in the car she asked, “Why did you ask for sapphire, darling?”

“To go with your dress,” he joked, as he wound his way out of the town centre to Kim’s parents’ house.

Buy Links:

Author Bio:

Mike Lord has worked for over 50 years in what is called “developing economies”. Most of the time Mike’s work has been with the thousands of small scale farmers, who have appreciated sustainable livelihoods, so that they now have enough food to feed themselves, and also some to sell so that they have a cash income.  That is why most of Mike’s novels are set in these remote locations.
Three years ago Mike finally retired and started writing, and has now produced 32 fantasy romance books, nine of which have been published, and 23 self-published at Smashwords and Amazon KDP.
Mike Lord is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia.

Social Media Links:

Website:  http://www.adammannauthor.com

Twitter handle: @adammannauthor

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Today at Word Wranglers...

I've learned a lot of things since I started writing, some about the craft of writing like grammar, and variety of other things, like WW2 history and women's fashion in the 1940s, and how to pick a lock. A writer is always learning. Today I'm blogging at Word Wranglers about a few things I learned in the last few months. http://wordwranglers.blogspot.ca/2017/01/always-learning.html

Saturday, January 7, 2017

#Goals for 2017

I'm over at Word Wranglers today talking about my goals for 2017 - and the perils and limitations of setting goals. Find out why I'm trying to be realistic this year:  http://wordwranglers.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-year-of-getting-stuff-done.html