@sprightlyamyanne Instagram photos

@sprightlyamyanne Instagram photos

Monday, December 31, 2012

Get in my belly: Chai-Spiced Sugar Cookies


A friend gave me a box of these gems last Christmas. They have fast become a family favorite. This year I included them in Christmas treat bags I put together for friends. (Along with homemade loaves of Boule bread, Bourbon bacon brownies, hot & spicy mixed nuts, and Momofuku compost cookies.)

Chai-Spiced Sugar Cookies
adapted from My Baking Addiction
(I added an egg and additional spices. I also swapped out some of the butter for shortening (organic, expeller pressed shortening) so they cookies will be a bit chewier.)

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups white sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening (organic, expeller pressed if you can get it)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl mix sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice and black pepper. Remove 1/4 cup of the mixture and set aside for rolling the dough balls.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar mixture. Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until fully incorporated. Slowly blend in the flower mixture, mixing just until incorporated. At this point the dough will look a bit dry. Don't worry, when you roll the dough balls everything will be fine.

Using a small cookie scoop (2 teaspoons) roll dough into balls. Roll dough balls in reserved sugar mixture and place on prepared cookie sheet, leaving 1 1/2 inches between each ball.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies begin to crack. Let cool slightly on baking sheet then remove and place on cooling rack.

yield: approximately 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Monday, December 24, 2012

12 Pearls of Christmas | Just Like Mary by Carla Anne Coroy

Welcome to the12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!

Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days.

We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items (books, a gift pack, music CDs) from the contributors! Enter now on Facebook or at the Pearl Girls blog. The winner will announced on January 2, 2013 at the Pearl Girls blog.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

***
Just Like Mary
By Carla Anne Coroy

Mary. Amazing Mary. Mother of Jesus. We marvel at her simple, faith-filled acceptance of God’s will for her life. There’s so little written about Mary in the Bible. We know almost nothing, really, about this woman that God chose to parent His Son.

Many have speculated about the exact age of Jesus’ mother. How old was she, really? What would it have been like to be greeted by an angel—and told you would become pregnant by the Spirit of God?

I wonder about other things sometimes, though. Like if she had morning sickness, or gained a lot of weight during her pregnancy. Was she overdue, or was baby Jesus born right on time? Did she mistake Braxton Hicks contractions for the real thing before labor really started? Was it a fast labor or did Joseph have eighteen hours to get that place into birthing readiness?

Most women who have ever given birth to a child have shared pregnancy stories. Everyone’s story is unique and interesting. Surely Mary’s was, too!

Then there are the stories of potty-training and conversations on how to get the baby to sleep through the night. Did Mary bounce Jesus on her knee while sharing recipes with other young moms?

We cannot find answers for these questions in Scripture. And as interesting as it might be to share pregnancy stories with Mary over a cup of coffee (maybe in heaven?) and get her tips on potty-training, we really don’t need to know any of that to love the Son she bore.

But Mary’s example raises questions about me and my own life that get under my skin.

Am I the kind of woman God will choose to be part of His plan? Do I trust and love my God enough to give faith-filled answers like she did? If there were just a few paragraphs written of my life for future generations to read, would those words reveal a heart of willing submission to God?

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38, NIV)

God has not asked me to carry the burden of His Son in my womb. There are other burdens He is asking me, and you, to carry instead. Are we being the women He needs for the part of the plan we’re living in now? Am I saying to Jesus today, “May it be to me as you have said”?

During this Advent season, let’s prepare ourselves to be used by God, filled with faith and anticipating His grace—just like Mary.

***
Carla Anne Coroy is a Christian speaker and blogger, and the award-winning author of Married Mom, Solo Parent. She ministers to a wide audience through her website and blog at www.carlaanne.com. Carla Anne has served full-time with organizations such as Youth for Christ and Crown Financial Ministries, and is currently developing mentoring resources for women and an international mentoring organization for youth. She also serves as a staff writer for the online magazine Mentoring Moments for Christian Women and is a spokesperson for Faithbuddy.com. Carla Anne lives in Canada with her husband and four homeschooled children.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

12 Pearls of Christmas | The ADVENTure Awaits You! by Charissa Steyn

Welcome to the12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!

Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days.

We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items (books, a gift pack, music CDs) from the contributors! Enter now on Facebook or at the Pearl Girls blog. The winner will announced on January 2, 2013 at the Pearl Girls blog.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

***
The ADVENTure Awaits You!
By Charissa Steyn

God loves keeping us in a place of joyful expectation for what is next. He has mastered the art of surprise. Much to my dismay, God rarely ever lays out steps 1-2-3 for me to see. Maybe you’re like me and you’re a planner. You need time to prepare yourself for what is coming, the unknown grips you with fear, and it’s hard for you to simply enjoy a surprise.

It’s difficult to understand why God doesn’t like to reveal more of His mysterious ways, but I have a feeling it has something to do with faith. I am quite sure that if I knew everything that God had planned ahead of time my response would be, “No way God!”

But maybe we need to be a little more like Mary when it comes to faith. The angel reassured her, "Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you…” (Luke 1:30)

Did you get that? You have nothing to fear _________ (fill in the blank with your name) God has a surprise for you!

God invited Mary into the ultimate season of joyful expectation. He took her on the most miraculous adventure of birthing His son!

Instead of hesitation, Mary stepped forward, “Yes . . . let it be with me just as you say.” (Luke 1:38)

Instead of cowering in fear, Mary celebrated in faith, “I'm bursting with God-news; I'm dancing the song of my Savior God. God took one good look at me, and look what happened—I'm the most fortunate woman on earth! What God has done for me will never be forgotten. . . .” {Luke 1:46-48)

As the Christmas season is upon us, I can’t help but wonder what surprises God has wrapped up for us under His tree of life? What gifts does He want to reveal to us this year?

Like Mary, let’s face the unknown, the mystery, the surprises of God with a quiet, yet confident YES!

God wants to show you the impossible can become possible, the supernatural can become natural. We don’t need special qualifications, just joyful expectation.

May you accept the invitation of Jesus in this truly ADVENTurous season and embrace all the marvelous, mysterious surprises He has for you along the way!

***
Charissa Steyn is a God-adventurer. She believes everyday holds exciting undertakings that usually involve risk, but always draw us closer to the Father’s heart. Originally from Seattle, she now lives in Cape Town with her South African hubby, Michal and their son David. Together they are doing their best to lead a simple, yet dangerous life of love. Learn more about Charissa at her blog.

Friday, December 21, 2012

12 Pearls of Christmas | Quieted in His Presence by @CaraPutman

Welcome to the12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!

Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days.

We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items (books, a gift pack, music CDs) from the contributors! Enter now on Facebook or at the Pearl Girls blog. The winner will announced on January 2, 2013 at the Pearl Girls blog.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

***
Quieted in His Presence
By Cara Putman

It's the week after Thanksgiving. We're racing toward Christmas. Even with Thanksgiving occurring a week early, it feels like a race. When did we decide this organized (or not so organized) chaos was restful, relaxing, conducive to a joyful season?

When did the joy of gifting something to one we love become replaced by the pressure to find the perfect gift? When did the amount of the gift matter more than spirit it is gifted in? At times like these I need a reason to remember that God can calm my heart when I feel like I'm spilling in a bazillion different directions.

Grab a mug of tea or cup of coffee. I'll share my peppermint mocha creamer. It's low-sugar. And let's sit together and soak in this truth.

The Lord is with us. With us. Emmanual. The God with us. Savor that. He's with us. Not watching us. With us.

He is mighty to save. He doesn't barely save. He is mightily prepared to save.

He will take great delight in you. Think about a child. Yours or someone else's. Think about the joy that child brings to his parents. That is a pale shadow of the depth of delight God takes in you. Humbled? Thrilled? I am!

He quiets us with His love. He will, if we'll let Him. It is His will to quiet us with love. Like a child who is content and secure in the knowledge of her parents' love. That's how He wants us to rest. To be quiet. In His presence. At His feet.

He will rejoice over us with singing. Think of your favorite artist, group, chorus. Think of how their voices resonate and harmonize. Remember how you are swept away by the beauty of a voice raised in song. Then imagine God singing a special song over you. Then consider that it's a song of rejoicing. Just because you are. A song to you.

Now that you've quieted in His presence, are you ready to go back to preparations. Ready to focus on Him? To find Him in the midst of the Christmas chaos? Because He is the baby in the manager. He is the reason we celebrate. And He's celebrating you!

***
Cara Putman is an author of fourteen novels and one nonfiction work—plus all the characters and stories still begging to be told. Look for more in the future. She is also a licensed attorney, contract lecturer at a Big Ten University, adjunct faculty at a community college, and active in her church and community. She lives with her family in Indiana.

Friday, December 14, 2012

12 Pearls of Christmas | God with Us . . . And Us with Him by @SusanMayWarren

Welcome to the12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!

Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days.

We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items (books, a gift pack, music CDs) from the contributors! Enter now on Facebook or at the Pearl Girls blog. The winner will announced on January 2, 2013 at the Pearl Girls blog.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

***
God with Us . . . And Us with Him
By: Susan May Warren

Every year over labor day weekend, the Warren family has a MWE. Mandatory Warren Event. It’s a call to come home and enjoy the long weekend with our favorite people. Since my children have left for college, I relish every second of this weekend—the laughter in the kitchen, the long conversations in the family room, the frenzy of backyard football, the quietness of the morning as we drink coffee on the deck and watch the sunrise. I cherish these people, and when they are with me, I drink in their presence.

I’ve been reading the prophecies about Christ this season and came across Isaiah 7:14, Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

I am struck by the word Immanuel. God with us. The closest I get to comprehending this is reading about how Jesus’ loved his disciples. Surely they relished the time with him more profoundly after his resurrection, knowing he would soon leave.

Thankfully, he didn’t leave them for long and sent His Holy Spirit. God . . . still with them. 

As I consider the magnitude of this God who would come to earth, who would abide with the disciples, and then with me, I have to wonder not only do I relish God’s presence in my life, but does God relish time with me? Am I committed to embracing His entrance into my life? Am I even making the effort to see Him?

Imagine that during our MWE weekend, I ignored my children, and they, me? I would lose the joy of their presence.

It is not surprising to me that the Jewish people did not recognize their Savior. After all, who would guess that the Almighty might package himself as a baby and appear among them, fragile and dependent? But today, we know the story, we know the miracles, we know the truth, and God invites us into an abundant relationship, one that He wishes to relish, one that will change us. A relationship that will slake our thirsts and satisfy our hungers. One that reminds us that we are never alone.

Because every day we are a mandatory event to our Immanuel.

This season, look for the ways that God is your Immanuel, with you, every day.
***
Susan May Warren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 40 novels. With over 750,000 books in print, her stories of family, romance and adventure have earned her acclaim and reader fans from around the world. Visit her website for upcoming books and sneak peeks!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

"A Christmas Homecoming" eBook - Just .99! Enter to win a Paperwhite Kindle from MaryAnn Diorio!

Grab a copy of MaryAnn Diorio's "A Christmas Homecoming" for JUST .99 and enter to win a Paperwhite Kindle! Details below!



One "merry" winner will receive:
  • A Paperwhite Kindle
  • A Christmas Homecoming by MaryAnn Diorio
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 22nd. Winner will be announced on 12/23/12 at MaryAnn's Blog.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

12 Days of Gifts with Dorothy Love's "Home for the Holidays" Contest and Facebook Party {12/13}

Dorothy Love is celebrating the new book in her Hickory Ridge Romance series, Every Perfect Gift with a "Home for the Holidays" 12 Days of Gifts contest.



Celebrate the holidays with Dorothy Love and her protagonist, Sophie Caldwell, as they count down the days to Dorothy's author chat party with 12 Days of Gifts! Dorothy will be giving away copies of Every Perfect Gift and other holiday essentials, as well as key items from the book that Sophie would have worn during or used to celebrate the holidays (a beautiful, red shawl, Victorian ornaments, stockings). It's all happening on Dorothy's Facebook page. She'll post a new giveaway each day.

So bring on the Christmas cheer with Dorothy and the "Home for the Holidays" 12 Days of Gifts. Then join Dorothy on the evening of December 13 for her author chat party! During the party, Dorothy will announce the 12 winners from the Home for the Holidays giveaway and host an author chat about Every Perfect Gift and favorite Christmas traditions. Oh, and she'll be giving away lots of fun prizes. RSVP today.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Elizabeth Ludwig's "No Safe Harbor" Kindle Fire Giveaway and 12/6 Facebook Party!

Elizabeth Ludwig is celebrating her new book with a Kindle Fire Giveaway and connecting with readers at a Facebook Author Chat party on 12/6.


One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 5th. Winner will be announced at the "No Safe Harbor" Author Chat Facebook Party on 12/6. Connect with Elizabeth, get a sneak peek of the next book in the Edge of Freedom series, try your hand at the trivia contest, and win some great prizes - gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of No Safe Harbor and join Elizabeth on the evening of the December 6th for a chance to connect with her and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 6th!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Resurrect Kindle Fire Giveaway and Facebook Party {12/4}

To celebrate the release of Resurrect, David E. Stevens, has teamed up with his publisher, Kregel Publications, for a Kindle Fire Giveaway and Facebook Author Chat Party {12/4}.


One "thrilling" winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Resurrect by David E. Stevens
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the "Resurrect" Author Chat Facebook Party on 11/27. Connect with David, get a sneak peek of the next book in the Resurrect Trilogy, try your hand at the trivia contest, and win some great prizes - gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Resurrect and join David on the evening of the December 4th for a chance to connect with David and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 4th!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Win a Kindle Paperwhite and connect with Kristen Heitzmann at "The Breath of Dawn" Facebook Party {11/27}!

Kristen Heitzmann is celebrating The Breath of Dawn by giving away one of the new Paperwhite Kindles and hosting a fun Author Chat Party on Facebook. (11/27)


One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Paperwhite
  • The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 26th. Winner will be announced at the "The Breath of Dawn" Author Chat Facebook Party on 11/27. Connect with Kristen, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of The Breath of Dawn and join Kristen on the evening of the November 27th for a chance to connect with Kristen and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 27th!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Kindle Fire Giveaway from @LeslieGould! RSVP for Facebook Party {11/20}

A retelling of the Taming of the Shrew! Leslie Gould is celebrating the release of Courting Cate with a fun Kindle Fire Giveaway and a Facebook Author Chat Party (11/20)!



One lucky winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Courting Cate by Leslie Gould
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 19th. Winner will be announced at the "Courting Cate" Author Chat Facebook Party on 11/20. Connect with Leslie, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at an Amish trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Courting Cate and join Leslie on the evening of the November 20th for a chance to connect with Leslie and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 20th!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Get in my Belly | Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls

Hands down my family's new favorite comfort sweet! I started with a recipe that I saw on Dawn Stoltzfus' blog (from her new cookbook, A Farmer's Daughter) and gave it a little "pizzazz" (as my daughter would say).


Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls

Make the dough:
2/3 cup milk
¼ cup salted butter
1 cup pumpkin, cooked and mashed

¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp yeast
4 cup bread flour

Spice Filling: 
4 tbsp salted butter, melted
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Cinnamon Sauce:
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Cream Cheese Glaze
8 oz cream cheese
2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp half & half or milk
½ tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

In a saucepan, eat milk and butter until butter is almost melted, then remove from heat and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, salt and milk mixture. Beat well. Add beaten eggs, yeast and ½ cup flour.  Beat on low for 2 minutes. Add remaining flour and mix well. Either use your machine or hands to knead the dough for 5 minutes. Dough will be soft. Place into a greased bowl. Grease the top and cover. Let rise for 1 hour.

Punch dough down and roll out into a rectangle on a floured surface.

For spice filling, melt butter and spread with your hand evenly over top of the dough mixture. Combine the brown sugar and spices and  sprinkle over butter. Roll up from the long side and cut into twelve 1-2” pieces. Let it rest while the cinnamon sauce is made.

In a small heavy bottomed sauce pan melt the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon together. Bring to a on medium - medium high heat. Boil and continue to boil for 2-3 minutes. Pour into the bottom of your cinnamon roll pan. (I use a 9x12 pan). Add the cinnamon roll pieces to the pan with the hot sauce. Three per row. Leave some room as the rolls will rise.

Let rise for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F and bake for 25-30 minutes. Yields 12 servings.

For the glaze, beat cream cheese till smooth. Add powdered sugar, half and half, vanilla and salt.  Beat together and spread on warm rolls.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Win an iPad Mini from @JimRubart and RSVP for his Live Video Chat {11/13}!

The first book in best-selling author, Jim Rubart's new series, Soul's Gate, releases on November 6th! To celebrate, Jim has teamed up with his publisher, Thomas Nelson, for a virtual book tour, iPad Mini giveaway and a Live Video Author Chat {11/13}. Watch the video trailer for the book here.

 

One "soulful" winner will receive:
  • A brand new iPad Mini
  • Soul's Gate by Jim Rubart {Be caught up in this captivating series.}
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 12th. Winner will be announced at the "Soul's Gate Author Chat Party on 11/13. Connect with Jim for an evening of book chat, trivia, and a live video chat! There will also be a chance to win gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!

So grab your copy of Soul's Gate and join Jim on the evening of the November 13th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 13th!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Win an Amish Kindle Gift Pack from @TriciaGoyer and RSVP for her "Memory Jar" Author Chat Party on 11/7!

Celebrate with Tricia by entering her Amish Kindle Gift Pack Giveaway and RSVPing to her Facebook party on November 7th. (And be sure to catch the fun video trailer or try your hand at one of the simple, keepsake crafts Tricia has put together on her website.)


One fortunate winners will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • Custom-made Memory Jar Kindle Cover
  • Amish-made decorative items {Wall hanging, horse/buggy and Amish houses}
  • The Memory Jar {Be swept away by this captivating series.}
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 6th. Winner will be announced at the "Memory Jar Author Chat Party on 11/7. Connect with Tricia for an evening of book chat, Amish trivia, and a live video chat! There will also be a chance to win gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!

So grab your copy of The Memory Jar and join Tricia on the evening of the November 7th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 7th!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Get in my Belly | Salsa Pork and Cheesy Polenta


I found this recipe on Cooking with Anne's blog. It's SO good and super easy. Perfect for a busy day or a big crowd. I changed the original recipe a bit.

Serve with avocado, sour cream, cilantro, and tapitio.

Salsa Pork and Cheesy Polenta
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 2 hours 30 minutes
Serves: 6

Salsa Pork

Photo credit
2 pounds pork loin or pork loin roast, trimmed of visible fat
16 oz Pico de Gallo salsa
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 chipotle chili peppers (Only use one if you like less heat.)
1 cup chicken stock
1 can (4 ounces) diced green chiles

Cheesy Polenta

4 cups chicken stock
1 cup finely ground corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:
1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot combine pork, cut in half to fit if necessary, with salsa, garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, chipotle peppers, salt, chicken stock, and green chiles. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and turning pork once or twice during cooking time.

2. Remove pork from sauce and turn heat to high. Cook for 5 - 10 minutes or until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly.

3. While sauce is reducing, shred pork well. Add back into sauce and lower heat to keep warm.

4. For the polenta, heat 3 cups of the chicken stock and salt to boiling. Stir together remaining cup of stock and cornmeal until smooth. Whisk into boiling stock and reduce heat to low.

5. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until polenta is thickened. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheese.

6. Serve salsa pork on top of polenta.

Funny story. My son's friend was over for dinner the first night I made this. He said, "Oh! This is so good. What do you call this stuff? Placenta?" Yep. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Win an iPad from Joanna Weaver and RSVP to her Live Webcast Event {11/8}

Celebrate the release of At the Feet of Jesus with Joanna Weaver by entering to win an iPad and RSVPing for the "True Life" Webcast Event on 11/8!


One blessed winner will receive:
  • An iPad
  • The Year in Bethany Trilogy (Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, Having a Mary Spirit and Lazarus Awakening 
  • At the Feet of Jesus for YOU and FIVE of your friends.
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 7th. Winner will be announced at the "True Life" Live Webcast Event on November 8th. Connect with author Joanna Weaver and her special guest for an evening of encouragement, laughter and a Q&A! There will also be gift certificates and books given away to participants.

So grab your copy of At the Feet of Jesus (or one of Joanna's other books) and join Joanna on evening of November 8th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 8th!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Get in My Belly | Rhubarb Cream Cake

I know it's late in the year for rhubarb recipes, but my daughter has been begging me to make this cake for a few weeks. We had some rhubarb in the freezer and family coming for dinner - a perfect combo for baking.

I got this recipe from author Cara Putman a few years ago and adapted it a bit.

Rhubarb Cream Cake
(makes 1 9X13 cake)

Make the Cake: 

seriouseats.com
Rich and Tender Yellow Layer Cake 
Cooks Illustrated Cookbook, 2011

4 large eggs , room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk , room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened (see illustration 1), each stick cut into 8 pieces

Directions:
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease two 9-by-1 1/2-inch cake pans with vegetable shortening and cover pan bottoms with rounds of parchment paper or wax paper. Grease parchment rounds, dust cake pans with flour, and tap out excess.

Beat eggs, milk, and vanilla with fork in small bowl; measure out 1 cup of this mixture and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment; mix on lowest speed to blend, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running at lowest speed, add butter one piece at a time; mix until butter and flour begin to clump together and look sandy and pebbly, with pieces about the size of peas, 30 to 40 seconds after all butter is added. Add reserved 1 cup of egg mixture and mix at lowest speed until incorporated, 5 to 10 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high (setting 6 on KitchenAid) and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add remaining egg mixture (about 1/2 cup) in slow steady stream, about 30 seconds. Stop mixer and thoroughly scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Beat on medium-high until thoroughly combined and batter looks slightly curdled, about 15 seconds longer. (To mix using hand mixer, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Add butter pieces and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry blender. Add reserved 1 cup of egg mixture; beat with hand mixer at lowest speed until incorporated, 20 to 30 seconds. Increase speed to high, add remaining egg mixture, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Stop mixer and thoroughly scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Beat at high speed 15 seconds longer.)

Assemble the cake

4 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
3/4 sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Prepare the cake batter (can even use a boxed cake mix). Pour into greased 9 X 13 pan. Sprinkle with rhubarb and sugar. Slowly pour cream over the top. Bake at 350 for 40-55 minutes (until golden brown and the center of the cake is set). Cool for 25 minutes before serving. Garnish with whipped cream if desired. Refrigerate leftovers (if there are any!).

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Win a $200 Weekend Getaway from @SusanMayWarren! RSVP for Facebook Author Chat Party on Oct. 23rd!

Welcome to the campaign launch for Susan May Warren's latest offering in her beloved Deep Haven series, You Don't Know Me. Susan is celebrating with a $200 Weekend Getaway Giveaway and hosting a fun video Author Chat Party!

 
One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa Gift Card (Use that to catch up with a loved one and “Get to Know” your spouse, friend, sister, mom…whomever!)
  • The entire set of Deep Haven Books
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 22nd. Winner will be announced at the "You Don't Know Me" Author Chat Facebook Party on 10/23. Connect with Susan for an evening of book chat, Deep Haven trivia, and a live video chat! You will also hear about the BookShout read-along and have a chance to win gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!

So grab your copy of You Don't Know Me and join Susan on the evening of the October 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!