One Small Moment That Changed My Life by Stephanie Queen

a-look-back-at-the-past-100-yearsComing to the end of the year we all tend to get retrospective and I’m no exception. (Myren is an exception. He never talks about his past. Hmmm, I wonder… Oh, never ever mind–back to retrospection…).  The tendency may be to think about the big moments, like weddings and births. These are more like events than moments and clearly changed our lives. But there are those smaller moments too, if we look back and remember them, that might have had an unexpected impact. I remembered one from my past, and recognized it as life changing years later.

I was seventeen years old and sitting in the front seat of my car with a guy I was mad about. It was a cold Tuesday afternoon. He was exciting and handsome and funny and I had hopes for us. I remember how my chest bubbled with my heart beating so hard and how jumpy with giddiness I was to be in close quarters with him. To be flirting with him.

He said: Did you go to the movies Saturday night?

I said: No.

He said: That’s too bad.

He seemed flustered. I was puzzled.

I said: Not really.

He left the car abruptly and went back to his basketball practice. It was February vacation week. The next time I saw him was unexpectedly three days later. At a wake. For his father.

He was heartbroken. His gorgeous blue eyes were rimmed in red. I tried to comfort him. He rebuffed me. He was aloof and hardly met my eyes. He was stiff when I hugged him and he said nothing in response to my words of condolence. Not even a nod.

I was more than puzzled now. I was confused and distressed, but I reasoned that he was clearly upset and going through emotional upheaval. There was no way I should expect to make sense of his behavior. So I let him be.

When we got back to school the next week, it was worse. He didn’t speak to me, didn’t sit with me in study hall the way he used to and wouldn’t even look at me or say hello in the halls. I asked his sister, a friend of mine, about it and she didn’t know what was wrong. I was devastated. He’d rejected me completely. I had no choice, so I moved on. And I had no idea what went wrong,

Not until much later.

Later I realized my mistake. Now and then I’d think about him and wonder how he was and what might have been between us. How we might have had something. As time went by, I gained objectivity as my hurt cleared. I’d had no idea at the time what went wrong. Until one day, realization dawned and broke open a whole new abyss of hurt and regret.

It was a simple misunderstanding. A small moment that changed my life.

He’d said: Do you want to go to the movies Saturday night?

Do you have any of those moments that unexpectedly changed your life? Please share! You BeachcomberPrequelLondoncan read all about life-changing moments for ex-special ops legend Dane Blaise as he struggles through his partnership and desire for ex Scotland Yard detective and knock-out Shana George in the Beachcomber Investigations series. The first in series prequel is FREE on iBooks: The Beachcombers. Get it now!

If you share one of your moments in the comments you will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Beachcomber Investigations, book one of the series.

It’s Your Turn!

Now…it’s your turn to let us know what one, or more, Special thing you do at Christmas or Christmas Eve. I’d love to hear some of your memories and or special things you do at this time of year.

Each year my grandson and I bake cookies and make a Gingerbread Train together.

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We made houses until he got a bit older, so I thought the train was best for him a few years ago. Last year we added a Christmas tree, this year we added tiny gifts under the tree and two deer beside the train. Next year we’ll add something else, but have no idea yet what it will be.

We have a tiny Christmas tree my granddaughter colored and cut out ornaments when she was about five. We still bring out the tree each year in her memory. It’s a lovely memory to cherish.

When I was younger, we could open one gift Christmas Eve, the rest were saved until Christmas morning. Needless to say, we had a hard time falling asleep, because we could barely wait for Santa.

Mom did the best she could with what resources she had, but above all there was love involved with the gifts. Kids would probably laugh these days, but we always counted on oranges and peppermint in our stockings. Mom would roll the orange to break apart the pulp, cut a hole in the top and insert a stick of peppermint inside the orange. If you’ve never eaten an orange and peppermint together, give it a try! It’s really good. 🙂

I love romance, contemporaries, comedy, mystery and thrillers. Most any genre catches my attention if the story has a great plot and lots of twists and turns. Filling our readers with books each Christmas season gives me a reason to order my favorite authors or find new ones. I don’t really need a reason to order, but who doesn’t like finding surprises on their reader during this giving season?

Tell us what your favorite genre is. Do you have a book or movie you read or watch every year?

We usually watch Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life. The season doesn’t feel complete without those two. Of course there are many new Christmas movies this year too.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I’m still cooking and baking. The holiday sneaked up on me this year. Too much else going on to be well organized. Never fear, all will come together as it does each year.

I wish you a Wonderful and Merry Christmas! My hope is this year will be your best Christmas ever.

From all of us here at Authors of Main StreetMerry Christmas and Happy New Year!

You can find my new book Christmas at Apple Lake  at Amazon. http://tinyurl.com/oza44bz Happy reading!

Christmas Past by Susan R. Hughes

Christmas memories have a way of staying with you for life. When I wrote Mistletoe & Wine, set in 1986, I drew upon one particular holiday tradition from my childhood.

Every year, sometime in December, my dad would take my sister and me to Sparks Street, the pedestrian mall in downtown Ottawa, to shop for Christmas presents for our mom. Sparks Street was a more popular shopping destination back then, before the Rideau Centre (a huge mall) was built nearby in the early 1980s.

Our shopping trip started with lunch at a tiny burger joint on thwalruse corner of Sparks. There were no tables or chairs, just counters where you’d eat standing up. Our next destination was a shop that specialized in native handicrafts. I remember beautifully stitched leather moccasins, Cowichan sweaters, bizarre-looking Iroquois masks, porcupine quill boxes, soapstone carvings, and felt animal dolls dressed in Inuit coats. Many of Mom’s treasured items were bought there over the years.

Another essential stop was the bookstore. Every year we’d buy Mom a couple of the latest comic strip collections – Garfield, The Far Side, far sideGiles, Calvin & Hobbes and Herman. Once we got cold and hungry, we’d stop in at the nut shop. Dad would treat us to bags of delicious warm nuts and a cup of hot chocolate. He’d buy chocolates for Mom there as well.

The record store changed over the years. Vinyl albums were replaced by CDs. The shop is probably gone now, with the growing popularity of digital downloads. As a teenager, I remember the Cutting_Crew_I've_Been_In_Love_Before_coverexcitement of leafing through the latest singles – back then they were 45s. One year, when I was about fifteen, I showed my dad the Cutting Crew single I really really wanted. As much as he hated popular music, he went all the way back downtown another day and bought it for me. I’ll never forget that.

Eventually this tradition petered out. Shopping at the local mall became more convenient. I rarely have occasion to go downtown anymore. Navigating the traffic is unpleasant and parking is expensive. Sparks Street isn’t what it used to be, but to me it will always be associated with my dad, sister and me on cold December days, dashing from shop to shop, covering our ears with our mittens to keep them warm. Those memories, knit deep into my mind and heart, are woven in with warm feelings that I will always associate with Christmastime.

About Susan R. Hughes1980sCover.indd

I’m a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and historical romance. Sign up for my newsletter to find out about my sales and new releases.

Christmas in a Galaxy Far Away by Joan Reeves

Illustration of Santa claus and Christmas reindeer in ChristmasI bet you thought this was going to be a review of the new Star Wars movie. Nope. We aren’t seeing that until Christmas Day. (We have a date with our younger daughter and her husband–both are complete Star Wars fanatics.)

This is about another galaxy far, far away…a time when I was a child with my nose stuck in a book. I’d been that way a couple of years since I’d learned to read rather early in life. I was very young and was already a total geek and wanted only to read.

Amazing Gift

Then Christmas came, and I awoke to find a record player under the Christmas tree along with a half dozen 45s.

Yes, kids, jump in the Way Back Machine and head to the Dark Ages…before digital music, iPods, and CD’s. Before cassettes. Before 8-track cartridges.

Even though I was too young to know what was cool and what wasn’t, I still recognized that all those 45 records would appeal more to my parents’ generation than mine. With one exception. A little gem of a song by Alvin and his chipmunk buddies Simon and Theodore with some ineffectual blustering by an adult named David Seville according to the record label.

Wow. I loved that song from the minute the round black vinyl made its first few revolutions on the turntable. I literally wore that record out. Thinking back on the months that followed Christmas and realizing how many times I must have played The Chipmunk Song, I now see how extremely tolerant my parents, especially my mother, were. They never yelled, “Cut that damned thing off.” (I confess, I wasn’t as tolerant with some of my daughter’s alternative or rap or hip hop tunes.) Nor did they try to sneak it off the turntable and consign it to the trash.

The Chipmunk Song by Alvin and The Chipmunks was produced by Liberty Records and first appeared in 1958. It had already been around and popular by the time I received the record. The whole thing was created by Ross Bagdasarian aka David Seville. He was a pioneer with the multi-speed record player and became a millionaire by fiddling with those speeds. You may have heard of his first hit, a little ditty called Witch Doctor which sold over a million copies.

A million copies might sound like a huge hit, but it pales in comparison to The Chipmunk Song, actually titled Christmas, Don’t Be Late. He wanted to use a gimmick to represent animal voices, and his children suggested chipmunks. In the end, Bagdasarian did all four voices including the David Seville character. He named his chipmunks after Liberty Records executives. Si Waronker became Simon, the good chipmunk; Ted Keep was Theodore who was kind of silly, and Al Bennett was the memorable Alvin.

You can get a copy of the original Chipmunk Song as well as videos of the subsequent television show or books, but the song remains the best of the lot, in my humble opinion.

As I’ve been writing this, I’ve listened to a CD my daughter gave me a few Christmases ago. After receiving it, I promptly loaded it into my computer. The album is a Christmas mix she put together of some of my favorite Christmas songs. Track 1 was, of course, The Chipmunk Song by Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. It’s nice to know I raised my daughter to appreciate the finer things in life. *snicker*

Christmas Romance

I haven’t used The Chipmunk Song in a story yet, but I may. In the meantime, I have 2 Christmas romances for your consideration.

LuvU4Ever, a holiday short story romance, is free! (If Amazon and Nook still haven’t reduced it to FREE, get it from one of the other sellers listed.) Nobody’s Cinderella is reduced to only 99 cents.

LU4E_2500p_NYTLuvU4Ever (Free)

This Christmas, Noelle faces the biggest decision of her life.

LuvU4Ever. That’s what was engraved on the gold heart David gave her when he proposed. They’ve shared 10 years of joy in what she thought was a forever love.

I told you never to call me at home.

Can nine little words destroy her forever love? What will Noelle do? Will she walk away? Or dish out some payback? Or will she choose love?

Available at All Romance Ebooks * Amazon Kindle (Amazon has NOT price matched so it’s still showing 99 cents there.) * iBooks * Kobo * Nook (Nook has NOT price matched either so it’s still showing 99 cents.) * Smashwords and other ebook sellers.

NC_2400px3200p_framed_NYTNobody’s Cinderella (Reduced from $3.99 to 99 cents)

Darcy Benton is the oldest cliche in the world—a woman in love with her boss. Other than that, she’s no-nonsense, practical, mature, and sober. She’s just the kind of woman Chase Whitaker wants as head of accounting for his company. She’s definitely not the kind of woman he wants in his bed.

Enter Darcy’s meddling, matchmaking best friend who has a plan to transform Darcy into a hottie designed to attract Chase’s interest. All it takes? A couple of little lies…and a wish on a Christmas star. Darcy should have heeded that old advice: be careful what you wish for.

Available at All Romance Ebooks * Amazon Kindle * iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords and other ebook sellers.

Wishing yoXmas To Do List_webu all the happiest of Holidays and a glorious New Year!

Post Script

Joan Reeves is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. Available as ebooks and audiobooks, her romance novels all have the same underlying theme: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” Joan lives her happily ever after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. Sign up for WordPlay, Joan’s email list/newsletter for readers and receive a free book.

Christmas wishes

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Christmastime for me is filled with emotion. I am a Celt by birth and spiritual affiliation, so perhaps this comes with the territory. Everything seems to have meaning during this contemplative time of year. The nights are lengthening, daylight is precious and bustling with activity. Work becomes frantic as the calendar year comes to a close. Celebrations last the month, or more, and are filled with friendship, family and hope for the coming light and the New Year.

There is magic in theses moments. Magic to be shared.

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Every story I write has some element of magic—that power that thought, intention, and action bring, especially when the spark of the Divine enters the mix. Words carry power, so let us use them! I believe in Christmas wishes—their power to heal both the wisher and the recipient.

Here is my wish for you, from Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom, by John O’Donohue. I’ve combined a few of his Blessings, and although the words are his, this wish for you is mine.

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 A Friendship Blessing

 May the light of your soul guide you.

May you be blessed with good friends.

May you learn to be a good friend yourself.

May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where there is great love, warmth, feeling, and forgiveness.

May you never be isolated, but always be in the gentle nest of belonging with your anam cara (soul friend)

May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light, and renewal to those who work with you and to those who see and receive your work.

May the day never burden.

May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities, and promises.

May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.

May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.

May your soul calm, console, and renew you.

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May every word be granted to you!

If you believe in the magic of Christmas wishes, please give one in the comment section—and may all your wishes come true this Yuletide Season!

 

Blessings,

 Leigh

A CHAPTER SHARE

Because sharing is caring.

This is an open invitation to share your first chapter. In the comments, please leave a link to a place where you have your first, or favorite, chapter online. If you’d like, leave a buy link, a one sentence teaser, and a cover image as well.

I’ll start the fun. My story, The Little White Christmas Lie, can be found the Christmas on Main Street boxed set. You can also read it (well, most of it) here. Little White Christmas Lie

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Neither Carson nor Millie know that their lives are about to spin out of control thanks to a patch of black ice, a cow, and a little white Christmas lie.

Memories – A Piece of Time

Memories are funny things. Some days I’ll go into a room and forget what I went in there for. Then, some days I remember the moment my mom brought my baby brother home from the hospital. Christmas is like memory overload. The sights. The scents. The memories.

As we decorated the tree tonight we laughed at the funny ornaments the kids made in grade school. We sighed as we hung up the name ornaments for those who have passed. We took a deep breath as we finished and the boxes were empty and the tree was full.

ornamentIn our house we have an ornament for every year we’ve been a family since 1988. We have a baby’s first ornament for 1981 and 1990. This year we received this beautiful one here with a bright purple gemstone. Each one has a memory attached. They are a time capsule of ours lives together. From our first Christmas together as a newly-married blended family, to adding a son to our family, to now with spouses-in-laws and grandchildren. A time capsule!

Happy Holidays and Joyous Memories!

The Wonderful Holidays – the Things I’ve Learned

Welcome to my house for the holidays! It’s that time of year and I thought I’d share a little of my Christmases past with you. Okay, don’t laugh. Each thing has a reason and I’ll try to explain them. But I hope you’ll drop a tip or share one of your holiday traditions at the bottom because we all learn as we go.

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Christmas Tree in the Playpen: Our first daughter tipped the scale from sweet little bundle to a walking, climbing, jabbering machine fueled by the Energizer bunny. After saving her from the tree, (or the tree from her) on several occasions, I got the brilliant idea to prevent her from getting seriously hurt. When we put her into bed for the night, we moved the tree into the playpen. Now I didn’t feel as though I was caging her in a pen. She could get her fingers to the tree and to a few packages but she couldn’t cause any damage. She was free to roam. (This trick also works well if there is a new puppy in the house. It does not work for cats!)

Live Trees: Buy a plastic tarp or use a heavy-duty leaf trash bag under a live tree. I liked to tuck old kitchen towels under the live tree reservoir so if water does spill it doesn’t run off the plastic and get to the floor. Protect your wood floors or carpets from accidents! Cover the plastic with a tree skirt. If you have a cat or a dog, cover the open water reservoir with plastic wrap and cover that with a tree skirt.

Young Children: Keep indoor decorations simple. The worst thing is to be constantly telling children not to touch or don’t do that. It’s so negative. They are enthralled with decorations, and it’s natural that they want to touch. Also don’t place grandma’s priceless/irreplaceable china/glass  ornament within touching distance of the child. (Beware of dogs who have Happy Tail – also known as Restless Tail Syndrome. They can wipe out the the lower boughs of a tree or anything on the coffee table, etc.)

Let children help with decorations. Paper chains, anyone? We are already into December, but you can help children count down by making a paper chain. Every morning or before they hop into bed in the evening, they get to remove one loop! This is a great way to decorate their room! I’d put the chain just high enough that it was out of their reach. We’d have to lift the children for them to remove a loop. One year when they were pre-school aged, I made the loops and added something special to them. On each loop I wrote a different Christmas project such as bake cookies or make a bird suet ball. They thought that was great fun! They couldn’t wait to remove the loop and discover what craft was in store for them.

Using Cuttings and Other Natural Decorations: Beware of decorating with live branches. Bringing in cuttings from forsythia, pussy willows, etc might not work as well as you expect. Many times, even when spray painted, they have a tendency to realize it is warm and they will put out leaves, flowers, etc. I remember my mom making a beautiful centerpiece and she spray painted several cuttings. Christmas Eve she awakened to yellow flowers decorating her centerpiece.

If using a wreath  on the front door, make certain it does not contain real berries. They might fall off and onto the floor when you open the door. You don’t want to poison the children or the pets! And please use artificial mistletoe! (The real stuff can be deadly to young children and pets.)

008Wildlife: If decorating outside with real fruits, etc. be forewarned that the wildlife or the neighborhood squirrel might discover that lovely apple tree or Della Robbia wreath! One year as we prepared for our annual Christmas Eve Open House, at the last minute, I realized a raccoon had found my porch. Oh, what a mess! I quickly made a sign that said Merry Christmas, Human Party & Buffet inside, Wildlife Party & Buffet here. (Fortunately our guests laughed.)

Christmas Eve Dinner: This has always been our big meal. It’s a tradition from my mom who didn’t want to spend her Christmas day missing out on all the fun because she was chained to the stove. Most of the food can be done ahead of time. Naturally there were pies and cookies, but there were also things like potato salad, macaroni salad, a molded salad, deviled eggs, all of which can be prepared ahead of time. That just left the ham and the actual salad for Christmas Eve. I switched the green salad for a vegetable nibble tray. My hubby wasn’t a big lettuce eater, but he’d eat carrots, etc., so I would prepare the nibble tray and he and the girls would eat it. I often included cheese, olives, etc., with it. (It’s a great way to sneak the veggies into the children!) Put a few different dressings or dips with it and keep an eye on things.  Ham goes in the oven and the meal is easy! Play your favorite Christmas songs and enjoy the family. Christmas Day is leftovers. That’s even easier!

Christmas Eve Gifts: My girls always got to open a package on Christmas Eve. (So did I when I was little.) Trying to get them to sleep is darn hard on Christmas Eve. All those packages calling to them, screaming open me! So a box they can open on Christmas Eve helps to take the edge off. My girls usually got new pajamas. SE Virginia is usually warm up until the end of December, but a few times I got caught and had to let them open their gifts very early! But especially today with all the camera phones, Skyping etc., you want to preserve and share memories of your children looking their very best. New pajamas are a great way to do that! It doesn’t really matter if they are blue snowflakes or pink princess nightgowns, at least they will fit and not be ten inches too short because they outgrew last year’s nightwear. Do not give them a toy with which they will want to play all night or anything with lots of tiny pieces unless you’ve had an early dinner and plan for them to have time to enjoy the new toy.

Stockings: Our first house didn’t have a fireplace or a mantel so stockings were hung on the child’s doorknob. (Thread a heavy-duty rubber band through the stocking hanging loop. That made it easy to hang the stocking on the doorknob.) Place small interesting things in the stocking. At least one thing should make them want to quietly play. If you have girls, put things like earrings in there so those little boxes don’t get lost in all the piles of wrapping paper later.  Our girls were told when they awakened, they were to grab their stocking and head to our room with it. They could open their stocking stuff on our bed. This gave us a chance to open our eyes, take turns brushing our teeth, and one of us (usually me) ran to the kitchen to make coffee and start breakfast (I’ll explain that below). It also kept one child from waking another.

Christmas Breakfast: This tradition came from my husband. As a child everyone went his Mémè and Pépè’s house (French Canadian grandparents). That must have been a madhouse with that large family. Mémè and Pépè had a huge brood of their own, and then those children had children! Plus Mémè had a ton of sisters who came with their families. All the women kicked in and cooked up a storm. They had roast beef, pork roast, ham, turkey, tons of seafood, etc. They had French foods I can’t pronounce and the festivities started on Christmas Eve, then everyone left before midnight for Mass. After Mass, they returned to Mémè and Pépè’s because Santa would come while they were at church.  So children were running around until almost dawn when they were packed up and taken home for more Christmas presents at home. Then everyone returned to Mémè and Pépè’s for brunch. Really? Did these children sleep? According to my husband, they didn’t. (Oh, I can imagine a house full of tired, cranky children. No thanks!) But one of the main foods was something called took-kay.

My husband loved took-kay. The first Christmas we had together, his mom served took-kay or too-kay or however it is pronounced. I think I stood in my MIL’s kitchen for 20 minutes trying to pronounce it correctly. I gave up. It’s took-kay. Which is probably a childhood slur. I’d had eight years of proper Parisian French and in those days I was rather fluent so you can imagine my surprise when I was handed a copy of the recipe with the name written on the top. No wonder I never understood much of what they were saying in French.

But this pie meant Christmas to my husband and so I learned to make it, as have my children, and now my one granddaughter makes it. (The other granddaughter is a vegan.) So I make these pies ahead of time. In the morning, I place the pie in the oven and allow the pie to warm while we are opening presents. There were such a hit in my family, I’d buy about five pounds of pork and a big bag of boiling potatoes.

Ground Pork: I will warn you, I did cheat from the original recipe. I’m not into grinding my own meat! But I will ask the butcher to grind it for me and I place that order usually about a week before I make the pies. Most grocery stores aren’t thrilled  about grinding pork. They have to totally clean the grinding machine before and after. It’s labor intensive and there’s not enough call for it. I also use very lean pork and do not mix extra fat into it. And since I’m not cooking a few pork roasts with it, I buy packets of gravy. (Shh! Don’t tell anyone!)

In my own defense, the last Christmas before my hubby died, we drove up Christmas Day to see his parents and I bought pies with me. His mother was stubborn and refused to eat my pie because no one can make them as well as she does. And they weren’t refrigerated. No, they weren’t.  I had them in a cooler so that they wouldn’t freeze in the car’s trunk on the way up!  Then my father-in-law sits at the table and announces that he wants some. I warmed a pie and sliced it for those of us who would eat it. My father-in-law sat there humming and yumming over each bite of my pie. Then announced it was the best took-kay he’d ever eaten. Inside, I was busting my buttons, but outside, I was cringing  because I knew that would upset my mother-in-law.

This year my granddaughter cheated and used a store bought pie crust. Why? I taught her to make pie crusts! It takes only a few minutes to make them. I won’t say a thing because I don’t want to turn into that cranky, old lady who thinks that she’s the only one who knows how to do anything. My mother-in-law’s pies were delicious but way too much work, and it wasn’t necessary.

Tourtiere

(took-kay)

1 pound of ground pork (I ask the butcher to grind very lean pork for me. It costs a few cents more, but it’s worth it.)

2 medium boiled and peeled potatoes (Cut up fine. You want some texture but no large chunks.)

One fat slice of mild onion (or cheat with powdered onion and skip sautéing in butter.)

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of cloves

a dash of salt and little butter

pork gravy (you can cheat and use packaged pork gravy)

Cut up the onion into very fine pieces and sauté in butter. Add ground pork and stir until cooked. (You want it cooked but not hard and crunchy.) Turn stove off. Drain any excess fat. Stir in seasonings. Gently add the potatoes. You will need about a cup of gravy. I save my unsalted potato water and mix that with the gravy packet. Add that gravy to the meat and potato mixture and lightly stir.

Pie Crust

(I swear they are so easy to make and taste delicious. You’ll never use store bought again.)

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 teaspoon of salt

2/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons of shortening

4-5 Tablespoons of cold water

A pie plate (8-9 inches)

Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Cut in shortening. Take two knives (one in each hand) and cut until shortening seems to vanish into the flour and it all becomes grainy. Sprinkle in water, mix until the dough begins to form a ball and pulls from the sides of the bowl. Gather into a ball with your hands and cut the ball in half. Cover the one unused half with a damp paper towel.

Don’t worry about having a dough board, etc. Make certain your countertop is extra clean. Sprinkle it with flour. Be generous. If you don’t have a rolling pin, substitute with something that will roll such as a smooth glass jar or drinking glass. Sprinkle a little flour on the dough ball and don’t be afraid to sprinkle more flour as you go. Roll the half ball into something about the size of your hand. Pick it up, flip it over, and roll it using pie slice strokes to create a round shape. (Think of a clock and roll from the center to the 12, then from the center to the 2, from the center to the 4, etc.) The flattened dough needs to be about two inches larger than the rim of the pie plate and should be slightly under a fourth of an inch thick. Don’t worry about ragged edges.

When I taught my children, I often used waxed paper under the pie crust as they rolled. I’d let them roll it out part of the way on the counter, and then when I flipped it over, I put it on waxed paper that had been floured. The waxed paper tends to slip around so I’d glue it down with a smear of dough on the countertop. I’d let them mark the circle on the waxed paper with a pen ahead of time (invert the pie plate on the paper and mark) so they knew how far the dough had to stretch. (Put the marked side down on the counter.) Then it’s easy to pick the crust up, waxed paper and all, and flip it over into the pie plate. Gently peel the waxed paper off and push the crust into place. Fix cracks, etc, with a wet finger as you push the dough back together. (Practice will teach you not to have cracks, but if you get them, it won’t change the taste.) Trim the crust slightly beyond the edge of the plate.

Fill pie with meat filling. Do not exceed the height of the pie plate. And don’t try to pack it tight. (Any excess filling can be heated in the microwave and eaten on toast. If you have enough you can make another pie or by adding a little extra potato you can create enough to fill one more pie. Don’t want one more pie? Freeze the leftover.)

Make a top crust by rolling out the other half. Lay it gently on the pie. With luck this one will look much better. (The bottom crust was practice, right?)

If you have clean pastry shears you can cut the dough, if not, use a sharp knife and remove all but an extra inch. Tuck that top layer under the bottom layer on the rim and flute it with your fingers. Or cut both crusts to the edge of the pie plate and run a damped finger between the two so that they stick together. Use the handle of a spoon and press them together or use the tines of a fork. You can make pretty fluted patterns doing it.

Cover the edges of the plate with a foil sleeve to protect the edges from pie2getting too brown. This pie needs to be vented so that the steam escapes. The quick way is to put 2-3 one-inch knife slices in the center. Bake the pie at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until it begins to brown.

Remove the pie, allow it to cool and refrigerate. Then I reheat it without the foil on the edges. Or remove foil to allow the edges to brown and serve hot. Make some extra gravy to pour over it when it’s served. (I’ve also seen hubby’s family eat it with ketchup on it.)

I decorate the crust and this has become a tradition in my house. It doesn’t pie crusttake much skill and it’s fun! It only takes a sharp knife and toothpicks. (Let the kids decorate it with toothpicks, and then you can use a the point of a sharp knife and stab it in their lines!) Over the years trees have become elaborate things with presents under them and Christmas balls hang from pine branches. Some years the pie crusts haven’t looked that great especially when the younger generations were learning. And lately it’s been the same with the grandchildren making them, but they taste wonderful.

I’m better with a knife and toothpicks than I am with a mouse in my hand! 🙂

No matter what holiday you celebrate, I hope December is filled with family, friends, joy, and peace.

Happy Hanukkah, may the lights always shine.

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Shalom

Christmas on Main Street Book 2 Limited Edition Boxed Set

Christmas on Main Street
Book 2 Limited Edition Boxed Set

Don’t forget to add your best holiday hint, tip, or recipe in the comments

section!

Don’t forget to grab your 99c copy of our boxed set Christmas on Main Street – Book 2. It’s filled with all new, never before published, holiday stories to warm your heart this season. This book isn’t going to be around very long!

 

 

 

 

 

I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date…

The word for this last quarter, of 2015, is overwhelming! In all aspects of life I am overwhelmed, so I am a day late and several dollars short for my monthly post, here on Main Street! My apologies and now …my post! 

I will be attending my first book signings in January. I am very excited and a little nervous to be setting out on this new adventure. My first stop will be in Dallas for a SOLD OUT event, hosted by the Southern Belles Book Blog, called Holidays with the Belles. Not only will I be signing books, but Colleen Hoover will be there and so I get to Fangirl, as well. (Jan. 9th)

The following weekend I will be in Las Vegas for the Rock and Read Author Event, hosted by Summer’s Book Blog. My publisher, Forever Red Publishing, is one of the sponsors for the event and many of the writers with my imprint will be attending. So, this one is even more exciting, because I get to meet ladies with whom I’ve become friends – but never met in person. Exciting! (Jan 15-17)

At both events I will be signing my revamped, One Day at a Wedding Series. These books have been spiffed up inside and out; with content changes, format changes, and amazing new covers by The Killion Group! I am very excited to show these new books and sign for fans. The first book in the series, Once Upon a Wedding, is the 2015 Pinacle Book Acheivement Award Winner in its category! I am so honored and excited to place stickers on the covers for this award!

  

Between the signings and the re-release of my One Day at a Wedding Series, I have so much to look forward to at the start of the New Year. Which, by the way, still sounds overwhelming 😀 but in a good way! 

Keep an eye out on my website and social media pages, the 17th of this month for my cover reveal for Once Upon a Wedding and Anything but a Wedding! Both full length books release on 01.12.2016! 

AND I’m excited to announce there will be a prequel novella to the series, as well as a sexier novella to liven up your Valentine’s Day this year; featuring the best book boyfriend of the series, Thad. 

So much ahead and so much to look forward to, I am more than ready for 2016! I hope the balance of this year is blessed for all of our Main Street friends, like you there reading this post. I also wish for new and wonderful adventures for you all, in the New Year.

Anyone that wants to come out and see me in Vegas, even if it’s just an excuse to go to Vegas 😝 tickets are still available, through eventbrite, for the Rock & Read Author Event! See the link below!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rock-read-vegas-author-event-tickets-16987822033

Wishing you well in life and fiction, as well as a Happy Holiday Season!

Kindly,

Kelly Rae

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