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This year I learned a new way to make pumpkin pie! Combined with my original recipe this new trick proved to be the best pie yet!

Pumpkin Pie 2.0

Pre heat oven to 425F

One 15oz can Unsweetened Pumpkin Puree

1/2 cup Granulated Sugar

1/4 Brown Sugar

2 tablespoons Maple Syrup

2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice

2 large eggs

1 12oz can Evaporated Milk

Pinch of Salt

1 Unbaked 9 inch Pie Shell or 1/2 portion Homemade Pie Crust recipe

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Prepare your crust: Thaw if using frozen or if using fresh lay your crust into your pie plate and keep in the fridge to stay cold while you mix the pie filling.

Here’s the new trick! Heat pumpkin puree over medium high heat stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until you see that the moisture content of the puree is reduced. Set aside and cool for about 20 minutes or until room temperature. Cooking the pumpkin gets rid of the extra water in the puree and concentrates the flavor it also makes the pie cook faster!

Once cool add, sugars, maple syrup, salt, pie spices to the puree and mix well.

Beat eggs until combined then add to the pumpkin mixture.

Slowly whisk in the evaporated milk.

Pour the pie filling into the pie crust and bake for 15 minutes at 425F. Reduce the temp to 350F and continue baking for 30-40 minutes or until the filling is softly set. It will have a small amount of wibble wobble in the very center, that’s okay as it will continue to cook for a few minutes after you take it out of the oven and will set up as it cools.

If the crust begins to get too brown wrap the edges of the crust in tin foil to stop the browning.

Cool compleately then store in refridgerator until cool.

Serve with whipped cream

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This year Thanksgiving comes with a lot of extra things. Concerns, worries, and rules.  I am endeavoring to focus for the coming week on gratitude. In that spirit here are some links for Thanksgiving. 

My yearly reminder that this is THE Thanksgiving manual if you need one. (I love the stories about Thanksgiving during his college days)

The complete Turkey Day Tutorial archive from WFH  

Table settings via The Pioneer Woman 

YES! The Macy’s Day Parade will be televised!

Here’s a very mellow jazzy playlist for Thanksgiving day

If you can’t be there, send your best wishes with one of these modern Thanksgiving cards.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving movie? 

Until next time, friends! Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving.

 

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I haven’t read a good murder mystery in a while but The Guest List by Lucy Foley definitely was just the thing for a dark and stormy mood. It’s atmospheric to be sure! I would recommend reading on a bleak day wrapped in a cozy sweater 🙂 

The bride – The plus one – The best man – The wedding planner  – The bridesmaid – The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

 

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May I also humbly recommend: 

TDS Blurb + Jacket

 

 

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In which Livia Windancer, newly fallen angel, discovers the downside of living with monster boys….

 

 

 

Whatever he was about to say was interrupted by a loud crash followed by raised voices in the front hall. Kai appeared in the doorway to the library looking distraught.

“It’s Orin and Finn again, Commander,” he said.

Tynan’s jaw clenched and he exhaled a breath, his nostrils flaring in annoyance.

“Perfect,” he muttered, walking toward the commotion.

Livia followed accompanied by Kai. “They fight all the time,” Kai supplied.

Turning the corner, sure enough, the two boys were squared off each glaring daggers at the other one. Orin’s lip was bleeding. The other boy, Finn she assumed, was a tall, brawny redhead. He swung a fist that Orin barely dodged.

“Take it back!” he growled at Orin.

“I call it like I see it, Wickerman,” Orin countered.

Tynan watched the goings on from the corner of the room, his arms folded over his broad chest, a look of silent annoyance on his face. He made no move to break up the fight and seemed resigned to let his captains hash things out themselves.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

“She’s making you the fool!”

The temperature of the front hall plummeted and black mist swirled around Orin and Finn’s feet as they circled each other.

“She’s none of your business!” Finn yelled.

So that was what this was about, a girl. She got the feeling Orin disapproved of Finn’s sweetheart. Livia felt for him. It was hard to watch a friend be hurt by another and complicated for… her thoughts came to a halt. Complicated! Oh dear. Livia figured she knew who Juno’s Mr. Complicated was.

The Shadows who had gathered along the staircase and in the doorway of the dining hall didn’t seem terribly upset by the fight. Most held a look of amusement, but Sorah stood out among the onlookers. His expression was of stern disapproval. Surprisingly, his look of disgust was leveled at Orin, cold radiated off him in waves.

“I can’t watch this,” he snapped, leaving by way of the stairs. Livia watched him go, as he turned to take one last look over his shoulder before disappearing down the hallway she could have sworn she saw tears in his eyes.

Livia’s attention was drawn back just as Finn launched himself at Orin. The other pivoted away but Finn countered grabbing Orin in a headlock, for all his brawn Finn was very agile and fast.

“Take back what you said!” Finn demanded.

“No!”

Her strategic mind kicked in and plotted Orin’s next move, there were several ways of getting out of a head lock but that’s not what happened.

Orin burst into flames. Finn let go dancing away from the other Shadow’s burning flesh. The rest of the bystanders, Livia included, followed suit. The heat from Orin’s flames was intense; it made her think of the fireball that had nearly killed she and her father as they were making their escape.

“Two can play at that, Ignus!” Finn sneered.

Spreading his fingers wide, his hands then arms deformed reaching out, his fingers growing long. They writhed toward Orin, slithering around his legs and waist. Orin sent flames up Finn’s appendages but the he refused to let go. Orin’s whole body was engulfed the blaze swirling up his torso, his delicate gossamer wings crackled as they caught fire.

The fire stoked hotter and Livia pressed herself into the wall, her heart hammering. The screams of the falling angels as they burnt…wings on fire…the stench of flesh on fire…blood…and snakes…snakes…writhing toward her…snakes coming to get her…

“Snakes!”

It was Kai’s voice she heard beside her; with effort she pulled herself out of her horrific memories and looked down to the boy who was smiling up at her.

“I can see it!” he said excitedly. “I know! I know what I want to be!”

“What you…?” she began, but then gasped, her terror made real as dozens of snakes began to squirm out from under Kai’s clothes.

She backed away but Kai followed her smiling as the snakes continued to climb into his mop of hair and slide around his arms. The snakes turned their attention suddenly to her, their cold eyes zeroing in, quickly perusing her as she backed away toward the stairs.

She dimly heard Tynan’s voice. “Kai, stop that.”

“She showed me, Commander. I can see it!”

The snakes were growing bigger, rising with dripping fangs snapping at her bare feet. Unable to contain her composure a moment longer she screamed. Flailing, she tripped on the stairs and still they came at her. She turned and ran for her life.

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THE FALLEN SHADOW is available now on Kindle and in hardcover

Jack O’ Lanterns In Spooky Forest With Ghost Lights - Halloween Background

Hey there!

It’s spooky season! My favorite time of the year! Here are some Sunday links to put you in the Halloween mood!

Last minute Halloween costumes (you know who you are!)

Ominous Tracks for Party Ghouls (Spotify Playlist)

Autumn and Halloween embroidery projects

How would you like to take a tour of Stephen Kings house?

“Knitted” glass sculptures are so cool!

October 13th 1886, “The circus arrives without warning…” My favorite Autumn book

Beauty advice from your friendly neighborhood witch

To Autumn by John Keats

Adorable Halloween cards from the 1920’s

From the Mind of Christine McConnell (Queen of creepy crafts!)

This is the recipe I use (Libby’s famous pumpkin pie)

I hope you have a wonderful Halloween season, until next time friends, be well!

EDIT: Well, I guess this post is better late than never! Enjoy your Sunday Surfing post on this Monday morning. :/ 

 

 

 

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TFS cover blurb promo

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My novel, Dragon’s Pawn, is one year old today! To celebrate here’s a special excerpt from the book, plus a DIY on how to make your own set of Secret Letter tiles like they used in the chapter.

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“I uh…” She really didn’t have time for gaming…then it struck her that Céline and Dara had seemed obsessed by the playing. “It seemed very complex.”

“Not at all. Once you know the rules it’s very diverting,” she tipped her head toward Mia’s guards, a very slight movement, “and enlightening.”

Lonnie came over and took a seat. “It’s really cool, they played a version in the book Anna Karenina.” He looked at her meaningfully.

Mia sat straighter, suddenly alert as to what was being asked of her. She knew the chapter from the book; it was where Kitty and Levin communicate through anagrams during a game of Secrétarie. “Our version is easier,” Lonnie said. “Want to learn how to play?”

*

   “First, you put out a word that will be the topic,” Lonnie explained, “then the other players build upon that word. Mother, you start with a word for Mia.”

Céline nodded and pushed four tiles into place. Dara.

Mia took this as a question, Where is Dara?

“Now Mia you can build upon Mother’s word or dismiss the word by playing your red tile,” Lonnie said.

It was excruciating not to be able to just talk to them, this might take more patience than she had. She didn’t want to upset Céline any more than she was but she knew she should be honest. Pushing the tiles under Céline’s word she answered the woman’s question. Dead.

Céline blinked tears from her eyes and pushed forward her green tile. Lonnie pushed forward his also, and then Mia did the same. End of conversation. Lonnie swept away the tiles. “Your turn now, Mia. You start the next phrase.”

And so it went, for hours they spoke using the tiles. Mia became very adept at choosing the right word to communicate her question or answer.

The Triad had been using Littri Sicreti or “the game of secret letters”, as a way of negotiation and secret communication amongst their family for generations. It was how the treaty discussions had been conducted. Between Céline and Dara, and General Bailey, not Caleb, Jonathan and Michael. Céline’s brothers had been keeping Caleb busy while the real work of establishing a new relationship occurred. Dara had been acting as Red City’s negotiator Céline told her. Dara had been the representive of the city’s true leadership.

Mia’s mouth fell open, hastily she assembled her word: Havenites. Céline pushed out her green tile. Yes.

Mia sat back in her chair trying to come up with a word that would convey the hundreds of questions ricocheting inside her head but before she could the lock on the doors to the suite popped open, the doors swung wide and Caleb swanned into the room. Hastily, Lonnie mixed up the tiles on the table and scrambled any words there.

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When I wrote the above scene I imagined Céline’s Littri Sicretti tiles to be very old, made by hand, perhaps of bone, and passed down by one of the Golden family’s ancestors. It was a bit of trial and error to come up with the right look. But I’m ever so pleased with the results!

I used DAS modeling clay and weighed out 7gr. chunks before rolling them into balls and then rolling them flat. Then using a template I cut them into 2cm x 3cm squares. After drying for about 24 hours I sanded the tiles to create a bevel on all the edges (back and front)

As the tiles are double sided I stamped the letters on (a capital on one side, lowercase on the other) Then I weathered them by tumbling them with used (wet) coffee grounds to simulate generations of use. A clear coat of spray poly on both sides of the tiles and I declared myself done!

 

DRAGON’S PAWN is available for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited and in Hardback 

 

A NEW STORY FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE REVEL NIGHT SAGA

Adam wants nothing more than to live a life of quiet solitude, something that’s easy to do in the Trashtown District of Red City. An ex-MECH soldier, he keeps his head down and his mouth shut. Slowly, he’s starting to put the horrors of the battlefield behind him. And then he meets Mia.

The spirited messenger who runs for Lóng Sang more than intrigues him. As they grow closer he feels, with her, he’s found a place to trust his weary heart.

Mia’s time as a humble messenger for Lóng Sang is running out. Like her mother before her, soon she will take her place as a courtesan along side the Glitter Girls and Party Boys of the Tower. Her training has already begun and Caleb Masters, the devious oligarch who is Dragon of Lóng Sang, has taken a keen interest in her.

Mia knows too well what will happen if she and Adam are caught together so she cherishes their stolen moments while hiding her true identity from him.

She’s playing a dangerous game, one she has no hope of winning especially when she finds herself drawn into a conspiracy that threatens to tear Red City apart.

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I posted a summer version of this when my garden was over flowing with lavender but I thought since it’s the season of everything scented with ginger, clove, cinnamon and nutmeg an Autumn version would be just the thing. This makes a lovely homemade gift!  

🍂 Autumn Spice Sugar Scrub 🍂

2/3 cup White Sugar

1/8 to 1/4 cup light bath oil (I used Neutrogena unscented sesame oil)

1 teaspoon ground Pumpkin Pie Spice

1-2 drop essential oil

In a glass bowl add the sugar, oil, ground spice, and essential oil. Make sure it is well mixed.

Decant into a shatter proof container with a lid.

To use: Smooth on to dry skin to scrub away dry flaky skin. Rinse well.

 

 

 

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TDS Blurb + Jacket

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I serve this on weeknights when I need easy but delicious. 

 

Easy Broccoli Beef

1 lb. Ground Beef

4 cups Frozen Broccoli Florets

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

2 teaspoons minced Garlic

1/3 to 1/2 cup Hoisin Sauce

Salt & Pepper

Prepared Basmati or Jasmin Rice

 

 

In a wide sauce pan with a lid, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium hight heat.

Brown the ground beef, crumbling it into larger bite sized chunks. Season with salt and pepper.

Reduce heat and stir in the hoisin sauce.

Add the frozen broccoli

Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the broccoli is cooked through.

Uncover and increase the heat to high and reduce the sauce for about 5 minutes.

Serve over rice with extra hoisin sauce and a sprinkling of sesame seeds if desired.

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I wanted something witchy. Something a bit spooky but also with a romance. Oh boy, did The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston deliver. The witches were indeed very witchy and the romance was pretty darn epic. The plot was intense and the “bad guy” was very bad indeed.

In her small early nineteenth century Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana. She is small and quick and pretty enough to attract a suitor, but there are things that set her apart from other girls. Though her mind is sharp she has not spoken since she was a young girl. Her silence is a mystery, as well as her magic—the household objects that seem to move at her command, the bad luck that visits those who do her ill. Concerned for her safety, her mother is anxious to see Morgana married, and Cai Jenkins, the widowed drover from the far hills who knows nothing of the rumors that swirl around her, seems the best choice.

After her wedding, Morgana is heartbroken at leaving her mother, and wary of this man, whom she does not know, and who will take her away to begin a new life. But she soon falls in love with Cai’s farm and the wild mountains that surround it.

Here, where frail humans are at the mercy of the elements, she thrives, her wild nature and her magic blossoming. Cai works to understand the beautiful, half-tamed creature he has chosen for a bride, and slowly, he begins to win Morgana’s affections.

It’s not long, however, before her strangeness begins to be remarked upon in her new village. A dark force is at work there—a person who will stop at nothing to turn the townspeople against Morgana, even at the expense of those closest to her. Forced to defend her home, her man, and herself from all comers, Morgana must learn to harness her power, or she will lose everything in this beautifully written, enchanting novel.

 

 

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May I also humbly recommend: 

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Hello There! Let’s kickback and have a lazy Sunday surfing the web.

This months wallpaper was found on Pixabay

The best advice for growing your hair long

Surprising benefits of going braless

And on the other end of the spectrum…Busting myths about corsets

The Victorian Shoplifting Girl Gangs of London

Italy is reviving the Medieval Plague Era “wine windows” in the time of Covid.

29 things everyone experienced as kids but no one every talks about

Famous sayings that don’t mean what you think they mean

I am “I read the Weekly World News” years old

You can tour Frida Kahlo’s Blue house virtually

Chalet Les Trolles…A cozy fantasy come true

Be well, friends. Have a great Sunday!

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