Christmas Cookie #Recipe—Polvorones

 

Also called Mexican wedding cookies—this is the Christmas cookie Anna brought to her “surprise” baby shower—

 

Servings: 41/2 dozen cookies
 Ingredients:
• 6 oz. whole pecan halves
• 1 tsp salt
• 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

1. Place the pecans in single layer on cookie  sheet. Put pecans in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

2. Allow pecans to cool to room temperature. Process pecans in a food processor until the pecans are finely ground. In a large bowl, add the flour, salt and cinnamon. Stir in pecans and combine.

3. With a mixer cream the butter and 1 cup of sugar. Add the vanilla and the flour mixture and mix until well blended.

4. Roll 1 tablespoon of dough into small ball for each cookie. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly brown. When the cookies cool completely, roll in the powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

For more behind-the-scenes recipes from The Christmas Baby, visit Pinterest.

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Christmas Cookie #Recipe—Chinese Almond Cookies

The cookies Evy brought to the Christmas cookie swap—

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon water

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in egg and almond extract.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add gradually to creamed mixture.
  3. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with fork. Sprinkle with almonds.
  4. Beat egg white and water in a small bowl. Brush glaze over cookies.
  5. Bake cookies at 325 degrees for 14-16 minutes or until edges/bottoms are lightly browned.
  6. Cool 2 minutes before removing cookies from sheet to wire racks.

Yield: 5 dozen

Enjoy!

For more behind-the-scenes recipes from The Christmas Baby, visit Pinterest.

Why I Wrote The Christmas Baby

Sometimes we find love. And sometimes like an unexpected gift, love finds us.

I have always been struck by the great faith shown by Joseph of Nazareth. At how far his love was willing to go in obedience to God and in love for the Child who was not his own.

The story of Bethlehem cannot be properly appreciated without also understanding Calvary. Bethlehem and Calvary are not two different stories—but one story with intertwining threads. And this is God’s story of love for you and for me.

In writing this novel I was forced to ask myself, how far was I willing to go for love? What would I sacrifice? What would I risk?

To risk much for love, like Anna, I have to be willing to come to the end of my pride and self-sufficiency if I am to discover God’s best, often unexpected, gifts for me. Like Ryan, I, too, have grappled with what this kind of love will cost me.

Sometimes I lacked the courage to love this way. The price of obedience too hard. The cost of laying down my plans too high. The death of self too painful.

But love is a choice. An unconditional love with no expectation of return demands courage. My prayer—like Ryan’s—is for God’s love to be born in me so that I might love the way God loves us. And to persevere in loving, despite knowing the outcome may never be what I long for most—but trusting God anyway.

How far is your love willing to go? How far was God’s love willing to go for us? All the way from heaven to the manger to the cross.

Why? Because God is a good father. His Son sees you and I as worth the pain, worth the grief and worth the cross. In His ultimate heroic sacrifice of love, we find our Bethlehem. It is not a something we have earned, but a gift of unfathomable grace.

Bethlehem and Calvary — the greatest love story. God’s love story for all mankind when He chose to make our heart His home. Love is calling, and I pray you will answer love’s call.

I hope you will enjoy The Christmas Baby.

For more behind-the-scenes inspiration from The Christmas Baby, visit Pinterest.

Civil Air Patrol, World War Two & the ESVA

We, the many, owe so much to the few. There was an almost forgotten time ago when German u boats prowled off the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Only those living on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and the Outer Banks of North Carolina understood how precarious was our freedom.

Nightly, they watched in horror as the u boats sank freighters and passenger ships. The Civil Air Patrol, with bases from Florida to New Jersey, was established to locate the German wolf pack and target them before they could target Allied shipping. The CAP kept watch over the coastline until sabotage and invasion was no longer a threat, breaking the backbone of Nazi aggression in the Americas.

When the late Billy Davis of ESVA took my husband on a quick side trip to see an old World War 2 airstrip, the idea for The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family was born.

 

 

 

 

 

For more behind the scene inspiration from The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family, visit Pinterest.

Garden Inspiration from The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family

People always ask me as a writer where I find my ideas for a book or a character or a scene. Here is how part of the inspiration for Kristina’s character in The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family evolved, stemming from an incident when I lived on the ESVA.

I love flowers. But I’m a big city girl and most people where I live get flowers from a florist. Yet one day that long ago summer on the ESVA, I went with Jean Davis to gather flowers from an elderly lady’s garden to make an arrangement for the altar for the Sunday service. This real life, seemingly innocuous outing, would spark my imagination into the scene between Kristina and Jade in the book.

Here are some of the flowers—which I now grow in my own garden—that Kristina would use in her Lenten-inspired altar arrangements. These flowers are sure-fire harbingers in the cold of winter that spring is indeed on its way.

Camellias

Violets

Daphnes-Such a sweet fragrance.

Daffodils—My mother calls them jonquils.

Lenten roses—Given to me by my dear friend and fellow writer, Sue Stout.

 

For more behind the scene inspiration from The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family, visit Pinterest.

2 Minute #Video—Using Flower Frogs

Remember Monica Potter from Parenthood?

She has become a real life DIY guru and a lovely fictional inspiration for Kristina in The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family.

For more behind the scene inspiration from The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family, visit Pinterest.

What is a flower frog?

A flower frog is a device used to help hold and arrange flowers. Floral frogs are still used, but were in their heyday during the 1920s, 1930s and World War Two era. I adore all things Art Deco.

Here are some of my favorites—

 

Do you own a flower frog? Did your grandmother?

For more behind the scene inspiration from The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family, visit Pinterest.

 

3 Minute #Video—White Cliffs of Dover

There’s nothing like the romantic ballads of the World War Two era. This song was on my playlist as I wrote The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family. Enjoy . . .

For more behind the scene inspiration from The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family, visit Pinterest.