Southern Brunswick Stew #Recipe

brunswickstew•1 old hen (okay, that’s what was written on my grandmother’s recipe card in her own hand) I use a chicken from the grocery store.

•1.5 lbs stew beef

•1 small piece of fatback

•1 large can of whole kernel corn

•1 large can of garden peas (that’s Southern for green peas)

•1 large can of butterbeans (Southern speak for lima beans)

•2 slices of bacon

•1 Tbsp of sugar

•1 1/2 quarts of tomatoes

•1/2 cup macaroni

salt and pepper to taste


1. Cook beef and chicken first in large pot or Dutch oven. Cut up chicken.

2. Add rest of ingredients and simmer slowly, stirring often for 30 minutes.

Enjoy. Can be frozen and reheated. Where I’m from, we eat this with crackers on the side.

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Blue Bird Flour—Navajo Fry Bread Maker’s Choice

bluebirdflourEach year the Cortez Milling Co. produces about 600,000 25-pound bags of Blue Bird flour, most of which is sold throughout the Navajo Nation and in towns surrounding it.

And demand increases in the summer when students return home to the Rez from boarding schools.

The flour is packaged in cloth bags of 50, 25, 10 and 5-pound quantities. The cloth is popular with crafters and quilters, reminiscent of Depression-era feedsacks.

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Quick Crockpot Chili #Recipe


2 15 oz cans of tomato sauce
1 15 oz can diced tomatoeschili
1 lb ground beef, browned
1 can kidney beans
Spice pack (I use McCormack’s)
Dash of cayenne
Salt to taste


1. Throw everything into the crock pot (after opening the cans of course).
2. Let cook for 1 hour.
3. If too thick for your preference, add a little water.

And that’s it. Enjoy. Add your favorite chili toppings and Southwest flavors.

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The New York Beauty #Quilt

The pattern now referred to as the New York Beauty started life with multiple names—Rocky Mountain Road and Crown of Thorns. This pattern was first documented in 1850, but it was the Mountain Mist company in the 1930s who revamped this classic pattern and adopted the New York Beauty title.

The traditional design includes four quarter circles, or arcs, with points radiating outward. It is considered to be one of the most advanced pieced quilt patterns. The quilt was often quilted utilizing overlapping circles.

Quilt historians trace the pattern from New England in the early to mid-19th century down the Eastern Seaboard to the South and farther west to Texas.

12.18.04 Quilt NYB 1
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Kneel Down Bread #Recipe

Also known as Navajo tamales—this is a staple in the Navajo diet and a healthier alternative to fry bread.

7 ears fresh corn
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup water

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Scrape corn kernels from cob with a sharp knife, reserving husks. Use the dull side of the knife to scrape the cob and release the corn milk.

2. Grind kernels in a blender and transfer to a bowl. Add shortening, salt to taste, and water only enough to make a paste.

3. Divide the mixture equally into seven husks. Lay out the husk with the natural curl facing up to enclose the filling. Spoon the filling lengthwise into the center of the husk. Using strips of husks, tie both ends. Carefully bend the husk in half to tie the two ends together. Wrap husks in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan.

4. Bake for 1 hour or until firm to the touch. Serve hot. Can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.


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1 Minute How-To #video on Fixing Hair in Traditional Navajo Bun

4.1.08 MV 28 Navajo BunThe navajo bun is called a tsiiyéél. On a tour of Monument Valley, Arizona, an old Navajo woman fixed my oldest daughter’s hair in the traditional way.

For behind the scene photos of Beneath a Navajo Moon, visit

Real Life Behind-the-Scenes Photos from Beneath a Navajo Moon


3.31.08 Painted Desert AZ 2The Painted Desert

Monument Valley—Navajo Reservation—A land of iconic red rock canyons

4.1.08 MV 43 Monument Valley4.1.08 MV 56 Merrick Butte4.1.08 MV 4 LR Mittens

Susie’s Hogan—like where Erin gets a Navajo Bun

4.1.08 MV 29 Susie's Hogon

Horses in the Canyon

4.1.08 MV 47 Horses Drinking

The real Totem Pole—aka Devil’s Pitchfork

4.1.08 MV 49 Totem Pole

Anasazi Pictographs—aka the Ancient Ones

4.1.08 MV 32 Anasazi Petroglifs

Sunrise over Canyon Country

4.2.08 MV Goulding's Lodge Sunrise 5

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Indian Taco #Recipe featured in Beneath a Navajo Moon


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup water
  • Additional ¼ cup flour for shaping
  • 2 cups oil for frying
  • Makes four.

Indian Tacos:

  • Cook frybread
  • Beans of choice—chili, pinto
  • Ground beef or other meat cooked
  • shredded cheese
  • lettuce, tomato, onion
  • hot sauce, pickled jalapenos
  1. Stir flour, baking powder and salt together. Combine milk and water in a separate cup.
  2. Add wet ingredients to flour mix and mix well with a fork. Dough will be soft.
  3. Coat your hands and work surface with flour.
  4. Shape the dough into rectangular block and divide into 4 pieces.
  5. Flatten each piece into a circle about ⅓” thick, saucer-sized.
  6. Heat the oil to 350 degrees and fry one at a time, about 2 minutes on each side.
  7. Serve with favorite taco toppings or fill with favorite breakfast omelet.

For more recipes and behind the scene photos of Beneath a Navajo Moon, visit

Why I Wrote Beneath a Navajo Moon

9781426757990Several years ago, God put it on my heart to get serious about this secret dream of writing I’d had since I was a child. In fact, He compelled me to take the stories that had been swirling in my imagination and write them down. That story became Carolina Reckoning. My second novel, Aloha Rose, was the result of a God-ordained reunion and now in March Beneath a Navajo Moon releases.

Olivia’s story came to me in its entirety in a dream. The Navajo put great stock in their dreams; God often reaches them through the kind of dreams with which He once visited upon Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I think maybe we’ve grown too sophisticated to hear His voice either in our nighttime or waking dreams.

Sometimes people stop themselves for reaching for their dreams because of fear of failure. Whatever your dream, I am the living proof that there is no expiration date on dreams. Rather in my life, God carefully orchestrated my experiences with me being at a place that would bring Him honor through my writing offerings.

The desire for the God-planted dream overcame my fear of taking a risk—to risk a maybe failure versus the certain regret of never having dared to reach. I want my life to be more than a dash between two dates. If there is some dream God has given you, my advice would be twofold: 1)obedience is yours to choose; the outcome belongs to the Lord, and 2)examine your motivation for the dream. God honors those who honor him.

Questions to ponder—Does your life proclaim Christ or self? Will this dream if realized honor God or self? Are you willing to allow God to billboard your sufferings and difficulties so that the light of His glory is able to shine? How transparent are you with your weaknesses, cracks, and wounds?

II Corinthians 4:7-9 reminds me that when I give back to God my plans, goals, and dreams—offering all on the altar of service to Him—He shines all the brighter through my cracked, broken jar of clay.

God requires complete consecration. This consecration begins with an awareness of God’s presence—Are you listening? When God speaks, He will ask you to do something. This dream consecration continues with total abdication of self without reservation to His purposes—all you are, all you have, all you dream of. And because an altar (Romans 12:1-2) implies sacrifice, consecration finally demands the hardest thing of all—giving to God what is most precious. That person or thing and most especially the dream itself. If not submitted, that object has usurped God in His preeminent position in your life. If He is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all. This is the painful lesson Erin Dawson learns in Beneath a Navajo Moon; a lesson I’ve also wrestled with.

We must learn to trust God more than we trust ourselves or want this dream. Whatever your talents or desires, we are here on this earth for His glory. God blesses us with dreams and abilities so that we may use what He’s given us for His purposes, not our own. And we should prepare ourselves for the probability that His purposes will take us places—on wonderful, scary, exhilarating adventures—that we couldn’t have begun to imagine.

And so, I write. Stories given by God of incredible loss and unforgettable triumph. Humanity in all its weakness. So that others might see their great need of Him and find healing and the truest of all loves in Jesus Christ. The ultimate paradox is that although I proclaim His worthiness, each story brings me to my own weakness and unworthiness. Perhaps this is indeed the moment we become of use to Him—when we’ve reached the end of our confidence, the end of ourselves and our own sufficiency. When we embrace Who He really is and accept who we really are. It is as Erin remarks in Beneath a Navajo Moon often “a long obedience.”

What about you? What has God appointed for you to do? Are you satisfied with the easy life filled with comfort? Or are you willing to embrace the hard life of great significance for His kingdom? Will you live a life of blessing to those around you? Will you choose obedience so that you might make a difference in this life and in the life to come?

What dream is He calling you to in 2014?

For more photos on the inspiration behind Beneath a Navajo Moon, visit