Lemon-Lovers Cake #Recipe - What's for dessert?

My husband and son celebrate their birthdays during mid-October. Both of them love lemon cake, so I made this luscious cake and it was a great hit!

Lemon-Lovers Cake

For the Cake

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk*
2 tablespoon lemon rind, finely minced**
3 tablespoon lemon juice

1.     Pre-heat oven 350°. Prepare 2 eight-inch round banking pans by spraying with cooking spray. Line bottoms with circles of waxed paper (optional).
2.     In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Stir to combine well.
3.     Add remaining ingredients and stir until all ingredients are incorporated.
4.     Divide the batter between the 2 pans and bake 30-35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick comes out clean.
5.     Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out cakes onto wire rack to cool completely.

For the Filling:

1 10-ounce jar lemon curd***

1.     Spread entire jar of curd on top of one cake.
2.     Top with second cake.


For the Icing:

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon rind, finely minced**
2 – 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1.     In a medium-sized bowl, add lemon juice and rind to the melted butter. Stir to combine.
2.     Add 2 cups powdered sugar and stir to combine. Add more sugar until desired consistency is reached.

Notes:

I like a thinner icing so I can smear it over the top and let the icing drip down the sides of the cake (see picture). If you like a thicker icing, simply add a little more powdered sugar.

* If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can create sour milk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (or vinegar) to a 1 a measuring cup and top off with milk to reach the 1 cup needed. Let sit for several minutes to curdle.

**I use a microplane/zester to remove the yellow part only of the lemon.

***Most grocery stores sell lemon curd in the jelly/jam section. Look on the top shelf, near the specialty jellies. Or you can make you own lemon curd. Either option works well in this recipe.

What's YOUR favorite cake to bake for that special person's birthday?

Romance Beach Bundle 2 - On sale for #99cents Kindle Nook Kobo iBooks Google

Save $7 – On Sale For 99¢


What’s better than a day at the beach? That would be a day at the beach with a bundle of romance novels! In the Romance Beach Bundle 2, USA Today Bestselling Author Donna Fasano brings you three romantic books that are sure to warm your heart and put a smile on your face. The titles included in this boxed set of romance books are:

Return of the Runaway Bride – Ten years ago, Savanna had second thoughts on her wedding day and she ran away. Now she’s back in town, intending to make Daniel understand why she abandoned him. Will she convince the man of her dreams he will always be her Prince Charming?

Take Me, I’m Yours – After thwarting a kidnapping attempt, Lainey inherits a fortune. But a brooding bachelor with a love phobia comes along with the deal.

The Single Daddy Club: Derrick – Ex-military man Derrick is solitary and satisfied… until little Timmy is dropped into his lap and Derrick must learn to be somebody's daddy. Fate may have denied schoolteacher Anna a family of her own, but she still has plenty of love to give—if only someone will notice.

What readers are saying:

“The author knows how to show deep emotions in difficult situations.”

“I really love this author. Her characters are so real. Her stories are flawless and easy to read. The editing is fabulous. I'll be reading many more of her books.”

Find this Bargain-Priced Bundle for $0.99:

US Kindle        UK Kindle        CA Kindle        AU Kindle      





Also, don’t miss Romance Beach Bundle 1:

US Kindle        UKKindle        CA Kindle        AU Kindle







Bringing you the best romance books available!

Confetti Spaghetti - #Recipes for Kids

Trying to get kids to eat more vegetables can be as difficult as bending steel with your bare hands. But everyone loves spaghetti, right? So I came up with Confetti Spaghetti. This hearty meal is laden with colorful veggies and topped with gooey cheese. Try it! Let me know if your kids like it.

Confetti Spaghetti

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
2 carrots, diced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, diced
1 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, with juice
1 24-ounce jar pasta sauce
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced fine
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb thin spaghetti
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

1.     Place a large pan over medium heat, and add the oil. Sauté the onion, zucchini, yellow pepper, carrots, and mushrooms until slightly soft, about 8-10 minutes, stirring often.
2.     Add the diced tomatoes and the pasta sauce. Stir in the parsley, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 8-10 minutes.
3.     While the sauce is simmering, cook the spaghetti using package directions. Also, pre-heat the oven to 350º.
4.     Drain spaghetti and add the pasta to the sauce. Stir to coat. Pour into a 13” x 9” pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top. Bake just until the cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 8-12 portions.   

September By The Seashore Sale! The Wedding Planner's Son #99cents

99¢ Sale! Limited Time Only!


The Ocean City Boardwalk Series isn't just fun in the sun—love is waiting on those sandy shores!

Tawny McNealy is a driven, high-achiever who fully expects to someday take over and run the family accounting firm. But when an attempt is made to use her as a pawn, Tawny flees to the only place she’s ever felt truly free and happy—the beach.

Jack Barclay spends his summer days creating romantic seaside weddings for lovers. His laid-back attitude has served him well over the years. He feels stressing out about work only causes a person to miss the best parts of life.

Jack and Tawny are as different as sea and sky, but the fascination they find in each other’s company can’t be denied. Can they withstand the crazy twists that fate tosses their way?

Grab this book while it's still on sale!




Also available at regular price in Paperback

Titles in the series:



R.I.P. Judith E. French - I hold you in the Light

My heart broke when I learned of the passing of Judith E. French last month. Her death was unexpected and shocked everyone who knew and loved her. I haven’t been able to express my thoughts or my grief, and even now, coming up with the right words to convey all I am feeling is impossible. 

If you are an avid romance reader, then you probably enjoyed Judy’s books. She wrote over 100 of them across the romance genre spectrum—historical, fantasy, contemporary, Amish, sweet, thriller, mystery. She was an extraordinary storyteller, picking up the reader and sweeping her away to another time and place. I got lost in every Judith E. French book I read. 

I knew her for over 30 years and she was instrumental in my becoming an author. But Judy was much more than just my friend and colleague. At times she was like a sister to me, and sometimes she was like my mom, offering unending support and advice. I loved her dearly and I'll miss her more than words can express.

The following is the beautiful tribute posted by her family. I share it here with their permission:

In the late 1940’s it was a common sight along Seven Hickories Road to see a little red-haired girl on a painted pony, headed to the Kenton store for candy. That was Judith. She grew up on her grandfather William Faulkner’s farm at Seven Hickories, between Cheswold and Kenton.

Judith Ellen Bennett French was born on October 5, 1941 in Dover, DE to Lester and Mildred Bennett and was a big sister to Valerie Bennett Donahue. She married Gary French, the love of her life, in 1959. They settled on their own farm near Marydel and raised four children: Bill, David, Colleen and Debbie. But Judy’s imagination went far beyond that little farm they called “Penelope’s Advantage”. In time, she became an international bestselling author, writing under various pseudonyms, famous for her historical romances, and Amish novels. Over the course of a lifetime, Judy wrote and published over one hundred novels that were sold worldwide in multiple languages—stories of love and sorrow, adventure and triumph.

She was an accomplished archaeologist, an artist, a storyteller, a farmer, and a genealogist. But her greatest source of pride was being the matriarch of a large family. Judy was mother to four, grandmother to ten and great-grandmother to fourteen.  Her joy was in those children and in seeing them chase chickens on her grandfather’s farm at Seven Hickories, just as she once had.

Judith E. French died at dusk on Friday, August 25, 2017 in her two-hundred-year-old farmhouse, surrounded by the laughter of a family that is eternally grateful for her thoughtfulness, her wisdom, and her relentless faith in her progeny.

Judy was someone who saw the best in all of us; she was a person who could always sift the positive from rubble, and who was just as at home talking to esteemed university professors as she was cleaning and hanging one of her own chickens for supper.  Judith E. French traveled around the world, but her heart was always somewhere on a dirt lane near Seven Hickories with a few pennies in her pocket, riding that pony.

Donations in Judith’s honor may be sent to Camden Friends Meeting, Camden, DE.

Letters of condolences can be sent via Pippin Funeral Home.


Happy National Cheese Pizza Day! #Recipe #Foodies

Pizza! Everyone loves it! Yes, you can order out. But it's much more fun to bring the whole family into the kitchen to make your own. It's pretty easy to do, too.

Pizza Dough

Yield: enough dough for 2 14-inch pizzas

4 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water (110 degrees F)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons

Directions:

Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine. While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball (about 5-8 minutes).

Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to double in size (about 1 hour). Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 equal pieces. Cover dough balls with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Note: Using bread flour results in a much crisper crust. Can't find bread flour? Substitute all-purpose flour which will result in a chewier crust.

Easy Pizza Sauce

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes packed in tomato juice
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped fine
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, increase heat to simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally until thickened (about 20 minutes). Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the pizza:

1 recipe Pizza Dough
1 recipe Easy Pizza Sauce
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Optional Toppings:
Red onion, sliced
Fresh mushrooms, sliced
Pepperoni, sliced
Black olives, sliced

Directions:

Heat oven to 475 degrees F, with a 16-inch-diameter pizza stone on lowest shelf position, for at least 30 minutes.

Place one round of dough onto a lightly floured surface, keeping the other covered with a kitchen towel. Roll dough into a 14-inch round. Transfer to a pizza peel.

Spread 3/4 cup of sauce over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around edges. Spread half of the mozzarella over the top. Add other toppings, if using. Slide the pizza onto the hot stone. Bake until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Remove pizza from the oven; sprinkle with Parmesan. Repeat with second pizza.


A Family Forever Box Set Release Day!

Release Day!

I'm so happy that A FAMILY FOREVER Box Set is finally here. I hope you'll celebrate with me!

Many people say family is everything. There is nothing more beautiful than two people coming together for the sake of a child, finding love, and forming A Family Forever. From marriage-of-convenience to second-chance-at-love to pure Irish-fairytale fantasy, A Family Forever Bundle brings you sweet, emotional stories of romance and love that arrives unexpectedly and culminates in happily-ever-afters that will leave you smiling. So brew yourself a cup of tea, settle on the sofa (or under that big beach umbrella) and enjoy these three full-length, contemporary novels.

Included in this bundle:

A BEAUTIFUL STRANGER – When wealthy but emotionally wounded Sean Hudson arrives to claim his new daughter, he discovers the adoption hinges on the impossible. Unless he finds a wife immediately, the tiny orphan will be snatched away from him forever. But before he can abandon hope, a beautiful stranger proposes a surprising solution—marriage.

MADE IN PARADISE – For ten long years Amber has believed her child was lost to her forever. Then an unexpected inheritance leads the lovely doctor back home… to the man she’s always loved. There she discovers her beloved Jon is a bachelor father, and the little girl he is raising is their daughter!

A REASON TO BELIEVE – It seems like a grand idea, temporarily trading her pixie wings for a womanly form to help handsome widower Paul Roland with his baby girl. And the moment she holds the precious bairn in her arms, Fern knows true happiness for the first time. But she never anticipates the dizzying emotions she feels for the man who not only needs her as a nanny, but as a woman whose passion can heal his wounded heart. Suddenly the forbidden fairy rule she gently bends is in danger of being irrevocably broken.

Couples coming together for the sake of a child and finding… A Family Forever!


What readers are saying:

“A must-read… that touches the heart.” ~about A Beautiful Stranger

“Loved this sweet story of Amber and Jon who come together again after 10 years and a secret kept by their parents who tried go keep them from the love they had for each other!” ~about Made in Paradise

“I love fantasy books… highly recommended!” ~about A Reason to Believe

Find this Bundle:

US Kindle        UK Kindle




Google

Other titles in the series:

Bonus!

It's harvest season in the garden and the zucchini are rolling in. One of my favorite recipes to make this time of year is Mock Crab Cakes. These little fried patties, crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, are seasoned with Old Bay. Find the recipe here: Mock Crab Cakes

Spreading Peace in a Violent World

Is it just me, or does violence seem to be growing? The savage behavior displayed in Charlottesville, Virginia unnerved me. That human beings could treat other human beings so callously is disturbing. I watched the evening news as people committed violence against others in order to forward their own personal beliefs. I wondered… what can I do? Violence is happening everywhere, all over the world. The list of terror attacks just during the month of August 2017 is appalling. What can any of us do?  

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Nonviolence is an active force of the highest order.” 

I believe those words with all my heart. I also believe something else Mr. Gandhi said: “Outward peace is useless without inner peace.”

I strive for inner peace. I meditate. I pray daily for my own inner peace and for the inner peace of those I love, and for the inner peace of all people around the world. I want to live in a world filled with Love and Light and Peace. I don’t know how else gain and maintain peace for myself and for everyone I come into contact with except to walk a path of peace. Gandhi said, “There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.”

I intend to walk this path as best I can and I urge you to do the same. If the old adage, “violence begets violence,” is true (and I believe it is), then let’s create a new and better adage to live by: PEACE BEGETS PEACE.

If you pray, pray every day for a peaceful world. If you meditate, take a few moments of your meditation time to send out a loving message to the world. If you’re not a person who prays, I urge you to simply sit quietly for a bit each day, focus on your heart, fill yourself up with a feeling of love, and imagine that love beaming out of your chest as pure white light. It might sound hokey, but please give it a try. You might find that you like the idea of becoming a Warrior of Peace.

What other ways could we work toward world peace? Leave your comments below.

Here are some other Gandhi quotes I love. Feel free to copy and paste them on your blog or social networks. The quotes in this post and the words for peace used below come from Gandhi International Institute for Peace.







The word for “Peace” in different languages:

Salaam – Arabic/Iranian
 

Heping –Chinese, Mandarin
 

Kapayapaan - Filipino
 

Paix - French
 

Friede - German
 

Irini - Greek
 

Maluhia - Hawaiian
 

Shalom - Hebrew
 

Shanti - Indian
 

Pace - Italian
 

Heiwa - Japanese
 

Pyonghwa - Korean
 

Pax - Latin
 

Mari Rangi Maria – Maori
 

Meleilei – Micronesia, Pohnpei
 

Mir - Russian
 

La Paz - Spanish
 

Amani - Swahili
 

Shite - Tibetan
 

Thanh Binh – Vietnamese

If you’re like me—disturbed by the violence in this world—go out and spread peace and love. Every day and in every way.




Sweet Balsamic Sirloin Steak #Grilling #Recipe

The August heat makes it too hot to cook indoors. So here's a recipe for outdoor grilling. 

Sweet Balsamic Sirloin Steak

For the marinade:

4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon dry red pepper flakes
2 pounds sirloin steak
Salt and fresh cracked Pepper to taste


1.     Place the soy sauce, oil, sugar, vinegar, and pepper flakes in a large, re-sealable plastic bag and massage to combine well. Add the steak, seal, and marinate in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours, turning once or twice to distribute marinade evenly.
2.     Pre-heat grill and coat the grate with a little oil to prevent sticking.
3.     Remove steak from marinade, season with salt and pepper, and place on hot grill. Cook for 5 minutes.
4.     Meanwhile, place the remaining marinade in a small sauce pan and simmer until reduced to about ½ cup. Watch carefully.
5.     Turn steak and cook for an additional 4 minutes, or until desired doneness.
6.     Remove from the grill, cover with aluminum foil, and allow steak to rest for 5 minutes.
7.     Slice steak against the grain, ½ inch thick. Place slices on a platter and pour reduced marinade over top.


This recipe is included in my cookbook, COOKING IN ALL DIRECTIONS




Enjoy your summer!


Scorching Summer Sale! #Kindle #Nook Kobo iBooks Google

99¢ Sale! Save $7! 3-Book Series!

It’s August and the temperatures are hot as fire. To celebrate, here’s a scorching summer sale. You can get the first three books of The Ocean City Boardwalk Series for just 99¢. That’s a $7.00 saving off the regular cover price. So… what are you waiting for? Take advantage of this scorching summer sale now!

About the series: Sara, Heather, and Cathy are best friends. Through the years they’ve cheered each other on, celebrating each victory, and they’ve been supportive through every crisis. Join them as they face love and loss… and learn to hold tight to the idea that friends are your chosen family.

The Ocean City Boardwalk series, where life isn’t just fun in the sun—love is waiting on those sandy shores!

Don’t miss this scorching summer sale. Find the bundle:

US Kindle        UKKindle





As a bonus, here’s a frozen summer dessert that’s sure to cool you down.

Summer Coconut Peach Dessert

Ingredients

3 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 fresh peaches, peeled and thinly sliced

Preparation

1. Prepare cashews: Place nuts in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for several hours to soften, drain. Discard water.
2. Combine the cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, coconut milk and agave in a food processor and process until smooth. This step may take a few minutes.
3. Line a greased sheet pan with wax paper. Allow paper to hang over the edges of the pan to make removing easy. Pour cashew mixture into pan, spreading evenly.
4. Place the pan in the freezer and chill for 20 minutes.
5. Remove from freezer and layer peach slices on top. Freeze for at least 2 additional hours.
6. To serve, remove from freezer and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing into squares. Place any leftover squares in a covered container or zip-top bag and store in the freezer. Keeps for about a week.



Summery Lemon Blueberry Dessert #Recipe

I ran this recipe last summer, but I decided to post it again because it's simply delicious.  There’s nothing more refreshing as a summer dessert than the combination of lemon and blueberry. This dessert is so easy, you won’t believe it. It’s so delicious, your family and friends will ask you to make it, again and again.

I used a 7 inch by 11 inch clear glass dish in which to assemble my dessert because the graham crackers fit very nicely in the bottom. If you don’t have a dish this size, simply use whatever you have, snapping the graham crackers into pieces that will fit into the bottom for the “crust.”

Summery Lemon Blueberry Dessert

2 boxes (2.9 oz) lemon “cook and serve” pudding
2/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (optional)
4 cups water (divided)
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
10 graham crackers
1 pint fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried

1.    In a saucepan, stir together the dry lemon pudding mix, sugar, egg yolks, lemon peel, and 1/2 cup water until smooth. Make sure all of the pudding mix is well-incorporated. Add the additional 3 1/2 cups water and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until pudding comes to a boil and thickens. Set aside to cool.

2.    Add Cool Whip to the cooled pudding mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.

3.    Assemble your dessert: Line the bottom of a 7 inch x 11 inch oblong dish with 4 graham crackers. Top with half of the pudding, smoothing into an even layer. Top pudding with half of the blueberries. Add 4 more graham crackers, pressing down a bit so the crackers are in contact with the pudding. Layer on the remaining pudding and spread into an even layer. Top with remaining blueberries. Place remaining 2 graham crackers into a plastic baggie and crush into crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over the top of the pudding.

4.    Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to give the “crust” time to soften.

5.    To serve, cut chilled dessert into squares. Serves 8.

This recipe is included in my cookbook, COOKING IN ALL DIRECTIONS