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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hungry Hearts Holiday Hop - New Years!

2 pkgs 8 oz. cream cheese
1 carton of small curd cottage cheese
Bunch of green onions, chopped
Head of iceberg lettuce, chopped
Large tomato or several smaller tomatoes, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Bottle of salsa
Taco chips

Combine cream cheese and cottage cheese in a bowl using a hand mixture until well blended. Transfer mixture to serving platter and spread evenly. Top with green onions, lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese and salsa. Serve with taco chips. This recipe is versatile. Ingredients can be added/subtracted based on your tastes. Enjoy!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fork It Up Fridays - Special Edition

Happy Friday everyone!! I have a very special edition of Fork It Up Fridays today. Our Tuesday's guest, Constance Phillips, has given us her heroine's special hot cocoa recipe! Yum!!!!

Hailey’s Hot Cocoa (All That’s Unspoken)

Making hot cocoa from scratch is one of those things that has been “made easier” by little white envelopes of instant powder. But Hailey (From All That’s Unspoken) knows that some things in life are better when we put forth a little effort, and that’s especially true for a cup of instant heaven. It has the power to soothe a heartache, warm a body and heart, and chase away the monsters from a little girl’s dream.

Even though, when pressed, Hailey kept her secret ingredient from Nate, she has decided to share it with all of you here at Jenna Rutland’s Fork it up Friday.

(Below the recipe is the excerpt from All That’s Unspoken where the cocoa first appears.)

Peppermint Hot Cocoa

1/4 cup cream
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp cocoa
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chip morsels
A dash or two of peppermint oil (depending on taste) or replace ½ of the semi-sweet chocolate for chocolate mints
Toppings: marshmallows or whip cream and broken candy cane chips


Add cream, sugar, milk and peppermint oil to a small sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
Remove from the heat and add cocoa, morsels and chocolate mints (If didn’t use peppermint oil) to the saucepan.
Whisk until everything is melted and smooth.
Pour into mugs and top with marshmallows or whip cream and then add pieces of a broken candy cane.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

All That's Unspoken by Constance Phillips

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I'm very excited to welcome one of my best friends and fellow writer, Constance Phillips, to my blog today. Constance's latest release was just this week, December 15th. She's making her contemporary romance debut with, All That's Unspoken, which is published through Turquoise Morning Press. 

Please stop back here on Friday for a special edition of Fork It Up Fridays when Constance share's her heroine's cocoa recipe!

And now, let's find out more about All That's Unspoken:

Hailey Lambert came home for the holidays to help her father. Instead, eight years later, she is forced to face all that was left unspoken between her and high school crush, Nate.

After eight years, Hailey is back in Caseville Michigan. Just months after her mother’s death, her siblings want to put their father in a nursing home and rent out the family farm. If that wasn’t enough, the prospective tenant is Nate, the high school crush she left behind the day after they acted on their mutual attraction.

After high school, Nate Jenkins planned to leave small town behind, but life dealt him a different hand of cards to play. He’s now back in Caseville, raising his daughter, and running his family’s diner. His daughter’s speech disorder has been improved by therapeutic horse riding and if he can lease the old Lambert farm, he can get her a horse of her own. The only standing in the way is Hailey, the same woman who left him eight years ago without even saying goodbye.

Can they get over all that’s unspoken between them?


Only when she heard the bell above the door ring out, was she able to unclench her fists and let out the breath that had tightened her chest. She’d seen Nate lingering around the edge of the counter with her plate of pancakes in hand but didn’t want him to approach her now.
She really didn’t have it in her to deal with him.
He came forward anyway, and set the plate in front of her. After a hesitation, he asked, “Can I sit for a minute?”
Her eyes fluttered closed, but she gestured to the chair. She heard it scrape against the old worn tile and could feel him just inches away from her.
“I’m sorry your dad’s health is on the decline. I’ve always really liked him. It stinks, you know.”
She took a deep breath; maybe they could talk as old friends and ignore the complications of the night they’d spent together. “I don’t think he’s that bad. Jake and Kelly are overreacting.”
He twisted his hands on his lap. “I can see how you would think that. Some days when I see him, he’s sharp as nails. Others….”
Her phone vibrated against the table. The habit to check the ID won out against the desire meet Nate’s stare. An eight-hundred number flashed, twisting Hailey’s stomach into knots. Another bill collector wanting to take the money she was trying to stretch just a little further, hoping to get through a few more weeks. She hit the button to ignore the call.
“I overheard what you said about your dad wanting the property to stay the same,” Nate said. “I’ll take real good care of the place and won’t change a thing. I love that farm the way it is.”
That brought her attention back. “What are you talking about?”
“I’ve been talking to Jake about renting the house.”
She took in his deep brown eyes and almost black hair. It was cropped short like he was trying to beat-the-heat, even if the average temperature this week was somewhere around ten degrees. Much shorter than he wore it in high school. The neatly trimmed beard and mustache were new too.
He looked older. More settled.
How ironic.
They’d both thought this small town would smother them back then.
For a fleeting moment it comforted her to picture Nate cooking in her family’s kitchen, and then she realized it wouldn’t be her house anymore. She’d be on the outside looking in. “It feels like everything is being taken away from me.”
His body stiffened as he pulled back. “It’s not like I’m stealing it. I’m going to pay you for it.”
“This isn’t about money!”
“Then what is it about?”
She reached for her purse and fumbled for her wallet with trembling hands. “Everyone seems to think that just because I don’t live here, I don’t have a voice, but you’re all wrong.” She threw a twenty-dollar bill on the table. “I didn’t leave the planet, I moved to New York. I didn’t abandon my family, but it feels like they think so. I’m sick of being treated like an outside in my hometown, in my family home, in my own life.”
She stood and tried to turn, but he grabbed her wrist. Looking back would weaken her resolve—Nate had always had that effect on her—but she did it anyway.
“Please, it would mean a lot to Lori…and me.”
His daughter. The child he’d had with someone else. She couldn’t stand the thought of the two of them in her living room without her.
Why did it hurt so much?
It wasn’t as if he left her. She’d pursued and claimed the future she’d always wanted.
Hadn’t she?
If everything she’d attained had been all she ever wanted, why was it tearing her in two to know Nate had gone on with his life without her? It wasn’t as if she’d expected he wouldn’t. She should be happy he was settled. Instead, it made her long for that place next to him even more.
A lump formed in her throat, making speech impossible. Instead, she headed for the door.
“That’s right, Hailey. Run away. It’s what you do best!”
His words stopped her, and she twisted back. “I what?”
“Run. Away. When the pieces of your life don’t come together like a neat little puzzle, you scatter them all around you and stomp out of the room.”
She bristled at the venom in his voice. “That’s not what happened.”
“Oh, no. You handled it so well, just breezed out of town with no concern for those you left behind.”
They weren’t talking about her father or her house anymore. This was about how she’d reacted eight years ago, when the feelings got too real.
Just as they were now.
“I care, dammit!” She let out a long exhale. “I always have.”


Thanks, Constance, for that awesome excerpt!!

And here's a bit about Constance:

Constance Phillips lives in Ohio with her husband, daughter, and four canine kids. Her son, now on his own, is planning a wedding, reconfirming that romance still lives and breathes.

When not writing stories of finding and rediscovering love, Constance and her husband spend the hours planning a cross-country motorcycle trip for the not-so-distant future…if they can find a sidecar big enough for the pups.

Website:  http://www.constancephillips.com
Blog: http://www.constancephillips.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ConstancePhillipsRomanceAuthor?ref=hl
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CPhillips
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/phillipsconnie/

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Blissfull Winter Wonderland Scavenger Hunt

Today (Dec. 12th), I'll be the featured author on the Blissful Winter Wonderland Scavenger Hunt on the Bliss FB Page.  https://www.facebook.com/events/558824387526843/?ref=5

This is a great way to learn more about the Bliss authors and the books they write, as well as a chance to win books, gift cards, and more. I'll be offering a $10 Amazon gift card. The winner will be selected at the end of the day.

Throughout the day, I'll be on the Bliss FB page (link above) asking some questions. All the answers can be found right here on my website/blog. By answering the questions, you will automatically be entered for a chance to not only win the gift card, but the grand prize at the end of the scavenger hunt!

So stop on by and get hunting!!

xoxo - Jenna

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hungry Hearts Holiday Hop: Christmas

We are so excited to CELEBRATE the holiday season with mouthwatering cookie recipes and delicious EXCERPTS from today’s hottest food-loving ROMANCE writers! 

Hop around and fill out the Rafflecopter form on each author’s site to enter our GIVEAWAYS: a spectacular mix of Harry & David Truffles, books, gifts cards, and Hungry Hearts author swag! 

Lots of awesome prizes to win! In addition to the HUNGRY HEARTS HOLIDAY HOP prizes, Amanda Usen will be featuring Hungry Hearts authors on her site and giving their books away to lucky winners. Visit Writer.Chef.Romantic to get in on the fun! 

When the holiday season arrives, our hearts fill with CHEER. Life is a gift, isn’t it? Hop with us for the chance to win, and share your holiday JOY while we share our favorite COOKIE recipes with you!

Below is a delicious recipe for Fruitcake Christmas Cookies. Enjoy!

xoxo Jenna

Fruitcake Christmas Cookies

1 ½ cups brown sugar                                       1 tsp cinnamon
1 pound butter                                                    1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla                                                         ½ cup granulated sugar
½ pound pitted dates                                         3 eggs
½ pound green cherries                                     2 cups chopped nuts
½ pound red cherries                                         ½ pound white raisins
3 slices green pineapple                                   4 cups flour
3 slices red pineapple                                       1 tsp baking soda

Chop nuts and fruit. Sift dry ingredients together. Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix flour, nuts and fruit. Add creamed mixture. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Make into rolls (6) and roll in waxed paper and refrigerate at least overnight. Cut and bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Note: These cookies will keep in storage about two weeks before baking. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 1, 2013

Hungry Hearts Holiday Hop!


We are so excited to CELEBRATE FALL with mouthwatering Thanksgiving recipes and delicious EXCERPTS from today’s hottest food-loving ROMANCE writers! Hop around and fill out the Rafflecopter form on each author’s site to enter our Grand PRIZE Giveaway: 

A Harry & David Crater Lake GIFT BASKET Classic!

In addition to the Grand Prize, one SWAG pack will be given away on Amanda Usen's blog on each day of the hop. Visit each day for an AUTHOR spotlight and more FALL GLEE.

When the seasons change, our hearts fill with GRATITUDE. Life is grand, isn’t it? Hop with us and share your love of all things food, fall, and THANKS-giving!

Have fun, and thanks for hopping along! Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter below to get your chance of winning the Gift Basket!!

Below is a fabulous recipe for your holiday ham!

xoxo Jenna

Peach Glazed Ham
(Adapted from Southern Food)


1 fully cooked ham, about 7-9 pounds (I prefer to use the butt)
1 jar (10 oz) peach preserves
1 1/2 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs peach liqueur (Schnapps)
2 Tbs lemon juice
Dash cinnamon


Bake ham as directed on the wrapping, about 18 minutes per pound. Combine remaining ingredients, stirring until smooth. Score the baked ham in a diamond pattern; spoon glaze over, spreading to coat completely. Bake for about 30 minutes longer. Serves 8.

P.S. The peach Schnapps also goes great in a glass with some orange juice. ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hi! Welcome to Fork it Up Fridays! Each Friday, I share a delicious recipe that I've tried and enjoyed. Some may be a family favorite while others may be something my sister or daughter passed on to me. Hope you enjoy!

I don't seem to cook much pork and I'm not sure why. The recipes I choose always seem to result in the pork coming out tough and tasteless. If anybody has some tips or recipes to share, bring 'em on! The following recipe was given to me years ago by one of my fabulous sisters-in-law (I've been blessed with 6 of them!), and is one of the few recipes that turns out tender, delicious chops. Give them a try and let me know if you like them!

Pork Chops Supreme

4 bone-in pork chops
Lemon juice
Sliced onion
1/4 cup ketchup
3 Tbs. brown sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the chops in baking dish and salt. Sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice. Top each chop with a thin slice of onion.

Mix together the ketchup and brown sugar. Spread mixture over the top of each chop.

Cover and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fork it up Fridays

Hi! Welcome to Fork it Up Fridays! Each Friday, I share a delicious recipe that I've tried and enjoyed. Some may be a family favorite while others may be something my sister or daughter passed on to me. Hope you enjoy!

Today I've got a simple cold macaroni salad that will take you minutes to make, but give you lots of time to enjoy. Great for a side dish for sloppy Joes or hamburgers, and is always a hit at barbecues or family reunions. I've had this recipe so long it's falling apart; I have no idea where it came from. This should be made at least a few hours ahead of time. Hope you try it!

24 Hour Mac Salad

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 pint of mayonnaise
1 pound of twist macaroni

Cook macaroni per directions on box. Combine vinegar, sugar and water. Stir until dissolved. Mix all ingredients together. Will be soupy at first. Place in refrigerator and stir occasionally. (The liquid will absorb into the cooked macaroni after a few hours).

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fork it up Fridays!

Hi! Welcome to Fork it Up Fridays! Each Friday, I share a delicious recipe that I've tried and enjoyed. Some may be a family favorite while others may be something my sister or daughter passed on to me. Hope you enjoy!

As we head into fall, we're still able to get plenty of delicious fresh fruit. I've actually never met anyone who doesn't like some kind of fruit. It's a great item to take to parties or serve at a potluck. Today I'm going to share with you two different fruit dip recipes. Hope you find one you enjoy!

Fresh Fruit Dip:
1 small pack of vanilla instant pudding
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 (16 oz) container of sour cream
2 Tbs. orange juice concentrate

Beat pudding and cold milk together well. Add sour cream and orange concentrate. Beat until well blended. Refrigerate and serve with fresh fruit.

Fresh Fruit Dip:

1 (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 (8 oz.) marshmallow cream
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Blend first two ingredients and the the next two. Serve with fresh fruit.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Fork it up Fridays!

Hi! Welcome to Fork it Up Fridays! Each Friday, I share a delicious recipe that I've tried and enjoyed. Some may be a family favorite while others may be something my sister or daughter passed on to me. Hope you enjoy!

Today I've got a Lemon Cake recipe from my big sis, Diana. She's a wizard in the kitchen. She's never afraid to try a recipe, she can whip up something delicious with whatever she's got in her fridge, and at last count she had over 400 cookbooks!! Hope you enjoy this great recipe! (You will need a tube pan.)

Lemon Cake

1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 pkg (3 oz) lemon Jello
3/4 cup water
1/2 melted butter
4 eggs, unbeaten

1/3 cup lemon juice
2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
2 Tbs. melted butter
1 Tbs. water

Cake: Empty cake mix into large bowl. Add remaining cake ingredients. Beat 3 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Pour batter into 10 inch tube pan that is lined on the bottom with paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes then remove from pan and cool on rack.

Glaze: Gradually blend lemon juice into the sifted confectioner's sugar. Add melted butter and water. Punch holes through cake with toothpick. Pour on glaze, allowing it to run into holes.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

In case you missed it...

Happy Tuesday, everybody! Hope everyone in the States had a wonderful long weekend!

As writers, we're often reminded that our writing life is lonesome and secluded. While that's true for the most part - unless you co-author books - you don't always have to be alone. To have a network of other writers in your life is a huge bonus. 

Yesterday, I guest blogged at Romance University and talked about Building a Network. If you've never checked them out, please do so! In their words, they are "Dedicated to helping writers establish and advance their careers, introducing readers to a variety of authors, and delving into the ever-inscrutable male mind." And boy do they live up to it.   

Networking doesn't have to just be about writers. People who knit, moms of young children, or people who love to cook can all benefit from having others like themselves to offer support.

If you care to check out my post , here's the link:

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Please stop by Fork it up Fridays this week where I'll be sharing a recipe for Lemon Cake.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Fork it Up Fridays

Hi! Welcome to Fork it Up Fridays! Each Friday, I share a delicious recipe that I've tried and enjoyed. Some may be a family favorite while others may be something my sister or daughter passed on to me. Hope you enjoy!

Today, I've got a tasty salad recipe that's well known in my neck of the woods. We can even buy the dressing already made at the grocery store. I'm including the dressing recipe in case you can't find it in the cold produce area of your local grocery store.

Betty Salad

1 cup oil
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup salad vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. grated onion
1 tsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp salt

Raw spinach
Bean sprouts (well drained or use fresh)
Bacon bits
Hard boiled eggs

Combine the salad ingredients based on the number of servings. Nothing is written in stone; the more people you have, the more you make. Mix the dressing ingredients together and pour over salad before serving. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Book Sale!


Just wanted you all to know that for a short time my book, Just for the Summer, is being sold through Amazon for only $.99! That's a $2.00 savings! What a bargain, right?

The length of the sale is determined by Amazon so I have no idea how long the sale will last.

If you're still in need of a good beach read, consider picking up a copy!

xoxo - Jenna

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Colds

Yep, you guessed it. End of July and I've got a summer cold. It started out as a sore throat, which I attributed to snoring probably sleeping with my mouth open. But on the third day, the dreaded cough started. And the runny nose, post-nasal drip, and every other wonderful thing that a cold can produce.

My family has kept their distance from me. I'm getting the "air kiss" hello and goodbye. I've gone nowhere, afraid of spreading my germs. On a good note, they're not letting me touch the clean dishes so I've been off duty for emptying the dishwasher.

I've tried every over-the-counter medication there is. Stacks of tissues have set up home on my nightstand. I keep a big glass of water handy for nighttime, when things are at their worst. My daytime hours are scattered with coughing fits that bring tears to my eyes. These episodes increase in severity at nighttime when lying down. I've tried sleeping sitting up, adding more pillows and sleeping with a cough drop in my mouth, which actually works although it's a bit scary to think of the consequences.

With each passing day, I was turning more zombie-like. I couldn't handle one more night without sleep, then trying to work the next day. In a desperate moment, I Googled, "how to stop an incessant cough." I found a remedy for honey and tea, neither of which I like. Gargle with salt water was a suggestion, but I'm a failure at gargling. Ads appeared for throat lozenges.

Finally, while digging deep, I found a home-style remedy. I  told my family what I was going to do. They rolled their eyes back so far in their head, I thought they'd be able to see their brains. Then came the hysterical laughter. I gave them a friendly hand gesture then stomped off to the bathroom.

Guess what??? They remedy was quick, easy, and worked like a charm. For the first time in a week, I slept the whole night with only two short coughing jigs. Want to know the secret? I'll share if you don't laugh. Okay, I'll share anyway.

Before bed, slather the bottom of your feet generously with Vicks' VapoRub, then apply socks. Yes, you smart alecs out there chuckling, it works. For real! Okay, so you might not smell that terrific,but when you get to the point of needing sleep and not coughing, you'll try it.

How about you? Have you found any quirky remedies that worked for you? Please share.

Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo - Jenna

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pics from RAGT 2013

Last week, I mentioned going to the Lori Foster Readers and Authors Get Together. I thought I'd share some photos of the weekend.

Here I am at Friday night's digital book signing for my debut release, Just For the Summer. I had a beach theme going on since my book takes place in the summer at Lake Bliss.

                                           Here's a picture of my good friend and roomie for the weekend, Constance Phillips. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal, and her books are available in both print and as ebooks.

I had a great time and can't wait to participate next year. Thanks again to Lori Foster and the whole RAGT 2013 volunteers.

See you for Fork It Up Fridays where I'll be sharing a pasta salad that I just created last weekend!

xoxo - Jenna

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fork It Up Fridays

Hi! Welcome to Fork it Up Fridays! Each Friday, I share a delicious recipe that I've tried and enjoyed. Some may be a family favorite while others may be something my sister or daughter passed on to me. Hope you enjoy!

Today I'm sharing with you my family's favorite macaroni and cheese recipe. This one dates back to the 1940's and is from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. I'm posting the original recipe, but I usually lighten it up my using low fat milk instead of the cream and also using low fat cheese (we like sharp cheddar). Hope you enjoy!

Fannie Farmer's Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese


8 oz macaroni
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1/2 tsp. salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, buttered


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside.

In large saucepan melt butter. Add flour mixed with salt and pepper using a whisk to stir until well blended. Pour milk and cream in gradually, stirring constantly. Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes. Add shredded cheddar little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts. Turn off flame.

Add macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce. Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Bake 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Stop in next week for another great recipe! Until then, come by on Tuesday and see what I'm up to!

xoxo - Jenna

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fabulous Weekend

Just wanted to share with everyone what a great time I had this past weekend. For the first time, I attended the Lori Foster Readers and Authors Get Together near Cincinnati, Ohio. Approximately 500 people attended, both authors and readers, with the majority of people being readers.

As a newbie author, I was a bit nervous. Would anyone have heard of me? Would anyone care about my book?

My worries were unfounded. The people - both authors and readers - that I encountered were nothing but miraculous. I was accepted. I was appreciated. I was treated so wonderfully that I didn't want to leave. I signed autographs on paper, T-shirts, and tote bags. I was encompassed into arms of readers who appreciated me and my writing. I spent the weekend being waved at. I met people who I'd like to keep in my life forever.  Money was raised for charities.

All in all, this event marked a high point in my life, both as a person and as an author. I thank all the people involved who made this event so special, and I will definitely be attending next year with enthusiasm, hope, and a bit of nervousness!

xoxo - Jenna