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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