First off, I apologize for the pre-post slip last weekend. If you got a notification about this post and left a comment, please comment again. I had to delete and start over. But now I know how to avoid that mix-up. All’s well.
Today, I’m bringing a couple of friends along to talk about how to sweeten up your holidays. I personally know that in the hustle and bustle of this season, how easy it is to get mired down in the craziness. That’s why I love all the great Christmas books to read that have been shown here. And why one of my guilty pleasures is turning on the Hallmark channel to relax and watch some of those sappy, yet feel-good movies. These things help me to keep my mind on the positive, the good things, about this season. That way, when calamity or problems hit, I can stand more firmly against them.
Isn’t that why the Bible tells us to think on what’s lovely and admirable? (Phil. 4:8) Because by keeping our thoughts positive, we are able to see life’s messy circumstances in a brighter light. Which, as I said earlier, is a big reason I love positive, upbeat, inspirational stories found here that offer hope and remind us there’s a bigger reason why we are here.
Okay, so off my little soapbox. (I’ve eaten too many Christmas cookies and it’s beginning to sag.) ;)
I’m here to introduce you to a couple of characters (in every sense of the word) who live in Madison Creek and are determined to share their gift of making great foods that uplift and delight everyone they come in contact with. My first guest comes from the south, has a heart bigger than the state of Texas and Michigan combined, and loves cooking up flavorful food for all the folks who travel through her little Bed and Breakfast. I’m pleased to introduce, Haley Madison-Winters (HM) from Madison Creek’s B&B book#1- Snow Belle.
Joining Haley is a hometown girl who recently returned, after several years of wandering, to open a candy store. However, returning to the scene of many past, um, misconducts, doesn’t necessarily encourage people to hang the welcome banners, does it, Candyce Barkley? (CB) She’s from our recently released Candy Lane Christmas novella.
(CB) No, Ma’am, it doesn’t. But the past is the past. I’ve learned to walk with my face pointed forward, and eventually, they will, too.
That’s right, Candyce, you hang in there. Well, now I’m going to turn this post over to my friends, Haley and Candyce, and let them get on with telling you ways to sweeten up your holidays. Take it away, ladies.
(HM) Great, let’s get this rodeo started. Now, Candy, I have to start off getting this one thing clear with our readers. Pecans are, and always will be, the best nut anyone can ever have. And I’m not just saying that because they grow in my great state of Texas. Don’t you agree?
(CB) Um, not really. And truth be told, Haley-belle, pecan, which is pronounced PEE-can, not puh-KAHN, grows all through the south from California to the Atlantic Seaboard. So Texas isn’t the only place you can get that nut, which is delicious, but not the only good nut for making wonderful desserts and treats. Let’s keep an open mind here, ‘k?”
(HM) Fine. You’re right about there being lots of wonderful nuts out there. Anyone’s who’s spent more than a day in Madison Creek would know–
(CB) Haley Isabelle Madison-Winters! Be nice. Now look friends, we’re here to share a couple of treats with you. Simple desserts you can make during the holiday season to brighten up your day and anyone who happens in for a visit. I’ve always believed that gifts made by the hand come from the heart. I love giving small candy boxes, or cookie tins, or cakes, pies… anything that can be whipped up in a kitchen make wonderful gifts to neighbors and friends. Oh, just think of what your mailman will think when he stops at your box and finds a pretty wrapped box of chocolates waiting just for him.
(HM) Might actually encourage to deliver the right envelopes to the right addresses for a change.
(CB) Haley, isn’t there some flour you need to go sift?
(HM) You’re a funny girl and not just’ cause of that pink hair, neither. So listen, folks. Candy is right about the gift giving. Why I sometimes make up batches of my special secret bar-bee-cue sauce to hand out to friends around town. They love it. I’d share the recipe, but it’s a secret- hence the secret sauce– and I’m bound to keeping my best recipe ingredients a secret. Sorry.
(CB) You making fun of my hair again?
(HM) Naw, it’s sweet. And looks like cotton candy. Anyhoo, let’s get on to business. Back to my puh-KAHNs. I’ll admit you can do this simple recipe with just about any kind of nut, but I still like my pecans best. It’s easy peasy and all you gotta do is–
(CB) Hold up, Haley-belle. We can try to explain it all, but wouldn’t it be best to just post our recipe cards and let them try it at home? I think we’ve made our point that there are lots of ways to make the holidays special. First off, by keeping a positive outlook, and second, surrounding yourself with things that make you happy. That’ll go a long way toward making Christmas more pleasant. Can’t we at least agree on that?
(HM) You betcha, Candy! I couldn’t agree more. So, below, you’ll find a recipe card from me and one from Candy. If you try them out, let us know what you think. Also, both of our books take place around this special holiday, so we’ll also leave a link to where you can check them out. And I think our author hostess might have one more special offer at the very end of this post for you.
(CB) Yes, she does! I’m super excited about it, too. I hope you’ll keep reading all the way to the end. But we’ve taken up enough of your time. Haley and I think you very much for stopping in to visit with us and we both wish you a very merry and blessed Christmas. And don’t forget to make a birthday cake for Jesus! He is the reason for this season!
(HB) Amen to that!
Hello again! Here are the recipe cards. You can right-click and print them up, or just save them somewhere handy. If you’re unsure which girl belonged to which book, here’s a little reminder. Candyce Barkley’s story can be found in Candy Lane Christmas – book two of the Madison Creek Town novellas.
And Haley Madison’s story can be found in Snow Belle– book one of the Madison Creek B&B novels.
Now for the final Sweet Treat!
I’m going to come back Monday night and pick one of you who comment to win a signed print Candy Lane Christmas novella along with the ornament shown in this picture.
All you need to do is tell us what your favorite holiday treat is to make. I love baking cookies, especially gingerbread, molasses, and sugar cookies. How about you? Do you have a special gift treat you love to share with friends?
Now, because I’ll have to mail this package, I can only award this prize to folks living in the US.
However, if you live outside of the United State, please also tell me where you’re from and I’ll pick one international winner to receive an ebook copy of this book.
Thanks so much for stopping in today. I know how busy this season can be, especially on the weekends. Oh, and if you love giveaways, stop by my website and see the big one going on over there: www.jackiecastle.com.
Blessings! Jackie C.