Tag Archive | Christmas

An American Thanksgiving by Tasha Taylor

From Christina: As we come to the end of the Thanksgiving season, I thought it would be fun to end on this note from across-the-pond author, Tasha Taylor. Here’s her experience with an American Thanksgiving. 

An American Thanksgiving

by Tasha Taylor

Thanksgiving 1993 – Thursday 25th November

1993 was a year of firsts for me. The first time I was away my family in the UK and my very first Thanksgiving.

I was 21 years old, and working for an Air Force family as nanny to their baby son. I had never heard of Thanksgiving before, but totally loved Christmas, so was well up for finding out all about it.

The process of preparing for Thanksgiving started the weekend before. My employer, and now dearest friend, had me help her locate the seasonal crockery, cutlery and decorations in the attic. I had never before come across such bright coloured crockery and the idea of changing it all over was a little strange. At home, my mum had a bone china dinner set that was only used on holidays and special occasions, so the idea wasn’t so unfamiliar after all.

The sheer amount of food that was purchased and prepared was overwhelming and I came across several dishes that were unusual – the jello and the green beans with fried onions. But I still love the green beans dish to this day.

I have to admit I knew little about the origins of Thanksgiving and it was really interesting to find out the reasons behind it.

The First Thanksgiving

In the UK, bank holidays (the equivalent of your national holidays) are not equally spaced throughout the year and so the idea of a holiday prior to Christmas is a great idea.

In the UK, we have the following:

  •  New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • May Day (first Monday in May)
  • Whitsun (last Monday in May)
  • August Bank Holiday (last Monday in August)
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

 

So you can appreciate how it’s a long time from the end of August to Christmas!

For me, now, some 20 years on from my first Thanksgiving, I do think of my friends across the pond and I do give thanks, in my head, in a blog, in an email or on social media, because the time I spent in the US, and the lasting friendships that I formed, and the new friendships that I continue to build through my writing are precious to me.

Two things I hold dear are friends and family. One verse I hold dear is:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.”

I believe that life is too short to spend time on regret and thinking what if. Take the time this season to give thanks for what you have, to tell those that you hold dear that you love them, value them, miss them, even if they are not in your life on a daily basis. At one time they meant something to you, and be thankful that you had them in your life.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tasha Taylor is a UK based author, writing contemporary romance and is also a fiction addict. It is not unusual to find a book open in her home – next to the bath, next to the bed, in the office, on the stairs and then there’s the e-reader, smart phone and laptop. She is also mother to her son and future ex-wife to her partner. Other duties include cat lover and dog washer.

Tasha started writing at 15, creating her own little world where everybody went to boarding school and found true love in their teens. She’s moved on grown-up romance since then. No love is ever without its difficulties, but it’s the strength of that love that sees us through the good, the bad and the mornings when mascara alone just won’t cut it. Tasha also has an addiction to social media. You can find here at her website: Tasha Taylor or you can follow her on Twitter @tashatayls. She loves to hear from readers, so drop her a line at tashatayls@gmail.com.

 

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Thanksgiving — Better than Christmas by Stacy Moran

Christmas tops the list of “favorite holidays” for many people, but not for romance writer Stacy Moran. Today, she shares a few thoughts — and a special recipe — for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanksgiving — Better than Christmas

Thanksgiving. I love it more than Christmas, and here’s why.

Thanksgiving is getting absorbed by the Christmas festivities and shopping before it ever has a chance to be truly enjoyed.

With the Christmas season coming earlier and earlier every year, Thanksgiving is becoming known more as “the day before Black Friday” than an actual holiday. Christmas is swelling to monstrous proportions, swallowing Thanksgiving. Retailers are even staying open on Thanksgiving in order to beat competition’s sales.

A holiday that is in some ways controversial, but to me is the best time of year, is disappearing.

To me Thanksgiving is about…

  1. Family
  2. Amazing Food
  3. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
  4. Gone with the Wind (my family tradition)
  5. A room filled with napping people
  6. The smell of turkey and pumpkin pies
  7. The start of colder weather
  8. Charlie Brown
  9. Memories of childhood
  10. Leftovers

This year take a moment and remember your childhood, watch the parade, play football in the yard, savor Grandma’s stuffing, and just appreciate the day.

To make the day a bit easier here is my “go-to” recipe for moist turkey.

Turkey Dinner

INGREDIENTS

One Turkey, approx. 15 lbs.

Juice of a lemon

Salt and pepper

Melted butter

Tops and bottoms of a bunch of celery

2 carrots

Parsley

Sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme

METHOD

Step One

To start, if the turkey has been refrigerated, bring it to room temperature before cooking. Keep it in its plastic wrapping until you are ready to cook it. While in the refrigerator, and or while you are bringing it to room temp, have the bird resting in a pan, so that if the plastic covering leaks for any reason, you are confining the juices to the pan.

Handle a raw turkey with the same amount of caution as when you handle raw chicken – use a separate cutting board and utensils to avoid contaminating other foods. Wash your hands with soap before touching anything else in the kitchen. Use paper towels to clean up.

Remove the neck and giblets (heart, gizzard, liver). Use the heart and gizzard for making stock for the stuffing. The neck can be cooked alongside the turkey or saved for turkey soup. Or all of the giblets can be used for making giblet gravy.

Step Two

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Step Three

Wash out the turkey with water. Pull out any remaining feather stubs in the turkey skin. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Lather the inside of the cavity with the juice of half a lemon. Take a small handful of salt and rub all over the inside of the turkey.

Step Four

For flavor, put in inside the turkey, a bunch of parsley, a couple of carrots, and some tops and bottoms of celery. You may need to cap the body cavity with some aluminum foil so that the stuffing doesn’t easily fall out. Close up the turkey cavity with either string (not nylon string!) or metal skewers. Make sure that the turkey’s legs are tied together, held close to the body, and tie a string around the turkey body to hold the wings in close.

Step Five

Rub either melted butter all over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle salt generously all over the outside of the turkey (or have had it soaking in salt-water brine before starting this process). Sprinkle pepper over the turkey.


Step Six

Place turkey BREAST DOWN on the bottom of a rack over a sturdy roasting pan big enough to catch all the drippings. This is the main difference between the way mom makes turkey and everyone else. Cooking the turkey breast down means the skin over the breast will not get so brown. However, all of the juices from the cooking turkey will fall down into the breast while cooking. And the resulting bird will have the most succulent turkey breast imaginable.

Add several sprigs of fresh (if possible) thyme and rosemary to the outside of the turkey.

Step Seven

Chop up the turkey giblets (gizzard, heart). Put into a small saucepan, cover with water, add salt. Bring to simmer for an hour or so to help make stock for the stuffing.

Step Eight

Put the turkey in the oven. Check the cooking directions on the turkey packaging. Gourmet turkeys often don’t take as long to cook. With the turkeys mom gets, she recommends cooking time of about 15 minutes for every pound. For the 15 lb. turkey, start the cooking at 400 F for the first 1/2 hour. Then reduce the heat to 350 F for the next 2 hours. Then reduce the heat further to 225 F for the next hour to hour and a half.

If you want the breast to be browned as well, you can turn the bird over so that the breast is on top, and put it in a 500°F oven or under the broiler for 4-5 minutes, just enough to brown the breast. Note that if you do this, you will have a higher risk of overcooking the turkey breast.

Start taking temperature readings with a meat thermometer, inserted deep into the thickest part of the turkey breast and thigh, an hour before the turkey should be done. You want a resulting temperature of 175°F for the dark meat (thighs and legs) and 165°F for the white meat (breast). The temperature of the bird will continue to rise once you take it out of the oven, so take it out when the temperature reading for the thigh is 170°F, and for the breast 160°F. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, spear the breast with a knife. The turkey juices should be clear, not pink.

Step Nine 

Once you remove the turkey from the oven, let it rest for 15-20 minutes. Turn the turkey breast side up to carve it.

kristin-emery-family-and-friends

Once again remember the point of the day is to enjoy and be thankful for your  family, friends, and the amazing food prepared.

About Stacy Moran: 

Stacy  was born in West Virginia but now finds herself living in Texas. She has loved writing since she wrote her first book in the first grade, The Land Without Rules. Her mother will tell you it was a brilliant piece of literature.

An author of several genres, she prefers to combine the mainstream genres of paranormal and gothic romance with elements of erotic, mythology and fantasy.

Her most recent works include, Blood Myth (The Myth Series), Sekhmet’s Revenge, The Lotus, and a series of erotic shorts,  Temptation Tuesdays. You can find her books on Amazon.

SAM

Readers can find Stacy online at her official website, at her blog, and on Facebook. 

Official Site of Stacy A. Moran

A New Journal Blog

Facebook

 

 

Thoughts about Fall by Krista Ames

From Christina: So pleased to share another bit of romance from another lover of autumn. Please welcome Krista Ames to Time for Love.

Thoughts about Fall

Who doesn’t love fall ?

It’s literally my favorite season and I don’t think I always knew that.  I grew up in Indiana where we definitely had four seasons and once I became an adult, I always hated to see snow come and the need to drive in it, especially after I had kids.  Once my third child was born, we made the life altering decision to move to Florida and warm weather all the time was quite a change from what I’d been used to.  I think after a year there I finally figured out what I was missing.  There are no season changes.  There was only hot and hotter.  The fall came and went with no changing of the colors and even at Christmas there was no snow.  How weird do you think it was to be wearing shorts and a T-shirt at Christmas?  The longer we stayed there, the more I missed fall and the cooler, sweatshirt and jeans weather.

Finally after three-ish years and some tough personal issues, during the fall season I made the decision to move my children and myself back to Indiana.  It was a beautiful drive and good to be getting things back to normal.  Then I met my second husband and was so thrilled that he loved fall as much as me.  So much so that we even got married in the middle of September, outside at a state park and planned a fall themed wedding.  Every year now we make a point of taking a color tour of the north between mid-September and mid-October.

Now, we live in Northern Lower Michigan and the leaves have changed colors and mostly fallen from the trees.  I took advantage when I could and snapped tons of pictures of my kids with the fall theme.

Krista

The weather was a cool 40 degrees over the weekend as we took the kids to a fall festival.  I’m not looking forward to fall ending because the temperature will continue to drop and that white stuff will be here before I want it to.  Once it arrives, I’ll be asking myself as I do every year now, why is it that I moved from Florida?

Yep that’s right, because fall is my favorite season and it’s worth it just to have a few months of that cool and beautiful weather.  If there was a place in the states where the weather was 60ish degree sweatshirt weather year round, trust me, I’d be there !!

So how do you feel about fall?

Author Bio: Krista is a full time, stay-at-home mom. She pursues her writing career when she’s not chasing kids, cooking, or doing laundry.  Watch for her upcoming release from The Wild Rose Press, titled “Second Nature”. It’s Book One in the “Second Series”. Krista can be found online at Passion for Romance. She loves to hear from readers. You can also contact her by email, krista@kristaames.com.