Tag Archive | Winter

Winter Chill – Delicious Chili by A J Best

From Christina: Bet you didn’t know that today is National Chili Day! I wouldn’t have known it either if my buddy A J Best hadn’t sent me a calendar listing lots of little known holidays and celebrations.  She’s a delightful friend, one who’s always willing to share. One cold winter’s morning, as we chatted online about food and recipes, she shared a simple, but delicious recipe for — wait for it — CHILI!  So, when I scanned the list of February’s “special days” and saw National Chili Day, I quickly asked AJ if she’d share the recipe again with Time for Love readers.

Winter Chill – Delicious Chili

By A J Best

Winter. It’s supposed to be pristine, white, sparkly and beautiful. Children are supposed to be outside playing Norman Rockwellesque, all happy and smiling. But if winter where you are is anything like winter where I am is, it’s a little grey and dreary. Here in the middle of the middle of nowhere, it’s <expletive removed> cold!

 

Winter Image from Tami

 

 So, what does a homebody do when it’s miserably cold and the family is stuck in front of the TV/computer? She makes chili! Come into my kitchen and I’ll show you how to make chili the easy way. You’ll be back in front of the fire cuddled with a book in no time.

 Super Simple Chili Recipe

1 pound ground meat (turkey, venison, beef, etc.)

2 cans beans (dark/light red kidney, black beans, etc.)

1 large can of diced tomatoes

1 jar salsa (in any heat level you choose, we go mild because of the kids)

Brown ground meat. If it’s a fattier type meat, drain grease. Open cans with can openers, open jar with hands. Pour cans, undrained, into pot. Pour salsa into pot. Stir. Eat.

* * * *

Really, it’s that easy. No muss no fuss.

I’d love to know what comfort foods you make when it’s just too bloody cold to go outside. Leave the recipe, I’d love to try it.

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Winter Thoughts

Most of the posts you’ll find at Time for Love are from guest authors, all of whom have become dear friends. I appreciate each author who has taken time from her busy schedule to share a few thoughts here.

From time to time I like to share a few words of my own, as well. With the romantic Valentine’s holiday past, and  February now winding down, I thought I’d pop in here for a moment.

Sun on PinkThe last few days have been a welcome break in the miserably cold winter we’ve had here in the midwest. Although thunderstorms struck yesterday afternoon and on through the night, the temperatures have been well above freezing — hitting as high as the 50’s and 60’s (Fahrenheit). So much better than the far-below-zero temperatures and wind chills we’ve experienced in recent weeks.

Weather forecasters are warning us that winter is not over yet, and I know more cold is coming. Probably more ice and snow, as well.

But I’m not going to think about the cold right now. I’m going to go right on thinking about those glorious rays of sunshine that brightened recent days.

The friendships I’ve made are rays of sunshine in my life, too. I love the warmth and comfort friends have offered, the bright, encouraging outlook my friends have given me, and the glowing words of kindness so many have shared.

In return, I want to once more say “Thank you” to my friends — authors and readers, alike. I’d like, too, to remind each one of you to cherish the friends in your lives.  Friends do warm the heart, just as sunshine warms even the coldest of winter days.

My Winter Deuce by Decadent Kane

From Christina: I’ll have to admit, when I first received this “winter reflections” post from Decadent Kane, I was shaking my head a bit, trying to figure out exactly what a “winter deuce” might be. Read on for the answer! 

My Winter Deuce

by Decadent Kane

Winter sometimes has a way of surprising you. It sneaks up, soft, light, snowflakes edging ever closer to the ground and before you know it snow has enveloped the ground and trees casting a beautiful nature display in cool colors with a crisp air on the side.

I’m not a winter lady. I’m a summer. I love heat, the sun, swimming, not sliding down icy roads when I drive, and all the bright colors summer brings.

But winter brought me someone special. One of my fiance’s dogs had died- they were brothers, lived together their entire lives, and the one living became very depressed. He no longer had someone to be with; his brother was gone.

We went to the local kill shelter to see what might be available. Originally we were looking for a small dog. I’m not fond of dogs in general. They tend to scare me, and I was bitten in the face by one when I was 8. So I shy away from big dogs.

That’s when I saw him though…

Deuce
This chubby black puppy with white spots on his paws. He looked so little and forlorn with his baby brothers. I honestly fell in love with him. 

He wasn’t going to be released for a few days yet so everyone who was interested had to come back the day of release and it was a first come-first serve basis. I showed up early…I was waiting in the parking lot and then I got in line. There were quite a few waiting, not a ton, but several.

Once I got in they told us there were 3 puppies and so the first 3 people on the property got to go in…according to who came first. I ended up being second and when I walked back there those big brown eyes tore at me and my heart overfilled as I scooped up my little guy and set forth with him.

I named him Deuce.

And then I realized as I started looking up information on his breed that my little puppy wasn’t going to end up so little…

He’s a mastiff mutt mix.

Right now, almost 2 years later, if he stands up, he is taller than me. He walks at my hip height and weighs more than I do.

He’s my little lap dog. Maybe winter wasn’t directly the cause of me getting him, but he’s my winter Deuce either way…He adores the snow.

* * * *
Decadent Kane says that writing isn’t something she wants to do, it’s a need. Blank pages call to her — and drive her crazy.  In her words, she needs “to see words written down in my handwriting. I need to create characters, worlds, plots, ideas, dialogue.” The result of her creative madness can be found in her series, “The Trouble with Elves”, available at Amazon.

 

Winter Comfort by Crymsyn Hart

From Christina: Winter, winter, everywhere! I don’t care much for winter, but I can certainly enjoy a warm, cozy dish of comfort food, and this recipe from author Crymsyn Hart will be going on our dinner table very soon. Who doesn’t like macaroni and cheese?

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Winter Comfort

Italian Mac N’ Cheese

By Crymsyn Hart

My husband is a sucker for macaroni and cheese and would eat it every meal if he could. And since he’s Italian he loves it with the Italian sausage.

Italian Mac N’ Cheese

1 pound of rotini (my husband likes ziti, but any pasta will do)

1 cup of chicken stock

1 cup of heavy cream

1 can of petite diced tomatoes

1 pound of Italian sausage (I use the links cut up, but ground Italian sausage works too)

1 ½ cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 ½ cups of shredded parmesan cheese

1 cup of mozzarella cheese

½ cup of bread crumbs

Salt

Pepper

Oregano

1.  Preheat oven to 350 Degrees

2.  Boil 4 quarts of water and cook pasta according to the package directions.

3.  Set pasta aside and drain

4.  Cook and brown Italian sausage.

5.  Pour 1 cup of chicken broth into pot

6.  Pour 1 cup of cream into chicken broth until it bubbles

7.  Add ¾ cup of cheddar and ¾ of a cup of parmesan, and ½ cup of mozzarella into the cream/broth mixture. Stir until cheese is melted.

8.  Add the pasta, tomatoes, and Italian sausage together and ½ cup of mozzarella cheese

9.  Pour in melted cheese and mix together.

10. Add in salt, pepper, and oregano to taste

11. Pour mixture into 9 x 13 casserole dish

12. Top with reaming cheese and breadcrumbs

13. Bake for 30 minutes

About Crymsyn Hart: Along with cooking up delicious meals, author Crymsyn Hart creates worlds filled with luscious vampires, gorgeous gods, quirky witches, and brooding shifters.

She is a National Bestselling author of over seventy paranormal romance and horror novels. Her experiences as a psychic have given her a lot of material to use in her books. She currently resides in Charlotte, NC with her hubby and her three dogs. If she’s not writing, she’s curled up with the dogs watching a good horror movie or off with friends.

To find out more about Crymsyn, check out her website  – Crymsyn Hart. You can also find her and her books at Amazon – Crymsyn Hart or at her blog, Vampires, Witches, and Me! Oh, My!

Winter Memories by Gemma Juliana

 

From Christina: The past week has been miserable for many of us here in the US, with record-setting low temperatures from New England to the south. Today, author Gemma Juliana comments upon our wintry conditions and shares a few of her memories of the season. She shares, too, a delicious recipe! 

 

Winter Memories

by Gemma Juliana

 

Autumn to winter is my favorite time of year. This week, weather is extreme all across the USA, and in general it has been unseasonably cold all season.

One aspect of winter that warms my heart is the cleansing and purifying energy of snow. Not only is it soft on the eye, the silence it creates throws me into an inner, reflective state.

I love taking a brisk walk and seeing my steamy breath materialize on the frigid air, feeling my face freeze, and then walking into our warm, welcoming home with the scents of winter and festive lights (I’m a Christmas lights fanatic and would have the entire house glowing within and without if I could physically accomplish this.) If I prepared a soup or baked before walking, those scents greet me at the door and welcome me home. All of this generates inner contentment and fosters a sense of appreciation for the little things, and the raw beauty of nature.

A mug of hot cocoa in hand, I’ll stare at the lights after everyone else is in bed, and reflect on winters past. So many loved ones are no longer here, but if I just envision the special holidays we shared, I can hear my father’s laughter ripple around me, or see my mom standing in the kitchen cooking. Then there are the ‘old ones’ on the special trips ‘home’ to Ireland. Ancient tables laden with sparkling silver, crystal glasses, and an amazing syphon on the lemonade bottle that I fell in love with when I was ten. All those ancestors are long gone on their journeys to the afterlife. Winter is a fitting time to reflect on those no longer with us, as it is a season of death just before regeneration. Western society isn’t always comfortable contemplating death, but I find that a bit of time reflecting on the role it plays in our natural cycle enriches life.

I’ve been lucky enough to experience both traditional cold winters with snow, bare trees and evergreens, and warm water-skiing winters spent on beaches. My preference is a snowy, cold winter any day.

How about you, what’s your favorite winter memory?

 

Here’s a soup I love to make this time of year. It’s hearty, nourishing and delicious.

 

“CREAMY GREEN SOUP” Serves 4hot-steaming-bowl-of-soup-md

1 tsp olive oil (or other oil)

1 onion, chopped

3 large garlic cloves, minced

½ lb Brussels sprouts quartered

1 can asparagus, drained

4 oz fresh spinach leaves

32 oz vegetable or chicken broth

1/3 cup almond butter

Tbsp Herbs de Provence

Pepper

15 oz can Great Northern beans, drained

 

PREPARATION: In a saucepan, warm oil and add onion, garlic, Brussels Sprouts, herbs and pepper, and let them cook about 10 mins, stirring occasionally. Add broth and let cook ½ hour on med-low heat. Add asparagus and spinach leaves, stir, then put lid on for five minutes so spinach wilts. Finally add almond butter. Use hand held blending stick to reduce soup to a thick liquid consistency. Then I add the beans for a little ‘bite’. Return to simmer until you wish to eat.

NOTE: This is an adaptable soup – you can add other veggies. If you use this mix, though, the color of the soup is an amazing visual bonus. Bon appetit!

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GEMMA JULIANA is a multi-published author who lives in an enchanted cottage in north Texas with her handsome hero, teen son and a comical dog. She loves making new friends and hearing from readers. Exotic coffee and chocolate fuel her creativity.  Her latest release, Christmas Spirits, is a spicy novella set in Ireland. You’ll find it — along with her other titles — at Amazon.com.

 

Winter Morning in Clark by E M Bannock

From Christina: Almost everywhere in the US, temperatures have been dropping to record lows. Today, author E M Bannock shares winter in Wyoming, writing about a typical morning for her.  

 

A Winter Morning by E M Bannock

A Winter Morning by E M Bannock

WINTER MORNING IN CLARK

By E M Bannock

 

I opened my eyes and looked at the clock. It was already five, time to get up. On my way to the bathroom I glanced over at the weather station, minus five, with the wind chill, minus twelve. I shivered and got dressed in a hurry. I walked into the living room and sat down next to the wood stove. I ran my hands over it to see if there was any warmth left. I detected only a slight heating but it was enough. Looking inside I could see a few hot coals in the back. I used the poker to bring them up to the front and put a couple of pieces of small kindling on them. As soon as I closed the wood stove door I could see sparks flying around and the coals glowing red.

It was time to tend to the dogs that were already hovering around. “Who wants to go pee-pee outside?” I asked as all three raced to the front door. When I opened the door a whoosh of cold air and blowing snow hit me in the face. The dogs raced out barking as they romped in the snow. The kindling in the fireplace had flamed, and I put a few logs on top to build a roaring fire. By now the dogs were ready to come back in and have breakfast and morning treats.

I filled up the coffee pot and got it ready for the guys so when they woke up for work they just had to flip the switch. I’d make my tea after I showered. I headed downstairs to my special room and meditated.

When I came upstairs I suited up for the cold with my below zero hat, scarf, Carhartt pants and jacket, boots and two pair of gloves, one pair for warmth and a thinner pair to wear while I fed the horses. The dogs knew what was going on and they were anxious. I had to put a doggie coat on Jenna ‘cause she is short haired and gets very cold, but mostly because she is a baby. Suzie, a Black Lab, loves the cold. Shadow, Suzie’s daughter, preferred to snuggle downstairs in bed with her master, my son.

We walked outside and the cold hit me like a sobering splash of cold water. I breathed it in and felt it down in my lungs. I looked up. The moon was crescent but shining bright. I could see the Milky Way blazing across the sky. I saw a falling star and made a wish.

The snow crunched beneath my feet as I walked out toward the barn. I let out the whistle that told the horses I’m coming and it’s time to eat. I heard Doc whinny back. I opened the barn door and turned on the lights. The fluorescent’s flickered and glowed dimly. It was so cold that it took time for them to brighten. As I filled the horses feed bins I saw that their backs were frosty and so were their whiskers and eyelashes. I talked to them softly as I gave them their various morning feeds.

On my last horse chore, giving the horses their Horse Candy treats, I detoured to the chicken coop and opened up the gate so that they could free range. I saw the red glow of their heat lamps from the window. I called out to them, “Morning, girls.” A few answered back. I smiled.

On my way back to the barn I called out to the dogs and asked, “Who’s a good girl that needs a treat?” They both came running and sat in front of me. I made them shake and gave them each a Horse Candy and said, “Let’s go inside, girls.” Jenna took off running a hundred miles an hour. Suzie just meandered her old bones back with me trailing behind.

The snow was glistening like a field of diamonds as I made my way back to the house. I could see the moon reflected on the creek water as it rushed past its icy banks, its sound assaulting the still morning quietness. I looked around and lavished in the peace and tranquility of our homestead and said a quite prayer of thanks that I was lucky enough to live in this piece of heaven on earth.

E M Bannock has loved reading for as long as she can remember. For her, writing stories seemed like a natural progression. 

Here’s how she describes her experience as an author:

 I often thought about being an author but after graduation life got real serious and I had to get a paying job. Life happened and my dream was put on the back burner. In 1997, I had an inspiration to write my first book, “Totally Devoted.” I tried to get it published but was unsuccessful. A year or so ago certain life events happened that allowed me the opportunity to pick it up again. I began researching self-publishing. I revamped my book and can now proudly say I am a published romance author. The experience has been a wonderful ride so far, although self-promotion is proving to be a challenge. It has opened up a whole new world and I’ve made a lot of friends. I have found that fellow romance authors are a friendly bunch willing to share.

 

 

Winter Memories by Angela K. Roe

From Christina: While winter is not my favorite season, it’s nice to know there are people who truly love this time of year. Today, Angela K. Roe stops by to share some of her childhood memories of winter and growing up on a farm in Iowa. 

Winter Memories

by Angela K. Roe

Roe 1

Winter is my favorite time of year. I love sweaters, sweatshirts, fluffy mittens and warm scarves. I love the way snow covers my world in a clean, fresh downy white blanket that hides the flaws and softens the sounds of our chaotic days.  I even like the crisp, cold air that invigorates and brightens our cheeks and noses.

 When I was growing up, we lived on a farm in the northeast corner of Iowa. My dad would harness the horses with bridles covered in bells and we would sleigh all around the farm. He’d plow under the vegetable garden, build a frame around with 2×4’s and lay down a thick blanket of plastic before flooding it to create our own ice skating pond. My brothers and I got new ice skates every year and knowing they were under the tree each Christmas did nothing to diminish our joy when we opened them on Christmas morning.

 We had skis, snow shoes and snowmobiles. We impatiently awaited the end of the school day so we could rush home and enjoy our own personal winter wonderland. From sliding off the barn roof and landing in huge piles of snow strategically placed by my dad and brothers, to building elaborate snow forts that we would hose down and allow to freeze overnight, my brothers and I loved winter. That love remains strong today.

 From the first bite in the air to the first Christmas decorations, I love winter.  I listen to the people at work complain about not wanting snow but we all stand at the doors and watch as those flakes fill the air and we’re all smiling. I hear the complaints about not wanting to drive in it and I watch as younger coworkers scrape snow off the cars of their older counterparts. We laugh as we set alarms on our phones to remember to go start the cars five minutes before it’s time to leave so we’re all in toasty warm cars with no ice on the windshields. We run back inside, shaking snow from our hair laughing as we stomp snow from our shoes.

 At home, the dog rolls in the snow at every opportunity. We have Christmas decorations up before nearly everyone else and we leave them up longer than most. We stretch the season out as long as possible because people are friendlier, happier and more caring. From shoveling out neighbors to exchanging home baked treats, from getting extra groceries for a sick friend to buying gifts for the less fortunate, people are kinder.  I love winter.

Roe 2

 Merry Christmas,

Angela K Roe

Angela“Is there anything better than a sexy man who makes you laugh?” asks Angela. She considers herself blessed to have found such a man and married him — more than twenty years ago. Together they’ve raised a family, watched their children grow, and have shared lots of love and laughter — much of which ends up in Angela’s romance novels. 

You can find Angela — and her books — at Passion on Every Page