Pieces of Me by Mary Alford

Introducing Mary Alford

Today, I’m thrilled to introduce Mary Alford, a prolific writer and fellow Pelican Book Group author. You all know how I like food, lol, and Mary’s sharing a couple awesome-sounding recipes that I will have to try! Enjoy her article and check out her new book!! Mary, thanks so much for visiting.

Pieces of Me by Mary Alford

As an author, I find myself putting pieces of my life into each of my books. Whether it’s my love of coffee, animals, or cooking, they all seem to find their way into my stories.

In my upcoming White Rose Publishing romance entitled, Grace And The Rancher, all three of these things are interwoven into the story.

My heroine, Grace usually has a cup of coffee handy, and her constant companion is her golden retriever, Lizzy.

When Grace first moved to Delaney Mountain, it was in the dead of winter and she didn’t know anyone in town. With many long, cold days up on Delaney Mountain, Grace realized she had to take up a hobby to survive the solitude. So, she took up cooking.

One of Grace’s favorite recipes and one that she made for the hero of the book, Kyle Delaney, is Grandma’s Chicken noddle soup with Amish white bread.

I thought it would be fun to include both of these recipes here:

Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup

Mary Alford Fiction Faith & Foodies Dora Hiers

Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup

Prep 20 m

Cook 25 m

Ready In 45 m

For more flavor, try using smoked chicken.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups wide egg noodles

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

12 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup water

3 cups diced, cooked chicken meat

Directions

1 – Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles and oil, and boil for 8 minutes, or until tender. Drain, and rinse under cool running water.

2 – In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine broth, salt, and poultry seasoning. Bring to a boil. Stir in celery and onion. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.

3 – In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water together until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Gradually add to soup, stirring constantly. Stir in noodles and chicken, and heat through.

Amish White Bread

Mary Alford Fiction Faith & Foodies Dora Hiers

Amish White Bread

Ingredients

2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

2/3 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

6 cups bread flour

Directions

In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.

Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well-oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well-oiled 9×5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

Both of these recipes are easy to make and I found them on one of my favorite recipe sites, Allrecipes.com

Just like Grace, I love to cook and I enjoy trying new and different recipes. I hope you enjoy these.

In honor of the February 17th release of Grace And The Rancher, I thought I would give away a PDF copy of the book to one blogger.

Grace Bradford is living a lie. To the world she has the perfect life: A promising country music career and a husband who adores her. But her husband isn’t the man everyone believes him to be. When a car accident widows her and ends her career, Grace escapes to Delaney Mountain. But moving to the remote town doesn’t wipe away the ugly secret of her marriage. Kyle Delaney never intended to return to Delaney Mountain, but he promises his dying father that he’ll turn their land into a working cattle ranch. He uproots his life in Austin, sells his flourishing business as a music agent, and returns to the Colorado town of his childhood. Can a runaway singer and a makeshift rancher, thrust together by circumstance and held together by the common thread of loss and a love of music, find hope and a happily-ever-after under the stars of Delaney Mountain?

Mary Alford Fiction Faith & Foodies Dora Hiers

Meet Mary Alford

Mary Alford grew up in a small Texas town famous for, well not much of anything really. Being the baby of the family and quite a bit younger than her brothers and sister, Mary had plenty of time to entertain herself. Making up stories seem to come natural to her. As a pre-teen, Mary discovered Christian romance novels and knew instinctively that was what she wanted to do with her over-active imagination. She wrote her first novel as a teen, (it’s tucked away somewhere never to see the light of day), but never really pursued her writing career seriously until a few years later, when she wrote her first Christian romance and was hooked. Today, Mary still lives in Texas, and still writes about romance. In fact, she can’t think of anything else she’d rather do. Learn more about Mary Alford at: http://www.maryalford.net. Also feel free to send her an email to maryjalfordauthor@gmail.com.

Excited about Reading: Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter

Y’all know I’m a huge Denise Hunter fan, right? Did you see the Hallmark movie made from her book, The Convenient Groom? I didn’t enjoy the movie nearly as much as the book. So, fair warning, read the book. lol. Enough of the commercial. Back to Just a Kiss…

Riley’s just come home from serving in the Marines, minus half of one leg and suffering from PTSD. His best and dearest friend, Paige, can’t wait to help him adjust to life back in the States. Riley’s loved her since high school, but Paige was a little slower to realize her feelings…and his.

I confess I struggled to write this review. Not because the book was bad. Hardly! As with all other Hunter books, I gobbled snatches whenever I could. But I. Did. Not. Like…

Riley.

Gasp! How bad is that? Riley’s the hero, the brave man who served his country, the friend who chose not to reveal his true feelings solely to preserve their lifelong friendship.

At times, I wanted to reach into the book and sit Riley down over a cup of coffee. To warn him that unless he stopped with the surly attitude directed at Paige, he would lose her for good. How could she love this guy?

Maybe Riley would kindly explain that depression does that to a person. That it was like being tossed into a deep, dark prison where pain and sleepless nights are the norm. No wonder Riley acted that way. Paige chose to love him for the hero she knew him to be, and the walls of bitterness and resentment had to crumble eventually. Good thing he finally came around. And so did I. 🙂

The real goodie in this book wasn’t the romance. For me, it was the meaty nuggets to chew on later.

To Ponder

  • How I consider myself lacking because of certain physical limitations
  • How stubbornness and pride keep me from achieving my full potential
  • How I need family and other connections
  • How I sometimes fixate so much on what’s wrong, it’s difficult to be grateful for what’s right
  • How seasons in my life come around for a reason, a purpose, and I shouldn’t fight them, but learn, grow, evolve.

This might not have been my favorite of Hunter’s books, but I’m so glad I chose to spend a few hours hanging out with Riley and Paige. And I would do it all over again.

Disclaimer: Sending my thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Fiction for providing me with a free copy of Just a Kiss in exchange for my fair and unbiased opinion. Other than the free kindle copy, I was in no way compensated for my review.

Excited about Reading: A Reluctant Melody by Sandra Ardoin

Excited about Reading

Click Book Cover for Amazon Link

A Reluctant Melody has been on my TBR list since it released in January. But my reading has downshifted significantly lately, and I just found it on my kindle again. Yay! If you enjoy inspirational historical romances with a thread of intrigue, you’re in for a treat! But you might want to read The Yuletide Angel first. Not that it’s a requirement to enjoy A Reluctant Melody, but Angel gives you insight into Kit. And who doesn’t love a glimmer of Christmas in the middle of summer? Just sayin’. 🙂

Here’s a little about the book first.

The Cover Story~

Kit Barnes’ drinking ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. The most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past and the one person he hurt the most.

A pariah among her peers, Joanna is all too eager to sell her property and flee the rumors that she sent her late husband to an early grave. But she will let the gossips talk and the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she’ll allow Kit back into her life.

When a blackmailer threatens to reveal her long-held secret, she must choose between trusting Kit or seeing her best friend trapped in an abusive marriage.

Will Joanna risk another betrayal? Or will she find a way through the pain of the past to love and trust again?

Let’s Chat~

Joanna Stewart finds solace playing the piano. Kit Barnes used to find comfort in a bottle, but now his faith guides his life and work. Along with a pastor partner, Kit plans to buy and renovate a house to accommodate other recovering alcoholics. Joanna’s house is perfect for their mission, and Kit might have convinced Joanna to sell her property, except for this…

She would pay into eternity for her lapse in judgment, for loving a man who used her and tossed her aside. Hadn’t her father said as much before he cast her out of his house? If Papa were her this minute, he would remind her again of the sin she’d committed, and the mercy she would never find from the almighty and judgment-prone Creator.

Whoa! You can imagine Joanna’s reaction upon seeing Kit again and the conflict that oozed from the pages! With a benefactor holding a ticking clock, though, Kit had no choice but to convince Joanna to sell. Her continued refusals made him wonder if he hadn’t ran ahead of the Lord’s will. Often, I worry the same thing in my own life.

Favorite quote: God doesn’t demand perfection from us first, Jo. He perfects us through our faith in Christ.”

A sprinkling of historical tidbits, a trail of intrigue, and the abundance of spiritual nuggets pulled me in every chance I got to read. While I suspected some elements, a few twists surprised me. I appreciated the real battle Kit waged over his addiction, even after being saved, and how his struggle wasn’t easy or glossed over. I generally prefer more sizzle in my romance reads, but because of their disastrous past and the constraints of the time period, I understand the restraint. Overall, though, A Reluctant Melody is a book I will keep in my library, just  to reread and savor those spiritual goodies all over again.

TO PONDER: When someone I know struggles with consequences of poor choices, do I extend grace or judgment? Do I offer a listening ear or a cold heart? Am I a help or a hindrance? 

Disclaimer: I purchased my own copy of A Reluctant Melody. This review is my fair and unbiased opinion, and I was in no way compensated.