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New Baby at our Place


I know this doesn’t look like a new baby, but it is. It’s my new fiction, based on fact which is out this month. So, do we call that “faction”? Hard Times in the Heartland the third in the series of The Late Sooner. It’s based on my dad’s letters to Mom and me during WW II and family stories. Like my other books, the facts are carefully researched and woven into this story.

As a kid, I hated history class because it consisted of learning endless lists of dates to be regurgitated later onto a test paper. When I found my great-grandfather’s one-line-a-day diary in an antique chest fourteen years ago, the first Oklahoma Land Run became more than a list of facts–it became story. That diary became The Late Sooner.

When I found my dad’s stack of letters, WW II came alive as I saw it from his eyes. I was also struck by the parallels between then and what we see flashing across our TV screens today.

This December will be the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor. This month marks the 87th year since the Stock Market Crash of 1929. These two events mark the beginning and end of the era covered in Hard Times in the Heartland.

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1 14 oz. can condensed milk
¼ C. cocoa powder
¼ C. dark chocolate chips
1 t. butter, melted (for rolling into balls)
1/3 C. sprinkles

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine condensed milk and cocoa powder. Mix well, and add chocolate chips. Heat the full power of 2 minutes, then remove and stir until smooth. Heat again in 10 minute intervals, always stirring until smooth, until mixture thickens and easily folds away from bowl when scraped with a spatula.

Refrigerate mixture for at least 2 hours, or chill in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.

Using a teaspoon, portion out into rounds and using your hands, shape into 1 ½ inch balls Moisten your palms with melted butter so that the fudge won’t stick to your hands.

Dip each ball into the sprinkles or whatever coating you prefer. Keep chilled in an air-tight container until right before serving.

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fake fondue

Here’s a fake version of fondue that is cheaper and fewer calories. It’s still full of dairy, fat and bread; but it is reduced slightly, so takes away some of the guilt.

It’s a pretty awesome alternative to the real thing and also stays molten off the heat, so there is no need to purchase a special pot. The other great thing is that if you don’t manage to eat it all then it will make a mean mac & cheese the next day, or a tasty sauce for some bacon wrapped chicken!

Serves 2-4 (as a starter or a main)
• 1 pint milk
• 2 heap tsp spoon corn flour – mixed into a paste with a splash water
• 100g emmental cheese – grated
• 100g of either comte/gruyere/extra mature cheddar (or a good mixture of whatever you have in your fridge) – grated
• 1 tsp English mustard
• Salt and pepper – to taste
• Bread and sliced meats to serve

Gently heat your milk in a saucepan until simmering.
Once steaming, stir in the corn flour paste and continue to stir until the sauce has thickened.
Add the grated cheese and the mustard and stir until melted.
Season with a twist of salt and pepper to taste.
Turn off the heat and place in the middle of a board surrounded but chunks of crusty bread, sliced meats and basically whatever takes your fancy.

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Theresa’s Lentil Soup

theresa lentil soup

A friend of mine, Theresa, shared this recipe with me. She recently finished her historical fiction, Lead Me Home about the Oregon Trail. For a writer, or any busy person, this is a great meal needing little attention except to pause and enjoy it.

Theresa’s Lentil Soup

1 pound lentils
1 onion, diced
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 package of diced ham
1 package of Polish kielbasa, sliced
2 Tbsp. of Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp of garlic salt

Some leftover fresh basil
1/2 cup of sliced carrots
A bottle of beer
2 cups of water (you may need more—lentils are thirsty little legumes)

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Yummy Spaghetti Sauce

Spagetti and meat sauce

It seems like the wrong time of the year to be talking about spaghetti sauce–until you see one of the ingredients in this recipe. I make pesto every year from my crop of basil. I freeze small portions in sandwich bags to use in this spaghetti recipe and also I use it to make pesto bread. I’ll give you the pesto bread recipe next week.

Spaghetti Sauce

Combine and fry 10 minutes:
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion-chopped
4 cloves of garlic
1 small green pepper diced

Then add:
28 oz. diced tomatoes
16 oz. of tomato sauce
6 oz. tomato paste
2 t. dried oregano
1/4 cup basil pesto (recipe below)
1 t. salt
½ t. pepper
½ t. crushed red pepper flakes

Simmer 1 hour
Top with grated Parmesan cheese

Basil Pesto

2 tablespoons pine nuts (sunflower seeds are cheaper)
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2¾ cups fresh basil leaves (about 6 bunches)
2 tablespoons (½ ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese*
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil

Drop pine nuts (or sunflower seeds) and garlic through the food chute with food processor turned on. Process until minced.
With processor on, slowly pour oil through the food chute. Take the lid off and add the basil, cheese and lemon juice. Replace the lid.
Process until well blended. Spoon about 1/4 cup portions into small lunch bags and add them all to a zip-top heavy-duty plastic bag. Store in the freezer.

Yield : 1 cup

*If you want to freeze this pesto to use all winter, leave out the Parmesan cheese. It doesn’t freeze well. Add it when you’re ready to use the pesto.

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

M & M Red velvet cupcakes

You’ll need:
¾ c. Heavy whipping cream
¾ c. M&M’s® Milk Chocolate candies
¾ c. M&M’s® Red Velvet candies

Combine the ingredients in a 1 qt. heavy saucepan.
Heat at medium-high, stirring constantly until the M&M’s® are melted.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for one hour.
Moist Delicious Cupcakes
Prepare your cupcakes using your favorite cake mix, adding one package of instant pudding and following the directions on the box.
Preheat oven according to directions on the box. Line your cupcake tray with liners and fill ¾ of the way with cake mix.

Remove the ganache from the refrigerator and add 1 tbsp. to the middle of the cupcake.
Bake for 19-23 minutes. Cool and frost.

Easy Buttercream Frosting
½ c. solid vegetable shortening
½ stick unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
3 ½ c. powdered sugar
1 ½ TBSP. milk
Cream the shortening, butter and vanilla together with electric mixer.
Slowly add powdered sugar. Add milk to achieve the consistency that you want.

Frost the cupcakes.
Look for the M&M’s® Milk Chocolate and M&M’s® Red Velvet in the food section in your local Walmart.

Check out my cookbook and other books here.

Black Bean Salsa

Black bean salsa

A friend gave me this recipe. Very delicious! I think this is going to be dinner some hot night!

Black Bean Salsa

1 or 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of corn drained
1/3 red pepper, cut fine
1 medium to large Jalapeno pepper (no seeds or spine)
1/3 green pepper
8 green onions
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon cumin
Pepper to taste
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
5 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Check out my cookbook and other books here.

Soft Seeded Bread Rolls

seed rolls


This batch of dough makes eight good-sized bread rolls. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds give the bread a real nutty taste. Make these rolls with white flour, use whole wheat, or a combination of both, as in this recipe.

• 5 ½ cups white flour or you can use half white, half whole wheat)
• 1 oz. fresh yeast
• 2 teaspoons of sea salt
• 2 2/3 cup lukewarm water
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil
• 1 tablespoon of clear honey
• Seeds or nuts (optional)
• Egg for washing (optional)

~ Measure the water in a bowl and dissolve the yeast.
~ Stir in the honey and oil, and mix.
~ In another bowl add the flour and salt, and mix to combine.
~ Add the liquid to the flour and briefly stir with a spoon until it comes together, and then use your hands to make it into a ball of dough.
~ Knead on a floured surface for about five minutes and then put back in the bowl and leave to prove for about 40 minutes.
~ Knead for another five minutes and then cut into eight equal pieces, and roll into balls.
~ Place on a baking tray with grease-proof paper, and leave to prove in a warm place for a further 40 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees .
~ Bake for around 10-13 minutes until they are golden brown, and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Allow to cool and enjoy!

In case you’re looking for a great devotional book for the new year or a wonderful historical fiction, check them out here in paperback and e-reader.
Looking Deeper at TheLateSooner'sDaughter-cover-mockup2
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