Happy St. Patrick’s Day!












St. Patrick’s Day Sugar Cookie

2-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoon double acting baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup of butter, softened

1 cup of sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Shift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In another bowl cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture.  Separate dough in half.  Dye first half green and shape into a square.  Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate.   Shape second half into a square, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate.  After an hour, unwrap green and white sections and place on top of each other on a lightly floured surface.  Roll out until the two doughs are 1/4 inch tick.  Rolling green/white dough up jelly roll fashion.  Refrigerate for one hour.  Slice, roll edges in yellow sprinkles and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Fat Tuesday!

A Mini-King Cake. Typically the baby is hidden in the cake and whoever receives it bakes next year's King Cake.

A King Cake for Mardi Gras!

























Fat Tuesday is today and I always make a King Cake to celebrate.  This year I decided to change it up a bit and make Mini King Cakes. The mixing process for Mini Kings versus traditional King Cakes is the same until it comes time to shape the dough.


2-1/2 teaspoons of dry yeast

1/4-cup water (warmed to 110 degrees)

¼ cup melted butter

¼ cup sour cream

1/3-cup sugar

1 egg plus one yoke

2-1/2 cups flour (plus 1 cup to add if dough is too sticky)

1 teaspoon of salt

In a mixing bowl, combine dry yeast and warm water.  (I add a pinch of sugar to this mixture to help yeast proof).  In another bowl mix melted butter, sour cream, sugar and egg and egg yoke.  Gently combine sugar mixture with yeast mixture.    In a separate bowl mix together flour and salt.  Gradually, add dry mixture to wet. SLOWLY knead in additional flour until the mixture is smooth and not sticky.  As soon as the dough doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl (or your work surface) you’ve added enough flour.  Continue kneading dough for ten minutes. Place kneaded dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until its doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen, punch down, and on a lightly floured surface, roll out into a rectangular shape.


¼-cup softened butter

¾-cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix butter, sugar and cinnamon into a paste and then spread on the dough.  Roll the dough up jellyroll fashion and then shape into a large circle.  If you are making mini-King cakes, slice the “jelly roll” dough into one-inch portions, twist into a circle and place in a lined cupcake pan.  Let the dough rise again until its once again doubled.

Bake the King Cake for 18-20 minutes in a 350-degree oven.   Ice.


¼ cup softened cream cheese

¼ cup of softened butter

1-1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar

Milk as needed (about a 1/2 cup)

1 T brandy

Whisk cream cheese and butter together and then add confectioner’s sugar and brandy. I mix in just enough milk to make the icing easy to pour but not runny.


Turn the Page Signing

I drove to Boonsboro, Maryland to sign my latest releases SENSELESS and MERCILESS at Turn the Page Bookstore.  Headlining the signing were Nora Roberts, Jeaniene Frost, Pamela Palmer, Grace Burrowes and Stephanie Dray.  The weather was perfect, the authors a delight and the fans great fun!

What great weather!

The Inn at Boonsboro.

Turn the Page Bookstore is located on Main Street.

Fans lined up early for the 12 noon book signing.

Avon Books hosted an online chat from 10:30 to 11:15 with fans who could text in questions for the authors.

We had some great questions from the online fans.

Jeaniene Frost and Pamela Palmer sign online orders before the signing.

Stephanie Dray and Grace Burrowes also signed their books.

Jeaniene Frost, Mary Burton and Pamela Palmer


Stephanie Dray, Grace Burrowes, Pamela Palmer, Nora Roberts, Jeaniene Frost and Mary Burton

Barnes & Noble Booksigning

I had great fun at the Barnes & Noble this past Saturday signing SENSELESS and MERCILESS and meeting fans.  Big thanks to everyone that came by!

A little bit Vegetarian

As part of my New Year’s resolution to “be a little more vegetarian” I’ve been playing with some new recipes.   I’m a huge fan of Mexican food and love black beans.  Did you know (I didn’t until I looked it up) a cup of black beans is packed with only 220 calories and 15 grams of protein?  And did you know a one-pound bag of dried beans makes six cups?  I’ve tried both canned and the dried variety and I have to say I like the dried better.  Yes, dried beans require more time because you have to soak the beans overnight and boil them the next day, but just a little bit of planning will give you a product with reduced sodium and a fuller flavor .

Black Beans and Rice

1 onion

8 oz of mushrooms

1-2 T olive oil

2 large tomatoes (you can also use a 16 oz can of diced tomatoes)

1-2 cloves of garlic

1-2 teaspoons cumin

1-2 teaspoons of sea salt

1 pinch of red pepper

16 ounces of black beans (hydrated dry or canned will do)

For the rice: Before you begin make your beans, make a pot of white rice according to package directions.  I buy my rice in bulk so I always cook according to a 1 to 1.5 ratio:  1 cup of white rice to 1.5 cups of water or chicken stock.  For brown rice it’s a 1 to 2 ratio:  1 cup of brown rice to 2 cups of liquid.  Place rice in a pan with a little olive oil and let it heat in the pan for a minute.  Add water or stock.  When it reaches a boil, reduce heat and put a lid on the pan.  Don’t open the lid for twenty minutes (50 for brown rice) and then you’ll have perfect rice.

For the beans: Mince the onion, mushrooms and garlic and sauté in olive oil.  Add diced tomatoes and black beans.  When tender, add the cumin, sea salt and red pepper.  By the time the beans have cooked down, the white rice will be done.   Some of my favorite toppings include cheese, sour cream, salsa, and sliced avocado.

This dish cooks in about 20 minutes.

Favorite toppings include sour cream, cheese, avocado and salsa.