Friday, November 14, 2014

We Talk to Ourselves...a lot!: Autumn Recipes edition by Loree Lough and Cerella Sechrist


LOREE: Hello, Readers!

Cerella and I are having a hard time accepting the fact that it’s November already! Where we live, the trees are pretty much leafless, there’s a nip in the air, and we’re even seeing Christmas tree-laden trucks on the highways!

So we thought…why not slow things down with some of our favorite rib-stickin’ Autumn recipes to warm up your kitchens…and your hearts!

Here’s a family favorite side dish that’s a welcome (and easy!) change from the traditional green bean casserole. Even when I double or triple the recipe, I never have leftovers!



CERELLA: I’m adding Loree’s green beans to my list of holiday foods to try! Lemon and pine nuts? I’m there!

On a sweeter note, my family has a long-held tradition of what we call “Cookie Baking Day.” Instead of hitting the stores the day after Thanksgiving for Black Friday deals, my extended family would gather to cook 100+ dozen cookies in preparation for Christmas. We construct makeshift tables of sawhorses with wooden planks, line them with brown paper bags, and then load them with a variety of cookies. As a child, I loved Cookie Baking Day. Not just for the obvious reasons (taste testing!) but because the kids’ job is to paint the sand tarts with dyed egg washes and then decorate them. Silver pareilles become Santa’s buttons, cinnamon dots become ivy berries, and green and red sugar sprinkles add a little sparkle to everything our impression cookie cutters (now antiques!) can create: presents, stockings, toy soldiers, and even turkeys.

Over the years, Cookie Baking Day has created many fun stories, but my favorite is always the one about my great aunt, Violet, and her quest for rum. In true Jack Sparrow fashion, when it came time to make the rum balls, we realized we had no rum. Aunt Violet, although a teetotaler, volunteered to make the run to the state liquor store for the necessary ingredient. Aunt Violet was a doll, but she had a bit of a blunt and abrupt manner. She charged into the liquor store wearing her dough-splattered apron, her clothes besmirched with puffs of flour, and her white hair on end. When the clerk asked if he could help her, she demanded rum. He asked what sort of rum. She replied, “I don’t know; I just need some rum!”

I’m sure liquor store clerks are used to all manner of customers, but I like to think Aunt Violet made their day. In honor of her memory and to celebrate our Cookie Baking tradition, here’s our family recipe for Rum Balls.



Whether you’re in the States and celebrating the Thanksgiving tradition, or one of our readers in another country, we hope your autumn season is filled with family, friends, and blessings!










About Loree:

With nearly 5,000,000 books in circulation, best-selling author Loree Lough's titles have earned numerous 4- and 5-star reviews and industry awards. She splits her time between her home in Baltimore and a cabin in the Alleghenies (where she loves to show off her “Identify the Critter Tracks” skills). The release of Once a Marine (#1 in the “Those Marshall Boys” series for Harlequin's new Heartwarming line) brings Loree’s number of books in print to 104! Loree loves to hear from her readers and answers every letter, personally. Visit her at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and www.loreelough.com!



About Cerella:

Cerella Sechrist lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. She has won various competitions and a scholarship for her writing, which include devotionals, full-length plays, and novels. She divides her time between working in the office of her family’s construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. Her novels exhibit her love for both the written word and food in fiction. You can find her online at her website www.cerellasechrist.com where she pens “Literary Fare: Fiction & Food”, a blog for readers.

34 comments:

  1. Hi Cerella, Its early and I'm having my coffee and wishing I had one of those paper bags full of homemade cookies. Yum. Our family used to make rum balls too. Snickerdoodles are my fav.

    And Loree, I'm definitely writing down your recipe. I love green beans.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. That sounds like a fantastic idea, Sandra! I would love to have some rum balls with coffee right now! I love green beans, too, so I'm excited to try Loree's recipe. Enjoy that coffee, even if there are no cookies at hand. ;)

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    2. I'm gathering ingredients for this one today! My youngest daughter is hosting our enormous Thanksgiving dinner this year, and I promised to bring this as one of my 'sides.' (Also bringing my take-it-everywhere easy-as-pie baked beans, and I'm happy to share that recipe, too, with anyone who'd like it!)

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  3. LOL. I love Aunt Violet's story! The recipes sound great, but I really love the stories. :-)

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    1. Oh, Liz...if you love stories, be sure to tune in next month (December 12th), when Cerella and I will share family traditions that reach across oceans and connect us with ancestors in faraway places!

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  4. Yummy green beans! I'm so trying those this weekend (I have a package in my fridge, LOL). And a cooking baking day? ooooh, I wanna do one of those. Sounds like so much fun (but work!). Hope you both have a great holiday season.

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    1. When you find out how fast and easy this recipe is...and what a hit it'll be with your family...you'll make it again and again, Anna!

      My cook-bake day, for Christmas, anyway, is fast approaching. And the list of recipes--and things I need to make them all--continues to grow.

      Now...if the good Lord would just give me a couple of 48 hour days in a row....

      Wishing you and yours a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season!

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  5. Enjoyed reading your posts.

    That is one thing we all did just before Christmas, cookie baking. We met at my mother-in-laws home, her sister and all 5 of her daughters and me spent the whole day (or more if needed) to bake and decorate Christmas cookies to be given to each of us. Fun times.

    I like to add slivered almonds to my green beans to dress them up a bit.
    blessings, Tina

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    1. I've made this recipe using just about every nut available, Tina! :-) (That way, I get to say, "Look! A brand new bean dish for you!" LOL)

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  6. Loree - green beans are my favorite. Not wild about pine nuts, but I'm with Mrs. Tina - slivered almonds would be perfect. Cerella - Ron was just bemoaning the fact that our usual source of rum balls has now out of touch, so I guess I'll just make some myself - with visions of Aunt Violet in my head as I work. (Actually, she sounds a lot like the way I look most of the time!) A friend and I bake cookies together for Christmas, usually with a glass of White Zin in one hand and a tester-cookie in the other. It's one of my favorite things to do. Thanks, you two!

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    1. I hope you'll share pictures of your version of Cerella and Aunt Violet's rum balls, Muriel...and maybe one of your husband, enjoying them!

      And I guarantee...you will like that bean recipe a lot, no matter what kind of nuts you use. As I was saying to Tina (above), the different toppings allows me to announce "Look! A brand new green recipe for you!" LOL

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  7. Sure could use some of your warm cookies this very cold morning!

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    1. Great minds think alike, Pam...I was thinking the same thing when I read Cerella's post! LOL

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  8. If only we could taste as we read. Yum!

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    1. Oh no, Melinda! That would be a very bad thing...because I'd weigh 550 lbs.! LOL

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  9. Fun, fun post, ladies! There is something really special about cooking together as a family. Some of my best memories are of my mom and all her sisters baking together or cooking big meals. Now my sisters and I are passing on the tradition... Both of these recipes sound great!

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    1. You're so right, Carol! My mom and grandmother taught my sisters and I some of their best-kept kitchen secrets, and I've passed them to my daughters and granddaughters. The only things that change are the gadgets and gizmos that turn those recipes into delicious meals!

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  10. This is the one time of year I kind of like to cook! Thanks for the great recipes, ladies :)

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    1. I hear ya, Amy! But one reason I'm a lifetime Weight Watchers member is because I love to cook -- and eat and eat -- all year long! LOL

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  11. I can personally attest to the fun! As Cerella's mother *I* was there even in MY childhood for the annual Cooking Baking Day! On a side note, as the family grew and moved away and many passed on or are in nursing home settings, we skipped a few years of cookie baking day...but it's BACK....we did it last year and are rounding up the troops for an event this year - TWO events! One in PA and one in TX to accommodate family members in both locales!

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    1. That's so cool, Cherie! And I'm sure everyone is tickled pink to be back in the kitchen again, keeping those beautiful traditions alive! Wishing all of you joy, good health, and safe travels to and from your festivities this holiday season!

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  12. The recipes sound so good! Will definitely try them. I always had a cookie baking day with my grandmother when I was a kid. Such fun. Am really getting into the holiday spirit now. Thanks for a great post.

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    1. We had a teeny-tiny bit of snow here in Baltimore last night, and that ALMOST put me in the holiday spirit. I'm guessing it'll hit full force when I get these back-to-back-deadline books turned in and I can focus on wrapping gifts and decorating! Wishing you and yours an happy, healthy holiday season, Leigh!

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  13. I'm agreeing with your opening that it's hard to wrap my head around it being mid-November already. Thank you ladies for your kind help with Thanksgiving cooking. Love green beans and love cookies. Now if only the recipes came with a chef...

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    1. LOL Roz! You're so right...a chef, and someone who loves washing dishes! LOL

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  14. I actually think I could make the green beans LOL

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    1. You'll love 'em, Pam! (And here's a little secret: In a pinch, you can use canned green beans (I use Hanover, because they come in a big can and taste a little more like fresh beans cooked down-home style). No boiling required. Just drain off the water and top 'em off with the other ingredients, mix 'em well and set the pot aside for a while so things can marinate for a while before serving.

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  15. I like the green bean recipe...and the rum balls...Can just picture your aunt in the liquor store. :-)

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    1. Aunt Violet reminds me a lot of my mother-in-law, a woman didn't know the meaning of the words "bite your tongue." Ah, very fond memories, especially at this time of year.

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  16. I do enjoy green beans but our green holiday dish is broccoli casserole. My sister makes it and I always eat way to much of it.

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    1. Ooo, I love that side dish, too, Linda! But...there's no rule that says you can't have more than one green side dish! Here's hoping your Thanksgiving is happy, healthy, and safe!

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  17. While commenting to the posts, it occurs to me that we're all typing in codes before we hit publish. And it made me wonder...who comes up with them all? Especially those with the squiggly fonts and nearly illegible word and number combinations!

    And there you have a prime example of how my squiggly BRAIN functions! LOL

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    1. Thanks to Loree for replying to all your lovely comments while I was on a research trip this weekend! It sounds like a cookie baking tradition is something a lot of us enjoy taking part in - and I'm glad everyone was amused by darling Aunt Violet. :) Thanks for all the comments!

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