Amy - Sleep. My “real” job is in a middle school, so one of the things I love about summer is summer vacation obviously. My 5:45 AM alarm is turned off and I wear pajamas as long as I want!
Carol – Daylight. Flowers are blooming, trees are thick with leaves, grass is green and lush. With the longer hours of daylight I’m torn between whether to head to the beach or up to the mountains because they are both calling my name.
Amy - Sweets. I love sweets. I think I wrote a whole blog on my sugar addiction. Summer thankfully brings the best berries, the tastiest watermelon, and delicious sweet corn. I get to satisfy my sweet tooth while eating fruits and veggies - what more could I ask for?
Carol – Babies. Animals, that is. Where we live, wildlife friends are visiting almost daily with their new babies – fawns, elk calves, bunnies, ducklings and goslings. Swallows are nesting right outside my window. I can barely stand all this fuzzy cuteness!
Amy - The lake. My husband and I are boating people. We love spending time on the water during the summer. My book club is headed up to Wisconsin later this month and we plan to spend the whole weekend on Lake Camelot, soaking up the sun and doing some tubing. Should be hilarious!
Carol – BBQ’s. (I think these are more typically called “cook-outs” in other parts of the country/world.) Here we call gathering together, grilling up something delicious, and eating outside “barbecues.” Throw in some badminton, Frisbee, or whiffle ball and all is right in my summer world.
Amy - Book birthdays. This summer, my new series, Grace Note Records, begins with the release of The Girl He Used to Love. I can’t wait to share this story with the world, so much so that I’ve begun posting a prequel called The Boy Who Broke Her Heart on Wattpad. Feel free to check it out HERE.
To get you all in the summer spirit, we thought we’d share a couple of our favorite summer recipes. They’re certain to bring a little sunshine your way.
Amy - In my new Heartwarming, the heroine bakes cookies for all the big events in her small town of Grass Lake (see how I managed to get my love of lakes and sweets in there). The book is also set in the summer, so I thought I would share one of Faith’s famous cookie recipes. Did I mention that they are all alcohol-inspired? Oh, they all have a little kick, so eat them responsibly!
Salty/Sweet Margarita Cookies with Tequila Glaze
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
Green Food Coloring
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1 teaspoon Orange Extract
1/2 cup sanding sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon tequila (can be omitted and replaced with another T of water)
Mix flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg, lime peel, extract and food coloring; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Divide dough in half. Form each half into a log 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in wax paper.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven 350°F. Mix sanding sugar and coarse salt. Roll each cold dough log in mixture to coat evenly. Cut dough into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place on ungreased baking sheets. If desired sprinkle a bit of additional sugar and salt mixture on tops.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Place cookies on wire racks to cool completely.
Drizzle glaze over cooled cookies. If desired, sprinkle lightly with salt/sugar mixture. Let stand until glaze is set.
Carol – Summer in the PNW means berries! We grow some of the best in the world, and one of my favorites is the blackberry. And here in the Northwest we have an especially delicious native blackberry, too. They’re much smaller, sweeter, and delicate than the fat, firm, shiny berries you typically see in the grocery store. The location of prime patches is so secret that locals know better than to even bother to ask where you picked them for fear of being sent on a wild goose chase. And it’s no wonder, they usually sell for between $40 and $80 a gallon depending on availability in a particular year. For this recipe, any berry or combo of berries will work (a mix of blackberry, blueberry, raspberry is amazing).
8 cups berries 1 Tbs lemon juice
¾ cup sugar ½ tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs flour
1 ¾ cup flour 1 egg
1/3 cup sugar ½ cup buttermilk
2 tsp baking powder 6 Tbs butter, melted and cooled
¼ tsp salt ½ tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Mix filling ingredients and spread on the bottom.
For topping: In a bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, buttermilk, butter and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry and fold gently. Dough will be soft. Drop large spoonfuls onto fruit. Bake until filling is bubbly and topping is brown, about 45 minutes. Serves 8-12.
And last but not least, since we're talking about Summer Love - we would be remiss not to mention the Summer Lovin' Giveaway going on this entire month. Catherine, Karen, Kate, and Amy are giving away a summer beach prize worth approximately $250. Pre-order any of the July 2016 Harlequin Heartwarming novels this month and enter to win our awesome summer beach-reader basket! One lucky winner will walk away with a Thirty-One utility tote filled with tons of beachy fun, including 25,000 Harlequin My Rewards points. Don't miss out!
Order any or all of the following:
The Girl He Used to Love - goo.gl/Qv2HJo
Sophie's Path - goo.gl/sFIUhv
When I Found You - goo.gl/Dl1NrD
Under an Adirondack Sky - goo.gl/MDBZpE
Then enter to win our prize worth approximately $250 here - https://goo.gl/xCnTq9