Are you having as much trouble as we are, believing we’ve reached the fourth month of 2017 already? They say time flies when you’re having fun, so the bunch of us must be having a blast!
April. Already. Amazing! Funny, isn’t it, how many commonplace things begin with the letter A: Apples, acorns, anchors, ants, and so many more. It’s a strong-looking symbol, and we suppose that’s why playground equipment manufacturers so often use it to support swing-sets.
Each April, between the 16th and the 26th, the Lyrids meteor shower appears in the night sky. Also be on the lookout for the Eta Aquariids meteor shower, visible April 21-May 20.
April is Autism Awareness month. This disorder includes a wide range of conditions characterized by repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication difficulties…and many unique strengths. Although no one can pinpoint specific causes, it’s believed that genetic and environmental influences explain its existence. (From the Autism Speaks site.) Devoted to Drew, one of the novels in Loree’s “A Child to Love” series from Heartwarming, features a ‘high functioning’ autistic boy. “He’s patterned after my now-14 year old grandson,” Loree says, “diagnosed as ‘on the spectrum’ when he
was just 2.”
In her latest release from Heartwarming, A Song for Rory, Cerella features yet another “A” disorder…Alzheimer’s Disease. The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s is a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities that are serious enough to interfere with daily life. It accounts for 60-80% of all dementia cases. (From the Alzheimer’s Disease site.) Cerella's hero, Sawyer Landry, is facing the prospect that he has the gene for Early-Onset Alzheimer's, which only accounts for about 5% of Alzheimer's cases but can strike much earlier (as early as one's thirties) than the more common form.
Be sure to watch for Loree’s upcoming Heartwarming release: The Man She Knew, #1 in her “By Way of the Lighthouse” series, hits bookshelves on June 1st.
We hope you’ll join us again next month, when we’ll sprinkle May Showers-like fun tidbits like a warm spring rain!
But first, what would a “We Talk to Ourselves” blog be without a couple of tasty recipes! The two below are highly recommended for—you guessed it—the month of April! If you decide to try either—or both!—of these recipes, we’d love to hear how much your family enjoyed them. But even if you don’t test them, we’d love to hear from you!
Until next month, we’re wishing you an amazing April!
Alton Brown’s Pot Roast
- 1 (2-pound) blade cut chuck roast
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- Vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 5 to 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup cocktail olives, drained and broken
- 1/2 cup dark raisins
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
Place a wide, heavy skillet over high heat for 2 minutes.
Rub both sides of meat with the salt and cumin.
When the pan is really hot, brown meat on both sides and remove from pan.
Add just enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan; add the onion and garlic. Stir constantly until onion is softened.
Add the tomato juice, vinegar, olives, and raisins. Bring to a boil and reduce the liquid by half.
Create a pouch with wide, heavy duty aluminum foil. Place half the reduced liquid/chunk mixture on the foil, add the roast, and then top with the remaining mixture. Close the pouch, and wrap tightly in another complete layer of foil.
Cook for 3-1/2 - 4 hours or until a fork pushes easily into the meat. Remove from oven and rest (still wrapped) for 1/2 hour.
Snip off 1 corner of the foil pouch and drain the liquid into a bowl or measuring cup. Add some of the "chunkies" and puree with an immersion blender.
Slice meat thinly, or pull apart with a fork.
Serve with sauce.***
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars
· 1 cup rolled oat
· 3/4 cup (plus 2+/- tablespoons flour
· 1/2 cup light brown sugar
· 1/4 teaspoon table salt
· 6 tablespoons melted butter (not margarine)
· 1 teaspoon cornstarch
· 1 tablespoon lemon juice
· 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
· 1 cup small-diced rhubarb (about 1-1/2 medium stalks)
· 1 cup small-diced strawberries
· Powdered sugar, for decorationDirections:
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. For easy removal, line bottom and two sides of 8-by-8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
Place oats, 3/4 cup flour, brown sugar and salt in bottom of baking pan and mix. Pour melted butter over, and stir until clumps form. (If the clumps feel soft or look overly damp, add the remaining 2 tablespoons flour.) Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumble mixture. Press the rest of the crumb mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan.
Spread half the fruit over the crust. Sprinkle it evenly with cornstarch, then lemon juice, and 1/2 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Spread remaining fruit over this, and top with second 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Scatter reserved crumbs over fruit and bake bars for 30 to 40 minutes (firmer fruits will take slightly longer), until fruit is bubbly and crisp portion is golden.
Let cool in pan (15 minutes +/-), cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. Store leftovers in fridge.
CERELLA SECHRIST lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. Inspired by her childhood love of stories, she was ten years old when she decided she wanted to become an author. These days, Cerella 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. She’s been known to post too many pug photos on both Instagram and Pinterest. You can see for yourself by finding her online at www.cerellasechrist.com. A Song for Rory, Book #2 in her "A Findlay Roads Story" series, is her fourth Harlequin Heartwarming novel.