Friday, April 14, 2017

Already April by Loree Lough and Cerella Sechrist | We Talk to Ourselves...a LOT! series

“We Talk to Ourselves, a LOT!” by Cerella Sechrist and Loree Lough

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
Ingredients:
  • 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
Directions:
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
Ingredients:
·       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 decoration
Directions:
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.

***


About Loree:

With nearly 6,000,000 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 The Man She Knew (the first title in her “By Way of the Lighthouse” series for Harlequin Heartwarming) brings Loree’s number of books in print to 112! 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. 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.


27 comments:

  1. I look forward to your posts not only because they're always fun, but you also share terrific recipes. This posts is no exception.

    I agree with you that it's hard to believe that it's already April. Not only that, we're halfway through April already!

    I recently finished reading Cerella's A SONG FOR RORY. I loved it and I highly recommend it. I'm very much looking forward to reading Loree's upcoming release. With how fast time is flying by, June will be here in a blink of an eye.

    Loree, I can't resist commenting about your 112 books and 6 million copies in print. WOW! You've brought tears, joy and laughter to a lot of people!!

    I hope you both keep writing your wonderful stories!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Kate! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your kind words about A SONG FOR RORY! I've missed doing these blog posts with Loree - I'm so glad she's feeling up to it again! Her 112 books impressed me too!! Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

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    2. Thanks for popping in, Kate! Cerella is right...we appreciate your kind words. Coming from an author of your talents, we treasure them all the more!

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  2. Nice tribute to April, ladies. And it's "heartwarming" to see the line featuring such serious and life-altering topics as Autism and Alzheimers. Sounds like great reading!
    Cynthia

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    1. Thank you, Cynthia! I agree, one thing I really enjoy about the Heartwarming line is that it delves into real life issues. They're realistic but also hopeful. It's a pleasure to write these kind of books!

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    2. You're so right, Cynthia...and we're grateful to Heartwarming for allowing us to tackle such timely and real-life themes. Wishing you a wonderful week!

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  3. Fun post. Never thought to put cumin in pot roast. Yum. Will try it. And the raisins also. Your books sound interesting. Tough to deal with both of those health issues.

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    1. I love when you find ingredients like this in recipes, just things you wouldn't consider pairing. It "spices" things up a little! ;) I agree that both of these health issues are tough. Hopefully they make for some compelling stories and help draw awareness to their respective causes!

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Sandra! When I saw cumin in that recipe, my first reaction was "HUH!?" But it's a wonderful addition to a traditional main dish! And we agree: Alzheimer's and Autism are tough issues, but with the proper guidance, life can be so much easier. Our goal when tackling subject like this is to offer information AND hope to readers. Wishing you a wonderful week, Sandra!

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  4. Happy April to you both! For some odd reason, I'm kind of partial to the letter "A" myself. My grandma was named Alice (my middle name.) My oldest sister named all four of her kid's "A" names. And my other sister let me name her youngest and I chose Alec. (I know, can you believe she did that? She loves me.) Thanks for the yummy recipes. My mom is crazy about rhubarb and I can't wait to make these for her.

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    1. I think it's only appropriate that writers get to name a few babies in their family. ;D I love this "A" trend you guys having going on, too! In my family, it's "C" - my dad is the only one in my immediate family who doesn't start with a "C" and who doesn't share the same initials. It's kind of fun when a family latches onto a particular letter!

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    2. I was ten years old when I had my first encounter with 'starts with the same letter' family names. The people who moved in next door had four kids (there were 5 in our house, so we were tickled pink!), and their names all began with K. Including the mom and dad ... and the maternal grandparents! It reminded me of that really old song, "K-k-k-katie..."! Hope your mom will enjoy those rhubarb treats!

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  5. Thanks for everything in this post--lots of good reminders about what the month marks. I'd been focused on National Library Week, and sexual assault awareness, but I was unaware that April also is a time to promote awareness of autism. Great post.

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    1. Thanks, Virginia! There are so many good causes to keep in mind so it helps when we can remind each other. Thanks for bringing these to my attention, as well! Have a great weekend!:)

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    2. So glad you stopped by, Virginia! It always amazes us, as we're putting together our blog posts, how many special dates each month contains! Wishing you a wonderful week!

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  6. Thanks for a fun post, brought to us by the letter A. Thanks for the recipes as well. I love potroast, and the bars look wonderful. I'm always looking for ways to use all the rhubarb that grows in my yard. Happy Easter.

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    1. This is such a great way to use rhubarb, Beth! You'll have to let us know how you enjoy the recipe. I hope you had a wonderful Easter!

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    2. My grandmother had a rhubarb patch in her yard, and I can't tell you how many times my siblings and I were scolded for ripping off a stalk and munching on it! (She worried we might eat those huge toxic leaves.) Hope the rest of your week is wonderful!

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  7. Great post, ladies! I put cumin in a lot of recipe as well as sprinkling it onto salads. It's very healthy.
    After dealing with what I thought was a dying Kindle, I recently started reading A SONG FOR RORY. I'm really enjoying it Cerella.
    Yowza! Loree - 112 books and 6 million copies in print...what an accomplishment. Congratulations!

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    1. Cumin really is so good for you, Jill! I haven't tried Loree's recipe here, to use it in pot roast, but I can't wait. I'm so glad you're enjoying A SONG FOR RORY! I'm always amazed at the number of books Loree has in print, too. ;)

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    2. I'm a cumin fan, too, Jill! Hope you enjoyed a lovely Easter, and that you're finding plenty of opportunities to get out in this gorgeous spring weather!

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  8. Fun post ladies, and thanks for the recipes.

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    1. It's always our pleasure, Laurie! We love to see your name pop up in our comments. :)

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    2. So happy that you stopped by, Laurie! If you try those recipes, I hope you'll pop in again and let us know how much you enjoyed them! Wishing you a spectacular week!

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  9. Thanks for the reasons to be grateful for April, and thanks for the recipes!

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    1. You are welcome, Patricia! Thanks for stopping by and checking out the post!

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    2. And thank YOU, Patricia, for popping in! Let us know how you enjoy those recipes, okay? And have a wonderful week!

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