Cassava root!

My husband is from central Africa, and one of the foods he introduced me to was Cassava root. I’m a potato lover, and Cassava root is just close enough to potatoes to be an instant favorite for me.

You can normally find it in the grocery store. I do, and I live in Alberta, Canada–oil and ranch country. So I’m optimistic that others can find it, too.

This is what it looks like. I started peeling it before I remembered to take a picture of it. But this is what they look like. And for peeling, I just use a potato peeler!

You want the Cassava to be nice and white, like a potato. If it isn’t, it’s bad–throw it out.

The picture above is what it looks like when you peel it. The picture below is after I’ve cut it up and put it into a pot to boil in salted water. This is about three Cassava roots cut up.

You want top boil them until a fork will just go through it. It should still be a little hard. The rest of the cooking will happen in a fry pan. (This is half the batch cooking.)

You sautΓ© on medium low heat with diced onion until the onion is soft, and then then take it out!

This is the finished product.

Salt again to taste. And it is SO GOOD! It’s kind of reminiscent of pirogies with onions.

Now, I feel like I should make a disclaimer here. If anyone African is reading this and shaking their head because I’m doing some of this wrong, please know that the mistakes are mine, and not my mother-in-law’s! πŸ˜‰

So there is a new food for you to try, if you’re adventurous! It’s incredibly tasty!

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Don’t forget–my newest release, A Precious Christmas Gift, is on the shelves now! I hope you’ll pick up a copy!

A dollhouse addition!

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As you may know, I have a “thing” for dollhouse miniatures, and recently, I started a modest little collection. I’m outfitting a single little room–a small study. Well, I got my latest addition to the room, and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you all!

It’s a radiator!

I had the choice of buying this radiator or a fireplace, and while the fireplace was the obvious choice, I just couldn’t get my mind off the radiator. I mean, who has a dollhouse radiator? It was too cool to pass up!

Don’t you just want to drag that chair over and stick your socked feet up on that radiator to keep them toasty while you read?

These are the things that make me excited these days! I’ve told myself that I can’t get a whole dollhouse because I just don’t have the space, but I’m steadily working my way toward it, I have to say. πŸ˜‰

This is my stress release, and I hope you’re finding your own ways to relax, too. Maybe my books are a part of that…

My newest release, A Precious Christmas Gift, is on the shelves now, and I do hope you’ll pick it up when you spot it!

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The food that fuels it all!

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I’ve posted before that writing Amish romance makes me hungry… it also makes me snacky! All that thinking about food and cooking gets me into the kitchen pretty often. Mr. Johns has absolutely no complaints. πŸ˜‰

Apple Crisp is a favorite in our home. We love it, and it’s just great snacking food for our growing pre-teen. I make it quite often.

Apple Crisp

One day when I was feeling like snacking, I whipped up these breaded, fried zucchini pieces. I love zucchini, but my family doesn’t, so this one was for me. It must be my DNA, but everything is better breaded and fried. πŸ˜‰

Breaded Zucchini

Now, all of this cooking isn’t exactly virtue. We have allergies in this home. Well, my son and I do. Mr. Johns just has to eat what we can eat. πŸ˜‰ But without gluten, dairy or soy, our options are limited, and I can’t get pre-cooked options, or just order in. So it’s cook, or bust. This is our version of pizza with no cheese. I put so many toppings and herbs in top that I don’t even miss it! It’s delicious! That one strip that looks rather bare is for our pre-teen son who just wants bacon on his. *Shrug.*

Pizza

And, then there are the French fries. I love these–an excellent snack! In fact, before the pandemic, friends used to pop by for my fries quite often. πŸ™‚

Fries

So this is the food that fuels all the writing! These are also the pictures that I text to Mr. Johns throughout the day, just to lure him home again with the promise of cooking. Don’t judge–it’s how our marriage works. πŸ˜‰ I love to eat, and it probably shows in my books, too!

My newest release, A Precious Christmas Gift, should be on the shelves this week! So I hope you’ll keep an eye out for it and pick up a copy!

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#30!

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A Precious Christmas Gift is my thirtieth book published with Harlequin Books! I hadn’t realized the big 3-0 had crept up on me, and it was an author friend of mine who saw the milestones email from Harlequin and congratulated me.

What a great feeling! Harlequin is an amazing publisher to work with. They produce quality books and they are just a pleasure to work with. My fellow authors who publish with them are an amazing group of professionals, and I’m honoured to be in their ranks. I have more books coming with Harlequin and with Kensington Books, and I’m looking forward to what the future holds. πŸ™‚

A Precious Christmas Gift is hitting the shelves next week, and I can’t wait to start spotting it on the shelves! That really never gets old, I have to say! Every single time, I stop and stare at it, take a selfie with it… It’s the best feeling!

I hope you’ll pick up a copy when you spot it. Or better yet, I hope you pre-order a copy!

Don’t forget to pop by my Facebook page and give it a “like” if you’re interested in winning copies of my books paired up with other authors’ books as well. πŸ™‚ We have a lot of fun over there–it’s worth it!

It’s beginning…

It’s beginning to look a tiny bit like Christmas! Without being able to wander malls, I’m not getting the same Christmas avalanche I normally do this time of year. You start to realize how much holidays are about other people when we’re doing our best to keep to ourselves to stop the spread of Covid. It’s strange to have to go out of my way to look for Christmas cheer, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel that way!

So a few days ago, I picked up a package of cards, and made up my list, and bought my Christmas stamps…

Christmas this year feels like more of a necessity. We need some sparkle and hope this year after everything that has happened. 2020 has been tough, but we’ve still had beauty this year, and will still have the hope that comes with Christmastime!

I’m making the most of Christmas this year! Yes, where we live we’ll be masked, and we’ll be socially distanced, and we won’t be able to go to church for a Christmas Eve service… But it will still be Christmas!

And I, for one, am going to squeeze every last drop out of the season!

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Don’t forget about my newest release, A Precious Christmas Gift, hitting the shelves next week!

Get your copy now!

That magical 10 mins

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The time change came and all our clocks slid back one hour, and sunrise is a bit earlier.

But I took these photos before the time change, so that the sunrise was just around the time my husband was leaving for work, so I nipped outside in my fluffy pink slippers to snap a couple of pictures for you.

I love this time of morning, when the sky is all rosy, and people are bustling about to start their days. The air was warm–a few degrees above freezing, and no wind to speak of. There is just something about that ten minute window of golden pink light that makes my heart happy.

Then I went back inside to start my day… books to write, manuscripts to edit, my son doing his online school, and a sink full of dishes waiting on me. (The new dishwasher hadn’t been delivered and set up yet.)

That is what my life looks like, and I really am happy. It’s simple, but it’s full of all the best things in life. I don’t know how to put into words how grateful I am for the family God gave me and this ridiculously lucky turn of events that lets me write books day in and day out!

Go breathe in that ten minutes when the sun comes up, and try not to feel grateful! ❀

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Don’t forget about my newest release hitting the shelves any day now!

I wasn’t ready!

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I got a brand new box of books, and even though I’d seen the digital cover of this book, I wasn’t prepared for just how pretty it is!

It’s trade size–so it’s 1 and 1/4 inches thick, and oh, the glorious heft of it! This is a rerelease for both Cathy McDavid and myself, and it officially releases December 1, so I’m sure you’ll see it on the shelves mid-November.

This book contains the previously published A Boy’s Christmas Wish by myself, and The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby by Cathy McDavid.

I think you’ll love these stories about family and babies, kids and heart… They’re the perfect holiday cheer!

Keep an eye out for this beautiful book this holiday season!

Cover vs. Cover!

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Harlequin does these social media ads where they compare one cover with another and ask readers to vote on which one they like more, and yes, it’s as stressful as it sounds to see who likes yours!

But I do love it when Harlequin uses my cover for these–there is just something so “official” about a release when my book is chosen for ad material.

My book, A PRECIOUS CHRISTMAS GIFT will be on the shelves with Tina Racliffe’s HIS HOLIDAY PRAYER starting mid-November. Cowboys and puppies, and little Amish babies… I hope you’ll pick up both of them!

The holidays are fast approaching, and I don’t know about you, but I could use a little Christmas right about now.

So keep an eye out for these releases hitting shelves in a couple of weeks! ❀

Pickles are comforting

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I love a good dill pickle. I blame my Russian Mennonite heritage for that. I even make my own refrigerator pickles that are absolutely delicious. And they’re strong. I believe in lots of garlic and salt.

So I’ve been writing hard the last while, and I just sent a completed manuscript off to my agent. While I was finishing it up and taking some of those incredibly necessary brain breaks, I whipped up a nice big batch of new pickles.

They’re actually really quick! You know, before you’re overly impressed with me. πŸ˜‰ I’ve posted my recipe for pickles before right here, if you’re interested in trying your own. My family will work through those at a pretty steady rate.

And now, I’m starting a new Amish manuscript–this one for Love Inspired. And can I just say… writing Amish makes me hungry! All that food, all those desserts, all that time for cooking… It brings out my appetite! πŸ™‚

I hope you’ll pick up my newest release, A PRECIOUS CHRISTMAS GIFT, that will be hitting the shelves in a matter of weeks here! By mid-November, you should be able to find it everywhere Harlequin novels are sold!

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A girl only turns 42 once

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This last week, I celebrated my birthday. I begged and pleaded with Mr. Johns to let me post pictures of us all masked up, but he’s very stubborn about these things. (No family photos posted, even if we’re in masks.) So you’re out of luck there, BUT, you should know that I argued for you very eloquently saying how nice it would be to show my dear readers what my guy looks like. Maybe it could even be proof to old acquaintances that after fifteen years, we are indeed still married! πŸ˜‰ He didn’t fall for any of it, unfortunately. But I feel it’s important for you to know that I did try.

Having a birthday during Covid is a bit difficult. We normally get together with my parents for my birthday, and this year, we opted out of a meal, and just had cake–with my parents on one side of the room, and me, Mr. Johns and our son on the other. Then we all masked up again. So it was a very Covid-conscious event.

My father always makes me a gluten-free birthday cake, and this year he made a delicious cake!

No candle to blow, of course. And it tasted as good as it looked!

Then we watched the live action Beauty and the Beast, which has been a favorite all the way back to the Disney animated version. I mean, really, who doesn’t fall for the gruff and beefy beast? And yes, I recognize that I did marry my very own. πŸ˜‰

It was a very nice birthday, and I’m thrilled to move forward in a brand new turn around the sun. There are books to write, and books to read, and books to buy! ❀

And speaking of writing books, don’t forget about my newest releases! A PRECIOUS CHRISTMAS GIFT will be on the shelves soon, and JEB’S WIFE is already there!

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