Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop

Floral Background in Black and Gold ColorsWelcome to the Holiday Gifts of Love blog hop sponsored by Carrie Ann Ryan Blog Hops!

What is it about the holidays that makes us so giddy? Why is it that so many romances are set around the holidays? What’s your favorite holiday book? Your fave holiday romance? Tell us! We’re blog hopping to celebrate the holidays and our love of romance!

I thought I’d share what makes it special for me. I live in an historic house in Mobile, and I’m the 5th generation to live here. But before I moved here, I came for Christmas along with all my other kith and kin to celebrate. Of course food and drink were a big part of it. I learned how to make Old-Fashioneds from my uncle. Cousins Night was Christmas Eve, when my cousins and I would gather in one of the bedrooms and party and catch up on what we’d been up to the past year.

But of course, coming from an old Southern family, we have some traditional foods, and I’m going to give you the recipes!  My great grandmother (whom I knew as she lived until 96) we called Grandy, and this is her Charlotte Russe recipe, which we have two gorgeous bowls designated specifically and only for this dish:

Grandy’s Charlotte Russe

2 pints cream
1 pkg lady fingers
6 tbsp sugar
2 envelopes gelatin
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 cups milk

Separate eggs. Heat milk in double boiler. Beat egg yolks and 2 tbsp sugar. Add to milk when hot. Wet gelatin, then dissolve in boiling water. Add some of egg  mixture then add gelatin to milk and cook until mixture begins to thicken, cool. Whip cream in bowl set in ice, use cold beaters. When stiff add 2 tbsp sugar. Add cool egg mixture to this. Beat egg whites, when stiff add 2 tbsp sugar. Fold into cream, add vanilla and almond. Pour into bowl lined with lady fingers. Chill.

Whew! This is our traditional Christmas dessert and Grandy made it this way unless she ran out of time, then she made it the following way. No one knew the difference until she later told my aunts and shared the recipe. Of course, this is how we make it now:

Grandy’s Easy Charlotte Russe

1 pint whipping cream
1 envelope gelatin
6 tbsp sugar
3 egg whites
2 tbsp sherry, amaretto or vanilla
1/2 cup boiling water
1 pkg lady fingers

Whip cream, when stiff, add 3 tbsp of sugar. Moisten gelatin in cold water, add 1/2 cup boiling water, stir to dissolve. Stir constantly to avoid lumps. Whip eggs, when stiff add rest of sugar. gently fold egg whites into cream. Strain cooled gelatin into mixture gradually, stirring constantly. Add sherry. Pour in bowl lined with lady fingers and decorate with cherries. Chill until set.

Another traditional Southern Christmas dessert is rum balls, and this is my other great grandmother’s recipe (whom I also knew because she lived into her 90s!). We called her Grandmère (this is in Mobile, original capital of French Louisiana and we’re from some old Creole families)

Grandmère’s Rum Balls

1 cup crushed vanilla wafers
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp corn syrup
1/4 cup rum

Crush wafers, finely chop nuts, mix all together well and form into balls. Store btween wax paper in a jar and let sit for several days.

Inspired? Hope you enjoy them!

As part of the hop, we’re giving away prizes!

I’m giving a $5 Amazon gift card to one commenter, just make sure you include your email address in your comment.

By commenting you also get a chance at THREE grand prizes. You can go to EACH blog in the hop and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

Now what are those prizes?

  • 1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
  • 2nd Grand Prize: A $200 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
  • 3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

Be sure to visit the main host site to hop over to other participants and win more goodies!

BEER cover smallMy upcoming release:

Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?

Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.

Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It’s granted. She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they’re surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.

Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.

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What about you?  What’s your favorite holiday book? Your fave holiday romance? Do you have some traditions that make it special?

EDIT: Clarification on commenting. If you only leave your email in the space provided for comments, you’ll only be eligible for my prize, as I’m the only one who can see it. If you want to win one of the grand prizes, you need to put your email address in the comment box too, so that the hop organizers that visit each stop can tally up and pick winners….

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52 Comments

  1. Nancy

     /  December 14, 2012

    I like your grandmother’s recipes, most likely they are adaptations of English recipes .
    I must confess that while I think Mobile an interesting city, I wouldn’t want to live there again. We lived in Mobile for a year that began with a snow fall in January. People were amazed and astounded. Though it was a light snow fall, it did make for pretty pictures. Many people in Mobile had never seen snow.
    I do not usually bake any more. My daughter is making Regency rout cakes for me to take to a Jane Austen discussion group meeting. However, Grandmother’s recipe can’t really be called baking or even cooking and it sounds delicious—–….

    Reply
    • When did you live here? A LOT has changed in the last 5 years. The downtown is now vibrant again, etc. I moved here from Atlanta, worried I wouldn’t like it, but haven’t looked back :) Glad you like the recipes! But if you wanted to enter the giveaways, you need to leave your email address in the comments…

      Reply
      • Nancy

         /  December 14, 2012

        As my email was included in the drop down section of the comments, I thought it was seen by you.
        nmayer [at] bellsouth [dot] net
        We lived in Mobile in 1972-1973. It is the climate I didn’t care for. After two years in the Philippines, a year in Mobile, and several years in Columbus, GA. , I don’t want to live any further south than Atlanta where I now live.
        I don’t think I have a traditional food for Christmas.We have had lobster, venison, turkey, goose, ham and roast beef, Pumpkin pie for dessert might come closest.
        We started having our big Christmas meal on Christmas eve after my mother in law died and we no longer spent Christmas with her. The kids never wanted to leave their presents to come to the table.

      • Sorry for the confusion, yep, I can see that, but if you wanted to have a chance for the grand prize, the blog hop organizers can’t :)

        I hear ya! Everyone’s different–me I wouldn’t want to live farther north than Atlanta, LOL! I’d rather be sweating than shivering :)

    • raonaidluckwell

       /  December 16, 2012

      My mom use to take my boys for the weekend… and on that weekend they would make all kinds of cookies, cakes and stuff. She stopped last year which really disappointed me. When I was younger she always put me to work helping

      Raonaid at gmail dot com

      Reply
  2. Angela, I am sooo envious of that historic home you live in. It sounds wonderful. I like your Christmas Eve as cousin’s night, that has to be a lot of fun. I’m not much for baking or cooking but my husband’s grandmother was a great one for making all kinds of food, goodies and treats for the holidays. Despite having her recipies, no one has been able to duplicate several of them, including two for old-world Italian cookies. She didn’t actually write her recipies down until she was in her 80s, because she always said, ‘I just take a pinch of this and a pinch of that. I don’t measure.”

    BTW, I hadn’t seen your book cover. It’s AWESOME! Congrats on the upcoming release. I’ll be looking for it.

    maeclair (at) maeclair (dot) com

    Reply
  3. What cool thing to be able to live in a family house. You’re grandmother’s rum ball recipe is the same as mine.

    Reply
  4. Shannon

     /  December 14, 2012

    Thanks for the fabulous dessert recipes. I love learning about your southern traditional specials

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

    Reply
  5. I always enjoy reading how people celebrate the holidays. Up here in Michigan, I’m hoping for snow on Christmas Day (after everyone gets where they want to be).

    dmburton72 @ gmail.com

    Reply
  6. Mary Roya

     /  December 14, 2012

    I really enjoy the holiday season. I enjoy the smells, the food and lights. Oh and the music too. Not much into baking anymore. But I do enjoy tasting, ask my scales. Tee Hee. Great blog. roya-clan@sbcglobal.net

    Reply
  7. I make a soft molasses cookie every year – and tortierre for Christmas eve. Thank you so much for the opportunity and for participating. All the best to you and yours this season

    glhince at gmail dot com

    Reply
  8. My most recent favorite Christmas book is The Gift of Gray by Jan Romes – a cute romance novel set at Christmas. Love the recipes you shared! sletten at paulbunyan dot net

    Reply
  9. Oh I don’t know. My favorite read of 2012 was Kenya Wright’s fire baptized.

    Thanks for the recipes, next week my daughter and I will be trying some of these recipes. :)

    Happy Holidays and a more peaceful 2013!

    morebooksthanlivros@gmail.com

    Reply
  10. Great recipes! My favorite holiday read this year was Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione!
    Our tradition is getting together with friends every year and celebrating on christmas eve with food and drinks!

    kacidesigns AT yahoo DOT com

    Reply
  11. We started a family tradition of taking our kids for Chinese buffet on Christmas Eve lunch then coming home later after visiting family to watch A Christmas Story before going to bed. The kids love having the tradition and spending time with us. Love it!

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    jung {dot} shari {at} gmail {dot} com

    Reply
  12. What is it about the holidays that makes us so giddy? Why is it that so many romances are set around the holidays? What’s your favorite holiday book? Your fave holiday romance?

    Hmmm come to think of it, I’ve never read any type of romance that’s set during the holidays… I guess I need to fix that problem! I love romance novels (Both ya & adult) though so I guess I just need to pick up some new holiday ones! I enjoy the holidays moreso lately because I get to see my 3 year old learning and getting excited. It’s funny how something last year didn’t phase him but this year, he gets all excited – like Christmas lights. He could’ve cared less about them last year, but this year, he’s obsessed! LOL :)

    Thanks for joining this great hop!!

    kaylapshirley (at) gmail (dot com)

    Reply
  13. Phyllis Lamken

     /  December 15, 2012

    my favorite read was The Bandit King by Lilith Saintcrow. I love the celebrations and the time with family. Have a Merry Christmas and may your new year be filled with books.

    flip at ida dot net

    Reply
  14. Toni Cosgrove

     /  December 15, 2012

    Your house and cousins night sound so great .Favorite book would probably be…The Littlest Angel. I like the holiday romance books that have several authors in one book..like a smorgasboard of good stories, One of my fav traditions is getting new jammies on Christmas Eve.:)
    peach_hugs@yahoo.com.

    Reply
  15. Cassandra Hicks

     /  December 15, 2012

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
    cassandrahicks1989@yahoo.com

    Reply
  16. Lasha

     /  December 15, 2012

    Thanks for the hop!

    Lasha
    mslasha at gmail dot com

    Reply
  17. My favorite holiday book is A Christmas Carol , My favorite Holiday Romance is A Dark Hunter’s Christmas.

    Dawna N.

    vampiremistress2010(at)gmail(dot)com

    Reply
  18. miriam roman

     /  December 16, 2012

    i’m looking forward to spending more time with my kids. some are out of the house either married or in college. so this is the one holiday i really get to spend with the whole family. i loved the blurb and can not wait to read the book! thanks for the great giveaway!
    miriam.whitewolf@gmail.com

    Reply
  19. Veronika

     /  December 16, 2012

    Merry Christmas to you! Thank you for the giveaway!
    verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com

    Reply
  20. Happy Holidays! Great Giveaway!

    aprilnu2003@yahoo.com

    Reply
  21. Gail Goodenough

     /  December 16, 2012

    Mmm recipes! Thanks and thanks for the chance to win some goodies.

    I love the Gift of the Magi…as well as the original Christmas story from the Bible!

    Merry Christmas to you!
    Gail
    djgandyfan@gmail.com

    Reply
  22. ajcraig77

     /  December 16, 2012

    Happy Holidays!
    ajcraig77@comcast.net

    Reply
  23. Crystal Young

     /  December 16, 2012

    As far as a favorite book it would be A Christmas carol and far as a tradition every year we drive around looking at all the Christmas lights and then come home and have Hot Chocolate and cookies Thanks for the giveaway and
    Merry Christmas

    crystaley73 at yahoo dot com

    Reply
  24. JanD

     /  December 16, 2012

    Thank you for the recipes. My favorite holiday book is Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
    bituin76 at hotmail dot com

    Reply
  25. Can Grandy come cook for me? I am no longer allowed to bake or use the stove top as I may light the kitchen on fire (again). I have only done it twice, why is everyone so worried? Not being a romantic at heart, I prefer the comedic sort of romantic books and do not have a favorite Christmas read. :(

    Thanks so much for the great giveaway and being a part of the hop!

    Merry Christmas,
    Marlena
    charmedpoms(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Reply
  26. April

     /  December 16, 2012

    Happy Happy Holidays! Thanks for the great giveaway!
    My fav thing about the holidays are the awesome sparkly lights! We drive around on Christmas Eve and see them all while singing along with carols on the radio!
    My fav holiday book is How The Grinch Stole Christmas
    grapeapril75(AT)gmail.com

    Reply
  27. Lisa Walker

     /  December 16, 2012

    Thanks for the great recipes!
    Happy Holidays!
    sqwalker2@hotmail.com

    Reply
  28. Tonda

     /  December 16, 2012

    I love watching Miracle on 34th Street with Natalie Wood, and listening to Christmas music while getting ready for the entire family’s get-together!
    smoofrog@gmail.com

    Reply
  29. Joy F

     /  December 16, 2012

    Thanks for the great hop.
    magic5905 at embarqmail dot com

    Reply
  30. Diane Sallans

     /  December 16, 2012

    Those recipes sound yummy! I enjoy all holiday books & movies that are fun & happy, not so much the ones that make me cry.
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

    Reply
  31. kimberly holgate

     /  December 16, 2012

    thanks for the recipes
    kaholgate at ymail dot com

    Reply
  32. Natasha

     /  December 17, 2012

    Thanks for the recipes and the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

    Reply
  33. Missie Jones

     /  December 17, 2012

    Our holiday tradition includes a meatloaf dinner with family, then house hopping :D Happy Holidays
    missie25524 @ netzero.com

    Reply
  34. Dovile P.

     /  December 17, 2012

    Thank you for the chance!

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

    Reply
  35. Daniel M

     /  December 17, 2012

    Happy holidays and thanks for the giveaway! – regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

    Reply
  36. Shadow

     /  December 17, 2012

    What an awesome hop!! And a fantastic giveaway! Thank you!! Happy holidays to you all! Best wishes and many blessings!
    shadowluvs2read(at)gmail(dot)com

    Reply
  37. Tammy Turner

     /  December 17, 2012

    One of my favorite Christmas Romance Books is The Untamable Rogue by Annette Blair! The story is about Ashford Blackburne Fifth Earl and he has to get married and get his willing bride pregnant before Christmas or his grandfather won’t let him inherit his money. Ash truly needs to inherit the money because his late father squandered it all away and he is taking care of his mother. After getting stood up at the alter, again, Ash and his friends go to the local pub where the owner plays a drunken Ash in a card game…his consolation prize is the pubs daughter Larkin, who he wants to get ride of. Ash has to learn to forgive…Larkin has to learn how to trust…can two completely different people find love together. This is a cute, extremely funny, romantic story with a surprise Christmas ending!

    Angelheart618@gmail.com

    Reply
  38. Thanks for the giveaway!

    mrs.hildebrand AT gmail DOT com

    Reply
  39. Holly Underhill

     /  December 17, 2012

    Hello, thanks for the giveaway!

    skizzles_22_hju@yahoo.com

    Reply
  40. micheleann oboyle

     /  December 17, 2012

    merry christmas to you and your family i love christmas movies especailly the movie the christmas shoes angelwolfmystic@yahoo.com

    Reply
  41. Lacey T

     /  December 17, 2012

    I don’t really have a favorite christmas book, but I do like A Christmas Carol :)
    laceyblossom1(at)gmail(dot)com

    Reply
  42. Krysta B.

     /  December 17, 2012

    Awesome recipes!

    Morganlafey86(at)aol(dot)com

    Reply
  43. lisarayns

     /  December 17, 2012

    I’m spending this holiday season with my family and hoping to win so I can read more romances. I don’t have an ereader. Happy Holidays! lisarayns at gmail dot com

    Reply
  44. Marlene Breakfield

     /  December 17, 2012

    My favorite holiday book is How the Grinch Stole Christmas and my favorite holiday movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. Thanks for the giveaway.
    marlenebreakfield(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Reply
  45. Carla

     /  December 17, 2012

    My favorite thing about this season is cookies; I love making and eating them. Everyone is so willing to share.
    planterofhope at aol dot comp

    Reply

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