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.

pre-order - trailer - goodreads - shelfari

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….