Are you hooked on cooking shows like me? Ever since Graham Kerr and Julia Child hit the television screens, I’ve been watching master chefs garnish creative dishes that tempt the palate. They were the front runners of what was to be a chef/cooking show explosion on the tube. And I couldn’t be happier about it.
There’s nothing more relaxing to me (other than reading) than to plop down on the sofa or cozy up in my bed to view chefs mince, dice and chop their way to an amazing meal. I’m a big fan of instant gratification. And viewers get that with a cooking show. We see single ingredients blend and combine with others to make a delicious meal appear right before our eyes in just an hour. Sometimes in as short of time as half an hour.
One favorite DVR-able show I enjoy is Rachel Ray, famous for her cookbooks and 30 Minute Meals. Rachel also has a morning talk show where she interviews and cooks with celebrities as well as other renowned chefs.
Iron Chef and Chopped and Cupcake Wars are great competition cooking shows. It’s not ONLY about the food, but it’s about the chefs themselves, their personalities, their style and how they present the food to the judges that intrigues me. All channel surfing comes to an abrupt halt if I like the show’s format.
Probably my favorite cooking/talk show combined is The Chew where five famous chefs come together to dish about food, recipes and current trends. I’m not sure The Chew airs in all cities, but on the west coast it airs at noon. Thanks to my DVR, I watch it nightly and smile along with Iron Chef, Michael Symon, Mario Batali, Daphne Oz, Carla Hall and Clinton Kelly. (Did I say 5 chefs? Make that 4 ½. Clinton does a great Craft Corner segment I totally enjoy). Themed shows every day like Bold BBQ or Mother’s Day Brunch or Extra-Value Friday make it fun to watch and somehow those five hosts always make me laugh. Not only does the viewing audience learn how to put together scrumptious meals, but we learn how to use new kitchen gadgets (like the mandolin for zesting) and the latest in food nutrition.
Today, I thought I’d share with you an easy-peasy chicken recipe I’ve learned from Rachel Ray. I make this dish once a week…it’s a family fav and it’s done in less than 30 minutes.
Four skinless boneless chicken breasts
Honey Dijon mustard
Seasoned Panko (or bread crumbs)
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 400.
In a rectangular casserole dish add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to coat the bottom. You don’t need much.
Salt and pepper chicken to taste
Spread Dijon mustard thoroughly on one side of chicken only
Dip the mustard side into Panko bread crumbs until well coated
Place coated chicken face up in casserole dish
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. (The time varies depending on the thickness of the chicken. I pound mine down to flatten them)
Time for you to dish! Do you watch cooking shows? What are your favorites? Do you have a favorite celebrity chef?
Be on the lookout for Sunset Seduction coming this June.
RT Magazine’s Top Pick!
The night she’ll never forget…is a night he can’t remember
Audrey Thomas can’t forget the night of passion she shared with Lucas Slade, the man she’s loved for years. But it seems the sexy, superrich rancher has no clue who warmed his bed!
The mystery seductress at his Lake Tahoe retreat was Audrey? His best friend’s off-limits kid sister? Now she’s back at Sunset Ranch…and having his baby! Honor bound to do the right thing, Lucas never reckons she’ll say I won’t to his proposal—or that she’ll settle for nothing less than all this cowboy has to give.
The most common question I’m asked about my writing is: Where do you get your ideas? My most common answer is: I don’t know. Ideas are always lurking, waiting to be unearthed, fleshed out, discarded or explored deeper. There’s usually a trigger, a “what if” and then, boom, the idea starts to flow. Sometimes slowly, but sometimes the story unfolds in my mind like quicksand.
I know, I know. That’s really not a good enough answer. So, I’m going to make myself dig deeper here and tell you where the original ideas came from for each of my Charity House novels. Why those books, specifically? Because my next release, THE OUTLAW’S REDEMPTION, marks the sixth book in the series. The seventh book, FINALLY A BRIDE, will hit the shelves in November of this year. It’s a good time to take a moment and look back over the series to see how I got here. There isn’t room to go into too much detail, so bear with me as I try to give you a quick overview.
CHARITY HOUSE REDEMPTION: Although published as Book Five in the series, this story actually came first, or as I like to say: Where it all began. In this particular case, I can remember the precise moment when the idea for Charity House came to me.
I was at a writer’s conference back in 1999, still unpublished and waiting for my big break. I didn’t know what I was going to write next, but I knew I wanted it to be special. For our luncheon entertainment the conference committee brought in a group called The Shady Ladies who reenacted life in the Old West. When the ladies came around to the concept of birth control for prostitutes, or rather lack thereof, I sat up a little taller. I knew I had my idea. You see, Charity House is what was called a baby farm in the Old West, dedicated to the care and feeding of the unwanted children of prostitutes. The heroine of CHARITY HOUSE REDEMPTION is the daughter of a prostitute who wanted to get out of the brothel where her mother worked. She brought the other children with her and, thus, Charity House was born.
THE MARSHAL TAKES A BRIDE is officially Book One in the series. The hero is a U.S. Marshal and brother-in-law to the hero in CHARITY HOUSE REDEMPTION. The heroine was a former orphan at Charity House and is now the new schoolteacher. From the moment they met, they started circling one another. But the heroine had been assaulted by one of her mother’s clients and wary of men. The hero, a widower, was too bent on avenging his wife’s death to be interested in love again. Thanks to a wounded five-year-old little girl who both loved dearly, they managed to get past their differences and form a family together.
HANNAH’S BEAU is Book Two in the series. This story came about because I wasn’t quite through with Charity House, even though I’d originally planned to end the series after THE MARSHAL TAKES A BRIDE. The hero of this book is a rebel preacher with a heart for the lost. He showed up in only one scene prior to this book. Since then, he’s dedicated his life to ministering to prostitutes, gamblers and other reprobates in the Old West. The heroine is a famous stage actress shunned by the good-Christian-folk because of her profession. Since the hero is from a family of famous stage actors he understands the heroine on a level most people don’t. As a result of their happily-ever-after, Charity House now has a full-time pastor and loosely connected church.
LOVING BELLA is Book Three in the series. The hero in this book is the only doctor in town who will treat the children at Charity House and their mothers in the brothel. He was a secondary character in all of the previous books and I really felt he needed his own happily-ever-after. It really wasn’t any more complicated than that. His heroine is a famous opera singer and the sister of the hero from HANNAH’S BEAU. Her arrival in town comes at a perfect time for the hero, yet produces lots of complications for him as well.
THE LAWMAN CLAIMS HIS BRIDE is Book Four and explores another hero and heroine’s love story, both of whom showed up in all the previous books. Logan Mitchell started out as the deputy U.S. marshal for the hero in THE MARSHAL TAKES A BRIDE. When he first met his heroine she was an orphan at Charity House. The two have been kept apart by age, other people and life circumstances for five years. It’s their time for love at last.
THE OUTLAW’S REDEMPTION is Book Six in the series and the newest of the stories. It focuses on Logan’s brother, Hunter. I’ve always wanted to explore why some of us choose to embrace the good inside us, while others can’t seem to avoid the bad. Thanks to a restlessness he could never shake, Hunter hasn’t lived a good or a very righteous life. He left home young, willingly took the wrong path as soon as he was gone, and made bad decision upon bad decision. Can a man like that be redeemed? I wanted to find out, and so THE OUTLAW’S REDEMPTION was born.
And…there’s lots more to all the stories, but no room to continue. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a drawing for copy of THE OUTLAW’S REDEMPTION. I’m giving away three copies of this book. As a bonus, I’m going to give away a full set of all six books to one grand prize winner.
I thought it’d be fun today to look at some of the laws that are still in effective in my native state of Texas. Some are really fun ones; while others kinda made me scratch my head. It’s easy to see why they were put on the books a century or two ago, but wonder why they are still there. The only thing I can figure out is that it gives writers and researchers something to think about.
Texarkana is a town divided in half, part being in Texas and part in Arkansas. I can only speak about the Texas side, but owners of horses may not ride them at night without tail lights.
In Temple, no one may ride a horse and buggy through the town square; however, they can ride their horse in the saloon. Someone asked on a social site one time if it were physically possible for a horse to climb a couple of stairs and come through a saloon with a rider on his back. From my own personal experience, as an observer, not as a rider … yes! Right in the front door and out the back! Maybe the law isn’t enforced, but it makes for a great story. Also, in Temple, cattle thieves may be hanged on the spot. I think if one were to check county by county they’d find that law still there for most of Texas.
It’s illegal to milk another person’s cow.
Here are some laws that I found specifically in towns and counties in the Texas Panhandle.
In Borger, you aren’t allowed to throw feather dusters, whips or quirts (riding crop) of any kind; while in Clarendon, it is illegal to dust any public building with a feather duster.
It is against the law in Lefors to take more than three swallows of beer at any time while standing. So much for standing at the bar and drinking, but if you have a bar stool, it’s okay. The picture is of cowboys standing at the bar in the famous Equity Bar in Old Tascosa.
Down in Austin, wire cutters can not be carried in your pocket. It is still illegal to shoot a buffalo from the second story of a hotel. This is a law that I think is pretty much self-explanatory … the wire cutters, not shooting buffalo. I guess you can shoot them from the front stoop, but apparently, a marksman has the advantage if they are on the second floor.
One of my favorite, in Port Arthur obnoxious odors may not be emitted while in an elevator.
We have regulations about flirting, too.
In Abilene, it is illegal to idle or loiter anyplace within the corporate city limits for the purpose of flirting or mashing. Mashing? So you cain’t mash your taters ‘cause it’s considered flirtin’?
While in San Antonio it’s illegal for both sexes to flirt or respond to flirtation using the eyes and/or hands. As a writer of romance, my mind is going wild!
In Kingsville, there is a law against two pigs doing “you know what” on the city’s airport property. Shame on you pigs anyway!
In El Paso, churches, hotels, halls of assembly, stores, markets, banking rooms, railroad depots, and saloons are required to provide spittoons “of a kind and number to efficiently contain expectorations into them”. My mind wouldn’t even let me go there.
It is illegal in Houston to sell Limburger cheese on Sunday.
Now this one’s been around a while. In Mesquite, a town in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, it is illegal for children to have unusual haircuts. That one could be used today for sure.
I’m gonna leave you with one thought. While this isn’t a law, when I was growing up we thought it was. When in Texas if you order a Coke, you better specify whether you want a Dr. Pepper, Root Beer or 7Up, because all soft drinks, or pop and sodas as it’s called in some parts of the country, are referred to as Cokes!
Do you have any quirky laws in your city or state?
Hello, Jean Brashear here. I’m a fifth-generation Texan who grew up in a family of ranchers, and one of my most treasured possessions is five pages of reminiscences by my great-grandmother, Nannie Jowell, who was born in 1860. I’m part of a just-released boxed set collection of five full-length novels called LOVE ME SOME COWBOY, and all of us adore our fictional heroes—but here is a slice of what it was like to love a REAL cowboy…the first sentence says it all.;)
“While we lived in Palo Pinto County, I met Jerry Jowell who was interested in cattle and was never interested in anything else.
We married January 10, 1883 and moved to his place near Strawn. The house was a big log one with a hall between the rooms and the kitchen and dining room were built of lumber on the north. There was a porch on the south. There were two of the big rooms built of logs. We kept cattle and farmed a little. That was all the farming that we ever did. We raised grain and corn. We moved to the town of Strawn, and Jerry gathered a bunch of his cattle and drove them to Kansas City. He left in May and was gone about three months. The cattle turned out fine. As a rule they generally got good prices them days.
When Jerry got back, he went on west to Midland to dig wells so the cattle could have water. They used windmills, but when the wind didn’t blow they were run by horsepower. He ran his cattle on the open range. Everybody’s cattle ran together. His brand was JT at first and mine was O Tail Q. We didn’t brand the old cows—just branded the calves in our own brand. After finding water for the cattle, Jerry gathered up the cattle and took them out between Midland and Carlsbad. I don’t remember how many calves we branded a year. I was too busy taking care of my kids and doing the cooking.
When Jerry got water for the cattle in the spring of 1886, we moved to Midland which was just a small place in the road. The Texas Pacific Railroad had just gone through. There was just one store. Soon the nesters started coming in and kept coming in until we had to drive our cattle out from there to range—generally to the Pecos country. It took all spring and summer to get the cattle out there.
From then until 1900, when we came up here, we had ranches at different places. We had to move to get grass and water for our cattle. We had just common cattle and finally graded them up. At first we had many that were long horned. We lost so many that year that we moved up here. I don’t know how many there were. We moved to the M-Bar Ranch with our cattle until we got more water and then moved to a location between the JAL Ranch and Muleshoe.
We lived in a tent all this time, mind you. We were looking for water. We had to put the cattle where there was water until we could get water somewhere else. We had a large tent. We cooked and eat out on the prairie. We burned mesquite roots and cow-chips. I had nothing to do with the fuel part. Mr. Jowell and the cowboys tended to that. We had cow-chip ashes in the coffee—but I guess they were purified after being burned. We got our supplies out of Midland which was about seventy miles. They got supplies from Pecos when they were working cattle in the valley.
Then we moved to Monument Springs. There was an old rock house—no telling when it was built. There were springs there. It had been used as a camping place of Indians when they were on their raids, before I was there, of course. The corrals were even made of rough rocks. We lived in the old rock house. It was just one great big room. I cooked and ate in one end of it and slept in the other. It had two doors and one window. Our furniture was mostly soap boxes. Sometimes we had chairs and sometimes we didn’t. We had wooden bedsteads, feather beds and mattresses. We generally had plenty to sleep on when we had a place to put it. The cowboys slept on the ground. We had a common cookstove—not a range. We used coal oil lanterns for lighting purposes.
At Midland when Nannie and Charlie, my children, were small, I used to put them on an old mule to let them hunt bird nests in the mesquite so I would not have to watch them so close to keep snakes from biting them—rattlesnakes and sidewinders. Later when we moved to Martin, I put Roy, the youngest boy, on old Jen to protect him, too. Old Jen was a dandy. She raised all the kids. That’s a fact. Nobody but them and me about the place—I would go bridle old Jen and put the kids on her so I could go about my work and they would be safe. They never fell off though sometimes I was afraid they would because when that old mule saw a snake in her path, she always stopped suddenly, and then turned around and trotted off in the opposite direction.
Nights when we were alone I didn’t sleep much. I was afraid a snake might come crawling in and bite one of the children.
When we were living in that tent near the sand hills, Mrs. Vaughn, whose husband worked with mine, was living in another tent not far from mine. I often visited her and her children.
One day I looked out and saw two bulls fighting. It was not an unusual sight, but it scared me because they kept fighting toward my tent. I took my kids and left for Mrs. Vaughn’s tent. From there we watched those bulls fight. They fought and fought and finally ran into my tent and tore it up badly. They broke and tore up everything in the tent. I feared most for my cookstove. I just knew it would be ruined so I couldn’t fix it to cook on. It was knocked down and scattered about, but we found that nothing was broken. We put it together and I cooked supper on it.”
I love cowboys, as we all do…but I feel incredibly privileged to come from women with grit like this!
* * *
USA Today bestselling Texas romance author Jean Brashear’s family home now resides in the Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech.
She once couldn’t wait to see her small Texas hometown in her rearview mirror…and she now appreciates the irony that she has grown to love cowboys, country music and those eccentric characters who bring small towns to life!
Jean and four other authors have joined together to present a collection of five full-length novels featurning rugged cowboys. The collection is titled Love Me Some Cowboy and is being offered for a steal of a deal – only 99 cents! And for one lucky commenter today, Jean is offering a choice of EITHER a coupon good for obtining a copy of one of her ebooks or a physical copy of one book from her most recent Harlequin trilogy.
LOVE ME SOME COWBOY
In Nothing But Trouble by USAToday Bestselling Author Lisa Mondello, city girl Melanie Summers must spend an entire month alone in the Wyoming wilderness with sexy rodeo cowboy, Stoney Buxton, without getting into trouble. Possible? Not a chance in the world!
USAToday Bestselling Author Jean Brashear adds Lone Star flavor with Texas Secrets. Boone Gallagher returns to the only home he’s ever known only to find it’s been willed to a sexy stranger who’s intent on leaving. He must keep her there for thirty days or it will be lost to them both.
Love romantic reunion stories? Then USAToday Bestselling author Barbara McMahon has the perfect book for you! Crazy About a Cowboy brings you Sam and Lisa Haller, who divorced for all the wrong reasons. Now Sam wants his ex-wife back for all the right ones.
Once Upon a Cowboy by USAToday Bestselling author Day Leclaire introduces Cami, a lovable, greenhorn spitfire determined to become a cowboy, despite the objections of her sexy rancher boss.
And last, but far from least, Waldenbooks bestselling author Ginger Chambers offers a heartwarming treat with Love, Texas, in which Cassie Edwards returns to the hometown she’d forsaken to negotiate the sale of land belonging to the Taylor family. Hard-working rancher Will Taylor, once her girlhood crush, is all man now and fighting hard to save his heritage. When attraction flares, will true love triumph?
The Fillies do love it when talented authors come calling.
Miss Jean Brashear certainly fills that bill. She’ll be at the Junction tomorrow, Monday, May 27th.
Miss Jean is going to give us some insight on what it’s like to love a real honest-to-goodness cowboy along with some insights on life on a Texas ranch. I can’t wait. Maybe she’ll teach me how to rope a cowboy.
She’s also packed a prize in her saddlebags for one person who comments.
Keep the party going. Get up bright and early and hightail it over to the Junction.
Romance, adventure, chivalrous cowboys with chiseled chests and jawlines, and gorgeous horses, placed against the landscape of the open sky and mountainous backdrops of the nineteenth century west—these are some of the things that draw us in to the world of western historical romance.
While we have come far from having to wait ten days to receive any communication from the opposite end of the country (and only that fast because of the efforts of the riders of the Pony Express), and we no longer have to trudge through five feet of snow in the middle of the night in winter to locate the facilities, we do have our own set of challenges. In fact, some of the advances that were designed to make our lives easier often complicate our lives instead. We have all sorts of gadgets that help us organize and manage our time, yet we fill the saved minutes or even hours with additional projects, jobs, hobbies, or other tasks. So, how do we find balance?
I wish the answer to that question was simple. However, it varies for every person because our personalities, our priorities and abilities are all different. My Redbourne series surrounds the lives of eight siblings—seven brothers and a sister—with unique strengths, flaws, and personalities. In each of their stories there are obstacles to surmount, lessons to learn, and potential to discover. Some of the biggest challenges or difficulties hit them because their lives have been thrown off balance by one event or another. Here are just three of the many things I believe we can learn from them:
Find a quiet place to think, ponder, or meditate. In The Bounty Hunter, my most recent release, Rafe, the hero, loves to sit on a bench just outside of the house and gaze out into the countryside in the quiet of the evening or early morning. This is when he can think, free of distraction. We don’t all own a plot of property that extends as far as the eye can see, but we can imagine those places and take the time to calm our minds from the chaos that is often in our lives.
Be active. Life in the west was not sedentary. They did not have dishwashers or laundry machines to help with their chores, cars to get them to the next town, or the ability to shop from the comfort of their own homes. They used elbow grease to get things done. They walked, rode horses, or drove wagon teams to get where they needed to go. And, they had to get out of the house and travel to make all purchases. The act of doing something is invigorating to the soul and releases endorphins, which make us happy. They may not have known about the benefits of being active back then, but the heroes in my books certainly have earned their hardened physiques.
Cultivate family relationships/Spend quality time with family. With all of the modern technology at our fingertips, it is easy to text instead of talk, to fill our calendars with outside activities, to squeeze more time into our work days, and to spend countless hours watching television or gaming at the computer. I believe that we cannot comprehend true happiness without positive, healthy relationships. I think much of the strength inside each of these Redbourne characters stems from the bond they developed as a family as they worked together, played together and stood by each other without question.
I am thrilled to share the first two books in The Redbourne Series with the readers at Petticoats & Pistols. These books have been so much fun to work on as I have gotten to know each member of the Redbourne family, their friends, their enemies, and their love interests. My novels are written on the sensual side of PG—without the graphic love scenes. It is my hope that every time you open one of my stories you will find yourself transported to a different place and time, and when you are done, you will walk away inspired, uplifted, and ready for the next adventure.
Please enjoy this excerpt fromThe Bounty Hunter: Redbourne Series #2, Rafe’s Story
“Tayla,” Rafe knocked softly on her bedroom door. It was getting late and he didn’t want to disturb any of the other inn patrons. He realized, with some irritation, that she had no idea that she was Tayla.
“Locket,” he tried again, “will you please answer the door?”Hawthorne or not, his mama would have tanned his hide had she ever heard him talk to a woman the way he had spoken to Tayla all day.
The lock on the bedroom turned and she opened the door just enough that he could see one eye peering at him. She slammed it shut.
“Go away. I have no desire to talk to the likes of you.”
“Locket, please. I have to talk to you. It’s about your father.”
The door swung open wide.
Rafe stood in the doorway of her room, frozen. The neckline of Tayla’s nightshift plunged low and hugged her breasts. Her locket dangled between them. She held a brush in one hand and her hair fell in loose tendrils around her face and down her shoulders. He opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out.
She pulled her robe more closely around her. “What do you know about my father?” Tayla crossed her arms, hiding his distraction from view.
Rafe needed something to wet his dry throat.
“He’s alive,” Rafe croaked.
“I don’t understand. Do you know me? My family?”
“Your name is Tayla Hawthorne. The rest we’ll talk about later.”
“I don’t want to wait until later. If you can’t provide me with answers then this conversation is over.” She started to close the door again.
Rafe’s patience was growing thin. He put his boot between the door and the frame.
“You’re not safe here. If they find you, they’ll take you again and I can’t let that happen.”
“Who will find me? And why do you care? You hate me.”
Rafe felt a twinge of guilt twist in his gut. “I don’t hate you.” He took a deep breath. “There is no excuse for my behavior today. I-I’m sorry,” he choked out.
“All the same, I’m staying here with Maggie and Jacob. And Pete.”
The muscles in Rafe’s jaw flexed involuntarily. Pete. She wanted Pete. He was tempted to just walk away and never see her again. He motioned to leave.
Tayla uncrossed her arms and nearly flew out after him. When her fingers touched the skin of his forearm, he froze. She pulled her hand back as if she’d been bitten.
She narrowed her eyes at him. “What about my father? How do I know you’re not dangerous?”
“Oh, honey, I’m dangerous all right…”
I am giving away an e-copy of The Rancher, an autographed paperback of The Bounty Hunter, and an “I Ride With the Redbournes” t-shirt to three separate commenters. Share with us why you love western historical heroes.