DID COWBOYS EAT CHICKEN FRIED STEAK? by Cheryl Pierson

Many years ago when my mother-in-law came to visit us in Oklahoma all the way from her native West Virginia, the thing she loved best about my home state was CHICKEN FRIED STEAK! Mom had never had it before, and it never dawned on me that someone might not have ever eaten that wonderful delicacy. When we took her out to eat, she asked “What’s the best thing on the menu?” I told her “Chicken Fried Steak.” We both ordered it. I don’t think she ordered anything else the entire time she stayed with us–around 10 days, after I had my first baby–whenever we went out to eat after she tasted Chicken Fried Steak. 
 
I wonder if cowboys ever ate this? I know they ate a lot of beans and so on, but gosh, I really think this had to come from the trail drives or ranches “back in the day”–it is WONDERFUL. It’s one of the foods that’s common, and that we are known for in this part of the USA.  In fact, it’s part of the official STATE MEAL OF OKLAHOMA, as of 1988! (WHO KNEW?) My mom never made it often, but maybe it was because she knew if she did, it would be all I’d ever want to eat
 
I found this great recipe online for Chicken Fried Steak BITES that looks wonderful–whether you’re entertaining or just want something different and good for yourself and family members. 
 
 
Chicken Fried Steak Bites 
 
Prep Time: 10 minutes 
Cook Time: 25 minutes 
Cooking Level: Intermediate 
 
The secret to true “chicken fried steak” is frying beef in cooking oil that was previously used to fry chicken. If you use fresh oil, it is considered “country fried” with less authentic flavor. The same batter recipe and method we’ve given below can be used to fry up some chicken breasts for lunch before cooking for the party for improved pre-party satisfaction. 
 
Fried Steak:
 
Ingredients 
 
• 2 lb. cube steak, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces 
• 4 cups canola oil Batter 
• 1/2 cup milk 
• 1 egg 
• 2 cups all-purpose flour 
• 1-1/2 tablespoon seasoned salt 
• 2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper 
 
Directions 
 
1. Prepare a paper towel-lined plate for finished steak pieces and set aside. 
2. Heat oil in a deep cast iron skillet over high heat until the temperature reaches 350F, then reduce to medium. Note: if not using a thermometer, test the temperature of the oil by sticking the end of a bamboo skewer into it. When the indicated temperature range is reached, the end of the bamboo will sizzle, then reduce heat to medium. 
3. In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg and milk for batter until well mixed. 
4. In a shallow dish such as a pie plate, combine the dry batter ingredients well. 
5. Dredge each piece of steak in flour mixture, dip into the egg mixture, the roll in flour mixture again to coat well. 
6. Shake off excess flour, then place into the hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until lightly browned. 
7. Remove cooked pieces to plate and allow to rest for 2 minutes before serving. 
 
Gravy:
 
Ingredients
 
• 2 tablespoons bacon drippings 
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
• 3/4 teaspoon salt 
• 3/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper 
• 3-1/2 cups whole milk 
 
Directions
 
1. Melt bacon grease in an 8-inch iron skillet over medium heat. 
2. Brown the flour in the bacon grease along with the salt, and pepper, whisking constantly until golden in color, about 5-7 minutes. 
3. Gradually add 3 cups of milk a little at a time, stirring constantly to prevent curdling. Add more milk as necessary to keep from becoming too thick. 
4. Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve. 
 
Tip: Gravy can be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight or frozen. Allow to defrost overnight in fridge before use, and heat slowly in the microwave stirring at 30-second intervals or over low heat on the stovetop. Add more milk as necessary to achieve desired consistency. 
 
 
I will definitely be making this, and it looked so great I just had to share. I’m thinking my cowboy ancestors must have had this delectable dish many times! 

A FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY AND A GIVEAWAY–by CHERYL PIERSON

 

Hi everyone! I’m kicking off our week of Book Scootin’ Holiday Favorites with a giveaway and a great recipe to go along with my favorite holiday memory! Hope you enjoy hearing about how my cousin and I “run into some trouble” when we were kids, and why it’s my favorite holiday memory now. I’m giving away a copy of GAMBLING ON A COWBOY to a lucky commenter, and there is a wonderful recipe for Milky Way Cake coming up in this post as well, so please read on, and be sure to leave a comment!

When I was a little girl, I begged my parents for a sister—or even a BROTHER—just someone that I could have to play with. My sisters were 12 and 10 when I was born, so by the time I was in first grade, my oldest sister was off to college, and two years later, my middle sister followed. I had a lot of friends, but it wasn’t the same as having a little sister or brother—and that was what I wanted.

 

Mom was the eldest of eleven children in her family. I think she was really tired by the time I came along—she was 35 when I was born and had two older daughters entering new phases of their lives that were so different than mine. When I mentioned a younger sibling (which was very often!) she’d say, “You have a lot of cousins! You have a lot of friends! I just don’t know about a little brother or sister, Cheryl.”

This is my 12th birthday. I was surrounded by friends as we celebrated, ate, and just had a wonderful time. But I still wanted my own little brother or sister! Yep, there’s my cousin Julia sitting to my left!

I had to be content with my friends and cousins as the younger sibling never materialized. Even after I asked SANTA for one, I still didn’t get one, or a pony, either.

But Mom was right about my cousins and friends. I had many, many cousins that were about my age and always saw one another on the big holidays, Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.

Here are just SOME of my cousins! I’m not in this picture, but my cousin Julia is–she’s front and center, 5th from the left-hand side. My middle sister, Karen, is 2nd from the left.

Those were the holidays when ALL my cousins and aunts and uncles gathered, and to me, that was almost as wonderful as getting up on Christmas morning to see what Santa had brought.

My favorite Christmas memory happened one Christmas Day when we’d all gathered at my grandparents’ house for Christmas dinner. We’d driven down there after getting up early to open gifts, packing the car, and excitedly getting on the road. I was beyond thrilled, because my cousin Julia was going to be there. With her belonging to a military family, they weren’t always able to make to these  gatherings, but this year, they would be there! And though we usually managed to spend a week at each other’s houses in the summer, that had been so long—especially for a 10-year-old lonely little girl!

Julia was a few months older than I, and we were always “partners in crime” when we were able to get together. When she happened to spot an entire package of Milky Way candy bars in the refrigerator and whispered to me “There are SIX of them!” I knew we had to get those candy bars and have them all to ourselves. But how? Julia had three younger siblings at the time, and of course, there were MANY other cousins  there. It had to just be the two of us, or we might be discovered.

We made our plan, got into the kitchen, and slipped that bag of Milky Ways out of the refrigerator and under Julia’s coat. Then, out we went through the backdoor. There were some marvelous woods behind Granny and Granddad’s house…if we could just get out there and get hidden before some of the younger kids tried to follow us! We ran—oh, how we ran in that cold air, so joyous to be together again, and even more thrilled to be doing something we just KNEW we’d get away with! No one had seen us take those candy bars, we were certain of it. We had also had the good fortune of getting out into the woods without hearing one of our mothers call to us, or even being saddled with younger cousins! How had we managed to do it all? The stars were aligned!

We found a good place to sit, and broke open that bag of candy bars. Let me tell you, no first bite of candy before or since had ever tasted so wonderful. Why? Because we’d gotten away with it! And we were sharing it together. We sat and giggled and caught up with “girl talk”, and we ate three candy bars each. By the time we got to Milky Way #3 for each of us, we were not nearly as enthusiastic about eating them as we’d been in the beginning, but what could we do? We couldn’t leave evidence. We couldn’t take them back. We couldn’t bear to just throw them away!

So we ate them. Then, we started back to Granny and Granddad’s house very slowly. Things were not so wonderful anymore. We both were feeling rather green around the gills, and…what if we HADN’T gotten away with it after all?

We had started to feel awfully guilty.

We knew each other well enough to know that was what was wrong with both of us, aside from the fact that we had eaten way too much chocolate and caramel.

When we came in the back door, we realized immediately that we’d been discovered. Our Aunt Joyce was livid. She’d brought those Milky Way bars to make her wonderful Milky Way Cake. Now, dessert was ruined for everyone because we had been so selfish. And back then, there was no way to replace them—nothing was open on Christmas Day.

Our Aunt Joyce during her years of service during WWII.

There was no need for punishment. We were suffering enough as it was, since everyone knew what we’d done. And you certainly did not want to disappoint Aunt Joyce—which we had done in spades. Oh, there were other desserts (not that we wanted anything to eat for a very long time, and certainly nothing sweet!) but no Milky Way Cake that year.

That night as we laid on a pallet on the floor, Julia said quietly, “Can you believe we ate SIX Milky Way bars? And we didn’t throw up?”

I still laugh when I think about that. It was quite an accomplishment! Though it wasn’t funny at the time, that’s become my favorite Christmas memory!

Here’s the recipe for that scrumptious Milky Way Cake that’s close to the one our Aunt Joyce WOULD have made that year if we hadn’t eaten her candy bars!   

 

MILKY WAY CAKE RECIPE (and above image of cake!) from CookItEasy.net

  • sugar – 2 c
  • eggs – 4 item
  • vanilla – 1 tsp
  • chopped nuts – 1 c
  • flour
  • stick margarine – 1 item
  • semi-sweet chocolate chips – 6 oz
  • evaporated milk – 1 c
  • soda – 1/2 tsp
  • sticks margarine – 2 item
  • buttermilk
  • marshmallow cream – 1 c
  • Milky Way candy bars – 8 item

How to make milky way cake:

Frosting:

2 1/2 c. sugar

1 c. evaporated milk

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 c. marshmallow cream

1 stick margarine

Dissolve soda in buttermilk.

Melt 1 stick margarine and all 8 candy bars in double boiler. Set aside.

Cream sugar, 1 stick margarine, and eggs. Beat well. Add alternately the flour and buttermilk with soda. Always begin and end with flour. Add vanilla, nuts, and candy bar mixture. In a tube pan, bake at 325° for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Frosting: Cook sugar, milk and margarine to soft ball stage. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips, vanilla and marshmallow cream. Stir well. Cool slightly and spread on cooled cake.

AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

I’m offering a giveaway today of the GAMBLING ON A COWBOY boxed set from Prairie Rose Publications, a collection of SIX book-length novels from Kaye Spencer, Agnes Alexander, Patti Sherry-Crews, Tracy Garrett, Becky Lower, and yours truly. Just share a comment about a favorite Christmas memory and I will enter you in the drawing! Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas holiday with lots of fun, laughter, and love–and be sure to join us here at P&P every day for more Boot-Scootin’ Favorites to come!

 

 

GET GAMBLING ON A COWBOY HERE!

https://tinyurl.com/swrgj4o

 

https://www.amazon.com/Gambling-Cowboy-Full-Length-Historical-Western-ebook/dp/B08MHTQTJV/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Gambling+on+a+Cowboy&qid=1608412374&sr=8-1&tag=pettpist-20

“SOMETHING THEY WANT…” BY CHERYL PIERSON — AND A GIVEAWAY!

Here’s something I learned recently that I sure could have used in Christmases past when my kids were younger! Searching for the perfect gifts, the ones that “everyone” would be getting, made for a stressful time—not the relaxed, easy-going holidays we always imagined in our minds. You know, the Norman Rockwell scenes we all believed our Christmas holidays should look like—but that was before Playstation, X-Box, iPad…the list goes on.

A couple of years ago, I read something that really opened my eyes and made me wish for this bit of wisdom much earlier in my life. A simple Christmas list like this would have surely made life easier and less stressful—what do you think?

 

“Something they want

Something they need;

Something to wear,

Something to read.”

Problem solved! FOUR GIFTS! No, I’m shaking my head. I know I couldn’t have limited it to four gifts—not “back then”, anyway. Now that my kids are 34 and 31, this is a lot easier to follow and keep to! “Toys” are more expensive—as is everything. Clothing, wants, needs – yes, even books!

Maybe that’s why we enjoy writing and reading historical western romance—those were simpler times and the expectations were not so great. My parents grew up during the Great Depression in the Dustbowl days of Oklahoma’s history. Their families were so poor—and, coming from the same small town, Mom and Dad knew each other—and everyone else in that area—from the time they were born.

Mom talked about how sparse the Christmases were, but how happy they managed to be, in spite of it all. I imagine, with her being the eldest of eleven kids, her Christmas was especially small. She mentioned that the girls got a doll and a pair of shoes. If times were “good”, they got ribbon candy and an orange in their stockings.

When I was growing up in the 60’s-70’s, Mom kept up that tradition of always getting me a doll. When I got too old for baby dolls, she switched to the Madame Alexander collectible dolls. By that time/age, I was on to other things—blacklights, posters, incense, record albums, and of course, bell bottom jeans and “smock tops” to wear! Did I mention crayons? There was nothing more wonderful than getting the HUGE box of crayons and new coloring books—I don’t think I ever outgrew those. I would still sit down today and take joy in coloring!

 

This is BABY FIRST STEP–I got her when I was about 9 or so–she really walked (with the help of 2 “C” batteries!) I named my Baby First Step “Christy” — which was the most beautiful name I’d ever heard and I wished so much my parents had named me that at the time! 

A woman with no home. A rancher with no heart.
Can holiday magic bring The Devil and Miss Julia Jackson together?

In my story, THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON, the heroine has fled her home in Georgia to get away from a distant family member. Filled with a sense of propriety, she scarcely knows what to ask for when the hero, rancher Devlin Campbell, asks her what she might like for Christmas. Even though they’ve made the hasty decision to marry to avoid the scandalous talk that might otherwise surround them, they don’t know one another very well yet—certainly not well enough for Julia to mention anything personal she might want or need—even though she has arrived in Indian Territory with not much more than the clothes on her back. What does she ask for? Take a look…

EXCERPT FROM THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON:

Something had changed. Julia felt it. His touch was more…possessive. The bitterness seemed to have disappeared, only to be replaced by lines of weariness, instead. What had happened in the short space of time since he’d left?

“Got anything left to make for breakfast?”

Before she could respond, he went on. “We’ll head for town here in a bit. Gotta take the prisoners in.”

“I have my list…it’s long.”

He laughed. “Good thing there are so many of us going. Still too treacherous for a wagon, but maybe we can pack what you need back on the horses.”

She brightened. “That will be wonderful, Dev. Thank you.” What a relief to hear him offer, with no complaint. She breathed deep, knowing this Christmas was going to be special for everyone. But it was especially important for the children.

“And…what would you like for Christmas, Julie?”

His voice was rich, low, and somehow, his question was reassuring. It had been so long since she’d thought of wanting anything for herself—even necessities—that she struggled to think of how she should respond.

“I—maybe some new pan grips for the kitchen—”

Dev stood looking at her in shock. “Pan grips—you mean pot holders?”

She nodded, and he laughed in disbelief. “Well, I tell you what, Miss Julia Jackson. I may be a lot of things, but I’m not a man who buys his betrothed pan grips for Christmas.” He leveled a narrow look at her. “You better think of something other than…pan grips.” Shaking his head, he started for the door. “I’ll go gather eggs. At least, we’ll have those for breakfast if nothing else.” He grabbed his coat from the wall peg and shrugged into it. Just before he closed the door behind him, Julia heard him mutter, “Pan grips.”

Asking for any kind of personal gift would mean…reciprocating. And she had nothing to give him. If only he knew how she’d had to scrimp, even with the money he’d sent her—to get here! She had a blessed five dollars left, saved back in case she and Lauralee hadn’t been able to make it to the Flying C and had to stay in town.

How could she tell her soon-to-be husband that she needed—everything? She had bought one dress for herself and one for Lauralee. The first new dress Julia had had in over two years. And in those past two years, she’d embarrassingly filled out in certain places. And even grown taller. She was an excellent seamstress and had done all she could. The older dresses she possessed were tight, and shorter than was decent. But Julia supposed a man would take no notice of that. Dev would probably not realize that it wasn’t the fact that her clothing was woefully out of fashion, but that it was bordering indecency, that embarrassed her.

What were your childhood Christmases like? I miss those days! As soon as it was a “borderline” decent hour on Christmas morning, my best friend, Jane, who lived down the street, would call—or I would call her—and we’d excitedly talk about what we got and when we might get together to play. Those were simple joys—just sharing our new gifts with one another and enjoying each other’s company.

Here’s a picture of me with Jane playing in the sandbox one cool day when I was 7 and Jane was 8. Jane is gone now, but I will never forget the wonderful friend she was and the memories we made together.

Please leave a comment to be entered in my drawing for a digital copy of THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON! If you can’t wait to see if you won, you can snap up your copy at Amazon—and it’s also available in paperback.

GET IT HERE!

http://www.amazon.com/Devil-Miss-Julia-Jackson-ebook/dp/B075SJX8SL/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512283314&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Devil+and+Miss+Julia+Jackson&tag=pettpist-20

ALSO, The Devil and Miss Julia Jackson recently was included as part of a wonderful digital boxed set from Prairie Rose Publications, GAMBLING ON A COWBOY, now available for only .99! Other authors in the set include Kaye Spencer, Agnes Alexander, Patti Sherry-Crews, Tracy Garrett, and Becky Lower!  

 

AVAILABLE HERE:

https://smile.amazon.com/Gambling-Cowboy-Full-Length-Historical-Western-ebook/dp/B08MHTQTJV/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Gambling+on+a+Cowboy&qid=1607722476&sr=8-1%3C%2Fp%3E&tag=pettpist-20

 

Thanks for stopping by today!

 

NEW BOXED SET RELEASE AND A GIVEAWAY by CHERYL PIERSON

Hi everyone!  I’m on “Cloud Nine” (as my mom used to say!) right now with the release of a brand new boxed set, GAMBLING ON A COWBOY, with six full-length WHR stories that includes my THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON! The best thing is, this entire set is only .99! 

It’s been a while since I’ve had a full-length story out and so I’m really happy to have this one from three years ago included with five other excellent authors, including one of our former fillies, Tracy Garrett, as well as Kaye Spencer, Agnes Alexander, Becky Lower, and Patti Sherry-Crews. 

The theme of this set is taking a chance, or gambling on something in life–and y’all know, that means it’s always something BIG that can cause a change for good or bad. Sometimes, there’s no choice but to take a chance and see what comes of it. 

What’s the biggest “life gamble” you’ve ever taken? How did it turn out–as you expected, or not? Mine was probably having to move to West Virginia from Oklahoma the summer just before my senior year in high school. I was not a happy camper–but look what came of it! I met my husband there in West Virginia–and that would never have happened if my dad hadn’t been transferred right then. So although it was a “forced” chance, it was one I made the best of, and learned from, and eventually enjoyed even thought I missed my Oklahoma home and friends. What’s the biggest gamble YOU ever took? I’ll be picking two lucky commenters today to WIN GAMBLING ON A COWBOY, but if you can’t wait to see if you won, I’m including the link at the bottom of this post.

MEANWHILE, here’s the deets about the stories in the collection!

 

What’s better than a love story? SIX love stories—all in one wonderful boxed set! GAMBLING ON A COWBOY is a fabulous collection of six full book-length tales of the most dangerous game of all—gambling on love! These exciting, romantic books are sure to capture your imagination as you are carried away to the old west. Handsome marshals, riverboat gamblers, gunslingers, and wealthy landowners meet their matches with the daring and unusual women they happen to fall in love with, and you won’t want to put this boxed set down until you’ve read the very last story!

Authors Kaye Spencer, Cheryl Pierson, Patti Sherry-Crews, Agnes Alexander, Tracy Garrett,  and Becky Lower spin six incredible novel-length love stories filled with danger, excitement, and romance that will keep you turning page after incredible page until the very end. Gamble on these handsome western heroes and their women for some excellent reading! GAMBLING ON A COWBOY is one sure bet!

 

Gambling With Love by Kaye Spencer—The ghosts of the past are no match for The Lady of the Cards when her future is at stake. With U.S. Deputy Marshal Nick Foster hot on her trail, Lainie Conrad can’t afford to lose when she’s GAMBLING WITH LOVE…

 

The Devil and Miss Julia Jackson by Cheryl Pierson—In the depths of rancher Dev Campbell’s boundless sorrow and anger, can he afford to take a chance on a new relationship as Christmas approaches? Can Julia convince him that love is the cure for a broken heart, and hope is the only recipe for a new beginning between THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON…

 

Den of Thieves by Patti Sherry-Crews—Lucy House is still paying for the day she strayed away from decency. Now the handsome outlaw she ran away with has lost his appeal, and she longs to get away from this life. As the danger mounts, can the outlaw’s twin brother defy the odds and help Lucy escape this DEN OF THIEVES?

 

Drina’s Choice by Agnes Alexander—Drina Hamilton has no choice but to flee to Arizona to become the wife of rancher Aaron Wilcox. But as Drina and Aaron struggle to play the cards they’ve been dealt in this situation, they slowly become aware of a sinister plot to murder Aaron and force the sale of the huge ranch. Win or lose, the stakes belong to DRINA’S CHOICE…

 

Wild Texas Hearts by Tracy Garrett—Lizzie Sutter hasn’t a feminine thing about her, yet she calls to something deep inside loner Wolf Richards. Being a woman has always left Lizzie feeling lacking, until they take a gamble on one another—and Wolf shows her their WILD TEXAS HEARTS belong together…

 

Gambling on Forever by Becky Lower—Beautiful Elise Lafontaine stands at the biggest crossroads of her life—will she go her own way, fiercely independent and alone? Or will she wager everything on a riverboat gambler, James Garnett—the man who holds her heart—GAMBLING ON FOREVER?

AMAZON LINK: https://amzn.to/36tQkGi

I hope you enjoy!

REMEMBERING THE GOOD THINGS–BY CHERYL PIERSON

When my husband Gary and I were first married, he would laughingly call me “Pollyanna” –the girl who always saw the good in every situation. Through the years, I have to admit there have been times when that quality has failed me, when things were so bad I didn’t know what we were going to do. I know we’ve all had “those” times. But in general, I’m one of those people who does try to see the good in things.

I think I “learned” to do that from my mom. I thought a lot about this over the last few weeks—fall makes me remember and miss my parents more than any other time of the year. One night Gary and I were talking about the things our parents had taught us, and I told him one thing my mom taught me was to look on the bright side of things.

I imagine she had to do a lot of that, being the oldest of eleven children in the Dustbowl days of Oklahoma—which was also during The Great Depression. Growing up, I remember how she’d comment on things that meant nothing to me…at the time.

“Oh, Cheryl, I saw the first robin today! That means spring is on the way,” she’d say, with a smile. 

And? my young brain would ask. So, spring is on the way.

When spring came along, maybe she’d comment on how green the trees were, or how blue the sky was today—just look at those clouds!

Now that I’m older, I realize why these things were important and such a cause of joy to her.

Growing up dirt poor in a small house that had no insulation and very little heat, I’m sure that seeing the first robin was important because it meant those cold days and nights would soon be at an end and warm weather was soon to blow in.

The green of the trees meant there was enough rain to allow things to grow—something I know, as the oldest in such a large family, she was acutely aware of  since my grandfather was a hardscrabble farmer and had so many mouths to feed. What a relief, especially here in Oklahoma, that there had been plentiful rain and things were growing well!

 

The blue of the sky—can you imagine growing up in a time when you could look outside and see billowing gales of dust—and nothing else? Animals had to be put up in the barn, families had to be inside, and still, the houses were so poorly constructed there would be layers of dust on the windowsills once the dust storm had passed. So a blue sky was important—no dust, and those beautiful white clouds must have looked heavenly in her eyes.

 

Mama always found happiness in the small things—small in MY eyes.  A good meal she’d cooked for her family, getting the laundry done and put away for the week, finding a good sale on orange juice—yes, those were the days when people would look through the Sunday or Wednesday paper at the grocery store ads, make several stops to find the things at each store that were on sale, and several trips home to put the perishables away—a very different time.

It was not just the fact of the accomplishment itself, but what it meant to her from the things that had happened in her past. A good meal meant there was enough food to go around for everyone, served on a matching set of dishes. No one went to bed hungry. Laundry being done meant that everyone had clothes for a solid week—not one or two good dresses that had to be laundered over and over. Making the rounds of the different grocery stores and finding good “deals” meant she was able to provide some extras with what Dad made in the oilfield. She knew how hard he worked. She never took anything for granted.

So though I didn’t have the past that Mama had—mine was much easier in comparison—I think I learned that attitude through watching her. I’m sure there were times she wanted to just go into the bathroom and have a good cry, but instead, she looked for the good, and found it.

 

I think of her every time I see that first robin. What a gift that has been to me, in so many ways. Part of writing is thinking about our characters and WHY they act and react like they do. This realization about seeing the good in things has been a whole new area of enlightenment for me. I understand so many of my characters even more than I did when I wrote them—their reasoning, and their motivations.

 

Do you have an aspect to your personality that you inherited or learned from one of your parents or another family member? What is it? Do you think that these behavior patterns can be multi-generational? My mind is whirling! What do you think?

 

One of my fave pics of Mama and Daddy–taken April 9, 1991 on their 47th wedding anniversary.

A FAVORITE CAMPING TRIP by Cheryl Pierson

Growing up in Oklahoma, camping was not something we did as a family. My mom was not the “outdoorsy” type, and my dad worked in the oilfield, so his schedule was erratic. Many of my friends had been camping—but I had never gone. I didn’t count the times we went to our family reunion on Lake Texoma and rented a huge barracks-like building with men on one side, women on the other, and a massive kitchen and dining area in between. That was not “real” camping!

My camping debut finally came as an adult when I had my daughter’s Brownie troop dumped in my lap the day before we were all set to have our first meeting. The woman who had asked me to be a co-leader decided she was not up to being a leader, and told me if I didn’t take it over there were going to be 24 very disappointed little girls—including her own! I had never been a Girl Scout, never gone camping, never done any of the things that were “scouting” things—but what could I do?

Well…with a lot of misgivings, I agreed to be the leader if she would be the co-leader. Another mom also said she would be a co-leader. By the end of the first month, another mom stepped forward, Sherry, who knew “all things Girl Scout” and what a lifesaver she was!

One of our first Brownie meetings!

 

THE GIRL SCOUT LAW:

I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.

 

Here we are, having fun at Investiture–Jessica in the middle. Lots of great memories!

… Even though we were one tired Mommy and little brother!

 

I didn’t think I would like camping, but surprisingly, I did—we had so much fun. We went to a Girl Scout campground at Red Rock State Park in Oklahoma. There is a huge variety of things to do there, and the scenery is just beautiful. We had small cabins with cots, and brought all our own food in coolers.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: By taylorandayumi – OklahomaUploaded by Fredlyfish4, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23654296

The girls loved being outdoors in the crisp fall weather, and seeing such wonders as the changing colors of the tree leaves, learning about plants, the history of the park, and simple survival skills. We gathered firewood, and of course, we made S’mores that evening! We learned how to make “buddy burners” and cooked a meal on top of a metal coffee can!

Jessica taking her turn at sawing some firewood.

There are videos online that show different ways to make a “buddy burner” but ours was an empty tuna can with a coiled wick in it, under an inverted empty metal coffee can with a few holes punched in the side near the top to allow air to get to the tuna can that is burning. The top of the coffee can is like a stove burner—you can make two different kinds of breakfast on it: cook bacon first, so there’ll be drippings, and then you can make a) French toast, or b) scrambled eggs.

At Camp Red Rock–my Jessica, 3rd from left. We learned to always wear a cap–lots and lots of bugs!

I think we all ate more than we normally did because of the fresh air, and the novelty of being able to cook a meal on the buddy burners we had all made for ourselves!

But when we think of how our cowboy heroes had to camp “back in the day” without the amenities we had (a cooler, bacon in a package, eggs in a carton, and so on) it makes a person realize that camping out of necessity was not the fun, exciting time we had as a giggly group of elementary school girls and their leaders. It was the serious business of trying to survive.

We had a wonderful time—there was very little homesickness, as everyone was so busy all the time and the time flew by. Hubby and I don’t camp, but I was so grateful to have those times with my daughter, Jessica, and the girls in our Girl Scout troop! Thinking back on it, those were some of my favorite days.

Were you ever a Girl Scout? Whether you were a scout or not, do you have a favorite camping experience? Please share!

AUTUMN MEMORIES, FRIENDSHIP TEA, AND A GIVEAWAY by Cheryl Pierson

 

When I was growing up, I remember looking forward to the first day of school each year. “Back then” we didn’t start back to school in the fall until after Labor Day. In Oklahoma, it was still hot as blue blazes in September, but at least, the evenings and nights were cooling off. I dreaded seeing summer end, but by September, I was feeling the pull to go back to school, see my friends—and I’d never admit it—start learning again!

 

By the time October rolled around, things had definitely become more “fall-like” and the sun had taken on the “autumn slant” as the days grew shorter, as well. My mom used to take note of the seasonal changes very keenly, and I remember her saying, “Well, fall is here.” There was no need to explain—it was in the coolness of the air, the more orange tint of the sun, the shorter days.

Of course, to a child, “fall” meant that Halloween was coming! Back in those days, it was still safe to go door-to-door with friends, all of us together in the crisp night air, a giggling mass of energy all dressed in our finery (most of us with homemade costumes, not store-bought) and those little plastic pumpkins with the handles to carry our “loot” home in. “TRICK OR TREAT!” we’d call out at each door, and our neighbors would always pretend they thought they were giving candy to princesses and pirates, superheroes and witches.

November brought Thanksgiving—a time when we’d usually go to my grandparents’ houses. I was the “lucky” one of all my cousins (and I had 40+ cousins!) because in the small town of Calera, Oklahoma, I had my dad’s parents who lived at one end of town, and my mom’s parents who lived at the other end. Cousins, aunts, and uncles from both sides also lived there, so many of my cousins from both sides of the family went to school with each other and knew one another as friends and fellow sports teammates. Those were simpler times—we could walk all over town without fear of any foul play, and I had grandparents at each end of town, so no matter which cousins I was with, we had somewhere to walk to.

 

 

The town of Calera, Oklahoma, year unknown. It was a water stop for trains and was called Cale Switch or Cale Station, but when the railroad wanted to rename it Sterrett, the people insisted on a compromise–and Calera was born. This is the main street of the town–much more lively than it was when we kids were walking it back in the mid-late 60’s and early 70’s.

 

The big treat was stopping in at the one and only “grocery store”—more like an Old West mercantile store—that was about at the halfway mark through town. It had a glass case with bologna and ham inside and a big slicer that the store owner, Petey, would use to cut your lunchmeat. Then, he’d wrap it in freezer paper and tie it up with twine. Petey’s store also had one of those big chest-type coolers with a sliding top, filled with ice and bottled pop. That was back when a bottle of pop was ten cents or so—and a candy bar could be had for a few pennies more.

 

There’s nothing like family and Thanksgiving dinner all together to bring “Autumn Fever” to the highest level. Doesn’t Thanksgiving just speak to us of autumn? By that time of the year, even in Oklahoma, the leaves have turned some beautiful rich colors of gold, red, orange, and brown and drifted from the trees. The winds have become colder and more cutting (and that’s saying something here in Oklahoma!) and of course there’s that “fall smell” in the air. And probably that’s one of the things I love most about autumn—the smell. There is nothing like the feeling of being tucked up inside four strong walls with food to eat, a fire going in the fireplace, and a good book to read. And did I mention a dog’s head on my lap? But celebrating fall took on a whole new meaning when we moved to West Virginia. I had never seen colors on the trees like what we saw there–such a wonderful display of nature–and it happens every year!

Rick Burgess is an excellent professional photographer who is a good friend–he specializes in pictures of the natural beauty of “Wild, Wonderful West Virginia” and this is one that was taken at Plum Orchard Lake in the fall. Isn’t it gorgeous? See the link below if you would like to see more of Rick’s wonderful art!

I know a lot of people will think this is strange, but I’ve never been a coffee or hot tea drinker. Yet, in the fall, I DO want something warm to drink—and this is it. This drink is very easy to make and keep on hand—and I haven’t tried making it with any artificial sweetener yet, but this year I’m going to do just that instead of using sugar and see how it turns out. This “friendship tea” is also good to make and give as a gift in a pretty container (that’s how I got it in the very beginning, and I have been so glad someone did that for me so many years ago!)

 

 

                                                                                 FRIENDSHIP TEA

This wonderful drink is ready in 5 minutes, and makes 4 cups of the instant mix.

 

Ingredients:

1 -1 1/2 cup sugar (or less, to taste)

2 cups instant Tang orange drink

1/2 cup sweetened iced tea mix powder

1 (1/4 ounce) envelope unsweetened lemonade mix

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (or you can also put in whole cloves if you like)

 

Directions:

Combine all ingredients well and store in an airtight container.

To use, fill a mug with boiling water and stir in 2-3

This recipe has been around for many years, but this teaspoons of mix, to taste.

If all you can find is pre-sweetened lemonade, then use the amount of dry mix needed for a 2 -quart pitcher according to the package instructions and leave out the sugar.

 iteration of it came from GENIUS KITCHEN and is close to the one I’ve had in my recipe box for all this time.

 

I have to admit, by Christmas I’m certainly missing fall, and “Autumn Fever” takes on a new meaning—I want it BACK! As sad as I was to see summer end, that’s how I feel when the winter ice and snow comes—I’m immediately nostalgic for fall!

BRRR!!!

What do you do in the autumn months? Are you glad to see them come and herald summer’s end? I do read a lot, as I’m sure many of us do here at P&P. Please share any good books you’ve read so we can all build our reading list!

Right now, I’m re-reading one of Rosemary Rogers’s classic stories, SWEET SAVAGE LOVE--the book that got me reading romances all those years ago–all her stories are sooo darn good you can’t go wrong. Next on my list is another wonderful re-read– NOBODY’S DARLING by Teresa Medeiros. Here’s the blurb–I know it’s wonderful because I read it a good while back, but want to enjoy it again!

He always gets his lady…
Billy Darling doesn’t enjoy being a wanted man until the day a duke’s prim and proper granddaughter comes marching into the Tumbleweed Saloon and points her derringer at his heart. Lucky for him, she’s a mighty poor shot.

She always gets her man…
Instead of killing him, Esmerelda Fine hires him to find her runaway brother. Billy knows he should turn down her offer. He should resist her charms. But he doesn’t. Because there comes a time in every man’s life when he’s got nothing left to lose…but his heart.

I’d also love to hear your childhood memories of fall–and I do hope you’ll try this wonderful “friendship tea” recipe when those autumn winds begin to blow—it’s a sure cure for AUTUMN FEVER!

Be sure to leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for the wonderful PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS boxed set MAIL ORDER BRIDES FOR SALE: THE REMINGTON SISTERS! This is a complete boxed set of four full length novels by Livia J. Washburn, Cheryl Pierson, Jacquie Rogers and Celia Yeary!

Here’s the blurb to whet your appetite:

Brought up in the wealth and comfort of Eastern “old money” in staid and proper Philadelphia, the Remington sisters are forced to scatter to the four winds and become mail-order brides. In order to gain a fortune, their sinister step-father, Josiah Bloodworth, has made plans to marry them off in loveless marriages. Time is running out, and no matter what lies ahead in their uncertain futures, it has to be better than the evil they’re running from…

LIZZY: Livia J. Washburn
Elizabeth Remington’s world is turned upside down when she is forced to become a mail-order bride. With her cat, Fulton, Lizzy flees to Alaska—only to discover the man she’s to marry is not who she thought he was! Now, she must protect herself from the biggest danger of all—her own heart. Handsome Flint McKinnon has signed his soul away to her step-father, hasn’t he? He’s chased Lizzy across the continent, but can she believe him when he says he loves her?

BELLE: Jacquie Rogers
Belle Remington must marry someone before the dangerous Neville Fenster catches up with her. She hightails it out of Philadelphia to the wilds of Idaho Territory to become a bootmaker’s bride, but when she arrives in Oreana, she discovers her groom has been murdered! Now, handsome, inebriated rancher Cord Callahan insists on fulfilling the marriage contract himself. Belle is beautiful and smart as a whip. But she has a secret. When Fenster shows up, can Cord protect the woman he wants to love forever?

SABRINA: Cheryl Pierson
Impulsive Sabrina Remington, the youngest, weds a man she knows her family would disapprove of. Though Cameron Fraser’s family owns a ranch in lawless Indian Territory, he’s made his way in the world with a gun, living barely on the right side of the law. With everything on the line as Bloodworth and his henchmen close in, will Cam be able to protect Sabrina from the desperate man who means to kidnap her for his own wicked purposes?

LOLA: Celia Yeary
Sensible Lola Remington, the eldest of the four sisters, must be certain the others are on their way to safety before she can think of fleeing Philadelphia herself. With the help of a local bridal agency, Lola finds the perfect husband for herself—in the wild countryside of Texas. Jack Rains owns a ranch and he’s in need of a bride—and children, of course! But just when Lola starts to believe there might be a future for them, she discovers a hidden letter from another woman…Jack’s first wife.

HERE’S THE AMAZON LINK: http://a.co/d/5XSkiX7

 

BEST BROWNIES EVER!–by CHERYL PIERSON

Several years ago, after Hurricane Sandy devastated so much of the East Coast, help began to pour in immediately. But here in the farther inland parts of the U.S., we were left wondering what we could do, other than donate money?

In times of disaster, we all wish we were able to do more. Many people don’t want to give to a nebulous charity, fearing scams of all sorts.

One of my publishers friends, Rebecca Vickery, came up with the idea of a recipe book. The authors that wrote for her three imprints were asked if they wanted to contribute recipes to go in the book. The proceeds from the sales of the book would go to one of two charities, which we voted on. By a large margin, Save the Children was our choice.

The book was a work of love that we all participated in, some with more than one recipe. It was filled with quite a variety, and even though on the cover it says, “Featuring favorite holiday recipes by various authors”, there are several in this book that I have made all through the year.  Who can wait for the holidays to have some of these scrumptious treats–especially now when we are at home more and more?

I’m sharing my contributions with you today, but there are plenty more where this came from in this little gem of a book—many of them easy and geared for our hectic lifestyles. I’ve been cooking a lot more lately with the COVID-19 pandemic going on, so I’m always on the lookout for new and different recipes!

I can certainly vouch for the two below—Blonde Brownies has been a staple in our family since I was born. It was on a “Brownie” recipe sheet when both of my sisters belonged to a troop, and my mom was a leader. This recipe is one of those that doesn’t last long around our house—the ingredients are items you usually keep stocked, and it’s easy to make. Same with the Hello Dolly Bars.

Though the book is out of print, it’s still available in limited quantities on Amazon from 3rd party sellers. 

 

BLONDE BROWNIES

4 eggs

1 tsp. Vanilla

1½  cups flour

2 ½  cups brown sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

½  cup (OR MORE!) choc. Chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Beat eggs well. Add brown sugar gradually, beating until well mixed. Add vanilla, flour, salt and mix well. Add chopped nuts and mix. Pour into a greased, 9×13 pan and sprinkle chocolate chips over top of the batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes (depending on your oven). This makes a 9×13 pan of brownies. You can half this recipe for an 8×8 pan, and reduce cooking time to 25 minutes.

 

HELLO DOLLY BARS

½ cup butter

1 ½  cup graham cracker crumbs

1 six oz. package chocolate chips (I always add extra!)

1 can Eagle Brand milk (sweetened condensed milk)

1 1/3  cups shredded coconut

1 cup chopped nuts

Pour melted butter into a 9×13 pan. Cover evenly with the following: graham cracker crumbs (press down to soak up the butter), nuts, chocolate chips, coconut. Pour milk on top. Bake at 350 F. until lightly brown or chips have melted (about 25 minutes). Cool before cutting.

(You can also add some butterscotch chips along with the chocolate chips for variation.)

Cheryl’s Amazon Author Page:

https://tinyurl.com/ycd4fo93

Blonde brownies are my go-to comfort food! I can eat them any time of the day or night!  Do you have a favorite recipe you love to make? PLEASE SHARE!

 

It’s Yee-Haw Day!

Welcome to Yee-Haw Day, the once-a-month day we’ve reserved to share our news with you – all sorts of fun news!

So check out the post below to get the details on the kinds of things that make us go Yee-Haw!!

Margaret Brownley

Look what’s on sale for only $2.99!

The only thing threatening their success is love.

Amazon

 

 

A feisty widow; a dashing outlaw.  Something’s definitely afoot.

Amazon

Karen Witemeyer

It’s Christmas in July!

An Archer Family Christmas, the first novella in the An Old-Fashioned Texas Christmas 2-in-1 anthology is a finalist for the Faith, Hope, and Love’s Reader Choice Award. Yee Haw! I had so much fun revisiting the Archer brothers and their families in this one.

Grab a copy of the collection for as low as $4.99!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook


CHERYL PIERSON

I’ve got a story in a new Chicken Soup book, THE MAGIC OF MOMS!

My story is called “Seventeen” and is about those difficult teenage years. It appeared in the Chicken Soup for The Soul–Empty Nesters book a few years back, so I’m thrilled that they chose it to be included in this latest edition of a new Chicken Soup book recently! 

Here’s the link!

https://amzn.to/3dQiE71

 

Karen Kay

PROUD WOLF’S WOMAN is back in print after being out of print for nearly 25 years.  This is recently re-edited and is the 25th Year Anniversary special edition of one of my most popular books.  It was the 3rd book I wrote for AVON/HarperCollins and is a companion book for LAKOTA SURRENDER.  The paperback will be on sale for $9.99.  My paperbacks are usually $13.99, but with all the strangeness in the world nowadays, I’ve dropped the pricing of the paperback to $9.99.  The e-book is on sale for $4.99.  This book is on sale at Barnes & Noble, KOBO, Itunes and Amazon.  It is also on sale at many different libraries worldwide.

Pick up and read your copy today.  https://tinyurl.com/y8x5p4qs

 

Phyliss Miranda

I don’t have to remind you all these last few months have been trying on all of us, but I want to share some good news from my family. I have two grandsons who graduated, one from high school and one from college. Although neither got to walk the stage or have a senior prom. They are both okay with it, each for different reasons.

My middle grandson, Ty, graduated from high school, but all he wanted was to “graduate”, since he’d already enlisted in the Navy and will be leaving today for Chicago. Since he’s an Eagle Scout he was sworn in while a senior. When he’s finished with basic training, he’ll go to Connecticut for submarine training. I’m so proud of him for wanting to serve and protect our country.

Our oldest grandson, Alex, graduated from University of North Texas, and since he has a very good niche job, all he cared about was getting his diploma. Now here’s the exciting turn of events. His PawPa wasn’t able to walk the stage when he graduated college, since he was on his way to Vietnam. His mama got his diploma in the mail. Alex was in town on business last week and his diploma was mailed here. It arrived about ten minutes before he got to the house and his PawPa got to present him with it. It was a very special event for everyone.

I hope and pray we all get some relief from what is hanging over our heads, but these are just two of my family blessings that have come about during the pandemic. Blessings to all you all.

 

CHERYL’S WINNERS!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by not only my blog on Marty Robbins’s EL PASO trilogy of songs, but to everyone who came by every day this week and participated! We appreciate you ALL so much! 

I picked TWO e-book winners today! 

SHARON SPARKS AND ALICIA HANEY, COME ON DOWN! 

Contact me at fabkat_edit@yahoo.com for your choice of THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON or GABRIEL’S LAW!

Thanks again to everyone for making PETTICOATS & PISTOLS such a wonderful place to be for all of us!