December 2020 Monthly Letter

Dear Reader,

2020 sure has been one heck of a ride.  As we approach the holidays many of us will add more loops and dips to this rollercoaster of a year.  From trying to figure out where to go, who to visit, and what to buy, the stress can be overwhelming.  You made it this far.  You got through Thanksgiving.  A few more weeks and we’ll be on to a New Year.  I, for one, will be glad to see 2020 fading into the distance of my rear view mirror.  But please continue to keep safety in mind.    Wearing a mask.  No fun.  Being separated from family.  No fun. Well, maybe for some. Everyone has one crazy relative.  Just think, you won’t have to spend it with them this year!  Yes, the holidays can throw you for a loop.  Keep your balance.

As I mentioned in last month’s letter,  if you’re on edge try to downshift your anxiety. If nothing else COVID19 has forced us to re-evaluate our priorities.  Make them count.  Nothing is more important than good health and a good frame of mind.  They go hand in hand.  So if anyone tries to rattle your cage shrug it off if you can.  We’re all trying to make it through this cluster-challenge intact.

For those of you who have been following me, you know I go all out for Christmas decorations.  Check out the photos of my house and all the sparkle, shimmer, glitter, ornaments, foliage, swags and bows. Martha Stewart would have a seizure if she came to my house!

Once again I must mention my cats.  They are little maniacs.  They think I had the house decorated just for them and it’s their own personal amusement park!  They are having lots of fun wrecking the place.

Speaking of fun we have the Hallmark Movie coming on December 13th at 10:00PM Eastern Time.   The new title is Unlocking Christmas starring Taylor Cole and Steve Lund.   Here is a link to see some of the photos of the shoot.

We should have a link to the actual commercial in a few days so stop back to check it out.

So remember my friends, think good thoughts, keep calm, and carry on.  Be safe, be sane, and enjoy this unusual season.   Let’s all bounce forward with a renewed spirit and better days ahead.   Cheers!

Don’t forget to enter the contest to win a copy of the next Sisterhood Novel, Bitter Pill.

All the best,

December 2020 Recipes

Fresh Apple Cake, courtesy of Deb Yarmula


You will need (3) large mixing bowls, Bundt pan, shallow baking pan
1 cup chopped walnuts
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 ½ cups chopped Granny Smith apples – cored and peeled
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325.  Coat 10 inch Bundt pan with non-stick spray and lightly floured.
Spread walnuts in a separate pan and toast for about 7 minutes until golden.  Cool completely.
In large bowl whisk flour, baking soda, and salt.
In another large bowl combine walnuts, vanilla, cinnamon and 3 cups of the cut apples.
In third bowl beat sugar, oil, and eggs with electric mixer on medium until well blended.
Turn mixer to slow speed and gradually add the flour mixture from bowl 1. Scrape bowl occasionally with spatula.  Beat one minute longer of until well combined.
Fold in apple mixture from bowl 2.
Once all ingredients are folded together spoon batter into bundt pan. Add remaining apples to top and gently press into mixture.
Bake 1 ½ hours or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cool on rack.  Serve with a big helping of ice cream.

Christmas Eve Dinner Italian Style
Eggplant Stacks

(2) large eggplants, skinned and sliced ¼ inch thick
(3) cups Italian flavored breadcrumbs
(2) eggs beaten
(1/4) cup milk
(2) cups Parmesan cheese
(4) tablespoons chopped parsley
(2) teaspoons dry oregano
(2) cups Ricotta Cheese
(8) oz. tomato sauce – Prego or other brand
(2) cups shredded mozzarella
(1) cup olive oil

Mix eggs and milk in a bowl.
Mix breadcrumbs,  and half the Parmesan cheese, parsley, and oregano in a different bowl.
Heat olive oil to medium.
Dip eggplant in egg batter and dredge through breadcrumb mixture.
Place eggplant in frying pan and brown on both sides.
Place on paper towels.
Mix/whip ricotta cheese and remaining ingredients (except mozzarella) together.
Let the eggplant cool.
Begin stacking.
1 slice of eggplant, top with 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture—spread on eggplant; add another slice of eggplant; top with a spoon of tomato sauce and a tablespoon of mozzarella.
Repeat until you have 3-4 slices of eggplant per stack.
Once assembled, bake in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until cheese melts.

Shrimp Scampi

1-2 lbs. JUMBO shrimp/shelled and deveined (leave tail on or off)
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
4 tbs. butter
4-5 cloves garlic minced
¼ cup dry white wine or vegetable stock
2 tbs. lemon juice
¼ cup chopped parsley
Crushed red pepper if desired

Heat olive oil and ½ of the butter.  Saute’ garlic 2 minutes
Add shrimp and saute on one side for 2 minutes
Flip shrimp and pour wine/stock over shrimp, cook 3-4 minutes
Shrimp should be pink.
Add remaining butter, lemon juice, and toss parsley into shrimp (red pepper)
Remove pan from heat.
Can be served over linguini or rice if desired

Stuffed Flounder with or without crabmeat

1 Piece of founder per person (using 6 pieces for recipe)
1 cup chopped crab meat (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup olive oil
4 lemons for garnish – cut into equal pieces
Zest and juice of (1) lemon
2 cups breadcrumbs Italian flavored breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely grated parmesian cheese
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
4-5 cloves finely chopped garlic
¼ teaspoon oregano

Rinse flounder and pat dry.
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Heat butter and ½ olive oil in sauce pan, add garlic and saute’ for 1-2 minutes.
Add breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, oregano (crabmeat if desired) and saute until blended and if adding crabmeat until cooked.

Place 2-3 tablespoons of mixture and spread in middle of flounder.  Roll flounder and hold together with toothpick.
Mix lemon zest and lemon juice together and pour over flounder.
Bake 15-20 minutes until fish turns white.
Once removed from oven top fish with any remaining stuffing.
Squeeze lemons over fish.