Take A Romantic Stay-cation This Holiday!

The holiday season is here! I am offering 3 of my Christmas books on sale for just 99¢ each. All of these titles are stand-alone stories that take place in Ocean City, Maryland. I have had more than one book reviewer say that my sweet romances are like Hallmark movies. That description always makes me smile!

I am also featuring below a book that takes place during the winter months that is a little spicier and the story features more complicated issues. If you haven't yet read it, I hope you'll check it out.

Books on the sweeter side:


Grown-Up Christmas List is a romantic suspense novel. Dina Griffiths witnesses a brutal act that puts her very life in danger. Trusting no one, she flees to Ocean City, Maryland where she meets a local police officer who senses she’s in trouble. Can he gain her trust before it’s too late? This book is a free read for Kindle Unlimited members.





For fans of ‘Me Before You’ and ‘The Fault in Our Stars’—An Almost PerfectChristmas brings together two people in need of the kind of love that can overcome tragedy. A heartbreakingly romantic novel that challenges each of us to live—and love—to the fullest… even when life is less than perfect. This is a free read for Kindle Unlimited members.




Veronica “Ronnie” Clark has had it up to here with her family. So she shoves her suitcase into the trunk of her car along with that billowy, lacy, monstrosity of a bridal gown and hits the road. Unfortunately, her old Volvo gives out, leaving her stranded on Christmas Eve in the nearly deserted seaside town of Ocean City, Maryland. Oh, boy, does she ever need a miracle! Free read for Kindle Unlimited members.


And on the spicier side…


Reminiscent of Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks and culminating in a happily-ever-after similar to the great Nora Roberts, Two Hearts in Winter is a story about learning to let go of the past, about realizing that, though hardship affects us, it need not define us, and about coming to understand and truly believe that beauty is sometimes covered in scars. The human heart has an amazing ability to forgive, to heal, and to hope, especially when touched by love. This book is available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and is also available in Paperback. 

Two Hearts in Winter is Book 2 of the OC Boardwalk Series and is best read after Book 1 because the first 3 books of the series feature 3 girlfriends who grew up together in Ocean City, Maryland. Once you read Books 1 and 2, you will surely want to read Book 3. 


I send you warm wishes for every 

wonderful thing this holiday!

As an Amazon, Nook, and iTunes Associate, Donna Fasano earns from qualifying purchases. This post may contain paid links.


Cranberries And Cream Cookie Bars #Recipe

I found a recipe online that combined a cream filling with an oatmeal crust and I fiddled with the recipe a bit. I added extra vanilla and cranberries to the cream filling. And I decreased the salt and swapped out the white sugar for brown sugar in the crust. The result is a cookie bar that is wonderful served warm (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream???) or cold (with a cup of hot tea!). I hope you enjoy!

Cranberries and Cream Bars


Ingredients:

CREAM FILLING:

3 large egg yolks

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup dried cranberries

CRUST:

1 cup butter, very soft

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/3 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray a 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Set pan aside.

2. Prepare cream filling. In the top of a double boiler, whisk together the egg yolks, sour cream, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt until well combined; stir in the cranberries. Cook and stir over simmering water until mixture is thickened, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Prepare the crust. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour, oats, salt, baking soda, and coconut. Stir until all ingredients are well incorporated. Press HALF of the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake the bottom crust until set, about 10 minutes. (The remaining dough will become the topping.)

4. Remove the bottom crust from the oven. Spread cranberry cream mixture over crust and crumble reserved dough evenly over the top of the cream. Bake until filling is set and top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

Don't Forget to Fall Back ~ Trick Or Treat for UNICEF

 Don't forget to turn your clocks back 1 hour on 

Sunday, November 1, 2020.



As a child, I went trick or treating for UNICEF. Did you? UNICEF helps children all over the world. This year, Trick Or Treat for UNICEF is going virtual. You can donate today. Click on the image below to donate:






The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman @amplecat #BookReview

 


All readers will be able to identify with Nina Hill, a bookish bookseller who doesn’t have time for a love life. But there’s so much more to this story than love and romance. There’s the book-store owner who can’t pay the rent and the building owner who’s determined to get his money. There’s the Trivia Teams (which are filled with wonderful characters!) and the weekly Trivia Competitions (fun AND informative!). Then there’s Nina’s mother, a foot-loose-and-fancy-free photographer who never told Nina she had a father. (Well, of course, Nina had a father, but his identity has remained a secret… until now.) And I can’t forget about the burgeoning family that Nina never knew she had--interesting characters, one and all.

Abbi Waxman has written a story that’s both charming and funny. It left me with a wonderful light and airy feeling. I highly recommend it.

 

Dust Be Gone! 6 Tips for Staying Dust Free

Every time I turn around, it seems that a new layer of dust has collected on my furniture. Well, I say, “Dust be gone!” The dust in your home is made of carpet and clothing fibers, pet dander, dirt and grime from outside, and, yes, dead skin cells. Here are six simple ways to reduce the dust in your house.

Rugs and Mats, Inside and Out

An outside doormat encourages guest to wipe their feet before they enter your home. An small rug place inside will help remove even more dust and grime from the bottoms of shoes. Place sturdy mats and rugs inside and outside of every entrance to your home.

No Shoes Rule

Make a No Shoes Rule for your home. Remove your shoes and ask guests to do the same. Shoes worn outside carry in all manner of dirt, dust, and who-knows-what into your home. It’s just good manner to remove shoes when you enter your own or someone else’s house.

Magic Moisture

Feather dusters look nice, but they whisk dust into the air instead of collecting it. A cloth is better for dusting. Rather than using a dry cloth, which pushes dust around and causes it to billow into the air (to settle elsewhere), use a damp cloth to remove dust from furniture surfaces. I’m not saying wet… I’m saying damp. Barely dampen your dust cloth with water and wring it out as much as you can. The moisture will capture and hold the dust tight. Rinse the cloth often. Run it through the washer when you’re finished dusting.

Filter the Air

Your HVAC system has a filter that should be changed regularly. Check the owner’s manual of your system and make sure you are changing your filter often enough. It’s better to change it more often than less often, where dust in concerned.

Clean Air Ducts

Every room in your house probably has at least one air register. A few times each year, I use a dryer brush to clean as much of the air ducts as I can reach. There are professional companies that will come in and give your air ducts a thorough cleaning.

Murder the Mites

Dust mites are attracted to the dead skin and pet dander that ends up in your mattress and pillows. Wash your sheets and pillowcases weekly. Wash your mattress pads monthly. And several time a year, vacuum your mattress and run your pillows through a dryer cycle to keep them as clean as possible.

How do you keep dust from collecting in your home? Comment below so everyone can learn something new.

My Thoughts on Reading and a Book Recommendation

Educated by Tara Westover #Ad

I have always been in awe of books. Those who know me already understand this. Hardbound, paperback, digital, audio, the format is of little consequence. I am open to them all. With almost every story I read, I am once again reminded how books continue to open my world, open my mind, and open my heart. I am not well educated, nor am I well-traveled; however, my love of books and reading have given me more than mere entertainment. Reading the stories of other people, both fictional and true, have provided me a taste of other places, cultures, and experiences, and it is this “taste” that has taught me how very small my own existence is and how important it is for me to strive to shift and reshape, a better word might be broaden, my mind, my thoughts, my convictions, and my viewpoint. Just think, if you live in a world where everything is yellow, how would you ever know what green or red or blue looks like unless you allow yourself to step out of your yellow world? That example feels too simple, but it’s the best I can come up with at the moment. Books have helped me see this world as a more colorful place, and in seeing so many colors (I would never presume to have seen them all…yet), I am becoming a person who is more aware, more empathetic, more conscious, and more conscientious. This can only be a good thing. I’d even go so far as to say it’s an excellent thing; something everyone should attempt. Books allow me to walk in the shoes of others, allow me to imagine what life is like for people who are different from me. Books are gifts of knowledge, gifts to the imagination, gifts to the betterment and cultivation of my person, and almost every book I read leaves me in awe. And here we are, back where I started, so I will leave it for now. However, I do want to tell you about a wonderful book I just read.

I have always thought my childhood was tough, but after reading Tara Westover’s EDUCATED, I will have to do some reevaluation. Tara Westover was born in Idaho into a distinctly unconventional family; her father did not believe in public education, her mother was distrustful of doctors and the medical establishment. Tara Westover suffered psychological and physical abuse from mentally ill family members, and her experience is eye-opening. This book should be read by everyone. I don’t want to say much more as I don't want to diminish your reading experience with spoilers. EDUCATED will shock you… more than a few of Tara’s experiences made me gasp. This book will open your eyes to a world of religious fanaticism, survivalist ideology, bi-polar behavior and the enabling of that behavior, abuse in many forms, misogynism, and more, but it will also show you the power and invincibility of the human spirit and the importance of education, self-examination, and the persistence of self-development. All of us should strive to become better people, to rise above, no matter what circumstances we were born into. Read EDUCATED. Read it today.

As an Amazon, Nook, and iTunes Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

This post may contain paid links.

Eggplant Tomato Parmesan Bake by @Donna_Fasano


Eggplant Tomato Parmesan Bake
I went to a local farmer’s market yesterday and bought eggplants, tomatoes, a red onion, and some peaches. Yum! Today, I made a veggie bake that turned out really delicious. Here’s the simple recipe:

Eggplant Tomato Parmesan Bake

4 baby eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise
2/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1/2 of a medium red onion, sliced thin and separated into rings
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

1   1.  Preheat oven to 350° F. Fry the eggplant in two batches so the pan isn’t too crowded. To fry: Place 1 Tablespoon of the oil in a skillet and set over medium heat. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate. Dip the eggplant slices into the beaten egg and then coat with breadcrumbs. Fry the eggplant until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the first batch to a plate and then add the other tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry the second batch.

2   2. Layer the vegetables. Spray an oven proof dish with baking spray. (I used a 10-inch quiche dish. Use your favorite dish.) Arrange half the eggplant in a single layer in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese on the eggplant. Spread a layer of onion rings over the eggplant and cheese. Cover the onions with the sliced tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper to your taste. Add the remaining eggplant to the dish for the final layer.

3   3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are baked to your liking. (I baked mine for 30 minutes as I don’t like my veggies to become too mushy.) Remove foil and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan over the top. Bake for 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Harvest time is very, very near! I love fresh vegetables. This simple casserole is easy and it lends itself to any kind of herbs or seasonings you might like to add. If you like spicy food, add a pinch of red pepper over the top. Or try a pinch of Italian Seasoning or oregano. If you like more cheese, add more cheese. If you like a different kind of cheese, add a different kind of cheese.

I hope you enjoy! What are YOUR favorite summertime veggies?