Christmas in July AND Cherry Clafoutis #Recipe

 Dictionary.com pronounces “clafoutis” as Klah-foo-tee and defines the dessert as “a tart made of fruit, especially cherries, baked in a thick, sweet batter.” I define is as absolutely decadent and delicious, and a perfect way to use the beautiful cherries that are now in season. I believe home-cook-turned-TV-icon Julia Child first introduced this dessert to Americans after she had spent years living in France.

 


I’ve seen recipes for this custardy fruit tart call for all different measurements of flour and sugar. Some recipes call for melted butter, others do not. I wasn’t sure which recipe was best. That’s why I decided to nail down this recipe for myself. The end result of the recipe below is a delicious, fruit-filled, custardy delight that will have your friends and family screaming for another slice.

Easy Fresh Cherry Clafoutis 

  • 1 tablespoon butter for greasing the dish
  • 1 lb. stemmed and pitted fresh cherries
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Confectioners Sugar for dusting (optional)

 

1.    Preheat oven to 350° F. Use the 1 tablespoon of butter to grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch quiche pan. Set the pan aside.

2.    Wash, dry, stem and pit the fresh cherries. For a tart filled with fruit, there should be 1 pound of pitted fruit for the tart so start out with over 1 pound. Add the cherries to the tart pan and spread into an even layer.

3.    Crack the 3 eggs into a bowl and beat until well combined. Add the sugar and beat for 1 minute.

4.    Add the 1/4 cup melted butter, heavy cream, milk, salt, and vanilla extract to the egg mixture and beat until all ingredients are combined.

5.    Pour the batter over the cherries. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top is puffed and golden. The Clafoutis will deflate after it cools. 

Feel free to substitute other fruit for the cherries—blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, sliced peaches, strawberries—any fruit that is in season. I have made this with frozen berries. The result tastes just as delicious. However, it isn’t as pretty as when using fresh fruit because frozen fruit tends to bleed its juices into the custard.

 

This month, I’m celebrating Christmas in July by pricing my 3 holiday romances at just 99¢. I hope the books will help you ho-ho-ho your way through the rest of the month.

 


Her Mr. Miracle

An Almost Perfect Christmas

Grown-Up Christmas List

I am an Amazon Associate and I earn a few pennies when you click on a link and make a purchase. 

 

Carrot Loaf Cake #Recipe for #Foodies

I decided to do something nice for myself this weekend, so I baked a Carrot Loaf Cake. I’m the only one who eats dessert in my house, so didn’t want a huge cake. This loaf cake is the perfect size for a small get together. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try.

Carrot Loaf Cake 



For the Loaf Cake:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (vegetable, canola, sunflower)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups carrot, peeled and grated (3 to 4 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup coconut chips
  • Optional add-in: 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries 

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

1.    Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan with baking spray. Set aside.

2.    Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

3.    In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, brown sugar, sour cream, and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in the grated carrot, nuts, coconut chips, and any optional add-ins.

4.    Spread the batter evenly in the loaf pan and tap the pan lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. About half way through baking, take a look at the loaf. If it looks brown on the top, lay a piece of aluminum foil loosely over top to prevent over-browning. Ovens vary, so watch your loaf carefully. The cake is done when a wooden toothpick is inserted near the center of the loaf and comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in the pan.

5.    While the loaf is cooling, make the frosting. The easiest method is to use an electric mixer. Beat together the cream cheese and the butter until combined and creamy. Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low setting until smooth, creamy, and spreadable.

6.    Remove cake from pan and top with frosting. The sides should remain bare. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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This month, I am offering ROMANCE BEACH BUNDLE 2 for just 99¢. You save $7 off the regular price for while month of May.

What’s better than a day at the beach? That would be a day at the beach with a bundle of romance novels!

This offer is available for Kindle readers. Simply click here. Or click the image below.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies from links that lead to the Amazon Store.



 


Heroes Fighting for a Cause ~ Help #Ukraine

Help the People of Ukraine

All proceeds from this anthology – 100% – will go to Ukrainian refugee relief.

Read romance stories about heroes fighting to protect and serve, heroes fighting for a cause. Enjoy novels by TEN Award-Winning, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors, PLUS two bonus stories.

This anthology will be available for a limited time only.

We are romance authors and like everyone, we are heartsick about the plight of Ukrainian refugees, so we decided to do what we do in and put together this anthology in support of the cause. We hope you, as romance readers, will do what you do, and read our books in support of the cause.

Thank you and enjoy.


Click here to order this Boxed Set.



3 Ocean City Boardwalk Books on Sale for #99cents

On Sale for 99¢ Each ~ Save $9

The first three books of the OCEAN CITY BOARDWALK SERIES feature 3 best friends who live and work in the seaside town of Ocean City, Maryland, where life for three enterprising women, Sara, Heather, and Cathy, isn’t just fun in the sun—love is waiting on those sandy shores!

FOLLOWING HIS HEART, Book 1

Sara Carson is a 30-something widow with a busy life. Two fun-loving best friends, a caring mom who needs her, and a thriving sweet shop. What more could a woman want? But when the ancient plumbing in her shop springs a leak and a gorgeous, dark-eyed stranger rushes to her rescue, hilarity unfolds—and Sara quickly sees exactly what she’s been missing.

Something most peculiar draws Landon Richards to Ocean City, Maryland—and to the lovely Sara. This woman touches his heart like no other, and the two of them explore the heady attraction that pulses between them. But haunting dreams have a way of encroaching on reality, and the strange phenomenon that brings these two together will also threaten to tear them apart.

 

TWO HEARTS IN WINTER, Book 2

Loss and betrayal have caused Heather Phillips to give up on love. She’s thrown herself into running The Lonely Loon, her Bed and Breakfast located on the boardwalk of Ocean City, Maryland. The “off season” in this tourist town is usually a time of rest and reflection for her; however, DB Atwell, a famous author, arrives at The Loon for the winter to finish his long-overdue novel. Daniel, too, has faced grief, and tragedy continues to haunt him. Once Heather and Daniel meet, their lives will never be the same.

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.

WILD HEARTS OF SUMMER, Book 3

Cathy Whitley’s two best friends, Sara and Heather, may have found the men of their dreams… and that’s all well and good for them. But that’s not going to happen to Cathy. She allowed love to catch her off-guard once and it drained her, body and soul. She’ll never let it happen again.

Brad Henderson has been chasing Cathy for years. He’s settled for their on-again-off-again, “friends with bennies” relationship for far longer than he expected. Attempting to navigate the rip currents surrounding her heart has left him swimming in circles.

Then Brad inherits a business that changes everything overnight. He is stunned and wonders if his new life will draw Cathy closer—or push her further out of reach.

One way or the other, it’s time to draw a line in the sand…

Other titles in the OCEAN CITY BOARDWALK SERIES:

An Almost Perfect Christmas, Book 4

Grown Up Christmas List, Book 5

The Wedding Planner’s Son, Book 6

Second Chance Valentine, Book 7

Her Mr. Miracle, Book 8

As an Amazon, Nook, and iTunes Associate, Awesome Romance Blog earns from qualifying purchases. This post may contain paid links.


Enjoy an At-Home Spa Day!

The hectic holiday season is upon us. Please don’t forget to take care of yourself. Here are 3 easy, DIY facial masks that will make you feel less stressed and very pampered. 



Easy Papaya Mask


What you will need:

1 Ripe Papaya

Warm Water


Cut a slice from the papaya and remove the seeds and the fruit. (Save the fruit for a snack; the pulp of the papaya fruit contains two enzymes, papain and chymopapain, that are great for digestion.) Rub the inside of the peel on your clean face, focusing on the area around and under the eyes (crow’s feet), around the mouth (smile lines), and the forehead (frown lines). Don’t forget your neck and the backs of your hands. Let the fruit juice to sit on your skin for 20 minutes. Rinse with cool, clear water. Gently pat the skin dry.


Easy Yogurt Mask


What you will need:

1 tablespoon Greek yogurt, plain, unsweetened

2 teaspoons olive oil


Yogurt contains lactic acid which diminishes fine lines and wrinkles and tightens skin and shrinks pores. Olive oil soften and hydrates skin. Mix together the yogurt and the oil. Smooth onto face, neck, and the back of hands. Let the mask sit on skin for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse with warm, clear water. Pat dry.


Soothing Honey Mask


What you will need:

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


Honey is a humectant which means it helps the skin retain moisture. It’s also an anti-bacterial that will has healing properties. Apple cider vinegar balances the skin’s pH and sooths damaged skin. This is a good mask for adult acne. Mix together the honey and the vinegar. Smooth over face. Allow mask to sit on face for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse with cool, clear water. Gently pat dry.

~  ~  ~

I have reduced the price of all three of my Christmas stories for the month of December. I hope you’ll take a look. Oh, and YOU could give me a wonderful gift this holiday season… if you’ve read my Christmas stories and you’ve enjoyed them, please take a moment to leave a review. Good reviews help new readers find my books. Thank you! And HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and yours!

 

GROWN-UP CHRISTMAS LIST is available for:

Kindle  *  Nook  *  Kobo

 


 

AN ALMOST PERFECT CHRISTMAS is available for:

Kindle

This book is available for Kindle Unlimited Readers!

 

 

HER MR. MIRACLE is available for:

Kindle

 


I am an Amazon Associate and I earn a few pennies from qualifying purchases. 
This post may contain paid links

Merry Christmas, everyone!

It's Time for Mulled Cider!

I love mulled cider. In trying to decide which recipe to use for this post, I was torn between recipes offered by 2 Food Network chefs that I love—Bobby Flay and Ina Garten. I went with Garten’s recipe because I love the flavor and scent of star anise. If you’ve never used this spice, you have got to try it! It smells like a holiday all by itself. I often put a few star anise and few whole cloves into a saucepan of simmering water. This concoction makes my house smell wonderful. Be careful not to let the water evaporate completely or you’ll end up with scorched spices. Now, on to the recipe.


Mulled Cider by Ina Garten of Food Network

Ingredients:

·       1 gallon fresh apple cider

·       4 cinnamon sticks

·       8 whole cloves

·       6 star anise

Directions:

  1.         Combine all ingredients into a pot and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, or until all flavors are combined.
  2.          Pour into mugs and serve hot.
  3.          Makes 12 servings.

 

This month, I’m celebrating fall by putting MOUNTAIN LAUREL on sale for just 99¢ for Kindle readers. This sweet romance is the first book I ever wrote. It won a finalist spot on what was then called The Unpublished RITA Contest (now known as The Golden Heart). Although the manuscript didn't win the contest, editor Tara Gavin of Harlequin bought and published the book. I was so proud!

 


Links to buy in the Kindle Store:

United States  #Ad

United Kingdom

Canada

Australia

 

If your store isn’t listed above, simply search for “Mountain Laurel Donna Fasano” in your Kindle Store. Thank you!

 

6 Items People Forget to Pack For a Trip to the Beach

It’s August! In my neck of the woods, that means hot, sunny days at the beach. Can you imagine that 40% of the people who were asked when they pack for their trip to the beach answered “the night before”?  The night before! That last-minute scramble to toss things into a suitcase means there's always stuff that’s forgotten. Here’s a list of the top 6 items people forget to pack for a trip to the beach.



6. An Extra Bag for Souvenirs. Do yourself a favor and pack an extra tote to carry home your souvenirs—t-shirts, sweat shirts, beach towels, salt water taffy, delicious fudge, buttery caramel popcorn. Believe me, you’ll need an extra tote!

5. A Book to Enjoy. Relaxing on the beach is the very best place to enjoy a beach read. Hardback, paperback, or e-book; it doesn’t really matter. There is nothing like turning those pages while digging your toes in the sand.

4. Beach Umbrella. Sitting in the blaring sun starts off kinda nice. But after an hour or so, the shade of a beach umbrella will be a great relief.

3. Sunglasses. Protect your eyes! The sun’s rays are stronger near the water and sand due to reflection. Grab a pair of sunglasses and protect yourself from those UV rays.

2. Toothpaste. It sounds crazy, but people brush before leaving the house and forget their toothpaste. Keep a couple of travel-size tubes ready for any trips you might take.

And the item that's forgotten most often???

1. SUNSCREEN. Yikes! Sunscreen comes in a wide variety of SPFs. When planning your trip to the beach, choose the sunscreen that’s right for you and toss it into your suitcase. Your skin will thank you!

Have I got a Beach Read for you!

ROMANCE BEACH BUNDLE 1 is on sale for just 99¢! You save $7 off the regular price of this 3-book bundle. Here’s what readers have to say about the sweet, clean bundle of books:

“I enjoyed all three. The characters were funny romantic and delightful. I would read this author again.” ~Rosemary, Kindle Reader

“I really enjoyed reading each of these books. Each had excellent story lines and drew me in from the first page.” ~Ruby B, Kindle Reader



Click here to get ROMANCEBEACH BUNDLE 1 for just 99¢