Sunday, June 23, 2013

Blog has Moved!

My blog has moved to its own domain :-)

Please visit me at where I have even more goodies, recipes and info for you!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Entire Collection, .99 Special, Limited Time!

 To celebrate Valentine's Day, I wanted to let you all know about two very cool things--I'm having a .99 cent sale on the ENTIRE Sweet and Savory Romance collection! That means:
and the all-new novella, THE MILLIONAIRE TEMPTED FATE, are all available for less than a dollar each!

The sale also applies to Amazon UK and Barnes and Noble Nook editions, so whatever eReader you have, you can take advantage of this sale!

Also, check out the new website, for more info on the books! We'll be adding extras and more content over the coming weeks!

And one more cool thing--I'm part of the new site, and we're launching tomorrow with prizes and fun! Like us on Facebook (The Chocolate Box) or visit the site for more info!

Happy Valentine's Day to all!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Day Nine: Tell Him It's Over

For Angie, telling her best friend that their relationship is completely over is the only way to protect her heart. Her ten-day plan to win his heart hits major bumps in the road, and in THE MILLIONAIRE TEMPTED FATE, Angie's forced to admit that maybe she and Max aren't meant to be. Read the book to see if they get their own happy ending by Valentine's Day! Only .99 on Amazon, Nook and iBooks!


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Day Two in Angie's Quest!

Angie isn't much of a cook, but she does her best to try to show Max her domestic skills in THE MILLIONAIRE TEMPTED FATE. Grab this all-new novella today to see how one night goes horribly awry--and yet still changes everything between them. Also, check out the website! I'll be adding recipes, words of wisdom and all kinds of fun stuff over there!

And don't forget to get your copy of THE MILLIONAIRE TEMPTED FATE. Available on Nook, Kindle and iBooks!


Monday, February 04, 2013

Ten Days to Win His Heart: New Book, Day One!

I've got an all new book out this week, and I'm going to give you all a little snippet each day to promote it. It's part of the Sweet and Savory Romances series, and is a whole new linked series, spinning off from the shop in THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE.

Today is Day One in the ten-day quest for Angie Wilson to win Max Blackwell's heart. They've been friends forever but now she wants more. Trouble is, Max is picking out a ring for another woman.

Angie embarks on the first of several inventive methods to get Max's attention, and to see her as a woman, not just his best friend. Day One?

Send him a special gift--and pray he's paying attention!

Buy THE MILLIONAIRE TEMPTED FATE today--an all new novella for just .99!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

SUMMERSET ABBEY by TJ Brown and Mustard Roasted Potatoes

Today I welcome author T.J. Brown, who has an incredible personal story about overcoming cancer, and an incredible debut novel. If you like Downton Abbey, you're going to love her new book, SUMMERSET ABBEY!

She's also a great cook, so read below for a recipe that I'm definitely going to try!
TJ Brown's Recipe: Mustard Roasted Potatoes

I have found an absolute passion for cooking now that my children are grown…no more picky eaters to please and I get to make what I want! This recipe is originally from the Barefoot Contessa, but I modified it to suit our tastes. These are perfect for a party because you can make them ahead of time and then put them under the broiler for a few minutes  to reheat.  

  • 2 1/2 pounds small red potatoes (or any potatoes really)
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the potatoes into bite sized chunks, and place them on a sheet pan.  Mix together the olive oil, mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper in a bowl and pour over the potatoes. Mix together well with your hands. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the potatoes are lightly browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Toss the potatoes from time to time with a metal spatula so they brown evenly.

Serve hot sprinkled with chopped parsley and a little extra salt.

And now, about the book, SUMMERSET ABBEY (available in bookstores nationwide):

1913: In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London, three young women seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of society and the distant rumblings of war. . . .

Rowena Buxton

Sir Philip Buxton raised three girls into beautiful and capable young women in a bohemian household that defied Edwardian tradition. Eldest sister Rowena was taught to value people, not wealth or status. But everything she believes will be tested when Sir Philip dies, and the girls must live under their uncle’s guardianship at the vast family estate, Summerset Abbey. Standing up for a beloved family member sequestered to the “under class” in this privileged new world, and drawn into the Cunning Coterie, an exclusive social circle of aristocratic “rebels,” Rowena must decide where her true passions—and loyalties—lie.

Victoria Buxton

Frail in body but filled with an audacious spirit, Victoria secretly dreams of attending university to become a botanist like her father. But this most unladylike wish is not her only secret. Now, Victoria has stumbled upon a family scandal that, if revealed, has the potential to change lives forever…

Prudence Tate

Prudence was lovingly brought up alongside Victoria and Rowena, and their bond is as strong as blood. But by birth she is a governess’s daughter, and to the lord of Summerset Abbey, that makes her a commoner who must take her true place in society—as ladies maid to her beloved “sisters.” But Pru doesn’t belong in the downstairs world of the household staff any more than she belongs upstairs with the Buxton girls.  And when a young lord catches her eye, she begins to wonder if she’ll ever truly carve out a place for herself at Summerset Abbey…

Other books in the series:

A BLOOM IN WINTER (Summerset Abbey #2) March 5, 2013

SPRING AWAKENING (Summerset Abbey #3) August 6, 2013

Thanks for visiting, T.J.! This book looks awesome!! For more about the book, the series or TJ herself, visit her website!


Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The BEST Lasagna

I love pasta. If I could, I'd eat nothing but pasta for the rest of my life (and any kind of cake or cookie or cupcake...yes, I am a junk food lover!). Heck, I run because it lets me eat pasta. Carbo-loading anyone?

Lasagna is one of those always awesome dishes. I've had about seven gazillion different versions, but come back to this one as my favorite. It's Giada DeLaurentis's recipe (and let me just say that life is totally unfair when someone can cook and eat like this, and stay as tiny as she is). I've taken what I like about her recipe and then added my own little spin.

I'm not wild about spinach or ground beef in my lasagna--so I take those out and substitute sausage instead. I keep everything else pretty much the same. This is one of those dishes that takes a lot of time, more than even your normal lasagna, so plan ahead. The bechamel sauce and fresh tomato sauce need to be made earlier in the day, so account for that when you plan for this (total time for this dish, complete with cooling of the sauces, is about 2 to 2 1/2 hours). It's not a throw-it-together kind of meal. Then again, eating lasagna is one of those things that SHOULD take time, not to mention the carbo-nap you'll need afterwards ;-)

Giada's Classic Lasagna--Shirley's Version

Bechamel Sauce:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk at room temperature
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce, recipe follows 
Simple Tomato Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
Lasagna Assembly Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 pound lasagna sheets, cooked al dente
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
 First, make the Bechamel sauce. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then whisk in the flour (I add a bit of salt and pepper here too). Add the milk, whisking as you add it, then cook over medium heat, whisking, until it comes to a boil and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. That takes about 10 minutes, so just keep whisking. Add a dash of nutmeg (you should always add nutmeg to a white sauce; it helps bring out the flavor). I actually grate the nutmeg in--a little nutmeg nut lasts forever, so it's a good investment and tastes way better than the canned stuff.

To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil, then add the vegetables and cook until softened. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves. Simmer for 15 minutes. Cool. Then use either an immersion blender or a regular blender, and blend the sauce until smooth.

Mix 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce into the bechamel. You'll have extra tomato sauce, so save that for another dinner. It freezes well, and also lasts several days in the fridge.

Brown the sausage and cool. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta cheese and eggs. Set aside. Now you're ready to assemble. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place 1/3 of the bechamel sauce in the bottom of the lasagna pan. Layer on noodles. Add the sausage, and the ricotta mixture, more noodles, bechamel, rest of the ricottta (and sausage if you have more) and half the mozzarella. Another layer of pasta, then top with bechamel and remaining mozzarella, and Parmesan. Giada has you put the lasagna pan on top of a cookie sheet lined with foil. A good idea if your lasagna might boil over out of the pan.

Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. I found, however, that I needed to cook it longer than this--45 minutes with foil on, then 20 minutes with it off. Might have been my grumpy oven that day, which every once in a while doesn't cooperate with me. Anyway, this is DELISH, and yeah, it's fattening, but not every day is a diet ;-) Speaking of fattening, I have made it both with the extra butter she recommends, and without, and saw no difference, so I took the butter out here. I'd rather eat more cheese ;-)



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Last day to get a FREE book from me!

December 27th is the last day you can download THE GROOM WANTED SECONDS for free from Amazon! Even if you don't have an eReader, you can download the free Kindle app and read it on your computer or your smartphone. It's the prequel to the USA Today bestselling THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, part of my special Holiday Bundle!

And, I'm guesting on the Heroes and Heartbreakers blog today, so stop on by and chat with me, for a chance to win the Holiday bundle!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

FREE book, until Dec. 27th!

For two days only (Dec. 26 and 27th), you can download THE GROOM WANTED SECONDS for FREE! If you have an eReader, or just download the free Kindle app to your smartphone or computer, grab this free novella, the prequel to the USA Today bestselling THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE series! This is one of my Sweet and Savory novels, fun, flirty reads with recipes written by the characters!

What'd you serve for Christmas dinner? I made Ina Garten's Prime Rib Roast...and it was OMG to-die-for. It's my second year making it, and I swear it gets better every year! Leftovers today, and it just makes me wish I bought a bigger roast ;-)

Have a wonderful Boxing Day!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas! Free Book & Holiday Bundle

First off, I want to wish all my readers a MERRY CHRISTMAS! I'm always like a little kid on the holiday--I absolutely can't wait for the day to arrive! And of course, the meal...this year, it's rib roast. I am literally drooling, anticipating that tomorrow!

For all you who get Kindles or Nooks or iTunes cards for Christmas, I wanted to let you know that THE GROOM WANTED SECONDS will be FREE for two days only, December 26th and 27th! If you download it, you get a taste of the Christmas season, along with some great recipes!

About the book: Nothing like a little breakup to remind a man why he loves a woman and what an idiot he’s been. After a clunky marriage proposal, Rebecca Wilson breaks up with Jeremy Hamilton, an engineer lacking a romance chromosome. She goes away for the summer and thinks she has found true love. When she returns with a broken heart, Jeremy seizes the opportunity to convince her to give him a second chance.

But it isn’t until he brings out his wild and fun side that Jeremy sees a dim flicker of hope for a future with Rebecca. His determination drives Rebecca to break into her secret cookie stash, hoping Thin Mints can make her forget Mr. Wrong. She’s already been burned twice before—is she ready to take a second chance on love?

The Sweet and Savory Romances will make you laugh, cry, and rev up your appetite with their hunky heroes. As a special addition, satiate your hunger—for food that is— with tried-and-true recipes written by the characters inside.
If you want to gift yourself, you can download my all new, limited edition Holiday Bundle of Sweet and Savory Romances, starting with the USA Today bestseller, THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE! Four books in one, plenty of reading for that holiday break!
Merry Christmas to you and yours. I'm grateful and blessed to be surrounded by those I love, and I hope you are, too.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Guest Post: Aurelia B Rowl with a New Book and Mushroom Soup!

Today, I welcome author Aurelia B Rowl, with a quick and easy Mushroom Soup recipe and a new book with an awesome cover (and I love that title, too!).

Matilda 'Tilly' Carter didn't think her day could get any worse, but even Christmas had just been cancelled.

The one girl Dean Watson has sworn never to have—never even expected to see again—just flared back into his life and into his home—his sanctuary—like she belonged there. Christmas would certainly be more bearable with Tilly around though…

As the chinks in Dean's armor appear, Tilly seizes the chance to win her knight once and for all. She's not about to take no for answer—not this time—but Dean must resist, even as his heart rebels and temptation threatens to undermine his resolve.

Win or lose? Love or honor? Which will Dean choose? Assuming he gets a choice…

Tears welled in her eyes, clouding her vision. She turned and wandered blindly toward the exit as the first tear escaped, forging a track down her cheek for the rest to follow. Tilly took in a lungful of air and then another. Having made a spectacle of herself once already, she really didn't want to be the cause of yet another scene.
The crowds swarmed around her, with students and family members heading home for the holidays only adding to the usual rush-hour melee of commuters. They jostled past, threatening to swallow her whole, as they rushed en mass in the opposite direction, using their briefcases and suitcases as a battering ram.
It was suffocating. She had to get out of there. Breaking into a run, broken heel or not, she raced through the doors and out into the biting December chill. Her waterlogged eyes struggled to adjust to the dark, dreary sky after the bright station lights, but she didn't dare slow down, desperate to escape the throng of festivities and merriment.
Carol singers assembled outside burst into a jovial rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," full of joy and happiness. Didn't they know Christmas had just been cancelled?
"Ooof!" Tilly smacked her shin against the edge of a low bench, too dark to see as she tried to dodge the growing audience. She ended up sprawled across the bench, dropping the handle of her suitcase with a loud clatter.
At least the pain shooting down her leg gave her an excuse to be crying. Unfortunately, it meant she had to stop running too. Not good. Whenever things got too tough, too intimate, or too confrontational, you could rely on her to make a run for it. Running away was what she did best...

A tall figure loomed in the edge of her vision, something vaguely familiar about the man's loping gait. In an effort to see him more clearly, she wiped her eyes with the back of her hands, then cringed inwardly at the black streaks now etched all over them. Great. She could add impersonating a panda to her day from hell as well then.
The mascara stung her eyes, rendering her unable to focus properly. She blinked furiously as the man strode past her, talking into a mobile phone in a deep voice that resonated throughout her body and made the fine hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. A surge of adrenaline rushed to her legs, numbing the pain as her subconscious told her to run. Now! 
The cloaked figure stopped mid-stride as if he'd heard her gasp. "Mike, I've gotta go," he barked into the phone, hanging up instantly. He backtracked until he was standing right in front of her, his tone changing from a growl to one of surprise. "Basmati?"
Great. She hadn't heard the nickname for years—nine years, four months and...sixteen days, to be exact—and even then, only one person had ever actually used it. She screwed her eyes tightly shut, shaking her head from side to side. No. No way. There was absolutely no way this could be happening to her. Not now. Not today of all days... Talk about kicking a girl when she was down. Buy the book here!
Aurelia’s Oh-So-Simple Creamy Mushroom Soup
 This soup is so deliciously creamy and tasty, yet ridiculously easy to prepare. It can even be prepared in advance, then reheated immediately prior to serving, so is ideal for dinner parties.
Mushrooms 1lb or more – chopped (I like to include a few field mushrooms for their colour)
Cream ¼ pint
Milk 1 pint
Plain flour 1½oz
Butter 2oz
Vegetable stock ½ pint
Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the mushrooms and cook for three minutes.
Sprinkle over the flour, then stir to coat the mushrooms. Stir in the vegetable stock and the milk, then bring slowly to the boil.Simmer for five-to-ten minutes.

Allow to cool, then blend – if you like your soup chunky, only blend half.
(At this point you can store soup in the fridge to reheat later) Return to the pan, then add the cream and reheat.
Serve immediately.
(Delicious with fresh, warm crusty bread).
Thanks so much for visiting, Aurelia! Love the recipe!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

All New Holiday Reads!

Just in time for Christmas, I've got two new holiday reads and a cool Holiday bundle of my books! In stores now is MISTLETOE KISSES WITH THE BILLIONAIRE, the final story in the Holiday Miracles trilogy! Take a trip to Beckett's Run for a Christmas to remember!

And in my Sweet and Savory Romances series (romances with delicious recipes written by the characters), I've got THE BEAUTY CHARMED SANTA, an all-new novella featuring a few of your favorites from THE DEVIL SERVED DESIRE.

For readers new to my books or those looking for a great bundle of books to load onto your Kindle or Nook, try my limited-edition Holiday Bundle, FOUR books in one! See why readers are raving about this fun, flirty series!

Merry Christmas to all!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars
I love cookies. I mean LOVE cookies (and cupcakes, and brownies and fudge...okay, any dessert, LOL). I try not to make cookies the rest of the year, because then I'll EAT them, but at the holidays, I go on a baking spree :-) This week, I made White Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints, Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars, and Melted Snowmen cookies.

First up was the Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars, a request from a friend after I saw it on Pinterest. They were delicious, and really easy! I bought the Peanut Butter Pretzels at Meijer--there was a plastic jar of them on the potato chip aisle, by the pretzels. I used Nestle's Chocolate Chip Cookie dough. I ate all the crumbs :-)

Next up is my White Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints, which is one of my own recipes (and is featured in Sugar and Spice). It's a favorite with my whole family, and an annually requested recipe. The kids have already eaten all the extras :-) They freeze super well, and are quick and easy. See below for the recipe.

Then I made my Melted Snowman cookies. They weren't as pretty as last year's, and that's because I used the canned Betty Crocker frosting instead of buying the pro tips at the candy and cake decorating store. I almost always forget I've got those metal cake decorating tips in the sink and grind one or more up in the garbage disposal, LOL.

Melted Snowman Cookies

These ones are pretty easy. I use the recipe from The Somewhat Simple blog. I use Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix (I find that works better than the refrigerated, already made kind), Then I buy the Royal Icing mix, add enough water to make it at "flood" stage, and do the decorating on top of waxed paper.

I bought the Betty Crocker black, green, orange and red icing cans this year, but would definitely recommend pro decorating  tips if you can get them. It takes a little practice, but overall, the decorating is pretty easy, especially for non-crafter like me :-)

I assembled them all on a tray for a party I'm going to tomorrow night. I was going to decorate the tray, then figured the cookies were enough decoration :-)

White Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints
(from Sugar and Spice)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I always use real vanilla)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 cup white chocolate chips
Red sugar sprinkles me, these ones are so good, you won’t have any left for guests (and whoever invented that rule about sharing your cookies, anyhow? It’s Christmas, indulge yourself a little). In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and the shortening with an electric mixer (or use a stand mixer and let the machine do the work), then add the sugar, powdered sugar, baking soda, cream of tarter, and the salt. Beat just until combined.

Add the egg and vanilla, then mix in the flour gradually. Cover the dough and refrigerate for three hours. I know, it’s a long wait, but it’ll be worth it later. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough into 3/4-inch balls and put them on an ungreased cookie sheet. With your thumb or the end of a wooden spoon, press a circular indentation into the center of each cookie. Drop a 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each thumbprint. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour yourself a glass of milk and get into serious cookie-eating mode. Skip lunch if you have to-there’s no way a tuna on rye can compete.

Put the white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high in 30-second bursts, stirring each time, until the chips are melted. Pour the white chocolate into a resealable plastic bag and snip off a tiny bit of one corner. Drizzle the white chocolate over the cookies. Sprinkle cookies with red sugar to add that festive flair.

Now you’re ready to indulge-don’t worry about the calories until January 1st. Makes three dozen, just enough for you and a friend!
Did you catch my post on the cupcakes and the Salted Caramel Shortbread I made the other week? Tell me, what cookies are you making this year? Which ones are your MUST HAVE cookies for the holidays?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Terri Rochenski's new book and an Easy Appetizer!

When I first saw Ms. Jump’s blog I was thrilled. She posts about two of my passions – books and cooking. And then she offered to let me guest post … well. Beyond thrilled to say the least!

Rather than blather on about writing or my process I decided to share one thought and a little about my newest release.

As a stay-at-home mom I often get bogged down in the details of life – kids, cleaning, laundry, cooking (even thought I love it!). I’ve found it’s easy for a woman’s identity to fade, oftentimes disappear altogether into the new one of mommy, wife, and housekeeper.

Writing has always been a passion of mine – my hobby – it’s the one thing I cling to that is all mine. M.I.N.E. It’s my escape, and I nab a few minutes wherever and whenever my children allow.

Because let’s face it … they do come first.

And one of the things I enjoy doing for them, the most besides hugs and kisses of course is cooking yummy food. Seeing as how the holiday season is upon us, I decided to share my favorite go-to party recipe.


Dried Beef Cheese Ball

3  4oz. packages of dried beef, broken up

3  8oz. softened cream cheese

1 small onion, chopped

2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbs. Accent Season Salt

Mix all ingredence in a bowl. Shape into a ball, cover and refrigerate. (I like making it the night before to let all the flavors mingle together.)

Easy peasy! Slap some on a cracker and yums with a capital Y.


Now on to my newest release.

My short story, Beginning of Forever, is in Still MomentsPublishing’s Christmas Magic Anthology which released on December 4th. It’s a collection of my historical romance and three other contemporary stories. For now it is only available as an ebook.
Here's an excerpt from Terri's new book!

Beginning of Forever by Terri Rochenski

When Wayne Edwards moves to town, Lillian Davis experiences stirrings she thought were long dead. Guilt ridden over betraying her deceased husband and the feelings Wayne inspires, Lillian reluctantly lets him in. Secrets of the past – an old promise emerges, but will it threaten their forever?


I rubbed my fussing son’s back and stumbled down the hall to grab the phone. “Hello?”
“Mrs. Douglas?”
A glance at the clock and my stomach clenched. Ronnie was an hour late for our Christmas Eve dinner. “Y-yes?”
“There’s been an accident.”
Through Steven’s heightened cries and the ringing in my ears I heard my husband’s name and Anna Jacques hospital.
This isn’t real. I need to wake up.
“Mrs. Douglas?”
I swayed and slumped to my knees on the linoleum floor, struggling to keep Steven in my grasp.
The floor is cold. I’m not dreaming.

A big thanks to Shirley for inviting me. I hope you’ll try the drool-inducing cheese ball AND my book!


Here's her blog and website, for more about Terri!

Thanks for visiting, Terri!