Saturday, September 04, 2010

Monthly Recipes

Today we're at our lake house in Mineola, Texas, where we're going to have a party later to celebrate Labor Day weekend, my husband's birthday, and finally getting the house repaired, fixed up, and in working order after a few months of water damage, sprinkler system issues, and general repairs. We've invited the people who helped get us "up and running" over the last 10 months, family and friends. My son-in-law is cooking out and I'm cooking inside, beginning with an overflowing refrigerator ...

... and an overburdened dining room table.

I'm going to fix the party food in my farmhouse inspired kitchen, which I love (except for the dishwasher, which doesn't work well AT ALL.)

Normally I'd post a photo of the completed dishes if I had them, but I haven't fixed them yet! So I'm going to share our menu for a Texas cookout and party. Also, I'm fixing a new recipe I got from a "Taste of Home" magazine titled "Church Supper Cookbook." Did you have covered dish suppers at your church growing up? We did, in the basement of Parkview UMC in Shively, KY. I miss those suppers! Certain church ladies were known for their signature dishes, some of which were wonderful, not-to-be-missed specialties, while others were ... well, let's just say they appealed to a select few tastes!

Tonight we're having barbecued pork ribs, which son-in-law Dale prepares with a dry rub; hamburgers and cheeseburgers; and the new dish, Hot & Cheesy Chicken Sandwiches. Here's the recipe from the magazine mentioned above:

6 cups cubed cooked chicken (I'm going to use the meat from rotisserie chickens I'm purchasing)

1 1/2 cups chopped celery

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

3/4 cup mayonnaise

3/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper (which I'm probably not using since my daughter HATES bell peppers!)

1 t. ground mustard

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. pepper

3 cups processed cheese (like Velveeta) cubed

24 hamburger buns

In a large bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Pour into a 2 1/2 quart casserole. Top with cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before spooning onto hamburger buns.


To go with our ribs, burgers and sandwiches, we're fixing cantaloupe, sliced tomatoes, baked beans, deviled eggs, and my mother's recipe for macaroni salad. I believe I've shared this before, but let me briefly describe it again: Combine elbow macaroni, cooked, rinsed and drained, with diced green pepper, cubed Velveeta cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and Miracle Whip salad dressing. I really love this simple macaroni salad, especially for summer cookouts.

Of course, we'll have potato chips, plus some of those new Ritz chips, with Ranch Dip. (I don't think you can have a party in Texas without Ranch Dip!) For dessert I bought little Red Velvet cupcakes and Carrot Cake cupcakes since my husband really doesn't like birthday cake.

So, that's what our family is planning this holiday weekend and my husband's birthday. (Happy birthday, Chuck!) I hope you have a good time with your family or friends, or spend a little time online and check out my previous recipe posts. Best wishes for a great Labor Day holiday and a wonderful September.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Old Dog, New Tricks

Over the years I’ve complained a lot about our beagle. She’s ruined dinner parties, rummaged in houseguests’ suitcases, and stolen chocolate bars. Then, of course, was the time she regurgitated a whole cake just as the clock struck midnight on Christmas day.

Then there was her ACL surgery last fall. I spent a good six weeks carrying this dog around because 1) She couldn’t walk and 2) She has separation anxiety problems. Let me just say for the record: a thirty pound beagle gets pretty darn heavy after being carried up and down stairs a dozen times a day.

Lately, though, Phoebe has slowed down. She’s really slowed down. Phoebe is fourteen and doesn’t do too much more besides sleep, eat, and have accidents all over our house. She’s also has cataracts and has completely lost her hearing.

Just this morning I followed her upstairs, calling her name, trying to coax her back to my office in the basement. Of course, she didn’t hear me, and jumped in surprise when I finally appeared in her line of vision.

So what’s a family to do when their beagle is, well, in her sunset years?

You guessed it. We are all learning new tricks to keep up with our old dog.

My husband was the first one to start this. Slowly, we’ve all learned the appropriate signals for ‘Come here Phoebe’, or ‘Go outside.’. Instead of now calling out ‘Dinner!’, my daughter picks up Phoebe’s food bowl and shows it to her.

Even the wiener dog has gotten into the act. She’s become kind of a mini-shepherd, corralling the beagle when she’s outside. She’s also developed a series of three rapid, high pitched barks~which is the signal for ‘Alert! The beagle is on the loose!’

So far, our old dog has adjusted to this new way of communicating just fine. She’s able to do her favorite things with ease. And as for the rest of us? We’re doing fine, too. Together, we’re discovering new ways to keep Phoebe included as much as she ever was.

I’m glad things are working out so well. It just goes to show you that it’s never too late for one old dog to teach her family new tricks.

I can’t imagine we’re the only ones to change routines for one old dog. Anyone else have a story about new tricks for an old pet?

Shelley Galloway

Thursday, September 02, 2010


CONGRATULATIONS JenniferM! You’re the August winner. To receive your free autographed books please contact Lisa Ruff and Cathy McDavid through their Web sites.

To enter the contest simply leave a blog comment and your name will go into the drawing. Simple and painless. And FREE BOOKS.

So check back often and be sure to leave a comment. Good luck!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Into the New

To me, September first feels more like the start of a new year than January first. It might have something to do with the school year beginning at this time. Also, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, falls around now (sundown on September 9 this year, according to my calendar).

So it’s appropriate that I’m also starting a new book.

Since I write about three books a year, that probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but to me it’s the start of an adventure, and a risk. People who don’t read category romance often assume that these books are written by formula, dashed off (or churned out, as they like to say) between sailing trips on my yacht and jaunts to Monte Carlo in my private jet.

No yacht. No private jet. And if there’s a formula, it’s no more cut-and-dried than a thriller or a mystery. Sure, there are reader expectations, and elements that I have to include. But that makes the writing more of a challenge rather than less as I work to keep my stories fresh.

And when I start, even though I’ve written a synopsis for my editor and have a general idea of who the characters are and what conflicts they face, there’s always fear. That’s right, fear. I might put hero and heroine on the page and they might stare at each other, silent as lumps. The storyline might sag, the outcome I hoped for might arrive with a thud, and my editor might demand a page-one rewrite.

Usually, that doesn’t happen. Once in a while, there are major revisions. Hence, fear.

But also joy. Because most of the time, when I put him and her together, they make me laugh. My storyline surprises me. There’s an insight near the end that I didn’t expect. At the final moment, I get a lump in my throat.

So here we go again – back to the beginning. I have no idea how, exactly, my ending will read, but I know what my opening line should be:

Once upon a time….

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Basics of Love

While fall is my favorite season, there are some things about summer that simply can't be beat...

*Uninterrupted time with the kids
*Lazy mornings

But that's not all. You see, as I've gotten older, I've come to realize my favorite part of summer is the simple fact that there's more time to read. And read, I have. Eight novels in fact (the most recent of those being 400 + pages and consumed in less than 12 hours). :)

My genre of choice this summer? Romance and women's fiction. Time and time again.

One of my summer reads this year posed an interesting question I thought would be fun to pose, in turn, to all of you...

Do you think love just happens? Or do you think love is a choice one makes?

Thoughts? Examples?