Monday, November 23, 2009

Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole

Happy Thanksgiving. Here is a recipe that is a family favorite of mine. If you are tired of the same ole' sweet potatoes with the marshmallows on top, you'll love this recipe.

Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups mashed cooked sweet potato (about 2 1/4 pounds)
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup of skim milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 lightly beaten egg whites

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon chilled butter
1/2 cup of chopped pecans

1. Combine the first seven ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well.
2. Spoon mixture into a square baking dish coated with cooking spray

For the topping
1. Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and flour in a bowl.
2. Cut in 2 tables of butter until it resembles coarse meal. A pastry cutter works well, or a food processor.

3. Stir in chopped pecans.
4. Sprinkle over top sweet potato mixture evenly.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Yields 8 - 1/2 cup servings

I usually double this recipe if we are having a large gathering.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Well-Watered Garden

Annette Hart Kristynik has a really lovely blogspot called, 'A Well-Watered Garden'. Recently she read and reviewed my newest novel 'Surrender the Wind'.

'This book is one of the most romantic books that I've read,' Annette wrote.

If you've considered reading this novel, read Annette's full review. If it doesn't convince you, I don't know what will. 

On another note, I've decided this year that I'm going to do the bulk of my Christmas shopping online, and avoid the crowds.  How about you? Books make wonderful gifts. has 'Surrender the Wind' for $8.33. And if you buy three copies of this or a combination of books that amount to $25 you get free shipping.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas Season. I'm starting mine out this Saturday.

Book signing
Saturday, November 21
12~2 pm    Cokesbury Christian Bookstore
North Rolling Avenue
Baltimore, MD

Book Signing ~ Hagerstown Hometown Holiday Book Festival

A gathering of 16 CBA authors
Saturday, November 28
1 ~ 4 pm   Virginia Avenue Church of God
Virginia Avenue, Hagerstown Maryland 

Visit my Homepage at:

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Today, my husband and I drove down to my mother's for a visit. She'd been stuck in the house almost all week, and was itching to get out somewhere, and suggested a place to go have lunch. Hersey's Restaurant is in the heart of Montgomery County, Maryland, but off the beaten path, down a back road lined with small businesses for home improvements and across from the railroad tracks. We pulled up to an old house converted into a respite for those hungering for country fare.

Adorable inside, with poky little hallways, walls painted bright yellow and green, with antique chairs and pretty country decorations on the walls, I felt like I'd walked into a home instead of a restaurant. Hersey's prides itself in having the best homemade fried chicken with mashed potatoes in the area. And although my doctor advised against it for both of us, we ordered it with a 'let caution to the wind' attitude. It was delicious and I don't think I will have to eat for a week.

The amazing part about this jaunt was our waitress Vicki. A medium height, fifty-ish blonde, she was the only waitress in the place, and waited on the few customers, it was late afternoon, like they were family. After we had finished our meal, she chatted with us and told the most amazing story of God's mercy and grace that I think I've ever heard in person. Though her life has been full of trials, she smiled lightly and told her story with an air of thankfulness that we so lack in our self-centered society today.

Here is Vicki's story. She married young at 18, and moved with her new husband to Tennessee, to a small town where everyone knew everyone, and most were related. He wanted his children raised there, and so as a dutiful wife in love she agreed to move from Maryland to the deep south, where family ties run deep. She bore two daughters. One died this past year after a fall in a McDonald's and hitting her head. Sorrow etched Vicki's face as she told us about her precious girl, but she forced strength back into her features and went on.

Her first husband gave her a beautiful house, on the mountain, secluded from everyone and everything. He would work from home, sometimes for months, and she grew lonely, frustrated, and their marriage began to fall apart. 

She decided to leave, but made the mistake of telling the mailman, someone she trusted, someone who came to the house everyday, the only person she'd see for days on end that she thought would keep her secret. He told her mother in law, and as Vicki waited for the bus, which never came, along a lonely road in the late evening, her husband pulled up in a truck drunk, tossed her girls inside, pulled out a gun and shot her in the leg. She said it felt like fire. Then he shot her other leg and she collapsed. Next he shot her in the side, and she lay in the road with her life's blood pouring from her wounds into the dirt. 

Her body was overcome with pain, with fire, and she wanted to die. She saw the truck approaching her, and she thought for certain he was going to run her over. But he stopped in front of her and got out. Then he picked her up, carried her to the side of the road, and threw her over a cliff. She fell and rolled through dried leaves. The leaves pressed against her wounds and stanched the bleeding. Now she was unconscious.

She told us it must have been around 15 minutes later, otherwise she would have died, when a trucker came up that road, a road so less traveled. He saw a great amount of blood crossing it and thought a deer must have been struck. He stopped, got out, and went in search of a wounded animal that he thought he should put out of its misery. Instead he found a young mother left to die, laying in the leaves.

Vicki went on to say he gathered her up and put her inside the cap of his truck, all the while telling her she was too young to die and holding her close to him as he drove. He got her to the hospital just in time. She never saw him again. 

Was he an angel? Or was he a man that listened to the still small voice of God telling him he needed to stop and help a wounded deer, yes a dear child of His that needed help? It was nothing short of a miracle. I sat engrossed listening to her story. I had to share this because so many of us today feel such hopelessness and despair. Even so, God is still with us in our darkest hour. He will not forsake us, and even if things do not go the way we want them to, His will is right, He has a plan. And in the end all will be well, when He creates a new heaven and a new earth, and wipes away all tears from our eyes. When that day comes, there will be no more sorrow or death, no more crying, for all things will be made new.

Whatever you are going through, cast it all on the shoulders of Jesus. How? By going to him and saying, 'Here, Lord. You take this burden. I am not strong enough to carry it. I surrender to your will."

The house for Hershey's Restaurant was built in the 1890's and for about 90 years housed the local post office. It also served as a general store and later became the restaurant in 1952. It was run by a family named Hershey and has nothing to do with the Hershey Chocolate Company.