Superbowl Snack Recipes!–For Whichever Team You Cheer For!

It’s Superbowl Sunday! Which here in my house means… well, really not a lot. Neither my husband or I are huge sports fans, even though we have lots of friends and family who are. (Hey Dad! Hey Greg! Hey Kristen!)

That being said, this is sort of a fun, stupid rivalry this year. Because Sean was raised in New Hampshire (outside of Boston) and I was born and raised in a small town called Lancaster, PA (outside of Philly)… we have opposing teams this year (… even though technically NOW I live in New England… but whatever!).

Now, truly, I watch the Superbowl for a few things: 1) Watching whoever sings the anthem. 2) The commercials.  3) The halftime show (Helloooooo Justin Timberlake) And 4) The food. BRING ON ALL THE DELICIOUS SNACKS!

Because I love a good themed party, I try to keep our food and drink on point–so this year, I have two recipes I’m featuring, outside of the traditional chips, dip, and wings. Our menu tonight is
PHILLY CHEESESTEAK ROLL-UPS and BOSTON CREAM PIE BITES

Let’s start with the Philly Cheesesteak Roll-Ups! I found this recipe over on Pillsbury’s website! (Photo courtesy of Pillsbury website)

Ingredients

9oz (2 portions) thinly sliced frozen sandwich steaks
1 cup chopped red and green bell peppers
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated Crescent Dough
1/2 cup chive & onion cream cheese spread

 Alfredo pasta sauce, heated, for dipping

Steps

1) Heat oven to 375°F. Line a large cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper.
2) In 10-inch non-stick skillet, cook sandwich steaks as directed on package until browned and cooked through. Place on paper towel; chop. In 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat; cook peppers, stirring occasionally until tender.
3) Unroll crescent dough onto work surface; press into 12×8-inch rectangle. Spread 1/2 cup chive & onion cream cheese spread evenly over crescent dough. Top with cooked steaks and bell peppers
4) Starting at one long end, roll dough up tightly. Pinch at seam to seal. Cut roll into 12 (1-inch) slices.
5) Place slices 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve with heated Alfredo pasta sauce.

Now for the Boston Creme Pie Bites. An important thing for ANY party is that the food is easy to eat and doesn’t require utensils (who wants to do MORE dishes, am I right?).  I found this easy recipe over on BettyCrocker.com (Photo courtesy of Betty Crocker website).

Ingredients

1 box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ French vanilla cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 cup prepared vanilla pudding
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz)

3/4 cup whipping cream

Steps

1) Heat oven to 350°F. Generously grease 48 mini muffin cups with shortening or cooking spray; lightly flour cups.
2) In large bowl, stir together cake mix, water, butter and eggs until smooth. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups.
3) Bake 8 to 10 minutes or just until cupcakes spring back when touched lightly in center. Cool completely, at least 15 minutes. Remove from muffin cups to cooling rack.
4) Using sharp knife, cut top off of each cupcake. Spoon 1 teaspoon pudding onto center of bottom half of each cupcake. Cover with top halves of cupcakes.
5) In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and whipping cream uncovered on High 30 to 60 seconds or until chips are melted and mixture can be stirred smooth. Spoon chocolate mixture on top of each cupcake. Let stand until chocolate is set before serving. Store in refrigerator.

Enjoy and have a fun Superbowl… no matter WHO you’re cheering for!

Minty Green Juice Recipe!

I’m not sure if you all are jumping on this green smoothie/green juice trend, but I sort of love it. (Sidebar: I prefer smoothies because you get more of the nutrients, but I like a juice on the go too!)

AND there’s no better time to start a green juice recipe than today because it’s National Green Juice Day! For fun, I decided to share with you my favorite recipe… this Minty Spinach Juice!

I love this recipe because the lemon and mint add a refreshing citrus flavor and compliment the spinach and the apple sweetens it so that it actually tastes good! You can juice this (if you have a juicer) or make it as a smoothie–the choice is yours!

  • 1 Whole Spinach Bunch (About 6 cups)
  • 2 yellow delicious apples
  • 1-2 lemons, unpeeled if juicing, peeled if you’re doing a smoothie
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 chunk of ginger
  • 6-8 stems fresh mint

Blend all the items together (or juice them) and enjoy with a slice of lemon!

And just another quick reminder that Capturing You leaves KU in only 2 days!!!! So go make yourself a green juice and get reading 😉

I was a Writer before I Knew I was a Writer…

I was a writer before I knew I was a writer. Confusing? Let me explain.
I was writing stories from the moment I could hold a pencil and spell more than just my name. I would tell stories constantly. Tall tales at the dinner table. At school. When our family bought our first word processor (am I aging myself here??), I plunked myself down between my siblings writing their research papers and tapped out my first book—the story of a flying pig and a greedy man who wanted to capitalize on it. I started a family “newspaper” called the Katana Crier where I would summarize the week’s events in a packet that I literally printed out five times and stapled together, then delivered to each member of my family while I danced around the house singing Carrying the Banner! (I was also a huge Newsies freak, if you can’t tell)

I started writing my first novel at age 28. I finished it when I was 29. I sold it to my first publisher a month and a half after I typed The End. And I was published before I turned 30 with my first novel, SOUL STRIPPER.

So when did I know I wanted to be a writer? I always knew. It was a part of me for as long as I can remember. I should have paid attention more to my gut. I should have listened to that little whisper in my soul that told me I should be writing long before I started that book when I was 28.

3 Little Known Facts About Capturing You

3 Little Known Facts about Capturing You

1) The town of Maple Grove is based on Laconia, NH where my husband is from.
2) In the book, Lydia is told she has a very small chance of conceiving her own children. While our situations are different, I pulled a bit from reality here because I most likely can’t bear children, either. Writing this book was like therapy.
3) Maddie, Cam’s daughter, was written with my best friend’s daughter in mind. Even some of her lines are pulled directly from things she said to me when she was younger!
❤️📚❤️
Be sure to grab Capturing You before the Kindle Countdown Deal is over!
Jan 12th – .99 cents
Jan 13th – $1.99
Jan 14th – $2.99

Amazon/Kindle

After discovering she can’t have children, Lydia Ryder has all but convinced herself that she doesn’t need a family to be happy. But when her job as a magazine photographer lands her in the small town of Maple Grove, NH, a precocious ten year old and her single father barge into Lydia’s life, turning what she thinks she wants onto its head. In this town full of happily ever afters, Lydia finds herself wishing for things she had sworn off long ago…

When Cameron Tripp’s wife passed away from heart disease, he thought he’d never find love again. He certainly never would have expected a woman like Lydia Ryder to waltz into his life and awaken his dormant heart and libido. But despite his better judgment, Cam finds himself drawn to the vivacious and argumentative outsider.

He quickly learns that, like him, she knows all about misplaced trust, heartbreak, and how quickly a family can fall apart if you let it.

Coach & Signed Paperback Giveaways!!!

Hey friends! It’s SNOWING here… and I’m waiting on the blizzard-like winds to begin. The upside? It’s a great day to stay in and get all the writing done my little fingers can handle! The downside? Well… snow. Snow. And more snow. It’s only January 4th and I’m already SO over winter!

To try to beat those winter blues, I decided to run another giveaway! This one is a bit different because I’m attempting it through Rafflecopter (which is really great at keeping track of entries meaning less work for me!)

There’s a bunch of ways to enter–But first, start by going to the giveaway itself right here.

To enter, you can follow me on Instagram, on Twitter, or Facebook as well as signing up for my newsletter, or following me on Amazon and Bookbub are all entries. AND if you already follow me all those places, all you have to do is a click a few buttons because you’re already entered in the giveaway!!!!

The giveaway ends on Tuesday, January 9th!

Well, Hello 2018!

It is currently -10 degrees outside right now. Colder with windchill. In other words, it’s miserable. But this morning, I turned to Sean and said, “I need to get out of the house today.”

Even though it’s cold. Even though it’s miserable out. Being cooped up in my house with a messy bun and laptop and nine week old puppy was grating on my nerves. I needed to start 2018 with good coffee, big dreams, and large word counts, writing in a coffee shop. =)

I don’t tend to be great at resolutions. I keep them for like, a day, and then forget about them. Or just all together get annoyed and give up, ultimately resulting in my disappointment of myself. So no more resolutions for me.

BUT I have always done well with goals. You might be saying to yourself, ummm, Katana, goals and resolutions are essentially the same thing. But I disagree. A resolution is a typically a commitment to make a lifelong change–and that’s why I always fail. Because there is an inevitable falling off the wagon. I once made a resolution to stop biting my nails. It lasted until that evening when we went to see a movie and it was so intense, I didn’t realize I was biting my nails throughout it. Whereas a goal has a finish line. I can set a goal to hit a word count of 2500 words per day, rather than my typical 2000 words per day until I finish my book.

So what are some of my goals this year? I want to increase my average word count and in turn, increase my productivity–hopefully resulting in finishing at least one extra book yearly. I’m aiming for 4-5 books this year! Which means… getting organized. And staying focused.

Tell me friend, what are some of your goals and resolutions for 2018?

My Christmas Reading List: The Best Holiday Romance Novels Under $3!

My Christmas Reading List: The Best Romance Novels to Put You in the Holiday Spirit

This time of year, nothing is more satisfying than putting on some Christmas music, curling under a blanket and cracking open a deliciously sexy Christmas romance!

And there are some AMAZING deals right now from some of my favorite authors! Check them out!

  1. Chasing Christmas Eve by the incomparable Jill Shalvis (Only $1.99 at the time of this post!

    Run for the hills—temporarily. That’s Colbie Albright’s plan when she flees New York for San Francisco. Wrangling her crazy family by day and writing a bestselling YA fantasy series by night has taken its toll. In short, Colbie’s so over it that she’s under it. She’s also under the waters of a historic San Francisco fountain within an hour of arrival. Fortunately, the guy who fishes Colbie out has her looking forward to Christmas among strangers. But she’s pretty sure Spencer Baldwin won’t be a stranger for long.Spence’s commitment to hiding from the Ghosts of Relationships Past means he doesn’t have to worry about the powerful—okay, crazy hot—chemistry he’s got with Colbie. Just because she can laugh at anything, especially herself… just because she’s gorgeous and a great listener…just because she “gets” Spence immediately doesn’t mean he won’t be able to let Colbie go. Does it?Now the clock’s ticking for Colbie and Spence: Two weeks to cut loose. Two weeks to fall hard. Two weeks to figure out how to make this Christmas last a lifetime.

    2. A Kiss for Christmas by Melody Grace (FREE at time of post)

    In UNWRAPPED… When a unlikely couple gets snowed in on the way to the wedding, a flirty game of truth-or-dare sends temperatures soaring.

    In HOLIDAY KISSES… Writer Dash needs peace and quiet to finish his new script, but he wasn’t betting on inn-keeper Ellie and the local Starbright festival to give him a jolt of holiday inspiration.

    In UNEXPECTEDLY YOURS… Sophie has been dreaming of a magical winter holiday in New York City. Can a chance encounter with musician Austin bring her festive dreams to life?

    3. Wish List by Sylvia Day (Only $1.24 at the time of Post)
    When Nicholas James draws Stephanie Martin’s name in their law firm’s Secret Santa exchange he knows he’s in for a merry Christmas–if he can figure out what to give the woman he’s wanted for months. When he works late and finds a crumpled piece of paper listing Steph’s personal wish list, he knows he’s in luck. Because all Steph wants for Christmas is him, in a number of naughty ways.

    And not-so saintly Nick is going to make every one of her carnal wishes come true.

    4. Love Me By Christmas by Jaci Burton (Only $2.99 at time of Post)

    Ellie Washington lost her husband in a tragedy five years ago at Christmas. She wouldn’t have made it through her grief if not for her husband’s brother, Nick, who helped her pick up the pieces of her shattered life. And with every year, her feelings for Nick have grown. Now she realizes she might be in love with him, but that’s not fair, because Nick deserves a life that isn’t about his brother’s widow and son.

    Sharing his life with Ellie and her son has been the balm that soothed Nick’s soul after losing his brother. Now that friendship has turned into something deeper. Nick doesn’t want to upset the status quo, but someone has to make the first move, and it’s time they figure out if their feelings are real. Nick believes in what they have. He also believes in Christmas miracles, and he thinks they’re both long overdue for one.

    5. Holiday Hook Up by Robyn Neeley (Only $2.99 at time of Post)

    Bethany Wilson has had one wish since she was fourteen: That Adam Reed would one day be her boyfriend. Always on the sidelines, she watched the budding high school romance between her best friend and Adam bloom into something longer lasting. When the unthinkable happens and the two break up, Bethany can’t help but wonder a year later if she can finally reveal to him how she feels.

    Unsure and still afraid to go after what she wants, Bethany attends the annual Holiday Hook Up event – the town’s annual pairing of couples between Christmas and New Years – prepared to once again stand on the sidelines. That is, until she discovers a beautiful wedding dress in an antique hope chest. Little does she know that Mary was to be married in the dress before she died, and now has other plans for it that involve Bethany, Adam, and one toe curling kiss.

Character Interview: Cameron

It is a frigid, snowy mix outside of my window and for fun, I decided to interview Cameron from Capturing You about his favorite snow day activities!


Name: Cameron
Age: 32
Job/Role: Contractor/Carpenter

Hey there, Cameron! Can you introduce yourself?
Hey Katana, I’m really glad to be here. Although I have to say, even though I live only a couple hours south of Maine in New Hampshire… it is MUCH colder up here.

Dude, don’t rub it in!
Well, for those who don’t know me, I’m Cameron, but you can call me Cam for short. Most of my friends do. I have a ten year old daughter who is my life and four siblings–two sisters and two brothers. I love my job, but it’s just a job. At the end of the day, I work to live… not the other way around.

Are you a fan of Christmas?
Of course. What kind of Scrooge isn’t a fan of Christmas? Especially with a ten year old, this time of year is magical.

What is your favorite type of Christmas cookie?
Those thumbprint ones with raspberry jam in the middle. Freaking delicious, but only when my mother makes them.

Let’s pretend you’re decorating cookies/Gingerbread house…what would you do to yours?
Well, I’m a carpenter, so it gets pretty intricate. Building a gingerbread house with me is like playing Pictionary with an artist. I like it, but for most everyone else, it’s frustrating

Are you someone who likes the snow or would you rather curl up by a Fireplace?
Who says I have to choose? The best snow days are when you spend the morning sledding and winning a snowball fight, then warming up by the fire with cocoa.

Last question… sledding or skating?
Oh, come on. Sledding, no question. With Crisco spread on the bottom of your sled. That sucker will fly down the hill!

This was so much fun, Cameron! Thanks for popping in! I’ll let you get back to your snowball fight with Maddie and Lydia now.
Thanks for having me! Lydia’s not great in the kitchen, but that girl can brew a mean cup of coffee! Keep warm!

Want to read more about Cameron? Capturing You is available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited (FREE for members) until January 27th! Get it before it goes wide again!

National Cookie Day AND a Giveaway!

It’s that time of year again!!!! (The BEST time of year!) Happy National Cookie Day, everyone!!

Now, whenever someone tells me Oatmeal Raisin is their favorite cookie, I have to admit… I’m a little confused. Like… really? Oatmeal Raisin? It’s the redheaded stepchild of cookies! (No offense to you beautiful redheads out there or to any stepsisters/brothers/children!)

HOWEVER, I tried the oatmeal raisin cookies offered at DeLuscious and ZOMG. They are amazeballs. They were so amazing that I got inspired to attempt to make my own. And I have to say…maybe Oatmeal Raisin cookies are like the black coffee of cookies. They’re an acquired taste… for the refined cookie eaters. If you’re a refined cookie eater? I’ve got the recipe (below) for ya!

In any case, today for breakfast, I ate my last DeLuscious cookie and read the final chapters of Rachel Van Dyken’s Cheater’s Regret!!! Tell me friends… what cookie are you eating and what book are you reading???

** To win a copy of Rachel Van Dyken’s Cheater’s Regret, pop over to my Facebook Page and enter to win!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour

1 cup raisins, chopped nuts or semisweet chocolate chips, if desired

Steps

1
Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, beat all ingredients except oats, flour and raisins with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in oats, flour and raisins.

2
On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.

3
Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

Cameron’s DIY Leafy Mason Jars!

Cameron’s DIY Leafy Mason Jars!

In Capturing You, Cameron is a single dad to his daughter, Maddie. As every parent knows (single or not), keeping your kid entertained and engaged during the holidays can be challenging. Well, Cam is here to give you his favorite DIY of something that’s ACTUALLY usable after! He found this DIY over at DIYready.com!

These Mod-Podge leaf glasses are adorable and they will last you for a few seasons (especially if you use fake leaves from a craft store rather than real leaves… but both work!). You can either use them as water glasses as you set your Thanksgiving table or put tea lights in them and use them as an autumn centerpiece!

It really is as easy as it looks! Cam started by sending Maddie out into the yard to collect the leaves (easily 30 minutes to keep her busy and have fun outside in the fresh air). Then, you get to work mod podging the leaves to the mason jar with the sponge brush. Allow it to dry completely before tying it off with some burlap or string and there you go! Adorable decor for your Thanksgiving table!

Interested in reading more about Cam and Maddie? Well, Capturing You is available for FREE in KU (Kindle Unlimited) until January 2, 2018!!

After discovering she can’t have children, Lydia Ryder has all but convinced herself that she doesn’t need a family to be happy. But when her job as a magazine photographer lands her in the small town of Maple Grove, NH, a precocious ten year old and her single father barge into Lydia’s life, turning what she thinks she wants onto its head. In this town full of happily ever afters, Lydia finds herself wishing for things she had sworn off long ago…

When Cameron Tripp’s wife passed away from heart disease, he thought he’d never find love again. He certainly never would have expected a woman like Lydia Ryder to waltz into his life and awaken his dormant heart and libido. But despite his better judgment, Cam finds himself drawn to the vivacious and argumentative outsider. He quickly learns that, like him, she knows all about misplaced trust, heartbreak, and how quickly a family can fall apart if you let it.