Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Temptation Tuesday - Melissa's Little Secret...

Welcome Romance author's Melissa McClone with her little temptation secret....

Shhh! I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I love to cook. Why is that such a secret? Well, my wonderful hubby does all the cooking around here unless we're having company or it's a holiday. While he's busy in the the kitchen making our meals, I write. A pretty good deal I must admit so I don't say much about cooking around here.

But when Christmastime rolls around, I pull out my apron and hit the kitchen. I love making holiday treats, sweets, meals, you name it. My obsession with holiday cooking started back when I was a little girl. A friend of the family, a woman named Peggy, would invite us over to bake Christmas cookies. We'd spend an entire day at her house mixing, rolling, cutting and decorating about a dozen different types of cookies. It was a kid's dream come true and ever since then I've been hooked on Christmas cooking. But the time I want to spend cooking around the holidays doesn't always happen with everything else going on so I've learned a few shortcuts that help me save a little time!

In my most recent Harlequin Romance, Rescued by the Magic of Christmas, I have a scene with my heroine decorating Christmas cookies with her nephew and niece. This is a yearly event at our house, but last year after writing this book, I found myself with Christmas fast approaching and nothing done. I decided to go with the pre-made dough you find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store for several dozen of our sugar and gingerbread cookies. And you know what? The kids could care less and Santa ate the entire plate we left for him!

In that same book, I have the heroine teach the hero and the two children who to make a gingerbread house. We make a gingerbread house every year, but have you ever tried to make a gingerbread house from scratch? It's really hard. Or maybe I should qualify that. It was really hard for me. So once again I opt for an easier method by buying a kit with everything you need included. I also found a site with gingerbread house decorating ideas. We take our houses seriously here!

Another thing I've found to not only save time, but please my family is take some of their favorite recipes and make them Christmasy! This Texas Sheet Cake recipe is so yummy. Even my daughter who hates cake loves it. The consistency is like a brownie. The icing goes on warm so it hardens a little. A chocolate lovers dream. When I make it around the holidays, I add crushed candy canes on top of the icing right after I pour it over the cake. This way the candy cane sets with the icing. Delicious!

Since the past couple of years, I've been taking many recipe shortcuts I decided to ask some of my fellow Harlequin Romance Wedding Planner authors for a few of their holiday recipes to share with you. Just follow the links to their recipes and start your holiday cooking!

Linda Goodnight has two tasty recipes for you. The first is for a side dish, Goodnight Sweet Potato Casserole, and the second is for a Strawberry Pretzel salad.

Myrna Mackenzie has two recipes to share: a Vegetable Cheese Casserole recipe that's her favorite take along dish to family gatherings and an Easy Microwave Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge recipe that even those with super time constraints can make.

Shirley Jump is a cook extraordinare with so many recipes to share it was hard to narrow down which ones to post. Check out these Easy Chocolate Peanut Clusters that are made in a crockpot! And if you're looking to wow guests, try this Carrots with a Ginger-Honey Glaze side dish.

Susan Meier sent me My Mother's Cinnamon Roll recipe that is a hit at the holiday breakfast table. The recipe, if you haven't guessed by the title, comes from her mother and contains wonderful references such as fuzzy yeast and add flour until it feels right. Gotta love those mom recipes!

So what are your favorite holiday recipes? Any you care to share with us?

Melissa's current release is on the shelves now or available online in NA here or in the UK here.

Check out Melissa's
website. Be sure to post a comment on her blog if you want to be entered in her latest contest! And don't forget to pay a visit to The Wedding Planners blog.


  1. I love the smell of baking and Christmas is probably the only time of year I actually eat sweets lol. Nice seeing what other do for the holidays. And had to totally steal the vegetable cheese casserole, sounds yummy.

  2. Melissa!

    Your post reminded me so much of another of my mother's holiday traditions.

    The Friday after Thanksgiving, she invites all her grandchildren and greatgrandchildren to the house to "paint" Christmas cookies.

    She cuts sugar cookies into santas and sleighs, bells and bows, Christmas trees and wreaths, then makes colorful icing.

    The kids "paint" the icing on the cookies and some years we get some real treats! Like blue Santas!

    The cookies are frozen and the day before Christmas, hung on her cookie tree in the family room along with candy canes. On Christmas day the kids get to eat the cookies and show them off to their parents!

    It's a fun tradition.

    Cooking can be a wonderful part of holiday traditions!

    susan meier

  3. Count me in on the cooking :o) There's a recipe sneaked into practically all my books.

    We don't do Thanksgiving here in the UK, but Christmas... ah, yes. We do 'early Christmas' with various friends and family who live too far away to see on the day, and they insist that I make cheese stars and choc-chip cookies. (Recipes are on my website) I even get texts and phone calls beforehand to ensure I've made enough for a doggie bag! (Don't ask about the calories. If it's Christmas, it doesn't count... right?)

  4. Christmas is the only time of year that the hubs will bake. Because he only knows how to bake one thing! *G* But, it is nice to wake up to warm cinnamon rolls. The recipes sound delish! Thanks!

  5. I love the aroma of baked cookies which gets you into the holiday spirit. A cup of egg nog and I'm in heaven.

  6. Everything sounds so good, I don't know where to start :)

  7. Thanks for stopping by. I can't wait to check out your recipe, Kate. Thanks for the link!


  8. Oh my, I feel a cooking binge coming on! After hopping over to check out Kate's long, long list of yummies, I don't know where to start. A fav around here is my candy making. I make everything from the easy bon-bons and microwave divinity to old-fashioined peanut brittle and Aunt Bill's Brown Candy. All that sugar and all those calories just don't count at Christmas!