2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 80,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

$1.99 ~ THE YIELDING: Book Two In The “Age of Faith” Series On Sale For A Limited Time

THE YIELDING: Book Two in the Age of Faith series on sale for a limited time.

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The Unveiling, the first book in the Age of Faith series, introduced readers to the formidable Wulfrith family during Duke Henry’s battle for England’s throne in 1153. Now, four years later, Henry wears the crown, but the Wulfriths are no less defiant—and no more amenable to forging alliances through king-decreed marriage.

SHE HAD KILLED A MAN. OR SO IT WAS SAID…

Convent-bound Lady Beatrix Wulfrith is determined to aid her sister in escaping marriage to their family’s enemy. Unaware of the sacrifice that awaits her, she leads their pursuers astray only to meet with an accident that forever alters her destiny and takes the life of a young knight whose brother vows he will not rest until the lady is brought to justice.

Lord Michael D’Arci is a warrior and a womanizer whose foul mouth and impatience bode ill for all who trespass against him. Falsely accused of ravishment years earlier, he refuses to believe Lady Beatrix’s accusations against his deceased brother. However, when he finds himself at the mercy of that same woman who clings to her convictions and faith even when it threatens to prove her undoing, his quest for justice wavers.

To read an excerpt, visit: tamaraleigh.com

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks Store.

SWEET CRANBERRY BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

Yes, another breakfast casserole. But this one is definitely Thanksgiving- and Christmas-themed. While I’m thinking on one that includes pumpkin, enjoy this tasty creation.

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10 King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, torn into bite-sized pieces

1-14 oz can whole cranberry sauce

8 eggs

3/4 cup half and half

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup pecans halves

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees; lightly butter 13×9 baking dish

2) Spread rolls over bottom of baking dish; drop cranberry sauce by teaspoonfuls over rolls; set aside

3) In medium-sized bowl, mix eggs, half and half, brown sugar, and cinnamon; pour over rolls; bake in oven 45-50 minutes until done in center; scatter pecans over top and bake additional 5 minutes; serve

Servings: 6

LAYERED SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

Senior adores sweet potatoes…and cranberry sauce…and marshmallows. Layer them in one baking dish, sprinkle with butter-oat crumble topping and pecans, and you have an easy, unbelievably tasty side dish.

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6 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1-14 oz can whole cranberry sauce

2 cups marshmallow cream (I used Jet-puffed brand)

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup oats

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup Craisins

1/4 cup pecan halves

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly butter 8×8″ baking dish

2) In medium-sized bowl, mix butter, oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon until well combined and crumbly; refrigerate

3) In baking dish, layer casserole as follows: 2 cups sweet potatoes (reserving 4 cups), cranberry sauce, 2 cups sweet potatoes (reserving 2 cups), marshmallow cream, and remaining 2 cups sweet potatoes; bake in oven 20 minutes

4) Crumble butter-oat mixture over casserole and bake additional 15-20 minutes until casserole is bubbly and crumble topping is golden brown; scatter Craisins and pecans over top and cook additional 5 minutes; serve

Servings: 8-10

BLACK BEAN-FETA SOFT BREAKFAST TACO

Don’t let the name fool you. This is dinner–in a big way. Not only is this breakfast taco fabulously easy and quick to prepare, but it’s incredibly tasty.

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Olive oil spray

4 large flour tortillas

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

8 eggs

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

3 green onions, sliced thin

1 cup diced red bell pepper

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup salsa

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

1) Spray olive oil over large skillet and heat over medium-high; warm tortillas, both sides, until lightly golden; set aside

2) In medium-sized bowl, lightly beat eggs with salt, pepper, and green onions

3) Add 1 tbsp olive oil (reserving 1 tbsp) to same skillet and heat over medium; pour in egg mixture and, stirring occasionally, cook until scrambled and just done; remove from heat, cover, and set aside

4) Add reserved 1 tbsp olive oil to small skillet and heat over medium-high; add red bell pepper and black beans and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes; stir in salsa and, when warmed through, remove from heat

5) Assemble breakfast tacos as follows: divide egg mixture between flour tortillas, top with black bean mixture, feta cheese, and cilantro; serve

Servings: 4

ASIAN EGG NOODLE SOUP

Soup’s on–yes, again. But baby it’s cold outside and getting colder, and what better way to knock off a chill than to sit down to a big bowl of soup. And this one has the added bonus of being oh-so-tasty. Give it a try!Asian Egg Noodle Soup2 tbsp olive oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin into bite-sized pieces

8 cups chicken broth

6 oz dried egg noodles (I used spiral)

3/4 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped carrots

2 lightly beaten eggs

2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach

1) To large soup pot, add olive oil and heat over medium-high; add chicken and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes until just done; transfer to bowl and set aside

2) Add broth to soup pot and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and add egg noodles, celery, and carrots; cook 8 minutes

3) Gently pour beaten egg into soup in circular pattern and cook 2 minutes; stir in chicken and spinach, cook 2 minutes, and remove from heat; serve

Servings: 4

CRANBERRY-SAUCED TURKEY BURGERS ON STUFFING

My guys get tired of buns, and with Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas ahead, I thought I’d serve up burgers on stuffing. And, while I was at it, I added cranberry sauce. Delicious!

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1 cup diced red onion

1/4 cup Craisins

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

2 tsp fresh minced sage

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1-1/4 lb ground turkey

1-6 oz pkg Stovetop stuffing, prepared per package instructions

1 cup whole cranberry sauce

1) In large bowl, mix: onion, Craisins, bread crumbs, beaten egg, sage, salt, and black pepper; mix in ground turkey until well combined and shape into four patties, about 3/4″ thick

2) To large skillet over medium heat, add turkey patties and cook 4-5 minutes each side until cooked through

3) Meanwhile, prepare stuffing mix according to package directions and heat cranberry sauce in small saucepan over  medium heat until warmed through

4) Divide stuffing between four plates, top with burgers, followed by cranberry sauce; serve

Servings: 4

TURKEY TAMALE PIE

Love this Turkey Tamale Pie, but then I’m a pretty big fan of polenta. Fortunately, so were my guys and our friends who sat down to this delicious meal. I didn’t take a count, but I do believe it earned every thumbs up possible. Yum!
Tamale Pie2 tbsp olive oil

1 large white onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 lb ground turkey (chicken is good, too)

1 tbsp tomato paste

1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

3 cups water

1 cup cornmeal

1-1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, divided

2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 green onion, sliced thin

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2) Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high; add onion, red bell pepper, salt, oregano, cumin, and black pepper and cook 5 minutes; stir in ground turkey and cook 5 minutes until just cooked through; stir in tomato paste and diced tomatoes and cook 5 minutes; remove from stove top and spread in bottom of large casserole dish; set aside

3) In large saucepan, bring water to a boil; stir in cornmeal and cook, stirring continuously, until thickened, about 2 minutes; remove from heat and stir in 1 cup cheese (reserving 1/4 cup) and corn; spread evenly over chicken mixture

4) Bake tamale pie in oven 30 minutes until top is golden brown; sprinkle cheese and green onions over top and cook additional 2-3 minutes until cheese melts; remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving; enjoy!

Servings: 6

SESAME CHICKEN WITH SNOW PEAS

You can’t go wrong with sesame chicken. You can’t go wrong with snow peas. Put them together and…well…you can’t go wrong at all. My guys agree wholeheartedly!
Sesame Chicken

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tbsp sherry cooking wine

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Thai chili sauce

6 oz snow peas, ends trimmed

1-8 oz can bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed

1-8 oz can water chestnuts, drained and rinsed

3 scallions, sliced thin

2 tbsp sesame seeds (I used a white-black mix)

2 tsp Asian sesame oil

1) To large ziploc bag, add soy sauce, sherry cooking wine, cornstarch, brown sugar, ground ginger, and black pepper; seal and shake to mix; add chicken, shake, and let marinate 15 minutes; drain marinade from chicken, reserving marinade

2) Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat; add chicken and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes

3) Stir in marinade, chili sauce, snow peas, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes until warmed through; stir in scallions, sesame seeds, and sesame oil and remove from heat; serve with or without rice and enjoy!

Servings: 4