Category Archives: Holiday Celebrations

Labor Day Celebration with Potato Salad Recipe

RosieLargerToday, I’m celebrating Labor Day by sharing an iconic picture and my recipe for potato salad for your Labor Day picnic. In 1943 “The Saturday Evening Post” featured Norman Rockwell’s version of “Rosie the Riveter.” The cover features a female worker with her foot resting on Hitler’s Mein Kampf. This and the “We Can Do It” poster which were intended to recruit women into the workforce in traditional male jobs became iconic symbols of the women’s and workplace rights movement of the 1970s-1980s. Check out the “We Can Do It” poster at Worlds of the Imagination.

Rita Bay’s Potato Salad

Boil 8-10 medium potatoes with skin on until knife inserts easily.
Cool potatoes, then peel and cut into ½” pieces. Set aside.

For dressing for potatoes combine:
1 ½ Cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
1/3 Cup mustard
2/3 Cup sweet relish
4 boiled eggs, chopped fine
2 tsp black pepper

In blender combine and blend until pureed.
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/3 Cup onion, chopped
2 Tbl bell pepper, chopped (I use red)

Add above to dressing.
Pour mixture over potatoes and mix.
Salt and pepper to taste

Tomorrow, RELEASE DAY X 2 Rita Bay

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Fish Need Lots of Sauce – Tartar Sauce & Remoulade

This is my final post about my hometown story, SEARCH & RESCUE. I showed off some of my favorite places and shared some of my favorite To Dos. Finally, we visited the bay for a mullet fry with recipes for the fried fish and the must-have hush puppies. Before I move on I had to talk about the sauces. Whether tartar or remoulade, you must have a sauce with your fish. Who ever heard of eating fish without sauce and a cold beer? I can’t do anything about the beer but I can share my sauce recipes which my family loves.  Here’s a pic of both sauces in one of those split dishes that you only take out at holidays. The recipes follow:

 Tartar SauceDSC00648

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 finely chopped onion
1/3 cup dill pickle relish
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Preparation: Combine onion and relish with the mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Make a day ahead for best flavor.

Remoulade Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Louisiana Hot Sauce, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon Zatarain’s Shrimp & Crab Boil (Don’t Overuse!!)
Note: My daddy added 2 tablespoons of prepared horseradish
Preparation:
Combine all ingredients. Stir. Store in plastic container. Make a day ahead for best flavor.

Tomorrow is Labor Day when we celebrate the American worker with parades and picnics. Check out my family’s favorite potato salad and an iconic pic.  Rita

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New Releases & Hush Puppies

It’s been a while, but I’m in the middle of writing a sequel and preparing for two book releases this Tuesday (September 3rd). Finding Eve is the second of my Lyons’ Tales shapeshifter novellas. It is absolutely a stand-alone read. I personally hate to read the second or third book in a series and find that I have no clue what’s going on. 

Thank you to my editor extraordinaire, Nikki Andrews, who gives 100% on every paragraph with a cyber-smile. Thanks also to Trisha Fitzgerald for her magnificent cover. You can check out the cover on the left and click to read the blurb and an excerpt. The buy link will be active Tuesday.  Also released is Shared Whispers, an anthology of fifteen stories by Champagne authors. Check out the cover on the left, click to read the blurb and an excerpt of Nimue’s Daughter, a contemporary Arthurian fantasy in which Merlin battles the Armageddon.

hushpuppiesWhen I was writing about my hometown military romance, Search & Rescue (see  graphic on left), I ended with the story of a mullet fry–an all-day group fest. Today, I’m sharing my favorite recipe for Hush Puppies which are deep-fried with the fish. Tomorrow, I’ll post my personal tartar sauce and remoulade recipes for seafood. 

HUSH PUPPIES

1 ½ cups yellow or white cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 can cream-style corn
milk, as needed
finely chopped jalapeno pepper, optional to taste

Preparation:  Mix dry ingredients. Add onion, corn, and Jalapeno pepper (if desired). Mix well. Add milk for consistency, if needed. Drop by tablespoons into deep hot fat, about 360°. Fry until golden brown.
Tomorrow, Tartar Sauce & Remoulade.  Rita Bay

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Salute to Flag Day

FlagToday we celebrate Flag Day in the United states. On June 14th in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental the flag of the United States was adopted. Also, the United States Army celebrates the Army Birthday on this date. Congress adopted “the American continental army” after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole on June 14, 1775. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day. In August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. God Bless America!!   Rita Bay

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Happy Mother’s Day!

New Mother's Day 2013J

 RitaNewSigSm2J


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Counting Down to New Year’s with Rita Bay

The countdown to the New Year is on and it’s my day for a Holiday Celebration. My paranormal novels are published by Champagne Book Group and my historicals by Siren BookStrand. Check out the blurb for my most recent shapeshifter novella with Champagne, Into the Lyons’ Den. But first, I’m sharing my recipe for Hoppin’ John. Many folks in the coastal South will be dining on Hoppin’ John this New Year’s Day.

Hoppin’ John is a rice and black-eyed peas dish that originated in West Africa. Tradition has it that Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day will bring you good luck throughout the year. Can’t say for sure if that’s true, but I certainly don’t intend to go without to find out. The recipe is flexible but mine ends up a tad gummy–don’t want no soupy Hoppin John. Topped with sharp cheddar cheese and sprinkled liberally with hot sauce, it’s hard to beat, unless you serve jalapeno & cheese cornbread on the side. BTW, this is one of those dishes that tastes better the next day, if there’s any left. Enjoy.

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HOPPIN’ JOHN

hoppinJohnIngredients
1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas that have soaked overnight
8 cups water, divided 2 teaspoons salt
1 tsp black pepper 1 ham hock
5 slices of bacon 1 large onion, chopped
2 cups medium-grain white rice, uncooked
1 teaspoon garlic powder Sharp Cheddar cheese

Directions: Over medium heat, place the dried black-eyed peas, 6 cups of water, salt and ham hock in a large pot. Cook covered over medium heat until tender. While the peas are cooking, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, crumble and set aside, reserving the bacon grease. Sauté chopped onion in the bacon grease until soft. In a large-sized pot with a tight-fitting lid (iron if you have it), add the rice, 2 cups of the pea liquid, 2 cups of water, 2 cups of the cooked black-eyed peas, sautéed onions, bacon grease, garlic powder and crumbled bacon. Cook covered over medium-low heat until rice is done. If needed add more pea liquid if rice gets too dry. Top with cheese and serve with hot sauce and a skillet of cornbread on the side. Enjoy.

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INTO THE LYONS’ DEN

CLICK TO BUY/READ EXCERPTINTO THE LYONS’ DEN (A Shapeshifter Paranormal, M/F, R)Wealthy recluse Anthony Lyons offers a mint to lure Marie Maxwell, Atlanta’s most sought-after event planner, to coordinate a wedding and reception for a “very special couple” on his isolated estate in the mountains of North Carolina. Despite her sophisticated veneer, Marie’s a tough street-smart orphan without a past. Adopted by the owners of the elegant Hotel Maxwell, she’s been raised in the business. Known for her uncanny ability to “make things go right,” Marie accepts the challenge of planning a wedding for 200 guests in 10 days.

Marie soon discovers that an absent bride and groom is the least of her problems. Her arrogant and exasperating employer displays far too much interest in her and her personal life, especially her lost years. Confronted with a mysterious stalker, two thwarted murder attempts, and dark shadows from her shrouded past, she finds an ally in an amorous feline of some unknown species. But who’s got it in for her? And what’s with Anthony and all the cats?

Click the BEAUTIFUL Book Cover to Buy or read excerpt.

Tomorrow, Author Mary McCall        Rita Bay

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Twas the Night Before Christmas

“Twas the Night before Christmas” was originally published on the December 23, 1823. In 1844 Clement Clarke Moore, a member of a prominent New York family, admitted ownership when the work was included in a book of his poetry.  The poem was originally titled “A Visit from Saint Nicholas.” Since the poem’s publication, it has become a tradition to read it on Christmas Eve. Pic is from a 1912 edition via Project Gutenburg.

Visions of Sugar Plums

Twas the Night before Christmas Poem

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Tomorrow, The Nativity According to Matthew     Rita Bay

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High-End Christmas Gift – A Child’s Dream

Check out this magnificent playground set for the child who has almost everything. You’ll need a whopping 60′ on a side to fit it in your yard.

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This Thomas Modular Playground from Sports Play comes in purple, red, blue, tan. orange, yellow, green, and white. Cost?  $50,441.40 and the shipping will set you back another $7,000. Sweet, if you have it.

Tomorrow, another High-End  Gift.  Rita Bay

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Welcome Author Jude Johnson

Champagne Author Jude Johnson writes historical fiction. In a Melty Christmas to You, Jude shares with us her family’s personal saga of the Aluminum Christmas Tree.

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Melty Christmas to You

As a child, Christmas was the most eagerly awaited and magical time of the entire year.  The anticipation and excitement of the day the tree came into the house nearly matched the thrill of listening for sleigh bells on Christmas Eve night.  And where I grew up in the farmlands of western Pennsylvania, choosing and cutting a tree from the woods was tradition.

Imagine if you will then the trauma in 1964 for this six-year-old when Dad came into the house not with a fat and fragrant pine tree, but a long white box containing The Abominable Aluminum Tree. Each branch had to be carefully released from its own paper sheath with one end a potential pointy weapon and the other a tinsel mum blossom. Two poles wrapped in cheap, thin foil screwed together into a skinny trunk and fit into a base that resembled a misshapen baked potato. When plugged in, a motor in the base rotated the entire tree. A heavy stage light with a rotating stained glass plate of red, blue, green, and yellow squatted on the floor to supposedly bathe the glittery tree in a cascade of color. We were not permitted to decorate this wonder with our handmade ornaments but only the fragile glass balls Dad brought. He had one box of red and one box of gold.

I thought it was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. Mom didn’t care for it either. But Dad loved it and that was all there was to it. By decree, The Abomination was put up every December for the next three years.

Aluminum trees were first introduced in the 1950s, reaching their peak of popularity in the space-age loving, mod and hip mid-1960s. One theory on Wikipedia states it was the Charlie Brown Christmas special that lessened the demand for the silvery trees, satirizing them as part of the modernization of the holiday that was ruining it for the hapless hero. His choice of the scrawny but natural tree seemed to rejuvenate esteem for green pines while dealing the death blow to prefab foil kitsch.

I contend, however, it was my family’s doing.

My family probably inspired the government’s Warning Label Project For The Less-Than-Sensible. The combination of the manufacturer’s steel light housing a 150-watt incandescent bulb and a motor to turn the lead glass plate was at least a recipe for second and third degree burns for someone. But our family rose to the challenge to go far beyond mere flesh wounds or testing the capacity of hospital burn units. Another Christmas tree fire? Pul-eeze, that’s so mundane.

Yes, Virginia, aluminum can melt. In Year Three of The Fake Tree, one of my sisters (who shall remain nameless to avoid the paparazzi) decided the pretty colors of light would look much better pointing upward from directly under the tree branches.  Unfortunately, the casing would only angle forty-five degrees. But that didn’t stop me–uh, I mean my sister.  Set it upside down directly on the tree’s funky base and voila! Colored light shot all the way up to the ceiling and around the room from the foil strands and ornaments in a rather cool precursor of the disco mirror ball looming in the not-so-distant future.

It wasn’t the smell that alerted us to trouble during dinner, nor the grinding squeal of burning motors. Ornaments smashed and shattered with an eerie similarity to gunshots. Our big collie-mix dog immediately ran into the room and shot under the kitchen table–his usual hiding place during thunderstorms and hunting season–knocking my brother’s knees and sending his chair crashing backward.  My father jumped to his feet and dashed into the living room. The rest of us followed.

A half-melted mass of grayish-silver glommed the floor, surrounded with red and gold shrapnel in a crazy post-Bacchanal Roman mosaic. Nothing whirred or whined; when the tree fell, it had pulled its electrical cords from the sockets. You could smell heat but nothing smoked and there were no flames. But those mum blossoms had melded together in places and would never fit into their paper tubes or their allotted slots in the now deformed trunk again.  Thank goodness there had been no presents placed under it.

Timing, after all, is everything.

Mom made sure we had real trees every year after The Melty Christmas. When artificial trees became more lifelike, those became the better choice, allowing more pines to remain and thrive in the woods. Now when I see the brilliant purple and pink aluminum display trees in the stores, I have to smile. Betcha they don’t come with a steel-cased stage light.

[P.S. You’re welcome, Mom. xoxo]

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Click to Buy at ChampagneJude’s Dragon & Hawk series is the saga of a Welsh immigrant in 1880s Arizona, the Mexican-Mayan healer he falls for, and their struggle to survive and establish a family. Her latest novel, Dragon’s Legacy, is Book Three of the trilogy. Jude’s short story, Within The Mists, is an historical fantasy involving the ancient Celtic legend of the selchie–a human on land and a seal in the sea–and an officer of the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars.

Click Book Cover to Buy at Champagne

CLICK TO VISIT AMAZON PAGE

CLICK TO BUY AT BARNES & NOBLE

Visit Jude’s webpage: http://www.jude-johnson.com/

Tomorrow, Siren BookStrand author, Kate Patrick

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Happy Chanukah

menorahnewJChanukah begins at sunset this evening.  Chanukah celebrates two miracles: (1) the defeat of the vastly superior Greek army that occupied the Holy Land by a small army (the Maccabes) in the second century BC and (2) the olive oil which was used in the rededication of the Holy Temple which should have lasted for only one day burned for eight days and nights. Chanukah is not a biblical holiday since it was instituted two centuries after the Bible was completed and canonized. It is traditionally celebrated publicly by positioning the Chanukah menorah at the door or window.

On the first night of Chanukah, one candle is lit to the far right of the menorah. On the following night add a second light to the left of the first one, and then add one light each night of Chanukah—moving from right to left. Each night, light the newest (leftmost) candle first, and continue lighting from left to right. Lights are added to the menorah from right to left, and are lit from left to right. The ninth candle is called the shamash or “attendant” candle. It is used to light the other ones.

Because of the central role that oil played in the Chanukah miracle, it is customary to serve foods fried in oil. Dairy food is also served. A totally cool custom among Sephardic residents of Jerusalem is to arrange communal meals during the eight days of Chanukah. Friends who quarreled during the year traditionally reconcile at these meals.

All of the info above was taken from an extremely informative site.  Check it out at:  http://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/article_cdo/aid/605036/jewish/Chanukah-FAQs.htm.  Happy Chanukah to all who will begin their celebration this evening.

Tomorrow, Author Ronald Hore

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December 8, 2012 · 12:05 am