Friday, November 7, 2014

Heating up the Holidays with Elizabeth Essex




Heating up the Holidays with Elizabeth Essex! 




Elizabeth Essex is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Reckless Brides historical romance series. Her books have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award and Seal of Excellence Award, and RWA’s prestigious RITA Award. The Reckless Brides Series has also made Top-Ten lists from Romantic Times, The Romance Reviews and Affaire de Coeur Magazine, and Desert Isle Keeper status at All About Romance. Her fifth book, A BREATH OF SCANDAL, was awarded Best Historical in the Reader’s Crown 2013.

When not rereading Jane Austen, mucking about in her garden or simply messing about with boats, Elizabeth can be always be found with her laptop, making up stories about heroes and heroines who live far more exciting lives than she.  It wasn’t always so.  Long before she ever set pen to paper, Elizabeth graduated from Hollins College with a BA in Classics and Art History, and then earned her MA in Nautical Archaeology from Texas A&M University.  While she loved the life of an underwater archaeologist, she has found her true calling writing lush, lyrical historical romance full of passion, daring and adventure. 





At the Essex abode we are looking forward to enjoying what I call a full-on Southern Christmas. This may surprise those of you who know for a fact that I was born a Yankee, and still carry some deep-seated New Englander-isms in my blood (notably the inability to turn a blind eye). And while I occasionally miss the snow-covered white Christmases of my youth, I have grown to savor the warmth of a southern Christmas day. And the ease and tradition of decorating with glossy magnolia leaves. And the pecan pies. And the oysters. And oh my, oh my, the punch. And the southern-est of them all, the deep fried turkey. 

            I am ashamed to say that I resisted this deep-fried innovation at the onset of my marriage to the Indispensable Mr. Essex. Where would I stuff my stuffing, I wailed. How could I be expected to whip up the world’s most delicious, savory gravy with no proper pan drippings? And furthermore, how could anybody be expected to feel all Chrismas-y without the divine aroma of the roasting bird wafting about our drafty old house? “Well,” Mr. Essex replied with his usual good-humored thoughtfulness, “You could use the empty oven space to make more pies.” 

            Now there is a man who has his priorities straight. So I adapted. And once I had made all those pies, they needed to be shared. And once I had people coming over for some pie, I thought they might be thirsty. And so I decided to make bourbon punch. And this was when I really hit my stride.

            I can make punch for just about any occasion—non-alcoholic types for afternoon tea, champagne punch for brunch parties, and my favorite, a cheering, toe-warming bourbon punch for winter evenings. I started with the recipe passed down to me by my father who used to make a concoction known in the family annals as “Robinson’s Flaming Retribution Punch.” This lethal blend will put enough hair on your chest to warm a body through the raw New England winters. 

            But I was looking for something a little less insistent, a little more neighborly and hospitable. And something chilled for those warm southern winter afternoons. And here it is, my version of the ‘Holiday Cheer’ that makes an appearance in “The Scandal Before Christmas,” my novella in CHRISTMAS BRIDES.

Mrs. Essex’s Advanced Holiday Cheer:

Overnight:

Soak 8 cinnamon sticks in a 750ml bottle of bourbon, and let it sit overnight. (I just push the sticks down the neck.) 
Next day: 
Stir one cup of white sugar into a mix of 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 1/2 cup ginger juice, and 1/2 cup of unsweetened cranberry juice, and let it fully dissolve. (You can do this with regular sweetened cranberry juice by leaving off the sugar at this point, and adding it back in later to taste, but that’s tricky.)
Get out your punch bowl and pour in the juice blend, bourbon (leaving the cinnamon sticks behind) and 3/4 of a cup of Malmsey Madeira. (Malmsey is Madeira wine made out of the sweet Malvasia grape which I think works better than dryer Moscatel or other Madeira grapes, but you suit yourself.)
Stir lazily.
Pour in 3 cups of sparkling water. Soda water is also fine, and I have even used flavored sparkling water (like lemon, or even pomegranate) in a pinch.
Garnish with cranberries, or nutmeg, or even a sprig or two of mint.
Serve over crushed ice.
Drink responsibly. 
And be of good cheer.


Thank you, Elizabeth! I do love the sound of all those pies...and the turkey...and the punch! I'd say you have conquered the Southern Christmas with a flair! 

Readers, do you have a favorite holiday punch recipe? Was the recipe handed down or is it your own concoction?

How do you cook your turkey? Have you tried deep-fried? (PJ here. I admit to being skeptical until I tasted one that was deep-fried. Oh my delicious goodness!)

Are you a pie maker? What's your favorite kind to make? Favorite kind to eat?



Giveaway: To one random commenter, I will give away a FULL set of the Reckless Brides Books: ALMOST A SCANDAL, A BREATH OF SCANDAL, SCANDAL IN THE NIGHT, AFTER THE SCANDAL, A SCANDAL TO REMEMBER, and “The Scandal Before Christmas” in CHRISTMAS BRIDES. 
Open to US and Canada.

Bonus Giveaway: Elizabeth is also hosting a giveaway for her newsletter subscribers. Subscribe at her website.


Don't forget to "like" The Romance Dish's Facebook page for a chance to win a 4-book giveaway from today's authors!




The Scandal Before Christmas
by Elizabeth Essex

Lieutenant Ian Worth needs a wife by Christmas. He has to find her, woo her, and wed her before he goes back to sea. 

Anne Lesley is a shy spinster with no prospects, so she accepts Ian’s hasty offer only for the security it will bring. 

But when a midwinter storm rolls in, things start to heat up between them…and they might just find true, honest-to-goodness love…


87 comments:

  1. Hi Elizabeth! Loved your post! I'd really be heating up the holidays with that punch recipe. I am definitely going to give it a try. :)

    I'm also a pie maker. In fact, my condo was awash in the sweet aroma of baking apple pie yesterday. So very good! I'm going to have to start cutting and giving away pieces to my neighbors though or I'm going to end up eating the whole darn thing! LOL



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  2. Our holiday beverage of choice is my mother's recipe for Brandy Alexanders. Delish! I've never tried deep-fried turkey although I'd be willing to taste test it. I think I'd really miss the roasting turkey aromas. I do bake pies, but in this household, that means pumpkin pies, and lots of them! Elizabeth - looking forward to reading your books. Can't believe I haven't tried them yet!

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    1. Judy,

      I am so happy when I can find NEW readers!
      And we are going to have to switch—I'll give those Brandy Alexanders a try and you see if you can find a bit of succulent deep fried turkey. (Honestly, it is great!) I'm not so much of a pumpkin pie maker, mostly because I'm the only one in my family who likes it, and that means I eat the whole thing!
      Wishing you lots of reading time during the holidays, and thanks so much for stopping by to chat! Cheers, EE

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  3. Love your books! Thanks for the giveaway

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    1. Anon,

      You are so sweet! And I should say that the giveaway on my website mailing list is the lovely set of fashion prints I've got posted there.
      Wishing you lots of free time to read books over your holidays. Here's hoping one of them lands in your Christmas stocking. Thanks so much for stopping by to chat, and best of luck in the drawing, Cheers, EE

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  4. Love all of your books..can't wait to start Christmas brides

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    1. Amary,

      Thank you so very much. That warms my heart far better than my Christmas Cheer. :)
      I hope you've got lots of time to yourself to read this holiday season, so best of luck in the drawing, and thanks so much for stopping by. Cheers, EE

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  5. Hi, Elizabeth! Ok, ok, I'm probably not eligible to win your prize, but I just wanted to say hi. I discovered how to make hot toddies last winter, and now I'm really eager to try some more "advanced holiday cheer." as for pie, I'm terrible at making crust, but (in a desperation move) I learned that a pumpkin pie bakes and serves out just fine without one. If I'm the eater rather than the baker, all pies are good, especially warm fruit pies and pecan pie.

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    1. Theresa,

      Welcome, and thanks to you and to PJ for organizing us so very well this morning! And ooh!, you had me at 'hot toddies"! One of my absolute favorite things is hot apple cider with bourbon laced on in. (Bourdon is a theme of mine, if you hadn't noticed. I have a chocolate-bourbon pecan pie recipe to die for.) I have learned to make a very good crust from a butter-laden Julia Child recipe, but I do use the frozen ones from the grocery store in a pinch. And since I am only in it to eat it, not win a baking competition, I think that's just fine. :)
      Thanks so much for stopping by to chat this morning! Cheers, EE

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  6. PJ,
    You have hit the problem right on the head, er... belly! I talk myself into apple pie for breakfast by telling myself that it's fruit, and that's good for me, right? :)
    And I have to say that I get a lot of wonderful ideas for stories when I'm paring apples. There seems to be something about it which frees up my mind, and then encourages me to make more pies. :)
    Happy pie making, and happy eating. And thank you so much for hosting us here today! Cheers, EE

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  7. Judy, would you be willing to share that Brandy Alexander recipe? I haven't had one of those in years!

    Thanks for stopping by, Amary! I'm looking forward to starting Christmas Brides too. I do love kicking off Christmas romance reading season!

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  8. I have never made punch for any occasion, but I want to. I've been on Pinterest, searching for recipes to experiment with. This sounds perfect, Ms. Essex. Thanks for sharing!
    As for turkey, my husband was gifted a turkey fryer 5 years ago, and it still sits unused. I'm all about the pan drippings for gravy. I live for turkey gravy!!! This year, however, he has convinced me that we ARE going to have a deep fried turkey. So, I'm anxiously awaiting the holiday & hoping it all turns out well.
    Pies...I love to bake pies. I usually make a few pumpkin and a couple of pecan. This year, inspired again by Pinterest, I'm going to switch it up. I'm following Taste of Home's Pie of the Day board. So many tasty options!

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    1. Michelle,

      The loss of the pan drippings for the gravy is the only real drawback to the deep fried version. In the past, when we've hosted a big family day, I have made a small bird in the oven to supplement the big bird in the fryer, and used that for gravy makings. Win+win!
      And now I have to go look at the Pie of the Day board to see what I've been missing. I've been thinking about adding a Lemon Curd pie just for zestiness....Thanks for the great idea. :)
      Wishing you all the best this holiday season, and thanks so much for stopping by to chat! Cheers, EE

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    2. I've never thought of Lemon Curd pie in relation to the holidays, but it sounds like a really great addition. Great tip about baking a small turkey. I can always freeze the meat for a soup later on. Thank you!

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    3. Always happy to share the turkey love! Cheers, EE

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  9. The punch recipe sounds fabulous! We have poinsettiaas (mimosas made with Cranberry juice) on Christmas. I love to bake. Usually, I bake dinner rolls, apple pie and Christmas cookies. I start my baking Thanksgiving weekend. I roast my turkey in the oven. Put the turkey in the oven, grab the newspapers and take the dogs for a beach walk.

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    1. Susan,

      Oh, Pointsettas sound FABULOUS! I'm definitely going to have to try those. :) I usually start baking the Christmas cookies once Advent starts. I bake them in the afternoons when the kids come home from school so I don't end up eating the ALL myself.
      I just adore the thought of a walk with the dogs along the beach—used to do that when I was a kid and lived on the Connecticut shore. :) But now the Indispensable Mr. Essex and I, and the dogs, have started our own walking tradition where we walk around the neighborhood in the evenings after dinner to see the decorations and lights. :) Can't wait to start that after Thanksgiving.
      Here's to the best of luck in the drawing, and thank you so much for stopping by to chat today! Cheers, EE

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  10. THe brandy Alexander sounds good. I always used the Crisco recipe for the crust with no prob. I keep kickin myself out of here.

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    1. Amary,

      I haven't used Crisco but I am always willing to try new things for the sake of pie. :) Thanks for sharing! Cheers, EE

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  11. Michelle, I hope the deep fried turkey experiment will be a success. Maybe you could do what we did the first time we tried the fried method. We fried the turkey outside in the turkey fryer and roasted a turkey breast in the oven...just in case. ;-)

    Taste of Home has a Pie of the Day board? Oh my goodness. I'll never leave the kitchen! lol

    Susan, I love the sound of that drink! I bet it's beautiful to look at too. And walking the dogs on the beach while the turkey roasts in the oven is my idea of a perfect day. Enjoy your holiday!

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  12. I'm eating at my sister's this year, but will be doing turkey for our Christmas dinner!

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    1. Girly Girl,

      For Thanksgiving we'll be going over to family's as well, but I'll be bringing a load of pies with me. And at Christmas we always do a Christmas Eve dinner at home, just in case we have to travel to family's on the day. :) But family is ALWAYS worth the effort to be flexible. They are the heart of our holiday. :)
      Wishing you all the best, and thank you so much for stopping by to chat. Cheers, EE

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  13. I am the appreciative eater of all my sisters's culinary arts at Thanksgiving. I am the one that is assigned to buying paper goods or decorations.

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    1. Knye,

      I want you in MY family! :) (And I do the same thing when I am invited to a serious foodie's house for a meal. I never want to steal their limelight. :) ) And eating is the best part, isn't it!
      Thanks so much for stopping in to chat this morning. Wishing you the best through the holidays, Cheers, EE

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  14. PJ - Sure!

    Anna's Brandy Alexanders

    Stir together in a 2 qt. pitcher:
    1/2 c. crème de cacao
    3/4 c. brandy
    4 c. eggnog
    2 c. half & half

    Whisk in 2-4 heaping tbsp. powdered sugar. Serve in small glasses with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top.

    You can use reduced fat eggnog and half & half if you wish. I usually buy a half gallon of eggnog and quart of half & half because after the first pitcher, you're going to want a second.

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    1. Judy, totally off topic but are you the Judy G with the Spartan profile pic who liked our facebook page this morning?

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    2. Judy,

      I now bestow upon you the bright laurels of the Most Honorable Order of the Punchmasters! That is a FABULOUS and easy recipe! I've already printed if off to add to my secret drink list!
      Looking forward to making this. (And I reckon I'll have to make a test batch, just to be sure... :) ) Cheers, EE

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    3. Elizabeth, I am honored. (drops into a graceful curtsey)

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    4. LOL @ EE! Right there with you. I've already printed the recipe and tucked it into my "favorite recipes" cookbook.

      Judy, I'm a Spartan too. Big game tomorrow!

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    5. Thanks for the recipes...figured out how to save them

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  15. Girlygirl, how nice that you switch off for the holidays. Do you have "go to" recipes you always have for Thanksgiving or Christmas? For me, it's a cranberry salad with a delicious cream cheese/sour cream topping.

    Knye, those paper goods are important!

    Thank you, Judy! Yum!

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  16. I always make my Pumpkin Bread to take to family when I visit at Christmas.. I am not much of a holiday baker.. But I do enjoy making the custard for our Christmas Pudding...

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    1. Kathleen,

      Custard is an art of it's own, and not to be taken lightly!!! I have never managed to get it right. Perhaps because I am more concerned with the punch, and my culinary abilities get a wee bit hampered. :)
      And I must say all this talk of delicious sounding pumpkin bread and custards and pies has me inordinately hungry this morning! My tummy is rumbling in protest! :)
      Wishing you and yours all the best for the holidays. Cheers, EE

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  17. I cook my turkey the traditional way. We have never tried the deep fried turkeys, but would like to. It seems a waste to buy the fryer and all that oil to use once a year.
    I have two punch recipes I like. There is a Pink Champagne Punch that is light and delicious. I think my daughter has my recipe card. It is simple, pink champagne and 7-up I think.
    The second is a bit heavier. It might not really be a holiday punch, but it is good.
    Virginia's Mocha Rum Punch
    18 cups coffee (twice as strong as usual)
    3 gallons chocolate ice cream
    3 half pints whipping cream
    4/5th size light rum
    Mix all ingredients win punch bowl and serve

    I love making pies. During the holidays i always make mince meat pies. I use the None Such mincemeat (either jar or block), add diced apples, walnuts, and brandy. Love it plain or with whipped cream on top.
    As for eating, I love most pies, but mincemeat, apple, and raspberry are my favorites.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season.

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    1. Library Pat,

      I am all in for that Mocha Rum Punch!!! Oh, my goodness that has New Year's Eve written all over it!!!! :)
      And now I am thinking I have been remiss, because I have never made a Raspberry pie! And I LOVE raspberries. Care to share that recipe?

      I return your lovely wishes for a wonderful holiday season to you, and hope you can squeeze in some great reading time as well. Thanks so much for stopping by to chat! Cheers, EE

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  18. Thanks for the chance to win and I'm out for all counts. I don't cook turkey, bake pies, or make punch. But I have no problem consuming them all!!! I bring wine or sweets or pre-made side dish. :) And take home tons of leftovers.

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    1. Sally,

      You are the perfect guest, which is an art of its own. :) And honestly, one of the reasons I like to host the holidays, is the cooking-free days that follow, when we can just warm up leftovers. :)

      Here's hoping you get lots of great holiday invitations, and still have time to read. :) Thanks for sopping by to chat! Cheers, EE

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    2. Well, thank you for saying that. :0

      Leftovers are a wonderful event. This round of posts are doing me no good. I want to be invited to eat all the yummies everyone is talking about. Nothing for breakfast or lunch even covers the goodness I'm reading about.

      P.S. There is always time to read.

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  19. I don't cook much, but I do cook green bean casserole. They are cooking our dinner at Disney World this year.

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    1. Sheryl,

      What a fabulous idea to spend the holidays at Disney World. I have spent time there at the beginning of December (the sprig usually has her big Irish Dance Championship there every other year) and I adore the fabulous decorations they put on. Just dazzling!
      Hope you have a lovely trip that includes plenty of free time for reading! Thanks for stopping by to chat! Cheers, EE

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  20. Kathleen, I love pumpkin bread! Truth be told, I love just about anything pumpkin. Last weekend I baked pumpkin cookies and pumpkin spice muffins for our tailgate at the college girl's apartment. Not a crumb remained. Guess college students like pumpkin too. ;-)

    Librarypat, thanks for the recipe! I'm strictly a no-caffeine girl but I have friends who would adore that punch. Mincemeat pie was my dad's favorite. He always looked forward to October because he and my stepmom would come south to spend a couple months with us and he knew I'd be baking his favorite pie. Good memories. <3


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  21. I from Canada and I study at the University! I do not cook but I love eating pie and drinking a whole lot off egg nog!! My favorite pie is cherry and we just had it last week and i believe it didn't last even a day! I love reading your books Elizabeth Essex. I remember reading Breath Of Scandal during the midterms. I kept telling myself i need to study and just one more chapter. I ended up finishing the book and crammed up my studying. but it was all worth it....

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    1. Anonymous,

      I am very sorry indeed to hear that I have been keeping you from your studies!!! (But I am secretly very pleased indeed that the book kept you hooked in to the exclusion of all else!) So this year I am going to recommend that you save the Christmas Brides until AFTER your exams are done, and you can read with a clear conscience! :)
      Best of luck with your studies, and hope that your holiday is filled with pie and reading. Cheers, EE

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  22. my family never really did punches except for those mandatory times like bridal & baby showers. Turkeys get roasted after all need the stuffing to be cooked inside it (a simple bread stuffing, nothing fancy for us) plus I think when younger it gave mom a reason to get at least one of us kids up early to help out ;) Somewhere along the line, I became the pie baker for the family Thanksgiving making pumpkin & apple. while I've tried some variations of pumpkin, traditional is always the most popular (though I did enjoy coming up with coconut rum pumpkin pie one year which some friends liked more so than family), I enjoy making apple pie cause it lets me "play" with the recipe (not that I really use one) :)

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    1. Ga Mistress,

      I never could get up much enthusiasm for lady-like (meaning non-alcoholic) punches, except that they always look lovely in the punch bowl. :)
      And one of my favorite parts of the pie-making process is decorating the crust. I like to do little leaf cutouts and flute them around the edge. We'll see how inventive I get this year. It will all depend if I'm reading anything good at the time, that just pulls me back into the story and away from the baking. I'm reading Joanna Bourne's ROGUE SPY at the moment and making myself go really slowly so I savor every bit of it, but I can tell that I will be re-reading it throughout the month. :)
      Wishing you best of luck in the drawing, and thanks so much for stopping by to chat. Cheers, EE

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    2. I read ROGUE SPY last week. Like the rest of Bourne's books, I'll be revisiting this one again. Probably many times! :)

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  23. Sally, all of us who love to bake depend on all of you who love to eat what we make! People who enjoy my food make my heart smile.

    Sheryl, a good green bean casserole is a must for my holiday table! Have a wonderful time at Disney. One of my favorite places!

    Anonymous, that sounds like my college years. Some books just refuse to let you go. ;-)

    Gamistress,. I'm usually a pumpkin pie purist but I'm drooling all over my keyboard at the thought of that coconut rum pumpkin pie. Oh. My. Delicious. Goodness.

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    1. That's very true PJ. It is my duty to show the cooks their food is well received.

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  24. You had me at "Soak 8 cinnamon sticks in a 750ml bottle of bourbon".

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    1. LOL! Yeah, that one woke me right up too, Valerie.

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    2. Where's the "Like" button?

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    3. Valerie,

      Oh, I think I know all your soft targets, now, darling!!!! :)

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  25. We just mix ginger ale and sherbet to make punch--simple and refreshing

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    1. The punch of my youth! I still love it. :)

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    2. You've described it perfectly, PJ. This was the punch of my youth (of birthday parties with girls in pretty dresses!) as well. And I have experimented with freezing sherbet in a mould, like an ice ring, but haven't been entirely satisfied with the results. I also remember my mother making a between courses palate cleaner with grapefruit section laced with rum and topped by a scoop of sherbet! YUM! Oh, now I really want some sherbet, but I suppose that is better for my waistline than craving pies! :)

      Wishing you a simple and refreshing holiday season dstoutholcomb, because that sounds simply perfect. Thanks so much for stopping by to chat this morning. Cheers, EE

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  26. Elizabeth, would you be willing to share that chocolate bourbon pecan pie recipe? My taste buds are happy dancing all over the place!

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  27. I can't drink anything with alcohol in it - migraines don't agree with it. :) But I do bake apple and pear pies once in a while. As for turkey, I do love a traditional turkey with the stuffing and cranberries. I rarely cook one though - it was my late brother's specialty - but what I've done lately is marinated turkey breasts. I make cuts in the breasts, marinate with mango and chipotle vinaigrette. Then, I dip the breasts into a mix of grated cheese (parmesan, romano, asiago, cheddar... whatever I have on hand) plus ground chili peppers (to taste - but not too much) and pepper and then I put it in the oven at 350F for 25-30 minutes (or until the breast is entirely cooked). It's great on a salad or over steamed rice.

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    1. Oh my gosh, Liette! That sounds delicious! I'm definitely giving this recipe a try. Thank you for sharing!

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    2. Liette,

      This has been a great morning for discovering new recipes! I have copied and printed yours as well! This sounds absolutely delicious, and just the sort of thing that the Indispensable Mr. Essex would LOVE! Thanks so much for sharing.

      Hope you and your have a wonderful, migraine free holiday season, and thanks so much for stopping by to chat and share. Cheers, EE

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  28. banana cream is my favorite--can't eat anymore though:)

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    1. JCP,

      Now that is one pie I have never wanted to try, as bananas are just not my favorite. (I'm sure I would totally change my mind were I to be stranded on a deserted island like my characters in A SCANDAL TO REMEMBER. Then I would eat any banana, and anything else I could find!)

      Thanks so much for stopping by to chat, and best of luck in the drawing. Happy holidays, Cheers, EE

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    2. I love banana cream pie! In truth, I pretty much love banana anything.

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  29. I thought of another punch recipe to share that I made for a party we had last weekend. It's light & refreshing as is or you could add some spirits to it if you desire.

    Citrus Punch

    1 12 oz. can frozen OJ concentrate
    1 12 oz. can frozen lemonade
    1 2 liter bottle lemon-lime soda

    Open unthawed cans of OJ and lemonade and place in punch bowl. Whisk them together. Still whisking gently, pour soda into the punch bowl. Float thin slices of orange on top.

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    1. Judy,

      This is almost EXACTLY my favorite nonalcoholic punch. I just made it for my son's homecoming 'after-party' at my house. Then of course I had to make sure I had hidden all the vodka and rum etc. so no young teenagers were tempted to spike the bowl. (They didn't. They're wonderful kids.)
      As a matter of fact, I may make some for myself this afternoon, to celebrate our lovely morning here together! Thanks so much for sharing! Cheers, EE

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  30. OOOOO Now that I have thought on it. My mom use to do a punch (for us kids birthdays) that I've always wanted to make "adult" and never got around to it. Now that you guys are talking- hold on. I must write a note ASAP- OK. I think this is what was in it:

    Box/container or sherbert
    1 liter sprite
    1/2 liter g-ale
    (and another punch I'm not sure what it was)

    I want to add Parrot Bay

    Anyone have something like it before?

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    1. My mom frequently made a punch with sherbet, ginger ale and, I think, a lemon-lime soda.

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  31. I've never had the deep fried turkey but how can it not be delicious. I have tried in the bag and out of the bag and both are good. Since I do all the cooking I try to not make things too complicated for myself lol. I no longer bake much but we do have a wonderful bakery not too far away that everyone raves about everything they make. And no punch recipes either. We usually have a variety of wines and splurge with drinks we can make with Baileys and Kaluha. And your books are wonderful!!

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    1. Ahhhh...Kahlua. My favorite alcoholic indulgence. :)

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    2. One of my all-time favorite desserts is a Kahlua Mousse. Love! Love! Love!

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  32. Elizabeth, I was just checking out your booklist at your website. You got me as soon as I saw naval heroes. I've had a crush on them since I first read the Horatio Hornblower books. Making my shopping list now...

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    1. Judy,

      SOOOO excited to hear that. Honestly, that is exactly what I set out to do when I started writing—write Horatio Hornblower for girls! :)

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  33. Elizabeth, thank you for hanging out with us this morning! You've certainly put me in the holiday spirit!

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    1. An absolute pleasure to be here with you PJ! Thank you so much for having me! Cheers, EE

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  34. Readers, thanks for sharing your recipes and traditions with us this morning. I have lots of delicious recipes to try!

    The winner of Elizabeth's giveaway is JUDY! Congratulations, Judy! Please check the Elizabeth Essex Winner post for instructions to claim your prize.

    Hop on over to the Heating up the Holidays with Theresa Romain post as the fun continues!

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  35. I've never made punch and I'm not much of a baker, but I do have an apple/pear/cranberry pie recipe that's super easy and uses frozen puff pastry (I know, heresy). I also really like Nigella Lawson's cranberry upside-down cake - dead easy and very festive! Perhaps this year I will branch out from the traditional champagne and try punch, or at least some mulled cider or something.

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    1. Robin, would you be willing to share that apple/pear/cranberry pie recipe? Also, I have no problem whatsoever with frozen puff pastry. While I still make a lot of things from scratch I've also learned to embrace convenience. :)

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  36. We lived in Houston for 10 years and really enjoyed fried turkey for Thanksgiving. It's not quite the same here in Arizona. Must be the fall weather in Texas! Love your books!

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  37. We don't do punch or turkey and we buy our pumpkin pie at Costco but I bake cookies and make fudge.

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