Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Today's Special -- Maria Geraci

We are so happy to welcome back fun, contemporary author Maria Geraci to The Romance Dish! I say fun because her books are so much fun to read! She is the author of the popular Bunco Babes Tell All and Bunco Babes Gone Wild. Read Andrea's review of the latter here. Her newest, The Boyfriend of the Month Club, releases today! Read Andrea's review below. Needless to say, she enjoyed it! Welcome, Maria!

Holiday Traditions
by Maria Geraci

Thank you to the wonderful ladies of The Romance Dish for having me here today! I’m excited to be talking about my new release, The Boyfriend of the Month Club and holiday traditions.

The Boyfriend of the Month Club is a romantic comedy about a woman who turns her dysfunctional book club into a boyfriend club, where members come together to discuss the men they’ve dated, comparing them to classic literary heroes and villains. Here’s the back cover blurb:

At thirty, Grace O’Bryan has dated every loser that Daytona Beach has to offer. After the ultimate date from hell, Grace decides to take matters in her own hands and turns her dwindling book club into a boyfriend of the month club, where women can come together to discuss the eligible men in their community. Where are the real live twenty-first century versions of literary heroes such as Heathcliff and Mr. Darcy?

Could it be successful and handsome Brandon Farrell, who is willing to overlook his disastrous first date with Grace and offers financial help for her parents’ failing Florida gift shop? Or maybe sexy dentist Joe Rosenblum, who’s great with a smile but not so great with commitment? Unfortunately, just like books, men cannot always be judged by their covers...

This book was a lot of fun for me to write, especially because my main character, Grace, is half-Cuban. I’m Cuban-American myself, and I gave Grace a really quirky family, including her Cuban grandmother, Abuela. Abuela is a font of wisdom. After Grace “messes” up with Joe, her dentist, she goes to Abuela for some sage advice.

Abuela managed to keep one eye on the screen and gaze at Grace at the same time. “What’s the problem, mi amor?”

“I need to apologize to someone. I was thinking maybe a nice card or—”

“Man or woman?”

Grace hesitated. “Man.”

“Flan,” Abuela blurted. “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. When your abuelo Pedro was courting me, my mother used to make him flan. He couldn’t resist it. Make him a flan and he’ll throw himself at your feet.”

Grace didn’t want Joe at her feet, but maybe Abuela was onto something...

The chapter in which Abuela teaches Grace to make flan was especially near and dear to me. I used my own mother’s traditional flan recipe in the book. If you’re not familiar with flan, it’s a custard like desert. My mom’s recipe uses cream cheese, so this particular flan has a cheesecake like taste to it. It’s delicious and really easy to make, and a holiday tradition around my house.

•1 -8 ounce cream cheese
•1 tsp vanilla
•1 can 12 ounces evaporated milk
•1 can 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
•½ cup sugar + 2 cups of sugar for the syrup
•5 eggs
•Pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients (except the 2 cups of sugar) in a blender and set aside.

In a large skillet melt the 2 cups of sugar over medium/high heat until the sugar completely melts into a syrup. Pour the syrup into a baking pan with a circle in the center (like a Bundt pan) making sure to cover as much of the pan’s surface with the syrup as possible. Let it set for a few minutes. Carefully pour the liquid egg mixture in the pan over the set syrup. Place the pan inside a larger pan filled with an inch of hot water (a baƱo de Maria ) and place the whole thing in a 350 degree oven. Cook for 35-45 minutes until set. Let cool to room temperature and chill well. Before serving, let the chilled flan sit out on the counter for about 20 minutes (so the syrup warms up a bit), then turn onto a plate letting all the syrup drip over the custard. Serve and chill any leftovers.

What holiday deserts do you make every year? Leave a comment, and I’ll randomly select two people to win an autographed copy of The Boyfriend of the Month Club and a special Boyfriend of the Month Club desk top calendar for 2011!

Maria Geraci writes fun, romantic women’s fiction. She lives in north Florida with her husband and children and two dogs and two cats. You can visit her website at http://www.mariageraci.com/ and her facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/MariaGeraciBooks


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. home made chocolate chip cookies from scratch as well as pb pie we make both every year

    8 ounces cream cheese
    1 cup powdered sugar
    1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
    16 ounces Cool Whip
    1 pre-made graham cracker pie crust
    chocolate or fudge syrup


    In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, peanut butter, and cool whip until well blended. Pour into the pre-made pie crust. Drizzle a little chocolate syrup on the top. Refrigerate.

    your book sounds awesome


  3. Maria

    The books sounds fantastic and so does the Flan yummo I must try that one.

    Here in Australia at Christmas time we are big on fruit cakes and I usually make 5 to 6 of them every year some are gifts for my friends I have just finished making five of them and I still have the Christmas pudding to make which again is made mainly of fruit and boiled for 6 hours in a cloth then boiled again for 2 hours on Christams day and then served with custard cream or ice cream.

    Congrats on the release
    Have Fun

  4. I like baking different types of cookies. I love when the smell fills the house along with the smell of pine from the tree.

  5. Good morning, Maria, and welcome back! We're so happy to have you with us today. Congrats on your new release! I love your books. :)

    I don't make anything big, but I bake Christmas sugar cookies every year for my husband's managers. He's a store manager with Publix. *g*

  6. SiNn, I make a peanut butter pie every couple years and this sounds a lot like my recipe! Except I use an Oreo cookie pie crust. :)

  7. All these recipes sounds delish. Andrea! No wonder you liked my Publix scene! I LOVE my Publix. Yes, it belongs to me :)

  8. Helen, my mom makes fruit cakes every year and gives several away as Christmas gifts. I'm not fond of fruit cake, but everyone else says my mom makes a really good one!

  9. Maureen, baking cookies is THE. BEST. SMELL. That and coffee brewing... ;-)

  10. I loved that scene, Maria! I even read it to my husband. LOL! Working for Publix is a family thing as my brother and I used to work there and both of my sisters currently do. Yes, people are very possessive when it comes to their Publix. ;-)


    Just had to get that out of the way. After many years in Florida, I now live in South Carolina and have to make do with other stores. Yes, Publix is in SC, but not in my town! :(

    Welcome back, Maria! This book sounds like another fun ride. I'm looking forward to reading it.

    I adore flan! I'm going to have to try that recipe. I make many desserts (too many, as my hips can attest). lol! I'm off to work now but will stop in later today with a few recipes.

  12. Loved the excerpt.
    I also think the way to a mans heart is through the stomach.

    I love making holiday sugar cookies and a Mississippi Mud cake for the holidays.

  13. Fruitcake Cookies!!

    I'm not a huge cookie fan and I hate fruitcake, but these cookies are just about the best thing ever! They take FOREVER to make, but oh... are they worth the effort! I usually end up making about 3 batches during the holidays and buy enough candied fruit to make some after all the hussle and bussle is over (since those blasted candied fruits are only available from Oct-Jan.)

    I also make homemade apple pie... but that's just boring compared to those damn cookies!

  14. Helen, I almost forgot about fruit cakes! It's been forever since I've had any, but they bring back fond Christmas memories for me.

    SINn, your peanut butter pie sounds fab! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    Maureen and Gigi, I think cookies are my holiday favorites. The only problem is, I can't stop at one! Thanks for commenting!

  15. I love pecan pie but I can't make it. I can to a passable peach cobbler though now a good as my grandmothers.

  16. A change in eating habits this year will result in new traditions for me but I think it's safe to say a favorite of mine is the Vanilla Yogurt Pound Cake. :)

  17. Hey, Maria! I can't wait to read you latest. My MIL was a huge flan lover. The cream cheese addition sounds yummy.

    Megan, who posted about the fruit cake cookies, is my niece, and I make the same cookies. My mom made them for years---it was something we all looked forward to. None of us are huge fruit cake fans, but these cookies are divine! I'll be baking some over the next couple of weeks.

    PJ is writing a cookie blog next week, and my recipe for fruit cake cookies (and a couple more) will be in there. Yummy!

    We are currently buried in snow here in the mountains---perfect baking weather, but it's dangerous when we eat it all. LOL

  18. Congratulations on the book.

    I always make cheesecake and chocolate pie. Then I go to the bakery and buy a lot of cookies and cream puffs.

  19. As you all may have figured out by now, cooking is not my forte, so unfortunately, I don't do any holiday desserts on a regular basis. However, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy eating them! lol. But I do remember a few years ago when I baked Christmas cookies with a friend of mine at her house with her family. It was so much fun!

    And reading all these recipes makes me hungry!

    And I'm up north, so no Publix, so no comment on that score. :P lol

  20. This is a really easy dessert that I make any time of year, but it seems more appropriate at Christmastime:

    Laney’s Butter Tarts

    1 cup (250 mL) brown sugar
    2/3 cup (160 mL) corn syrup
    2 eggs
    1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
    1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
    24-34 frozen mini tart shells (or make your own)

    Mix first 5 ingredients well (I use the electric mixer) and then pour (2/3 full) into the tart shells. Bake in 425oF (220oC) preheated oven for 13 minutes.

    * Can add raisins if you like.

  21. Mmmmmm, Mississippi Mud cake sounds delicious, gigi!!

  22. I like to make spritz cookies and kolachy in apricot and poppyseed. I liked your bunko books a lot do you have any plans to write more of those? Good luck with your new book..


  23. Okay, Megan, as someone else who doesn't care for fruit cake, your fruitcake cookies have me intrigued. If you get a chance, you must post the recipe!

  24. Kwana, peach cobbler brings back memories for me. :)

    Oooo, Vanilla Yogurt pound cake? Sounds good, Lucy!

  25. Gannon, I can't wait for the fruitcake cookie recipe!

    Penfield, you can't go wrong with cheesecake! :)

  26. LOL @ Lisa! I'm sorry you don't have a Publix up there. Maybe one day they'll move further north. :)

  27. Thanks, Laney! I love easy recipes and this one sounds divine!

    Donna, I loved her Bunco books, too! So good.

  28. Kwana, I'm not a fan of pecan pie, but I had one recently that had chocolate in it. Now we're talkin'! It was delicious. I do love fruit cobblers too. Especially when vanilla ice-cream is involved!

    Megan, fruitcake cookies sound interesting! Like I said before, I am a cookie hound;)

  29. Hi PJ and Gannon, thanks for welcoming me back to The Romance Dish! You ladies are so very gracious;) And I loved Andrea's review of my book. She really did the synop justice!

  30. Lucy,
    vanilla yogurt pound cake? I'm so there!

    Hi Penfield, thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    Lisa, I have a confession to make, it's only recently that I started doing some baking. I've always enjoyed cooking, but baking baffled me. I'm learning though. My mom's flan recipe is ultra easy, however. The flipping of the flan is the hardest part;)

    Laney, thanks for sharing your butter tart recipe with us!

    Donna, I loved writing my Bunco books! At this time, there's no more plans for another book (tear up!) but hey, you never know. Thank you so much for asking.

  31. I don't do much baking because I will eat too much of it.
    I always love to make some brownies.
    Your book sounds wonderful. I've read so many wonderful reviews about it.

  32. I make the bestest pumpkin roll or so I am told *wink*
    Love & Hugs,

  33. runner10, you can't go wrong with brownines! Especially dark chocolate ones...mmmm...

    Pamela, you have to share the recipe for your pumpkin roll! We looooove pumpkin in our house. ;-)

  34. Runner 10, thanks for commenting!

    Pamela, I used to not be too high on pumpkin, but over Thanksgiving I made a pumpkin cake from a friend's recipe. It was delish! Totally changed my mind.

  35. The first time I had flan was in the Philippines and I loved it. I never have tried to make it, but luckily have hispanic friends that serve it. I will try this recipe.

    I usually make mince meat pie for the holidays. I use the Nonsuch mincemeat mix (dry or from the jar). I add diced McIntosh apples, walnuts and brandy. Can't wait to have it this Christmas.

  36. Thank you to everyone who posted a comment and shared their favorite recipes and to the ladies of The Romance Dish. You are the best!

    The random selector picked:
    Laney 4 and Megan as the winners. Please email me at mariageraci1@gmail.com with your address so I can put your book and calendar in the mail. congratulations!

  37. Maria, thanks so much! I just sent my email to you.
    Megan, congratulations! We are two lucky pups, LOL!