Hi everyone 🙂
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to post on my blog but I’m very happy to ‘return’ with a guest post and giveaway by Ana Blaze.
After you’ve learned how to make Ana’s yummy pumpkin soup,
be sure to enter the rafflecopter at the bottom of this post for your chance to win a $20 Amazon/B&N gift card
Things that just make me happy
When I sat down to write my story for the anthology, I set out to tell a tale that would leave people with a smile when the set down their readers.
I made certain to include a few things that I love: a spunky girl who loves her family, a sexy man with a very hot accent, a snowman, chocolate, steamy sex and silly banter.
Since Sasha was kind enough to give me free reign on the topic for this post, I decided to set the same goal I set when I wrote Worth More than Gold.
I’m going to share some of my favorite things and hope to give you something to grin about.
Here goes: I present a truly random list of things that simply make me happy.
Eighties pop music.
Cheesy? Sometimes. But I can’t help dancing when I hear a mix of classic eighties pop. It’s all so cheerful and bright. Go check out this mini-mix. I bet you’ll end up singing along.
Champagne is too much fun to be a weddings only beverage. I’m also not snobby about it … I like bubbles—it doesn’t need to be from a special region of France to bring a little pizzazz to your evening.
The Panda Cam at The National Zoo.
There are other awesome animal cameras too, but with an adorable eight week old panda cub to check on … I suggest you get your daily dose of cute here:
Yeah-I told you this was going to be a random list. I only discovered pumpkin soup a couple years ago, I expected it to be too sweet for my taste buds … but it doesn’t have to be. I made some curried pumpkin soup just yesterday and since I’m sharing things that make me smile today I’m going to share the recipe.
Ingredients (Makes at least four big bowls of soup.)
2 Sugar Pumpkins (The smaller ones sold for pie-making.)
1 medium onion
½ cup heavy cream (optional really-you might consider using soy or coconut milk instead)
3 -4 cloves of garlic
Freshly ground pepper
1. Roast the pumpkins- Slice in halves, scoop out seeds* and guts, and place open-side down on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake for about an hour at 400 degrees. When cool enough to handle, scoop pumpkin pulp into a mixing bowl and set aside.
*If you’re feeling ambitious-clean the seeds and roast them too! There are tons of recipes online.
2. Add a glug (yeah-that’s how I measure) of olive oil (or butter or other veggie oil) to a large pot, warm and add diced onion, a dash of salt and pepper and a tablespoon or two each of curry powder, garam masala and cinnamon.
3. When onions are softened, but not mush, add diced carrot, mushroom and crushed garlic. Cook for a few minutes.
4. While that is cooking make veggie broth by mixing bullion and hot water. You want about two cups. Obviously, you can use purchased or homemade stock instead.
5. Add pumpkin pulp to pot. Stir and smash for a couple minutes. Note-you may need to add a little oil first.
6. Add veggie broth. Stir and smash. Cover, reduce temp and let simmer for about 30 minutes.
7. If you have an immersion blender…than I’m jealous and this step with be very easy you. Blend. Using a standard blender, you will have to do what I do and blend in two batches. When you are done, put the newly smooth soup back in the pot and simmer some more.
8. Add cream right before serving. Stir it in and let it warm but not boil. (I like a very thick soup-you might want to thin it with more broth or with a little milk. Also-in the name of full disclosure—this soup is pretty great without the cream at all or with coconut milk instead. If you skip the cream it is vegan and pretty low in fat. Since this is a list of happiness, I threw it in since that makes it extra creamy and yum for me.)
9. Enjoy the yummy goodness. I like it with some warm crusty bread.
Yup. This one is obvious. We all love snuggling up with a sweet and sexy romp, right? If you’re looking for something to cozy up with this weekend, may I suggest our Olympic themed anthology, Love and Other Games?
You’ll get not one but four sexy stories that’ll leave a smile on your face. I suggest drinking a glass of bubbly while you read, but I won’t be offended if you prefer a cup of cocoa. 😀
LOVE AND OTHER GAMES is a collection of four sexy new adult stories centered around athletes competing in the Winter Games by Ana Blaze, Melinda Dozier, Aria Kane, and Kara Leigh Miller.
Worth More Than Gold by Ana Blaze
Amy Pierce, the klutzy sister and manager of America’s Skating Sweetheart, is used to being invisible. But when a friend drags her to a party near the Olympic Village, Amy catches the eye of a sexy Norwegian ski jumper. It’s a magical night, but an awkward next morning has her running.
Everyone knows Erik Andresen’s best shot at an individual medal was back in 2010, before an injury pulled him from the competition. He’s there for his team, but a hot night and a remarkable final training session have him wondering if a gorgeous good-luck charm could give him another chance at the podium. With a little bit of luck, these two might have a shot at something worth more than gold.
Trouble With Gold by Melinda Dozier
US snowboarder and notorious prankster, Ty (Trouble) Madsen is only getting a taste of his own medicine when his Olympic teammates shackle him to a fence wearing nothing but his boxers.
Reception and protocol volunteer, Nadia Hoffman, gets up close and personal with the sexy snowboarder to rescue him, but she’s not the kind of girl who lets her hormones get in her way. A professional performance could help her land her dream job at Olympics Committee Headquarters, but her new assignment supervising the rambunctious US Snowboarding Team is making that difficult.
Can she see behind the snowman in the community center bathroom and into the warm heart of the man everyone calls Trouble?
The Girl Behind the Gold by Aria Kane
Greek aerial skier Lia Milonas’s parents are about to lose the family farm. Saving it means medaling and landing a huge sponsor. While her no-nonsense attitude has her well on her way to a medal, it hasn’t won her a place in fans’ hearts.
“Come back with a story that will make readers cry, or don’t come back.” This is what Brandon James’ boss told him before he left New York to cover the Winter Games for Moment Magazine. With a wink and a smile, he can charm his way into any invite-only party, but that career-making story is nowhere to be found – until he meets Lia.
The two strike a deal that should get them both what they want – but neither would have guessed they’d also find what they need.
Ice Gold by Kara Leigh Miller
Colton Campbell thrives on the fast paced, adrenaline rushed lifestyle of being an Olympic hockey player. Despite Brenna Jessup’s abhorrence for the games and the athletes, she’s hand-picked as the official photographer for the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team. When a faux pas by Brenna almost costs Colton his career, she owes him. Too bad for her, Colton doesn’t want apologies — he wants retribution! And he knows just how to get it — and her — in the process.