An Old Favorite #Cookie #Recipe--Peanut Butter Blossoms



The week after Thanksgiving is when I begin to bake.  I like to enjoy doing it and work it in between writing and other holiday preparations.  The secret for me is freezing the cookies.  Then when friends come or I'd like to give a dish away, I just go to the freezer and take cookies from each container.  They make a beautiful dish for dessert even after New Year's.

One of our favorite cookies is an old recipe--Peanut Butter Blossoms.  They are pretty as well as delicious.  What better combination than peanut butter and chocolate?  This is a small batch--about 30 cookies. Perfect for any family or gathering. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOM COOKIES

36 chocolate buds--I used Wilbur Buds because I didn't have to unwrap them! I use a mix of dark and milk chocolate
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons granulated sugar separate from above for rolling cookie balls

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. I line the cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Stir and set aside. In a large mixer bowl beat the shortening and peanut butter with an electric mixer until well-blended. Add 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla and beat until well blended. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture on low speed until it's combined.

Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the granulated sugar. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. When you remove the cookies from the oven, immediately set chocolate bud into the middle of the cookie. Cookies will make blossom shape. Remove the cookies with a spatula to a wire rack to cool completely. They take longer to cool than most cookies because the chocolate softens in the warm cookie and has to harden again before storing.

Makes about 30-36 cookies.

Enjoy!

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If you enjoy Christmas stories, especially emotional ones about the power of love and forgiveness, you'll enjoy JAKE'S BRIDE. Here's an excerpt for a preview.  This novel is available in print, ebook and audiobook.

When Sara appeared on the steps, Jake felt as if someone had smacked him in the solar plexus with a fist.  She was a vision--lace, softness, innocence.  What kind of marriage could they have when he felt such mixed feelings about her?
For the past four years, he'd thought about her--when his defenses were down, in the dead of night, when he came home to an empty house after a business trip.  He'd thought about their months together, that one night....
Sara had been a virgin when they'd made love so he'd never had a doubt Christopher was his son.  Christopher's birth date coincided with that night exactly.  What Jake didn't understand was how Sara could have thrown away what they'd shared...how she could have run out on him...how she could have kept his son from him for so long.
Even though their courtship had been a whirlwind of emotions and passion, he'd thought he'd known Sara, despite their views of the world--hers slightly naive because of her age, his more cynical because of his age.  At the time, the ten year age difference hadn't mattered.  He'd fallen in love with Sara because of her fresh enthusiasm, her optimism.  But now he realized he hadn't known her at all.
He was marrying a stranger.
His bride paused at the bottom step and took her son's hand, her smile saying she was not at all perturbed Christopher hadn't stayed in his spot beside Jake.  Sara's smile did as much to arouse Jake as her curves subtly outlined by the lace.  When she faced him, her smile faded.
Jake turned toward the minister, ready to listen to the words that would change his life.
The ceremony took mere minutes.  A greeting.  Vows.  The exchange of rings.  Sara's eyes glistened, and again Jake wondered who she was, what the future would bring.  He wasn't thinking beyond a life with his son, beyond the chance to nurture and safeguard this little boy in a way he hadn't been able to nurture and protect Davie.
At the end of the ceremony, the silver-haired minister said, "You may now kiss the bride."
Jake looked down into Sara's sky blue eyes.  Eloise, Nathan, Christopher and Gillian--who was cuddling her baby--waited expectantly.  Sara's perfume wafted around him.  Her soft skin beckoned him.  Her dress asked for his touch.  He pressed his hand against the small of her back as he bent his head.  The brush of his lips on Sara's was fleeting, a heartbeat, but enough to shake the foundation of his control.
Straightening quickly, he stepped away.  He would not give in to desire that could lead to heartache.  He would not show Sara he was vulnerable where she was concerned.  He would not give up his heart another time.





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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 91st novel will be released in 2016.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 



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#Cats This Week--What Goes On In Sunnybud's #Feral Mind? by Karen Rose Smith




Tonight when I was feeding Sunnybud in the sunroom, he stopped eating and laid in my arms for a few moments of quiet bonding. Then as quickly as he'd settled into my embrace, he just as quickly hopped up, grabbed a few more bites to eat, then headed off for his evening retreat...wherever that is.


So often I wonder just what is going on in his feral mind. How can he religiously appear every morning and evening for food and petting, and then just as expectedly disappear around the corner as if I didn't exist? How can he one moment settle to have my husband brush him and the next moment run when hubby moves his foot the wrong way? How can he enjoy the warmth and comfort of all of my winter accommodations one day, then the next sit on the patio in the rain for the entire afternoon and stare at the open door to the sun room? 



I guess too often we try to judge our felines by our human instincts when they have instincts of their own. They want the comforts we provide on their terms, not ours. They may try to cover the food we think is best for them. The heated bed we provide may not offer the comfort and warmth we intended. The shelters we provide are overlooked for a bush or shrub near the warm foundation. It's as if they look at us to say "I'm going to do things my way...in my own time." They are probably thinking "Just what is going on in that human head?

Yet somehow we coexist and the bonds that we develop are precious and loyal. Somehow, in the end, we find a way to share the feline/human territory. And at times, we even find that special furry soulmate.  Then nobody needs to ask any questions.  We just know.    
 


 




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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 91st novel will be released in 2016.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 



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Coping With Missing Loved Ones During The #Holidays by Karen Rose Smith






Holidays bring up tons of emotions. With childhood memories come mental pictures of those we've lost.  Holidays with them are emblazoned on our hearts and seem to flash brighter this time of year. Missing means loving.  Missing means having been loved. 


But there is the present which is an opportunity to make new memories instead of only looking back to the past.  My husband and I thought we'd be alone for Thanksgiving this year.  We even considered going to a casino for a while since it would be a nice drive about an hour away and a bit of fun.  Movie theaters were another option but they are usually crowded on the holiday.  Considering friends I knew who didn't have families in the area,  I reached out to another couple and discovered they were just going out for dinner because their family was across the country.   I invited them for dinner on Thanksgiving day.  I'm looking forward to it. 


I've found the best way to handle missing is to give to someone who needs kindness.  It can be as simple as a phone conversation or a card in the mail. It can be an invitation to dinner or sending a meal to an elderly neighbor.  

The holidays can still be sweet if we realize life changes every day.  We can't stop it. But we can appreciate each person in our life right now. 







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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 91st novel will be released in 2016.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 


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#Cats This Week--#Feline Holiday Spirit by Karen Rose Smith



While the holidays are happy times for sharing with family and friends, they can also be a time of stress and anxiety with everyone rushing to complete their preparations. I thought it would be fun to take a look at the Smith felines as they begin their holiday gift buying, wrapping and decorating.  

Paddy uses a piece of ribbon to begin
decorating the feline scratching house.

















Zoie checks the bathroom closet
for decorations to assist Paddy.
We decided to use an animal print decorating
theme this year and Zoie picks the throw
she would prefer on "her" bed.

Paddy checks the box to make sure nothing was missed
when unpacking a gift.
Paddy "helps" to box the gift and stays
close to "assist" in the wrapping.
 
Halo watches closely to assure that
everything is being done to her satisfaction.
As you prepare for the holidays, take time to breathe, relax and enjoy the beauty of the season. From my furry family to yours...Happy Holidays!

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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 91st novel will be released in 2016.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 



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Release Day for VEILED #MAGIC by Deborah Blake







Deborah and I became friends when we realized we had cats in common! She has five and I have four plus. We talked extensively when my husband and I took in a pregnant stray. Deborah helped me know what to expect and lessened my panic at being a kitty midwife. We are friends. So I'm thrilled to announce her latest release. Here is a message from Deborah.

Dear readers...
Veiled Magic holds a special place in my heart because it was the book that got me signed with my wonderful editor, Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency. But as often happens, we didn’t sell the book right away, and so I’ve been waiting for a few years to be able to share it with the world. I think the folks who loved my Baba Yaga series of paranormal romances are going to like this one too. It’s set in a different world, but it still has a kick-ass protagonist, some fun animal sidekicks (including a cat this time), a slightly snarky sense of humor, and of course, a couple of gorgeous men to keep things interesting...

Deborah Blake
Deborah's cat Angus





A spellbinding new novel from the author of the Baba Yaga novels.

Since Witches came out of the broom-closet in the early 21st century, they have worked alongside humans as police officers, healers, stock traders, and more. But they aren’t the only paranormal entities in our world… 

Police officer and Witch Donata Santori spends her days interrogating dead witnesses by summoning their spectral forms. Normally the job is little more than taking statements and filing reports. But when she’s called in on the case of a murdered art restorer, she finds herself suddenly in possession of a mystical portrait that both the human and paranormal communities would kill to get their hands on.
Unable to take on the forces hunting her alone, Donata seeks help from two unlikely and attractive allies: a reluctant shape-changer and a half-dragon art forger. But as the three of them hurry to uncover the truth about the powerful painting, Donata realizes that she’s caught in the middle of not one but two wars—one for possession of the painting’s secrets and one for possession of her heart…






Deborah Blake is the author of the Baba Yaga Series from Berkley (Wickedly Dangerous, Wickedly Wonderful, Wickedly Powerful) and has published nine books on modern witchcraft with Llewellyn Worldwide. When not writing, Deborah runs The Artisans’ Guild, a cooperative shop she founded with a friend in 1999, and also works as a jewelry maker, tarot reader, and energy healer. She lives in a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with five cats who supervise all her activities, both magical and mundane.

Author Links:






Deborah on Goodreads




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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 91st novel will be released in 2016.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens. And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 


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©2015 Karen Rose Smith




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Five Essential Businesses in My #Cozy Town by Karen Rose Smith







When I developed Caprice De Luca, her family and my cozy mystery plotlines for her books, I chose a fictional town in Pennsylvania, Kismet,  in the Susquehanna valley where I was born. There were many reasons.  I know the area intimately.  The surroundings are beautiful with rolling hills, trees, and wonderful plant life with a long summer growing season. Since I garden, I'm also familiar with all of the flowers here. Using a fictional town allows me the freedom to place in it what I want and what Caprice needs in her life.  Here are a few of the essential businesses in my town of Kismet.


Five Must-Haves for Caprice De Luca, home stager extraordinaire and animal lover in the town of Kismet, Pennsylvania.

Since my sleuth Caprice De Luca loves to cook, the best place for her to shop for supplies in Kismet, Pennsylvania, is GROCERY FRESH Market.  There she can find vine-ripened tomatoes, seasonal fruits from Pennsylvania like strawberries, peaches and plums as well as fresh herbs.  Not only that but she might run into family, neighbors and friends so they can chat about the murder/mystery and the people involved.

Caprice wears vintage fashions.  She finds most of them at a downtown Kismet boutique--SECRETS OF THE PAST.  From bell bottoms, to Juliet-sleeved tops, to pearl beaded purses, she can usually find separates to mix and match or a flapper style cocktail dress for a special occasion.  Although her sister Bella thinks Caprice's fashion sense needs an adjustment, Caprice enjoys dressing in a unique way that's just right for her.

What would Caprice do without the FURRY FRIENDS VETERINARY CLINIC?  Veterinarian Marcus Reed understands Caprice's penchant for looking after strays.  When she rescues a pregnant cocker spaniel she names Shasta and cares for her through her labor and delivery, he's only a phone call away with good advice.  However, Grant Weatherford--her brother's law partner--seems to understand her love of animals too.  When he watches Shasta's litter of pups deliver with Caprice, a new bond is formed between them.

Although Caprice abhors exercise per se, she does swim because she knows the exercise is good for her.  She joined SHAPE UP, Kismet's gym.  Nevertheless, when she goes swimming in the middle of a murder investigation, she never expects someone might try to kill her!

Caprice stages houses to sell with unique themes for high end clients.  In STAGED TO DEATH, the murder revolves around a client who has chosen a Camelot theme.  In DEADLY DECOR, a painter who helped Caprice's client establish a Baroque Bedazzle theme is murdered.  In GILT BY ASSOCIATION, her client is her mom's best friend.  With DRAPE EXPECTATIONS, a high end southern client thinks she knows how to stage her house better than Caprice! These high end clients are usually members of Kismet's COUNTRY SQUIRE GOLF AND RECREATION CENTER.  It's Kismet's country club where the rich gather, where awards are given, where wedding receptions are held.  

I hope there will be many more books in the Caprice De Luca Home Stager mystery series. What businesses would you like to see in Kismet, Pennsylvania?


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NOW AVAILABLE
DRAPE EXPECTATIONS, book 4



Caprice De Luca's former client and now friend Ace Richland--an 80's rock star--asks her for a favor.  Can she quickly stage his girlfriend's house to sell?  Widow Alanna Goodwin, a transplanted Southern beauty, will be moving in with him!  Immediately Caprice realizes Alanna's southern charm can be turned on and off at will.  Caprice agrees to stage Alanna's Kismet antebellum-styled mansion for Ace's sake.  But she soon learns Alanna doesn't have a genuine love for her cat Mirabelle and also uncovers a plot her new client is hatching to sabotage Ace's comeback.  However, before she can tell Ace, Alanna is murdered and Ace is the prime suspect.  

As Caprice investigates, she learns Alanna had more secrets than pie safes.  With her Cocker Spaniel Lady by her side, she tracks down clues and adopts Alanna's cat.  In the midst of some of her own family upheaval--her uncle has moved in with her parents--she finds herself with a dilemma.  Grant Weatherford, her brother's law partner, advises Ace and reveals more of his past to her.  Seth Randolph, the doctor she dates, wants her to meet his family.  She must choose between them.

Danger stalks Caprice.  Will her refresher self-defense course save her life?  Only if she keeps her wits about her and Lady by her side.




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STAGED TO DEATH, book 1




Caprice De Luca  stages houses for high-end clients. When she discovers a body in the castle-mansion she staged to sell and starts asking questions, she finds herself in danger. On the way to solving the murder, Caprice's large Italian family helps and hinders. She also finds romance with Dr. Seth Randolph. But does her brother's partner, attorney Grant Weatherford, care about her, too? Or is he just worried she'll get herself killed and her family will blame him?

Enjoy solving the mystery with Caprice, cook along with her, see her find homes for the stray animals she protects, be a part of the De Luca family...in STAGED TO DEATH.



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DEADLY DECOR, book 2



Quiet Kismet, Pennsylvania, may look like any other small town, but as a home stager, Caprice De Luca can see behind closed doors--and it seems someone has designs on murder. . .Life is a full house for Caprice these days. She's dating, she's rescuing adorable cocker spaniels, and she's decorating the roomy interiors of Kismet's most well-heeled residents with fun fantasy themes. But she's worried about her pregnant sister. Bella's marriage is coming apart like a bad wallpaper job, and to make matters worse, she's decided to meet up with a former flame Bob Preston, a house painter Caprice frequently employs. When he's found dead in a pool of green paint swirling with blood, it's time for Caprice to stage an investigation. With all eyes trained on Bella's husband, Caprice shifts her attention from finding the perfect curtains to finding the perfect culprit. . .




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GILT BY ASSOCIATION, book 3



Caprice De Luca's latest house staging is all about hearts, flowers, lace and chintz since Valentine's Day is around the corner.  She never expects her client to be murdered in the greenhouse the day of the open house.

With her six-month-old pup Lady by her side and her own love life in disarray, Caprice ferrets out clues from the victim's best friend, Caprice's mother, the housekeeper and a special male friend who insists his relationship with the victim was platonic.  However, as Caprice digs deeper, she finds the victim's past is filled with secrets that she kept from her husband for thirty years.

The past isn't merely history.  The present isn't always what it seems.  When hearts are involved, passion and even murder aren't far behind.




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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 87th novel will be released in 2015.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens. And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 


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©2015 Karen Rose Smith



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