An Amish Christmas Quilt – Pieced Together Beautifully ~ review by Susan Ferrell

an-amish-christmas-quiltCharlotte Hubbard, Kelly Long and Jennifer Beckstrand are three authors that are relatively new to the Amish genre, yet they are quickly becoming mainstays and their works a must-read.  An Amish Christmas Quilt, a collection of Christmas novellas is a prime example of their impeccable writing.  And as any good writer would do, each has me begging for more!

Hubbard’s A Willow Ridge Christmas Pageant tells the tale of a pregnant, grieving widow name Mary and a bachelor named Seth, who surprisingly finds himself drawn to Mary, her babe and her two young step-children.  Can Seth take on such responsibilities?  Will Mary stay in Willow Ridge to find out?

Long’s A Christmas on Ice Mountain takes the reader on a journey with Matthew Beider and Laurel Lapp, who are secretly in love, but whose fathers detest one another over some decades-long feud that no one knows how it all began.  Can Matthew and Laurel’s love finally reunite the families?

Beckstrand’s A Perfect Amish Christmas takes readers on a delightful quest for love with Dottie Shrock, baker extraordinaire…and perfectionist…and Gideon, content to be without the trappings of the world.  Will Dottie let down her icy exterior in exchange for a chance at true love?

I was given An Amish Christmas Quilt in exchange for my honest review.  This is a great collection of novellas.  My only quibble is that of the quilt “theme.”  The need to use a quilt in the story (based on the title) in my opinion, made the idea and its uses in the novellas awkward and unnecessary.  Although I think reading the other books by these writers would give greater continuity, it certainly is not necessary.  I highly recommend An Amish Christmas Quilt.  These stories were a work of art long before a quilt ever came into the story. The authors pieced them together beautifully.

Click here to purchase a copy of An Amish Christmas Quilt.

Susan Ferrell and her husband make their home in the Atlanta Metro area. Although Susan struggles with chronic migraine headaches, she stays very busy as a stay-at-home mom to one very precocious 5-year old. While catching her breath, she feeds her Amishaholic tendencies by reading vast amounts of Amish literature!

Guest Post by Charlotte Hubbard Plus Giveaway!

Fresh Recipes With a BREATH OF SPRING

After a long winter of weather that was colder and more severe than we’re used to, it’s time to freshen up your menu! Nothing says spring and picnics more than macaroni salad, and ham loaf is the perfect go-with. Both of these recipes are featured in my new release, BREATH OF SPRING, so I’d love to share them with you.

When I first proposed my Seasons of the Heart series, which began in Miriam Lantz’s Sweet Seasons Bakery Café, my editor and I agreed that recipes would be a hit with readers. And they are! While some of the recipes in my books are authentically Amish—you know what? Most Amish cooking is really just down-home food prepared the way our grandmothers made it, usually from everyday ingredients most cooks stock in their kitchens. As I’ve studied cookbooks from several Amish settlements and the recipes published in The Budget, the national Plain newspaper, I’ve never spotted anything that makes a dish uniquely Amish. Plain cooks simply have a tradition of cooking up uncomplicated, filling food that most of us think we’re too busy to prepare.

And yes, Amish cooks use more convenience foods—like boxed cake mixes, canned mushroom soup, and Cool Whip—than you might assume. So when I thought about the foods Miriam would cook in her café, or which other characters might prepare in their homes, I included recipes with shortcuts that still produce the homemade goodness we associate with Amish cooking. You can find the recipes from all of the books in this series at www.CharlotteHubbard.com, as well as excerpts from all the books in this series. You can also sign up for my newsletter on my homepage, so you can keep up with my new releases.

BREATH OF SPRING is the fourth book in my series, and it features a special apple pie filling that helps heroine Annie Mae Knepp win Adam Wagler’s heart, as well as this macaroni salad which is served at her eighteenth birthday party. You’ll also find a recipe for Macaroni and Goat Cheese, because the Hooley sisters’ four goats have become beloved characters in these stories. If you’re a chocoholic, you won’t want to miss the Hot Fudge Cake, which bakes up moist and decadently chocolate with its own fudge sauce.

Hungry yet?! I hope you’ll enjoy trying these recipes and sharing them with your families. That’s what Amish life is all about—family, faith, and FOOD!

 

Annie Mae’s Favorite Macaroni Salad

This is a fabulous salad that serves a crowd. The difference is in the dressing: Amish cooks tend to add sugar to their dressings. If you’re watching your calories, you can omit or reduce the sugar and still have a tasty dish that’ll be a hit at potlucks and picnics.

3 C. uncooked elbow macaroni, shells, etc.

3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

3 T. dill pickle relish

2 C. creamy salad dressing (e.g. Miracle Whip)

3 T. yellow mustard

3/ 4 C. white sugar

3 tsp. white vinegar

2 tsp. celery seed

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to boil, add macaroni, and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the chopped eggs and vegetables. In a smaller bowl, blend the rest of the ingredients, then combine this dressing with the macaroni, eggs, and vegetables. Cover and chill at least 2 hours (or overnight) before serving. Serves 10-12. Keeps about 3 days in the fridge.

Kitchen Hint: I make this salad with whole wheat macaroni, which adds fiber and doesn’t change the taste a bit. I also like to mix pasta shapes, using a cup of each!

Ham Loaf

Here’s a nice alternative to meat loaf, and it picks up a tangy sweet-sour taste from the glaze as it bakes. You can ask someone at the meat counter in the grocery store to grind your ham—or use a hand-cranked grinder, as Amish women do, or use a food processor blade, as I do. When cold, this loaf slices well for sandwiches!

1 lb. ground ham

1 lb. ground pork

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 eggs

2/3 C. cracker crumbs

1/3 C. Minute tapioca

¼ C. milk

Glaze:

¼ C. cider vinegar

½ C. water

½ C. brown sugar

1 T. mustard

Preheat oven to 350º. In a large bowl, combine the ground ham, ground pork, onion, eggs, cracker crumbs, tapioca, and milk. Mix thoroughly and form into two loaves. Place in a sprayed/greased roaster or baking pan. Mix the glaze ingredients in a small pan and boil for a few minutes, then pour the glaze over the ham loaves. Cover and bake about an hour and a half, basting occasionally. Glaze will thicken as it cooks down. Allow to cool about fifteen minutes before slicing, and serve with glaze.

Kitchen Hint: Minute tapioca isn’t just for pudding or thickening fruit pies! In this recipe, it gives the ham loaf a firmer texture so it won’t break apart when you slice it.

Another hint: You can also bake your loaves in a large crockery cooker for about 6 hours, but the glaze won’t thicken as much.

 

Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Charlotte! I am happy to announce that Kensington Publishing is giving one lucky reader the chance to win a copy of Breath of Spring.

To enter leave a comment below. If you would like an Extra chance share this link on Facebook or Twitter. Remember to leave another comment if you did.

**Contest starts today Monday, April 21st and ends on Monday, April 28th.**

breathofspring-200x300

As a bright season brings a fresh start to Willow Ridge, Annie Mae Knepp feels she can never make peace with the past. Her disgraced ex-bishop father is furious she has taken her five siblings to live with her. She’s never been truly at home in her faith. . .or believing in herself. And Annie Mae fears no man will want to take on the responsibilities she’s gladly shouldered. True, her quiet neighbor Adam Wagler has been steadfast and unshakeable helping her through her trials, but he surely couldn’t think of someone so lost as more than a friend. Believing she is unworthy because of her doubts, Annie Mae will find in a moment of surprising revelation that God can work impossible miracles—and that love makes all things new.

charlotte

Charlotte Hubbard, a long time Missourian, draws upon her
experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish
community west of the Mississippi, and writes of simpler times
and a faith-based lifestyle in her Seasons of the Heart series.
Charlotte is a deacon, a dedicated church musician, and choir
member. Charlotte now lives with her family in Minnesota.
Visit her at www.charlottehubbard.com.