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Connie Mann's Mango Salsa


Connie Mann loves stories of suspense, adventure and second chances. She offers encouragement to busy women on her blog:  www.BusyWomenBigDreams.com and is an active member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. She’s also a USCG-licensed boat captain, so when she’s not writing, she’s usually on Central Florida’s waterways with local school children or her fabulous family. Please visit her online at: www.conniemann.com.


Connie's newest book release: Angel Falls
 
When her best friend is killed in an explosion, leaving Regina da Silva with her friend’s young child, she doesn’t realize that the child was as much a target as her friend. Brooks Anderson has been sent to find the child and bring it to the US. When circumstances bring them together in Brazil, they find themselves being pursued by a killer as they protect an orphaned baby.

As the danger heightens around them, so does the attraction between Regina and Brooks, despite their differences. Regina and Brooks have both been broken by their violent pasts, but while Regina relies on her faith to deal with her past, Brooks has turned away from God. Will their pasts stop them from realizing their true feelings for each other when their pursuer strives to keep them apart forever?

Connie's recipe for Mango Salsa

My new novel, Angel Falls, was inspired by a trip to Brazil, where my Dad was born. Not surprisingly, black beans and rice are an important staple in our family’s diet. During the summer months, we serve it with grilled chicken—or grilled brats, in a nod to the German side of the family.

Two years ago, while searching for a way to jazz things up a little, I found a Caribbean-style side dish that is the perfect complement and became an instant family favorite. It’s super easy and I usually triple the recipe when we’re serving a crowd. If you like things a bit spicier, you can also add 1 fresh chopped jalapeno pepper, but I usually don’t.

1 Mango - diced
¼ cup red bell pepper – chopped
1 green onion – thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix all the ingredients together, toss with the lime and lemon juice and put it into the refrigerator for several hours. Toss before serving. Enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie


Here is a recipe we enjoy at our house often during cooler weather. Enjoy! 

1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cube chicken bouillon 
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
3/4 cup carrots, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1 pie pastry crust
1 egg and 1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large saucepan, add first six ingredients. Cook vegetables until tender. In small bowl, mix flour and water to make a paste. Gradually stir into broth to thicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper according to your taste. Pour into greased 9x9 baking pan. Spread pie pastry over top. Poke 6-9 steam holes with your knife to allow sauce to breathe. Whisk egg and water to make egg wash; spread over pastry. Sprinkle crust with salt and pepper. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Allow to set for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4-6. Yum!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cheeseburger Soup

Here's an easy recipe to serve on a cool spring night. 

1 1/2 pounds ground hamburger
2 large potatoes, peeled and shredded
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cubes chicken bouillon
4 cups water
2 cups milk
8 oz processed cheese like Velveeta, cubed
2 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In large kettle, brown hamburger. Add shredded potatoes, carrots, and chopped onion. Add water and bouillon cubes and cook until tender, about 12-15 minutes. Add milk and cheese, stirring occasionally until melted. Add parsley, salt, and pepper. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes. Serves 6-8. 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe. 

Erin MacPherson's Mummu's Cardamom Bread


Erin MacPherson is an amateur cook by day and a writer by night. A former food editor for Nickelodeon, Erin loves to cook and try out new recipes on her family. She lives in the country—on the outskirts of Austin—with her three kids, her husband and her trusty Golden Retriever Jack who is always happy to sample her cooking scraps. She is the author of the Christian Mama's Guide series and she blogs about parenting and food at www.christianmamasguide.com.

Erin's Newest Release: The Christian Mama's Guide to Baby's First Year

An entertaining, practical guide for first-time mamas and those who need a baby refresher course. The new mom initiation ritual involves sleepless nights, an inexplicable obsession with baby booties, and more questions than answers. This take on everything baby offers new moms the Christian girlfriend advice she needs to feel confident in her new role, including: 
  • getting into the motherhood groove
  • breastfeeding advice
  • suggestions for losing the baby weight—before your baby is no longer a baby
  • time management tips that may just help you find time to do laundry—before you run out of clean underwear
  • how you can manage to be a godly mother and a good wife on less than three hours of sleep a night
Easy-to-read and relatable, this been-there-done-that guide answers these questions and more with a dose of humor an a lot of grace so that new moms can become the moms that God intended them to be during their baby's first year. Check out all of her guide series on Amazon HERE


Erin MacPherson's Mummu's Cardamom Bread

My grandmother ("Mummu" in Finnish) immigrated to the United States in 1950 using a borrowed visa. As my grandma adjusted to life in a new culture, she clung to comforts from home. One of those was her mom's cardamom bread, which she made nearly every day to go with her husband's morning coffee. My grandma is still alive and a few weeks ago, she came to visit me. My kids and I rolled out the red-carpet—or hand-me-down, hand-stitched linens if you will. We woke up early and made Mummu's famous bread and then set the table with our best mismatched china, fresh coffee and butter. My grandma loved it. And I loved sharing a glimmer of my childhood—of my grandma's childhood—with my kids.

¾ cup milk
¼ cup water
1 pkg. yeast
4 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (Warning: Ground cardamom is expensive.  I buy whole pods in the spice section and grind them myself with a mortar and pestle.)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten, separated

Put water and milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Warm, stirring frequently, just until the liquid starts to steam. Remove from heat, let set 1 minute. Add yeast, set aside and let sit for 10 minutes until activated.
In a large bowl, mix flour, cardamom, salt, and sugar. Add yeast-mixture to flour mixture, along with melted butter and 2 beaten eggs. Stir just until mixed.

Pour dough onto bread board or Silpat mat (or if you want, put it in your Kitchenaid with a dough hook) and start to knead. The dough will start off soft and sticky. Knead until it's smooth and elastic. Let rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours or overnight. Punch dough down.  Break into 3 equal parts. Roll each part into a long snake. Braid the snakes into a small loaf.  Brush with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with 1 tbsp sugar. Let rise in a warm place for 30-60 minutes. Bake at 375 for 25-35 minutes until crust is golden-brown. Serve with coffee or tea.