Thursday, July 25, 2013

What's Cookin' in Welch? With Tyson & Jeane Wynn (giveaway,too)

** Weds. 7/31 2:14 PM  Congratulations to our giveaway winner, Kristen Ethridge!!** 

Today I'm thrilled to introduce very special guests, quite familiar (despite this sneaky photo) to those of us in the book world-- and to the 600 citizens of their bustling Oklahoma home town. Please raise your wooden spoons in a rousing Authors' Galley welcome for the creative, dedicated, and often quite hilarious team of
 Wynn-Wynn MediaTyson and Jeane Wynn! 

Anyone who’s met or seen pictures of either or both of the Wynns behind Wynn-Wynn Media know at first glance that we like food. Check that; we love food! And we come by it honestly.

We operate Wynn-Wynn Media from a storefront in Welch, Okla., the small town (pop. 600) in extreme northeastern Oklahoma where we both grew up (Jeane, WHS Class of 1980; Tyson, WHS Class of 1995).

Back in 1976 the Welch Lions Club was raising money to build a civic auditorium, so the club published and sold a cookbook compiled from recipes submitted by locals. What’s Cookin’ in Welch was a hit, and it became as ubiquitous as the family Bible in area homes. It was such a success that a follow-up tome, More Cookin’ in Welch, followed a few years later. Both are still being printed and sold by the Lions Club.

Being so prevalent in Welch homes, it’s the first cookbook either of us knew. Jeane’s mom’s copy is so well used that the covers came loose from the spiral binding long ago, and the copy we received as a wedding gift in 1998 is showing significant wear, its pages splatters with evidence of many a tested recipe.

One benefit of the cookbook being compiled from community members (with each recipe’s author noted) is that it’s easy to find recipes from who you know are good cooks! Not to mention that you can also skip recipes from folks who’ve not impressed you at the church potluck.

The recipes in What’s Cookin’ in Welch are not pretentious, making liberal use of canned cream of mushroom soup, Velveeta, and Dream Whip. It’s real food that’s helped keep the local cowboys, coal miners of that day (all the mines are gone now), and the rest of us (including book publicists) a little thicker around the middle than we’d like. Each page, in addition to having been produced on a typewriter, has the secrets of concocting real people food from real homes right down the street.

Recipes run the gamut from the exotic (page 209 lists Pauline Darnell’s recipe for “Chicken Polynesian,” which is served over “Chinese noodles”) to the thrifty (page 247’s “Poor Man’s Cobbler” from Jack Bell), and More Cookin’ in Welch has a recipe for a version of Orange Julius that is better than what you can get from the official Orange Julius franchise today.

Ours, in addition to splatters on the pages we have used most, have sticky notes and dog-eared pages marking things we love or hope to try someday. Like most recipes, those in the Welch cookbooks are a good start, and everyone notes their changes and variations in their own copy.

One of Tyson’s favorite recipes is Jeane’s variation of Fonna Guest’s “Tasty Meat Loaf” from page 183.

As printed:

Tasty Meat Loaf (by Fonna Guest, What’s Cookin’ in Welch, page 183)

Mix together in a bowl:

1-1/2 lb. hamburger
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green peppers
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
3/4 cup cracker crumbs (5 large crackers crushed in wax paper with rolling pin)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Shape into loaf. Bake at 350 degrees on wire rack in cake pan for one hour.

There you have it. Easy-peasy. Jeane’s made a few slight variations. 1. She sweats the onions until they are translucent before mixing with other ingredients so that there’s no uncooked onion in the final product. 2. She omits green peppers because Tyson will divorce her if she doesn’t. 3. She substitutes catsup for the tomato sauce. 4. Though we assume the original recipe meant saltines for crackers, we’ve found that wheat or whole grain crackers are perfect. 5. Jeane cooks it in a regular loaf pan.

Tyson loves this hot from the oven, but maybe more so for meatloaf sandwiches from the leftovers.

As incoming president of the Welch Lions Club, Tyson is making one copy of What’s Cookin’ in Welch available as a giveaway for a lucky Authors’ Galley reader. We’re sure you’ll agree it’s a guide to good, stick-to-your-ribs (maybe too much) fare that is both filling and tasty. It’s not Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but it has become a faithful kitchen friend from the days before blogs, Food Network, and Pinterest. And just remember, when a recipe calls for oleo, just substitute butter. 

What a great post. I love it-- Oleo!  How many of you remember that word?

Huge thanks to Jeane and Tyson for taking time from their busy schedules to make a guest appearance at Authors' Galley. And for sharing so many of their talented author clients with us here,  as well as offering great giveaways. Speaking of which . . .

For a chance at a copy of What's Cookin' in Welch, leave a comment below including your e-mail address. US entries only, please. I'll draw the lucky winning name on Weds. July 31st (via Random.Org) and notify the winner by e-mail. For a chance to win, you must leave an e-mail address. 

Meanwhile, happy reading . . . and Bon appetit! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Garden of Eatin' : Guest Author Melody Carlson (with giveaway)

** Weds. July 17 4:30 PM** Congratulations to our giveaway winner, "Anonymous" (mandn@wisper) !   **

My guest today was recently honored with the Romantic Times Career Achievment Award and in her twenty years of writing professionally, has published more than 200 books. While she admits she still finds that rather unbelievable, you can bet that her readers find it completely wonderful--and clamor for more. Please wave your wooden spoons and join me in an enthusiastic Authors' Galley welcome for Melody Carlson!  

My Garden of Eatin’
By Melody Carlson

An excerpt from: A Home at Trail’s End

For the past couple of weeks, Elizabeth had capitalized on the good weather by sprouting seeds. As a result she now had dozens of tiny delicate plants—apples, peaches, pears, plums and berries that were ready to be planted in soil. Although JT was helping his uncle today, Elizabeth’s young daughter Ruth was on hand to help with the task of planting. But first they needed to finish up the stick fence they’d been building to protect the plants from foraging critters. Elizabeth was well aware of the damage deer and rabbits could do to young plants. “I plan to put tall poles every few feet,” she explained to Ruth. “I’ll string wire about this tall.” She held her hand up as high as she could reach. “And then I’ll tie colorful rags that will flutter in the wind. Hopefully it will dissuade the deer from jumping the fence.”


While writing my Homeward on the Oregon Trail trilogy, I was challenged by the can-do spirit of my pioneer characters. Okay, I don’t really care to walk ten miles a day in ninety degree weather, or cook my supper over a campfire of smoldering buffalo dung, but I do love the idea of growing my own food in my own garden. Of course, where I live (in an Oregon mountain region) this can be a challenge at best. Between unexpected frosts in late June and foraging critters year round, raising a vegetable garden is not for the weak at heart. Still I thought perhaps with a greenhouse and tall sturdy might be possible. To that end, I began to design a large garden area in a previously unused and open space of our otherwise timbered property (think desert in the summertime). I imagined, not simply a vegetable garden, but an inviting green paradise with some tables and chairs and a water feature and strings of garden lights for evening gatherings. 
           So last autumn, thanks to my industrious husband Chris and our sons Luke and Gabe, the work was begun. Tall hand-peeled juniper fence posts were placed eight feet apart, and roomy raised concrete garden beds were painstakingly built. As weather turned wet, the area turned into a mucky muddy mess. Then, as snowflakes started to fall I started to dream of summer. I envisioned lovely heritage tomatoes, leafy lettuce, green peppers, hearty kale, various kinds of squash and pumpkins...and an herb garden with lots of basil. I adore basil!
Naturally, the construction work stalled in winter, but when spring came it started up what felt like a snail’s pace. Because we’d decided to recycle old windows and doors for the greenhouse, everything took longer than expected. But during this time my nine-year-old granddaughter Anika and I started planting seeds. Anika, who was studying Iroquois Indians, insisted on planting beans, corn, and squash (the “three sisters” staples of this tribe). And even though I knew the likelihood of harvesting corn was slim in our climate, I told her it would be a good experiment.

          It wasn’t long before the sprouts grew into plants (which threatened to outgrow their little pots and my laundry room which served as a temporary greenhouse) and my patience with the garden construction progress grew thin. But eventually it all came together and I spent several unusually hot June days “enhancing” the soil and planting all the desperate seedlings. By the time I finished—exhausted from the heat and hard work—my previous romanticized dream of growing my own vegetables felt tarnished and slightly delusional. What had I been thinking???
But time passed and the weather returned to normal temperatures, and our garden began to flourish. Everything was happily growing—including my numerous basil plants. I still remember the first time I picked some of my basil in mid June. With friends coming to dinner, I’d decided to make pesto pasta. Nothing smells sweeter than the aroma that’s released while chopping fresh-picked basil—and I used a liberal amount. To this I added some garlic cloves and good olive oil. Then as the spaghetti cooked (I’ve switched to brown rice pasta) I ran the basil mixture through my mini blender until it turned a nice bright green. Yum! Finally I added pine nuts and parmesan cheese and tossed the whole works together over the hot spaghetti. Presto—pesto pasta! Fresh from my Garden of Eatin’. Now I want to get chickens!

I love everything about this post, Melody!  I can so relate to the desire to bring food from the garden to the table. And, yes, fresh (summer-warm) basil is heavenly. One of my favorite scents. 
Great photo of you with your "garden of eatin'"  inside your very own "stick fence!."  Don't tell my HOA, but  I sometimes dream of  having a few of my own garden chickens . . . 

And now, for some extra fun, the ever-fabulous Wynn-Wynn Media is offering  this great giveaway: A copy of A Home at Trail's End, a fun fold up tote from Pier 1 AND a twenty-dollar gift card from Lowe's. (Great garden department there!)

For a chance at the giveaway, leave a comment below that includes your e-mail address. US entries only, please. I'll select the winner via Random.Org on Weds. July 17th and contact that person via e-mail. Remember, you must leave an e-mail address for a chance to win. 

Meanwhile, happy reading . . . and Bon appetit! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop

Hi friends!

Just to shake things up, we're doing something different today. Taking part in a little "Blog Hop" designed to introduce readers to great new summer reads. And a few recipes as well. All YOU have to do is read the post, follow the links and enjoy! 

First, here's a few words about my summer release, Rescue Team:

Tired of running from her past, nurse Kate Callison intends to become Austin Grace Hospital’s permanent ER director and make Texas her home. Despite staff friction, she’s moving ahead. Then unthinkable tragedy wraps the ER in crime tape, bringing swarms of media, legal chaos—and a search-and-rescue hero who seems determined to meddle in her life. 

For Wes Tanner, nothing beats finding someone who’s lost; he’s known that helpless terror firsthand. So he’ll expand his team’s lifeline of hope: K9 tracking, swift water rescue, even horse-mounted searches. He’s ready for anything—except Austin Grace’s prickly and dismissive ER director. 

As Kate and Wes discover more about each other, new respect becomes something deeper. Kate wonders if her heart might have finally found a home. Then an unsolved missing persons case—and a startling new one—become catalysts that threaten the loss of all she and Wes have found.

Available now!

And now, here we go with the questions I was posed (prepare for a giggle at number 5):

1) When writing are you a snacker? If so, sweet or salty? I'd like to pretend I'm not a snacker, but I do. Mostly coffee (decaf with almond milk), but sometimes crackers--don't look to closely at my keyboard. 

2) Are you an outliner or someone who flies by the seat of their pants? Are they real pants or jammies? As far as writing goes, I generally have what I like to call a "map" (the word outline--like the word math--gives me hives). I know the story's beginning middle and end, and the rest "flies" as the characters whisper to me. I rarely write in my jammies (except early morning blog posts). And right now I'm actually wearing a skirt--go figure.

3) When cooking or baking, do you follow the recipe exactly or wing it? (As proved by the content of this blog) I'm a passionate foodie. I'll grab recipes from the internet for ideas, then  make things up as I go along--very much like my writing style.

4) What is next for you after this book? The next book in my Grace Medical series, Life Support, releases next March. And I've just signed a contract for three more medical dramas--woot!

5) Last Question...on a level of one being slightly naughty to ten being whoo whoo steamy, where does your book land? There's nothing lower than a one??  Seriously, I write inspirational medical romance, so the "steam" comes from folks running to the sounds of sirens and saving lives. Or maybe from some great fajitas they're enjoying on the San Antonio Riverwalk. There's some heart-stirring romance, but nothing that readers from teen to senior age can't enjoy equally--and I'm honored to share stories with both. 

Speaking of great Mexican food, here's one of the Calvert family's favorite summer salsas. Simple and yummy: 

Black Bean Salsa

1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes, Mexican style (mild)
1 cup corn
1 can black beans/drained/rinsed
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 medium avocado, chunked
Salt, ground pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

And now, here is a link to another author friend participating in the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop. Head on over to this site and check out her book, answers to the questions, and recipe:

Kristen Ethridge

Until next time, happy reading and . . . Bon Apetit!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th!

For many of us it's a national holiday and I'm giving my guest authors a break today.  I'll just take a moment to wish a very happy Independence Day to my US readers. We're having a low-key celebration here at the Calverts. Flying the flag, and watching local fireworks after enjoying some barbecue. Of course (unlike our fun guest post last week) this grilling does not involve goats in any way shape or form. In fact, since we're vegetarians, it's going to be something more like this:

No, we aren't going to eat the zinnias!

 But I do love those "Original Garden Burgers," and plan to steam, then marinate (seasonings, herbs, olive oil)  and grill that fat California artichoke, much the same way we enjoyed it for my birthday trip to Carmel. The other fresh vegetables, sweet red pepper, organic yellow onions, baby asparagus, zucchini, and Portabella mushrooms will also be grilled--to save for upcoming dishes. I'm going to serve the garden burgers on thin whole wheat buns with slices of juicy Heirloom tomatoes. And add some of those yummy baked zucchini fries on the side . . . . Mmm. 

Just for fun, here's a couple of snippets from Rescue Team, where our heroine, former Californian, Kate Callison  orders veggies at an awkward lunch with her estranged father . . . then, later, is thoroughly tempted by Texas brisket

Tea for me as well,” she told the waiter. “Not sweet.”

They added their food orders—his catfish and her campfire veggie plate—and Matt weighed the wisdom of broaching the subject of the phone call again. But Kate beat him to it.

“I wasn’t crying,” she said, lifting her chin. “It was . . .” Her lashes fluttered in the same tell he’d read all her life. When she’d denied bending the brass angels on the Christmas tree or taking her mother’s lipstick to school . . . Had he missed some signs she was planning to leave home?

 “Allergies,” she explained. “Cedar fever. Another Texas thing I have to get used to.”

Matt nodded. Kate had her mother’s looks, but that stubborn streak was 100 percent paternal. He wasn’t wrong that she was in trouble. One way or another, he was going to do something about it. Matt wasn’t going to let her run away this time.


The air smelled like barbecue. 

Kate walked alongside Duster  toward the barn.  All traces of the search-and-rescue demonstration, Scouts, and school children had vanished. And here, closer to the Tanner ranch house, the air was thick with the scent of mesquite smoke and slow-cooked brisket. Her traitorous stomach rumbled to mock the Shady Grove vegetable plate. 

So how about YOU, did you plan  something special for an Independence Day celebration?  Was barbecue on the menu? Did you find time to relax, curl up with a good book?