#FoodieFriday – Dried Fig Souvlaki Appetizer

recipe - fig souvlaki cropped sandra bdyI loooove #FoodieFriday. Face facts, I simply love food. It never ceases to amaze me when I meet people who say they’d prefer to take three pills a day instead of eating real food. Makes me wonder if they approach other things in life (sex, romance, leisure) in the same manner. To me there’s nothing better than an evening spent with fine food and wine, the company of friends and family, and great conversation. To that end, I’ve collected a repertoire of simple, yet delicious appetizer/snack recipes to whip up if company drops by suddenly. Here’s one of them.

Dried Fig Souvlaki
Yield: 18 appetizers
Prep Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

18 large dried figs
18 (1/2-inch) cubes feta cheese
18 thin slices prosciutto, pastourma, or bresaola
18 large fresh sage leaves
18 large toothpicks
Extra-virgin olive oil

1. Make ahead: Using small sharp knife, cut stem from top of each fig, then cut straight down from top center to make 3/4-inch-deep, 1/2-inch-long slit in fig. Fill slit in each fig with cube of feta cheese, then press opening closed. Place 1 slice of prosciutto on work surface; top with sage leaf. Place stuffed fig at 1 end and roll up to enclose fig. Secure with toothpick. Repeat with remaining prosciutto, sage, and figs. Arrange on plate, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and chill until ready to cook.
2. Cooking the Souvlaki: Remove plate of appetizers from the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing. Pour enough oil into large skillet to cover bottom. Heat over medium-high heat. Add figs. Cook until prosciutto begins to crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to large platter. Serve warm.

*Can be made 1 day ahead (through step 1). Continue with step 2 when ready to serve.
*You can use a hot broiler to cook the souvlaki instead of frying.

This recipe comes from Recipe Girl who adapted it from a Bon Appetit recipe. Here’s the link:

Hope you enjoy.

Have a great weekend!




Death Blow wins Passionate Plume’s Best Historical 2012!

DeathBlowWhat a way to start the week.

Yesterday, I discovered Death Blow won the Passionate Plume’s Best Historical of 2012!!!

And it got better – Malice Striker came in third in the contest *grinning from ear to ear*.

Scout’s honor honest – I was so thrilled to be included as a finalist with authors, Cari Silverwood, Gem Sivad, and Sabrina York, that I didn’t care about winning *secret smile*. It, however, always feels good to be number one.

Congrats to all the winners!

Here’s the actual announcement:

Passionate Ink is Proud to Announce its 8th Annual Passionate Plume Published Winners!


1.    Death Blow    by Jianne Carlo

2.    Pinch of Naughty    by Gem Sivad

3.    Malice Striker    by Jianne CarloMaliceStriker

4.    Folly    by Sabrina York

5.    Rough Surrender    by Cari Silverwood


1.    Unleashed     by Crystal Jordan

2.    Nightfall    by Robyn Bachar

3.    FrankenDom    by Robin L. Rotham

4.    Tangled Web  by Christa McHugh

5.    Other Oceans: Book 2 of the Hook & Jill Saga    by Andrea Jones

6.    Mayan Inferno    by A.S. Fenichel


1.    Night Games    by Crystal Jordan

2.    Cat Scratch Fever    by Jodi Redford

3.    Hero Revealed    by Anna Alexander

4.    Wicked Wonderland    by Lisa Whitefern

5.    Embrace Me at Dawn    by Shayla Black


1.    Tex-Mex Sex Hex    by Maggie Montgomery

2.    Ink Lust    by Jayne Kingston

3.    Free For All    by Jayne Rylon

4.    Passion Pill    by Kelli Scott

5.    Blind Passion    by Kelli Scott


1. Temptation’s Edge    by Eden Bradley

2. Adam’s Obsession    by Sabrina York

3. Private Dancer    by Kimberly Dean

4. Darkest Sin    by Mandy Harbin

5. A Dom is Forever    by Lexi Blake

Have a great Monday!



#FoodieFriday – Mini Piña Colada Cheesecakes with Macadamia Crust

Recipe - Pina Colada

I love #FoodieFridays. I get to share my favorite recipes and menus with everyone and … the best part – people send me their faves. So exciting.

Last week I cooked my annual birthday party dinner for my girl, Tamarind. Today I’m featuring the dessert from the menu (posted the menu at the bottom of the recipe – I’ll be sharing those recipes on the next few Fridays).

Piña Colada Mini-Cheesecakes with Macadamia Crust

This recipe makes 12 servings


1 jar maraschino cherries, drained – you need 12 cherries
1 cup shredded coconut, toasted
1 (11.2-ounce) package no-bake cheesecake mix
1/4 cup liquid piña colada mix
1 Pineapple, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 cup toasted chopped macadamia nuts
1 6.8 oz bottle rum (half-pint) emptied into a spritzer bottle


  • Reserve 12 cherries.
  • Grill pineapple slices – I like a little char on the edges
  • Dice pineapple
  • Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  • Place 1 whole cherry in the center of each liner.
  • Cover cherries with equal portions of the toasted coconut.
  • Prepare cheesecake mix according to package directions, substituting the piña colada mix for the milk.
  • Fold in chopped grilled pineapple (I eyeball this).
  • Spoon cheesecake evenly over coconut and maraschino cherry.
  • Prepare crust that comes with mix (substituting half the mix with the toasted, chopped, macadamia nuts) according to package directions.
  • Sprinkle equal portions of crust mixture over each cheesecake; press lightly. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
  • To serve, unmold on serving plates with crust on bottom, remove cupcake liners.
  • Spritz rum over cheesecake
  • Pipe a couple rings of whipped cream around cake
  • Garnish with toasted coconut and leftover toasted, chopped macadamia nuts.

To Toast Coconut: Spread coconut in an ungreased pan. Bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until golden brown.

I based the above recipe on this one I found on the internet:


Here’s the menu for the birthday dinner:

Tamarind’s Birthday Dinner Menu

June 30, 2013

Amuse Bouche

Mushroom Croustades, Almond Crusted Salmon Bites,Fig Souvlaki


Chorizo & Collards & Cheesey Grits


Tomato, Peanut, & Coconut Sip


Crab Cake, Mango Salsa, Tomato Glaze, & Avocado Emulsion


Caramelized Beets, Arugula, Cranberries, Goat Cheese, & Walnut Salad with Creole Mustard-Shallot Vinaigrette


Road to Morocco Lamb

Pine Nut Couscous with Haricots Vert & Glazed Carrots


Individual Piña Colada Cheesecakes

Hope you enjoyed!




Falling in Love

Chad - BudRalph03 (2)I am falling in love. It’s a perpetual writer’s hazard. We romance authors have a habit of adoring our heroes and heroines. The object of my affections these days are twofold, ‘Chainsaw Chad’ of The Wolf with the Broken Smile, and Jersey, the heroine of Wolf Without.

Today, I found a picture to post at my desk for Chainsaw Chad. For some reason I always have to have a pic for my heroes, but I never need one for my heroines.

Go figure.

I have long given up trying to make sense of the way I write. It seems the more I attempt to corral my stories, the more they don’t flow. So, I’ve surrendered and these days I let the characters do what they will.

So, what do you think of my new pic for Chad? Stay tuned for boards on Pinterest for three books.

Here’s a little teaser from The Wolf with the Broken Smile:

Blizzard conditions—check.

Transportation impossible—check.

Being forced to spend the night at Chad Lexington’s condo—check.

“My sister keeps a few clothes here.”

The object of Lizzie White’s sexual fantasies for the last four months raked her from tilted beret to BDSM-style boots. Her nipples sizzled under his intent stare. She prayed her feverish desire and frazzled nerves didn’t show, and clamped her mouth shut.

“She’s shorter than you.”

His gaze fixed on her chest and no amount of willing her blood to cool worked. Her nipples budded and her juices tickled her labia. Sweat coated her nape and her grip on the laptop case white-knuckled.

“It’d probably be better if I loaned you sweats and a T-shirt. They’ll be big, but that’s better than wearing too tight clothes.”

The devil had it in for her. His sweats abrading her pussy. The material that gloved his cock riding her clit. Cat on a hot tin roof had nothing on the sexual tension driving her. “Thanks, but not necessary, I sleep in the altogether. I am sorry to put you to such an inconvenience, however.”

Lie number one, she wasn’t sorry at all.

Had Mr. Stoic actually blinked at her I-sleep-naked declaration?

“It’s not as if you caused the worst weather conditions in the last century of Chicago weather.” As usual his smile didn’t quite reflect in those impenetrable silver-rimmed eyes.

She repressed a grin. Of course, he’d never in this universe believe she’d caused the blizzard deliberately. But she had. It had all been part of the plan to seduce him. Lizzie couldn’t wait for him to see her without the glasses and the dowdy clothes she normally wore. As it was, the boots had had him flummoxed from the second she’d stepped into his condo.

“The snow’s so wet I wouldn’t be surprised if we lost power soon.”

Perfect. Hot sex happened in blackouts.

Hope you enjoyed!




Goddess Fish Blog Tour – Collette Cameron 07/15/13

Today, I’m interviewing author Collette Cameron who’s celebrating the release of her debut novel with this interview as part of her Goddess Fish Blog tour. Here’s a little bit about Collette:

MEDIA KIT Author Photo A life-long Oregonian, Collette Cameron was born and raised in a small town along the northern Oregon coast. Today she makes her home in a rural community, 30 minutes west of Portland. Her Victorian farmhouse sits on a one-acre certified wildlife habit, interspersed with a plethora of gardens: English, rose, butterfly, rock, water, and of course, vegetable.

A voracious reader of romance since her teens, she even named her daughter after a heroine in her favorite romance novel. An enthusiast of times gone by, and anything related to romance, she writes Historical Romance, with a dash of inspiration, a pinch of humor, and a liberal portion of suspense.

Having dabbled in interior decorating in her youth, Collette returned to school, graduating summa cum laude from Oregon State University, and going on to obtain her Master’s Degree in Teaching. She is member of Romance Writers of America, Rose City Romance Writers, The Beau Monde, and Love Faith and Hope, Inc.

Some of Collette’s favorite things include unique blends of coffees and teas, trivia, Cadbury Milk Chocolate, inspirational quotes, and scented candles. Her Christian faith, husband, three adult children, and five miniature dachshunds round out her life quite nicely! When she’s not teaching or writing, she enjoys amateur photography, bird watching, gardening, interior decorating, rock-hunting, boating or fishing on the Columbia River, and reading.

Welcome Collette, it’s  a pleasure to host you today.
Thanks so much for having me here today.

7_15 CSC_0028First of all, can we see a picture of your 200 plus Thimble Collection?
Sure! I included some pictures. The thimbles are scattered all over my house so, you’re only seeing part of them.

Second, why thimbles?
Over thirty years ago, my sister gave me five or six for Christmas. I started picking up ones that I thought were interesting or pretty, then other people started giving them to me too. I’ve got thimbles from most of the states, France, England, Spain, Mexico, 7_15 CSC_0030Ireland, and one my hubby gave me with a gold nugget on top.

My favorite though is a silver one that belonged to my great, great grandmother. It’s over 160 years old.Those were the appetizer questions – now onto the main course!

What was your inspiration for Highlander’s Hope?
A single scene, the Banbury Inn scene where Ewan finds Yvette asleep in his chamber, popped into my mind one day. It played out like a movie. I wondered if I could create an entire story around that scene. Highlander’s Hope is the result.

Did you model your heroine, Yvette, on a real person?
I didn’t model Yvette after anyone. I’ve had people suggest she is me, maybe because of the blonde hair and blue eyes, but she’s not. I’m also clumsy so I suspect that’s another reason people have thought I modeled her after me. Yvette’s a completely fictional character and much of her character developed as the story did.

I love the way, your hero’s brogue thickens when he’s emotional – was that deliberate on your part?
I wanted Ewan to be a strong, alpha male, but I also wanted him to be vulnerable. Having his Scot’s accent become more pronounced when he’s less guarded was a way for his vulnerability to show through.

How did you decide on the traitor in the War Office plot?
Beside being Laird of Craiglocky and the Viscount Sethwick, Ewan’s a member of England’s elite diplomatic corps. I wanted an ongoing conflict that would add continued suspense to the plot, so I created the spymaster. He’s the traitor in the war office and Yvette’s stepbrother, also a traitor, is an associate of his. There are other elements of intrigue and espionage that keeps the reader guessing about just who is after Ewan and Yvette.

Where did Mrs. Pettigrove’s character come from? I particularly loved her malodorous offerings.
Yes, dear Mrs. Pettigrove and her digestive disruptions. She’s quite something, isn’t she? I wanted to create a character that epitomized hypocrisy, but also one that was very realistic. I took all the obnoxious things I could thing of and wove them into Mrs. Pettigrove’s character.

Is Highlander’s Hope part of a series? If so, how many books do you have planned?
Highlander’s Hope is the first book in my Blue Rose Series. The second book, The Viscount’s Vow is about Ian and Vangie, Yvette’s cousin.  The third book in the trilogy, The Earl’s Enticement, features Adaira, Ewan’s sister and Roark, Yvette’s other stepbrother. I also have a six-book saga planned that includes Ewan’s other siblings and cousins.

Now for some fun trivia:
What’s your pet peeve?
Bullying and when people talk behind someone else’s back.

Exercise or curl up with a good book?
Exercise in the morning and curl up with a good book at bedtime.

What’s your secret, sinful pleasure?
Cadbury Milk Chocolate. I ate it for the first time when I was in England many years ago, and I was hooked!

Commando or old-lady panties?
Nothing in between, huh?  Okay, so I’ll go with the granny panties, but they have to have lots and lots of flowers on them! Maybe even some lace.

Wine or beer?
Can’t stand either one, but give me a strawberry margarita or daiquiri and I’m happy.

Favorite movie?
Pride and Prejudice the 2005 movie.

One thing in the world you couldn’t do without:
Okay, I’m going big! Electricity. That covers everything from refrigeration to lights to computers to my hair dryer.  Plus the hubby, son, brother, brother-in-laws (2), father-in-law are electricians.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Collette.


Not a day has gone by that Ewan McTavish, the Viscount Sethwick, hasn’t dreamed of the beauty he danced with two years ago. He’s determined to win her heart and make her his own. Heiress, Yvette Stapleton, is certain of one thing; marriage is risky and, therefore, to be avoided. At first, she doesn’t recognize the dangerously handsome man who rescues her from assailants on London’s docks, but Lord Sethwick’s passionate kisses soon have her reconsidering her cynical views on matrimony. On a mission to stop a War Office traitor, Ewan draws Yvette into deadly international intrigue. To protect her, he exploits Scottish law, declaring her his lawful wife—without benefit of a ceremony. Yvette is furious upon discovering the irregular marriage is legally binding, though she never said, “I do.” Will Ewan’s manipulation cost him her newfound love?

Book URL: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/meet-collette-cameron/highlanders-hope-by-collette-cameron/
This is not a “buy” link.
Collette’s Links:
Website: http://collettecameron.com/
Blog: http://blueroseromance.com/
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/collettecameronauthor
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/collette.cameron.5
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Collette_Author
Google+: https://plus.google.com/110459897284342875390#110459897284342875390/posts
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/collette-cameron/60/17a/667
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/colletteauthor/
Soul Mate Publishing Author’s Blog: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/

PRIZE PACKAGE_Goddess Fish Gift Baskete 001

Collette will be awarding this beautiful gift basket that includes a 20.00 Amazon gift card, Cadbury Chocolates, Vintage-looking cameo pendant, Highlander’s Hope bookmark, blue rose china teacup and demi-spoon, blue rose soaps, notepad–all assembled in an attractive vintage decor box to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
Leave your email address in a comment and you’re entered into the contest.

Hope you enjoyed!