Tales from the Kitchen (Holiday Recipes, part 3)

Today's recipe is one I invented when my kids were young--and then shared with my character Marsha (and her family) when I was writing The Spirit of the Place.

I have to admit, the recipe has changed some over the years, in large part because I never can leave well enough alone. The cranberries and spices are new and can be left out, if desired. I've included directions for making both a traditional and vegan version.



1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp tsp anise extract and/or ground cardomom (optional)
2 Tbs. sugar
1 egg (or 1Tbs ground flaxseed combined w/ 3 Tbs water)
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
zest of one orange
2 Tbs. Melted butter (or coconut oil)
1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)


Combine dry ingredients. Stir in beaten egg (or flax mixture), orange juice, zest and butter/coconut oil. Blend until smooth. Add cranberries if desired. Thin batter as needed with additional juice or water. Cook on a hot, lightly-oiled griddle.

And now, I thought I'd throw in an excerpt. This is from Chapter Four, right after Jasmine has come home for the holidays--and her mother's wedding. But first, the blurb:

It's Christmas in Oberon. Got ghosts?

'Tis the season to be jolly, but Jasmine Quinn is far from happy about her mother's latest folly: her upcoming wedding to former Wall Street financier, Sam Sterling. Sam's assistant, Brandon Ablemarle, is also finding it hard to get into the holiday spirit, thanks in part to the fiery redhead with some of the goofiest ideas he's ever heard of.

But what else would he expect from the daughter of a self-proclaimed psychic? Marsha Quinn has a lot to answer for, in Brandon's opinion. Not only has she encouraged her daughter's esoteric craziness, she's also turned one of the most brilliant stock analysts Wall Street had ever seen into a nutcase as well.


Oh, baby, it’s so good to have you home again,” Marsha murmured the next morning, as she wrapped her arms around her daughter in a fierce hug. “I’ve missed you so much.”
I’ve missed you, too, Mom,” Jasmine answered, blinking back tears. Her mother looked just the same as always, but...home? It was a funny word to use for a place you no longer lived and barely even recognized. New paint. New landscaping. New furniture. A dog?
Jasmine ignored the beast as it sniffed curiously at her ankles—probably picking up the scent of her aunt’s dogs. What is it doing here? This couldn’t be her mother’s idea, Marsha had always preferred cats. So had she, for that matter. So had Celeste. This dog had to be Sam’s pet.
And didn’t that just figure? Holy crap, was there anything that man hadn’t messed with?
Marsha pulled away and fixed her with a worried gaze. “Is everything all right, Jazz? You look tired. How’d your drive go? You didn’t have any trouble on the way here, did you?”
Everything’s fine,” Jasmine lied, resolutely turning her thoughts in another direction. She envisioned the closet she hoped to have eventually—climate controlled, cedar lined, color corrected, lighted mirrors, et al––and began cataloging the clothes in her dream wardrobe. Beginning with the sweaters. Black cashmere v-neck. Red fleece pullover. Green lambs wool cardigan. It was an old technique, but it still worked surprisingly well.
Well, anyway, I’m glad you got in early,” her mother said, lips quirking into a small smile. “Maybe this way you’ll be able to get a little clothes shopping in before Christmas, huh?”
Yeah, that sounds good,” Jasmine answered, her mind moving on to shoes. Black pumps. Brown stacked heels. Navy sling backs. Open toed sandals. Two pairs of boots—one short, one tall…
Come on, Imelda.” Her mother wrapped an arm around her waist and propelled her toward the kitchen. “Let’s get you some breakfast. I’m making the orange-corn meal pancakes this morning.”
Winter Solstice pancakes?” Jasmine looked at her in surprise. “Already?”
Marsha shrugged. “I have to work early on Monday, so I thought we’d have them today, instead. Besides, I know how much you like them.”
Had her mother been expecting her, after all? It looked like Sinead was right; she really couldn’t keep the fact that she was back in town a secret from her mother. But then a more likely, and far less pleasant solution presented itself to her mind. Sam. Maybe he liked pancakes, too. Maybe Marsha had really been making them for him.
In the kitchen, her mother’s cat, Shadow, uncurled herself from her customary spot on the lowest shelf of the greenhouse window, yawned and stretched and then came over to greet Jasmine with a lazy flourish of her big, plumed tail. Jasmine was relieved to see that Shadow paid no attention to the ugly brute of a dog, who had followed them into the kitchen.
Good for you, sweetie, Jasmine thought, as she bent down to rub the cat’s chin. Don’t let that monster bother you. We both know who really belongs here, don’t we?

Happy Holidays!
The Spirit of the Place - SynergEbooks
IRON - Liquid Silver Books
In the Dark - Samhain Publishing

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