Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, TRACEE LYDIA GARNER, and her favorite recipe for CHINESE NOODLE COOKIES!
BY TRACEE LYDIA GARNER
Despite her prestigious professional role, Allontis Baxter’s private life is in shambles. She’s just broken up with her no-good boyfriend, her adopted mother figure is dying in the hospital and now she’s been turned down in an attempt to adopt a child of her own. Plus, Allontis’s old flame Cole Parker has returned to their hometown from New York City, causing her dilemmas to multiply as old feelings are rekindled. What’s a successful and motivated nonprofit career woman to do?
When a series of chance encounters at work fling her into the middle of a mysterious scandal, Allontis realizes she’s caught up in a dangerous game that could send her chaotic life up in flames. Struggling to keep the pieces of her own life together while protecting those she loves, Allontis is forced to confront the true meaning of family and to face some demons of her own.
BY TRACEE LYDIA GARNER
“What are you thinking about?”
“Are you sure?”
Tiring of his badgering and pointless interrogation, Allontis turned her back on him and faced the sink again. If only she could turn off the awareness she now felt with his close proximity, but there was no escaping the heat of his body next to hers. His sleeves had been neatly rolled back, and from her peripheral vision she could see his tanned skin surrounding her. Tiny hairs seemed to dance their way up his arms, and she tried to trace where the delicate hairs ended and the shirt began without turning her head, until her vision grew blurry. She closed her eyes to regain her balance, lest she sway and land in a heap right there at his feet again. Facing forward to look out the window, she reached to crank it open: the smell of him seemed to stifle her, not to mention the cooking pot roast he’d prepared, the vegetables sautéing on the range, and some kind of bread she guessed he’d made because there’d been a small dusting of flour on one of the countertops. She looked at his hands: large, light-tanned skin and long fingers, the nails at the end of each one perfectly straight, trim and clean. There was so much about him that she no longer knew, and it both saddened and amazed her. His culinary skills, for one, had made the place smell like it had when Momma G had been able to cook, a time that seemed so long ago. His arms around her, coupled with his cologne and the simple fact of his nearness, made her feel like a flower field was swirling around her head.
Allontis gave herself a little shake. She was getting irritated with herself for all the thoughts brought on by his proximity, her loss and his concern. If she could stay immune to him long enough, he would be gone soon enough.
If she wanted to survive his time in Virginia, she had to remember he was here for only a short while. Above all, she had to avoid intimate moments like this one.
“You know,” she finally managed, “it’s just a little too late for your concern. You have no right to ask me anything about my personal life. If you really cared, you would have been here, so because you weren’t…” Allontis inhaled and exhaled deeply, almost confused by her own words. “Because you were not here, I have no cause but to believe that you didn’t care even then, so please don’t pretend you care now. I just…I wouldn’t believe it. I can’t.”
With that, she forced her way out of his arms and with hands full of dripping cut stems, she moved to the trash can where she dumped them. She peeled the wet leaves from her palms, and slapping her hands against each other as if done with that, she ignored his look of hurt befuddlement and moved on to the other items she’d bought. She took out the two cakes and fussed with the vase on the table, turning it back and forth, until she found the right look and because she was want of anything else to do with herself.
“They’re pretty,” she heard Cole say over her shoulder, and instantly some of the tension she felt ebbed away.
“Thank you,” she returned, clearing her throat. “Momma G loved fresh flowers and all her house plants. I don’t know if I’ll remember to water them—they’ll probably all die in my care.” She didn’t want Cole to know that her eyes had filled with tears, so she wiped at them hastily but it was too late.
“I’m sorry I snapped at you,” she said.
“I’m sorry I pried.” He moved over to her gently. He didn’t wait for an invitation; he simply pulled her into his arms and squeezed her tight.
Burying her face in his shoulder, Allontis let go. She couldn’t believe they were having this like-hate situation, and she still couldn’t believe he was there consoling her at all. A part of her had yearned for this for some time, and that part said to take it for however long it lasted.
After several moments, she whispered, “I can’t believe she’s gone.” She was embarrassed that she broke down in front of him, and when she tried to get out of his embrace, this time with less effort, he wouldn’t let her go. She didn’t want to, but she clung to him because he was strong and solid and because he was Cole and because he was finally, finally there. Cole just stood there, solid as a rock.
The oven timer pierced the quietness, beeping merrily three times, but he didn’t make a move. Drinking in the feel of Allontis in his arms, so much richer than the brief, accidental embrace they’d had that morning, Cole tried to concentrate, to think of something, but the only thing that came to mind was this woman whom he’d left behind years ago, a love he thought would eventually die, and the mess made by his bother, which he had yet to figure out. What remained was the glimmering possibility of a second chance, sadly tempered by the time that separated them. If only one kiss could close the distance and bridge the gap, but things were so different. They were different, or so he kept telling himself. Cole concentrated on holding her tight until she was done crying.
“Thank you. Thank you. I’m fine,” she said, sniffing, as if she were speaking to a distant friend who had passed her a tissue and not Cole, someone who had known her on a personal level for so long. “No use pretending you’ll be sticking around. Can’t get caught up in that,” she said with a false air of levity. “I mean…” Allontis almost laughed because she didn’t want to cry any longer. “Oh, you’ll be gone in a matter of days, and this time I refuse to let you break my heart,” she said quietly.
“Is that what I did to you?”
“Yes,” she said, instantly sorry she had let him know at all. Again, she was mad at herself.
Allontis hadn’t been prepared for an apology to leave his lips so readily. She nodded, embarrassed, and tried to figure him out simply by looking into his eyes.
I am Tracee Lydia Garner, a best-selling and award-winning author. I love speaking and teaching about ALL things writing and event planning for authors and artists. Eons ago, I won the BET First Time Writer’s Contest for my story entitled Family Affairs which appeared in the All That & Then Some anthology. I’ve written a total of five books that include Come What May, The One Who Holds My Heart and Love Unchosen and last year released Anchored Hearts. I work full time in the nonprofit sector for human services and many of my stories are about real women, who encounter adversity and manage to overcome their struggles and maintain their integrity. The heroines are also often regular super women types that I write inspirational romanitc suspense. In addition to writing on the side, working full time, I teach night classes on writing and small business PR and Promotion courses at the local community college level. I enjoy reading of course, marketing, and I shopping. My favorite authors include Donna Hill, Irene Hannon, Julie Lessman and Brenda Jackson.
Links to Tracee’s Website, Books, & Social Media:
Get a copy of Anchored Hearts, here:
Visit me at Teeegarner.com
E-mail me: Teegarner@aol.com
Follow me: @Teegarner
I hope you enjoy the recipe Tracee is sharing with us today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy eating!
P.S. We’re at 244 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
Note from Tracee: I feature a LOT of children in my books and for my real job as a social worker, every Christmas (almost) I make Chinese Noodle Cookies (also called Chow Mein Noodle Cookies or Butterscotch Crunch or Birdnests or Haystacks). They are so yummy and you would never, ever think Chow Mein Noodles (uncooked) could work for a cookie.
Chinese Noodle Cookies
(No Baking Required!)
2 cups Butterscotch chips
4 cups Mini Marshmallows
1 bag Chow Mein Noodles
Note: I always use the blue bag or 2 canisters of La Choy Chow Mein Noodles.
Melt butterscotch chips in a food safe dish – you can do this over a double broiler or in the microwave. Note that you do not have to melt the chips completely -soft or creamy is fine.
Melt marshmallows in the microwave -in microwave safe dish – soft is fine for these too.
Combine chips and marshmallows with the Chow Mein noodles and toss with a spoon.
Use a spoon to stir the noodles and chips/marshmallows until all the noodles are coated – toss gently as not to break up the noodles.
You can use your fingers (are best) to form small drop cookies. The mixture will be cool enough to handle, but sticky from the marshmallows.
Drop cookie size portions onto parchment paper.
Let harden or put in the fridge for 20- 30 minutes (so you can eat them sooner).
1 bag makes about 20-25 cookies.
Make these with any kind of baking chips (or morsels) including chocolate, peanut butter, white chocolate or salty caramel (candy melts).
Use Red Hots candy dots or green Twizzlers candy strips if you want and form the cookies into cute Christmas Wreaths for a holiday look.
Use pink chocolate candy melts, melt and drizzle for the upcoming Valentine’s Day.
The cookies should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge.
Note: This is not Tracee’s original recipe.
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Tracee will give away a small Target Valentine’s Day tote bag (US ONLY) to one lucky reader who comments on this Karen’s Killer Book Bench Blog. Thank you, Tracee, for sharing your story with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!