Saturday, December 31, 2011



As I look back on the year 2011, I can only say that I am truly humbled by the journey the Lord has taken me on...

It was only in 2007 that the Holy Spirit gave me the inspiration and words to write my first three children's books (Frog on a Log, Baby Beetle & the Sun, and My Forgivefullness). By 2009, three more books were completed (Nitti Gritti Smitty, Vinny Vain Liked to Complain, and Mr. Pitt & Lickety's Split). 

It wasn't until 2011 that the Holy Spirit prompted me to publish my manuscripts through digital media (Amazon) and it has been a whirlwind of an experience ever since! In the short time of just a little over 5 months, I have learned so much about the publishing world that I never knew before. This journey has really opened my eyes and life to a world of creativity and imagination.  I have met some truly wonderful people in the book industry and have opened myself up to a world that I never knew before.

And as far as my books...

Out of the six books I had written, four of the books were published as eBooks and placed for sale on Amazon. Well I am happy to report that the four books have been doing well in their short publishing life. Collectively, I have sold close to 400 books and the number continues to rise. One of my books rose as high in rank to the #4 slot on Amazon!! Yay!!!! ("Heaven is For Real," published by Thomas Nelson and, "The Beginner's Bible" published by HarperCollins, took the #1-3 slots respectively. And a book by Max Lucado was ranked in the #5 slot). To say that one of my titles was right behind those popular books, and close in rank to one of Max Lucado's books, is truly a gift from God! I can only hope and pray that the momentum continues.

My goals for 2012: Write more books (I have started three more books, but they have yet to be completed). Publish the remaining two titles that were written in 2007 that I have yet to publish as eBooks. And turn all my digital eBooks into hardcover/paperback form.

I would like to say thank you to all who have made this journey fun, exciting, inspirational, and possible! Special 'shout-outs' to Editor Jennifer Moody for perfecting the words and style of my books and to illustrator Jeffrey Duckworth for all of the cover designs. And a special thank you to my husband, kids, family, and friends for their ongoing and endless support! Even if I had not sold one book, my experiences and meeting so many new and exciting people have been worth any struggles I have encountered while on this journey. Now that 2011 is almost a thing of the past, here's to another year of new beginnings, new challenges, new successes, and meeting more creative and inspirational people! I pray the same for you!!

And of course, thanks be to God for directing my steps and making all of this possible! Looking forward to what He has in store for me in the New Year!

In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps, Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Sunday, December 25, 2011


From my family to yours...Merry Christmas!

The Kiddos
(Chloe, Kian, Tia and my 'spoiled brat dog' Sammy)

New Bible Verse ~ Sunday, Dec 25th


New Bible verse posted as of Sunday, December 25th...Have a great week!

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Recipe Week (Friday)~ Featuring Editor Jennifer Moody

This week I have posted recipes I've received from individuals in the publishing world (authors, editors, etc). To read my original blog post requesting recipes, please click HERE. Today is Friday, and today will be my final day of posting recipes. IT'S NOW TIME FOR ME TO COOK FOR CHRISTMAS! I CAN'T WAIT TO TRY SOME OF THESE RECIPES I HAVE POSTED THIS WEEK!

I am so thankful to all those who sent me recipes and participated in my blog posts! I am truly grateful and blessed!

The FINAL featured recipe is from MY editor Jennifer McClennin-Moody. Love her!!!! HUGS! :-)

**Note** Jennifer did not edit this blog post, so if you happen to find any errors, it's on me. My apologies! LOL

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Editor Jennifer Moody
and her "Struffoli"

Jennifer Moody has been an Editor, Writer, and Certified Grant Writer for the past 13 years and is the Copy Editor of a national magazine (LIFE+DOG - She is an avid dog lover and volunteers her time with Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue ( writing the website's bios for incoming/rescued goldens, editing fundraising materials such as the annual golden calendar, fostering senior goldens in her home, and volunteering her time at fundraisers and meet-n-greets. Her business, MoodyEdits (, donates 10% of every job to Golden Beginnings.

To visit Jennifer's website go to this LINK, her blog at this LINK,   Twitter at this LINK, and her Facebook page at this  LINK.

Jennifer's Holiday Recipe
"Gramma Carol's Struffoli"
"Gramma Carol's Struffoli"
(Stock photo)

"My Italian heritage runs strong in my family. Every year the grandkids get together at Gramma's house for a day of Christmas baking. Many different cookies are baked, but the one very special recipe that has been passed down for several generations is Struffoli (pronounced "STROOF-uh-lee"). Struffoli is tiny balls of fried dough that are dipped in chocolate, scooped into cupcake papers, and sprinkled with powdered sugar. There's nothing quite like grabbing one of those "cupcakes" and picking it apart popping each tiny ball in your mouth and savoring the flavor! This one is the grandkids' ultimate favorite! Buon Appetito!" -- Jennifer Moody

4 egg yolks
2 egg whites
4 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. oil
1 tbs. white vinegar
3 tbs. whiskey
1 tsp. vanilla
2.5 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp. baking powder
Beat together egg yolks, egg whites, and sugar. Add oil, vinegar, whiskey, and vanilla. Add flour, salt, and baking powder, and mix to a soft dough. (If dough is sticky, add a little flour at a time until it’s workable.)

Knead dough for a few minutes on a lightly floured board. Roll into two balls. (Keep one wrapped and in the fridge while you work with the other one.)

Take handfuls of dough and roll into “snakes” about the thickness of chick peas. Cut into small pieces (balls).

Deep fry in Crisco – ten or so at a time. Watch carefully – a “pale golden” is enough. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towel to drain/cool. (Safety Note: Keep the kids at a distance during this step.)

While the dough balls are cooling, make the melted chocolate (1 stick butter, melted; 1 cup Hershey’s cocoa; 1 tsp vanilla; 3 cups powdered sugar; and milk as needed). Mix these ingredients in a large bowl. Add the cooled dough balls and stir until completely covered. Spoon into cupcake papers. Just before serving, shake some powdered sugar over them.

Common alternatives:
*Instead of chocolate: Honey and colored sprinkles
*Instead of individual/cupcake servings: Pile pyramid-style and use as centerpiece for dessert table.


Holiday Recipe Week (Friday)~ Featuring Author Melissa K. Norris

This week I have posted recipes I've received from individuals in the publishing world (authors, editors, etc). To read my original blog post requesting recipes, please click HERE. Today is Friday, and today will be my final day of posting recipes.

I am so thankful to all those who sent me recipes and participated in my blog postings! I am truly grateful and blessed!
Next featured recipes are from author Melissa K. Norris.

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Author Melissa K. Norris
and her "Best Ever Fudge"
and "Molasses Sugar Cookies" 

Melissa K. Norris is a Christian fiction romance author who writes stories that inspire you closer to God and your pioneer roots. She writes a newspaper column Pioneering Today that bridges the usefulness of the past with our modern life. You can read the articles for free on her blog.

To visit Melissa's website go to this LINK, her blog at this LINK,  Twitter at this LINK,  and her Facebook page at this LINK.  

Melissa's Holiday Recipes
"Best Ever Fudge"
"Best Ever Fudge"
(Stock photo)

"Here’s my favorite fudge recipe. This fudge has the best texture I’ve ever tasted, very creamy and rich. I tasted it at our church’s annual ladies ornament exchange and after almost collapsing in delight, I asked for the recipe. I was blown away at the ease of it. I like awesome things without complications!" --Melissa K. Norris
3 cups chocolate chips (use peanut butter swirled chips for a fun twist)
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup butter

Place buttered tin foil in an 8x8 baking dish

Stir together chips, butter, and milk in a microwavable bowl and microwave for 2 minutes (medium heat)

Mix and microwave for 2 more minutes

Mix then put in your buttered tin foil and let sit overnight. So easy and delicious!

"Molasses Sugar Cookies"
"Molasses Sugar Cookies"
(Stock photo)

"I want to share my favorite Christmas cookie recipe with you. A customer brought these in one year as a gift where I worked, they were so delicious I asked for the recipe. I’ve made these every year and passed on the recipe many times." -- Melissa K. Norris

3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (original recipe called for cloves, but I don’t care for cloves so I substitute nutmeg)

In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Add molasses and egg, beating until well blended.

In medium bowl, blend flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger; add to molasses mixture, mix well. Cover and chill.

Form dough into 1 inch balls, roll each in sugar, place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Let stand 1 minute before removing. Makes around 5 dozen. (I tend to get 3 dozen, they’re so good I like a bigger cookie)

To make Gingerbread, just cut 1/4 cup butter and increase the molasses.

These are a soft, melt in your mouth, one is never enough kind of cookie.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Recipe Week (Thursday)~ Featuring Author Patricia Paris

This week I am posting recipes I've received from individuals in the publishing world (authors, editors, etc). I will post one or more recipes a day. In case you missed my original blog post requesting recipes, please click HERE to read.

Next featured recipe is from author Patricia Paris.

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Author Patricia Paris

I'm a romance writer who lives in the Chesapeake Bay area of Maryland with my husband, John, and cat, Shiloh. In my spare time, I enjoy sailing, gardening, flexing my culinary muscle, and whenever possible, travelling with my family. I'm a true romantic at heart and believe everyone deserves a happy ending.

To visit my website go to this LINK, my blog at this LINK, and on Twitter at this LINK.

Patricia's Holiday Recipe
"MMMMM MMMMM Good Coconut Macaroons"

"MMMMM MMMMM Good Coconut Macaroons"
(Stock photo)

2/3 cup of flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups of sweetened condensed milk
3 cups of shredded coconut
2 tsps. Pure vanilla extract (use the very best vanilla you can afford--it makes a difference!)

Optional: quality chocolate for dipping
**This recipe makes approx. 4 dozen cookies, depending on how big you like them!

Lightly grease two cookie sheets, or use parchment paper to line.

Preheat the over to 350 degrees.
Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl.
Stir the coconut into the flour/salt
Add the condensed milk and vanilla and gently stir, starting at the center and stirring up until you have a very thick batter.
Using a large tablespoon, place heaped tablespoons of batter onto the prepared baking sheets. Place batter heaps at least one inch apart to allow for some spreading.
Bake cookies for about 20 minutes, until the tops and edges begin to show some golden brown.
Remove cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

If desired, melt chocolate in microwave or in a double boiler. Dip the tops of the macaroon in chocolate and let cool.
Optional: You may also add chocolate chips, chopped pecans, toffee chips, etc. to some of the batter if you want to mix it up.

These cookies will store well in a cool location for a couple weeks. They also freeze beautifully!


Holiday Recipe Week (Thursday)~ Featuring Editor Melanie Saxton

This week I am posting recipes I've received from individuals in the publishing world (authors, editors, etc). I will post one or more recipes a day. In case you missed my original blog post requesting recipes, please click HERE to read.

Next featured recipe is from editor Melanie Saxton.

**Disclaimer** Melanie did not "edit" this blog post, so if you find any mistakes...well you know who is responsible, LOL!

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Editor Melanie Saxton
and her "Deviled Eggs"
-courtesy of Paula Deen-

Melanie Saxton loves working in the world of words and is a book editor, freelance writer, and contributing editor for six magazines. She is also an English and Special Education teacher. Raising her lovely daughter and half a dozen rescued animals rates among her favorite endeavors. Visit her at

Find Melanie on Facebook at this LINK. And on Twitter at this LINK.

Melanie's Holiday Recipe
"Deviled Eggs"
"Deviled Eggs"
(Stock photo)
"My very favorite recipe is so simple and can be used at every holiday event. I can't imagine kicking off any family gathering, especially Christmas, without it. We always begin with the cold hors d'oeuvre, deviled eggs, to complement our veggie platters. It wasn't until this year that I realized my recipe is nearly identical to Paula Deen's. So here's the version, courtesy of Paula Deen." -- Melanie Saxton    

  • 7 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • Salt and pepper, for taste
  • Paprika, for garnishing
  • Sweet gherkin pickles sliced, for garnishing
  • Pimentos, for garnishing
  • Directions

    Halve 7 eggs lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl.
    Mash yolks with a fork and stir in mayonnaise, pickle relish, and mustard. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
    Fill egg whites evenly with yolk mixture. Garnish with paprika, pickles and pimentos. Store covered in refrigerator.   


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Recipe Week (Wednesday)~ Featuring Author Martha Ramirez

This week I am posting recipes I've received from individuals in the publishing world (authors, editors, etc). I will post one or more recipes a day. In case you missed my original blog post requesting recipes, please click HERE to read.

Next featured recipe is from author Martha Ramirez.

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Author Martha Ramirez
and her "Chocolate Rum Balls"
-courtesy of

Martha Ramirez has written stories, poetry, and drawn since childhood. Her first children's book entitled The Fabulous Adventures of Fred the Frog was created and inspired by the curiosity and fascination her toddler has with books. In addition to writing, Martha is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), YALITCHAT.ORG, the Muse Conference Board, CataNetwork Writers, and American Author's Association. Her articles have appeared in various places including the Hot Moms Club and For Her Information (FHI) magazine.

She looks forward to expanding her career and is hard at work on her next young adult novel. She currently resides in Northern California where she enjoys gardening and kickboxing (not simultaneously). Visit her Website at:

Martha's Holiday Recipe
"Chocolate Rum Balls"

"Chocolate Rum Balls"
(Stock photo)

  • 3 1/4 cups crushed vanilla wafers
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup rum


  1. In a large bowl, stir together the crushed vanilla wafers, 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, cocoa, and nuts. Blend in corn syrup and rum.
  2. Shape into 1 inch balls, and roll in additional confectioners' sugar. Store in an airtight container for several days to develop the flavor. Roll again in confectioners' sugar before serving.               


Holiday Recipe Week (Wednesday)~ Featuring Author Sue Santore

This week I am posting recipes I've received from individuals in the publishing world (authors, editors, etc). I will post one or more recipes a day. In case you missed my original blog post requesting recipes, please click HERE to read.

The next featured recipes are from independent author, Sue Santore. Wow, Sue gave me recipes for the entire Christmas meal!! Thanks Sue! :-)

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Author Sue Santore
and her "Toasted Butter Pecan Cake"
"Broccoli Salad"
"Fruit Salad"
"Twice Baked Potatoes"
"Refrigerator Rolls"
"Brine Soaked Roast Turkey"

I’m a writer, but I’m many other things too. I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother. I’m also a reader. I enjoy making quilts and playing my mountain dulcimer. I like to cook and I do like to eat! I live in the great state of Maine with my husband. I have been a factory worker, a waitress, a librarian, and a teacher. My biggest job was being a mother and I have three grown children. Now I am a grandmother, and I am enjoying that role immensely. I have published A Singular Gift, a magical realism fantasy suitable for all ages. A Singular Gift is available as an e-book for 2.99 on Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. You can follow me on Twitter at this LINK  and visit my blog About Books, Writing, and More.

Sue's Holiday Recipes
"Toasted Butter Pecan Cake"

"Toasted Butter Pecan Cake"
(Stock photo)

2 cups chopped pecans
1 & 1/4 butter
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk

Toast the pecans in 1/4 cup butter at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not let them burn. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt. Using your mixer, cream 1 cup butter; gradually add sugar, creaming well. Blend in eggs, one at a time, beat well after each addition.

Add dry ingredients alternately with milk to the butter mixture. Blend well. Stir in vanilla and 1 & 1/3 cup pecans. Turn into three 8 or 9 inch round layer cake pans, greased and floured. Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool about two minutes then turn out of the pan and cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, make the frosting.

Cream 1/4 cup butter. Add 1 pound sifted powdered sugar, i teaspoon vanilla, and 4-6 tablespoons cream until the icing is of spreading consistency. Stir in remaining pecans. Frost between layers and on top. Then frost sides.

It may frost better if you leave out the pecans and press them into the icing after the cake is frosted.

"Broccoli Salad"
"Broccoli Salad"
(Stock photo)
5 cups raw broccoli, well chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine
1 cup fresh or frozen peas, partially cooked (not soft)
1/2 cup cooked crumbled bacon

Mix all the above together in a large bowl.

Make the dressing:
Mix together:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 cup sugar

Combine the dressing with the veggies, stir together. Chill before serving. Will keep several days in the fridge.

"Fruit Salad"
"Fruit Salad"
(Stock photo)

1 pound can apricots, drained
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup miniature marshmallows
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 small can crushed pineapple
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
sour cream and mayonnaise

Chop apricots, mix with pineapple, oranges, coconut, marshmallows, sugar, salt, and lemon juice. Mix with equal part of mayonnaise and sour cream. Add 1/4 cup of each and stir in. If not moist enough, try a couple more tablespoons of both sour cream and mayonnaise. Let this set in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. The coconut and marshmallows will absorb some of the moisture. If too dry when ready to serve, add more sour cream and mayonnaise.
"Twice Baked Potatoes"
"Twice Baked Potatoes"
(Stock photo)

Take one medium to large baking potato for each person. Wash the outside of the potatoes well. Dry them with a paper towel. Pour some olive oil (or other cooking oil) into your fingers and rub the oil all over each potato. Depending on how many potatoes, you're rubbing, you may need to replenish the oil on your hands several times. As you oil the potatoes, place them on a cookie sheet or large baking pan. Take a fork and prick the potatoes a few times. Bake at 350F for one hour or longer. (The potatoes should give when you push on them with your finger.)

When they are done, take them out and set them to one side to cool a little. When they are cool enough so you don't burn yourself, take one potato at a time and cut off the top. With a spoon, scoop out as much of the potato as you can without breaking the skin of the shell. Put the potato contents into a bowl. For every four potatoes, use 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt, 1 tablespoon milk, and 2 tablespoons sour cream. Mash the potato insides with the seasonings. Replace the potato mixture back into the shells. Mound them up and sprinkle grated cheese on top. If you are making them ahead, put the potatoes in the refrigerator or another cool place. (Don't freeze them.) About a half hour before serving time, put them in a 350 oven for another 25 to 30 minutes. Turn the oven up the last five minutes to brown them on top.

"Refrigerator Rolls"
"Refrigerator Rolls"
(Stock photo)

5 & 1/2 to 6 & 1/2 cups of flour
2 packages yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 & 1/4 cups hot tap water

Combine 2 cups of the flour, dry yeast, sugar, and salt in a large mixer bowl. Stir to blend. Add the soft butter and pour the hot water over the batter. Beat this mixture at medium speed for 2 minutes. Sprinkle in 1 cup more flour. Beat at high speed for 1 minute. (If you are beating by hand, beat several minutes, until thick and elastic.) Stir in enough flour to make a soft dough, then tun the dough out onto a floured board or counter.

Knead 5-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Sprinkle tiny amounts of additional flour as you knead to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.

For refrigerated dough, let it rest or 20 minutes, covered, on the board. Otherwise, place in a greased bowl, turn the dough over, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled.

Punch the dough down and divide it in half. Use two 8 or 9 inch square pans or one long baking pan. If using the square pans, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in each pan. Shape each half of the dough into 16 portions. Roll each portion with your hand to make a ball. Place the balls into the butter, then turn the buttered side up. Place close together in the pans. Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours, until needed. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator about 10 minutes before baking to warm up to room temperature.

Bake at 400F for 30 to 40 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from pans and serve hot.
"Brine Soaked Roast Turkey"
"Brine Soaked Roast Turkey"
(Stock photo)

Supplies Needed:
kitchen timer
turkey (11-14 pounds, thawed) (Thaw in the refrigerator 6 to 9 hours, depending of the size of the turkey.)
5 gallon bucket or large plastic tub
roaster with a rack
heavy string
1 & 1/2 cups kosher salt
2 medium onions, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 tablespoons melted butter

Make a brine by mixing 1 cup of kosher salt per gallon of water. You will need about 1 & 1/2 gallons of water. Place the turkey breast side down in the water. It is okay if part of the back is not submerged.

Refrigerate or keep in a cold place for 12 to 15 hours. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. (Dump the brine. You’re done with it.)

Adjust the oven rack to the lowest possible position and pre-heat to 400F. Place half of the coarsely chopped vegetables into the turkey cavity. Tie the legs and secure the wings with heavy string.

Place the rest of the vegetables in the bottom of the roaster with 1 cup of water. Set a V-shaped rack in the bottom of the roaster and put the turkey breast side down on the rack. Brush the back and sides of the turkey with the melted butter and bake for 45 minutes.

Take the turkey out of the oven and set it on top of the stove. Baste the turkey with the broth from the roaster. Then add 1/2 cup of water to the pan. With a folded paper towel in each hand, grasp the turkey and rotate it on its side so that a wing and leg are up. (Throw the paper towels away.) Baste the side of the turkey and return to the oven for 20 minutes.

Take it out again. Baste the turkey and add another 1/2 cup of water to the roaster. Using paper towels again, rotate it to the other side with the other leg and wing up. Baste the upturned side. Return the turkey to the oven for another 20 minutes.

Remove the turkey from the oven again, baste it and then rotate it so that the breast side is up. Bast again. Continue roasting for another 35 to 55 minutes longer or until a thermometer in the breast registers 106 to 165 degrees and in the leg registers about 170 degrees.

When done, place on a platter and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving. If making gravy from the drippings, do not add salt as the brine will be sufficient.

TIPS: Buy a bird 14 pounds or less. Two smaller birds are better for a crowd than one large bird. The smaller birds roast in 2 & 1/2 hours. The less time in the oven, the less time there is for the turkey to dry out.

Don’t stuff this turkey. If you want stuffing, cook it as a side dish.