Posted in Cooking, Home

Sweet Bougatsa Recipe From Donna Kauffman

 

Welcome to Moonbright!

Kate Angell, Allyson Charles, and I had such a wonderful time setting our stories in the magical seaside town of Moonbright, Maine. The stories center around Bellaluna’s Bakeshop, an Italian bakeshop owned by the heroine of my story, Abriana, and her grandmother, Sofia.

It was so much fun researching this story, not the least of which was trying out some Italian pastry recipes! And yes, the book comes with several yummy recipes for you to try!

Today, however, I want to talk about the other chef in my story. My Greek hero, Caleb Dimitriou. His entire extended family run a handful of Greek restaurants, scattered from Philadelphia, to Maine, and all the way to Greece!

My great-uncle was Greek, and my grandmother ran a family restaurant, so it was great fun to delve a bit into the family history and bring it to life in this fresh, fictional way. I only wish the story was longer so I could indulge in my love of Greek food as well as all those delicious Italian pastries.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t indulge in playing with a few family Greek recipes. The things I do for research! (Yes, the struggle is real. And delicious!) Continue reading “Sweet Bougatsa Recipe From Donna Kauffman”

Posted in Crafts, Creativity, Home

Surprising Uses For Lavender by Donna Kauffman

I had such a wonderful time researching all things lavender for my brand new Blue Hollow Falls release, LAVENDER BLUE. I am fortunate to live near two lavender farms and the owners of both were very helpful in explaining some of the processes used behind making the lavender products they sell. In the book, the women who own Lavender Blue are embarking on that same mission, and learning curve is steep!

I’m sure you know or have seen lavender used in things like soaps, bath salts, sachets, and the like. I thought you might enjoy learning some of the surprising (at least to me!) things I learned you can also make with lavender or uses for the sweet smelling plant.  Here’s my top five! Continue reading “Surprising Uses For Lavender by Donna Kauffman”

Posted in Home

A Season to Celebrate by Donna Kauffman

I love holiday movies. Even though my sons are grown and on their own now, when the holiday season rolls around, my entire family manages to watch White Christmas at least once. We know every single line by heart, and many of those lines have long since become part of our regular family lexicon. (“Mutual, I’m sure!”)

I have one other Christmas favorite, however, that is an unknown classic to most, but dear to me in more ways than just bringing a smile to my face each holiday season. My youngest sister and I were both single parents when our kids were little. We lived half a continent apart, which also meant we didn’t get to spend much time together in those days. Without other family nearby for either of us, holidays were always a bit challenging.  So, we came up with our own holiday tradition.

We’d organize friends to watch our little ones for the same weekend leading up to the Big Day, giving us a chance to get out and do all the secret Santa stuff that needed doing.  Then that Saturday evening, the one kid-free evening we had, sometimes in months, we’d spend together via little camera hook-ups and wobbly microphones we’d each attach to our computers (this was before Skype, or FaceTime.) Card tables set up in front of our tv sets on each end, with stacks of wrapping paper, rolls of tape, and the pile of Santa gifts to be wrapped, we’d watch our favorite movie together while we wrapped presents and caught up with each other without any “Mom! Mom!” interruptions. And yes, there might have been holiday chocolate and adult beverages involved as well. Bliss! Continue reading “A Season to Celebrate by Donna Kauffman”

Posted in Creativity, Home

A Holiday For The Dogs by Donna Kauffman

In Unleashed, the first story in my Hamilton Christmas novella trilogy, heroine Emma Lafferty owns a professional pet sitting service. While I did, at one time, many (oh so very many) moons ago teach obedience training professionally, these days my pet-sitting services are exclusively reserved for my granddogs. (I’m still waiting on grandkids, but granddogs are absolutely the next best thing!)

My oldest has an adorable rescue, Lily, whose mama was a yellow Labrador retriever, and her papa was a dachshund. (I know, how did that work?) Lily has the thicker body of a lab, but the shorter legs and longer body of a dachshund, hence her nickname, Lily Long Dog.  Halloween is a favorite holiday of ours and Oldest’s dogs have always been involved, sporting their own canine costumes as they help to hand out treats to the all the neighborhood kids. (You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a one-hundred-pound bull dog in a tutu and bunny ears!)  Lily is now part of that grand Halloween tradition. Continue reading “A Holiday For The Dogs by Donna Kauffman”

Posted in Crafts, Creativity, Home

Hamilton Christmas Novellas: The Inspiration by Donna Kauffman

Second chances.  I love them, and not just for my characters.  In the case of my Hamilton Christmas trilogy, the second chance is for the stories themselves. I was thrilled when my editor told me that Kensington was going to gather the three holiday stories I’d set in my fictional town of Hamilton, stories that had originally been tucked away in three separate anthologies and bring them out again as solo novellas, so readers could enjoy each one of them on their own.

As I re-read the stories again, in preparation for their release, I couldn’t help but reflect back to where I was in my life when I first wrote these stories.  At the time, I was living in a heavily developed suburb of our nation’s capital, raising two boys amidst piles of football, soccer, and lacrosse equipment, with two terriers also underfoot as well as an assortment of rescue parrots I was fostering at the time for good measure. My life was never boring, and I loved my furry, feathered, and sports-obsessed tribe.

Admittedly, the raucous chaos that was my daily life did make me dream of quieter spaces.  Annual trips out to the Blue Ridge mountains in the western part of Virginia provided a much needed tranquil respite, and I dreamed of living out there full time once I’d launched the two-legged members of our tribe from the nest.

I wrote the Hamilton series with that dream in mind.  The town and the county in these stories might be fictional, but in every other way, Hamilton, Virginia is the place I wanted to go to set down new roots, launch a new life.

In the first story, Unleashed, Emma Lafferty owns her own pet-sitting business. You can only imagine where that idea came from! When she takes on a holiday assignment from the wealthy owner of Hamilton Industries, she looks forward to a holiday spent in the old man’s weekend estate in the mountains surrounded by his menagerie of animals, including basset hound Jack, Great Dane Martha, and the African grey parrot, Cicero.  She doesn’t anticipate meeting the conglomerate owner’s nephew or getting pulled into a bit of local intrigue about a secret Lionel Hamilton is harboring, one that his nephew, Trevor Hamilton, is determined to uncover. She definitely didn’t plan on falling in love.

Continue reading “Hamilton Christmas Novellas: The Inspiration by Donna Kauffman”

Posted in Home

Cover Reveal!

A raging winter storm and a holiday spent pet-sitting reveals there’s more than one kind of animal in the house…

When Emma Lafferty is hired by a billionaire CEO to watch his pets over the holidays, she expects to enjoy a quiet Christmas in opulent surroundings. What she doesn’t expect is to spend the week trapped in the mansion with Trevor Hamilton, the CEO’s sexy great-nephew—and heir—whose motives are as shady as his desire is crystal clear . . .

Praise for Donna Kauffman and her novels

“Kauffman’s stories show that the bravery to reach for a connection is all we need to discover joy; she excels at expressing the struggles and joys of giving in to love.” –Publishers Weekly on Sandpiper Island

“We all know where there’s Donna Kauffman, there’s a rollicking, sexy read chock-full of charm and sparkle. Kauffman’s characters are adorably human and so very magnetic.” –USAToday.com

“Kauffman pens a touching romance . . . a quirky community and secondary characters with enough personality to make readers want to come back. A light romance with a touch of heat, a pinch of intensity and a dash of mysterious small-town magic.” –Kirkus Reviews on Pelican Point

“Sassy, witty, and sexy.” –Library Journal on Snowflake Bay

“Charming characters, emotion galore, a small town—you’re going to love Donna Kauffman!” – Lori Foster

 

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Posted in Cooking

From the kitchen of Brides of Blueberry Cove author Donna Kauffman

Spending time in Maine while researching my Blueberry Cove books, it’s no surprise that I’ve become a big fan of baking with blueberries. One of my all time favorites is this blueberry crumb cake. It’s called a “buckle” because it is more cake like, and heavy on the blueberries. So much so, that as the crumb cake cools, it ‘buckles’ under the weight of all the blueberry goodness. You can use freshly picked or frozen blueberries, so it’s a great all year round, go-to recipe. Enjoy! Continue reading “From the kitchen of Brides of Blueberry Cove author Donna Kauffman”

Posted in Crafts

Seashore Memories In A Jar with Donna Kauffman

I’m always looking for new ways to preserve my memories when I return from the lovely Maine coast. I’m at my crafty happiest when I can combine photos and some of my seashore treasures all in one nifty project. Okay, I should clarify – all in one nifty, easy-to-make project! Continue reading “Seashore Memories In A Jar with Donna Kauffman”

Posted in Crafts

Miniature Garden Centerpiece with Donna Kauffman

In Sea Glass Sunrise, heroine Hannah McCrae’s younger sister, Fiona, creates miniature garden centerpieces for their brother, Logan McCrae’s, wedding reception. The gardens featured wee Maine-themed settings, including one that had the McCrae’s very own Pelican Point lighthouse.

Continue reading “Miniature Garden Centerpiece with Donna Kauffman”