My Review of Amy Clipston’s “The Beloved Hope Chest”

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On May 9th, Amy Clipston’s final book of her Amish Heirloom Series will debut.  “The Beloved Hope Chest” ties all of the characters and mysterious items found in the hope chest in the first three books together.  And boy, this story was very emotional to read.  I constantly was grabbing a tissue.  So, if you decide to read this book, you better have a box of tissues next to you.

This excerpt is taken from the book:

In the final installment of the Amish Heirloom series, the Fisher sisters learn the mystery behind their parents’ marriage—and about the sibling who has never been spoken of.

Mattie Fisher’s three daughters know that she’s been keeping a secret from them. With each item pulled from the beloved family hope chest, they’ve discovered a new clue about their mother’s past.

But there’s a reason Mattie has been keeping her history hidden, and she’s not sure she’s ready to reopen old wounds. Will dredging up the past change the way her children view her? Or her marriage to their father? And can she handle the pain of revisiting the memories that preceded the last few happy decades?

Mattie’s story is one of grief and learning to love again. But like the best things preserved in a hope chest, it’s a story of love and redemption born out of heartache—and it’s past time to share it.”

Amy Clipston has a way of bringing you immediately into her stories, and with “The Beloved Hope Chest”, this happened again.  This story is very emotional and romantic at the same time.  The love, grief, and happiness she has written about makes you feel as you are one of the Fisher’s family members enveloped in all the tragedy, heartache, and love.  Amy’s writing is always above stellar, and her knowledge of the Amish is spot on.  I was glad that this story wrapped by Mattie and Leroy’s love story and how it came to be.  You can tell Amy puts her heart and soul into her characters.  I wonder how many tears she sheds writing her novels.  As many as I shed reading them?  I just wanted to reach through the pages and comfort Mattie and Leroy – that is how real Amy’s writing feels.

This story was a perfect ending to her Amish Heirloom series.  All of the beloved characters blended in this novel to form the Fisher family we’ve come to love.

This story can be read as a stand alone novel, but I do not recommend that.  I would start with the first book in this series, “The Forgotten Recipe”, then read “The Courtship Basket”, and then read “The Cherished Quilt”.  And then finish up this great series with Amy’s “The Beloved Hope Chest”.  Definitely one of Amy’s best series she has written.  And I love the beautiful covers – so colorful, and they definitely catch your eye on a book shelf.

So pre-order a copy of “The Beloved Hope Chest” now, so you’ll be able to start reading it when it is available on May 9th.  If you love Amish fiction, you will not be disappointed.  And if you especially love Amy Clipston’s work, you will definitely not be disappointed.  She has done a wonderful job writing this series, and I hope she writes more about the Fishers in one of her novellas.

Happy reading!

Blessings…

 

 

Tasty Tuesday – Cream Cheese & Chocolate Cupcakes

Welcome to this week’s Tasty Tuesday recipe for Cream Cheese and Chocolate Cupcakes aka Black Bottoms.  My mom loves black bottom cupcakes,  and since I had everything to make them, I decided to have them as part of dessert for Easter.  I found this recipe in the “Seasoned with Love, Old Order Mennonites, Cumberland Valley, PA” cookbook.  I think this is the first time I’ve shared a recipe from this cookbook.  I believe I picked up this book either at Belmont Fabrics or Glenwood Foods in Lancaster County.  Most of the cookbooks I share (unless they are older ones) can be found locally in Lancaster County at various places.  It’s amazing how many places (whether Amish owned little stores or big tourist type stores) carry cookbooks.

If you have the ingredients for these cupcakes on hand, why not whip up a batch to enjoy?

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Cream Cheese and Chocolate Cupcakes, Etta Hoover, Seasoned with Love, page 337

Filling:

1 (8 oz.)) pkg. cream cheese

1/3 c. sugar

1 egg

6 oz. chocolate chips

Blend cream cheese, egg and sugar.  Add chocolate chips.  Set aside.  Make your favorite chocolate cake and fill cupcake papers half-full.  Add 1 teaspoon filling and bake at 350 degrees.

Since I had a deviled food’s cake box mix on hand, I used that for my chocolate cake.  Easy peasy!  I also used Stevia instead of  sugar for the filling.  They were really good, and the filling makes the cupcakes nice and moist.  I think my momma enjoyed this special treat.  I was able to get 24 cupcakes using the cake mix and used all of the filling up – each one got a little more than a teaspoon each.

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Here is a picture of hubby’s dessert plate.  He had a little bit of everything.  Dad’s dessert plate looked about the same as this too.  Our men love their desserts.

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Don’t you love my momma’s festive Easter egg tablecloth?  Sure adds some pretty color to the table.

I made an orange cake (another box mix I had on hand) for our other dessert and jazzed it up with tinted coconut, peeps, jelly beans, malted eggs, and homemade icing.  That was yummy too.

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Hope you have a great week.  I’m loving seeing the azaleas and trees in bloom.  Everything is so pretty.  See you next week with another recipe.

Blessings…

Tasty Tuesday – Glazed Baby Carrots

Welcome to this week’s Tasty Tuesday.  I hope you all had a nice Easter.  We sure had a feast on the table.  Mom and I prepared the meal, and I chose this week’s recipe as one of the side dishes.

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The only thing missing from the table picture are the deviled eggs.  I think I snapped this picture, and then Mom remembered they were in the frig.  At least we remembered them this year.  One year, we remembered them after dinner was finished.  I even fixed the broccoli/corn casserole that I shared the recipe for a couple weeks ago.  It’s in the bottom right of the picture, and everyone enjoyed it.

This week’s recipe, Glazed Baby Carrots, comes out of The Busy Mother’s Cookbook.  I don’t eat carrots unless they are raw with dip or mixed with other veggies in either a soup or pot pie, so I knew I wouldn’t eat this dish.  And I wasn’t sure anyone else would with the ingredients used, but I figured I’d give it a shot.

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Glazed Baby Carrots, Esther, The Busy Mother’s Cookbook, page 102

1 (1 oz.) pkg. Hidden Valley Original Ranch dressing mix

1/4 c. butter

1/4 c. light brown sugar

1 (16 oz.) pkg. ready to eat peeled baby carrots (cooked, boiled or steamed)

Melt butter and sugar in a large skillet.  Add carrots and dressing mix.  Stir well.  Cook over medium heat until hot and glazed, about 5 minutes.  Yield:  4-6 servings.

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I used two cans of carrots (drained) instead of a pack of baby carrots, and they worked just as well.  I also used a saucepan instead of a skillet.  Mom, Dad, and Danny said they were really tasty, so that was good.  I just couldn’t imagine mixing the Ranch dressing mix with the sugary glaze, but it worked for a tasty side dish.

The Busy Mother’s Cookbook is available at a lot of locations throughout Lancaster County.  I know Gordonville Book Store has some in stock.  I saw them while there on Thursday.  Also, Belmont Fabrics has them for sale.

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Hope you have a good week and don’t have too much Easter candy lying around.  Hubby has a couple bags of just black jelly beans which he knows are safe from me.  I don’t like black jelly beans.  Give me all of the other colors though, and I’m a happy girl.  Enjoy your Tuesday.

Blessings…

Tasty Tuesday – Oven-Barbecued Pork Chops

Happy Tuesday!  Spring has sprung!  Warmer weather and my tulips are blooming.  So nice to add a little more color to the gardens.  This week’s recipe comes from the “Sharp Run School Family Favorites” cookbook.  I picked up this cookbook when I was out in Ohio Amish Country back in August.  I still need to download all the pictures from that trip to share with you.  One of these months I’ll get to that…sigh…  I got this cookbook from Hershberger’s Farm and Bakery in Millersburg, OH.  Mom and I stopped there, because I had remembered from our trip there several years ago that they had the best buttermilk cookies.  So I got this cookbook, a pack of those yummy cookies, and some fry pies.  And something else happened there, but I need the pictures downloaded to document that, right Mom?  I have never found a recipe in any of my Amish cookbooks for these cookies and have never seen them for sale in Lancaster County in all my travels except this past Saturday.  My hubby played disc golf at D.F. Buchmiller County Park in Lancaster (near Willow Valley), so I went to Darrenkamp’s to do a little shopping.  Lo and behold, I found buttermilk cookies made by Wendy Jo.  I was skeptical that they’d taste just as good, but oh my word!  They tasted just like the ones in Ohio.  So yummy!  I’m eating them sparingly, so they last a bit.  But at least Darrenkamp’s is much closer than traveling to Ohio for these cookies…then again, I love me a road trip.

Okay, I better get back on track for this week’s recipe…I fixed Oven-Barbecued Pork Chops this past week.  They were yummy, and the sauce was delicious.  Here’s the recipe if you’d like to bake a pan of them.

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Oven-Barbecued Pork Chops, Martha Miller, page 66, “Sharp Run School Family Favorites”

10-12 pork chops

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp. vinegar

2 tsp. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

3/4 c. catsup

1/3 c. hot water

Place chops in a heavy cast-iron skillet.  Combine all remaining ingredients and pour over chops.  Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 1 hour.

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We enjoyed this recipe, and I’ll definitely fix them again.  I always seem to have to have apple sauce when I eat pork for some reason, so I opened up a jar of homemade apple sauce from Amish Country to complement the dish.

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Hope you all have a truly blessed Easter and enjoy some family time and yummy food.  Mom and I are fixing dinner, and I think I narrowed down the menu yesterday.  I love planning big meals.

Enjoy your day!

Blessings…

Tasty Tuesday – Broccoli Casserole

Happy Tuesday!  Sure feels like spring around here which is very nice.  Love seeing all the daffodils blooming and the lawns turning bright green.  Last week, I mentioned that this week’s recipe would be a side dish I fixed with the oven crusted chicken.  This dish was a nice compliment to the chicken.  It’s called “Broccoli Casserole“, and it’s found on page 46 in “An Amish Potpourri Cookbook“.  I purchased this older cookbook from an Etsy shop.

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Here is the recipe if you’d like to include this side dish in your dinner plans this week…maybe even a side dish for Easter dinner…

Broccoli Casserole, Alta C. Schlabach, Millersburg, OH

1 pkg. frozen broccoli, cut

1 egg beaten

1 can cream style corn

Mix all together and put in 1 1/2 qt. casserole.

Topping:

1/2 c. cracker crumbs

2 tbsp. melted butter

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

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Can you tell hubby likes his asparagus in this picture?  LOL  This broccoli casserole was really good.  One thing I did add to it was about 3/4 cup of shredded cheese.  I will definitely fix it again.

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I did find this link on Google where you could purchase this cookbook…I’m assuming it is still for sale on this site.

http://www.endofthecommons.com/An-Amish-Potpourri-Cookbook-Prodview.html

It is also available on Amazon, but is much higher in price than at the link above.

Hope you have a fabulous week.

Blessings…

 

Tasty Tuesday – Oven Crusted Chicken

Happy Tasty Tuesday day!  Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you – this is actually a Tasty Tuesday post that isn’t a dessert.  The next couple weeks will be “real” food instead of sweets unless I find a humdinger of a recipe to bake.

I thawed some chicken and wasn’t sure how to prepare it, so off I went thumbing through my cookbooks.  The oven crusted chicken recipe caught my eye, since I had everything needed to make it.  This week’s recipe comes from “Recipes from Scratch, Martin Family Cookbook“.  I picked up my copy at September Farm in Honey Brook, PA.

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Here’s the recipe if you’d like to make this for dinner one night this week…

Oven Crusted Chicken, Irene Martin, page 26

1/2 c. butter, melted

1/4 c. flour

1 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt

5 c. finely crushed cornflakes

3 lbs. chicken thighs

Mix melted butter, flour and seasoned salt.  Dip chicken into mixture, then roll into cornflake crumbs.  Bake uncovered at 325 degrees until golden brown and juices run clear.

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This recipe was easy enough to fix, and the chicken was really moist.  Definitely a keeper recipe.  Hubby’s comment was “another hit out of the ballpark”.  One of the side dishes I fixed with this was another new recipe which I’ll share next week.  That was yummy too.

This would be a nice dish to take to someone who is recovering from surgery or who is sick since it is easy to fix and doesn’t take too long to bake.  I think it would be great using chicken tenders too.

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Hope you have a great day!  We woke up to thunderstorms this morning.  Some of those claps of thunder shook the house, they were that close.  But we desperately need the rain, so it’s a welcomed storm.

Blessings…

Amy Clipston’s “A Simple Prayer” Review

As a member of Amy Clipston’s Bakery Bunch, we are given challenges each month, and this month’s challenge is to review an older book of Amy’s that we have either read or not read before.  My favorite series of Amy’s is The Kauffmann Bakery Series, and I have read all of those books numerous times since it transforms me in my mind to the Bird-in-Hand Bake Shop up in Lancaster County.  I decided to step out of that comfort zone and re-read one of the books in Amy’s series, Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel, “A Simple Prayer“, which is book 4 in this series.

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Taken from the back of “A Simple Prayer“:

“Linda is no stranger to hardship. Now she dares to hope for a chance at love and a new beginning.

As the sole survivor of a buggy accident that left her orphaned at age four, Linda Zook was reluctantly raised by her Uncle Reuben. She longs to be worthy of someone, but the lasting trauma of her injuries and embittered upbringing have destroyed her self-worth. When Hannah Peterson asks her to work at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast, she’s finally able to realize some confidence.

Aaron Ebersol left the Amish community seventeen years ago when he could no longer bear the restrictions or the constant tension with his father. Despite years of unanswered letters to his parents and the roots he’s put down in Missouri, Aaron rushes back to the Amish community of Paradise, Pennsylvania, after receiving word of his mother’s stroke. Hesitant to get too close to the family he was once a part of, he decides to stay at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast. Talking with Linda allows him to explore his feelings about his family and his position in the Amish community.

As Linda and Aaron open up to each other, their feelings for one another turn into more than friendship, and Aaron must make a decision about his future as an Amish man.

Can Linda and Aaron forgive the family members who have deceived and forsaken them? And will Aaron be able to convince Linda that she is worthy of his love?”

Here is my review of “A Simple Prayer“…

In Amy Clipston’s “A Simple Prayer“, her fourth book in the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand series, her novel portrays forgiveness amongst several different families and how far our strength in love and faith can carry us.  One portraying of forgiveness is both Linda and Aaron need to forgive family members for wrongs that have been done to them.  We cam all relate that is easier said than done.

One of my favorite things about this book is being transformed back to Hannah’s Bed & Breakfast and seeing how the lives of the characters I have grown to love in this series develop.

Amy’s writing makes you feel like you are right there in the pages of the book, not on the outside looking in.  And I absolutely love this about a book – I want to feel like I am there involved in the story.

If my review has enticed you in any way, I’d recommend getting the first book in this series, “A Hopeful Heart“, and start reading that and then proceed with the other three books in the series.  You can read this as a stand alone novel, but I just love reading a series from start to finish.

Happy reading!

Blessings…