Author Recipes: Fun with Pumpkin

When many people think about the Amish, they picture tables filled with delicious, home-cooked food. And what better time to enjoy good food with family than fall? Two of our Amish fiction authors share pumpkin-themed recipes that were big hits in their own families!

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Leslie Gould’s Pumpkin Curry Soup

Love the fall colors on Leslie's newest book, Becoming Bea!

Love the fall colors on Leslie’s newest book, Becoming Bea!

2 large onions, chopped
3 Tbsp. coconut oil
3 Tbsp. yellow curry
2 (28 oz.) cans pumpkin puree
2 (15 oz.) cans coconut milk
4 c. chicken stock
Salt to taste

Sauté onions in coconut oil in a pot, add curry. Continue to sauté for several minutes. Onions should caramelize and curry should brown. Then add pumpkin, coconut milk, and chicken stock. If too thin, add more pumpkin. If too thick, add more coconut milk. (As with many soups, this one is even better the second day!) Stir together and keep over medium heat until warmed through. Serves 10.

GOULD_Leslie1cropLeslie Says: I served this soup to friends and family last year at our annual soup night. It’s one of my favorite evenings of the year. Nothing says fall like pumpkin…and the leaves, colors, warm days, and crisp nights of fall are glorious. All reminders of God’s goodness.

 

Beverly Lewis’s Pumpkin Cookies

The River also has an autumn setting.

The RiverBeverly’s latest novel, has an autumn setting.

½ c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 ¾ c. flour
1 c. pumpkin
1 c. All-Bran cereal
½ c. chopped nuts
½ c. raisins
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. nutmeg

Mix together shortening, sugar, and egg. Stir in remaining ingredients until well blended. Drop onto lightly greased cookie sheet; bake at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeverly Says: The lovely smell of these cookies, freshly baked, brings back happy memories of returning home from school and finding Mother waiting, all smiles. Good at any time of year, but especially during the beautiful months of autumn!

 

Recipe is taken from the Amish Heritage Cookbook, compiled by Beverly Lewis

For more Amish-style recipes, visit the Cook’s Corner at Amish Wisdom!

Why Amish Fiction?

When Amish fiction became its own genre, many people were surprised. And when the genre not only survived, but grew—Beverly Lewis alone has sold more than 15 million books—people started asking why. What is the appeal behind romances set in small, conservative religious communities?

Valerie Weaver-Zercher of Wall Street Journal explains what she believes is the driving force behind the Amish fiction trend: “Amish fiction joins Ancestry.com, ‘Downton Abbey,’ heirloom tomatoes and vintage clothing in depositing us gently in the past without requiring us to loosen the vice grip on our iPhones.”

Amish buggy
Child of MineTo a secular audience, that’s what makes the most sense out of the phenomenon. Christian readers, though, would say there’s more to it than that. Beverly Lewis addresses this side of the books’ appeal. She says, “Tens of thousands of letters from readers indicate that courting rituals, table talk, a predictable/structured life, love and care of family, and a true sense of belonging are the top five reasons why people are so intrigued with my Amish novels.”

Minding MollyLeslie Gould, author of the COURTSHIPS OF LANCASTER COUNTY series, agrees that readers appreciate the values and simple faith of the Plain characters. “I think readers are drawn to Amish fiction for the same reasons I enjoy writing it—getting lost in a simpler way of life, exploring issues of faith and family, and the juxtaposition of the Amish culture and our modern American way of life. I know reading—and writing—Amish fiction takes me back to stories from my parents’ and grandparents’ rural upbringings, and to my own down-on-the-farm experiences as a child. I love being reminded of those memories, and I think readers do too.”

Why Amish fiction? Because sometimes we wish life moved along more at the pace of a buggy ride than a breakneck race down a neon-lit freeway. Because we know that a handwritten, newsy letter means more than a quick email. Because when we go to pray, there are hundreds of distractions . . . and we wish it could be different.

And maybe it can be, even in small ways. Give it a try for yourself. Make bread. Be silent for a while. Go for a walk. Write a few extra lines in a birthday card instead of just signing your name. Don’t just read about a simpler life; practice it.

But remember: if you decide you’re going to have a family dinner, it probably won’t look like a typical Amish meal. Maybe your two-year-old will throw peas at her brother or your junior higher will explain what goes into the hot-dog making process or your third grader will announce that he suddenly does not like the food that he’s never complained about before.

The point isn’t perfection. The point is togetherness.

It’s not about feeling guilty if you make a birthday cake from a box or buy it from the store (“But the Amish churn their own butter, for goodness’ sake!”). Or if all of your Pinterest DIY projects fail (“They made this seem so easy in the quilting bee scene.”). Or if you struggle to get your teenage daughter to stop wearing sweatpants with “Flirty” written on the back (“That’s it! You’re wearing solid-colored dresses and a bonnet from now on!”).

Amish fiction shouldn’t give us an impossible standard to live up to. Instead, it should be a reminder of what’s really important. We probably shouldn’t try to recreate the lifestyle found in the pages . . . but maybe we can learn from and adopt some of the attitudes.

What tradition or custom do you admire most about the Amish?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALearn more about Beverly and her latest book, Child of Mine, co-written with her husband David, at www.beverlylewis.com, or visit her on Facebook.

GOULD_Leslie1cropLearn more about Leslie and her latest book, Minding Molly, at www.lesliegould.com, or visit her on Facebook.

What’s In a Name?

Sometimes our authors will post questions on Facebook asking fans to help them name a particular character. These are really fun discussions to follow, and they always make me wonder: what’s in a name? Not in the way Shakespeare meant it, but how does the sound and meaning of a name fit a character?

Parents might have many reasons to pass on a name to a newborn—acknowledging a tradition or national heritage, honoring someone special, or simply liking the sound of a name.

Authors, though, know their characters’ personalities before ever naming them, something hard to determine in a hospital with a screaming infant. I decided to take a look at the names of the leading ladies in our April releases and see how they fit the characters.

Name Book

All of the meanings and spiritual connotations were taken from The Name Book. Continue reading

The Music of Christmas: Beverly Lewis

What aspect of Christmas takes you right back to your childhood? Hint: If you’re like me, it’s even more nostalgic than the tempting aroma of Grandma’s cherry pie or the sweet taste of eggnog and peppermint sticks.

So…what is it? The wonderful music of Christmas, of course!

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“All I Want For Christmas Is You” makes me want to curl up by the fireplace with my husband, Dave. “Joy to the World!” brings to mind the very first time I heard the perfect descending scale that opens this majestic carol—the day I joined my timid childish voice with a larger group at school. “Sleigh Ride” and “Jingle Bells” bring out the wiggles in kids and make us all want to dance a little. Even our tiny grandniece, Avianna Jane, likes to sing “Jingle Bells”—on pitch, too!

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“Silent Night,” while sung at candlelight service on a snowy Christmas Eve, encourages us to count our blessings and extend them to others. “Breath of Heaven” opens our hearts ever wider to God’s calling on our lives.

The minor strains of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” have been a favorite since my earliest childhood. (“O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here. Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.”) Wow, old English aside, those lyrics are the perfect devotional for any time, and especially at Christmas! I remember learning to play that carol at the piano, my seven-year-old hands stretching for the octaves in the chorus (“Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel!”). Continue reading