Saving Grace

The first of many articles talking about books from Mom’s Favorite Reads authors.

Glossologics

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A new feature on the blog: this article is in association with Mom’s Favorite Reads.

Mom’s Favorite Reads is an international community of readers and authors. Check out their web page above! Today’s author spotlight is on: Hannah Howe

Saving Grace

I expect you have all heard this expression at one time or another; it means “the thing that in some way mitigates all the negative points”. But where does it come from?

It’s actually quite simple to get to the origin of this phrase. But we like things to be a little more challenging. So, we are going to go first to the etymology of the word ‘grace’, and from there to the expression.

If you speak a Romance language, or even if you have just heard the Italian or Spanish words for ‘thank you’, then it may come as no surprise that ‘grace’ derives from Latin

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Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine February 2019

Hannah Howe

The February, Romance, issue of our Amazon #1, international bestselling magazine is now available featuring
 
* A must-read interview for all fans of Sherlock Holmes
 
* Romantic articles and stories for Valentine’s Day
 
* Articles for Dads
 
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Independent Author of the Week Angelique S Anderson

This past week A Reader Recommends has promoted the work of talented author Angelique S. Anderson. Check here every week for more authors who may pique your interest.

A Reader Recommends

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Q + A

1. Where is your favorite place to write?
I really love waiting until everyone has gone to sleep, and the animals are tucked in so that I can write when it is absolutely silent.
2. Which book influenced you to become a writer?
Honestly, I’ve been writing since I was about seven. It was a way to deal with my tumultuous childhood. I just didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until I tried everything else.
3. You have a strong social conscience, how does this reflect in your writing?
Everything I write touches on not bullying, acceptance, awareness of each other and our different classes. Whether it’s my fantasy series, or my newer steampunk themed books. Kindness, looking out for each other, acceptance, and looking beyond social norms are a huge deal to me.
4. What stimulates your writing muse, coffee, tea, chocolate, another?
I…

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MEET RONESA AVEELA

Ronesa Aveela​ is featured today on Lucinda E Clarke​’s blog. Why not visit and browse for some other talented authors. Thank you, Lucinda, for taking so much time to support other authors.

lucinda E Clarke

My guest this week is a prolific writer with a wide range of interests and hails from Bulgaria. She has included lots of facts about her country, so I have included a map to show you where it is. (I wasn’t exactly sure myself). Let me hand over to my guest.

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Ronesa Aveela is a Bulgarian-born freelance artist and writer, who now resides in the U.S. She likes writing mystery romance inspired by legends and tales. In her free time, she paints. Her artistic interests include the female figure, Greek and Thracian mythology, folklore tales, and the natural world interpreted through her eyes. Ronesa is married and has two children.

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Her debut novel, Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey, was inspired by a visit to this out-of-the-way village located on the Black Sea. The wild beauty of this mystical place, a land and its people and history hidden from the world…

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Tikvenik: A Little Taste of Bulgaria

October 1, 2016

If you ever travel to Bulgaria, be sure to try a banitsa, one of the country’s most popular dishes. In our book Mystical Emona, this is one of Maria’s specialties. One reason for the dish’s popularity is that it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Another is that it’s simple to make. Traditional banitsa is made with filo dough, feta cheese, eggs, and yogurt. However, since autumn has arrived, we’d like to introduce you to a special variety called Tikvenik (teek-vah-neek), pumpkin banitsa.

Tikvenik (pumpkin-pie)

Tikvenik (pumpkin-pie)

The recipe for this scrumptious meal follows, but first we’d like to tell you about an interesting tradition involving banitsa. To celebrate New Year’s Eve, Bulgarians make a banitsa with fortunes. The mother of the household makes lucky charms or fortunes (small sheets of paper on which wishes are written then rolled up and wrapped in foil). She places them inside the banitsa before it’s baked.

At the evening meal, each member of the family takes a piece that contains a fortune. An additional piece is reserved for God, to keep the house safe from bad luck. Each charm tells the person his fortune for the coming year: perhaps a new job, a new house, health, a wedding, and so forth. Bulgarians have many customs that focus on health and fortune, and protection from evil. Similar to this tradition is the more common one performed at Christmas. A coin (and sometimes fortunes) are baked into a bread (pitka). The person who get the coin will have good luck throughout the year. If the coin is found in the piece set aside for the house or God, then the entire family will be healthy and have good luck. The ritual is included in our book The Christmas Thief.

Banitsa is made with homemade or commercially made filo dough pastry sheets, sugar, nuts (optional), cinnamon, and butter. You can also sprinkle powdered sugar on top to make it a little sweeter. And, of course, don’t forget the pumpkin.

Ingredients:

1  1/2 lbs pumpkin

1 cup sugar (or brown sugar)

2 ounces chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 lb butter, melted

1 (1 lb) package filo pastry

2 – 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar (for sprinkling on top)

Directions:

  • Cut the pumpkin into large pieces grate it. The seeds and guts should have already been removed. You want to use only the meat of the pumpkin.
  • Add the sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon; mix with the pumpkin.
  • If you decide to use the butter, melt it and pour over the pumpkin mixture.
  • Open the package of filo dough and spread it out.
  • On the top layer, sprinkle vegetable oil (not more than a teaspoon), and spread it out so it coats the filo.
  • Spread 2 – 3 Tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture evenly over the filo (so it slightly covers the surface), then sprinkle some of the leftover sugar on top of that.
  • Take up 3 of the filo sheets and roll them together to form a log.
  • Place this on the outer edge of a greased baking dish, with the open end down.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining filo and pumpkin mixture, placing the log rolls in a circular fashion on the dish until it is filled.
  • Sprinkle vegetable oil over the top, coating all the filo so it doesn’t become dry.
  • Bake for about 15 – 17 mins at 350 F or until crispy and golden on top.
  • Remove from the pan immediately after baking and let it cool.

It’s best to place the pieces of banitsa flat while they cool, rather than stacked. If you stack them, the ones on the bottom won’t be crispy. It’s fine to pile them up on top of each other once they have cooled.

Banitsa is delicious as a dessert or for breakfast with your morning coffee or tea. We hope you enjoy it.

Here is a video showing a variation of the above recipe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfrRdCxFECE

We have more authentic Bulgarian recipes in our book Light Love Rituals- Bulgarian Myths, Legends, and Folklore, and you can learn about the customs as well. Or, if you prefer, you can get just the recipes in Mediterranean and Bulgarian Cuisine: 12 Easy Traditional Favorites.