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Happy DECEMBER, my friends!

I wish I could say I’ve been enjoying every minute of this month so far, but I came home from SoCal (Southern California, as the locals call it) with a cold. Two Covid tests were negative, and I was grateful for that, but I haven’t had a cold in so long it took me a minute to remember how much I hate being sick.😉

I am on the mend, though, and happy to share some photos from this beautiful part of the world. Could I ever live in LA (city, county, or surrounding megatropolis)? Absolutely not. The traffic is as bad as the media portrays it—at least, on a holiday weekend. The photo below was taken crossing over “the Grapevine” before we even hit LA proper. 

Still, we loved meeting more members of our wonderful new daughter-in-law’s extended family, and we feasted multiculturally. (The Finnish recipe from Sarah’s dad, Frank, below would make a super easy and delicious Christmas Eve main course).

In the photo, clockwise from upper left: Chef Frank with a small portion of the feast: collard greens, sweet potatoes with and without marshmallows, scalloped potatoes, smoked turkey, ham, and tri-tip roast; a beautiful flower from our host's backyard, Frank and JP inspecting the grill/smoker, and our hostess, Carmelita, who made the fabulous Filipino “lumpia” in the last pic.

We headed west on Friday morning. The traffic was completely tolerable and we were thankful.😉

The trip to Pismo Beach was not without a traffic slowdown or two, but the scenery was a beautiful, calming diversion, and once we passed through Santa Barbara, the rest of the trip was smooth sailing. We even stopped at a roadside park for lunch and to pick up a bit of California history. I was pretty impressed by Doña Bernada Ruiz de Rodriguez’s story. Naturally, she wasn’t included in the photo of the treaty signing, even though she negotiated the terms with Fremont. Sigh.

The popular coastal town of Pismo was hopping with people on this beautiful day, so we wisely opted for hotel a mile or so outside of town. Same beach. No people. Win-win.

The view from our balcony. Ahh…

Sun on the water.

The photo I used in my new little FB ad video. (See below)

We timed our dinner reservation for sunset and were definitely not disappointed. West Coast sunsets are a thing of glory.

In case you’re in the mood for a pre-holiday getaway, Pismo in December can’t be beat.

RECIPE:

Lohikeitto (Finnish Salmon Soup) Recipe on Food52

Ingredients
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1 leek, trimmed and sliced (about 2 cups)
• 4 cups fish stock or fish stock cubes
• 1 pound potatoes, cubed (2 to 3 cups)
• 1 carrot, sliced (about 1½ cups)
• 1 pound salmon, cut into large pieces
• 1 cup 35% cream
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
• Chopped dill, for serving

Directions
1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and cook, stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes, until wilted.
2. Add the stock, potatoes, and carrots. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until softened and fork-tender, depending on the size of the vegetables.
3. Add the salmon and cream and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through; season with salt and pepper.
4. Divide the soup among bowls. Top with the dill.

Frank’s tips: “I used heavy cream and thinned it to taste with milk. And I used clam juice and a can of minced clams because I had too much going on to make fish stock. I already have 2 requests to make it again so I am pretty proud of my work. The Netflix series “Somebody Feed Phil” had an episode shot in Finland and that is where I first became acquainted with this dish.”

Here are the books I’m using as an escape from my stuffy head and holiday pressures.

Just finished:

DARK OF NIGHT
by (one of my faves)
Barbara Nickless

MEANT TO BE
by Nan Reinhardt (fabulous author, editor, and blogger)

LOVE ME SOME BILLIONAIRES
by the Sweet2Heat authors (I loved all the stories in this collection. Who knew it was so easy to fall in love with a billionaire? Honestly, I’m not too impressed by most of the ones I see in the news. Sigh.)

Just bought:

HOME FOR HANUKKAH
by Rebecca Crowley (Great premise. Will be fun to learn more about this holiday.)

FLIRTING WITH THE BEAST
by Jane Porter (Jane is one of my favorites for deeply emotional, conflicted romances. Can’t wait to start reading.)

A TEXAS CHRISTMAS
MIRACLE

by Justine Davis
(A feel-good story, I’m sure.)

And, yes, I plan to read my holiday box set, too…to see how it holds up against all of these great stories.😉 Plus, my free gift that’s included is such a sweet, memorable story. I know you’ll love it.

IT’S NEVER THE MISTLETOE
by Debra Salonen

Happy reading, my friends. Enjoy every moment!

Deb

Next Newsletters:
12/22 – Christmas Read-A-Loud
12/28 – Guest at Nan Reinhardt’s blog. (I’m talking about traditions, and I’ve included a couple of recipes. Plus, there will be a $$ prize that might help finance some of the awesome new box sets we have planned.😉) AND I’ll share the links to a great deal from author friend Kay Lyons. A two-fer!! (Kay’s had to navigate a few bumps in the road recently, and this boost will do her beautiful spirit good.)

PS: I consulted with a Facebook (now, META) Pro last week, and he suggested I include videos in my ads. Did he mention they can only be 15 seconds long? No. But, of course, I found out when my first video only ran the first half. LOL.

Here it is: in case you’re not on FB or you aren’t in my target audience and they never appear in your feed.

LOVE ME SOME COWBOY short

Debra Salonen's Book List

GOLD COUNTRY
Her Gold Country Valentine
The Rancher's and the Widow's First Christmas
Falling for the Stranger
Her Second-Chance Homecoming
The Deputy's K-9 Matchmaker

PROPERTY SISTERS
Montana Blueprint for Love
Meet Me in Montana
All the Stars in Montana

BIG SKY MAVERICKS
Montana Cowgirl
Montana Cowboy
Montana Darling
Montana Maverick
Montana Gift
Montana Miracle

FREE in Kindle Unlimited
GOING ALL IN ON LOVE Box Set
Prince Charming Undercover
The Daddy Gamble
Risky Baby Business
Christmas for the Win

LOVE AT THE CHOCOLATE SHOP
Montana Secret Santa
Sweet Summer's Kiss

FREE in Kindle Unlimited
MEET ME IN THE BLACK HILLS Box Set
Black Hills Baby
Black Hills Billionaire
Black Hills Bad Boy
Black Hills Bachelor
Black Hills Native Son
Black Hills Secret Santa
Black Hills White Knight
Black Hills Rancher
Black Hills Stranger
Black Hills Legacy

FREE in Kindle Unlimited
WEST COAST HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER Box Set
Her Forever Cowboy
Never Say Never
Caleb's Christmas Wish
A Baby After All
Love, After All
That Cowboy's Forever Family
Forever and Ever, by George

LOVE, MONTANA
Her Hero to Love
Her Rogue to Tame
Her Rebel to Kiss

FREE in Kindle Unlimited
IT'S NEVER THE MISTLETOE Box Set
The Rancher's and the Widow's First Christmas
Her Christmas Angel
Caleb's Christmas Wish
Black Hills Secret Santa
Christmas for the Win
Judy Does Christmas
Bonus Box Set Gift: A Hundred Years or More

 

 

Copyright © 2022 Debra Salonen

www.debrasalonen.com

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