FAQs, Foods We Love, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, Quirky Stories

The Truth About Pumpkins

10-12 blog top photoOnce upon a time, there was this cute, somewhat round orange thing attached to a vine, sitting out in the field. Then later, it became the craze, and even the madness of certain segments of society. But, that’s moving too far ahead in the story. So, let’s take it back to 1584, when French explorer Jacques Cartier, who was skipping his way merrily through the St. Lawrence region of North America (aka Canada), reported finding fields of gros melons which, in the English language, translates to big melons. This is when the story gets a little tricky and Google Translate gets confused. The name pumpkin actually originated from the Greek word for large melon which is pepon. Pepon was changed by the French into pompon (who knows why?) then the English changed pompon to pumpion (again, who knows why?) Anyway, after the name was bandied about for a while, American colonists had to get in on the act, so they changed the perfectly good pumpion into pumpkin.

10-12 blog1By that time, the poor little orange thing said, “Enough!” So, what was thought to be an exclusive North American or Canadian or Upper New York vine that sprouted orange globes (even though seeds were discovered that could have put the pepon-pumpion-pumpkin in Mexico as early as 7000 B.C.) was finally, and somewhat unfirmly, established as a North American fruit. Or, squash. Or, melon. Or, placemats (as the indigenous North American populations used them.)

This is where I could skip ahead to where pumpkins turned into latte and the stuffing for certain popular sandwich cookies, but that leaves out a lot of history. Like the origins of the pumpkin pie, when the early colonists sliced off the pumpkin 10-12 blog carvingtop, removed the seeds, and then filled the hollow cavity with milk, spices and honey then baked it in the hot ashes of a dying fire. Or how the traditional turnip and potato jack-o-lanterns gave way to the big orange thing when Stingy Jack convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin so Jack could pay for his drinks at the local pub.

The Devil, being who he was, liked that type of shenanigan, so he did what Jack asked of him. But Jack decided to keep the money for himself and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Score one for Jack. Except, being basically a stupid man, he eventually freed the Devil, 10-12 blog vintage devilunder the condition that Mr. D would leave Jack alone for a year, and in that year, not claim Jack’s soul if he died. Well, that turned out pretty good for Jack, so in another year he decided to try more trickery on the big D, who was, apparently too dumb to know better when Jack asked him to climb a tree and pick him some fruit. But while the D guy was up that tree picking away, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree so that the D dude couldn’t come down until he promised Jack he wouldn’t  bother him for ten more years.10-12 blog devil umpkin

Sadly, Jack died shortly after his deal, but he wasn’t allowed into heaven because he was judged to be as unsavory as his D buddy was. But, Jack’s D buddy wouldn’t let him go to the warm place either, and instead banished him into the dark of night with only a burning coal, otherwise known as an emblem of hellfire, to light his way. But because that coal was too hot to handle, 10-12 blog coalJack put it in a carved-out turnip (or potato if that’s your carb of choice. Or, if you’re British, the ever-popular beet was also Jack-approved) and he’s been wandering the Earth with his root vegetable ever since, at first calling himself, Jack of the Lantern. But as many of us do, he took on a pseudonym –  Jack O’ Lantern.10-12 blog turnip

Then, of course, when he reached America carrying his rather small tool, the Americans, as only they would do, decided that larger was definitely better. And that’s how Jack went from toting around a fairly lightweight turnip/potato/beet to a rather heavy and awkward pumpkin. 

10-12 blog vintage hlloween pumpkin

Now that we know the absolute truth about the origins of the pumpkin and the Jack O’ Lantern, let’s look at what years of research has taught us about the pumpkin:

– Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini.
– Pumpkins are low in calories, fat, and sodium and high in fiber. They are good sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, potassium, protein, and iron.
– The heaviest pumpkin in its original form weighed 1,810 lb 8 oz.10-12 blog pumpkin flower
– Pumpkin flowers are edible.
– The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.
– The pumpkin spice latte drink made popular by a certain famous coffee chain 10-12 blog pumpkin lattedidn’t contain actual pumpkin pulp until 2015, but now it boasts the exact measure of a tad bit of pulp. Also, in a good year, this drink generates $80 million in sales. Oh, and those sought-after sandwich cookies with tasty pumpkin spice filling – no pumpkin in those whatsoever.

Which brings me to the point of this blog. My new book, SECOND CHANCE WITH HER ARMY DOC, out now, has no pumpkin in it either. Not in reference, not in a sample of the actual fruit, vegetable or whatever the heck it is. Why? Because this author doesn’t like pumpkin. But, I like my book, so please have a look at a story about what it takes for a lost love to be found again. And I don’t mean pumpkin love.

As always, wishing you health and happiness, and a recipe for Toasted Pumpkin Seeds if that’s your thing:10-12 blog seeds
– 1 1/2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds
– 2 teaspoons melted butter
– 1 pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees  F (150 degrees C).
2. Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally.
3. Makes 6 servings. Nutrition per serving: 83 calories; 4.5 g fat; 8.6 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 4 mg cholesterol; 12 mg sodium.

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

November Releases!

Well….it’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas….!

Six Christmassy tales to read in front of the fire. Or on a beach if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere! An absolutely gorgeous baby cover, some more Christmas in Manhattan books and some Muswell Hill Hospital from Kate Hardy are just some of the goodies!

Their Mistletoe Baby by Karin Baine

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A Christmas dream come true….

When handsome pediatrician Lucas Brodie walked out on his wife, Freya, at Christmas, he left her heart and hopes for a family shattered. This year, nurse Freya is determined to put the pain behind her by volunteering on a trip to take sick children to Lapland. But then she discovers Lucas is coming, too!

As they begin to fall in love again, Lucas wonders—could he give her a family after all? Can he put his past behind him? Perhaps an unexpected pregnancy could be the Christmas miracle to make Freya’s dreams come true…

 

 

 

The Rescue Doc’s Christmas Miracle by Amalie Berlin (Christmas in Manhattan)                                                                                                                                                                               From partnersmed3 to parents! 

Dr. Gabriel Jackson and paramedic Penny Davenport make a great team—despite driving each other crazy! She’s Manhattan Mercy’s daredevil helicopter pilot, who thrives on adventure after a childhood spent wrapped in cotton wool, while he’s the cautious flight doctor who, after a disastrous marriage, will never take risks again.

But after the elation of surviving a storm explodes into passion, Penny discovers she’s pregnant! This could be an unforgettable Christmas—if they listen to their hearts and take the greatest risk of all!

 

 

The Spanish Duke’s Holiday Proposal by Robin Gianna (Christmas in Manhattan)med4

Temporary Christmas fiancée—to future duchess! 

When paramedic Mateo Alves unexpectedly becomes heir to his family’s dukedom, he’s asked to return home. But Mateo loves his New York career. So when sparks fly between him and beautiful ER doc Miranda Davenport, he sees a way to appease his family over the holidays…

Miranda can’t believe she’s agreed to be Mateo’s temporary fiancée, but as love child to the head of the wealthy Davenports, she knows all about troubled families. Can a magical Spanish Christmas together bring them both the happiness and belonging they deserve?

 

A Family Made At Christmas by Scarlet Wilson

A famed1mily to heal her heart… 

For physiotherapist April Henderson, gorgeous army doc Riley Callaghan is off-limits. With her life-altering surgery looming, she can’t afford to consider anyone else right now. But when Riley is given the biggest news of his life—a son he knew nothing about—April can’t help but offer him support.

Spending time with Riley and his adorable son, Finn, at Christmas gives April a glimpse of the life she’s always wanted. But can she risk her heart when her future is so uncertain?

 

 

 

Christmas With Her Daredevil Doc by Kate Hardy (Miracles at Muswell Hill Hospital)

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Can he convince her to be his Christmas bride? 

When Dr. Hayley Clark met Sam Price in Iceland, their holiday romance was unforgettable—and unrepeatable! Sam was the first man to reawaken Hayley after losing her firefighter partner, but she wasn’t ready to risk her heart again, especially with a guy who loves danger!

But when Sam arrives at Hayley’s hospital as the new registrar they’re both shocked and delighted—could their fling become more after all? Only if Hayley can come to trust that her daredevil doc can both heal and protect her heart—forever!

 

Their Pregnancy Gift by Kate Hardy (Miracles at Muswell Hill Hospital)

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One night before Christmas… 

Dr. Danielle Owens can’t help but be intrigued by hot, brooding IVF consultant Alex Morgan. Then Dani offers him a chance to unload, leading to one very intimate night and a life-changing consequence!

Alex wants to do the right thing, but is clearly troubled. And after her divorce, Dani won’t commit to a man who doesn’t love her—even if she is pregnant! Alex wants Dani and their baby very much, but to win her he must confront the demon that has been holding him back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

March Releases!

Six new releases this month for your enjoyment and there are some totally sexy covers for you to savour!!!

Mills & Boon Medical series brings you pulse-racing medical dramas…

 

A SHEIK TO CAPTURE HER HEART by Meredith Webber meredith

Running from her past…into his arms?

Four years after the tragedy that drove her to Wildfire Island, flying surgeon Sarah Watson is ready to live again. Starting with a steamy affair with mysterious Harry…

But this resident hunk is running, too — from the injury that ended his career as a surgeon and his duties as Sheikh Rahman al-Taraq of Ambelia! When their one-week fling overruns, Sarah and Harry must choose: keep running or stand firm…together.

 

BREAKING ALL THEIR RULES by Sue Mackay

sueA rule worth breaking?

Plastic surgeon Olivia Coates-Clark knew her affair with handsome Dr Zachary Wright couldn’t last forever, so she ended it before she could get hurt. But when a chance encounter brings them back together, she finds herself considering breaking her one rule: not to give in to her reignited desire for Zac!

Zac watched Olivia walk away once, but he won’t let it happen again. Alone with her in paradise, he’ll prove once and for all that some rules are worth breaking…

 

LONDON’S MOST ELLIGIBLE DOCTOR by Annie O’Neil

annieThe talk of the town…

When a devastating dancing injury forces prima ballerina Lina Keminsky to walk away from her dreams, she takes a receptionist job to make ends meet. But working for London’s most sought after doc, Cole Manning, isn’t what she expects…

While Cole might not bear physical scars, he’s become a pro at hiding wounds that run deep. But working alongside the feisty Lina, Cole sees his guard slowly but surely beginning to crumble. Together, can they mend each other’s hearts?

 

 

ONE LIFE-CHANGING NIGHT by Louisa Heaton

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A kiss to mean forever?

For ER nurse Naomi Bloom, a handsome man only spells bad news. So when she’s forced to move in with her gorgeous new boss, Dr Tom Williams, she is certain he’s strictly off-limits!

Tom swore he’d never love again after losing his wife. But Naomi’s presence is a breath of fresh air, and Tom finds his long-held vow challenged. Will he be ready to embrace the risk when one kiss leads to a night these two will never forget?

 

 

SAVING MADDIE’S BABY by Marion Lennox

marionA precious rescue…

Dr Maddie Haddon doesn’t think twice before running into Wildfire Island’s gold mine to save a life. But another rockfall leaves Maddie trapped inside — and this time it’s her turn to be saved…

Emergency medic Josh Campbell is used to working under pressure, but when he discovers that his latest call is to rescue his ex-wife, who is on the brink of labor, the stakes are higher than ever! Can Josh save Maddie and her baby…and heal their broken marriage, too?

 

THE SOCIALITE’S SECRET by Carol Marinelli

carolThe doctor she can’t forget

Two years ago, socialite Scarlet Portland spent one wild night with ER doc Luke Edwards. She hasn’t forgotten their sizzling heat — it’s branded on her mind forever — nor that night’s devastating emotional repercussions…

Now Scarlet’s back in London and back in Luke’s life. All she wants is one more chance — to see if the happiness she’s only ever felt in his arms was real. But though their chemistry burns hot as ever, will he want her when he discovers the truth?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Number Four!

I really can’t believe book #4 released yesterday, because honestly it feels like I just sold yesterday. However, that could be the left over sedation talking. I spent release day in the hospital having some invasive testing done. Not fun, but sadly necessary. Fitting that my fourth Harlequin Medical releases and I spend it with Doctors.

At least this time I didn’t tell the cute doctors that they were excellent hero potential.

Yep, I did that. Last year, during  a procedure.

D’oh.

I hope you all enjoy my 4th book. It’s related to my 1st. If you’ve read Safe in His Hands Dare She Date Again? is George’s story.

I better crawl back into bed and try to sleep off the effects of the meds. Have a fantastic day everyone! xoxoxo

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To love again…?

Single mom and paramedic Samantha Doxtator has been living with a broken heart after losing her husband years ago. Now she’s finally back on track and following her dream to become an air ambulance pilot…after training one last student—George Atavik!

Since nearly losing his life in a plane crash, George will not waste the second chance he’s been given, and he won’t deny the sparks flying between him and his new mentor. Does Samantha dare risk her own carefully guarded heart for another opportunity at happiness?