Sunday, December 23, 2012

From My Family to Yours: Popovers

Having popovers for Christmas breakfast is a tradition at my house. Well, it’s actually a favorite winter comfort food we have almost every Sunday as well as for the holidays.

Why you ask?

Because they remind me of my childhood and a contest my family used to have to see who could make the tallest popovers. As simple as the ingredients for popovers are, there are tons of different techniques for making them. My dad went for the power mixing technique. He was under the assumption that more air you could whip into the batter, the larger the holes in the center of the popovers would be, and thus taller popovers. My mom stressed the need for the freshest room temperature eggs in a belief that the salt/egg reaction caused the height. My sister thought the oven temperature controlled the popover’s size. Years later, I discovered that the true key was to let the white lumps of flour dissolve naturally and not over whisk—it produces extraordinarily large perfect popovers every time.

Not only are popovers a yummy food that reminds me of simpler times and my family, they also remind me that the real keys to being a better writer are simple: challenge yourself to learn new skills by reading and listening to other writers and people in general--and practice, the more you write the better you’ll become.


4 Eggs 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup flour

1 cup milk 2 tablespoons butter melted + butter for greasing pan

Iron popover/muffin pan or individual muffin-size ramkins

Position oven rack in lower oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease pans very heavily with butter. In a medium sized bowl whisk eggs and milk. Add flour salt and melted butter and whisk lightly—will be lumpy. Let batter sit for 5 minutes and whisk again, lightly. Let sit for another 5 minutes and then whisk lightly. While batter is sitting for another 5 minutes put prepared pans in oven to preheat.

Fill hissing-hot muffin pans half way with batter. Bake for 40-45 minutes—do not open oven to check.

Serve immediately, popovers start to shrink the second they come out of oven. I’ve tried pricking them to let out the steam, but it doesn’t seem to keep them from shrinking. The ones in the photo were three times higher, but it took a couple of minutes for my husband to find the camera.

* Best served with homemade jam or marmalade and more butter—and tea. For an old time farm dinner they can be served with creamed chipped beef. Yup, lots of fat and salt.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Yay! Secret Santa Stopped at My House

So Secret Santa stopped at my house  and look what he brought me!

I haven’t read THRONE OF GLASS,  but it was on my TBR list. It’s perfect since I’m finishing up a book now and the novel I planned on reading next isn’t coming out until after my holiday vacation.

Thank you Santa (cough, cough—thank you every so much Juliana Haygert).
And thank you Juliana Brandt for organizing this Secret Santa event. It was loads of fun, both the giving and the receiving.

If you have a free minute, swing over to Juliana Brandt's blog   and check out the post on Juliana Haygert’s perfect holiday book HER HEART'S SECRET WISH—guaranteed to warm your cockles and maybe a few other parts as well. Seriously, I'm going to make time to read it and you might like to as well.

Currently I'm reading:

I've pre-ordered:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Interview with Kat Ellis: Aliens, Wales, Short stories and Writing Contests

Kat Ellis writes YA sci fi and fantasy and is represented by Molly Ker Hawn of The Bent Agency. I got to know Kat when she hosted the Hook, Line and Sinker agent contest and was thrilled when she agreed to answer a few questions. She’s one of the most energetic and imaginative writers I know. Be sure to check out her blog But enough from me--let’s get to the questions.

1. Can you tell a little about yourself? I’m especially curious to know if the rumor involving your parents, your birth and aliens is true. If it is, then has it influenced your writing at all?

Haha! The story about my parents spotting a UFO ( is absolutely true, although I have no idea when it actually happened. Probably best left a mystery, unless I suddenly sprout tentacles!  . . . 


Thursday, December 6, 2012

We Have a Winner!

KelsNotChels! Is the winner of the balsam wreath giveaway.

Please email me at PatEsden (at) Gmail (dot) com. Let me know if you have specific colors you'd prefer or if you'd like a traditional Vermont wreath.

Congratulations! And thank you to everyone who entered and followed me here and elsewhere.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sip Swap and the Best Mug Ever!

Huge thanks to Jessica Love and Kelsey Macke who were the brains and hosts behind SipSwap. I don’t know if it was more fun picking out a mug to give away or opening the one Laura Hughes sent to me. 

Actually, the timing was perfect. I’d had a crazy-tough morning at work, then my husband brought in my sip swap package from the post office—and the day turned around.

Not only did the package contain a beautiful handmade mug, but there was gourmet coffee as well! The mug hasn’t gone home to my writing desk, at least not yet. I’ve kept it at work. It’s perfect. I need a heavy mug on my workbench, so it can’t be easily knocked over. It’s big enough to contain a serious level of caffeine. And finally, I have a mug which no one else will use by mistake. Yay!

Thanks again, Laura. November was a wild month for me and your gift topped everything off.

Oh, sip swappers. While you’re here be sure to check out Monday’s post and enter to win my balsam wreath giveaway. Why shouldn’t the presents just keep on coming?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Balsam Wreath Giveaway and Welcome Me To Blogger

I’ve had a Livejournal blog since 2007, but the spam comments have finally driven me from my longtime home. In celebration of moving to Blogger, I’m going to start with a special giveaway.

To be entered to win a fresh handmade balsam wreath, you need be a follower of this blog and leave a comment below. The winner will have the choice of a traditional country wreath or a custom wreath created in any color you’d like. For those of you who don’t know, I own a Vermont country store and have been a florist and antique dealer for many years. These wreaths are one of our specialties.

Sorry, I can’t offer to ship the wreath outside the lower 48 states. However, if you live outside the 48 and want to enter, I’d be glad to ship the wreath as a gift to someone within the states.

I’ll choose a winner at noon eastern standard time on December 6th and the wreath will be shipped priority the next day.

Here’s how it works:

1. Follow me on Blogger and leave comment on this post * 1 entry

2. Follow me on Twitter and tweet a link to this contest * 2 entry @PatEsden

3. Follow me on Facebook. *1 entry

4. Blog about this giveaway (leave a link in the comments, so I’ll know) * 3 entries