Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Smidge, a Pinch, a Recipe by Paty Jager

There is nothing better than walking into a kitchen in December. The smells bring back so many memories. My grandmother lived in a two-story farm house with us until I was twelve, making Christmas at our house a mixture of my grandmother’s favorite goodies and my mom’s.  Grandma’s specialties were cookies, cinnamon brittle, peanut brittle, and divinity. My mom’s specialties were sugared nuts, popcorn balls, fudge, toffee, and liquor-laced fruitcake.

As you can see our house was full of wonderful smells the whole month of December. My brother’s and I loved the failed batches. The batches my mom and grandma deemed not good enough to give to friends, but good enough to make the kids happy. 

People traveling across the country didn't have all the useful things we did to cook with. They lacked, measuring cups, measuring spoons, and liquid measures. The girls grew up learning from older members of the family and learning what a smidge and a pinch were and how many egg shells of milk or water to put in a recipe.   

I have a recipe for my mom's doughnuts. This is a typical recipe that is passed down from generation to generation. After having watched my mom make the cake doughnuts, I know how, but the recipe is sparse. 

Mom's Doughnuts
3 eggs beaten till foamy
2 cups whole milk
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp. baking powder
Nutmeg to taste
Flour to make a real soft dough 

That's it. The whole recipe. I can tell you these are delicious! 

Want more?  I mix in the nutmeg to where you can see the specks in the dough. By real soft, it has to ooze through your fingers like slime. ;)  Roll the dough out to 1/2 an-inch thick on a well-floured surface, cut out the rounds and the holes in the middle. Fry in hot oil lightly browning both sides. While still warm shake in a bag of sugar to coat. Don't overwork the dough when you pick up the leavings and add it to the batter or they turn out tough. That's how you make Mom's Doughnuts. 

In my Christmas novella, Christmas Redemption, in the Silver Belles and Stetsons Christmas Anthology,  the hero returns home after being in prison and walks into his mother’s kitchen while she’s baking. 


The leafless cottonwood trees appeared stark and ominous hovering around the farm house. The two-story structure held pleasant memories. His mother’s cooking and laughter. Would she welcome him back or follow her husband’s lead? His stomach knotted, and he once again wished Tessa were by his side.
A multi-colored mutt ran out of the barn barking. Half-way to the wagon he stopped and looked back toward the barn. A girl of about eight strolled out of the building wrapped in a heavy coat, scarf, and mittens.
“Button. Stop barking,” she said when he stopped the wagon in front of the house. His mother’s eyes stared at him from the child’s face. This was his sister Grace.
“Is your ma or pa home?” he asked uncertain what to do. He wanted to pick her up and hug her, but reasoned she wouldn’t care for a stranger grabbing her.
“Ma’s in the kitchen. Christmas is coming.” She put a hand on the dog’s head.
“It sure is. How about you take me to the house then rustle your ma out of the kitchen so I can talk with her?” He started walking to the familiar front door.
Grace grabbed his hand. “We can’t go in that door. Ma doesn’t like snow on her wool rug.” She tugged him to the back of the house.
Van smiled and allowed his sister to haul him around to the back of the house. The garden patch looked larger. And the cellar which he’d help dig was grown over sprouting pale weeds through the six inches of snow.
Grace pulled the screen door open, then shoved the door into the kitchen. Familiar aromas wafted around Van’s head. He sniffed and savored each spicy nuance.
His ma turned. “Grace, shut the door, I have bread ris—”
Ma was the same other than gray wisps in her dark brown hair. She blinked, and her hands clasped in front of her chest.
“Hello, Ma.”
“Van?” She took a step toward him. He smiled and nodded, and she lunged into his arms, crying.
He hugged her tight as tears burned his eye sockets. His heart, that had been torn in two when he never heard from her, slowly melded back together. “I’ve missed you,” he said, holding on, wishing he had all those years back.
She drew out of his arms and studied him. “My, you turned into one handsome man.” She wiped at the tears on her face with her apron. Then motioned to Grace. “Come say hello to your big brother.” His mother’s smile warmed him like a toasty fire on a cold day.
“My brother? I thought pa said—” Grace stared up at him quizzically.

Silver Belles and Stetsons
Ten Western Romance Christmas Novellas
Available as a boxed set for a limited time

Bestselling and Award-Winning Authors bring you ten western romance novellas featuring alpha-cowboys from the past. This boxed set will take you back in time when
men were rugged and handsome and the women who loved them, courageous and

The Greatest Gift: A Montana Cowboy Christmas by Kathleen Ball. Amazon Bestselling
and Award- Winning Author. Looking for the man who ran out on her, Ginger finds a
cowboy worthy of love but he doesn't want or need love.

Catherine’s Cowboy by Cait Braxton, Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author. During a supernatural dust storm, Fate steps in when rugged army tracker, Elam, helps Catherine deliver her child.

Stone Mountain Christmas by Caroline Clemmons, Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author. Can Celia restore the town's Christmas spirit? "A beautifully written story about love and hope and all the emotions Christmas brings out in people." Karren Lucas

Angel and the Texan from County Cork by Carra Copelin. Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author. Does Angel trust marriage to the man she suspects of killing her husband or the stranger who promises to pay off her debt and set her free if she decides their marriage of convenience won’t work?

The Drifter’s Proposal by Kristin Holt, Amazon Bestselling Author. The baker's man is home for Christmas... "Compelling. Heartwarming. Tender." ~Diane Darcy, USA Today Bestselling Author

The Perfect Gift by Lyn Horner. Friendship has blossomed into young love, but it seems destined to die on the vine...until an unexpected Christmas gift promises happiness.

Marshal Mistletoe by Susan Horsnell. She married the wrong man. Will fate intervene?

Christmas Redemption by Paty Jager, Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author. Can two battered hearts find solace or will the past continue to haunt their lives? "A story of forgiveness that has a wonderful hero who has worked hard to redeem himself."

A Hard Candy Christmas by Hebby Roman, Amazon Bestselling Author. Two damaged souls. Can their budding love and the healing power of Christmas bring them together?

Cowboy Christmas by Margaret Tanner. Will a miracle Christmas baby unite two tortured souls, or will it forever keep them apart?

BUY LINK: Amazon

Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.
You can learn more about Paty at
her website; 
Newsletter: Paty’s Prattle:
twitter  @patyjag.




  1. Ohmagosh, just what I need--doughnuts. LOL I remember the fragrant smells of Mom cooking filling the house with holiday cheer. That was a long time ago for me. Your recipe looks mighty tasty.
    Congratulations on the anthology, Silver Bells and Stetsons, Paty. I wish you all the best.

    1. Hi Sarah, It was a while ago for me too. They are good doughnuts. Thanks! We have some good authors in the anthology.

  2. Ummm sounds delicious - both the novella and the donuts!

  3. Paty, don't you love Christmas baking! There is nothing that says Christmas like cooking and baking. Loved your excerpt!

  4. Hi, Hebby! Yes, I love baking for the holidays! I'm glad you like the excerpt.

  5. Yummy story and recipe! Thanks for sharing, Patty!

    1. Hi Lyn, You're welcome! Thanks for stopping in.

  6. Paty, I tried to duplicate my grandmother's vanilla cake but it never tastes the same as hers. She used an old coffee mug as a cup and I even measured it with a measuring cup. Still not the same.

    1. Caroline, It is hard to duplicate somethings. I can't get the gooey bottoms on cinnamon rolls like my grandmother did. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Hi Paty,
    Great post. You certainly are qualified to write westerns, living where you do.

    1. Hi Margaret, Thank you! Yes, I think where I live does help make me a better western writer. Thanks for stopping in!


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