I have a wonderful treat to share with you all today and that is the recent release of Sweet Expectations (A Union Street Bakery Novel) by Mary Ellen Taylor. I adore the covers on her novels – they are just so pretty! Today I’m going to share with you what the book is about and some wonderful holiday recipes. What could be better? Well a chance to win a copy for yourself of course! Enjoy!
Mary Ellen Taylor returns to Old Town Alexandria and the Union Street Bakery in SWEET EXPECTATONS, A Union Street Bakery Novel. Picking up the story of Daisy McCrae, the struggling bakery and the McCrae family, Mary Ellen fast forwards a few short, but amazingly busy months following events in The Union Street Bakery. Plenty has changed, including the store’s finances, which no longer teeter on the brink of disaster.
The bakery is undergoing long needed renovation, including moving the original oven and installing a wine cellar as part of Daisy’s plans to increase profits and help the family business thrive. Since her return to help rescue the bakery from financial disaster, she’s come to terms (almost) with a life away from big finance and the perks of her former career. Adopted, and having finally found her birth mother, she’s also been able to put aside the rejection and sense of failure that have haunted her since being abandoned at the bakery as a toddler. In fact, these days’ it’s difficult for her to imagine not being back at the bakery, smack in the center of her family’s lives and, surprisingly, back in the arms of her former fiancé, Gordon, another corporate refugee who’s found peace in the historic neighborhood.
-Continued- As the remodeling gets underway, discoveries emerge. Jean Paul finds a metal box containing dog tags and recipes hidden within a wall in the kitchen. Rachel is learning she just may be able to enjoy the company of men, including Jean Paul, despite still mourning her late husband. And Daisy? Daisy discovers she’s pregnant following a night of drinking and seeking solace, which took place before she reunited with Gordon. When Daisy tells Gordon the news it doesn’t go well, and when he finds out she intends to make sure the child knows who his father is—a man Gordon detests—it only makes things worse.
Exhausted from the pace of the remodel, her day-long “morning” sickness and the pain of losing Gordon, Daisy looks to the mystery of the hidden recipes for distraction. In addition to the dog tags, the box contains a photo of a young woman with two men in uniform, marked “Jenna 1944.” Who was she? Why was the box hidden? Who was the man whose name is on the dog tags? Most of all, Daisy wants to know why she’s having recurring dreams about a woman searching for her lost baby and keeps hearing whispers of the words “find them?”
In SWEET EXPECTATIONS, Mary Ellen Taylor brings readers an intimate story echoing the emotion and sensitivity of The Union Street Bakery, as she explores dreams lost and found, the fear and joy of becoming a mother, and how the meaning of family transcends both time and DNA.
From Mary Ellen Taylor’s SWEET EXPECTATIONS…
Jenna’s Pumpkin Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 cup corn oil
2 cups canned pumpkin
Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl blend sugar and oil, and then mix in eggs one at a time.
Add pumpkin to sugar/oil mixture.
Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth.
Put in an 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.75 greased pan lined with parchment paper.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes.
Makes 2 loaves.
Cream Cheese Icing
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 box 10x powdered sugar
Cream together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until well blended.
Mix in powdered sugar until smooth.
From Mary Ellen Taylor’s Own Kitchen to Yours…
8 ounces of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Place heavy whipping cream in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring
often. When the cream is hot, pour over chocolate and add vanilla.
Mix until the chocolate is melted and blended. Place chocolate/
cream mixture in a shallow dish and refrigerate for at least two
hours. When the mixture is solidified, scoop out, form into bite size
balls and roll in cocoa and nuts. Chill. Serve. Enjoy!
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups white chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place heavy whipping cream in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring
often. When the cream is hot, pour over white chocolate and add
vanilla. Mix until the white chocolate is melted and blended. Place
white chocolate/cream mixture in a shallow dish and refrigerate for
at least two hours. When the mixture is solidified, scoop out, form
into bite size balls and roll in coconut. Chill. Serve. Enjoy!
Tex Mex Sugar Cookies
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
3-1/4 cups flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
sugar for dusting
Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs
one at a time, milk and lemon extract. Mix well. In another bowl
shift together flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly mix into butter/
sugar mixture. Spoon even sized dollops on parchment-lined baking
sheet. Sprinkle cookies with sugar and a hint of chili powder. Bake
350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
This cookie is sweet and soft and has a real kick. The sweet and
savory are a nice blend.
MARY ELLEN TAYLOR
Mary Ellen Taylor grew up in a southern family that embraced stories of all kinds, from a well-told anecdote to a good yarn or a tall tale. It may have been inevitable that Taylor would take her storytelling heritage to new heights, moving beyond the oral tradition to become a published author.
An accomplished baker, Mary Ellen shares some of the challenges and comforts of those pursuits in SWEET EXPECTATIONS and The Union Street Bakery. On a more intimate level, she also explores adoption and family in both books, an interest which stems from her own family. Her grandmother was adopted as was her daughter, and Mary Ellen has been active in bringing attention to issues regarding adoption, including the concerns faced by adoptees through
Mary Ellen was born and has spent most of her life in Richmond, but also lived in Alexandria for four years. She received her degree in English from Virginia’s Hollins University, and worked in marketing and sales before she committed to writing full time. Today, she is well known for her suspense novels written as Mary Burton. Her twenty books and four novellas have brought praise from readers and reviewers and her work has appeared on The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. The Union Street Bakery was her first novel as Mary Ellen Taylor.
When not writing or appearing at conferences and book signings, Mary Ellen continues her culinary pursuits. She’s been a kitchen assistant for more than fifty culinary classes over the past seven years at Sur la Table and at the University of Richmond’s Culinary Arts program, where she is currently completing her Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate. In addition to spending time with her family and her two miniature dachshunds, Buddy and Bella, Mary Ellen enjoys baking, cooking and hiking.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS (US/Canada)
I have one copy of Sweet Expectations by Mary Ellen Taylor to share with my readers. To enter…
- Leave a comment for 1 entry to the giveaway.
- Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.
This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winner on November 22/13. Good luck!
Source: Giveaway copy provided by the publisher.