Welcome to Karen's Christmas Cottage Blog!
Christmas has evolved over time to symbolize different things for different folks.  This blog provides an opportunity to discuss all aspects and themes centered around Christmas, and we invite you to share your thoughts.  We also invite you to visit our year-round online Christmas store at KarensChristmasStore.com.
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Peach Delights Offers a Burst of Summer Flavor

August 2, 2016
Author: Karen Hood

Peach Delights Cookbook by Karen Jean Matsko HoodPeach Delights by Karen Jean Matsko Hood is the latest addition to the perennially popular Cookbook Delights series published by Whispering Pine Press International. Like all of the books in this series, Peach Delights is packed with valuable information that goes far above and beyond mere recipes: interesting facts about the history and nutrition of the peach, gardening tips for growing your own, and detailed information for canning and preserving this delicious fruit. There is even a selection of delightful poems by Karen Hood, who has had her work published in numerous international literary journals. Recipes are laid out in a consistent manner and the instructions are clear, simple to understand and follow even for kitchen novices. The glossary of terms and measurement conversion chart in the back make it even easier for inexperienced chefs to succeed in the exciting world of cooking. With all this and more than 230 recipes at your fingertips, Peach Delights is a treasure trove of culinary inspiration and knowledge.

I tried out a several of the recipes from Peach Delights and was absolutely thrilled with the results. I have to admit that the peach is not my favorite fruit, and usually I only eat it in a good cobbler. This cookbook has entirely changed my opinion about peaches–maybe I still won’t like to eat them plain, but now there’s a whole world of possibility for using this fruit to jazz up my cooking! The Cranberry Peach Meatballs were simply incredible–I honestly don’t know that I could say enough things about them. What an innovative recipe, full of ingredients I would have never imagined putting into a meatball, and the result is so flavorful it knocked everyone in my family for a loop. If you need a simple but very impressive appetizer for a potluck or family gathering, this is it.

We also made the Chicken and Peach Curry, another flavor combination that I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. It was a big hit even with the kids, who don’t generally care for curry. One thing’s for sure: since the Cookbook Delights series has come into my life, my kids are no longer such picky eaters and are much more open to trying out new foods! We finished up our meal with Peach Cobbler, of course, and I can honestly say that that was one of the best cobblers I have ever had. It was very simple to make, with a sweet flaky crust and flavorful, succulent peach filling.

Order now to be ready for peach season!

Capture the Spirit of the Season

December 5, 2013
Author: Karen Hood

Author: Fagles
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Christmas is a joyous time full of generous giving, goodwill toward all people, and the cheerful sights, scents, and flavors of the holiday season. What better way to experience this festive time than by creating family memories through time-honored, traditional holiday recipes made in the home with love and care? Many families have traditions of baking Christmas cookies or a special holiday sweet bread together, and it becomes a treasured part of their lives that is passed on to the next generation. In my family, we had a tradition of a large, delicious Christmas breakfast after opening presents instead of the usual Christmas dinner, and my brother and I would help our mother bake dozens of miniature loaves of her amazing egg nog bread to give to our friends and family. It’s a special memory that I have been happy to share with my own children as they grow up, and it’s something we all look forward to during the holidays.

Christmas Delights Cookbook by Karen Jean Matsko HoodChristmas Delights Cookbook by renowned local author Karen Jean Matsko Hood is the perfect companion for the Christmas season. Filled with over 200 delectable and creative recipes that capture the flavor of the holidays, it provides dozens of opportunities for starting, expanding, or refreshing your family’s traditions. With clear, easy-to-follow instructions, tidbits of holiday folklore, and a wide variety of delicious foods, Christmas Delights offers recipes for any occasion: large holiday parties, intimate family gatherings, fun snacks and treats for the kids, and contemporary twists on beloved traditional foods that will wow everyone. It also makes a fabulous gift for anyone who loves to cook–or simply enjoys the good food and cheer of this special time of year. But don’t wait too long to get your holiday traditions started–Christmas will be here before you know it, so purchase a copy of Christmas Delights today!

Personalized Poems Make the Perfect Christmas Gift!

November 26, 2013
Author: Karen Hood

This holiday season, give a gift that will be treasured for a lifetime: a personalized poem by Karen Jean Matsko Hood. Affordable on any budget, your personalized poem can be anything you want: fun and lighthearted, romantic, friendly, or sympathetic; it can be tailored specifically to fit the Christmas season or express your feelings for the recipient in a heartfelt way. Whereas most personalized items simply add the name of your gift recipient to an already-existing poem, a Personalized Poem by Karen is always a unique creation, written specifically for you and your loved one.

Karen Jean Matsko Hood has been writing poetry for many years, and her poems have appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals both national and international. You can read a review of her first volume of poetry, Frost of Spring Green, here. Karen’s experience and expertise in writing well-crafted, poignant poems makes her a natural for personalized poetry. Her deft touch and finely-woven words are guaranteed to touch the heartstrings no matter the subject or event you are looking to commemorate. Dazzle your friends and loved ones this Christmas with a real gift from the heart.

What are personal poems?

Personal poems are professionally written for you alone, to be used as a thoughtful gift for someone you love or admire.

How does the process work?

The poem is written from information you give me about the person for whom you want the gift.
Using an insightful questionnaire, Ms. Hood is able to craft a poem that reflects exactly what you have in mind. Sometimes she may even use your own words in beautiful poetic form.

How will I know that the poem is
exactly what I wanted to say?

You choose the mood of the poem, whether light or sentimental. If Ms. Hood’s first draft does not portray your feelings precisely, it will be rewritten so that it meets your approval.

How is the poem presented?

After Ms. Hood receives your approval, the poem is printed in script on elegant parchment paper and placed in your choice of either a special frame or display
folder.

What is the cost of a personal poem?

The cost depends upon the agreed-on length of the poem and includes frame or display folder, plus one extra copy.

How do I order a personal poem?

You can email Ms. Hood at sales@poemsbykaren.com or fax her at (509) 922-9949.

 

For more information, including pricing, please click here to view and/or print our Personalized Poems Brochure.

November 23 is National Adoption Day

November 21, 2013
Author: Karen Hood

The Hood FamilyAs the mother of 16 children, many of them adopted and foster children that my husband and I have gladly welcomed into our home and our hearts, National Adoption Day is very close to my heart. Over the years, the Hood family has grown not only in size but in richness and joy, and we are proud to be adoptive parents. Please take some time this Saturday to consider what you can do to help the many children who remain without families, whether it is by donating to an organization like The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, becoming an advocate in your community, or opening your home to those in need.

Thank you,
Karen

~*~*~*~
A Special Message from The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute
This Saturday, November 23rd, we will celebrate National Adoption Day and the approximately 4,500 adoptions of children in foster care that will take place in courthouses across the nation. It is a day of celebration as well as a poignant reminder of the nearly 100,000 children in foster care still awaiting their own adoption day.

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute exists because we not only believe that every child needs a family, but also that they can find that family – no matter what their age or circumstances. Toward that goal, we continue to raise awareness of the policy barriers that prevent children in the U.S. and around the word from finding their forever families. We will work daily with policymakers to address these barriers until every last one is removed.

We are pleased to announce the release of our report, What Barriers Remain: Areas of Needed Adoption and Foster Care Reform in the 113th Congress. This report highlights several areas where the U.S. Congress might work to reduce the number of children living without families in the U.S. and abroad. It is our hope that all who read this new report, from Members of Congress to adoptive parents, Members of the Administration to foster youth, will work in partnership with us until every child in need of a family finds permanency.

Christmas Delights Cookbook by Karen Jean Matsko HoodChristmas Delights is not your average modern cookbook, a baker’s dozen recipes alongside full page photographs–pretty, but with little substance. No, this is your mother or grandmother’s cookbook, a weighty and serious volume with more than 200 scrumptious recipes divided into comprehensive sections that make it quick and easy to find exactly what you are looking for. The recipes are laid out in a clear and consistent manner, easy to follow and understand for even a kitchen novice. At the same time, more experienced cooks will not find themselves bored by the recipes, which offer many unique ideas and flavor combinations that are sure to tantalize the tastebuds.

Christmas Delights is packed with extras including the history of Christmas traditions around the world, the meaning of familiar Christmas symbols, even tips on how to care for your poinsettia. There are also several Christmas-themed poems by Karen Hood, and these have her usual simple yet elegant style, ensuring that this section of the book will be read and enjoyed time and time again. Further facts about Christmas are sprinkled throughout the cookbook, livening up the recipes with fun tidbits of trivia. There is also a US and Metric Measurement Chart in the back, an invaluable assistance for conversions and measuring ingredients; a glossary of cooking terms that will help even an inexperienced cook feel comfortable in the kitchen; and an alphabetized index of recipes.

Karen Jean Matsko Hood has a great deal of experience in the kitchen, and it definitely shows. I tried out several of the recipes: Ham Casserole Supreme, Artichoke Green Chile Dip, and Butternut Ball Cookies. The ham casserole made a wonderful dinner that my entire family loved, a very flavorful and unique twist on the old favorite macaroni and cheese. The dip was very quick and easy to make and again provided an unexpected and delightful twist on the usual artichoke dip that I am familiar with. The cookies also made a big hit and were a lot of fun to make. I have looked through many of the other recipes in the book and am very excited about trying them out. There are many fun ideas that any parent or grandparent will love to make with their little ones. The Cookie Casserole in particular looks like it will be a blast for children, and every recipe I turn to sounds delicious. This is definitely a cookbook my family will enjoy not just at the holidays, but all year long.

Order your copy of Christmas Delights today!

Have you ever wondered what gift to give that special someone in your life? They already have everything they need, and you’ve been racking your brain each holiday and birthday for the last several years to come up with something unique, something that is truly as special as they are–and now you have completely run out of ideas.

A personalized poem by Karen Jean Matsko Hood is the perfect answer. Affordable on any budget, personalized poems can be anything you want: fun and lighthearted, romantic, friendly, or sympathetic; they can be tailored to fit almost occasion including birthdays, engagements or anniversaries, holidays, bereavement, as well as any other important event or milestone. Whereas most personalized items simply add the name of your gift recipient to an already-existing poem, a Personalized Poem by Karen is always a unique creation, written specifically for you and your loved one.

Karen Jean Matsko Hood has been writing poetry for many years, and her poems have appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals both national and international. You can read a review of her first volume of poetry, Frost of Spring Green, here. Karen’s experience and expertise in writing well-crafted, poignant poems makes her a natural for personalized poetry. Her deft touch and finely-woven words are guaranteed to touch the heartstrings no matter the subject or event you are looking to commemorate. Give a gift that will be treasured forever–give a Personalized Poem by Karen.

What are personal poems?

Personal poems are professionally written for you alone, to be used as a thoughtful gift for someone you love or admire.

How does the process work?

The poem is written from information you give me about the person for whom you want the gift.
Using an insightful questionnaire, Ms. Hood is able to craft a poem that reflects exactly what you have in mind. Sometimes she may even use your own words in beautiful poetic form.

How will I know that the poem is
exactly what I wanted to say?

You choose the mood of the poem, whether light or sentimental. If Ms. Hood’s first draft does not portray your feelings precisely, it will be rewritten so that it meets your approval.

How is the poem presented?

After Ms. Hood receives your approval, the poem is printed in script on elegant parchment paper and placed in your choice of either a special frame or display
folder.

What is the cost of a personal poem?

The cost depends upon the agreed-on length of the poem and includes frame or display folder, plus one extra copy.

How do I order a personal poem?

You can email Ms. Hood at sales@poemsbykaren.com or fax her at (509) 922-9949.

 

For more information, including pricing, please click here to view and/or print our Personalized Poems Brochure.

Apple Delights Cookbook

October 14, 2013
Author: Karen Hood

With Apple Delights Cookbook, Karen Jean Matsko Hood has expertly compiled some of the best recipes to be had concerning this delicious and versatile fruit. This cookbook contains over 240 delicious apple recipes. Each recipe has easy-to-follow directions and uses ingredients that are readily available. Of course, the most important ingredients are apples, which you can pick yourself for the freshest taste or purchase from any grocery store or market. You will never regard the apple in the same way again after becoming familiar with this useful and easy-to-use new cookbook.

Please visit our websites at www.WhisperingPinePressBookstore.com, www.WhisperingPinePress.com, and www.AppleDelights.com. 6 x 9, 324 pp., featuring a full-color cover in a variety of bindings. Whispering Pine Press International, Inc., Your Northwest Book Publishing Company.

Inside You Will Find:

* Delicious Apple Recipes
* Facts about the Apple
* Types of Apples
* Measurement Conversion Chart
* Fascinating Apple Folklore
* Apple-Themed Poetry
* Nutritional Information
* Helpful Index and Glossary
* Apple Cultivation

 

LCCN: 2014 pending BISAC 1 CKB035000 BISAC 2 CKB101000 BISAC 3 POE000000 BISAC AUD 01

ISBN: 978-1-59649-402-2 case bound $ 29.95 plus shipping
ISBN: 978-1-59210-542-7 perfect bound $ 19.95 plus shipping
ISBN: 978-1-59649-231-8 spiral bound $ 21.95 plus shipping
ISBN: 978-1-59210-695-0 comb bound $ 22.95 plus shipping
ISBN: 978-1-59649-060-4 E-PDF $ 9.99 download
ISBN: 978-1-59649-060-7 E-PUB $ 9.99 download
ISBN: 978-1-59434-858-7 E-PRC $ 9.99 download

About the Author: Karen Jean Matsko Hood is the author of numerous cookbooks, children’s books, poetry, and more. A woman of wide interests, she, her husband, seventeen children, and foster children make their home in Greenacres, Washington. Ms. Hood is currently working to complete research toward her Ph.D. in Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University.

Websites: www.KarenJeanMatskoHood.com and www.KarenJeanMatskoHoodBlog.com.

Author’s Availability: Washington State and nationwide by arrangement.

Contact: Marketing and Sales Department at Whispering Pine Press International, Inc.
Phone: (509) 928-8700
Fax: (509) 922-9949
Email: sales@whisperingpinepress.com
Websites: www.WhisperingPinePress.com,www.WhisperingPinePressBookstore.com
Blog: www.WhisperingPinePressBlog.com

 

Whispering Pine Press International, Inc.
P.O. Box 214, Spokane Valley, WA 99037-0214 USA

Halloween Delights Cookbook

October 11, 2013
Author: Karen Hood

Halloween Delights Cookbook by Karen Jean Matsko Hood features a carved pumpkin with its top off and a bag that says Trick or TreatFor this fun and festive time of the year, author Karen Jean Matsko Hood presents a unique cookbook that is full of tasty and satisfying recipes. Inside are page after page of mouth-watering recipes that will certainly be a hit with family and friends during this special time. Written for the novice cook as well as the accomplished chef, Halloween Delights Cookbook will be appreciated by all. The ingredients for each recipe can be found at your local market throughout the year. Halloween Delights Cookbook is sure to be a valuable addition to your kitchen library and a great gift idea for the chef on your giving list.

Please visit our websites at www.whisperingpinepressbookstore.com, www.whisperingpinepress.com, and www.halloweendelights.com. 6 x 9 inches, 328 pp., featuring a full-color cover in a variety of bindings. Whispering Pine Press International, Inc., Your Northwest Book Publishing Company.

Inside You Will Find:

  • Halloween-Themed Recipes
  • Halloween Folklore
  • Halloween-Themed Poetry
  • Halloween History
  • Festival Information
  • Author’s Commentary
  • Index and Glossary
  • Tips on Preserving
  • Halloween Facts

LCCN: 2014 pending BISAC 1 CKB042000 BISAC 2 CKB077000 BISAC 3 CKB101000 BISAC AUD 01

ISBN: 978-1-59434-181-6 case bound $ 29.95 plus shipping
ISBN: 978-1-59434-182-3 perfect bound $ 19.95 plus shipping
ISBN: 978-1-59434-183-0 spiral bound $ 21.95 plus shipping
ISBN: 978-1-59434-184-7 comb bound $ 22.95 plus shipping
ISBN: 978-1-59434-187-8 E-PDF $ 9.99 download
ISBN: 978-1-59434-079-6 E-PUB $ 9.99 download
ISBN: 978-1-59434-853-2 E-PRC $ 9.99 download

About the Author: Karen Jean Matsko Hood is an international author of numerous cookbooks, children’s books, poetry, and more. A woman of wide interests, she, her husband, seventeen children, and foster children make their home in Greenacres, Washington. Ms. Hood is currently working to complete research toward her Ph.D. in Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University.

Websites: www.karenjeanmatskohood.com and www.karenjeanmatskohoodblog.com.

Author’s Availability: Washington State and nationwide by arrangement.

Contact: Marketing and Sales Department
Phone: (509) 928-8700
Fax: (509) 922-9949
Email: sales@whisperingpinepress.com
Website: www.whisperingpinepress.com, www.whisperingpinepressbookstore.com
Blog: www.whisperingpinepressblog.com

Whispering Pine Press International, Inc., P.O. Box 214, Spokane Valley, WA 99037-0214 USA

Fabulous Tips For Your Fright Night Fest!

October 10, 2013
Author: Karen Hood

Jack o Lanterns

Halloween is just a few weeks away, and if you haven’t started getting ready for the holiday yet, it’s time to kick your party planning into overdrive! Superhero costumes continue to be popular this year with the release of Iron Man 3 in the summer and the new hit TV show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and little girls always love becoming a princess for a day, but what about fresh and creative ideas for entertaining this Halloween? Scary decorations and delicious, holiday-themed food can make or break your party—and if you do it right, spooky snacks can double as decorations!

Enter Karen Jean Matsko Hood’s fabulous cookbook Halloween Delights. Packed with over 200 recipes that will meet every imaginable Halloween theme and give partygoers delightfully tingling tastebuds, Halloween Delights is a treasure trove of spooky holiday inspiration. You can build your party around a cute Halloween theme with food like adorable witch cupcakes or a Haunted Forest Vegetable Platter; or go all out creepy with the Bleeding Heart, a tasty gelatin dessert that “bleeds” grenadine syrup; or even gross out the kids with a wide variety of disgusting but oh-so-delicious treats—the possibilities are truly endless!

Hood’s step-by-step instructions make following these recipes easy and fun, and kids will love to help out in the kitchen as their favorite holiday comes deliciously to life. Halloween Delights truly contains all of the inspiration needed to make not only this year’s party a smashing success, but all the parties for many years to come. These recipes are so creative and varied that you will be able to plan endless, marvelously ghoulish entertainment that gives your guests the shivers—and earns their praise as they bite into these mouthwatering treats.

If you’re behind in your Halloween planning this year, don’t waste your time searching through endless online recipes for just the right thing—Halloween Delights has everything you need to make a fabulous fright night fest all in one convenient cookbook! Buy it today!

A Bountiful Harvest: Apple Delights Cookbook

October 9, 2013
Author: Karen Hood

I have to admit the apple is one of my all-time favorite fruits, but I’m not very adventurous or inventive in the kitchen, so I rarely eat them unless they are raw or baked into a pie or cobbler. Apple Delights by Karen Jean Matsko Hood has changed that for me, and I couldn’t be more delighted.

The latest in Whispering Pine Press International‘s popular Cookbook Delights series, Apple Delights arrives just in time for the beginning of autumn harvest and baked cool weather treats. Like all of Hood’s cookbooks, it is packed with over 200 mouth-watering recipes that cover every conceivable type of food, from main dishes to soups and salads–and of course, desserts and everything in between. There is also valuable information about the history and folklore of the fruit, as well as a selection of Hood’s internationally published poetry. I especially appreciated the section on different types of apple, since there are so many varieties that it can sometimes be overwhelming when trying to select the right kind for a certain recipe.

My family tried out the Chicken Apple Curry with a side of Apple Dumplings and Apple Tart Cookies for dessert. As always with Hood’s recipes, the directions were clear and easy to follow and the results were fantastic. The curry was very tender, more of a Thai red curry than the traditional yellow curry I expected, with hearty flavors from the tomato and cilantro, and a bright, pleasantly tart and sweet note from the apples. The Apple Dumplings were absolutely delightful, deliciously sweet and juicy, and my kids thought they were a blast. The Apple Tart Cookies were chock full of many different flavors that complemented each other in unexpected ways–I’ve had chocolate with coconut, I’ve had apples with raisins, but never have I had all of them together before. It’s a recipe you have to try to believe–an absolute knockout. And of course, with Apple Delights there’s so much more to look forward to, recipes for traditional goodies like homemade cider, caramel apples, and old fashioned applesauce that I can’t wait to try out, and intriguing new ideas like Apple Cheddar Cookies and Apple and Potato Chowder. No doubt about it: Karen Jean Matsko Hood has penned another winning cookbook that will revolutionize the way you see this humble fruit.

Right now, Apple Delights is on sale for only $9.95! Buy it in time for the holidays!