Food, Holiday Marines and the #HomeHolidayHop

Discover Her Wish Before Christmas by Kimberly Quinton – A Holiday Sweet Romance
November 12, 2013
New Release: Ivan’s Captive Submissive by Ann Mayburn
November 17, 2013

You would never know it from the titles, but one of the best parts of writing the Always a Marine series is indulging my senses in food. I love to cook, it’s actually a private passion. When I went on the Medifast diet last year, that love of cooking truly paid off because I learned a whole host of new recipes. A few years ago, we decided as a family that we’d let each member choose what the Thanksgiving meal would be from year to year (I totally used my year to pick KFC so I didn’t have to cook, even funnier was my family complained but they loved the relaxed meal). The next year my daughter wanted a turkey.

I’d never made a turkey before, I’d had them, but never done all the prep work. So I dove into my research and looked up a bunch of different recipes. Not finding the one I really wanted, I decided to hodge podge two or three different ideas into one–what I came up with was Orange-Honey Turkey and OMG, it was good

What You Need:

20 lb Turkey
2 teaspoons of rubbing sage
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon of thyme
3 small oranges, peeled and halved
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup orange marmalade
4 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (or nutmeg, depends on your preference – I actually like both)

What You Do (or in this case what I did):

In a small bowl, combine the sage, salt, pepper and thyme in two teaspoons of honey; mix well. Rub 2 teaspoons inside the turkey; set remainder aside.

Place 4 orange halves inside turkey. Skewer openings and tie drumsticks together. Place on a rack in a roasting pan. Rub the remaining orange halves all over the exterior of the turkey and then let the orange pieces remain on the turkey.
Combine remaining sage mixture with butter; brush over turkey. 
Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 5-1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 170°, basting every 30 minutes. 
When the turkey begins to brown, cover lightly with foil.

Combine remaining ingredients, and heat to a simmer before letting it cool. You might need to add a little water if it’s too thick.
Brush over turkey.
Continue to bake the turkey, uncovered, 30 minutes to 1 hour longer or until thermometer reads 185°, brushing with the glaze occasionally. This should make the skin tangy and crispy.
Remove from the oven; cover and let stand 20 minutes before carving.
Now, carving may be a misnomer here, because when I did this the turkey literally fell off the bones it was so tender. So you may have to experiment a little. On the other hand, it was a juicy, tasty turkey and we devoured it!
A Marine of Plenty

Serving overseas is a lonely duty… 
Captain Charlie Sparks faces an impossible task—assigned to a security detail for the sister of a fallen Marine. The last thing Charlie wants is this beautiful woman in the middle of a base in Afghanistan no matter what holiday she plans to help them celebrate. But no one asked for his opinion, and worse, she’s everything he adores in a woman and more…

Mourning what might have been is a terrible burden…
Jana Grimaldi had a plan—a plan to help her brother when he came home, but his death in Afghanistan left a hole in her heart and a desperate desire to do something. With the help of Congressman Sparks, she heads to Afghanistan to bring Thanksgiving to the men and women who served with her brother. Nervous and uneasy, she finds an unexpected—and familiar ally in Captain Sparks…

Not all wounds heal…
Charlie was one of the first people to reach out to Jana, communicating via email when her brother died—but coming face to face in the lonely desolation of the holiday connects these two wounded souls…

Can Charlie and Jana find hope amidst the heartbreak this Thanksgiving?

“Miss Grimaldi?” A deep, smooth, masculine voice
pulled her back to the present and the officer dressed in the deep dark tan and
olive MARPATS waiting inside the door. He stood easily over six-foot. The
uniform did little to disguise his broad shoulders or thick muscular arms.
Rising, she adjusted her bag and held out her hand,
fumbling for a greeting. “Hi. Captain…?”
“Sparks.” Quiet hesitation arrested his features and
a muscle ticked in his jaw.
The congressman’s brother was her escort.
Her heart thudded against her ribs and her nerves
stretched taut. Captain Charles Sparks gave the order that led to her brother’s
death—a communication failure. She understood all the terms, the reasoning, and
the apologies. Even his letters expressed his heartfelt condolences and
apologies. Letters she’d answered, and he’d returned regularly.
He grasped her hand and the world seemed to shrink
away, as though someone dropped her in a drum and banged it loudly from the
outside. His words had provided a desperately needed source of
comfort—straightforward, blunt, and without any pretty excuses. A mistake had
been made, one costing a good man his life. He didn’t ask for her forgiveness.
He’d never asked her for it, no matter how many exchanges they’d had.
Staring into his coffee-brown eyes, she knew he
hadn’t forgiven himself. And that’s why
Congressman Sparks offered his help and asked for mine.
Weak-kneed, she sat
abruptly. Her fisted grip on the captain’s hand pulled him forward a step.
Concern rippled across his face. “Ma’am? Jana?”
Unexpected grief locked her throat and tears filmed
her vision. She held up her other hand and he wavered. Fighting the urge to
sniffle, she squeezed her eyes shut and concentrated on breathing. Grief might
be the one emotion everyone had in common, but acceptance came in its own ways,
on its own time. Understanding the concept intellectually and experiencing it,
however, were two completely opposite things, because the crappiest part of her
grief lay in how she couldn’t control it.
“I’m okay.” She fought to get the words out. “I’m
“No,” he said, his voice gruff. “I should apologize.
I thought you received my e-mail about being your escort.”
“I haven’t looked at my e-mail since leaving Dallas,
I’ve been so focused on getting here.” Moistening her lips, she struggled to
bring her tumbling emotions back into focus. It would be easy to hate the man,
to blame him for what happened, and to let anger take over her grief.
But easier didn’t make it right or fair.
Belatedly, she glanced up, surprised at her
white-knuckled grip still firm on his hand. He didn’t pull away or try to let
her go, but sadness clouded his eyes—sadness, and quite possibly regret. “I
didn’t mean to fall to pieces on you, Captain Sparks.”
Toys for Tots

The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November, and December each year and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to these youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.

This holiday collection of the Always a Marine series is dedicated to Toys for Tots and the men and women of the United States Marine Corps Reserve who dedicate their time, their efforts, and their funds to delivering this message of hope. A portion of the proceeds from each of these books will be donated to Toys for Tots to continue that mission. Semper Fi.

Also available in the holiday Marines:

A Candle for a Marine
Marine Under the Mistletoe

Home for the Holidays Hop

November 13th – November 18th

Grand Prize Shopping Spree: $450+ Gift Card or

 Paypal Cash

Second Place Grand Prize: (1) E-Book from every

 participating Author

To enter the hop, be sure to leave a comment with your email address and if you want to share a recipe, that would be great, too!
In addition to the hop, you can enter for an autographed print copy of Always a Marine Volume 2 with the rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Heather Long says:

    Wow, that recipe sounds delicious. If we don't do family Thanksgiving, maybe I'll see if we can try that one.

    smurfettev AT gmail DOT com

    • Heather Long says:

      It was good Sheri, though I admit it was damn funny when we tried to carve it and grasped one of the leg bones and the meat slid right off. So we ended pulling it apart. Everyone was shocked I didn't dry it out

  2. Hubby, our resident "turkey guy," created a version of this recipe years ago, when we were experimenting with flavors that would represent Florida. We now inject the turkey at least 24 hours before cooking with a bottle (yes, a full bottle) of Badia Mojo marinade. It is citrus-based and gives the turkey a sweet, spicy, savory flavor that always earns Hubby compliments.

    mmmazuros at yahoo dot com

  3. Donna says:

    Most years we have had 1 or more picky eaters at our Thanksgiving table. This year will be the first where it is just me and DH. Maybe now I can experiment.
    LOVE this series.
    1_trouble at msn dot com

    • Donna says:

      I've already got this book so don't count me in just checking in

    • Heather Long says:

      Oh I hope you have a great meal experiment then! I always enjoyed the years we didn't have to cater to pickiness. (Not that I don't love the picky eaters, too. But it does make cooking fun to not have to worry whether you're making something they won't eat)

  4. lorimeehan says:

    I love holiday themed romances and this one sounds really good Heather. I don't have the recipe on hand but it's Corn soufflé. You will find it on the Jiffy Cornbread Mix. Everyone loves it in our family.
    Lorimeehan 1 at aol dot com

    • Heather Long says:

      Oh, now that sounds good. I love breads. Before my breadmaker died, I always had a loaf going. This year I think I'll make some apple cinnamon and banana breads the week of Thanksgiving

  5. I love that you all pick what you want each year. KFC is funny! Thank you for sharing! My family does the traditional turkey, stuffing and gravy. HOmemade to.

  6. That turkey sounds awesome… I might have to try that this year. And I have Marine under the Mistletoe waiting on my kindle!

  7. JC Jones says:

    Love seeing all the recipes. jonesjnd (at) yahoo (dot) com

  8. Donna Steele says:

    Not going to talk about my first turkey – they should tell you there's stuff inside to remove… nevermind. Great recipe! Thanks.

  9. Jean MP says:

    Recipe sounds really good, since my husband is the turkey cooker, going to have to tell him about this one.
    skpetal at hotmail dot com

  10. Melanie M says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipe and for joining the giveaway!

  11. When I make my mashed potatoes, I season my water with salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and parsley. I boil potatoes until soft. Mash them with butter, milk, salt, and pepper. Yum. Thank you for the giveaway.

  12. Thank you for the great giveaway!

  13. T.F. Walsh says:

    Yum… We always make roast turkey for Christmas:) Your books sounds great… congrats.

  14. Mary Preston says:

    I like to steam my green beans with a cut up lemon. Just delicious.


  15. Gotta love our sexy uniformed men!! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  16. What a wonderful giveaway with so many yummy recipes!!!!

  17. Your turkey sounds yummy…. Normally I make the bone less turkey breast (I know slackers right lol) but last year because we were having guests I made my first turkey… it was moist and so yummy however when i took it out of the pan to put on platter it fell apart when i mean fell apart i mean the wings and legs came off lol… Fun times. Thanks for being part of the hop and for writing about Marines… I love Mine 🙂

  18. Missie1 says:

    Love the sound of your turkey & your marines…lol Thanks

    Missie Jones
    missie25524 (at) netzero (dot) com

  19. joye says:

    I always fix the turkey with all of the traditional dishes. One way to test for doneness is to grasp the leg and see if it moves easily. It is done if it does.
    Your books sound really good. Am anxious to read one.

  20. Elise Chase says:

    Thanks for participating in the blog hop!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Orange sounds so nice with any roast poultry!


  22. Cara O says:

    I've never made a turkey, but this sounds amazing, thank you!

  23. I love turkey dinner. Yummmm delphinareadstoomuch at

  24. Donna Steele says:

    Don't know if my family would rebel against a flavored turkey or not, but it sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  25. JanD says:

    That sounds delicious.
    bituin76 at hotmail dot com

  26. amy bowens says:

    That sounds like one yummy turkey! I like the idea of letting your family pick what they want for thanksgiving! My kids would pick mcdonald's if they could! LOL I love the book cover and the excerpt! Thanks and happy holiday's

  27. A. L. Jambor says:

    This hop is great for finding new food combos. Sounds yummy. Happy Thanksgiving!

  28. magic5905 says:

    Thanks for the awesome hop.
    magic5905 at embarqmail dot com

  29. I am going to try this on just a turkey breast. It sounds really, really good.
    Thanks for the recipe and the chance to win your book.

    koonie2888 at yahoo dot com

  30. I can definitely fix that and I have often found that adding a little of this and a little of that turns out really good and most importantly, eatable. I've saved what your ingredients and the way you fixed it.
    Thank you for your participation in the giveaway. I know this is a special giveaway and it's very kind that people like all of y'all show you care.

  31. Book Attict says:

    Thanks for the turkey recipe — there are several elements that I'm definitely trying with my turkey this year.
    Thanks for the amazing giveaway!
    elizabeth @ bookattict . com
    GFC: BookAttict

  32. Eva Millien says:

    Thanks for sharing your turkey recipe, I'll have to try it. Thanks for sharing the hop and your giveaway. Wishing you a wonderful and magical holiday season. evamillien at gmail dot com

  33. Mer says:

    That does sound delicious! And I love the idea of a rotating menu…no more sorting through all the requests from various relatives and trying to please everyone!

    dancingcelt at gmail dot com

  34. Shadow says:

    Hi! Nice recipe! Sounds delicious! I havent made a turkey before. My mom always has that job. lol Ill definitely tuck this recipe away for when its my turn. Thank you for sharing and for the giveaway!! Happy Thanksgiving!

  35. Natasha says:

    Sounds delicious!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe and the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  36. I love turkey, and cook it once a year – but never for Thanksgiving. I always go to mom's for that 🙂

    liz at fictional candy dot com

  37. Kathy Osborn says:

    Sorry I missed your giveaway, must be different time zones. Thanks for the hop and hope you have a wonderful holiday season. koala571 (at) msn (dot) com

  38. Tina B says:

    Great excerpt! Thank you for sharing. 🙂
    Sorry that I am late.
    trb0917 at gmail dot com

  39. Thanks for sharing the recipe – it makes turkey sound palatable. 🙂
    And thank you for being part of this wonderful hop!

  40. Thanks for being part of the hop. mrscrabbyfan(at)gmail(dot)com

  41. Iris Pross says:

    Thanks for being a part of the hop

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