Today I have author Cynthia Gail here sharing with us her Christmas traditions.
Welcome to The Book Vixen Cynthia!
Christmas is the only time of the year that I remember my family having traditions. It started on Christmas Eve, with my dad going to Minsky’s and picking up our favorite meat lover’s pizza. By the time he got home, Mom would have bread dough rising in front of the wood-burning fireplace. We’d all pile up on the couch and loveseat and eat pizza while watching Miracle on 34th Street. (The 1947 version with Natalie Wood).
On Christmas morning, we’d wake at the crack of dawn and check out what Santa had left for us.
While my sister and I investigated the tree and our stockings, Mom would use the home-made dough to make the most amazing cinnamon rolls. Melt in your mouth—to die for—butter and brown sugar—lick your fingers, kind of amazing! Christmas was the only time of the year she made them, so we savored every single bite.
Then we opened our wrapped presents. The ones officially from Mom and Dad. My mom was creative—she knew we would peek or shake, so she never used nametags. She would wrap all of my presents in the same paper, each of my sister’s in a different paper, and so on. So, even though she’d have her shopping and wrapping done well in advance, nobody, including my dad, knew who each set of wrapped surprises belonged to. Once we cleaned up the paper and bows and boxes, we’d put everything away, get cleaned up, and go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the day.
Here is my mom’s Cinnamon Roll recipe:
1 pkg yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp sale
Mix and set aside
Combine 1/4 cup shortening and 1 cup milk in pan on top of stove. Heat until the shortening is melted. Be careful not to let it boil or froth. Then add 1/4 cup water to slightly cool mixture. Target temperature should be between 120 and 130 degrees.
Pour the shortening mixture into the yeast mixture and use a mixer on low speed.
Add 1 slightly beaten egg
Add 2 1/2 cups flour, slowly
On a large cutting board, spread a thin layer of flour and kneed for 5 to 10 minutes. Spray the inside of a clean mixing bowl and lay dough in bottom. Cover and let rise 1 1/2 hours.
Lay dough back on the floured cutting board and roll out in a rectangle. Brush melted butter across the entire surface of dough, then sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon. Add nuts and raisins if desired.
Starting with the long side of dough, turn over the edge and roll all the way up. Spray the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Add melted butter, brown sugar and more nuts and raisins to the bottom of the pan. No specific measurement—add to your taste. Cut the rolled dough into 1 1/2 inch sections with serrated knife. Place in bottom of baking pan, with generous space between each, for additional rising.
Cover and set in refrigerator overnight.
Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes to an hour before baking to bring dough back to room temperature. Bake at 375° for 20+ minutes. Tops should be golden brown. Remove from oven and flip onto baking sheet immediately.
So, what is your favorite holiday tradition?
My husband and I live in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with our teenage son and three dogs. Life is busy, but when I have free time, I love to read. A math/science girl at heart and a retail analyst by trade, I never thought I’d be writing romance. But one day, a story popped into my head and I had to write it down. The fantasy, escape, and wonder of just reading multiplied by ten-fold and I couldn’t stop my fingers from typing my own fairy tales.
I hope you enjoy my stories. Each one touches on modern day issues, fears, and challenges that women face every day. And each one illustrates that love is within reach if you let down those walls and allow your heart to open. Our lives and experiences are so much more meaningful when we have someone to share them with.
Cynthia’s latest book is the contemporary romance, Winter’s Magic (Book 1 in the Music City Hearts series).
Beth Sergeant and Nick Chester come from opposite ends of the social food chain. While he sees a beautiful woman without an agenda, she sees a wealthy playboy. Can he convince her to let go of her insecurities and take a chance on love, when challenges from his past force her to reveal her most guarded secret?
Owner of La Bella Vita, a five-star day spa nestled in the affluent suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, Beth Sergeant knows her elite clientele first hand. She attended their private schools. She was even engaged, although briefly, to one of their most recognized bachelors. But she never fit in to their social-elite world.
After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. When he chooses to socialize, he has a never-ending list of exclusive events and beautiful women vying for his attention. Yet he never lets himself forget that everyone has an agenda.
Beth can’t resist Nick’s charm and accepts an invitation to dinner, despite her deep-seated insecurities. She proves she’s nothing like other women Nick’s dated and learns to trust him in return. But just as the last of their resistance crumbles and true love is within reach, challenges from Nick’s past threaten to destroy everything and force Beth to reveal her most guarded secret.
Pump Up Your Book is hosting a giveaway for (1) $50 Visa Card + Winter's Magic ebook and (4) Winter's Magic eBooks + Swag with each.