Monday, December 30, 2013

Seven Layer Dip

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve and us wild partiers at the Goodnight casa are revving up for a good time of chip and dip, maybe a movie or two, and the ever popular midnight event (at our house anyway)  that comes right after the ball drops in Time Square - The Chicken Dance!

Here's the dip I'll be serving to all the revelers:

Seven Layer Dip
(Yes, I "borrowed" this photo. I'll try to post mine tomorrow.)
1 16 oz can of refried beans (no-fat kind is okay.)

1 package taco seasoning

1 small, (about 12 oz) container of guacamole dip

1 16 oz carton of sour cream (low-fat is okay)
2 cups of cheese, cheddar or Mexican blend or Monterey Jack. I usually do cheddar (low-fat is okay)

1 small can sliced or chopped black olives

                                                                               3-4 green onions – just the green part chopped up

                                                                                1 cup chopped tomatoes

To put together:
9 x 13 dish (Can also do round if you have a pretty round container. A trifle bowl would look gorgeous!)
    1. Mix beans with the taco seasoning and layer into bottom of dish. Then layer on the following:

    2. guacamole dip

    3. sour cream

    4. black olives

    5. cheese

    6. Green onions
    7. Tomatoes. 
    8. I sometimes like to put a little shredded lettuce on top but that’s optional
You can eat it right away or chill and serve in an hour or so. Best if eaten the same day it’s made but still good the next day--just not as pretty.
Serve with tortilla chips or corn chips.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, my dear friends.  Keep Calm and do the Chicken Dance!!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hamburger Stew, Quick, Easy, Hearty

Blustery or cold where you are? Need to fix a healthy meal but short on time? Try one of the Goodnight family's go-to dishes. I'm making some right now!

Hamburger Stew, easy and quick

½ to 1 lb hamburger, browned in a dutch oven or big pot

½ T minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ t oregano

1 T Worcestershire

2 potatoes cubed

½ chopped onion

1 can tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

2 cans your choice of canned veggies with juice left in (I've used corn, beans, English peas, hominy, veg-all. Use what you have on hand.)

Add water as needed to form the soup consistency you like. (Usually around 2 cups for us.)
Brown meat with garlic and seasonings. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Cook until potatoes are done and flavors blend, usually about 20-30 minutes.

Friday, December 06, 2013


It's that time again. For those of you who are asking, here is my home made snow ice cream recipe. If you prefer vanilla, just leave out the cocoa and add a little extra vanilla!
Snow Ice Cream

(All ingredients are approximates)

1 lg. (3 quart bowl) of clean, dry snow

1 cup of sugar

2 ½ TBS. Cocoa

1 tsp. real vanilla extract

½ cup of Milnot or other evaporated milk – can also use cream, half and half, or plain old milk.

¼ cup of milk (approx.)

Mix cocoa and sugar together in a separate bowl, then sprinkle over the top of the snow and mix in lightly with a fork. Once the snow is chocolate colored (or if vanilla, once the sugar is distributed) , slowly add the vanilla and milks, mixing with fork after each addition. Continue until you reach a nice thick, sort of chunky,  ice cream consistency. Put in freezer for a few minutes. Then eat and enjoy

Saturday, November 23, 2013

CHRISTMAS BOOK & More Bestseller Lists!

Available now anywhere books are sold! (November 20, 2013) Click here to order from Amazon.

I am so blessed. What a lot I have to be thankful for this year. To you, my readers, I owe a debt of gratitude for your unflagging support through the years.

Yesterday, I discovered that THE GIFT OF CHRISTMAS is now listed on three major bestseller lists.

NY Times Bestseller - Number 14!
USA Today  - Number 46
Publishers' Weekly - Number 2!

THANK YOU SO MUCH, and thanks to Debbie Macomber for a wonderful ride.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

I can't let this day pass without giving a shout out to all of our veterans and military personnel. This country cannot get along without you. Your personal and professional sacrifices, the days that you have to be away from your family, and the mental wear and  tear that you except as part of your job, is a blessing to us all. May God bless and guide and protect you. And may you always feel the exceptional gratitude of the Americans that you serve. Happy, happy Veterans Day.

Especially remembering my dad, brother Steve, cousins Bob, Jim, and Ed, Uncle Raymond, and cousin Kay who served so well. Real unsung heroes....

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Debbie Macomber and me!!

I am thrilled to announce that In the Spirit of Christmas, my very first book for Love Inspired is being re-released as a 'bonus' book. And the most exciting part is that it is being released TODAY with one of Debbie Macomber's wonderful Christmas stories, The Gift of Christmas.

If you haven't read these heartwarming stories, I do hope you'll pick up a copy. Debbie writes wonderful, clean stories and I consider it an honor to be included in one of her publications. Order Here or download to ereader.

You have to look really close down at the bottom to see my name. lol!  I don't mind a bit.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Olden Days

Grinding corn at the festival.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Debbie Macomber and Me!

So happy to share this cover with the amazing Debbie Macomber. I'm thrilled to have one of my early Christmas novels paired with one of hers. I hope you'lllove it! Pre-order here.
Available October 29.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Baby in His Arms, Read an Excerpt!

To read an excerpt from Baby in His Arms, click the link and enjoy!  Read here.
Order here

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Baby In His Arms, Reviews

I love it when reviews come in. Here are a couple of excerpts.

The book is great because the characters are likable and relatable. The plot of this story is one of true life, true circumstances some sad some happy. But you feel like you grow with the characters. Love all Linda Goodnights books and this new series of Whisper Falls can't wait for it to continue and visit again. !!!!!  Amazon reader

Sweet but Emotional Story.  Amazon reader

Order here

Saturday, August 31, 2013


Available July, 2013 in print or ebook
Order here.

A Newborn Surprise
Helicopter pilot Creed Carter can't believe his eyes—someone's left a baby on the church altar. When this perfect little girl is temporarily turned over to Haley Blanchard, Creed is skeptical. The auburn-haired foster mother in flowing skirts is pretty, yet definitely not his type. But the more time Creed spends with Haley, the more he appreciates her style and her fierce commitment to her foster kids. To his surprise, he's falling for her—and for baby Rose. But when a crisis strikes, can Creed convince Haley to face her worst fear and trust what's in her heart?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Green Smoothie, Linda style

Have you heard of the green smoothie craze? It seems every website or TV show has someone whirling spinach in a blender with a variety of other items. All of them promise better health and glowing skin. They also claim the taste is “good or "refreshing."

I’m on this heart-healthy kick so I thought, “Why not?”

My first effort was Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie. It was not, in my opinion, very “good” or very “refreshing.” I thought I might start whinnying, that’s how grassy it tasted.

But undaunted I decided to make up my own with things I enjoy. And guess what? I LIKED it. My green smoothie actually tasted good, at least to me ,and I did not whinny once. I also forgot to take a picture. Dagnabit! But it was-brace yourself for the surprise--GREEN.

Linda’s Green Smoothie

3 big handfuls of spinach or mixed greens

¾ cup green grapes

1 small granny smith apple

1 stalk celery

1 cup of cold water

3-4 ice cubes.

Throw it everything except the ice in a blender and blend the fool out of it. Toss in the ice cubes and blend some more, until it looks Incredible Hulk green and smoothie-ish.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ireland, land of poetic kings and fairy dreams

Don't I look elegant in my tennis shoes? :-) I loved this garden in Killarney but I was always cold in Ireland!

Can words even experss how gorgeous this is. We climbed some stone steps to a rise and looked down onto this Victorian garden at Muckross House in Killarney. I wish I was there right now!

This makes me think of romantic times past, of poetic kings and fairy dreams. Muckross House

Queen Victoria once stay at Muckross House.  The men rode off on hunts while the ladies had tea.

Just like a in a romance novel. We're riding in the horse drawn carriage toward a thatched cottage. Those thatched roofs are amazing. I'm told they last up to 7 years!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ireland photos, May 2013

Let us travel this road together through Killarney NP into our dreams.

 Have you ever seen such rhododendrins? They were huge and blooming everywhere in Killarney.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Ireland Day 4, Dingle Peninsula

 The area around Inch Beach is hilly and pretty with a few houses dotting the hillside.

 Here are the goofy tourists grinning by the Dingle Peninsula sign. Notice it is also written in Irish, as this part of Ireland speaks that language rather than English.

 Beehive huts are fascinating! Dating back to 2000 years before Christ, they still stand today. These are on private property but the old Irish lady lets you look--for a fee. They were all over the place, some falling down, but many like this one still perfectly intact. The lady used some of them as storage buildings! Can you imagine? Here, in America, they would be owned by the government and carefully protected and preserved. But it doesn't appear they've needed any help in lasting for centuries.

Here is an example of why Sundy and I gave up trying to drive in Ireland. This road is one lane but there is traffic from both directions, including tour buses!  EEEKK! Ah, but great experience and fodder for my book idea file. You never know when this will show up in a book!

 How do you like the hair styles? Can you say, "windblown"? 
See the "sleeping giant" lying on his back? It is actually an island, more like a big rock, on Dingle P.

See the door-shaped hole in that jut of land? The tour driver said it was ancient fort/castle dating back to the days when Ireland was constantly being invaded. This was a way chieftans could protect themselves.

See my pretty Sundy standing by the door?
 Lunch in Dingle at Murphy's Pub was a hearty pork,dressing, and veggies with the ubiquitous brown bread. Tasty and not as expensive as some. As close to "fast food" as you come in Ireland.
 Boats harbored at Dingle. I'm told they fish at night from this tiny fishing village.

 Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park. Serene and lovely after a bit of hike up into the mossy green woods. If you saw all the photos I took here, you'd know why I wrote a book series called,  Whisper Falls. I love waterfalls! Don't you?

 The Lakes of Killarney from atop a rise beside Torc Waterfall.
 After a drizzly, wet day, we ended at a wonderful, clean, modern, friendly pub not far from our B&B. We had listened to well-played Irish music here the night before but tonight we had tea and scones and headed back to the inn. In Ireland the days are long, not getting dark in May until nearly 10 and the sun rises early, about 6:30. Great for tourists site-seeing, though attractions close at 5 or 6.
I keep forgetting to say, I have a new book out right now!  BABY IN HIS ARMS, book 2 in the Whisper Falls series is currently available anywhere books are sold, in either print or digital. If you like Amazon, here is the link.  For a chance to win a copy, visit Craftie Ladies of Romance blog on Monday, July 8, and leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. Easy as pie!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ireland, Day 3 photos

Day 3 was not a great day so I've decided to post some nice photos instead of telling all our woes of trying-and failing-to drive on Ireland's VERY narrow roads.
Above is Bunratty Castle, an imposing medieval castle that is open for viewing but the price is steep!

Note the established date! This pub is at Bunratty. We had a passable meal here. The inside is cooly ancient and you could feel the age and history.

Muckross Abbey, a medieval abby I loved. Can you see me up there peering out the window? The abbey is said to be haunted and has tombs dating back to the 1300s. The cemetary is still used today. The ambiance here is amazing. We visited at dusk and I could have lingered here for hours.

 Muckross Abbey, a fuller view. It's really huge, so hard to get in one photo. Enormous fireplaces are still intact. This is one of the places, during the time when Christianity was being stomped out, that the monks "kept the light" of faith burning. Cromwell burned, raided and sent the friars into hiding, but they never gave up.
Lovely County Kerry.

 Wouldn't you love to follow this road forever? The lane into Killarney National Park


Every where in Ireland we saw rock walls like this. It's a very rocky land so walls were built with found rock. The rocks are just stacked on top of each other without mortor. Many have endured for hundreds of years!

 Nothing like a tasty banafee pie to end a stressful day. This was at Molly D'Arcy's pub outside Killarney and near our B&B. A very good Irish band was playing so we stayed to listen to the music and enjoy our tea and pie. I don't know what was in that pie but it was scrumptious. This is my daughter, Sundy, my traveling buddy.
The outside of Friar's Glen B&B, my favorite, favorite place to stay in Ireland. Mary and John made us feel at home and went above and beyond to make our stay enjoyable after a rather trying day. They even drove us to the pub, provided a flashlight and umbrella and booked tours for us. Wonderful people. And the breakfast alone was worth the price!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Ireland trip, Day 2

This was my favorite, favorite day, so the post is long! Enjoy the photos.
Day Two – May 23, 2013

The Most Perfect Day

Amazingly I awoke energized and rested without a hint of jet lag even though I didn’t sleep for more than twenty four hours the day before! After a filling breakfast cooked by Marion of Coolin House, the Galway Tour bus picked us up outside the bed and breakfast about nine and whisked us off toward the Connemara. This was the Ireland I had come to see. I absolutely loved this area along Ireland’s windy, chilly west. It is a remote land where miles and miles of rock fence square off the lush green land like a quilt. Sheep were thick in the lush, rolling fields and we saw few houses in this mostly treeless environment. Occasionally sheep dotted the winding roads, ambling along the very scant shoulder with lambs as they nipped what must be the best grass. Our tour bus slowed for them, making note that the ewes become road smart quickly but the lambs were new and not quite as savvy. It was a charming sight, worth slowing for. And I was aggravated at myself for not getting a photo!

Dotting the sides of the roads everywhere were the ruins of small rock houses that we learned are the remains of peasant homes from the potato famine, or as the Irish call it, the great hunger.
Fourteen or fifteen family members would live in these small dwellings, sleeping on the floor or on shelves built into the walls. (Thus, the term “left on the shelf too long” used to describe spinsters. Families were eager for them to marry and move out to make space for someone else!) The houses, like the miles of rock fence, were made of found, stacked stones without mortar. How they remain with nothing to hold them is a mystery to me. The houses include a giant fireplace at one end and usually few or no windows because at the time the government charged a “window tax” that poor families could not afford.

Another interesting sight was the peat, or turf, bogs. According to our driver, sometime in Ireland’s ancient past the Connemara was covered in forest which died and “melted” into the ground, thus forming large wetlands filled with peat. The damp peat can be cut like bricks from the earth, stacked and dried, and used for fuel. Many in the Irish west still use turf as their main fuel and struggle against the government which wants to stop peat farming and preserve the disappearing bogs. We passed a peat farmer or two. One grinned and waved for us to come and help him. We enjoyed his friendliness.

Our driver and other Irishmen we spoke with expressed ongoing concern about their country and the struggling economy and sometimes about their frustration with the government. One quoted 40% unemployment, with the major industry being tourism. This is obvious everywhere as the beauty of Ireland becomes more and more commercialized, thus detracting from what makes it special to begin with. Yet who I am to complain? I was a tourist. The Irish also fret about the continuing exit of Ireland’s young people to other countries. And still, all these years later, the resentment toward their 800 year English oppressor runs deep. This part surprised me, but we heard that undercurrent over and over again while in Ireland.

But back to the Connemara where tourism has not overshadowed the wild and natural state of the world’s greenest land. We saw a number of antiquities along the way, including Ross Errilly Friary, a 1351 Franciscan friary and the best preserved monastery in Ireland. To be so old, it is amazingly intact and gives a feel of what life must have been like for those “keepers of the Christian light”.

We stopped at Cong, which was my favorite village of the many we visited.
A beautiful little town, surviving on tourism without being spoiled, Cong was where John Wayne filmed a movie years ago and is credited with beginning Ireland’s tourist trade. There is a museum, which I didn’t visit and a pub that was featured in the movie. Instead of having tea, Sundy and I explored this quaint, charming village that boasts a very old cross in the middle of main street. The tiny row of old shops are squeezed close to one another and painted in colorful hues. A river runs through Cong next to Cong Abbey, a fabulous old medieval ruin where were we told the last high king of Ireland, Rory O’Connor is buried.
I saw no sign to that effect so I don’t know if it’s true or not. I loved it, as I did every abbey or friary we visited! I also enjoyed the swans floating on the river inlet nearby. The entire town has a quiet, park-like beauty. I could see myself living here and would have stayed here a day or two if I had known how much I would love it.

Later on the tour, we saw a little cemetery that turned out to be a children’s cemetery with a sad story.
It seems the Catholic faith, at one time, did not allow anyone who had not been baptized to be buried in consecrated ground with their families. So this pretty little, rock-walled plot of land contains the remains of dozens of children who died before they could be baptized.

A stop by a lake revealed an enchanting Irish superstition I had never heard of - a fairy tree. We were told that people make a wish to the fairies and tie a ribbon on this particular tree. Indeed, the small, wind-bent tree was covered in ribbons of various colors. Our tour guide and others we talked to said that many Irish still take their fairies seriously.

The countryside in the Connemara area is so incredibly beautiful that I was, by now, in sensory overload. My eyes simply couldn’t take everything in quickly enough. Suddenly, we rounded a bend and there spread before us like something out of a magical kingdom was Kylemore Abbey. Set on a lake with the mountain behind, Kylemore is a magnificent manor house built by a man for his beloved wife in the mid 1800s. When she died suddenly, the heartbroken husband built a miniature cathedral a short distance from the house in her honor. It’s such a romantic story that the romance writer in me was captivated. Sundy and I visited the church and spent some time in prayer. There was a quiet reverence and a precious spirit about the place.

There is a charge to see the house and the walled Victorian gardens. The gardens were not quite in full bloom but still very pretty and tidy. For the price of entry, you can actually only visit one floor of the manor house which has some 100 rooms! Because we were on the bus tour, we got a sizable discount on admission—I think it was 8 Euros-and I didn’t regret the expense. High on the hill behind the house is a giant statue of Jesus that can be seen from some distant. We opted not to climb up due to time and the cold wind.

I took dozens of photos because this was, by far, the favorite stop of my entire trip. I’m trying to figure out how to set a book here or at least in the Connemara area. Though the weather was cold and windy and we wore every layer we brought with us, the sun shone and the sky was a breathless blue. Rhododendron quite literally lines the estate like a great green and fuchsia wall. The plants were just beginning to bloom but were so very pretty. I can’t imagine how gorgeous they are in full flower.

Finally, after more stops to view pretty valleys and lakes and vast fields, our tour was over. At our request, our driver dropped us back in Salthill at Lohan’s pub for a dinner of my favorite Irish food-beef and Guinness stew. I had never tried it before and was a little uncertain until I tasted. Oh, my! Yummy. A thick, rich gravy of tender beef tips and mushrooms was topped with a generous helping of mashed potatoes. Brown bread was served on the side. Country eaters like us were in food heaven and now I have to figure out how to make this at home.

Happily filled, we walked back to Coolin House, freshened up, Skyped home to the family from our iPad, and then walked the 10 minutes or so to the Galway Bay Hotel and Trad on the Prom. The venue for the show of traditional Irish music and dance is small and all the chairs set flat so a short person would want to get there early and sit in front. My daughter is under five feet tall and had we not been in the front row she would not have seen much. As it was, the show was very entertaining with a good mix of terrifically performed music and some good Irish dance. Two of the musicians with the same last name were outstanding, each one playing many traditional instruments. I think the woman played 22!  I could listen to the penny whistle, the boudhran, and the pipes all night. Some of the dancers were ho-hum but a pair of brothers proved exceptional. All in all, a good show.

Afterward, we strolled along the promenade-a walkway along Galway Bay-back to our lodging. A full moon shone over the glistening, silvery waters. A few hearty souls—or crazies-were swimming in the cold water while we huddled close inside our layered sweater, jacket, coat and gloves. The walk is safe and pretty and only a few minutes away from the residential area where we stayed. Again, we’d spent a lovely day in Ireland without a bit of rain.