Goodreads Giveaway

I was interrupted while concocting a pot of Polish Penicillin (aka Scratch-Made Chicken Soup with Fennel and Dill) to be advised that Goodreads just listed a PRE-LAUNCH GIVEAWAY for THE RUBY OF THE SEA. For the next 30 days (until the book is published), you and any of your family and friends may enter to win one of 100 digital books. To enter, simply click the purple “Enter Giveaway” link below.

I realize many of you have already pre-ordered the book and, if you haven’t done so already, please pop an email to me with your home address: I’ll send a thank you treat your way after the soup is ready (-: The recipe will be posted after a second test-drive and upon its perfection.

The first reviews on the book’s advances have been posted, as well, on Goodreads. My heart is full! ♥

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Ruby of the Sea by Peggy Lampman

The Ruby of the Sea

by Peggy Lampman

Giveaway ends February 05, 2020. See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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Peas and Prosperity for the New Year!

Wishing you all a potful of good health, prosperity and happiness in the New Year! Family tradition insists I hedge the monetary odds by eating a dish of Hoppin’ John, a black-eyed pea dish typically served in the American South on New Year’s Day. (Mama told me her mama said it’s a holdout from the depression years.)

For a triple whammy, Mama would serve the dish with collard greens, the color of paper currency, and cornbread, the color of gold.  Earliest memory recalls my tiny fingers plucking out the peas, leaving behind the peppers: “Peas for pennies,” my dad would laugh, handing me a real penny, driving home his point. (Any of you who’ve read THE PROMISE KITCHEN, might remember one of my protagonist’s blogging about this dish.)

Pickled Herring for Luck!

Not only do I insist my immediate family eat at least one bite of this regional specialty, but I also hand-deliver a small Tupperware container of the pea salad, festooned with a ribbon, to friends that could use some luck.

Krystyna, a neighbor from Poland and inspiration behind one of my characters in THE WELCOME HOME DINER, gifts me, in kind, silver-skinned pickled herring.

She tells me that eating herring on New Year’s Day will provide a year of abundance. An abundance of love? Good health? Happiness? Krystyna thinks, considering the silvery color of the skin, it means money. I’ve covered the money base with the peas, and we’re all aware that money can’t buy the things that matter. I’m hoping herring brings good health and happiness. If so, my bases are loaded. Then again. The Chinese eat long noodles during the Chinese New Year. Long, unbroken noodles represent a long, happy life. I’ll throw in a plate of spaghetti, just in case!

Do you have a lucky charm in your pocket? My lucky number is 6 and has been since I was 6. (Certainly not 666, just a simple 6, thank you very much.) I’ve always known (for a fact) that bad luck comes in threes. I’m careful around mirrors and concerned when a black cat crosses my path.

Are you––like me, my family and Krystyna–– superstitious? Do you have lucky foods you eat on a special day…watch your back on Friday the 13th…refuse to walk under ladders or have a lucky number? Perhaps (unlike yours truly), you are sane, balanced and rooted in reality. Neurotic minds want to know.

BTW: Here’s the recipe, in case you need to rush to the grocery store. No time? A bite of canned black-eyed peas should do the trick.

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Good Gnocchi Caring!

I’m blessed to have a friend who has always seen a better version of me than I see in myself.

It’s said that we are the mistresses of our misery, and through the years, I’ve tried to live up to the standards of the woman she thinks I am, usually missing the mark.  This special friend, however, has always helped me find the silver lining in myself, and in the world. She’s a perpetual up,  and these days it’s my turn to help her.

We met in the food industry some twenty years back. Our love and fascination with food and wine pairings were the initial catalysts of a friendship that has bloomed into something quite lovely through the years.

The gnocchi takes several minutes to brown to perfection.

Of late, she has become gravely ill. Not in pain, as she is quick to note (she’s never been one to complain) but profoundly tired. Her appetite, however, has not diminished and a well-prepared dish is a treat in which she can look forward to eating.

Popular culture tells us to “embrace the moment”. But what if the moment isn’t necessarily pleasant? Sometimes, isn’t looking forward to something the very something that helps us get by?

Friendship means caring, and how we care tells us a lot about ourselves. Caring for friends, family, neighbors, and for the people in our communities can be exhibited in a  myriad of ways. When people feel cared for, they feel loved, secure and safe.

Removing the leaves from the Brussels Sprouts is a bit tedious but worth the effort.

How we care is unique to us and the opportunities that present themselves. In this situation, for instance, my friend chooses an appealing recipe, I make it and deliver it to her home. I love to cook, she can enjoy the pleasures of anticipation and eating, so this is a win-win.

Yesterday, she selected a Blue Apron recipe she found in the New York Times for Crispy Brown Gnocchi with Meyer Lemon and Brussels Sprouts. The results were so so delicious, I’ve decided it will be my side-dish alongside a roast for Christmas Eve dinner. (I doubled the recipe.)

Her husband was working from home, and I dropped it off. I’m fairly certain they will find it yummy, and I look forward to cooking the next recipe that strikes her fancy.

In the front matter of THE RUBY OF THE SEA, I dedicate the book to this woman, so dear to my heart. It immediately proceeds the epigram, which is a favorite quote from Mother Teresa:

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to one another.”

Yesterday, I showed the dedication and epigram to my friend. It pleases both of us that the pages are flattened together when the book is closed. Who inspires you to be your better self? I’d love to know.

Oh. And by the way. Some of you have mentioned to me that you’ve pre-ordered the Kindle version of THE RUBY OF THE SEA, which is so very much appreciated. Could you e-mail me @ or message me on FB? I have a little something-something I’d like to send your way in gratitude. The Kindle version is $3.99, will appear in your e-mail on Feb. 6, (Pub day), and it helps the Google-bots find me (-:

Looking for festive recipes? Tap the Holiday Ball in the right-hand column, which directs you to the Holiday Cookbook. Have a lovely holiday, and take that second helping of caring!


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