Gail's Book Nook

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Looking Out the Window: Historical Romance Writer Donna Winters Talks about her New Book, Bluebird of Brockport. She'll Give Away a Copy.

Bluebird of Brockport is a Novel of the Erie Canal. Donna's offering either a print or an email copy. To enter to win leave a comment and an email address. She also shares her favorite Bible verse and well as her mother's recipe for Apple Crisp.

NOURISH THE BODY - The Apple Crisp                                

When I pondered what favorite recipe to share, I thought about the characters in my latest book, Bluebird of Brockport, A Novel of the Erie Canal, and asked myself what they might have been able to create on an Erie Canal boat in 1830. The answer came to me fairly quickly: Apple Crisp. It’s extremely simple and all of the ingredients would have been readily available in the early nineteenth century.

I grew up in western New York State in the fruit belt where apple orchards were plentiful. My mother’s cousin would always stop by after harvest with two crates of apples for us — one of Macintosh and one of Red Delicious. My mother would bake the Macintosh apples into apple crisp — yum! Her recipe was probably passed down to her from her mother or one of her fruit-growing relatives. Mom gave the recipe to me soon after I got married forty-one years ago and my husband and I have been enjoying it ever since. Over time we’ve made a few alterations to the recipe to accommodate the changes in our digestive systems, so I’m going to give you both versions. The altered one tastes just as good as the original in our opinion, or maybe it’s just been so long since we made it Mom’s way that we can’t remember the difference anymore. Either one you choose, it’s a treat. 

                                                                   Donna's Mom

Mom’s Original Recipe for Apple Crisp
Slice 5 or 6 apples (as for pie). [Peel the apples, quarter them, core them, then slice them.]

Topping: mix together 1 cup flour, 1 cup brown sugar, ½ cup butter, and salt. [Mom never gave an amount for the salt.] Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees (325 for glass).

Donna’s Expanded Apple Crisp Recipe
I made changes to eliminate wheat, dairy, and salt, and increased amounts to fill the pan I like to use.
Peel, quarter, core, and slice enough Macintosh apples to fill a 9 x 12 three-quart pan (mine is glass). (You’ll need about 11-12 apples that are 2 ½” diameter, or 6 of the extra-large apples. Five pounds of apples will be enough; three pounds is too few.)

In a mixing bowl, combine well:
1 ½ cups brown rice flour
1 ½ cups brown sugar
When flour and sugar are well combined, pour ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil over flour-sugar mix and combine thoroughly until the mixture is crumbly.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples. Do not press it down or in any way compact the topping or it will not bake to a “crisp”. The best way is to just take a handful at a time and sprinkle it over the apples.

Bake at 350 (325 for glass) for 1 hour; test with a fork in the center for doneness. If apples are still firm, bake an additional 15 minutes.

Serving suggestions:
 For the lactose tolerant: serve the warm apple crisp in a bowl and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top; or serve it the way my father liked it, with a little milk poured on top. For the lactose intolerant: top with non-dairy whipped topping.

NOURISH THE SOUL - Donna's Favorite Bible Verse
My favorite Bible verse from the King James version is Philippians 4:8.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

About Bluebird of Brockport, A Novel of the Erie Canal
Dreams of floating on the Erie Canal have flowed through Lucina Willcox’s mind since childhood. Yet once her family has purchased their boat and begins their journey, they meet with one challenge after another. An encounter with a towpath rattlesnake threatens her brother’s life. A thief attempts to break in and steal precious cargo. Heavy rain causes a breach and drains the canal of water. Lucina comforts herself with thoughts of Ezra Lockwood, her handsome childhood friend, and discovers a longing to be with him that she just can’t ignore. Can she have a future with Ezra and still hold onto her canalling dream?

Ezra Lockwood’s one goal in life is to build and captain his own canal boat, but two years into the construction of his freight hauler, funds run short. With his goal temporarily stalled, and Lucina Willcox back in his life, his priorities begin to change. Can he have both his dreams — his own boat, and Lucina as his bride?

Donna adopted Michigan as her home state in 1971 when she moved from a small town outside of Rochester, New York. She began penning novels in 1982 while working full time for an electronics firm in Grand Rapids.

She resigned from her job in 1984 following a contract offer for her first book. Since then, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Zondervan Publishing House, Guideposts, and Bigwater Publishing have published her novels. Her husband, Fred, a former American History teacher, shares her enthusiasm for history. Together, they visit historical sites, restored villages, museums, and lake ports, purchasing books and reference materials for use in Donna’s research.

Donna has written fifteen historical romances for her Great Lakes Romances® series. Recently, she turned her attention to her hometown on the Erie Canal and produced an historical novel, Bluebird of Brockport, A Novel of the Erie Canal, which released as a paperback in June 2012, and has now been offered in Kindle format for 99 cents.

You can connect with Donna Winters through her blog:
Her book-buying link, website, newsletter, Facebook, and Twitter are listed there.


Great Lakes Romances said...

Thanks, Gail, for letting me share my favorites! God bless you in the New Year!
Donna Winters

Caroline said...

Recipe sounds delicious.

Great Lakes Romances said...

Thanks for stopping by, Caroline!

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Donna,

Having you is my pleasure!

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Yum! I absolutely love apple crisp. My mother used to make it and I loved it. I'll have to try this recipe and see how good it is. May God bless you and help you to touch many lives with your new book.

Great Lakes Romances said...

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you'll enjoy the recipe. Thanks also for the blessing for me and my book. Have a great 2013!
Donna Winters

Finbar said...

The Erie Canal has a long history and an played important role in the development of this country. But many people do not even know where it is or what it connects.. interesting setting and the apple crisp sounds great as a munchie while reading. Thanks and good luck with this work.

Nancee said...

I enjoyed your interview with Donna and appreciate her mother's Apple Crisp recipe. Thanks for sharing your mother's recipe, Donna! That was a "staple" in our home when I was growing up a village in Western Michigan, another farm belt. Please don't enter me in this contest as I already have a copy of this book, but I wanted to say that Bluebird of Brockport is one the most informative and enjoyable books I read in 2012. Happy New Year to both you, Gail, and Donna!

Great Lakes Romances said...

Nancee, thanks for stopping by with all your kind words. I hope you'll enjoy the recipe. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed my book and have let others know by mentioning it here and as a reviewer. West Michigan and the fruit belt where I grew up in New York have lots in common, aside from those wonderful apples needed for the recipe. Blessings on you in 2013!
Donna Winters

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Nancee,

Thank you for the good wishes. Happy New Year to you also.

Great Lakes Romances said...

Thanks for stopping by with your comment. I suppose your are right in saying many people do not know about the Erie Canal, that it connects Albany to Buffalo in the State of New York for the original purpose of moving people and freight westward to settle our country during the mid-1800s, and for moving crops eastward from newly opened farmlands. I hope readers who enjoy historical fiction will be entertained and informed by my story, and if they like Apple Crisp, I hope they'll try the recipe. Blessings!
Donna Winters

tickmenot said...

I was so happy to see your recipe for apple crisp. I have lots of allergy problems including gluten intolerance and cow milk products. What a joy to find a recipe that doesn't have to be altered. Look forward to trying it.

My dad loved history, and I developed a love for it, too, because of him. Historical stories for me, can not only be fun to read, but can often give me some insight to the time it takes place in. Your story sound like that--a really good one!

Great Lakes Romances said...

Thanks for stopping by! My husband became sensitive to wheat a few years ago, and I've been lactose intolerant for decades, so we've been making up our own version of old favorites for quite some time now. I love knowing that others with digestive problems can benefit from the recipe we've shared.

As for the history, one comment I see again and again from reviewers is that they feel like they are there on the Erie Canal with my characters. For readers who like to escape to the past, this could be a very entertaining story, and also informative.

Blessings to you in 2013!
Donna Winters