Chestnuts Roasting on an open fire.

Well, how about chestnuts just roasting?

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for roasting chestnuts in the oven:

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. On the flat side of the chestnut, cut a large X with a sharp paring knife to the skin.
3. Place your pared chestnuts on a shallow baking pan. Roast in oven for 30 minutes and shake pan to rotate chestnuts for even roasting.

Peel chestnuts as soon as they are cool enough to handle, because once they cool completely, they will be difficult to peel. Enjoy!

And, did you know that in Europe, Asia, and Africa, chestnuts are often used as a substitute for potatoes?

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I love writing sweet and inspirational romance holiday stores. Check my Amazon page, and grab your copy of one of my romances today. Merry Christmas!

The Beauty of … Cranberry Sauce!

Did you know that Thanksgiving doesn’t exist in Portugal? In fact, many Portuguese have never heard of Thanksgiving.
And, if you were in Portugal in November and wanted to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner, you would soon find that many of the ingredients are non-existent.

Looking for pecans to bake a pecan pie? Nope!
Canned pumpkin for pumpkin pie? Hah!
Cranberries for cranberry sauce? Nope, again. And certainly you won’t find canned cranberry sauce (my fave!) in any of the supermarkets.

However, you might find dried cranberries, although it’s interesting to note that the Portuguese do not have a name for cranberries, although the word “oxicoco” is sometimes used.

The good news is that you will be able to purchase a fresh turkey and roasted chestnuts from the many street vendors. Add a loaf of crusty Portuguese bread, a bottle of Port, and enjoy your Thanksgiving feast!

Here’s a recipe for “Portuguese” cranberry sauce. Note that dried cranberries and port wine are listed in the ingredients.

You will need:
Water to moisten
6 apples
Approximately 7 cups of dried cranberries
Port wine (I use most of the bottle!)
¾ cup brown sugar
Cinnamon and cloves to taste

Mix all ingredients and simmer on stove.

Do you have a favorite cranberry sauce recipe? Please share below.

Love to learn about other countries and holiday traditions? Snag a copy of A Portuguese Christmas, my sweet romance, A Portuguese Christmas. Available in ebook paperback, large print paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

And, I have a new release this month! A Very Christian Christmas

Cozy up with your favorite beverage and lose yourself in the special, joyful season of love and faith.

This collection includes the following 3 books:

There’s nothing a Christmas kiss won’t cure. Except perhaps a shattered heart…

You don’t need ears to hear God’s plan. All you need is an open heart…

Holly’s Gift
Miracles don’t always come easy. Sometimes it takes a secret wish to light an angel’s way.

These books are also published as solos and in other collections.

Jamaican Christmas Traditions

In Jamaica, we have no snow or anything that resembles it, but the weather does get a little cooler at Christmastime and we start feeling what we call “Christmas Breeze” by late November.

Jamaicans love to party, so the festivities start with office parties and move into friend and family gatherings as it gets closer to Christmas. Like any other nation, we have a host of traditions, but I’m going to share five of them with you today.

Household Cleaning

While some folks like spring cleaning, all Jamaicans do a general cleaning before putting up Christmas decorations. Some still take this tradition to the extreme and stay up late putting the house to rights on Christmas Eve. These people wake up exhausted on Christmas morning, which is no fun.

Drawing “Sorrel”

Sorrel is a deep burgundy drink that comes from a herbaceous plant in the Polygonaceae family. The petals of the plant are reaped and steeped in hot water to release the flavor and color. The drink is sweetened with sugar and rum and spiced with pimento seeds. It’s slightly tangy and takes a little getting used to, but sorrel is one of the staples at this time of the year. While it’s available year round, most Jamaicans only indulge at this part of the year.

Sorrel drink and sorrel petals


We don’t see this much anymore (and with good reason, I’d say) but Jonkanoo “characters” dress up in scary costumes and frighten the bejeezus out of kids. It’s part of the legacy of slavery and among the “actors” there is the devil and the horse head. This makes me wonder if it was a way of keeping children in order and determining who’d been good or bad leading up to Christmas. Needless to say, no child I know ever liked this part of the festive traditions.

Grand Market

On Christmas Eve, street vendors have a legal right to ignore vending zones and fill certain streets in each town with their wares. All of this takes place under the guidance of the parish councils, but on this one night, they are allowed to sell their goods into Christmas morning. Kids love Grand Market as parents get to do last-minute shopping and may give in to requests to buy this or that toy in the last-minute rush.

The Christmas Feast

Most people who don’t go to church in any other season, go at Christmas and Easter. The rest of the day is spent preparing the ham, rice and peas, vegetables, and a variety of meats. Earlier in the month, the decision is made on which family member will host in the current year and every relative descends on that house to eat up a storm.

These are some of the activities that take place in this part of the world. Of course, there is the exchange of gifts and people are kinder and gentler than at any other time of year. Would that we’d continue this sentiment all year long!

Have you ever been to the tropics at Christmastime?

I’ve had a wonderful relationship with sweet romance and managed to combine that with my writing. The Vet’s Christmas Pet is $0.99 and as the title hints, it’s all about that season and romance. Be sure to have a look-see and maybe add it to your TBR list.


The beauty of … celebration. @josieriviera, #mgtab

With Christmas only a few days away, it’s difficult not to notice the holidays feeling different this year. COVID has impacted our lives many ways, yet the spirit of the holidays has not escaped us. Many of us have adapted and changed while continuing to celebrate.

Many have put up the decorations and trees, earlier than usual. We’ve all needed to get the party started sooner, because we’ve earned it! Those happy traditions we cherish each year allow us to feel normal.

As we look forward to celebrating, I want to take a moment to wish you and those you love a holiday full of peace, light, and joy. And may 2021 arrive and usher in a year that is full of healing and hope.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Celebrate the holiday season with my newest sweet romance release,

A Chocolate-Box Christmas Wish

Only 99¢ for a limited time. Available in ebook, Paperback, and Large Print Paperback.