Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 25+ novels and over a dozen novellas and short stories of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it. Learn more about Paty at her and .
The thing I love most about Thanksgiving and Christmas are family traditions.
Thanksgiving traditions my family cling to are watching the Macy’s parade, eating turkey, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. We also put up outside Christmas lights the day after Thanksgiving. We’ve never been Black Friday shoppers. Growing up we were hours from any town that did the Black Friday sales, and as an adult, I don’t care for the hordes of people.
As a child, my family always went out and cut down our Christmas tree. One year everyone but my dad and I were sick. It was also a year when we had lots of snow. We wore snowshoes to get the tree. I walked too close to several trees and Dad had to grab me by the back of my jacket and haul me out of holes. What I remember most about those tree hunts was Mom’s ability to end up with the first tree she saw after we’d walked through the snow for several hours looking for the “perfect” tree. We’d all laugh when we ended up with the first one she saw. Also, Mom had a knack for finding a tree that had a gap. She’d cut off lower limbs, bore holes in the trunk of the tree and insert limbs to fill it out. This on her “perfect” tree. There were several years as a parent I did the same thing.
During the holidays our house was filled with wonderful aromas. My paternal grandparents lived with us. Between Grandma and Mom there was always candy, cookies, and fruitcake in the making during November and December. As an adult, I also enjoy making candy, quick breads and cookies to give to friends and neighbors at Christmas time. My daughters give plates of goodies to their friends and neighbors, too. It’s a fun way to stay warm in the colder weather and surprise your neighbors.
One of my favorite things to make starting in October at Halloween and right on through to Christmas is Caramel Corn. When my kids were small, there was a mall in our area that had a caramel corn store. When we would shop at that mall, I’d purchase a small box. When I came across this recipe, we no longer had to wait for a trip to the mall to enjoy the sweet crunchy popcorn.
I picked this particular recipe to share with you because Shandra Higheagle the amateur sleuth in my Shandra Higheagle Mystery series has a favorite flavor—caramel.
3-3/4 quarts (15 cups) popped corn
2 cup brown sugar(packed)
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
Heat oven to 200°. Divide popped corn between 2 ungreased baking pans, 13 x 9 x 2 inches. In saucepan, heat sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt, stirring occasionally, until bubbly around edges. Continue cooking over medium heat 5 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in soda until foamy. Pour on popped corn, stirring until corn is coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. About 15 cups corn.
Book 7 of the Shandra Higheagle mystery series
Family, Revenge, Murder
When Shandra Higheagle’s dog brings her a dead body in a sleigh full of presents, her world is turned upside down. The man is a John Doe and within twenty-four hours another body is found.
Detective Ryan Greer receives a call that has them both looking over their shoulders. A vengeful brother of a gang member who died in a gang war is out for Ryan’s blood. Shandra’s dreams and Ryan’s fellow officers may not be enough to keep them alive to share Christmas.