Jacquie Biggar knew from the time she was twelve years old, that she wanted one day to be a writer. But she grew up, got married, raised a family and left her writing urges to simmer in the background unattended. Now she’s ready to take up the writing reins and see how far she can travel. Learn more about Jacquie and her writing at her website.
Fifteen years ago I was waitressing in small local café in our hometown of Edson Alberta, Canada. One day the owner, a family friend, announced she had to give up the restaurant due to bad knees. I went home, talked it over with DH, and next thing you know, we were the proud owners of the Bluejay Café.
Only problem was, I didn’t know how to cook! I mean I could cook, but my nickname was Hamburger Helper Queen. That should tell you something right there. Thank God I had my mom, who stayed by my side, and taught me how to do everything from making soup stock to gravy, to desserts. I would’ve been lost without her.
Those were some of the longest days of my life. Between learning the kitchen, trying to figure out the menus, and print them myself. Configuring the till to accept the proper tax amounts, finding the right staff (one of THE most important components of a successful restaurant,) setting up accounts with suppliers, and oh yeah, the books, oy!
Not to mention a young daughter and a hubby that put in long hours of his own and expected a good meal on the table when he arrived home. But I learned. And I’m proud to say we turned that café into one of the most popular places in town. I was even noticed by a couple of food critics traveling the province who featured us in their book, The Food Lover’s Trail Guide to Alberta, an honor for sure.
One of the most popular desserts we made was bread pudding. Then one day I thought, why not kick this up a notch? Hence the creation of Pumpkin Bread Pudding. My book, Tidal Falls, centers largely on a local café, Grits and Grace, kind of catchy, don’t you think?
Grace’s Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce
Assorted bread cubes (I save my crusts of white, brown and cinnamon raisin, then rip them into bite size pieces.)
handful of raisins
6-8 large eggs
4 cups sugar
shake of salt
1 can pumpkin puree
milk, approximately 1 litre
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Fill Dutch oven with mixed bread cubes and raisins.
In a separate large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, cinnamon and shake of salt. Add pumpkin puree. Mix. Slowly add milk until mixture is loose. Pour mix over bread and stir, should be soupy—not too loose, though—just so you see the liquid through the bread. If not, add a couple more eggs and milk blended together to the mix. When you have a nice consistency sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon and small dollops of margarine over the top.
Bake 60-90 minutes. Top will gain a nice crunchy golden look. Take a knife and spread the center apart to tell if done. Drizzle some of your favorite caramel sundae sauce over the top and enjoy.
Sara Reed is on the run from an abusive ex who happens to have ties to a Mexican cartel. Mistakenly thinking she and her daughter would be safer if she had some kind of leverage, she takes a copy of some valuable files, files that make her a target.
Nick Kelley is an ex-marine trying to find his place now that his career is over due to injuries suffered from an IED. When the two of them meet in the pretty little town of Tidal Falls, the experience is explosive.