I am always so pleased to celebrate a book release with a debut author.
Social media is a wonderful tool to connect us with like-minded people. I met Susan through Facebook, then recently, we had the pleasure of meeting in person.
Besides books, she’s also all about food.
Susan is a winner of the Today Show website’s Home Chef Challenge! She’s sharing all about her book and her recipe. Please enjoy!
Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog, Linda! I’m thrilled to be here.
In my debut novel, AGAIN, ALABAMA, my heroine is a chef, who’s been shamed publically, and must return home to run the family event planning business while her mother recovers from surgery. My own love of food and cooking inspired my choice of professions for my character.
No matter what kind of stress or angst I have ongoing in my own life, I can cook and create in the kitchen. It’s an escape for me. Sometimes it’s work, but mostly it’s a way to feed my senses as much as my family’s bellies.
I know that many folks don’t feel quite the same way about kitchen duty, but I grew up in a family of fantastic Cajun cooks. One grandfather was a chef and my other grandfather spent his time cultivating a large organic garden, complete with compost heap, well before it was cool. My mom and both grandmothers were extremely talented in the kitchen. My dad fished in nearby Toledo Bend Lake, so we always had fresh fish, fruits and vegetables.
We lived in a rural area in Negreet, in Northwest, Louisiana. So, my characters and stories reflect my small-town upbringing.
Today I’m happy to share my jambalaya recipe that was voted the The Today Show website’s Home Chef Challenge winner several years ago. It’s authentic because I was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, and that’s where my people hail from. If I don’t qualify that, I’ll be attacked viciously. Cajuns are very picky about who is allowed to claim their dishes. (Of course, then you get into the whole Creole dish argument).
1/3 c. canola oil or butter
1 lb. smoked pork sausage
1 lb. boneless and skinless chicken (can be white/dark mixed – whatever you like)
1 lb. shrimp, deveined and peeled
Tony Chachere’s seasoning to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 bunch green onions
1 yellow onion
1 green bell pepper
1 stalk celery
Garlic, any way you like (powder, fresh, granulated, crushed, mangled, strangled, whatever)
1 Tbsp. chicken bouillion (powder or cubes)
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
4 cups cooked rice
Cook rice and leave aside. Sauté onions, bell pepper, celery, garlic and bouillon in oil and butter. Seasoned chicken with Tony’s, chop into chunks and cook about 15 – 20 min. Add sausage and shrimp. Cook another 15 min. Add Ro-tel and tomato sauce. Cook on a low heat for around 20 min. Turn off heat and stir in rice about 2 cups at a time until completely combined. A few drops of Texas Pete or La. Hot Sauce, etc., is always good. I like the chicken to be really tender, so cook it until you like how it tastes. I’m estimating cooking times. This should work, but use your good sense. Add more or less of anything, you can’t mess up jambalaya. Happy cooking!
I love to connect with readers!
Here’s a bit about Susan and her debut novel:
Cammie Laroux is back in Alabama—again.
Dragged back to her small town to help her mother recover from surgery while rescuing the family event planning business should be a cinch. Even for a disgraced television chef, right? Wrong.
Among the many secrets Cammie’s family’s been hiding is the fact that their historic home is falling down. Oh, and the man hired to restore the house, Grey Harrison, is the same high school and college love of her life who thrashed her heart and dreams ten years ago. Yeah, that guy.
Grey, a widower with a young daughter, has never stopped loving Cammie, and when they are face to face once again, the chemistry is off the charts. Cammie may be in full-blown denial, but letting go is no longer in Grey’s vocabulary, even when winning Cammie’s forgiveness and renovating their love may seem like an impossible build even for a master architect and carpenter.
As Cammie finds herself forgetting all the reasons she can’t trust Grey or love again, he finds himself remembering all the reasons he wants her to stay with him in Alabama… forever.
Susan Sands grew up in a real life Southern Footloose town in Northwest Louisiana, complete with her senior class hosting the first ever prom in the history of their tiny public school with half the town chaperoning. Is it any wonder she writes Southern small town stories full of porch swings, fun and romance?
Susan lives in Alpharetta, Georgia surrounded by her husband, three young adult kiddos and lots of material for her next book.