Harlequin author, Liz Talley, is in the kitchen.

Welcome, author Liz Talley, to the kitchen. No, we are not going to talk books. We’re going to find out a bit about what this southern girl likes to cook. Yes, Liz is from Shreveport Louisiana. Southern holiday food, what better way to celebrate the holidays?

Mary: Now, I’ve got everyone excited about southern cooking, I’m going off in a different direction. Don’t worry I’ll get back to the cooking. First, Liz, do you have any southern holiday traditions that have been passed down through your family, generation to generation?

Liz: First, thanks for inviting me to blog with you today about one of my favorite things – eating. Yeah, books and food are my favorite things to gab about. Truly delicious.

Some of my favorite holiday traditions revolve around time in the kitchen. Every year my mother and I get together to make pecan pralines. We usually do three or four batches, along with a few batches of fudge. My mother’s pralines, handed down for generations, are truly, truly delicious. I savor that time with my mother, gathering up all the ingredients, testing texture and dipping up the candy quick as we can before it sets.

Mary: Do you have any traditions that are just yours?

Liz: Because I have boys who aren’t too interested in playing in the kitchen with me, one of the fun traditions I started is a cookie bake with my nieces. Usually we try for a Sunday afternoon, and we set up the kitchen for baking and decorating Christmas cookies. It’s a fun, messy afternoon I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Another tradition is our Christmas Eve karaoke cocktail party…in jammies. We have the neighbors, friends and family over to sing, drink martinis and usher in Christmas day. We have an awesome time being silly. I call it my Christmas present to myself.

And finally a Christmas day tradition. Every Christmas morning I make Christmas breakfast casserole and we bake cinnamon rolls to eat after we unwrap our gifts. After a leisurely morning, we get dressed and head to the Christmas Love Feast at our church where we serve the homeless Christmas dinner. It’s truly a blessing to be involved in a something that reminds us about what Christmas truly means – celebrating the birth of a savior among “the least of these.” Words really aren’t enough to portray the profound gift of service in His name.

Mary: Can you share with us a traditional southern holiday dish or two?

Liz: Of course. I’m including the recipe for my favorite breakfast casserole, featuring a Southern favorite – grits! And I’m also including the recipe for pecan pralines. Hope you enjoy them and have a fabulous holiday.

Mary: Thank you so much. Of course, I will be trying this/these. I’m sure just because we’re in the kitchen doesn’t mean no one wants to hear about what you write. So, please tell us a bit about what you write and please share your web site, social media etc.

Liz: I write sassy, sexy Southern contemporary romance for Superromance and Amazon StoryFront (How’s that for alliteration?) I have a new novella releasing on January 1st - Hotter in Atlanta – and a February Superromance – His Forever Girl – coming out February 1st. So I’m starting off the new year with some hot stories to warm readers up.  You can find more my visiting me at www.liztalleybooks.com or finding me on Facebook under www.facebook/liztalleybooks.

Jane’s Pralines
3 cups of sugar (divided)
2 Tbsp of butter
1 tsp of vanilla extract
½ cup of canned evaporated milk
¼ cup of water
1 cup of chopped pecans

In a small skillet, melt 1 cup of sugar. At the same time in a large pot, bring 2 cups of sugar, ½ cup of milk and 1/4 cup of water to a boil. When the milk mixture reaches boiling, pour the melted sugar in the small skillet into the milk mixture. Stir well, cooking until the mixture reaches soft ball stage (will form a sticky ball when dropped into cold water). Once stage is reached, remove pot from fire and add butter. Allow to cool. When mixture is not longer hot, add vanilla and nuts and beat mixture until the candy is creamy and starts to set up. Dip onto waxed paper by the spoonful.

Cheese Grit Breakfast casserole
1 pound sausage
1 tbsp onion
6 large eggs, beaten
1 cup of milk
1 cup of grits cooked in 4 cups of water
1 (6 ounce) box of Jiffy cornbread mix
1 tsp herb seasoning (Mrs. Dash/Spike)
¼ cup of butter, melted
½ lb. of shredded Colby cheese
½ tsp of paprika

Sauté sausage and onions until cooked. Set aside. In a large bowl beat eggs and add milk. Mix in cooked grits, corn muffin mix, seasoning and butter. In a greased baking dish, spread the sausage and onions to cover the bottom. Add the grits/egg mixture and then top with cheddar cheese. Sprinkle with paprika and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until middle is set. Allow to stand a few minutes before serving.

Thank you, Liz, for joining us in the Kitchen today, I hope you drop by again soon. Happy holidays!


  1. Yum! The breakfast casserole sounds delicious. Can I use instant grits? :)

  2. I'm assuming you can. I've never tried it with instant, but I imagine if you can pour out enough to fill a cup and then cook in the 4 cups of water, it would work fine. My family LOVES this casserole...bet yours would, too :)

  3. I'm trying both recipes! Can't wait.


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