Guest Cook Kelli Wilkins

Simple Side Dish: Wild Rice & Broccoli

1 or 2 boxes of Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice
2 lbs. (approx.) of frozen broccoli florets
1 or 2 cans of mushroom stems & pieces
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Prepare the Wild Rice according to box directions in a large (4 or 5 quart) pan. At the same time, cook the frozen broccoli until tender in another saucepan.
When the rice has finished cooking, let it rest and cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Drain the cooked broccoli and cut/chop it into smaller pieces with the edge of a spatula or a knife. (It should break easily.)

Drain the mushrooms and add them to the rice. Then, slowly add the broccoli into the rice mixture, stirring until everything is combined.

If you want to add a little more flavor, sprinkle a cup of shredded cheddar cheese (or any cheese you like) on top or mix it into the rice.

Notes: This is a healthy side dish for Thanksgiving or any other meal. It’s also a flavorful and filling vegetarian option (without the cheese).

If you’re having lots of company, you can make three boxes of rice and adjust the portions of broccoli and mushrooms. If people don’t like mushrooms, it’s okay to leave them out.

If you prepare the dish the night before, make sure the rice & broccoli mixture is cooled completely before you refrigerate it overnight. To reheat, put it in a glass dish and put it in the microwave or the oven. (I add a little water and cover the dish to keep it from drying out.)

Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing a look at my historical/pioneer romance, Loving a Wild Stranger. This full-length novel is set in the Michigan Territory and blends adventure with a sensual love story. (I’m happy to report that the book has received several great reviews!)

Loving a Wild Stranger 

By Kelli A. Wilkins

A woman running from her past… straight into the arms of an untamed man

In a moment of desperation, Kathleen Stanton flees her pampered life in Kingston, New York and ends up stranded in a small town in the Michigan Territory. Out of money and forced to rely on her instincts, she impersonates a handsome stranger’s mail-order bride. 

Committed to her deception, Kathleen calls herself Michelle and starts her new life with Luther in an isolated cabin in the wilderness. Luther can’t believe his luck when his beautiful bride arrives, but something doesn’t feel right about his new wife. Michelle has terrifying nightmares involving a man named Roger and is reluctant to talk about where she came from. 

Luther’s friend, Redfeather visits and tries to convince Luther to send Michelle back east. Distrusting Michelle, he warns Luther that his bride is not what she seems. But Luther is in love with Michelle, and he is harboring a secret of his own—one that might force Michelle to reject him when she learns the truth.

Michelle falls in love with Luther and adapts to her new way of life. Together, they face off against brutal townspeople and overcome harsh living conditions. When they finally give in to their desires and agree to become a proper man and wife, a dark figure from Michelle’s past resurfaces and threatens to destroy everything. 

Publisher’s Weekly says:
“Wilkins (Trust with Hearts) has created a wonderfully sweet romance. The fantastic tension between the two characters as they grapple with their sudden newlywed status and the awkwardness that comes with marrying a perfect stranger keeps this story emotional and realistic as they fall in love. The story flows nicely and does not rush the romance. Wilkins keeps readers interested with strong, complex characters. Fans of pioneer romances will enjoy this one.”

Long & Short Romances says:
“4 Stars! This book has the potential to be made into a movie. This book took over my life. I ignored everyone and everything. The writing style made the entire book come to life as if I were there. The plot was really great. Nothing was going to interrupt my time with Luther. I envied the heroine, Michele. Loving a Wild Stranger reminded me of the 1970s T.V. show, “Grizzly Adams” – one of my favorite childhood television shows.

The writing style made the entire book come to life as if I were there. It was clever how Ms. Wilkins incorporated many plot threads and weaved them all together. I recommend this book and will be keeping it on my keeper shelf! I would recommend reading Loving a Wild Stranger while relaxing by a lake!”

A mini-excerpt:
Kathleen’s knees shook as she strode down the sidewalk toward the livery. She had to get out of the store before there was trouble. She felt sorry for that man, Luther. He’d seemed nice enough when he gave her back her glove. 

The coach waited near the livery, and her trunks still sat on the sidewalk. She had some time left. What should she do? She didn’t dare get back on the coach, but this town was awful and she didn’t want to stay here. Perhaps she could throw herself on the mercy of the church. There had to be one somewhere and the reverend would take her in. Or would he? 

Kathleen crossed the street and entered the livery. A round-faced man slouching behind the counter straightened up. 

“You must be from the stage,” he said, gazing at the front of her dress. 

She folded her arms across her bosom and looked him square in the eye. “How did you know?” she asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm. 

“Because I’ve been with all the women in town and you ain’t one of ’em. You Clyde’s new girl? I’d pay two dollars for a night with you.” He winked. 

“How dare you! I’m looking for the church.” 

The man spit a stream of tobacco juice on the floor next to her brown boots. “We ain’t got a church. If you ain’t the new whore, then what are you doin’ here?” 

She spotted the newspaper the man had open on the counter in front of him. An advertisement for wedding lace gave her an idea. “I’m a mail-order bride.” 

“That so?” He scowled. “Who’s the lucky man?” 

Kathleen twisted her skirts and tried to stall for time. “There’s a problem with the papers you see…” 

She glanced out the window. The driver stood near the coach, scratching his head. A second later, she heard the familiar clomp of boots on the sidewalk. This was her one chance. It had to work. She had always trusted her instincts, and now she could only think of one answer. Her gut told her to take the risk. “Luther’s his name and—” 

“Luther?” The liveryman’s eyes widened. “Well, you’re in the right place.” He arched an eyebrow. “You sure it’s Luther?” 

She nodded as the coach pulled away. All hope of escape left town in a swirl of dust. Her trunks lay abandoned on the sidewalk. There was no going back now. This man thought she was a mail-order bride. She tried to remember what she’d read about them. It sounded simple, a man sent money to a company and they sent a wife. 

She tensed as the livery door opened. 

“Hey, Karl. I pulled the wagon—” Luther stopped as he spotted her. 

She averted her gaze and smoothed her skirts, suddenly ashamed of her appearance. What man would accept her unwashed and dusty? 

The liveryman laughed. “Hell, Luther, looks like ya got more than you thought goin’ home with ya.” 

“What’s that mean?” 

Kathleen closed her eyes. What had she done? This wasn’t a game anymore. 

“Seems your wife came special delivery on the coach.” 

“My what?” 

Order Loving a Wild Stranger here:
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Enjoy the Holidays!
Kelli A. Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories. 

In October 2018, Kelli published Cupid’s Schemes, a collection of sweet mini-romances. 

She also released her first online writing course, Fiction Writing for Beginners, through Teachable. This course is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. 
Visit: for more details.

Kelli’s historical romance, Redemption from a Dark Past, was published in 2018. This full-length Gothic novel is set in the kingdom of Hungary in 1723 and blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense.

If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her latest novella, Nightmare in the North.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: and Twitter:
Visit her website and blog to learn more about all of her writings.

Here’s a full list of where you can find Kelli on the web.
Newsletter sign-up:
Teachable Online Writing Course:

Thank you for sharing Kelli!


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