Friday, December 11, 2015

A Tamale Tradition

by Mel Langston from Sparkle Abbey’sPampered Pets Mystery series

Hey everyone! Mel here. Holidays and traditions go hand and hand. Normally this time of year, I’m planning a festive Christmas dinner for two. Turkey, corn bread, creamed spinach, and sweet potato pie. But now that Grey and I are splitsville, and it’s just me and my trusted bulldog, Missy, I don’t have the heart to slave over a fabulous meal. Seriously, where would I even find a turkey small enough for one person? So I’m at a loss. What do I do for Christmas dinner?

Mama wants me to come home to Texas for the holidays. To be honest, I’m feeling a little homesick for my family now that Grey and I aren’t together any more. Growing up, the week before Christmas was when Mama always held a tamale making party for her girlfriends. Tamales are a big deal in Texas. And tamale parties…that’s basically eight hours of gossiping, wine drinking, and tamale making.

Mama and her friends made dozens and dozens of tamales. It never seemed to take long before the aroma of slow-cooked pork filled the house and somehow Daddy always managed to “taste test” the first batch before any tamale could leave the kitchen. Just thinking about it now makes my stomach rumble.

Tamales and black-eyed peas for Christmas Eve dinner was as much of a tradition growing up as Daddy stomping through the house, muttering about a lack of tape. Maybe I’ll try my hand at Mama’s tamale recipe this year.

Do you have a traditional Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or other holiday meal?


Killer Characters Season's Readings fun has begun! We’re giving away these fabulous dog butt magnets and a book of your choosing from the Pampered Pets Mystery series. Leave a comment today through Saturday and be sure to include your email. We’ll do a random drawing and announce the winner on Sunday! 

We love to hear from readers! Stop by our website, or find us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/SparkleAbbey





Our latest release is: Downton Tabby
Tea & crumpets...& murder!

100 comments:

  1. Such a fun cover & giveaway thank you.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Thanks, Mary! We have loved what the publisher has done with our covers. :-)

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  2. I didn't realize there were doggie butt magnetics. They are too cute. LOL! I don't think we have a traditional Christmas meal anymore. When the family members get together, the meal could be smoke turkey, Chicken, soup, salad, cookies, cakes....
    myrifraf(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Jen - All that sounds wonderful! We didn't realize there were doggie butt magnets either until we saw these. On the back of the package it says the same company also makes kitty butt magnets as well. Who knew, right? :-)

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  3. I'm usually alone on Christmas so my traditional meal is Chinese food—LOL!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

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  4. We are trying Jambalaya for Christmas this year.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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    1. Debby - Jambalaya sounds like a fun way to change things up a bit.

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  5. With my Mother in a nursing home, my Aunt in Assisted living, and our daughters living out of state, our holiday meals usually involve eating at a local buffet restaurant. But if I have to talk about tradition foods they would include potato dumplings, sauerkraut and kolaches. dbahn@iw.net

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    1. Potato dumplings sound fabulous. Haven't had them in years!

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  6. We don't celebrate Christmas so we usually go out for Chinese food.

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    1. We should have said meal or food during the holidays. Either way Chinese food sounds good!

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  7. We go to my in-laws for a buffet on Christmas Eve and on Christmas we go out for Chinese food because by Christmas Day, I just want someone to wait on me. Thanks for the chance to win a book!
    scarletbegonia5858@gmail.com

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    1. We hear you there, by Christmas Day someone else doing the cooking and cleaning up is appreciated. :-)

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  8. Growing up, Christmas Eve was snack stuff - cheese ball, finger sandwiches, boiled shrimp, chex mix, cookies and such. As Texan/New Mexican stock,we ate tamales,pasole, and black eyed peas for New Years. Thanks for the giveaway! Dmskrug3(at)hotmail(dit)com

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    1. So the post about tamales was right up your alley! Love the black-eyed peas for New Year's tradition. :-)

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  9. Christmas Day it's ham with broccoli bake, mac & cheese, plus humongous apple pie. mlarkin at rmrgroup dot com.

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    1. We were just talking about how even if you've got other food, our families seem to want ham. We're thinking of trying ham balls this year. Wonder how that will fly?

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  10. We always have the same meal from Thanksgiving on Christmas Day, so turkey w/fixings is served. Thanks for the giveaway!
    edith.patchan@live.com

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    1. Edith - The great thing about turkey is when there are leftovers for sandwiches!

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  11. My mother decided early on she wasn't going to cook on Christmas, so we had an all day antipasto with room temperature safe food. I was very happy when she started making a crock pot of sloppy joe mix for us kids. Some of the antipasto stuff was good, but most kids wouldn't be thrilled I don't think.

    acm05atjuno.com

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    1. Anne - That's a great way to accommodate the tendency to graze throughout the day. At least that's what happens at our house. One of the daughter-in-laws brings peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids. She cuts them up in cute shapes and they love it!

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  12. We always have honey baked ham for Yule! This sounds like a wonderful series, and dog butts to boot! Love it!

    tl.dyer@live.com

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    1. Thanks for your kind words about the series. We have a ton of fun writing it! Honey-baked ham is a great Yule tradition. Our families seem to think it's a must have. :-)

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  13. We always have a prime rib roast on Christmas. It's the only time we have it.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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    1. Yum! It makes it special when it's a once-a-year thing doesn't it?

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  14. I like to try something new but still festive (translate lots of work) and every few years ham or turkey sneaks back in. Last year I made paella. Yummy. We open gifts after midnight on Christmas Eve so I like to have a special but easy dinner then, something I can put together early and pop in the oven. Thanks for the giveaway, love those dog butts!
    sallycootie@gmail.com

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    1. LOL - Festive does seem to translate to lots of work, doesn't it? Opening gifts after midnight would be fun! Our families get up early and open gifts.

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  15. We have a fish dish, usually salmon with kale and roasted veggies. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Salmon and roasted veggie? We're coming over!

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  16. Traditions are lovely, but with family changes we have to be adaptable.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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    1. Libby - That's so true. We've had some family changes lately and are having to come up with new and different ways of celebrating.

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  17. Lovely light treats. Smoked salmon and bruschetta. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  18. No traditional meal. Just traditional get together.
    cjreynolds52(at)comcast(dot)net

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    1. The getting together is the most important part! Whether it's family or friends and whether it's big or small.

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  19. Not my holiday so whatever's in the fridge/freezer.

    flash29@sympatico.ca

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    1. Elaine - Thanks for entering the drawing!

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  20. We usually do Turkey, it is my favorite. barre1572@gmail.com

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    1. Turkey is always good. We saw a post recently with different ways to use leftovers (if you have any). It may have been on the Cinnamon and Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder blog.

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  21. I always do fondue on Christmas Eve at the request of my granddaughters. The big meal, this year it's ham, is on Christmas Day. Thanks for a chance to win.
    babemomara@att.net

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    1. Babe - Had not thought about fondue. That would be fun!

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  22. My mom, brother, 2/3 nieces, and sister all live on the opposite coast; my father passed away two years ago; in-laws have passed on; and it's currently "splitsville" between my husband and his daughter. Our Christmas Eve is a wonderful romantic dinner at a local restaurant, taking in a carollers concert, and driving around enjoying all the Christmas displays. Christmas morning we hook up with 1/3 niece who pops into town for gift exchanges at Starbucks (odd, but wonderful destination) and for Christmas dinner, my husband and I enjoy roast beef and sides for two! It always turns out to be nice and festive. kat8762@aol.com

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    1. Kathleen - Life changes change celebrations and it sounds like your celebrations have evolved into something wonderful! Love driving around and taking in all the Christmas displays. We have one street in town where they go all out - every house on the street has an unique but elaborate display. Fun!

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  23. For Christmas Day, we have ham, lots of veggie side dishes, homemade rolls, and lots of delicious deserts.
    peggyhyndman(at)att(dot)net

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    1. Peggy - Sounds delicious, especially the homemade rolls. :-)

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  24. We have honey baked ham, green bean casserole, and scalloped potatoes for Christmas eve dinner after the teen mass at church and then turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes & gravy, cornbread stuffing, and family presents on Christmas Day! Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

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    1. Oh my, we're going to have to stop reading these, we're getting hungry! LOL Merry Christmas, Karlene!

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  25. We have a Christmas eve tradition: Hickory Farms summer sausage, cheese balls,crackers and sliced apples.

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    1. Sounds like a yummy as well as easy and relaxing Christmas Even supper. :-)

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  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  27. We have a Christmas eve tradition: Hickory Farms summer sausage, cheese balls,crackers and sliced apples.

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  28. We have a Christmas eve tradition: Hickory Farms summer sausage, cheese balls,crackers and sliced apples.

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  29. Not siur why, but we have always had a chili supper on Christmas Eve and open one present. Fun giveaway, thanks for the chance. dr(dot)oldsmobile(at)icloud(dot)com

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    1. We do a chili supper on Thanksgiving Eve (like a warm-up before the big feast) but love the idea of Christmas Even. (And especially love the "get to open one present" idea!)

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  30. Christmas Eve dinner is always stuffed shells

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  31. Christmas Eve was always oyster soup at my grandma Rose's house. Christmas Day was deep fried shrimp because that was my dad's favorite. I really like both!

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com

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    1. We used to do oyster soup on New Year's Eve. It was a real treat!

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  32. Nothing too traditional for our Christmas meal. It's usually some type of beef. We do however have leek dip with potato chips beforehand!

    cozyupwithkathy @ gmail dot com

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  33. Leek dip sounds interesting. We'll love spinach artichoke dip but leek dip sounds good too.

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  34. We always have ham for Christmas dinner, since we get one from work every year. Great giveaway!
    diannekc8@gmail.com

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  35. We always have ham on Christmas. Some years we include lasagna or maybe macaroni and cheese. This year we are making cheesy potatoes and spinach souffle. It's not decided yet as to what dessert but we will do our best with whatever we decide. robeader53@yahoo.com

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    1. We usually have macaroni and cheese as well. Cheese potatoes and spinach souffle sounds like a great treat!

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  36. we really dont have a traditional meal. most Christmas's we have the traditional turkey and ham with all the normal sides. but every other year or so we do German and have rouladen and schnitzel. this is a German year. thanks for the wonderful giveaway. kayt18 at comcast dot net

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    1. Have not had rouladen - had to look it up. Sounds good. :-)

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  37. Hi, thank you for the giveaway, I hope win one of these days. Fr Christmas eve we usually have honey baked ham, potato casserole, veggies. then late Christmas day we do fonude, play dominoes. Georgia
    queenvictoria50@aol.com

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    1. Georgie, someone else mentioned fondue. That sounds like a great idea, especially if your family does games. We don't play dominoes but we do some sort of game every year.

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  38. We generally have honeybacked ham and roast beef. I make 2 cakes - a rum cake and a sour cream pound cake. We open the dinner with Crab Bisque (yum) and the , sides change every year. Thanks for the contest! davisel1830@hotmail.com.

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    1. Oh, my, crab bisque... Now, we really are hungry. :-)

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  39. Ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, creamed corn and peas. Then Pecan pie and Rum cake.Thank-you for the giveaway, love the covers. kittygirl15401@yahoo.com

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  40. We always have appetizers on Christmas Eve as we decorate the tree, Prime Rib on Christmas Day and Rack of Lamb on New Year's Eve.

    Just finished Downtown Tabby and loved it.
    Thanks

    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

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    1. Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed Downton Tabby. :-) Appetizers on Christmas Eve sounds like fun.

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  41. We have turkey and ham on Christmas Eve, the afternoon|evening when my husband's family celebrates the holiday. His daughters and nieces prepare foods with his mother's recipes. This book sounds so good that I would love to read it! jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

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    1. Love those recipes that have been handed down. We have a file box with lots of shared recipes!

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  42. We have turkey and ham on Christmas Eve, the afternoon|evening when my husband's family celebrates the holiday. His daughters and nieces prepare foods with his mother's recipes. This book sounds so good that I would love to read it! jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

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  43. My I my inlays prepare a wonderful Christmas breakfast and always include my mom. It is wonderful to have the people I love best together to share the day! My email is: jlsteele@blomand.net

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    1. That's the best part, having the people you love best together to share the day.

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  44. Sharon Baker. slpetera@yahoo.comDecember 12, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    Thank you for introducing me to a new author. I look forward to reading about pampered pets. They sound terrific.

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    1. Thanks, Sharon! We do have a lot of fun writing the books. :-)

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  45. We have turkey, 7 layer salad, deviled eggs and Million dollar cake. My husband and I bake together and when we eat dinner we watch a christmas movie. We don't do gifts for each other just our kids and grandkids. I just love Christmas.

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    1. Kim, we weren't familiar with Million Dollar Cake, but looked it up. It sounds tasty! Love that all the Christmas movies are on now...have watched: It's a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, The Bishop's Wife, and Miracle on 34th Street. Do you have a favorite?

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  46. We always have ham for Christmas dinner with corn salad and fruit salad. We make scalloped potatoes with ham from the leftovers.
    diannekc8@gmail.com

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    1. Dianne, we just got a recipe for corn salad from one of our critique partners. Can't wait to make it!

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  47. We usually have ham or seafood for Christmas and this year the cooking nephew is doing the dinner at his new house, so we suggested lobster, crab and shrimp. LOL. We have a dog and would love the magnets and I would love any one of your books. doward1952@yahoo.com

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    1. Good picks! Lobster, crab, & shrimp. :-)

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  48. Haha I love the magnets.Thanks for the chance to win!
    magicgirl2357@yahoo.com

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  49. We like to have prime rib for Christmas dinner.
    Lisa
    hseaside5@aim.com

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  50. No specific meal for Christmas eve or Christmas day. My sisters and I use to spend a day leading up to Christmas to bake large variety of cookies, bars and chex mix for us to divide up and share with neighbors and coworkers. Now 2 sisters lives out of state so we usually share text pictures of family favorite dishes and show how well it turned out (or didn't turn out). Love the magnets just_marvi@yahoo.com

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    1. Don't you love that with technology we're able to share and 'sort of" be with friends and family who don't live near? We do the same with Texas, Florida, and California family members. It's not quite the same as being together but it helps to keep in touch.

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  51. No traditional meal, but I love the Christmas cookies

    kaye dot killgore at comcast dot net

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    1. Just finished our first round of Christmas cookie baking. Love trying new recipes and also making the usual standbys.

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  52. My sister outlaw makes the tamales in our family. Her family makes them as well. Will see if I'm off work when they get started on them. It's a good time of bonding. Or throwing masa at each other!

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    1. It does sounds like good...uhm...bonding time, Leticia. LOL

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  53. Okay, everyone's info is going into the hat...and the winner is... cupcake58! We've emailed you and as soon as we know which Sparkle Abbey book you'd like, we'll get your prize to you!

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  54. Thanks everyone for entering and for chatting with us about your favorite holiday foods. For those of you who didn't win, please remember that Killer Characters is doing a new giveaway every day and many great author prizes are still to come! Also, if you're a Kindle reader and have an interest in our latest book, DOWNTON TABBY, we were just notified by our publisher that on December 18th, the book will be a $1.99 Kindle Daily Deal. Happy Holidays!

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  55. Christmas Eve is turkey with all of the trimmings. Christmas Day is usually ham, dumplings and lots of side dishes.

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