Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Blissfully Sweet Event with Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations.

She writes sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Avalon Books/Montlake Romance and now Entangled Publishing. Her novel SUNNY DAYS FOR SAM won the 2013 Golden Quill Published Authors Contest for Best Traditional Romance and recently, her novel WEDDING DATE FOR HIRE was a 2016 Golden Leaf finalist for best short contemporary romance.

Lately she's been on a serious exercise kick. But don't hold that against her.

Feel free to join her newsletter! Monthly giveaways!

Hi, all! Jennifer here!

One of the things I like to do for the holidays is make homemade goodies to give away to friends and c0-workers. I love to bake! Plus, I usually do this with my mom, so the extra time spent together is really nice. But don't get me wrong. I love to receive, too! It feels like an extra special treat whenever I get something that someone has made from scratch.

Some of the things I've made and have given away in the past are: cookies, candy, meat rubs, fudge, and (a favorite) hot pepper jelly.

This year, however, I'm thinking of doing something different. I was watching the Food Network channel a little bit ago and saw Ina Garten making a ridiculously easy and so clever recipe that I HAVE to make it, too.


I love store-bought marshmallows, but honestly, you haven't lived until you've eaten a fresh, fluffy homemade marshmallow.

This is her recipe I'll be using:

  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.
  • Meanwhile, combine the sugar, syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  • With a sieve, generously dust an 8 by 12-inch nonmetal baking dish with confectioners' sugar. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top, and dust with more confectioners' sugar. Allow to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out.
  • Turn the marshmallows onto a board and cut them in squares. Dust them with more confectioners' sugar.
© 2016 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

This recipe is a breeze. Especially if you have a stand-up mixer so you can walk away while it's mixing. LOL

In my upcoming Bliss release, WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH, my two main characters LOVE hot chocolate with marshmallows (in fact, they drink a lot of it in my book!!!). I figure making marshmallows to give as Christmas gifts makes perfect sense, then!

Hope you try to make them yourself and also get a chance to read WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH. Both are extra sweet. Thanks so much for having me today for this Blissfully SWEET event!

Do you make Christmas or Holiday gifts to give out? What is a homemade gift that you love to receive?

Matchmaking guru Kennedy Pepperdine’s life is perfect. Perfect job. Perfect friends. Perfect boyfriend. Except...when she gets trapped in an elevator with a handsome stranger, she accidentally confesses a secret: maybe her perfect boyfriend, Justin, isn’t so perfect for her after all. But a matchmaker should be able to successfully match herself, right? Thankfully, she’ll never see the handsome stranger again. Until she heads home with Justin for the holidays and learns that the sexy stranger is none other than Justin’s older brother, Matt.

Matt Ellis is trying to be on his best behavior for his mother—it is Christmas, after all. But when he recognizes the beautiful woman from the elevator—the one he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about for months—his best behavior is being held by a thread. Matt’s always sacrificed for his family, and nothing is more important than their happiness, but the more time he spends around Kennedy, the more he wonders if her supposed "right match" might just be the wrong brother.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |

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To Enter: 
  • Do you make Christmas or Holiday gifts to give out? What is a homemade gift that you love to receive?
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Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Jennifer Shirk for sponsoring this giveaway.
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  1. I make homemade cookies every year and give them out. I spend about four days baking all day. I also made Christmas tree skirts for my mom, my sister and mother-in-law once. It had 12 different panels of Christmas prints in each of them and I put one of the prints from mine in each of theirs!

  2. My best friend makes amazing rocky road fudge and homemade truffles at Xmas and always gives plates out to all of her friends. Marshmallows are one of my favorite things but I've never tried to make them myself.

  3. I don't give it as a gift, but I make Toll House cookies with added butterscotch chips to bring with me. My stepmother made me a lap quilt one year!

  4. I make candy for gift giving every year. Homemade buckeyes, chocolate covered peanuts, chocolate dipped pretzels, peppermint bark, and bourbon balls.

  5. I don't make Holiday gifts. However I love the homemade cookies my MIL sends every Christmas.

  6. I occasionally make gifts to give, but I did a lot more of it before I was working full-time! I really enjoy a friend's homemade cookies.

  7. I don't make my own gifts. I do however love receiving holiday cookies.

  8. Years ago, I would give some small loaves of homemade pumpkin bread. I really love homemade dessert breads or cookies as gifts.

  9. I don't make holiday gifts to give out. I really love getting homemade hot chocolate and/or homemade coffee jars along with cookies or breads.

  10. Waving hi, Jennifer! I never thought about making marshmallows, but I'll bet they're great when they're just-made fresh.

    And they definitely would come in handy for all the hot chocolate that's around during the holidays. ;)

  11. I have never given nor received handmade gifts but I love giving out holiday cookies that I make.

  12. I have gave out homemade cookies and received homemade cookies before!

  13. I make goodies with my mom and nephews. They're 18yrs old and love to cook. My son is 15yrs old and hates to cook....My sister knitted me a scarf a couple of years ago and I loved it!!! Happy Holidays

  14. I make a raspberry chocolate fudge with walnuts. As for receiving, I love all sorts of homemade goodies especially if I don't have to make them!

  15. I make cookies and pies. Love to receive chocolates! :)


  16. Usually prepared cookies and traditional dishes aplenty but rarely cakes. So I always loved whenever people brought over cakes! :)

  17. I sometimes make homemade gifts. I'd love to receive a handmade scarf.


  18. I do not even though I look on pinterest for ideas.

  19. I make cookies, and I love to get scarves or mittens.

    Mary M.

  20. Christmas cookies is the only thing I make homemade. I'm not sure I've ever gotten homemade Christmas gifts.

  21. I make Italian cookies for family and friends and occasionally ornaments :)

  22. I'm hopeless in the kitchen so I don't give any food as gifts. But I love getting home-made cookies or socks, scarves, mitts!

  23. I have no baking or craft skills, but last year my sister made hot cocoa mason jar kits and they were super adorable!

  24. I gave out homemade candles one year, and I always love to receive homemade cookies.

  25. I like to crochet things to give away, like potholders and scarves.

  26. I have made homemade knitted hats in the past, a few woven potholders and food baskets. I love receiving homemade food, framed photos and essential oils in spa gifts.

  27. I used to make cocoa mugs to give out. They were easy when we had teachers, bus drivers, coaches, etc. Mug, two packs cocoa, hershey kisses, and a couple small candy canes. Wrap in colored celophane and add a ribbon and bow. I remember one year I made over 100. The next year, I had to do a how-to speech for my public speaking class and did this--teased that they were helping me with my gifts, but in the end, everyone got to keep theirs. My son came and was an elf (handing out the goods) to help with my speech. It was fun.