Thursday, June 23, 2022

Ice Cream - Our Nation's First Frozen Treat by Jo-Ann Roberts

Ice cream has been part of the American culture since our Founding Fathers built our nation.
Records show that George Washington spent $200 on ice cream in the summer of 1790. He even had a 306-piece ice cream serving set at Mount Vernon while entertaining guests. His contemporary, Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing the first ice cream recipe to the United States after tasting the frozen treat in France. At Monticello, he had ice boxes installed so that he could serve ice cream all year long. He also popularized ice cream in the United States when he served it at the President's House in Washington.

Partial recipe of Jefferson's recipe for ice cream.

Until 1800, when insulated ice houses were invented, ice cream was reserved for the elite. These ice houses helped to popularize the treat for everyone. Even immigrants coming to Ellis Island were often given ice cream as their first taste of America. In the 1920's immigration officials became convinced that serving new arrivals ice cream "was an efficient method for making our future citizens more at home in their new environment."  

Manufacturing ice cream soon became an industry in America, pioneered in 1851 by a Baltimore milk dealer named Jacob Fussell. From there, as refrigeration, mechanization, and pasteurization advanced, ice cream consumption skyrocketed! During Prohibition, people substituted one vice for another (alcohol to ice cream) with a national consumption of 260 million gallons of ice cream in 1920. Later on, following World War II, Americans celebrated the end of the war by eating ice cream with returning troops once the dairy product ration was lifted.

Wide availability of ice cream in the late 19th century led to new creations. In 1874, the American soda fountain shop and the profession of the "soda jerk" emerged with the invention of the ice cream soda. 

In response to religious criticism for eating "sinfully" rich ice cream sodas on Sundays, ice cream merchants left out the carbonated water and invented the ice cream "Sundays" in the late 1890s. The name was eventually changed to "sundae" to remove any connection with the Sabbath. 


Americans take their ice cream flavors and toppings very seriously. (Personally, I'll take chocolate!) One of the leading ice cream brands, Ben and Jerry's boasts of having more than 54 flavors currently available, ranging from Vanilla to Pistachio to Strawberry Cheesecake, and Chunky Monkey! 

And there are so many ways to eat ice cream, too! We eat hard ice cream, soft serve (or custards in some areas of the country), milkshakes, cones to choose from (cake or sugar), ice cream trucks, ice cream parlors, and more. Many ice cream shops having topping bars that may include hot fudge, caramel, sprinkles, cookies, candies, etc. 

Summer began on Tuesday. Choose your favorite combination or switch up it every time...and don't forget July is National Ice Cream Month. Happy Summer! Happy Eating!!!

Fun Facts About Ice Cream
In order to create one gallon of ice cream, you need 12 gallons of milk.

Chocolate is the most popular flavor in the United States, followed closely by vanilla.

More than 21 billion dollars' worth of ice cream is sold in the U.S. each year.

The U.S. has the largest consumption of ice cream per person with about 48 pints per year.

First Lady Dolley Madison served ice cream during the presidential inauguration in 1813.

Not surprisingly, ice cream consumption shot up during the Covid-19 pandemic, with dozens of new and hybrid flavors hitting the market.

Italo Marchiony produced the first ice cream cone in 1896 and obtained a patent in 1903.

In 1920, Harry Burt was the first person to have ice cream trucks on the street.

Billy Moll, Howard Johnson, and Robert King wrote a song about ice cream with the phrase, "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream" in 1927. The phrase caught on, and we still say it to this day.

President Ronald Reagan established the month of July as National Ice Cream Month. The official National Ice Cream Day is now the third Sunday in July.


...and speaking of latest release, Ainsley - Book 8 in the Love Train series is now available for preorder. It will release on July 15th!

She's running from her past.

He's seeking a future.

Will the greatest love come from each other's heartache?


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Location, Location and Location

Post by Doris McCraw

aka Angela Raines 

Photo Property of the Author

As we come out of our 'isolations' many of us are playing catch-up. I decided to look back at what started me on this journey. What I realized is I enjoy short stories or short novellas. I have written novels but my first love is the short story I enjoy writing and reading them.

But I've also realized that location plays a big part in my imagination when I'm preparing a story. The three Agate Gulch stories have their start in the mountains near an area @Florissant, Colorado. 

The two stories I'm looking at today, are "Never had a Chance," and "Angel of Salvation Valley,". Both stories take place in @Colorado, the state I reside in.

In the case of "Never Had a Chance," the story is a continuation of my first novella, "Home for His Heart," where I've taken up the story of my heroine's brother, Tom. Tom, in the course of the story, arrives in @PuebloColorado and immediately gets himself into trouble. As the town of Pueblo has a rich history of people of Spanish and Italian descent, I was able to use that information to add color to the story. In this case, the location becomes a major influence on the story and its outcome.

In "Angel of Salvation Valley," I was influenced by the area around @GardenoftheGods. I don't mention the park as such but the concept of a Garden of the Gods played a big part in the telling of this paranormal story. It is a story of good and evil, and what people will and will not do when placed in an untenable situation.

Below are excerpts that I'm using to illustrate the idea.


            "Never had a Chance":

 "My sister, my dear sweet sister," Tom slurred. "Here's to my sister. May she have a long, happy, married life, damn her."

Tom had been sitting in the bar in Pueblo for the whole afternoon, drinking. He'd had a fight with his sister and soon to be brother–in–law. They'd wanted him to help out at the ranch, maybe run errands. He'd wanted to relax, spend time with his new friends in Agate Gulch. Truth was, Tom was feeling out of place. He'd been surprised when he finally recovered from his beating at the hands of Oliver's gang, to find that his sister, who'd deserted him, was living in the town where he'd run.

"Something happening?" the bartender asked, as he wiped the scarred bar top.

"She's getting married. I finally found her and she's getting married," Tom answered, throwing back the rest of his drink. He did love his sister, but her leaving him to Oliver's tender care still did not sit well.

Two men moved to sit next to Tom, listening to his slurred words. Exchanging looks at the bang of Tom's glass, they nodded.


"Angel of Salvation Valley"

 Standing in the valley's entrance two days later, Drew felt a bit of envy. "I can understand why Ham is upset that he lost this place," Drew whispered. Before him lay lush green grass with natural barriers all around the small place. Even as he admired its beauty, a part of his mind wondered at Ham owning such a place. Ham didn't strike him as someone who'd really want to work a place like this.

"That's silly," Drew said as he shook his head. If Luke said it was Ham's, then it was Ham's. Yet, even as he thought it, the doubt wouldn't leave him. Then the pain began a throb behind his eyes, easing up as he let the thought go.

He looked around to see if the others had followed him but saw no one. He'd asked for the chance to scout the area and get a look at the woman he was to kill. Ham had spoken against it; even Luke had hesitated before agreeing.

"If I'm to do this job, I want to make sure I get it done right," Drew said. "I can't if I don't know the lay of the land."

"If you say so, just remember your bargain," Luke had warned, a slight movement of his hand signaled his agreement to the plan.

"I won't. It means too much to me."

Now here he was, looking at a piece of heaven. The heaven he'd dreamed of, the place he could call home. If he'd had something like this, he wouldn't have been riding around searching, wouldn't have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and ended up in prison. He'd do anything to have a place like this. Maybe someday, when all this is over, he thought.  

How has location influenced your storytelling? When reading, is setting important to you?


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Leaping Into History

On April 22, 1889, pioneer and newspaperwoman Nannita Daisey joined other reporters jampacked on the Sante Fe Boomer special, carrying her on a plum assignment covering the first Oklahoma land rush. Daisey would not only report on the event but would also become the first female to stake a claim.

By utilizing the newly constructed Sante Fe Railroad, which cut through the Unassigned Lands, almost 2,500 hopeful pioneers packed the coaches, some riding on roofs, steps, and platforms. While at the same time, an estimated 50,000 seekers on horseback, buggies, wagons, and on foot crowded the borders.

Photos courtesy of the Edmond Historical Society & Museum.

Once inside the Unassigned Lands, the engineers were limited to a speed of 15 mph to safeguard that railroad passengers did not have an unfair advantage over those on horseback or in wagons. The train sometimes slowed to a near stop so settlers could jump off to stake claims.

Here is how Daisey described her plucky scheme:
"You see, I’d been in this territory a good deal, and I had a good claim picked out. It’s about 20 miles south of [Guthrie], just alongside the railroad. I got on the first train the day it was opened—got on the engine. Jiminy! I had my cloak, a revolver and my two claim stakes with my name on them. When I got even with my claim I gave a jump while the train was in motion. I landed feet first, you can bet your life, while everybody in the cars yelled “Hurrah for Nannita Daisey!” As the train went by, I planted my stakes, threw my cloak over one, then fell on my knees and discharged my revolver in the air, exclaiming: “Thus I salute the Kentucky Daisey’s claim!”

More for Daisey

Daisey also participated in Oklahoma's second land run when the Sac and Fox lands were opened on September 22, 1891. Unfortunately, her horse stumbled and threw her in the path of the rushing stampede. Although she survived the fall, The National Police Gazette ran a full-page illustration of the fallen reporter, trampled and lifeless. Another dispatch reported that, indeed, she had only been rendered senseless, eventually returning to consciousness to declare, “The lot is mine!”

Scene from Cimarron (1931 film)

Daisey Sooner

Perhaps still affected by "land rush" fever, Daisey organized and accompanied a group of eleven women in preparation for the April 1892 event. She made her entry in 1891, a bit "sooner" than allowed, and was caught leading a packhorse loaded with provisions. She was escorted by U.S. Army troops to El Reno.
I enjoyed researching the Oklahoma Land Runs and had difficulty choosing which one to write about. I've participated in some Black Friday Sales in my day, so I can only imagine trying to compete on horseback, on foot, or even by bicycle. I think I would be crazy enough to want to try, what about you? What would be your choice, wagon, horse, train, bicycle, or on foot?

Orphaned as a young girl, Ella longs for a life she’s only read about in books. To escape a desperate situation, she heads west as a mail-order bride, narrowing her choice of spouse to three brothers, a millwright, a businessman, and a horse trainer, all searching for a marriage of convenience which will provide the inheritance that will finance the family’s business venture in Oklahoma. Newspapers claim the unchartered territory is a land where streams flow with milk and the heavens rain down a supply of honey. Will her road lead to the Promised Land?

Fans of historical romance set in the late 19th -century will enjoy stories combining, History, Humor, and Romance, emphasizing Faith, Friends, and Good, Clean Fun.
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Monday, June 13, 2022

Indian Removal Act of 1830 by Zina Abbott












I recently finished a book set in 1893, the latest year for one of my book in years. Yet, as I look at what led up to the events that took place in the Oklahoma land runs of 1889 through 1895, I see the issues have their roots in what took place decades earlier. 

Louisiana Purchase and controversies 1803-1819

The story of the Indian Removal Act begins with the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, simply because, during the very early 1800s, there were those who wanted to remove the Native American tribes from the states in the East and South. The land purchased from France presented a possibility for where they could be relocated. 

The Louisiana Purchase territory included the land which, since 1890, was known as Oklahoma. For decades earlier, it was known as Indian Territory. 

Territories held by the five civilized tribes before removal

Land-hungry Euro-Americans (whites) continued to pour into the United States seeking land, much of which in the South was held by native tribes. Add to that the discovery of gold in the North Carolina region held by the Cherokees, a drive to do something to displace the Native people so the land could be opened to white settlement intensified. However, most of these tribes had adopted many aspects of white culture and became known as the five civilized tribes.


In the early 1800s, American demand for Indian nations' land increased, and momentum grew to force American Indians further west.
The solution appeared to be found in the land west of the Mississippi River purchased in 1803 from the French. Not open to white settlement, it was decided to relocate the tribes in what became known as Indian Territory.


The first major step to relocate American Indians came when Congress passed, and President Andrew Jackson signed, the Indian Removal Act of May 28, 1830. This act authorized the president to grant lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands within existing state borders, primarily in the states of Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and others.  This included the original homelands of those tribes known as the five civilized tribes—Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole. They were assigned to what became Indian Territory before it was organized as part of the state of Oklahoma.  

As incentives, the law allowed the Indians financial and material assistance to travel to their new locations and start new lives. The Act also guaranteed that the Indians would live on their new property under the protection of the United States Government forever. (The events leading up to and following the Oklahoma land runs show how that assurance was rendered void.) With the Act in place, Jackson and his followers were free to persuade, bribe, and threaten tribes into signing removal treaties and leaving the Southeast.

Andrew Jackson
In his message on December 6, 1830, President Jackson informed Congress on the progress of the removal, stating, "It gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent policy of the Government, steadily pursued for nearly thirty years, in relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements is approaching to a happy consummation."

Jackson declared that removal would "incalculably strengthen the southwestern frontier." Clearing Alabama and Mississippi of their Indian populations, he said, would "enable those states to advance rapidly in population, wealth, and power."

Not all members of Congress supported the Indian Removal Act. One example of those who strongly opposed the Act was Tennessee Rep. Davey Crockett.

Native Americans were also strongly opposed being removed from their ancestral lands. They responded with several battles with local white settlers.

But the forced relocation proved popular with voters. It freed more than 25 million acres of fertile, lucrative farmland to mostly white settlement in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

At the time, Indian Territory was defined as the region belonging to the United States west of the Mississippi River but excluding the states of Missouri and Iowa as well as the Territory of Arkansas. Other tribes than those mentioned above were initially given lands in other territory west of the Mississippi River before eventually being moved to reservations in Indian Territory within today’s Oklahoma’s borders.


Yellow-Cherokee, pink-Muscogee/Creek & Seminole, green-Chickasaw & Choctaw

By the end of Jackson’s Presidency in 1837, his administration had negotiated almost 70 removal treaties. These led to the relocation of nearly 50,000 eastern Indians to the Indian Territory—what later became eastern Oklahoma. It opened up 25 million acres of eastern land to white settlement. Since the bulk of the land was in the American South, it allowed the expansion of slavery.

A few tribes went peacefully, but many resisted the relocation policy.


Creek Trail of Tears

After decades of war with the US and many broken treaties, the Creek War of 1836 ended. Over 14,000 Creek men, women, and children made the three month journey covering over 1,200 miles over land and water to Oklahoma, taking only what they could carry. Over 3,500 of them died along the way.

Perhaps the most well-known treaty, the Treaty of New Echota, ratified in 1836, called for the removal of the Cherokees living in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. The treaty was approved by a small faction of the tribe who followed Major Ridge. They moved early to Indian Territory.


The treaty was opposed by Principle Chief John Ross and the majority of the Cherokee Nation. When they refused to leave, Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott was ordered to push them out. He was given 3,000 troops and the authority to raise additional state militia and volunteer troops to force removal.




Trail of Tears memorial-Village Creek State Park, Wynne, AR

Despite Scott’s order calling for the removal of Indians in a humane fashion, this did not happen. During the fall and winter of 1838-39, the Cherokees were forcibly moved from their homes to the Indian Territory—some having to walk as many as 1,000 miles over a four-month period. Known as the "Trail of Tears," approximately 4,000 of 16,000 Cherokees died along the way.

By the 1840s, nearly all Indian tribes had been driven west, which is exactly what the Indian Removal Act intended to accomplish.


This Indian Removal Act is but a prelude to the events that led up to the 1889 onward land distributions to white settlers of what was, for decades, Indian Territory. The story of the land runs between 1889 and 1895 are told in the Land Run Mail Order Brides series.

My book, Joshua’s Bride, is the first book in the series. It takes place during the 1893 land run. To find the book description and purchase options, please CLICK HERE.







Thursday, June 9, 2022

History of Peanut Butter

 by Shanna Hatfield

Did you ever stop to think about peanut butter? 

According to the National Peanut Board, the average person will consume almost 3,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in their lifetime. 

By law, any product labeled peanut butter in the United States has to be at least 90 percent peanuts. To make a single 12-ounce jar of peanut butter, it takes about 540 peanuts. Peanuts are among the most valuable cash crops grown in the U.S., with a farm value of over $1 billion, according to The American Peanut Council.

Evidence suggests the peanut plant originated in Peru or Brazil. There are no fossil records to document it, but there are pieces of pottery from South America that were created in the shape of peanuts or decorated with peanuts as far back as 3,500 years ago.

As early as 1500 B.C., Incans used peanuts as part of sacrificial offerings and were sometimes entombed with mummies. Tribes in central Brazil reportedly ground peanuts. 

European explorers found peanuts in Brazil. Peanuts were grown as far north as Mexico. The explorers took peanuts back to Spain, and from there they spread to Asia and Africa. Africans introduced peanuts to North America beginning in the 1700s. 

It wasn't until the early 1800s that peanuts were grown in the US as a commercial crop. They were first grown in Virginia and used mainly for oil, food, and as a cocoa substitute. At one point, peanuts were regarded as food for livestock and the poor. 

Peanut production increased steadily through the first half of the century. Peanuts become prominent after the Civil War when Union soldiers found they liked them and took them home as a food source high in protein. 

PT Barnums circus wagons traveled across the country and vendors called out "hot roasted peanuts" to crowds. Street vendors began selling roasted peanuts from carts, and peanuts were also popular at baseball games. 

Around 1900, equipment was developed to increase quality production, and demand for peanuts grew. 
John Harvey Kellog, the cereal pioneer, filed a patent for a proto-peanut butter in 1895. He developed an easily digestible paste for patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. In 1896, an article in Good Housekeeping encouraged women to make their own peanut butter with a meat grinder, pairing the spread the bread. 

During World War I, peanuts and peanut butter were used to fill the hole that meat rations created. 

It wasn't until 1915 that recipes began to pop up with peanut butter began to be listed as a featured ingredients. The recipe with the criss-crossed fork design on it is credited to a 1930s recipe.

Peanut butter was a staple in our house growing up. My dad liked to make what my grandpa called "stir-round" which was a mixture of peanut butter and honey (or molasses or corn syrup). Then they'd slather that on a piece of bread. 

My mom often made peanut butter cookies.

One day a few months after my mom passed away, I asked my Dad if he could have any kind of cookie, what would he choose.

“Peanut Butter, like your mom used to make.”

My mom never shared her peanut butter cookie recipe with me, nor did she leave it tucked away anywhere that I could find after she passed away. So I embarked on an experiment of finding a recipe similar to what Dad remembered.

I tried the easy cookie recipes that only had a a few ingredients. I tried complicated and labor intensive recipes. Nothing tasted like the cookies he remembered Mom always making (and I had to agree!).

Finally, in a moment of desperation, I dug out my granny’s old Betty Crocker Cookbook and looked up this peanut butter cookie recipe.

From the batter-splattered page, I think it was one Granny made often. And from the big smile on my dad’s face when I gave him these cookies, it is the recipe my mom always used, too!


1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 egg

1/2 cup granulated sugar + 1/3 cup

1/2 cup brown sugar


Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix peanut butter, butter, and egg. Stir in 1/2 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar. Blend in flour mixture. Cover and chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Using a spoon or cookie scoop, shape a walnut sized portion of dough into a ball. If desired, roll in remaining sugar. Place on baking sheet about two inches apart. Flatten with a fork in a criss-cross pattern. Bake cookies for about 10 minutes, until set but be careful not to overbake. Cool on baking sheet a few minutes before transferring to wire rack.

Yield: 36 cookies

USA Today bestselling author Shanna Hatfield is a farm girl who loves to write. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances are filled with sarcasm, humor, hope, and hunky heroes.

Shanna creates character-driven romances with realistic heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

When Shanna isn’t dreaming up unforgettable characters, twisting plots, or covertly seeking dark, decadent chocolate, she hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2022

SUN HATS AND HORSES by Marisa Masterson

Playing card featuring donkey with hat.

Hats and horses! Yes, this actually happened.

When the nineteenth century gave way to the twentieth, humane societies were taking root. One society, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) focused on a certain type of cruelty--horses in the hot sun. 

Cab drivers in Europe already knew how valuable it was to put a hat on a horse. Some even put wet sponges in the crown to cool of an animal during steamy summer days. For some reason, the idea hadn't taken root in the United States, though. The SPCA campaigned for this to become a regular practice in the U.S.
Breyer Model Horse

By 1901, hats for horses were selling well in cities like New York and Boston. In Utica, New York, one store reported that they sold 150 horse hats in an hour on a July day. The idea spread from the cities to the countryside. Animal rights proponents recommended hats for workhorses as well as those pulling taxis.
Today, it's easy for us to imagine a hat on a horse or a donkey. After all, many people have seen the television show Mr. Ed. That horse seemed to often have a hat on its head. And all because of the SPCA.

If you'd like to read more about this, check out

Michael Brewster needs a wife as he sets up a new business. That’s all! No complications or tender feelings will soften his hard heart or get in the way of his plans to build an empire.

Hetty Fields arrives by train on the very day of the first Oklahoma Land Run. She’s a day late, upsetting her groom's perfect schedule. Add to that, she does something to him that threatens to awaken his sleeping emotions. And then he sees the baby…

Why didn’t she warn him about the baby? How can he want a woman he doesn’t entirely trust?

If you enjoy sweet romance set against historical events with light suspense, this book is one for you to read!