Widow Jones’ Apple Pie


Today’s post is written by fellow author Amber Schamel. This recipe is from her book, Dawn of Liberty. Welcome, Amber!

Sam says: I’ve convinced Mrs. Jones to share with us the recipe for her special apple pie. She prepared this for John Hancock and myself when we fled from the battle of Lexington as told in A Shot at Freedom in the Dawn of Liberty Short Story Collection.

 “What a feast. You have outdone yourself, Madam,” Hancock said with a smile.

“For dessert, I’ve one of my special apple pies in the oven, just for you, John.”

At those words, Hancock’s face split into a huge grin. “Well then, shall we commence?”

 Widow Jones’ Apple Pie

 YIELD: 8 Servings


2 Pie Crusts

1/2 c. Brown Sugar

3 T. Wheat Flour

1/4 t. Salt

1 1/2 t. Cinnamon Spice

1/2 t. Clove Spice

5 c. Thinly Sliced Apples (Your variety of choice)

6 T. Butter

1 T. Lemon Juice (optional)


Begin by mixing sugar, flour, salt and spices together in a bowl. Next, poke holes in the bottom pie crust with a fork to prevent bubbling. Place apples inside the bottom crust. Sprinkle sugar mix over apples.

Cut the butter into pats and distribute them on top. Sprinkle lemon juice evenly over the pie.

Finish preparation by cutting the second pie crust into strips and weaving it over the top.

Bake at 450 for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Serve warm.

-Amber Schamel

Dawn of Liberty Blurb

Liberty comes with a price. Can a fledgling nation bear the cost?

British forces advance upon a struggling colonial army. The time of decision has come. Declare independence, or give up the fight. The weight of a nation rests on Samuel Adams’ shoulders as he joins the delegates of the Second Continental Congress. Can he raise the cause of Liberty above the fear of the King’s wrath in the hearts of his countrymen?

Three riveting short stories follow Samuel Adams as he struggles through the events surrounding the Declaration of Independence and evokes the Dawn of Liberty.


Amber’s Bio:

Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”.  Her title, Dawn of Liberty, was awarded the 2017 CSPA Book of the Year award in Historical Fiction. She lives in Colorado and spends half her time volunteering in the Ozarks. Amber is a proud member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Visit her online at www.AmberSchamel.com/ and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!

Connect with Amber on Facebook,  Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. 


Civil War Kansas Soldiers’ Home

Both individuals and organizations became concerned over the needs of disabled and elderly Civil War veterans in the years following the war. One in Connecticut, Fitch’s Home for Soldiers and Their Orphans, opened in 1864—before the war ended.

A soldiers’ home in Georgetown, Kentucky, was the first Confederate home that opened. A few states operated separate homes for Union and Confederate soldiers. No federal funds were given to Confederate veterans.

At least one facility, Kansas Soldiers’ Home in Fort Dodge, welcomed both Union and Confederate soldiers.

Fort Dodge, built in 1865, was about 5 miles from Dodge City. It was a fort before becoming the Kansas State Soldiers’ Home that opened in 1890. The home used many of the old buildings.

Times were rocky in those early years for veterans. Quarreling and drunkenness got some folks dismissed. The home had to collect and remove croquet sets when some residents used mallets during quarrels.

July 4, 1890 proved to be a special celebration at the home. Dodge City citizens visited the event recognizing both Union and Confederate veterans.

Soldiers who had fought in the Mexican War and Indian battles lived in the home and, later, black veterans were also welcomed.

Visitors are invited to tour several buildings at Fort Dodge Soldiers Home.

-Sandra Merville Hart


“Fort Dodge,” Kansastravel.org, 2017/07/07 http://www.kansastravel.org/fortdodge.htm.

“Kansas Soldiers’ Home,” Wikipedia, 2017/07/04 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_Soldiers%27_Home.

“Old Soldiers’ Home,” Wikipedia, 2017/07/04 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_soldiers%27_home.


America’s Star-Spangled Story by Jane Hampton Cook

Celebrating 200 years of Our National Anthem

This short non-fiction book traces the history of our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, the poem written by Francis Scott Key.

Many may not know that this poem was based on a battle at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

Washington and the White House had already been burned by the time of this historic battle. Americans feared that worse was coming yet prepared to fight.

Cook added quotes, scriptures, and photos to her book that enhance the story.  The author also takes one line from the familiar song and explains the events that inspired the words.

This book could easily be used in schools to help explain the background to the song and the War of 1812.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas   – Use coupon code SandraMHart for a 20% discount on Lighthouse Publishing books!

Oh, Honey, Those are Preacher Cookies

Today’s post is by fellow author, Nan Jones.  Welcome to Historical Nibbles, Nan, and thanks for sharing this recipe. I love to find quick, no-bake cookie recipes!

The fellowship hall smelled divine. Fried chicken, squash casserole, fresh green beans, and homemade biscuits were just a few of the delectable treats offered at the homecoming potluck dinner at church. The dessert table overflowed with temptation that I couldn’t wait to succumb to.

Just left of center on the long dessert table was a platter of chocolate cookies — the likes of which I had never seen. “Miss Ina Mae, what are these?” I asked. We were the new pastor and wife at this small Baptist church in the mountains of western North Carolina.

“Oh, honey, those are preacher cookies.”

Preacher cookies? I had never heard of them before that day. But for the past twenty-five years, every church pot-luck dinner has offered a platter full of these delicious nibbles.

Curious about the history, I discovered that these simple no-bake cookies derived their name from real life. Legend has it that Preacher Cookies got their name many years ago when it was common for preachers to visit their church members often. Housewives in the mountains could look out and see the preacher riding on his horse toward her home from a good distance away. Because of the simplicity of the recipe and common household ingredients, she could have the cookies prepared by the time he got to the house. Served up with a fresh cup of coffee, the preacher man received a special blessing.

Recipe for Preacher Cookies

½ cup butter

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

2 cups sugar

½ cup milk

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 cups quick cooking oatmeal

¼ cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the cocoa powder, butter, sugar, milk, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add the peanut butter, vanilla, and oatmeal. Stir well. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and allow to cool.

-Nan Jones

About Nan Jones:

Nan Jones is an author/speaker who uses the words of her heart to assist fellow Christians in discovering the Presence of God in their darkest hour. Her book, The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife was a 2016 Selah finalist and her blog, Beyond the Veil, won first place in the Foundation Awards at the 2017 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Nan is also a monthly contributor to Inspire a Fire, a far-reaching inspirational blog. When Nan isn’t writing, she enjoys leading prayer retreats, teaching bible studies or sharing God’s faithfulness as keynote speaker for special events. You may visit Nan at her website or her Facebook ministry page. For personal communication you may email Nan.

The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife Blurb

Have you been hurt by the church? Have you felt abandoned by God in the lonely fires of ministry? The Perils of A Pastor’s Wife will speak to your deepest wounds and help you find God’s Presence through it all. Sweet Sister—somewhere, somehow, somebody knows. You are not alone.

The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife is available on Amazon and LPC Books. 

Civil War Federal Soldiers’ Homes

The first U.S. home for disabled veterans and orphans of soldiers was founded by Benjamin Fitch of Darien, Connecticut. He paid for almost all the expenses of the home built while the Civil War still raged in 1864. The facility was renamed “Fitch’s Home for Soldiers” when control was handed over the state in 1887.

The U.S. government bought the Togus Springs Hotel in 1866. The Maine hotel became the Eastern Branch of the National Asylum For Disabled Volunteer Veterans. Read more about this home here.

A building was erected in Minneapolis to provide a soldiers’ home in 1888. One cottage for women and five cottages for men were on the Minnesota Soldiers’ Home property near Minnehaha Falls by 1911.

The beautiful Minnesota land was meant to be a peaceful place. Soldiers didn’t receive medical care at the facility. World War I changed that policy, but didn’t make it a priority.

Colonel George Washington Steele introduced legislation in 1888. He hoped to establish a national home in Grant County, Indiana. Despite Steele’s worry that it wouldn’t pass, Congress approved it that year. Indiana citizens in Marion celebrated the passing of the bill on July 30, 1888, the city’s largest crowd ever.

The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Marion Branch, opened in 1890. The facility, also known as Marion National Home, enrolled 586 veterans that year. They built a hospital to treat patients there, hiring Cincinnati female nurses as part of the staff.

The facility grew beyond capacity with veterans sleeping on the floor in 1892. New buildings were erected. The need heightened with World War I veterans and about 60 new structures had been added by 1919. Among these were additional living quarters, warehouses, supply buildings, greenhouses, a fire station, and memorials.

White veterans and United States Colored Troops were welcomed into the homes.

Federal soldiers’ homes did not allow Confederate veterans.

-Sandra Merville Hart


“A Home for Volunteers: Togus and the National Soldiers’ Homes,” The Gettysburg Compiler, 2017/07/04 https://gettysburgcompiler.org/2017/05/29/a-home-for-volunteers-togus-and-the-national-soldiers-homes/.

“History of Darien, Connecticut,” Wikipedia, 2017/07/04 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Darien,_Connecticut.

“Minnesota Veterans Home,” Wikipedia, 2017/07/04  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Veterans_Home.

“National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Marion Branch,” Wikipedia, 2017/07/04  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Home_for_Disabled_Volunteer_Soldiers,_Marion_Branch.

“Togus, Maine,” Wikipedia, 2017/07/04  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Togus,_Maine.


Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble

A Hope Beach Novel

Libby learns that the father she’d thought was dead since her early childhood had only recently died. He actually married and had two children. Not only that, but Libby has inherited beach property. Nicole, Libby’s friend and business partner, is on Hope Beach and tells Libby how to watch live feed from a camera so that she can see her half-sister. The Libby watches in horror as Nicole is drugged and snatched from the beach by two men.

Libby immediately travels there to talk to local authorities and search for Nicole, but finds herself a suspect instead. Her siblings don’t trust her.

Alec Bourne, the handsome captain of the Coast Guard, has searched for Nicole to no avail and doesn’t know if he can trust Libby.

Worse, Nicole is still missing. How can Libby find her friend in time to save her life?

This story drew me in immediately. It is a story of forgiveness and second chances. The characters are realistic and believable.

This novel cost me a few hours of sleep!

-Sandra Merville Hart

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Today’s post is by Alice J. Wisler, author of Under the Silk Hibiscus. Alice explains how a yummy recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies fits into her novel’s story set during WWII and then shares it with us. Thanks for the recipe, Alice, and the book sounds intriguing!   

In the Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming during WWII, food choices were not in abundance, but even so, Nathan’s aunt Kazuko seemed to find cookies for her sweet tooth. She claimed that a cookie helped her feel better and gave her a pep in her step. She hoarded any cookie or sweet morsel that she could. Often Nathan would see her standing by the large coal-burning stove that heated the scant unit they lived in, munching on a treat that she kept in her apron pockets.

Later, after the war ended, and Nathan, Aunt Kazuko, and the others returned to their home state of California, Aunt Kazuko had a proper kitchen with an oven that baked cookies for the family. She was given a copy of The Modern Family Cookbook, first printed in 1942, and by following the recipes in those pages, improved as a cook.

-Alice J. Wisler

Recipe for Aunt Kazuko’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (1946) from the novel, Under the Silk Hibiscus by Alice J. Wisler (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 ½ cups rolled oats
2/3 cup buttermilk
½ cup chopped nuts
1 cup seedless raisins

Cream shortening, blend in sugar and add egg. Beat until smooth and light. Sift flour with salt, soda and cinnamon. Stir half the flour in with egg mixture; add milk, the rest of flour, and then oats, nuts and raisins. Stir till well mixed. Drop from a teaspoon onto a buttered baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F. for 10 minutes or until nicely browned. Yields about 36 cookies.

Book blurb for Under the Silk Hibiscus
During World War Two, fifteen-year-old Nathan and his family are sent to Heart Mountain, an internment camp in Wyoming for Japanese-Americans. Nathan desires to protect the family’s gold pocket watch, a family heirloom brought over from Japan. He fails; the watch is stolen. Struggling to make sense of his life in “the land of freedom” as the only responsible man of the household, Nathan discovers truths about his family, God, and the girl he loves.

Get a copy of Under the Silk Hibiscus: Amazon


Alice J. Wisler is the author of six novels, three cookbooks of memory, and a devotional on grief and loss.  She and her husband have their own wood-crafting business in Durham, NC.

Civil War Federal Soldiers’ Home at Togus, Maine

The U.S. government bought the Togus Springs Hotel in 1866. The Maine hotel became the Eastern Branch of the National Asylum For Disabled Volunteer Veterans.

The hotel already had a bathing house, large pool, bowling alley, race track, and a stable. New barracks, a chapel, and a hospital were being erected for the 200 veterans living there by the middle of 1867 with three dormitories and recreation building following in 1868.

When the asylum opened, only Union soldiers able to prove that their injury was connected with their service were allowed to stay. Then War of 1812 and Mexican War veterans were accepted if they didn’t fight for the Confederacy. The facility never opened its doors to Confederate soldiers.

Togus residents wore blue army uniforms available from a surplus. It operated much like the military with military discipline and guardhouse confinements. The veteran’s entire pension was signed over to the home in payment for their care.

The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers constructed a bakery, brickyard, fire station, carpentry shop, sawmill, butcher shop, boot and shoe factory, blacksmith shop, soap works, store, library, harness shop, and an opera house theater. Residents earned money by working at the farm or shops if physically able.

The highest number of veterans living there was about 2,800 in 1904.

Civilians enjoyed the recreations at Togus. Large crowds flocked for military band concerts, baseball games, performances at the opera house, and even a zoo.

-Sandra Merville Hart


“A Home for Volunteers: Togus and the National Soldiers’ Homes,” The Gettysburg Compiler, 2017/07/04 https://gettysburgcompiler.org/2017/05/29/a-home-for-volunteers-togus-and-the-national-soldiers-homes/.

“Togus, Maine,” Wikipedia, 2017/07/04  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Togus,_Maine.


Cassia by Susan F. Craft

The adventure begins on the first page and doesn’t stop!

The author drew me into this action-packed love story immediately.

This historical novel is set on the high seas on the East Coast of America in 1799 where flashbacks to the American Revolution, kidnappings, rescuing a young woman from a slave ship, danger from pirates, and more leave the reader wondering just what will happen next.

The story is told entirely from the viewpoint Lilyan, a brave wife and mother. Because of this, when the family is separated readers wonder and worry what is happening to the others as we can only see the situation from Lilyan’s perspective. This actually adds to the tension and drama of the story.

The characters are amazingly brave and strong yet believable. Their faith in God is an anchor they cling to when danger threatens at every corner.

Full of twists and turns, this novel is a definite page-turner! It robbed me of sleep and kept me from a few chores because I had to know what happened.

Recommend! Will look for more by this author.

-Sandra Merville Hart

LPC Books          Use coupon code SandraMHart for a 20% discount on Lighthouse Publishing books!





Baking Contests and Snickerdoodles

Today’s post was written by fellow author, Kathleen Rouser. She is providing the Snickerdoodle recipe from her novel, Secrets and Wishes. Welcome to Historical Nibbles, Kathleen!

Increasing the vanilla in her favorite snickerdoodle recipe while adding toasted chopped pecans to the dough and the cinnamon sugar made for the delightful crunch and a nutty taste, which had won her second place in the recipe contest. (From Maggie’s musings in Secrets and Wishes.)

There’s nothing more all-American than baking competitions. So many old-fashioned books and movies portray a baking contest at a county fair or a church picnic. The real-life Pillsbury Bake-Off began in 1949. Cookbook collections for charity go back farther than that. I was also inspired by the mention of a story contest sponsored by the fictional Rollings Reliable Baking Powder in the Anne of Green Gables book series by Lucy M. Montgomery.

So why not combine some great traditions to come up with the Silver Leaf Flour Company’s “Don’t Rest on Your Laurels” baking contest in 1901? Maggie Galloway wins second-place for her pecan snickerdoodles, earning her a pin to be presented by the Midwest Regional Director, Giles Prescott and her original recipe would be published in their national cookbook. Maggie seems born to bake.

Just the name ‘snickerdoodles’ is fun! It conjures up images of sitting by a warm oven while scents of cinnamon sugar waft through the air in a cozy kitchen. Some of the earliest documented mentions of snickerdoodles were found in cookbooks from late 1800s.

There’s some debate as to where the name ‘snickerdoodle’ originated. Some think that it’s derived from a Dutch or German word meaning ‘snail-shaped’ while others believe the name came from New England where it’s inhabitants liked whimsical names for cookies. Either way, Maggie is quite sure God gave her the spark of creativity to add vanilla and nuts to a beloved treat enabling her to place in the contest.

Maggie Galloway’s Pecan Snickerdoodles

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 ¼ cup flour

½ cup chopped toasted pecans

Cinnamon sugar mixture:

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon finely chopped toasted pecans

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease cookie sheet.

Beat butter until creamy. Add 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar, mixing well.

Beat egg and vanilla into the mixture. Slowly add flour and chopped pecans to the mixture.

Set dough in the refrigerator (or the icebox in Maggie’s day) for at least a half an hour to make it easier to handle.

While you’re waiting, mix the cinnamon sugar ingredients together with the 1 tablespoon finely chopped pecans.

When the dough is ready, roll into small balls and roll in cinnamon sugar/nut mixture.

Place a couple of inches apart on the cookie sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes, only until slightly golden brown along the edges. Yield is approximately two dozen cookies.

-Kathleen Rouser

About Secrets and Wishes:

More than fists fly after a fight between Philip and Zeke. When their widowed parents, Maggie Galloway and Thomas Harper meet, they begin a prickly acquaintance. Independent Maggie has placed in a national baking contest and wants to open a bakery to provide a future for her and Philip. Grieving and disorganized Thomas seeks to bring up his unruly brood in Stone Creek, and grow his pharmacy business in peace. After he becomes gravely ill, Maggie is enlisted to nurse him back to health, and takes his children in hand. She eventually helps Thomas organize his shop. As friendship blossoms so does love. They team up to defeat a charlatan who’s dangerous elixir brings tragedy to Stone Creek. Humiliating circumstances, brought about by the former beau who brings Maggie’s baking prize from the flour company, force Maggie to consider leaving town. Thomas wants to offer her an alternative, but is he too late to declare his love to the angel of mercy who has captured his heart?

Where to find Secrets and Wishes on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/y757a5b2


Kathleen Rouser is the award-winning author of Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan, and the novella, The Pocket Watch. She is a longtime member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Kathleen has loved making up stories since she was a little girl and wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She longs to create characters who resonate with readers and realize the need for a transforming Savior in their everyday lives. She lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of nearly 36 years, and the sassy tail-less cat who found a home in their empty nest. Connect with Kathleen on her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter @KathleenRouser.