Molly Tipton’s Roasted Veggies


I asked my friend and fellow author, Rebecca Waters, to share her yummy recipe for roasted veggies. She made it for a recent writers’ meeting—unfortunately, the whole dish was gobbled up at another potluck she attended the previous evening! To make up for it, she agreed to share the recipe with all of us in time for Thanksgiving. Thanks, Rebecca, and welcome back to Historical Nibbles!  


1  small butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 small acorn squash, peeled and cubed

1  sweet potato, peeled and cubed

3  Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed

1  red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1  red onion, quartered and separated

¼ C.  olive oil

2 T balsamic vinegar

1 T   chopped fresh thyme

2 T   chopped fresh rosemary

Salt and Pepper


Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Place chopped thyme and rosemary in a jar. Add olive oil and cover.

Prepare veggies as directed and place in a large bowl.

Add vinegar to jar of oil and herbs. Mix and pour over veggies while stirring to coat vegetables.

Pour veggies into a large roasting pan.

Lightly salt and pepper.

Roast at 475 for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Veggies should be tender and lightly browned. Enjoy!

Molly Tipton is the fictional wife, mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother to two. Molly lives in Rebecca Waters’ book Breathing on Her Own. Molly loves to cook and care for her family but her life is turned upside down one February night.

-Rebecca Waters

Here’s the blurb:

An icy road and a sharp turn leave one woman dead, another clinging to life.

Molly Tipton looks forward to a peaceful retirement, but her life suddenly spirals out of control when her oldest daughter is involved in a terrible accident.

While two families grieve, details emerge that shake Molly to her core. As she prepares her daughter for what lies ahead, Molly discovers her oldest child is not the only one injured and forced to deal with past mistakes.

Rebecca Waters identifies with Molly. After raising three daughters, Waters and her husband, Tom, retired to Florida where she began her writing career. Breathing on Her Own is Rebecca’s first novel. Libby’s Cuppa Joe, her second novel, released in March 2019.  Rebecca has published several stories in the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul books as well as three books for writers: Designing a Business Plan for Your Writing, Marketing You 101, and Writing with E’s. To learn more about Rebecca or to read her weekly blog, visit

Want your own copy of Breathing On Her Own?

Take a trip to beautiful Door County, Wisconsin in Libby’s Cuppa Joe.





Dedication of National Cemetery Where Lincoln Gives Gettysburg Address

National Cemetery, Gettysburg

Rain and clouds that mark the Pennsylvania skies on the early morning of November 19, 1863, soon clear to give an exhilarating nip in the air in and around Gettysburg. After a lively evening in the crowded streets last night, folks are still entering town for the important occasion of dedicating the new national cemetery.

President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward take a carriage ride to the Lutheran Seminary grounds where fierce fighting took place on July 1, 1863, the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

They return in time to change for the dedication ceremony. Before 10 am, Lincoln emerges from David Wills’ home where he spent the night. He is dressed in black, wears a black frock coat, and carries white gauntlets. Sad. Serious. A wide mourning band adorns his stovepipe hat in memory of his son, Willie, who died of typhoid fever on February 20, 1862.

People press around him, shaking his hand even after he mounts his horse. They cheer for him. The marshals motion the crowd back.

The Marine Band begins the procession followed by a squadron of cavalry, two artillery batteries, and an infantry regiment. President Lincoln rides with several generals, nine governors, Cabinet members, and three foreign ministers among others.

Edward Everett, the main speaker, tours the battlefield and does not participate in the procession.

A 12’ x 20’ platform has been built for the occasion. Honored guests take their place on the three rows of ten chairs each. There are other chairs scattered on the platform and chairs at a table in back for reporters.

A tent stands at the east end of the platform—at Everett’s request and for his use. He emerges from this tent. David Wills, organizer of the event, and New York Governor Seymour escort him to his seat beside Lincoln in the middle of the front row.

Bright sun shines down on the spectators arranged in a semi-circle by the marshals. Many, like Lincoln, wear mourning.

The pleasing array of flags, banners, and costumes of those in attendance do not mask the signs of the recent battle, where the fields are still littered with broken muskets, canteens, and bits of gray or blue uniforms.

The Marshal-in-Chief Ward H. Lamon is not on the platform to begin the ceremony so his assistant, Benjamin B. French, signals the Birgfield’s Band. They play “Homage d’un Heroes,” a funeral dirge.

Lamon nods to Rev. Thomas H. Stockton to pray. The emotional prayer of the chaplain of the House of Representatives brings tears to many eyes, including Everett and Lincoln.

Next, Lamon calls on the Marine Band. They play Martin Luther’s hymn “Old Hundred.”

Lamon then introduces Edward Everett as the speaker of the day.

Everett speaks for about two hours. The President listens with kind, thoughtful attention. Lincoln rises and shakes Everett hand while some in the crowd applaud at the end.

The Maryland Musical Association sings “Consecration Hymn” that was written by Benjamin B. French for the dedication.

Lamon introduces the President of the United States.

National Cemetery, Gettysburg

Lincoln steps forward. He extracts a paper from his pocket. He puts on his spectacles.  The crowd is silent as they look up him.

The President gazes at the solemn mourners … at soldiers who will never forget the battle or their comrades. Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

Gettysburg Address at the Soldiers National Cemetery

“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The crowd gives President Lincoln three cheers and then another three cheers for the Governors.

Birgfield’s Band accompanies a chorus of Gettysburg men and women.

Lamon nods to Rev. Henry L. Baugher, who leads those gathered to close the ceremony with a benediction.

Lincoln participates in the procession that leads back to David Wills’ home, where he eats dinner and then receives guests. He attends a service at the Presbyterian Church and then boards a train. It is time to return to Washington D.C.

Back at the cemetery, some mourners remain until darkness falls.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Carmichael, Orton H. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, The Abingdon Press, 1917.

Gramm, Kent. November: Lincoln’s Elegy at Gettysburg, Indiana University Press, 2001.

Klement, Frank L. The Gettysburg Soldiers’ Cemetery and Lincoln’s Address, White Main Publishing Company, Inc., 1993.


For Sale: Wedding Dress. Never Used. by Michelle L. Levigne

Not your typical romance novel …

Eve is just beginning her sophomore year at a Christian college in a small town. Brainwashed by her family to believe no man will ever love her, Andy’s interest takes her by surprise.

Their awkward relationship leads to an engagement. He plans a career in the ministry … so does she. It seems like a great match. She buys a wedding dress for the small ceremony they’ve planned.

And then things go sour.

This book about first relationships—and the ones that follow—is told with a sense of humor. The author did a great job creating realistic characters because some of them I loved and others I loved to hate.

Twists and turns that I never saw coming kept my interest. I loved the surprise ending.

I will look for more books by this author.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Frozen Chocolate Mousse Recipe

I’ve been watching a lot of cooking shows recently that left me craving chocolate. Flipping through The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, I found a recipe for frozen chocolate mousse that is easy and delicious .

Pour 1 cup of cold milk in a heavy saucepan. Sprinkle 1 envelope of gelatin over the milk and let it stand for 5 minutes. This allows the gelatin to soften.

Stir this mixture. Then add 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate and ¾ cup sugar and stir. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and the mixture is blended.

Pour into a bowl and chill until lukewarm.

While that chills a few minutes, whip 2 cups of heavy cream until it forms soft peaks.

Remove the chocolate mixture from the fridge and then gently fold the whipped cream into it. Pour the chocolate mousse into a mold and freeze.

An alternative: I wanted to use part of my mousse as a layer in a cake so I lined a cake pan with parchment paper and poured some inside. This was frozen until ready to put on the cake. (A yummy choice!)

The rest I placed in individual serving ramekins.

Delicious! Smooth and creamy and chocolatey. Everyone who tried this devoured it. This chocolate mousse is a hit!

-Sandra Merville Hart


Revised by Cunningham, Marion and Laber, Jeri. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1983.



The Day Before President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Excitement fills the overcrowded streets of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, November 18, 1863. It’s been a long time since they had something to celebrate. President Abraham Lincoln and other distinguished guests will arrive soon for tomorrow’s dedication ceremony of the national cemetery.  Preparations  have taken weeks. Thousands come by train and in carriages, buggies, farm carts, and Pennsylvania wagons. Some ride horseback into town and others walk.

At noon, a special train leaves Washington D.C. on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. President Abraham Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, Secretary of the Interior John P. Usher, Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, two foreign ministers, Lincoln’s private secretary and assistant secretary, army officers, Marine Band members, and newspaper correspondents are passengers.

An unusually quiet Lincoln sits in the last car. Sadness marks his face. Perhaps he reflects on the tragic loss of so many soldiers who died at the battle, a loss that reminds him of losing his precious Willie, his third son, a year earlier.

Gettysburg attorney David Wills, Ward H. Lamon (marshal of the event,) and Edward Everett (the dedication’s main speaker) are among those who meet the President’s train at dusk. They and the First Regiment of the Invalid Corps escort him to the Wills’ home where he will spend the night.

The Fifth New York Artillery Band plays as the crowd serenades Lincoln while he eats supper. They request a speech.

Lincoln appears at the front entrance of the home. He bows for the exuberant crowd yet refuses to give a speech. “I have no speech to make.”

The crowd laughs.

“In my position it is somewhat important that I should not say any foolish thing.”

“If you can help it,” someone yells.

“It very often happens,” Lincoln smiles, “that the only way to help it is to say nothing at all.”

The crowd laughs and the President soon goes back inside.

The inns and homes are full. Many visitors remain on the streets late into the night for they have no place to go. They shout and cheer and sing while bands take turns playing patriotic songs and hymns.

Inside, President Lincoln pulls out his speech for tomorrow’s dedication. A few lines are all they’ve asked of him. He must make those “few appropriate remarks” count.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Carmichael, Orton H. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, The Abingdon Press, 1917.

Gramm, Kent. November: Lincoln’s Elegy at Gettysburg, Indiana University Press, 2001.

Klement, Frank L. The Gettysburg Soldiers’ Cemetery and Lincoln’s Address, White Main Publishing Company, Inc., 1993.


Christmas Fiction Off the Beaten Path

Not your Granny’s Christmas stories …

Step off the beaten path and enjoy six stories that look beyond the expected, the traditional, the tried-and-true.

MARY, DID YOU KNOW?  is inspired by the song, Mary Did You Know? This story by Patricia Meredith is a thought-provoking look at the birth of Jesus through the eyes of His mother, Mary.

THOSE WHO STAYED, by Ronnell Kay Gibson, is a gripping story about a Christmas Eve when a teenage boy is one of seven holiday shoppers held hostage. The gunman asks an important question—and a young father has the same question years later.

A ROSE FROM THE ASHES, by JPC Allen, is a story about a daughter searching for her father—and the one who tried to kill her mother. It snagged my attention right away.

In RETURN TO CALLIDORA by Laurie Lucking, a princess threatened by a sorceress is guarded by a dragon. She awaits rescue from her knight in shining armor … but things have a way of turning out differently than planned. I loved that this story has an unlikely hero.

CRYSTAL CHRISTMAS by Michelle L. Levigne not only transports readers back in time but also to a magical mountain in another world. This story is filled with twists that surprised me and kept my interest. I loved the ending.

And I hope you will also enjoy my story in the collection, NOT THIS YEAR, where a hard-working husband and father faces difficult choices at Christmas.

-Sandra Merville Hart



Meatloaf Recipe

When I was a child, meatloaf was a staple in my home. I don’t know my mom’s recipe so I rarely make it. When I found this recipe in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, I was excited to try it.

The cookbook offers a few variations of its standard recipe. I chose Meat Loaf with Parsley and Tomato. I chose to remain light (1/2 teaspoon of dried) on the parsley because it called for ¼ cup of minced parsley and I know from past experience that this seasoning packs of lot of flavor.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Chop one onion and set aside. (I didn’t use the whole onion because it was too much for my taste. Instead I used about ¾ of a medium-sized onion.)

Prepare two cups of freshly made bread crumbs or buy them. I like the flavor of Panko bread crumbs, so I used them. (It was a great choice!)

Butter two loaf pans or use cooking spray.

Mix together 2 cups of bread crumbs with the reserved chopped onion. Add 2 pounds of ground beef and mix together. (I find using my hands is easier than a spoon.)

Then stir in 2 slightly beaten eggs, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon parsley, ½ teaspoon basil, and ¾ cup tomato sauce. Blend this all together.

Divide it into two and pat it into place in the loaf pans. Pour ¾ cup tomato sauce on the top of the unbaked loaves.

Bake for 45 minutes.

This is a good recipe. I liked the texture. When hot, I tasted the basil and thought about omitting it for the next time. Then I had a cold meatloaf sandwich the next day. Yum! The basil is not as strong in cold meatloaf.

This comforting dish gave me a nostalgic feeling for all those childhood suppers. I hope you enjoy it, too.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Revised by Cunningham, Marion and Laber, Jeri. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1983.



Gettysburg Attorney David Wills Prepares for National Cemetery

Over 7,000 soldiers died in Gettysburg at the Civil War battle that lasted from July 1st to July 3rd in 1863. While the Confederates under General Robert E. Lee retreated in the pouring rain on July 4th, some Southerners stayed to bury a small portion of their dead. The rest of the fallen were left for Union soldiers and Gettysburg citizens, who had their hands full caring for the wounded, to bury.

There was little time. Over 5,000 shallow graves were dug along fences, in the Wheatfield, beside the Peach Orchard, on Culp’s Hill, in the fields of Cemetery Ridge and other battle locations.

Gettysburg attorney David Wills wanted to purchase land for a national cemetery as a burial place for those killed in the battle. He requested approval from Pennsylvania Governor Curtin, who granted it. Curtin also requested that Wills write the other 17 Union state governors. Fifteen approved the plan.

Wills bought 17 acres next to the town’s cemetery. A monument was to be erected in the center of a semi-circle of graves. There are 22 sections: 3 sections for unidentified soldiers; 1 for regular army soldiers; and the remaining 18 sections were for the 18 individual Union states’ soldiers.

About 25% of the soldiers were from New York, so that state has the largest section.

They began transferring bodies to the new cemetery on October 27, 1863. Only 50 – 60 were reburied on a daily basis.

Wills wanted to dedicate the new national cemetery in a ceremony. Edward Everett, a well-known orator of the day, was invited as the main speaker. President Lincoln and his Cabinet received invitations. Some notable Union generals were also invited.

President Lincoln accepted. Wills then invited him to make “a few appropriate remarks” at the November 19th dedication ceremony.

History has overshadowed the gifted Everett’s two-hour speech for Lincoln’s two-minute Gettysburg Address.

No one predicted just how much Lincoln’s “few appropriate remarks” would inspire a nation—even today—and deliver a message the people attending desperately needed to hear.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Carmichael, Orton H. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, The Abingdon Press, 1917.

Gramm, Kent. November: Lincoln’s Elegy at Gettysburg, Indiana University Press, 2001.


Klement, Frank L. The Gettysburg Soldiers’ Cemetery and Lincoln’s Address, White Main Publishing Company, Inc., 1993.


Sheldon, George. When the Smoke Cleared at Gettysburg: The Tragic Aftermath of the Bloodiest Battle of the Civil War, Cumberland House, 2003.


Shine Like the Dawn by Carrie Turansky

Maggie Lounsbury works hard in her grandmother’s millinery shop but each day brings its own struggles. Life has been difficult since the drowning deaths of her parents and older sister four years ago. The only family she has left is her little sister and her grandmother. She can’t help resenting that her former friend, Nate Harcourt, did nothing to help her after the tragedy. He couldn’t even be bothered to attend the funeral, so when he returns to her small English town she’s unable to trust him.

A rift with his family and service in the Royal Navy has kept Nate from his home town for four years. He comes home to make amends with his dying father. But there is trouble brewing in their company and workers threaten to strike. After his father dies, a troubled relationship with his stepmother continues. Just what is she up to?

Maggie wonders the same thing. And she also wonders if her family’s drowning deaths were an accident. How can she discover the truth when old feelings for Nate resurface?

The Prologue that begins with such a tranquil scene quickly becomes a nightmare, snaring my interest right away.

Twists and turns keep the story interesting. I love being surprised by novel events that I don’t see coming. The characters sometimes made frustrating choices but, as time went on, I began to see why.

Many layers are intricately interwoven into this story. And I loved the historical setting in a small English village in 1903.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Using Food to Enhance Story Settings

Today’s post has been written by JPC Allen, friend and fellow author in “Christian Fiction Off the Beaten Path”—welcome to Historical Nibbles, JPC!

Food, like music, is a universal language. People connect with one another over mutual likes, dislikes, cooking techniques, and fond experiences with food. Writers can connect with readers using food to explore characters, enhance settings, and establish plot points.

Explore character

In my YA Christmas mystery, “A Rose from the Ashes”, my main character is Rae Riley, a nineteen-year-old, who is living on her own in a tiny apartment on the salary she makes as clerk at a library. She often mentions food, especially snagging free food at a church lunch or Christmas party.

All these remarks about food tell readers, without actually stating it, that Rae doesn’t have much money. It’s a concern for any young adult, and I hope it makes a connection with readers.

Enhance setting

Two scenes in “A Rose from the Ashes” are centered around food. One is a church lunch. Rae is invited by a grandmother to eat with her family. The aromas of chili and soup make Rae hungry. She stays to clean up after the lunch to see if she can get any leftovers to take home. These activities with food show how Rae is welcomed at the church. The grandmother has given Rae homemade food in the past, demonstrating that she cares for Rae.

Establish plot points

If I need to slow the narrative, a great way to do it is to sit my characters down to a meal. It’s also a very effective way to impart information to the reader as my characters talk while they eat. But I have to be careful and not take this opportunity to dump too much information.

What memorable meals have you read about in books?

-JPC Allen

JPC Allen is holding a book giveaway on her site! Click here for details.



JPC Allen started her writing career in second grade with an homage to Scooby Doo. She’s been tracking down mysteries ever since. A former children’s librarian, she is a member of ACFW and has written mystery short stories for Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Online, she offers writing tips and prompts to beginning writers. She also leads writing workshops for tweens, teens, and adults, encouraging them to discover the adventure of writing. A lifelong Buckeye, she has deep roots in the Mountain State. Join the adventure on her blog.


Book Blurb

Christmas fiction off the beaten path

 Not your Granny’s Christmas stories …

Step off the beaten path and enjoy six stories that look beyond the expected, the traditional, the tried-and-true.

Inspired by the song, “Mary Did You Know?” – a mother’s memories of events leading up to and following that one holy night. MARY DID YOU KNOW? By Patricia Meredith

A young woman seeking her own identity searches for the man who tried to kill her and her mother on Christmas Eve twenty years before. A ROSE FROM THE ASHES. By JPC Allen

Princess, tower, sorceress, dragon, brave knight, clever peasant – combine these ingredients into a Christmas-time story that isn’t quite what you’d expect. RETURN TO CALLIDORA. By Laurie Lucking

Anticipating tough financial times, the decision not to buy or exchanged presents leads to some painful and surprising revelations for a hardworking man and his family. NOT THIS YEAR. By Sandra Merville Hart

Years ago, a gunman and a store full of hostages learned some important lessons about faith and pain and what really matters in life – and the echoes from that day continued to the present. THOSE WHO STAYED. By Ronnell Kay Gibson

A community of refugees, a brutal winter, a doorway to another world – a touch of magic creating holiday joy for others leads to a Christmas wish fulfilled. CRYSTAL CHRISTMAS. By Michelle L. Levigne

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