All posts by josieriviera@aol.com

USA TODAY Bestselling Author of Sweet Contemporary and Historical romances.

An Excerpt from “A Portuguese Christmas”

One of the last chapters in my sweet romance novella, A Portuguese Christmas, explores Christmas Eve traditions in Portugal.
Krystal, the heroine, is a professional surfer. Adolfo, the hero, is a Portuguese olive farmer. Veronica, Krystal’s cousin, married a Portuguese man and resides in Portugal. Aunt Edite is their elderly aunt and a professional artist.

Enjoy!

Krystal layered boiled, sliced potatoes onto the boiled and shredded salted cod. In another baking dish, she added sautéed onions, black olives and hard-boiled eggs. “My first Christmas Eve supper in Portugal,” she declared.

Veronica smiled. “Your first of many Consoadas.” She wiped her hands on her frilly green apron adorned with mistletoe and then tended to flash-boiling an array of shellfish, including crab, clams, and pink shrimp. She arranged the seafood on a white ceramic serving platter to serve warm in their shells. “How’s this?”

“Looks delicious,” Krystal said. “Truly, I’ve never seen so much food.”

The women paraded into Veronica’s expansive dining room. The shiny mahogany table fairly groaned beneath an assortment of hazelnuts, olives and garden-fresh collard greens drizzled in olive oil.

Krystal peeked at her reflection in the hallway mirror as she passed. She’d fussed with her appearance, wearing her hair in a side-swept chignon and donning a candy-apple-red crepe shift she’d purchased in Peniche, along with black kitten heels.

Aunt Edite placed a silver candelabrum, lit with a half dozen red and green candles, in the center of the table. “Consoada literally translated means ‘to comfort.’ Traditionally, we abstain from meat dishes on Christmas Eve because Advent is our ‘little lent’ and we fast and repent the days before Christmas.”

“Until Christmas Day,” Adolfo added, “when pork and roasted lamb are served.”

Enjoy the video here.

A Portuguese Christmas is available on Amazon. Snag your copy today!

Happy New Year!

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!

“Last night, between eleven and twelve o’clock… the Old Year was leaving her final foot-prints on the borders of Time’s empire…. she thus awaited the midnight knell that was to summon her to the innumerable sisterhood of departed years….
The New Year…. greeted the disconsolate Old Year with great affection, and sat down beside her… waiting for the signal to begin her rambles through the world. The two were own sisters, being both grand-daughters of Time; and though one looked so much older than the other, it was rather owing to hardships and trouble than to age, since there was but a twelve-month’s difference between them.”
~Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864), “The Sister Years,” Carrier’s Address to Patrons of the Salem Gazette, 1839 January 1st

Away in A Manger

In researching A Portuguese Christmas, I learned that on Christmas Eve, many Portuguese families gather around the Christmas tree and Crèche to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Catholicism is the main religion practiced in Portugal, and the Crèche is an extremely important part of Christmas festivities.

A fun activity for Portuguese children is collecting materials, such as moss and clay, for the Crèche,

Some families display Infant Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. However, other displays will feature shepherds, sheep, and the three wise men.

Although the American tradition focuses on children writing letters to Santa Claus for gifts, Portuguese children write letters to the Infant Jesus.

Here’s the blurb for A Portuguese Christmas:

Love can come softly, like holiday snow. Or sweep you away like a riptide.

World-class surfer Krystal Walters would have appreciated the beauty of her surroundings—a quaint cottage in a fragrant Portuguese olive grove—if a wipeout hadn’t changed all her holiday plans.

Now, suffering the dizzying aftereffects of multiple concussions, she’s determined to make it home to Rhode Island for Christmas, even if she has to defy doctor’s orders. Except those orders are being enforced by Adolfo Silva. A man as arrogant as he is ruggedly handsome.

Spending every waking moment working to make the family olive farm a success, Adolfo barely has time to savor a traditional Feliz Natal. But the moment Krystal disappears under a mountain of sea water, his focus shifts to a sun-kissed spitfire with golden hair, sky-blue eyes, and a will as immovable as his own.

Keeping her safe is his first priority, but this bold, courageous woman’s wings won’t be clipped. Before they can plant the seeds of a future together, he’ll have to convince her that spending Christmas—and maybe every holiday to come—with him isn’t the end of the world. Because she’s become the center of his.

Check out the youtube video here.

A Portuguese Christmas is also available on audible.com and paperback.

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A delicious and easy Portuguese Cranberry Sauce Recipe.

Did you know that Thanksgiving doesn’t exist in Portugal? In fact, many Portuguese have never heard of Thanksgiving.
And, if you were in Portugal in November and wanted to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner, you would soon find that many of the ingredients are non-existent.

Looking for pecans to bake a pecan pie? Nope!
Canned pumpkin for pumpkin pie? Hah!
Cranberries for cranberry sauce? Nope, again. And certainly you won’t find canned cranberry sauce (my fave!) in any of the supermarkets.

However, you might find dried cranberries, although it’s interesting to note that the Portuguese do not have a name for cranberries, although the word “oxicoco” is sometimes used.

The good news is that you will be able to purchase a fresh turkey and roasted chestnuts from the many street vendors. Add a loaf of crusty Portuguese bread, a bottle of Port, and enjoy your Thanksgiving feast!

Here’s a recipe for “Portuguese” cranberry sauce. Note that dried cranberries and port wine are listed in the ingredients.

You will need:
Water to moisten
6 apples
Approximately 7 cups of dried cranberries
Port wine (I use most of the bottle!)
¾ cup brown sugar
Cinnamon and cloves to taste

Mix all ingredients and simmer on stove.

Do you have a favorite cranberry sauce recipe? Please share below.

Love to learn about other countries and holiday traditions? Snag a copy of A Portuguese Christmas, my sweet romance novella. Available on Amazon and all e-book stores, as well as paperback and audible.

Check out the youtube video here.