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The Quill Blog

Our schedule is subject to change on a whim because we're writers and sometimes lose track of the days. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Autumn Promises & Apple Cider

As I walked out to the barn this morning to feed the horses and muck corrals, I was met with the startling sight of snow dusting our mountains. Isn't it too early, I ask? But the feel of the brisk air on my face and the need for a down vest confirms that it's time to prepare for the change of seasons here in the Northwest. Even the pony is putting on his warmer coat.

But that makes me remember the traditions of my childhood years, the trips south to a place known to locals as Brown County. The sycamores and maples turn glorious there in autumn and there was always a stop along the way to watch the sorghum being processed in large metal vats atop open wood fires. Oh, the aromas of sweet sticky syrup! 

The next stop would be to an overlook of the mountains that fold in and about the small towns of southern Indiana. An ancient log shelter commands a view of the valley. And I remember a promise to a friend that we'd both come back one day and carve our names along with those of others to always keep in touch. 

Nashville House Fried Biscuits are synonymous with Fall Pleasures

The destination for our fall drives through Brown County's breathtaking colors was always the Nashville House where we would stand in long lines for the privilege of indulging in thick slices of ham, coleslaw, apple butter and their famous fried biscuits. How I survived the cholesterol overdose I can't even imagine. But they became things of legend - those fried biscuits. 

I want to bless the editors of the Indianapolis Star newspaper for providing this recipe a few years ago. I've made a few modifications but you can give them a try if you dare.

Nashville House Fried Biscuits Knockoff Recipe


1 pkg active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water for proofing the yeast

1 cup milk

1 T sugar

3/4 t salt

2 1/2 cups flour

2 T shortening (I use Spectrum Organic Shortening)

Oil for frying


Proof the yeast in the 1/4 cup of warm water.

Add milk and sugar to yeast and mix well. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, add and mix the salt to the flour, then cut in shortening.

Add yeast mixture. 

Add flour a little at a time until dough is slightly sticky. 

Allow to double in bulk. (I use the proof setting on my stove that is around 100 degrees) About an hour should do the job with the right temperature.

We're almost there!

Roll out the dough to 1/2 inch slab and cut into 2" rounds with a biscuit cutter.

Let those rise under a lightweight damp towel. (Not too much or they will fall flat in oil)

Drop into oil heated to 375 degrees. Fry until oh-so-lovely golden brown.

Drain and slather with apple butter! 

Enjoy a sneak peek from "Harvest Promise"

while you wait to eat those fried biscuits!

Montana Territory, 1870

Micheline McDonald braced the heel of her boot against the mule’s stomach and pulled for all she was worth. After a full minute of struggle, she dropped her foot again. She’d gained only an inch toward cinching the harness any tighter. Breathing heavily, she bent double, fists against her hips. Between gasps for air, she addressed the recalcitrant mule. “If you’re thinking this is a contest of wills, Jimmy, you lost before you were even born! I can do this all day!”

Feigning an air of disinterest, Micheline turned her back on the animal. She cast her gaze upward, her tone softening as she addressed a cloudless sky, her arms spread wide. “Didn’t you hear me this morning, Lord? I distinctly prayed ‘lead us not into temptation’. Didn’t I? Well, I am sorely tempted to say some very uncharitable things to your creature here.”

The mule let out a bray. Before the animal could take another breath, she spun, grabbed the leather cinch, and yanked until the brass tongue slipped into the leather billet. “Ha!” She stepped back, folding her arms. On impulse, she skipped to the front of the mule, grabbed its bridle in two hands, stood on tiptoe, and kissed the animal on its nose. “No hard feelings, Jimmy. I’ll not be tolerating a sore loser.”

Meet the Author

Book Spotlight

Logan Craig made a promise to return to Montana and Micheline McDonald by harvest time, but the War Between the States ended four years ago. Most have given up hope of seeing him again. Only Micheline continues to believe he’s a man of his word and she’ll hold him to his promise.

"Another wonderful story! I am fast becoming a fan of yours, Samantha St. Claire."

Mary Lou Sullivan, 5 star review of "Tracking Amy"

Harvest Promise by Samantha St. Claire

Genre: Historical Fiction

Type: Novel

Heat Level: 1

Language Level: 1

Violence Level: 2

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