Saturday, May 16, 2015

Lynn Huggins Blackburn's debut book and a great recipe!

Hi everybody! The Fresh Pioneer here and I have a special guest with us today. Lynn Huggins Blackburn is releasing her FIRST BOOK in a few weeks! It's called Covert Justice. 

Doesn't it look amazing?? Here's the blurb:
When a woman drags Blake Harrison out of his wrecked car, he knows the mysterious stranger has saved his life. But more shocking than the hit-and-run is the news that a crime cartel has infiltrated his factory. There's a fortune to be made by tampering with the factory's products…but only if Blake is out of the way. Undercover FBI agent Heidi Zimmerman has two goals—catch the criminals in the act, and keep Blake alive. Falling for the single dad and his adorable daughter isn't in the plan. But everything changes when an abduction leaves Heidi face-to-face with a killer, revealing the danger that's been hiding in plain sight all along…

And here's the beautiful Lynn, and a little about herself. (We always love to meet our hostess before we dive into the food! And what a delicious recipe she has for us! )

Lynn Huggins Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Her first book, Covert Justice, releases June 2015. You can follow her real life happily ever after on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and at

So, now I'm turning the cafe over to Lynn! 

Thanks for having me here today!
I’m excited to be with you to talk about food, although I must say that writing this post has convinced me to stick with fiction. I would make a horrible food blogger. I’m way too messy in the kitchen when I cook!


I’ve always enjoyed food.
Probably more than I should.

When I was a kid, the contents of my lunchbox could bring joy or dismay.
Oreos – Yes!
Doritos – Fabulous! Orange fingertips were cool!
PB&J – Great! No reason to complain about a classic.
Ham sandwiches – Fine.

But there was one lunch box regular that I’m sorry to say never made me smile.

Tuna fish.

It made my lunchbox smell like, well, fish. And it always left my bread soggy.
I don’t do soggy.

My feelings about tuna fish were so ingrained that I avoided the stuff for many years.

Two things changed my mind about it:

1.     I found some fun things to add to it that amped up the flavor. (Getting over my childhood distaste of onions helped…)
2.     I quit trying to eat it as a sandwich. I rarely eat bread these days. (I love it – it doesn’t love me).  And it turns out that it wasn’t really the tuna I didn’t like. It was the soggy bread that I had to gingerly peel away from the still soft bread in order to eat the sandwich.

As a busy mom of three, I don’t have time to fix fancy meals for lunch. I’m lucky if I get to eat lunch sitting down! So tuna salad has become one of my favorite quick meals. I can make up a big batch on the weekend and then I’ve got lunch prepared for several days. A bowlful of lettuce topped with a big spoonful of tuna salad, maybe a few slices of tomato, and I’ve got a healthy and filling lunch that will keep me running until supper!

I never make it exactly the same way, but I have a handful of ingredients that usually find their way in there:
Celery – chopped small for crunch and color (I guess it add flavor, but that’s not why I use it!)
Nuts – leave these out if you’re allergic. I like to mix it up. Pecans, walnuts, almonds – whatever I have in the pantry is fair game.
Something sweet – Diced apples (I like fuji or jazz) or Apple-Juice sweetened craisins are my favorites.
Something savory – Onion (red, white, sweet, scallions – I use whatever I have on hand). Sometimes I use diced dill pickles. My mom always used sweet pickle relish, but I rarely have it. If you’ve got some, try it!
Salt & pepper
Mayo, and sometimes a little squirt of mustard!
Here are my three favorite flavor combinations. 

The Classic – Tuna, dill pickle, celery, onion, mayo, mustard, salt, pepper.
The Waldorf – Tuna, apple, celery, walnuts, onion, mayo, salt, pepper.
The Family Favorite – Tuna, craisins, celery, walnuts, onion, mayo, salt, pepper.

I may never be asked back to the Yankee-Belle Café, given that this isn’t a real recipe, but here you go.


1.     Pick your favorite combo.
2.     Open your tuna.
3.     Dump it in a bowl and break up any chunks.
4.     Add your ingredients until it looks right.
5.     Mix in as much mayo as you need.
6.     Sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Thank you again for having me here today!

Virginia here again and YES, you are welcome back anytime!! I love tuna and my whole family does, too. We can't wait to try these. :)


  1. Thank you for having me here today!! I'm headed to a writing conference tomorrow - guess what my family wants me to make before I leave? Tuna salad!

    1. Yummy! And have fun! I've never been to a writing conference but I really need to go someday, at least once.
      Thanks again for popping in and congratulations on your debut!

  2. So - not a tuna fan 'cause I'm a vegetarian but I think this would work with eggs -- kind of like an edgy egg salad. I'm uber boring when it comes to egg salad -- just a bit of celery and salt and pepper so branching out is a good thing. And it's definitely easy.

    Looking forward to reading your debut, Lynn. I got behind in my LIS reading this month which is nearly giving me a panic attack. Must catch up and be ready for June and Covert Justice!

    1. Thanks, Kav! I love egg salad, but I'm pretty boring, too. Eggs, mayo, mustard, salt, pepper. I don't even add celery! I may have to try that!

    2. I just had egg salad for the first time a few weeks ago. I don't know why I avoided it my whole life! It was delicious!

    3. Virginia...seriously? HA. When I was a kid my dad would make us egg salad sandwiches for school lunch. The poor guy was ahead of his time. Bringing an egg salad sandwich to school wasn't a big hit due to the smell. But looking back I so appreciate his efforts and having a father who was so hands on.

    4. Yes, seriously! It's something I always saw in plastic containers at the gas station deli or something like that. Then a friend made me some and I realized it wasn't junk food. It was GOOD food! lol
      And your dad sounds wonderful. :)

    5. Oh, I LOVE egg salad!

      Today is my daughter's last day of high school (sniff sniff). Her dad just made her last lunch for her. I told him maybe he should start making my lunch and leaving it in the fridge for me! He merely laughed. :)

  3. Hi Lynn,
    What a great post. I love tuna salad, but I have to admit mine is very bland. The most creative I ever get is onions and celery. I love the idea of jazzing it up, especially with apples, pickles or mustard. I'm suddenly thinking of putting honey mustard (my favorite) in tuna salad. Mmm....It's almost lunch time here in Connecticut. Thanks for the great ideas.

    1. :-) I never would have thought to try honey mustard! Let me know how that goes!

  4. Lynn, you made me crave a tuna salad! I, too, like to have it over lettuce. :)

    I found a mediterranean recipe that I use: rinsed and drained cannelloni beans, chopped kalamata or black olives, olive oil, red wine vinegar and chopped tomatoes. You'll have to try that one. :)

    Thanks for sharing!! I'm so excited about your new book. :)

    1. Make that cannellini beans. My auto-correct went crazy. :)

    2. Thanks, Missy! And your recipe sounds delicious! I love kalamata olives!

  5. By the way, I've also had tuna with grated carrots in the mix (along with the standard celery and pickle relish) and it's really good, too!