Category Archives: Food lover

Cooking and Baking…the secret to happiness, one loaf at a time!

So, in my non-writing life, I love to cook and bake.  And I love to eat what I cook and bake. So much so, that I should be on that show My 600 pound life. Luckily, I’m not because, you know…exercise!

When I was dreaming about my current series WILL COOK FOR LOVE, I knew I wanted to incorporate some of the cooking and baking knowledge I’ve gleaned over the years into the books, so each book has specific recipes targeted for that story. In COOKING WITH KANDY, I added some baked goods and even made a recipe card for reader swag for Grandma Sophie’s Banana Walnut muffins. For my October 3 release, A SHOT AT LOVE, there’s a scene in the book concerning french toast, so I made another recipe card for swag for that.  To make sure the recipes hold up for the reader, I made a batch of Challah french toast this past weekend to ensure it did.

On Thursday, I made the bread. These are pictures I took to document the bread baking cycle. Start with the dough, cover it and let it rise for three hours until it doubles:

           

Then, divide the dough in half, slice into 6 ropes and braid it to make 2 loaves. Let it sit for another hour.

    

Cover with an egg wash, and bake:

    

Now I had my bread for the french toast, but I had to let it get a little stale. 2-3 day old fresh bread gone stale  is best for french toast. Sunday morning I made the actual breakfast.

     

I took pictures and made a new swag recipe card that I’ll be giving out at RWA this year when I do the Kensington Book Signing.

For those of you not going to RWA, here’s the recipe:

Ingredients to make the Challah

  • 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 Tbs dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten, plus 1 whole egg for glazing
  • 1/2 Tbs salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the water with 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Beat well and let set for 10 min., until it’s frothy and bubbly.
  2. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Then add the salt, sugar, and oil and beat again. Add the frothy yeast mixture and beat well. Now add the flour gradually, cup at a time, and just enough to make a soft dough that holds together, mixing well. Turn out onto a bread board and knead for about 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic, adding flour if the dough is too sticky.
  3. Pour a little oil in the bowl and turn the dough around the bowl, so that it is greased all over.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise for 3 hours, or until it has doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down and knead again, then divide into 2 pieces to make 2 loaves. Divide each into 3 long strips to make 2 bread braids.
  5. Braid challah into desired shape and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow them to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  6. Brush the tops with the beaten egg.
  7. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 25-30 minutes or until the loaves are golden-brown. They are done if they sound like a hollow drum when you tap the bottoms.

To make the French toast:

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon, nutmeg, apple pie spice

3 tablespoon brown sugar

butter, syrup, confectioner’s sugar to taste

Directions: You need a griddle for this or a cast iron frying pan

Heat griddle to medium heat, grease top.

Beat the eggs, add the milk and vanilla. Mix well. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, apple pie spice and brown sugar.

Mix very well. Cut the Challah into 2-inch widths. Dip each piece in the above mix to completely coat- do not saturate!

Place each piece on the griddle and cook on each side 1-2 minutes, until each side is golden brown. Serve hot and add your own butter, maple syrup , and confectioner’s sugar to taste.

Book One in the WILL COOK FOR LOVE SERIES is out now. COOKING WITH KANDY:

Sugar and spice and everything sexy make the perfect recipe for romance in this brand-new series by Peggy Jaeger. Look for exclusive recipes in each book!

Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .

Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .

 

My 3 favorite things: cooking, baking, writing. Oh, and eating. I need to include that, too, so 4!

When I’m not doing any of the above 4, you can find me here:

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Filed under Author, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Homeward Bound; #RT17

It’s a full seven days since I first posted about waiting in an airline terminal, bound for Atlanta, Georgia. This time, I’m homeward bound. And tired. Soooooo tired.

My first RT convention is over and I must tell you I am happy to be on my way back home. Back to my own bed. Back to home cooked meals and not restaurant and/or fast food. Back to not living out of a suitcase. Back to watching my favorite television shows and finally, back to my writing schedule again, which was sorely neglected this week, despite all my blogging efforts.

A week is a long, long time to be away from home. I miss my husband; I miss my bed; I miss my naps. I miss wearing sweat pants and pajama tops. I even–and I can’t believe I’m saying this–miss my Planet Fitness. The hotel has a fairly nice gym, but it’s not my gym.

RT2017 was my first RT experience, and I can truthfully say I’m glad I did it, if for no other reason than to just check it off on my  something-I-need-to-do-for-my-writing-career list. Some parts of the experience were great, some, not so much, so I will really need to explore whether or not I want to invest the time and money to attend next year in Reno.

The good parts were the wonderful new fellow writers and readers I met. It was an absolute delight meeting my fellow Kensington/Lyrical authors, Susan Mann,

Mary Ann Marlow,

 

Sarah Hegger

 

and Tiffany Warren.

These are amazeballs women and fabulous writers you will want to read.

Some other old freinds I was able to visit with included Stephanie Kay 

and the fabulous Jessica James

Two of the highlights of my week were the Kensington book singing

and then the personal meeting I  had with my beloved Editor. I sold out of all my books at the signing event- and I hope I garner some new fans because of it! Afterward, I got a one-on-one few hours with my editor, talking about everything from family and friends to where I’d like to take my writing career next with Kensington. I could have talked to this delightful woman for the entire night!

While waiting in line for an event one evening, a young lady came up to me. She looked familiar, but then, I tend to think that about a lot of people!. She asked me if I remembered her, I admitted she looked familiar but menopause was messing with my memory, and she reminded me we had met at the Fall In Love With New England reader event in 2016. She purchased every one of my books there and loved the handpainted boxes I put them. The dawn burst through and I did remember her and her aunt stopping by my table and talking for a while. This chickita is from Connecticut and is a true lover or romance novels. I was so impressed by the fact she was attending this convention, as well as the 2017 FILWN conference I am going to, and I was reminded of something I’ve always told me daughter: the world truly is a small place, and you should be kind, pleasant, and nice to everyone you meet because you don’t know when they will come into your life again. If this encounter wasn’t proof of that than I don’t know what is.

And while most things at the conference were great, there were some decidedly down points as well. First and foremost the crowds. What goes hand in hand with the crowds on the negative scale were the long, time-consuming lines to get into any and every event and the wait at the elevators for getting back to hotel rooms. There were only five elevators in the main tower of the Hyatt, and most times one was down for service or being used exclusively to bring people up to the penthouse restaurant. For a conference of this size, a hotel with more elevators should be the number one concern of the event planners.

I didn’t attend any of the after conference major parties for a few reasons. One, most started at 830 or 9 pm and I was already exhausted after a full day of walking, waiting in line, and networking. Two, they were all themed parties, and not realizing that this conference was like a ComicCon for romance readers, I didn’t have anything costume-wise planned. Three- the lines to get in….

Having to wait in line for over an hour for each event was a pain the a**. I don’t go to Disney or any themed parks because of this and to have to do it at a conference was simply annoying. Many of the conference rooms where workshops were being conducted were too small to fit the capacity crowds as well.

The hotel had one main restaurant ( wickedly overpriced) and one bar ( ditto). Luckily, the hotel was attached to a food mall, but for those of use who can’t eat fast food due to allergies and stomach issues, the hotel options were lousy.

I realize these are piddly, petty things to complain about. Believe me, I realize it. But I think to be fair and balanced, the good and the bad of an event needs to be explored because it weighs heavily on how much I will decide to attend future conferences of this type.

When all is said and written, though, I did enjoy myself for the large part. Meeting new readers, finding new authors, getting my name “out there” in the romance reading world, were all– as Martha Stewart says — good things.

While I’m traveling home, you can see what I’ve been up, here:

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Editors, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Highway Cafe April Blog Tour

I just love a blog tour and hop!

The arrival of April signals–in my neck of the woods–the arrival of Spring. Or as we natives call it, black fly season. You know: those pesky, annoying, pain-in-the-a** noseeums that swarm around your face, ears, eyes and cleavage?

God, I hate those bugs. I really do. Since I live in the woods I typically get inundated from the very first beautiful dry day we have to signify Spring, right up until Memorial day rolls around. Having an outside barbeque becomes aggravating, not to mention dangerous from everyone running into one another armed with cutlery to try and escape the odious little buggers. Gardening is a nightmare unless you are swathed from head to toe like an uber-mummy or rabid beekeeper. Trying to get in a little exercise walk outside becomes an occupation just to make sure you are doused in every bug repellant known to man– and those little PIA’s still swarm!

Every year I hope, pray, and offer up sacrifices to the Gods that this year–this year–we will be spared the invasion. And every year…we aren’t.

I don’t anticipate this year will be any different. Le sigh.

Oh well. At least I can stay inside and read a good book. And speaking of a good book ( shameless plug coming) this is my latest from Kensington/Lyrical. COOKING WITH KANDY

Sugar and spice and everything sexy make the perfect recipe for romance in this brand-new series by Peggy Jaeger. Look for exclusive recipes in each book!

Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .

Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .

Buy Links:  amazon

And…since this is blog tour that means GIVEAWAYS and prizes. I’ll be giving one luck winner an e-copy to COOKING WITH KANDY at the end of the tour. Click here for the link to visit other author blogs and to qualify for prizes and giveaways! And good luck! BLOG TOUR 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Life challenges, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

So, how was your day?

Every evening when my husband comes home from work and we sit down to dinner, he asks me two questions. How was your day, and what did you do today?

My answers are invariably the same. Good. Went to the gym and worked.

By worked, I mean I did writing stuff. It sounds so inconsequential when I just say worked, so I decided to give you ( and hubby) a breakdown of what I do on an average day, so here’s what happened the other  from the moment I woke up until I finally went to bed for a few hours ( chronic insomnia, remember?)

4am, Finally got out of bed after lying there for an hour, wide awake.

405am – 530 am Checked email, answered 6 messages. Wrote 2 blogs, uploaded one then posted on social media outlets and HootSuite for the day. Social media sites included uploads of blog on twitter, Triberr, Tumblr, Linked in, Goodreads, google+ and Pinterest. Hootsuites were posted for every 2 hours.

530-6. Got hubby up, ate breakfast. Got ready for the day.

630-930 am Gym, followed by grocery shopping for the week, Target, the post office and the bank.

930-1030am put the groceries away then started laundry, vacuumed bedrooms and living area. Started dishwasher.

1030-1pm wrote in current wip; worked on Copyedits just received for Book 2 in new cooking series.

1pm-130pm ate lunch then answered emails and checked social media sites. Changed laundry and started another load.

130-500 worked on wip; and worked on Copy edits for book 2 in new cooking series, plus plotted out book 4. ( book 3 is already done!)  Folded dried laundry and put it away.

5-545 walked on treadmill and read current NetGalley book for review. Folded the remainder of done laundry, put it away.

545-630 cooked dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, set table, worked on copy edits.

630-7pm dinner and conversation ( questions!) with Hubby. Cleaned up the dinner dishes.

7-830 worked on wip, answered email, worked on blog posting for the morning. Did a few pages of the copy edits for book 2

830-10 read Netgalley again

10pm-midnight. Slept

Midnight-4 am. wide awake in bed, reliving yesterday, planning today.

So…..how was your day, and what did you do?

When I’m not exhausted, you can usually find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

My newest release, COOKING WITH KANDY is available now in e-copy and print on demand from:

kindle // Apple // Google //  Kobo //Nook

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Life challenges, New Hampshire, Romance, Strong Women