For our Give It Up For The Weekend, we have Luanna Stewart with us and she tells us what’s her way of coping is in these… let’s call them different days.
Luanna has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. She spends her days writing spicy contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and historical romance. When not torturing her heroes and heroines, she’s in her kitchen baking something delicious. She lives in Nova Scotia with her patient husband and two spoiled cats.
We are living through something that will be recorded in history books and not in a good way. During other times of national and global upheaval and tragedy, I had outlets and ways to cope. I could leave the house and distract myself from worry by taking in a movie or a show, meeting friends at the coffee shop or a restaurant, or just sitting in the neighbour’s garden and complaining about our respective offspring.
None of those options are available – or even legal, except possibly the last one. (Unfortunately it’s not quite “sit in the garden” weather here in Nova Scotia.) And while I text and talk on the phone or over an online video service, none of those can replace a hug.
My coping strategy of choice when I’m upset is to bake. I love baking any old time but I also engage in emotional baking when times are rough – followed closely by emotional eating, which is in turn followed by walking. (Walking around the neighbourhood is one thing we are allowed to do during lock-down, so I can feel less guilty about the whole baking and eating thing.)
You may be asking what I enjoy baking the most. That’s a difficult question to answer, akin to what is my favourite cookie. (Answer: all of them.) The most comforting thing for me to bake, right now, is bread. The scent of fresh baked bread is an olfactory hug, if such a thing exists.
There was a time I would hand-knead the dough for upwards of ten minutes (good workout for the arm muscles and a good way to de-stress) but then I got a stand mixer (best Mother’s Day gift ever) and now I let the machine do the hard work. I still enjoy the fruits of its labours though. And I still hand-knead an old family recipe for Shredded Wheat Bread that makes too much dough to fit in the bowl of my mixer.
Anyway, back to the homemade bread. Yum! You’re supposed to wait until the bread cools completely, because of steam or molecules or something, before slicing, but that’s a rule that begs to be broken. Who can wait when that extraordinarily luscious smell is permeating the house? When that golden loaf of deliciousness is sitting on the cooling rack, its flanks exposed to the air and the razor sharp bread knife? I suspect that whoever made that ridiculous rule possessed too much willpower than was good for him or her.
One of my favourite quick and easy breads is English Muffin Toasting Bread from the geniuses at King Arthur Flour. No kneading required, just a few minutes of mixing. A quick rise, a half-hour of baking, and you’ve got a gorgeous loaf of bread that makes the best toast. (I’ve succumbed to temptation and sliced the bread while it is still warm and neither the bread nor I suffered ill effects.)
So good. My mouth is watering just thinking of a slice of this beauty, lightly toasted, and slathered with butter (real butter, of course). Heaven! And in these times of uncertainty, we all need some homey comfort.
Do you make your own bread? Have a favourite recipe?
If you’re running out of reading material (my TBR pile is finally starting to shrink) and if you enjoy a steamy, small-town romance, check out my latest release…
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And, as she said, here it is, Luanna’s latest release.
If I Didn’t Care (MacLeod’s Cove Book 1) by Luanna Stewart released in November in the Contemporary Romance genre.
Guess who’s moving in next door? Nicole Bennett is used to bad luck—it’s kind of a family curse. She’s spent the past year stitching her life back together after losing her dream job. Well, it paid the rent. Now stuck working at her family’s grocery store while wrangling a demoralized dad and a spoiled-brat sister, the last thing she needs is for the man who wrecked her life to move in next door, even if it is for only three weeks. So what if he’s sexier than sin and makes her believe in fairy tale endings?
Ross Calvert’s life in the fast lane crashed when he lost his job and fiancée. All he’s got to show for years of hard work are a sleek sports car and a closet full of designer suits – minus the closet. Determined to salvage his relationship with his best friend, he trades in the corporate life for a brief stint as a caregiver. The decision was simple—until he discovers the tempting vixen he wronged lives next door. Maybe she’s what he needs to reboot his life.
What starts off as a no-strings fling soon veers into making promises that might be impossible to keep.