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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Back home and baking--Kandy Shepherd






Jet lag has struck. It’s five in the morning and I’m wide, wide, awake while the rest of the household slumbers. I can’t even convince a cat to keep me company.

So what am I doing? I’m baking.

After two exciting weeks away with writing friends visiting New York City for the Romance Writers of America convention and then up to Boston for Independence Day, my head is buzzing with plot points for new novels; with characters jostling for their chance to be born as people on paper. But I’m baking. I’ve relished the chance to eat out for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Matzo ball soup and cheesecake in New York. Clam chowder and lobster
in Boston. Steak in Dallas, Texas, on an unscheduled stop-over. Room service burgers with sweet potato fries. Ah, the delight of no food to prepare, no dishes to wash.

So here I am in the kitchen making three types of muffins. Black & White Choc Chip. Peach and Walnut. Rhubarb Crumble. (See above for the rhubarb ones.) My teenage daughter and her friends are asleep upstairs, and I’m anticipating their delight when they follow their noses downstairs to the kitchen. Because toward the end of the trip my thoughts kept turning to my family, my animals, my garden—and the pleasure I get from cooking. I missed it. Okay, talk to me again in a few weeks when I’m back in the daily grind of meals-on-the-table and you might hear a different stress-screamed story. But right now I’m happy with that apron tied around my waist, using a recipe from my head and a wooden spoon to stir my gladness at being home into the muffin mix. And thinking about my characters who cook.

PS. Why did I bother with putting fruit in the muffins? The rhubarb I picked from the garden (pic above) and stewed with vanilla bean and cinnamon quill? Of course the kids only wanted the chocolate ones! When will I learn? But yes, my daughter was pleased to wake, smell something wonderful wafting upstairs from the kitchen and be glad her mother was home. (And my husband
was only too happy to polish off the peach and the rhubarb muffins.)

Is there something or someone you’re glad to get back to when your vacation is over? Please leave a comment for a chance to win a signed trade paperback copy of either of my novels HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS or LOVE IS A FOUR-LEGGED WORD (there’s lots of muffin baking going on in that book!) and include your email address and which book you would prefer if you want to be in the draw.

34 comments:

marybelle said...

If I go away without my children, I know they are glad to have me back, just as I am happy to see them. You may send the peach and rhubarb muffins my way thank you.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Cyber muffins on their way, Marybelle!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Hi, Kandy! It was wonderful to see you in New York! I'm glad to hear you're cooking up new plots. And don't those muffins look gorgeous?! I hope MaryBelle might like to split those cyber muffins with me!

This is the last day of my US holiday. I haven't missed my kitchen too much--or rather cleaning up after cooking. The closest I've come to cooking is fixing toast for brekky just now. :) But I have missed my hubby and fur kids very much. There's just a 15-hour flight between us now!

Happy baking, and I hope the jet lag disappears soon.

runner10 said...

I love to see my labs when I get home. Two smiling faces greet me.
The muffins look delicious.
I would love to read either book.

csdsksds[at]gmail[dot]com

Jo's Daughter said...

I never had rhubard muffins but they sound great. Will look up a recipe online....

Jo's Daughter said...
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Laney4 said...

Hey there, Kandy!
It's great to see you here!
Since I am usually with my family on vacation, I would have to say I am glad to get back to my instant access to the Internet. (I don't own a laptop.) Mind you, most of my emails need to be deleted right away, but I do keep in touch with a lot of people via emails (and via phone calls, one-on-one contact, and even snail mails).
Since I absolutely loved reading HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS, I would like to win LOVE IS A FOUR-LEGGED WORD instead.
I hope you're having a great weekend so far!
seytype at hotmail dot com

Estella said...

I am always glad to get back to my own bed.

Would love to have Home Is Where The Bark Is.

kissinoak at frontier dot com

Lil said...

I tend to vacation with my family and we all have a blast. So I usually end up missing friends during the last bit of vacation. You know the sensation of experiencing something and thinkingm, "I have got to tell XXXX about this!"

little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

Lil said...

Oops...should have added that I would love Love is a Four-Legged Word.

Kandy Shepherd said...
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Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Vanessa, it was so lovely to catch up with you, even if so briefly. I hope you have a safe trip home and get a huge welcome from both husband and fur kids!

My furry friends gave me a big welcome too, though one of my cats Tabby was a bit "how dare you leave me" for a while!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi runner 10, I have a lovely image of your labs greeting you with big smiles and wagging tails. There are few things more endearing than a doggy smile!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Jo's daughter, I would happily send you the rhubarb muffin recipe but I made that one up.
I never cared for rhubarb--memories of my grandmother making me eat it, disguising it in jelly and pretending it would be nice. Then when we bought our little farm there was a flourishing rhubarb plant (in my picture) and my husband kept asking me to please cook some for him. When I did, I was surprised to find I actually liked it. I think my grandmother forgot the sugar!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi laney, thanks for your kind words about HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS, so glad you liked it!

I miss reliable internet access too when I am away. Though there seems to be free wi fi everywhere these days, it doesn't work as well for me on my phone and, like you, I'm glad to get back to my desktop.

Amazing how reliant we are on email and internet these days, it truly brings the world closer.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Yes, Estella, there is nothing like your own bed, is there? When you snuggle in to your own bed, you really know you're home.

Though I have to say, the hotels I stayed in this trip had the most amazingly comfortable beds with wonderful pillows. I'm thinking I might have to do a bed-makeover on mine!

Kandy Shepherd said...

I know just what you mean Lil. On this trip I was with friends and it was the family I started to miss at the end. When I'm with family, it's the friends I start to miss. Aren't we lucky to have both wonderful families and wonderful friends!

Anna Campbell said...

Kandy, YUM!!! I'll happily have the leftovers. Actually I know exactly what you mean about travelling and wanting to be home. One of the great pleasures of travelling for me is that I DON'T have to cook. And then by the time I get home, I'm tonguing for something I'd make for myself. Novelty wears off, I have to say! I remember in NY one visit, I had cooking facilities in my hotel room. I bought steak and potatoes and broccoli to have the sort of meal I make (and get heartily sick of!). Cost me much more to buy the ingredients than it did to go to a diner but I still remember how that mashed potato just melted in my mouth. Yum! Actually I've just been cooking up a frenzy too. Got a friend coming to stay for a few days which means a few more elaborate meals. Just done strog and a very nice apple cinnamon crumble. Glad the girls liked the results of all your hard work!

Laney4 said...

Oh! Is that a Pampered Chef rack under the muffins? I have a couple of them and think they are the greatest things. Use them all the time for baking sheets hot out of the oven, as well as two big pots of food from the stovetop (like spaghetti and meatsauce/meatball pots).

Sharon Archer said...

Kandy, whenever you talk about food, it's with such loving relish that it makes me hungry to raid the kitchen cupboard and do some cooking!

Your muffins sound divine!

When I'm away from home, if I'm travelling on my own, it's my dh that I can't wait to get back to! If we're travelling together, it's just the comfort of our familiar space.

I hope you recover form the jetlag soon - it's not a great feeling, is it!
:)
Sharon

Annie West said...

Kandy, sorry to be so late dropping by. I only just saw your blog!

Love the sound of all that cooking going on at your place. Yum!

We've recently come back from a short break and it was great to come home to our old pooch who was excited to see us.

Laurie G said...

Vacations are stressful for me. I don't like the unknown. So returning to the familiar, getting back into my normal routine is what I'm glad to get back to.

Thanks for the chance to win Home is Where the Bark Is.

johnslake at usa dot com

traveler said...

Love to travel and don't often but I miss the dogs. The muffins looks delectable. Yum!elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

Holidays are wonderful and something that I treasure. I do miss the homey touches and comforts. Love those muffins. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey Anna, thanks for taking time out from your own kitchen to call by. Yes, the novelty of non-stop restaurant cooking does wear off (though I could never tire of not having to clean up the kitchen!).

I've kept on cooking since I got home, slow-cooked shoulder of lamb with handfuls of herbs from the garden; poached chicken with loads of veggies to make up for all the fries I devoured while away!

Hope you have a lovely visit with your friends, I'd say they will be very happy with the bounty from your kitchen!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Laney, I can't remember where I got the rack under the muffins--I just know it's a good one! Thanks for the tip about using a rack for baking sheets and pots, in all my years of cooking I hadn't thought of that!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Sharon, having had the pleasure of meeting your wonderful dh, I'm, not at all surprised he is the one you can't wait to get back to! And yes, returning to the comfort of familiar spaces is one of the joys of traveling.Thanks so much for calling by!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Thanks for dropping in, Annie. Yes, the welcome from our animals really is special isn't it?

My cat Albert (Ancient Albert) turned 20 the day I got home and I cannot tell you how relieved and happy I was to see him tottering down the hallway to greet me.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Laurie G, I know just what you mean. I love traveling and this last trip was loads of fun with scarcely a second to get homesick. But sometimes when I'm away, I lie in my hotel bed and imagine myself back home in my own home with everything familiar around me.

I'm far from being back in routine yet, though. This jetlag is turning a life-long night owl into a lark!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Traveler, I miss my animals too. And I'm sure they miss us. One of my cats has not been off my lap since I got home.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi petite, yes it's the homey touches and comforts that hotels try to replicate but nothing can match our own familiar things!

Kandy Shepherd said...
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Kandy Shepherd said...

Thank you everyone for your comments--seems like all of us like to go on vacation but are glad to get home to the comforts of home!

I've decided to draw two names this month.

The winner of a copy of HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS is runner10.

The winner of a copy of LOVE IS A FOUR-LEGGED is Laney4. Congratulations!

Laney4 said...

Thanks, Kandy. Email has been sent.
Congrats to runner10. There is no doubt in my mind that you'll love the book! Happy reading!