Today we’re happy to welcome back award-winning and bestselling author Karen Rose Smith who will see her 87th novel published this year. Although she’s written romance novels for over twenty years, she’s now branched out into mysteries and women's fiction. Learn more about Karen and her books at her mystery website, romance website, and blog.
I came from an Italian heritage of sitting around the table—talking, laughing and arguing—and making each meal at my grandmother's house an event. Dessert was always a meal extender whether it was cannoli for Christmas, fried dough balls dipped in honey for Easter, or Sunday dinner chocolate cake. Dessert gave us extra time to sit at the table and enjoy each other's company. My mother followed the tradition. She was a third grade teacher. Often she would bake layer cake or sponge cake in the morning before we caught the school bus! We'd either use it that night or freeze it for dinner to share with company on the weekend. Just as she served a salad and crunchy bread every night for dinner, she would always serve dessert.
I've followed my mother's and grandmother's traditions because I like to cook. When my son was small, we baked and sold fruit breads at craft fairs. I entered cooking contests. He helped me make at least a dozen different kinds of cookies for Christmas to give away. Each meal was topped with something homemade. Now, of course, life and diets have changed. Fruit is often our dessert of choice. But once in awhile I bake for us besides company desserts because we need something special to remind us of traditions I'll never forget.
Speaking of desserts...
My sleuth Caprice De Luca also likes to cook (along with home staging, taking in strays and finding them homes, and wearing retro fashion.) In Deadly Decor, the second book in the Caprice De Luca Home Staging series, her neighbor encourages her to pick fresh blueberries, and this bread is what I and Caprice created. I hope you enjoy it!
Caprice’s Blueberry Vanilla Pecan Bread
2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons sour cream
4 teaspoons imitation vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk (2%)
2 large eggs
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries, de-stemmed, washed and well-drained. (I put a paper towel in a bowl and let them roll around on that before adding to batter.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-1/2” x 4” x 2-1/2” loaf pans.
Beat all ingredients except nuts and fruit in mixer bowl (scraping bowl often) on mix or blend until batter is smooth, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Stir in nuts by hand, then fold in blueberries.
Divide batter between the two pans. Bake 60 minutes at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean.
Book 2 in Karen Rose Smith's Caprice De Luca cozy mystery series.
Quiet Kismet, Pennsylvania, may look like any other small town, but as a home stager, Caprice De Luca can see behind closed doors--and it seems someone has designs on murder. . .Life is a full house for Caprice these days. She's dating, she's rescuing adorable cocker spaniels, and she's decorating the roomy interiors of Kismet's most well-heeled residents with fun fantasy themes. But she's worried about her pregnant sister. Bella's marriage is coming apart like a bad wallpaper job, and to make matters worse, she's decided to meet up with a former flame Bob Preston, a house painter Caprice frequently employs. When he's found dead in a pool of green paint swirling with blood, it's time for Caprice to stage an investigation. With all eyes trained on Bella's husband, Caprice shifts her attention from finding the perfect curtains to finding the perfect culprit. . .