Friday, January 8, 2016

Comfort Foods & Creature Comforts by Loree Lough and Cerella Sechrist

“We Talk to Ourselves…a LOT… (And in the wintertime, we surround ourselves with comfort foods and creature comforts!)” by Cerella Sechrist and Loree Lough

Hard to believe we’re screeching toward the end of January, 2016, isn’t it? What better way to forget that we’re still writing 2015 on our checks than by hearing what a couple of Heartwarming heroines do to brighten and warm these long winter days…and nights….

CONNOR and HARPER from HARPER'S WISH


HARPER: When I was working as a restaurant critic in Washington D.C., winter was one of my favorite times of year. Mostly because of the hot chocolate.

CONNOR: Well, there's a fact I didn't know about you, Love.

HARPER: Every girl has to have a secret or two. My hot chocolate recipe is mine.

(CONNOR, FINN, and SAM groan.)

FINN LEARY from THE FIREFIGHTER'S REFRAIN


FINN: Come on, Harper! You can't hold out on us like that!

HARPER: Okay, okay. I'll share the recipe if you can figure out the secret ingredient.

SAM: It's a deal. Hand it over.

(Hot chocolate is passed around.)

SAM MARSHALL from THE FIREFIGHTER'S REFRAIN


FINN: Oh, wow. That's fantastic. What is that flavoring...cinnamon?

SAM: No, it's not quite cinnamon. Is it cloves?

CONNOR: It's got some heat. Chili! It's chili pepper!

HARPER: I should have known that, as a chef, you'd figure it out.

FINN: You can't be serious. (FINN stares into his mug.) You put chili peppers in this?


HARPER: Well, I place a dried and seeded chili pepper in with the whole milk and let it simmer to take absorb the flavors. I also add in some vanilla bean to balance out the heat and add a touch of sweetness. I like to add a pinch of ground ginger and cinnamon, too. Along with the best dark chocolate you can find.

CONNOR: It's Xocolatl.

SAM: Excuse me?

HARPER: (laughts) It's Aztec hot chocolate.

FINN: (Sipping the cocoa) Well, it’s the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted! It reminds me of the winter my family spent in Lake Tahoe, when my wanna-be stars sang at a ski lodge. It was one trip when my sister Ciara and I didn’t mind not seeing much of them—because we enjoyed stay-home snow days for two whole weeks!

HARPER: Wanna-be stars?

FINN: That was harsh. And a little unfair. (Sighs.) Let’s just say…they tried real hard to make it.

HARPER: (Nodding.) At least you learned to ski, right?

FINN: (Laughing) Not unless you call sliding down the Bunny Slope on my behind ‘skiing’! The best thing about coming inside in snow-caked ski suits and boots? The rib-sticking stews and hearty soups the chef let us taste-test before serving them to the guests. How about a bowl of the one Ciara and I voted “Best in the West!”

CONNOR: I was hoping you’d ask! The aroma of that stuff has my stomach rumbling!


FINN: (Swinging faucet away from the pot’s lid.) Nice of Sam to install a pot-filler at the stove, just for big-kettle recipes like this, wasn’t it?

HARPER: So how many ranch hands and Marshall family members will get to enjoy what’s left after I have my share? (She winks.)

FINN: There won’t be an empty seat on those long benches at the table. (Wistful sigh.) I have to admit…I thought I’d hate living here on the Double M.

CONNOR: (Glancing around the rustic kitchen.) After that horseback tour of the ranch this morning, it’s easy to see why the place grew on you.

FINN: So tell me, you two, what’s your favorite thing about Findlay Roads?

(HARPER and CONNOR look at each other and grin.)

HARPER: It's the best little town on the Chesapeake. You know it's a popular vacation destination? But my favorite thing about it has to be this amazing restaurant called Callahan's... (grins)

SAM: (rolls his eyes) Any relation to Mr. Connor Callahan standing here?

CONNOR: One and the same, of course.

HARPER: Seriously, though, the restaurant is just part of the charm. The town is beautiful, situated on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. And the community is wonderful. There are some great locals, and every summer, there's a flood of tourists who arrive for the season. There's always something happening in Findlay Roads.

FINN: It actually sounds like a pretty neat place. It makes me worried you might not enjoy your time here on the ranch! Is your room comfortable?

HARPER: Are you kidding? I love it! Connor and I were just saying a little bit ago how gorgeous the view is.

CONNOR: You have some grand pastures here. It's quite the scenic picture with those gracing cattle and horses.

HARPER: And I love the quilt decorating my bed. It reminds me a little of the crocheted afghans my grandma used to make. Perfect for keeping cozy on a cold winter's night!


FINN: I love it, too. (Wistful smile.) Sam gave it to me on the night I moved into this house. His way of saying “Welcome to my world…my cold, snowy, blustery world!” (Laughing.) It warmed me in more ways than one, and not just because his grandmother made it for him when he was a boy. I guess that’s why I keep it in the guest room—especially at this time of year—so everyone has a chance to share that feeling.

SAM (wrapping his arm around Finn's waist): Enough reminiscing. I can hear Connor's stomach rumbling louder every minute.

CONNOR: It was a long flight from Maryland to Colorado! And those airplane snacks don't last a man very long.

FINN: (laughs) Okay, I get it. Let's serve up this grub!

***

LOREE: Well, I don’t know about you guys, but suddenly, I’m starving!

CERELLA: Me, too! And for some-odd reason, I have a strange yen to wrap up in that QUILT and get back to that Heartwarming romance I’m working on! Connor's sister, Rory, is at the center of the next Findlay Roads story. Her ex-boyfriend, Sawyer, is returning to town after making it big as a country music superstar. I have a feeling Finn and Sam probably know a few of his hits!

LOREE: I can’t wait to get my hands on that one!

CERELLA: And your next Heartwarming releases in May, right?

LOREE: Yup. The Firefighter’s Refrain releases in May, and by this time next month, I might be able to share the cover…and even the back jacket blurb.

CERELLA: Should we tell them about the February blog, Loree?

LOREE: It might have something to do with Valentine’s Day. But you know us, friends… It won’t be the usual Valentine’s Day theme!

And don't forget to check select Wal-Marts, starting this month, for Heartwarming titles!



You can also now purchase print copies at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble!



Check back with us on February 12 for the next edition of..."We Talk to Ourselves...a Lot!"




About Loree:

With nearly 6,000,000 books in circulation, best-selling author Loree Lough's titles have earned numerous 4- and 5-star reviews and industry awards. She splits her time between her home in Baltimore and a cabin in the Alleghenies (where she loves to show off her “Identify the Critter Tracks” skills). The release of Sweet Mountain Rancher (#2 in the “Those Marshall Boys” series for Harlequin's new Heartwarming line) brings Loree’s number of books in print to 105! Loree loves to hear from her readers and answers every letter, personally. Visit her at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and www.loreelough.com!


About Cerella:

 CERELLA SECHRIST lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. Inspired by her childhood love of stories, she was ten years old when she decided she wanted to become an author. These days, Cerella divides her time between working in the office of her family’s construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. She’s been known to post too many pug photos on both Instagram and Pinterest. You can see for yourself by finding her online at www.cerellasechrist.com. Harper’s Wish, Book #1 in her Findlay Roads series, is her third Harlequin Heartwarming novel.

33 comments:

  1. Thank you for another fun post, Cerella and Loree. You always make me feel as if I'm visiting with old friends!

    I'm looking forward to your upcoming releases!

    Best wishes for 2016!

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    1. That's because for the most part, we ARE visiting with old friends...like you! And we're looking forward to your next Heartwarming stories, too!

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    2. I think these posts are a wonderful excuse to keep spending time with our Heartwarming characters even after their stories are written! :)

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  2. Yum! I'm going to make that lasagna soup this weekend. It's just perfect with temps below freezing near me. I loved your post and can't wait for your upcoming releases :)

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    1. You won't be sorry, Karen! It's a family favorite...with good reason! We're happy that you enjoyed the post, and can't wait to devour your next Heartwarming novels!

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    2. I saw a lasagna soup recipe online the other week, but I think Finn's (aka Loree's) looks even better! I'm with Karen - I can't wait to try it!

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  3. I don't want to hear how fast January is flying by. Just got note that soon Rita books will be coming to judge. So much to read, so little time. Love the recipe--will have to try it as we have wet, yucky and they say colder weather coming to normally sunny AZ. Will look forward to your books.

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    1. I hear ya, Roz! Hope you'll enjoy the lasagna soup. I know it's always a hit at my house! Here in Baltimore, the weather has been as unpredictable as Mother Nature can get...but good food, good friends, and good books make it easier to tolerate! Looking forward to your next releases, too!

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  4. All I can say is yum! And I love the chili in the hot chocolate. I haven't put it in hot chocolate, but I have used cayenne in desserts like brownies or pumpkin bread :).

    And yay, Loree! We're May release sisters! :)

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    1. That's awesome news, Rula! I'm looking forward to your May release! As for the chili in the hot chocolate? All I can say is, Cerella knows how to spice stuff up, doesn't she! (Just one of many reasons I enjoy her books so much! ) Hope your weekend is wonderful!

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    2. I admit, I do like spicy stuff. My one friend tells me she feels like jalapenos come up a lot in any conversation with me. lol It's nice when our characters share our tastes! ;)

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    3. Sweet AND spicy...that's you, Cerella...a perfect combination!

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  5. Oh, the lasagna soup sounds great. And since it's supposed to snow Sunday in N. Mississippi, this will be a great weekend to make it. Loved the interview as always. You two make everything so fun!

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    1. The soup won't disappoint! Hope 2016 has started well for you, Patricia! And have a super weekend!

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    2. I'm with you, Patricia, I think this lasagna soup would be the perfect meal on a snowy weekend. Enjoy! :)

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  6. Such a fun post, ladies. Oh my, I'm drooling over the lasagna soup recipe!
    I look forward to your releases.

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    1. LOVE main dishes that are easy, inexpensive, and turn out great, every time. That's why the lasagna soup has long been a favorite. Hope you have a terrific weekend, Jill, and that 2016 got off to a great start for you!

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    2. That's what I love about Loree - she always comes up with recipes that are fast, no fuss, and delicious! I'm drooling right along with you, Jill!

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  7. Oh, my, that soup... Loved your post as always!

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    1. If you test the recipe, let me know how your family/friends liked it! Meanwhile, enjoy your weekend!

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    2. Thanks, Liz! You have a *delicious* weekend! :)

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  8. Just copied that soup recipe! It's on my dinner schedule next week. Thanks for another fun post, Ladies! You guys always brighten my morning.

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    1. On my list: Cerella's chili-spiced hot chocolate! Mmmm... Have a terrific weekend, Carol!

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    2. I love that we Heartwarmers are such a food-minded set. ;) I hope you love the soup, Carol!

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  9. Love the sound of the soup - even intrigues a non-cook like me. Our favorite Coffee House makes a five layer chocolate cake seasoned with chili and it's to die for, so would probably want to bathe in the hot chocolate. Good job, Ladies. We have a gorgeous day here (another one! we're all waiting for the other shoe to drop) so your warm and cheerful post is a wonderful addition. Happy day!

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    1. I used Cerella's chili pepper idea in a cup of bland green tea...and it wasn't bland anymore! Cloudy, rainy, and 40 degrees here in Baltimore (AGAIN!), but we aren't complaining: This could be snow. Arrgh! LOL Have a terrific weekend, Muriel!

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    2. lol, Loree! I hope that tea didn't singe your tongue! ;) Muriel...OH MY. I need to come visit you so you can take me to those coffee house, and I can load up on that cake. It sounds AMAZING!

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  10. I have to try that Lasagna Soup. I don't have any ranch hands around here, but I do know a couple of men who'd enjoy it!
    Cynthia

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    1. Just between you and me, Cynthia, there aren't any ranch hands around here, either. But I like to think they FEEL like cowboys once they've finished a big bowl of the stuff! LOL Have a terrific weekend!

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    2. lol, Cynthia! I think this soup would be sure to please any regular guy! :)

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  11. Omigosh, that soup sounds amazing! Thank you, Loree and Cerella, for the recipe. Great post!

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    1. Thanks, Lee! I'm with you - Loree has another winner with that soup recipe. I think we're all going to be making it this week! :)

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    2. I hope that everyone who tests this recipe will stop back in and let us know how much they liked it! Meanwhile, happy weekend, y'all!

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