My first novel ended with a song celebrating love worth waiting for and worth healing for. Here’s the recording I made of “Honey Drop Rock” when I was writing the first draft of Can’t Buy Me Love back in April 2012:

My current work in progress navigates a very different part of love, but it still involves waiting (and tea. Lots of tea.).

I’ve spent all my writing moments these past months working on my next manuscript. The writing time has been minimal due to the intensity of twin pregnancy and preparing to welcome our boys next month. I’m not complaining; bearing children is an amazing gift, and I am very grateful to have good care. But twins? Very hard on the body. We’re entering the homestretch, with about six weeks till we expect our little boys. The cribs and car seats are in place, the first months of clothing and diapers are at the ready, and all the piles of domesticity are beginning to sort themselves.

The author, barefoot and pregnant and cooking. The twins are tucked under that apron!

The author, barefoot and pregnant and cooking. The twins are tucked under that apron!

I have become very aware of the calendar these past months. Each day that the twins gestate is a day in favor of their health. Then, there’s our little homeschool. Every day needs a small enrichment activity. So far, they have all increased our joy [and sometimes our messes]. Writing has its place even when my manuscript stares blankly back at me. I tap out notes in the middle of the night or scribble emails to myself. My preferred discipline of writing every day has slipped a little in favor of sleeping every day. Then there are the holy days and holidays that draw my attention outside my usual routine.

The upcoming Valentine’s Day has made me think of chocolate – no surprise if you’ve ever met a very pregnant woman before. Because of my soy allergy, I typically make my own chocolate desserts rather than purchasing them. Whether romance gives you butterflies or turns your stomach this year, here’s a little gift from me to you that might help your predicament:

Summer’s Favorite Brownies

(Based on the Mmm-Mmm Better Brownies Recipe on Allrecipes.com [original here])

Makes a 9″ x 13″ pan of brownies – trust me, you’ll want the double batch.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks of cultured butter, melted
  • 2 cups sugar (any combination of sugars – I use coconut sugar most of the time)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder (Rumford is the brand I use)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sea salt (or 1/2 teaspoon regular salt)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs (works with duck eggs, too, though I add 2 Tablespoons more flour with duck eggs since they are bigger)
  • 1 cup flour (I use 1/2 cup whole wheat, 1/4 cup regular flour, and 1/4 cup peanut butter powder. See below for GF variation)
  • 3/4 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional, but important for GF variation)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9″x13″ baking pan. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Add other ingredients except chocolate chips to the bowl and stir till well combined, then add chocolate chips. Spread batter into the pan evenly. Bake for 22-25 minutes. If your oven runs cool, you may have to add a couple of more minutes. Brownies pull away a bit from the sides when they are done. Let cool as long as you can manage before cutting and serving/eating.

Gluten-Free version: In place of wheat flour, use 1 cup of quinoa flour and 2 tablespoons of peanut powder. There is no need for additional gums, as the eggs bind the brownies well. If you would like to use almond flour, leave out the espresso powder. Quinoa flour has a strong flavor that tastes better when masked a bit by peanut powder and espresso powder, but almond flour has its own sweetness. If I have duck eggs, the almond flour is way worth it! Almonds and duck eggs are a true love story.

Enjoy! And if you want a quirky love story read this weekend, please have a look at Can’t Buy Me Love!