Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rodelle. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands and companies that help to support Floating Kitchen!
On Tuesday, I made bread. In the morning, my hands gently worked the dough. I kneaded it, rolled it, shaped it and braided it. I made it pretty. I watched as the heat from my fireplace helped it to rise to it’s full potential. And I watched my social media feed fill up with announcements from friends who had voted. The hashtag #ImWithHer seemed to dominate the landscape.
That afternoon as my bread baked, my house filled with warm, comforting smells of vanilla and cinnamon. I audibly squealed as I removed the braided loaf from my oven, absolutely delighted over just how beautiful it looked. The swirl was somewhat hypnotic. While the blushing sweep of cranberries provided just the right pop of color. It was perfect.
I anxiously awaited for it to cool. I snapped my photos and took my first bites. I felt happy and accomplished.
But as the day wore on, I struggled to hang onto those feelings. The election coverage that evening caused me to stress eat almost half the loaf, sending me into some kind of a carbohydrate-induced downward spiral. And eventually, I found myself too mentally and emotionally exhausted to even stay awake for the duration of the reporting. I went to bed not knowing the final outcome. In the morning when I checked my phone, I cried. And then I called my Mom and cried some more.
Pajama-clad, I re-warmed some bread and ate it reluctantly. Later, I shared a slice with my neighbor in his backyard. And we both tried to breath.
I think it’s safe to say we’ve got some work to do. Although, I have to admit that I’m not 100% sure what that means or where to even start. But for now, I bake. And listen. And love. And vow to not grow weary.
This Cranberry Pecan Braided Bread certainly won’t solve our problems. But maybe make yourself a loaf and find some comfort and solace in that action. Share a loaf with a friend (or perhaps an enemy). And take care of yourself and the people around you. It’s the least we can do for one another.
I’ve partnered with Rodelle to bring you today’s recipe. Rodelle’s vanilla extracts and other baking essentials are top notch, and I’ve been using them exclusively in my kitchen for years now (did you know they also have a line of savory products!). When I’m cooking and baking with Rodelle ingredients, I’m completely confident that my recipes will turn out to be total show stoppers. And that’s an awesome feeling to have.
I’m also proud to work with a company that not only supports their farmers and growers abroad, but also derives 100% of their energy from wind power and other alternative sources. I hope that more companies will follow their lead.
This Cranberry Pecan Braided Bread might just steal the spotlight at your next Holiday gathering. And as your guests “ooh and ahh” over it’s festive presentation, you’ll be secretly smiling on the inside knowing that it actually wasn’t all that difficult to bake (I promise it’s not nearly as intimidating as it looks!). So be sure to stock up on some essential Rodelle baking ingredients this season, and let’s rock this whole Holiday entertaining thing!
Recipe adapted from my Braided Cinnamon, Apple and Pecan Bread
Despite the oppressive weather this weekend, I temporarily lifted my “no oven” embargo to bake up a batch of these Blackberry-Chocolate Chunk Muffins.
And let me tell you, it was totally worth it. I may have gotten miserably hot and sweaty from cranking my oven up to 375 degrees. But a dozen moist, fluffy muffins bursting with fresh blackberries and chunks of dark chocolate is a force to be reckoned with. I just couldn’t say “no”.
I’ve been on a serious muffin kick lately ever since I made these Blueberry-Basil Muffins. To be honest, I had kind of forgotten about how much I liked homemade muffins. But they are leaps and bounds above those typical dense, softball-sized muffins that you find in coffee shops. And once you zero in on a base recipe that you love, homemade muffins are endlessly customizable. I’ve been making versions of the recipe from this book for a couple of years of now, often swapping out or adding ingredients. And whatever I seem to do to them, they always come out great.
Also, muffins are basically as close as you can get to enjoying cake for breakfast without actually eating a slice of cake. And I’m very down with that.