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Monday, October 24, 2016

Pumpkin Einkorn Muffins | Life After Coffee

Pumpkin Einkorn Muffins | Life After Coffee
Today I'm happy to be hosting a TLC book tours stop for the first novel by Virginia Franken. Centered around 30-something wife, mom, and coffee buyer Amy O'Hara, Life After Coffee delves into the somewhat taboo storyline of a working mom who actually enjoys her life. Amy has a hunky husband (Peter) who takes care of their two young children (Billy, 5 and Violet, 3) while she travels the world in 6-week stretches, sourcing the finest coffee beans and connecting with farmers and is happy to be the sole breadwinner in the family.

Her life tumbles down around her when her boss sells his company due to troubles in the coffee industry and she's left without a job. Peter is only too happy to immediately hand over the reigns so that he can finish the screenplay he's been working on for five years. Hilarity and hijinks ensue as Amy realizes that she really has no idea how to fill the parental role she's been thrust into.

On top of connecting with her kids and the world teachers and moms that come with them, she also has to deal with the everyday activities that Peter used to do. Vacuuming, dishes, laundry, shopping...Peter quit everything cold turkey once she was home.

To make matters worse, Amy's ex (from right before Peter) is now back in her life, and she's even more confused. She fed her lactose-intolerant son cheese...twice. She had a sorta-kinda affair with the ex. She lost a child. She got into fights. She applied for jobs with kids in tow.

So, both Amy and Peter sound kind of unlikable from my description, and I almost wanted to find them unlikable, but they weren't. As a parent, a wife, and a woman, I actually found many of the situations relatable. I mean, oftentimes in an exaggerated or satirical sense, but that's often how I see life, so...

The only thing I wished there were more of was "coffee geekery". There was one scene that hinted on it with "cupping", but I would have loved to have learned more. There were mentions of food...bacon, eggs, sandwiches, applesauce...but coffee was really the main focus.

I would have loved to have made a really clever coffee house drink to go along with Life After Coffee, but I was in a time crunch (of my own doing), and opted instead to make something that might be enjoyed alongside a good cup of coffee. I went with muffins...pumpkin, because...October.

Life After Coffee

Life After Coffee

author: Virginia Franken
publisher: Lake Union Publishing (September 13, 2016)
genre: Literature & Fiction | Women's Fiction | Humor & Satire
soft cover:266 pages

"foodie" read: No...but kind of, due to the coffee aspect.

opening sentence: Bacon. Peter always cook bacon for breakfast on Departure Days

teaser: When globe-trotting coffee buyer, Amy O’Hara, assures her husband—who stays at home to watch the kids—that it is He Who Has it Harder… she doesn’t really believe it. That is, until the day she gets laid off, her husband decides to devote all his waking hours to writing a screenplay, and she discovers she’s actually the world’s most incompetent mother.

Amy’s only possible salvation is to find another high-flying job as quickly as possible, but with the coffee industry imploding around her—and the competing buyers in her field being much hipper prospects—things look pretty dire. Even if Amy does manage to find full-time employment ever again, as her life slowly becomes more and more entwined with her children’s, how will she be able to bear leaving them to travel for weeks on end?

When salvation appears in the form of a movie-mogul ex-boyfriend who wants to employ her husband and rekindle their relationship, Amy starts to find she’s sorely tempted…

about the author: Virginia Franken was born and raised in Medway, Kent, the place where Henry the 8th sent his wives on holiday in the hope that they’d be eaten alive by mosquitoes and save him the trouble of beheading them. Most her childhood was spent wearing a dance leotard and tights, and at age 11 she attended the (sort of) prestigious dance school The Arts Education School, Tring, where she spent her teen years trying to do pique turns in a straight line and getting drunk in the village. (The inability to do the former possibly informed by too much opportunity to do the latter).

After graduating from The University of Roehampton, she worked on cruise liners as a professional dancer before deciding she’d had enough of wearing diamanté g-strings for a living and somehow managed to bag a job in book publishing. Getting fed up of having to choose between paying the rent or buying groceries, she eventually moved from London to Los Angeles where life was affordable and every time she opened her mouth she got to act all surprised and flattered when someone said they liked her accent. She then spent years trying to convince everyone else that it was them who had the accent, but this was never met with anything more emphatic than a polite, “Is that so…”

author Virginia FrankenThese days she lives in Monrovia, near to Pasadena, with two kids, a dog, one ever-lasting goldfish and her bearded lover, in a house that’s just a little bit too small to fit everyone in quite comfortably. She gets most of her writing done when she should be sleeping. LIFE AFTER COFFEE is her first novel. If enough people buy a copy, there’s a good chance she’ll write another…

connect with the author: website | facebook | twitter | instagram

recipe inspired by the book: Pumpkin Einkorn Muffins


yield: 9 muffinsprint recipe
Pumpkin Einkorn Muffins | Life After Coffee

Pumpkin Einkorn Muffins

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 25 MINStotal time: 35 mins
These moist spice-infused pumpkin muffins are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of really good coffee.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose einkorn flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease or line 9 muffin cups with liners.
  2. Combine all of the dry ingredients for the muffins in a large bowl.
  3. Combine all of the wet ingredients in a separate bowl or large glass measuring cup with a spout.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Whisk or stir together until just combined and no dry spots remain.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups.
  6. Slide into preheated oven and bake for 25-27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Set on a wire rack to cool.
  1. If you like, you can top with with a streusel/crumb topping before baking and/or sprinkle them with powdered sugar once cool.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.