Baking, Breads, Muffins & Donuts

Blue Moon

“And we live so close that we probably seen
the same bird, the same time
they solemnly scream
One day, I’ll find just that friend who can see
all this weird beauty
thrown right at me”
Thrown Right At Me, The Tallest Man on Earth

The Tallest Man on Earth

How do you respond when things are ‘thrown right at you’? Some examples of real life things thrown at me in no particular order. Things that are all beautiful, crazy and true. A little bump in the road of a romantic relationship? New baby in the family? A new engagement announced via a social media network (not me)? A best friend learning the ropes of motherhood while you get to listen…in awe….as she unravels her tales (and you know that bff’s always give you the real story leaving no details to spare)? Talk about amazing! Oh, yes, there are parts of my ‘real life’ job that have been pushing back, unyielding, when all I want to do is teach these kids to the very best of my ability. I have taken a step back to wonder…will the kids that I teach turn up at a music festival one day and become completely caught up in the spirit of the music as I was this past summer?  I had the great fortune of hearing The Tallest Man on Earth this summer at the 2012 Newport Folk Festival. His performance had me spellbound and long after the festival ended his music has been echoing through my head.  He entered onto the stage, bathed in a red light, and began to play. He played his guitar with such tenderness and care one could have mistaken this as a dance between partners. There was a slight hush over the crowd as the wind softly blew and the green trees swayed. As I looked around me the audience was listening with rapt attention as the stories unfolded, watching, smiling, softly singing along and dancing with their eyes half closed. There was nothing between he and the audience but for his quiet playing of the guitar and a voice which will rattle you to the core.

And lets talk about this blog of mine that started out as a hobby in the summer of 2009.  I am continually trying to push myself farther, branch out in more directions and do you know that it makes me the absolute happiest little lady lately? I believe for me, the greatest attraction to blogging about food is finding ‘that’ recipe that just begs for me to make it. The seasons are changing according to the leaves on the trees, the temperature is cool one day and humid the next. My guide through navigating these waters, deciding upon the next food project or recipe to try is one part inspiration, one part intuition, and many parts of cooking from the heart.

Fall Apples

I was just a little over-the-top happy that my boyfriend, Sweet Z, made it home safely from Ireland mere hours before this bacchanalian feast. He delivered the tales of his trip as if he were in a production of The Playboy of the Western World by John Millington Synge. Each word he spoke drew me in, spellbound, deeper into the plot and his descriptions of the cliffs were so vivid I felt as though I could have been there snapping pictures of the beautiful blue, green waters below. (Yes, it made me swoon). And we ate cake at midnight (or so it seemed). Then I found that glass of pinot noir (yes, it was delicious). That cake was so light, fluffy, and delicately studded with deep purple spots of  whole, sweet blackberries. After eating my fair share I  reluctantly put down my fork. That night I dreamt about eating that cake and the next day I set forth to make a healthier version of Apple Buckle.

What can I say? I followed the recipe to a ‘t’. To my tastes this cake was unfulfilling. I found it to be heavy, dense, and the flavors were muted. The brown sugar topping added a nice crunch atop the cake layer though I wished the cake layer was lighter in texture. Sometimes my grand ideas are more for wanting to recreate a memory than the particular food itself I think!

The breakdown: this cake was studded with fresh apples (thanks to my brother) which added some much needed moisture. There was whole wheat involved to make me believe it was the healthy choice to make for dessert. This also allowed me to try ‘just another slice’ to see if I could taste the healthy part. Or ‘just one more bite’ to be able to accurately describe to you what I was eating. I had made this dessert for a dinner party with friends. Their reaction was favorable – they enjoyed the cake. It also pairs well with coffee the next morning! Hey, a blogger has to fully research, right?!

Re-do for extra credit: If I were to make this again I would substitute a greek plain yogurt for the milk, add in some chopped candied ginger to the cake batter (only because I am obsessed with this at the moment), a splash of bourbon, and a few grates of fresh nutmeg. I would bake it in a bundt pan versus the larger and mini bread pans I used.

Apple Buckle

Sometimes you have steller recipes and other times you are left adding a generous scoop of ice cream to help things out. It is ok if you add a tiny bit of ice cream. There are times when adapting to the current situation and rolling with it just works to get you through to the other side.

You have no idea how much I appreciate you for being so kind in your comments, encouragement and taking time to read this blog o’ mine! thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU! So tell me…how do you respond when things are thrown right at you? Remember, sharing is caring (yes, I am a teacher)! Leave a comment below!

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