Perhaps you noticed that it has been quite a while since my last post. Let’s just say it’s been quite a month. Nothing super horrible or bad, just a lot of things all at once. I’ve written a few posts, but didn’t published them for various reasons. This past week I was irritated, shall we say, up to my eyebrows- a T1D med. was making my stomach feel all kinds of not good, the MRI of my foot came back not so great, I am looking for a new job, and the whole school year craziness all contributed to me being really edgy. I know I am not the only person to experience a week-long siege of not-so great stuff during this apocalypse, but it still really sucked. So I did what any girl would do and lamented to her friends! They laughed and yelled with me, made me feel heard and understood, and I felt better about the whole thing. Then, of course, I went into my kitchen for about 4 good hours, blared music and sang, and emerged a much better human being.
Let’s rewind about 2 weeks. Sissay’s best friend’s parents’ best friends (did you follow that? you may have to draw it out) just bought a house about 2 blocks away from us. Sissay went on a vacation with these 2 families last year, and has hung out with the whole group many times. Why does that matter? Well, we only knew the friends by their first names and had never met them, after all Sissay was 18 then and was with people we did know. Sissay’s BFF, Lani, was listing off people going to an event by last name, and I interrupted her mid-sentence when she said one last name I absolutely knew. Me:”Which one?” Lani:”Kyle and Amanda.” Insert my look of you’ve gotta be kidding me. Me: “Kyle and I grew up together! We were practically brother and sister. We used to vacation together growing up and our families were always together!”
Seriously, how is this possible??? We haven’t seen each other in 20 years, yet we’ve lived in the same town for almost 10 years. No seeing each other at the grocery store or the pharmacy or anywhere in this small town. How is that even possible? And then I realized that our youngest daughter has vacationed with them and hung out many many times over the years, but I had not heard their last name until then. Just. No. Way. So we met/saw each other again at Sissay’s BFF’s house and both kept shaking our heads and saying how crazy all of this was. And then they bought a house down the street from us!
They just closed on the house and were moving in/painting/demo-ing etc., so I made them a meal and took it to their new house. If you read this blog regularly, which I hope you do, you know that I absolutely love to take a meal to people for any reason. Moving is a very stressful and exciting and exhausting experience, and no moving person has time to stop what they are doing to make a lasagna in the middle of a mess, nor would they ever want to! So bring them a meal. I sent everything in disposable foil containers so they had nothing to clean up or wash and return. I made pulled pork, parsley potatoes, chocolate chip/m&m cookies, and blueberry lemon pound cake. I also brought 2 bags of chips, paper plates- a MUST if you remember from my post Taking a Meal to a Grieving Family, Capri-Suns for the kiddos and a handle of vodka and some lemonade for the adults because moving requires alcohol! My intention was that there would be something there for everyone; dinner, a snack, a sweet tooth, an end-of-the-day adult beverage. Remember, a meal is so much more than food. It is my favorite way to share love with people, and in this case it was my way of saying welcome to the neighborhood and I’m glad we get to be new (old) friends.
I made them blueberry lemon pound cake because it is incredible. Period. It tastes like summer in a way that could have you eating half a loaf on your own without even realizing it. Not that I’ve ever done such a thing, being the good T1D that I am. Nope, never. Maybe. It also makes 2 loaves of poundcake, which means you can share one and keep the other, or give yours to someone else so you are not tempted to eat it all yourself. It doesn’t require much effort, and you can do other things while it bakes for an hour, and then cools for a good hour. It also freezes well, so you can make, slice and freeze ahead of time, grab out of the freezer, and it will be thawed and wonderful by the time you get to where you are going. It’s good, trust me! This is a recipe I have made for 4 or 5 years now, and it always gets rave reviews when I make it. I have even made it into cupcakes, though I don’t remember how much time they baked, so just keep an eye on them if you go that route.
Blueberry Lemon Poundcake (adapted from chef-in-training.com)
- 1 Cup Butter, Softened
- 1 3/4 Sugar
- 1 Lemon, Zested
- 1T Lemon Juice from that Lemon
- 3 Eggs
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 3/4 C Buttermilk (1 T vinegar mixed with 3/4C -1T milk, let sit till ready to use)
- 2 1/2 C Flour
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 Pints Blueberries, I always use fresh
Preheat oven to 350. Using whisk attachment on stand mixer, cream together softened butter, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl and add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing after each addition. Add vanilla, mix and scrape down bowl. In a separate bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. *Change to paddle attachment on stand mixer. Add about half of flour mix to bowl and mix on low until incorporated. Add about half of buttermilk to mixing bowl and mix on low until incorporated. Repeat with final flour mixture, mix together, final buttermilk, mix together. Using a rubber scraper, gently fold in blueberries being careful not to mash them. You just need them evenly distributed, rather than mixed in.
Pour half of batter into each of 2 greased loaf pans and spread evenly. Put in the 350 oven for 50-65 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean. Mine always take 60-65 minutes, but I start checking at 50 minutes because over-baked food is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. Remove from oven and place on a wire cooling rack for at least 1 hour until cooled.
- 1 T Lemon Zest (You will need a total of 2 lemons for the cake and glaze)
- 1 T Lemon Juice (from zested lemon)
- 1 T Milk
- 2 tsp Vanilla
- 1 1/2-2 C Powdered sugar
Whisk together in medium sized bowl until smooth and a glaze consistency, but not runny. You can either pour glaze in the loaf pan on top of the pound cake and then slice and serve, or cut longways down the middle of the loaf pan, then shortways into 1/2 inch slices. Remove from pan with a small spatula or butter knife, place on a plate or tray, and drizzle glaze on top of the slices. Sample the crumbs, you know you want to.
It has been so long since our families were together that I am already starting to scheme ways to get as many of us together as possible in the next year or so. But right now, I want Superman and I to build a friendship with Kyle & Amanda and their kiddos because you can never have enough great friends in your life! What a blessing to have old friends become new friends. Of course, Little Guy is very excited to have more friends, especially ones that are so close and love to fish. We are really looking forward to helping them with projects, taking down a couple cottonwood trees, and getting to know them as a couple.
It is very important to me that I cook and bake for the people I care about. It is my personal expression of love and caring, and it both relaxes and energizes me. I wish you could have seen me when I walked into my kitchen, and then again when I walked out. What a transformation! That is what cooking and baking does for me. I sincerely hope that you spend time doing the thing that does that for you, especially during this madness that surrounds us. It is so important that each of us finds our happy thing that builds up our spirit, and then spend time every week, or every day if possible, doing your happy thing. That is sure to nourish your heart.