So, a zucchini, a few strawberries, a banana, and some crumble walk into a bar...
Just kidding. That was lame.
It used to be that I would see a recipe, crave a certain dish, or just experiment in the kitchen and hope that it worked out. I did this in my free-time, when I wasn't working or studying or volunteering or whatever it was I occupied myself with. The blog was a side-thing, my hiding place, my happy place. Cooking was a hobby, as was baking and writing. Instagram was a 5-minute distraction when I had time or just felt like mindlessly scrolling. If a given recipe worked, fantastic - find a spot in the house with suitable lighting in that moment and snap a picture or two with my iPhone. Post it on Instagram, maybe the blog if time allowed and if the recipe met some casually undefined standards. People discovered the blog if I told them about it, which I did about as often as I asked a cute boy out (read: like, never).
Now, it's all vastly different. The blog determines my free-time, and I plan out each recipe meticulously, week by week, day by day. The blog is my thing, not just a side-thing. It's still my happy place, but it's not the best hiding place anymore because... well, people actually know about it and click on it. Cooking, baking, and writing are the wheels of this tricycle - and yes, it's a tricycle because I feel like I'm still figuring this all out. Instagram is a 1-or-2-hour chunk of my day, and I must remind myself to be mindful while scrolling nowadays. I research and practice and plan to make darn sure a recipe works, and then set up a whole shabang in my living room when the lighting is just right and with all the cute props and spend about twenty minutes taking the most picturesque bite of a sandwich or cookie because those are photos I drool over. Post it on the blog, on Instagram, on every other social media platform, and send an email sharing the link to the recipe to my lovely loyal subscribers.
See? Different. I told you. Both are special to me. I don't prefer one time over the other, though I do sometimes wish I didn't feel the need to post so many parts of my day on the stupid Instagram stories, and maybe I would love to just selfishly keep a delicious recipe all to myself.
But the best part - the icing on the cake, the avocado on the toast, the chocolate chunk in the cookie - is my to-be-defined way of cooking that has remained as whatever it is I will soon call it over the years. Like a properly cared for cast-iron skillet, it stands through everything and only gets better with each use, no matter how the dish turned out.
Take a bread recipe like this, for example. I might not have jazzed it up this much with a crumble back in the early days, but crumble or no crumble, the recipe still speaks to me. Maybe whole-wheat flour isn't "in" the way almond flour is at the moment, and maybe there's more sugar in here than you or someone else would care for (in which case I would beg to differ). But I know this recipe will be timeless and I'm here to create more of those for you. Approachable. Trustworthy. Delicious. Simple. Nutritious. Satisfying. Enjoyable and so much more.
Makes about 8 slices
For the bread:
1 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats, plus extra for topping
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup ripe mashed banana (about 1 large)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup grated zucchini, squeezed of excess moisture
3/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries
For the crumble:
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing
2 tbsp. coconut sugar
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease a loaf pan with coconut oil.
Prepare the crumble by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients - flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and sea salt. Gently stir in the strawberries and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, maple syrup, mashed banana, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet into the dry and mix until jut combined. Add in the shredded zucchini and gently mix again.
Carefully pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and sprinkle the crumble over the top in an even layer.
Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick poked through the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool for 10-12 minutes before removing from the pan and slicing.
Serve immediately with butter and jam, nut butter, yogurt, cream cheese, or this delicious homemade yogurt-cream cheese spread. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to one month.