It was one of those weeks.
I’m sure you know the kind — when nothing works, nothing goes the way you want it to go, everything falls apart and can’t be put back together again. Or, at least it seems that way.
I tend to fall into a state of mild panic when things are no longer routine. If I am not completely aware of what I will be doing next, I have a bit of trouble coping. I need to know that when I put one foot in front of the other, they will both land on solid ground. I’m all for spontaneity in some cases, sure. Throw a pleasant surprise at me every now and then, and I’m perfectly happy. But throw a random curveball at me when I was ready to swing at a fastball? Let’s just say it’s not always pretty.
I am aware of this weakness, and I do my best to manage and make myself better in spite of it. It’s not that I don’t think I can change — I know I can, and I try. But when you’ve built up a life around control only to find that, in the end, you really have no control at all — well, that makes things interesting. It’s a journey, to say the least.
But back to this week. My routine was in a bit of a shambles since Sunday, when Elliott left for a camping trip in Wisconsin with an old college friend and I was left to fend for myself. The horror! Turns out I can actually take care of myself, though by the end of the week I was on the brink of living like Miss Havisham and talking to my cat like he’s a human (though that’s really nothing new). My mom also was on the lam in Africa, taking pictures of lions and wildebeests and getting bruises from a few bumpy Jeep rides through the Serengeti. You know, normal stuff. No big deal.
But me? I was at home, with my by myself, trying to grasp on to some sense of normalcy. Thankfully this Rhubarb Apple Bread caught my eye in the nick of time, as I was just about to eat popcorn and cake balls for dinner, watch my 18th episode of Glee in a row and unsuccessfully dye my hair blonde, just for kicks. I wish I could say I didn’t do those things anyway.
This bread is the perfect combination of sweet and tart, with bright chunks of rhubarb and apple folded into sweet cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s a little bit of spring, a little bit of fall and all delicious. Though I opted to keep my loaf au naturel and left out the cinnamon sugar topping, I’m sure it’s just as tasty (and more dessert-like) with the crunchy coating on top. It’s the perfect bread to bake when you really miss someone, or when you’re about to eat an entire jar of peanut butter while belting “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and donning your robe and need a momentary distraction. Or both.
Rhubarb Apple Bread
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Yields: 1 8 x 4-inch loaf
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
1 cup peeled and chopped apples (about 1 medium apple)
1 tbsp sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix eggs on medium speed using paddle attachment until well-whisked, about 30 seconds. Add oil, applesauce and vanilla and mix on medium speed until combined. Add sugars and beat until smooth.
Add in the flour mixture in two additions, mixing on low speed between each addition. Gently fold in rhubarb and apple and pour into a lightly greased 8 x 4-inch loaf pan. Optional: Top batter with cinnamon/sugar topping.
Bake for about 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 minutes in loaf pan before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.