I’ve told everyone for months that September 2013 was going to be the most stressful month on record at the Sippl household. More than our wedding. More than buying our house. More than waiting for the last Harry Potter movie on DVD. Today is the last day of September and all I can say is…we survived!
Yesterday I finally started to feel the refrigerator-sized pressure lift. What a relief it is to know from here on out things are slowing down for us. We’re heading into October with this behind us:
- Greg’s hardest class in his MBA program completed
- Guests 3 out of the 5 weekends in the month
- Trips to Wisconsin the other 2 weekends
- Starting a new fall schedule and heading back to school
- Sitting for the BCaBA exam
- Starting training for my new position as a Clinical Supervisor
- One trip to the impound lot and near miss with the doctor’s office.
- And projects, projects, projects!!!
Last night we balanced our checkbook and discovered a whopping $240 of eating out this month. Needless to say there hasn’t been much action in our kitchen. With the exception of 21 quarts of canned tomatoes I managed to squeeze in sometime this month, meals were quick and dirty in September. We ate Minnesota-grown watermelon for three meals a day for most of the month paired with whatever else we could scrounge together in a flour taco shell.
At one point this month, I told Greg ‘our life is sorta like hydroplaning. It’s at that fine point where you’ve got both hands on the wheel cruising forward, but it’s questionable if things are really under control.” Oye. September was stressful.
But full of bright spots too.
We’ve managed to (KNOCK ON SOMETHING FOR ME!) stay healthy and reasonably rested this month. Our basement finishing project made huge progress. And we need all four hands to count the number of family and friends we spent time with this month. They kept us laughing and smiling when I otherwise would’ve been weeping on the kitchen floor with a spoon in one hand and a bucket of ice cream in the other. A big thanks to everyone who made sure we were fed, clothed and halfway sane this month. We owe ‘ya one.
Now we’re turning our eyes towards October. Cooler weather. Tall boots. Pumpkins. Man I love Fall. Right when we needed to put the brakes on, mother nature said “I think it’s time we slow things down, don’t ya think?” We needed a change of season and needed it bad. From the chaos of summer to quieter times–falling leaves, mornings when the steam comes out of your coffee cup at the bus stop, and putting the yellow and orange mums on the front porch.
I’m excited to have more time for baking and preparing those slow-roasted Saturday afternoon meals too. The fact that I can use slow and Saturday in the same sentence means October is shaping up to be a great month. I started celebrating a little early this weekend with a new fall recipe. It’s a combination zucchini bread and carrot cake with grated apple and pumpkin pie spice. I’m calling it Fall Harvest Bread for the very reason that it has all the best flavors and smells of autumn baking. It’s perfect if you have ‘a little of this or that’ left on hand from your other fall baking. It takes just a few minutes to throw together and makes the house smell–D-I-V-I-N-E–divine.
I can’t wait to share a slice of it with a warm cup of tea and some of those same great people who helped keep this ship sailing through September. We’re so grateful for Fall and for all of you. Here’s to a happy harvest season.
Fall Harvest Bread
(Adapted from Garden Harvest Cake in Cooking Light – Cooking through the Seasons)
Notes: For this recipe, I substituted the cinnamon for pumpkin pie spice to get a richer “fall” flavor and passed up the canola oil for a local sunflower oil instead.
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup grated apple
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350° and prepare a 8 x 4 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Combine flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and baking soda in a large bowl using a whisk. Add in apple, carrot, zucchini and walnuts. Mix until produce is evenly coated.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, buttermilk and eggs. Pour into dry ingredients and mix with an electric mixer on low until just combined. Do not overbeat.
4. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out from the center clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a baking sheet for 15-20 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm or allow to completely cool on wire rack. Store covered.