Last month Hubby, Maple and I packed the Jeep and took a family roadtrip. We drove from Toronto to Montreal, crossed the border into Vermont, stopped for three nights near Burlington, then continued south and spent a few days in New York's Hudson River Valley.
Our week was full of lush, green meadows and rolling hills, winding one-lane roads and covered bridges, roadside orchards and berry farms, crickets and starry night skies. We rented a cabin in Vermont and a cottage in New York and lived in a fantasy world where there were no deadlines, no obligations and zero work stress. Our biggest concern was whether we should have salad or green beans with dinner.
Our vacation was every bit as relaxing as we hoped it would be and gave us the confirmation we were seeking that a simpler life in the country is what we both want.
Everyone we met - from the young man who sold us homemade apple cider donuts to the elderly couple who let us raid their barn for antiques - was pleasant, polite and patriotic. They took pride in where they lived and each urged us to make the move back to America.
It's hard to argue with a sprawling countryside completely void of honking horns and police sirens, manicured farms with hay bales and mini horses, and a panoramic horizon of hazy blue mountains. The views were truly breathtaking in the most unexpected, unassuming way.
As soon as we were back in Toronto, the stresses of our everyday lives were waiting for us. Bobby had a week of tedious travelling for work, from L.A. to Boston, ahead of him, and I learned of the tragic death of one of my colleagues. And so we went from one extreme to the next, from a lovely, relaxing week together to a sad and stressful week apart.
Maybe it's simply because my vacation is over or maybe it's something more... but the chilly air and falling of the leaves is leaving me feeling sad this year. I love autumn but there's something almost lonely about the inevitable descent into winter that is tugging at my heart.
My only comfort since I've been back are memories of pitch black nights, campfire s'mores, Nancy Drew novels and clawfoot tubs. Those little reminders of our family road trip will have to suffice until I can find my way home again.
Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake
After a week of vacation eating (i.e. pigging out like there was no
tomorrow) we agreed that vegetables needed to make a reappearance
in our lives. This zucchini bread made the transition easy. It tastes
decadent, with dark chocolate and a hint of espresso, but is loaded
with green veggies and zero butter or oil. Perfect for breakfast or as a snack.
Yields 2 loaves
3 large eggs
1 cup applesauce
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 medium zucchini, grated
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso or espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, applesauce, brown sugar, and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Stir in the zucchini, cinnamon, instant espresso, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and cocoa powder. Fold this flour-cocoa mixture into the wet batter in 3 batches. Once the batter is uniform, gently stir in the chocolate chips.
Divide the batter evenly between your two prepared pans. Bake for 55 - 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pans for at least 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
Welcome! I'm a pie-baking, dog-loving, antique-hunting patriot. I'm a fan of rustic home cooking, the Yankees and scenic drives through the mountains.