Zucchini Walnut Bread {Thankful Thursdays}

Zucchini Walnut Bread | In Jennie's Kitchen

It feels like the rain is never going to stop. I’m quite certain I heard the plants cry for life rafts during today’s early morning survey of the garden. I’ve almost given up on ever seeing consistent sunshine again, though am thankful it’s playing peek a boo at the moment.

So many days lately I’ve found myself wondering “How did I get here? How is this my life?” but not from a grateful point of view. These weeks leading up to August 7th suck my mind into the game of “this time seven years ago he was alive…” I’ve found myself tired, angry, and lonely about being a single parent. And then I feel guilty for feeling that way because I do love my girls so much.

Giving into these moments is so important, for without them, it would be harder to see and appreciate the flipside. It’s so easy to look at someone else’s life and wonder why. The biggest why on my mind lately is this—Why do some people love you, but not enough to do the work real relationships require?

I wonder if a so-called happy ending can really exist for me. I know enough to understand that happy is open to interpretation, it’s not one-size-fits-all. And when I really think about it, I’ve won more than I’ve lost—the loss was just one of epic proportions.

Before I met Michael, I knew love wasn’t enough for a relationship, let alone marriage, to work. Trust, friendship, and respect are the bricks. Love is the cement that holds them together. You can be completely, deeply, madly in love with someone but without those bricks, you’ve just a bucket of cement to carry around, and that gets quite heavy once it’s dried.

Zucchini Walnut Bread | In Jennie's Kitchen

Even when the mortar began to crumble, Michael and I salvaged those bricks. I wanted to walk away, toss them to the curb. It was so much work getting them to stick together in the first place. Could I really be up to the challenge of trying to fix a crumbling foundation?

The answer became clear the day I walked in to find Michael in his wedding suit, and Isabella in her wedding dress. That’s what she called the dress she wore to our wedding when she was walked down the aisle to her papa, me trailing behind her. She always referred to it as our wedding day, as in all three of us.

They had been watching an episode of Little Bear. Father Bear was out to sea on a journey, and Mother Bear was sad he’d be away for their wedding anniversary. Little Bear dresses up and dances with Mother Bear to cheer her up. And guess who shows up, arriving home earlier than expected, and just in time? Father Bear, of course.

Zucchini Walnut Bread | In Jennie's Kitchen

When I opened the front door that afternoon to find them dancing together in the living room, Isabella said, “Mommy! Go put on your wedding dress now. Pleeease?” I noticed Michael was crying ever so gently, tears slowly slipping from the corner of his eyes.

I put on my wedding dress, and dug out my wedding shoes from the closet.

Isabella walked me into the living room, her tiny fingers woven between mine, and presented me to her daddy to dance. He had put on Tupelo Honey while I was getting changed. I was hesitant. Could we ever get past what happened? My head fell onto his shoulder as we swayed back and forth, neither of us really knowing how to slow dance properly.

Then he whispered in my ear, “I love you. We can’t let this go.” Isabella has no idea she struck the match that lit the spark to save our family that day. In taking me in his arms, Michael lifted the first brick, and together, as months passed, almost a year, we spread the mortar, taking turns carefully layering one brick at a time.

I wonder if there’s more to my story? It’s got a solid foundation, and a willing brick layer waiting in the wings.

Zucchini Walnut Bread | In Jennie's Kitchen

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Zucchini Walnut Bread

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
If you don't have molasses on hand, just swap in brown sugar in place of the granulated sugar and omit the molasses. I should also mention I realize the pan called for here is an odd size. It's a vintage pan I found at a thrift store years ago, very reminiscent of the long loaf pans used in France. The batter can be split between two smaller loaf pans if that works better for you. I've not tested it this way, so can't be 100% sure of baking time, but in 8-inch loaf pans, I think it'd take about 55 minutes. Staring checking around 45 with a toothpick or metal skewer for doneness. I've also made this using flax eggs for a vegan version (recipe for flax eggs is here).

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups (300 grams) flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (2 grams) fine sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon (3 grams) allspice
  • Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ¾ cup (75 grams) walnuts, toasted & chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup (120 ml) canola oil
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated natural cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 3 cups (336 grams) shredded zucchini, skins on (1 large, 2 medium or 3 small)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 13-inch loaf pan with a sheet of parchment long enough to hang over the sides (this acts as a sling to lift the cake out once cooled).
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, allspice and lemon zest together in a large bowl; set aside. Stir in the walnuts.
  3. In a separate small bowl, beat the eggs, oil, sugar, and molasses. Pour over flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon—it will be quite stiff, so don't worry. Add the zucchini and fold until mixed well (it will now look more like a thick batter).
  4. Using a rubber spatula, spread into the prepared baking pan. Bake 1 hour 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
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6 Comments

  • Michelle

    I can relate to this post more than you know. Marriage is work no two ways about it. There were times in my marriage I could have thrown in the towel . I decided I was there for richer or poorer, better or worse, in sickness and in health. Even though my husband passed away in January I never regretted fixing that foundation we started with.

    What a wonderful post. I always think about the Peanut Butter Pie you said your husband loved. My husband loved that pie to. His last 10 months we had a friend who would make one every month for him.

  • Glenda

    What a beautiful post! This line “Why do some people love you, but not enough to do the work real relationships require?” I believe when it’s true love WE do the work. Both of us. The ebbs and flow… ups and downs… but you want to stay together because the love is greater and so you start over re-building that foundation. It’s the in between of a relationship that we muddle through and have to fix. I always so it’s easier to walk away, rather than re-building. I hope someday you find that someone that will love you enough to do the work. xo

  • Saundra Sillaway

    I was married for 49 years and watched as some families weathered storms in their married lives. In my husbands family there are no divorces . They are a far from perfect people ,I did learn that they accepted hurt as part of the human condition. In the case of infidelity , it was a hurt that was not forgiven, nor excused . For most it was never forgotten. They went on because the ties that bound their hearts were greater than the breaks in it.We are after all inexplicably human and as such not perfect
    .

  • Gabrielle

    You’ve got me tearing up over my breakfast Jennie.
    Such a beautiful post….
    and now I want zucchini bread (I love the thought of allspice in there) and Little Bear as well.

  • Jennie

    Hi Gail. I’ve not made it with coconut flour and chopped dates, so can’t say what ratios you’d need to use to make the recipe work. xo-Jennie