Five years ago, I married my best friend. We left our homes and moved to Chicago where he began graduate school. A couple months in to the journey, I started this space. He was working and studying all the time. I quickly learned a weekend outlet was necessary for me to survive blips of boredom, and cleaning the condo wasn’t cutting it.
I started a blog. Not a baking blog or a food blog or a craft blog. Just a general blog chronicling my journey into becoming an independent married woman. Not that I knew that was happening in the background. As you can probably guess, it quickly turned into a food blog with a heavy dose of baking.
I fell in love with the farmer’s market. Walked there by myself nearly every spring and summer Saturday morning. Saw and ate rhubarb for the very first time. Listened to the eclectic band of all ages playing in the background—from the little boy on his violin to the grey haired, bearded man with the banjo. This space was rich with culture and diversity. I dreamt of bringing my littles there one day.
Two and half years in to blogging, I caught the bug. The kind that keeps your mind obsessively running with ideas. I claimed this space as my own. Really claimed it. I designed and “branded” it the best that I could, working with a cheap wordpress template. I was a trained designer with absolutely no web experience at the time. I bought a dot com. Made my tagline “made from scratch” since I found myself saying that phrase with every recipe. And picked up a DSLR, slowly, painstakingly teaching myself to use it. I fought with the poor light in our tiny, not-as-clean-anymore condo. And learned how to write a good recipe.
I compared myself. I failed a lot. And learned even more. I got a Twitter account and started “meeting” people in this incredible blogging community. I tried to explain to my real life friends, that online friends were in fact real too. Instagram rocked my picture taking world and helped with composition that always seemed to plague me (and still does).
Four years in, we said goodbye to our first home, Chicago, and moved to Connecticut for my husband to begin his two-year fellowship. I sheepishly started my own company designing and branding blogs with Erin, weary that I could actually work for myself and survive financially. I continued to ride in the seat of safety and worked at a firm in the area. Gleaned and learned a ton there. Four and a half years in, I took that business full-time and a week later found out we were carrying our first little.
And here we are, five years in. On Saturday my husband will graduate with his doctorate in clinical psychology. I write this with tears in my eyes, partly because I’m pregnant and partly because I’m so proud and amazed. Amazed that this defining part of our journey is coming to a close and so proud of my husband for finishing well. Amazed that this space carried me through this time. Amazed that this girl, filled with so much self doubt yet enough courage could. Could become an independent married woman who went to the farmer’s market by herself, had her first taste of rhubarb, started a blog, and now a company. If you asked me prior where I’d be in five years, it wouldn’t be here. But I’m so thankful for here. For all it’s lessons, successes, tears, laughs, awkward moments, and failures. The journey has been much like rhubarb—bittersweet. But the notes of sweetness seem to be ringing a little louder right now. I’ll take it.
This recipe makes for a great quick-bread or muffin. This is also my new go-to crumble recipe. It hold it’s shape nicely throughout the entire bake. The batter is thick yet yields a moist dense crumb, just the way I like my muffins. The muffin itself is not too sweet which pairs nicely with the crumble. Feel free to substitute in other fruits.
1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, diced
1 1/2 tsp. pure maple syrup
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 c. white whole wheat flour
1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. rhubarb, diced
1/2 c. strawberries, diced
1 large egg
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
3/4 c. whole milk plain yogurt
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tin or bread pan with parchment paper.
Make crumble. In a small bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt. Dice butter into mixture and incorporate by hand. Mix in maple syrup until a crumble forms. Set aside.
Make muffins. Melt stick of butter by microwave or stove. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Wash, dry, and dice rhubarb and strawberries in a uniform size. Set aside. To the melted butter, whisk in egg, brown sugar, maple syrup, yogurt, and vanilla extract until well combined.
Add butter mixture into the flour mixture stirring until just combined. Batter will be thick. Fold in fruit and 3 tablespoons of the crumble.Using a spring release scoop, evenly distribute batter in prepared tin or pan. Top with crumble carefully pressing into batter. Bake mini muffins for about 15 minutes, regular muffins for 17-20 minutes, or bread for about 35 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving