That time is upon us, folks.
On Sunday, we turn our clocks back (especially important to note if you’re running a certain 26.2-mile footrace in New York). Tuesday is, of course, Election Day. And as of November 1, there are radio stations playing…yes…24/7 Christmas music.
While I love (LOVE) the idea, the dream, of putting my hands on my ears and closing my eyes and saying “No no no no no no not haaaaappeniiiing….,” the unrelenting hard fact is that I’m a 35-year-old woman and I must accept life and all of its changes and cycles.
But that will NOT stop me from reaching for things that comfort me this week. Is anyone else feeling this way? I fully support challenges and new goals, but I also think it’s important to remember, and occasionally reconnect with, the things that bring comfort. It’s a way to revitalize and strengthen your root system to prepare for future growth.
Running, it should come as no surprise, is a huge source of comfort for me (well, and of inspiration, and empowerment, and challenge, but hey, that’s not what we’re talking about right now!). When the rest of my life is chock full of…life, I develop a greater appreciation for old, familiar running routes. You know: those “fall-back” routes; the ones you favor maybe when the weather’s crummy; the ones you don’t take visiting runner-friends or relatives on because they’re “not exciting.”
I’ve fashioned a neighborhood loop that I run, and admittedly it’s not particularly exciting, or long, or even easy. With its hills, it’s more of a mental comfort than a physical one. But comforting it is, and two or three of those loops are solid, nourishing food for the soul.
Speaking of food, there’s another source of comfort for me (and I imagine everyone else in the entire world). I wrote about taking to the kitchen in my last post, and I still have the itch. More chili! More cornbread! Roasted pumpkin seeds! And most recently: pumpkin bread!
Yes, pumpkin bread, the seasonal, not-quite-as-ubiquitous cousin of banana bread. Everyone has a recipe for banana bread – justifiably; it’s delicious. I wasn’t positive that I even had a recipe for pumpkin bread until, spurred on by a tenacious craving, I pawed through my recipe collection and found one.
The effort was worth it for the aroma of the baking bread alone. It also turned out to be extremely tasty, and very comforting, so I thought I’d share the recipe. I highly recommend it if your mind, heart, and/or belly needs a break this week.
*Yields two loaves. Haven’t tried to halve it yet.*
3 C sugar
1 C oil
1 can (around 1 pound) of pumpkin
4 beaten eggs
3 ½ C flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
½ tsp ground cloves
2/3 C water
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two loaf pans. Dust lightly with flour. Mix sugar, oil, pumpkin, and eggs until fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Add to pumpkin mixture alternately with water. Mix until well-blended. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.