We've taken a short hiatus from all the kitchen renovations and have transferred our energy to basement renovations. If you were to set foot in our house, you would agree that we both like to start projects but rarely finish them.
Brent put up a wall in the basement separating the tools and equipment, and all the things Sebastian should NEVER get into, from the TV and the dog play area and my new workstation. We spend a lot of time in the basement when Sebastian goes to bed and we'd like to change it so we can all spend time down there. It's cozy and warm and I like it, and I'm going to need a finished area to binge watch Gilmore Girls in the next few months anyway.
I'm now in the process of deciding on new flooring options - carpet versus laminate? and then we can call this basement reno a success. Truthfully, I'm a little ok with the break from all the kitchen renovations because I can not choose a cabinet paint color if my life depended on it. So instead, I am going to paint a small wall in the basement with chalkboard paint so we can contain the drawing and messes, and then I'm going to buy a small person table and chair set, and I am going to rent a truck and go to IKEA and buy all of the organizational furniture I can possibly fit in it, because children's toys are small and have lots of pieces and parts and I am mildly OCD when it comes to clutter, as in IT MAKES ME ANXIOUS.
Autumn is in full swing around these parts, winter is right around the corner, and the days have mostly consisted of rain and overcast, which has been leaving me with a general feeling of meh. This means that the frequency in which I leave the house over the next few months will slowly diminish until it's January when I haven't shaved my legs or washed my hair in days, and I'm not even sure what day it is. Needless to say, I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I'm pretty sure I only left the house maybe 5 times last week, and there were even days that I didn't leave at all. So, you can see why I need this basement finished.
These last few days have been a real doozy around here. Sebastian got sick his first week of daycare, and really, are we surprised? He is leaking fluid from all orifices and is generally really upset. We had to cancel our weekly date night to spend the evening cleaning snot off the furniture and also because I didn't want to traumatize our 13-year-old babysitter with a sick toddler. I mean, she already has a lot to deal with adolescence and all. I am praying, to anyone that will hear me, that I don't get sick. I can't get sick. I've been doing everything I possibly can, including lots of rest, healthy foods, a little break from exercise, and a fair bit of tv watching. We did manage to leave the house Sunday morning for brunch, but that was a total disaster because Sebastian wouldn't stop crying and spraying snot everywhere, and I ordered really expensive crab cakes and I had to pull out all my energy to enjoy them in that kind of environment. We were definitely THOSE people in the restaurant.
So, until Sebastian gets over this cold and the days start to warm, like next March, you can find me at home in the kitchen baking an insane amount of all things apple and cinnamon. To start, I give you this loaf. The base is just a standard loaf recipe - flour, baking soda, baking powder, eggs, etc. To that, I have added Granny Smith apples that have been left to rest in sugar and cinnamon to bring out the sweetness. The crumb topping is a mixture of flour, sugar, butter, and pecans. This loaf is a marriage between an apple crumble and a cake. The kind of wedding that I want to attend. It is soft and delicate, subtly sweet, with juicy pieces of apple throughout. The crumble is buttery and crunchy and slightly more sweet than the cake. I made a little icing sugar glaze to pour on top, which is completely optional. I just mixed icing sugar with cream until I had the desired consistency. This loaf is perfect served warm with a slice or two of aged cheddar, or eaten as is, with your hands, standing at the kitchen counter.
APPLE CINNAMON LOAF WITH A PECAN CRUMBLE TOPPING
makes 1 loaf
prep time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 50 - 60 minutes
1 large (1 3/4 cups) Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Grease and flour a loaf pan.
Toss the apples, lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set to the side.
In a medium bowl, combine the oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla with a whisk.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
Add the wet to the dry and stir until combined.
Stir in the apples plus any juice that has formed.
In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, pecans, and cold butter with your fingers until you get a coarse crumble.
Pour the batter into a loaf pan. Top with the crumble mixture.
Place the loaf pan into the oven and bake for 50 - 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 5 - 10 minutes, and then remove from the loaf pan. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Can be store in an airtight container for up to a week.