This past weekend, moments of stress, excitement, fear, sadness and relief all swirled in me simultaneously. Amidst long to-do lists and last-minute rushing, I had to remind myself to be excited about a very thrilling new venture. Once I allowed that excitement to surpass my chaotic nearsightedness, it was like the floodgates released. I had to play It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia quotes in my head to balance the sappiness I was exuding. I couldn’t arrive to our preview with watery eyes!
With to-do lists and enthusiasm still swirling wildly inside me, I decided to escape everything and focus on my Julep. Before I knew it, my perfect fall afternoon was a tumble of dogs and human, with one aggressive dog’s jaw fixed firmly on my dog’s neck. These things happen with animals, and I couldn’t blame anyone, but I had a mini breakdown nonetheless. I had expected to see my Julep’s neck ripped open, and though she was still in one piece, my mind had already begun to reel with the worst case scenario. I felt helpless as I watched her in fear and pain, feelings prolonged by a cautionary vet visit. Shaved, injected and medicated, Julep is returning to her normal self, but talk about a reminder to squeeze the ones you love!
I had reminded myself to be excited for the opening of 4121 MAIN, but in the case of the dog park, the universe had reminded me to cherish all those near and dear to me. Moments of stress, excitement, fear, sadness and relief will continue to swirl. That’s life, and those swirls are beyond my control. That doesn’t mean I can’t embrace life’s roller coaster in a wholesome and delicious way.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin & Chocolate Swirl Bread
makes two loaves
4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
1 1/2 cups olive oil
4 large eggs (organic/cage-free)
3 cups (24 ounces) canned pumpkin
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup pure cocoa powder
4 Tablespoons organic milk or heavy cream
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease (butter or olive oil) and line two 8- by 4-inch loaf pans with parchment paper, allowing edges to overhang. Grease any remaining unlined part of the pan.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Set aside.
Whisk sugar, oil, pumpkin, eggs, pumpkin, and salt in a large bowl until combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the batter, and then whisk until completely combined.
Spoon 2 cups batter into each pan.
Spoon 2 cups batter into measuring cup and reserve.
Whisk cocoa and milk into remaining batter, and then divide between the two pans.
Using a butter knife or small offset spatula, swirl the batter a few times, lifting pumpkin batter from the bottom. Then spoon reserved pumpkin batter over the top and swirl a few times more.
Bake until top is just set and skewer inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 60 to 75 minutes.
Let cool in pan 45 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
May your swirls be sweet and chocolaty!