Some say that during these economic downturns, we should all count our blessing for the things that we have (jobs, friends, a roof over our heads). For example, I know that I’m lucky to have a job that fills my fridge with food, puts clothes on my back and shoes on my feet, and allows me to go out every now and then. I recognize that mimosas and sushi are privileges, not rights. But I can’t help if I get a little angsty. You see, I had a plan. A big life plan. No, I didn’t have set dates for weddings, babies, etc, but I had a nice idea of what I wanted to do with my life post-college.
That all went to hell once the economy soured. I was supposed to have a great PR job that might not have paid as much as I was worth but I’d be ok with it. I was supposed to have this nerdy and witty boy who’d be able to make me smile all the time. Toss in a couple trips to Italy, Prague, and Turkey and you basically had the rough draft of my life plan.
Funny, I never planned on what I would should those plans fall through. I mean, if you do everything right, aren’t things supposed to work out? Instead, I find myself struggling a bit to just be. Don’t worry, you will get there. Patience Amanda! Times are tough; don’t get your hopes up too high. You should be grateful for what you have! These are all the things I hear, and I take the message to heart. But I cringe when I hear people say that right now, trying to accomplish those lofty goals of yours is ludicrous. Recessions= dreams. I couldn’t disagree more. I say dream big, and dream hard. Because sometimes, when you are struggling to pay the rent or provide for your families, your dreams are the only things that get you going.
Right now, it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut but why not flip the situation upside down? Sure, jobs right now might suck but maybe that’s a good thing. When else will you find the time to do research on that career you’ve been dying to get in to? Or how about heading back to college to get that degree your parents told you was pointless? Now is the time people. Do your research and get going. Instead of whining about my lack of job creativity, I decided that today was the day I started doing research on opening up my own small business.
Fully equipped with my books and internet, I am plunging headfirst in to these uncharted waters. I can’t tell you how excited I am. I’ve spent the past week staying up late, reading marketing research, going through business plans, signing up for extra classes, and I’ve never been more tired. But, at the same time, I’ve never been more excited. I know it will take lots of work and dedication, but I’m in it for the long haul. If it wasn’t for coffee and baked goods, I’d probably be moody and starving since I’ve had no time to properly sit down for actual meals, unless you count a bowl of edamame a meal.
There is nothing like a big chunk of cornbread with a big cup of ‘jo to fuel your late night endeavors. I used the recipe from King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking and I thought it turned out really good. While it may not be the kind of cornbread that knocks your socks off (exhibit A) it’s the kind of cornbread that leaves you satiated, not stuffed. Plus, I’d rather down biscuits and gravy if I was looking for a food coma. No, this cornbread is more of the every-day-kind, meaning you won’t feel bad for nibbling on this bread throughout the day. The honey adds a subtle sweetness and the whole wheat pastry flour keeps the bread light and fluffy while adding in some much-needed whole grains.
I prefer to eat chunks of cornbread fresh out of the oven, as they are hot and ready for a dollop of butter. I also like a little smear of jam, which might upset some of you, but cornbread and jam is like flavor nirvana.
Sweet & salty come together for the best combination. And really, when have I ever let you down?
Origin: King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking
Yield: One 9-inch square pan or 12 muffins
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 to 30 minutes
● 2 cups whole cornmeal
● 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
● 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
● 2 tsp baking powder
● 1 tsp baking soda
● 1 tsp salt
● 2 cups buttermilk
● 1/4 cup honey
● 2 large eggs
● 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
● 1 tbsp butter, for the pan
Preheat the oven to 400℉. For a crispy crust, place a 9-inch square pan or muffin pan.
Whisk together the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk, honey, eggs, and melted butter in a separate bowl. Add, all at once, to the dry ingredients, stirring quickly and lightly just until the batter is evenly combined.
Remove the pan from the oven and place the tablespoon of butter (or grease) into it. Swirl the pan around so the butter melts and covers the bottom and sides. Carefully transfer the batter to the hot pan, and return it to the oven to bake until the top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Note: if you are making muffins like I did, you need to cut the baking time down to 15 minutes. I started checking on mine at the 15-minute-threshold and they were close to being overbaked.
Remove from the oven, and serve warm. Cornbread will keep for 3 days when wrapped tightly with plastic wrap.