Sparkling Brown Butter Spice Cake.

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The past few days have been unforgivably rainy. We had a brief pause on Sunday morning for a wee snow, just visiting from the top of the mountain to let us know that it is indeed December, and that there could be a possibility of a white Christmas if we just wish hard enough. Then it proceeded to rain and left us with our snowy thoughts and wishes.
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Promises vs. reality. Promise of snow vs. reality of rain. I love it, though. I’ve been accused of living in the honeymoon phase of life here, proudly claiming my love of rain and damp chill. If this is simply a phase, I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth. Because right now, it promotes the idyllic chance to curl up and read, light candles and bake, or an excuse to sit in a coffee shop and write. It’s nature’s way of carving out an alloted time for the inside activities you may not make time for, but the rain pushes you towards, making a permissible path for you to wander down.It also helps you create resolve and determination when you do have to go out in the damp. Having to bike through the fog, pelting rain, and chill just to get a couple panniers and a backpack full of groceries makes the trip seem more epic; though you arrive at home soaked and red faced, the sense of accomplishment is great. And when I think of a decision to be uncomfortable to do what needs to be done, I become weirdly proud of myself, simply for living; or, rather, deciding to face life. Should I feel proud for doing things I’m supposed to do? Probably not. But it reminds me not be be afraid of hard work.

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My new, sweet ride. We got a God deal  from a nice guy in Vancouver who was moving to Germany.
Blessings upon blessings=story of my life. 
Not that getting groceries is hard work, by any means. Knowing that I am going to a store where other people have slaved & plowed & created & sold their goods so I could make a one-stop shop to purchase them puts into perspective where my errands run in the line-up of “hard work.” I think as people, we crave work. The kind of work that gets you dirty, sweaty, sore, and gives you the feeling of a job well done as you crawl into bed that night. Hammer to nail, fist to dough, shove to plow, whatever it looks like, there are echos in the work that resonate in us that we were, indeed, made for this. (click here if you’re curious about what I mean)
I found this poem on a new food blog find. Inspiring, to say the least.
“The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

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I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.”
-by Marge Piercy
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This bread is wonderfully moist, and it comforts the soul that is melancholy on a rainy day, or the one that is spent after a long work day. Be sure to not over bake, because part of this bread’s comforting ability lies in its moist nature.It might be a crime to post two browned butter recipes in a row, but I am unapologetic. This bread is that good.

I hope each of you are enjoying your advent season. Celebrate the true meaning of the season.

Sparkling Brown Butter Spice Cake

1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, plus a but more to prepare the pan
1/4 cup all-purpose
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup fine grain white sugar,plus another 2 tablespoons for topping
2 large eggs
1/2 cup pureed, roasted winter squash (I used butternut)
1/4 cup milk

Brown the butter first: Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat until toasted, giving off a beautiful nutty aroma. If your pan is dark colored, be vigilant. You want the dairy solids in the butter to be brown and toasted but not scorched. For me, over medium heat, this takes 5-15 minutes. Remove the butter from the heat source and allow it to cool, but not to harden.

Now, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 1-lb loaf pan. Place a piece of parchment paper in the pan if you wish for an easier release.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and sea salt into a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, squash, and milk. Test the butter’s temperature with your finger—if it is cooled and not still hot, stir it in to the wet mixture (if not, wait a few more minutes—you don’t want to cook the eggs).

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry mixture until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle liberally with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake the cake for about 50 minutes, until start to pull away from the sides of the pan and the center of the cake no longer jiggles.

Source: adapted from The Yellow House
Listening to: James Taylor Christmas

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