We just celebrated our twenty year anniversary. This soft but sturdy loaf of apricot and chocolate chip delightfulness was made to start our day as a sweet toast to our marriage. It’s a perfect summery change from banana bread and does not knock you out with sweetness.
Who knows how time can fly so fast during the best of times and yet when life has you by the neck, it seems to crawl? When looking at my sixteen-year-old son and thirteen-year-old daughter, I can’t quite believe our life has led us here…with almost grown children, a house, dog number three, a few surgeries and a handful of sorrows behind us.
Today is a reminder to me that love and perseverance does win out. Life ain’t always easy and marriages, even wonderful ones, take a lot of work, but if you have two people willing to work towards a common goal of a loving, intact family, then that is huge and will get you far.
People ask me, what’s the secret? Although there’s no one secret or magic trick besides the obvious start of marrying someone you wholeheartedly love, I believe that some of the glue that has held us together is having elasticity in our expectations. As partners, we are not carbon copies of each other and most likely we chose our partner because their differences were interesting and complimented us so it’s only logical we don’t always see things the same way, rarely do things the way the other expected and sometimes just exasperate each other.
But I think if we remember to be flexible and accept different versions than our ideal version in our imaginations, that can only help in our relationships with both our spouse and our children. It’s taken me a long time to come to this place of trying to let everyone be themselves and not control the world. Us Type-A’s really are happiest when everyone is doing exactly what we think they should, but how boring would that be?! As nice as it sounds to be able to orchestrate everyone and everything, it would get old fast I think.
So today, as I am celebrating and appreciating the twenty years I have been lucky enough to share with my amazing husband, I try to remind myself to use these kernels of understanding that I have learned along the way so perhaps the next twenty years can be just as happy but perhaps with a little less of a learning curve involved.
This recipe is from one of my favorite bread books, Secrets of a Jewish Baker, and is a delightful quickbread that is easy to make, bright in flavor and soft in texture. I added the chocolate chips because we chocoholics seem to do that to just about everything! Hope you enjoy this as much as we did.
Apricot Nut Loaf (mine was actually apricot chocolate chip loaf)
Taken directly from Secrets of a Jewish Baker by George Greenstein
1 c. boiling water
1 c. coarsely chopped dried apricots
1 c. plus 2 T. sugar
2 T. melted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour, preferably stone ground
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
2 T. orange liqueur (Or I did 1 T. orange liqueur and 1/4 t. orange extract)
3/4 c. milk (I used 2%)
1 c. chopped walnuts, preferably toasted, plus more for topping
optional: 1/2 c. chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray an 8 or 9 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Pour the boiling water over the chopped apricots in a smallish mixing bowl and let sit for 15 minutes. While the apricots are sitting, whisk together your dry ingredients which includes the flours, 1 c. of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Drain your apricots and put them back in the small mixing bowl and add the 2 T. sugar, melted butter and eggs. Stir together. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the liqueur, milk and extract. Add 1/3 of the apricot mixture to the dry ingredients and then 1/3 the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir gently with a rubber scraper. Repeat until all of the ingredients are mixed in. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Top with additional 2 T. walnuts. Bake until browned and the center feels firm when gently pressed with your fingertips (45-60 minutes). Let cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely or eat a slice warm from the oven like my family did. It’s especially good served along side some scrambled eggs and fresh fruit with a hot cup of coffee.
July 22, 2011 at 10:10 am
Congratulations on 20 years! That is awesome.
July 22, 2011 at 10:42 am
July 22, 2011 at 10:19 am
Oh, congrats, Geni! That’s fabulous.
Here’s to twenty more 🙂
(I’m toasting you with cherry juice)
July 22, 2011 at 10:42 am
Thanks! Cherry juice sounds delicious!
July 22, 2011 at 10:54 am
Congratulations on 20 years. That’s wonderful!
July 22, 2011 at 10:59 am
Congratulations Geni! It’s so nice to hear your story; you always come across down to earth, honest and real. I had to smile at the title of the cookbook this recipe came from – Secrets of a Jewish Baker, maybe that cookbook also contains the secret to a good marriage…thru his stomach!
July 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm
Happy Anniversary!! Twenty years is a long time – thats so wonderful. 🙂
July 22, 2011 at 1:41 pm
Congratulations on 20 years Geni! That is wonderful. It’s amazing how fast it goes isn’t it?! But like you said, then when you look at all that you have gone through, it doesn’t seem all that fast. I hope you have a wonderful anniversary today and another happy 20 plus more! (And the bread looks delicious!)
July 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm
Happy Anniversary! This post is a beautiful commentary relating to marriage.
Your bread looks delicious!
July 22, 2011 at 4:01 pm
Reading your blog reminds me of standing in a kitchen with a friend while they cook and chat (probably while I hold a cup of tea). I really enjoy reading them.
July 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm
Thank you so much! What a nice thing to say and that’s exactly what I’m goin’ for…casual and friendly!
July 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm
Great looking bread! Congrats and happy anniversary!
July 22, 2011 at 6:57 pm
Happy 20th!! That is absolutely awesome. And the bread can only add to it. Here’s to 20 more. 🙂
July 22, 2011 at 8:57 pm
Congratulations and Happy 20th Geni!
The bread looks absolutely delicious.
July 22, 2011 at 9:14 pm
Happy anniversary! What a sweet and loving post, you brought a smile to my face. 🙂
July 23, 2011 at 9:20 am
July 23, 2011 at 12:35 am
Happy 20th Anniversary! Thank you for sharing your time with us today with this lovely post.
July 23, 2011 at 2:36 am
Happy anniversary and congratulations, love! 20 years is truly an amazing feat and I think everything you wrote here about how you achieved it, certainly rings true! I think your fabulous baking skills must also have something to do with it, though. The bread looks delicious!
July 23, 2011 at 7:04 am
Happy anniversary! What a nice post, I’m sure your husband loved it. The bread looks great too.
July 23, 2011 at 7:23 am
Happy Anniversary Geni! This was such a sweet post! The bread looks amazing and honestly, may happen over here soon! I may turn on the oven despite the 100 degrees!
July 23, 2011 at 10:12 am
Happy Anniversary!! Loved reading this post and apricots & choco chips sound so good together.I hear ya on flexibility & adapting..secrets of a successful marriage- touch wood 🙂
July 23, 2011 at 10:26 am
Yum! Looks tasty!
July 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm
Geni, Happy belated Anniversary! Your post is beautiful and is very heart warming. The bread looks delicious as well.
It’s not easy being married for 20 years (we’ll be celebrating 21 next month), but you have a wonderful outlook and as you said, with perseverance and working towards that common goal, your efforts are bound to pay off. It doesn’t hurt that a little love’s put in there along the way as well. 😉
I hope you have many, many more blessed years together.
July 24, 2011 at 10:20 am
Congratulations on your anniversary! A very sweet post, the bread looks loaf.
July 24, 2011 at 10:21 am
That was supposed to be the bread looks delicious 🙂 LOL!
July 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm
CONGRATULATIONS! we celebrate 4 years this week – I can’t imagine 20! This bread sounds amazing and just another thing to celebrate! 🙂
July 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm
Happy anniversary, and congratulations on reaching that 20-year milestone! I hope you had a wonderful day!
July 24, 2011 at 7:14 pm
I prefer dried apricots to raisins in baked items, I love thier sweet and tangy flavours. Which means I would easily like this wonderful recipe of yours
July 25, 2011 at 4:53 am
Happy anniversary! We are about to celebrate our very first wedding anniversary. I can’t imagine how quickly twenty years must have flown by with the one you love. I wish you two many more happy years!
Oh, and the food looks good too 😉
July 25, 2011 at 10:21 am
Aw happy anniversary! My parents’ twenty-second anniversary is about 2 months away…I can’t even imagine how fast the time goes by! Hope you and your husband continue to enjoy a lifetime of happiness together!
Also…your loaf looks SO good! 🙂
July 25, 2011 at 1:59 pm
Oh Geni, congratulations on your anniversary…20 years…that is awesome 🙂
I always enjoy your writing and today is not different…thank you for the post and sharing your thoughts with us. The bread looks delicious, I love the combination of apricot and chocolate…and very appealing for the eyes as well.
Have a wonderful week ahead 🙂
July 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm
what a fun combination of flavors- this looks wonderful!
July 26, 2011 at 1:37 pm
This looks wonderful and happy 20 years to you!! I am actually celebrating my 3rd anniversary today. Looks like a great way to celebrate.
July 26, 2011 at 4:04 pm
Happy anniversary!!!! And Congratulations on 20 years! You have a lot of insight, and I agree with so much of what you said.
The bread sound like a wonderful way to start the day! I’ve never tried an apricot/chocolate chip combo but I’m sure it’s fantastic! 🙂
July 26, 2011 at 10:09 pm
You always have wonderful recipes and this chocolate apricot toast looks amazing. And you know I love the chocolate.
July 27, 2011 at 11:19 am
Happy anniversary 🙂
wishing you 20 more amazing years
that loaf looks so good and hearty..I have to give it a shot soon
July 29, 2011 at 4:25 am
Happy Anniversary Geni. We just celebrated our 15th year anniversary also. 🙂
Your apricot chocolate chip loaf looks delicious as always. 🙂