When You Think You're Done... zucchini applesauce snack cake becomes zucchini applesauce pancakes
Honestly, this post has been sitting in drafts for several weeks now. Why the lassitude? Because, my blog was hacked!! I'd love to flatter myself into thinking my ever growing popularity had established me as a target, but the real bullseye, of course, was Wordpress itself. Thousands of blogs must have been affected. The good news is, though, thanks to my darling husband whom I'm dubbing "Save the Dayve", all my content was saved. Not only that, it provided a much longed-for excuse to jump on a new domain, and now we are officially Fit-and-frugal. Unfortunately, I also had to re-establish every link, and re-load every image, plus attend to other housekeeping details. It was a learning experience, though, that's for sure, and I'm glad we're back. This week [ergo, the week I wrote this post], I did (what I previously thought was) the unthinkable. I called in a sub for the third day of school with students. I put it in italics to emphasize the months' worth of mortification preceding the day. Who takes a day off when school has barely started? I was embarrassed to let my impending absence be known, yet I did it anyway. The reason was, we were racing a 1/2 ironman in Iowa on Sunday. Back when we signed up (with Dave aiming for an ITU long course Worlds' slot, only to later discover that he was already qualified to race for Great Britain ... but that's another story...), I had this idea that we could do the race, lasting nearly 5 hours for Dave, and almost 5 1/2 hours for me, and still make it back bright-eyed and faking freshness for school Monday morning. It wasn't until much, much later I finally took a second to glance at a map, and the reality of the 13 hour or so drive suddenly floored me. Fortunately, I was able to book in Judy, the most beloved and all around amazing substitute anyone could ask for. Phew. Relief. Guilty relief... but still.
So it transpired that, following just the second day of "real" back-to-school, we loaded up the Prius with our two bikes, wetsuits, nutrition, and other race gear, along with a change of clothes or two, a bunch of Sherlock Homes audiobooks, Mandarin Chinese CDs (my secret weapon to staying alert when driving for a long time), and assorted music. We made it eight hours to Lincoln, Nebraska. The next morning, we completed the remaining 5 hours' drive, and were treated to uber quick registration, followed by a good stretch of time to rest up before racing and, shortly thereafter, commencing the long drive back home (consisting of row after row of cornfields which, I have to say, were unexpectedly, peacefully pleasant).
I'll spare you the full race report, but if you are thinking of racing Pigman, let me just say, it's a surprisingly tough, hot and hilly, but really fun race organized with a ton of enthusiasm. The field was stacked this year, as for this year only, the race was a qualifier for the ITU long course World Championships, and it was clear just who was gunning for the coveted slots. I finished in 5:27 and was 10th in my age group, which meant that in theory I could entertain the possibility that I could qualify for Worlds through the roll down (top 5 qualify automatically, with a roll down to the top 10), but in reality I knew with certainty it was never going to happen. Still, I was happy enough with the race that I was sufficiently buoyed up, once showered, to face another mega stretch of car time.
Finally getting home was a slightly different story. Funny how you can long to get home only to feel a little let down when it's time to unpack, clean, and brace yourself for the looming work day while overcome with stiffness and aches. Which brings me to the recipe connection here. I was oh so tempted to cheat a little (speaking from the perspective of one who probably takes regular posting a little too seriously). In my quest to waste not a single zucchini from the over-stuffed garden bed, I'd made a zucchini applesauce snack cake in advance, planning to use it as my post-race post. The problem was, it was only almost good. The problem was the raw, or rubbery middle, in spite of a lovely golden top. It was at the same time kind of irresistible, at least in the parts that passed the toothpick test. So much so, that I'm including the original cake recipe below. I even considered overlooking the middle by accentuating the "unbelievable moistness", but... just couldn't do it in the end. I do think the original recipe is still worth attempting, however, as long as you don't try to shortcut the baking time. Monitor and extend as needed, or better yet, bake in muffin cups. I haven't tried this latter suggestion yet, however, so you see my dilemma.
Of course, one of the bonuses a person gets to enjoy after endurance events has got to be pancakes. And, I haven't actually posted about my favorite forgiving breakfast batter in awhile. Thinking of the mantra we emphasize like broken records (which is something of an anachronism of an expression now, isn't it?) in writing workshop, "when you think you're done, you've just begun", I did the honorable thing and made myself zucchini applesauce pancakes by modifying said snack cake recipe this afternoon. Of course, you're very welcome. ; )
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or your own mix of ground ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon... I just happened to have a lot of leftover pumpkin pie spice on hand)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
- 1 1/2 cup shredded zucchini OR 1 cup shredded zucchini and 1/2 cup peeled, shredded apple
- 1/3 cup applesauce
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups skim milk (soy or almond work, too)
*We ate most of this cake/quick bread plain, experimenting with a dusting of powdered sugar with a few slices. Try a cream cheese, or even a chocolate frosting, though, and I suspect you can transform this moist, dense snack bread into a yummy dessert.