I have been wanting to tell you all about our picnic.

Because life certainly has its wonderful moments, and this was one of them. I had the chance to see some of my favorite people. ever. It's hard to believe we were there, in the Park,  just a few weeks ago.

I came home feeling every single way. I was full. Indescribably free. happy.
I'm still holding those things to my heart. I still feel all of it.
So much happened in just a few short hours, heart things and things I could just reach out and grab.
It seemed like all of them were good, and it still seems like that today, upon further reflection.

I don't know. It feels risky to be so sure.

Why is unbridled optimism sometimes scary?
No, really, why?

It's hard to shape our time together into just the right words.
I could try, but I'm confident it still wouldn't be enough.

What I can say is that Life has plans for each of us.
We use our everyday moments to unleash bold visions and chest-thumping dreams.

It took me a little while to let the knowledge sink in, that even though I was there as a helper, I was there. I was every bit a part of the design. I was there with intention, and not just to help with the dishes.

As soon as it sank in I was even more impassioned.

It was good.

We shared our hearts in a way that only a big, friends forever group of beautiful school chums can.
We shared a picnic lunch and a life full of dreams, and then I did a throw-back to high school, cue the drama when I was 15.

I confidently  pulled each one into those dreams of mine. It was just a matter of time.

For now, I only have one picture to share.

I won't lie and say it didn't feel good to see everyone, but the weather almost stole the show. it was perfect. perfect. Warm, sunshiney with clear blue skies, baby.

Everyone brought food and we immediately swan-dived into the deep end. These are my people.
In utter truth and sincerity I tell you this, I count myself very blessed to be able to say that I am still friends with many of the very same people that I walked into my first day of Junior High School with. Our class was huge. We started out as scrawny 12 year-olds and 6 years later, shopped for outfits to wear under graduation gowns. We were there for one another through sixties bangs and bell bottom jeans. We had sleepovers and spats and went on double-dates and then we all went our separate ways. And still, here we are. As years pass, I realize more and more that this is rare.

and that I never want it to end.

Friends for life.

We met new people and smooched puppies. And because I'm excitable and kinda scattered, I didn't get a proper shot with any of them.

But right away, I adored them.

As a display of my adoration, I gave strangers chocolate chip cookies and conned them into a water balloon fight. their very first. they brought us steaming pots of sweet tea. and shy smiles.

 Somewhere in the middle, I knew in the depths of my soul that Dear Summer was almost over, in fact she may have hopped out the window and cleared the ditch on the drive home.

 So, today it's fall y'all! The Uggs are on, the windows are wide open, and I'm seven sips deep in a pumpkin latte. This felt like the shortest summer on record, so I'm whining more transitioning to cold weather a little slower than usual. Plus, instead of traditional autumnal shades of red and rust and gold, I'm thinking navy and magenta and avocado.

Still keeping gold, though, because, well everything goes better with gold. And glitter. Obviously.

just sayin'.

apple and honey cake
(from this book)

4 tiny-to-small apples, halved, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (125 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (6 tablespoons) granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey (any variety you like to eat)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, separated
2 good pinches of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup honey
A good pinch of sea salt

Heat oven: To 350°F. Coat a 9-inch springform with butter or a nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.

Prepare apples: Place peeled, halved and cored apples cut-side-down on a cutting board. Use a knife to create parallel thin slices, but only cut halfway through each apple so that the apples stay intact. It's okay if you cut through, you can just reassemble the halves on the cake.

In a bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and 2 tablespoon granulated sugar.

Prepare cake base: Beat butter and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar together in a bowl with electric beaters until fluffy. Add honey and beat until combined. Add vanilla and egg yolks, beating until just combined. Sprinkle salt and baking powder over cake batter, and mix for just 5 seconds, until they disappear. Add flour, half at a time, mixing only until just combined.

In a separate bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites until stiff. Stir 1/4 of them into the cake batter, to lighten it a little. Fold in the rest in three additions. It will seem impossible to fold in at first because the batter is so stiff, but it will loosen with careful folding. Only fold the last addition of egg whites until it has mostly disappeared (a couple faint streaks of egg white are fine).

Spread cake batter in prepared cake pan, smoothing the top. Arrange apple halves facedown over the cake batter. To warn, 4 tiny/small apples will definitely fit over the cake batter. No need to press the apples into the batter. You can pour any extra lemon juice and sugar in the bowl over the apples.
Bake cake: 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let rest on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then cut around the cake to make sure it’s not sticking to the pan, and unhinge the sides. Let cake cool completely. You can store it at room temperature at this point, or after you add the honey, for up to 3 days at room temperature. After that, a fridge is best for longevity. The cake is lovelier on day 2 than day 1.

Before serving, if you’d like the glaze to look glossy, or whenever the cake is cool, if you don’t mind if the honey sinks into the cake: Warm 1/4 cup honey and a good pinch of sea salt until it liquefies to the point where it makes a thin glaze — this will take less than 30 seconds. Brush honey-salt mixture over cooled cake.


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