Hello again! You’ve probably noticed it’s been pretty quiet around here lately. I know I’ve said this before, but whenever my life gets a little busier than usual, a lot of my hobbies tend to take a backseat to whatever else I’m doing. It wasn’t my intention to take this long of a break from cooking and writing, but that’s what happened. So here we are, just about a year later. Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and my favorite time of the year is just around the corner. I’m working on my Thanksgiving menu plan, ordering groceries, and watching a ridiculously cheesy and unrealistic Hallmark Christmas movie (why do I keep watching these movies?!). And I wanted to say hi, give you a quick update on what’s been going on this past year, and share a great recipe for delicious pumpkin bread.
Evan and I spent last Thanksgiving in Seattle. Even though we weren’t able to see our friends, the Schoppes, our Friendsgiving tradition lived on; we hosted a small group of friends and had a great meal. And thanks to Kellie and Dan, it’s something I will always have fond memories of; we sure miss you guys!
For Christmas, we flew to Iowa with little Toast and spent the week at my sister’s new place. It was a little weird not being in Minnesota at my parent’s house and it was weird not having snow for Christmas, but I didn’t mind the warmer weather! And it was nice to spend the Holiday with my family.
Just after the New Year, I started studying for my last engineering licensing exam. Six years ago, when Evan and I still lived in Minnesota, I took and passed the PE (Professional Engineering) exam and thought I was done with exams for good. But then we moved to the west coast and I quickly discovered their licensing requirements for structural engineers was slightly different. In addition to the PE, you’re required to have a Structural Engineering (SE) license to sign and stamp drawing sets and be an engineer of record. So with about 3 months until the SE exam, I started taking a review course and devoted most of my free time to studying.
I knew from previous experience that I wouldn’t be able to spend much time preparing food and cooking meals, so Evan and I signed up for Hello Fresh. Evan stepped in, learned how to do so much in the kitchen, and prepared most of our Hello Fresh meals. It was a life saver. And I didn’t resort to eating roasted beets every night (I may or may not have done this way too often while preparing for the PE).
Anyways, I took the two day exam, then waited the drastically long ten weeks to get my results. Side note: each test has a handwritten component where you show your work and draw details, so the grading process takes a long time. In June, I finally found out I passed one day, but not both. Sure I was disappointed, but my goal was to just pass one, so I was happy about that. After a few days of processing, I decided I’d retake the one part in the fall.
In the meantime, Evan and I took a mini weekend trip to San Diego, where we laid on the beach, enjoyed the warm weather, and lived off of acai bowls and iced lattes. I also went on a girl’s trip to Chicago with one of my best friends. We explored the city, ate lots of good food, drank good wine, and had a great time just the two of us. I’m hoping it’ll be one of many future girl’s trips together.
At the end of June, Evan and I traveled to Minnesota for the 20th and final Ashley Abrahamson memorial softball tournament. A tournament that my dad started just after Ashley was killed in a car accident, turned into a yearly event that so many young girls across northern Minnesota participated in, including myself. The final year was very memorable, and despite the fact it was incredibly hard to say goodbye, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have been apart of it.
Evan and I definitely enjoyed the summer in Seattle, but I felt like it was short-lived because I started studying again for the fall exam in August. It was less intense the second time around, but still time consuming. We did squeeze in a trip to North Dakota over Labor Day and got to spend a long weekend at the lake. It was very relaxing and great to be back in North Dakota.
It’s been a few weeks now since the exam, and I’m still waiting to find out the results. But it’s been very nice regaining my free time, being able to establish a normal workout routine again, and getting back into cooking and meal planning!
Whew… I think that just about sums up the last year. So here we are, preparing for Thanksgiving once again and I wanted to share this delicious pumpkin bread recipe I stumbled across last year.
The recipe is from Once Upon a Chef and I’ve definitely made it more times than I’d like to admit. I usually cut the recipe in half and just make one loaf, but it’s dense, moist and has the perfect amount of spice to compliment the pumpkin flavor. There’s a good chance I’ll be making a loaf of this today to have on hand for the upcoming Thanksgiving week!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!