An overly iced bourbon with just the right amount of ice, shirtless men, sandy feet, beer pong, my head feels funny, I’ve been carried to bed – it’s baby’s first beach week.
If I’d been invited years ago, really even just a year ago, my answer would have been unequivocally, “No!” A resounding, “Aw hell naw!” But more realistically, more politely, it would have been, “Thanks, no thanks, sorry! I can’t!” Excuse, excuse, excuse.
Crippling social anxiety, wall-to-wall germaphobia, limitless self-consciousness (to name a few) have always prevented me from doing, going, participating, living.
But for whatever reason, perhaps I happened to be listening to Flo Rida at the time or I was inspired by the host’s out-of-this-world six-pack and encouraging personality, this year when invited, I shouted, “Yes,” from a metaphorical rooftop. To hell with caution – beach week here I come!
Okay, slow my roll.
That isn’t to say I wasn’t nervous. Wearing a bathing suit in front of people I went to high school with… is there a fresher hell than that? Socializing for three days straight? Pretending I’m interesting to people who ARE actually interesting. I can’t keep that game up forever. It’s the constant concern – among these wonderful people, what do I bring to the table?
Uh…bread, I guess…baking???
It’s my one comfort. That thing I do and think “I’m not horrible at this.” It’s the anticipation of smiling faces. It meant showing up with something even if it wasn’t a personality or anything to say…
So I baked two loaves of my favorite Blueberry Bread, something impossible to screw up and even harder to resist. I hopped in the Caddy at 10pm, peeled out of my driveway blasting “Thunderstruck,” and I drove my ass through the night to Bethany Beach.
I spent the ride organizing my thoughts. The familiar chant, “You’ll be fine! You’ve brought bread! Everyone loves bread!” the most frequently occurring of them all. My mantra and occasional (okay – never ceasing) belting of any and all U2 songs seemed to soothe my subconscious squalls. That is, until I was nearly there.
I lurked outside, practicing deep breathing, psyching myself up to go in but not at the point of parking my car. That’s when he spotted me through the window. He, him, yes, the man who invited me to my own personal anxiety fest. He came bolting out the door to greet me with a kiss and an encouraging smirk.
As we entered the house, loaves in hand, my throat seemed to dry up. Who are all these people? Say something funny Kaitlin! For Christ’s sake don’t just stand there!
“Hi – I, uhh, well… I brought this bread…I’m Kaitlin.”
So my entrance wasn’t red carpet worthy, really any carpet worthy, but my bundle of baked goods seemed to bamboozle my beach buddies long enough for me to catch my breath and relax.
And relax I did. Each morning I cooked breakfast (Blueberry Bread included), I sunbathed on the beach, swam in an actual ocean not just one of fears and abandoned dreams, I conversed comfortably; and yes, I think there was something about Bourbon up there…. but that’s a bit fuzzy.
I beach week-ed and lived to tell the tale and share this recipe for the easiest, most delicious, bursting with blueberries bread you’ll ever make!
So whether you’re headed to a beach with a hot guy and a group of friends (previously my own personal nightmare) or you’re just looking to carbo-load alone in your house with that TLC marathon on in the background (I’m not NOT doing that… right now) this bread is perfect! Make a few loaves and get living!
Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.
Add the wet to the dry and carefully combine. This batter is thhhhiiiiicccck, so you know it’s good.
Add in the blueberries.
Pour batter into prepared pans and place in a 350° F oven and bake for 1 hour. Let the bread cool before turning out, slicing and serving.
Mmmm… the open road, classic rock, the promise of a kiss from your crush… this is adventure people… forget your fears and burn some rubber!
Beach Week Blueberry Bread
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of sugar
1 1/4 cups of canola oil
1 tablespoon of vanilla
3 cups of blueberries
Preheat your oven to 350° F and butter and flour two 9 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs.
Using a rubber spatula, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.
Add the blueberries and fold in carefully.
Split the batter evenly between the loaf pans.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, rotating pans halfway through the baking process.
Once bread has finished baking, remove from oven and let cool before turning out of pan, slicing and serving.