Four months ago yesterday, I put on a fancy dress, gathered some friends and family, and married the most amazing woman.
In the month or so after the wedding, I kept trying to figure out a way to blog about it. That was difficult. There are wedding bloggers who are seriously deep into the wedding business. They are all up on the Pinterest, they’re DIY goddesses, they know about dresses and etiquette and flowers. They know cool places to have the reception, ways to save money, and cute favors for guests.
I’m not one of those writers. When we got engaged, I knew slightly more than Amanda did about weddings, but not much. My poor photographer, a longtime friend of mine, would ask questions about what we wanted when he shot the wedding photos, and we would often just shrug. “What do people usually do?” we asked.
The answer to that question was never simple. Everything. Different people want different things. It’s unique for each wedding.
Looking back, it’s a little bit comical to me that we felt so lost in the enormity of wedding planning that we couldn’t answer simple questions like what kinds of pictures we might want because in those months after the wedding, when I was trying to blog about the event and share it with all of you, one resounding piece of advice kept coming to the surface for me:
Be organic to you. Be yourselves. Listen to your intuition, your bodies, your hearts.
I loved our wedding because it felt 100% organic to us. We weren’t bound to a lot of traditions because ours was a largely non-traditional wedding. We love French food, so we held both the ceremony and the reception at an adorable French restaurant in Chevy Chase, Maryland. We didn’t have attendants, and we walked each other down the aisle rather than having our fathers give us away. We didn’t toss bouquet or garter.
And the thing is, we had a good time. We had so much fun at our wedding because we were organic to the kind of couple we are. We listened to ourselves.
There was a great essay by the fantastic Ariel Levy in a 2007 issue of The New Yorker called “The Lesbian Bride’s Handbook.” I remember reading it years after it was published, when I had just come out, and thinking, wow. A wedding. That could never happen to me. But it did. And I took a lot of Levy’s writing to heart. I worked with Amanda to craft an event that felt right for us.
And now, four months later, I found myself quoting another, completely different facet of the essay: “Gay marriage, like all marriage, is extremely fattening.”
It’s amazing that the advice to listen to your intuition, to your body, to your heart, is so easy to prescribe for other people. I rarely take it to heart myself. I might be good at tuning in to my intuition, but I am very bad at listening to my body. When I came down with a cold a couple weeks ago, I said I would rest in bed but ended up cleaning instead. I currently am working through a muscle spasm in my back, but I’m also doing laundry. I also ignore the aches and pains that tell me to get out, go for a walk, strengthen my muscles. I shush those feelings and sit at my computer and work.
Bad news: that makes my pants shrink, if you catch my drift.
I’ve been looking for healthier recipes lately – ones that have a lower calorie count but that still taste good. Enter in this zucchini bread recipe. Zucchini is at its peak in the season right now. It’s everywhere, and I’m eating as much of it as I can.
At around 150 calories per slice, this recipe makes two loaves of 12 slices apiece. It’s light, a little lemony, and tastes great toasted with a little butter. The loaves won’t be tall, but the slices are thick and tasty and full of summery goodness.
So I submit this recipe to you, as well as the advice that I continue to give myself: whether it’s planning a wedding, taking a job, falling in love, maintaining your love, or just ordering a sandwich: be organic to you. Listen to your intuition, your body, your heart. And then have a piece of zucchini bread.
Adapted from cooking light
Makes two loaves, 12 slices per loaf (Serving size is one slice)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup canola oil
Zest of one lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups shredded zucchini, moisture squeezed out (see note below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat inside of two 9×5″ loaf pans with cooking spray.
Measure flour into dry measuring cups by lightly spooning flour in and then leveling off with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir well.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, oil, lemon zest, and vanilla. Add sugar and stir until well combined. Add zucchini and stir until zucchini is distributed throughout batter. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Divide batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Cool for ten minutes in pans on a wire rack before removing from pans, returning to rack, and cooling completely.
A note about zucchini: Zucchini is full of moisture, and that can make baking it a little soggy. Shred your zucchini using a large grate on a box cheese grater. Transfer zucchini to a collander lined with paper towels, and cover with another layer of paper towels (you can also use tea towels instead of paper towels if you’re living the green life). Press down and squeeze out that excess moisture.