• The Mellow Baker

Stone Fruit Buckle (Vegan Option)

A buckle is much like a cobbler, however the buttery, cakey, caramelized topping is not just dolloped on top to cover the sticky fruit filling. Here, the fruit filling is actually added on top of a lightly mixed, extra buttery batter, and ends up sinking into the middle of the cake for a gooey fruit center and crispy-edged, cobbler-style cake.

I grew up with cobbler and crisp, but buckles and bettys didn't typically make their way onto the table. Of all these favorite Southern desserts, the buckle is closest to a traditional cake, like a fruit coffee cake or upside down cake, with a dense buttery crumb and jammy fruit layer. Each one is different in their own way, but they are all equally easy to make and focus on the most basic pantry ingredients.

This is a one bowl, one pan recipe. I actually mixed up the batter in my large glass measuring cup which I had measured the milk into. This recipe truly requires no technique or skill, when I was first living on my own at 18, cake or cobbler recipes like this were made frequently to soothe my sweet tooth and homesickness. I made this buckle in my dorm toaster oven, I'm so confident you will have just as much success with this "no-fail" recipe, no matter how you bake it.

The recipe below is a comfort food for me, and a very easy bake, perfect for times when you need a home-y dessert, but have no desire or time to bake.

Believe it or not I do experience moments of avoiding the kitchen, even though baking is my therapy and passion, and there is one major reason for that which I spend some time sharing below.

So here is a recipe for those times when you need to have a comfort food with the most minimal effort.

 



I have been experiencing a decline in my health for the past year or so, visiting doctors every other week; I’ve had so many blood tests and ultrasounds, wore a heart monitor for 1 month, a glucose monitor for 1 month, all kinds of uncomfortable materials to track my symptoms — each test has been necessary to rule something out, though you can’t help but feel uneasy when you’ve ultimately wasted more time on the “wrong” tests and, more or less, have been continually pointed in the wrong direction.

I have a 13 page word document of my symptom progression over time, with over 70 pictures of skin reactions, rashes and circulation flare-ups, this hasn’t helped me get a proper diagnosis...yet.


I just received more test results back, all are within normal range; it is easy to want to abandon doctors of any kind when you’re in this position, it feels like you will never make progress...so, why try?

But I am physically miserable many days, so I continue to see almost any doctor I can be referred to. My optimism for a proper diagnosis and care plan comes in waves, sometimes succumbing to the negative mindset that I will be stuck in this cycle forever.

I am immensely grateful to have access to so much healthcare, and immensely overwhelmed by how many more tests I could be subjected to before something clicks.

In part, these health issues are why I started to work for myself and open my home bakery and blog — on the other hand, it’s disconcerting how little I acknowledged my symptoms previously, and I'm doubtful I would’ve realized the extent of my struggling without beginning my own business venture.


Starting my own business has allowed many “blessings in disguise” to shine, and allowed me to value my time and wellbeing more than ever before. It has allowed me to slow down, even if just a little bit, and realize I was not doing well physically, something I was in denial about.

I have been a high anxiety person since I was very young -- making it easy for me to assume my physical symptoms came from anxiety, adrenaline or cortisol -- stress is no joke and can cause so many issues! In my case, I falsely blamed everything on stress, I told myself "if I can just get my stress under control, everything will be as it should," but when I finally shared all my mounting symptoms with my psychiatrist they blatantly told me there’s no way what I’m experiencing is caused by stress, anxiety or mental health factors overall. Of course stress will always be a contributing factor - but it was not a blanket diagnosis for my declining health the way I anticipated. The theory that had caused me to avoid dealing with my declining physical health for so long had been disproven, and I had to commit to improving my symptoms for the sake of my future.

The place of denial I had been in had a great deal to do with my personality and previous work environment. Many people relied on me in my previous job, I did not miss a day of work for over 3 years; all-in-all, I have missed maybe 1 day of work in my entire life. My attendance and reliability is something I have taken pride in throughout my career. My health is something I have continually pushed to the back burner. After experiencing a major car accident about 6 months ago, I have finally understood the value of feeling good and being healthy, and I was extremely lucky to have injuries recoverable through physical therapy. Even after my accident I attempted to return to work soon after, then I finally admitted I was physically struggling even before that event. I still have a ways to go to reach a diagnosis and establish a plan, and I feel a mixture of frustration and optimism as I wait for appointments with specialists.

I'm grateful to have a new outlook on work and health, and I'm excited everyday to run my own business, and balance my work and health in a way that was impossible in my previous jobs. I write this to encourage other young workers to evaluate their mental and physical health in the context of their work environment. It is easy to feel trapped in your career or company, the cyclical stress of each day can eliminate your ability to enact this evaluation, causing you to think only of the short-term. It took a huge life event for me to be capable of evaluating my work environment, and I hope others in my situation can begin to prioritize work-health balance through vocalization such as this.


Thanks for reading.


Signed,


The Mellow Baker



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