Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: The things I wished I said

For JH and RL, and all those who miss them too.

The start of 2015 was a bit rough as I lost two lovely ladies in my life.  After a battle with cancer, Son and Daughter’s beloved preschool teacher JH passed away.  I wept so much at her passing, because she loved and doted on both my kids and me so much.  In one of our sporadic email exchanges back and forth, she said that she had pulled out the good china, was using new sheets, and was enjoying the time she had left with her beloved family.  Her last days on earth were about enjoying them to the fullest and to live without any regrets.  But her passing was like a candle being blown out; the room suddenly went dark for me. I found myself really missing her and wishing that I told her more often how much she meant to my family and me.  Although she left without any regrets, I found that I had more than a handful.

And then more recently, a fellow mom and lovely human being RL, collapsed while at choir practice with her two children, from a cerebral aneurysm.  It was sudden, unexpected, and so quick that most of us were left shell-shocked and astounded that someone could be here on earth one moment and gone the next. Life shifted in a split second for RL – there and then no longer. I didn’t get to say all the prayers I wanted for her; I missed out on asking her for the zucchini bread recipe, and I didn’t schedule that extra playdate that we wanted to have for our kids.  The time to do so was already gone.

I mourned very deeply the loss of these two tremendously amazing women. I also found myself upset that I didn’t say and do all the things that I had planned to, because they had simply run out of time. And I find myself with the realization that when death occurs, those who are left behind can often spend more time thinking of their regrets and the “didn’t do’s” and not so much of all the things that they had already done.  That’s where I am. I want to do more but my opportunity is already done.  I’m reminded over and over that I shouldn’t wait until tomorrow to say what I want to say or do what I want to do.

I honor their memory and our relationships with this post.  Teacher J was a phenomenal gardener and one who enjoyed the growing of plants, and RL was always planting zucchini in the summer that overflowed and produced way more than she could eat.  Both would have loved this zucchini bread: Teacher J, if I had made it for her, and RL because she made something similar.  I miss you both ladies, and have been thinking of you often while baking and trying to prefect this.

If you’ve never made zucchini bread, for the record, it doesn’t taste like zucchini. This is really much closer to a dessert than a vegetable dish.  I like to call it, “Eat your veggies in your dessert.”  The zucchini adds tremendous moisture and richness to this bread and even though you can see the flecks of zucchini, it doesn’t add to the flavor.  This bread is not overly sweet, but has a rich and deep chocolate flavor that just can’t be beat. As you make it, think of the things you want most to say to those around you, and don’t hesitate to express your love.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Makes 2 loaves

1½  cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon  vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3  cup baking cocoa (I love Guittard, but if you can’t find it, just use what you have on hand)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½  teaspoon baking soda
4 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease two 8X4 loaf pans with cooking spray or butter.

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda; gradually stir into sugar/oil mixture until blended. The mixture will be stiff.  Stir in zucchini. Carefully fold in chocolate chips. Transfer prepared loaf pans.

Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely

Printable recipe
J and R – more than words can say, I miss you.

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