There’s this quote I’ve always liked, “Today’s safe boundaries were yesterday’s unknown frontiers.” I don’t know who said it. I just know that from where I sit today, married, living in Nashville, self-employed and blogging (five years Sunday!), I know it’s true.
Tim and I bought a house yesterday. Or rather, Tim and I made a deal to buy a house yesterday. We spent some time in the nicely landscaped courtyard of an office building signing documents and handing over earnest money, so it certainly feels like we bought a house yesterday, but actually the closing won’t occur for another chunk of weeks. I was driving around Wednesday night, the night before we found out the sellers took our bid, and thinking about the last several months of being a house hunter. Since late May, we’ve seen houses that leaned, houses with fleas, houses that sold the day they posted, houses that sold for more than their asking prices, houses older than both of us combined. At one foreclosure, a sad older man sat in his sofa while we walked through his living room and into the kitchen where boxed brownies had just been baked, and we stood in his sloping basement where the ceiling was caving in, shaking our heads. At a cheerful, yellow turn-of-the-century house a block away from our current one, we fell in love with features like high ceilings and broad porches—but there were too many damages for the house to be insured and thus financed, so we had to let it go. We’ve made offers. We’ve made plans. We’ve seen how little we control.
I was also thinking about the last decade or so of my life, from being in college wondering about the future to being self-employed in Nashville now, about to buy a house. When I finished college, all I wanted was to be a writer, and that felt impossible. I remember the day I got into a graduate writing program, me with my unaccredited education degree, and I told my Dad, and his eyes lit up, and I’m pretty sure I cried. Then, two years later, in the final days of my master’s program, I obsessively applied for jobs, tracking them in a color-coded spreadsheet, and I told my friend Michele I didn’t think I’d ever find one. Then, the week before school finished, I got a dream job offer paying double what I’d made before, and I started the Monday after I got my degree. When I met Tim, he lived in Nashville, and I lived in Chicago, and the idea of bringing the two together seemed an idea too big to hope for. When we wanted to get engaged, we had no money, not even for a ring. I cried in Tim’s kitchen when we apartment-hunted. We’ll never find anything, I said to him. What will we do?
The truth is, I’ve been a little nervous about every unknown path I’ve ever stepped onto, and Providence has pushed me down a lot of unknown paths. When I started blogging, when I became self-employed, when I met up with strangers, it was always with a little bit of a lump in my throat and a deep breath for courage.
But there’s a benefit of looking back that doesn’t come from looking forward, and I’ve lived long enough to know that, even on a day like today. So while we step forward into the New of house buying, I’m finding myself glancing back at the old News that once made me so afraid. Tim told me last night about a friend’s Instagram of him and his daughter, riding a night train through D.C. “This is so fun!” the daughter was saying, amidst an environment that would be terrifying on her own. Everything looks different when you’re in the arms of your father. That’s how I feel today.
For a person who usually craves control, there’s a beauty in knowing you don’t have it, in thrusting yourself onto Someone who does. Likewise, there’s a beauty in being surprised by life as it unfolds, in letting your mistakes and stumblings be worked into a tapestry of something good. It’s true of Big Things like houses. It’s true of everyday things like cinnamon buns.
These sweet little einkorn buns were pure accident. I’d proofed an extra bowl of yeast on the counter, and Tim said, Let’s make something with einkorn with it, and la dee da, here you go. You don’t have to use einkorn in this recipe; you could try spelt or all-purpose flour, but note that the results will vary slightly if you do. With soft einkorn, the dough is tinted yellow, and the buns are sweet little pillows ensconced in butter and a cinnamon-sugar mix.
We’ve made them twice, and I can’t stop eating them every time we do.
Makes 20 to 30 buns, depending on how large you roll them
Full disclosure, the second time we made these, I skipped step 7, and those are the results pictured in this post. When you let the buns rise that extra 30 to 45 minutes, they will get a little bigger and fluffier, and the tops will look more cracked, as the dough expands beneath the cinnamon layer. But if you’re pressed for time at all, feel free to skip the step—they’re still addictively good. Tim also says they’d be good with icing, if you want to take them over the top.
3/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons honey
2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast (one package)
A few dashes of ginger powder
2 1/4 cups einkorn flour, plus up to another 1/2 cup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yogurt
2 tablespoons melted ghee (or butter)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons coconut sugar
- Mix together warm water and honey. Sprinkle yeast on top and stir together. Let sit until frothy and/or bubbly, about five to ten minutes. Add a few dashes of ginger powder; add salt and yogurt; add 2 ¼ cups of einkorn flour, ½ cup (and then 1/4 cup) at a time, mixing dough together with a spoon and then your clean hands. Let it rise 1 hour.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400F.
- Add up to another ½ cup of flour, until dough is workable and no longer sticky.
- Melt two tablespoons of ghee or butter.
- Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
- Form dough into small balls. Brush with or roll in melted ghee, and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Let rise for another 30 to 45 minutes.
- Bake dough for 10 minutes, until puffy and slightly golden.