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Easy Rhubarb Crisp

May 23, 2014

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Sometimes when I have a recipe to share it’s almost like going through the motions; I know exactly what I want to say about the recipe, how the flavors are balanced and the recipe’s ingredients shine and the like. But this morning when I sat down to write it was life, more than anything, that felt right to be writing about.

A few people over the last couple weeks have asked how we are doing, a very loaded, complicated and thoughtful question to ask 6 weeks after the fact. It’s a question for which I don’t really have a good answer. We’re moving forward, thinking about the future in all of its uncertainty. There are some days that the sadness and uncertainty hit me like a ton of bricks and just when I think I’m doing really well, I find myself crying on the kitchen floor out of nowhere. We’re celebrating milestones of our yet-to-be-born nephew and niece. And, quite honestly, it’s strange and difficult and hard to navigate juggling feelings of loss and sadness that co-mingle with happiness and anticipation for those around us.

On vacation I re-read Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist and it spoke to me even more than when I read it the first time. If you’ve never read it, I would urge you to run to the bookstore or the e-store and buy/download it today. I’ve been coming back to this quite time and time again:

“…sometimes the happiest ending isn’t the one you keep longing for, but something you absolutely cannot see from where you are.” 

It’s hard for someone like me, who is all about answers and research and knowing the next steps, to do blood test after blood test only to get absolutely zero conclusive answers. Hearing you are absolutely healthy as can be is both a relief and a frustration. Um, have you read my medical record? It doesn’t seem like it to me.

I realize now more than ever that this experience has changed me in the best and deepest of ways. I’ve become more empathetic and noticed people hurting that I never would have noticed before. Instead of feeling like “those are your problems,” my heart genuinely hurts for others in a way I didn’t think possible before. I like this new side of me, even if the journey has not been what I had imagined thus far.

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And now I’ve totally gotten away from the point, haven’t I? Well, our neighbors are the kindest older couple we could have asked for and they regularly bring us little treats, like maple syrup from their trees up north at their cabin and rhubarb from their garden. I’ve never really had a taste for rhubarb personally, but my husband loves rhubarb more than anyone I’ve ever met.

He was so excited when a bag of rhubarb was waiting for us after work one day that I couldn’t resist throwing it into a crisp that very evening. This recipe is inspired by a recipe from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook**still a favorite in my house and has been one of my go-to books since childhood. The crisp is perfect in all sorts of ways, sweet and tart at once and just the right amount of crunchiness. Joe raved about this dessert when he sat down with a giant bowl of it this week, and I have a feeling if you love rhubarb you’ll feel the same.

Easy Rhubarb Crisp
Recipe type: Dessert
This rhubarb crisp is easy to throw together at a moment's notice and tastes delicious when served with vanilla ice cream.
  • 6 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Topping
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the rhubarb, 1 cup granulated sugar and the corn starch. Toss to coat evenly. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate or an 8x8-inch square baking pan.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir until well-combined. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a fine meal. Sprinkle over the rhubarb mixture.
  4. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool 1 hour before serving.

**I noticed you can buy it for less than $1 online. You guys! Go and do so immediately. I promise you won’t regret it! It can be found HERE.


Marcia’s Rhubarb Cake

June 10, 2013


Happy Monday, friends! I’m struggling to get on the Monday bandwagon this week, if we are being really honest. Joe and I have both been battling a sore throat for the last couple days and we had a terribly sick little pup Thursday and Friday, which was awfully scary. Thankfully, it appears to have been a bout of puppy flu, and she is back to her normal chipper self. Never have I been so thankful to see that little tail wagging again!

If I had to sum up last week, I think I would call it the “Week of Rhubarb Desserts.” Joe and I literally ate rhubarb dessert four out of five weeknights last week. Crazy, right? But when it is in season, you have to take advantage!

The real kick-off to our rhubarb dessert eating was the fact that my sweet older neighbor, Marcia, brought over a large bag of rhubarb from her garden. Along with the rhubarb she included a couple of her favorite rhubarb recipes, including a super simple family favorite recipe for rhubarb cake. I love old recipes, especially recipes that have been handed down from other bakers with much more experience, so it took about 10 minutes for me to get baking this cake.


As with most older recipes, there are a lot of ways you can go wrong. The directions are usually pretty vague and don’t necessarily provide much direction or explanation, meaning there is plenty of room to make a mistake. However, I’m happy to report that this cake was a huge hit with everyone who enjoyed it! It’s a simple cake that is very easy to pull together. I called for an electric mixer in the recipe, but I made the recipe twice and didn’t use an electric mixer the second time. The cake turned out beautifully both times, so use what you feel like using.

One word to the wise: This cake is better when it is made the day you are planning on serving it. Since the rhubarb has a lot of moisture it tends to make the cake soggy on the second and third days after baking. It’s still totally edible and delicious (Joe still ate it all!) but maybe not worthy of serving guests after the first day. Pop it in the oven while you eat dinner, then serve it warm with a cup of coffee and some ice cream after you eat your meal.

Marcia’s Rhubarb Cake
Makes 12 to 16 servings
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped rhubarb
Additional sugar for sprinkling atop cake

Heat oven to 350F. Combine sugar and butter. Beat until well combined with an electric mixer. Beat in the egg and buttermilk until combined.

In large bowl, combine the baking soda, cinnamon, salt and flour. Add flour to wet ingredients and beat until just combined. Stir in the rhubarb by hand.

Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons sugar atop cake. Pour batter into a greased 13×9 inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 34 minutes or until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out nearly clean. Cool 10 minutes before cutting.

Happy Baking!