How To Beat The Winter Blues | Lemon Blueberry Walnut Bread

Lemon Blueberry Walnut Bread | Once Upon a Recipe

Do you ever have days where you just can’t, and I mean CANNOT, muster up the energy to do something that you really need to do? As in, even if someone offered you $100 to complete this task, you still just couldn’t do it?

For example, today I just CANNOT do the dishes. The sink is full of them. Dirty pots and pans, crusty bowls, cups, even things that I really just should have put in the dishwasher, but even the idea of opening up the dishwasher door, pulling out the rack, and placing these items in their proper place was just too much for this old gal.

Friends, I haven’t done the dishes in 3 days. THREE. Eww. They’re even starting to…smell. (I can’t believe I just admitted that.)

Lemon Blueberry Walnut Bread | Once Upon a Recipe

And you know who is to blame? Winter. Cold, dreary, let’s-get-dark-at-five-o’clock-just-when-everyone-is-getting-off-work-so-they-get-zero-vitamin-D-cause-that’s-fun (not) winter. It is during these months that it takes practically all I’ve got to not change into my sweatpants, wrap myself in a snuggie (yes, I own a snuggie), and watch TV/surf Pinterest all night long with a bottle of wine and a plate of leftover Christmas cookies at my side. Hmm…that’s a frightening visual. My apologies.

Don’t worry, I’ve figured out a few ways to beat those winter blues. Running, yoga, and the thought of not being able to fit into any of my clothes come May, to name a few. Oh, and bread! Bright, summery, delicious bread!

Lemon Blueberry Walnut Bread | Once Upon a Recipe

A trick from Joy…rub the zest into the sugar to release the essential oils in the zest = flavor town.

Let’s take a break from hot soups and casseroles and other wintery things, mmm-k? Let’s smack winter in the face and enjoy the flavors of summer!

Real talk: I first made this bread back in September, when it was technically still summer. Blueberries were at their seasonal prime. BUT! I have seen fresh blueberries pop up at my local supermarket on more than one occasion as of late. And if all else fails, use frozen blueberries.

Lemon Blueberry Walnut Bread | Once Upon a Recipe

Don’t be discouraged! We’re all going to get through this together. Just make yourself a loaf of this bread, enjoy a slice or two with your morning tea or coffee, and let’s start plotting all of the fun we’re going to have this summer. It’ll be here before we know it!

Lemon Blueberry Walnut Bread | Once Upon a Recipe

Lemon Blueberry Walnut Bread (adapted from

It’s no secret that lemon and blueberries are a match made in heaven. The walnuts in this bread add a nice little twist, and the glaze adds some extra moisture and tartness. If this bread won’t get you out of bed on a cold, dark morning, I’m not sure what will!

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 cup sugar

Zest from 2 lemons

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 TBSP. butter, melted

2 TBSP. vegetable oil

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

For the glaze:

Juice from 2 lemons

3 TBSP. sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a dry skillet, toast the walnuts over medium-high heat for a few minutes or until just fragrant. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, lemon zest, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, melted butter and oil. Whisk to combine.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add  the liquid mixture and stir gently until just combined; do not over-mix. Gently fold in the walnuts and blueberries.

Pour the batter into a prepared loaf pan (8″x4″). Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on rack for 20 minutes; remove from pan.

For the glaze, combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour the glaze over the bread while still warm. Slice and enjoy! Wrap leftovers in plastic wrap and consume within a few days.

Lemon Blueberry Walnut Bread | Once Upon a Recipe

PS. For the health of all those involved, my sink of dirty dishes has been taken care of. No need to send help.


  1. Hey… I have wild blueberries in my freezer! All I need is a lemon and I will be set!!

  2. I hear ya girl! I have been wearing either pajama pants or leggings most days since the holidays. I just can’t shake these winter blahs. I used to have this rule of (sorry if this is gross) no shower Sundays. Now it has turned into no shower…. whatever day I feel like. I am slowly getting out of this funk… literally. Is it bad that I want to make this bread and eat it on the couch while watching a marathon of whatever season of real housewives we are on, and long for summer? That is about the level of my motivation these days.

    • Umm…it’s only bad if you’re not inviting me over to eat half of the loaf with you. Cheers to stretchy pants! And to no shower (Sun)days!

  3. I have lemons to use and this looks perfect!

  4. Don’t worry 3 days is NOTHING!

    I was living in a share house with 3 boys and I went away for about 10 days. The dishes in the dishwasher were moldy…actually moldy! When I quized them the answer was “the dishwasher wasn’t full yet” *sigh* Boy logic.
    P.s Blueberries and Lemon mixed into greek yogurt is one of my fav mood boosters!

    • Boys. Seriously. I think “boy logic” is an oxymoron. 😉
      Thanks for making me feel better though! I’ll have to try that mood booster of yours – sounds delish!

  5. That looks amazing! I’m going to have to try it GF…and great idea on the lemon + sugar mixing!

  6. Quick breads is the way to go during the cold months. This loaf looks so scrumptious! PS: LOVE the new design!!! Swoon!

  7. I’ve been having sooo many of those days lately! I can’t even do the simplest things and it’s really kind of sad. Instead I just sit on the couch curled up in a blanket with a cup of coffee. I guess I’ll have to try out this bread so I can break out of the winter blues!

  8. Fantastic! Love your witty musings and this recipe’s going on the to-do list, especially as our summer blueberry season here in Western Australia is the best in years.

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