I’ve got a list and a half of things I want to write here about – recipes, restaurants, cookbooks, the coming growing season, lots of stuff. But here’s the thing: I’m losing it. I’m so tired. I’m battling a kid with ADHD and his brother who’s nutty and 3, and endless supplies of mud and the job is crazy and I’m overdrawn at the bank again and then my friend called twice today to tell me that my boy smelled like cat pee at school, and, you know, there’s only so much I can take.
These are tough days. Amazing, and tough. I watch the monkeyboys out the window as they sprint out into the garden, intent and beautiful and ferocious and wild. The spring has released the water run-off at the garden’s edge and they happily get themselves stuck in the mud, and splash and fill containers and carry out missions with incredible focus and drive. I watch and laugh and worry, running between loads of laundry and sinks filled with dishes and I try to breathe.
I keep trying to breathe. I feel overcome with the magnitude of these days, of getting it right. Not spending too many mornings hissing, “I HATE mornings!” as I’m trying to shoo us out the door on time. Of not missing these moments that pierce me, when their little arms open for hugs and they rub their sticky faces into my belly. Of not letting my work worries knock the joy out of me when I can give them a few undivided moments.
And I keep finding myself in the kitchen, making up for the daily traumas and failures with homemade bread and sweetness. I cook like I’m praying that the smell of chocolate muffins will compensate for my impatience in their future memories, that slices of warm bread and butter will soothe when I cannot. I don’t know what else to do. I keep trying to breathe, to love each of us, to feed and soothe us.
Chocolate granola was a good homemade food to remember this week, simple and wholesome and sweet as a reprieve. In other times I’d jazz it up, maybe give it a Mexican twist with cinnamon and a little powdered chile and raisins and hulled pumpkin seeds. Or else with chopped dried apricots and candied ginger and slivered almonds. But this week, I needed the comfort food and maybe you do too.
- 10 cups of oats (Quick, rolled, whatever; you can also substitute up to 5 cups of your favorite cereal. For this batch I was low on oats but had low sugar o-shaped cereal about and used that and enjoyed it.)
- 1/2 c. ground flaxseed
- 1/2 c. oil (I always use olive, but you can use canola or soy or something similarly mild if you prefer.)
- 3/4 c. – 1 c. maple syrup, depending on how sweet you want it
- 3/4 c. cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 c. dried cranberries or cherries
- 2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts (optional, of course)
Preheat oven to 300. Grease two baking sheets and set aside. Using one tremendous bowl or 2 large ones, combine oats, flax, oil, maple syrup, cocoa and salt. Use your hands to mix very well. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on the two pans and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally if you remember to. When it’s done, the granola will look dry and lightly toasted. Turn off oven and stir in cranberries and nuts (if using). Let cool in oven for half an hour or so, then let cool on counter. Put into containers when completely cooled.
How to use it? Try a breakfast parfait with yogurt and fresh strawberries. On top of vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and a dollop of peanut butter (I’m afraid I can personally attest to the goodness of this). With milk, like cereal. Let me know what uses you think of.