Just the other day, I enjoyed a casual conversation with a friend of mine as he reflected briefly on the subject of fatherhood. He said (something to the effect of)…you know, before you have kids, you think one day they will grow up and that will be the end of it. But no, it ain’t that way at all. Once you become a parent, you’re a parent forever and your kids will always be your kids, no matter how old they get. Now, I am not a parent, but I have grown to understand this to be true. And as a daughter, I know that, no matter how old and independent they get, your kids will always need their parents.
Now that we are a few days into this new year, the celebrations have ceased, the festivities have fizzled and you are struggling to get back into the swing of things. You are totally out of routine, having loosened your grip on healthy habits for the sake of “special occasions”. Too much pork roast and roasted chicken, buttered and smothered side dishes, sweets, treats and other such indulgences have left you feeling slow and sluggish, unmotivated, uninspired and well…just plain blah. It’s time to get back on track. So, let’s clean out the cupboards, prepare the pantry and get ourselves a fresh start.
Well, I don’t know how it happened, but Time has managed to completely slip through my grasp once again. He is a slippery little fellow, always running away from me, teasing and taunting like that silly little gingerbread man…Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me…hehehe! And I don’t know about you, but here it is, a matter of days until the festive Christmas gifting begins and I am totally unprepared. Nothing brings me joy like sharing my love through handmade trinkets and heartfelt gifts. I am not, however, one for planning ahead. I find myself with a growing list of loved ones and loyal friends who are deserving some kind of acknowledgment of their special place in my life. So, I throw my thinker into high gear, get those creative cogs turning and rummage up some thoughtful last minute gifts and meaningful ways to spread the love.
Sometimes this particular holiday season confounds me. For many of us, whatever our spiritual or religious stance may be, it is meant to be a period of pause. We are graciously granted time for reflection, celebration, family bonding. We are gifted the opportunity to reprioritize, think beyond ourselves, give to others. And yet, we run about, stressed out over what to give whom, how to get where, who’s going to pay for it all and get it done before the holiday comes. Personally, I always strive to simplify, to focus on the spirit of things and keep myself removed from that stressful materialistic energy. However, even I get sucked into that whirlwind of holiday hustle with a hectic schedule, shopping for gifts, to-do lists and that darn Time continually outpacing me. I am uncomfortable existing in such a state, but at times it is difficult to escape. Sometimes I literally have to tell myself to let go of expectations, slow down and heed the season’s tidings of comfort and joy. Sit down. Take comfort. Enjoy.
Autumn has always been my favorite time of year. There is something about this particular seasonal shift that triggers certain welcomed cravings as the days grow subtly shorter, the air begins to cool and nature’s color palette turns to warmer hues. It is that time of year when pumpkin permeates your menu plans, the crisp autumn air is infused with cinnamon and the golden glow of turning leaves is reflected on your dinner plate. Unfortunately, in my hot little corner of the world, it does not feel like fall at all. Summer is making her traditional last stand, stubbornly refusing to give way. And while my fellow foodies indulge their autumn cravings, I am still desperately craving autumn.
I can’t believe we are already this far into April. How did that happen? I hear myself say it again and again, I sound like a broken record. But time…where does it go? Well, you know what they say about time flyin’ and havin’ fun. And since I seem to be starting out this fine April day with broken records and flying time, I may as well toss in another classic cliché while I’m at it – the mason jar. It’s a little overdone in the foodie realm, I get that. But I do love my jars. You can store just about anything in a mason jar. Grains and beans, buttons or ribbons. Nuts and bolts, cotton balls or caterpillars. Salads, smoothies, water or cocktails. But my favorite of late, has to be breakfast. Breakfast in a jar.
The past week has been testin’ this foodie girl’s patience. With my kitchen in complete disarray (not that there was much order there to begin with) and my favorite space invaded, I was compelled to seek the path of least resistance. That being, the simplest suppers imaginable. We’re talking soup, salad and a sandwich.
By now you may have caught on to the fact that I have been anxiously awaiting Autumn’s arrival (sorry, I don’t mean to complain). And for just a brief moment, I allowed myself to believe that the glorious moment of seasonal transition was finally upon us…only to find myself, once again, sweating up a storm, shrugging the long sleeves and cranking the cooler. Oh well, what can you do? Sigh. Over the years in these desert parts, I have come to realize that summer does not easily give way to fall. However, in a delightful moment of fall fervor, I totally and completely embraced the mood and indulged in creating some autumn spiced eats to commemorate that fleeting, teasing moment. Among the goodies was this protein-packed raw pumpkin granola, too tasty not to share.
Yesterday morning I woke up early. Too early for a Saturday. I couldn’t imagine why this body of mine insisted on rising at the crack of dawn on this particular day, when sleeping late was the simplest and most important goal. I stumbled and grumbled my way to the kitchen to brew the coffee and let the dogs out. When I opened the door I was hit by the most delightful sensation…the morning air was so cool and crisp. I dare say, it was downright chilly. Oh, yay! Autumn! It’s here, it’s finally here! I felt a celebration was in order, so I decided to commemorate this moment of autumnal bliss with a warm pot of seasonal soup.
I knew, the moment I opened my eyes in the early am hours, that this was going to be one of those cake for breakfast kind of days.