“Thank you.” Tears began welling just above the lower lid of my eyes as we handed the bag of muesli to her. Today was the last day of “school” for Hallie. We made a mega batch of muesli that not every bowl, stock pot, or container in our kitchen could hold. It was our way of saying thank you. But that bag of oats and apricots would never ever touch the deep, deep sentiment we felt in our hearts. I don’t say thank you much, or enough. In fact, I can’t tell you the last time I wrote a thank you card. It’s embarrassing. I never expect it myself, and when it’s given to me, I awkwardly change the subject.
I have a tendency to shy away from anything that feels trite or overused. To a fault. Somehow thank you has found a home in that category. I’m fighting to change that. Sometimes it takes writing things out on a post-it note, things that would normally go unnoticed. I have a neon pink note on my computer about the house. About all the tiny provisions along the way. It helps on the days when you feel anything but grateful.
Maggie from Eat Boutique is writing a book called Food Gift Love. She’s been posting about it the last couple of months. As I was thinking about Hallie’s last day of school, I wanted to make sure we said thank you without letting it skip past like normal. It had to be meaningful, even if only for my sake. Food Gift Love echoed in my head.
Muesli was the first thing I bookmarked when Maria’s new book Simply Ancient Grains arrived. Oats fill our bowls and our belly nearly every morning. I wanted to nourish them the way I nourish my family; the way they’ve nourished that tiny little human of mine and thus me. No gift or stack of post-its would capture it all, but we made bags and jars of Maria’s muesli for them anyways.
Making muesli is an extremely simple process, so simple I thought it would be a good activity for Hal and I to do together. I think I’m a year ahead of myself and her. She likes to touch everything. A spoon wont do. So, I made it solo during nap time.
We didn’t make the muesli together, but we said thank you together, or as Hallie says, chain chew. Doe-eyed and timid, Hal handed out our first bag. I said thank you on behalf of us. She quickly changed the subject as if a thank you wasn’t necessary. I know those moves. I drove away reflecting on the tears and their origin. I finally realized saying thank you isn’t so much for them. It’s for me. Saying thank you is a posture, one that can only be held when practiced. Mine is crooked and in need of some work.
To Hallie’s teachers—thank you for pouring yourself and your time into her. I can receive no greater gift in this life. To Maria—thank you for your beautiful new book, Simply Ancient Grains. For your inspiration and for the means in which it allowed us to say thank you.
- 16 oz. dried apricots, Blenheim variety
- 16 c. oats
- 4 c. raw slivered almonds
- 1 c. sunflower seeds
- 1 c. pepita seeds
- 2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. cardamom
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- Chop apricots into tiny bits. This will yield about 4 cups.
- Into a very large bowl, stock pot, or container add all ingredients. Stir or shake until evenly combined.
- Store covered at room temperature for up to a month.
- To serve, soak 1/2 cup muesli in milk for 15 minutes or overnight. Sweeten with maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar. Top with yogurt or fresh fruit as you wish.
On my bookshelf
Simply Ancient Grains, by Maria Speck
We’re big into serving grains at mealtimes. But more often than not, I don’t know how to properly dress the pot of rice or the bowl of quinoa. Maria breaths life back into these grains, artfully pairing them with fresh herbs and seasonal produce.