I didn’t go to school to study it. I’m guessing you didn’t either. (On the off chance that you did and can somehow still tolerate this space, I apologize for all the cringe-worthy sentence structures.) Yet somehow we’re all editors. I guess we’ve always been editors to a degree—choosing what we share and what we don’t. But now it’s forever stained into the internet—into your blog, your Instagram feed, and Facebook wall. It’s neatly housed in one space—to be read, to be enjoyed, to be critiqued as a body of work reflecting your life.
This space—it’s my space. I feel like a six year old when I say it. I don’t have to share it like I do my bowl of oatmeal every morning. Though its contents are the same, the little person adjacent to me wants my bowl. So we share. It’s one less thing to clean, I guess.
This space—it’s happy and as pretty as my camera knowledge will allow. I’m not sure that you’d stop by if it were any different. But it’s edited, extremely so. I shoot on a white Ikea table top that I carry around like a 1980s boom box. I share the recipes that work, and the stories that make me smile.
But I don’t normally share everything else. The days where motherhood is so hard I want to run away. The days when I have to remember that I promised “for worse” and so did he. The days when I hover over the delete button to my social media accounts because I want to be anonymous to everyone except my family, friends, and neighbors. The days that Alexander declared terrible, horrible, no good, very bad.
I’ve had a string of them lately, and they’ve gotten me good. They’ve gotten me down.
In college, I had my MCL repaired. I tore it so many times playing soccer that it was acting like a stretched out rubberband, one that had lost its elasticity. This string of hard days has left me feeling like that.
There’s a page in one of Hal’s favorite books (and mine as a wee one), Quick as a Cricket, that always gives me pause. “I’m as brave as a tiger.” There’s a little boy holding a leash to a very large tiger. The juxtaposition of size and species tells its own story. In his other hand, he’s holding a flashlight, illuminating the darkness. I don’t know who or what you believe in (some days I’m not so sure either), but I like to think there’s someone far bigger and greater than me. And that he’s telling me: wake up and try again.
I prefer to ride the high of the happy days and to etch them into this space, but it’s the dark ones that ground me and remind me of something bigger than me. Gosh, I hope there’s something bigger than me.
I don’t write this searching for encouragement, though I’ll gladly take it (and probably need it). I write this because it’s cathartic, because I can’t say anything else until I say this. And as the self-appointed editor of this space, it’s important to acknowledge the good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly, the for better and for worse. Without the other side, this space is nothing but shortsighted. I’m trying my hardest to wake up and try again, because that right now feels brave to me.
I made Green Kitchen Stories Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal when Grace from The Sunday Table was in town a couple months ago. It was golden, as was she. Grace has this quiet, confident steadiness about her. Hallie, my timid-at-first little lady, jumped right into her lap. She could sense it from across the table. I’ve since catered their recipe into my go-to baked oatmeal recipe adding back in all the dairy (I hear your gasps). It’s topped with a dollop of mascarpone cream, suitable for breakfast yet slightly reminiscent of dessert. I think it will remind you that spring is near (depending on your longitude and latitude coordinates), that seasons pass, and that brighter days are ahead. This is a good start.
Carrot Cake, meet Oatmeal. Kids, meet vegetables for breakfast. I don’t care for dried fruit or nuts in my carrot cake, but I greatly appreciate it in my morning oats. I’ll let you decide how to proceed. The mascarpone cream is optional. Kidding, not kidding. It takes this bake to a whole new level. You can get by without, but I wouldn’t.
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 c. freshly grated carrots (about 2 carrots)
2 c. old-fashioned oats
1/2 c. brown sugar, very lightly packed
1/4 c. walnuts, chopped (optional)
1/4 c. currants* (optional)
1 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp. flaky kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1 1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
handful unsweetened coconut
1/2 c. mascarpone
2 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. maple
Preheat oven to 375°. Brown butter on stove by cooking on medium heat until golden, swirling occasionally. Set aside to cool. (You can forgo the browning and just melt butter for a less caramelized flavor.)
Grate carrots using a cheese grater or food processor.
Combine oats, grated carrots, brown sugar, walnuts, currants, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a medium bowl. Stir together.
Into the cooled butter, whisk together milk, applesauce, egg, and vanilla.
Add milk mixture to oat mixture and stir to combine.
Pour mixture into an 8″x10″ baking dish (or similar). For an extra pretty presentation, sprinkle with coconut and currants. Bake for 20-22 min.
Meanwhile, make mascarpone cream. In a small bowl, gently whisk together mascarpone, milk, and maple syrup until just smooth. Cream will thicken as it sits.
Serve warm. Garnish individually with cream.
* I prefer currants to raisins. They are very similar in taste to without the juicy/moist texture that I don’t always care for.
Serving Size:4-8 servings depending on the accompaniments