Wow. I have a lot to tell you about.
I have been mostly silent and somewhat cryptic about the last six months, let alone about the last twenty-four hours. It has been necessary. Healing. I'm not sure if I have all the words yet, but I'm finding that this simply isn't the point, is it? I am finally beginning to trust that the words will come when it is time to put them down. In time. In the present moment, I hope you are well.
Yesterday, I experienced something I MUST share before I get to today.
The day began with gray. It was not "oh-bummer-oh-well" gray, nor was it "oh-it-will-blow-over-soon" gray. This gray was thick. And heavy. And lonely. And dark. It took all of my strength and strength beyond myself to get out of bed yesterday morning. Before I did it, I had no clue how I would. I've lived a handful of days like that so far.
A few thing I've learned -- and even preached (oy) -- are that when things seem so complicated and complex and impossibly difficult, you go back to the basics. Go back to what you know. When you just don't know anymore, sometimes the only place to go is back to what you DO know. When you are lost, you go back to the last place you were before you were lost. You stop trying to figure it out and then you get found or you find yourself... right?!
So rewind to yesterday morning. Naturally, the question was bound to come up: What do you know, Abi? What DO I know? And the answer amidst the other questions stirring and spinning was unexpected, yet apropos.
It was simple. It was Oatmeal.
I know oatmeal. I love oatmeal. Yes, I've written this before, but frankly, it bears repeating. I LOVE OATMEAL.
What makes me happy? Oatmeal.
How do I get from here to there? Oatmeal.
And so with that, the strength came, and I got out of bed. I made breakfast for my kids and in the mix of the morning I discovered that thing I didn't know I was looking for. That thing I was telling you about that now I must share.
I found a recipe that I clipped and pasted in a binder over a year ago. YESTERDAY, after a year of being overlooked, it called to me, and I answered.
With pot to fire, I began at the beginning. Before I knew it, there was rhythm, and there was joy. I began to change things around and I made that mess my own in that way I often do when the juices are flowing. And the result? Oh the RESULT. It was... well... it wasn't just good. It was CRAZY good.
So if you are still my friend or my sister or you are still checking in on me after six months of silence and this ridiculously verbose build-up to oatmeal, hello again, and thank you. THANK YOU. Here is my gift to you. Please, PLEASE will you trust me on this and treat yourself some time in the next seven days with it?
Be forewarned, these are Irish Oats (fitting, coming from a Nigerian). Breakfast will take a bit of time, preparation and patience. But it's got fiber and texture and crunch and flavor and personality. It is absolutely POETIC and it is absolutely worth it. YOU are worth it. If you don't have the time tomorrow or the next day, good on you! Just unwrap this gift on Saturday (...and then again on SUNDAY). Yes, it's that good.
With no further ado, I give you...
CRAZY GOOD OATMEAL (serves 1 generously)
1/4 c. Steel Cut Irish Oats
1 c. Water
~1/4 medium Apple, grated
~1T Shredded Coconut
~1/4 t Vanilla Extract - the real stuff
Cinnamon, to taste (I like a whole lot)
~1/8 t Salt
Soy Milk (or whatever kind of milk you like... I like a lot)
~1 T chopped and toasted walnuts
1-2 T Raisins
Boil water, and pour in the oats. Stir for a few minutes while the oatmeal gets thick over medium heat, then turn heat down to low. Add apples, coconut, vanilla, cinnamon and salt to the pot and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally, and add water if the oats seem too thick. (I know 30 minutes may sound like a long time to prepare breakfast, but it can go quickly if you let it. The aroma of this delectable dish can wisk you away to a happy place with flowers and music and munchkins.... I digress, back to the recipe). When the oats are cooked to your liking, dish them into a pretty bowl. Sprinkle nuts and raisins over the top, and douse your oatmeal in the milk of your choice.
(*This lovely little breakfast is forgiving. Feel free NOT to stick to the measurements or even to the ingredients. If you like the taste of apple, by all means, add more. If you like your oatmeal sweet, drizzle it with maple syrup or honey. If walnuts aren't your thing, leave them out or roast pumpkin seeds instead. Have fun with it. Double it. Triple it. ENJOY it.)
So the last thing (I'm almost done, I promise), while we're on the topic of oats and good and good for you, I stumbled upon another recipe, a vegan cookie recipe, a few weeks ago in my quest to make peace with cookies (more on this later). The kiddos and I tried the recipe last week, and OH MY GOODNESS.
I know what you are thinking... VEGAN cookies?!?! But PLEASE trust me once more. Your family, your friends, your co-workers, your inner-children, your heart... they will all thank you. I won't be making these for a while (they were that good too), but perhaps you can try this recipe on Monday.
My best to you.