Being a mother is a gift. I recognize that for some women, they never want to receive this gift and for other women it is the only gift they wish they could receive, but physically cannot. After going through 6 rounds of heavy chemotherapy I was told that it would be extremely hard for me to become a mother – to have that gift in my life. And although some days I want to rip my hair out or call it a day – leave my child on the doorstep with a sign that says “Take me – I’ve used my penis like a fire hose all over my mother’s couch and thought it was HI-LARIOUS! …she did not” – most days are full of awesome moments that make my heart smile.
Like the first time Q said “Momma”.
Or watching him figure out how to zip his jacket up without any help.
And when conversations with him went from single word sentences to full on subject, verb, noun, adjective and all the things that make up sentence with some extras thrown in there just for fun
Or watching the wheels turn in his head when we took him to his first symphony. He watched quietly and instinctively clapped at all the silent places in the music – regardless of whether it was the end of the song – because he thought it was awesome to hear something as brilliant as Beethoven.
Or like last night, when I was putting little Q down for bed and he wanted to give me kisses on my cheeks, eyes, lips, my elbow (I knew he was procrastinating at that point) and my belly. Yes, he wanted to give my baby belly a good-night kiss. Another gift, given to me this past winter, which is why I was feeling the way I did – my hormones were all over the place because I’d been blessed with another little one. A baby girl who will join our team in the early fall.
This Mother’s Day I wanted to create a dessert that I absolutely love but have a fresh take on it. There is nothing stopping you from using a crust made from cookie crumbs or a filling made from real cream cheese. I have nothing against that (I could eat half the traditional version of this cake that comes from the bakery it tastes so good). I wanted to try this as a vegan, gluten-free option just for the hell of it. I love the challenge that vegan, gluten-free baking gives me and I am always amazed when the recipes turn out! This tastes luxurious – with a rich chocolate cookie crumble that could be eaten all on its own, a smooth silky filling with a hint of Irish cream and a light topping of whipped cream – these little babies are sure to please any mother on Mother’s Day. To all the moms (or moms-to-be) out there, have a wonderful Mother’s Day!
Family traditions. Something as a child you don’t think much about but as you age you start to cherish these traditions. Traditions are bonds that hold our human connections together. Now, I’m not necessarily talking about religious traditions, though for some these traditions are extremely important and relevant to their culture. I’m referring to traditions that your family does that are unique to your family. Perhaps even traditions that are weekly. It could be as simple as Sunday morning brunch or Friday night movie night.
As you grow older and your life starts to develop a schedule that no longer includes some of your family on a daily basis you begin to create new traditions. When I met my husband, it was important to me that we have our own traditions as a family unit (be that 2 or 4 of us). Food always plays a major part – whether it is a gathering of friends and family to decorate our Christmas tree or New Year Day traditional feast – food is a priority. Probably when you think back to traditions you did as a child, food was involved.
Living on the West coast, neither my husband or I have immediate family to gather with for holiday weekends. This is a large price we pay to live in a place that is surrounded by mountains, ocean and never-ending forest. Long weekends that I associate with traditions always make my heart a little achy – missing my family for simple things like sibling yelling matches and unending guttural laughter. As a child, this Easter weekend would be filled with church, an Easter egg hunt and a wonderful feast of food on Sunday – mostly listening to my Grandmother tell dirty jokes. Now, as little Q becomes old enough to really enjoy traditions – my husband and I wanted to create some for him.
We will be making a huge feast on Friday (not a normal tradition for food) allowing us all weekend to digest. On the menu is a beautiful free run turkey with home-made stuffing, scalloped sweet potatoes, broccoli salad, sautéed Swiss chard and I’m still deciding on dessert…could be a tough one. I’m sure a hike will be in there somewhere or the discovery of a unique neighbourhood as we enjoy the sunshine. Sunday morning Easter egg hunt is a must – what kid doesn’t want to search for chocolate eggs??? And to follow will be a delicious brunch which will include these Morning Glory muffins. These muffins are really a meal in themselves, packed with carrot, apple, raisins, walnut and coconut. I have created this gluten-free, vegan version which has been tested by everyone and the postman (literally) who had no idea that it was not the “traditional” version. They are unbelievably moist with a wonderful fluffy texture (something hard to achieve with gluten-free baking) and utterly satisfying. Use a food processor to save time on grating and feel free to cut the recipe in half if you’re only looking for 12 muffins. This makes 24 – lots for leftovers to freeze and have as an easy on-the-go breakfast. Remember, eating clean means planning ahead and these muffins are a great way to do that. Serve to your weekend guests for breakfast (perhaps warm with some almond butter or fresh smashed fruit?). YUM!
What traditions will you be doing this long weekend? Any new ones that you are creating with your family?