Season of Missing

It’s cold here on the east coast.  There is a biting wind outside that elevates the notion of “chill in the air” to something otherworldly.

Although I am a December baby, these frigid months are especially hard for me, now that I am deeply entrenched in my “season of missing.”  I miss my daughters, one in college, the other beginning a new life out west.  I miss my son, who, although still at home, is emotionally preparing himself (and by extension, me) for his imminent departure for college just months from now.  I miss my husband, who is in the throes of his “busy season” and therefore often gone before breakfast and home long after the late night news.  I miss my dog, who left this earth last spring and thus a permanent hole in my heart.

Now that I have reached mid-century age, there are other things I miss:  the ability to quickly get dressed in the morning (it just takes more time to achieve what I consider that publicly presentable state); mindless, carefree eating (“no more of that,” demands my lumbering metabolism); eyesight that doesn’t require a growing collection of magnified “readers,” lest I choose to read the morning paper at arm’s length.

If this all sounds a bit self-indulgent, it is.  I’m allowing myself this time of reflection as a strategy for navigating what I imagine is a life transition, one that I suspect we all experience at some point in our lives. And really, when you think about it, how lucky we are — to have family, dogs, experiences, and youthful indiscretions (which I chose to omit here) to miss.  They aren’t really gone, just quietly tucked away in a finished chapter, while we happily anticipate what comes next.

Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
During the cold, short days of winter, there’s nothing like a batch of cookies to warm the soul. I made these just yesterday and had many requests for the recipe.  Not only are they safe for my flour- and wheat-free friends, they’re especially delicious and lend themselves to all sorts of modifications.  You won’t be disappointedIngredients:

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened (if you’re looking for a healthy alternative, try 1/4 c. melted coconut oil instead)
3/4 c. each granulated and dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/4 t baking soda
1 t vanilla
1 c. peanut butter, at room temperature (smooth or chunky, your choice)
3 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. dried raisins or cherries
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat together butter and sugars, followed by eggs, until mixture is smooth and creamy.  Beat in baking soda and vanilla.  Beat in peanut butter until fully incorporated.  Use a wooden spoon to stir in oats, dried fruit and chocolate.  You may also add roasted sunflower seeds or chopped roasted peanuts for additional crunch.

On two parchment-lined baking sheets, place teaspoon-sized balls of cookie mix about 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon.  Bake until set and slightly golden, about 12 minutes.

Cool on a rack and enjoy!
(adapted from JeanMarie Brownson’s Dinner at Home)
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