My first-thing-in-the-morning routine is simple: Wake up. Brush my teeth.
When I walk out of the bathroom, my day has begun. This is often my only time alone during the day, unless my baby wakes up and insists on joining me. Regardless, if I do not brush my teeth at this time, it may never happen as I rarely sit still until bedtime, much less have time in the bathroom for such luxurious matters as teeth brushing.
So, this is how the routine started one recent morning. We have a ‘jack & jill’ cabinet that I love, because you can access it from the hallway or the bathroom. This is oh so convenient since we only have one bathroom. But this morning, as I reached in to grab my toothbrush in a groggy state with barely an eye open, suddenly there was a loud whisper and a head poking out on the other side. I did the most natural thing one does in these moments, when one is in a semi-dream like state and then woken by a total creeper:
Blood. Curdling. Scream.
Of course, the creeper was merely my husband and his attempt to keep the children asleep was foiled by me. And my damn scream.
Fast forward just an hour or so, I was still a touch shaken by my only daily little “self-care” routine being so disrupted, and I decided a shower might do the trick. I probably should have considered eating somewhere in there, but since the day began with such a rude alarm, eating did not seem plausible. The baby joined me, because otherwise he just screams and pulls the curtain back: not pleasant. My 4-year old is typically happy to have some time to just hang out alone quietly playing or drawing.
The shower was so calming and relaxing that I finally let the morning melt off me and I let go of my slight low blood sugar. Zed and I climbed out of the shower, me in my fluffy robe, him naked. Ah, here I was: finally ready for my day.
I peaked out, feeling sparkly, and called out to Juliette: “Hey sweetie!”
“Juliette Allison Steirer!?!?”
Of course, I was dashing in and out of every room gathering up more hysteria in my search. After running out to the backyard feeling rather underdressed, I decided the front yard was my only option after one last dash through my house. And who has time really to get dressed when your child is missing?! I ran out, screaming with utter franticness, wearing only a bathrobe and naked baby in tow; a complete spectacle I am sure.
I finally came to the helpless realization that yes, yes indeed the only explanation was quite terrible: she very much had to be completely lost. Gone.
Then I turned around and looked up to see my Juliette, finger in her mouth, leaning on the front door’s frame, twinkle in her eye: “Mama?!”
I am amazed at how many emotions one can feel in a single breath:
There she stood and now what? Apparently, for me this meant scooping her up, running inside with uncontrollable sobbing, hugging and begging her to tell me where she was. She became selectively mute, other than that damn twinkle in her eye, which I can only imagine had something to do with witnessing her mother’s complete breakdown.
I deduced that she was in her bedroom during my manhunt probably tucked in her messy closet, but beyond that I am not certain as to why she did not respond back. We had a little discussion about future times when one calls her name. Anyone, but especially me. Then I decided to get rid of my morning’s low-blood sugar once and for all with my rendition of this Coco-Nutty Granola. Although, I actually didn’t follow that linked recipe or even took a peak at it while I was baking, but it seems unfair not to credit it since it has floated past my pinterest page a bazzillion times it seems. I first made this when we were on a detox, which was grain-free, vegan, no soy, etc. and so breakfasts were challenging us until I whipped up a batch of this. Now we cannot get enough of it.
As Juliette and I sat together peacefully with our bowl of goodness, drenched in freshly made coconut milk, strawberries and berries, she asked me what I was grateful for. This is a common enough question at our mealtimes, but I couldn’t respond until I ate a few more bites and felt my heart palpitations slow a bit. Finally, I looked up and said:
Juliette, I am grateful for you, darling. Always. I love you so much. But, I beg you, never do that to me again.
My Seedy-Coco-Nutty Make this RIGHT NOW Granola
4 cups of your favorite nuts*: almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, brazil nuts (try them all first, because our brazil nuts ended up being weird- typical I realize)
1/2 cup coconut or olive oil or your favorite oil (or even butter… oh decadence, that sounds amazing!)
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup apple or orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla or almond extract
1 cup sunflower &/or pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sesame, chia, poppy &/or hemp seeds (I combined them all!)
1/4 cup flax meal (this helps them stick together.)
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups large coconut flakes
Roughly chop your nuts. Spread on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 300 F.
Stir together the oil (you may need to melt it, if using coconut oil or butter), honey, apple juice, and vanilla. Quick tip: Keep your measuring cup clean(ish) by measuring the oil first in a liquid cup, then the honey, which will slide right out of the lubricated cup and then finish with the apple or orange juice which will hopefully pick up the remaining goop.
Drizzle the liquid mixture across the nuts and toss.
Toss all of the seeds together with the salt and sprinkle them all over the sticky nuts. Fold in the large coconut flakes. Place in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until they are crunchy. I make this on cool evenings, and typically turn off the oven, leaving them to dry out a bit further into sticky goodness overnight.
* Please note: I soaked my nuts overnight before making the granola, but that is entirely optional. The soaking plumped them up a bit and made me feel like I was somehow stretching this rather expensive cereal into something bigger. Again, it doesn’t make a difference, so do not sweat this step. I share that only for full disclosure.
You certainly can play around with this recipe in so many ways: add spices, longer/shorter bake time, all seeds, no seeds, dried fruit, oats, buckwheat grouts, quinoa, etc. Sky is the limit on this amazing ‘cereal’.
May your morning routines be a bit smoother than ours!
Cook seasonally. Eat consciously. Live well,