Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Goodbye 2016 (with warm Almond Kheer Oatmeal)

Lila and her friends made this gingerbread
house- from a kit, easy peasy. Why the poor
dog is stuck on the roof, I can't say
After weeks of being in a blogging funk, I'm pulling myself up to share a warm breakfast recipe. Ah, breakfast- my favorite meal of the day.

All my life, I have been a morning person and I enjoy waking up early and tucking into breakfast.

These days, however, our baby boy is challenging my notions of how early is too early and does waking up at 3 AM constitute a really really early morning or a really really late night? Who has time to blog anyway when you have to read all 16 million baby sleep websites that Google throws up when you search for "baby wakes every two hours"?

Here's a recipe for bleary mornings: a warm and hearty breakfast. I'm not one for sweet breakfasts but I have been happily tucking into this barely-sweet almond kheer oatmeal.

Almond Kheer Oatmeal (makes 3 servings)

In a pot, combine 1 cup old fashioned oats, 1 cup almond milk (or any kind of dairy or non-dairy milk) and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Stir in the following:
2-3 tbsp. almond butter
Large pinch of salt
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. ground cardamom
Splash of cream

Scoop into bowls, scatter a few dried cranberries and enjoy.

* * *

2016 was a crazy year. Admittedly, the politics and world news of 2016 left me with a deep heartache and anxiety about our collective future. But on a personal level, 2016 was completely amazing as we welcomed our sweet new baby half-way into the year.

And we have so many kind people to thank for helping us during this joyful and exhausting time, starting with the friend who opened her home to Lila at 3 AM when we rushed to the hospital to have the baby. (The baby's coming NOW? said Lila in disbelief. I need my sleep!) This is the same 5 year old who gave an impromptu pep talk the night before our tiny 8 week baby started daycare: "Now baby brother, I know you're starting school tomorrow. You might wonder, will anyone be nice to me? But don't worry, your teacher will like you and you'll make friends".

Neighbors and friends stopped by, armed with food and onesies. Homemade quiches, cookies for the big sister, cheesy pastas for daddy, spicy guacamole for me. One neighbor brought us a lasagna that I swear weighed about 10 pounds and fed us for days, plus a pint of gelato. All this when she has a baby of her own to care for. Other neighbors dropped off a bottle of celebratory champagne and a note of congratulations at our back door.

We have been at the receiving end of so much generosity of every kind. A friend whisked Lila away to a movie so we could have a weekend afternoon to snuggle in with the week-old baby. One morning, I was in the supermarket in a hassled state in my yoga pants and a stained tee, and a stranger stopped me in the canned vegetables aisle to say "You and your baby make a beautiful picture". Friends all over the country took the time to send boxes of gifts and notes of congratulations.

To all these big-hearted people who make my world a better place- thank you thank you.

What were your highlights of 2016? See you in the new year!