Life is crazy – but what’s the alternative?
Everyday life is crazy these days, isn’t it? At least in my household, it is. My wife is up and on the computer/zoom as early as 6 am, and is still busy writing reports at 9 or 10 o’clock at night. Today, I was up by 7 and had meetings scheduled from 9 – 10, 10 – 10:45, 11 – 12, 12 – 1:30, 2 – 3, and 3 – 4:30.
Left me just enough time to run out and buy ingredients to try a new recipe. And when did I find time to eat lunch you ask? It was that meeting from 12 – 1:30. Shhhhh! I turned off my video camera and put myself on mute during that 12 – 1:30 spot to inhale a bowl of instant Indian food with rice!
Life is just crazy, and I know in other houses there is homeschooling kids, taking care of babies, caring for someone who is sick, or being out of work and trying to figure out how you’ll pay your bills. The sheer stress of those thoughts can definitely get to you! So I took some time earlier in the week to think about simpler times.
Back when days went at a slower pace, at least for me!
Years ago, when my sister and brothers and I were significantly younger (by about 50 years or so) Sunday mornings could go one of two ways. We’d either be up and rushing about to get ready for church – six of us using one bathroom, my father polishing shoes (cause those were the days when you dressed up for church), my mother trying to make sure everything was ready to cook Sunday Dinner when we got home.
Or we’d have a Sunday like this:
My mother had just finished getting my youngest brother bathed and dressed in his little suit ready for church, because back then we all dressed up for church! She told him to sit on the couch and not do anything… then she went to get my other brother into the tub and told me to watch him so he wouldn’t drown! Yup, thinking that Sunday we had an eight-year-old watching a 6-year-old… while a 4-year-old was trying to “be good.” Does that ever end well?
Well, it didn’t work because I got up to look out the window and heard the bathroom door open. A second, maybe two went by as I turned and heard a splash. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught my littlest brother’s pant legs and dress shoes going up and over the edge of the tub with a splash. He sat up in the bubbly water and my other brother yelled. Then I yelled, and my mother came in ready to yell, too, I’m sure. Yes, she was angry, but then she laughed. It didn’t take us long to realize, we wouldn’t be going to church that morning!
Time for Doodles
On mornings like those, my mother got out sheets of paper and crayons, and my father sat at the kitchen table with us to play “Doodles” (or “Squiggles” as my sister calls it). A game he’d made up, where he’d give each of us a piece of paper with a squiggly line or two and maybe a dot or a star, and we’d have to add to his lines to create a picture of something. It could be anything: a dinosaur, a field of flowers, a mother making dinner. It was amazing the things we’d come up with.
When time was up, we’d pass in our creations and my father would judge them. He gave us a ranking of 1 to 5 stars, and I seem to remember half stars appearing depending on who the artist was. He also gave us critiques. My father was a fan of using many colors, so if we’d gone for the chromatic look, he’d definitely tell us to switch up the color scheme! Then we’d start over again.
We could sit there for an hour or two, perfectly content to draw and laugh, and let our minds open to ideas and possibilities. It was a much simpler time. And while I know my parents had days when they weren’t sure how medical bills would get paid, or how groceries would get bought, those Sunday mornings were a reminder. Even when things get tough and scary, and go in directions you never expected, fun is still a possibility.
So what’s simple about today?
That brings me to the simplicity of snack mix. You buy them all the time; Chex Mix, Pretzels, GORP, Trail Mix. It’s a simple thing really. But making your own (not buying a bag of pretzels, a bag of M&Ms, a bag of almonds and mixing them all together) might be a fun project after a long day of work! I was right!
Doodle Snack Mix
- 1 cup lightly sweetened banana chips
- 1 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut (the big flake kind)
- ¾ cup raw almonds
- ½ cup halved pecans
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- 3 TB maple syrup or honey
- 1 ½ TB Coconut oil
- ½ TB low sodium soy sauce
- ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
- ½ tsp chipotle chili powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ¼ cup popped quinoa (it only takes seconds! See my recipe)
- 1/3 cup dry roasted unsalted edamame
- 2 TB poppy seeds
- 2 TB sesame seeds
- ¼ cup hemp hearts
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- 2 TB nutritional yeast
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray
- Combine banana chips, coconut flakes almonds, and pecans in a bowl until well mixed, then spread on the sheet
- In a small saucepan, heat the maple syrup, coconut oil, soy sauce, and all the spices until the coconut oil is melted and the spices are well blended.
- Pour the warm liquid and spices over the mixture on the cookie sheet and mix well. Then sprinkle on the remaining nuts and seeds:
- Poppy seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Hemp hearts
- Chia seeds
- Mix well and spread thing again, then sprinkle nutritional yeast over the mix.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then toss and spread out again. Bake for another 15 – 20 minutes until the mixture is nicely browned.
- Remove from the oven and toss again, then allow it to cool. My mix didn’t harden up as I expected. However, I started tasting it well before it was cooled! It’s addictive!
- The mix can be stored in a sealed plastic container, or you can portion out into individual servings in small bags ready to pack into lunches or grab when a morning or an afternoon pick me up is called for!
Let me know if you try this recipe! There are so many variations, I’d love to hear what you use! And if you haven’t yet, don’t forget to follow this blog for more great stories and recipes.