Summer is only complete when I’ve had sufficient quantities of corn on the cob, watermelon, berry crumble, and peaches. (This is only my edible list…and really, it has a few more items than listed, like endless amounts of blackberries freshly picked and directly consumed.) Last summer went by and I realized I had missed farm-stand peaches. Sure I could still purchase peaches at the local co-op, but the peaches you buy direct from the farmer at the side of the road, those are true summer peaches. They include more than just peachy-flavor, they include experience and connection.
We’ve been traveling alot lately. First we went to Eugene to visit family and escape the horrific smoke that filled our valley from all the wildfires. We returned to find the smoke was still bad, so we rented a house on the Oregon Coast with some friends for a week. Home for just a few days before we were off to New York to visit family and exhibit at the NY Now tradeshow in the city. We are again home for a week before the annual Mete Family adventure to Sunriver.
No matter where we are though, home or traveling, one thing always stands consistent. The harder we play before bed, the better the kids sleep. Tonight we went to the neighborhood school playground, and literally ran up and down the field (red light, green light) before moving on to the play-structure. We pack healthy snacks (sliced cucumber from the garden, ham, cashews, veggie pouches, and fruit leather) to help keep them fueled and in good spirits.
Nearly two hours of nonstop play before walking home. Kids are sound asleep in bed. I think I shall join them.
As a little girl in Southern California, my parents each year would help me plant my own patch of cherry tomatoes and strawberries. My biggest childhood memories, though, are from exploring magical lands (aka grandparents’ gardens).
In England, Granddad had two gardens. A smaller garden, tucked behind the shed, overflowed with cabbages, greens, and beautiful flowers. His bigger garden,”the plot”, he would bike to. He’d return before meal time smelling like a musty garden gnome and Nana would prepare an overflowing plate of vegetables with a side of meat for dinner (the midday meal). Granddad never invited me to garden with him. I simply explored by myself and enjoyed the harvest through Nana’s simple cooking.
The experience with my Italian grandparents, was much different. While Granddad’s garden in England intrigued me, my Italian grandparents taught me not just how to garden, but the beauty of where food comes from and the ways of processing it to share with family and friends all year round.
Grandma and Grandpa had a very large garden in their backyard and I got to help from start to finish. Watering the gigantic zucchini plants (or so they seemed from my eight year old eyes), harvesting green beans and prepping them for dinner with Grandma, collecting peaches from Grandma on her ladder to take inside for canning, and figs…oh warm, delicious, burst-in-your-mouth-figs. Every vegetable, every piece of fruit was enjoyed….all year long! Grandma would pack zucchini frittata for picnics, make green beans in sauce for dinner with pasta, canned peaches/pickles/cherries/galore.
I suppose my point is that, from an early age gardening has always been a love. It’s where I feel my calmest, most grounded self. This year in particular, I have noticed a great parallel between my garden space and my soul. Perhaps it sounds cliche. I just can’t help it. Last year my garden was neglected. A new baby in the family, a healing body…gardening didn’t happen. Which meant that this year, I had to totally start from scratch. This is not easy with two small children. My dad (always my knight in shining armor), got the ground started for me (with my Grandpa’s old rototiller, which should have been its own blog post!). And from there I was left with a blank slate…and a feeling of being overwhelmed. “One bed at a time” became my mantra. It’s still my mantra, as weeds multiply over night and the squash bugs come to attack. I can become overwhelmed and angry that I’m the only one tending the space…but then I remember that it IS my space, my creation. And much like myself, I cannot expect anyone to care for it more than I care for it myself. Ah yes, the constant reminder, my soul sings to me yet again, remember to care for yourself. So I step into the garden and we care for eachother.
I’ve never felt such a motherly frustration as I have the past two weeks. Our daughter has had a mysterious sickness and has had no appetite. My normal amazing eater wanting nothing but grapes and berries….and I wanting nothing more than for her to eat. Anything.
I’ll spare you of my motherly woos, and tell you of a saving grace…Get Well Popsicles!! A blend of plain Greek yogurt, berries, coconut water, chia seeds, garden kale, and veggie powder.
This recipe is an “in the moment” creation. I cook like my grandmother, with my senses. Don’t get me wrong I love a good recipe too. However, once I’m familiar with something, watch out. A “cup” becomes a “handful”….there’s a sprinkle, a dash. Honestly even those words don’t feel right. I know by sight and smell, and of course taste. Sorry that’s just how I learned!
That said, I had such a request for this recipe that I made it again and tried to keep track of quantities better. Mix the dry ingredients in bowl and the wet in another. Then add the wet to the dry and mix in the berries. Gentle, don’t over mix! Divide batter between 12 muffin tins. Finish with a crumbling of topping on each and pop in the oven.
1 1/4 c white spelt flour
1..2 c whole spelt flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t cinnamon
2 eggs (or 1/3 cup applesauce)
sweetener to taste
2 large bananas mashed
1 t vanilla
1/3 c coconut oil
handful of blueberries
For the topping mix together:
1/4 c oats plus 1/4 c spelt flour and enough coconut oil to achieve crumble consistency. Feel free to add a bit of sweetener of choice. I also like to add chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc
Bake at…uh oh, I baked mine on the BBQ because we don’t have A/C and I’m married to a guy with Russian blood (aka he DOES NOT like a hot house and I don’t like a grouchy husband…not that I’m saying my husband is ever grouchy). Try baking 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Once a toothpick comes out clean, call it done!