It's become increasingly obvious to me that there are entire periods of my life where I couldn't tell you exactly when certain things happened. I mean, the births of both my kids? Pretty solid on those. But the personal questions, like say, the kind that you have to answer at the doctor's office? Lord, help me. The week of my last Lady Moment? Let me check my phone and two calendars and probably ask my husband for confirmation. When did I have that appendectomy? I remember recovering while watching a Barbara Walters interview with Angelina Jolie when she was still in her vocal bi-sexual phase, so let's Google that. (Answer: July 2003. Thanks, internet!)
I like to blame all these brain-made-of-oatmeal lapses on two things: geography, and of course, the children. Having lived in relatively seasonless California for close to 12 years now (!), I often feel like these dozen years have been a smear of life moments with no defined edges.
As a native midwesterner, I grew up marking time by recalling the weather at the time when something occurred, or maybe even what I was wearing (Shorts and bug spray? Wool coat and hat?) to indicate a moment's position on my life's timeline. That obviously can't happen when 45 degrees is considered frigid, 75 is sweltering, and I can often wear flip flops in November with no issues. Lack of metrological evidence, coupled with a mother's brainspace (read: some of the synapses up in here will never fire again, and I accept that), it's a miracle if I can even just pin down where I set my coffee ten minutes ago, let alone when I last had my teeth cleaned.
But after nearly 15 years of post-college adulthood, thanks to one bright-eyed and brilliant first grader, I'm fully appreciating the natural cycle that a school year brings. I'm finding that this is slowly, but surely, helping me to regain the kind of awareness of time and space that could help me remember to book regular haircuts.
From the outset, this past holiday break seemed like it might be a rough two weeks--by day two, I was feeling that "and Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start agaaaiiinnn..." line from "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" pretty hard. But then my husband took a whole bunch of days off work, and Christmas day creeped closer and closer, and we moved the elf and baked together and watched some movies and did puzzles and collectively tried to keep the toddler from burning the place down. (We kept fire at bay, but alas, not a covert Sharpie attack on my white desk and brand new chair. I don't want to talk about it.)
And now, just like that, January 5th is here and the Spring semester is officially starting. I'm actually a little sad about the whole thing, having to get back to picking out actual outfits for the kids and packing lunches and being on the clock. But the overall rhythm of school days in a busy life, that's a good thing. And it's a perfect excuse for trying new virtuous recipes to tuck into lunch boxes, like these cookies that are so full of goodness and unrefined everything that they actually might be considered healthy brain food. Of which I will obviously take all that I can get.
Anzac Cookies from Amber Rose's Love Bake Nourish
This recipe makes for a delightful, not-too-sweet, nourishing cookie, the kind that could easily make for a grab-and-go breakfast. As such, the "dough" for this cookie is more like a granola mixture that barely clings together and doesn't spread much upon baking, so don't be alarmed that you'll need to really compress and form these cookies before baking. Be sure to let these cookies get nice and golden before pulling them from the oven, and cool them on wire racks so that they firm up and crisp nicely.
The spelt flour here is a fun ingredient to play with--it swaps really well for white all-purpose flour, and adds extra nutrition to the mix. I suppose you could get by just fine using AP flour instead of spelt. Also, I'm betting the melted butter could be exchanged for coconut oil, to make these cookies dairy-free, too.
Fun fact: "Anzac" actually stands for Australian and New Zealand Corps--these sturdy, egg-free biscuits first became popular during World War I, for sending in care packages to ANZAC soldiers.
Makes about 20 2-inch cookies
1 1/4 cups (4 3/8 ounces/124 grams) spelt flour 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces/142 grams) unsweetened dried coconut (often labeled "desiccated coconut") 1/3 cup (2 ounces/57 grams) dried blueberries 2/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces/67 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats Pinch of fine sea salt (I added closer to 1/4 teaspoon and liked it, so...) 9 tablespoons (4 1/2 ounces/128 grams) unsalted butter 1/4 cup (3 ounces/84 grams) honey (a local, flavored honey would really shine here) 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Position a rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, coconut, blueberries, oats, and salt.
In a small saucepan, melt together the butter and honey. In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Add to the dry ingredients, along with the butter-honey mixture. Stir until well-combined.
Using a small ice cream scoop or two spoons, portion the dough out onto the baking sheets into small mounds, 2 tablespoons each. Use your hands to gently form the mounds into balls. Flatten each ball to a thickness of 1/2 inch with a fork or a flat-bottomed glass. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking time.
Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 2 minutes before transferring them carefully to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.