I don't have any resolutions for the new year, just the desire to keep doing the best that I can in each moment.
I came to the conclusion, when I began working as a therapist many years ago, that this is basically what is happening with each individual at any given time -- even if he or she may be making terrible decisions or questionable choices.
She's doing the best that she can right now.
For me this held true years ago as it still does now.
If you're scratching your head, wondering what I mean, well, I was trained to listen, to be fully present to another without judgment. If I sat there thinking, "Oh no, she could definitely be doing something else right now. He should be doing better. He should've known better," wouldn't that be stepping away from the present, to some alternate-present where something else altogether was happening, where this particular person I was sitting across from was living a different life? Not the one actually being discussed?
It's not always easy to be present to another in daily life, as I am constantly reminded by my own scattered mind, with its voice that says things like, "Oops? What did he tell me? I only caught the last part!"
You can't fake it. Yes, yes, I heard you.
Because people know. Especially the people who know you. And they get so disappointed when you're not really, fully there.
So stop. Be present. Make that a resolution, if you must make one.
Besides the ongoing desire to do the best that I can in each moment, my other plan for the new year is to make more granola. For me, granola has become a sort of kitchen metaphor for playing and having fun. This is, I know, a far cry I know from granola's roots in the 19th century Seventh-Day Adventist tradition of eating healthily so as to maintain one's physical "temple." Despite its devout origins, though, granola is just plain fun to make.
In the past year, I've learned a lot, especially in my home kitchen. One of the most important things I've focused on is understanding ratios, primarily so that when I look at any recipe, I can break it down to the basics and then do some experimenting. For me, ratios have made cooking truly fun, like playing in the kitchen.
One of my favorite recipes to play around with has been Nekesia Davis' Olive Oil and Maple Syrup Granola, the hands-down favorite in our home. For the cold months, I decided to mix it up and add citrus (both zest and a bit of juice) and honey as well as dried cranberries.
After the New Year arrives, I'll be fiddling with the basic components of it more and making other varieties, but this particular granola is delicious and should get us by for now.
Cheers! May your new year be filled with the usefulness of ratios, discovery, fun and living fully in the present.
Cranberry Citrus Granola
I use toasted nuts and seeds sometimes, while at other times, I don't bother toasting. For me, both versions taste great. You can decide on what you prefer.
Adapted from Nekesia Davis.
Makes 7 cups.
3 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup pistachios
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup coconut flakes/chips
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
scant 1/2 cup wildflower honey
2 tablespoons of orange juice, freshly squeezed
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup dried cranberries (the orange-flavored ones from Trader Joe's are great here)
Preheat oven to 300°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together oats, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together olive oil, brown sugar honey, orange juice and the two zests. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well with a spatula, making sure all the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated. Divide mixture between the two prepared baking sheets. Place in oven and bake, gently turning the granola with a heat-proof spatula or wooden spoon every fifteen minutes until golden brown, a total of about 45 minutes.
Cool on baking sheets without disturbing. The granola will clump together, into large pieces. If you like chunky granola, this is good. Leave it chunky. If you prefer, break up the granola more. Add the dried cranberries to the cooled granola.
Serve with plain yogurt, any milk or your choice, or just eat it without anything else. Sometimes (when no one is looking, shh!) I like to dunk a spoonful of Nutella into the granola then shove the whole spoon into my mouth. It's the perfect midnight snack.