Life, It’s Not Always Cheery + Plant Based Holiday Cookies

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If you’re in our private Facebook group, maybe you heard that Luanne and I had to put our kitty Panda down on the 14th of December. He had heart failure and nothing could be done. It was horrible. He was our baby and we can’t believe he’s gone. Life without him is yucky and stupid.

This is the first week in 104 weeks that I couldn’t bring myself to write a fuckery proper.

It’s been a challenge just to eat and get out of bed. I haven’t turned to alcohol or cigarettes during this ordeal. I’m still solid in my sober journey. I asked my mom to write a guest fuckery this week. She said of course she would, and she even came up with today’s recipe.

#MomForTheWin

December is a sad, hard month for a lot of people, so instead of asking mom to write about the usual happy holiday bullshit, I asked her to write about sorrow and loss. Because sorrow and loss are part of the fuckin’ human deal and it brings comfort knowing that everyone goes through the same heartbreaking shit as us.

It’s a reflection of our own pain. It brings us closer, it connects us, and it makes us feel less alone. So today, instead of trying to make you feel chipper, cheerful and perfect, I just want you to feel, and know that you are not alone.

Thanks mom for saving this week’s fuckery and for sharing one of the deepest and most painful chapters of your life.


Guest fuckery by Pamela Patrick

Life is an eternal paradox.

Side by side stand joy and sorrow, longing and fulfillment, peace and conflict, innocence and worldliness, life and death. The shortening days that give us longer periods of darkness are here. Winter Solstice has officially arrived. I want to share one of my poems with you.

Solstice Comes on Short Lived Beams

In the darkest time we are offered the longest night
to sleep
to dream
to seek
to grow
like stalactites and stalagmites in caves
like mushrooms in the sacred woods

In this dark time there is that which
nudges the spirit
invites
calls forth the shadow dance
set to the rattle of bare branches
receptive and naked
bare bark embraced by crystalline coats
of dazzling diamond ice
soaking up starlight
dimmed only by firelight

Inside the cave
rock heart resonates solstice
darkness gives way to light
blessed be the darkness
blessed be the light
blessed be the dark cave
alive with fire light
casting shadows
dancing to earth’s heartbeat
and the silence in between

And so here we are, at the end of the year, the season full of celebrations of light. Regardless of the tradition, and there are many, this time of year evokes memories of childhood when the magic of diamonds in the snow, a Yule tree dripping with hundreds of lights and sparkling ornaments, the glow of the Menorah, the special holiday treats, the appearance of favorite grandparents, aunties and uncles, sisters, brothers, and friends revisit our hearts. For many this time of celebration can be bittersweet.

As a child, my family’s Christmas tradition was steeped in Scandinavian Lutheran roots entwined with pagan Celtic roots (the Jewish roots had shriveled up due to an infestation of denial). The result was a combination of magic and mystery.

It all started with the tree. Our family of four bundled up in winter wool coats, hats, mittens, scarves and boots as we set off to search at least half a dozen or more city tree lots in our quest for the perfect tree. Once found, it was tied to the roof of the family Ford, driven to our house, hauled in, and set up in a bright red, four legged metal stand.

My little brother David and I could hardly wait to help decorate our tree. We were given long threaded sewing needles to string cranberries and popcorn. We cut out strips of colored construction paper and made paper chains to trim the tree. In school, we always made a special ornament to present to our parents.

There was always a trip in the car at night to drive around the neighborhoods and look at the lighted displays people put up in their front yards. Santas on rooftops, Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus surrounded by shepherds and wise men, camels and donkeys, elves at their work benches, reindeer and snowmen.

The bright colored lights created a magical scene. Every kid I knew was counting the days until Christmas eve and Santa’s visit. The days dragged on, anticipation was high, we had better be on our best behavior or we might get onto Santa’s “naughty” list. Oh yes. We were believers!

When the big night arrived, we sipped the warm milky broth of Oyster Stew, afloat with melted butter and tiny round crackers (we never ate the creepy grey-green, slimy oysters prized by our dad and grandpa), then set out a plate of our mom’s homemade holiday cookies (we always managed to talk her out of a couple for ourselves), and we were sent off to bed.

Sleep came slowly as I listened for sleigh bells overhead and wondered if I had been good enough for a visit from the Jolly Old Elf. My brother always managed to drop off to sleep before I did, his soft little boy breathing a comfort in the room we shared.

When morning came the two of us crept out of bed, he in his footed blanket sleeper, me in my flannel nightgown, and quietly we tiptoed down the hallway to peek at the tree, softly glowing in the predawn darkness of the living room...Had he come?

We allowed ourselves only a quick glance before waking our parents. Our dad, who was usually grumpy and stern, got up smiling. Our mom, who was usually slightly depressed or rather manic, got up smiling. We gathered around, sitting on the floor, our eyes feasting on the gifts Santa had left under the tree. Santa did not wrap gifts, so the effect was stunning.

Tinker Toys and a Lionel train traveling around an oval track was for David. A very lifelike three foot tall, little boy doll (as lifelike as a doll could be in pre-anatomically correct doll days) and a Candyland game for me! Life was good and we were steeped in the magic and mystery of it all.

Back to the paradox.
Fast forward several decades. Same season. Same month.

That little brother who shared a room with me, who shared the family memories, good and not so good, my one and only sibling, the little boy I sang to sleep at night and defended from neighborhood bullies, the preteen brat who teased me unmercifully about having a “boy friend”, (I threw a fork at him one afternoon outside our house as he ran across the front yard after one such teasing episode. I, who had no skill at aiming at an object and connecting with it, managed to land the fork in the side of his head which resulted in lots of blood but not much injury, just my parent’s wrath, which was epic!).

The grown man I shared car trips with across the deserts of southern Arizona on our way to visit our grandma Maxine, the man I saw wrestle with “his demons” as he referred to his recurrent bouts with mental illness, depression and addiction, the little boy who loved Santa but who grew to dread the coming of Yule time. That person central to my life and loved beyond words, took his life in the season he struggled with…in the season of shortening days and lengthening nights, of decorating trees and lighting candles, the season of magic and mystery that we had loved as children, together.

One of my favorite poets, Edna St. Vincent Millay, sums up such loss.

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.”

One of my favorite authors, Dr. Seuss, wisely advises, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

The paradox lives.

In this season of celebrations, the stringing of twinkling lights on trees and lighting of candles, the excitement of children, cookies left for St. Nick, the gift exchanges, the family traditions, the magic and the mystery, the mingling of memory and the moment, my wish for all who have lived through loss and grief is found in a favorite Buddhist Metta Meditation:

“May we be well, may we be happy, may we be free from stress and suffering, may we be free from animosity, oppression and trouble, may we look after ourselves with ease, and may we be at peace.”

I invite you to light a candle, to set out a plate of homemade cookies, to embrace the paradox, and to celebrate the moment. You are not alone in your darkness.

…. darkness gives way to light
blessed be the darkness
blessed be the light
blessed be the dark cave
alive with fire light
casting shadows
dancing to earth’s heartbeat
and the silence in between…..


I hope you enjoyed that. I know I did.

Here’s mom’s recipe for insanely yummy plant based holiday cookies. Go here for more free plant based recipes.

Enjoy.

Happy Holiday Cookies

Makes 30-36 cookies
Author: Molly Patrick of Clean Food Dirty Girl

Ingredients

  • 16 medium-sized pitted dates simmered in water for 10 minutes.
  • 1/2 cup almonds 55g
  • 1/2 cup almond butter 135g
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup dried coconut flakes 25g
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries 70g
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats 50g
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate vegan chocolate chips 90g, Totally optional - these are super yummy with or without the chocolate chips. Leave out if avoiding processed sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice flour 80g

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F(175°C).
  • Place the almonds in your food processor and process them until they are finely blended. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside for now.
  • Place the dates (drain them from the water first and make sure you’ve taken out the pit), almond butter, vanilla, water, and banana in your food processor and process until smooth.
  • Place the food processor mixture into the large mixing bowl with the ground almonds, and add the coconut flakes, raisins, oats, vegan chocolate chips (if using) and rice flour, and mix until everything is combined.
  • Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper and drop the batter by the teaspoon onto the baking sheet/s and then place half of a walnut on top of each cookie and bake for 15 minutes. Repeat until all the batter is used up.

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Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with giving yourself time and space to heal.

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Written by ex-boozer, ex-smoker, Co-founder, and CEO, Molly Patrick. They will help you eat more plants while throwing perfection down the garbage disposal.

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4 Comments

  1. Ronna on July 5, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    What Can I substitute in these cookies for the banana in the rolled oats ?

    • Molly Patrick on July 5, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Try 1/2 cup of applesauce.
      xo
      Molly

  2. Kate on December 16, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Your mother’s poetry & her story, so well-told, are beautiful additions to this year’s holiday season. You are both gifted writers, beyond anything having to do with food (but the food is wonderful!)

    I hope we can read more from mother & daughter here. There’s something rich about generations sharing space and perspectives, especially when they have so much talent for self-expression. And we need your voices!

    Happy Holidays to you, Luanne & your mom 🙂

    • Molly Patrick on December 16, 2017 at 9:10 am

      Thank you so much Kate!
      I love my mom’s writing as well. She is a fantastic poet and would love to share more of her poetry.
      I will definitely keep this in mind in the future.
      Happy holidays to you and yours as well.
      xo
      Molly

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