The holiday blur hit and was wonderfully relentless. It seemed as if the days melted by with to-do lists longer than one could imagine – I struggled to find time to share my new cooking/baking creations. And yet my thoughts continued to come back here, to find you.
There was so much to say, so much to share and yet there was truly not enough time to really connect. The same was true for so many of my friends and family. Having missed out on so many moments last year I felt a deep unquenchable thirst for drinking in every moment. Of course I would have loved more time, more moments, more hugs and conversations but those that I had were wonderful….emails from my friends like Sheryn or Tweets from Tom ….each and every communication felt like a gift from the heart.
I just can’t forget how many reached out to me and my family last year and on some karmic level I wanted to share the love. One of the things I’ve did this holiday season was implement project ‘random acts of kindness’. Years ago when I wrote for the Silicon Valley Mom’s blog they sent us money to spend on others during the holiday season (ergo: The Good Samaritan). I recall standing in a Starbuck’s line and telling the barista/cashier that I wanted to treat the next five people to their coffees. The look of joy and excitement on their faces was priceless. It was wonderful to see something so simple inspire the holiday spirit. To give something to someone that they really wanted and weren’t expecting is what I think the season is all about. And it is something I want to carry forward into 2017 — spread the love, spread the kindness and the joy. Reaching out to others that you do and don’t know to make someone’s day a little nicer just feels good. Forget the complicated course of our daily lives, get outside of the current mindset of ‘I have to do this’ and change it to a mindset of “I really want to do this for someone’. And above all be kind to yourself.
In a Pintrest /social media inspired world I know so many strive for picture perfect perfection but my advice would be to use those clever concepts in a way that allows you the freedom to enjoy the time you are spending – open to your own interpretation. For example, during the holiday crunch, I forfeited the fancy smancy breakfast ideas for this simple one. I would hardly call it ‘cooking’ but it was delicious once assembled and a true reflection of how I wanted to treat myself well, fostering my food creativity, but not at the expense of spending a lot of time.
This holiday breakfast bowl capitalized on the iconic red and green color theme and combined savory with a hint of sweet tastes. The tangy yogurt, topped with a semi-sweet cranberry compote, tart matcha, crunchy salted and seasoned Marcona almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup was an indescribable blend of flavors and textures; creamy, sweet, sour and crunchy. Best of all it only takes a few minutes to pull together. And if you don’t have time to make this new compote that I am gaga over >spoiler alert, your patience with my absence has paid off, this is a double recipe post< , you could substitute in your favorite jam.
Merry Matcha Christmas Holiday Breakfast Bowl
1 cup Greek yogurt
½ tsp matcha powder
10 Marcona almonds, salted and whole
pinch of dried rosemary
¼ cup homemade cranberry compote or ¼ cup of jam
1 tsp maple syrup or honey
Add ingredients to the bowl in the order listed above. Devour it before you have to share. Serves 1.
The cranberry compote is just too good not to share and it keeps beautifully in the refrigerator, when covered, for at least a month. It also freezes nicely when stored in an ice cube tray.
2 (12 oz/340g) bags fresh cranberries
2 sticks cinnamon
½ orange juice
½ cup water
4-6 whole cloves
1 apple, peeled and cored
3/4 cup sugar
1 large orange, zested
½ cup pecans, rough chopped (optional)
Chop the apple into bite sized pieces. If using pecans, heat oven to 250 degrees, toast pecans until fragrant, approximately 15 minutes. In a 2 quart pot, combine all ingredients except nuts. Cook over medium high heat, stirring regularly. The cranberries will start to make a popping sound and the mixture will thicken slightly. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool; add nuts and combine well with spoon. Remove cinnamon and cloves before serving.
Store cranberry compote in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freeze until ready to use. If frozen, allow to thaw before heating as to not overcook the cranberries.