We filled the Labor Day holiday weekend, summer’s last hurrah, sipping wine with friends, a hike, blackberry cobbler, Bananagrams (thanks for the addiction, Carrie and Kev!), dipping our toes in the river, an amazing farm-to-table dinner in an orchard, a barbecue, ice cream cones and watching the moon rise.
While I am refreshed from the delightful weekend, I must say it’s been a reflective morning for me. My sons went back to school this morning – a senior and a sophomore! – and I’m feeling a bit misty and nostalgic. Each year, I have mixed feelings as summer fades and autumn peeks around the corner. Starting the school schedule takes a bit of adjustment after summer’s luxurious pace, but I am also excited for the fresh start and all that fall promises. As I’ve grown, I’ve learned that transitions can be hard for me.
Along with nurturing and cherishing our children, we are also letting go as they become more independent. My dear friend, Christine, wisely observed how this process has a kind of “happy pain” all its own.
Last fall I read The Gift of an Ordinary Day and at times I was in a puddle of tears. The author’s son is a senior in high school as she writes, “This time next year I’ll be setting the table for three, rather than four.” Oy. While I don’t plan to torment myself all year (although I did take Sam’s last first-day of-school photo ever this morning), I do intend to continue savoring and appreciating each moment we still have the four of us under one roof. Especially the simple, ordinary moments.
Well, back to school. Making school lunches certainly qualifies as ordinary (if not always simple!). I’m always searching for healthy, delicious options to send along with my boys, and Jam Thumbprint cookies make a terrific lunch bag treat. Sweetened with maple syrup and loaded with oats and whole grain goodness, they could even serve as a quick breakfast. If you’ve filled your pantry with jam this summer, this is a lovely way to bake with some. The cookies freeze well, too, so it’s easy to grab a couple to toss in lunch boxes to add a little sweetness to the day.
There is much to look forward to and I am grateful to be where I am. Life is simple and good.
Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Makes 20 cookies
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil (or a mix)
3/4 cup oat flour (or whiz 1 cup oats in the food processor until finely ground)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
A dash of cinnamon
About 3/4 cup of your favorite jam
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or baking mat.
Stir the maple syrup and canola or olive oil together. In a large mixing bowl, stir the oat flour, whole wheat flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together. Slowly pour in the syrup-oil mixture and stir until mixed.
Form the dough into round balls the size of ping-pong balls. Arrange the cookie dough balls on the baking sheet, flatten slightly and then use your thumb to create an imprint in each. Spoon a little jam into the center of each. Don’t overfill or the jam will spill out.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies begin to brown. Remove and let cool. These cookies freeze well, so seal a few well to pop in the freezer for last minute snacks.