summer morning

Summer mornings don’t get much more lovely than this. Well, by my estimation. It’s bright, sunny…the air is warm and getting warmer, but there is an incredible cool breeze. I appreciate cool breezes — warm ones make me dizzy. My children are chasing each other, laughing, through sun-filtered grass. And I am drinking the loveliest Moonlight Jasmine tea that tastes just like the scent of the fields of my childhood summers.

Not every hour in my day will be like this. Soon there will be sibling squabbles, dishes, decluttering, and more laundry. But for now, I will enjoy the summer bliss. Here I go….

cookies, fireflies, and another year

6.11.16

 

Today, I had to make M&M cookies. I don’t do it often. But lately, I’ve been missing my mother’s cookies. In my mind’s eye, I can see and smell the ones she used to make. I needed them today.

Sometimes I’m startled by how much I miss my mother. How the pain of not having her with me any longer will come rushing in, and sometimes it’s hard for me to know exactly what brought it on. It can be something obvious — a photo glides by on my screensaver, my sister brings up an old family funny, a water tower catches my attention (we often joked that Mother should write a book about water towers and entitle it, Water Towers I Have Known; she loved them so.) Other times it takes me a bit of searching to find the trigger — a seasoning in something I’m cooking, a flower on a page in a book I’m reading to my children, the sound of someone’s voice at nearby table in a restaurant where we’re dining. Mother is always with me in one way or another. This time of year the reminiscing comes often. Though it is sudden, and often, for a few moments, painfully crushing, it’s easy to pinpoint what brings her to mind these days. Mother loved summer. She loved to sit outside under huge trees and listen to the multitude of leaves rush around above her head. And, despite her seasonal allergies, she adored the cottonwood that would float around in the sunshine at the beginning of the season. She loved the heat and humidity, and often said she could smell fireflies in the evening air on such a June evening.

I grew up loving fireflies. Still do, of course, as evidenced by the title of my blog. (*see note below) Mother used to say that I came when the fireflies came, and each year they came out for my birthday. And they are indeed out just before my birthday each year. Yesterday was the first truly hot summer day we’ve had this season. I mentioned to the children that I wouldn’t be surprised if the fireflies made their appearance in the evening. And sure enough, last night we saw the first one. We caught it, fawned over it, thanked it for finding us, and set it free. I miss my mother in those moments. I miss her when I enjoy my children’s excitement over being outside late into the night. When we sit in that encompassing warmth of a summer’s eve and look at the moon, a beautiful golden crescent with a solid bright circle around it. I miss her when we watch the families of ducks gather on a small island in the middle of the river & settle in as a family, while my family and others chat and play on the Riverwalk, a couple hours past children’s typical bath & bed time. (But, yes! stay up and stay out — enjoy these hours and making these memories that will last for always.) And, I miss my sweet mother when I pull out one of the books about the moon, from my hefty collection of picture books about the moon and the night, and read it to one of my children late on such a summer’s night.

But, in the missing her, there is a warmth and a smile. A heart smile that shows itself often in a few tiny tears that come whether I try to stop them or not. She is always with me in these remembrances, and though sometimes it hurts, I wouldn’t choose not to remember. If I was honest, many of the things that I love about myself come from her pouring into me the essence of who she was. Many of the things I love about my children come from my mother’s efforts to grow me into a kind and caring human being. And I love how creation, from the cottonwood and the humidity, to the moon and the fireflies, will always be there to remind me of her. They take me back to times I’ve loved, times gone by, to a Mother that shows up always in the memories that are dear to me, even when she is no longer here to make new ones. And I am grateful for them, even if they come packaged in tears. Because, in the choosing to remember, she is indeed as near as the warm summer breeze, the gathering ducks, or glowing moon in the night sky. As I celebrate another year of life in a couple days, I am thankful for the years behind me, the fireflies that showed up right on time, and the memories I get to treasure and pull out again and again, season after season, of the mother that gave me this life.

 

*On the subject of ‘wildfyrfly’, let me just take an aside here and clear up the reason for my choosing to misspell ‘firefly’ in my blog title. Shortly before I was born, Mother saw the name ‘Dayna’ in print in a newspaper. She loved it, and decided to give me the name when I was born. “Y” and all. It was a tricky spelling, apparently, and for reasons I don’t understand, people struggled with the pronunciation of my name my entire growing up years. I did not care for the “Y” back then, but treasure it today. Therefore, it takes a place of honor in my blog title. You will not, however, find me frequenting a car wash with the name “Kleen Kars.” It causes me to shudder and pass on by.*

 

 

mint chip ice cream

5.24.16

 

I have a recipe to share today. Having finally concocted a mint chip ice cream recipe that I LOVE, the end of May seems a fitting time pass it along. It is free of dairy, refined sugar, corn, and gluten. Hope you enjoy it! Into summer we go!


 

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

1 can (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk

1 cup cashew milk (or other nut milk of choice)

4 egg yolks

10 medjool dates, pitted

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 and a 1/2  tsp peppermint extract

1 Tbsp gelatin

1/4 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Place your pitted dates into a small bowl and cover them with very warm water. Pour coconut milk into a high speed blender container. Add egg yolks. Blend on lowest speed for 10-15 seconds. Your objective is to blend the cream back into the milk, as well as mix in the yolks; you do not want to overblend the egg. Once combined, pour the mixture into a medium saucepan. Heat on medium-low for 4 to 5 minutes, whisking gently, but constantly. This process will temper your eggs; you do not, however, want your eggs to scramble. After tempering, pour the mixture back into your blender container. Return to the bowl of dates and drain & discard the water. To the egg and coconut milk mixture add the cashew milk, softened dates, and vanilla and peppermint extracts. Blend on medium/high for a minute, or until the dates have been incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Chill this mixture in refrigerator for approximately two hours (it should be cold!) Return the blender to its stand. In a small bowl, pour 1/4 cup boiling water. Mix in 1 Tbsp gelatin powder, stirring very well to dissolve. Add the gelatin liquid to your chilled mixture, and blend for 30 seconds on medium. Your ice cream base is now ready! Pour into your 2-quart ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Just before removing the ice cream at the end of t’s processing cycle, pour the chocolate chips into the cylinder to mix in. Eat right away or freeze until hardened.

As always, my gentle reminder: The recipes on this blog are my own. Should you choose to use them or lightly adapt them in a post on your own website, please do me the courtesy of linking back to my original recipe on this page. The photos, as well, are mine and copyrighted as such. Thank you for respecting and honoring my work.