It is not often that I get two days (in a row) to bake, cook, clean, and be the 'old' Mommy. You all remember that lady, right? She would bake vegan cakes and cookies, weave dishtowels, cook healthy soulfood (sometimes vegan), make leather bags, and quilt.
I miss her. She lives in the creases of literature books, snuggled alongside the spine, and spends her time rearranging words on a computer screen.
I have gotten fairly comfortable with the new me. When I open my eyes I know that I will count the hours by pages read and measure my success by pages written, edited, and saved. It is a process, it is the current stage of my life, it is temporary.
There is the other her. The one who taught two little ones to read, write, and do math. That her likes cleaning, cooking, teaching [all-at-the-same-time] and looks forward to her husband walking through the door and breathing in something fresh from the oven or hot off the stove. She revels in nesting in the most womanly of ways.
Yesterday evening it was heirloom tomato and vegetable ragu over mannicotti, vegan. The pounds of tomatoes were organically grown in our backyard.
Tonight it is cinnamon roll cake and squash (from the garden) bread, both vegan.
By the time E got home I had spent five hours reading and doing Comparative Religions homework, washed dishes twice, and the kids had been taught penmanship, reviewed syntax, read a story from the Canterbury Tales, and started self-portraits. And I still managed to place a warm piece of cake into his big hands.
I was smiling, singing, and dancing along with Anita Baker; the kids were laughing with cherry stains on their mouth. The house smelled like love.
There is something about 'back-to-school' that always provokes me to dig a little deeper into my mommy reserves and push myself to make sure the little ones are living a meanigful, learning-filled, well-loved, and homemade life. You know that homegrown life you cannot order through a drive-thru speaker or ask for off a menu, no matter how fancy the restaraunt's table cloth is?
I am profondly aware that the larger number of homeschooling, back-to-school celebrations are behind us. They cannot be home with me forever, though if you asked them and me today we would say, "sure they/we can." They are content to have a classroom right off the kitchen, overlooking our garden, and watched by our bird Charlie Parker.
We are that family, still.
It is quite hard and feels a bit absurd most days to try and balance meschooling and homeschooling. Days like today I wake up early (even though I go to sleep very late) to get my learning in before a day of teaching, cooking, cleaning, nurturing. My days are capped by university and centered with mom-life. Sometimes it works, others it doesn't.
I find that what matters is that we have days like today. Me, the kids, and the bird in the schoolroom, jazz in the background, and learning happening. Fun learning with them falling out of their chairs laughing at me cause a feather decided to land in my hair while I was talking about types of sentences. They need to remember eating summer cherries with smells of cake baking in the air, good music in the background, and Papi walking through the door.
This way, when they realize they have flown the coop, they will have us memories to sustain them. They will know that they were homegrown with love. And so will I.
I hope you wanted a recipe for vegan cinnamon roll cake, because I have one:
Vegan Cinnamon Roll Cake**
3 c unbleached, a.p. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. vanilla almond milk
2 Ener-g "eggs"
1 tbl. vanilla
1/2 c. vegan "butter," melted
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
freshly grated nutmeg (to taste)
1 c. vegan "butter," softened
1 c. lightly packed brown sugar
2 tbl. flour
1 tbl. cinnamon
freshly grated nutmeg (to taste)
1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9 x 13 pan, set aside. Melt 'butter' over low heat and set aside to cool. Mix 'eggs' and set aside to thicken while mixing other ingredients.
2. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
3. Make Topping. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until soft, then add in sugar, flour, cinnamon, and fresh nutmeg. Scrape down sides as needed and mix well. Set aside.
4. Pour milk, vanilla, and 'eggs' into dry ingredients and mix. Slowly pour in melted 'butter' and mix. Pour batter into pan and smooth top.
5. Drop tbl. spoonfuls of topping on top of batter. Run knife through dollops to swirl and marbilize topping into batter.
6. Bake for 30-33 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).
While the cake is baking, make the icing.
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbl. vanilla almond milk
1 tsp. corn syrup (this is optional, I add a bit so that the icing does not dry hard and flake, but I know some don't like using cornsyrup. If you do not add, up the milk a wee bit.)
1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Add sugar a bit at a time to thicken, or milk (1/2 tsp. at a time) to thin.
*Icing is an individual thing. Mix it till it is the consistency you like. I like mines thick like honey, so I usually end up adding a lot of sugar to get the ratio I like.
Once cake is done, drizzle with icing while it is still warm...and of course serve!
I am intent on enjoying the years I still have to teach these two wonderful children of mine (& E too). God knew what he was doing when he paired the four of us together.
We are a happy clan.
I tell you, that pinterest is amanzingly addictive and wonderful! I try to pin good stuff...follow me there if you like. You all know who I be, quejimenez.