Sunshine blaster. That’s me.
When I was a kid my mom used to say things like, ‘Hop up and help me in the kitchen.’ I’d roll my eyes thinking, what kind of kid hops up to help? She also used to sing from the bottom of the stairs, ‘good morning sunshine, time to wake up!’ I’d pull the duvet over my head, hoping the darkness would overpower the light.
Now that I’m a mother I know her side of the story. She wasn’t always feeling like sunshine first thing in the morning. She didn’t want to clean the kitchen or feel like hopping up. But if she made it fun, if she added a touch of chipper, the grey adolescent cloud hanging over the house would get blasted away by her sunshine.
I’ve been blasting sunshine lately. I have a few guys in the house who would have happily spent their final days of summer vacation in front of a screen if it wasn’t for their mother at the bottom of the stairs shouting things like, ‘Good morning sunshine, it’s beautiful outside!’ or, ‘Hop up and help me in the kitchen!’, or my favourite, ‘Who would like a nice sitting down job?’ And, when we set off on the two hour drive to the cottage, I always pull out, ‘Let’s get all the laundry put away, let’s pack our bags, let’s get in the car early, and I’ll buy you all a trail mix cookie at the Earltown General Store on the way!’ Unlike my mom, I add a bribe with my sunshine. Who cares if they’d prefer sour gummies from the candy jar at the store over a cookie. Hop up! It’ll be FUN!
They’re all back at school now. The sun is shining through my water glass, casting a long sparkly shadow across the kitchen counter. But everything feels a little grey. My husband is coughing upstairs, day four of a feverish cold. I have what feels like a summer’s worth of laundry to do. My podcast is awaiting.
And then I realized, parents don’t blast sunshine for their kids, they do it for themselves. Fake it ’till you make it? Who knows, but sometimes it works. And so does a big fat trail mix cookie.
So I opened the freezer and pulled out my stash. Last week I tried to mimic Earltown’s recipe, then I tucked away the leftovers. I somehow knew that I would need that little bribe, that push, that delicious goal to get me through the grey covered chores.
Good morning sunshine! It’s a beautiful day.
Above is Rex at The Earltown General Store, swinging a jar of Goodmore kombucha. He’s grown to like it – this happens when there’s no choice 😉 The store sells everything you need, from gas for your car to their homemade sourdough bread, sour gummies, a variety of cookies to fresh vegetables, organic spices, eggs and local cheeses. You can even buy my friend Stephanie’s haskap berries there, when in season. It’s a gold mine, and I love it.
Above is the Earltown General Store‘s trail mix cookie, painstakingly not eaten for sake of research.
Below is my version developed after carefully sleuthing the recipe from the man at the cookie counter. They aren’t quite the same; (more textured – next time blitz the oatmeal?) they’re lighter in colour (use a darker grade of maple syrup?) and they’re smaller (easier to eat more than one in one sitting). But, they’re still VERY GOOD and will do until our next road trip.
Preheat oven to 350 F
2 cups (225g) spelt flour (regular flour will do)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt plus flaked sea salt for sprinkling later
2/3 cup (120 g) coconut oil
2/3 cup (160g) natural peanut butter
2/3 cup (155ml) maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups oats (125g)
1 cup (175g) chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate
1/2 cup (75g) raisins or dried cranberries
1/4 cup (30 g) each sunflower and pumpkin seeds
In a large bowl, sift flour with baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. In another bowl, stir together coconut oil, peanut butter and maple syrup until smooth. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Stir in oats, chocolate chips, raisins and seeds.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spoon rounded tablespoons of dough onto the sheet – dough won’t spread a whole lot while baking. Bake for 12 minutes or so, until golden, then before cooling, top each cookie with a tiny sprinkling of flaky sea salt. Cookies freeze well, or will last several days in a cookie jar on the counter.
My version: more texture (oats need to be blended?) not as dark (darker grade maple syrup needed?) no cottage at the end of the drive, but still REALLY GOOD.