Every time we receive a blog from our friends over at Pepper + Paint we’re so consumed by the beautiful stories and writing at the beginning that we almost forget there’s a recipe with it too! You might agree after reading this letter that Nicholetta wrote to her daughter…but keep on going to check out the yummy granola recipe!
My darling girl,
I remember the way I used to rub my belly and sing songs and imagine days where we would have only each other while the rest of the world went about their daily labors.
That we would lie in bed, cuddled and warm, reading fairy tales and napping arm in arm.
I’m so happy those things actually happened.
I can hardly believe almost eleven years have passed since you graced us with your presence. Eleven years since I felt your heart beating next to mine. A heartbeat I heard many times before through medical appointments, but one I longed to touch and feel and caress. It was and still is, the most beautiful sound on earth. I’ve wondered about that sweet heart of yours so many times over the years. About how I would cope if someone toyed or broke or abused it. I wondered what I would say to make that pain and hurt go away, or if my words could ever provide enough comfort and healing.
I believe we are called to live a life of honor and truth. One that propels us forward spiritually and authentically. To be empathetic and understanding along this journey and to live faithfully even when life seems terribly unfair. Even when we are broken and afraid and overwhelmed. Even when we feel we don’t have any more to give. It takes a long time to grow into the person we are meant to be and along the way we will encounter hardship and sorrow. And as you try hard to find your own path, I hope you never forget that all of these things, the good and the bad, strengthen our spirit.
It’s easy to be swept up in that current. In that need to be accepted and noticed and loved. Any change you feel is necessary should come from a place of personal growth rather than a need to conform. We are all just beautiful souls trying hard to find our way, but we often neglect the fact that the clearest path to the truth lies in our ability to believe in ourselves. I want you to know that your self-worth should never come from a place of compliance or from a desire to be recognized for anything more than what you actually are.
And now, almost eleven years since I first laid eyes on your little face, I see how much you have taught me about love and resilience. I know now more than ever that what matters most in this life is those morsels of goodness found in a persons heart and soul, and I can say with absolute certainty that yours is filled with empathy and compassion. With love and light.
It’s hard for me not to be consumed with what lies ahead but I am learning that the very best way to live, is in the here and now. Not to concern myself with tomorrow but to focus solely on the miracle of this beautiful life.
Today. With you.
Love you forever and ever and ever,
Peanut butter granola with dark chocolate
4 C rolled oats (not quick oats)
1/4 C hemp seeds
1/4 C chia
3 T ground flax
1 1/2 C natural peanut butter
3/4 C honey
1/4 C coconut oil
1 C roughly chopped whole almonds
1 C roughly chopped dark chocolate (into little chunks)
2 T brown sugar
Combine the oats, hemp, chia and flax in a large bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, melt the peanut butter with the honey and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat until it’s well combined. Pour over the oat mixture and add the brown sugar. Add the almonds. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 275 for one hour stirring mixture every 10 minutes. Cool completely and add the dark chocolate. Store in an air tight container.
Nicholetta Bokolas is the author of the food blog Pepper + Paint. She is a wife, mother and lover of all things fresh and local. She believes good food is meant to be shared and loves coming up with unique recipes that feed both the body and the soul. You can follow Pepper and Paint on facebook and twitter.