For nearly two months, we have been the beneficiaries of the generous and sustaining kindness of countless friends and family members. Our bellies have been filled by meals prepared in their kitchens, delivered to our door. Our home has been graced with the beauty of jars and vases filled with flowers. We have been fed, our daughter has been clothed, our home cleaned, our rooms filled with conversation and laughter, our hearts encouraged.
I have always found it rather difficult to be a recipient. Although ours is a culture that emphasizes getting over giving, it is also one that seems to imply that "getting" by any means other than one's own resources is a sign of weakness. Humility is conflated with shame, gratitude with obligation. Timidly, we accept acts of kindness. The moment we unwrap a gift, we wonder how we can return the favor. The giver somehow assumes power over the recipient and the recipient immediately feels that she must regain control.
Oh, the tangled webs we weave.
I am beginning to believe that receiving with open hands and heart is a gift in itself. It is an acknowledgement of the giver's care, a confident step into her welcoming embrace.
We need each other, you and me. I'll be the first to admit that I have needed you more than ever. So many of you have come to my rescue, nourishing me and affirming me. Admittedly pricked by guilt and shame, I have committed to believing in your love, trusting your intentions, savoring your food, and basking in your kindness.
Date and Pecan Oatmeal Cookies (Vegan)
Makes 16-20 cookies.
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup nut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 chia or flax egg (1 tablespoon ground chia or flax + 2 1/2 tablespoons water)
1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup rolled oats
Generous 1/3 cup chopped pecans
3-4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
*Like with vanilla extract, the alcohol will burn off during the baking process. However, for those of you who prefer to omit bourbon, simply add an extra teaspoon to the dough and skip the step of hydrating dates in the alcohol.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a large baking sheet.
2. In small bowl, prepare "egg" by whisking together ground chia or flax with water. Set aside, allowing to rest for five minutes. In a second small bowl, pour 1 tablespoon bourbon over dates. Set aside and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes, until the dates have absorbed the bourbon.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
4. In a large mixing bowl, vigorously stir together coconut oil and nut butter. Add brown sugar and agave. Stir until smooth. Add the flax egg, remaining 1/2 tablespoon bourbon, and vanilla extract. Stir until throughly combined.
5. Add flour mixture, stirring until the flour is well incorporated into the dough. Add the rolled oats and, once again, stir until well incorporated. Fold in chopped pecans and dates.
6. Use a tablespoon or cookie dough scoop to spoon dough onto prepared baking sheet. The dough will not spread while baking, so pat each cookie down with your fingers or a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.