baking therapy: orange creamsicle cake | the merry gourmet

My mornings start early, rising before anyone else in the house is awake. If I’m lucky, and feeling motivated, I start the day with a pre-dawn run. I call it running, but it’s really more of a lurching jog. Whatever. It gets the calories burned, and it’s good for my soul.

On the way to the school in the mornings, the kids and I watch the sun rise. As I drive, the sun – glowing orange, but not yet so bright that we have to look away – slowly emerges into the rosy sky guiding its path. The kids guess which direction we’re headed based on where sun sits on the horizon.

orange creamsicle cake | the merry gourmet

We listen to the latest pop songs on the radio, and my daughter sings along. Maddie belts out the words to “Call Me Maybe” as if she is on stage, microphone in hand, and Oliver mumbles his own version of the song. Sometimes they even sing in sync with each other. I smile to myself as I drive, not wanting to interrupt for fear they will stop if they know I am listening.

the merry-go-round and a recipe for peach crisp

It’s been just a few weeks since we traveled to the beaches of Seaside. My memories of those moments spent lounging on the beach or playing with the kids in the sand seem distant, as if they happened years ago and not just earlier this month. I had hoped the restorative properties of that vacation would still be lingering into the end of August and beyond. Instead, the vacation’s effects dissipated quickly, like wisps of steam rising from the hot pavement after one of our sudden, late-afternoon storms.

In between activities with the kids last weekend, I found myself researching potential trips we could take over spring break next year. I scoured travel magazines, hoping for inspiration and bookmarking pages to return to. I spent too much time on various airlines’ websites, searching for exciting destinations that we can reach with only a flight or two. I crowd-sourced ideas from my Facebook friends, looking for potential places to take the kids to see snow for the first time, to go skiing or snow-shoeing or sleigh-riding. I daydreamed of sipping hot cocoa by a fireplace while the kids make snow angels outside our cabin. I imagined how refreshing the turquoise waters of the Caribbean would feel on my ankles.

overnight cinnamon yeasted belgian waffles

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d never eaten a real waffle until this past July.

All my life, waffles were meager, frozen squares that came in those flimsy yellow boxes stacked neatly in the freezer section of the grocery. The chosen box went from the grocer’s freezer to our freezer, taking up prime space that could be used for better things (ice cream, maybe?). Reaching for a cold square or two, I always heard, “Leggo my Eggos!” sing-songing in my head.

(If you need proof that marketing works, I’m a fantastic example.)

My kids used to eat those waffles, hot from the toaster, out of hand, as they finished their morning routine before school. No syrup, just plain, tasteless waffle.

I feel sad about that now.