A tasty start to Mother’s Day

Margaret
Margaret Prouse
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When my children were young, Mother’s Day meant homemade cards and breakfast in bed for me. Don’t tell them, but I don’t remember what they served. It was the fact that they did it that charmed me.

The Mother’s Day breakfast menu does not have to be fancy and certainly depends on age, abilities and resources available to the child preparing the meal.

Here is one possibility for a tasty healthy breakfast dish that includes food from three of the four food groups: Grains, Vegetables and Fruit, and Milk and Milk Alternatives. It was taken from a cookbook written with children in mind.

Cocoa-Kissed

Banana Oatmeal

Adapted from Low, Jennifer: “Everyday Kitchen for Kids: 100 amazing savory and sweet recipes children can really make,” Whitecap Books, Vancouver, 2012.

Supplies:

1.5 L (1½ quart) glass or ceramic baking dish, baking spatula or wooden spoon, measuring cups, measuring spoons, dinner knife, oven mitts

Ingredients

250 mL (1 cup) rolled oats, traditional or quick-cooking (but not instant)

15 mL (1 tbsp) unsweetened cocoa power

pinch salt

375 mL (1 1/2 cups) warm tap water

0.5 mL (1/8 tsp) vanilla

1 banana

brown sugar or maple syrup and milk to serve

Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F).

In a baking dish and using a baking spatula or wooden spoon, stir together the rolled oats, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix in the water and vanilla. Don’t worry if the cocoa powder doesn’t mix in completely at this point.

Peel the banana. Use a dinner knife to cut half of the banana into slices. Stir the slices into the oatmeal mixture. Save the other half of the banana for topping the oatmeal later.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes, just until the water is absorbed into the oats.

Get help taking the dish out of the oven. Cool a few minutes until just warm, then get help or wear oven mitts to spoon the oatmeal into serving bowls and serve sprinkled with brown sugar or drizzled with maple syrup, a splash of milk, and slices from the remaining half banana.

Makes 500 mL (2 cups.)

When our children were older, my husband often orchestrated a meal of lobster for Mother’s Day. It was a treat in two ways: someone else was getting the meal ready, and it was delicious, fresh Island lobster. Lest people feel concerned that I am oppressed with doing most of the meal preparation in our home, I must state that I do it by choice. I enjoy it. However, an occasional break from routine is most welcome.

I don’t think that I am alone in that respect. Mother’s Day is a big deal for restaurants, as families like to treat their mothers to a special meal prepared by someone else.

For people in my position, whose mothers are no longer with them, there are still ways to recognize Mother’s Day.

For starters, take a break from everyday tasks to reflect on your mother.

I spend a little time thinking of my own mother, and my mother-in-law around Mother’s Day. I was lucky to have them both, and miss them still, for the lessons they taught me and their kindness, generosity and love.

It’s a good time to celebrate daughters who are mothers, too. Life is busy for many young moms, and the valuable work they do can be recognized with visit, phone call or a little gift from their parents as well as their children.

Many food bank users are parents with children, and a good way to give a Mother’s Day gift to a mom that you may not even know is to make a donation to a food bank.

This, of course, is true year-round, but I am often reminded when special days such as this roll around that not all mothers are as lucky as I have been.

Making a donation to an emergency shelter for women is another way to help out mothers this Mother’s Day.

They like to receive items that will help women who have left dangerous situations with virtually nothing, to set up their own living spaces: things such as small appliances, toiletries and staple foods.

Many residents of nursing homes enjoy spending the day with their families on Mother’s Day. Having worked in several nursing homes, I know that there are many comings and goings that day.

However, there are also others whose families are far away or ill and unable to visit for some other reason. Mother’s Day can be a particularly lonely time for these women, and a visit from a friend or acquaintance may be just what’s needed to brighten up the day.

Mother’s Day is really just an occasion to remind us to be kind to mothers — our own and mothers of other people.

Ideally, everyone would be kind to everyone else all the time, but most of us need reminders once in awhile. This weekend, take a few minutes to make life a little pleasanter, a little easier, or a little more fun for somebody’s mother.

Margaret Prouse, a home economist, writes this food column for The Guardian every Wednesday. She welcomes comments from readers and suggestions for future columns. She can be reached by writing her at RR#2, North Wiltshire, P.E.I., C0A 1Y0, or by sending her an email at margaret@islandgusto.com.

Geographic location: Vancouver, Iceland, North Wiltshire

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