It is hard to write about only healthy pumpkin oatmeal cookies when so much is going on inside me. I will be plain honest. So much of what I do in my day to day life is tied to darn cookies. Why? Just like baking anything pumpkin is not typically done in Spring, the same way my life is not my typical daily life lately.
See, I had this recipe sitting in my drafts for over a year. I remember baking the cookies, everyone loving them and thinking to save the recipe for “pumpkin season”. Why? Please tell me why I can’t bake healthy pumpkin blondies and whole wheat pumpkin bread, or share pumpkin cookies in May if that is what I feel like?! Exactly. Last week, when I was particularly feeling sad, I baked the cookies – cooking is my therapy. I made one batch not exactly sure if I will need to tweak the recipe. Cookies were SO GOOD, we ate all of them in one night. They were kids’ dinner which initially sounded “AH!” inside my head, and just a mere seconds later turned into “AAAAAAAAAH!”. Because why can’t we have healthy pumpkin oatmeal cookies with no sugar (healthy natural sugar) for dinner one night? All there is 1/2 cup of maple syrup, oats, coconut oil, pumpkin puree and spelt flour (very similar to my sugar free oatmeal cookies). And this is how I roll these days.
I’m not sure saying “Thank You” for all comments you guys left me on my emotional post, Alex’s co-workers’s emails and friends’ texts/phone calls, is the right way to express my feelings: gratitude, happiness, hope and unity. I am extremely grateful for understanding, support and honesty! I would like you to know that there is much more going on besides war against processed foods emotions inside of me. Just so you know and are not left wondering what is going on with Olena.
I feel like a big, fat and juicy onion slowly losing the layers and getting to the core of ME. If you already did and went through the same experience, I would appreciate sharing your advice. If my openness will help you, my heart is full. This is hard to write. I have so much going on in my head but on paper (online “paper”) words are lost. This year, I realized being healthy is more than a diet or what we eat or don’t eat. Living a life is not supposed to be hard, it should be fun! I decided to “grow up” (finally) and deal with the skeletons in my closet. Like my friend, Liliana, says “We all have skeletons in our closet!”, don’t we?!
It all started with me putting an end to being afraid of food. Man, how far I have come by now, it’s amazing – I eat pumpkin cookies for dinner with 0% guilt!!! Now, that is what I call freedom! It feels f$%^ing awesome! I’m also working on my relationship with wine – I haven’t drank for 22 days. I know, did you just fall off the chair? I know. I will be sharing all about my experience next week. Super excited because it is directly tied to my fearless eating nowadays.
Then I decided to deal with my marriage skeletons. Here comes out the scariest word I ever said in my life – “therapy”. Phew, I said it. It was super scary but I did it. I can hear your “Ah!” on the other side of the screen. Yes, me and Alex are in therapy. “Ah!” – I can hear it again. No, me and Alex are not getting a divorce or even close, so you can exhale. In fact, our counsellor asked us after the interview “Why are you here?”. We are hot blooded human beings from Europe, we wear our emotions on our sleeves, we have our differences, we keep arguing about little things and I want it to stop. Yes, I want my marriage to be next to perfect (nobody has a perfect one, did you know that?!) and live a life without regrets. So it is better to deal with reality now than hide under a rock. And if you have a wise older family member who can give you a sound advice, know you are one of the luckiest people in the world. We don’t, so hence counselling is a great option for us, kind of like arbitration.
And then after dealing with this minor hiccup, we have arrived to a big ass sleeping monster issue – my childhood. I never shared because I felt like a food blog is not a place to share but I changed my mind. I will do what I want to do because a) I’m a big girl. b) It might help other girls out there. So now, I’m seeing a counsellor re: my childhood dealing with lack of self love, getting rid of guilt and establishing boundaries. Basically, recovering from my parents’ divorce, not being loved by my sibling and being raised by a self centered mother. It is a shit load of a mess and I have no idea where I’m heading except that I have been warned that we have just touched the surface, but I know that I will arrive to a new happy Olena at the end. As boys are growing up, my sadness re: my childhood keeps growing inside of me, because I see what they have and what I didn’t have, and it has nothing to do with damn money. I seriously need to deal with it and move on instead of carrying this load.
I just wanted to give you heads up in case I do sound a bit wee sad on occasion in the coming few months. I’m happy, just working on ME. Just so you know, it took me years to seek help because in Ukraine the only “therapy” we knew back then was alcohol, and I hesitated for months to share here of the fear that I will get an angry phone call from my mom. And sitting there in therapy alone is scary at times, sometimes I’m honestly scared of the next question and sometimes of my answer. But I need to think of me, move on and be 100% myself for my family. Just to be healthy, which is more than just food and exercise. So, everything is fine but it’s not, but I am happy with the exception of this skeleton hiding in my closet. And last, just so you know your words “You are a good person”,“You are kind” and “You are an amazing woman and friend” have moved me towards seeking help as I have never heard those words from my own mother or sister. I heard them from Alex first. So, this is why me saying “Thank You” doesn’t feel enough or even close to appropriate. I’m simply grateful to so many of you for being honest with me.
That is it. Just this. I know it’s completely weird to share life stories amongst pumpkin oatmeal cookies, but this is one of rare moments when I’m entirely grateful for our society’s technological advancement. Who knows what kind of “wine therapy” I would be knee deep in by now if not for an easy access to shrink-ing and world wide web. Now go bake some pumpkin cookies and maybe have them for dinner?! I will today because I need to use up leftover organic pumpkin puree.
After re-reading this post about 50 times, I’m hitting “publish” and hoping I won’t hear what I’m so scared to hear from the women in my family – judgement. However, I feel so excited to be free of that load finally. Have a great week!:)
- 1 egg, large
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, measured melted
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I use organic BPA free)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 + 1/2 cups quick oats, quick or old fashioned (rolled)
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- Cooking spray (I use Misto)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt; whisk until well combined. Add oats and stir to mix. Add flour and mix well until thick dough forms. Add pumpkin seeds and give a few stirs.
- Using small cookie scoop, place batter on previously prepared sheet and flatten with the back of a scoop or hands. Cookies do not spread, I had 9 cookies per sheet. Bake in batches for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cookies cool for a minute, then transfer onto a cooling rack to cool off a bit more.