Last night after a long day of running around and catching up on things that got neglected over the weekend, I found myself craving a soothing way to end the string of hours that made up my busy Monday. After steeping some green tea, I tiptoed upstairs as not to wake the boys and grabbed the new book I’m reading. It’s called Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist. Have you read it? I am only about sixty pages in, and already I’ve found it to be both grounding and inspirational. It’s full of little anecdotes that remind me of my own tribe of woman that has been meeting weekly for years now; a group of woman that are very much family to me. I love it when the worlds makes me look inward and take stock of the gifts I have in my life. Practicing gratitude will never get old.
Book in hand, I quietly went back downstairs and opened up our creaky, old, dinged up chest in the living room, a big wooden toolbox (we assume) found at a neighborhood garage sale, now a home for wool blankets and such. On the nearby blue velvet chair I snuggle up with my warm mug, a new evening ritual of mine, and my new book. The TV was off and remotes were hidden, something else we are trying to do more of before bedtime. We have found that too much stimulation before bed really makes it hard to fall asleep. My mind easily slips into the habit of racing and wandering in the night. And while we love movies and getting into a good show on Netflix, it’s important to us to take a few nights off a week to connect with something other than a screen.
With Stella at my feet playing legos and Andrew to my left reading as well, the quiet of the night came through the windows we had cracked and I poured over the pages, wanting to highlight each one. I noticed as I turned the page, that the summer cicadas were no longer playing with one another outside our home. Just another reminder that autumn is near. The stillness is coming. Because this book was lent to me from a new friend, I refrained from highlighting or underscoring or even page folding, but that didn’t stop me from scrawling down bits of her wisdom in my journal along the way. I am such a student. Always and forever taking note and hoping to catch moments throughout my day that remind me how truly beautiful it is to be alive.
I kept reading and kept jotting, and though barely into the book landed on a little chapter called, “My Mom’s Blueberry Crisp.” Although comfy in my chair with my toes curled under my lap, it felt as though I was being invited by the author herself to scoot on into the kitchen with Stella and prep what would be the next day’s breakfast. Crisp in the morning, why not? So into the kitchen we went. It took less than ten minutes to prepare with help from my little blueberry thief, and together we measured and scooped and stored the wet and dry goods in little containers to make things easier on me in the morning. Luckily, we had everything we needed on hand! I always have some sort of frozen fruit in the freezer, and as for the dry ingredients, I try to keep our pantry stocked with whatever you could think of to make a pie, a tart, or a crisp. I followed Shauna’s mom’s recipe fairly closely, changing the amount of maple syrup it called for because we really love maple syrup over here. So instead of a fourth of a cup, I added a half cup. I also added a fourth of a cup of brown sugar for a little extra sweetness. Maple and brown sugar are one of my favorite combinations.
Before the kids were awake the next morning I crept down to assemble our crisp and put it in the oven. Just like I had hoped, everyone woke to the sugary smell of bubbling blueberries and I got to sip my morning coffee in what I call mama solitude: a moment just for me to start my day off in a positive direction. Staring off the morning with a bit of alone time is one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I hope to craft a post about all the simple changes I made when I took a break from social media this summer, morning time being one of them.
Alas, when the timer went off I took the crisp out and served it in little bowls with cold cream. The kids loved it and Alfie tried to lick the berry juice off his highchair. The recipe can be found in the images above, but just in case that is difficult to read, here it is again for you.
Shauna’s Mom’s Blueberry Crisp + Extra Sweetness
- 4 cups blueberries (or any fruit, really)
- crisp topping
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup crushed walnuts
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
To prepare, mix together crisp ingredients. Pour the berries into a baking dish then layer the crisp topping over it. Bake at 350 degrees for about forty minutes or until the top is golden and the berries are bubbling. Serve with yogurt, cold cream, or ice cream. Serves 4-6.
Let us get back to this charming book. Andrew and I have been dreaming about creating what we want to call “Supper Club” for some time now. Late at night, we sometimes talk about ideas for our supper club, drinks we could try, or new recipes that would be exciting to share. Truth be told, we used to host so many dinner parties back at our old condo and it was one of our favorite things! For some reason, I’ll go ahead and say it has something to do with bedtimes and little ones, we haven’t kept up that special tradition of ours. We so enjoy having people in our home, along with the wonderful opportunity to connect with those we love over meals at our table. After reading bits of Shauna’s experience with this, it inspired me to want to push forward with our little dream and try it too! Andrew and I have always wanted to gather our friends and build community over something we all love and the common language all of us speak: yummy food. I already have in mind little themes we could build on like France in the 20’s or Spanish tapas. I believe gathering for long, thoughtful meals is such a simple but profound way to deepen the relationships we have with our friends, apart from small talk at play dates and birthday parties. Do any of you do this? I think this upcoming season and its invitation into slowness will be a perfect one to start such a journey.
Emily Christine - The fact you’re enjoying Shauna’s work is further confirmation we are kindred spirits! I’ve enjoyed your posts on Instagram, and only recently began perusing the blog, but it’s lovely. I’m working on improving my own (sort of nonexistent) morning routine, and so any tips would be welcome.
Eda - Oh, all the tips for mama morning routines, please! I struggle with that a lot. I work part time at the newspapers and always ’till 11 pm or longer, so it’s pretty hard to get out of bed before my son wakes up. But I really need to find a way to change that, because often I’m so stressed, when I had no time to take a minute to sort my mind or drink my morning tea. So yes, please, share your experiences with us. And I’m going to try that blueberry goodness for sure.
Stefanie - I love love love Bread & Wine, you should try the bacon wrapped dates. They are divine!
Taylor - Oh! I remember recommending that book to you 🙂 Knew you’d like it.
Elizabeth - Amanda,
My husband and I used to do a Sunday night Supper Club with a group of friends we had before we started having babies. Alas, we were the first and only married couple in the group and once we started having babies the tradition and group sort of ended and went its separate ways. However, it is something that I have definitely missed and wished that we could restart at some point with people that understand bedtimes and kiddos : ) When we had our Supper Club we had a theme for each dinner, some examples were Wisconsin Supper Club (Roasted pheasant breast, potatoes au gratin, Old Fashions for cocktails, etc.), Italian, Irish (for St. Patricks Day), etc. Good luck with your Supper Club! Have such a fun time experimenting : )
Helene - Loved this post! I can definitely relate to the shared meals that foster bonding and frienships. I am from France and I absolutely adore gathering at the dinner table with my husband and my babes. I’m curious about the French in the 20s theme!
I seldom comment but I wanted to thank you for this beautiful, simple blog of yours 😉
Bonne soirée et mangez bien!
Lindsay - I love Bread & Wine and this recipe is probably my most often made recipe from the book! So easy and so good! I’ve taken to adding about a 1/4 cup shaved coconut and a dash of cinnamon. It is soooo yummy. I usually stick with blueberries or peaches/blueberries.
Collection – red, speckled, white - […] to click onto Homesong Blog today and see a shoutout to Shauna Niequist’s Bread and Wine, a book that is quite special […]
Kristiana - Thank you, Amanda, for yet again another thoughtful post. Fellow Kansas City resident here! 🙂
I just purchased Bread & Wine off of Amazon, per this post. My heart beats for this same thing, too!!
Thank you for being real over this blog. I am not a mother yet, but I am saving these posts for when I am.
María - Love your idea of a supper club! If you want some tipical (and real) spanish tapa’s recipes, feel free to email me since I’m spanish and I looove to cook more than anything! 🙂 I’d be happy to help.
Jessie - A supper club!!! How fun!! The best conversations and relationships are usually built and fed around a table with good food (and wine) in hand, I so agree with that. That is something I miss terribly about living in Sweden…our solid group of friends and the ways we would gather for meals. Grilling outdoors in the summers, cozied up in our flats with candles and red wine and snacks in the wintertime…sitting outdoors by the river, bundled up with coffees and cakes in the fall. We have the best group of friends there and those times with them, usually spent around a table, are the ones I miss the most 🙂 Time spent with people you care about is never time you regret…and to add good food doesn’t hurt at all. Hope you guys get this going! I’ll be there “cheersing” you in spirit 😉 xx
Emma - Hi sweet you.
I just love this passage. Last week I found myself baking a peach tart from the book I was reading. I spontaneously invited my mama over and we baked together. We ended up opening a bottle of wine and cooking dinner together too. There is so much to be thankful for when gathered around the table with love ones. These moments so quickly become mine and my husbands favorite memories. I love waking up and reading your blog and I hope to work on mine more when I am out of school. It takes time to write but it’s one of my favorite things to do. Happy Sunday love.
admin - Emma, I just want you to know how much this warms my heart. I hope your Thursday is a lovely one! x Amanda
Laura Johns - Hi Amanda
I’ve just ordered Bread & Wine and am very much looking forward to reading it!
I think a supper club sounds wonderful. We try and hosts dinners whenever we can – its a lot of work, but so enjoyable. I especially love planning every detail of the menu to take my guests on a subtle journey through food throughout the night. We often do Pizza nights, and more recently we have done a Ramen Night which was a lot of fun and also a French inspired dinner party by candle light, there’s also nothing quite like a Sunday Roast – which is the next dinner I will be hosting in a weeks time!
I’ve also started a bit of a rotating dinner with 2 girl friends we call “Gin Night”. We take turns to host a dinner with the girls in our homes every month or so. The 3 of us also work nearby in the city, so we often catch up for a coffee in our lunch breaks, and we’ll swap a batch of dinner or baking we have made – it is truly a blessing to receive and share home made food!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas – love reading your blog and instagram.
With love from Adelaide, South Australia, Laura x
admin - Laura, what a neat idea! I love the thought of sharing food like this. Thank you for taking the time to share with me, I so appreciate it. x Amanda
Lily - I can’t believe you’re not playing with mea-ht-t was so helpful.
A simple crumble – Apples Under My Bed - […] Adapted from this recipe. […]
Franci - Supper clubs are the best! I recommend arranging it so that you get to meet new people as well as spend time with those that you already know. For example, you invite two couples and ask them to each invite one couple. That way everyone knows someone but you are able to get to know new people. We’ve done that for several years and it has been so much fun getting to know others that we may not have otherwise met…and eating lots of delicious food along the way.
Dina - Thank you so much for posting this recipe. Finally, a crisp that ended up crispy on top! You’d think that wouldn’t be hard to find, but it is. I made this with pears and added about 1/4 tsp of cardamom to the pears, and 1/2 tsp to the topping. SO GOOD!
skup aut Warszawa - This blog was recommended to me by my friend. On this blog I will definitely spend a lot of my private time.