Hey-oh, Monday morning, but I have a recipe for a breakfast with dark chocolate. And no, nothing beats dark chocolate in the first meal of the day. Our sweet friend/my college roommate came to see us this past week (remember when I traveled to Belize to see her?) and this dish passed with nods of approval from all. It was a delightful few days of coffee, conversation, and laughs - there also may have been a mock doctor's visit for the sick Diana from the (Russian) Kern doctors in our studio. But I mean, that happens everywhere, right?
Oh, but meet Diana.
I'm unsure of how often one keeps the same roommate through college, if that's somewhat of an accomplishment or just another regularity across campuses. I always feel as though I've had something special when I think of how I had the same roommate most of college. It's practically a life partnership after three years and if you really think about it, it's amazing. All of the meals eaten together throughout the seasons every year, the whispers across the room about secrets and hopes and dreams only mentioned in the night, the day-in day-out knowing of the other's idiosyncrasies, and the perpetual silent fight over what type of music plays in the room (ahem, Tallest Man on Earth + The National forever, Diana). We both grew up and formed identities in the midst of the other one. And that's a scary thing. That growing up in the wide open space of another.
I think of college as the hardest four years: the constant stretching, the desire to grow from within and the uninvited pulls from outside. It could be one thing to share a room with someone for a semester, or even a year. You laugh, you learn what causes the other frustration, and maybe you remember it as "oh, that semester my roommate went on a series of really awful dates with boys who were obsessed with the perfect intentional relationship." But that's it and you move on, never seeing what comes after. Living together year after year through trial and joy means you know the other person. You just know.
You know that during the first and second years too many hours were spent alone in the woods because of a fear of a love that was found at the start of the fourth year. That a summer at camp the months before college gave the mindset of reaching out which led to a B.A. in Biblical Studies that first year, New Grace the second, China the third, and Belize after the fourth. That a painful past meant a perpetual need for time and for trust and for patience in order to learn finally how to accept and apologize in the third year. That the call about cancer would teach both to be strong so that at any point one was standing enough for the other one, especially during the fourth year. You know that at any point, that roommate - the one who has seen it all in the greatest of detail - holds the power to completely tear you to pieces and break your heart; knowing your insecurities, your sins, and your weak spots too well. And yet, you have no fear because you know they love you. They know you and they love you.
In any relationship with any person that is the ultimate gift. To be known and to be loved still. It is easy to love someone you do not know, but we all know that is just flattery and flowery perceptions. It's the knowing that comes from the living with - in all the mess that life exposes in us - that means something. And I am thankful for those years in college and even after, where I know that this lady knows me, can predict me, and goodness, still loves me regardless.
Thanks for visiting, Di. Safe travels to Boston.
A few weeks ago I stumbled across a new favorite food read, Passports and Pancakes, through Megan's Instagram feed and I highly encourage you to take a look at her creative recipes. She featured an apricot crisp that looked so delicious, we knew that I needed to give it a try, sans sugar. Our first version (a blueberry and apricot crisp) turned out so well that we decided to give it another go with some other fresh summer ingredients for Diana's visit this past week. 'Twas well received.
Backyard Blackberries, Fresh Mint + Dark Chocolate Crumble | makes 4-5 servings
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons raw honey
1/4 cup chopped raw almonds
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
5/4 cups of gluten-free rolled oats
3 cups fresh blackberries
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Chop the mint and almonds, and slice the butter. Combine the honey, butter, chopped almonds (leave a few), chopped mint, blackberries, and dark chocolate chips in a 6" cast iron skillet. Give the ingredients a good stir to make sure everything evenly distributes in the pan. Pour the oats on top of the skillet and sprinkle the last few almond pieces and a spoonful of honey on top.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top turns a nice golden brown (and honestly, I gauge the time by how fantastic our studio smells). Remove from the oven, and serve.