While Mom and I were walking out of the restaurant Sunday afternoon, arm in arm, our bellies full with sauer braten, bread dumplings, and chicken schnitzel, she spotted a lilac bush in someone’s yard, and we talked about the corsages Grandma used to make with them on Mother’s Day each year.
Grandma used to say she had seasonal depression, meaning every winter she’d want to tuck away in the house, lethargic, doing little but cooking and baking, especially at Christmas – I think I get this from her.
But come spring, she’d be the happy lady mowing her front lawn, planting geraniums along the front and big tomato bushes in back, hanging laundry to dry on the clothesline that ran from the back brick to the detached garage.
These mornings, when I wake up and hear pounding rain on the windows and see the grass deep, deep green, I think of how happy this would’ve made her, how happy it makes me.
When I come home, the world bathed in sunlight, with fresh flowers popping up in yards and along open fields, there’s so much I want to do: take Bailey out, go for a quick run, stroll to the grocery store that’s a mile away instead of getting in the car to drive.
Some nights, I don’t even care if I eat dinner, except for something quick I grab on my way somewhere.
Like the other night, after I’d thrown in laundry, the windows open around me, and gone outside for a while, letting Bailey pull me wherever he wanted, I came back in, and instead of making dinner, I put together this quick parfait, made of Greek yogurt, chopped fruit, walnuts and honey.
Do you know Oikos Greek yogurt? Created by straining whey from the liquid, it is organic and fat free, with double the protein of regular yogurt, fewer carbohydrates and just 90 calories per 5.3-ounce serving.
It’s also a creamier, thicker, richer version that holds up well to heat, making it ideal for cooking and baking. You’ll find it in the same grocery sections as regular yogurt, though it’s not carried at all stores—here in Chicago, I know it’s available at my Whole Foods and at Treasure Island, but not at Dominick’s [update: yes it is!] or Jewel.
And really, its slight tartness worked wonderfully in my yogurt parfait, eaten with a pretty silver spoon before I headed to the treadmill – because, for all its blessings, spring still makes my eyes itch and my nose get stuffed up.
And just as well in the dessert I made later that night, before going to bed, content.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.