Mornings and Rituals (and donuts!)

I've always been a morning person, and I enjoy that about myself.  I think it all began when I would sleep in my parents' bed and they would wake up for work, leaving me sprawled in bed and aching for attention.  I think it's the promise of a new day, a new opportunity to make decisions that either enhance my life or fuck it all up.  I like that, the sublime wonderment of choice of indecision.  How they intermingle to create discontinuation in the plans we make ourselves as children.  It's hope, it's nascent disregard for obligations.  It's a half hour of freedom before hot showers and coffee that's cold by the time you're out of traffic. This week has been especially enjoyable for mornings because I've been sleeping in the living room, under fleece blankets from Christmas, under an I Love Lucy woven blanket, under a quilt that was hand-stitched by a great-aunt named Naomi, called Noni.  Everything is gifted, nothing bought.  I'm sleeping in the living room because of Elsa, the tiniest member of the family.  I'm sleeping with her cradled in my arm, curled in a ball to keep warm and comforted by my drumming heartbeat.  They say a ticking watch reminds puppies of their mothers, and so I keep one on all night to help her sleep.  And in the late, dark, ash moon midnights of this April's beckoning, that sigh of puppy-breath and the thunderous metronome of timekeeping are my only companions.  The things that keep me warm and sane.  I pray to the rhythmic god, a space-time confusion of faith and disaster.

And in the mornings, when it is cold and I'm too tired to press the coffeemaker button, I sit with a cradled puppy and my thoughts.  I watch the sunlight thread through cloud eyes, I watch the birdsong swell up in the robin jays.  I watch it from the bay window of our kitchen, through a tangle of dying tarragon leaves.  I watch it until I can make the decision to keep going, to fulfill a prophecy unbeknownst to me.  I brush the sleep from my eyes, have my morning coffee with cream and two sachets of sugar, stir it with a wooden rod.

And I eat one of these amazing donuts.  And I know life is good, that life is doable.  That it's all worth it.




Sweet Corn Donuts with Honey-Sugar Glaze (makes a dozen mini donuts)


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoon applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Prepare donut pan with cooking spray or butter
  3. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in large mixing bowl
  4. In separate bowl or in liquid measuring cup, measure and mix all remaining ingredients
  5. Pour wet into dry, mix with rubber spatula (here, I refrigerated mine overnight and preferred it, as the liquid gets into the coarse cornmeal, but it is not necessary)
  6. Pour into pan 3/4 way full
  7. Bake 10-13 minutes, until browned and springy to the touch
  8. Glaze while warm (recipe below) and serve (they're so good warm, I microwaved mine back up after they cooled!)

(For the glaze: whip 2 TB room temperature butter, mix with 2 TB raw clover honey, spread on warmed donuts with butter knife. Dust with confectioner's sugar)


Banana Donuts with Hot Cocoa Glaze (makes one dozen)


  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 3/8 cup sugar
  • 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Grease donut pan
  3. Mix butter, applesauce, sugar, and eggs with hand mixer on high until blended
  4. Add flour, mix until blended
  5. Add juice, soda, and bananas (one at a time)
  6. Mix on high for two minutes. Mixture should be glossy
  7. Fill donut pan 3/4 way full with mixture
  8. Bake 8-11 minutes until browned and springy to touch
  9. All to cool before glazing (the "hot cocoa glaze" is 1-1-1 1/2 ratio of Hershey's cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar and heavy whipping cream) 


I hope you enjoy these as much as I have!

photo 1 photo 2


Corporations and Banana Bread.

The hardest part about working is losing yourself. It's easy and it's selfless, to give everything to a mechanism. I understand the Upton Sinclairs of the world now, having been in the corporate office for six months now. Funny how everything leads up to moments like this, and then you realize how comfortable you were drinking tea in coffee shops in Pittsburgh, in a scarf and rainboots. How the music was interrupted by a bell that clanged when the door blew open by the wind. How far outside your comfort zone do you have to go to find yourself, to find identity by a process of elimination of what's novel to you, to the life you constructed for yourself like a cocoon of experience. Then you wonder how you get to the position, when there is so much promise at your fingertips at sixteen when you're applying to college and you choose the one you think has the most name to it. Duquesne. French and Catholic, two things I am not. Two things I would pretend to be later. I chose English and fell into Philosophy. I remain unmarketable, I remain steadfast in my decision that I did the right thing.

I moved to California and perhaps "sold out", but I'm making the most of my decision and, ideally, will move into a more comfortable position that is not commission-based. And, to do so, I allow others to take control, to feel special, to give them what they want, whether they asked or not.

The following recipe is for chocolate banana bread, which I made for my boss in hope I'll get a promotion.


Chocolate Banana Bread Muffins

Ingredients 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed 1/3 cup melted butter 1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup) 1 egg, beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon baking soda Pinch of salt 1 cup of all-purpose flour 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). 2. Mash bananas until softened, leave chunks if desired. 3. With a mixer, cream butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla until a pale yellow color forms in ribbons. 4. With a rubber spatula, combine bananas with butter mixer. 5. Gently mix in baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and flour over the mixture. 6. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan or into prepared muffin tins (i did mine with parchment paper and butter). 7. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack.