Home » Recipes » Desserts » Life (+ a Blackberry Crisp)

Life (+ a Blackberry Crisp)

[Ocean Beach, September 2013.]

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. ~ Roald Dahl

[SBW, September 2013.]

Our wee girl Sierra Blythe Wallace came into the world on September 23, a few hours before midnight, healthy, strong, and, if this first week is any indication, with as good an appetite as her parents. I am already thrilled to bits thinking about the days when I will get to introduce her to avocados, yummy brown rice and quinoa and spinach dishes, little bites of vegan apple muffins and buttery cakes — but oh, not too soon please. These early days are pretty sweet just as they are.

We got home on Friday afternoon – my birthing experience was not exactly as I’d imagined (though whose is); I’ll spare you the gory details but suffice to say I have a whole new appreciation for how strong women are, especially the ones who have more than one child! – and ever since have pretty much been cocooning with tea and snatches of sleep and the occasional stroll to Alamo Square Park to enjoy this stunning San Francisco weather interspersed with attending to that previously mentioned ravenous appetite (I finally get to put my multi-tasking skills to the real test – during today’s early morning hours I read all the sections of the NY Times Sunday section I usually forget about) and adjusting to our new life as three. It is so, so good to be home.

[I call this her ‘yoga baby’ pose.]

I have cooked a few pick-me-up meals over the course of the past few days – a strange sort of quinoa/mushroom/veg sausage combination, scrambled eggs, toast, sauteed vegetables – and have enjoyed donations of delicious food from my parents and a sweet friend nearby. It’s not that I can’t cook right now, of course, nor even that I don’t want to cook, but man it’s nice to have a little break! There does remain a slight urge to bake, however, and I may indulge myself soon (berry muffins? lemon cake? a blackberry crisp?). In other news, my appetite is BACK. Hallelujah!

[A wee footie, September 2013.]

In regards to that blackberry crisp, it’s a lovely and simple little morsel much like, if I may be so vain to say, our own little morsel. The way I’ve written this recipe is more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule, so feel free to mix up the fruit (combinations are of course lovely) component, or switch out the vegetable oil for butter for a richer version (vegan margarine if you want to keep it dairy-free). Still, I will argue in favor of blackberries if there are any still lingering around (perhaps strangely, in San Francisco there still are; on yesterday’s brief excursion to the park I saw a few berries still clinging to a bush here and there) because I do so love blackberries, or maybe whatever berries you can get your hands on in general. Increase the ingredient quantities to serve more portions. You get the idea. This makes for a pretty nice afternoon snack.

Meanwhile, over here in Sierra-adoration land, we have pared life down to its very essence: eating (as healthfully as possible but let’s face it: mama wants a lot of cheese these days), sleeping (in 2 or 3-hour stretches), watching Netflix, drinking the occasional cup of coffee and lots of water. I can’t say I mind. We’re trying to soak up these special days as much as possible, knowing they are as fleeting as this gorgeous Indian Summer itself.

More soon.

[print_this] Blackberry Crisp, for one or two

This is a loose recipe, one which reminds me very much of those old pioneer recipes in which the measurements are not hard and fast and the end quantity depends on how much ingredients you have on hand. So let’s say this is a base — it can be adapted any way you wish and to feed as many as you like. You may also substitute stone fruits, apples, pears, other berries, or or or …

2 cups blackberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup rolled oats
4 tablespoons flour
2 tablepsoons sugar
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, crumbled
1 teaspoon baking soda
vegetable oil

Lightly grease a mini loaf pan and preheat oven to 350 F.

In a bowl sprinkle the blackberries with the flour, sugar, and cinnamon and toss to combine. Pour into the pan.

Combine the remaining dry ingredients for the topping and stir well to combine. Pour in a little of the oil and with a fork whisk to combine. Add a little more oil, whisking, until the topping resembles a coarse meal. Dump on top of the berries.

Bake on a cookie sheet for about 20 minutes until the topping is crisp and the berries are bubbling.[/print_this]


  1. Oh wow, a week already?! Sierra is so beautiful and yes, linger in these sweet moments. I thought the same thing about women who have more than one baby until I just had my second—yes, we are strong, all of us. Much love and cheers to you and your family.

  2. Oh me, oh my. Aside from my own son, twenty now, I don’t recall ever seeing a more beautiful baby. Blessings to you. To life!
    I cannot believe you have the stamina to cook now. Impressive.
    Will you be raising her as a vegetarian?
    Here’s to all the meals you’ll share together for years and years to come.

  3. Congratulations on your beautiful little baby! I’m a long time reader (erm..lurker?), and I so adore and admire your writing. Also, your chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream and your vegan flourless cookies are practically legendary here in my circle of friends. So, thank you for sharing your writing. It certainly makes me homesick for California. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *