Sunday, 14 April 2013

Salted Dark Chocolate Popcorn

Saturday night, Nevin's school had a fundraiser.  We booked a sitter and went out for dinner, music and dancing.  Since our usual babysitter -- and by "usual" I mean someone, besides Shawn's parents, who comes and babysits once a year -- was already taken, we had to expand our horizons.

The girl we booked was amazing, and lives within walking distance.  She's the kind of girl who will happily build Thomas the Train tracks, with engineering precision, put the kids to bed effortlessly, then, just because she has nothing better to do, clean the kitchen.  I knew she'd be great, and we would want her back, so I wanted to sweeten the deal a little.  I left her a "yay!-I-survived-and-the-children-are-asleep!" post-bedtime snack.  Its our celebratory snack of choice for such occasions.  Salted Dark Chocolate popcorn.  I highly recommend it.

When we got home she said, "your kids are very well behaved."  I think it was the popcorn talking.


Salted Dark Chocolate Popcorn
(modified from the Kitchn)

1/4 cup popcorn kernels
1/2 cup dark chocolate (you can use semi-sweet chocolate chips, but dark tastes better)
3/4 tsp. salt, divided

1.  Pop the popcorn kernels, as per your hot air popper's instructions.  Sift out any un-popped kernels from the bottom of the bowl.
2.  Place the chocolate and a 1/2 tsp of the salt in a microwavable dish.  In the microwave, melt the chocolate, stopping every 30 seconds to stir the chocolate.  It takes around 2 minutes in my microwave.
3.  Using a spatula, immediately dump the melted chocolate onto the popcorn.  Toss to coat the popcorn.
4.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper.  Turn the popcorn out onto the cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 tsp. of salt.
5. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for about 20 minutes, or until the chocolate hardens.  If you leave it out at room temperature to harden, it will take about an hour.

Mother's Day

Spring time pedicure, with a little Nevin on the side.

The Ten Commandments.  I think I've pretty much nailed the "thou shalt not kill" and "thou shalt not commit adultery" commandments so far.  The trickier one for me has always been "honour thy father and thy mother."  I've said a lot of penitent Hail Mary's over that one since about the age of thirteen.

Like many women, the relationship I have with my mother is complicated.  She is a lovely woman, but our convictions are so different, and our weaknesses are so similar, that it gets us into trouble.

When we have a great day together, it is refreshing.  Saturday was one of those days.  We spent most of the day together and it was marvelous.  We went thrift shopping (my love), ate Eggs Benedict (her love), got a pedicure (Dad's treat), drank a glass of wine with dinner, belly laughed.  It was a really good day.

Happy early Mother's Day.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Peanut Butter Blossoms


Easter Monday.  We had left over Easter chocolate and I needed something to do with the kids indoors, because there was blustery outside and Number One is terrified of the wind.

Honestly, it was meant to just waste some time and candy, but the next thing I knew this happened:


Organized eastereggs

We had more fine motor and math skills going on than piccolo player doing needlepoint calculus.

By the end of it, I felt like a bona fide Early Childhood Educator.  A champion of pre-school intruction.  Mother of the Year, without a hint of sarcasm.  So I put Scarlett to bed, locked Nevin in a closet and watched T.V. whilst drinking wine all afternoon.  Not true, but with that lead up, it doesn't sound so bad when I say I let Nevin play on his LeapPad for an hour during Scarlett's nap.

Sweet bliss.

Sidenote:  This is how Scarlett counts to ten: "Own, two, fee, foe, ive, ix, evan, eight, nine, ten!"  Two-year-olds can be difficult, but man, they are cute when they talk like big people.

Here's the recipe for some easy 5-ingredient peanut butter cookies:

Left-over Easter Egg Peanut Butter Blossoms
(from Diane Estrella)
2 cups peanut butter (I did half natural, half not-so-natural)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 heaping Tbsp flour
30 (ish) easter eggs
1/2 c. of sugar for dusting, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the peanut butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour together by hand.
3. Form the dough into tablespoon size balls.  Dip the top half of the balls in the dusting sugar.  Place, sugar side up, about and inch or so apart on a cookie sheet.
4. Cook for about 12-15 minutes.
5. Pull them out and immediately place an Easter egg in the center of each cookie.
6. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
* if I were to do this again, I would probably cut the candy-coated eggs in half, so they melt into the cookie a little.  The foil-covered Easter eggs worked perfect exactly the way they were.
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