Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dancin', Coconut Oil Peanut Butter Chocolate Cups, and Simple Lives

Have you ever suddenly gotten a glimpse of your life through someone else's eyes?
 E's grandpa gave her this silly cd for Christmas called Dance, Baby, Dance! and it cracks me UP. It's basically techno versions of your favorite kids songs, from Old McDonald to Twinkle Twinkle. (yes, techno Twinkle Twinkle. Please click over to Amazon and listen to some of the previews)  When we first put it in the cd player, we were all sort of stunned. It's pretty intense (but surprisingly well done) techno dance music with familiar melodies and funny sounds like barking dogs and giggling children weaved throughout. Over time, it's become the only music E really likes to listen to in the car. Instead of dreading it, we've embraced it started making our morning and afternoon commute into a dance party.  We fist pump, clap, wiggle back and forth, and SIIIIIIING for the 10 minutes we're in the car each trip.  It has become a fun ritual for starting and ending the day outside of the house and she's pretty insistent that we all dance when we're in the car.
This morning I was driving her to daycare alone because my husband is sick. He usually sits in the back with her so they can interact but today she was alone, so the major clapping and dancing responsibilities were left to me.  At a stop light, I really hammed up the clapping that is so good on Hush Little Baby, watching her join me in her kiddo mirror. (Yes, we have one. Yes, I know they're not super-safe.) The light changed and I checked my rear-view mirror and noticed that the driver and passenger of the car behind me were laughing and grinning ear to ear watching me put on a show for E.  At first, I was honestly flushed with embarrassment, because the techno (seriously, it's techno, have I said that enough?) is bassy and E insists that it be turned up, so the car was probably shaking in that obnoxious way that they do, and I was making a total fool of myself with these huge exaggerated claps in my mittens, waving side to side like a crazy person.  But then I saw what they must have seen: a mama having so much fun with her little one. And then I teared up and smiled the rest of the short ride to daycare.  In just a few years, she might think this cd is stupid and so is dancing with mom. At the very least, she'll probably never love it again as much as she loves it now. Someday, when she's 25, I'll pop in this cd and be transported back to this moment, in the way that only music and smells really can.  This music feels so modern now.  What will popular music sound like then?
To me, this is what mindful parenting is all about. Finding moments in your normal routine to just sit back and reflect, to see that these everyday details are what make up our lives, and that they're passing. I have a new appreciation for the joy this music brings to her. I have renewed my amazement at the fact that she has clear desires and can communicate them to me.  I feel so lucky to share this silly little thing with her, and I am so thankful to those smiling people for helping remind me of that. It's so easy as a parent to resent the drudgery and work of parenting, and I know E's fascination with repetition is just beginning.  (In this special, Louis CK describes parenting as "so boring", and we haven't reached that point, but I still so much appreciate his humor, especially about parenting.  I watched on Netflix.  This clip about children asking why is spot on, as is this one about the difference between boys and girls. Don't watch if you're easily offended, though.)
I'm trying to enjoy the last few moments of this winter, too. It is so easy to wish winter away, especially with all the snow we've gotten, but I hate to see time pass. Unlike summer tomatoes and peaches, it can be hard to find things to be excited about in the winter kitchen but we're getting by.
I recently ordered about 40 pounds of citrus from California through a friend and we've been eating these mandarins and grapefruits non-stop. I don't think I've ever consumed so much grapefruit in my life and I still can't get enough.
Hot tea and oranges almost every afternoon. Hibiscus tea is the most beautiful.
I supremed some of the fruit and mixed the juices with lime juice, honey, and basil.
 I think the compost heap is about 80% citrus. (This is so gross but that's what March compost looks like, ok?) The other 20% might be coffee grounds.
E and I have been sharing smoothies a lot recently. They're fun to make since she loves pushing the button on the blender and it's an easy way to get lots of fruit and vegetables in her diet.  We have been drizzling coconut oil on top until it solidifies for a crunchy topping. She always eats hers first and asks for more, so I get to share.
(Dear Vitamix, send me a blender. Love, Alicia)
I've been having the smoothies with fried eggs over this toast. So good.
We've also been making some very special treats out of coconut oil. The recipe is from Lisa at Thrive Style and is so good that I have to force myself to hold back from reaching into the freezer for another one (or two...or three) after dinner.  I can't recommend them enough to you because they taste just as good as conventional candy and are so easy to make. It'd be great to let the kiddos help you with this one.

Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Cups
from Thrive Style

4 tbsp. coconut oil, melted and divided in half. (use organic cold pressed)
8 tbsp. peanut butter, divided in half.
2-4 tsp. maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)
1/4 c. cocoa powder
You're going to mix and compose the cups in two layers.  First, mix half the coconut oil and peanut butter with 1-2 tsp. of sweetener. Taste to be sure it's sweet enough for you.  You can warm your coconut oil  in the glass jar in a pan of warm water on the stove. I mix in a Pyrex measuring cup so it's easy to pour.
It should be smooth and pourable.
Pour this mix into a lined mini-muffin tin, filling each cup halfway.  I haven't tried it without the liners but it could work.
Stick the pan in the freezer and be sure it sits flat. Then prepare the next layer. Do the exact same thing, but this time add 1/4 c. of your favorite cocoa powder. I used a dark chocolate cocoa powder. If you're really good you'll use something raw and unprocessed.

Share. Make a mess. Lick the spoon.
Pull the cups out of the freezer. The coconut oil sets up very quickly.  
 Pour the chocolate layer directly on top of the peanut butter one.
Pop 'em back in the freezer. 
Once they're set up, peel off the paper and eat. 
They're soft enough to eat directly from the freezer but are softer kept in the fridge. The oil will melt at a low temp so don't plan to have them sitting out for long. They are SO good.
Are you enjoying the last few moments of winter? Or are you more than ready to see it go?  Tell me all about it, and stay warm.
Please link up for Simple Lives Thursday and check out the featured posts and the host blogs!

 1. Shamrock Shake Season by WHOLEmade. "There is nothing but wholesome stuff here- and even the minty green color is naturally made by the ingredients (no food coloring here!)." News2
 2. Quick Tip, Less Weeding and Save Water by The Redeemed Gardener. "Here is a quick way to conserve water, keep down unwanted grass and weeds in your garden and it doesn't cost too much" Orange-Cream-Layered-Jigglers-1024x682
 3. Orange-Cream Layered Jigglers by Girl Meets Nourishment. "I LOVED creamsicles growing up. I worked in an ice cream parlor for summer jobs in high school and I would make creamsicle frappes with orange soda and rich vanilla ice cream. These little jigglers are better than candy, they truly are like mini-creamsicles in your mouth."

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