Monday, January 31, 2011

Chocolate, You Complete Me

My love is vast and deep and wide,
Although you add some jiggle to my sides.
I love you more than I can say,
Without you I couldn't complete a day.
~Original poetry by yours truly.

Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate! Add that to two of my other favorite ingredients, peanut butter and oatmeal, and I'm smitten. As soon as I saw these treats on Eat, Live, Run ( I knew they were made for me and me for them.

As Valentine's Day approaches I know who has my heart! No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies, will you be my valentine?

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
courtesy of Jenna @

makes about 3 dozen small cookies

3 T butter

1/4 cup milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 heaping tablespoons cocoa

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1/4 cup peanut butter (I like crunchy all natural peanut butter here)

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

Melt the butter on the stove. Add the sugar, cocoa and milk and stir well. Add the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Stir. Add the oats. Stir again.

With wet hands, form little balls of dough and on a wax paper lined plate or pan. Refrigerate for thirty minutes until hard.

And the two lived happily ever after. The End.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

In Which I Teach You How to Fail a Drug Test

These look fairly benign, right? Benign and delicious for sure!

Oh but don't be fooled so easily. These muffins, or some very similar to them, are responsible for a story that's worth retelling.

It was Zack's 16th year and he found himself wanting for an income of his own. Like 16-year-olds everywhere my husband began searching for gainful employment. His target employer? Safeway. Safeway was currently hiring baggers, and bagging is just one of many things my future husband-to-be could do.

So, he interviewed. Pass.
And he performed the obligatory urine drug test. FAIL!

Fail? Oh yes, Zack's squeaky clean image was marred by the presence of opiates in his urine!

The culprit? One too many of his mom's delicious poppy seed muffins in the days leading up to his drug test. Imagine the awkwardness of trying to explain that one away!

And it's now with forewarning that I offer you Dorrie Greenspan's oh so delicious recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins:

Taken from Dorie Greenspan’s, Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the Muffins:
2/3 cup sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 T poppy seeds

For the Icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2-3 T fresh lemon juice


To Make the Muffins:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, rub the sugar and the lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and hte fragrance of the lemon strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whish the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter together until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the wish or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough-a few lumps are better than overmixing the batter. Stir in the poppy seeds. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold. Cool the muffins completely on the rack before icing them.

To Make the Icing:
Put the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl and add about 1 1/2 T of the lemon juice. Stir with a spoon to moisten the sugar, then add enough additional lemon juice, a dribble at a time, to get an icing that is thin enough to drizzle from the tip of the spoon. You can then drizzle lines of icing over the tops of the muffins or coat the tops entirely, the better to get an extra zap of lemon.

Enjoy, just as Zack did a couple of weeks ago. And keep in mind that you never know when the next random drug test will rear it's ugly head!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Life According to Ashlyn

The golden rule is big in our house. It's not uncommon for Zack or myself to be heard asking the kids to recite the golden rule in the midst of sibling rivalry (*gasp* our family actually experiences that?) or general strife. "Remember," we tell them over and over, "do unto others as you would have done unto you."

It's also not unheard of to hear one or the other of us adults issuing unsolicited advice such as: 'Never play leapfrog with a unicorn', or 'You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but you can't pick your friend's nose.'

So maybe it should come as no surprise that in the midst of a serious teachable moment I reminded Ashlyn to think of the golden rule. "I know the golden rule, mom," she replied. "You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but you can't pick your friend's nose."

Touche little one, touche!