The holidays are over (but my tree is still up until Saturday).
My parents have left (leaving my Chicklet at a loss for her beloved Grammy and Grampy).
My work? Still not done, but at least the pile is
neater well… still visible and now sporting a “to-do list” sticky note.
The New Year has begun and I am so very thankful to have had some time with my parents. My dad is tired (chemo, anemia and a variety of other ailments), my mom is amazingly steady and continues to demonstrate grace, and I am still just figuring it all out as it comes. Sometimes it’s strange to me to think of all of our ages and that I have KIDS! What?!?! Kids? I’m a mom? Get out! I still feel like a kid myself! Who knew that this is the way it really would be. Certainly makes me appreciate this bizarre phase of life more.
I am realizing all the things my parents did for and with us that I don’t remember. Raising kids is a bit like raising a future amnesia patient. I will remember all of our lovely little snuggles, games and conversations, but they won’t. It’s definitely eye-opening and character building. It’s sad that we don’t remember these tender moments with our parents as we grow up. But I’m happy I don’t remember teething, etc! Blech! Some things are definitely meant to be forgotten after the experience is over.
Experience is also what makes me able to remove myself from the high school drama that swirls outside my classroom door (and sometimes sneaks through the doorway in whispers, glances and clandestine text messages). Thank goodness none of us have to relive that again, huh? But really, the beautiful part about experience is the sincere appreciation of my parents and their gifts to me.
There are too many instances for me to name, but I will just say this: we are much more like our parents than we will ever know. (And in my case, that is a great thing! I’m lucky.)
My folks just left on Tuesday.
On Monday night, I decided to whip up some brownies for a lunch meeting on Tuesday. I started at 9:45. By 10:20, the brownies were done. But my mom had already gone upstairs to bed (or so we thought) while my Love and I visited with my Dad at the table. As my dad excused himself to join my mom, I went up to say goodnight to her. I didn’t want to miss my chance as I wasn’t sure if she would be up when we left the house early in the morning heading off to daycare/work/school.
I found her at the top of the stairs – holding her laptop and sniffing the air. “Are the brownies done yet?” she asked.
Oh yea. You have to love her.
She came downstairs to make the great sacrifice of taste-testing. I had the brownies cooling on the counter (laying on parchment paper but out of the baking dish). When she and my dad entered the kitchen, they were both whispering about brownies. My dad asked her what she was doing and that he thought she had gone to bed. She laughed and said nope – not when there are fresh brownies in the house.
And then he asked, “Brownies? Where?”
“Yes!” she said, “I can smell them but I don’t see them!”
I chuckled from the other room. Busted by my giggle, my parents laughed too. And then we cut into the delicious, fudgy warm brownies and talked about the quality of them. Oh, chocolate. If not for love to bind our family, I’m sure chocolate would do.
And now that there are a few more gluten-free buddies at work (for a few reasons), I have even more taste-testers. The mistake I made, I guess, was bringing the brownies in from the car before lunch. Why? Well, because they never actually made it to lunch. They were eaten for breakfast. Oh yes, it was a sacrifice indeed.
My normal breakfast it typically a cup of coffee and a banana. This time is was a mighty chocolatey banana with a fabulous coffee kicker and a side of brownie. YUM.
I guess I will just have to make another batch for my meeting on Saturday (8:00AM until 2:00PM, anyone?). Something tells me they might just end up as a Saturday brunch item during our meeting, but I know my chocolate-loving colleagues. They will be all-over the idea of that!
And I know some of you are doing the appropriate thing: avoiding sugar after so many yummy treats during the holidays. But chocolate is like air sometimes: you just GOTTA have it! And besides, my wild rice dish that I am making in the crock pot tomorrow will more than make up for it.
If you get a hangering for some fabulous brownies, try these. When they are warm, they are rich and fudgey. When they cool off, they are still fudgy, but get more cake-like. Either way, they are delicious. And if you don’t want to make your own, you are more than welcome to come to our curriculum planning meeting on Saturday morning to try some of mine.
Gluten Free Quick Brownies
Makes a 6″ x 10″ oblong or 9 inch square pan.
2 eggs, beaten together in a small bowl
2/3 c. GF flour mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional – but adds a great layer of flavor)
1/2 cup sugar (use 2/3 cup if using all bittersweet chips)
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons water
2 cups chocolate chips (1 cup bittersweet, 1 cup milk or semi-sweet)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line your baking pan with parchment paper (or oil tin foil).
- Beat together eggs in a small bowl.
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and chili powder and set aside.
- In a microwave safe bowl, place the sugar, water and butter. Melt in your microwave (30 seconds +, depending on your microwave). Take out and stir. Then put back into the microwave and bring it to a boil. (About 2 minutes more – again, depending on your microwave). (PS. This step can be done on your stovetop in a small saucepan too, if you would prefer.)
- Stir the chocolate chips and vanilla extract into the hot sugar/water/butter mixture. Stir until the chocolate chips have all melted (leaving a few chunks is okay).
- Add dry ingredients plus eggs to the mixture and stir well. (Do this quickly so the eggs don’t begin to “cook” in the hot chocolate goodness.)
- Pour your batter into the parchment lined baking dish. Bake for 20 – 26 minutes or until the top shines and is dry.
- Remove from the oven. Lift the parchment out of your baking dish and set it on a cooling rack to allow the brownies to cool. Cutting in to warm brownies will give you fudgey dense brownies. Allow them to cool completely for a less dense-fudgey brownie. Store in an airtight container or a plastic food bag until all have been devoured.
Happy GF Chocolatey Goodness!