So…while I’d like to think I’m not one of those pretentious dorkknobs who mull over pastry menus like Biblical passages, I do have my opinions when it comes to sweets. (You might have guessed as much.) For example, dessert should celebrate sugar. Yes, I knooow how sophisticated and fabulous it is when a cheese plate is served as a final course. Maybe my Midwest is showing, but dessert needs to be sweet, people. Also? I covet balance. I want a little sweet, a little salty, a little acid, crunchy, creamy, chewy–and I want it all in one bite. And last week my cravings got in cahoots with my brain and produced a totally insane, Big Mama Lemon Meringue Pie Ice Cream Sundae. My persnickety dessert nature is now a gift, friends. Now would someone please tell my husband that?
The interwebs are aflutter with popsicles, people! And thank goodness. It seems like everyday there’s something new and terrible splashed all over every freaking webpage, making me question why I chose to raise children in this crazy, sometimes scary world. I’d say we could all use a little sunshine in frozen form these days, don’t you think? YES. Let’s do exactly that.
Now, before we go any further, I will address the elephant in the room: COCONUT. Probably one of the most polarizing things in the universe next to, say, cilantro and Rachael Ray. People either love coconut or they get visibly shaken at the mere mention of it. For example, my husband and daughter are in the latter camp, which is disappointing. Because I love coconut and so I can only bake something with coconut knowing that I will just have to eat the whole dang thing. Not altogether terrible, unless you consider something like fitting into one’s pants. So that’s why these ice pops are brilliant. Because not only are they dead simple to make, but obviously keep for quite a long time in the freezer. And I don’t know about you, but I’m much more likely to binge on, say, coconut macaroons than something that would give me a crippling brain freeze. Win!
I’ve been sitting here, trying to craft a clever story that would segue into the glory that is these cookies. but guess what? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Because these cookies are NOW. They’re everything. The New New. And I can’t stop eating them. They’re at once brown buttery, brown sugary, crisp-chewy, and butterscotch-y. So let’s cut the nifty foreword and get right down to it.
With all of our busyness these days, I can understand that you may scoff at a recipe that has an ingredient that to you have to make before you even begin. A crunchy, buttery, sweet-salty homemade cashew brittle is the cornerstone of these super delicious cookies. Ingredients made of ingredients! What is my problem?
Or a “For the New Mom Gift Guide”.
Or the “I’m a New Mom and Desperately Need to Treat Mah Self as to Not Feel 90 Years Old All the Time” List.
The point is that I’ve been thinking a lot about the little things that have made life with a new baby a little brighter, and thought maybe we could talk about those things. Because Lord knows I’d love a break from talking about how my baby never, ever wants to sleep for more than a couple hours at time. Like, EVER. So whether you are a Mom type yourself, or you are looking to get something off the beaten registry path for a friend who is about to, or in the midst of, having life ruled by a tiny high-maintenance person, consider the following:
I love the concept of having a summer jam, don’t you? I’m talking about becoming 100-times-on-repeat-can’t stop-so-don’t-try-to-make-me-OBSESSED with a particular song, like a personal anthem of sorts. This song will carry you all the way to September of a given year, turned up loud during long drives and workouts. And then long after you shelve it along with your flip flops, you can pull that song back out in February when you’re about to jump off the roof with Seasonal Affective Disorder and BAM–you’re right back to summery good times. In your mind, at least. Man, I love a good summer jam.
For me, past summer jams include such gems as 1992’s “Tennessee” by Arrested Development and “Under the Bridge” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers–if I hear either of those now, I’m right back to scrunchies, Keds, and inexplicably large t-shirts half-tucked into Umbro shorts. Brilliant. That god-awful “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal? Takes me straight back to 1995, my amazing collection of Bonne Bell Lip Smackers, and my first car and all the questionable decisions that go along with that milestone.
(Speaking of questionable decisions while having your first car, I blame the video for 1995’s other summer jam, “Crazy” by Aerosmith. You can’t even tell me that you didn’t want to be in that video, so were you the Alicia Silverstone or the Liv Tyler whilst cruising with your BFF that summer? Be real.)
So! I emerge from The Cave of Two Small Children to say hello and bring you waffles. With whole wheat, no less! I know. What has happened to me?! But in truth, there’s been a lot of exciting things happening around these parts–life is good, full, verrrrry busy. I’m even working on developing some new, exciting projects that may or may not end up being real life things so LET’S JUST NOT JINX IT, OKAY?
I’m going to try really hard not to make all my check-ins with you lovely people be all about being a harried mother of two, because honestly, I’m not experiencing anything that one tra-zillion women before me haven’t. But dang, it’s all-consuming, this two kids business. Everyday I remind myself to take it easy, to simplifysimplifysimplify, and not get all worked up about all the things on the checklist that don’t get done. Because I’m kind of Type A when it comes to my checklist, whether it’s mental or written. And just when I think I’m going to get 30 minutes to do something that might make me feel “accomplished” on a given day, somebody needs something and gahhhhh, another item on the checklist is getting pushed off again. It could be working on a new book idea, composing a coherent e-mail, or folding an entire basket of laundry at once. It could be showering when I’d like to, or it could be finally–finally!–finding my other black (most comfortable, most loved, where arrreee yooouuu?) Reef flip-flop. Madness, I tell you.
Nearly 11 weeks into life with two children, ages 4 and fussy-and-a-half, and ohhhh, the gravity of the whole thing. Friends, I will be real with you: I am a harried mess 99% of the time. I miss being able to test recipes and share them with you more often, but Life, she is what she is right now, and I have to get over that, as hard as it is.
The thing is, these days, very few tasks can actually be completed, and even fewer of those things get done in the manner in which I would like them to be done. For a mostly Type A kind of lady, this alone is enough to drive me to drink (and I can’t even DRINK the way I’d like to—thanks, nursing!). Sir Baby has quite the set of lungs, and he likes to unleash them at approximately six minutes after being set down anywhere, and sometimes in less time than that. Most days, I’m stressing like Sandy Bullock in Speed because he freaks out in the car unless we’re cruising the freeway with no stoplights to bust his groove. The darling boy also loves (demands) to be held and loves face time even more—if I could spend the entire day hovering eight inches over his face, he would never, ever cry. And sometimes I spend quite a lot of time doing just that, because OH WHEN HE SMILES.
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