Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Freaky weather, homemade Easter treats and other matters

                                                                                                                                                                There was an impressive thunderstorm/hailstorm just before we left the Chapel of Divine Mercy on Sunday.  It was quick and violent, and after only a few minutes had dumped quite a bit of hail.

Sunday night Gemma began to look a little green around the gills and said her tummy hurt.  Between 8 pm and 10:30 pm she threw up five times.  I figured we were headed for a stomach virus.  After the last bout of vomiting, I gave her a dropper of colloidal silver, and she sucked on an ice chip or two, then went to sleep.  We slept in the living room, me on the sofa and Gemma on a pallet beside me, as I didn't want to have the whole house awakened if she had to throw up in the middle of the night.  Actually, she's an A-1 vomiter, if there is such a thing.  No crying, no fuss.  She goes quickly to commode or bucket, leans over and waits for it calmly.  It's almost spooky in a three year old, but I recall Dominic was similar.  Anyway, there actually were no middle-of-the-night  episodes and she slept until 6, awakening with her appetite in order.  So I don't know what caused the upset.

Sunday evening until yesterday morning we had no internet, and I spent 45 minutes on the help line trying to get it back.  In the end they said they didn't know what the problem was and would send out a computer guy the next morning but the trouble mysteriously resolved itself by Monday, mid-morning.

 I seem to be fighting a cold--sore throat and burning sinuses--and Bret is sneezing and so is Dominic.  It has been snowing since yesterday morning, but all day yesterday it was a fine dust-like snow that went on and on, and yet never whitened the ground. This morning, however, we have some white on the ground.  I have been extra-generous in filling the bird feeder and the birds seem grateful...there was a steady stream of diners all day--blackbirds, red-wing blackbirds, doves, sparrows, a downy woodpecker, a number of cardinals (would that be called a conclave of cardinals?)...

I'm making treats for the Easter baskets this week.  Yesterday I was making treats for the Easter baskets.  I made peanut butter cups and chocolate-coconut-almond cups (think 'Almond Joy'), and my taste-tester (Bret) said that they turned out well.  They were really quite easy.  I didn't really measure anything--I rarely do with this sort of thing, so all measurements are mere approximations...

Peanut Butter Cups (made 36)

Paper candy cups or silicone mold
2 12 oz bags milk chocolate baking chips
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 1/3 cups natural peanut butter
2-3 Tbsp raw honey (to taste, really)
pinch of salt (for that sweet-salty taste I love with the Reese's

Mix together the peanut butter, honey and salt in a bowl.  The honey tends to make the peanut-butter "pull together."  If it doesn't, add a bit more honey and mix well.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler with the coconut oil.  Spoon a little chocolate into paper candy cups which have been placed in mini-muffin tins.  Place in the freezer for a few minutes

Here is where my 1 teaspoon cookie scoop comes in handy:  place about a teaspoon, or maybe a little less, on each of the chocolate "bottoms".  Press with a finger to flatten slightly, then top with more chocolate.  Freeze for a few minutes or until firm.  Easy, eh?

Healthy "Almond Joys" (made 36)

Paper candy cups or a silicone mold
About 1 cup of unsweetened, organic shredded coconut
3 Tbsp raw honey (more if you like)
1/3 cup plus 4 Tbsp raw, virgin coconut oil in solid form (do not melt!)  Believe me, the raw, virgin coconut oil has a wonderful coconut flavor to it.  Still, you can add a bit of coconut flavoring to boost it, or even a bit of almond extract if you prefer.
2 12 oz bags Semi-sweet chocolate baking bits
Raw whole almonds

In a food processor, combine the coconut, honey and coconut oil and any flavorings you may choose.  Pulse until you have a well-blended coconut "dough".

Melt the chocolate with the 4 Tbsp coconut oil in a double boiler.  As with the peanut butter cups, put a bit of melted chocolate into each candy cup.  Freeze or refrigerate until firm.

Drop teaspoons of the coconut dough onto the cooled chocolate bottoms.  Flatten slightly with a finger and place an almond on top of each.  Then cover with more of the melted chocolate.  Chill until firm.

As I alternate between my Anti-Illness Cocktail (orange juice with vitamin C powder, colloidal silver and Echinacea-Goldenseal tincture) and my Ginger-Lemon Tea, I am contemplating making marshmallows...it would be nice to have some to float on hot cocoa and we could pretend that it is Christmas that is approaching and not Easter...