One of our dinner questions has been to call out three specific things that made you happy that day. We’ve had that going prior to the quarantine, but it’s been even more important this past week. Sometimes we draw pictures of the things, which is actually even more entertaining if you have small children. They kids’ answers have ranged from “lunch” to “rough housing” to “riding bikes with neighbor friends” (not touching of course, don’t worry). Curran was building a zip line for his toy in the backyard today and in his excitement, just yelled “this is making me happy right now!” That is the fruit of asking the question – how aware it is making each of us. In this slower, moment by moment pace with my family, I feel like I am getting a chance to see much more than I ever do when I am full charge ahead at all times.
As many of you, finding our way through all of this is challenging, scary, devastating for so many industries and individuals and doing so with kids is an added layer. I find that naming the happy things is a different practice than gratitude, though I’m sure you agree both have great effects on mental health. It helps me to think back on the day – to pay attention to my actual happiness when the default is fear and scarcity. It resets to positive… maybe you even find ways to chase the things you hear yourself name.
Yesterday: It made me happy to hear my kids wrestling and giggling upstairs with each other. I am so happy that our neighborhood has areas to bike, and that there have been breaks in the rain so the kids can move. All the funny memes online have made me laugh. I am happy that the kids like writing notes and dropping them to neighbors or pop them in the mail, hopefully passing the happy along. You get the idea. Look for it, it is there, and I am so sorry for those of you who are having a really hard time with that for a plethora of reasons right now.
Despite the current circumstances of being shut away from all our social connections, which are a huge priority for us as a family, I have been impressed by how well my people did this past week. My kids are getting along and pulling out toys that they used to ignore. I have a hard time even writing that here, as I know peoples’ lives are being destroyed by the pandemic going on around the world. I have chosen to take it day at a time over here and so my own experience is what I have to share. One week in I have learned that I can only take in enough news to be smart but there is a tipping point to being overwhelmed. What a blessing that our business is online – good grief. It is my responsibility to be a steward of that circumstance. That said, I will be trying to share more content here, that may be helpful for you. Our family is supported by our work over on SK Cooking Club, but I hope to share some of the favorited recipes here too, while so many of us are cooking at home.
I wish you all wellness, and hope to stay in touch.
PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD BARS
16 small squares
I have not tested these with all-purpose flour, though I’d guess they work. I would replace the almond and coconut flours with 1 1/4 cup all-purpose at a guess, but again, I haven’t tested that. All of these ingredients are also in my Thrive box if you are not a member yet (That link gets you a 30-day free trial and 25% off. I know they are having shipping delays at the moment, but a wonderful resource regardless).
If you have a peanut allergy, any nut or seed butter will work! Just pay attention to the consistency – we want it thick but spreadable – it needs to hold structure when you cut them. We need spreadable, but not a runny mess, but you can fix this no matter what kind of nut butter you buy. Once you add the maple, the nut butter should seize it a bit, especially if you start with a runny nut butter. Note it will firm up a bit in the fridge, but you need it to hold shape, so if your nut butter layer is extra runny, stir in a bit of coconut flour to help firm it up. Too firm to spread? Whisk in a splash of hot water.
for the CRUST
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
NUT BUTTER LAYER
¾-1 cup favorite natural nut butter
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
7 oz. chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp. coconut oil or coconut butter
Flaky salt, to finish
Line an 8” square dish with parchment paper for easy removal. Preheat the oven to 325’.
In a food processor, combine the coconut flour, almond flour, oats, coconut oil, maple, vanilla and salt and pulse a few times to combine. Don’t overdo it, just a few pulses. It should stick together when you press your fingers together. Press the shortbread layer into the bottom of the pan, getting an even layer all the way to the edges. Bake on the middle rack for 15-17 minutes until just toasty on top. Remove to cool.
In another bowl, stir together the nut butter and maple. The sweetener may make it seize a bit and that’s ok, we need it to be spreadable but firm. You can stir in a splash of hot water and stir it in if you can’t get the mixture to move. If it’s too runny, a sprinkle of coconut flour will also firm it up.
Over the cooled shortbread, spread the nut butter layer. Pop that in the fridge while you make the chocolate.
In a glass bowl over simmering water (double boiler method), add the roughly chopped chocolate and coconut oil. Stir until melted. Spread the chocolate over the nut butter layer. Let it cool down in the fridge for 15, then sprinkle the flaky salt over the top, and pop the whole situation in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
Remove the parchment sling and chop the bars into small squares. They’ll crumble a bit. They will keep stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.