coconut

when life gives you balls, you juggle them

Jump down to the end for the recipe....I kind of go off on a tangent!

Jump down to the end for the recipe....I kind of go off on a tangent!


Standing at the kitchen sink washing a pan, I gaze out to see Charlie maliciously wave a dirty mop in her sister's face.

That was it.

I had just told her an hour ago that there is never a reason to hit her sister. And now this.

Perhaps I should have just kept my mouth shut, but I immediately begin to mediate and tell her to go to her room. While she was at it, to clean up the earlier tornado that hit that section of the house.

Stomping off, the wailing begins.

I shout, "crying about it won't get you closer to the goal."

I can't believe I utter those words. Yet in sheer frustration, the darkness and humbling truth is usually revealed. Were those words for her or for me? 

Quite plain and simple, I'm tired. 

There's no doubt a laundry list of reasons why exhaustion burdens me. Parenting alone, however, tops the list. Cuddling, having fun, playing games, and cranking up the music for dance parties is easy. On the flip side, discipline, and understanding the bigger picture of not only my legacy, but the minds, and the legacies of these little people I was blessed with, is created in the minor moments of loving correction. This is hard. These moments continue to beat me down, and make me feel I'm doing something wrong. Like I know better but can't learn the lesson myself. 

Relationships are funny, intricate things.

And then there are moments like this - 

Yesterday at a 6-year olds birthday party, I was caught in the crossfire of a dad exchange:

With empathy one dad asks, "How long is your wife out of town?"
The tired dad replies, "She was in London last week and will be in Charlotte next week. So two weeks."
"Oh geez. You need a raise and a 'World's Best Dad shirt' for that kind of stint," the empathetic dad responds, but with a hint of disgust.
"Yes, yes I do!"
I blankly stared forward, thoughts swirling in my head.

Really? I guess I knew men felt this way when their wives went away, but I had never been caught in the middle of the banter. Seriously, how do you think your wives feel when you go away? Why is this even a discussion? Is equality still this skewed? It took both you to create these children, so buck up!

Well, that's only the beginning of my G-rated version.

Shaken from my stupor, I feel the kids racing up the stairs for cheesy pizza and cupcakes. It was time to choose my own battles with my children. To choose gluten or not.

I certainly don't stew on the following ideas, but I was reminded of them through various conversations this weekend:

  • I didn't get married to boast I had a husband who cheated on me multiple times. I don't need to share this, but some people give you the look of "why are you divorced?"
  • I didn't get married to end up a single mom. Though it's hard and not what I intended, I don't want your pity.
  • I didn't get divorced to be judged on whether or not I made the right decision to move to a different state to be closer to family. You don't know the full picture and boundaries had to be defined. Period. 
  • I didn't get divorced to feel a special kind of overwhelm. That kind of just comes with the territory when you're playing the role of both mom and dad at all hours and doing it all. Even with shared custody, the "overwhelm" doesn't go away.

So with that, that's where we land today. In the here and now. We make it work. Though I'm so very tired of doing it alone, especially at 2am when there's no one to nudge to ask to take this shift for the night, I know things won't always be this way. Apparently there's an actual Law of Rhythm that dictates this fact, establishing the seasons of life. Sometimes it's hard to see beyond tomorrow, which looks a lot like today. Yet like a pendulum, we swing to the left and back to the right - in constant motion, growing, changing, learning and evolving. Thank goodness! 

So with a deep breath, I keep moving forward, knowing anything is possible, especially when I dare to create it. With eyes in my own lane, focused on my end goal, keeping the balls in the air long enough to learn what I need to learn, and teach both myself and my little ladies. This one life is precious and I want to live it to the fullest, providing a rich and vibrant environment for all of us.

This post definitely took a different turn than I intended, but I guess I had to get some things off of my chest.

With that note, speaking about balls, how about some homemade energy balls, or bars, that are easy, quick and totally satisfying?

We made both mango and chocolate versions, but at the end of it, the girls voted their favorite was chocolate. So here it is. Email me if you want the mango version!

Double Chocolate Date dates

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened toasted coconut
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted and salted macadamia nuts
  • 10 pitted dates
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 squares of dark - 70% or higher - chocolate cut up to little pieces 
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder, optional

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a food processor, pulse the macadamia nut until they're just chopped. Any longer and it will become nut butter. Remove from food processor and place in a big bowl.
  2. Add dates into the food processor and pulse until just blended. Add coconut. Pulse again until it's a nice paste.
  3. Add to the nut mixture. Add in chocolate pieces.
  4. Form into balls with your hands or press into an 8x8 roasting dish to make bars.
  5. Roll the balls in the cacao powder for some extra chocolate love.
  6. Refrigerate and enjoy.

 

 

Coco for coconut

Right before it became pumpkin spice coconut butter!

Right before it became pumpkin spice coconut butter!


Back in the day when I used to shop at Costco, the bi-weekly staples were bacon, meat, fish, veggies, fruit, a huge ass jar of coconut oil, and bags upon bags of nuts – almonds, walnuts, and pecans. On special occasions I’d splurge for macadamia nuts and proceed to nosh on them on the ride home to appease my traffic woes through downtown Seattle.

The superfluous amount of nuts was a two-fold dilemma: 1) our favorite chocolate chip cookie used solely nuts as the base instead of flour, and 2) being a SAHM, I basically survived off of nuts, smoothies, and the leftover bites on itty bitty plastic plates (yep, I know, disgusting).

Then one day it happened. I had hit my quota and my body purely rejected nuts.

If I feel like getting a headache, having my stomach distend as if I was 7 months pregnant, and have gut issues for a few days, I may partake in a nut. But let’s be honest, it’s not a nice predicament to willingly put myself in.

I say all of this because perhaps you have mild symptoms of eating too many nuts also. They’re
delicious, full of healthy fats and vitamins, and an amazingly easy snack to consume. But let’s face it, it’s easy to overdo it. I only say this so that you’ll pay attention the next time you reach for a nut. Stop and see how your body truly feels when you eat them. If you think you may want to eliminate your handful of almonds (like every health magazine has told you to eat at 3pm), you may want to turn to another lovely fatty friend and my favorite nut replacement - coconut.

Fun fact, coconut is not a nut. I repeat, it’s not a nut! It’s in fact, a fruit.

Back to the story - not knowing how I’d replace my beloved nut fetish, I quickly discovered my love for coconut butter. Okay, okay, I guess I did have an adjustment period, and it did take some time to acquire a taste for it. But once that all fell into place, there wasn’t a week that went by where I didn’t make my own coconut butter and have fun with different flavors.

A spoonful here and a spoonful there, and I barely missed my crunchy nutty friends.

Now that I’m working again and eating real food throughout the day, I don’t make it as often anymore. Which, when I think about it, is such an oxymoron. These days I have less time yet I meal plan and therefore have a stocked fridge. Unless of course you come over on a weekend and I haven’t gone grocery shopping.

Anyway, when I do make coconut butter, it’s usually to make chocolate coconut cups. I love
myself some Eating Evolved coconut cups, yet my budget does not. I can’t just buy one package you know. So I make my own.

When I saw that they had pumpkin coconut cups, I felt up for the challenge.

First things first, I don’t understand the pumpkin spice craze come fall. I do have a soul
and like pumpkin bread but I by no means run out as soon as the first yellow leaf succumbs to the season change and frantically buy every pumpkin spiced item in town. But that’s beside the point. Making your own pumpkin coconut butter may just be the easiest thing in the world. Making the chocolate pumpkin cups on the other hand, can be quite the feat. Not hard, but difficult for this impatient heart of mine.

Are you ready? Here's what you do:

  • Grab a bag of shredded coconut.
  • Fill food processor - nearly to the brim
  • Blend until smooth – 5-10 minutes
Get yo'self some shredded coconut. Trader Joe's has the best deal!

Get yo'self some shredded coconut. Trader Joe's has the best deal!

Throw a pinch of sea salt in there and let it whirl!

Throw a pinch of sea salt in there and let it whirl!

You can proceed from there and add fun things such as:

  • Salt
  • Vanilla
  • Dehydrated fruit – strawberries are a favorite
  • Cacao powder
  • pumpkin spice

From there, drizzle it on everything, replace your mid-afternoon snack attack with a
spoonful, or try one of these recipes:

  • Warm coconut butter on a freshly roasted sweet potato with cinnamon. Yes please!
  • PaleOMG’s apple pie bites. Hot damn!
  • Make mint chocolate coconut cups. Mmmmm.
  • Drizzle over berries or coconut oil sauteed apples. Sure thing!
  • Add 1-2 tbsp and blend into your favorite morning drink. Bring it!

Do note, unless it’s summer or you live in a sauna, coconut butter will harden.


If you don’t want to do any of that, try Eating Evolved and use my code (ERINHTMT) for a special treat when you place an order.

What else do you do with coconut butter??