After months of sun deprivation, of course we were ecstatic to know that we would be having a sun-filled weekend. We went to the zoo on Saturday. While we love the Woodland Park Zoo, we were just there few months ago, so we decided to visit Point Defiance Zoo. Yes, it’s quite a drive to Tacoma from where we live. But it’s worth the trip. What I love about this zoo is, the animals are more active and easier to spot.
The kids were well-behaved, no one complained about being tired or hungry or sleepy or bored. That classifies as a good day. We saw all the animals (except the red wolf), soaked up all the sunshine and went home happy.
He loves the sandbox, telling me how it feels like sugar. My reaction? “He better NOT put it in his mouth“.
The next day (Sunday), we made a cake that will remind us of our trip to the zoo. We practically toss things into the mixing bowl, without any recipe. But we did jot down the measuring of the ingredients, in case we want to make it again next time. Lucky for us, it did turn out well. The butter reminds us of the bright, yellow sun. Brown sugar resembles the sand in the sandbox. And the chocolate.. uh.. let’s not elaborate.
I’ve been feeling down lately, due to the weather and delay in schooling. I try not to whine about it, but sadly, I have to wait until next year to go back to school. While I’m disappointed, our decision is the best for our family. Talking about, isn’t it spring already? Why does the fall/winter weather linger around, I do not know. Whenever the weather is icky, I feel icky too. I’m much happier during summer time.
We, human, have no control over Mother Nature. If only we could prevent natural disaster, if only we could change the weather. Sadly, we can’t. Don’t be discouraged. One thing we can control is ourselves. So to cheer us up in this gloomy weather, and trying to cope with news of natural disaster, something as simple as chocolate shortbread bars could help. I won’t say that it’ll cure our heartaches or make us forget all calamities. But it does help. It makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Between March and April, we’ve been to IKEA for copious amount of time. With each visit, my 4-yr-old son would ask for their $1.25 cinnamon bun. He loves it so much, sometimes waking up, the first thing he asks is “did you make cinnamon bun today?”
He loves helping me in the kitchen, but the only thing he helps me with from start to finish is cinnamon bun. When making other treats, halfway through, he’ll announce that he’s bored and would rather do something else. Eminently, when it comes to this puffy sweet bun, he waits for the dough to rise, even reminds me to check on it every 30 minutes. Roll the dough up with his tiny hands and tell me whether I cut them too thick or too thin. He wants to make sure it comes out perfect. While he prefers savory food, dark chocolate and anything-cinnamon-flavored top his favorite snack list.
We’ve been using the recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, and he loves it so. “It’s better than IKEA’s cinnamon bun”, he says.
Some days are better than the others. Sunshine in Seattle is so rare, sometimes I forget that it’s even existed. It was sunny on Wednesday and I needed to go to the library. Against my better judgment, I decided to walk there. Put the baby in the baby carrier and strap her on me, get the boy ready and off we go.
As forgetful as I am, I’ve never forgotten to bring along my backpack (in case I see interesting books at library I want to check out). But this time I forgot to. Walking there wasn’t as bad as walking back. I had to carry 3 heavy books and hold the boy’s hands. Told him to hold on to my sweater, but he stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and read his book! Cute but dangerous.
Once we got home, we were exhausted but yet, we had fun. After being unable to walk, thanks to Mr. Weather, it was a great change of scenery. Usually we only got to see stuff from behind the car’s windshield, today we got to feel the breeze on our face (without the wet sensation caused by the rain).
Other than being infamous for loving rice, my son also loves chocolate. The if-I-don’t-hide-my-chocolate-somewhere-he’ll-gnaw-on-it kinda love. He requested a “chocolatey snack” after the walk. And I was too.. tired to make anything. Added with a teaspoon of laziness, I almost declined his request.
But I remember the Swallow Globe agar-agar powder my mom brought with her last September. She brought me the red, original and the chocolate one. So I boiled the chocolate agar-agar, pour into a souffle mold to let cool, drenched in thick chocolate milk (pretty much chocolate syrup diluted in a bit of condensed milk) and topped with toasted chocolate chips.
Triple chocolate treats on nice sunny day, our day couldn’t get any better.
As most people know, my son is a huge fan of chocolate. But sometimes, we want something different, but still chocolate nonetheless. So we made blondies. But for the purpose of not confusing him, I told him it’s “not-brownies” brownies. He seems to like the name.
I remember that I got the recipe for this blondies from Fearless Baking by Elinor Klivans long time ago. Love this one because it doesn’t involve any corn syrup whatsoever (not that I don’t like corn syrup, I just don’t always have it). I checked out the book from the library. I’ve been wanting to buy it, simply because the recipes are great, easy to follow and the result never disappoints me. I’ve made her black-and-white cheesecake too and it’s a hit with my family.
Back to blondies… this one is with chocolate chips folded into the batter. Or in our case, chopped dark chocolate. I like to think that blondies is brownies’ cousin. Well, they’re closely related right? It has the same texture and consistency as brownies. In this case, both blonds and browns have equal amount of fun.
They all say my son inherits my temper, but not only that. He also inherits my love of chocolate.
As a kid, I loved everything chocolate (still do), especially dark chocolate. And quite picky about it too… no flavors combination for me. I didn’t even like chocolate covered strawberries! When my parents took us to the bakery, I’d pick chocolate filled bun. When my siblings opted for sundaes, I’d rather have a bowl of unadorned chocolate ice cream. Candy bar? I’ll pass unless it’s chocolate.
As an adult, my taste-bud has developed. I finally enjoy chocolate covered strawberries. As for my son, he has more developed palate than I was at his age (turning 4 in January!). He loves chocolate mint cookies my husband bought just the day before. He even loves bitter chocolate! How many kids like Lindt dark chocolate bar that contains 99% cacao? Continue reading