In My Life, I've Loved Them All

“Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Beauty”

Truth: The key to getting an “A” on a paper in my 11th grade English class was to use a quote in your opening paragraph.  Not a quote from the book, necessarily, just one that contained a word that was a theme in the book. Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations came in quite handy.  It was the 90’s, we didn’t have Pinterest yet. Or Facebook. Or Smartphones. Seriously, the Internet and Email were just catching on. And now I feel old.

Outside of English class, I am not one who particularly “likes” quotes or mantras. And thanks to the Internet, words can be copied and manipulated so easily, it is hard to tell who originally said what.  Or if that is exactly what they said, or the context of what they were saying… Abraham Lincoln said never trust a quote you see on the Internet.

But.  Sometimes someone at some point is able to articulate a concept that I feel but cannot quite explain.  “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Beauty.”  Putting beautiful things into the world for no real reason.  Just because.  And doing something nice for someone else, without expecting anything in return.  Just because.  With all the chaos any negativity in the world, practicing kindness and adding beauty to the everyday helps restore some balance.

flowers Collage-kindness-450
Adding beauty to everyday life was the original intention behind the Etsy shop I opened 3 years ago.  It is also the reason I peruse the Manager’s Specials in the Floral Department at Kroger (grocery store).  This pretty bouquet of Pink Flowers:  99 cents.  Less than $1 to add some beauty and happiness to my home (re-using glass vases helps keep the flower buying/giving budget in check).  Just a little bit of care, these flowers will last a week, maybe more!

Small boquet of pink flowers


Add a bow, and for a couple bucks, you can give a “just because” gift to a friend or neighbor.

 flowers - Roses with Purple


Don’t have a lot of empty vases lying around?  Any piece of glassware can do the job… like a mason jar, or that tasting glass from your favorite Craft Brewery! [Shameless plug for Saint Arnold, Texas’s Oldest Craft Brewery]

 hydrangea in a beer glass


Now go do something beautiful and/or nice, for goodness sakes!  Literally.  For the sake of all thing good still left in the world.
Thanks :D


Playing in the Kitchen: Toasted Coconut Pecan Treats

Crispy treats seem to be the name of the game this week. First I see Jeff make some goo-balls on Chopped All Stars ... then Bakerella posts her version hours later, which were inspired by these treats at Smitten Kitchen.

They have reminded me of the cereal treats I made for edible gifts last Christmas (especially since the Chopped basket had marshmallows and coconut for mystery ingredients).

Behold! Toasted Coconut Pecan Treats!
The 1st batch was shipped to my sister & her boyfriend.
The 2nd batch went to my co-worker… she said her family ate them for breakfast!

 

Coconut Pecan Treats


I was initially inspired by a Martha Stewart Recipe, wanting to make something unique as a Christmas gift for my sister’s Boyfriend. He loves coconut, but my sister does not. So a dessert with coconut is quite an occasion. The tweaks I made to the Martha version seemed very sensible.

The 1st batch was pretty good, but I knew it could be better. So, I adjusted the proportions a bit, and DIPPED THEM IN CHOCOLATE. This new version went to my coworker, and her family was very pleased!

Coconut Pecan Cereal Bars
Here is the updated (dare I say BETTER) recipe for you to try. Your life will be a lot easier if you use a kitchen scale to weigh out your ingredients. You don’t have to weigh everything… it is just that ingredients like pecans and cornflakes can be hard to measure with the scoop method.

Toasted Coconut Pecan Treats


7.5 oz. sweetened shredded coconut, Toasted (½ of a 15oz bag)
3 oz. pecans, toasted, then roughly chopped (3/4 of a cup, or ½ of a 6oz bag)
4 TBL Butter (½ a stick)
10 oz. Mini Marshmallows (1 standard size bag)
3.5 oz. Cornflakes (4 cups)
Non Stick Cooking Spray
8 oz. Chocolate/Chocolate Bark/Chocolate Candy Coating, melted

Spray a 8”x11” Baking Dish with cooking spray.
(The original recipe calls for 8×8, but that makes THICK squares, but 9×13 makes thin squares… any dish that seems bigger that a 8” square but smaller than a 9×13 should work out fine.)

Combine Toasted Coconut, Pecans, and Corn Flakes in a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.

Melt butter and marshmallow on the stove over medium heat. Stir constantly (to avoid burning) until marshmallow is a creamy consistency and the butter has been completely combined.

Using a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula, transfer the marshmallow to the cereal mixture. Stir until all ingredients are equally combined.

Transfer entire contents of the bowl to the baking dish. Spray some cooking spray on 1 hand so you can press the treats into an even layer. Allow to cool.

Cut cooled treats into desired shapes. Hold treats at top edge and dip the bottom into melted chocolate, so the chocolate come ½ way u the treat. Let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.

Place treats chocolate-side down on a wax-paper lined cookie sheets (any flat surface will work, really) and let the chocolate harden.

Enjoy!


How to toast CoconutDon’t know how to toast coconut? Here are some simple instructions!
It is not scary. Just don’t abandon the coconut during the toasting process and you will be fine.

I you can think of any more fun additions to the traditional Rice Crispie Treat, please let me know!

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