Sunday, February 12, 2017

Love and chocolate











February usually brings a stretch of warm, sunny weather that feels more like mid-spring than mid-winter, and we got our taste this past week. The sky was perfectly clear for days and we played in the backyard most afternoons or took walks in the neighborhood. We spotted lots of bulb sprouts pushing up, including in our own backyard, where the tulips are poking through last year's dead primroses. We found a small animal's jaw bone on one of our walks; it's fascinating and I kind of want to make it into a pendant, creepiness be damned.

I spent an afternoon clearing debris from a section of the raised planter bed from the water feature to the big rosebush on the side wall, an area about thirty feet long. I tore out last year's mint and Russian sage, pruned back the big rosebush and both the small ones, and cut the hibiscus stalks down to about an inch. I still need to clear out the primrose bed and the barrel where I've been planting geraniums the past few summers. But now there's a snowstorm on the way - our February miracle was fleeting this year. An icy wind howled all day and snow should move in overnight. They say we could get as much as three inches, which is a lot for us. I have my fingers crossed; I'm not ready to let go of winter just yet.

We're getting reading for Valentine's Day around here. The small Bears addressed their valentines for their classmates this morning. It seems that almost everyone gives a candy valentine these days, which isn't really that kosher with me, but it's what they're doing now. I'll die on a different hill. We bought the valentine kits at Target last week, along with a small chocolate treat for the teachers. I volunteered to send in Capri Suns for a party. This morning, I baked a completely superfluous treat for my valentines, Cookie Pie, of all things. It's February's recipe in my Betty Crocker calendar. The Bear and I have long had a running joke where I ask him what he wants for dinner and he tells me "candy pie," so when I saw an actual candy pie in the calendar, I figured now was my chance.

Can I be frank? Right now, I'm wearied by political discussion on blogs. I don't begrudge anyone their opinions. I'm interested and I care very much, but I need a break. I hope you'll understand. I've also deactivated my Instagram account, for those who follow me. I need a break from that too, for other reasons. I don't think I have enough to share, for one thing, and I can't seem to make the time to interact with others the way I probably should. I may go back eventually, but I'm happier with less media noise and fewer things competing for my attention.

Thank you for the sweet comments about my Apple a Day Hotpads. I really enjoyed making them. They're easy and cute. I hope you'll try the pattern yourself. I've been having fun with my Sunburst squares lately and even engaged in a little outdoor hooking this week! So nice. I sat on the patio while the kids played and Betty took a dust bath. I had my basket of yarn and my sewing basket on the table. I was wearing flip-flops! It felt nice to crochet with bare toes. I don't know why I liked it so much but I did. I was trying out join-as-you-go with my Sunbursts, to see if I liked joining them that way, and I really did! I think I'll keep going, making about ten centers and joining them. I don't want to do them all at the end, like I did with my Flowers in the Snow blanket. There will be twice as many of these. It's good to have a project again!

I hope you have a good week ahead, and a very happy Valentine's Day!

Cookie Pie
adapted from Betty Crocker 

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter, softened  
1 egg  
1 cup M&M's® chocolate candies red, white and pink  
8 Reese's peanut butter filled hearts milk chocolate candies, unwrapped

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom of 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.

In large bowl, mix cookie mix, softened butter and egg with spoon until soft dough forms. Stir in 3/4 cup of the chocolate candies and the 1/2 cup peanut butter chocolate candies. Press dough in bottom of pie plate. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup chocolate candies over top; lightly press into dough. Press heart-shaped candies lightly into dough.

Bake 28 to 30 minutes or until center is set and edges are golden brown. Cool completely on cooling rack, at least 2 hours, before cutting. Store tightly covered.

32 comments:

  1. The cookie pie looks delicious and fun. I plan on making a special treat for my kiddos on Valentine's Day. We are having a very mild winter in the D.C. area. I hope this doesn't mean we are in for an extremely hot summer. Hope everyone has a fun Valentine's Day party. Lisa

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  2. We are having a milder winter than usual too. We'll see what summer brings.
    Your cookie pie is very cute, and perfect for your long running joke. :)
    I am also so tired of politics. I'm spending less time on FB because it seems to be the worst offender. I'm not on anything else and most of y blog friends aren't talking politics, thankfully!

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  3. It's interesting how different Valentine's Day can be around the world. Down under, in New Zealand, it is not a thing at all in schools. I've been reading books all week about its history and my NZ students are amazed that US (etc) students swap cards/little gifts etc. They asked me what happens if you don't take anything to school for your classmates? Enjoy your day. And yeah US politics - affecting the entire world! I'm not blogging about it at all.

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  4. Nice to see your cookie pie. Love to have one:)

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  5. your blanket is looking gorgeous - I love those pops of colour against the grey. The cookie pie looks delicious; I hope your husband enjoys it. xx

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  6. I'm not ready to let go of winter either, I'm really enjoying it. But I do have lots of those garden tidying jobs to do. LOVE that little animal skull, it's perfection. I understand about the constant news noise, it's been getting me down too. I hope you have a lovely week. It's half term here, so no school for us, hurray! CJ xx

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  7. Hey Jennifer,
    Oh I hear you! My Facebook feed is full of political debate. I just scroll on down until I get to something far more sensible. For example, my friend Helena discussing the merits of crisps and chocolate. Much more my thing at the moment. We don't do the Valentine thing at school. Although writing positive and nice things about people seems like a pertinent antidote to all the political nastiness. Tulips pushing up and out here too. It's all very exciting. No snow though. Just rain. Have a lovely week, my friend.
    Leanne xx

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  8. Perhaps I am burying my head in the sands but I too don't want to read politics on blogs - we are bombarded with it daily on the news.
    How lovely to see bright blue skies and your children without coats - hope they enjoy a happy Valentines day.

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  9. This cookie pie looks very delicious, I imagine it would be really nice with a cup of strong coffee. I am going to call my daughter in a minute and ask if she could bake something nice for after work. I am so glad we don't celebrate Valentines Day at school, it would add another layer of stress to my life just now. I understand your weariness about politics, it is quite disheartening to see how the world moves away from common sense. I don't mind reading about it on blogs, so many people feel affected and worried by current affairs and sharing that with friends is one way of dealing with the worries. What I don't like is the vitriol on other social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter come to mind. Have a lovely week with your valentines xx.

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  10. Here in Holland Valentine is absolute no issue. Never been.
    We had this year more winter then in many years, but it seems that spring is coming.
    I love your blanket
    Have a nice week Manon

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  11. I'm avoiding broadcast news and just reading a broadsheet newspaper selectively every day. Soft spring days in February are a real tonic and we are promised some this week after an especially cold spell. I love your blanket, the bright colours against a grey background is a favourite look for me too. I know I've said this before but your handsome son is really the spitting image of my son at the same age. Enjoy your blanket of snow Jennifer. Here I am searching out sheets of snowdrops which have naturalised in the wild and later this week I have promised myself a visit to an old abbey where the biggest drifts snowdrops are often to be found due to the knight crusaders bringing home the bulbs.

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  12. I am right with you Jennifer, I don't want to read the politics on blogs either, and in fact think there is far too much of it on Facebook also.
    What a pretty pink candy pie you have made, much fun for Valentine's day. Enjoy!

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  13. Oh I wish we could get a little taste of spring...right now we are recovering from a snowstorm...so much snow. Happy Valentine's Day.

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  14. I am blessed with an IG community that rarely does politics, I could not handle that either! I use social fixer to try to keep FB without it too. I love the blanket you are making! fun baked cake/pie too! :) it's so nice to have running jokes in one's family, that makes the days brighter I find. Stay warm!!!

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  15. I love the pattern you have chosen for your blanket, I am still looking for a suitable granny square for my next project. I am burying my head in the sand a little and not thinking too hard about politics at the moment. Candy pie sounds like a great treat my husband would love it.

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  16. Yummy! Cookie pie sounds like fun. I'm completely out of the loop on current Valentine trends. I had no idea candy Valentines were the latest thing for children to exchange. That adds up to a lot of sugar, but like you say, it's important to pick which hill you're going to die on.

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  17. I'm with you on the political c**p. I don't read the news and I skip the blogs that are full of it. I live life small. I take care of my family and I'm kind to all others, that's all I can do.

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  18. Hi Jennifer, Do you know what jumped out at me from your post today? Flip-flops! Oh, to be able to wear my flip-flops again! The snow is above our car windows when we back out of the driveway. I fear my flip-flops will be in the closet for awhile longer. :-). That candy pie sounds amazing and I don't miss the Valentine's angst of school children. There always seemed to be someone in the class who's feelings were hurt whether it was intended or not.
    My IG account is made up almost entirely of knitters/crocheters so I don't see much political stuff at all, if I do I scroll right on by. I am tired of it everywhere too, although I realize and accept everyone has a right to their own opinions. Have a lovely, lovely week Jennifer and enjoy your snow!
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  19. How nice to have a little warm weather it's bitterly cold here and I don't like it one little bit. I have never heard of a cookie pie but I bet it's yummy. Your sun burst squares are looking lovely, I prefer the join as you go method it's so much quicker. :) xx

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  20. Beautiful crochet project! I have to differ with you on the political posts -- I'm so glad to see people involved, questioning what's going on in our country, speaking up. I may not agree with everyone, but democracy is a public process.

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  21. Also, I'm loving how Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders are speaking up! A little bit of Socratic gadfly action. I am a classicist and study the ancient world (and am a former educator), so I am perhaps more interested than most.

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  22. Why talk about politics when we can talk about Candy Pie!!!!! I don't think I could bring myself to eat it but it does look totally beautiful. We are still labouring away at Chrstimas chocolates over here - honestly, we must just be too damn wholesome! Love Jo x

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  23. I'm jealous of your spring weather! Though I shouldn't complain - this has been a very mild February for northern IL. We've had no snow at all and mild temps. The sun is shining beautifully today and this weekend, we're supposed to be in the high 50's. Unheard of for this time of year. I have a feeling this means we're going to be socked with one last huge snowstorm in March. ;-)

    I'm purposely avoiding talking politics on my blog, but I know it's each to their own.

    Oh, you know I'll have to pass on that candy pie since I'm into clean eating and no sugar! ;-)

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  24. We just had over 6 inches of snow.. and today was windy and below freezing.. I am ready for spring.
    Our public schools do not allow candy or food. Not even for birthday celebrations. Homemade goods are never allowed. Mostly due to allergy concerns.
    I am tired of political conversations too.. I am interested, want to stay aware but it mostly just makes me angry.

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  25. Candy Pie? Oh my goodness, that does look good. :oD

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  26. You can't go far wrong with chocolate! Enjoy.

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  27. Happy Valentine's Day Jennifer! It looks like you've been good and busy and having a good time -- I hope you got the snow you wished for. I wish we would get some too LOL. I feel the same way about all the politics -- we need a break! I've deleted a few instagram accounts if they went from what I originally wanted to follow them for, to too much politics. If we wan't politics, we can go to news sites, right?

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  28. Hi Jennifer, I discovered your blog via Mari's blog. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your family. I enjoyed your pictures. Your "pie" looks delicious! I also love your crochet projects. I live in north Georgia and we are experiencing warm weather and spring bulbs popping thru the soil currently. Like you, I enjoy sitting on the porch on these mild days. I recently quit facebook due to all the negative political discussions. Just needed a break from it all!

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  29. Your crochet circles look great, joined together in grey. They are going to make such a pretty blanket - I'm tempted to join in! You always pick great colours.
    Happy Valentine's!

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  30. Such wonderful crochet circles! Lovely photos. Happy Valentine's Day!

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  31. Crocheting outside in flip flops, then snow on the way? Such extremes of temperature! It's been cold and grey here on the whole. I hope you had a lovely Valentines Day. X

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  32. oh how I love that candy pie, that's what I read blogs for x

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