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Life Lessons

Staying Centered on What Matters Most

Have you ever realized how often we find ourselves on autopilot? We don’t usually even realize until something major breaks our cycle. 

Given the current state of things, everyone’s normal cycles and routines are being dramatically altered. I’m not immune to current events. No one is. But what can help us tremendously is staying centered on what matters by keeping what matters most at the center. If we did that each and every day, how radically our lives would shift even when the storm has passed? Imagine how different our mindset would be if we were responding from the center of the hurricane rather than reacting from the chaos of the storm. Wise words from George Mumford. 

We all enjoy distractions of movies, television, and scrolling through social media. But what we often don’t realize is that in these things we disengage or enter into a numbing out phase. We go farther away from that thing that grounds and centers us. What if, instead, we left comments on what we just read and how it affected us. What if, on our next binge watch, we did it with someone else on the phone or through FaceTime? Download apps like Marco Polo and leave video messages for friends and family. Expressions of gratitude might be extremely healthy and heartening in these trying and uncertain times.

In some of my own daily practices that help me stay centered and grounded, I’ve found what works for me is taking a beat to engage all my senses, bringing me back to the here and now. What do I hear? Smell? See? Taste? Feel?

For obvious reasons we need to physically isolate, but the things that center us don’t need to change. We don’t need to shut down, and honestly resist shutting down in any capacity. The scope of our feelings was created for a reason: to feel. Anxiety, fear, and confusion can all teach us something if we are open, and dare I say, brave enough to let those feelings in. Dolly Parton has an awesome quote, “The way I see it, if you want rainbows, you gotta put up with the rain.” 

What centers you? What matters most to you and how can you engage that to find life’s rainbows right now?

Originally written for Rena-Fi

Categories
Life Lessons

Show Up

It’s a simple statement, and yet here I am. I’m showing up, I’m committed to sharing myself again so that others may find assistance in whatever I’ve been through, or just be along for the ride, whatever that looks like.

This blog originally started as a place to share my love for food. It still is that place. However, after a long hiatus of finding myself as I navigated motherhood to two beautiful kiddos, I simply have a lot more to offer now. I’ve have found and continue to find amazing life lessons, profound womanly advice, trials and triumphs of motherhood and a completely new way to look at food. It’s food, family, life and chaos.

In the coming weeks and months, I have so much stockpiled awesome to share. Those that are still miraculously subscribed – thank you. To those that continue to dribble in – thank you.

I plan to be less hard on my self in terms of perfection, and will just enjoy the art of sharing. I’ll continue striving for the best, but some days my best may look different.

To life, love and full plates,

Kat

Family photo

Categories
Desserts Lactose Free

Cookies and Creme S’Mores Bars

oreobar

Marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate, it doesn’t get much more summer than that. Remove the fire element and instead combine a chocolate like graham cracker, nutty brown butter and melty marshmallows, and you’ve got a new summertime treat in Cookies and Creme S’Mores Bars.

Rewind to a few weeks ago when I was feeling lazy due to summer’s ever impending heat. I wanted something sweet, no fuss, and ready in a jiffy. Rice Krispie treats always to come to mind. But imagine my surprise when there’s no crispy rice cereal in my pantry, major fail. What’s a girl to do? Fretting about heading to the store when I just wanted to lounge, I spotted a box of Back to Nature‘s Classic Creme Cookies. Between my husband and I, the box never lasts long so it became a now or never situation. Quickly nabbing them up, I wondered if I really could enhance the perfectly crispy delicious cookies into something downright sinful and live to blog about it? As you can guess, that is where we ended up today.

oreobar

I gathered my ingredients of marshmallows, cookies and creme cookies, and butter together. In no time I’d be on my way to delectable. But then I remembered we don’t have a microwave. Melting marshmallows without a microwave suddenly seemed so daunting. At this point I was just too excited and decided that the promise of of delicious was just too enticing.  Time to carry on.

On my first trial of this recipe, I only used one package of cookies. The marshmallow to cookie ratio seemed a little off. The bars were pretty flimsy and stuck to everything. They tasted good so I didn’t worry a whole lot. However, knowing my husband likes everything chilled, I decided to put the bars into the refrigerator. We ended up with about the most amazing thing ever! The bars never seized up and become rock solid. Instead, they reminded us of less sticky s’mores with all the flavors of cookies and creme. As they started to melt, they became a challenge to eat, reminding us of all those marshmallows we eat all summer long. We gobbled them up all in the name of “trials for the blog,” and on I went to try a few more times for the perfect treat. What I ended up with was a cookies and creme bar highlighting all those things about summer I love. Crispy cookies, melty marshmallows, the addition of toasty goodness, all slightly chilled. Doesn’t it make you just want to dig in?

oreobar

To full plates and eating your tarte out,

Cookies and Creme S'Mores Bars
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Ingredients
  1. 1 package of cookies and creme cookies (12 ounces)
  2. 1 package of marshmallows (10 ounces)
  3. 4 tablespoons butter (or butter substitute)
Instructions
  1. Butter a 9×13″ pan, set aside.
  2. In a ziplock bag, crush cookies using a rolling pin. You want the majority of the cookies to be about the size of your thumb nail or smaller. Sprinkle a handful of crumbs onto the bottom of your buttered pan. Reserve a half cup of cookies, and then set aside the remaining cookies in a separate bowl (should be about two cups).
  3. In a small saucepan on medium heat, melt your butter. Stir constantly until your mixture starts to foam. As the water evaporates, continue stirring as the foaming continues. Pay close attention to color. When it achieves a light tan color, remove it from the heat. Continue to stir for another minute. Allow to cool slightly.
  4. In a large microwave safe bowl, heat marshmallows together (about three minutes) until puffy and mostly melted. You can also do this in double boiler on your stove. Stir in your browned butter and then quickly stir in your two cups of cookie crumbs.
  5. Spread your mixture into the prepared pan. Use a spatula to press the mixture around the dish, and flatten evenly. Sprinkle your remaining half cup of cookie crumbs on top.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill about an hour before cutting into squares. Store in the fridge until ready to eat and enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you want more stability in your bar and not have to refrigerate them, consider adding additional cookies and creme cookies. You can also add in crispy rice cereal too.
  2. Consider using peanut butter sandwich cookies in lieu of the cookies and creme cookies for a fluffer-nutter twist!
Eat Your Tarte Out | Life, Love and Full Plates https://eatyourtartout.com/
Categories
Desserts Gluten Free Grain Free Vegetarian

Chocolate Cinn-Almonds

cocoaalmond

A combination of roasted almonds, coated in chocolate, and then dusted in cinnamon, cocoa and salt. It’s a snackers dream as it’s not overly sweet and addicting as heck. And the sheer beauty is that it’s one of the easiest recipes ever to make!

I’ll admit that have a weakness for chocolate covered almonds. And, for whatever reason I enjoy them immensely as singly covered entities, not in bars. It’s a weird little fixation of mine, but it’s also a surefire way to make me smile. I can always go for some, even now. However, not all chocolate covered almonds are created equal. The chocolate to almond ratio can be off, and then there’s usually a shiny waxy coating many of them have to ensure they don’t stick together which detracts from the simple but delicious flavors.

I decided I was going to make them at home figuring I could control what chocolate balanced the almonds I had, and rid myself of the wax. Dipping individual chocolates can be time consuming and tedious, and I quickly lost interest. I made large ugly lumps and devoured them once they set up, never to talk about them again. I’m not sure what reinvigorated my interest, but the reasoning went out the window and a recipe/method was born.

A bowl of these almonds will disappear quickly, so be sure to make a few batches.
A bowl of these almonds will disappear quickly, so be sure to make a few batches.

Taking a note from shake and bake chicken, unceremoniously plopping chocolate dipped almonds into a dry rub of sorts and shaking all your frustrations out works SO well in this case! I’m serious, anyone can do it and it makes you feel better physically and taste sensationally afterwards.

Simple ingredients and complex taste with incredibly easy directions to follow.
Simple ingredients and complex taste with incredibly easy directions to follow. Chocolate chips, cinnamon and almonds, how easy is that?

I figured out that the dry rub should contain some cocoa powder, as the shaking technique only coats the almonds with a thin layer and we all know how I like my chocolate. From there, I added some organic Korintje cinnamon which I picked up at Whole Foods. I liked the spicy notes in it which seemed to wake up my concoction. From there I added a little salt to enhance the flavors and I was done. It balanced really well, and even the men in my life were quickly devouring them.

As if the ease and deliciousness of this recipe weren’t awesome enough, you then can save the leftover bits of chocolate and cinnamon powder for a delicious base for hot chocolate. Waste not, want not! Sounds like a great way to cuddle up a loved one, dog or kitty cat, or to simply enjoy on a night when you need a pick me up

To full plates and eating your tarte out,

A pretty bowl of cinnamon chocolate almonds and a love letter to accompany a mid morning snack.
A pretty bowl of cinnamon chocolate almonds and a love letter to accompany a mid morning snack.
Chocolate Cinn-Almonds
Roasted almonds, coated in chocolate and dusted in cocoa, cinnamon and salt make for a delightful snack that you'll keep coming back to.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of almonds
  2. 1 cup of milk chocolate chips
  3. 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  4. 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  5. 1 teaspoon of salt
Instructions
  1. In a dry saucepan, heat the almonds on medium heat until they give off a nutty aroma, 4-5 minutes turning periodically. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely.
  2. In a double boiler, heat chocolate until melted. Add the almonds and coat completely.
  3. In a large tupperware container, container with a lid, or ziplock bag, add the remaining ingredients. Add in the almonds and all of their chocolate shaking vigorously until coated completely with the cinnamon mixture.
  4. Lay individual almonds onto plate or cookie sheet and allow to set. Anything remaining from the chocolate/cinnamon mixture, set aside and use as a base for hot chocolate.
Notes
  1. Use the best quality ingredients you can find, it will make a world of difference. Definitely experiment with different types of milk chocolate and use various kinds of cinnamon for slight, but delicious nuances.
Eat Your Tarte Out | Life, Love and Full Plates https://eatyourtartout.com/