Cinco de Drinko

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I stated in this post that I quit drinking in favor of running but that isn’t exactly true. I don’t drink much would be more accurate.

Every so often it can be kind of fun though, and since Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow, my husband and I decided to celebrate a couple of days early. Mostly we just wanted a margarita, so we decided to make one. We made one yesterday and one again today.

Yesterday we made it with store bought margarita mix and Bols CuraƧao. Blah. Today we made it with fresh juice and Grand Marnier. The difference is amazing. I really don’t know why anyone uses the mix when it is so much better when you make it yourself.

Easy Peasy Margareazy

1 part tequila (We used Jose, Anejo is better if you can get it)
1/2 part orange liqueur (Bols, Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1/2 part simple syrup
Juice of 1 lime
Splash of orange juice

Lime slices and salt to garnish.

Place liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Cover tightly and shake it up.

Now prepare the glass. Take a quarter slice of lime and rub around the rim. Dip upside down in the salt. Cut a notch in a quarter slice, and place on rim of glass.

Place ice cubes in glass, pour margaritas in glasses, and enjoy.

Have a Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

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Happy Easter!

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Whew! Easter is hard. But the eggs have been dyed and hunted, spring outfits worn, and church attended. All that is left is dinner, and I haven’t done anything about that. I’ll have to go to the grocery store and hope for some inspiration. Perhaps a divine light will shine down from the meat aisle to give me some guidance.

I’ll probably end up going with lamb though. I thought about ham but I don’t like the religious significance of it at Easter time. The reason it’s a tradition to eat it at religious holidays is because historically it was a way for Christians to separate themselves from Jews. It bothers me to focus on that at Easter. But lamb is a nice symbol of springtime, plus a reference to the Lamb of God.

I realize this is probably overthinking things a bit. One meat is as good as another, right?

That’s what I do on Easter though – I overthink things. Unlike Christmas, this is the holiday in the Christian religion that is about faith. The historical fact of Jesus’ birth and life is not in dispute, but his death and resurrection, and the idea that in him we will have everlasting life is the part that requires faith. So, for me it usually brings some reflection. I sometimes wish I had that sort of faith that never questions, but I do. I question. I believe, because I CHOOSE to believe. And yet, I question.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Easter, but I struggle with it. I struggle with the way it moves around the calendar so it’s hard to get organized. I struggle because of the questions. And I struggle because I don’t get why it is such a Hallmark holiday. The idea that kids are getting gifts on Easter blows my mind because for me, it was never about that. It was just eggs and candy – and church if I was at my grandmothers house. I’ve never really thought of it as a gift giving holiday.

So we went with the traditions – eggs, candy and church, plus some Legos in the Easter basket. Unfortunately, a certain 7 year old boy decided to complain that the Easter Bunny didn’t bring the right Legos, rather than being grateful for having received Legos in the first place. So, I decided it was time to enlighten him as to the true nature of the bunny. He’s 7, after all, and has already figured out about Santa Claus (who never visited in Russia and so it never made sense to really try to instill a belief in something he already knew not to be true).

And I reminded him that when one is receiving gifts, it is better to say thank you than to complain about the gifts one has received. That is, if one wants to continue receiving gifts. Even Moms Easter bunnies like to hear a little gratitude once in a while.

With our priorities realigned, we had a better outcome with today’s church attendance than the last time we went. We made it all the way to the sermon before the wiggles took over and the boys asked to go to the nursery. Which I thought was pretty good for 5 and 7 year old boys.

Even before Easter we were getting a lot of questions about God, and Jesus and what all that is about, and since as a questioner I obviously don’t have all the answers, I guess it is time to get serious about finding a church home for our family. And while we have liked the churches we have tried, none of them yet have felt like home.

Many of the families we know go to the same big church in town, but we have resisted going there, partly because of not wanting to follow the crowd. Also because it’s a longer drive. I mean, we would have to drive 10 minutes to get there, vs. 5 minutes to go to the other churches we tried.

You may laugh, but we are seriously not morning people, especially not Sunday morning people, and so that extra 5 minutes makes a huge difference between whether we will show up or not.

However, there is something to be said for a church where you already know a lot of people and so it probably is where we are going to end up. We liked the church we tried today, but we just didn’t know anyone so it didn’t feel quite right. Plus, they do Sunday school after the church service which means you have to hang around for a long time. That’s not gonna work. If we’re gonna do this, we need to be efficient about it.

Plus, the kids have said they want to go where their friends go, and honestly I feel the same way.

After church we went out for donuts, and later today the boys are going out for some batting practice, and I am going to go walk and run at the track. That will be my first outdoor run since my surgery so I am looking forward to that.

From our family to yours, Happy Easter!.

Mini Brownie Egg Nests

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I am all about last minute Easter preparations around here, mostly because Easter always seems to sneak up on me. We haven’t dyed eggs yet, nor have we even found the Easter baskets. Time is running out. But I loved this idea so much and it seemed simple enough, so I decided why not? If nothing else at least I managed to do this – Easter will not pass without at least something to commemorate it as special.

Besides, I don’t know about you but my kids and I would rather eat a brownie with a candy covered chocolate egg on top, than a real egg, any day of the week.

You can do this recipe from a box mix, or you can do it from scratch. Scratch takes just a few extra minutes and gives you more control over what goes in. I went with the scratch option.

Mini Brownie Egg Nests

Wet ingredients
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs, beaten well
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Dry ingredients
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (because of course these are healthy brownies)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Topping
Sweetened shredded coconut
Nutella
Whoppers Robin eggs, Cadbury mini eggs, or jelly beans. We went with the Robin eggs, which can only fit one in the nests, but are still cute.

Instructions:
Gather your ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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Melt the butter in the microwave – 40 seconds to 1 minute on full power.

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Stir in the cocoa powder, eggs, sugar and vanilla, mix until smooth.

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Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.

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Stir dry ingredients into the sugar and butter mixture. Mix well until all ingredients are smooth and without lumps.

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Measure by teaspoonfuls into a mini muffin pan. Each tin should be no more than 2/3 full (the nests are hard to get out if they puff up above the edge of the pan).

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Place in hot oven for 5 minutes. Remove and sprinkle a small amount of sweetened coconut on top of each brownie.

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Return pan to the oven for 10 minutes. The coconut will brown and will mimic the sticks in a natural bird nest.

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Remove from oven, and while brownies are still warm make an indentation in top for your eggs to sit in.

Allow the brownie nests to cool before removing from pan – this is the Pinterest Fail portion of the recipe if you rush it.

Remove cooled brownies to a plate or cooling rack. Place a small dab of Nutella on the underside of your “eggs” and arrange them Nutella side down on top of the nests. The Nutella holds the eggs in place.

Plus, Nutella just makes everything better.

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And voila – Mini Brownie Egg Nests!

Happy Easter!