When you become a parent, you want to give your kids the childhood that you had, or didn’t have. If that makes sense. You also want your kids to be talented, brilliant, successful in every way.
When we went to the Nutcracker last weekend, there were little ballerinas doing backflips, & I’m sure they were no older than 4 or 5 years old.
Amalia is 5, and she takes ballet.
She practices once a week, & though I’m confident she’s as cute as a peach & learning a lot, she’s not going to be preforming in a professional production of the Nutcracker any time soon.
Joseph & I have talked at length about the kinds of kids we want to raise & in this ongoing conversation, one of the reoccurring themes is: we want our kids to be balanced.
Maybe they won’t be the best at anything, but we hope that they’ll be polite, well-adjusted, critical thinkers.
That they’ll be brave, kind, voracious readers, interested in people & learning.
Responsible, compassionate, ethical, with a strong faith in God & knowledge of His love for them & our love for them.
Note: this was a completely candid photo–I swear. A recent afternoon, eating homemade popcorn (I told you we love our whirly pop!) & reading Tintin, which they all love, btw.
Nothing spectacular about that, but in this day & age, I think I’ll take a well-rounded kid over a prodigy any day.
Not that one has to come at the expense of the other, but the reality is, if you want your kid to be a concert pianist or a Olympic gymnast there’s a lot of sacrifice in other areas that has to be made. And we’ve asked ourselves: would we like our kids to be really, really good at one thing, or “just” good at many things? And time again, we choose the later.
In a word, balanced.
It’s an old-fashioned, un-sexy trait, but an important one for life success. The ability to be emotionally/mentally stable, the ability to make friends, to handle failure or disappointment with grace. To be decent human being–good, thoughtful, & smart. And of course, to have an appreciation for good food.
I made these over the weekend when we had some friends over for dinner.
When we have friends over, the desserts I make are still vegan, but I often don’t worry about keeping it healthy in any way.
This is one of those desserts–rich & decadent.
vegan, gluten-free peppermint fudge-y brownies
- 1 c. room temperature non-dairy butter (I used vegan Smart Balance)
- 2 c. sucanat | or 2 1/2 c. coconut sugar or 2 c. sugar
- 3 TBS. Ener-G egg replacer | or 1/4 c. ground flax seed
- 2/3 c. warm water
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. mint or peppermint extract
- 1 c. oat flour (about 1 1/3-1/2 c. old-fashioned oats ground in a food processor or powerful blender)
- 1/3 c. tapioca starch | or additional oat flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 c. dark/semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 1/3 c. room-temperature non-dairy butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 4 candy canes, crushed
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In an electric mixing bowl (I use a Blendtec mixer & love it), cream non-dairy butter & sugar.
- Whip egg replacer & warm water until frothy. A note on egg replacer: Though I typically use flax seed as my egg replacer, I didn't want these brownies to have the slightest hint of earthiness--something I don't mind, but I wanted something that my guests wouldn't detect, so I used Ener-G's egg replacer, which has a totally neutral taste. Though I should note, you can make these with ground flax seed with excellent results as well.
- Add egg replacer mixture & extracts to creamed butter. Mix for 30 seconds on medium high.
- Add flour(s), cocoa powder, & mix for an additional 30 seconds. **A note on flours--I had a reader tell me she had to add more flour than called for (nearly two cups total) & the brownies turned out perfect. I didn't use that much flour, but if you find that your batter isn't thick enough, go ahead & add a few more tablespoons (up to 1/3 or 1/2 c. more) of oat flour if desired.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into a greased 13" X 9" baking pan (use glass if you have it) or adjust heat to 375 F.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until the aroma of chocolate mint fills your kitchen, & a toothpick, when inserted into middle of brownies is slightly pudding-like. You may have to cook for up to 5-10 minutes more since oven temperatures vary from oven to oven.
- Remove from oven & allow to cool. Brownies will set & firm up after cooling, especially after a night in the fridge.
- Using electric beaters or a small mixing bowl, cream powdered sugar with the non-dairy butter & vanilla extract for a minute or so. Don't overmix.
- Once brownies have cooled, frost & top with crushed candy cane. Though I like these warm, they're kinda crumbly just out of the oven, but I found after a night in the fridge, they are the perfect firmness.
- Store in air-tight container in fridge for up to a week (but eat within a few days for maximum freshness).
Additional Nutrition Info: 33 g carbs, 1 g protein, 1 g fiber, 29 g sugar, 92 mg sodium; WWP: 7 points
What do you think–would you prefer your kid(s) to be excellent/amazing at one or two things, or just a simply well-rounded good kid? Thoughts, please!