As parents, sometimes I'm not quite sure whether the every day things we do for our kids are appreciated or taken for granted. The little things that sometimes even adults don't notice. Clean, folded clothes. Warm healthy meals. A long ride in the snow to a friends house. Helping with homework. And sometimes in the midst of folding five baskets of laundry, I often ask...what kind of deal did I make?
Well, this past weekend, after a long (and somewhat frustrating) afternoon helping my daughter assemble her animal project for her class presentation, she disappeared into the kitchen. When she came back she said:
"Thanks Mom. You worked hard. I want you to have this". It was a butterscotch lollipop.
For most people, this would be thought of as a sweet, fair exchange coming from a little girl. But I thought it was even sweeter given the circumstances surrounding that lollipop. You see, earlier that morning, her brother wanted to borrow her game console to bring to a friends house to play, and negotiated a deal to go to the store with her and BUY her any candy she wanted with his allowance that week. Because we don't allow candy except for special occasions (and we just had Valentine's Day a few weeks ago!), she jumped at the opportunity, and he bought her a special variety pack of Laura Secord lollipops.
When we brought those lollipops home, I briefly mentioned to her that I used to love that particular kind of candy when I was a little girl, and I had to work hard and save my allowance to go to the candy store to get one. And just like my daughter, butterscotch was one of my favourites. We put the lollipops on the kitchen counter, and she was instructed that she was only allowed to have one on the condition that she complete the assembly of her animal project. Five hours of typing, cutting, pasting, printing, gluing...we were both getting tired and frustrated. With the lollipops sitting on the counter, her tempted and anxious glances towards those coveted treats were often times a distraction with the task at hand ("just ONE lollipop now, Mom?). Much to my dismay.
So after she finally completed her presentation, she ran into the kitchen and I could hear her tearing the wrapper apart to get at the sweet prize. Finally! But before getting a lollipop for herself, she came up to me and gave me the one and only butterscotch flavour from the pack. And I could see the sweetest look in her eyes...she was grateful for my help. It made the five hours of cutting, pasting and glue in my hair all worthwhile.
If you were to ask me...are those fleeting, brief moments of pure joy from our kids...that smile, a hug or just "that look" worth the daily parenting struggles, frustrations and cumbersome tasks of managing a household?
Yes. Yes it is. I think parents have the sweetest deal ever.
Chocolate Caramel Trifle with Almond Whipped Cream
I usually like to bake brownies in mini muffin tins so they look like those two-bite brownies that you buy at the market, and is easier to pack in lunches (instead of trying to cut them into squares...which can be a little messy!). Unfortunately I baked the brownies too long, and they became hard as rock. Instead of throwing them out, I used them in this trifle recipe instead. What started as a sweet treat became an even sweeter treat!
- 1- 8x8 pan of brownies (or about 20 two-bite brownies)
- 2 cups of chocolate pudding (I used the Belsoy Organic pudding, but any pudding would do).
- 1/4 cup of milk or sweetened condensed milk.
- 1 (8 ounce) container of heavy cream (for whipping)
- 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. of almond extract
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup of sugar (you can use icing or brown...I had icing on hand)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (I used homogenized milk...which works too!).
- Prepare brownie mix according to package directions and cool completely.
- While the brownies are cooling, make the other layers.
- Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat.
- Stir in sugar until it is melted and turns to a caramel colour. Slowly stir in the cream or milk (it will bubble up!) and continuing stirring until it's has a sauce-like consistency.
- Remove from heat.
- Mix the chocolate pudding in a bowl with 1/4 cup of milk or sweetened condensed milk until slightly runny in texture.
- In a mixing bowl, mix the cream, sugar and the almond extract, on high until fluffy.
- Cut the brownies into 1 inch chunks, and layer half of the amount at the bottom of a trifle or glass serving bowl.
- Pour half of the caramel sauce on top of the brownies.
- Pour half of the pudding mixture on top of the caramel covered brownies.
- Top with half of the almond whipping cream.
- Repeat layers.
If desired, shave chocolate onto top layer for garnish. Refrigerate 8 hours before serving. Enjoy this decadent and oh so sweet treat!