My parents’ 25th anniversary was February 10th. And I totally forgot. I only suddenly remembered it on Valentines Day, four whole days after their anniversary. So I immediately gave them a call that night to wish them a belated happy anniversary. Turns out, my parents had totally forgotten about their anniversary too, until that goody-two-shoes brother of mine sent them orchids. (I swear, that punk is out to make me look bad. )
After sheepishly apologizing for being a bad daughter and wishing them a happy Valentines and anniversary, I asked, “So, what did you do for your 25th anniversary?”
“Well,” my dad mused. “Your mom went to a prayer meeting, while I stayed home to work on this week’s sermon. And then she boiled me some squid for dinner, and we watched a Korean historical drama together.”
“Eh?” I said. “Isn’t that what you guys do every day?”
“That’s right,” my dad chortled, “Because every day is an anniversary for us!”
Oh Lordie. Talk about clichés. I rolled my eyes. “Dad, can’t you buy mom some roses for once?”
My dad’s lack of romantic gestures aside, I was secretly rather touched. My dad has never bought my mom a box of chocolates, or even a single rose for neither their anniversary nor Valentines. But he does shower her with plenty of love every single day, and so does my mom to him. They take care of each other: my dad warms up my mom’s hands and feet by rubbing them for her, my mom warms him up with a bowl of homemade kimchi (or miso) stew.
Looking at my parents’ marriage, I believe that Love is the most precious and most beautiful gift. But it’s also the hardest, because it isn’t a one-day or one-time thing. You don’t tell someone you love that person, and then promptly forget about him/her. You don’t say “I love you” to someone each morning, and yet ignore him/her when he/she needs you most. You don’t kiss and hug someone during special occasions, only to treat him/her badly most of the time.
Love isn’t a four-letter word. It needs to translate to real and consistent action. Even if you feel love inside, it means nothing if you don’t show it.
I’m guilty of this myself. I may claim to love someone…but when I look back to my actions, they just don’t match with my words. I’m reluctant to spend too much of my “precious” time on them; I get exasperated when they are weak; I vent on them when I’m in a bad mood.
Valentines may be over, but how do you celebrate love for the remaining 364 days? You might have spent big bucks on a Valentines gift for your loved ones…but do you give them the more priceless gift of daily love and kindness? Sweet gifts like chocolates and flowers are nice, but they get a bit saccharine if you do it daily. It’s kind of like sweet and savory foods. I know most of you love your desserts…but can you eat them for all three meals of the day? Sooner or later, those sweet stuff starts to cloy and you’ll get sick of them. Their monotone sweetness just isn’t as substantial and nourishing as real, savory foods.
Likewise, it’s the real, practical gestures that sticks to you: the time, effort, and care you consistently show to your loved ones.
But of course, those occasional treats are really pleasing. Which is what I try to tell my dad, but after 25 years, he feels it’ll only be awkward to suddenly buy my mom a bouquet of roses. As I said, my dad is no Casanova.
And neither am I. Actually, romantic guys kind of turn me off. I’d rather have a husband who bickers and debates with me than a husband who surprises me with cute gifts. Maybe that’s why I don’t really have a sweet tooth. But I have to say, sometimes, I do crave something sweet. Especially on a long day like Wednesdays.
You see, Wednesday is my Yucky Day. I have classes non-stop from 9 am to 4 pm, and one of them is the dreaded lab. By the middle of the day, I’m tearing at my hair, screeching, “Kill me now!”
Okay, I exaggerate. But you know what I mean. And I found out that the remedy to this is actually quite simple: I simply treat myself to a sweet treat. Thus, I’ve decided to make every Wednesday a Sweet Treat Wednesday, and I’d love it if you all will join me.
But here’s the catch: It’s gotta be a real treat. As in: no low-fat, low-sugar, whole grain crap. No baking your own healthified imitations with almond flour and coconut oil and NuStevia. No dainty 1-inch pieces of organic dark chocolate. Come on, it’s just a once-in-a-week treat— you can afford to indulge in something delicious with real butter and sugar! So, every week, I’ve decided to post a Sweet Treat Wednesday. It can be any form of favorite sweet treat: cookies, muffins, croissants, pies, brownies. The goal is to help me survive through the long hump day, and also to celebrate real indulgence. Because God knows we deserve it!
And then I got scone on the brain. What is it about scones that is just so. Freaking. Good? That Starbucks scone cost me $2.50, but it was $2.50 of pure buttery, crumbly goodness. The next day, I marched out to the grocery store and bought 3 lbs of butter and a bag of (white, bleached) flour. And I baked my first batch of homemade scones from scratch. Christina, here’s an early Friday Firsts entry!
Green Tea Scones with Black Sesame Seeds
Adapted from this recipe at All Recipes
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon green tea powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter, frozen
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup toasted black sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl mix together the sour cream and baking soda and egg.
In another bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, green tea powder, baking powder, and salt. Grate in the butter, and then blend the grated butter into the dry mixture with your fingers.
Blend in the egg/sour cream mixture, just until moistened. Don’t overmix! Finally, stir in the sesame seeds.
Turn the dough out into a greased baking sheet, and shape it into two rounds, about 3/4 inch disks. Brush half-and-half over the surface of the dough, and sprinkle with sugar to coat. Cut into 8 wedges for each disk.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the dough is dry, and the bottom is golden brown, the tops crusty. Take it out, and let cool, and gently break into wedges.
Um, yeah. My whole room smelled wonderful. One perk of living in a studio is that there is no wall dividing my kitchen from my bed, so my whole room was just perfumed with a lovely aroma of home-baked goodness.
I gave one piece to my roommate, who was definitely drooling. Her response: munch, munch, munch. No words, except lots of “Mmmmm!”s I’ll take that as a sign that she loved it.
As for me? I was in loss of words too, I loved it so much!
Just look at that dense, speckled crumb! I adore green tea flavored stuff…it adds some a welcomed bitterness to the scone, which cuts its sweetness with its delightfully distinct aroma.
The black sesame seeds added a sensuous, exotic toasty-ness to it, and lots of lovely crunch. Paired with a cup of coffee, it was just perfect.
Okay, I had two. Who’s counting?
These made me a very, very happy student today. Not to mention, they provided me with lots of energy! Sometimes, there is nothing like straight-up sugar to jolt your mood up, and churn your brain into work-mode.
Speaking of sugar. Have anyone seen these?
Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M’s!! I saw them on sale, and I snatched up 3 bags of them at once.
They’re little pebbles of red, brown, and speckled yellow:
They’re coated in strawberry-flavored candy coating, with a peanut butter filling inside. I think they’re really tasty and intriguing!
But I have to admit…too much sugar can cause you to crash. I think sweet treats are perfect to get you buzzing in the middle of the day, but be sure you still eat a substantial meal as well, or you’ll end up feeling lethargic and dopey. So while I’m going to enjoy my real treats, I understand that you don’t want to overdo it either. But the dilemma comes when you’ve got an unrepressible sweet tooth. It’s not a problem for me because I just don’t crave sweets so much, but what if you have a major sweet tooth that calls out to you every minute? Not to worry, I know just the thing to cure that.
The generous folks at Organic Nectars recently sent me some samples of their new raw cacao bars:
Their new bars come in 6 different varieties: 54% cacao, 70% cacao, 85% cacao, golden white, coconut milk, and raspberry.
Here’s the groovy things about these bars of cacao crack: They are pure, raw cacao. As in, uncooked, and not refined in the least. They are also certified vegan, organic, and kosher, so they’ll please the pickiest sweet tooth. It’s free of soy, dairy, gluten, and refined sugar, so they’re low-glycemic, too. Which means…no after-sugar crashes! They’re the health-nut-with-a-sweet-tooth’s dream come true!
However, I was foolish…foolishly foolhardy. I’m actually a dark chocolate wimp…as in, I usually stick to good ol’ white and milk chocolate. But when I caught sight of the 85% cacao, I was so intrigued, I just couldn’t resist digging into it first.
Um, yeah. Really, really, really dark. Because it’s so high in cacao, it doesn’t melt smoothly in your mouth, but is rather grainy.
There was barely any sweetness, but a dark, intense bitterness that might please die-hard cacao-lovers, but not a milk-chocolate fan like me. I gave a nibble to a friend of mine who loves dark chocolate, and her response: “It’s perfect!” And then she promptly tucked the whole remaining bar away into her bag and refused to give it back. At least one of us enjoyed it.
After my highly intense cacao-scare, I meekly turned to the mellow golden white raw cacao instead:
Now, this was better. It had a rather coconut-ty flavor, and was quite different from regular white chocolate. The vanilla flavor was stronger, and the sweetness wasn’t overbearing at all.
Next, I dug into the coconut milk cacao:
It tasted very similar to the golden white, just with a more bitter undertone of the cacao. It was interesting, but I wasn’t necessarily impressed. I guess I was hoping for a bolder coconut flavor, and a smoother, creamier consistency.
But I loved the raspberry cacao!!!
Oh. Em. Gi. This was SO good!!! I almost expected to taste the gritty raspberry seeds in this chocolate, because it was so delightfully infused with that fruity, floral fragrance and flavor of raspberry. None of the artificial flavor—just pure raspberry essence!
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my Organic Nectars chocolates. Even the 85% was an interesting experience. My favorite was the raspberry and the 54% cacao, which I thought was the perfect balance of bitterness and sweetness. Organic Nectars really instigated the dormant chocolate-lover in me. I was not a big chocolate fan, but these products have brought out the chocolate-snob in me. I won’t ever be satisfied with Hershey’s milk chocolate again!
Well, Wednesday is almost over. Happy Hump Day, dear readers, and I hope you get your sweet treat of the week! I’m actually not at all confident that many will join me on Sweet Treat Wednesday…but that’s okay, I’m still going to celebrate it each week…but if you do happen to join me, let me know so I won’t be too lonely.
Question of the day: How do you show daily love and appreciation to your loved ones? Also,let’s pretend that you’ll be joining me for Sweet Treat Wednesday…what will you be having? A buttery, toasted croissant? A big wedge of banana cream pie? I wanna hear them!