Last week, my best friend from high school came for a visit and brought her family along. We hadn’t seen each other in oh, four years? And another four before that? But time melted away the months and in mere minutes flat, her kids and my own are stacking pillows at the foot of the towering basement stairs. (Don’t worry, Mom, they say. We’re not going to jump; we’re just going to leap…)
We laugh as we reminisce over our 17-year-old selves while Ken and her husband talk of “p” words – projects, politics, parenthood. We chatter over sub sandwiches and salt and vinegar chips, pausing frequently for potty visits, or to heat the bottle. Three or four times, we interrupt ourselves mid-sentence to decipher the piercing howls from the basement – Are they playing wolves? Is she happy or hurt? The conversation stops, starts, restarts – lurching like a toddler’s first adventure with bumper cars.
In a short two hours, inevitably, one kid grows fussy. A tiny tantrum is brewing – we can feel it in the air – and so, reinforcements.
Can I offer him a muffin? I ask my friend, and as her son’s eyes light up, her’s do, too.
Sometimes (often), loving your friends well means loving their kids well. It means offering a hint of surprise – a hidden action figure here, a tub of Play-Doh there – so your friend can rest another few minutes, basking in the luxury of adult conversation before it’s time to leave and the inevitable car seat wrestling match begins.
Sometimes, loving your friends well means throwing a bunch of ingredients into a blender and turning it on high, then fifteen minutes later, finding the kids are fed and happily distracted with cinnamon under their fingernails.
And finding you are, as well.
Behold, the winning recipe – perfectly moist, perfectly chocolatey – courtesy of my friend Amy:
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup almond butter
1 Tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 Tsp. baking soda
Pinch of sea salt
Preheat your oven to 375°F, then blend all ingredients on high for 2-3 minutes. Fill a dozen cupcake liners with the batter and bake for 15 minutes.
Tell me: what’s your favorite go-to healthy treat? I’d love to hear!