The last few weeks have been some of the craziest imaginable. Aside from finally scheduling my big dissertation proposal exam (this June! eep!!) and rewriting one of my articles from scratch for re-submission to a journal, I have finally registered with the school for medical wrist treatment so I can hopefully type with all of you again soon–write replies, comment on your blogs, and everything else I miss.
I’ll be back in the game again soon, so don’t lose hope in me!
Somehow, in the midst of all this craziness, I still have stories. There’s something about storytelling that makes a girl put on Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” and want to dance around the room singing into a stalk of celery. Loudly. And very badly.
Last night, a bunch of us in the swim club trekked out to the beach for a bonfire. The evening air was cool but mild: even in March, all we wore were light jackets over our tank tops (sorry, East Coast friends!) and flip-flops as we watched the sun set over the shimmering ocean horizon.
It was the quintessential college experience. By the time we arrived, all of the fire pits had been taken, so a group of us (and by “us,” I mean definitively not me) used our bare hands to dig out a 2-foot deep pit before jamming in firewood, lighter fluid, a lighter, and as many marshmallows-on-sticks as we could manage to flambe at once.
Empty pizza boxes to keep the fire from flying away.
Open bags of chips and salsa scattered across the sand, being picked through by oh-so-many dirt-packed fingers.
Rolled-up skinny jeans and late night ocean dashes.
Sand in everything.
My parents–for whom the closest we have ever got to rugged improvisation was reserving one of those tent-style camping cabins instead of the room in the lodge with indoor plumbing–would have been positively scandalized.
For the first time in a very long time, we were watching the world spin around us while time stood still. We laid down in a row, barefoot in the sand, and pointed out the constellations to each other–Orion’s belt, the North Star, Venus, Jupiter. One friend pulled out Star Maps and showed me all the crazy things I never knew existed in the sky.
And soon, the world stopped as well, though none of us could say when it happened, exactly. One by one, my friends got up to cook marshmallows and warm up near the fire, though one of my good friends stayed behind and we watched the world stop together for what seemed like an eternity.
Maybe it happened when he played “Thinking Out Loud” on his phone and we looked up at the stars and thought aloud and tried to imagine what sorts of crazy substances those astronomers were on when they decided to play connect-the-dots with the stars.
Or when we wondered what it would be like if we could reach up to the sky and pull a tiny trapdoor from that black ceiling and climb through it into the unknown beyond.
Or when somebody lit lanterns exactly like these ones from Tangled and launched them into the sky over our heads. And he saw a shooting star flash by.
Or when we fell into a serious discussion about how happiness and sadness come and go, but hope is all we have to keep us inspired to do something good in this world.
Or maybe it was gradual realization that we were just two small people, pausing, there on a beach, in the middle of our crazy metropolitan college lives, staring up into a night sky that everybody looks at but never really seems to see.
Time stood still in that moment, and so it makes sense that I’m sharing a timeless recipe with all of you today–because these Frosty Chocolate Dream Bites really will become part of your retro family tradition after you try them. My office loved these airy, fluffy, frozen, not-too-sweet chocolatey bites of delight. They’re no-bake and so easy to whip together, they’ll leave you time to enjoy the finer points of life that we sometimes miss when we rush headlong through the motions.
So cheers to slowing down and making time for ourselves! You deserve it–treat yourself, and don’t forget to see the stars next time you look at them.
When is the last time you slowed down and did something to enjoy the moment?
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup caramel topping
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
- 1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer cookies, crushed into semi-fine crumbs
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar.
- In a separate microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips at 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval until chocolate is completely smooth and melted. Add melted chocolate to cream cheese mixture.
- Add caramel topping and vanilla. Mix into cream cheese mixture until smooth.
- Pour heavy cream into a third bowl and whip with a hand mixer on medium-high speed, until cream is beaten to stiff peaks. Fold gently with a spatula into cream cheese mixture.
- Drop tablespoon-sized dollops of mixture into bowl of vanilla wafer cookie crumbs. Use a spoon to coat each ball completely with crumbs. Place onto prepared cookie sheet.
- Freeze all frosty chocolate bites until firm. Store in airtight container in the freezer for up to one week.
Bodacious Breakfasts and Appetizers:
- Classic Chex Party Mix from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Healthy Green Goddess Dip from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Homemade Doughnuts from Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Made in the Shade Main Dishes:
- Bacon Wrapped Individual Meatloaf from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Chicken ala King from Recipes Food and Cooking
- Chicken Rice Casserole from Curious Cuisiniere
- Chicken in a Basket from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Chicken Parisienne from Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen
- Chicken Pot Pie from Whole Food | Real Families
- Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast from FoodieTots
- Creamy Baked Pork Chops from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Individual Beef Wellingtons from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Mom’s Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuits from Simply Healthy Family
- Mom’s Shepherd’s Pie from Momma’s Meals
- Ravioli di Magro from Manu’s Menu
- Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy from Webicurean
- Sweet and Sour Pork Meatballs from Palatable Pastime
- Tuna Noodle Casserole from Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Uptown Goulash from Family Foodie
Swell Side Dishes:
- Creamy Lime Gelatin Salad from Magnolia Days
- Harvard Beets from Take A Bite Out Of Boca
- Retro Crock Pot Crabby Soup from Seduction in the Kitchen
- Roasted Broccoli Cheese Casserole from NeighborFood
- Seven Layer Salad from Lifestyle Food Artistry
- Wedge Salad from Our Good Life
- Bananas Foster from The Redhead Baker
- Creamsicle Jello Mold from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Frosty Chocolate Dream Bites from Wallflour Girl
- Hummingbird Cream Cheese Cookies from Dandelion Greens
- Jello Poke Cake from The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch
- Mom’s Heath Bar Cake from Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Old Fashioned Banana Pudding from Pies and Plots
- One, Two, Three Jello from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Original Mayonnaise Chocolate Cake with No Cook Fudge Frosting from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Eat, Drink and be Tracy
- Raspberry Crunch from Peaceful Cooking
- Tunnel of Fudge Cake from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
The Bee’s Knees Beverages:
- Blood Orange Sidecar from Nosh My Way
- Crème de Menthe Parfait from Food Lust People Love
- Vanilla Bean Old Fashioned from The Texan New Yorker
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