Guilt is a funny, funny thing. Not so much, ‘haha, funny’, but more in the ‘I’m so uncomfortable right now that the only thing I can do is awkwardly giggle’, funny. As a school counselor, I’ve been witness to guilt more often then I would have liked. I’ve been in one too many meetings between parents and children where guilt has been the biggest, baddest unspoken, third-party visitor. Whether parent to child or child to parent, guilt is an ugly and regularly-used weapon in the blood sport that is parenting a teen. As a result, I’ve built up a pretty great tolerance to guilt. I’ve got some serious (and invisible) Wonder Woman-esque bracelets that are pretty awesome at deflecting folks’ attempts at guilting me into doing whatever it is they want me to do. I’m pretty proud of my invisible guilt-reflecting bracelets (their gold with hot pink “W”s on them) but lately, I think I’ve been forgetting to put them on before heading out to face my day.
Lately, guilt has been showing up for dinner at my place on a pretty regular basis. Specifically, every time the kiddo is watching TV. Actually, we don’t own a TV (and not in the condescending, “oh, we don’t own a TV”, kinda way but more in the “I ain’t paying for cable” kinda way), but we do own an iPad, two laptops and two iPhones. And in this venture of my life, this time where it’s just me and the kid against the world, the iPad has become my co-parent (well, the iPad AND Beyoncé, but more on that at a later date). The kid has seen so much TV lately that my guilt is just overcoming me. In fact, the other day I found myself quickly changing the radio station from NPR to ANYTHING else as the segment that was about to come on was about toddlers, TV viewing, and brain development. I seriously panicked and was all, “Sh*t!! Change the station, Whit. CHANGE IT!!”
I know the research. I studied early childhood development in social work school. I’ve been trained in mindful parenting by the Center for New Psychoanalysis. I’m a school counselor. I actually know a few things about this topic and parenting in general. I’ve found myself fervently supporting and reassuring single parents or working parents that they are doing a great job and that 90% of the things they are feeling guilty over just aren’t worth the anxiety. But man, do I suck at reassuring myself.
I think back at ALL the TV watching my brother and I did as latch-key kids growing up in the 80s. I think about how successful my brother is, as a parent, a husband and in his work-life, and I think about myself as well and I think, “We ended up pretty OK, right?!” The kid watches Thomas the Train in the morning while eating breakfast so that I can get myself ready. She watches Sesame Street so I can do the laundry, cook dinner and clean up. She plays too, but she watches TV. This year of unplanned, temporary single parenting status has resulted in my lowering of certain boundaries I thought I’d never ease up on. I’m not sure what’s right or what’s wrong but I do know ALL the words to Thomas the Train’s opening credits so there’s that.
OK, so just in case you’re not in a grain-free, sugar-free post-New Year’s diet spiral (or just in case you are), I went ahead and made you my FAVORITE shabbat dinner dessert . . . brown sugar brownies, otherwise known as blondies. Then I went ahead and upped them SEVERAL notches and poured some non-dairy (a.k.a. parve and vegan) dark chocolate glaze on top. This recipe is so simple it’s embarrassing. But it’s also so delicious, your dinner guests will rave and ask you for the recipe (and here’s where you send them to the blog). Happy Monday!
Bourbon Blondies with Vegan Dark Chocolate Glaze:
Ingredients for Blondies
1 1/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or Earth Balance, softened
1/4 cup bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions for Blondies
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 x 9 x 1-3/4 inch pan.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Add the bourbon in and stir until well combined.
- Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed.
- Let cook. Pour glaze over blondies and let cool for roughly 30 minutes before cutting with sharp knife.
Ingredients for Vegan Chocolate Glaze
8 oz. vegan chocolate chips
½ cup coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil
2 tbsp strong brewed coffee
Directions for Glaze:
- Place the chocolate, coconut milk, and coconut oil in a metal mixing bowl.
- Fill a small saucepan with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil. Place the bowl of chocolate on top of the saucepan. Once the chocolate begins to melt, whisk the ingredients together until all of the chocolate and coconut oil is melted and the mixture is combined and smooth.
- Add in the coffee and stir.
- Pour glaze onto prepared blondies and let cool.