We all have roles in my family.
We have problem solvers and problem makers.
We have award-winning drama majors, jocks and goodie two shoes.
There are also the nerds, the intellectuals, the rebels and the bullies who feel superior to the rest of the class.
No, I’m not a child from the show “47 and Counting.” You see, we all wear many hats.
Oh, and how could I forget? Our class mascot: Tater. The cat.
And no, we are not Irish.
Through much creativity and what I can only imagine to be a very rushed brainstorming session, my parents have named our cat Tater. As in a spud. Yeah. And like all mascots, this figure unifies us as a team and brings much laughter and camaraderie to the house. But unlike most mascots, ours prefers to lounge about as if exhausted from witnessing the daily antics performed by the characters noted above.
I recently disrupted this flow in our home by moving across the country to Colorado.
And as if not seeing my little sister’s mug for far too long was bad enough, my partner in crime herself is departing for her own adventure. She’s leaving to live in Spain for a year.
bailing as fast as she can lovingly departing for an educational journey into the heart of the Spanish land.
I think that takes a good set of cake balls to do. I may have recently moved as well, but I didn’t go alone and I’m still home in the vast USA.
As anyone would feel in her shoes, she’s a little anxious and scared. Nervous and excited. You can tell when fear has seized hold of your mind too intensely when a case of the preposterous “what ifs” keeps you up at night:
What if I’m attacked on the street and a man holds me at gunpoint threatening to shoot unless I can recite the name of the planets in perfect Spanish?
Umm…Melissa, I’m fairly certain many people speak English there. Are you even able to recite them in perfect English if you had to? Yeah. So you may as well start worrying about this one today- before you even leave.
What if all of the kids on the trip don’t want to be my friend and choreograph a song and dance routine about how much they don’t like me?
Record everything. It is certain to go viral on YouTube. Promise to hire me as your agent if this unfolds as feared.
What if everyone can tell that I’m American and they force me to eat 100 churros as punishment?
One: I’m pretty sure that was a dream that crashed your nightmares. And Two: Call me immediately. Dibs on the cream-filled cinnamon ones.
Melissa, I’m so proud of you and excited for your opportunity. Be bold. Be adventurous. Be safe. Face your fears with as much gusto as you can because if you can do it in another world, you can do it where it’s sometimes the hardest: at home.
Know that you are incredibly special and anyone who is lucky enough to share your friendship will experience life to a greater fullness.
I’ll miss you but remember I’m just a phone call, Skype window or (only in emergency cases where you can’t remember how to say Mars in Spanish) a smoke signal away.
In honor of Melissa’s big take off, I’m making her outrageously delicious creation for crispy, warm, salty and sweet peanut butter popcorn.
Sweet and salty, this snack is the ultimate indulgence for any party. Crispy kernels cling to a coating of agave and peanut butter that irresistibly combines two of the world’s favorite foods.
Honestly, I have no idea why no one has presented me with a giant vat of this before. It’s naturally gluten free, vegan and feels as decadent as a a chocolate dipped strawberry. Such a natural pairing is peanut butter and popcorn that I swear whenever I turned my back, the kernels themselves kept bringing more peanut butter to their bowl…
Perfectly timed for the upcoming football season, this indulgent snack is super easy to whip up. It holds up very well even the next day with the popcorn maintaining its crispy, creamy texture.
You alone get to control how salty you want this sweet treat to be as well as how intense a peanut butter flavor you desire.
OOOoooooo…feel the delicious power!
- 6 C air popped popcorn, plain
- 2 or 4 generous tablespoons agave syrup*
- 1/4 or 1/2 C peanut butter*
- pinch fine sea salt, to taste depending how salty you would like it
*The first quantity listed is for a lightly peanut butter-y treat and the second listed is for the pb fanatics- and me.
Heat the peanut butter and agave on medium low heat in a nonstick pan briefly, just until melted and completely combined. Be sure to stir the entire time so the mixture doesn’t burn.
Pour this mixture evenly over the bowl of popcorn and immediately stir with large spoons and toss like a salad until the popcorn is evenly coated. Be careful not to crush the popcorn while stirring. Sprinkle on the sea salt to taste.
If you used the smaller quantities listed to produce a lovely peanut butter treat, but now decided you want to amp it up, it’s not too late to make another small batch of peanut butter agave on the stove and toss it again to intensify the flavor!