SLIGHTLY ADAPTED | SEA SALT + DARK CHOCOLATE DIPPED MANDARIN SLICES

 

We're heading out tomorrow morning to New Orleans to visit Walt's sister, Rhett, and I haven't packed a single thing. Like not even a diaper. I have, however, thought about road snacks. Knowing Walt, he'll probably want to stop at the Waffle House along the way so I'm trying to think of healthier options that we can munch on in the car.

I came across this recipe and thought it sounded yummy (and I'm not even a fruit person) and also easy enough for me to prep ahead of time. But let's be real, the pictures sold me. They always do. If it looks pretty I want to make it. If I can make it even better then I'm going to give it a go. So after I got the kids off to bed last night, I quietly snuck downstairs and prayed to the baby gods that my coffee grinder wouldn't wake up Felix. Luella's at an age where she can sleep through a freight train leaning on its horn for a mile. Felix on the other hand, is up and ready to party if he hears me exhale. The gods were on my side because my little espresso beans were able to make the finest powder you ever did see. The chocolate just wouldn't have been the same without it. All hail Ina for that tip. 

SEA SALT + DARK CHOCOLATE DIPPED MANDARIN SLICES

Serves: 5   |   Prep time: 20 minutes  |   Rest time: 10 minutes (for the slices but also for you)

PRINT RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 5 mandarin oranges
  • 1/2 cup quality dark chocolate chips 
  • 1 teaspoon fine espresso powder / instant coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil / shortening
  • coarse sea salt / flakes (I used Maldon Sea Salt Flakes)

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside. Peel the mandarin oranges, removing some but not all of the white pith.

In a microwave-safe bowl (or using a double boiler) melt the chocolate chips, espresso powder, and coconut oil together. The coconut oil (or shortening) will make the chocolate glossy and an ideal consistency for dipping. If using the microwave method, do it in intervals of 30 seconds so as not to burn the chocolate. 

Dip each slice into the chocolate so that only half is covered and place on the prepared baking sheet. Complete one row on the shorter side of the baking sheet and immediately sprinkle with sea salt (you want to avoid letting the chocolate harden.) Repeat until all of the slices are dipped and sprinkled with sea salt. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes or until chocolate has hardened. 

Side notes:

Sea Salt + Chocolate Dipped Mandarin Slices will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days in an airtight container. 

I thought it might be fun to start jotting down and sharing some of the recipes I make for my family, particularly the ones they love and ask for seconds, or thirds. It's a series I'm calling Slightly Adapted, where I take recipes and create variations of them to suit my family's tastes and, dare I say, even "improve" them, to my liking at least. I'm all about simple, no fuss, tasty recipes that don't require 35 different ingredients. Ain't nobody got time for that. If you try this one or any of the ones I share in the future, I'd love to get some feedback on whether or not you like a certain recipe, and even ways you think I could make it better! Or if there's something you've seen me post on Instagram that you want me to share, let me know. Consider this space an open forum. 

Now off to pack!

SEMI-HOMEMADE CLASSMATE VALENTINES

 

This is Luella's second year in school but last year, I opted out of sending her with valentines for her classmates. I was in the last leg of my pregnancy with Felix and just didn't feel like putting in the effort. But this year is different! I wanted to be a little more creative than just buying the average store-bought cards (not that there's anything wrong with that, by the way.) I just wanted to make up for not doing anything last year. #momguilt

I started browsing the internet for inspiration and came across this "I need s'more friends like you" build-your-own-s'mores idea. I'm normally not into cheesy phrases like that but I think for kids it's totally cute. I loved that these labels were printable but of course being the neurotic person I am, I had to change the typeface a bit and also wanted to make it personalized to read Luella's name on the back. 

Interestingly enough, I've been dying to make homemade marshmallows for a while now. I don't really care for the Kraft ones anyway so this was a perfect opportunity to try and make my own. I used this recipe, doubled it, and used a heart cookie cutter to make the shape for each one. Oh my god, guys. If you make these, I swear you'll never eat another one out of the bag again. So good! I got the graham crackers and snack-sized chocolate bars from the grocery store and the rest of the packaging supplies from my local craft store. It took a little bit of extra time but it was seriously so easy. 

Luella's class has their Valentine's Day party on Friday and she's so excited to give them out to her friends. I've never considered myself a crafty person but the older I get, the more I want to like papier-mâché my life. I guess kids will do that to you. 

Happy Valentine's Day to you, if you celebrate! Not that you need just one day out of the year to tell someone you care but it's a nice reminder to let your lover and those really great friends in your life know how important they are to you.