Chocolate Coco-Macadamia Bites
My sisters and I never shared - our clothes, that is.
Oh sure, there were the inevitable hand-me-downs when we were kids and had no say in the matter. In fact, my sister L and I looked so close in age despite the 15 months separating our births that our mother would often dress us like twins. But even then, we were different: same clothes, but hers in trimmed in blue, mine in red.
Me, L, M and Buddha-baby P
As we grew older, we continued to develop our own sense of style (dubious, in my case) and the idea of swapping outfits never came up. Eldest sister M was the epitome of '80s high school fashion, all cinched waists and brooch-adorned collars, while L was peasant skirts and smart-girl chic. Little sister P was still in elementary school so her ensembles were assembled by Mama, but I had no such excuse for my choice of woeful wear: baggy sweatshirts, Loverboy t-shirts, and patterned jeans (God help me, I had a white pair with black paisley print that looked like a bad case of varicose veins).
Fast forward to the present, when we're grown women with jobs, families and even more divergent, albeit more refined, tastes in clothing. Moreover, how we dress seems to reflect our individual personalities and outlook on life. M's penchant for floaty styles and the color pink matches the deeply romantic free spirit that lies beneath her hectic career-woman exterior. L is a Wonder Woman who keeps her family and the family business humming along, and she makes running errands, taking calls from clients, and ferrying kids to school and practice while wearing a pair of jeans and a casual top look like a walk down the runway. Finally, P has grown up from the Buddha-cheeked baby sister ten years my junior into a creative, confident entrepreneur who treats her body right with organic food and beach yoga, which shows in a womanly shape that she proudly clads in form-fitting outfits.
And what about me? Well, the paisley jeans are long gone, although I still have my fair share of baggy sweatshirts. It's safe to say that my style is . . . safe. Chunky sweaters for winter, capri pants for summer, subdued colors and a closetful of outerwear for every 10 degree incremental change in temperature are pretty much the staples of my wardrobe. Unfortunately, the relative blah-ness of my sartorial selection mirrors my general approach to current life. I've been terribly busy maintaining a status quo, settling into a smooth, unbroken pattern of sameness. I am happy, but my happiness is threaded with caveat - I can do what I want to do as long as I do what I need to do. Indulgence, whether in food, in clothes or in activities, can only be enjoyed with tradeoffs: a cookie means a workout; a new pair of jeans, a paid article; an hour of television, an hour of pulling weeds.
And this is where my sisters and their clothes come in. During those wonderful times when we can all be together, I look at them and see that, despite the difference in their physical shape and fashion sense, they share the same timeless piece that fits them all perfectly - a vivacity and joy of life that make them so beautiful. They are effortless and unaffected in the way they present themselves outwardly and it frees them to enjoy the little indulgences without the self-consciousness. Perhaps because I live so far away, I don't share in this as much; but last Christmas, I finally got a chance to try it on.
My Cookie Pants
"Hey, are those your cookie pants?" my brother-in-law asked L. They smiled at each other over their inside joke before she turned to a confused me and explained: It was from an episode of a TV sitcom in which a main female character dealt with difficult situations by baking cookies, donning her 'cookie pants' and eating her way back to contentedness. L had adopted the term whenever she wasn't particularly in tip-top or polished shape, but really didn't particularly care. That was it. And yet, it meant a lot to me.
Putting on cookie pants means taking part in indulgence without guilt or recrimination. It's doing what it takes to regain my equilibrium and my focus when life gets a bit wobbly and fuzzy. It's letting my gut pooch out over the waistband, putting my feet up and watching 'America's Next Top Model' every once in a while because it's fun. It's sharing something with my sisters that fits each of us in our own way.
My sisters and I never shared our clothes before, but for now, I'm borrowing the cookie pants indefinitely.
Chocolate Coco-Macadamia Bites
These are Cookie Pants-worthy. What more can I say? It always bothered me when I'd bite into a flat, disc-shaped cookie and not get a single morsel of chocolate chip or nut. So, I decided to go with a two-bite chocolate truffle-like shape to accommodate a whole macadamia nut surprise inside. The result is a rich cocoa-flavored, brownie-textured bit of indulgence.
Yields approximately 3 dozen (if you don't nibble on the dough)
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
2/3 cups sweetened coconut flakes
Roasted whole macadamia nuts, about 36
1. Preheat oven to 375°F;
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy;
3. In a small bowl, whisk flour and cocoa, then add to creamed mixture and mix until just blended;
4. Add coconut flakes and mix on low speed until well blended;
|All lined up & ready to bake!|
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes - cookies should look dry on the outside but may still feel soft. Cool on cookie sheet completely.
7. May be stored in the freezer (if there's anything left!)