Peace and Chocolate

سلام

I don’t know how up to date on the happenings of Syria you are, but you’re probably as much “in the know” as I am. I know they’re fighting some kind of war and pretty much no one is safe. People have fled the country for their safety in the thousands. Tens of thousands. Millions. In 2016, the U.N. identified 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance. Six million of them are internally displaced and about five million are refugees outside of Syria. In that year 46,700 were admitted to Canada.

This year, one of those families came to our town. They fled to Lebanon seven years ago and lived there until a small group in our town rallied to get them here. The group even fund raised so the family would have enough money to live for a year since the family won’t be allowed any government assistance.

I don’t know about you, but I would have serious trouble if I suddenly found myself in Syria. Not because of the fighting, but because I don’t speak a word of Arabic. Have you seen how Arabic is written? Take a look at those squiggles at the top of this post. Arabic is written from right to left. Books are read front to back. You might as well teach me to flap my arms and fly away.

This family has been very eager to learn. While I would just hide in my house and hope no one noticed me, this family wants to learn. DW has been to their house nearly every day over the last week and a half to talk to them and help them and teach them. I have gone, too, but since I’m still teaching I don’t get to go as often. The boys have joined us. The family has three children, all around our kid’s ages. The great thing about kids playing is they often don’t need words. Play just happens. With the help of DW and a few other significant others, they have come a long way in just 2 weeks. They still have many miles to go, but their determination should see them there. We laugh with them when they tell us we’re teaching them English and they’re teaching us Arabic!

Anyway, a couple years ago a Syrian family moved to a town near us. Turns out the family had a thriving chocolate business in Syria. Or, at least they did until their factory was bombed. They moved here and soon set up a small baby barn to create some chocolate. Peace By Chocolate. Word spread quickly and they were eventually recognized by the Prime Minister. That’s how good their chocolate is. Needless to say, their business is thriving again. Just recently they created a chocolate bar. I know, big deal, right? How many chocolate bars are there in the world already? These chocolate bar wrappers have one word on them. One of those words is the squiggles that are at the top of this post.

Paix. Wantaqo’ti. ਸ਼ਾਂਤੀ سلام

French. Mi’kmaq. Punjabi. Arabic.

Peace. In our area of Canadaland these four languages are prominent and Peace By Chocolate is proving they are here for everyone. If we can all get along here, why can’t it happen all over the world, too?

You can visit them at peacebychocolate.ca. To my knowledge, they ship world wide. It’s worth every bite.

The Backup Plan

Backstory:

DW started a keto diet about a month ago. It’s great for her and she’s doing a killer job of sticking to it. Because it’s a high fat, moderate protein diet I often find myself cooking two dishes. One for her and one for the boys and I. This often leaves her more leftovers than the boys and I. That brings us to where I was this evening.

Here’s what the original plan was…

Because of my lack of wanting to cook this evening and DW having some of her leftover Tex-Mex chicken that I cooked last night, all I had to do was find something for myself and the boys to eat. We almost had PB&J. That’s how much I didn’t feel like cooking. We had some popcorn chicken in the freezer and we wanted some fries with that but I had to make a quick trip to the grocery store to get some. You know what the grocery has besides french fries?

That’s peppermint ice cream with chunks of fudge. That stuff is amazing. I knew damn well I couldn’t bring this home and still be called a loving husband by the DW on the diet. So I jumped into action and started baking. I love baking, but because of diets and not needing more junk food in the house, I haven’t baked much recently. DW’s sister-in-law (does that make her my sister-in-law, too?) sent a recipie back at Thanksgiving for a keto friendly cheesecake and DW loved it.

It satisfied her chocolate craving. Anyone with a partner suffering a chocolate craving and has no access to chocolate knows how ugly it can get. If you’re not sure, just imagine a zombie apocalypse- ready to eat the head off anybody.

It ended up being a team effort. I made the cheesecake, she made the whipped chocolate topping. Overall, she said it was slightly different than her SIL’s, but that it was good. It was slightly different because I used a different brand of sweetener. I won’t bore you with the details. I’ll just leave a link to the recipe below. As a tease, you’ll have to see my Instagram to see the picture of our final, delicious product..

Brownie Cheesecake

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – If you need a backup plan, follow me. I don’t know where we’re going but we’re going to have fun getting there.

The Only Cookie You Need to Make – Vanishing Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Remember our Random Act of Kindness the other day? The one where we delivered cookies to the RCMP station and the paramedic base? We still need to get some to the firemen. Anway, we found out that the cookies didn’t last long. Some, who came in some time after our delivery, said the crumbs were delicious. So I thought I’d share my recipe with you. They’re the cookies that DW always requests I make when I say I’m going to make cookies.

 

1) Preheat your oven.

 
2) Gather these items:

– shortening
– brown sugar
– white sugar
– 2 eggs
– Oats
– margarine/butter
– vanilla
– baking soda
– Chocolate chips

3) Add 1/2 cup margarine, 1/2 cup shortening, 1 cup of brown sugar, and a 1/2 cup of white sugar to a mixing bowl and beat the hell out of it until it’s creamy.

4) Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 2 eggs (any color, any size. don’t discriminate) and continue to whip it into submission.

5) In a separate bowl add 1 and 1/2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and a pinch or two of salt and stir the shit out of it.

6) In small parts add it to the egg and sugar mixture. Watch the flour powder fly! (that’s my favorite part)

7) Turn the mixer off for this next part. It’s best to do it with a spatula. Add in 3 cups of oats 1 cup at a time.

8) After the oats are well mixed add in 2 cups of chocolate chips and get those mixed in, too.

9) Taste test. But be careful! Only 1 taste is necessary. I’ve been know to test too much and before I know it the bowl is empty and no cookies are made.

10) Put a dozen spoonfuls on a cookie sheet and bake it for 11 minutes. Allow them to cool on the cookie sheet while the next batch bakes then move them to wire racks to finish cooling.

11) You’ll want to hide some for later because there’s not much better than eating a cookie in secret!