As I’ve noted many times, our youngest daughter, Shannon has her birthday on one of the coolest days of the year—Earth Day. I would be lying if I said this was planned. As with most babies, her birthday was completely serendipitous.
In the spirit of Earth Day, we decided to incorporate recycling into at least one of Shannon’s presents, and I had planned ahead for this. I am a chocolate hound, and my tradition after Valentine’s Day is to go to Rite Aid and stock up on sale candy. A particularly good find—75 percent off—was a heart-shaped box filled with turtles—chocolate, caramel, and nuts, one of my favorite combinations. After I ate the chocolates I thought how much fun it would be to recycle this pretty box for Shannon’s birthday.
Shannon loves homemade peanut butter cups, and most years we make some to give to her on her birthday. The heart-shaped box had a plastic tray for the turtles that was perfect for the peanut butter cups. Then, I thought, how about making a paper heart to go over the chocolates, one that would be printed with C & L Chocolates? My husband, Clif, agreed this would be a good idea, and on Saturday, we put our plan into action.
I mixed up the peanut butter mixture, and Clif, who has much better manual dexterity than I do, formed and dipped the chocolates. He also made the paper heart with our own name brand—C & L Chocolates. When we were done, we were very happy with the results. Not only were the chocolates tasty—we tested a couple, of course, just to be sure—but Clif did such a good job with the peanut-butter cups that they looked, well, almost professional nestled in the tray.
We weren’t the only ones who thought the chocolates looked professional. On Sunday, when Shannon opened the box, she said something along the lines of “How nice!” Then she did a double take. “Did you make these?” she asked.
Yes, we admitted, we did.
“At first I thought they were commercial,” Shannon said. “But then I could smell the peanut butter, and I knew they were homemade.”
Were we pleased? You bet we were. Pleased as punch, as the saying goes.
There were other presents, bundled in a pretty canvas shopping bag, but this was our favorite. We also cooked a special meal: For appetizers, grilled bread, the first of the season, served with sliced oranges and pineapples; for the main meal, an orange-rosemary roasted chicken, baked potatoes, and glazed carrots; for dessert, cupcakes and mint-chocolate chip ice cream.
The only missing element was daughter Dee, who lives in New York, but she sent a lovely gift—an oven-proof wok from Cuisinart’s green line.
So happy birthday, Miss Shannon! And happy Earth Day!