It's been one of those weeks. Not completely crazy at work (that was last week), but just kind of all over the place. Up and down, up and down. I knew it was off to a great start on Monday, when I got a call from one of Gillian's daycare teachers. We've had a lot of trouble with Gillian defying authority lately, which I know is not unusual for 4-year-olds, but it's been starting to get out of control. In Gillian's own words, she got in trouble "because I ran out into the hallway when I wasn't supposed to, and I spit at Miss S--, and I called Miss S-- a butt-face." *sigh* We'd even had a talk before she left the house on Monday about listening to teachers and other adults (since there had been lots of not-listening going on the previous Friday). I can't wait for the teenage years... (And yes, if you're wondering, J & I could barely keep straight faces when I asked G to tell her father why she'd gotten in trouble at school on Monday.)
So we tried something new for the rest of the week. When Gillian left for school on Tuesday, I told her that if she could behave and have a much better day, I would have a surprise for her at the end of the day. I was off that day, and while I was out running errands, I picked up some cute sparkly snowman stickers. If she has a good day, she gets one (just counting weekdays for now). If she gets at least four for the week (I know better than to expect a 4yo to be good every single day), she'll get a special treat. Brianna wanted in on it, too, so for her, the goal is to have a good morning before she leaves the house--getting ready for school without a fight. So far it's going well--Gillian was much, much better the past three days (confirmed by her teachers), and Brianna has been much more pleasant to be around in the morning. Now I just need to stock up on inexpensive prizes. =)
After everything that's been going on, I think the daycare teachers need a treat, too. So I'm going to make them a batch of the spiced nuts from Around My French Table. They're one of the December recipes for French Fridays with Dorie. As with the November recipes, we get to pick which recipe we make when, and I was happy to find an easy one to make this week, since my motivation has been lacking a bit.
It doesn't get much easier than this. Mix together some sugar, salt and spices. Toss a couple cups of nuts with a slightly beaten egg white, then toss with the sugar & spice mixture. Spread everything on a sheet pan and bake for half an hour at 350F. Enjoy! To be a bit more specific, I stuck with the recipe for the first attempt at this one. So the spice mixture was sugar, salt, chili powder (I like Spice Islands), cinnamon, and a bit of cayenne. My nuts were a cup each of cashews and pecans, both favorites around here. I lined my sheet pan with non-stick foil to make things easier. That's pretty much it.
The verdict? Well, these certainly don't last long! I took some to work, and they were a big hit. My original thought was that I should get them out of my house, but having them at work just meant I could keep eating them. Oops. =) Even B & G liked them, at least the cashews (not fans of pecans). These are definitely going in my holiday goodie bags this year. I tried out another version this morning--chai spiced. Half a teaspoon each of Vietnamese cinnamon, ground ginger and ground cardamom, along with a quarter teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg, a pinch of cloves and a few grinds of black pepper. The house smelled fantastic by the time they finished baking. I can't wait to try some more variations.
For this one and lots of other wonderful recipes, I highly recommend that you check out a copy of Around My French Table. And if you aren't a member already, we'd love to have you join in the fun at French Fridays with Dorie.