Archive for March, 2013

[A Working Mom’s Half-Ass] Homemade Cadbury Crème Eggs

Two years in a row, my sister has sent me a link to an Instructables article on how to make homemade Cadbury Cream Eggs.

Instructables - Homemade Cadbury Creme Eggs
Instructables: Homemade Cadbury Crème Eggs

It’s interesting what a difference a year makes. Last year with an eight month old, I took one look at the images of the egg-shaped chocolate molds and thought, “No way.”

This year, maybe it’s because I’m getting more sleep now… or maybe I have finally learned the necessity of keeping extracurricular endeavors like this simple. Either way, I looked over that article and I thought, “Hey, I can half-ass this! I’ll just dip the eggs in chocolate like we do Oreos or truffles.” (which the Instructables article actually covers on Step 5 – Alternative Method)

So this morning before work, Sagan supervised and did an extensive inspection of the food coloring while I mixed up the filling. We had to improvise some of the ingredients. The biggest thing was we ran out of confectioner’s sugar, so we substituted the last cup of sugar with 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (which considering how sweet our filling turned out to be, I don’t think it really needed that extra cup sugar after all). Also I always double vanilla. I like vanilla. : )

Original Recipe Vicky/Sagan Version
1/2 cup light corn syrup 1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, room temperature 1/4 cup butter, softened in microwave
3 cups confectioner’s powdered sugar (icing sugar) 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon vanilla 2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt Whoops forgot this part
yellow food coloring We used neon green and purple food coloring. : )
1 (12 ounce) bag milk chocolate chips Whatever scraps of melting chocolate and chocolate chips my Mom and I were able to scrounge out of the pantry. : )

The filling got a nice long session with the refrigerator during our work day. After work, as dinner cooked, rolled up our filling into the requisite little balls which got to go back into the fridge while we ate.

Then after supper, we took a bowl, melted up some dipping chocolate and chocolate chips in the microwave, dipped those suckers in, plopped them on wax paper, and threw them back into the fridge.

Roughly ten minutes later, we were enjoying our homemade Cadbury Crème Eggs. Really all and all, it was little effort and the pay off was delicious. My husband used the word “magic” and joked that he expected “Cadbury to bust down the door and arrest us for patent infringement”.

And no one seemed to mind that they weren’t perfectly shaped eggs from chocolate molds… particularly not Sagan. : )

March 22nd - Sagan Eats Homemade Cadbury Cream Egg
Sagan Savors His “Egg”

March 22, 2013 at 10:59 pm 2 comments

Family Hike: Julie J. Metz Wetland Bank

Today was a lovely spring day and with more winter-like temperatures in the forecast for Monday, I decided to take my 20-month old son out for a quick hike this afternoon. I aimed to take him to Leesylvania State Park, but while we were on Neabsco Road, I spied a tell-tale trailhead sign, so I turned around to investigate. It looked like a humble little park, the Julie J. Metz Wetland Bank, but boy, it was just a wonderful hidden gem.

Julie J Metz Wetlands Hike - Smiling Sagan with Water
Sagan Enjoys View at Julie J Metz Wetlands Bank

Trail Overview
This trail system was absolutely perfect for a toddler! The trails were flat and at the same time, they had numerous bridges and wooden walkways to intrigue your child (and keep you elevated out of the wetlands). We had some rain earlier in the day, so we had a bonus perk– muddy puddles! My son loved splashing in them, stomping in them, and then he leaned down and put his hands in. At that point, he didn’t love muddle puddles so much (he despises dirty hands).

Julie J Metz Wetlands Hike - Sagan Crosses Another Bridge
Sagan Crosses One of Many Bridges/Wooden Walkways

Julie J Metz Wetlands Hike - Yeah! Mud!

Julie J Metz Wetlands Hike - Two Legged Tree and Wetlands
Misc View of Wetlands

Honestly, I wasn’t paying that much attention to the trees. I did spy some flowering catkins and the tiniest of baby leaves making their first spring appearance. There was plenty of evidence of Sweet Gum, from the ample collection of spikey balls on the ground to the distinctive “alligator-wood” of the branches. I also noted American Sycamore. I don’t recall seeing any Red Maples.

Julie J Metz Wetlands Hike - Yellow Flowers
Yellow Catkins Flowering

Julie J Metz Wetlands Hike - Sagan Evaluates First Leaves
Sagan Examines One of Spring’s First Leaves

Julie J Metz Wetlands Hike - Gumballs Before and After
Souvenirs of Sweet Gum

Pawpaw Alert! I did see a sign that indicated there are pawpaws in the park. Translation: This might be a good park to visit in September. : )

Julie J Metz Wetlands Hike - Pawpaw Alert
This Sign Wouldn’t Tell You to Identify Pawpaw, If There Were No Pawpaws

Like Huntley Meadows Park in Fairfax, Virginia this little park gives you a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to wildlife. So many birds were singing and so loudly that it almost seemed as if we had a radio on. As you can expect, waterfowl were plentiful. As dusk neared, we had a wonderful serenade of spring peepers. It was reminiscent of the Spring Peeper Serenade from my 35th Birthday, though not quite as loud. During our hike we also saw lots of souvenirs left behind by beavers (in the form of gnawed tree stumps) and deer (in the form of many, many, many footprints in the mud).

Julie J Metz Wetlands Hike - Geese

Julie J Metz Wetlands Hike - Signs Of Beavers
Just One of Numerous Tree Stumps Left Behind By Beavers

Julie J Metz Wetlands Hike - Deer Tracks
Deer Track in Mud

Julie J. Metz Wetland Bank was an accidental find, but I highly recommend it, particular to families with small children. I don’t think we could have had a more enjoyable afternoon.

Julie J. Metz Wetland Bank

Neabsco Road
Woodbridge, Virginia

Length: Varies

Elevation Gain: FLAT!

Directions from Occoquan, Virginia

Take Route 1 South

Turn left on Neabsco Road

Trailhead will be on your left in a couple of miles

March 16, 2013 at 9:28 pm 3 comments

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