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Every year since graduating from college, M has taken off of work for the first two days of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. For those of you who don’t know what this is, are you living under a rock?! No, just kidding. You might be living in another country or just aren’t a college basketball fan. Regardless, M absolutely loves throwing a party every year to gather up all his friends from around the country and have a grand old time with his boys watching two full days of college basketball.
While he’s having fun with friends, I’m pounding away in Excel working my little butt off because it’s by far the busiest time of year for me at work. This year, M mustered up some incredible ambition and is hauling our boys down to Florida for the weekend while I hold down the fort at home. I’ll be spending a majority of my weekend cranking away on the computer making sure no one is stealing anyone else’s money. (That’s kind of the basic gist of my job.) I thought, though, that it might be nice to sneak in just a brief couple of hours with some girlfriends and throw my own party while all my boys are away from the nest, my March Mani Madness party!
You know I’ve been on a mission to kick my annoying nail biting habit and have been regularly visiting a nail salon for some professional TLC for my poor little nails. I’ve made some progress. Things are trending up though I still have plenty of room for improvement. In the spirit of my continued efforts to clean up my nail biting act, I’m sure my friends wouldn’t mind if we brought in a manicurist to give our nails a little love as we take a mini break to decompress from the stress of busy schedules and boatloads of work responsibilities.
Wanna celebrate the “basketball season” with your own March Mani Madness party? You think my idea is great?! Awesome, let’s dish some details.
First up, what’s a Mani Madness party without some manicures? Chicago offers myriad options for mobile or in-home spa services. You can always check Yelp for some ideas in your area. Alternatively, Puur Spa offers a listing of mobile spas throughout the United States.
Next, no party is complete without food. Seriously. In light of setting aside a few moments to take care of ourselves and decompress, I generally stuck with more wholesome food options like fruits and veggies and trail mix. An avid peanut butter fan, I paired it with celery for a childhood favorite I’ll never outgrow. However, I have a serious weakness for cookies so I couldn’t have a snack plan without at least one cookie option.When planning my menu, I stopped by Walmart and grabbed a new product from an old favorite chocolate company. I’ve been known to stash a few (or a lot) of DOVE® chocolates in my desk at work, especially during busy times. The combination of amazing chocolate with fruit intrigued me, so I tossed the DOVE® Fruit in my cart ready to pair them with some wholesome and tasty snacks for a little TLC. Oddly enough, I found them in the Easter candy section (which means I might have been scanning that section as well.. guilty as charged.)
I included in my menu plan (among other fruits and veggies) the following:
Chocolate Covered Cranberry Trail Mix
- Roasted unsalted cashews
- DOVE® Fruit Cranberries
- Brazil nuts
- Dried apricots
Chocolate Covered Blueberry Trail Mix
- Macadamia nuts
- Raw almonds
- DOVE® Fruit Blueberries
- White chocolate chips
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup melted butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cup rolled oats
- 1 bag DOVE® Fruit Cranberries (about 2 cups)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Combine sugar, brown sugar, butter and eggs.
- Mix in flour through oats
- Add DOVE® Fruit Cranberries
- Bake for 7 - 8 minutes on a greased cookie sheet.
I made a practice batch of the cookies for M and the boys (and me, of course) with the DOVE® Fruit Cherries to try out in advance. M said “Wow. That’s really good chocolate.” He was definitely right. T has been asking for chocolate covered blueberries and cherries ever since I brought these home. Needless-to-say, we have a few fans in our house.
Are you tempted yet? I ended up bringing the trail mix to work as well, and it definitely hit the spot during that afternoon “nap time” that my body so desperately wishes it could have. I’m pretty sure though that my bosses and staff would be less than impressed if they found me sleeping at my desk midday…
In all honesty, I’ll definitely be buying these again. The chocolate covered raisins from the bulk section of one of our regular grocery stores have become a staple in our house. These will be an equally tasty alternative that will add variety to the stash of chocolate covered fruits we keep on hand. (They’re great leverage for the potty training negotiation we’ve been enduring with T as of late!)
If you try these out, I’d love to hear what you think? Got any great recipe ideas to use them in your every day? I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate a little dose of chocolate in my daily grind, so please share!
Share with Friends
If I’ve made you hungry and you think others would enjoy these ideas, I’d love for you to share them. You can pass along to friends and share it through myriad social media channels by simply using the share buttons at the top or bottom of the post. Thanks so much! Hope to see you back soon.