Thursday, July 21, 2016

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

“Time is the missing ingredient in our recipes.

Most of us are moving too fast for slow cooking”. 

Slow down.

That’s my new mantra for 2016 (even though it's half over!)

Slow down. Take it easy. The trendy…"slow food" is ringing in my head. We are all moving way to fast. Take it from someone who had a year that forced her to slow down. I know I’ve been neglecting the blog a bit, but I can’t apologize. I’m simply enjoying every day. After a year of chemo, surgery and radiation, I’m finally starting to truly feel like my old self again. My energy, which was at its all-time lowest last fall, has finally started to creep back up and I’m able to push myself harder than I have in over a year.

I have some neuropathy in my feet and hands and the medication that I’m on is making every joint in my body ache. I feel like I’m 100 years old when I wake up, but I slowly push myself and get going. I really have no room to complain. My tumor is gone and I finished my last treatment on June 15th! What a year it’s been. My hair is growing back, no more head coverings! I had a nice buzz cut that has now turned into a short hair style and my curls are coming back with a vengeance!

I also had a life changing event recently when I resigned from my job with the same company of 33 years. It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, but I needed more time. I needed time to cook and bake and craft and read and enjoy life! To be more connected to everything. I'm not retiring. I'm working for a dear friends company and in doing so, cutting back on the hours I work. So while cancer took many things away from me, it also freed my soul and spirit and made me take a step back and really take a good hard look at my life.

While I laid on the couch for quite a few months over the fall and winter, I daydreamed about my little garden, what I would plant, the new design of my raised bed, how to keep the critters out, what flowers I would plant in the yard. Last year my poor garden was neglected. We only managed to keep a few tomato plants going. I had to let it go. It was the first year time in almost 30 years that I didn’t have my veggie garden. Now my garden is booming. I’m so happy to have dirt under my nails again and to be outside working until dusk (when the weather permits, I am in New England after all).

My hubby built new raised beds for me and filled them with some beautiful soil and compost. We have planted all our veggies and flowers and worked on little projects here and there. I'm taking things at a pace I can handle. Not the pace I usually pushed myself to before.

So, I offer no apologies for my tardiness. I’m relishing in it in fact. The way I feel about just about everything has changed. So, when I’m here I’m here which might just be a little more often now. When I have something good to share, you guys will be the first to know. When I’m not here, please know that I’m digging in the dirt, or sitting under the gazebo reading a book, or picking veggies and dreaming up recipes to share with you all.

As always I want to share something delicious with you. I made these Chocolate Oatmeal Bars many months ago. Almost forgot about them until I came across the photos I took of them. These were so delicious and devoured quickly by my men. I really should have double the recipe. I will next time.

Take it slow friends.

Fudge filled oatmeal bars 1

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
For Crust and Topping:
1 1/3 cups oatmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter- melted

For Filling:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a 8x8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil with cooking spray. Overhang the edges of the foil to lift the bars easier from the pan when finished cooking.

Combine flour, oats, 1 cup of light brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, add 10 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and stir to combine. Press half of mixture firmly into the pan and bake about 8 minutes, cool.

To make the filling, melt the butter and chocolate chips together and stir until it’s smooth.
Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Whisk eggs into cooled chocolate mixture, and then stir in flour mixture. Pour chocolate filling over cooled crust and top with remaining oatmeal mixture.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

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