28 February 2010

Break the Fast Miracle Bars

*This was supposed to be posted on my sister's recipe blog but I'm lame and can't figure out how to post it there, so I figured why not see if I can remember how to post to this blog!

As a single 27 year old LDS woman I have ended my fair share of Fast Sundays with the big ward-wide dinner known as “Break the Fast.” Without fail, the handwritten sign-up sheet gets passed around Relief Society the last Sunday of the month asking people to bring some sort of side dish or a dessert for the next Sunday's meal. Every month as the sheet approaches me I momentarily consider passing it along to the person sitting next to me, but inevitably I pick up the pen and sign my name underneath the “dessert” heading and pray that those in charge call to remind me to bring a baked good the following Sunday.

A few years ago, after months and months of baking and bringing dessert to Break the Fast I noticed a sad trend. At the end of the evening (and yes, when your ward doesn’t start until 3pm, it is evening by the time Break the Fast is over) almost all of the deserts were gone—except mine. I took it personally (Seriously—after fasting all day shouldn’t ANYTHING with sugar be delicious?!) and when that next Saturday night text came reminding me that I’d kindly offered to bring a dessert for the Sabbath Dinner I decided then and there that was it—I wasn’t baking anymore and the ward would have to deal with it. I mean, it’s not like anyone would miss my apparently disgusting cookies anyway.

But later that evening my guilt got the better of me and I decided that I would make something this one last time (I had signed up, afterall). Since this would be my last time baking I decided to be adventurous and try something new –who cared if it tasted good! So I began flipping through a cookbook and found a recipe for “chocolate peanut butter bars.” I baked them, arranged them nicely on a plate and dropped them off in the Banquet Hall (yes, my building has a Banquet Hall) before church began. When I returned after church I went to take the saran wrap off the plate but realized that the Break the Fast Committee had already helped me with that one. And helped themselves to about half of the plate. The remaining half went quickly and went home with an empty plate. Truly miraculous. And thus these lovely, yummy, gooey bars became known as Break the Fast Miracle Bars.

Break the Fast Miracle Bars

2 C oats
1 ¾ C brown sugar
1 ½ C flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ t baking soda
1 C margarine or butter, softened
½ C chopped nuts (I usually never add these)
2 C chocolate chips (I think the Nestle Toll House ‘mini’ ones work perfectly)
1 egg
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 C creamy peanut butter

Mix oats, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and softened butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs (I use a pastry cutter or 2 knives)

For topping stir together 1 ¾ C of crumb mixture, nuts, and chocolate chips. Set aside.
For crust stir egg into remaining crumb mixture. Press into bottom of an ungreased 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan (I just use a 9 x 13 inch pan). Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes

For filling, stir together sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter. Pour over partially baked crust and then sprinkle the topping mixture on top. Bake for 12-15 minutes more.

These taste DELICIOUS fresh from the oven, but only if you’re OK ‘scooping’ into a bowl, eating with a fork, and don’t care about beauty/presentation. If you’re actually serving these to someone else this is what you do (and while time consuming it’s totally worth it!):

  • Let the pan cool completely and cut into bars or squares.
  • Remove from the pan with a spatula and place separately onto a sheet of waxed paper so that the bars are not touching each other.
  • Cover with a kitchen towel or another sheet of waxed paper and let sit overnight (or all day). This allows the bars to ‘solidify’ so that they won’t fall apart when eaten.

Bon Apetite!

08 April 2009

I'm a news junky and find no shame in admitting it.

As a teenager I would often have the house practically to myself and would sit on the floor of our family room eating breakfast and watching the Sunday morning political talk shows. I may have shed a tear when Tim Russert passed away and I might even admit to having had a teensy tiny crush on George Stephanopoulos at one point.

Because of my strange fascination with the news you can often find me skimming the headlines of MSNBC and CNN while I should probably be doing other things—like working, cleaning, sleeping, reading, maybe hanging something on the bare walls of the apartment I’ve lived in for 7 months. But I digress...Today as I was trolling the headlines I came across a gem in the CNN Living section that, while not incredibly newsworthy, was too good to not share.

All I could say after reading this was AMEN!

I think this could be a good article for my Bishop’s wife to use in the "Manaissance" night she is planning for the guys in our ward. But that’s the subject of an entirely different post and I’ve got laundry to fold…

06 February 2009

Fünf Sachen, dass ich diese Woche gelernt habe:

Eins: If I were redoing my previous post I would probably have a different answer to No. 12.

Zwei: Being happy for no particular reason is incredibly refreshing!

Drei: Sometimes it's nice to be hit on by a complete stranger. Even if it's the cashier at Panera.

Vier: As much as I complain about working too much, being busy is much better than being bored. If the next few days are as boring as the last 2 I'm going to start my vacation early!

Fünf: Driving with the sunroof open while the heat is on full blast isn't considered normal by some people--although I'm proud to have converted Courtney this week and urge everyone to try it. Your sunny February days will never be the same!

08 January 2009

I realize this so 2008 but I did it at New Year's but never got around to posting it.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
Parasailing in Hawaii

2. Did you keep your new year resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Didn’t really keep them unfortunately. Who knows if I’ll make any for 2009…the year is young.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Kim in March; Erin in October

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thakfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit?
Mexico in February with my Tucson friends
Finland in May for work with a couple of layovers in the Frankfurt airport

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
More perspective.

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

If we’re talking ‘calendar’ date? I’m not sure? Maybe August 6th--when we finished a huge project at work.
If we’re talking ‘with a boy’ date—Washington Park

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Not letting work kill me

9. What was your biggest failure?
My Wii Fit test. I don't care what it says. I don't have the 'fit' skills of a 49 year old!!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Does a bruised ego count?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Sudacare Advanced VaporPlug. Absolutely amazing!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Michael Phelps. I’d say winning that many gold medals merits celebration!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I won’t share that one with the general public. If you’re reading this it likely wasn’t you :)

14. Where did most of your money go?

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Tropical Vacation 2008

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
Coldplay’s Viva La Vida

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. Happier or sadder? Definitely happier
ii. Thinner or fatter? About the same.
iii. richer or poorer? The same

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?

The best way possible: In Corvallis with family

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?
I wish

22. How many one-night stands?

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Grey’s Anatomy

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
My grandmother always told me hate is very strong word…use it sparingly.

25. What was the best book you read?
I didn’t really read too much this year unfortunately except while on vacation…and since The Secret Life of Bees was the only book I remember reading that might actually pass for literature I’ll say it was the best.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Josh Radin in late December. Thanks Jon Hastings!

27. What did you want and get?
A bigger apartment

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
No favorites but the Dark Knight was pretty good.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Day before: Book Club celebration with Nichole and Vicky
Day of: Dinner with Emily and Megan at Henry’s
2 Days after: party at Emily’s with a highly combustible cake and candles
3 Days later: Cake in Alabama with Kim, Mark, GW, and Gracie
Apparently turning 26 warrants 4 separate celebrations? I guess it was making up for turning 25 when I was in New Jersey with 50 complete strangers. Not so much fun.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Falling in love

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Jeans, black, heels, and Finnish H&M

32. What kept you sane?
Emily and Sheri

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most
Um...no one?

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
I don’t usually find politics stirring.

35. Who did you miss?
Kim. Sheri. Allison. Gayle. My grandparents.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Megan Leanne and Courtney Kay even though I technically met them in 2007.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:
Hope springs eternal and Luke 1:37

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Option 1 from Matt Nathanson:
Come on get higher.. (no that’s not a drug reference)

Option 2 from Josh Radin:

Some kind of magic / Happens late at night /
When the moon smiles down at me / And bathes me in its light

It’s a brand new day / The sun is shining /
For the first time / In such a long long time /
I know / I’ll be OK

17 November 2008

For my SIL

in case your 7-11 career doesn't work out you can always work at this lovely place I discovered this weekend:
(let's see how long it takes before she notices this is posted)

02 November 2008

So there I was on Halloween...taking a break in the cool breeze outside, talking with Andrew, Nate, and a random boy dressed up as terrorist/rappper. Out walks a guy dressed up as him: Terrorist/Rapper Boy: "Oh, there's your date."
Me: dazed and confused silence.
Terrorist/Rapper Boy: "You know, Jessica. With Tony Romo"
Me: "Yes, I know who Tony Romo is thank you very much..."
What I'm still trying to figure out is how this:
Reminded him of this:

For the record: Yes I wore spandex in public. No, I will never do it again.
For the confused: I was one-fifth of a league of Super Villains. Because of my habit of never making decisions they dubbed me 'The Deliberator.' My weapon was time. haha.
For my sisters: No group shots on my camera...I'll send you some when I get them.

02 October 2008

Sometimes I feel like I'm living in an episode of Seinfeld.

Does anyone else ever feel like this??

If you are, let me know and maybe we can meet up this afternoon for some soup from the Soup Nazi to eat with our stolen Marble Rye.

Happy Thursday!