Inspired to write by a chewy granola bar…

“Marge, it’s 3 a.m. Shouldn’t you be baking?” – Homer Simpson

I have a huge announcement to make that will come as no big surprise…some days I just can’t get it into gear.

Like today. I have a few writing projects I was working on, which seemed to be going nowhere – and fast. And when re-reading my work, both pieces sounded flat and boring and I was getting a wee bit agitated. Staring into space, with no direction, or organization and wondering what to do next, I witnessed the laundry pile growing higher – right before my very eyes. Lugging the ever-expanding basket down the steps, I threw a load in the machine. Turning around, I glanced at the pantry shelf.

Big mistake. I turned my head. I looked away. It didn’t work. Game over. The can of sweetened condensed milk won.

I had bought it a few weeks ago to try out a recipe I clipped at out of a magazine eleven months ago. (On a sorting binge, I found it again last week!) Thinking I have adult ADHD, I raced up the steps, can in hand, and stopped everything I was doing to make granola bars. Nevermind the cleanser drying to a hard finish in the tub, or the mounds of laundry sitting, in damp eagerness, waiting for my return to the basement. Forget the sticky notes and voicemails and 17 windows open all at once on the laptop. I stopped it all and baked. I was energized and motivated and multi-tasking and modifying and measuring and making an enormous mess.

Whew! Although it looked like a tornado blew through the kitchen, apparently, I needed a creative break to re-engage my brain. It all hit me as the cinnamony-aroma of the sweet smell of success enveloped the kitchen and wafted towards me. My a-ha moment revealed that I wasn’t multi-tasking at all! I was tackling a project that I knew I could finish. It took my mind off of all my other incomplete projects, giving me the chance to feel creatively complete. While the granola bars baked, I mixed up a batch of granola, switched laundry and finished a few other mundane chores.  Talk about a win-win: I benefitted from freeing my mind so that I could get back to writing; my family benefitted from a yummy snack, and you, you very lucky readers, you get to benefit from my modified recipe that turned out super scrumptious.

Let me know if you give these a try. I found the original recipe in the USA Weekend magazine. Eleven months ago.

Ooey, Gooey, Chewy Granola Bars

2 cups of rolled oats

1/4 cup of wheat germ

1/2 cup of chocolate chips

3/4 cup of dried cranberries (or dried fruit of your choice)

1 can (14 oz) of sweetened condensed milk

cinnamon sugar

(Note: 1 cup of almonds were part of the original recipe)

Adjust oven rack to a lower-middle position and pre-heat oven to 325. Grease a 9″ square pan (I used an 8″ pan and baked a little longer.) I then lined the pan with greased foil (so I could use foil to lift bars from pan) and set pan aside.

Mix all ingredients (except cinnamon sugar) and pat down into prepared, foil-lined pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake about 30 minutes (35-40 if using 8″ pan). Cool to room temperature, then place pan into freezer until firm.

To cut easier, I placed a piece of parchment paper on my wooden cutting board, removed foil and using a sharp knife, carefully cut into 8 bars. You can make them smaller, but I have teenagers and they don’t care much for “fun size” goodies 🙂

I wrapped them individually, but you can store them in an air-tight container. They should last a week without refrigeration or freezing, but I am betting my stash will be gone in three days.

Enjoy!

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

7 Replies to “Inspired to write by a chewy granola bar…”

  1. Mmm, those sound good! I was in a similar predicament yesterday, so decided to make dinner ahead of time in the middle of the day. Not that I got back to my writing “chores”, but I did go to Target for a few necessities and Target always make me feel good! If I had the ingredients on hand, I might try making those granola bars today. 🙂

  2. These do sound good! I am going to save this recipe … I tend to bake less in the summer, but when the temp chills, I head to the kitchen. This treat would be lovely with a pot of tea! Thank you, Lynne.

    1. I bet these would be good in the fall baked with a little more cinnamon and some dried apple, washed down with a mug of fresh cider…Let me know if you make these when the weather cools down.

  3. “My a-ha moment revealed that I wasn’t multi-tasking at all! I was tackling a project that I knew I could finish. It took my mind off of all my other incomplete projects, giving me the chance to feel creatively complete.”
    In this small part of your post you opened my eyes to the truth behind this overwhelming feeling. when we multitask we just set ourselves up to a lot of frustration and a feeling of helplessness because it is highly unlikely that we’ll have enough energy of time in theday to finish all we started. So your granola bars served as a metaphor to remind us to GO BAKE SOME GRANOLA BARS when life gets out of hand…enjoyed your post so much, thank you, read you soon, Alexandra

    1. Well thank you, Alexandra! I really appreciate your comment! Baking causes me to focus on one project at a time. Here’s a new motto: When life gives you lemons, make lemon squares 🙂

  4. Good motto! Now I need to find my equivalent to your baking 🙂 looking forward to your next post

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