“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
(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.
© 2012 – Lynne Cobb