Thursday, May 8, 2008

Somedays You Feel Like a Nut...and Chocolate

My life seems to be a little nutty right now. I'm in the "growing up" phase of trying to decide what I wanna do with my life...and what I don't. I know that I want to travel too, but where, and how do I afford it? I want to start reading more and spending more "me" time, but when will I do that? I want to buy new things for my apartment, but how do I pay for it? I want to get caught up on my Realty TV shows, but when will I find the time?

Its funny...I always thought that being a grown up meant freedom, whew was I wrong! I feel so constricted and tied down right now. I always imagined my twenties as being the most care-free time in the world! But I've got bills to pay, mouths to feed (Mine and Andy's, no babies here...yet), a house to clean, a job to attend, workouts that must be done and sleep that MUST be slept. So how do you do it? How do grown ups find time to fulfill their dreams, travel to far off places, read a good book, bake some great cakes?

My mind has been running in so many directions that i feel like an absolute nut case! I feel like I should sit down and make a to-do list or have some priority...but I don't want to live my life that way. I want some spontaneity, but it just seems impossible. Hopefully the shell to this nut will break soon, and hopefully it'll be for the better :)

Chocolate Oatmeal Almost Candy Bars
Baking from Home to Yours ~ Dorie Greenspan

Oatmeal Layer
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted, room temp, butter
2 c packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 c old-fashioned oats
1 c salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Chocolate Layer
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 c (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c moist, plump raisins
3/4 c coarsely chopped peanuts

Getting Ready: Center a rack in oven & preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x13 inch baking pan and place the pan on a baking sheet.

Oatmeal Layer: Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Beat butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add brown sugar and beat for 2 minutes, then add eggs one at a time, beating for one minute after each egg goes in. Beat in the vanilla. The mixture should be light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear. Still on low speed stir in oats and nuts. Set aside 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the mixture, then turn the remaining dough into the buttered pan. Gently and evenly press the dough over the bottom of the pan. Set aside and prepare the next layer.

Chocolate Layer: Set heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Put the condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter and salt in the bowl and stir occasionally until the milk is warm and the chocolate and butter are melted. Remove the bowl from the pan of water and stir in the vanilla, raisins and peanuts.
Pour the warm chocolate mixture over the oatmeal crust, then scatter the remaining oatmeal mixture over top. Bake 25-30 minutes until topping is golden brown and the chocolate is dull. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and cool for 2 hours. Run a blunt knife between the edges of the cake and pan, and carefully turn the cake onto a rack. Turn right side up, then refrigerate at least an hour before cutting. Cut into rectangles.


Gigi said...
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Gigi said...

I know you don't want to do this, but lists really do work. I go to school (5 classes), work (4days), intern (3 days) and have a house, meals etc.. I budget my time by making lists so that I can have "windows" of free time to do whatever I want. The most important part is ...sometimes you have tell someone no. You need to have "you" time. I hope you're feeling better.

Joy the Baker said...

I totally understand the feeling. And I agree with Gigi- I'm a list queen! They absolutely save my life. And the fulfilling your dreams part, that's what life is all about! Just do what you love, as best you can, and try to make money at it. Success and fulfillment will come as long as you stay true to what you love to do. Work it out girl!