Chocolate Chip Cheese Bars

Chocolate Chip Cheese Bar

January is typically the month that many resolutions are being made. Resolving to lose weight, to exercise more, read through the Bible in a year, stay in touch with loved ones….and the list goes on.

Heading the list always seems to be the weight thing. For some reason when I decide I should work on the weight issue every amazing tasting food seems to end up in front of me. I am not sure how that happens or why. Is it kind of the Murphy’s law of dieting?

I had planned to bake less this season to help with the getting healthy idea. I really did plan to do that….and then the phone rang. A neighbor gal called to ask if I would take her turn bringing lunch to Coffee Break Bible Study on Wednesday. (She was busy moving cattle with her family). Of course I said sure…..I love to bake. (I love to eat too!)

I figured it was a great time to make those bars that are really addictive. If I am baking bars like these particular bars, it is always a good idea to bake them when you need to bring most of them away. It is never a good idea to have a whole pan of these in the house with just two people.

Chocolate Chip Cheese Bars
2 cups +4 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 Cup butter or oleo, softened
12 Tablespoons sugar
12 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Filling:
2 8-ounce pkg. Cream Cheese

1 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375º
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt….Set aside
Combine butter, sugars, and vanilla
Beat in eggs; add flour mixture, and mix well
Stir in chocolate chips
Blend until creamy
Put half in bottom of 9 x 13″ pan
Then spread filling mixture over this and top with rest of cookie dough
Bake 20-30 minutes
Cool and cut
Store in refrigerator (if there are any left!)

 

These bars are from a recipe book that the employees made when I worked at a lab that produced swine vaccines. I have always told people to look for the recipes in that book that are from a woman named Ethel. If you make any of her recipes you are in for a real treat!

I have a feeling that till the bars are gone those New Year resolutions are just going to have to wait….fortunately or unfortunately it won’t be long and they will be gone. I dallied with the idea of using this post and linking it to the Daily Post photo challenge “Growth”……for the very reason that consuming too many of these bars will definitely promote growth…of the wider, not taller variety! Aaaahhhh well…..tomorrow is another day…..I guess.

If you give these bars a try let me know what you think of them…..also please feel free to share some of your favorite recipes….I am always on the lookout for a new favorite.

“Take a bite of food,
if it tastes good…..spit it out
……you can’t have it!”
An Uncle

My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people.
Orson Welles

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/orson_welles_104829?src=t_diet

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The Best Laid Plans…….

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Sometimes things don’t always turn out how you think they will when you make a plan. I am not sure if anyone else ever has this issue…..but I seem to run into that rule more often than I like.

Let me back up here a little. The next weekend/week are going to be busy for us over here. We have a wedding of a nephew that we need to attend this coming weekend. Family from four states will be coming this direction for the wedding and there is lots of planning to be done.

We want to gather as often as possible, so meals are being planned, there is housecleaning, baking, cleaning some more, bedding to be washed, lawn to be mowed, cleaning, field work to finish, weeding, and of course some more cleaning.

There probably wouldn’t be so much cleaning….but I would rather be outside than inside so now I am hitting crunch time to catch up on all the stuff I let go while I was outside. There are also some projects that I have been hinting I would like done. (I think I need to do more than hint…..) One of those projects involve a chair.

In a bedroom upstairs there is a chair that I have wanted to get rid of long ago. As of two days ago it was still there. Yesterday, I as I was putting clean sheets on the beds, I stood and looked at that chair. I looked again at the chair, I assessed the doorways, I pondered on the stairwell and decided I could get that chair out of there myself.

I put the chair on its side as it was too wide to make it through the doorway. That worked great! My confidence was boosted. Through one more doorway and I was at the top of the stairs. I found if I stayed on the step above the chair I could ease it down step by step to the landing.

Things were progressing wonderfully up to this point. The chair and I negotiated the 90 degree turn on the landing and started our way down step by careful step. I discovered that gravity is a wonderful thing when trying to get a chair down the steps. In looking back…I realize that might have just been an illusion!

I was incredibly impressed with myself….right up until the legs of the chair became firmly wedged in the doorframe at the bottom of the stairwell. No matter how much I tugged, pulled, pushed, coaxed, pleaded and sweat glistened, would that chair budge.  (It was kind of reminiscent of giving birth…..)

Another problem soon became evident.  I was stuck on the stairwell above the chair. My husband was outside and would never hear me holler for assistance as he was hooking up a cultivator to a running tractor. It was time to once again assess the situation.

I decided I could possibly stick my left leg over the chair and carefully feel for the steps below the chair. I started that maneuver and half way through it realized that there was really no way my legs were that long. I also realized that never in my life, have I ever been able to do the splits and this was not a good time to try them again.

I finally managed to get my left foot on a step, while firmly (or should I say frantically) hanging onto the doorframe. I still had one issue….my right foot was stuck, higher than my waist, up on the chair. It was so sad…..I actually had to use my hand to unhook my foot. In my defense….there is only so far a woman my age can stretch and only so long you can keep your foot at a level somewhere between your waist and head.

When looking at the chair from the bottom angle I realized I should have started with the other end of the chair. I briefly wondered if I could get it turned around and try again. I had an entire conversation with myself over that idea and decided against it as I did not want to get stuck on the steps above that chair again!

I wandered outside to find my husband. I told him the problem, told him there was no hurry as that chair wasn’t going anywhere on it’s own and then did some other things while I waited for his help.

I should have had the camera and got a picture of the look on his face when he saw the chair wedged on the stairs…..then again….maybe that wouldn’t have been a good idea. It was kind of a look that alternated between a cringe and wonderment at how his wife managed to get a chair stuck like that.

I am happy to report the chair is released from the stairwell and nothing (and no one) was damaged in the incident.

So…..now this has me wondering…..how has your week been going? Tell me I am not the only one to end up doing stuff like this!

(I just could not resist the first quote! I laughed out loud when I read it because, I should have read it before my journey down the steps with that chair!)

“That’s a horrible plan.”
“Yes, but I have chosen to ignore that.”
Christopher Moore, Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art   

 

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Winston S. Churchill 

 

 

Not All That Glitters…..

kaboom-game

It may be true that “Not all that glitters is gold.” I think the reverse is also true….Not all gold is something that glitters. I have no idea if that makes any sense whatsoever…..it just sounded kind of profound.

I have many things in life that are really pure gold….family and friends being at the top of the list. My daughter-in-law posted the picture of the two grandkids on Facebook the other day. It just made my day to see those two little ones.

They are the real gold in my life. Those two bring such a joy to life. Everything they do is done with everything they have. They really know how to live life to the full and they sparkle from the inside out.

I did have to do some questioning about the Kaboom game after seeing the photo. I first thought they were knocking down the blocks with marshmallows. Turns out those are white painted blocks…..which is a good thing; as I am not sure about the shelf life of a game that would use marshmallows as game pieces.

I digress (which I often do). I also have some amazing friends. One of them truly does glitter! We have often called her the glitter queen. Wherever she goes she has a sparkle about her….literally. I should explain. She is a craft wizard and loves….(did I say loves?) to use glitter. There are times her husband even sparkles. (I am not so sure how impressed he is with the thought of sparkling.)

There is a down side to glitter. Once it gets loose in your home it attaches itself to everything. My daughter-in-law once gave me a Christmas present wrapped in beautiful paper that had glittery snowflakes on it. It did not take long and everything and everyone had a slight sparkle to and on them….maybe more than a slight sparkle. It was actually quite wonderful in a Christmas sparkly kind of way.

My daughter-in-law started to snicker and informed me that the clerk who had sold her the paper explained to her about glitter.  According to him, and I quote, “Glitter is the herpes of the craft world…….once you have it…..you can never get rid of it.” That is a quote that has firmly planted itself in my brain. It comes to mind every time I see a tube of glitter, a card with glitter or anything sparkly and glitter related. That quote is somewhat like glitter….I don’t think I will ever be able to erase it!

I am so glad that there is so much more to my family and friends than just temporary , external sparkle. They are “Real” and their beauty and worth comes from who they are inside and not what they look like outside. They are beautiful, wonderful people….inside and out.

I pray that you have a friend or family member who sparkles and shines from the inside. I pray this friend or family member spreads a little “internal glitter” over your life and brings you joy. I also pray that you, in turn, spread a little glitter over those around you.

 

“Consider the fact that maybe…just maybe…
beauty and worth aren’t found in a makeup bottle,
or a salon-fresh hairstyle, or a fabulous outfit.
Maybe our sparkle comes from somewhere deeper inside,
somewhere so pure and authentic and REAL,
it doesn’t need gloss or polish or glitter to shine.”

Mandy Hale, T
he Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

 

 

 

 

Nailing Jello to a Tree

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Years ago when we were raising our sons I read somewhere that raising children was rather like nailing jello to a tree.  I always thought that was a pretty apt description. This weekend I once again got to experience that feeling with two different groups of kids.

Sunday morning, after church, I filled in for a Sunday school teacher who needed to be gone. I taught (or should I say I attempted to teach) a group of nine first and second graders. If one could bottle the energy in that room it would be truly amazing what could all be powered by it.

I will say it was a tremendous amount of fun. Bribery of candy canes (not the missing ones from previous posts) was incredibly successful in keeping some semblance of control. They seemed fascinated by the story of Jesus and Matthew the tax collector. (It could have been my peanut butter jar of pennies that was fascinating….I am not totally sure.)

The peanut butter jar of pennies was for class participation. Each child was given some pennies prior to lesson time and told to hang on to them. (This had the added benefit of keeping their hands busy.) At a certain point in the story I became Matthew and collected their pennies. (The pennies were also returned at the end of class time as they had been attentive.) I recognize that some will not appreciate using bribery….but, at times, bribery will get you everywhere.

My other endeavor was being the “craft” lady for the 7th grade GEMS that met this Monday night. GEMS is kind of Christian Reformed Girls Scouts. They earn badges, do crafts, have Bible lessons etc. I was asked to help with the 7th graders as the craft was going to be making cards.

It had been a long time since I had been in the company of 7th grade girls.(And it has been even longer since I have been a 7th grade girl!)  I had kind of forgotten how giggly that age can be. After raising boys, this was an entirely different perspective. Never once have my sons “giggled”. They have guffawed, belly-laughed, snorked as they laughed but…..never ever giggled.

The card making went fairly well. Most of the trash ended up in the trash bin and most of the ink was stamped on the cards.  Everyone went home with three completed cards so I feel we were quite successful. For the cards; I basically went through my paper stash and used what I had on hand. The stamps used were all from Stampin Up as were the punches.

It would be kind of entertaining to know what perspective both of these groups had about “that lady” who came to class. Then again…..perhaps I don’t want to know! I have a feeling that the women who regularly teach these classes stay young at heart from dealing with those that are actually young.

I do admire those teachers. It takes a tremendous amount of commitment to teach and give your best to train kids. I have done the Sunday School job and it is not always easy. While it is not always easy……  it is always rewarding.

 

“We must teach our children to dream with their eyes open.”
Harry Edwards

“There’s nothing more contagious than the laughter of young children; it doesn’t even have to matter what they’re laughing about.”
Criss Jami, Killosophy

 

 

Dishcloths and Memories

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One of my first posts I ever wrote; spoke of my yarn stash and how I was trying to use it up. I have been somewhat successful in that endeavor. I say somewhat because it never seems to totally disappear. It might be a little like the story of the widow’s oil in the Bible.

I should confess that it probably never disappears because I tend to keep purchasing yarn here and there for various projects. It never fails that you always end up with some extra from any project you do. At least I end up with some extra each time.

When I ventured over to the stash and looked through it I found some Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn. I thought I should probably turn it into a couple dishcloths as mine are getting pretty tacky.

Years ago, my Grandma made dishcloths and taught me how. I never knew what a YO (yarn over) was until she showed me.  I even have her pattern, in her handwriting, on a 3 x 5 index card. It is very special, at least to me, to be knitting a dishcloth from that pattern. Her spidery handwriting brings back more memories than just dishcloths.

In looking back she taught me way more than just how to make dishcloths. She taught me that there is a satisfaction in making something with your own hands that can be used in your home. She taught me that even things like dishcloths can be beautiful and colorful.

I can still see her sitting in her kitchen, on her chair with the wheels on it. (I personally thought that was pretty neat as our dining room chairs did not have wheels!) She would be hunched over the table, reading a pattern, a pile of yarn in front of her and a bowl, in the middle of her table with a single rose floating in it.

When she saw you come in the door she always made sure you sat down for a visit (at the table) and were served a piece of cake, cookie, banana bread or some new muffin she had tried. I learned at her kitchen table that a person could visit, eat lunch, and knit at the same time!

Grandma shared easily and so in the spirit of my Grandma I would like to share the dishcloth pattern with you. These are not too difficult to make if you can knit and do the YO thing.

They are a great project to take along when you travel; as they don’t use a lot of yarn or take up half your car with needles and balls of yarn. It is a pattern that works up quickly and is not overwhelming.

I also love how these clean my dishes. They have a slightly “bumpy” texture to them, which works great for scrubbing. I have also discovered that if they become stained or tacky looking; they make wonderful cloths for scrubbing the floor.

Knitted Dish Cloth
Sugar ‘n Cream or other cotton yarn
Size 10 knitting needles

Cast on 4 stitches
*K2, YO, K to end
Repeat from * until you have 45 stitches on the needle.

**K1, K2 tog, YO, K2 tog, K to end
Repeat from ** until you have 4 stitches on needle.

Bind off.
Weave in loose ends
K = knit, K2tog = knit 2 stitches together, YO = yarn over
NOTE: Grandma always made them with 45 stitches.
I tend to knit looser than she did so I do 40 stitches.

I hope you have as much fun making these as I do. I also hope you find them as useful and pretty as I do. If you do give these a try….let me know how they turn out for you.

In looking for a quote to go with this post I ran across a bunch of them by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. They are so funny …..perhaps because so many of them are so true!

“Achieving the state of SABLE is not,
as many people who live with these knitters believe,
a reason to stop buying yarn,
but for the knitter it is an indication to write a will,
bequeathing the stash to an appropriate heir.”

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee,
At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much
“SABLE- A common knitting acronym that stands for Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy.”
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee,
At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much

 

 

 

The Lost is Found

candy-canes

Sometimes a snowstorm has a silver lining. Sometimes….though not always.

The past two days, our area has had snow, wind and cold. They tell us that we have anywhere from eight to ten inches of snow on the ground in our area.  I believe them!  I shoveled a trail for the girls today so they could get from their coop, to an open front shed where they love to take dust baths.

For the last couple days the weathermen had been warning us that this system was going to be coming through. Yesterday morning we decided we should believe them and did some prep work in anticipation of the storm.

We filled buckets with corn so I can easily get to them for feeding the chickens. My husband made sure we had adequate wood for the wood stove. We also always fill gallon jugs with water just in case the electric would happen to go out. The pump in our well will not function without electricity.

My husband had things in his pickup he needed for these tasks. While he was digging behind the pickup seat he started to laugh and shake his head. I asked what he was laughing about and in response he reached behind the seat and pulled out a box…..the missing candy canes!!!!

For those of you who have been reading my blog you may remember the post I did on the Missing Candy Canes.   In that post I told you I was very sure we would find those candy canes at some odd random moment. Yesterday was that odd random moment.

Perhaps I should try pawn this one off to brilliant planning. That somehow we just knew they should stay back there till there was a snowstorm. You know……just in case we were stranded in the middle of nowhere and we needed to have emergency rations? Maybe we should just shove them back behind the seat…..just in case.

I am afraid if we chose that plan we would probably never find them again. ( Kind of like lightening striking twice in the same place.) I think perhaps we should just eat them and enjoy them before they become really old. Is there an expiration date on candy canes?

I am just happy we found them.  I was beginning to doubt I had ever purchased them. I was also starting to think they had maybe not made it into our grocery bag? My faith in our minds has been restored. (Big sigh of relief!)

What have you been searching for?  What have you put in such a safe place that you cannot find it? Does it make you  little bonkers wondering about that item? I have a feeling I am not alone in this. At least I hope I am not alone in that…..it is always more comforting to have company with stuff like that.

 

“The only thing faster than the speed of thought is the speed of forgetfulness.
Good thing we have other people to help us remember.”
Vera Nazarian,
The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Enjoy the Day

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What a difference one day makes on the weather in our area. Today was an absolutely beautiful day……yesterday morning not so beautiful. We woke up yesterday to a yard that resembled an ice skating rink.

My husband was highly amused at me when I was ready to venture outside yesterday to let the girls out of the coop. I don’t think he actually realized how incredibly slick it was out there. Our standing joke is that we might fall and break a hip….realistically we aren’t kids anymore; so that isn’t too funny!

I first went out with the ice chipper gizmo that we have. I opened the door and tried chopping through the ice layer that was on the driveway so I would have somewhere to step without sliding.  I quickly discovered that was not a good technique.

I was starting to think I might have to crawl out there or somehow sled my way over to the coop. (Now there is a visual image!) After a little brainstorming I decided to try using the ashes that had come out of the wood stove just that morning. They were still hot so I found a tin can to scoop them out with.

I am here to report that using hot wood ashes on ice is a great way to go!  It kind of sizzled it’s way into the ice layer and gave a very nice path to walk on. The only downside was the tin can I was using to spread the ashes kept getting pretty toasty. I was pretty tickled with my ingenuity! Even my husband was slightly impressed with how well that worked.

Our trees hung onto their ice coating till this morning. Once the sun started hitting them it looked like it was raining under the trees. Huge drops of water and bits of ice kept sparkling in the sun as they dropped to the ground. There was something exquisite about a rain shower that resembled diamonds.

By this afternoon you needed boots to get across the yard as the ice had turned to mud.  I think this might just be a really early foretaste of what spring will look like on the farmyard. It was wonderful to be outside and not have your fingertips get so cold they hurt.

The day just seemed to be issuing an invitation to venture out and see what it had to offer. That was an offer to good to pass up. My husband spent the day catching up on outdoor chores that had been put aside on the cold winter days. I also did some catching up with chicken chores. I must confess to several (okay more than several) long pauses spent just stopping and enjoying the day.

Today was a gift in it’s own way. It was a small vacation from the gray, cold that is winter. It was a promise of the seasons to come.  I know it will not last.  I know that winter is still here and will grace us with snow and more icy blasts before giving way to the warmth of spring. But for today, I will take the sunshine and the promise of days that smell of growing things and warm spring breezes.

“Despite the forecast, live like it’s spring.”
Lilly Pulitzer