Monday, November 26, 2012

Season of Happy Thanks- Nutty Buddy Blessing Bars

What a weekend! Normally on this day, four days past one of my favorite holidays I would be sitting and telling you of all of the good memories and good food we had and recipes we made and trees we trimmed and good times we had. But, this was not that kind of year, at least, not in that way. This was our year to be with my family. For any of you married or part of a family you know all about splitting the holidays and sharing your time equally. This year was the year to "be with my family" since we were with my family during Christmas last year. Since I have been working much more these days we decided to do something we have never done before since it was just going to be our family and my parents. With permission from my mom I called my favorite restaurant and reserved us a spot at my favorite chain restaurant, Maggiano's. I have been telling my parents about Maggiano's for years, about their cream sauce that makes you want to shrink up to the size of a marshmallow so that you can bathe in the Romano cream sauce bouncing from one fluffy chicken and spinach filled manicotti to another, and the 7" high dark chocolate ganache coated cake, so rich and dense it must be followed with a shot of dark coffee. I made these reservations in September and had been dreaming about what their version of turkey and stuffing would taste like and about the pecan streusel topped pumpkin cheesecake. 
Then the storm hit. 
I woke up abruptly on Thanksgiving day to the end of a vividly wild and terrifying dream, the kind that you wake up and say a prayer of thankfulness because it was not real. The kind that has you on the edge of your bed and your stomach in I thought, until I realized that it was the stomach bug taking over my body. My parents sat and stirred not knowing what to do then finally packed up their bags, took the boys to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, cancelled our reservations and headed home. I stayed in bed for the better part of 22 hours waiting for the alien who had taken over my insides to leave.
The next day while still trying to recover from the violence that had occurred the day before the salesman threw his back out. He became immediately immobile which meant that I needed to quickly put on my nurse hat to begin taking care of him. My plans for black Friday store hopping and cookie baking quickly flew out the door. Then on Sunday when I was finally starting to feel normal again I decided to take some of our left over Christmas decoration boxes downstairs and missed the last two steps which ended with me twisting my ankle in an unhealthy position and my body being thrown on the ground in such a fashion that I am still feeling the aftermath 24 hours later. I let out loud screams and ugly cries, the kind that scared my children the floor above me and ruffled my hair. This is not what I wanted. This is not the plan I had for the day. I just wanted to rest and finish tree trimming and make cocoa and cookies and sing Christmas carols. But that is what I wanted. 
I just finished re-reading my favorite book in the world and in the back she has a chapter called, "Happy Thanksgiving". She says, "even though I did the meal part of Thanksgiving twice, I never did the thanks part, the part where you stop and think about the year, and think about what you're thankful for, or what you've been given, or the gratitude you feel toward the people you love and to God for his good gifts". Whoa. 
It's not about me. It's not about what I wanted. I think that this weekend, in all of this craziness, is just what I needed. My plans of mile high lasagna and middle of the night shopping madness were not what I needed. My "thanksgiving" dinner consisting of saltines and flat ginger ale followed by Phenergan were not what I wanted. What I needed was a good kick in the pants to force me to sit and be still, and that's what I got. I needed to be thankful for my parent’s health that they can make the trip. To be thankful for dear friends who rushed over a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner when they found out about all that was going on. To be thankful for a house I can decorate with meaningless stuff and for children who will hear my cries of pain and come over to wipe my tears away and offer kisses to help my boo boo's go away. Thank you God! Please let me ever be mindful of your goodness. In my daily devotional book for today it states, "Instead of trying to be in control, you relax and make me (God) the center of your life. This is the way I created you to live, and it is a way of Joy." 
So, today as I write to you with one ankle tightly wrapped up and a heart that is striving to make peace with the events of the week I share with you the only homemade item that came out of my kitchen from the past 72 hours. I had promised my muffins we would make cookies all weekend. One thing led to another and since I am so strong headed I knew that I had to do this in order to sleep soundly last night. After resting for hours yesterday and keeping my foot on so much ice that my toes were blue I decided to hobble to the kitchen, clear away a section of counter space and make a batch of sweets with my babies. This recipe couldn't be easier or more delicious. It tastes just like the Little Debbie Nutty Buddy Bars. Being with my babies for a few minutes letting them each take turns with smashing the cereal and stirring the pot was the blessing I needed to end this weekend. That and a prayer for true Thanksgiving to our wonderful and merciful Savior who was, and is, and is to come! 

Nutty Buddy Blessing Bars

2 cups crushed Cap'n Crunch Cereal- crushed (you want some chunks so don't kill it all!)
1 stick of salted butter, melted
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Combine all of the above in a small bowl and stir by hand. Spread into a 9" round pie pan and throw in the fridge. 
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in-between, until it is melted. I usually need three, 30 second rounds. Once melted, spread the chocolate over the peanut butter layer and return to the fridge until it is set. 
Cut in thin wedges to serve. 

Enjoy Y'all!

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