November 13, 2006

How sweet it is


I have been so fortunate in my life. This isn't to say that my life has been easy because it has been anything but. What makes me one of the lucky ones, is that I have survived all of the hardships of my life and they have made me stronger and made me acutely aware of what is most important. Nothing means more to me than my friends and family.

I have been blessed with some of the best girlfriends in the world and I have been lucky enough to spend quality time with 3 of them this past month: Betsy, Carrie & Amy. These women are truly like sisters to me. I am not lucky enough to have biological sisters but these women fill that void for me. I know I could go to any one of them (and I have) with my problems and they would be there for me. No matter what. It is a feeling I wish for all the women I know.

For a long time I put my friendships on the back burner and didn't make time for them in my day to day life. I focused on my family and was happy to do that but at some point I realized I was missing out. I actually made a New Years resolution one year to focus more on my female friendships. Thank God I did.

These relationships make me a better person. You enrich my life. You are supportive. You are beautiful. You give me something that I can't get anywhere else. You fill me with awe at how smart, strong, and giving women are.

So for those of you who are my friends "in real life", and for those of you who I have gotten to know and adore "virtually", I invite you to sit with me and enjoy this small treat. Lets share our dreams & worries over an oatmeal bar & know that I will always be there for you. No matter what.


Oatmeal Bars

48 soft caramel candy cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Coat a 9-by-13- inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line with a 9-by-21-inch sheet of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each short side. Put caramels and cream in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until caramels are melted, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
2. Stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and the salt in a large bowl. Blend in butter with a fork or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal; press half of mixture onto bottom of lined pan. Bake until just set and starting to color around edges, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes.
3. Sprinkle crust with chocolate chips; drizzle with caramel mixture. Top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350° until pale golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

8 comments:

  1. I loved reading your post today! I couldn't agree more about the power of friendship!
    Your oatmeal bar recipe sounds delicious ~ and if I'm lucky, maybe a girlfriend will come over for tea and share it with me. I'll tell her Jen gave me the recipe!

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  2. Jen, what a lovely post. I imagine that your friends adore you as you adore them. I will certainly be trying out the oatmeal bars!

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  3. Jen I love your post today. Friendships really are one of the most special things we share with each other. Being a military family for 30 years my dear friends are spread all over the globe but like you I know anytime I can count on each and every one of them. Knowing you has made me a better person too as I count you as one of my very special net friends. RJ

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  4. What a heartfelt post! I know that for me personally, I am very happy that I've "met" you and consider you a special friend too! Thank you for the yummy recipe - will definitely be trying that one. Oh, and you should share your sweet potato casserole recipe too as it is SO GOOD and thanks to your generosity a couple of years ago, it is now one of our family's traditional Thanksgiving favorites!
    Kim

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  5. Jen, your sentiments are dead on. We as women need time with and the support of our friends outside of what we give to our families. I think it recharges us and makes us better mothers and wives. (And time with my girlfriends sure is fun!) Your bars sound divine! I can't wait to try them. By the way, what temp. do you bake them on? Lou Ann

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  6. Glad you ladies share my sentiments!

    Lou Ann- Sorry about that! 350°. I've added it to the recipe now.

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  7. Oh I know what you mean. I have lived in Florida in the winter for nine years and have not found that wonderful friend that is like a sole mate. Have many wonderful friends in Ohio so you can now see why I want to go Home......family and friends is what it is about.....

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  8. Having moved away from what was "home" last year, the first thing I missed was our friends - we didn't know a soul where we moved to. I think I probably make more of an effort now than I used to! Will have to try out your oatmeal bar recipe!

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Thank you for taking the time to say hello today! I always love to hear what you have to say.