Mar 27, 2013

healthier oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip bars

I'm doing it again.  I started reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver again yesterday.  It's Spring Break and I decided to read, since pleasure reading rarely never happens when classes are in session.

I read it for the first time nearly two years ago and it kind of really changed my life.  Now, reading it this second time is a little more dangerous.  I now have a yard.

Let me back up for a second.  The book is an account of Kingsolver's family as they go a year living on only what food they can produce themselves or what they can buy locally (with a few important exceptions like coffee, olive oil, and chocolate....I knew I liked them from the beginning).  They undertake the challenge for environmental, health, self-sustainability and culinary reasons (yes, the fresh tomato picked this morning from a local farm in July does taste better than the one flown in from Peru in February).  They focus very much on the seasonality of food that society has kind of forgotten about in the past couple of decades, since now at grocery superstores you can get whatever produce item you might want whatever day of the year.

Anyways, besides taking part in Fresh Fork again this year, I decided that I want to start a garden, granted, not a big garden, as we get TONS of fruits and veggies from the CSA, but a garden nonetheless.  The difference I found reading the book this time around is that I actually can plant a garden.  I'm considering five color silverbeets, Cherokee purple tomatoes, and a few herbs to start.  I've done a lot of research the past couple of days on heirloom produce (non-GMO and organic) and I think that's the way we're gonna go.  I'd like to start some asparagus at some point too, but it's definitely too big of an undertaking for such a busy summer.

Anyways, continuing on the less-processed journey, I decided to try out a healthier homemade version of one of my favorite cookies, oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies!  I adjusted the original recipe a good bit to healthy it up a little, but they're still chewy, yet hardy, and decadent.

You have 100% faith in my farming abilities, right?  Oh man, it's gonna be an interesting summer.  Stay tuned...

Healthier Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
Recipe adapted from averie cooks
Makes an 8x8 pan

  •  1/4 c + 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 c peanut butter
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c white whole wheat flour
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 c chocolate chips

Begin by preheating the oven to 325 degrees and greasing an 8x8 baking pan.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil and peanut butter until it's smooth.  Add the brown sugar, whisking it in again.  Add the egg and vanilla, whisking once more.  Finally, add the white whole wheat flour, oats and baking soda, gently stirring them in, just until barely incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until the edges are just  starting to brown.  Don't overbake!  Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting.

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