Since we last spoke, something exciting happened. Our family grew! My sister-in-law got married in a beautiful ceremony on Block Island. So we gained her husband, and his sister and the rest of his family. We are so incredibly happy for them and are so grateful we were able to be a part of their transition to husband and wife.
Did you know today is my birthday? Well it is, though didn’t seem that way – aside from the card and the birthday cake and the flowers. Normally on my birthday I feel different – special somehow. This year was different. Growing up I always had this vision that 25 was the age that I should have things worked out. Not entirely, but at least be on the right path. In my childhood visions I would have the career of a 25 year old (in my desired field but still coming up the ranks), and the wardrobe of a 25 year old (fun, professional and classy). I would be confident and comfortable in my own skin. I would have a plan for how to accomplish my goals. On my twenty-fifth birthday, last year, I felt okay with where I was. It was as if I was on the right track. I had a great job, I was engaged, we moved to a place where we could live a better life, and I was eating well and exercising. Flip to one year later and I don’t feel so optimistic – in fact I may possibly be in a blue period. I still have the same job, and yes now we are married and we have a pup, but I feel more lost than I have in quite some time. Overwhelmed with day-to-day tasks both at home and at work. Unsure of how my decisions today buy-in to my overall plans. It is as if there is a disconnect between past, present and future. I have very little motivation, a surplus of tired days (and tasks to complete) and excuses for why I am not exercising or why I am consuming the candy in my coworker’s candy drawer. It’s crazy to me that even a vacation didn’t shake me out of this mood. You would think sun, sand, cocktails and family would help put things in perspective. No such luck apparently.
This is normal though, right? I’ve looked in to this, more research I know, and it seems that it is common in twenty-somethings to have this crisis of confidence if you will. Not helping the ‘crisis’ is the difficult economy and job market, and the bleak outlook in politics, healthcare, education, etc. Last night I felt the only way I could fight the blue was a throw-back. It had to be something from my past and something that makes the impossible seem possible. For me, one no-brainer combination is peanut butter and chocolate. The creamy peanut butter and the bitter chocolate seem to just meet in the middle and yield something almost savory and soulful. The bars I decided to make were not a volume treat, but a small dose item.
Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate
- 1 cup reduced-fat peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2/3 cup egg whites
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chocolate chips, divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, whip butter, oil and peanut butter until well mixed. Gradually add in sugar until the mixture does not appear grainy.
- Slowly add in egg and egg whites one at a time mixing well after each addition. Next stir in the vanilla extract.
- Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet in two portions, mixing well after each addition. Fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips.
- Pour peanut butter mix into prepared pan and spread evenly.
- Bake approximately 28 minutes until golden-brown around the edges and set in the center. Let cool 5 minutes.
- Pour remaining cup of chocolate chips onto the peanut butter cookie and let chips melt slightly. As the chips melt, use a spatula to spread the chocolate over the top of the cookie, almost like frosting a cake/cookie.
- Let cool to room temperature, covered, before slicing and serving. *In the desert and especially in the summer, I let this cool for about 25 minutes before placing in the refrigerator. *
I cut these bad boys in to 36 pieces. They are only a few bites, but just enough to get the taste.