Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chocolate Chip Hash Bars

My husband feeds my love of cookbooks and a few weeks ago he came home with a new one that he snagged for a few dollars at an antique store - 1963 Favorite Recipes of Friends from St. Elizabeth's Church, Duluth, MN.  I read the recipe titles out loud and the ingredient lists to Uriah one night and we were laughing so hard.  I am going to have to try some of these recipes because they are too weird to be terrible!  For example: Party Lunch, submitted by Mrs. Wm. Ritchie includes hot milk, tuna, hard boiled eggs and pimentos, among other savory ingredients.  Sounds like a party to me...maybe.  Or Roadside Potatoes, submitted by Mrs. Robert Bubalo, includes, obviously potatoes, but also green pepper, onion, Amercian Cheese and covered in hot milk "so the potatoes don't turn black."  The hot milk is a curiosity to me; it shows up in a lot of recipes.

Anyway, one of the recipes we came across was for Chocolate Chip Hash Bars, which, since the cookbooks was from 1963, we had our doubts about the original origin, but the ingredient list was all legal, so I proceeded to make them for Father's Day.  Those church ladies sure do know their bars!  These were amazing and if you have to bring something to your Fourth of July picnic next week, might I suggest these?    The original recipe calls for 2 cups of chocolate chips, but my husband is a fan of butterscotch chips, so I did one cup chocolate and 1 cup butterscotch.  Ever the loving wife, I am!

Happy almost weekend!  Do you have big plans or are you saving up for the weekend after the 4th?  I think it's so strange when holidays fall in the middle of the week, so instead of partying either the weekend before or the weekend after, we are utilizing the whole week by heading to the dirty, dirty South to stay with my sister.  Right now we are busy packing and cleaning in preparation.  Everything I try to fold and organize, Finn tells me he needs to "sort" (read: throw all over the room.  Very annoying.  I currently have him "packing" his books and toys).

I am packing this cookbook because I'm sure I will be making these bars at some point next week!


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
To make the crust, mix and make a crumb mixture.  Press into a 9x13" baking pan, reserving 3/4 cup for topping.  Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 15 minutes.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1-1/2 cup coconut
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (or 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup butterscotch chips

Beat the eggs and vanilla.  Add brown sugar, baking powder, flour and beat until mixed and smooth.  Stir in the coconut and the chocolate chips.  Spread mixture evenly over the bottom crust layer.  Sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture on the top and return to the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Cool and cut into bars.  Dust with powder sugar.

Thanks for submitting this one, Mrs. Harold R. Evens!
Favorite Recipes of Friends | 1963 | St Elizabeth's Church, Duluth MN 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What's new?

Abby's decided that she doesn't really want to be photographed or in any way immortalized this summer.  I guess that's what the early teen years will do to a girl, but we are a family and we do family things and I will document it.  I don't want her to look back on the summer of 2013 and wonder why all of our pictures of our family trips and family fun-days are just of Finn.  I told her if she chooses to be uncooperative, then I will these kinds of pictures and I am okay with that:

In other big Abby news, the girl has been living with us for 5 years.  Some days it feels like only yesterday we smuggled her off in our car, blazing a westerly trail across Missouri, each of us reeling with the change of events.  It was the beginning of a long summer and none of us were prepared for the whirlwind 5 years that followed.  I admit at least weekly to Uriah that I thought this whole process would be different.  Usually I wonder why it isn't easier, and so I've spent the last 5 years trying to reconcile the way I thought it would be - this raising someone else's kid - and the way it really is.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: step-parenting is hands-down the hardest kind of parenting.  I feel like I could write a book on the subject.

And this boy.  Oh...this boy.  He went to his first birthday party this month - I dropped him off and picked him back up a few hours later, and I nearly started crying as I drove home because he's such a big boy.  Will this be what leaving him at school for Kindergarten is like?  If so, I think I'll need to give serious consideration to home schooling because I don't think my heart can take it!

And so we are weaving our way through this summer.  It's full as a tick already.  We're spending next week in the dirty, dirty South with my sister and brother-in-law.  My precious sugar pie nephew will be hanging out with us all week long (we've sprung him from daycare for the week!  Lucky him.  But mostly lucky us!).  I'll get a good dose of baby-fix, the kids will get some cousin/auntie/uncle time and Uriah will be lonely and pining for us back here in Minnesota.

I was lamenting to Uriah last night that I just haven't been writing enough lately.  I have things to say, but the words seem to get stuck between my head and my fingers.  I guess I just need to power through and see what comes of it.  So...more writing for the rest of the summer.  Pinky-promise.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

On my mind today: Gardens and rain and furniture.

It is rainy and foggy and a little bit chilly today.  Good for growing grass and flowers, I suppose.  I have already cleaned my kitchen (mostly, anyway.  I still have the floors to do.  I always run out of steam  by the floors and wish I could leave them for a merry house elf to finish.), I've started on the bathroom, stripped the beds and made a pot of chicken noodle soup.  Day, accomplished, I'd say.  But probably not since I still have to finish the bathroom and the kitchen floors and re-make the beds.

Finn has been napping all afternoon.  Literally since right after lunch - and we ate lunch before the noon bells rang because he was starving and losing his wee toddler mind.  Growth spurt, I suppose, but maybe Uriah and I wore him out yesterday with all of our furniture shopping.  We have been trying to find a set of bunk beds, either to split apart and put one in each of the kid's rooms or just leave together in Finn's room.  Furniture shopping is not our forte and we had to take a snack break half-way through.  I may have lost my own mind over the insane number of handicap parking spaces in downtown Duluth - as in: every single meter had a handicap sticker on it.  Turns out, what look like handicap signs are really just notices that handicap parking stickers have a certain amount of time to park at the meter - maybe free of charge? - and everyone else can park there, too?  I don't know, I'm guessing.  All I know is after about 3 circles of two different blocks, I finally made Uriah back up into an empty space, I shoved our quarters into one of the damned meters with the white handicap sticker and we walked another block to the furniture store.  We did not get a parking ticket and I apologized twenty times to Uriah for the harsh words I spoke out of hunger.  All that to say we did not purchase anything yesterday.  6 furniture stores and not one purchase.  But, at least we have an idea of what we might want.  I guess.  Or we just wasted an afternoon watching Finn climb the bunk bed ladders and pretend he was a fireman.

So, while Finn naps his Saturday away, I'm ignoring the kitchen floors that are screaming to be swept, and I'm playing with my garden pictures instead.  I inherited the most beautiful gardens with this house last summer and I'm just trying to keep them alive.  And trying to figure out what's planted in them.  Green is shooting up everywhere, along with some red leafy things and some purples and yellows, and the lilac and hydrangea bushes are budding, and the lily of the valley are going to be everywhere very soon.  I could look at those gardens all day long and constantly find something new bursting up through the long as I can keep the bunnies and the deer away, that is.