Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Too Much of a Good Thing and Chocolate Devil Bars

Hi Friends in Chocolate and Writing and Whatever else Strikes Us At the Moment,

I have a new camera (a gift from my gentleman friend), and it is way smarter than I am; but here is my first shot with it.

Since our last recipe, posted lo so long ago, was "Barking" Crackers, it reminded me:
This week our thoughts are on our doggie friend, Colby, a sweet mutt (excuse me Colby) from a shelter. He woke last Thursday unable to stand on his front legs. The vet checked him out and found no problems. No tick bites. He receives tick medication regularly. Now his People are waiting to get him in to the doggie neurologist next week. Meanwhile, Colby and People are uncomfortable and anxious, but they are keeping me posted on any progress.

And since the draft of this blog post was started, lo so long ago, I am happy to report that Colby has made an (almost) complete recovery.

Now, back to the Barking Chocolate recipe. Beckyy wrote from Texas that it is a familiar favorite in her area. Leslie wrote that the recipe also can be made with Matzo crackers. And, Rachel said she served the Barking Chocolate and the Ice Cream Cake for the 4th. And, best of all, she sent along an easy recipe of her own to share with us. Thanks, Rachel.

I hope you have been as lazy as I this summer. But, with the help of our wonderful, cool weather, I am feeling ready for fall life story classes. Registration is open.
A Beginning Life Story Writing Class will meet at the Powell Community Center in Mission, Kansas on Tuesdays, from Oct. 7 - Nov. 11, 9:30 - 11:30 am. The center is at 6200 Martway, near 68th & Lamar. Fee is about $50 and includes a workbook. This is sponsored by the City of Mission Parks & Rec so call them to register: 913-722-8228.

And -- big news -- there will be an Advanced Life Story Writing Group, open to anyone who has taken one of my life story writing classes in the past. In this advanced group we will have more writing time and more sharing time. The advanced group will meet at Lenexa United Methodist Church on Thursdays, from Sept. 25 - Nov. 13, 10 - 11:30 am. The church is at 91st Terrace, 2 blocks east of Pflumm in Lenexa. It is just north of Old Downtown Lenexa. Fee is $40. Pay at first meeting. E-mail or call me, 913-681-1168, to register.

Life story writers (actually, all writers) often ask about including uncomfortable or excessive detail. I suggest they imagine a conversation with a casual friend. How much would you tell that casual friend?Well, I had not taken into account the likes of Paula Deen, the popular restaurant owner, cookbook author, and cooking show host. I have been zipping through her co-authored memoir, It Ain't All About the Cookin. Talk about TMI: Too Much Information! I absolutely could have done without the description of bird poop and roaches in her house. (Uh-oh, did I just give TMI too? Yes? Guilty.) And I could have done without the image of her and her husband lying in bed nude chatting. (I can't quit.) She excuses it by saying "I promised ya'll the truth." To which I reply, "Please, spare me."
As I always say, everything in writing is on a spectrum. Choose your place on the spectrum. If you feel uncomfortable, you've gone too far. If you feel bored, you haven't gone far enough. Paula Deen is definitely true to her persona, way out there at one extreme edge of the spectrum. You can find a place comfortable for yourself.

And now --

Chocolate Devil Bars (Rachel says that name appeals to her...)

1 pkg Devil's Food Cake Mix
1/2 c quick-cooking rolled oats
1/3 c butter, softened
1 egg
1 can chocolate Ready-to-Spread frosting in a can
8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/2 c chopped nuts
powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 13x9: pan. In large bowl, combine all BASE ingredients at low speed until crumbly; press in prepared pan. In small bowl, combine frosting, cream cheese and egg at low speed until well blended; beat at highest speed until smooth. Stir in nuts; spread over BASE. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until firm. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into bars. 36 bars.