Monday, May 9, 2011

Learn to Write at a Farmers Market

Jams made in Jamesport, Missouri - photo by Carol Newman


The day before Mother's Day, Gentleman Friend and I took ourselves to the City Market in Kansas City. The place was packed, but in a good way. Everyone a flower-fruit-and-vegetable lover.

We bought jam made in the Jamesport, Missouri Amish community: black raspberry, cherry, and plum.

At breakfast Sunday morning, we had a "serious" discussion about which flavor was best. To help make my point that the raspberry -- no, the plum -- no, the cherry -- was best, I examined the list of ingredients on each jar: fruit, sugar, pectin. That was it. Perfectly simple. Perfectly delicious.

Writing can be like that. Many people who come to a life story writing class "warn" me that neither are they "writers" nor have they had an exciting life. I assure them it doesn't matter. A story honestly told in a straightforward style is deliciously irresistible. Just like homemade jam.


Three simple ingredients. What are three things you need/love/have to have? Three small things that bring you joy? Three simple gifts you would like to pass on?

CHOCOLATE INKWELL - This is the first thing I ever in my life baked so you won't be surprised to see it is a familiar recipe. The recipe today is from Back when I first made it, I found the recipe in a magazine and had no idea what Eagle Brand was. Isn't Eagle Brand wonderful? Perfectly simple yumminess in a can.

Magic Cookie Bars

No-Stick Cooking Spray

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk

2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts


HEAT oven to 350°F. Coat 13 x 9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.

COMBINE graham cracker crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with fork.

BAKE 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Loosen from sides of pan while still warm; cool on wire rack. Cut into bars or diamonds.

For perfectly cut cookie bars, line entire pan with foil, extending foil over edge of pan. Coat lightly with no-stick cooking spray. After bars have baked and cooled, lift up with edges of foil to remove from pan. Cut into bars.


SUBSTITUTE chocolate chips or nuts with candy coated pieces, dried cranberries, raisins, mini-marshmallows or butterscotch chips.

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