It’s the middle of the week and I think it’s a perfect time to share one of my favorite go-to snacks. I love these Oatmeal Raisin bars because they’re healthy and they’re easy to make. I used to reach for those protein bars and then those other “nice” bars (you know the ones I talking about) and various other bars for my mid-morning snack with a cup of tea. Then I got to a point where I realized some of those bars are just as bad as a candy bar. Go ahead, read some of those labels. And the other bars while they have real foods in them (don’t get me started on the ingredients that I can’t pronounce in packaged foods) I found them to be held together by something gooey and sugary and I didn’t like the taste or texture. Ugh. So I now make my own bars. And today’s recipe is an Oatmeal Raisin bar that is easy, fast and flexible. Best of all, you know exactly what you’re putting into the bar.
When I’m in the mood a little chocolate, I had a handful of chips to the batter. When I want to take the bars up a notch I substitute the raisins with dried cherries and add in dark chocolate chips. Like the bars as is but like and added kick of cinnamon, then sprinkle a little extra. You really can’t do anything wrong to this recipe.
Happy Monday! I know, I’ve been MIA for a few weeks. Life and writing kind of took over for a bit but now I’m back and I decided that for today’s Coffee & Chat I’d answer 5 questions. That’s right. 5 questions. I have my coffee so lets get chatting.
Where would you fly right now if you could hop in a plane? Costa Rica, baby. The reason? To visit the Sloth Sanctuary of course. I keep seeing videos online and I want to go and hang out with the sloths.
When did you learn how to swim? Never did. My uncle did try to teach me but I was certain I was going to drown. I really wasn’t a very good student. But I do love the water. I just can’t swim.
What did you do the summer after high school? I worked as a secretary for a scale company. Yes, it was as boring as it sounds. They sold scales to commercial businesses and medical practices. I remember the owner bragged that his neighbor was Joan Jett, like that was suppose to impress me. It didn’t and I didn’t last long at that office.
Have you ever used a typewriter? Oh, yeah. I was in elementary school when I got my first typewriter and I graduated up to an IBM Selectric typewriter (remember those babies?) it was the Cadillac of typewriters. Then I upgraded to a PC and I haven’t looked back. Though I think it would be cool to own an antique typewriter. Maybe I’ll find one at a flea market one day.
What is your favorite thing to do on a cold day? I like to curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee or tea. I also love to bake on a cold day. Cupcakes or cookies are usually my go-to for cold day baking. Then I venture outside in the cold, wintry weather to deliver the treats to my neighbors (otherwise I’ll eat them all). So, reading does keep in inside all toasty warm.
There you have it. Five questions answered. 🙂 I’m going to finish my coffee now and I’d love it if you’d like to answer one of these questions.
If you prefer not to answer one of the questions, please feel free to say “hi” in the comments section!
Happy Monday! Can you believe that it’s the 16th of January already? This month is flying by. Weren’t we all just ringing in the new year and committing to a resolution? I’m not going to ask if you’ve broken your resolution yet. 🙂 Rather, we’re going to move onto our Coffee & Chat question, which is “do you wander when you go shopping, or are you focused on a prepared list?” Since I’m writing a food blogger amateur sleuth I’m going to focus on grocery shopping. Hope Early, the food blogger/sleuth in the series does a lot of grocery shopping and we do share the same method of shopping. I have a full cup of coffee so lets get chatting.
When I go weekly grocery shopping I do have a detailed list. I am a list maker. Always have been. For grocery shopping I use a steno pad and I break up my list by categories. Produce, canned goods, pasta, beverages, butcher department, diary, frozen, breads, personal care, etc. My grocery list is based on the design of my local Stop & Shop. I also include a brief menu for the coming week. I cross off the items I’ve added to my cart as I go through the store and make notes if I need to pick up an item at a different store. One time a sweet lady approached me while I was waiting for a couple of steaks and admired how organized I was with my list.
Here’s a look at one of the pages in the steno pad from a shopping trip.
I can’t imagine not having the list with me. I can’t. My goal is to get into the store and out as quickly as possible. Round trip, it usually takes me an hour to buy the groceries. And I do prefer self-checkout so that I can bag the groceries the way I want to. I do admit I’m a little OCD when it comes to the way the bags are packed but it’s really about being able to unpack the bags and put the groceries away quickly. Probably the least favorite part of grocery shopping is putting the groceries away.
There you have it. You now know how I grocery shop. 🙂 I’m going to finish my coffee now and I’d love to know if you’re a list maker or not.
If you prefer not to tell the world if you’re a list maker or not please feel free to say “hi” in the comments section!
I decided to start this series of posts because writers get a lot of questions from people and one of the most common questions is – where do your ideas come from. Every writer’s answer will be different and an interesting note is that a group of writers could be shown on photograph as a writing prompt and each writer would have a different story idea. And even if two writers had the same story idea, their story would be unique to her and to her genre. As you can tell by now, this isn’t an easy question to answer. But I think (I hope so) that you’ll enjoy the explanation of my process. I have a full cup of coffee so lets get chatting.
Luckily a story idea sparked just the other day for a series I am in the process of creating and because of that I can’t provide too many details. But I think I can share just enough for you to understand how this writer’s mind works. Shall we begin?
On New Year’s Eve I took my 13 year old Shih-Tzu (I hope she’ll forgive me for sharing her age) out to do a little shopping. We went to the local pet shop to buy food and bird seed. She greeted a bunch of people and she was lavished with attention from another Shih-Tzu mom who wanted to know where Susie went from grooming. After we packed the car I decided to take Susie for a walk over at an open space in town that used to house a state mental hospital. The property, which is over 180 acres, used to be a state run psychiatric hospital and now is owned by the town and is being re-purposed. But the project isn’t complete and there are still abandoned buildings on the property such as the one below.
Let me just say now that there is a creepy history to the property. The stories are endless since the buildings that housed and cared for thousands of patients were connected buy underground tunnels. Let that sink into your mind for a bit. Get the picture? Creepy. Anyway, the property is slowly being turned into a space where residents can walk, run, bike, horseback ride and there are open fields for sports. It’s also the place for concerts and art shows. But for a writer, like me, it’s also a place for ideas.
Back to the walk. We passed by the building above as we walked along the sidewalk but Susie wanted to get closer to the building (several of the buildings have warning signs to stay away for safety reasons but this building didn’t have a sign) and I tried to distract her, after all we had a walk to continue on with. She wasn’t budging. She wanted to get closer to the building. Now my imagination is kicking in. Did she hear something? Smell something? Sense something? I allowed her to continue forward and she sniffed her way up the steps and around the side of the building. I let her continue on while my mind started turning over a story question – what if….and that led me to an idea for a second book in a different series I’m outlining now. What if she (my protagonist) is out walking her dog at a similar location to Fairfield Hills and the dog leads her to a dead body and it’s the first of several as a serial killer emerges. Boom! Story idea!
That is how writers get ideas. From innocent walks with dogs, from ordinary trips to the grocery store to the nightly news. There’s a story idea practically in every thing a writer sees, hears, or experiences.
I’m going to finish my coffee now and I’d love to know what sparks your imagination.