If you were to stop by my house today, you might think I’ve lost my mind. You’d wonder about this because of the state of my kitchen, which looks like it exploded.
It all started with my friend Phyllis and her giant chest freezer. In it, she had a big hunk of meat neatly wrapped in white butcher paper. All she knew about it was that it was beef, and that she’d grown tired of lifting it from one side of the freezer to the other, back and forth, as she reached for other, smaller items, like a chicken or a bag of tater tots. “It might be chuck,” she said with a shrug.
I got it home and unwrapped it to find a beautiful standing rib roast. Which I thawed, and cooked, and we all ate a big meal at the dining room table, as if it were already Christmas.
And now today, the real work began. I cubed the leftover meat and put it in the crockpot with ingredients for chili. Then, I roasted the bones and put them in a pot for soup. And, because I am completely, crazily adverse to wasting even the tiniest bit of food, when the soup was done I gave the bones to Bailey.
While all this was going on, I decided, Why not roast the huge squash, too? And its seeds? And while I’m at it, Why not begin a little holiday baking?
So I did. All of it. The only good thing about this craziness is that I can wrap and freeze the food I made today, and some distant night in the future, when I’m too tired to even think about what to make for supper, I can pull out a meal and by then, I will have (mostly) forgotten about the hard work, and it will almost feel as if dinner were made by magic little freezer elves.
The best success of the day was the holiday baking. I tried a recipe for raspberry chocolate bars that I adapted from Kraft Foods (mine has less sugar, more nuts and more chocolate). I used a jar of jam that Avery and I had made last summer and just like always, the memories made me smile (I think they’re what make the jam taste so good.)
Raspberry Chocolate Bars
1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup flake coconut
1 cup chopped almonds
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 jar (12 oz.) raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 350. Mix flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl. Cut in butter, work until batter resembles coarse crumbs. Add oats, coconut, almonds and mix lightly.
Press half of the crumbs into a greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkled with chocolate chips. Spread jam over chips. Top with remaining crumb mixture.
Bake 30 min. until lightly browned. Cool. Enjoy!