Care Packages and People You Should Know

I only have five words for you this week:  Get Your Flu Shot Early.

Yes, I am laid low.  Me, who never gets sick.

So instead of giving you my voice, I’m sending you in search of other voices today.  Here are the three best blog posts I have read this week.  I hope they make you feel and think as deeply as they did me.

First, Heather Atwood of Food For Thought takes you to her little corner of Italy to introduce you to Nonna Nina and Italian Bread Pudding.

Next is Sarah Kelly, transplanted Ohioan, thoughtful and smart woman, author of The Roving Home.  After traveling to her hometown this summer, Sarah (now-Rockport dwelling Sarah) had much to say about commonalities between old home and adopted home in Everybody Loves a Banjo.

Finally, join Tammy McLeod for some blackberry picking at Agrigirl’s Blog.  With the title of this post – Rumble and Ramble in Blackberry Jamble – Tammy transported me to my early days as a mom, reading and reading again Bruce Degen’s fabulous story about blackberry picking and jam making.

These days, no longer mom of young children, I find myself sending care packages off to my college freshman.  Last weekend, he received a box of Peanut Butter Oatmeal Brownies – something I hadn’t made in a long while, but a confection I knew he loved when younger.

He sent this text in response:  “What is this baked good you sent?”

Me:  “Peanut Butter Oatmeal Brownies.  Pretending to be somewhat healthy.”

Him:  “Haha!  I’ll have one later.”

Him, later that day:  “I remember these!  I love these!  Wow, thanks!”

You’ll love them too.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Brownies

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar of natural peanut butter, smooth or chunky
  • 2 cups whole rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray with non-stick spray a 13-inch by 9-inch baking pan.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the soft butter, peanut butter and 2 sugars until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Stir in flour and oats.  Do not overbeat.

Spread mixture evenly into baking pan.  Smooth top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.  Test for doneness at 25 minutes.  A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean with only a few crumbs and not wet batter attached to it.

Cool completely before cutting into 24 brownies.

Ready for mailing or enjoying at home with a tall glass of cold milk.

©2011  Jane A. Ward