My perfect weekend usually involves a tasty dinner on Friday night. Saturday morning kind of early with coffee, a slow and tasty breakfast with the dog and the hubby, grocery shopping, reading a good book in a coffee shop, then walking the dog around our neighborhood. Lazy Sunday, more reading and coffee, some baking, some TV, and a little bit of work to remind myself of the upcoming week.
See the theme? Lots of coffee and lots of reading. This is why I was so happy with the recent New York Times article about how fiction influences how our brain develops and how we view the world. Reading, for me, is a totally different experience than TV. It's engaging with a story on a whole new level. Being able to get into the minds of the characters, commiserating with their feelings, hating that you can see where they are coming from, slowly falling in love with a originally despicable character. It provides a totally different level of entertainment.
More so, I wholeheartedly agree with school of thought that believe reading fiction to children at a young age, and allowing them to explore books, will help them learn how to navigate social situations in the future, and develop their empathy skills. When you read Ramona and Beezus, or a Wrinkle in Time, the evocative description allows you to enter the mind of people perhaps wholly unlike yourself, and see things from their perspective.
Anyways, you can see what books I've read/am reading on my Chopdio page. My tastes usually run towards the young adult fantasy fiction (think Hunger Games, rather than Twilight). I'm currently reading Once a Witch, great book if you're into the Wiccan world!
Anyways, this schpeel on books and fiction was prompted by an amazing breakfast bar I made this past weekend: Raspberry Breakfast Bars!
These bars are are layered...you get the initial granola-brown sugar situation, then a burst of tart raspberries, then finished off with another layer of rolled oat goodness. Super simple, quite tasty, and healthful!
Raspberry Breakfast Bars
modified from smitten kitchen
Crust and Top Layer
1 cup all purpose flour (you can also do 1.5 cups all purpose flour)
0.5 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1.25 cups rolled oats
0.75 tsp. salt
0.75 tsp. baking powder
0.5 tsp. baking soda
0.5 tsp. cinnamon
0.75 unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
0.25 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 lb. frozen or fresh raspberries
1 tsp. lemon zest
0.5 tsp. cinnamon
0.25 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 350F
Line a 9x9 or 9x13 inch pan. In a bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients for the crust and mix together.
Add in the cubed butter, and get your hands in there and smoosh up the butter until you get pea-size pieces of butter mixed in with the flour, etc. Reserve 1-1.5 cups of the mixture for the topping, depending on how much you like. Now, take the rest of the mixture and dump it into the pan, and push it down into a crust. You can use the back of a spoon to make sure it's flat.
Then in a separate bowl, mix together the filling ingredients. Mix well, and then toss that on top of the crust, and carefully, so as to not damage the crust, spread it evenly.
Then top it off with the rest of the topping. Use the back of a spoon to flatten the whole bar situation.
Pop it in the oven for around 45 minutes. Every 15 minutes, rotate the pan. You'll know it's done when the sides are bubbling a bit. You can top it off with a sprinkle of brown sugar. Wait till it's cool, and cut them up into pretty bars!