More birthday baked goods: peanut butter crispy bars

by | Apr 7, 2009 | baking, Food | 17 comments

A week ago, on my birthday, Eli and I decided to do some birthday browsing at our local bookstore, which is something we haven’t done in forever. I was feeling all birthday-happy and decided to get the boys some stickers. They love stickers so much but they’re so fleeting. It’s like 20 minutes of intense stickering, and then it’s over.

After school, Henry had an inexplicable meltdown about the stickers I’d gotten him. Something about having wanted three kangaroo stickers instead of the two he got. Which made me want to rip the stickers out of his hands and say, “You’re going to complain about the present I get you, then you don’t get any present!” He was whining incoherently, and I was pantomiming strangling him behind his back, and please tell me I’m not the only parent who does that.

And suddenly behind me, there was a gentle knock-knock-knock, and I turn around, and there’s Scott and Stacey on our back porch, with Scott gives me a good hearty thumbs up. Bleh. Nothing like having your childless friends appear during a typical child wig-out. I’m glad they’re such good friends that I didn’t feel like I needed to explain.

Especially because they were bringing birthday baked goods! There was some incredible cranberry biscotti, which I couldn’t photograph because we ate it too quickly. Also some peanut butter chocolate chip rice crispy bars which were amazing and I think Stacey said they were somewhat healthy but honestly I couldn’t hear her over the horrible screaming coming from my children. Scott and Stacey got a good demonstration of how children = cats when I buckled and said, “Do you want TREATS?” and the boys yelled, “Yes! Yes!” and ran to my ankles and rubbed against my legs while I unwrapped the rice crispy bars. And hurrah for protein because they were much better behaved after gobbling down their treats.

I’m sure when Scott and Stacey left they got into their cute little car and sighed with happy relief that they don’t have children. I wonder if they saw me run to the window and gaze longingly at them as they drove away.


  1. sutswana

    Community Center parking lot, last Saturday, post-swim lessons: both girls went from happy/joyful kiddos to suddenly being imPOSSible and demonstrating awful behavior and piercing whining. I’d had enough and started to pelt them with inane parental threats such as, “We just won’t GO to swimming anymore if you act like this! No more PANcakes for BREAKfast! It’s all SUGar!” and so on. I caught sight of at least two other parents gently settling their compliant, sweet, post-swimming offspring into their car seats and looking at me like I had sprouted devil horns.
    No, you are not alone.

  2. Julie

    Thank you. And I’m glad I’m also not the only one who directly attributes her children’s behavior to food. Like, I’m sure it’s nothing I’VE done, it must be lack of protein! (Which, yeah, ok, is sort of something I’ve done, but still.)

  3. emily

    Scene: Sunday afternoon, post home-depot, now bright idea to eat lunch at stew leonards’ “hot buffet! 4.99$” – but turned out to be hot dog/hamburgers only. Cast: Scott, ruffled by failure at home depot (hadn’t measured, Wylie crazy, me in reactive and annoying-to-crazy people calm mode. Action: Wylie drinks barbeque sauce from paper cup, is seen by me, who says “OH NO, we don’t do THAT!”, which makes W. decide no food (desperately needed) will be eaten, and he runs away, bbq sauce all over lower half of face, like hannibal lecter after jailbreak face-eating scene, falls directly under the concrete “silo” stew leonards features, which reverberates sound in the most amazing way, making Wylie’s crying, NO NO NO and my hushed, desperate whispers, “come ON, it’s OK, let’s get UP!” resound through the whole eating area.

    The suburban folks who frequent stew leonards and know how to do it were very nice pretending to ignore me, who gave up and laid on concrete floor of silo next to sobbing W. who would not be held, singing, sort of like distracted ophelia sang, my little aria: “when the wasps and the bumblebees have a par-ty, nobody comes who can’t buzz…”

    no, not alone.

  4. Anne

    I don’t know what you all are talking about. My kid and I are perfect.

  5. Sarah

    So tired of bizarre inexplicable meltdowns. Like this morning, when Jaya insisted on drawing a banjo. Banjo MUST be drawn before school, but can’t do it on own. Try to do it on own but the circle inside the circle is too small for more than 3 strings. So it’s a 3 string banjo!! NO NO there are NO THREE STRING BANJOS! AND THE ERASER IS NOT ERASING IT!!
    Tired, tired.

  6. emily

    also, though, what beautiful photographs stacy takes! You’re no slouch, jules, though, with your artsy pie and baked-goods still lives. wish I could take photos like that.

  7. Beth

    I love the Hannibal Lecter scene at the buffet. Wow, we have so been there. One of my favorite stories of this type was told by the Hausfrau in her ‘zine. She gave in and took her kids through the drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts, and actually screamed at them *while the intercom was on* so that everyone behind the counter and in the establishment heard her. I think of that, occasionally, after I’ve embarrassed myself with my child in public. It’s strangely comforting to know I’m not the only one!

  8. Julie

    Once I screamed at Henry, in the hardware store, “You get back here or I’m calling Santa and telling him NOT TO COME!”

    Sarah: that banjo scenario plays out in some format 95% of the mornings here. Lately Henry has been constructing a “playground” that is modeled on the human body, in our living room.

    Em: I know, re: Stacey’s photos. She’s got a pinhole photography exhibit right now and the photos are incredible. Do you have her calendar? It makes me so happy.

  9. emily

    oh my! thanks all of you for sharing! Who’s the Hausfrau?

    Julie, do you think Santa has a direct line, or is it more a spell-casting kind of call, where you (the witch) use herbs and fire to invoke his (omniscient, judging) magical self? I don’t have Stacy’s calender; I won the T-shirt giveaway instead (all wrapped up and ready for Fiona on her birthday). Which reminds me: along the lines of difficult children: said niece, Fiona, 2 1/2 yrs old, now calls herself “Darth Fiona” – since one day she overheard me ask my sister what “the dark princess in the other room” would eat for lunch (alright: also because her brother Angus, age 6, is obsessed with the clone wars…). So now I’m screwing up other people’s children too. Although they bring a certain amount of dark to the table themselves, so who’s screwing up who? And amazingly, most of the time, it all works out in the end!

  10. Kate

    Ah, so I’m not a lone shrieking crazy lady – that makes me feel better! I’m having a lot of trouble getting 4 year old Hugh to listen these days (any tips out there or is not listening part of the preschool years and I just have to accept it?) and I threatened him with putting in a call to the Easter bunny (as I’ve done with Santa) although I don’t believe my threat was witnessed by anyone other than 2 year old Ian.

  11. Clog

    For you lucky people who have Stacey’s calendar…I found a great frame at Michael’s that the calendar pictures fit into perfectly and I put a new one in each month.

    I think of the Henry statement after that time you made one stop too many, pushing the envelope to an Eli meltdown.

  12. Sarah

    I forgot to tell you that the banjo obsession has come from the Pete Seeger on your CD’s, so actually, it’s all your fault.

  13. Julie

    My mom can attest to the fact that I have a direct line to Santa. I have called her and pretended she’s Santa and that I’m calling to cancel Christmas.

    Hausfrau is great and another reason those of you considering it should move to Portland.

  14. Stacey

    How nice to be randomly surfing favorite sites while waiting for photos to finish scanning and see all kinds of nice things about ME! Thanks, everybody. J: I was sort of wondering if you liked the rice puff treats because you’re always so prompt with thank yous. Now I see I was silly not to look here earlier. They are made with brown rice syrup, which I’m thinking is healthier than sugar or honey, but maybe that’s just a ploy to get you to spend $7 a bottle on the stuff. Also a dash of ume plum vinegar. That’s got to be healthy, right? Both of these things are available at the Back Cove Hannaford. Anyway, here’s the whole recipe as I remember it (I think I lost the actual recipe). It’s very easy though.

    1 c. brown rice syrup
    1/2 c. peanut butter
    splash ume plum vinegar
    3 c. brown rice cereal
    things of your choosing to mix in like chocolate chips, cranberries, nuts, etc.

    Heat first three ingredients until slight thinned (just a few minutes). Mix everything together. Press into lightly greased pan. Refrigerate until solid or until you can’t wait any longer to eat one.

    And yes, I’m pretty sure we did sigh with happy relief that we don’t have children when we got into our cute little car. But I’m sure that was followed by thinking, “Who is going to take care of us when we’re old?”

  15. Julie

    What else should I do with ume plum vinegar? That sounds so exotic. I keep meaning to get agave syrup just because it seems so trendy, but really, what does one do with it?

    And now I feel guilty for not sending a proper thank you. Ack! Everything in my life is three weeks late these days.

  16. Stacey

    Oh, please don’t feel guilty. You were the only person in my life who ever sent proper thank yous in the first place (wait, that was supposed to make you feel less guilty, not more)! Anyway, ume plum vinegar is excellent in stir frys and salad dressings. It’s kind of tart and sweet at the same time. Agave syrup can be used in place of brown rice syrup in these bars. I’ve actually used it for that. You can probably use it in place of honey in a lot of recipes as well.


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