Crispy almond oat chocolate chip bars (gluten free!)

Almond oat chocolate chip bars

Almond oat chocolate chip bars

Isaac is deeply suspicious of anything remotely romantic. He’s not all that scared of Voldemort, but if any of the tiny larval wizards come close to kissing each other, he runs into the the other room, hands over his eyes. So when he uses the word “lover,” he’s talking about somebody that loves things. Clio, for instance, is a big lover. She loves everyone she meets, food, walks, all dogs, food, treats, warm radiators, picking the boys up from school, food. Children, of course, are natural lovers, they’re bubbling over with love, until somebody tells them that it’s just not cool, man, and they learn to be detached and insouciant. I’ve never learned that lesson, I’m afraid, so I’m still a lover. Here’s a fun thing to do when you can’t sleep: without over-thinking, list ten things that you love (aside from your family, of course!). It puts you in a good frame of mind, and wards off the whispering worries. Alright, here’s mine. Ready? Begin! Otters; Tintin; long, complicated novels; sunshine on a cold day, shade on a warm day; Skip Jmes; Nina Simone; a pat on the back; chard; pictures of windows; films with lots of watery green in them. Is that it? Is that ten? You know, I probably could have said food, walks, all dogs, food, picking up the boys from school, warm radiators… Heh heh!! Come on, everybody, try it, it’s fun! What? You think it’s dorky? OMG! Don’t be such a hater!

Guess who loved these cookies? Everybody! In the whole wide world! Well, everybody in my world! Malcolm was all, like, I’m not even going to try them, and I was all, like, whatever, I don’t even care if you try my cookies. So he tried one? And he ate, like, four of them? And I was all…you better slow down, and he was all, what? They’re healthy! Which, you could pretend that they are, because they have oats and almonds, but you’d be lying to yourself about all of that butter and sugar. My English friends will recognize that these are a lot like flapjacks, but my American friends would be confused if I called them that, and say, “Those are totally not like pancakes, man.” (As Americans do.) One thing you should know about these cookies is that they’re ridiculously easy to make. You mix them all together in a saucepan and then spread them on a tray and bake them, and that’s pretty much it!

Here’s Nina Simone with Music for Lovers. It’s a little schmaltzy, but oddly fitting for this post, and Nina Simone is so cool that she can get away with it. Or so I think.
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Nutty cherry chocolate coconut flapjack granola bars

What? Cherries and chocolate and coconut and nuts? And oats? Is this possible? Indeed it is, and its delicious, too. My boys like granola bars, and believe that they’re a healthy snack. I believe that granola bars are just cookies disguised as a healthy snack. And they remind me of the English version of flapjacks, which I love a lot. I have no problem with my boys eating cookies, or other sweet snacks, but if they’re going to eat something unhealthy, I’m going to make it for them myself, dammit! For some reason I feel better knowing that they’re getting actual butter and sugar rather than processed blizz blazz. It might seem silly, but there it is! Plus these have oats and nuts and fruit, so there’s some good with the bad. Obviously, you can throw anything you like in there! Don’t not make them because you don’t have all of these specific ingredients! I had fewer chocolate chips than I thought, so I threw some mini M&Ms left over from Isaac’s birthday into the mix.

I think of oats and chocolate as being ultimately comforting. And I’ve always wanted to make a playlist of empathetic songs. Songs like the magnificent It Hurts Me Too, by Elmore James. So I’ve compiled such a list, and I love it, so far. Some of the songs might be more sympathetic than empathetic – it’s a fairly liquid shift from one to the other, isn’t it? But they’re all supportive and comforting. Can you think of any songs to add to the list?
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