Life is Short. Eat Dessert First.

I don’t do Starbucks.  I know. That’s almost sacrilegious to some, but I don’t. I don’t drink coffee at all, not in any iteration, and not with any combination of mocha, whip, pumpkin spice or sprinkles.

Coffee seems to have magical properties that are ever beyond my grasp because I can’t stand the taste of the stuff. I’m pretty sure it would’ve helped me get better than a C in Organic Chemistry because maybe, just maybe, with that “extra boost” I’m told it provides, I could’ve stayed up all the way through the night instead of conking out at 4:30 am on the night before the test.

I want to love coffee. I feel like maybe I’ll enjoy it when I grow up, but until then, I just don’t do Starbucks.

However, I absolutely do dessert, and dessert is weighing heavily on my mind because I’m in the middle of doing the Whole30 challenge (and by “the middle,” I mean this is Day 2 of 30), which basically means I’m living on bananas and almond butter at the moment, and I can’t think of anything besides chocolate cake and biscuits.

I love to make dessert with my kids, or with my mom, or by myself.

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Baking brings back memories of my Mommy C (known to many as superwoman Norma Callender) dancing around her living room in her red caftan with her huge tortoise shell glasses and her tiny pot of Folgers brewing in her tiny kitchen with her massive collection of tiny spoons hanging on the back wall by the refrigerator.  It makes me think of my great-grandmother (Grandma Ruby, the one a friend of mine referenced when he told my dad many years ago, “Man, your grandma hits hard,” after she delivered an affectionate “pat” on the back.), and I smile when I remember the many times I sat on the counter in her little yellow house while she taught me how to make cornbread in her ancient cast iron skillet.

One of my favorite things to do is attempt a new recipe and record it in my treasured little book that my mom-in-la
w got me when I married her son who loves yellow cake with chocolate icing and Snickerdoodle cookies.

Some of those new recipes result in hilarious moments with my family because my attempts to copy what I find on Pinterest usually end up looking like science experiments gone wrong, but it’s still fun to do things together!

Life is short.  Eat dessert first.

If you’re looking for something to pair with your coffee, or you want to take time to make some memories with your own family, my mom’s non-paleo and totally NOT Whole30 compliant Yum Yum Bars are too good not to try once in your life.

What You’ll Need to Check the Pantry For:

  • 1 to 1.5 sticks butter
  • Roughly 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (Ghiradelli are my favorite, but any kind is fine)
  • 1 bag butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 bag sweetened, shredded coconut (We use Baker’s, and it’s yummy!)
  • 1 small bag chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1 small can sweetened condensed milk (I love Eagle Brand, but milk is milk)

What You’ll Need to Do Before You Can Taste These:

Preheat oven to 350.  Put the butter in a 9×13 glass baking dish and put it in the oven until the butter melts.  Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the butter and pat with a fork to make a crust on the bottom of the pan.  Distribute the chocolate chips evenly over the crust.  Add the butterscotch chips in an even layer on top of the chocolate chips.  Cover the top of the butterscotch chips with coconut.  Add nuts if you desire.  Pour the sweetened condensed milk on top, covering as much of the top layer as possible.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until coconut starts to brown and the chocolate is all melted.  Wait for it to cool and cut it into bars.  (Or do like we do and scoop some out into a bowl while it’s still hot and gooey!)

Enjoy them with a cup of Starbucks.  Or not.  They’re good either way, and everything is better when you share it with someone special!

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