I’ve been single for about 2 years now, and I discovered something during this time of readjustment and recovering my identity: I still like to eat.
And, every once in a while, I actually enjoy cooking – when I have the time and energy, that is. And frankly, most days after work I just don’t. Add in the dinners out with friends, my new hobbies of running and yoga, and weekly church obligations, and that pretty much leaves me with just weekends to indulge in the kitchen.
And, like most guys (I think), I like having something to munch on when I’m unwinding in the evening with Netflix. (“Netflix: a bachelor’s best friend.”) For a while I was stocking up on quick snacks, like granola bars or those single-serving sized cups of applesauce or fruit. But that gets old after a while. And sure, that cookie aisle at WalMart is kinda hard to resist, so my shopping cart would inevitably end up with some kind of name-brand cookie or sweet thing. But, one of the things I’m trying to cultivate back into my life is healthy eating. And those vanilla sugar-wafers (which I love) don’t exactly fall into that category.
Besides, have you looked at the ingredients in those things?!!!! That stuff can’t possibly be good for you.
So today, on my weekly grocery run, I picked up a few items just so I could make “healthy” snacks myself. – Yeah, I put quotation marks around that, cuz we all know anything with sugar in it probably isn’t really gonna be the best thing to chow down on before going to bed. But … whatever. Ya gotta live, right?
And what I threw together when I got home turned out to be friggin fantastic.
So, here it is. If you like chocolate, if you like peanut butter (and isn’t that almost an obligatory thing if you’re American?), then you gotta try this for yourself.
And look! Just a handful of ingredients. And I know exactly what each one of them is, and how much I put in. In fact, I took a basic recipe off the internet, but then cut the amount of butter and sugar in half. #TakingControlofMyFood #YayMe
So, just copy that photo to your phone gallery, hit the grocery store, and pick up those items for yourself, if you don’t already have them in your cupboards.
- 1 cup sugar (that’s about 240ml, for my non-U.S. friends) *
- 1 stick of butter (½ cup, or 113g). Do yourself the favor, and use real butter, not margarine. And get organic, hormone-free if you can. You’ll feel better about yourself.
- ½ cup milk (125ml) Ditto on the organic note.
- 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder (60ml)
- 1 cup peanut-butter (240ml)
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (15ml)
- 3 – 3.5 cups oatmeal / quick oats (about 750 – 850ml)
Hey, this isn’t rocket science, so don’t get all hung up about precise measurements.
In a saucepan, mix the sugar, butter, milk and cocoa powder, and heat until melted. Bring to low boil for about a minute, stirring until everything is dissolved and well mixed. (I said “low boil.” You don’t need the stuff flying out of the pan and making a bigger mess on your stove. Nobody likes clean-up.) Then add in the vanilla and peanut butter. When that’s blended in nicely, add in the oats. Stir until well mixed, and then take off the heat. And then just spoon out the batter onto wax paper (or aluminum foil if that’s all you’ve got), and let cool. They’ll firm up as they cool. Makes about 3 dozen decent sized cookies.
And, voila!, as they say. The stuff is amazing.
I’m thinking next time, just for variety (and to con myself even more into feeling that this is health food), I gonna swap out a cup or so of the oats with chia seeds. It’ll probably make the flavor a bit more bitter and add more texture, but score one for added anti-oxidants, fiber, and Omega-3s!
Ya know what? This bachelor life isn’t all that hard after all.
* One caveat with reducing the sugar. Yeah, it won’t knock your blood gluccose into the stratosphere, but the cookies don’t firm up as much when they’re cool. You may need to keep them in the fridge if you don’t like soft and chewy cookies.
STEVE SCHMIDT serves on the pastoral staff of Expressions Church in Oklahoma City. He is a graduate of the seminary at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK, and holds two masters degrees in Biblical Literature and Divinity. He did his doctoral research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York.