I love exciting news, and I love lists, so I’m combining the two and sharing some very exciting things with you!
1. Tomorrow is Junior’s second birthday!
2. The most photogenic pup has his very own PHOTO SHOOT scheduled for tomorrow!
3. School has started again!
…aaaaand the big one…
4. I PASSED MY GRAD SCHOOL EXAMS!
It’s been a crazy week. I found out I passed my grad school exams and was bouncing off the walls with excitement. Now, I’m free to take classes I’m interested in and decide my PhD specialization and make important real-life decisions like that! I studied all summer for those exams and it feels so good to have passed.
But, like in the list, that’s not the only exciting thing to happen to me! School just started and I’m kind of a nerd (if you hadn’t figured that out based on the fact that I’m getting my PhD in math) so I am very excited about that. AND! Tomorrow is Junior’s birthday! I’m going to spend all day celebrating the fact that my loveable pooch is 2: we’re going to go running and to the dog park and probably to Petco or Mud Bay to get him some special birthday treats and maybe a new toy for him to destroy. There will also probably be photos of him in a birthday hat, so check back for those and for a few dog-inspired recipes.
We do have one more exciting thing planned for his birthday though; last weekend, Dan, Junior and I participated in Seattle Humane Society’s Walk for the Animals at FidoFest, an event to raise money for the Seattle Humane Society (where I adopted Junior) and to show off their adoptable dogs. I almost convinced Dan that I should adopt a second dog, but he still needs a little more persuasion before that can happen. Anyways, at FidoFest, a local pet photographer was having a promotion and through her, Junior is having his very first photo shoot tomorrow! This could be his big break into the world of pet stardom!
I think I’m getting a little carried away. After the shoot, I’ll post some of Junior’s first modeling pictures, but this is a baking blog, so I should include a recipe in here somewhere, right?
Well, it just so happens that I have a delicious one to share. I was going to a Women in Mathematics dinner and was asked to bring a side dish or a dessert and, knowing me and my deep-seeded love of all things sugar, I made a dessert. But not just any dessert: I made the most chocolately oatmeal things I have ever eaten. The fudgey chocolate layer is seriously as thick as the oatmeal cookie layer. They are pretty much pure heaven–all the goodness of a chocolate oatmeal cookie in a bar form with extra chocolate. They’re gooey enough to have the perfect texture but solid enough to hold up as bars without refrigeration. And they’re bar cookies so incredibly simple to make (no chilling or rolling out the dough or any of that!).
They’re really good. Go get the ingredients and go make them. Then eat one (or two, or three…) and take the rest to a potluck or something so you don’t eat the entire pan yourself.
Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
makes a 9×13 pan, approximately 35 bars
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup milk
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup butter
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 inch pan with foil. Cream together the brown sugar and butter. Mix in the eggs, vanilla, and milk. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter/sugar mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the oats. The dough is fairly thick and sticky.
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt together the condensed milk, chocolate, vanilla, and butter, stirring regularly until smooth and melted.
To assemble the bars, spread or press about 3/4 of the oatmeal mixture into the prepared pan. Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the top of the dough. Take the remaining oatmeal mixture and distribute spoonfuls of it evenly across the top of the chocolate. It probably won’t cover the chocolate completely, but it will look pretty when it’s done cooking. Bake for a total of 25 minutes, covering the pan with foil after 15 minutes of baking. The top of the cookies can brown a little too much if you don’t cover the pan (but they’ll still taste good even if you forget to do it!). Let the cookies cool in the pan until set. I let mine set overnight because the chocolate takes a while to firm up. Cut in to squares and enjoy!