Avalanche Bars

IMG_8961 Nearly 11 weeks into life with two children, ages 4 and fussy-and-a-half, and ohhhh, the gravity of the whole thing. Friends, I will be real with you: I am a harried mess 99% of the time. I miss being able to test recipes and share them with you more often, but Life, she is what she is right now, and I have to get over that, as hard as it is.

The thing is, these days, very few tasks can actually be completed, and even fewer of those things get done in the manner in which I would like them to be done. For a mostly Type A kind of lady, this alone is enough to drive me to drink (and I can’t even DRINK the way I’d like to—thanks, nursing!). Sir Baby has quite the set of lungs, and he likes to unleash them at approximately six minutes after being set down anywhere, and sometimes in less time than that. Most days, I'm stressing like Sandy Bullock  in Speed because he freaks out in the car unless we're cruising the freeway with no stoplights to bust his groove. The darling boy also loves (demands) to be held and loves face time even more—if I could spend the entire day hovering eight inches over his face, he would never, ever cry. And sometimes I spend quite a lot of time doing just that, because OH WHEN HE SMILES.


I die. A total baby dreamboat, right? (I'm biased, but still.) And that’s my reasoning for having a basket of clean, unfolded laundry in pretty much every room in the whole house right now. Some things on the checklist just never get checked.

But other tasks must be completed, in spite of tiny, angry, loud protests. Like, say, peeing (no UTIs for this girl!), or my personal bathing/dressing/dabbing on just enough makeup to not look corpse-y (which I will not sacrifice, not even for one day—the hair will go unwashed again before the undereye concealer gets skipped, this is my religion, hallelujah, amen). And of course, making dinner is a must (because if I don’t, the other people in this house start getting whiny and I just can't even). So these things are often done to the soundtrack of a pissed off baby. Actually, sometimes it’s pissed off baby plus the whir of the hairdryer, because that particular white noise seems to make him slightly less pissed when the planets are aligned just so,  and at least I have that baby calming crutch. But not everything is quite as enjoyable when done to the whir of a hairdryer. Like non-mealtime kitchen play, reading trashy gossip magazines, writing, and taking pictures of food so we can talk about it like old girlfriends. So I don't get to do as much of those things as I'd like. Wahhhh. In the meantime, at least there’s Instagram.


But! The great thing about a second kid is that I know this stage will pass, and probably soon. I’m holding out hope that the magical three month mark will give some relief from the fussing and help with smoothing out some kind of nap routine to give me some more reliable breaks during the day. With the small blocks of free time I can scrape together now, I’ve mostly been forcing myself to keep up with some kind of exercise regimen, which is all very boring to yap about, but necessary. I feel like an entirely different person on days I can get it together and work out, especially those Couch to 5k workouts I was telling you about, because that’s my main Real Alone Time with Fresh Air, and it’s great.

(I also just picked back up with Jillian’s 30 Day Shred last week, which I first bought at about this same time after Little C was born. It’s been a while since I’d used it, and had forgotten how effective, short, and gloriously painful it is. World’s most perfect home workout for moms. Even if you have to do half of it with a hairdryer running because your baby won’t stay asleep, it’s only, like, 12 to 13 minutes of hairdryer. Not too bad.)


So that’s the snapshot of the blasty-blast that is my life these days, friends: a 50/50, screaming/awesomely happy baby, unwashed hair with made up eyes, clean but perma-wrinkled clothing, and spending my wee blocks of free time sweaty and red-faced. Aren’t you glad you stopped by? Well, if not, I’ll offer you this: an insane recipe from my awesome friend Shelley of Cookies and Cups, who cracks me up on the regular. I've even managed to make these more than once because these bars are so addictive and the process is the quickest thing EVER. Like dangerously, deliciously quick. In fact, these gems remind me of a certain recipe of yore that is the ultimate in craveworthy pleasure. I’m not sure there’s enough Jillian in the world to combat these types of recipes. And some dietary experts would probably have a lot to say about recipes like these. But oh! So sorry! Can’t hear you, crying baby, la-la-laaaaaa…..


Avalanche Bars adapted from Cookies and Cups

Tricks for making these bars totally perfect: Don't let the white chocolate get too hot while melting--white chocolate likes to seize and burn easily, and if it's too hot, it will take even longer for the goo to cool so it won't melt the mini mallows and chips. You want to get these into your face ASAP, trust me.

Also, don't pack the mixture too firmly into the pan--the bars will set up all hard instead of airy and crisp (that's a good tip for any crispy rice bar, actually).

Makes 16-20, depending on size

1 12-ounce bag of white chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli or Guittard) 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I use Skippy for baking) 3 cups crispy rice cereal 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows (I may have been a bit generous with this measurement) 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, plus extra for sprinkling

Line an 8x8-inch square pan with aluminum foil (not necessary, but makes removing the bars and cutting the slab neatly a whole lot easier), and lightly grease the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Into a large microwave-safe bowl, place the white chocolate chips. Melt with 1 minutes bursts of 50% power, stirring well after each interval, until the white chocolate is melted and smooth, and just warm enough to be somewhat fluid--don't let it get hot. Stir in the peanut butter until well-blended. Stir in the crispy rice cereal. Let the mixture cool for 10-15 minutes.

Stir in the marshmallows, then quickly fold in the mini chocolate chips--you don't want to work the mixture too much here, otherwise the mini chips will get a little melty and schmeary. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and lightly nudge it into the corners, being careful not to pack the mixture down too tight. Sprinkle on a handful of mini chocolate chips. Let cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes (or refrigerate for 10-15 minutes) before removing the slab of bars and cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

BarsShauna Sever