How I got to this realization was part of a larger one that unfolded before my eyes throughout the entire day. I'd decided to invite my dad over on Sunday, July 2nd, so that he could see the new deck. Since he was coming, naturally, I was going to serve a nice lunch. And as long as he was going to be out here, I thought it would be a good opportunity for him to see his grandkids, the great grandkids, and my aunt and her friend, John, and celebrate his birthday. There would be 10 people in all, and I told myself that it was going to be casual, and simple. I truly believed that was the case. Why then, I had to eventually ask myself, did it take me the entire day to do casual and simple? How is it that a simple meal can be so much work?
Everything that could have gone wrong, did. I decided to make hamburgers and hotdogs ahead of time, grilling them, and then placing them in a pan of barbecue sauce so that I could simmer them slowly the day of the party; they would be delicious by lunch time, except, of course, for those that not only slid off of the plate and onto the floor, but that I kicked into the hallway on my way to the grill (Note to self: clean floor).
I decided to make some sort of brownie/candy bar dessert. I hate baking, so making dessert is torture for me. I would rather have a root canal than bake. I decided to adapt a recipe that I had found online. The recipe called for a layer of marshmallow fluff. No problem, I had a jar of that in the pantry. I checked the date when I took it out. It was fine, it had six months to go before expiring. It was surprising to me then, that when I took the lid off and peeled back that waxy paper that covered the top, that it was like glue, and not fresh glue, but really old glue. I tried to pull it out, and it snapped right back. That would not do. So I needed to make my own marshmallow cream. At this point, I was beginning to realize why simple food is so difficult. As it turned out, that didn't work out so well either, so I used miniature marshmallows, warming them and spreading them as well as I could, which, let me tell you, was not at all well.
I decided to do a layered salad, naturally giving my own special touch by chopping and toasting pecans to add to the mix. One of the layers called for Parmesan cheese mixed with seasoned salt. Aha, that was what I needed from the grocery store, seasoned salt. My swollen and throbbing feet did not want to find their way into shoes in order to run to the store, so I had to make my own.* No problem, I had all the ingredients, but I had to make my own. Yes, the light had dawned, as to why this is so much trouble.
As it turned out, the party was a huge success, the day perfect, the food yummy, and everyone particularly enjoyed the brownies. Here is the recipe. Word of caution: buy yourself some fresh marshmallow cream.
1 cup peanut butter
Line a 9"x9" pan with aluminum foil, leaving a 2" overhang on either end. Spray with PAM; set aside. Bake Brownies as directed on box; cool.
Spread Marshmallow Crème over cooled brownie layer.
Place chocolate chips and peanut butter in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-seconde intervals, stirring after each (this took me a minute and a half), until melted and creamy.
Stir in Rice Krispies; spread evenly over Marshmallow Crème.
Cover and chill for two hours before removing from pan using the foil "tails," and cutting into squares.
Yields 24-36 bars depending upon how big you like your squares. (I cut mine small, as you can see, because they are very rich.)
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