2009 - The Bad, the Good, and the Food

2009 is finally over. Hard to believe we made it through the year. While it was a very bad year many good things came about. In fact, I think the bad was necessary for the good to surface. Priorities needed to be adjusted, back to the basics as my DH says. Life is not all about how much, or how new, or how big.  It's about people, about what we CAN do and how we CAN help.

The Bad - Our business dropped over 70%. We suffered the losses of family and friends, sold many prized possessions, and watched too many friends loose their homes and businesses. Survival mode set in.

The Good - Our faith increased not 10 but 100 fold. DH and I spent lots more time helping and supporting our friends who were hurting, some worse than us. We prayed together way more often, giving thanks and acknowledging the tiniest blessings on a daily basis. We didn't miss a mortgage payment and have a few jobs on the books for 2010. Red moved home to help out while he completed college. In August he received his degree. My oldest son Luis, after serving eight years in the marine corps, has enrolled in college. With lots of new found time on my hands, I made quite a few blog and foodie friends. I won a few online giveaways and I learned more about food than I ever could have imagined.  We did lots of food sharing with little funds. Using ingredients I had on hand and what I learned, I spent way more time in the kitchen and way less time focused on the bad....

The Food -  FOODalogue was one of my first inspirations; took me on a culinary trip that was over the top. All of Joan's dishes are dressed for success and I learn a great deal from her blog. Check out the 2010 Culinary Tour, South of the Border and you'll see what I mean.

In 2009 I made homemade applesauce and cheddar crackers for the first time, inspired by Cookin' Canuck.

 Ohhhh man I can't tell you how good it felt to serve my family fresh cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving Day which I credit to my dear foodie friend Mary, author of Deep South Dish.

That's Claudia's photo of her Seafood Pasta Primavera, which is now part of our family Christmas Eve Feast.   I must mention Gera over at Sweet Foods, what an inspiring blog. Did you see those best of weekly round up posts? Talk about sharing! You'll really miss some good stuff, so go on over and check it out. Reeni, owner of Cinnamon n Spice puts out some incredible eats and posts that I really do relate to. Southern Grace Gourmet has some wonderful dishes, giveaways, reviews, and even some baby food recipes for all you foodie moms. Do I have time to mention the other hundred or so foodies I follow?  I don't think so.

AND, (a drum roll please) after a full year of food blogging, I finally overcame my baking phobia. It started with that apple addiction and the apple cranberry crisp via Ginger Rose, followed by a pathetic pumpkin pie that my DH donned pumpkin pizza. All the holiday baking posts just pushed me over the edge. The week of Christmas (2009 was almost over ha!) I made a few dozen of these easy, "no flour" peanut butter cookies that I found cooks.com. I added a half cup of peanut butter chips per Red's request. Red took a dozen of the PB cookies to his Christmas party at work. He claimed they were the first cookies to be gone.
Next I made cake mix sugar cookies, recipe follows. I was amazed that both turned out really good. I liked the sugar cookies far better than the peanut butter.

On New Years Day I made these Oatmeal Brownie Bars. The oatmeal gave top and bottom just the right crunch. The middle brownie was nice and moist. I didn't have nuts on hand so I used raisins. They were perfect little bits of sweet chewy goodness I'll tell you. In fact I think nuts would make it too crunchy.  Now I know these baked goods are probably no brainers compared to what some of you all serve up but hey it's a start right? All I can really say is YUMMY!!

As you can see, The Bad is short, The Good quite a bit longer, and The Food is long, really long... point taken?

The recipes -

Oatmeal Brownie Bars
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 package Betty Crocker® Original Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts

1.Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom only of rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches.

2.Mix oats, flour, brown sugar and baking soda; stir in butter. Reserve 1 cup of the oat mixture. Press remaining oat mixture in pan. Bake 10 minutes; cool 5 minutes.

3.Stir brownie mix, chocolate syrup, water, oil and eggs in medium bowl about 50 strokes or until well blended. (Mixture may be lumpy.) Stir in nuts. Spread over baked layer; sprinkle with reserved oat mixture.

4.Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out clean or almost clean. Cool completely for easier cutting, about 2 hours. For 48 brownies, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows. Store covered.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft) Bake oat mixture 15 minutes. Follow High Altitude directions on package for cakelike brownies. Bake 40 to 45 minutes.
Recipe from Betty Crocker.com

Cake Mix Sugar Cookies


2 eggs
1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
powdered sugar


1. Mix together cake mix, eggs and oil in a large bowl.
2. Make little balls with the dough and set on ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 4 - 10 minutes.

I rolled the balls in powdered sugar as advised by many of the comments. Make sure the dough balls are small, about 1" in diameter, otherwise you will end up with giant cookies. Also, time frame was rather broad, I baked mine for 8 minutes. Roll in a mix of powdered sugar and cinnamon for a snicker doodle sugar cookie.

Original recipe All Recipes

Oatmeal Brownie Bars on Foodista


2009 was a hard year for all the world and hope that the 2010 will be much better. Great idea about the culinary tour :)

Thanks so much for mention my best of the week Kathy!! I continue seeing more delights and good for you for overcome your bake-phobia…the cookies and bars are a wonderful treat for my breakfast!

All the best,

FOODalogue said…
Wow..thank you for those kind and unexpected words. I've enjoyed the friendship we've developed over these past few months. And if you overcame your baking phobia, maybe I will too...one day.
Reeni said…
You have such a positive attitude despite your losses. I hope things look up this year for you. Your so sweet for mentioning me! I appreciate it. I post 'no-brainers' too - sometimes their just too good not to. I love the sound of the oat bars - they look scrumptious! And the cake balls too. Very unique!XO
What a soul-bearing, beautiful post Kathy. Yes, there have been so many trials in the last 2 years (last year especially) for so many of us, but you've taken the higher path and strengthened in character from what you've shared today! We do have a lot to be thankful for in the midst of our despair, and by thinking on those blessings, we are raised up! May you and your family have a happy and blessed 2010! Roz
So true - sometimes we have to climb over the mountain to see what's on the other side, but that mountain ain't always so easy to climb.

We've had changes in our life too due to the lost of my income - but, oddly enough God has sustained us and of course He orchestrated everything to happen the way it did before because He knew the plan. (I do wish He would fill me in a bit more about the future tho LOL) Things worked out better than I ever imagined it possibly could in these circumstances and because we didn't buy into the bigger and newer is better theory in the housing market, and stayed right here in this perfectly good though smaller house, God willing our home mortgage will be paid off this year and we'll be able to set aside that money for our official "retirement."

I've enjoyed our friendship and I'm so glad that you have had such a great experience with food blogging and that you stepped out of your comfort zone to try new things and to bake! That shrimp dish sure looks yummy. So do those bars. Thanks for the mention too. :)

Hoping for a wonderful blessed 2010 for you and your family and wishing you all the best!
Unknown said…
DH is right on!!
Here is to a safe, healthy, secure , fun and tasty 2010!
What a great friend to find in 2009, thanks so much for the wonderful journey and treats from you blog of sharing and caring, a wonderful tribute to us all...may your have the healthiest,happiest and most prosperous year ahead in 2010....thank you!
AngelBaby said…
You have such a lovely blog! I have really enjoyed reading your posts and now I am hungry for brownies they look so goooood. LOL!

Have a great day!

Love and Blessings,
Shimumsy said…
i will try try (cross my fingers/if i get the time too!) to make your oatmeal brownie bars, they look so good. enjoyed reading your post. have a great year ahead.
Unknown said…
Those oatmeal bars look scrumptious. Good luck in 2010!

Catherine said…
God bless you Kathy for your positivity! I will keep you and yours in my prayers.

Those oatmeal brownie bars sound incredible!
Happy Blogging! :)
Sara said…
First of all I am so sorry to hear about your losses,I hope your business goes better. Your post is so inspiring and I love how you think positively!
Angie said…
Hope you had a happy new year, those brownie bars look amazing, what a great way to get my son to eat oatmeal, the last time I made it for him, he refused and cried till I made him grits. I hate that I became a short order cook! Sorry for your business losses, its amazing that even people doing all the right things have lost. Its sad, nothings worth anything anymore, cause nobody has any money. Best of luck in the new year, and thanks for the mention!
Kathleen said…
Hello from another Kathleen! There are a lot of us out there in the blogisphere. Great blog. This is my first visit!!!
Cajun Chef Ryan said…
Here is to hoping that 2010 is a better year and a great start to a new and better decade of culinary delights.

I read your post with a tugging at my heart. You may not be alone but hardship is stil just that and no one feels better because others are going through similar situations. Let's hope everyone will have a better year. Thanks for sharing.

I am glad baking is becoming less threatening. Your oatmeal brownie bars look yummy. Soon, you will be giving all the bakers, lessons in baked goods.
Pam said…
I hope so much that 2010 is a much better year for you and your's! I do hope you like the caramel apple bars when you make them!

Hugs and Enjoy!
motherrimmy said…
Great post. Life has been difficult for many people I know this year. Challenges for all of us. It's brought us closer together, focused on what's most important. Best of luck to you and your family this year, and your Oatmeal Brownie Bars look terrific!

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