Thursday, 14 January 2010

Lessons Learned from a Wayfaring Christmas

Well, I'm back, possums, and I must say, I am just now getting over probably the worst case of jetlag I've ever experienced.  On reflection, this was likely caused by a number of factors:

1) An extended time separated from my Simmons Beautyrest World Class Pillowtop mattress, i.e. Westin Hotel's Heavenly Bed.  For those of you who read this blog for its essential tips on living, here's another little gem: never hessitate to spend money on a good mattress.  It was the last item we bought in a hurry before the cargo container left our driveway for England.  It's turned into one of the things I pine for when not at home.  It's just like sleeping in a giant pat of butter, and now that we have fresh sheets thanks to restorative, post-holiday housework, it's even less greasy.  Aaaahhh.

 2) Copious caloric consumption, mostly in the form of Lindor truffles and Oatmeal Carmelitas.  Not familiar with the Oatmeal Carmelita?  They only have the power to change your life (nevermind your waist size, it's too depressing.)  They're the all-time cookie favorite of the plethora my mother/frustrated caterer makes at Christmas, and I shared the joy by bringing a batch to my husband's family in Cornwall.  They call them "those oaty biscuits" but not out of disrespect.  How can the Pillsbury bakeoff winner from 1967 be wrong?  Should my fair readers find themselves with extra chocolate and caramel/toffee sauce just waiting to be properly applied, prepare to be dazzled.  The measurements are in American, but easily enough converted to metric.



2 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose or Unbleached Flour
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups margarine or butter, softened

1 (12.5-oz.) jar (1 cup) caramel ice cream topping
3 tablespoons Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose or Unbleached Flour
1 (6-oz.) pkg. (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9-inch pan. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, combine all crust ingredients; mix at low speed until crumbly. Reserve half of crumb mixture (about 3 cups) for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture in bottom of greased pan. Bake at 350°F. for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine caramel topping and 3 tablespoons flour; blend well.

3. Remove partially baked crust from oven; sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Drizzle evenly with caramel mixture; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.

4. Return to oven; bake an additional 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until filling is set. Cut into bars.

Finally, our flight schedule made me think we weren't circling London Heathrow, but rather Dante's Seventh Circle of Hell.  Chumley suggested monkeying around with melatonin for relief, but I just wanted a nap, and a snack at 3 a.m.  If you're flying American Airlines, indeed, this feat is possible.  We got in at 3:30 a.m. and reported to work the next morning.  I am still waiting to be contacted about our super-trooper awards ceremony.

Life lesson learned from this trip: NEVER, ever fly US to UK in the daytime again, even if it is hundreds cheaper.  The mind meddling and extended schedule screw-up are worth the difference in cost.

We did have an excellent visit and some adventures, which I shall portion out like Lindor truffles in the days to come.  To be fair, Chumley would portion.  I'm more of a snarfer/scoffer.  To me, leftover chocolate is not possible within the atmosphere of Planet Claire.


kathleen said...

hello hello! i know exactly what you mean about your bed. we got upgraded a few months ago and it is heaven. it's sad how excited we get about it!

thanks for swinging by the asylum. i love the title of your blog! and you know what? i still haven't had sticky toffee pudding!!!

Claire said...

Oh Kathleen, you haven't lived until you've tried sticky toffee pudding! You must correct this deficit right away. We were given a sumptuous store-bought one for Christmas: Cartmel brand, and I think it came from Waitrose. No calorie counts on the box, which is for the best...