I have a rather deplorable habit of using the Scouting program to clear out my pantry and freezer.
I figure, if there’s something I’ve not used in a long time, and I want to get rid of it, but would feel bad tossing a perfectly good can of apricots in the trash (slimy things… pleh), or keep forgetting about that last half-cup of frozen mixed berries that has been languishing in the recesses of the freezer for longer than Admiral Perry at the Pole, or have all these leftover bits of tasty things that aren’t enough to do much of anything with alone… well, Scouts will eat just about anything. I don’t think they grow tastebuds until they hit about… thirty.
In the incident with the apricots and berries, I made a brown sugar and oat shortbread (butter, flour, brown sugar, oats… just as easy as it sounds) and pressed that into a large jellyroll pan. I pureed the hateful can of apricots (pleh) with a small can of peaches, added some vanilla, some cinnamon, and a bit of sugar, and poured that over the unbaked crust. I topped that with the forlorn berries (after brushing the ice crystals off), and crumbled the remaining cup or so of shortbread mixture over the top.
An amazing thing happened: once the pan had been in long enough for the shortbread to brown, and the fruits to bake down to a thick jell, and once the baked concoction had been cooled and cut into bars, I discovered that God had indeed turned my less-than-philanthropic endeavor into something truly tasty.
Like slightly-rotten big sisters everywhere eventually discover, God truly can turn anything to His good purposes.
I ended up having to buy another can of apricots (pleh) to make up a second batch for our family, because the first batch was a hit at the Scout picnic, and I didn’t get any. Well, except for the side bits I cut off when making them into nice squares. Presentation counts, and why should the toasty-good edges go to waste, right?
Today, rather than needing to entirely subvert my nefarious pantry-clearing plan, God simply boosted what may have been a pretty good base idea.
I needed something treaty for 12 Webelos. Webelos are not known for their distinguished palate, and they’d be eating them directly after school, so I figured I couldn’t go too wrong with an experiment.
I’m not sure what to call the results. Friends have suggested COTP Bars (Clear Out The Pantry), which I am quite confident will appeal to Webelos, as any food referencing “cot pee” is likely to cause hilarity. Likewise, “Dump Bars”, which was one of my ideas. (I spent two summers being in charge of risque campfire songs at Scout Day Camp. Blame my Scouting parents. I could have cheerfully stayed indoors and read, and not taught the boys dreadful songs full of punny references to bodily functions.)
“Scout Stuff Bars” meets the cleanliness standard, and truly fits the mechanics of the “recipe”… and I use that term very lightly, since it’s really just a loose formula rather than a scientific method.
So, here it is:
Combine any number of handsful of interesting pantry items, until you have about six to eight cups of “Stuff.” Our mix today included:
* A few servings of bulk granola
* Three cups of old-fashioned oats, toasted in the oven, drizzled with melted peanut butter, and toasted some more
* About a cup of shelled peanuts
* About a cup and a half of dreadful little raisins (actually, they’re palatable in this presentation.)
* Approximately forty leftover white “chocolate” chips hanging out in my cupboard. Please do not get me started on why white “chocolate” is not, in fact, chocolate. In the words of Lefty, the Tagger: “Nassy.”
* About 3/4 cup of mini chocolate (containing actual chocolate brown-ness) chips, also leftover and lurking in the cabinet.
To all this mix, we added two bags of mini-marshmallows, melted with butter as for Rice Krispie Bars.
The whole shebang was mixed together, pressed into a pan, cooled, and cut into bars, two per boy (plus the edges for me, and a set for the family. I’m learning.)
The Scouts declared it a success, and I liked ’em, too.
It’s proof that God loves His rebelling-in-very-small-ways children, and will use us to His good purposes.
Good purposes, and dessert. It’s a pretty good plan, I think.