Did you know that I am a finalist for “Best Mom Blogger” in Washington Family Magazine’s 2014 “Best For Families” Awards? Yeah, that took me by surprise, too. While I am honored to be in the ranks alongside The Bloggess, The Pioneer Woman, Honest Toddler, and Momastery (the winner)…as you may or may not have noticed, I am not a mom. Nor do I plan on becoming one anytime soon. No babies, thank you very much.
The WFM’s “Best For Families” Awards span a huge amount of categories, covering all facets of family life. My company is eligible for several of these categories, and have won the awards in the past (and we won this year, hurray!) However, gathering the votes is based primarily on a huge write-in paper ballot (as the WFM’s online ballot is notoriously finicky). We often make these paper ballots available to our friends, family, and customers if they would like to fill one out. And my mother did just that. And her friends did just that. And (possibly) my friends did just that. Since a certain percentage of these ballots must be filled out to make the ballot valid, we are often spent picking one another brains–“Has anyone gone to an allergist?” “Anybody know a good tutoring service?”–to fill in enough categories. This reason is why my boss and other members of our staff have been nominated for several odd categories: “Best Interior Designer”, “Best Electrician”, “Local Hero”, “Person You Wish Would Run For Preseident”. Blanks needed filling, and people got a little silly. I suppose now it is my turn. As the only blogger some of my acquaintances know, presumably the “Mom” part of the category was ignored.. (Thanks, Mom.) To wind down this story, if, by some coincidence, you have found your way here through the WFM’s BFF Awards, I am sorry to disappoint you on the lack of “Mom” status. I can offer you delicious gluten-free food, but no commiseration or celebration of life’s joys with little ones. Wait! I have a dog…does that count?
Finalist-status aside, M and I are on the road again, taking a meandering route down to North Carolina for his nephew’s birthday. We’ll spend a few days at the beach on our way down. This will be our last chance to get away before our work schedules return full swing. It’ll be nice to meander and take our time as we go down the coast. If the weather holds, we will try to get out to kayak! I went kayaking for the first time on our cruise in January and loved it! M has been kayaking since he was young, so it would be great to have a chance to go out again. M’s nephew is having a water party. With five year olds as the main attendees, I expect a lot of chaotic fun! North Carolina also means a visit to Saxapahaw, our favorite tiny strip of town. After coffee, we will poke around the general store to see if we can find any fun local products. This time, finally, we will be prepared with a cooler for transport back home. Last trip, I was a little concerned for the local steaks that we found. They had been frozen, so they just barely made it home while still cold…
Many, many weeks ago, before camp, I mentioned some rhubarb bars. They are made with the same base crust and crumble as my Caramel-Oat Cookie Bars, with the gooey caramel replaced with soft, sweet strawberry-rhubarb fruit filling. You might be able to snap up the last stalks of rhubarb before the season ends, but you can also replace it with more strawberries, or another kind of fruit. Without the tangy rhubarb to balance the sweetness, you may find you want to exclude the sugar in the filling as well. These are perfect when served warm with a spoonful or two of vanilla ice cream!
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble Bars
Serves: 15-24 (depending on cut size) | Prep Time: 15 min. | Cook time: 30 min.
- 1 batch cookie bar base from Caramel-Oat Bars
- 2 c. diced strawberries
- 1 1/2 c. diced rhubarb (about 3 stalks)
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. corn starch
- 1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and prepare the base according to recipe directions. For easy removal, line the pan with a sheet of parchment paper, and allow the edges to lay up the sides of the pan.
While the cookie base is cooking, combine the diced fruit and sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and let mixture sit until the bar base is removed from the oven. Allow the base to cool for five minutes, then spread the fruit mixture evenly over the base. Sprinkle with reserved crumble topping.
Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and the crumble is golden. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then slice into bars. Allow to cool completely. Bars can be stored in a tightly-sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week.