If you’re from the Midwest and need a treat that reminds you of home, these Dark Chocolate Scotcharoos are made for delicious nostalgia. They’re surprisingly simple and healthy, with just 5 ingredients - peanut butter, dark chocolate, honey, puffed rice cereal, and a touch of coconut oil.
The next person who hears me say “ugh all these big life changes!” has my permission to slap me (gently, please). YES, HALEY. Life changes. Sure, they’re all unexpected and happening at the same time right now, so it’s difficult. But it’s time to shush about how much it stinks and start seeing the beauty in the mess. It’s time to put on your big-girl pants and walk out the door into your potential. Everyday. Get up. Make coffee. Journal. Smile. Do life, one day at a time.
That’s what my journal entries have looked like lately and I like it a lot. I feel like my very own cheerleader, and I think we all need to be able to step into that role for ourselves sometimes.
I’ve talked about the passing of my Grandpa, and I thought that would be the last one for a while. Given that, you can probably expect what’s coming - more change! This one is the most unexpected and terrifying change of all, and the most uncomfortable to talk about here, but this is my place to talk about life. I’m also learning to lean into discomfort, so here I go. My boyfriend and I decided it’s best for both of us if we part ways (so that makes him my ex-boyfriend, but to be grammatically correct I couldn’t say that yet in the previous sentence).
Thank goodness for Grace, who let me sob my eyeballs out the night it happened. Thank goodness for my parents, who let me call them multiple times the next day, still sobbing my eyes out, and encourage me in so many ways. Thank goodness for my journal, which held space for me to write (read: word vomit all my emotions) over 20 pages in just two weeks.
Thank goodness for my soul pinching at my heart to let me know that I wasn’t where I wanted to be, and that it’s time for another scary, but essential change.
I experienced my very first panic attack in the aftermath of this change. I drove to the beach - my favorite spot - and called Mom and Dad in need of their voices and love and encouragement. Through tears and words that probably didn’t make sense, I let all my hurt and worries and fear out, and they responded with all the words I needed to hear. I’d never been the type of person to wipe tears from my cheeks and walk away with a smile five minutes after a cry until that night on the phone with them. I knew I had two choices:
1) keep crying. keep feeling sorry for yourself. keep allowing the fear to pump panic through your veins. and then hope something works out…?
2) stop crying (for now). acknowledge the heaviness of the situation. lean into the discomfort. look inward at who you have become, what you’ve learned, and who you want to become as a result of all of this. don’t waste this learning experience. own it. use it. grow.
I went with option #2, marking the first time I’ve ever wiped my tears and walked away with a smile five (or maybe twenty) minutes after a cry. And I continue choosing option #2 every single day because this is a process and it requires work every single day.
So, this is for you. If your life isn’t changing right now, that’s fine, and I hope you’re happy. Just know that change is coming and however scary and uncomfortable it is, I hope you choose option #2. You are strong enough to do that and you are worth it. Who can you call on to help you? What can you do everyday to bring yourself joy, even small moments of it? How can you lean into this discomfort to propel yourself forward?
Makes ~16 bars
2 cups puffed rice cereal (unsweetened, preferably)
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips or chunks
3-4 tbsp. natural creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. coconut oil
Combine the first 1/2 cup of peanut butter and honey in a small saucepan and heat over low-medium heat. Stir frequently and reduce heat to low after 3-4 minutes. Continue stirring until the mixture is homogenous, then remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the peanut butter + honey mixture and the 2 cups of puffed rice cereal. Be patient - it can be challenging to mix them, but it will happen.
When the cereal is incorporated into the peanut butter + honey mixture, transfer this to an 8x8 baking dish and place in the fridge while you prepare the chocolate.
In a double-boiler or microwave safe bowl, melt the 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips/chunks and coconut oil. Stir frequently to prevent burning, and remove from the heat when the chocolate is completely melted. Pour this over the rice cereal and add small dollops about the size of a tablespoon of the peanut butter on top. Use a toothpick or skewer to create swirls of the peanut butter and chocolate.
Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate has set, about 45-60 minutes. Trace along the perimeter of the dish using a butter knife or spatula to loosen the bars. Carefully flip the dish over so that the bars release from the pan onto a cutting board or cutting surface. Slice into 16 bars.
Do not keep them at room temperature for more than 1 hour - the chocolate will begin to melt. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!