A Sweet Evening

Each Wednesday evening my newly-formed life-writing circle meets at the Crozet Library from 7-8:45 pm. One of the preparation parts I especially enjoy is making a treat for us. For tonight I decided on chocolate since Valentine’s Day was a few days ago.

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I picked through my three-decades-old farm recipe cards, from a time when I baked nearly every day, and decided to make Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies. It’s a recipe I’m fairly sure I found among the great recipes in our monthly Farm Journal, although I didn’t note the source on the index card.

Make brownie mixture:
Melt together ½ cup butter + 1 ounce baking chocolate
Mix together, then add to butter mixture:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup walnuts

Make cream cheese mixture:
Cream 8 oz cream cheese
Add: ¼ cup soft butter
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla

Assemble:
Spread chocolate mixture in a 9×13 oiled pan. Cover with cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with ¼ cup walnuts.
Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes

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A sweet reward for dedicated life-writers! And for you, too, if you like the notion of cheesecake atop your brownies!

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The only thing sweeter than our brownies was the time we spent sharing, listening to, and discovering our common threads in each others’ stories. That was a precious and sacred treat!

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About Mary Jo Doig

At the turn of the millennium, I arrived at a cross-road that brought me to a splendid, if unforeseen place, almost as if I were a traveler on Robert Frost's The Road Less Traveled. I was single again, my three children were grown and building their lives, I'd experienced a health issue and was working on an improved lifestyle. I also ached to do two other things: (1) change my long human services career in upstate New York's Catskill Mountains, where winter seemed to be at least seven months out of every year, and (2) move to a warmer place in the universe. My decision: did I want to continue on the path I'd been following pretty much all my life, or could I gather my then-fragile courage and start life brand new somewhere else? These were scary thoughts for a single woman in her late 50s. Five hundred miles away, though, I fell in love with a new mountain range, Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, where I knew not a soul except my daughter who was attending college in the Shenandoah Valley, and I moved. I rented a tiny cabin on a mountain in the woods and lived there in solitude for two years, working in a new career by day and, when home, communing with the incredible natural beauty that surrounded me. There I also began to write my life stories, which were aching for release. I joined the Story Circle Network in early 2001, a rich place in cyberspace for women life writers, where I strengthened my written voice and began sharing my stories. I found so many opportunities to grow: 10 year facilitator for an online writing circle of women writers across the country; thirteen year editor of the "True Words from Real Women" section of the quarterly Journal; a reader and reviewer of women's memoirs for the SCN Book Review site; program chair for two Stories from the Heart national conferences in Austin, T. Presently I'm teaching Women's Life-Writing and Older Women's Legacy workshops in my part of the world in Central Virginia and facilitating the ongoing Circle of Memories Writing Circle (formerly an OWL workshop that continued on) at the Crozet Public Library. I am blessed with three wonderful children, a son and two daughters; a small, huge-hearted family; dear friends; my beagle Addie and cat Button. My hobbies include reading, writing, editing, cooking, gardening, quilting, knitting, biking, and simply being with the profound beauty of the mountains that embrace my small two acres in the Blue Ridge. The life stories I began writing in 2001 have grown deeper with time, re-writes, and personal growth. All these years later, I'm scheduled to publish my memoir, Stitching a Patchwork Life, in 2018.
This entry was posted in Bovina Stories, Gifts, Gratitude, In the Kitchen, The Writing Life, Womens' Writing Circles. Bookmark the permalink.

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