Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Storms Bring in the Prettiest Shells

I have walked the beach on this island for years. More years than I'd like to admit. And you know what? It never gets old. Up to the left, past Resident's Beach and the Marriott. To the right all the way to the tip of Tigertail Beach. The sand that once was shells crunching beneath my bare feet, the morning sun warming my arms, the gulf breeze sighing gently with me. The sheer beauty. The peace. Nature's wonder on display as I search for the most colorful shells or that rare find, a whole sand dollar.  

Shells collected on Marco Island | www.BakingInATornado.com | #nature #beach #shells


I talk all the time about how I bake to relieve stress. And lets face it, there's been a lot of it lately. The best way I can generally find to just take a break from it all is to grab some chocolate and hit the kitchen. Baking not only requires concentration and therefore the respite my mind needs, but it invariably culminates in sweet results and the appreciation of friends and family.

Mocha Toffee Bars, chocolate, coffee and toffee flavors in this dessert treat. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATorando.com | #recipe #chocolate #dessert

Mocha Toffee Bars
Mocha Toffee Bars, chocolate, coffee and toffee flavors in this dessert treat. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATorando.com | #recipe #chocolate #dessert

But there has never been, in my life anyway, anything that clears my mind and nourishes my soul like walking the beach. No, it never gets old.

The beach on Marco Island | www.BakingInATornado.com | #nature #beach #shells

It does get new though. Just after a storm.

I don't want to get all warm-and-fuzzy and feel-goody here. A storm is by no means a cleansing. It is undoubtedly the result of an ugly, harmful, churning, upheaval. A disruption of the peace that had become the daily norm. There is fall out, even some destruction in it's wake. But we do not have to look below the surface to find what is there in the aftermath. 

We just have to let go of our anger at the storm itself. At its disturbance of our stagnant complacency.

Shells collected on Marco Island | www.BakingInATornado.com | #nature #beach #shells

Shells collected on Marco Island | www.BakingInATornado.com | #nature #beach #shells


We have, many of us, railed against the whipping winds that signaled the incoming storm. We have convinced ourselves that it would diminish, not make landfall. We shook our collective fists at the heavens as the sky opened up and dumped on us.

It is now the day after. We can no longer deny that the storm has hit. It does us no good to continue to shake our fists. The time has come to walk the beach. Not with an air of naivete though, be vigilant about where you step. There will be an occasional man-of-war. 

But there is also beauty. Not hiding, right there in plain sight. All we really need to do is stop seeking and start seeing. 

Because storms bring in the prettiest shells.


Shells collected on Marco Island | www.BakingInATornado.com | #nature #beach #shells

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics





Mocha Toffee Bars         
                                    ©www.BakingInATornado.com
 
Printable Recipe
 
Ingredients:
1 stick margarine
1 stick butter, divided
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee granules, divided
1 cup brown sugar, divided
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup toffee chips

Directions:
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 X 13 baking pan with nonstick spray.
*Melt margarine and 1/2 stick of the butter. Mix in 1 tsp of the coffee granules. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool a bit.
*Beat in 3/4 cup of the brown sugar, then the egg. Carefully beat in the flour, baking cocoa and salt. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes.
*In a microwave safe bowl, heat the corn syrup, remaining 1/2 stick butter, heavy cream, vanilla and 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/2 tsp coffee granules and microwave 2 more minutes.
*Mix and pour over the crust. Return to oven for 25 minutes.
*Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/4 dark chocolate chips over the top of your bars and return to the oven for 1 minute. 
*Spread the melted chocolate over the top of the bars, sprinkle with the toffee chips and allow to cool completely before cutting.

20 comments:

  1. Thank you. I needed to be reminded of what happens after the storm. Hard to do that when you've been living in it awhile.

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    Replies
    1. I think we all need to be reminded now and then. I know I did.

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  2. Beautifully written! What a great reminder.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Rena, the Gulf taught me a lesson this year.

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  3. I love this message and this recipe looks divine! Great message combined with a tasty recipe!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Allyson, I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

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  4. The day after is all about reality. Beautiful shells, or beautiful life goes on. Chocolate, coffee, toffee, yummy!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, exactly. The day after is a fresh start, as long as we're open to it.

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  5. Beautifully written, my dear!
    I am so glad you had time together to unwind and enjoy.❤️️
    I've never been to Florida. We have many friends that vacation their yearly and come back with wonderful stories and beautiful shells.
    The magic word for me is "mocha". I am going to have to make these bars this weekend!

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  6. Some of my happiest moments have been the two times I visited Sanibel Island in Florida and spent hours in the "Sanibel Stoop" position, shelling. I was hoping to go back this year but life had other plans. I'm back to trying to lose weight but that recipe is pinned. Need some stress relief right now....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I've been to Sanibel and it's gorgeous. I was about an hour south of there this past week.

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  7. I remember as a child collecting shells when we went to the beach which was often, hell Tim and I use to take our girls to the beach often when they were little

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    Replies
    1. Yes, although we live in the middle of the country, my boys have been going to the beach twice a year since they were born.

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  8. Oh, my goodness, YES!!! Beautiful analogy!

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  9. The beach has amazing powers. You could walk it all the time if you moved to Tampa Bay. ��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would love to. And I could see you and my nephew too!

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  10. I'm the same. The beach and it's effect never gets old. Wonderful analogy, oh, and the dessert..!

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    Replies
    1. Beach and chocolate, the secret to a happy life.

      Delete

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