I love running. I love dreary days outside like today that make me want to cuddle up for the day, but I also love sunny skies that invite me outside. I love writing. I love reading. I love hiking, swimming, and biking. I love sunsets, but love sunrises more. I love laughing. I love fall, but also spring, summer, and winter. I love a lot of things. I think it’s important to love a lot of things because for me, it means that I appreciate many, many aspects of life. Aristotle talks about how vital it is for all of us to appreciate what function each of us have because it means we are all respecting each other’s individuality and personal contributions to the world. So, when I say I love fall, it makes me realize how much I enjoy the other seasons too, for what each of them bring. Fall brings swirling storms of vibrant leaves, crisp air, tastes of pumpkin, and cozy days with friends and family. Winter brings snow (maybe not always desired…) and days spent huddled up in forts of blankets, books, and warm drinks. You catch my drift…each season brings new emotions and natural events and traditions spent with family and friends. It’s important to be thankful for the function of each season because each one brings something special and new.
In his book Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle talks about how important it is for each person to perform the best at they can at what they are most passionate about in order to attain a good life. What does that mean?? Basically, the title of the post: do what you love and love what you do.
Here’s an example of what Aristotle is talking about: I love eating. More specifically, I’ve got a penchant for baked goods. I think most people do. However, my baking endeavors in the past have been somewhat of fiascos (need I mention the time I forgot to let rolls rise so they proceeded to do so in my stomach? Or the time I thought that almond extract was to be used liberally so I poured in a quarter of a bottle to make a cake? Or how about the time I decided that draining pineapples before putting them in a cake wasn’t important so the cake became a giant, gooey blob of pineapple juice and flour?) So, needless to say, it’s often safer for me to put baking into other people’s hands. This isn’t to say that I can’t or won’t do it, but I recognize that my strengths lie other places (such as not following recipes, coming up with crazy concoctions, eating the food instead of making it, etc.). But, this isn’t the case for my friend, Andrea. She’s a GREAT baker. This could be partly because she follows the recipes, and intuition when necessary. So, last night when we had a fun party to go to, we decided last-minute to make Unstoppable Bars. Actually, we decided to make the bars but Andrea actually made them…
Aristotle would’ve congratulated us on our Unstoppable Bars. No, not because the ratio of flaky flour crust to chewy chocolate topping was perfect, but because Andrea and I each did what we do best: she baked and I flitted around the apartment dancing to Christmas music, taking pictures of food, and eating. We attained the good life last night, because “the good of man is an activity of the soul in conformity with excellence or virtue” (17).
So, I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about Aristotle by now, but I hope that the examples helped you understand just one of his concepts. And if this brief, little insight on one of Aristotle’s many, many ideas interested you, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Nichomachean Ethics. Even if you just read a tiny chapter a day, there are some really thought-provoking ideas that will stick with you and help you to analyze concepts such as happiness, life fulfillment, and what a ‘good life’ really looks like.
Now you’re asking: what are Unstoppable Bars?
In a word, addictive.
Once you start, you can’t stop. If you can, you’ve got more willpower than I ever will. This recipe was adapted from the recipe book 500 Cookies. Yum. Without further ado, here’s the recipe! It’s quick, easy (if you’ve got a rockstar baker like Andrea in the house) and a bar that’s loved by all.
Ingredients (we veganized the recipe because the party we went to called for vegan goodies!)
For the Crust:
3/4 Earth Balance
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Whole-Wheat Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 Cups Walnuts
For the Topping:
1/2 Cup Earth Balance
3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
10 oz. Chocolate Chips
1. Find an amazing friend like Andrea who will magically whip all of the ingredients together and produce a pan of pure deliciousness.
2. Okay, if you can’t do that, start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 casserole pan with foil.
3. Put the butter into a saucepan and melt over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla. Next, stir in sifted flour and salt. Pat the dough into the bottom of the pan.
3. Bake dough for 10 minutes and then scatter the walnuts on top and bake for 10 more minutes or until the crust is golden and your kitchen begins to smell like walnuts and happiness. Then, remove the pan from the oven.
4. Melt the butter and stir in sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for one minute. Pour the buttery mixture (I know, I’m salivating just writing the words buttery mixture) over the crust. Bake for 10 minutes and then remove from the oven. Sprinkle those chocolate chips all over the sugary, buttery, doughy goodness. Let the bars cool in the pan (if you’re in a rush and have to go to a party like we did, pop the dish into the freezer for a little bit to solidify the chocolate chips).
5. Cut into bars and watch the whole pan get gobbled up in a matter of minutes (well, not the pan, but all of the bars!). Enjoy!!