Creamy Lemon-Mango Oats Bars!
Sometimes it’s happier to give than to receive. You’d think I’m just saying it because others have said it but it’s true.
The other day on my way into a Safeway store, there was a teenager (I’m so tempted to say kid but that’ll just make me sound really old) who stood outside by the door and at quick glance I wasn’t sure if he was begging for money or trying to sell something… then I noticed he had some candy packs laid out and inside a storage container, so he was selling (though poorly displayed, but he’s a guy after all). I was just about to brush him off when he asked if I was interested in buying some candy or donate to help him raise money for his basketball team…that’s when I had the mini flashback…
Years ago, when I was in high school, I was in the exact position trying to raise money for various clubs and teams. We were given our own share of Costco candies that we’d carry around with us all day trying to sell it to anyone who’d buy so that we can raise money to either help with people that needed money to take AP tests or help with sports uniforms, etc. I remember being super excited and happy whenever someone would have the kind heart to help the cause and buy candies from me, even a dollar made my day.
…then I realized, now I can be that person, the one who can make someone else’s day. Suddenly a very soft spot grew and I didn’t even care what he was selling. So I asked him how much were the candies and he said $5 for a pack. The frugal part of me, for a split second, thought “I can get those for a buck!” but reached for my wallet regardless and looked inside, all I had were $20 bills, another split second, contemplated asking for change and then realized how ridiculous that sounded. Internal turmoil, clearly somewhere in there I’m a complete jerk but luckily that part only surfaces for split seconds. Finally I decided to hand him a $20 and told him to keep the candies. He was pretty shocked and said thank you and I smiled and said you’re welcome! He was still there when I was done grocery shopping and as I passed him again, he said thanks again and wished me a good night. That made me happy, a simple thanks and knowing I did something to help.
If that was me back then, and someone handed me a $20 and told me to keep whatever I was selling, I would’ve loved them forever…well not forever but I’d be so grateful. Definitely would’ve made my day, so hopefully my $20 can make his day. It’s nice to give back especially when you know first hand how it feels to be on the other side. Regardless, everyone should find it in the goodness of their heart to help out whether it’s donating money or helping someone cross the street, your actions though small to you may mean the world to them, so help out when you can! Your kindness may inspire others around you to be kind as well. The world can always use a little more kindness.
So after my elaborate story of life lessons, here is my recipe with another twist to the ever so popular creamy lemon oats bars I've made in the past. Mangoes were on sale and so being a girl with the "that's such a steal" mentality, I figured I'd buy and figure out what to do with them later... as it turns out, putting them in my lemon bars is perfect.
Makes 9-12 bars
- 14 oz condense milk
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup old fashion oats
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 mango, cut into chunks
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Mix condense milk, lemon, and lemon zest until thickens, set aside
- Mix dry ingredients and butter until crumbly and press approx ½ of that mixture into 9”x 9” pan and bake for 10 minutes
- Remove from oven, spread the mango chunks over crust, and then lightly spread the creamy lemon mixture on. Sprinkle remaining crumble on top. Press the crumble gently.
- Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes