If you’re happy and you know it, eat a bar cookie…

A friend sent me a blog link back in September 2010 and told me to take a look that she was disheartened. It was a then 17 year old girl desperately trying to get thin. Now I don’t mean she is obese or overweight to begin with and wanting to lose weight, I mean she wanted to get thin, thin. She was hoping for at least a size 1 if not smaller. Her blog was plastered with what she called motivational pictures of girls with their bones sticking through their bodies. She wrote hate posts to herself almost daily for eating. She would go days with just drinking black coffee and a few bites of Life cereal. She constantly wrote how much better life would be if she could just be her version of thin. She truly and honestly believed that her life would be better.

In January she met her goal, I’m pretty sure her body is the size of my leg…in fact, my leg might be bigger. Was she happy? No, in fact she is severely depressed. Because low and behold her life is not any better than it was when she weighed 7 pounds more. If you don’t like who you are at a size 20, or a 12. You are most likely not going to like yourself at a size 2 (or 1 in this case). Self-worth is not a number. It’s understanding that you have something to offer the world. We all do.

Now I won’t lie, I would certainly like to drop a few, getting divorced and then going back on large amounts of Prednisone have not been awesome in the weight department. But having more padding doesn’t make me a different person than who I was. It means my jeans are too darn tight. I have just as much to offer at my current size than my former size. And when I am off my meds, I will get back to that size again. No rush, because again, I know my world isn’t suddenly more awesome because of it. Though I do skate faster with less weight…that’s just common sense. And I am certainly not saying don’t lose weight if that is what you want. What I am saying, is that if you don’t love yourself regardless of what size or what job or whatever you are in your life…the number on the scale isn’t going change that. Start liking yourself people!

Let’s take Kirstie Alley for example; she started Dancing with the Stars this week (hangs head in shame…yes I watch that show). First off, I had no idea she was 60 years old, which I think she looks fantastic for being that age. And second, as we all know thanks to the media’s constant reports of what they guess is her current weight, that she is a thick woman. And that thick 60 year old woman went out and that dance floor and was pretty darn good. I was very impressed. Not that she could dance at that size or that age…mostly just because she was good at it. I have learned from far too many Zumba classes that I have the grace of Bambi on ice. I thought the Karate Kid was good too…except his hair looks off to me; does it look off to you? My point being (not the karate kid part) is that she is moving her body and you can tell she is really feeling good about herself, and making her more attractive.

When I was a Weight Watcher receptionist and leader and people would tell me that they didn’t want to buy nicer clothing until they got to goal weight I would advise them against that. I would tell them that if they dressed sloppy along their journey then they would not feel good about themselves and then in return that would reflect in their weight loss. Plus I always found that the minute I bought the expensive jeans my body somehow knew this and would drop a whole size just to spite me. :P The most stunning woman I know is not what I think most people would think of traditional beauty. I met her first at book club. She is very tall, and we will just say not waif-like. But she dresses immaculate and always very put together and gives off an air of confidence. And as we have discussed on here before, confidence goes a lot further than calling yourself fat and throwing up what you eat or not eating at all.

I’m sure that poor girl who runs that blog would never dream of touching my cookie bars, which is very sad because they went over really well. Really well. I tried them on out both the bff and some referees. In fact, it was the refs who named the bar…well they said Peabody Mud Bars…I added the double layer part just so you would know it’s a two parter. The first layer is a chocolate cookie with malted milk (use Ovaltine if you can’t find regular malted milk) with milk chocolate chips. The top layer is a mocha layer with toffee pieces and more milk chocolate chips. Like I said, these went over very well. Yes, they take a little time, but the more than happy expressions on the refs faces are worth the effort. Remember, baked goods say love. :)

Bake yourself a treat. You deserve it. You are a great person just as you are.

Peabody’s Double Layer Mud Bars

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Malt Layer:

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar, loosely packed
¼ cup malted milk powder
2 TBSP chocolate syrup (or like hot fudge)
1 egg yolk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. Baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Grease and flour a 9-x-13-inch pan, or use baking spray.

Using a stand mixer, cream butter, malted milk, chocolate syrup, vanilla, and sugar together.

Beat in egg yolk and mix until fully combined.

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt with the mixer on low speed. Mix until fully combined.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread this layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. You may need to wet your hands a little to prevent the dough to stick to your hands. In this case, your hands work way better than a spatula. The dough will be thin because another layer is going on top.

Mocha-Toffee Layer:

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1 egg
1 tsp. instant coffee (I used Via)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
¾ cup toffee pieces
½ cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F.

Grease and flour a 9-x-13-inch pan, or use baking spray.

Using a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars together.

Beat in egg, coffee, vanilla, and cocoa powder until fully combined.

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt with the mixer on low speed. Mix until fully combined.

Fold in chocolate chips and toffee pieces.

Spread this layer over the top of the Malted Chocolate Layer. You may need to wet your hands a little to prevent the dough to stick to your hands. In this case, your hands work way better than a spatula.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. You want them to be a little gooey but not too wet, a knife should come out clean.


  1. Well said, ms peabody.. As the saying goes – beauty shines from within.

    I truly believe that if you don’t appreciate yourself as the way you are, not many others would.

    So be happy.. =D
    *now let me go make me some bar cookies*

  2. “thinspiration” blogs are always pretty scary. I think the most important thing is, like you said, to love your body. Part of loving your body is respecting it and keeping it healthy, and just because you are bone thin doesn’t mean you are healthy!!

  3. I’d love one of those! Bars always make me happy.



  4. Great post, and yummy bars! We’re big fans of DWTS here, too. My girls (4 & 8) usually have all the dancers & partners memorized and favorites picked out by week 2. But they can never seem to understand that Mommy’s memory isn’t as good, and that I can’t remember who was wearing what dress 3 weeks ago… =) Kirstie Alley was great, and I hope she continues to do well–she was obviously having a great time.

  5. Bravo, Peabody! Thanks for the reality check and posting a kick ass recipe!

  6. Well-said. I agree whole-heartedly with everything you say. I admit that I am one of those people who judges myself based on everyone else and, instead of seeing the good things I have going for me, focus on the things I want to change. I’ve gotten better over the years, but it is stll an uphill battle some days. Thanks for your daily dose of perspective :) And I, for one, would be a happy recipient of, oh, about half-a-dozen of these babies. :)

  7. kristine says:

    Well said, Peabody. You are awesome!

  8. Lovely bars and terrific post. Too bad the size 2 or 0 or whatever waif can’t enjoy both of them.

  9. This was a great post. I sadly admit that I’m one of those people that judge myself way too much, but because I’ve been told that I need to gain more weight I’ve been trying, but trying usually involves massive amounts of sugar, haha. Anyways. Thatnks for the reality check, and everytime I read one of your posts about loving yourself more I think to myself “I really wish I could be more like Peabody and have that self worth and confidence” (not trying to be a buttkisser here) Anyways, awesome looking bars! I’ve always wanted to try baking with malted milk powder, it just seems to interesting! :D

  10. Thank you for that excellent post. You are so right! I lost 25 pounds, and was surprised to find that I wasn’t any happier….now I have to go work on my self worth…

  11. peabody, you’re on fire lately. i love you and your message of self-acceptance.

  12. I only watch DWTS because my fiance loves it (and he always watched The Bachelor with me, but granted I watched it to make fun of the women). And I have to agree, Kirstie Alley rocked it!!

    PS. Wow! What a decadent bar! Who do you share all your treats with?! I’d be in a sugar coma if I made as many as you do!

  13. I completely agree, confidence goes a long way! and anything with toffee gets my vote, too.

    Happy Friday, Peabody!

  14. I totally agree! But it’s a lot harder said than done. When I had my second child I was way over the weight I wanted to be and I was reading all these articles that said to love myself no matter what or filled with women that already had a ton of confidence even though they were larger. It took a lot of time and effort to do that for myself. I’m only a few pounds away from where I want to be but I can honestly say if I was further away I’d still be happy with myself and that’s a difficult thing to be able to say.
    The mocha toffee layer of those bars sounds amazing!

  15. I just wanted to chime in that the instructor in the Zumba class I went to (once) was a plus size gal and she was damn sexy. I can’t shake my hips like that, and you could tell she had self confidence and she was graceful and sassy and I aspired to be like her. I’m sort of embarassed that I didn’t expect that from her because of her size, but she blew all my preconceived notions out the window, and now I know better than to assume or judge.

  16. Awesome! And I just happen to have toffee bits hidden in the freezer somewhere. ;) Just wish I could find them locally, I hate the exorbitant shipping on the special order, but you can only find the heath bits with chocolate in regular stores and they just don’t work the same. Please enlighten me if you have seen the plain toffee bits around!

  17. Perfect timing, as usual. You have a way of saying what I need to hear when I need to hear it. You are truly an inspiration and I am so grateful for the way you share your insight. Awesome attitude. Thank you! =)

    The bars sound amazing and delicious, and will have to be making an appearance in my kitchen. =D

  18. Perfect timing, as usual. You have a way of saying what I need to hear when I need to hear it. You are truly an inspiration and I am so grateful for the way you share your insight. Awesome attitude. Thank you! =)

    The bars sound amazing and delicious, and will have to be making an appearance in my kitchen. =D

  19. This is definitely the thing that everyone forgets about weight loss or just about any superficial self-bettering attempts. My brother got a nose job because he thought it would make him happier. Uhhh not so much. You live, you learn though and it’s something I definitely need to get better at.

    I take Zumba and many of the heavier women look way better doing it than I do. Way. Better.

  20. I only wish you could type louder. Thanks!

  21. Another excellent post – and not just the recipe :)
    I needed to hear that today.

  22. What a lovely post. Life is beautiful :).

  23. Christine says:

    You are a very wise woman, Peabody – and a darn good baker as well. Yum!

  24. Good grief, surely someone has alerted this girl’s parents or someone that she has gone over the edge. If that’s not a huge cry for help I don’t know what is!

    I have run across some of these websites you are talking about. There are support groups for anorexics out there – and I don’t mean to help you recover. They are to help you lose unhealthy amounts of weight.

    I just had a baby, so my body is different and some of my pre-baby clothes don’t fit. I’m doing what I can to lose the weight and still be healthy. But you are right. Being skinny doesn’t make up for self confidence.

  25. Okay I am so guilty of judging myself way to harshly, but I am working on it. One reason I am trying to be better is the fact that I have two young girls and I don’t want them to be like that girl, so sad. I am pretty sure we are thinking of the same person from book club, and if so you are so right about her.

  26. These bars definitely show love!

  27. Peabody,
    This was a great post. Every person needs to feel great in their own skin, at whatever size. You said it well! I appreciate your thoughts!! Oh yeah, the cookie bars look scrumptious also!!! Have a great weekend.

  28. Yes, the Karate Kid’s hair is “off.” Almost like an old man version of Bieber hair. I’ve heard that he’s really bald and all of it is fake (the karate kid…not Bieber). SN: These bars look great!

  29. Will you marry me?

  30. I have such a tremendous amount of respect for you!
    I have long been a reader of your blog (some three years), and I have always had the utmost respect for your attitude towards weight, eating, and body image. It strikes me as so healthy, something of a rarity nowadays.
    This post struck quite a chord with me. I have dealt with my weight my whole life, (I’m only 20, but I can truly say that.) and I can say quite honestly that you are so in the right. Size does not matter. I went from morbidly obese to anorexic in the span of two years, and I can so sympathize with the girl from that blog.
    In the end, neither extreme mattered. It didn’t matter that I was a size 22 or a size 00…I was miserable and unhappy either way. And accepting myself has been the hardest part.
    I appreciate so much your insight to the ever-present weight obsessed society we are living in; it’s all true!
    Thank you for choosing to post this entry as all your others. Your blog has been tremendously inspirational (and delicious looking to boot!) to me.

  31. SondraKay says:


    Thank you for this post and many others. You make me smile, you make me laugh, you make think, and you make me drool. Give you and your sweet doggy a big hug from me!

  32. annelise says:

    Hey Peabody, I just wanted to let you know that I’m sixteen and I love your blog, especially this post. I feel like the media and my friends and guys are constantly sending messages that girls have to be super thin to be pretty. I play for the varsity soccer team and am training for a half marathon, so I have a very athletic body, but I struggle a lot with my self esteem. Thank you for giving me the strength to see my own beauty.

  33. Happiness does come from within. I doesn’t happen because you are a certain weight, have no wrinkles, you hair is perfect, etc. I really wish that the media would stop with all of the airbrushing they do in both magazines and tv/movies because it gives such a false sense of what is normal.

    These bars look wonderful. I actually prefer a bar cookie to cake or regular cookies.

  34. The bars look great. I’ll be making them this week.I was reading back a couple of posts and saw you got your degree at Northern Arizona University. Well Hi,that’s were I got my degree.

  35. jlhpisces says:

    Thank you for this post (and the recipe). While health and size may be linked together, happiness and size are not! Here’s to healthy, happy, and a cookie!!

  36. AMEN! Well said. I am a former anorexic and current steroid (medical condition!) user that is heavier than ever. Yes, I still struggle. But it is so true that you need to be happy at any size. I wasn’t happy at size 2 either. My body supports me to do the things I love and spend time with the people I love. It is pretty awesome that it can heal itself too. ;-)
    I’m learning to love it just the way it is (and give it the nutrition that it needs to thrive).

  37. I’ve seen sites like that before… so very sad that people can’t love themselves for who they are. I remember being a little chunky in high school and doing every diet under the sun… today I’m 20 pounds heavier than my all-time low at 17 years old and 20 times happier. What can I say? I really like pie :)

  38. Very well put!! I look at your blog regularly and love your recipes, but typically don’t feel the need to post… but this was really touching. Thanks for that :) And I bet the recipe will be delicious when I try it out this weekend!

  39. If people are going to lose weight, I think they should do it with the goal of getting healthy, not skinny. Skinny does not necessarily mean that you’re healthier, happier, or that people like you better… in most cases it just means you’re hardly eating and not enjoying life one bit. And really, what’s the point of life if you can’t enjoy desserts like these mud bars… even if just a bite or two?

    And oh my goodness, Kirstie Allie can DANCE! I was quite surprised, since usually none of the ‘stars’ on DWTS can really dance… but she *must* have been a dancer when she was younger, because moving the way she’s been on the show isn’t something that can be taught so quickly! :)

  40. (hangs head in shame) Yes, even my husband watched DWTS last night. Seems he’s a big fan of Kirstie and thought she looked awesome (age/weight don’t matter to him).

  41. Great recipe and wonderful message for all of us. It’s a great reminder that we’re all more than what we see in the mirror. Thank you!

  42. Just made these bars… they’re amazing!!

    I brought them into work for a luncheon and they were all eaten – guess I have to make a second batch for me and my family to eat at home :)

  43. Peabody, I don’t visit your site for a couple weeks and then come back to read an entry like this. Man. I was nodding the entire time, just thinking how sad it is that there are people out there with low self-esteem thinking that a number on a scale equals happiness. Reading how you think on this point just makes me like you more and more. Blogcrush? Ha… maybe…..

  44. Just made these last night! And going to eat them from breakfast! haha.

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