Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispies Oreo Brownies (Vegan) + PB&Co. Giveaway

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Fact: Everyone else’s life looks cooler than yours.

Did you just get a promotion at your accounting firm? Congratulations! Your former classmate just got bumped up to CEO of a high-profile tech company that makes life-saving microchip nanobots.

Also, that dorky kid whom you all made fun of in high school is now happily married with a newborn on the way and wedding pictures that make you want to drown your face in your toilet bowl. Meanwhile you are blasting Hunter Hayes’ “Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me” on repeat and devouring a tub of cookie dough ice cream like your life depends on it.

If you’re me, you’re also watching that wonderful 1999 movie “Never Been Kissed” featuring 25-year old journalist Josie Gellar (played by Drew Barrymore opposite the extremely dreamy Michael Vartan) and wondering vaguely to yourself if you’ll feel quite so warmly about this movie when you’ve gotten beyond 25 and are, alas, still very much a chronically romance-challenged Josie Grossie.

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Fact: You are 99.9% convinced everyone else’s life IS cooler than yours.

Fortunately, this “fact” confirms one thing for you: you’re certainly not alone in this feeling. While you’re busy hovering jealously over your friend’s newly published YA novel, somebody else is contemplating whether or not to Like your recent post about your new blog. Maybe they do decide to Like it, and you would never know the full 10 minutes of internal struggle that went into that seemingly simple choice.

Would it seem creepy to Like this, considering I haven’t actually spoken to them in four years? your brain asks in torment. Do I want to endorse their coolness? Would doing so make me feel worse about myself in comparison?

The wonderful Nancy from Gotta Get Baked, for whom I have immense respect and love (she is one amazing cookie), called my attention not too long ago to an article on this very topic. It’s called “Another Blogger’s Success is Not Your Failure” and the post hits on lots of the too-close-to-home topics that have been bugging me since way before I even started blogging. In it, Katie sums up one problem that resonates in particular:

“It’s easy to take a peer’s success personally.  You spend a million ‘effin hours putting together a post, and then your fellow blogger gets a million comments and views just by sharing an Instagram picture?  I’m sorry, my weekends aren’t near interesting enough to have such lovely Instagram photos.”

I can’t count the number of times this exact negative thought has run through my warped, disappointed, discouraged mind. And it’s not just blogging: when it comes to sharing our life through platforms such as social media, a deeply self-interested part of myself is saying, “Look at me! I’m interesting, too!” And when the cry for attention fails to capture the approbation of your peers, and you see that an obscure acquaintance’s newest photo of her nail polish has 1,078 likes in 2 hours, you’re going to wonder when you missed the Koolaid train.

That’s the reality of self-perception, and when at every turn unhelpful self-help articles pepper you with titles such as “4 Ways to Be Happy Right Now” and “14 Things Every Successful Person Has in Common” (real titles), it’s hard not to roll your eyes and desperately click on the link at the same time.

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On the bright side, I do think that being aware is our strongest weapon against this type of pervasive, debilitating modern tendency toward self-deprecation. The internet has responded magnificently to the image of the perfectly assembled yogi with articles such as this excellent one. The title says it all: “12 Habits of Healthy, Happy People Who Don’t Give a Shit About Your Inner Peace.” It reminds us of a simple truth for achieving happiness on your own terms. This writer sums it up in six succinct, beautiful words:

“Do whatever the fuck you want.”

Sure, things are more complicated than that. Oftentimes we can’t do whatever the f* we want, because let’s be honest: if we all abided by this adage, we’d be wallowing around in giant tubs of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream from dawn to dusk and spending the remaining hours of the day sleeping on a bed of Oreo-stuffed brownies. At least, that’s what I’d do. And I’m not sure a society can run on ice cream and brownies alone.

At the same time, I totally buy her insistence that we do what we want. By focusing on the doing rather than what other people think of my doing, or what other people are busy doing, I find more time to revel in my own accomplishments. Sure, I’m older than Jennifer Lawrence and haven’t starred in several critically-acclaimed films, but I’m not an actress by trade. I’ll even admit that I’d love to start dabbling in acting in the near future–but I would no sooner compare myself to the brainy scientists who construct heat panels for NASA rockets, so why let the success of an awesome young woman like JLaw bother me?

Because let’s face it: until you allow yourself to focus on all the cool things that make up your day-to-day life, everybody else will think your life is cooler than you think it is. I can’t tell you how many times I have been surprised by friends, strangers, and other bloggers alike when they tell me how “cool” or “amazing” or “incredible” my life is. With blogging in particular, where I’ve chiseled out a whole new aspect of my personality that I’ve never tapped into before, people react with overwhelming enthusiasm: You’re so talented to blog! Your baked goods must be mind-blowingly good! I can’t believe you find time to research AND bake AND write AND be popular! How do you manage it?

And you’re all just like, “What? Are we both talking about the same person here?”

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To any other blogger who has heard these praises sung time and time again: how do you respond? Dismissals? Embarrassed grins? Hearty thanks?

Frankly–and this probably isn’t the best reaction in the world–sometimes I’d like to put my hands on the speaker’s shoulders, look them in the eye, and tell them quite seriously that blogging is not a glamorous gig for most of us earth-crawlers. I’m not even sure if it’s glamorous for any of the big shots, just as I’m not entirely convinced that Hollywood fame is all sprinkles and rainbows–though that doesn’t stop me from feeling a twinge of envy when I watch fun interviews between panels of gorgeous co-stars in dazzling wardrobes. My PhD path isn’t extraordinary–it’s kind of a struggle against constant imposter syndrome. I’m just a socially awkward kid playing on the big kids’ playground.

But the awareness helps. A lot.

Knowing that I’m not alone–far from alone, quite well-accompanied–in this spiral of constant comparison, helps.

Opening up a discussion about these things with people who may know what you’re going through–may not understand at all–or may simply insist on continuing viewing you as some sort of a glammed-up idol with an awesomely collected life–helps. 

I will disclaim all responsibility for leading a “really cool life,” but until we can all get over the fact that stats and Likes and Facebook updates about achievements do not = SUCCESS, you won’t believe me when I say that my life is not all you’re cracking it up to be. Yes, my life is wonderful, but not for the reasons you think it is. It’s wonderful not because of the individual things I do or “accomplish,” but because I’m doing them for the right reasons.

In short, I’m doing whatever the f* I want to do.

And that’s why I won’t apologize for this insanely long post, and why I’m glad I gave into the impulse to make these chocolate peanut butter krispies Oreo brownies just because I wanted to. They’re crazy in all the right ways: vegan-friendly, fudgy, krispy-topped, chocolate-and-peanut-butter-rich, and Oreo-stuffed. Hellz to the yes! I brought them to a friend’s PhD grad party and they went lickety-split, so that’s the kind of measurable success I love.

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I’m also incredibly excited to announce a generous giveaway from the lovely folks at Peanut Butter & Co., who sent five jars of absolutely amazing peanut butters my way for this post. I used their Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter to make the krispies topping for this epic brownie, and they’re making sure you can as well! Enter below for a chance to win three jars of special peanut butter of your choosing–you can browse all their delicious products (or even order your own if you can’t wait) on their website. These folks really make my day with all their delicious flavors and have gotten me through many a late-night of identity crisis, so needless to say, this peanut butter holds a special place in my heart…I can’t wait for you all to try it!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispies Oreo Brownies + PB&Co. Giveaway

Ingredients

    For the brownie base:
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (sub vegan margarine for vegan option)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature (sub 1/4 cup flaxseed, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 6 tablespoons water for vegan option--your brownie will be more crumbly)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 16 Oreos
  • For the chocolate peanut butter krispies:
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (use vegan chocolate chips for vegan option)
  • 1 cup PB&Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter (or sub regular peanut butter)
  • 1 cup rice cereal

Instructions

    For the brownie base:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x9-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine melted butter with sugar.
  3. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Mix in cocoa powder, flour, and salt until just combined into wet ingredients.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan and top with Oreo cookies. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the brownies are just set but still fudgy. Set aside and allow to cool as you make the krispies layer.
  7. For the chocolate peanut butter krispies:
  8. Place chocolate chips and Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt mixture in microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval.
  9. Fold in rice krispies cereal. Spread cereal mixture evenly over brownies.
  10. Allow to set in fridge for at least 3 hours before cutting into squares and enjoying. Cover pan with foil and keep leftovers in fridge for up to one week.
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/11/26/chocolate-peanut-butter-krispies-oreo-brownies/

I’ve written a lot in this post, so naturally I can’t wait to hear about all your own experiences. How do you handle the pressures of self-perception and perceptions of others?

Love,

Ala

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received free product samples from Peanut Butter & Company but was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions expressed herein are, of course, 100% my own.

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47 Replies to “Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispies Oreo Brownies (Vegan) + PB&Co. Giveaway”

  1. YUM! I shouldn’t show this to my husband because he will freak out completely and not leave me alone until I make it 😀 Is the competition open internationally? Those PB choices look SO ridiculously tempting – PB is my one true weakness, even above chocolate 🙂

    1. Hey Margaux! This competition is only open within the US, so unfortunately it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to enter. But I hope you DO make this brownie recipe for yourself–er, or for the hubs–because it was a crazy hit! A little on the crumbly side with the brownies, but nobody complained one peep. Happy Wednesday, lovely lady, and I’d love to hear how it goes for ya!

  2. Embarrased grins for sure and dismissal. Because how can you think what I do is cool? Or that I am talented? Yeah…I go to school and spend time at home on the computer 😮 I need to go read these articles! What a great subject today. As always, I believe you are too cool and I love you for inspiring me on every post! Now I shall drool over these brownies 🙂

    1. See? It’s so hard for me to imagine you grinning in embarrassment, because you’re such a cool cat in my book! Guess that just goes to prove my theory 😀 I hope you have (or had!) a blast reading those articles–I’ve read them multiple times through and always get something different from them, depending on my mood. Thanks for being an awesome supporter and, more importantly, a stellar inspiration! Have an amazing week, lady!

  3. Takes awhile to get to the point where you can do whatever you want. For most of us, at least. Too much baggage to discard first. Anyway, fun recipe — you have a lot of my favorite flavors working in it! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. That’s so true–I’ll just have to keep working at it, there’s really nothing else for it! Have a wonderful week, John!

  4. This was such a great post — I enjoyed reading it and could identify with a LOT of it. I totally agree with you that awareness helps. And so does (trying not to make comparisons and) doing whatever you want!

    1. Ahhh I’m so glad! I can tell just by reading your comment that we’d have plenty to talk about on this score. Insecurities suck, but doing nothing about them sucks even more! I’m rooting for you too, girl–have an awesome week!

  5. Can I PLEASE visit and devour your incredible brownies? They look SO decadent, I am breathing heavily now 😛
    Sooo tasty!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  6. Comparing is always hard, but can bring perspective. Must balance both.

    1. Totally true. Thanks, Manda!

  7. I try not to compare, things can easily look better than they really are. What gets me through it all is to practice gratitude. Yes, every day, no matter what, I stop and reflect on what I am grateful for. It has changed my outlook on life. Sometimes it’s the little things, like enjoying your post and the scrumptious recipe!

    1. I can totally tell you are SUCH a grateful person, Deb. It definitely makes me grateful to have such an inspiring presence in my life! Have yourself a wonderful week, and I’ll be keeping gratitude in mind as well!

  8. Great perspective. I don’t think anyone really gains by comparing themselves to another.
    My approach is a little more simplistic: don’t sign up for any popular social media, remind your friends & family that they already know several ways to get in touch with you, and don’t worry about the people you don’t hear from anymore. They’re off living thier life just like your living yours. Its not for everyone, but it works for me. ^_^

    The brownies (especially that topping) sound fantastic. Can you ever go wrong with peanut butter and dark chocolate? I think I’ll try using the reese’s flavored mini oreos, assuming they’re vegan, to keep the flavor profile strictly in the chocolate pb goodness range. Thanks for sharing.

    1. That’s a really interesting perspective, Tifa! I love reading your comments–I feel like you always bring a fresh viewpoint to any issue. I can’t wean myself off social media completely–it just works for me at too many levels–but I agree that the people who want to stay friends will keep in touch. On another note, if you do try these brownies, I’d love to hear how they turn out for you! I’m drooling as I read your subs. Love ’em!

  9. I want to say thank you again for bringing these to my party! They were a HUGE hit and I’m excited to make them again for the holidays (and obviously just for myself, too 😛 ). I love peanut butter and co., too! I seriously eat the dark chocolate dreams straight out of the jar. MMM!

    1. Of course, Julia! I’m so glad they turned out. And I’ve been eating out of the Dark Chocolate Dreams jar ever since I read your comment earlier today <3 hope you get to make these yourself sometime!

  10. Glad to hear this from you. I do have that problem but I made a point where enough is enough and I need to move on and ride my own car. And I think you’re cool 🙂
    Same thing with this chocolate peanut butter krispies oreo brownies. That’s like heaven on a spoon!

    1. Haha! Can I jump on that car with you? You’re such a lovely, lovely lady, Linda. It’s a joy just reading your comments! Have a lovely week!

  11. I think much of evaluating the successes of others should depend on that particular individual. How do they rate themselves? But so many cases have criteria, and many rightly so – national championshipships, school, athletics… It kind of depends on the situation.

    1. I absolutely agree, Kathryn–context is everything. That’s an awesome reminder. Have a great week!

  12. I learned a long time ago that I shouldn’t compare myself to others. There will always be someone prettier, thinner, etc. I’m running my own race!

    1. And we’re cheering for you 110%, Lori! That’s an awesome attitude, and I’m working to nurture it myself!

  13. I’m ok with owning it if I have success with something, but that took me a LONG time to learn. As for other people I really enjoy acknowledging when other people do well.

    1. I’ve also come to learn that praising others right away for their successes feels wonderful! It’s a much better feeling than solitude and envy, for sure. Happy Tuesday, Margot!

  14. Thank you for this gorgeous vegan recipe! And mannnn I have these thoughts all the time… Sometimes it inspires me to go further and sometimes it makes me want to slump onto the floor and say “what’s the point in trying?” So It’s good to read this and relate. Reminds me that we’re all human and are bound to feel this way once in a while!

    1. Sending best wishes for chipper thoughts your way, fellow human! I totally agree. The slumping days suck, but at least we’re not alone in the feeling, right? Happy Tuesday, lovely lady!

  15. I think it’s good to look inward, but not to judge others.

    1. Absolutely–great insight, Amy!

  16. This looks amazing! It is so hard to find great vegan recipes like this! I look forward to drooling over it soon!

    1. Haha! Thanks, Audrey–I hope you get to enjoy it soon 🙂

  17. Preach it, girl! I’m a HUGE proponent of the “do whatever the f*ck you want” camp, as you well know. I’m sick and tired of feeling inadequate, incompetent, less-than, inferior, etc etc. I’ve taken a huge step back from blogging and social media so that I can refocus on what’s important in life – friends, family, spending time outdoors away from a screen, cooking and eating just for the joy of it, not because I want to post a photo and see how many “likes” I get. In other words, I try to ask myself “What would Ala do” because you are an inspiration to me. You’re so positive, giving, thoughtful and hard-working. You’re always striving to be better and do the things that add value to your life. The first thing I’m going to do is make these ermagaaaaaaaawd delicious brownies.

    1. YAY for you! Sometimes a step back and a lot of perspective is just what the doctor ordered. And LOL I’m not sure you should really be asking yourself what I would do (that could lead to some questionable results, I think), but it’s definitely great to see things from as many perspectives as possible! Let’s just agree to make brownies together next time and oh–do whatever the heck we want together, right? Because that’s our prerogative? 🙂

  18. i just had this dicussion with my 19 yr old son on way back to college. he feels people over research and discuss stuff and forget to live a life. i thought that was very mature thinking whether we agree or not.

    1. Laurel, thanks so much for sharing that! That’s incredible that you had a discussion with your son about it. I know this is something I’d never really discuss with my parents, so I’m glad you guys have made that (very mature) connection. Major props to both of you–wishing you the best!

  19. not compare to others, but evaluating your own success is a good reminder/motivator of how far you’ve come/achieved

    1. That’s an awesome reminder, Janice. Thanks!

  20. I am a perfectionist, so I find it very hard not to compare myself with others. I tend to beat myself up a lot because I think I could be doing things better.

    1. Well, the good news is that you’re definitely not alone on that downer train–it’s hard not to compare, but sometimes I find that really reveling in others’ successes actually helps alleviate the harsh self-evals. Regardless, sending best wishes your way! (PS are you at KSU? You guys have an AWESOME children’s lit faculty!)

  21. I have a tendency to be really hard on myself but easily praise others. I guess I want them to feel appreciated and know that I am grateful and think they are doing a good job. Probably it is secretly me also looking for praise in response but I genuinely love making others feel good 🙂

    1. That’s exactly it, Lauren! I feel the same way–I’ve come to feel actually really excited when other people do well, and I like to find ways to use that as motivation for my own goals, too. It’s such a good feeling when you can make other people feel good! And maybe it’s a little bit selfish to think of gratification that way, but hey 😛 whatever works, right? GO YOU, girl!

  22. This recipe looks Awesomeness, gonna have to try it out!

    1. Thanks, Steven! I hope you do, it’s a scrumptious fest!

  23. Compare and despair comes to mind!

    1. I hadn’t even thought of that one! That’s a good catchphrase, I’ll have to pin it up somewhere–thanks, Abby!

  24. it is certainly a trap i find myself falling into very easily. Thanks for the reminder to be vigilant against doing so.

    1. As Mad-Eye Moody would say…”Constant vigilance!” You’ve got this, Jacquie 🙂 happy almost-Wednesday.

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