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Debra Caffrey is the Education E-newsletter Editor for FredParent. She also writes, blogs, and assists with events. She is the proud mom of 8-year-old Aidan. She is passionate about cooking, meal planning, and smart grocery shopping, and is excited to share her ‘Practical Pantry’ with you.


MWMG Pediatrics

Practical Pantry


I’ll be honest – sweets don’t really do it for me. I’ll pass on donuts, pies, candy, and most pastries in exchange for something savory and salty any day. There are, of course, a few exceptions to this. I love chocolate and ice cream. And then there are these special chocolate nut oat bars that I’ve been making for years – they are downright dangerous if I’m around them. It’s funny that I typically describe myself lacking a sweet tooth, because when I decide to bake a batch of these bars, I simply cannot control myself!

I obtained the base recipe when I was in middle school, taking an extracurricular cooking course with my friend. I still remember standing in the Home Ec classroom, the classmates I had, and some of the cute things we cooked together. What fun! These bars were totally delicious, and when I brought my container of them home, my mother fell in love with them too, so much so that the recipe made it to her “special binder.” Years later when I moved out on my own with my future husband, I sneaked the recipe away from her, tweaked it a little, and now it resides in my special dessert recipe binder. We try to eat very healthy in my household, so I’ll try to avoid baking these as long as I can, until the craving becomes too great and I have to give in!

What does it for me is the sour cream chocolate ganache in the middle. Hear me out – if you’ve never melted chocolate with sour cream when baking, you have to try it. It blends together to make the most tangy, addicting, “je ne sais quoi” flavor I’ve ever had. That chocolately ganache combined with the sweet oat base and the textural crunch of the walnuts is a combination that is simply irresistible to me! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Sometimes I get a little possessive of my most secret recipes, but I am happy to reveal this one to you now. These bars are too amazing not to share. Let cool completely before eating- they need that time to “meld.” Then, pour yourself a cold glass of milk and indulge! I hope you enjoy!


Irresistible Chocolate Nut Oat Bars


  • ½ lb unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 4 cups quick oats
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½-1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease s 12 x 9 baking pan.
  2. In a bowl, cream butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy with hand mixer. Beat in eggs. Stir in oatmeal and flour.
  3. Press about 2/3 of the mixture into the pan, pressing down slightly. Reserve 1/3 for the topping.
  4. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt chocolate chips and sour cream, stirring constantly to avoid burning and until fully incorporated. Remove from heat and spread chocolate mixture over the oat mix in the pan.



  5. Add chopped walnuts to the reserved 1/3 oat mix and drop onto the top of the chocolate layer in little blobs.




  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until top turns golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into bars. Enjoy! 


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Pouches' Community Corner

Pouches Visits the Past


If Pouches' experience at History Camp is any indication, your son or daughter will enjoy joining Washington Heritage Museums and the George Washington Foundation for History Camp in Fredericksburg. The week-long day camp will be held June 25-29, from 9:00 a.m. to noon each day.

Young historians discover American history with hands-on experiences as they walk in the footsteps where the history of Fredericksburg, and a budding America, was created. The camp complements the history taught in classrooms with activities such as soap making, code breaking, colonial crafts, penmanship and much more.