We have a place we escape to every now and again
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For all the reasons one runs away from life
It feels like it's too much, or maybe an extra bit of fun is in order
because a historic hotel in a far away land is a beautiful place at Christmas time
It's calming to me. A chance to recharge
So this holiday week, a cold winter afternoon, with the temp on its way to -17 overnight, we waved goodbye to the kitties as they napped in their street-front windows. The puppies sleeping-over at the pet resort
“Be good kitty cats. Guard the house. Don't let any bunnies, squirrels, or scary people in. Remember, Rule #1 – no blood. When in doubt, refer to Rule #1.”
A fresh batch of granola bars, made from a simple assortment of oats, nuts, and dried fruit, tucked in my backpack was a natural fit for road-trip snacking
The original comes from Lorna Sass's Whole Grains Every Day Every Way, adapted slightly to our way of everyday eating
The secrets to granola bar success lie in my discoveries from the past
How best to bind them together? There are many recipes that call for agave, honey or maple syrup, with a final product more often than not, crumbling into bits
I've gotten around it by adding nut butter along sid, but the calorie count starts to rise significantly by the time the desired effect has been achieved.
In the end, I've settled on one product that works every time, brown rice syrup.
The other key lies in the process of pressing the mixture into the pan.
Line with enough parchment paper to hang over the ends of the baking vessel, and press the heck out of it. The harder and longer one presses, the less chance you'll wind up with granola instead of granola bars. (At least a minute or better)
Finally, refrigerate the granola for about two hours, once it's come out of the oven and cooled slightly. They're much easier to cut when cold.
They freeze beautifully, a bar taken out of the freezer as you're heading out the door will be ready to eat by the time you make it to your desk and are ready to think about work
If you're wanting for granola, simply crumble and add to your morning's Greek yogurt
~ Adapted from Lorna Sass's Whole Grains Every Day Every Way
Fruit and Nut Oatmeal Bars
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup Kashi GoLean crunch cereal
- ¼ cup brown rice syrup (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
- 3 Tbsp orange juice concentrate
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- ½ cup oat flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ⅓ cup dried apricots
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup golden raisins
- 2 Tbsp almond (or peanut) butter
- ½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds,
- 3 Tbsp ground flax seed
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8×8" baking pan or equivalent baking vessel
- Sprinkle two tablespoons of the rolled oats on the bottom of the pan, reserving two tablespoons to sprinkle on top.
- In a saucepan, bring ½ cup water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, whisking in the brown rice syrup, orange juice concentrate, oil, salt, and cinnamon. Cover and turn off the heat.
- In a food processor, combine the cranberries, raisins, and apricots. Pulse a few times until they are chopped.
- Add the oat flour, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, remaining ¾ cup of oats, cereal, apricots, cranberries, raisins, almond butter, almonds, and sunflower seeds into the brown rice syrup mixture in the pot. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix together the ground flaxseed and ½ cup of water. Whisk vigorously until the mixture becomes gummy, about 1 minute. Fold the flaxseed slurry into the oat mixture.
- Pour into the prepared baking pan, and smooth off the top. Sprinkle the remaining oats on top and press the batter until it's compact (see notes above) Bake until the bottom and sides are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.
- Cool in a rack. Transfer to the fridge and let cook a couple of additional hours. (The additional step of cooling the bars in the fridge is optional, but will help greatly when it comes time to cut them)
- Then cut each half into 1" wide bars.
- Enjoy warm, at room temperature or chilled.