Just in case you didn't notice, I've been super lame about blogging. As in, I haven't. Since October. Wow, that is really pathetic. Oddly enough, wanting to blog, meaning to blog, and composing blog posts in my head are all things that are helpful to a blogger, but do not in fact necessarily result in any actually blogging. Who knew?
So I've taken another inadvertent hiatus with no dramatic reasons behind it. The Marks family is doing fine and keeping busy as usual. It's just been the same old underlying problem of not actually scheduling time to blog. Plus, we don't have any good pictures of anything since October 2nd. Wasn't that the day Alan ran his first ever full marathon? you ask. Why yes it was! It also rained. A lot. And the camera got wet. A lot. And it died. Just once, but very thoroughly. So we've been limited to whatever our phones can capture and that makes me unexcited about documenting events because the pix are just lame (mostly because there's a tangible delay between when you hit the little shutter icon and when the fake shutter sound--and the actual taking of the picture--occurs) and not having good pictures has made me unexcited about blogging.
But never mind that for now.
For Lent, I have promised myself that I will complete some sort of correspondence every day (and also that I will not eat fast food for lunch but that's another post altogether, mostly about the fact that I am not giving up Coke this year. Go ahead: call me a wuss, but I think I'm doing my family a favor). So far, I have written one long-overdue thank you note and composed an article for a newsletter. Today I am blogging. [And by "today" I mean Friday even though it's technically Saturday because it is now after midnight(!).]
So, here is my recipe for Homemade Granola Bars that I promised I would pass along to several people, but particularly Anne-Marie at Green(ish) Monkeys. These hearty snacks debuted officially at last year's MDI 10k and fun run and a picnic afterward which our two families enjoyed together. This is my favorite healthy-ish food and four-fifths of our family* loves them, particularly when hiking or before and after road races. I could eat them all day. Nut-free versions have been endorsed (by virtue of practically being inhaled) by the Orono Middle School Field Hockey team and the Cheerleading squad. Here's James showing his approval at MDI.
*Alan doesn't "do" oatmeal. Or nuts. Or dried cherries. And definitely not wheat germ. Oy!
Nancy's Homemade Granola Bars
Recipe adapted from several I found online and my personal penchant for combining almonds, dark chocolate and dried cherries.
2 cups oats1 cup crushed Cheerios (this started because I had a bunch that were stale and I thought it was a good way to use them up, but I liked it so I keep putting them in)
3/4 cup chopped almonds (I usually use unsalted)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt3/4 cup honey crunch wheat germ
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
a handful of dried cherries, chopped
chocolate chips/chopped chocolate, to taste
1. Mix the first four dry ingredients together, spread on a baking pan and toast lightly in the oven. Add the wheat germ after toasting because it tends to burn.
Note: Don't let the dry ingredients burn. And if you do, don't use it anyway because you'll still taste the burny parts even if you add orange-flavored chocolate you got for Christmas and that's just a big ol' waste of good chocolate. In fact, I'm not entirely sure this whole toasting step is necessary....
2. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, honey, butter and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
3. Mix everything together in a large bowl, adding the chocolate last. Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and press flat into pan (I use a small cutting board to make it very smooth). Allow to cool before cutting into bars or square.
Of course you can play with the ingredients all you want. I usually use a combination of dark and milk chocolate. The orange-flavored stuff would have been great if it weren't for the whole burned wheat germ thing. I have plans to try white chocolate, pecans, coconut, peanut butter, orange zest, etc. Skip the nuts when sending to school functions (ours has a nut-free policy, but it's good to err on the side of caution anyway).