Where did we last leave off? That's right, eager with anticipation for more guest bloggers. Unfortunately, they've been busy or shy and are going to make us wait a little bit longer. It'll be worth it, I'm sure.
Meanwhile, I've been settling into my new home for the next few months. A trailer home. In Alberta. Parked in the middle of the widest, most-likely-blue sky and endless drab-yellow-brown everything else that is April. We've come here to learn about sheep dairying and more cheese-making and who knows what else. Nearly ten years ago, when I first left this province for the greener pastures of B.C. I hardly expected to find myself back, ever. But here I am, slugging pails of milk to baby lambs, leaping over fences, wrangling sheep, dodging feces. I'm scrubbing floors and ceilings and shelves and cheese. It all makes one tired, and hungry!
And segueway to the point of this entry....
I made these granola bars, though you could just as easily call them a square, a couple days ago. My Mom had given me a jar of almond butter (a splurge item I would rarely, if ever, buy) and the far recesses of sleep-deprived brain remembered a recipe I had bookmarked that used just such a nut butter. I improvised a bit with what was on hand, swapped some nuts in, some fruits out, reduced the honey so they'd be a little less sweet and voila, genius! Insanely and addictively delicious. We probably could have eaten the entire pan in one sitting but we restrained ourselves. Slightly. Each time I sent David back to the fridge for "just one more" he gave a whoop and did a little happy dance.
You Will Eat the Entire Pan of Granola Bars
Adapted from Food52
As always, tweak to "suit your need". The nuts, puffed cereals and dried fruits you use are imminently interchangeable. I ended up using about 1/3 cup of goji berries, a little less than 2/3 cup of prunes, chopped, with a few dried apple slices, also chopped, and a sprinkle of coconut flakes. My almond butter was roasted, creamy and unsalted. I'd recommend the same.
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flaxseeds
1/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup puffed rice
3/4 cup puffed millet
1 cup assorted dried fruit
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 tbsp flaky sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Oil an 8-inch square baking pan.
Toast the oats, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in the oven until fragrant and barely browned. It is best to toast them separately as they take different amounts of time. Toss them in a bowl with the remaining dry ingredients.
Combine the almond butter, honey, and brown rice syrup in a small saucepan. Warm over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until liquidy and smooth and just beginning to bubble slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sea salt and cinnamon.
Pour over the dry ingredients and mix to combine evenly, ensuring no dry spots remain. Take care not to crush the puffed cereals.
Scrape into the prepared pan and, with oiled hands, press down firmly to create an even layer. Chill, uncovered, until firm, about 30 minutes. Cut into roughly 2-inch squares and see if you can't finish the whole pan.
If you can practice considerable self-restraint these will keep for up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge (where they'll be firmer) or up to a month in the freezer.
Makes about 16 squares.
P.S: In lieu of an Easter entry, check out my friend Caitee's blog, where she makes my Easter speciality: Mini-Egg Pancakes!