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“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:  when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”  ~Charles Dickens

March is here and this quote perfectly describes this week. When the sun is out, the coat comes off; when the sun goes down my coat, scarf, and gloves come back. My favorite part of moving to Maryland is that it is literally always sunny. Everyday. All year round. Well maybe like 345 days out of the year. This is such a new concept to me. In upstate NY a whole day of sun is so rare. I would skip classes or leave work early to take advantage of a sunny day because if you miss one (even if it’s summer!) you may have missed the last sunny day of the season. Luckily, that is not the case here, and I still get giddy and excited everytime the sun is out.

It’s been so warm in the sun that we started running outside again. We ran outside a few times in the winter, but spring time runs are so much better! I love going running with AK. It’s basically our only quality time together without tvs and cell phones; a time to catch up, be healthy and fit, and now it is also a chance to explore our new neighborhood! We got a little lost yesterday, and is started to get dark and cold, but we got a chance to admire and explore some gorgeous upscale neighborhoods. I’m really looking forward to spring and longer days filled with this Maryland sunshine.

 

I’ve been meaning to try a homemade granola bar recipe from my to-do list. The idea of making a healthy, homemade, all natural snack was inspired by this blog and that blog. I started by looking at both, but then as always I changed the recipe around based on what I had in my cupboards and a few other recipes I used as reference from allrecipes.com. Here is my successful granola bar result.

Granola Bars

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/3 cup milled flax seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup raisins (or chocolate chips)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or half applesauce)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, raisins and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.

 

Tips:

  • To make them chewy still use a 9×13 pan but don’t spread the mixture into the entire pan- leave about an inch and a half empty space on one end. The batter will cook exactly as it sits so you don’t have to worry about it spreading. Also, you must be careful not to overcook these. Every oven is different so don’t just forget about them for 30 minute. They need to be taken out of the oven right when you see the edges becoming brown (it’s okay if the middle may still appear undone). If you do that they will stay chewy longer, just store them in a ziploc bag.
  • This recipe has endless possibilities! For example,  you can make them with raisins and walnuts or dried cranberries and slivered almonds. Or chocalate chips and pretzels.  Or increase the cinnamon and add chopped dried apples. Or you could add peanut butter and freeze dried banana bits. Or even play around with some canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Basically whatever you are in the mood for or have in your cupboards; just have fun!
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