Sunday, September 19, 2010

TREAT yourself

A few weeks ago, Zach and I took a few homemade granola bars to church and were nibbling on them during Sunday School (you caught us... it was a late morning and we were starving). The lady behind us said she'd be our friend forever, so we shared. She's been hounding me for the recipe ever since, lol.

I thought it'd be pretty selfish to keep this recipe to myself.

Here's my FAVORITE homemade granola bar recipe I got from my Aunt Peggy. You're gonna love it.

Dark Chocolate Granola Bars


1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/4 c. honey
2 TB peanut butter
1 egg
1 TB milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine in a separate bowl:
1 c. wheat four
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice

Mix the two bowls together. Add:
2 c. old fashioned oatmeal
1 1/2 c. rice crispies cereal (or crush up some Chex, Corn Flakes, etc.)
1/3 c. dark chocolate chips (or chunks of white chocolate)
1/4 c. dried cranberries (raisins, craisins, etc)
1/4 c. chopped nuts

Press into greased 9x13 pan. Cut the bars before baking to make it easier later. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. They should look toasted, do NOT overcook. Cool completely, then re-cut bars in marks you made before baking. Don't eat them all at once.

I wrap these individually and freeze them, so I can pull one out whenever I need to take a snack to school/work. You can microwave them for about 10 seconds if you want a gooey treat.

The best thing about this recipe is that it's completely customizable.
-Add mini M&Ms instead of chocolate chips for the kids.
-Substitute 1/2 c. karo instead of 1/4 c. syrup and 1/4 c. honey if you're all out. (Or make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water: twice as much sugar as water, in any quantity. Ta-da!)
-Make a trail mix bar using M&Ms, shelled sunflower seeds, and several kinds of nuts.
-Add pumpkin pie spice and use butterscotch chips.
-Use chopped toasted hazelnuts, dried cherries, and double the chocolate for a time-of-the-month snack.
-Use your imagination!!! The possibilities are really quite endless.

**P.S. Post about Zach's birthday below**

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Birthday Fiesta!

Zach's birthday was last Wednesday, and we celebrated on Friday with a bunch of friends.

My sister shared her awesome Bajio recipes with me --DELISH-- and they were a big hit! Most everybody went back for 2nds and 3rds. Which is okay, because I freaked out and doubled everything. (Two 3.5 lb roasts. Yeah. I'm my mother's daughter, we believe way too much is better than a little too little.)

I made my own version of Mexican Papel Picado with Zach's name on them. Took a while, as you can imagine. Right before I took this picture, I tore down the strings of crepe paper that were hanging down behind the papeles because they were flying all over when the fan was on.

I also made a bouquet of fiesta-colored tissue paper flowers. So fun! Only the female guests noticed, but that's cool with me. =]

We played Pin the Tail on the Burro! Quite hilarious. Our blindfold (which the burro is wearing in the pic) wasn't exactly cheat-proof. My tail is the one by the lock, and Zach's is the one smack in the middle of the saddle. lol.

I also passed around a wordsearch and crossword puzzle all about "Senor Emmons."

It was pretty funny hearing people guess for Clue 1 Down. (It's a quote from Nacho Libre.)

For his birthday cake, I made Cheesecake Brownies.

He originally requested a big, thick New York cheesecake with strawberry topping, but I completely forgot about it until about 30 min. before the party. So cheesecake brownies it was. I felt really bad, but they were pretty darn good. We sang Happy Birthday and he blew out his candle (I only made him do one. Sadly, no picture of that).

For his present, I made him a wallet card (Thanks to Love Actually for the idea, and Becca for directing me there) with "love" currency, and a fake credit card to use for an MCAT prep book. He only asked for the prep book, and we're saving up a little more before we order it, so I wanted him to know I hadn't forgotten.

(Front view)(Inside view)

I also bought a little journal and filled it with 26 pages of memories from our life together so far. We don't have a lot of pictures from when we were dating/engaged, so we're going to try to record as much as we can remember. Reading the journal really melted him, it was a touching moment.

Anways, he feels like one spoiled guy, which was my goal. I'm so grateful for such a sweet husband!!!!!