Granola Bars….Health food….not chocolate

I made granola bars today and in the world of homemade granola bars, I would venture to say that they are quite good.
 They are flavorful and not too hard or too soft or too sticky. But…I still had to FORCE myself to eat them.

 Maybe because the container right beside them was full of Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies.

But I think it was because I can’t eat healthy food. I mean I can eat fruit, I love fruit, and I can eat salad. I quite enjoy salad. But grains…I seriously struggle with grains. I like bread. White bread and “100% whole wheat” bread that can’t actally by 100% whole wheat. I think my brain knows I can’t eat healthy things.

 I think that is why these granola bars are the healthiest things I have ever baked in my entire life.

(PS. healthy food to me is defined as; contains less sugar then cookies or cake, contains oatmeal, seeds, fruit, whole grain flours or veggies, doesn’t have very much butter/fat/lard, isn’t store bought or pre-packaged excessively.)

I am currently resisting the urge to melt some chocolate to dip the granola bars in.

I ate my last piece with a big mug of hot chocolate. Perfect combination.

If anyone has any healthy recipes that taste and look like junk…. I will need them to get me through January.
Please.

By the way, this recipe is from my friend Taryn who just started her own blog a day or two ago! (Yay go Taryn!) She is a healthy conscious and eco-friendly mama with a super sweet baby girl. Check her out! (thanks for making me healthier Taryn!)

On another note, today was a terrible day to take pictures of food. So was yesterday. It was dark and gloomy all day. I feel like I live in the arctic where it stays mostly dark for months at a time. I need to go to a tanning place and get some vitamin D and maybe the gym for some exercise. The glommyness forced me to take a 3 hour nap this afternoon. I am so well rested now and feeling very lazy.

Anyways, for the Granola Bar recipe, please visit Taryns site! Click HERE
Eat healthy food. Yum.

Andes Mint Brownies

Inspiration and basic recipe from Sugar Plum Blog!

Today is Christmas at my Grandmas and Grandpas. We spread out our Christmas over many days which is actually reallllyyy nice. Currently I am at my grandparents with my cousins planning our traditional Christmas skit.  You see, at my Grandparents, every Christmas we are expected to perform some sort of skit/song/play. My two sisters and two closets cousins and I ALWAY do a skit/song combo. We have done the 12 Days of Christmas ( in versions ranging from New Zealand Christmas’s, Canadian Christmas,  Christmas at Grandmas, Christmas at Grandmas Rap…and who knows what else). Basically 90% of the time our plays are extremely lame, or we are laughing so hard that our poor family members can not understand a word we are saying.

This year we are doing our own rendition of the Potter Puppet Pals…but not Harry Potter and Christmassy.

As you can imagine…this is going to be quite a challenge.
Dinner is in 1.5 hours. We started planning about 30 minutes ago 
On other topics, I made Mint Brownies today.
They are so yummy. I used a recipe I found on a blog called Sugar Plum which is super cute and really good! 
She made hers into yummy little brownie balls dipped in white chocolate. YUM! I just made mine into brownies with a little chocolate drizzle. 
Here is the recipe: 
1/3 cup Oil
3/4 cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup Milk 
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 cup Flour
1/3 cup Ades Mint Pieces ( I had to buy these in the US…not in my canada grocery stores) 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Coat a 8-inch square cake pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
1. Mix oil, sugar, vanilla, milk, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl of a mixer. Or you could totally do it by hand I think. Mix together until well combined.
2. Add flour slowely and mix until just combined. 
3. Scrape into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the mint pieces. 
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes ( mine took exactly 20) or until its set and not jiggly. 
5. I melted more mint pieces with some butter and drizzled them over the cooled brownies. 
To make the pretty brownie balls that Sugar Plum made, check out her blog for the instructions. Sugar Plum.
Finished product! Yum Yum Yum!!!

My First Post Ever! and The Best Date Bars Ever

Welcome to My Culinary Calling!
I am (very) recently married and my husband says I need to do something a bit more productive with my baking. So this is where the blog comes in! I also hope to soon be able to sell my baking on a small scale from my home. This is an adventure I am excited to begin! If you have any helpful advice, or suggestions please let me know!

MMMMMM date bars…some people call them matrimonial square. I always forget this. Before this recipe, I would be searching the internet for “date bars” or “date squares” or “date bar squares” and I could never find a good recipe that tasted like my mommas. So then I called my momma and she gave me her recipe and I realized I could have saved a couple of hours of my valuable time by just calling her in the first place.

So this recipe…I dont know what exactly it is that I love about it, or that makes it taste so much more yummy then the rest. But it really just does! My whole life growing up, my mom always baked with hard margarine. It is much cheaper and comes in perfect 1/2 cup blocks. And until I moved out and began buying my own ingredients for baking, I always did the same. Now I buy butter…Ohhh do I buy butter and the difference it makes can be so subtle but so yummy.

SO the whole point of that paragraph was to tell you to please please please try making these with butter. ALL butter. You wont regret it. At least your taste buds wont. Your wallet and hips might, but your husband wont notice because he will be chowing down on soft, slightly salty and sweet date bars.

Here is the recipe. And next time I will take pictures of the whole process because that looks like a fun thing to do.

BEST EVER DATE BARS

Crumb Layer:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine (I have always used margarine until this time..any let me tell you, butter really did make them that much more delish)

Filling:
1/2 pound dates chopped up(If you buy them in a square block, those are usually 1/2 a pound)
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup water (or a little more to make it the right consistency)

Crumb layer:
1)Measure flour, oats, baking soda, salt and butter in a large bowl.
2)Cut butter in with a pastry blender or your hands until butter is the size of small peas. 3)Press about 2/3rds of the mixture into the bottom of a parchment or tin foil lined 9x9inch pan.Set aside

Filling: (maybe start this before you do the crumb, then they will be done at about the same time!)
1) Combine dates, sugar and water in a saucepan.
2) Bring to a boil and allow to simmer till mushy. If mixture becomes too dry, add a bit more water. If it is too wet, allow to simmer until excess has boiled away. You want the mixture to be easy to spread and relatively soft.
3) Spread over crumb layer as evenly as possible.
4) Sprinkle remaining 1/3 of crumbs over the top and press down lightly.
5) Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.