Sunday, February 27, 2011

Updates + Granola Bars

January's warm and sunny weather is but a distant memory. The last two weeks have been filled with rainy days. At the same time that those of you in Washington were having dumpings of snow this last week, we even got a little down here. The rainy weather has hampered my outdoor activities, and I usually plan my walks to and from campus around downpours.

I recently started taking an extended education course at HSU called Practical Beekeeping. I took Honey Bee Biology while at WSU, but it lacked in a lot of the information about actually handling bees and keeping a hive. So, once a week until May I'll be spending two hours learning about beekeeping. There's also a great opportunity to purchase beekeeping equipment at prices only about 10% above cost, which could mean a huge savings, but I'll have to pass this year. A majority of people taking the class are landowners from the surrounding cities; there are maybe 2 college students in our group of 40.

Last weekend my roommate and I made a batch of homemade granola bars, something I think everyone should try their hand at--they are fantastic! We used the basic Kitchen Sink Granola Bar recipe from Kath Eats Real Food. Our recipe looked like this:

Granola Mix:
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup peanuts
1 cup sliced almonds

Fruit Mix:
1/2 cup toasted flax seed meal
1.5 cups dried fruit (raisins and cranberries)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Wet Mix:
1/4 cup honey
2/3 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbl butter
1/4 cup almond butter
1 Tbl vanilla
1 Tbl cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

The granola mix must be assembled first, and baked in a 350 degree oven until it's a toasted brown.
In the meantime, combine the ingredients for the fruit mix, and create the wet mix in a saucepan on the stove.
When the granola is finished, mix it together with the fruit mix. Then add the wet mix to the bowl, and stir until everything is coated. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish that has been lined with oiled aluminum foil. This will allow you to take them out of the dish after baking and cut without much difficulty. Press the mixture so that it is even in the pan, and to get rid of any air pockets. Bake for about 20 minutes.
Our batch turned out wonderfully. The orange marmalade was a last-minute substitution when we found we didn't have enough honey, but I think it totally made the bars. The cinnamon adds a great flavor, too.

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