Early Mornings

Four weeks after the wedding, and I think my endorphin levels, heart rate, blood pressure, etc. have finally fallen to normal levels. I really wasn’t expecting this biological reaction to the long-awaited anticipation of the wedding or the emotional/psychological/physical stress of the event. But as this is real life and not some fairy tale, there is no rest, and we begin our next project together – landscaping the yard. Before we tackle it today, I’m enjoying a quiet Saturday morning to myself – a homemade cappuccino and my new favorite granola bar recipe.

Img5Another gift from our registry – our very own coffee grinder and espresso machine! Thank you friends for all the love!

Date & Nut Bars
Source: Minimalist Baker
This recipe from Minimalist Baker is amazing – simple to put together, adaptable, satisfying, and so much better for you than the pre-packaged things you can buy at the store. You can swap out the dates for any other dried fruit (apricot works really well), and the nut and nut butters can be substituted as well.

Ingredients
1 c of medjool dates, pitted (about 10-12 dates, packed into a cup)
1/4 c honey
1/4 c creamy almond butter
1 c slivered almonds, toasted until golden brown
1 c rolled oats, toasted until golden brown
1/2 c shredded coconut

Directions
After removing the pits from the dates, whiz the dates in a food processor until the fruit comes together like a sticky ball. In a small saucepan on low heat (alternatively, you can microwave in a bowl), melt the honey and almond butter until combined. To the bowl, add the almonds, rolled oats, and coconut, stirring to distribute.

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Add the dates, working to break up the dates to evenly distribute the dates throughout the mixture. The dates and the honey will act as your glue to hold the granola bar together, so it’s best if these “glues” are evenly spread.

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Line a small brownie pan (8″ x 8″) with parchment or plastic wrap, and spread the granola mixture into the pan, pressing down until flatted. The tighter you are able to compact the granola, the better the bars will adhere. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let cool in the fridge until set, about an hour or so. Once set, remove the entire parchment/plastic wrap from the pan, and use a large knife to cut into bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. I find that it’s better to cut into bars, then individually plastic wrap or zip-lock (the smallest ziplock bags work great!) each bar for freshness. This also allows me to take it with me for the road. This is the perfect snack or on-the-go breakfast. The only challenge is if you don’t pack the granola in tight enough, the bar can be a bit crumbly – which is perfect for topping Greek yogurt, but not so good for eating on-the-go. Either way, it’s delicious – enjoy!

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Our backyard project covers about 5,000+ square feet, includes a chicken coop with 2 new chickens, a new raised herb bed, a new flower bed, and about a half dozen fruit trees. We are still in the process of laying a lawn, paving a few stone paths, constructing a stone fire pit – phew. This doesn’t even include the other work we need to do for the house. Just thinking about it makes me tired. Better get to work then!

Thanks for reading,
AnhD

PS. I am in the process of migrating my photos to Flickr
PPS. I just started shooting with a real DSLR and a new macro lens – bear with me!

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