Friday, July 13, 2012

Vacation and Granola Bars

Well hello everyone. Long time no blogging! I had good intentions of doing some cooking with my sister while I was home to Spokane but that didn't happen. I also had good intentions of blogging about that cooking while I was there in her beautiful and gigantic kitchen that should belong to me and not her (just checking to see if she is reading) but of course that didn't happen either. I did however make some granola bars right before we left which I was very thankful to have in the car to snack on for a 20 hour drive! I was just going to take along the homemade granola from the previous post but a couple of you asked how you could turn that into a granola bar so I gave it a whirl for you. But first some vacation photos..........

For those of you who don't know I am from Spokane Washington and I will ALWAYS claim it as home! We usually go home every summer and do all the things you never do while you live there. Like go and enjoy downtown. I love the clock tower at Riverfront park almost as much as I love the view as you come down the hill driving east and the whole downtown comes into view!

You know this one! I miss those mountains so much! I wish you could see it in person because it is very picturesque.

We also went to visit the small local zoo called Cat Tales. It is really about tigers, and cheetahs, and a baby lion cub, and other cats but they also have a bear and Evan got to feed it some watermelon. Evan redeemed himself from our trip to the Seattle Zoo when his two year old sister hand fed a giraffe and he was too scared to do it. Don't tell my pre-teen boy I told you that though! I'll be in big trouble.

It was so cool when he fed him from the top hole and the bear stood up with his paws on the wall. Incredible to be this close!

Faith really enjoyed all the statues much more than the real animals which is strange since she stalked my sisters cats all week long trying to hold them like babies. I am sure the cats were super happy when we left.

My niece Shelby got to feed the GIANT tiger! Very unlike the bear he was super lazy and didn't even want to come over and eat for a while but they some how coaxed him.

The animals are amazing and majestic. Plus it just isn't something you see up close and personal everyday. God the creator never ceases to amaze me.

My favorite was this little lion cub however. He was playful and fun and his toys were cardboard boxes. The zoo keepers said he is a lot of work though. He needs a baby sitter in his cage with him all the time. He is probably the equivalent of a two year old.

We also made a trip up north almost to the Canadian border to visit Gardner Cave. Here we are about to descend into the earth. I must admit that it freaks me out a bit.

It was only 39 degrees in the cave and there was water dripping all over because of the amount of rain the state has received. I did want to go, but I kept thinking the whole time I was down there about miners and how they feel and how horrible it has to be for them if they ever become trapped underground.

It was very educational and very interesting. You are not allowed to touch anything in the cave. The oils on your hands make the stalagmites and stalactites turn black. The guide showed us where someone had touched this piece a couple years ago and said it would take years for those marks to go away.

The other cool thing about going up to the cave was that we got to walk the trail to Canada. It is just a short 1/2 mile hike and you are on the border.

But you can't be too adventurous or you might end up in big trouble!

I wish you could see it better in this picture but the line behind Evan's head is the border. The trees are cleared all the way along the United States and Canadian border from East to West like that. My kids are standing in two places at once! Very cool claim to fame!

We spent the fourth of July in downtown Spokane enjoying the rides, the park, the food, the IMAX theater, some mini golf, the big red wagon, some pony rides, some glow sticks, and of course some fireworks!

That is my dad and Evan on the Ferris wheel. Faith and I were in the cart below. Ferris wheels do not go fast. It takes way to long to load and unload those things when they are trying to balance the weight all out!

So we stuck to the faster rides after that. This is my sister and Faith on the Sizzler. Faith is a dare devil. The scarier the ride the better for her. The girl gets miserably car sick but when it comes to the rides she is a-okay. I don't know if she loves it so much she ignores the sickness or if it is just different. Fun to watch though!

Miles and the kids. We staked out our spot for the fireworks early! I must also mention that the weather was absolutely perfect that day. Sunny and 80 degrees with no humidity. Sorry to the Minnesota friends who had 100 degrees and about as much humidity. We even had to put on our sweatshirts and curl up under the blankets when the sun went down. We also went and hunted down some coffee because we needed to warm up a bit. Spokane let me count the reasons I love thee!!!!!

The fireworks did not disappoint!

My sister also forced me to be her photo shoot subject. She is an amazing photographer. She makes me look better than I am in real life. I think she gets tired of photographing kids and horses so she recruited me.

We decided there might be a little cowgirl in me after all. My sister is a horse person. She is a breeder actually. She owns lots of horses and most of the mamas had cute babies following them around. I am the complete opposite of my sister. I think the horses are beautiful but they tend to be a bit on the dirty and smelly side for me.

Plus she showed me which lets you add all these fun borders and change up the effects of your pictures. It is super easy to navigate and upload a photo if you want to play around with it some time. Thanks to my niece Shelby for the loan of all her cool clothes. It is good to have a teenage niece. Too bad we don't live closer so I could borrow them more often!

We had a great time, but it is always good to be home too and to get back to a routine. Unfortunately that routine also included a very strict diet for the week and probably into next week as well. We basically pigged out on vacation so now we have to pay the price. That means I have cooked very simple meals and haven't had much to blog about but I will get back into a better routine with that soon too.

So even though  my last post was about granola all you get is granola bars now! But hey, they are pretty healthy and Miles devoured them and you could even get your kids to eat them too. They are pretty quick to make but do take a bit of time to cool.

Measure out your wet ingredients first so they are ready to dump in. I used honey, brown rice syrup, peanut butter, and vanilla.

You can play around with these ingredients to find your favorite combination but I used oats of course, pepitas, cranberries, raisins, unsweetened coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, chopped almonds, and chopped walnuts.

Give it a good stir.

Then mix in your wet ingredients and stir until it comes nicely together. If it is not sticking together well you may need to add a bit more syrup or peanut butter.

Press the mixture into a 9 x 9 pan or I used this one which is maybe 7 X 11.

Bake until golden brown on top which took me about 20 minutes. YOU MUST LET THEM COOL COMPLETELY!!!! If you do not they will just become a crumbly mess and it will be granola not granola bars.

They were soooooo delicious!

This recipe doesn't make a ton though so I think next time I might make a double batch so they last a little longer.

It was very handy to have on the second leg of our trip when the breakfast at the hotel didn't satisfy me enough.

There you have it. Easy peasy!
I promise to do more blogging.
There. I said it. So now I must do it.
It might be pretty simple but I will do it.
For example next up I am going to share some of our favorite drinks with you.
Thanks for sticking with my very long post full of pictures.

 Granola Bars

1/4 cup brown rice syrup (or maple)
1/4 cup honey or agave
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup cranberries
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions: Mix wet ingredients together in a small bowl. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Add wet to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until it holds nicely together. It may be necessary to add more syrup or peanut butter at this point. Press mixture into a  9 X 9 pan or a 7 X 11. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until starting to brown on top. Let cool completely before slicing into desired size.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Sorry I haven't been commenting lately. It takes a lot to get me to sit down at the computer. It's just like right there, and I feel to lazy to open the doors, wiggle the mouse, and let it take a few seconds to boot up.

I am going to add the ingredients of your granola bars to my shopping list.

You're a hottie! Those pics are amazing. Very inspiring as...well, let's just say I'm not a hottie right now. Lots of work to do.