Granola Bars

My life is so full. And I’m so happy.

I was reading an article in one of my roommate’s magazines tonight. The author pointed out that we often remember the happy times that we’ve had and we look forward to the happy times that are to come, but we forget to notice the happy times that are in this moment. And I don’t want them to go unnoticed. Because my life contains so much activity and so many people that bring me so much joy. Why shouldn’t I celebrate that?

I spent a solid 4 days last week surrounded by views like this:

and this:

Since New Years, I’ve been teaching piano lessons to 6 wonderful kids. And loving it. I even got some Valentine’s happiness from one of them today. Cute, isn’t it? I definitely needed sugar to adorn my desk and tempt me.

And tonight, I have the night off. And I’m home. It’s been awhile since those two phenomena have collided. So I’m unpacking and doing laundry. I did the dishes. I made dinner (leftover stirfry+chicken broth=great soup!) I made granola bars.

It’s all in the small things. I’m convinced.

These granola bars–so easy. I will never buy from the store again. I used this recipe as a starting point, and ended up with this!

You’ll need:

  • 2.5 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (or other)
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. all-spice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In an 8×8 dish, mix together 2.5 cups of oats, 1/2 cup of wheat germ, and 1/2 cup of seeds (I used sunflower). Toast in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While that’s going, combine the remaining ingredients in a sauce pan and heat until butter is melted and brown sugar is dissolved.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Mix dry and liquid ingredients together in another bowl. Grease your 8×8 pan, and spread the granola mix into it, pressing down with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 23 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Store in an air-tight container.

I wanna know: What/who in your life has been bringing you happiness recently?

Cinnamon Rolls

It’s my roommate’s birthday! Yay! Happy birthday, dear friend 🙂 Perfect occasion for a batch of cinnamon rolls. Soo…here we go!

I used the recipe that Emily adapted from her mom for the dough and the filling. With a couple of additions:

1. Butter. This will feel sinful, but you’ll thank me. Just go with it. Once you get your dough mixed, risen, and rolled, melt half a stick of butter and spread it around.

It’s worth it. I promise. Calories are inconsequential. Don’t think. Just do.

2. Pecans. Spread a layer of pecans on top of the filling. They’re nuts. They’re good for you. These cinnamon rolls can be justified as health food because of them.

Roll it up the long way, slice up the roll (serrated knife works best), and lay them on a cookie sheet that’s been greased and sprinkled with sugar. Like I said: health food.

Cover and let the cut rolls rise for another 20 minutes, and then bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Frosting!

  • 4 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/2 stick of butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix with a hand mixer. And always lick the beaters.

After your cinnamon babies have cooled for 10 minutes, spread the frosting and serve.

Messy, gooey, sugary goodness.

Happy Sunday, friends! And…a very, very happy birthday to the best Mom a girl could ask for!