Today was the start of a much anticipated 4-day weekend. It is such a good feeling to know that you have an extra long weekend to do things that you normally would not have time to squeeze into the standard 2 days.
I’ve been wanting to make granola bars for awhile now, and finally got a chance to make a batch. While I want to blend my own recipes, I am no expert at granola bar baking and decided it would be better to follow a recipe the first few times to get a hang of the dry vs. wet ratio. The first one I decided to try was Pastry Affair‘s Pumpkin Chocolate Granola Bars. I chose this one because I had most of the ingredients here, and although it is February, I am still hanging onto those autumn pumpkin flavors.
These granola bars have no butter or oil, which makes them a bit healthier. I really liked these bars! They were not too sweet, and I enjoyed the mixture of flavors. I’d definitely make these again, simply delicious.
We all know that the best way to enjoy granola bars is on a hike! I met up with my Mom this morning and while we didn’t go for a “hike”, we went for a nice walk in the park, doing a little over 3 miles.
The clouds gave way to beautiful clear blue skies.
This little nest hung on all winter, despite being low to the ground and out in the open prairie. Possibly from a red-winged blackbird?
In my corner of the world, mother nature has not given us much snow this winter, leaving the earth naked. Can you spy another nest in this photo?
Now is the awkward, in-between stage where the earth sheds her winter coat of white, but is not quite ready for the arrival of the emerald green that spring brings. Warm, 50 degree temperatures have melted any ice and now everything is soggy and muddy, perfumed with a soft scent of late winter decay. I like this phase of life, although not as robust and blooming as spring, this is the time of anticipation. It is in this moment that we reflect on the winter and look forward to the new growth of spring, both in nature and within ourselves.
After our walk, we had a great lunch and explored our old neighborhood. It has been over 20 years since I’ve lived out there, but not much has changed. We even drove by our old apartment. The upstairs corner window was once my window to the world when I still played make believe. Back then, that room had green shag carpet which was perfect for a 6-year old. I pretended the thick green shag was grass, and everyday was a picnic or a campout. Although this was a drive-by photo op, a quick snap so nobody would think I was a weirdo taking a picture of their house, I was happy that a subtle lens flare developed right above my old window.
On our trip down memory lane, we went from healthy homemade granola bars to this.
We had to stop at the old 24/7 donut shop, which hasn’t changed one bit. These donuts are not the kind of donut that I would rant and rave about, they hover right around being average. The reason I love these so much is that they remind me of being a kid – a familiar, friendly box filled with half a dozen memories. We all have memories tied to various food, usually the unhealthy kind, and this is one of those things. We stopped for a box, a box I will most likely not see again for maybe another decade, and knowing that is okay. I think if I had these any more often they would lose their specialness, and they would become just the average donuts that they are.
Do you have special foods tied to your childhood?