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Something healthy…sortof.

June 16, 2010

So, my friend Melissa just had a beautiful bouncing baby girl, the arrival of whom we have all been awaiting with baited breath. Throughout her pregnancy, Melissa and I ran the gamut of unhealthy eating: cupcakes, frozen yogurt, the occasional splurge for Wendy’s (or, in my case, the even worse splurge of McDonald’s), but now that the little princess has arrived, we have rededicated ourselves to the Taking Care of the Body.

You like how I take someone else’s miracle of life and give it to myself as an excuse to eat better? HA. So do I. But anyways.

Before the baby came, I was trying to think of something I could do to help Melissa out, something that would be easy to manage, useful, and last her a little chunk of time. I looked through my blogroll and found some really helpful ideas, like bringing dinner [then going away immediately], making some healthy handheld snacks [then going away immediately], watching the baby while she takes a shower [then going away immediately]. So, I settled on the following (and you’ll be pleased to note, despite every single recommendation to go away immediately, I completely overstayed my welcome and stared at the baby for hours):

Soft and chewy granola bars

I got these from smitten kitchen, and they were supposed to be a fortifying nugget of goodness that Melissa could grab for during those pesky 4 AM feedings where she’s just as ravenous as the newborn she’s cuddling.

Well…peeps…I’m not sure how “healthful” these are, I mean, they do have wheat germ, rolled oats,  pecans, walnuts, cherries, almond butter, and honey in them…and they’re completely wheatflour free…but they also have a few extra little things to give them oomf (e.g. sugar, touch of corn syrup, etc.), so I think they stray a bit toward “cookie” more than “hippie health bar”…but dadgum if these weren’t the best thing I’ve baked in a long, long time. I just cut ’em up real small, so you can’t overdo it in one bar.

Handheld.

I made the recipe pretty much as recommended, using the same combination of fruits and nuts as she does, and while I was very much happy with the resulting bar, I would probably do a few things differently next time.

1. Use less cherries. Some people are fruity kinds of people. I am not a fruity person. (Cue tittering of the peanut gallery). But seriously – I prefer a salty savory/sweet to a sweet/sweet, and the cookies without the fruit were most definitely spot-on for the salty savory/sweet. I’d probably leave a couple in. For presentation purposes only, of course.

2. Probably use a bit less corn syrup, and a bit less butter, while adding a bit more almond butter to the mix. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s ridiculous humid in DC (which she DID warn about), but these babies felllllll apart. The edges were perfectly crunchy and still chewy, but the insides were very difficult to manage, even after I chilled them on a wire rack. So, if it’s particularly dry out, use the recipe as-is. If not, tweak it a little. End of comment.

3. Up the pecan-to-walnut ratio. I love pecans. End of comment.

4. Possibly cook them a bit longer, with a foil collar (to prevent the edges from burning), so the middles can get more caramelized on top.

5. Replace the name “granola bar” with “pecan pie.” (I just realized all my recommendations so far are basically turning these into a pecan pie…possibly that’s because I have these on the brain…)

So yeah. That’s basically it. These guys were tasty, not all that terrible for you, and packed with protein when you prepare them properly.

Suggestions:

1. Definitely seek out some almond butter, particularly if you’ve never used it. I find it a little more bitter than peanut butter, which cuts the sweetness better (in my opinion). I found jarred almond butter in the peanut butter section of my local Harris Teeter, but the best thing to do is get fresh-ground almond butter from the bulk foods section at Whole Foods. (Learned that one from my Mom!)

2. Wheat germ. It’s in the cereal aisle. I know this because I wandered the store for no less than 20 minutes checking every box in the baking aisle (HT has a HUMONGOUS baking aisle) and could. not. find. it. Well, Cupcake, did you ask the stocker where to find it? AND ADMIT GROCERY STORE DEFEAT!? Never! Despite my world travels and the general lost-person-ness which they entail, I have never gotten over my phobia of asking for help at the grocery store. I don’t know why, because it definitely costs me valuable time, but finding it on my own gives me such a sense of accomplishment…Which brings me to point #3…

3. If you can’t find something at the grocery store, ASK FOR SOME HELP. Don’t be like me. It’s only been in the last 2 years that I’ve struck up the courage to talk to librarians. I’m working my way up to stockers, but they’re way above the clerk at Sur La Table, somewhere just beyond calling the pizza guy, and way before asking bartenders what the nightly specials are (I am terrified of doing this. I will research them on the bar’s website before going to a bar, just to be sure I don’t mess it up. I do not know why. Perhaps I need therapy…but then the therapist might ask me what I was doing at a bar at 5:45PM on a Monday, and that would open a whole other can of worms that I’m not ready to deal with.). End of tangent.

So that’s it…just a little “healthy” nugget for your day. Enjoy!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob permalink
    June 16, 2010 10:38 pm

    So I’m not the only one in the midst of a serious pecan addiction? And no, real bakers don’t ask for help as the grocery. It’s for the same reason that we’d rather spend 20 minutes looking for that one ingredient we “know we have” in the back of the cabinet that simply go and buy it.

  2. Victoria permalink
    June 17, 2010 10:35 pm

    “so basically i’m trying to turn these babies into pecan pie, and i’m ok with that”

    love this!

  3. July 1, 2010 11:34 am

    Did I mention that these were the best things EVER!??! I ate them all up, and was actually slightly depressed as I was eating the last one. IF you ever get the urge to try these again, I’d be more than happy to take the extras off your hands. Thanks so much!

    • September 23, 2010 7:15 am

      ps – reading this entry 2 months later just instantly took me back to the days of waking up every 2-3 hours to nurse Bella. And then that made me realize how horrible the sleep deprivation was and how I hope to never, ever have to go 4 weeks on about 17 hours of sleep ever again.

      But, those bars. Oh, those bars… they helped me retain some sort of sanity through it all.

      Thanks. and wish you were here, dangit!
      (totally random comment, i know. i’m going to just stop now)

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