I must confess a few things. The holidays and lots of travel wreak havoc on me, my body, and my routine.
I confess that on our way from central Illinois to Chicago, I ate several homemade pizzelles that were given as a gift from Mr. Prevention’s uncle. They were just…there…and they tasted SO good.
I confess that I worked out ZERO times since leaving for Illinois last Friday, despite packing workout clothes. (I did run last night, however!)
I confess that I drank a craft beer every night we were gone.
I confess that I not only ate some killer thin crust pizza, but also some deep dish from Papa Dels in Champaign, Illinois.
I confess that the broccoli on my Christmas Eve dinner plate was covered in cheese. And Ritz crackers. Probably some butter, too…I’m not sure. But it was delicious.
I confess that one morning, my mother-in-law made cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and I partook. Thank goodness I limited myself to one. Mr. Prevention put on the breaks after 3.
By yesterday, my body was giving me serious heck for the abuse. At our fourth and final Christmas, I stuck to tilapia and green beans, included a green salad, and took the smallest piece of baklava off the dessert table ;).
My point is, I’m ready to return to normalcy. My grocery cart included mixed greens and carrots. It did not include butter, flour, or sugar unlike my pre-Christmas grocery trips. I made dinner last night and it included fish and broccoli slaw…and water. Lots of water.
I’m glad that as I jet out the door this morning I can grab something wholesome and delicious…something that I made nearly 2 weeks ago and can enjoy today and for weeks to come. Having healthy snacks or breakfasts like these granola bars on-hand is crucial to my making healthy choices. Pizzelles don’t look quite as good when they’re up against a homemade Cherry-Almond Granola Bar, that’s for sure!
Cherry-Almond Granola Bars slightly adapted from Bon Appetit
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats 3/4 cup whole raw almonds 1/4 cup coconut oil 3/4 cup (4 oz) dried cherries 3/4 cup (3 oz) unsweetened coconut, finely shredded 1/2 cup (3 oz) roasted unsalted sunflower seeds 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed 6 Tbsp honey 6 Tbsp light brown sugar 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 400 F. Spread oats and almonds on a baking sheet. Bake, stirring once, until just golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool on sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325 F.
Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper, allowing it to extend over long sides. Brush paper with melted coconut oil.
Mix the oat mixture, cherries, coconut, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed in bowl.
Bring 1/4 cup coconut oil, honey, sugar, and salt to a boil in a medium heavy deep saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil for 1 minute. Immediately pour over oat mixture in bowl. Using a heatproof spatula, stir until evenly coated. Transfer granola to prepared pan. Lightly press evenly into pan; smooth top.
Bake for 10 minutes. Turn pan; continue baking until golden brown with slightly darker edges, about 15 minutes longer.
Transfer pan to a wire rack and let granola cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift granola from pan. Cut into 12 bars. Store airtight at room temperature or freeze.
Yield: 12 bars
Nutrition Information (per bar): 299 calories; 16.4 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 125 mg. sodium; 35.8 g. carbohydrate; 4.4 g. fiber; 5.1 g. protein
Result: Swwwwoooooon! I am in love with these. They are very similar to the coconut-almond Kind bars that are outrageously expensive and incredibly delicious. I love that these have some chew and bite to them and the healthy fats, fiber, and protein help keep me full for hours. While these are a bit high calorie for a snack (though, not for athletes!), they are ideal for breakfast. A big cup of coffee, one of these, and a banana… breakfast perfection! Plus, they freeze perfectly for grab-and-go breakfasts for many mornings to come!
Back to work today At least it’s only a 2-day work week. I think I can…I think I can.