18 hours of sleep + granola bars for marathon week!

I accomplished all of 4 things yesterday: I slept, snuggled Marfa, texted Casey about her drunken LA adventures, and tried on my new running shorts. I slept for about 18 hours of the day and dare I say it… blew off my last “long run” of 9 miles. Sometimes you just need R-E-S-T.

On Friday night around 11pm I couldn’t sleep and thought “next week you’ll be gearing up for the marathon but going out of town so there won’t be much new groceries in the house. Make your homemade granola bars!” If you remember back to my protein bar recipe from a month or so ago, I love making my own energy bars. Once you have the real, GMO-free thing, store-bought ones just don’t make the cut. And, let me tell you: these babies are my all time favorite. They are YUM TOWN!! I’m taking some inspiration from my BFFS over at the Spatularettes, and posting about marathon fueling foods. IMG_2790

*Side story: Because I had a work event on Saturday I thought ahead (or at least I thought I did) and brought out good gallery camera home to save myself the trip of driving to campus in the morning. Then I thought, “Pam!! You have this awesome camera to document your granola making!” Well, I took some artsy-fartsy shots and was so excited to upload them… until I opened the camera and noticed that the memory card was in my computer… AT WORK. The camera doesn’t prompt you that there’s no memory card in it. Sadly, I only have crummy iPhone images 😦 which stinks because these come out looking so beautiful and delish! 

This recipe is adopted from Iowa Girl Eats. I feel like I owe this woman a “thank you” note for the joy this recipe has brought me. These are SO easy and the yum factor is out-of-this-world! I think the key ingredient for success is the coconut oil… makes these moist and packed full of flavor. No dry, stiff bars here!! I follow her recipe pretty much exactly except I don’t use sesame seeds, subbed walnuts for pecans, and I threw in some toasted coconut instead (about 3 TBS). I also used dried cranberries for this batch because it’s all I had in my house. I normally have all of this stuff in my pantry anyways, making it a perfect whip-up snack for the week. Again, brace yourself- you will never buy store bought granola bars again!!! IMG_2787

Ingredients:
1 cup whole almonds
1 cup pecan halves (could use walnuts)
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup dried cherries, chopped if large
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
dash of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Add 1/2 cup each of almonds, pecans, and old fashioned oats into a food processor. Process until fine (not too long or it will start to turn into nut butter!) then pour into a large bowl. Roughly chop the remaining pecans and almonds, then add the bowl. Add remaining old fashioned oats, cherries, and sesame seeds, then mix well and set aside.
  2. Combine honey, coconut oil, salt, vanilla & almond extracts, and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the mixture melts, then foams, then cook for 15 seconds longer. Pour over nut mixture and mix thoroughly to coat all the ingredients.
  3. Line a half sheet pan or 8×8 pan with enough saran wrap or parchment paper to let it hang far over the sides, then pour in granola. Press very, very firmly with your hands or something with a flat bottom (may need to spray it with non-stick spray.) Wrap the overhanging saran wrap or parchment paper up over the sides and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.
  4. Using a sharp knife, cut chilled granola into bars. Wrap individually in saran wrap and store in the fridge or freezer.
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