I know I got your attention with two of our favorite foods: chocolate & peanut butter. Peanut butter is my most favorite food and I can eat it with most things. (if you have not tried peanut butter tossed with freshly cooked whole wheat pasta, you must try it! yummy!!) So, when I saw this recipe for homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter energy bars, I had to give it a try. There are so many good energy bars on the market, but to have a homemade bar with fresh ingredients from your own kitchen, makes it taste just that much better. I love these with my mid-morning cup of coffee to satisfy my sweet tooth. And my kids gave their stamp of approval too! I hope that you enjoy them as well…but be warned, it’s hard to eat just one. (thank you to http://www.health.com for recipe)
Chocolate Peanut-Butter Energy Bars
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups barley flakes or rolled oats
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts (or any other nut you like)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 13- x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, beat brown sugar and peanut butter until well combined. Beat in eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture. Add barley flakes (or rolled oats), cranberries, peanuts, and 3/4 cup chocolate chips, stirring to combine.
3. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
4. In a small bowl set in a pan of simmering water, melt remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. With fork, drizzle chocolate over bars; refrigerate until set. Makes 24 bars. Enjoy!
Let me introduce the Bacon Genie.
You were probably thinking by the title, that an “Aladdin- looking” man would show up in your kitchen to magically whip up some bacon. Wrong.
Why is a Nutritionist writing about Bacon? On a recent vacation to Grandma’s house, my kids went shopping to a small town thrift store and came back with The Bacon Genie. A “steal” for only $2 they told me. They also promised that getting them up for school will be so much easier because the Bacon Genie will have their bacon ready. Really?! (Funny, because we normally cook bacon about 2 times a year at our house) Well, I will tell you the Bacon Genie works like a charm and is easy to use and now the kids have made bacon every morning for the past week. With no more bacon in the house, the Genie will now take a rest, a LONG rest. I like to remind my kids that bacon is a treat and should not be eaten daily. I call it “fatty, salt sticks”…a buzz kill, I know. Even vegetarians love the smell of bacon cooking. I credit the smell of bacon with getting me through my first half marathon. The race ran through a campground with smells of bacon and pancakes wafting me to the finish line.
Bacon without grease? Yes, with Bacon Genie promotes! All the fatty grease and cholesterol “supposedly” drip into reservoir below. The grease does drip ( & splatter) all over the place but saying all the fat and cholesterol drip out is like saying “watch the fat & cholesterol” drip out of a stick of butter. It can’t happen. Fat, salt & some protein are what bacon is made of and that is why it tastes so yummy. Bacon is 70% fat, mostly saturated, and 30% protein with approximately 120 calories/thin slice. But who can eat just one? My curiosity got the best of me, here are a few more bacon facts: (thanks to Asylum.com)
1. Bacon comes from the belly of the pig 2. The US consumed 32 billion pieces of bacon last year 3. Bacon is one of the oldest processed meats in history dating back to 1500B.C. 4. Bacon bits are actually vegetarian 5. One 200 lb pig will produce 20 lbs of bacon 6. National Bacon Day is held the Saturday before Labor day ( you knew?) You can even order a Bacon Sundae at some fast food places now, yikes!
So, enjoy your occasional bacon…we only live once! But you may live just a little bit longer without the Bacon Genie. Cook bacon in a good old cast iron skillet, just like mom used, to get the best flavor and more iron added to your meat. You never know what the kids will find at Grandma’s house, thanks mom:)
Through the eyes of the children
Out of the mouths of babes.
I was lucky enough to spend some quality time with my kids this 4th of July holiday. All was going really great until my youngest daughter blurted out that one of her older siblings had said “mom’s butt is saggy.” Ha, I laughed it off, took it stride and chalked it up to being over 40. But then I got defensive.
Okay kids, listen up….my butt may be a bit saggy, maybe a 5 on a “sag factor” scale. I’m thinking not bad for a woman my age, right?! But this butt has provided me great cushion for the endless hours of nursing and rocking you all to sleep, been a platform for the taxi driving I do for each of you & has endured many “pains in the ass.” Not to mention it has powered me up countless hills on my feet and my bike, helped me kick my way to the other side of the pool and always has my back when I need more strength and speed. Just because your butts are still perfectly placed where nature intended them to be, one of these days you too will be lucky enough to have a higher number on the sag scale. And then, you will realize that sag happens while you are living your life.
So here is to my saggy butt. Thank you for all of the support over the years. And to all of you, celebrate your body this independence day for all of it’s imperfections and beauty.
And to my kids….thank you for keeping it real. Love you!