I’ve discovered a few things the past few weeks.
- I’ve been baking way too much lately. There has been a constant stream of treats and new recipes lingering around my kitchen tempting my will power.
- I have no will power.
- I like to exercise, (not a new discovery), but did determine that my high level of activity is pretty much the sole reason why my pants still fit. (Even if they are a little snug right now.)
- I’m not getting any younger. Or quicker.
- But that’s o.k.
Being a personal chef and now food blogger, there is constantly food in my kitchen. Good food. It’s so easy to grab a little bite of this or that before heading to the office or on my way back from the laundry room. If it’s there, I’ll eat it.
So it’s a good thing I actually love to exercise. Because if it weren’t for my high level of activity, my wardrobe would consist of elastic waist and drawstring pants…………….and not by choice if you know what I mean.
I try to get my body moving (i.e a good sweat) at least 3 or 4 times a week. And not a walk around the block kind of sweat but a kick my a**, dripping sweat, challenging workout. As I *ahem* mature, it gets harder and harder to do.
I’ve been an athlete as long as I can remember and I love to compete. Soccer has always been a huge part of my life but it’s been pushed to the back burner the past year and a half. It’s those damn babies………
Two weeks ago, I traveled to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to play in an adult weekend soccer tournament. I was a little nervous as I hadn’t played full field soccer in quite a while and many of the girls playing are a fair amount younger than I am. And a few of them currently play at the college level. Yep, I was scared and I’m not afraid to admit it.
But you know what? As soon as I stepped on the field, my nerves disappeared. I forgot how much I love to play and love to compete. I was lucky enough to play with an exceptionally talented group of ladies and I discovered that it didn’t matter that I’m not as fast as I once was. That’s what the young girls are for. Been there and done that. Now I just get to have fun and get some exercise while doing so.
And the real kicker? We won the whole darn thing. Yep, that’s right,tournament champs.
2 days, 4 games, 4 wins.
It was awesome. Expect that I had a hard time walking on Monday but that’s for another day.
Let’s move on to some granola bars, shall we?
Whenever we go on road trips or travel, I like to make some healthy snacks for the car and while we’re out sight seeing. In this case, I made a batch for a quick snack to have between games.
While I’ve tried my hand at power bars before but this was my first attempt at baking granola bars. I wanted something I could snack on that the kids would eat too.
Another clear winner!
These aren’t too sweet and are loaded with oats, ground flax, dried blueberries, and toasted coconut.
I cut them into squares and put them in a reusable baggie since I knew we’d eat them all over the two days. Next time I make them though, I’ll individually wrap the bars to save for an easy on the go snack and to throw in school lunches.
FYI, the crumbs are delicious sprinkled over some greek yogurt!
Blueberry Almond Granola Bars
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup unsweetend shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup dried bluberries
Preheat the oven to 300F degrees. On a baking sheet lined with parchment or a baking mat, toss oats, sliced almonds and shredded coconut. Toast in oven for 10-15 minutes, turning often, until nicely browned. Keep an eyeful watch as the coconut and almonds can burn quickly. Meanwhile, in a medium stock pot, combine butter, vanilla, maple syrup and salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. When oat/almond/coconut mixture is done, remove from oven. Turn oven up to 325F degrees. Add cooled oat mixture to a large bowl with wheat germ and ground flax. Pour in melted butter and maple syrup. Mix until combined. Press granola bar mixture into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.