Thursday, February 20, 2014

Homemade Granola Bars: At the movies

Until this Presidents' Day, we have never been to a movie theater as a family.  Husband and I have gone on dates, I've gone with friends, Daughter #1 has gone with friends, but as a huge unit of all of us, we have never done it.  I had promised Children a present for going to Korean school for an entire semester and learning the language without complaints, and originally I promised them a trip to a bookstore, with gift cards for them to spend.  With the strength of reviews behind the Lego Movie as well as a day off for Husband, I proposed that we go see the Lego movie instead.  Children all agreed, and Husband (a little reluctantly) also agreed.

As Son's allergies prevent us from eating food from concessions, I prepared a bunch of little snacks for us, including popcorn, drinks, and whatever else could be appealing and rammed them into my purse.  We climbed into the car, eager for our first family adventure at the theater, Children all excited to see a movie.  As I anticipated some lines at the theater, I dropped the rest of the family off so they could buy tickets while I parked the car.  Within 60 seconds the phone rang and Husband said, "The Lego Movie is sold out."

"Oh," I replied, while completely deflated and mentally cross referencing other movie times at other theaters.
"Frozen is available though," he continued.  "Should we watch that instead?  No one has seen that one in our family, right?"

It was quickly decided that we would see Frozen, and once I got the kids settled into their seats, I prepared myself to be annoyed by the saccharine story of true love, love at first sight, and the glory of Pixar animation.

Only, about 15 minutes into the movie, I began to shed tears at the idea of the misunderstood child who is isolated and alone.  The movie ended up touching me (misunderstood children always get me) and the ultimate message of sacrificing yourself to protect a loved one really tugged at my heart strings.  The tears flowed freely at the end, (and it did so for another person in our family, although I won't say who specifically, but it wasn't a child...ahem.)  And thus ended our family time at the movie.  Mom in tears.  Good times, good times.  We're still short a Lego Movie (reminded repeatedly by #3) and I'm guessing that we are officially going to be a movie going family.

It was unexpected sweetness, watching Children, their eyes wide enjoying the film.  The joy and the awe they had over a story that touched them (Son mentioned almost crying a couple of times) and I think unexpectedness sweetness is a wonderfully good thing, something that is often in short supply at home.

These granola bars, with their the rich textures is also a bit of unexpected sweetness.  I made them expecting not to like them, but upon handing them out, people joked that they were like "crack."  I'm assuming it's a compliment, and in the meanwhile, I'll continue making and enjoying these little bits of sweetness.  The granola has a lot of different ingredients, but the method is very simple - toast, make a syrup and bake.  It will be hard going back to a regular granola bar, I guarantee it.

Homemade Granola Bars
Makes 16 good sized granola bars

Ingredients
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
½ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
½ cup hulled sunflower seeds
½ cup flax seeds (optional)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 ½  teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼  teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup chopped pitted dates
¾  cup dried cranberries

Method
Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and line with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, coconut, pepitas, and sunflower seeds, together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the flax seed (optional).

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.

In a small saucepan add oil, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir and cook for a minute.  Remove from heat and pour over oatmeal mixture.  Add dates and cranberries and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool completely (2 to 3 hours) before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.


On another note, I'm being completely driven crazy by the aftermath of movie watching which is passionate singing and passionate playing of the music.  If you're at all interested and experiencing a bit of my life, you could buy the piano score for the movie and HAVE PEOPLE PLAY IT ALL THE TIME!

1 comment:

Margo said...

hadn't even considered watching Frozen till I read your post! My husband has thought of taking our kids to the Lego movie. We'll see. We've never gone as a family to the movies, either!

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